Chickens always seem to get a bad rap for being stupid or not capable of much emotion, but the truth is they are actually a complex species that can show love and affection to their owners and family. So, many folks who aren’t familiar with chickens and their emotions may be wondering, do chickens really love their owners?
Chickens are capable of love and affection in a number of different ways like laying down for pets and watching, following, rubbing against or talking to their owner.
If you were one of those people who didn’t think that chickens showed much emotion besides squawking and running away from most people in fear unless they had food, then this article will enlighten you on the numerous ways that chickens do indeed display love and affection towards their owners. Keep reading to learn more about the complex nature of chicken emotions!
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Do Chickens Have Emotions?
Absolutely! The truth is, this species is extremely complex and capable of displaying many emotions such as fear, anger, defense, happiness, excitement and sadness. We just don’t always understand what they’re displaying through body language.
Not only are chickens emotional little creatures, but they are also quite intelligent and have been known to show self-control and even have specific preferences for places, people and food.
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How Do Chickens Show Love To Their Owners?
Body language and behaviors are obviously the only way for chickens to truly show signs of love, affection or any other emotions. When a chicken has decided that they like someone a lot, maybe even love them, they will do one or several different things to get that feeling across.
Stare At You
Chickens that like someone, or are just generally intrigued by them, will stare and watch the individual closely. It may seem a bit creepy at first, but really they just are fascinated and want to watch what you’re doing for their own curiosity.
While staring may not seem that impressive, most of the time the chickens are too unbothered by your presence to even notice you, so staring usually means they actually like you.
Follow You Around
Chickens love to follow around people that they have developed a liking for. It won’t matter what you are doing, whether it’s mowing the lawn, raking leaves or cleaning the coop, they will be right behind you, seeing what you’re doing.
Consider it your own little personal flock that’s at your beck and call. Not really, they will do what they want but it is pretty amusing either way.
Rubs Their Beak Against You
When a chicken likes someone they will not only follow that person around but they will usually rub their beak against their legs while they work or feed the flock.
These chickens are particularly cute as this is an emotional display that not all of them do.
Sit In Your Lap
Sometimes chickens just want to be a lap pet. I have one Orpington that loves me and will sit in my lap at any chance she gets. I’ll admit, it makes me feel special and I enjoy her affectionate behavior, even when she gets straw and dirt on my nice pants.
I’ve heard of hens laying an egg in the lap of people they like. I suppose this is like the ultimate display of affection! She literally just trusted you with her young, how special!
Talking To You A LOT
Some chickens really like to use their voices to get the attention they want. When a chicken has decided that it needs you to notice them, then they will make their own little noises and sometimes even scream at you.
While this is humorous, the birds that take to screaming can be a little disruptive and maybe even upset the neighbors. Especially if you have a rooster that likes to announce his happiness at mealtime.
Try To Groom You
Grooming is a natural sign of affection and mothering among flock members. Occasionally, you will have a chicken that thinks that you need to be brought into the fray and groomed like the rest of the ladies.
Sometimes a few of my chickens are very assertive about it and will fly at me until I sit on the ground so that they can groom me and peck at my head. Admittedly, it’s a little uncomfortable and clearly, I don’t need their help but I let them do it for a few minutes to satisfy them.
Bring You Gifts
This behavior always has reminded me of cats and the way that they will bring dead rodents and birds to the back porch to show love and pride to their owners. Well, chickens like to hunt for different things thankfully.
I always know when it’s gift time because the chickens will squawk excitedly and a moment later will bring me some little bugs or the occasional worm that they have found. It’s kind of gross and cute and I always make sure to take my gifts and politely dispose of them somewhere else. I wouldn’t want to be rude and not take the presents after all.
Sit On Your Feet
I have found this to be an uncommon and rather possessive form of affection from some chickens. Most of my hens prefer to watch me or follow me around while I work on cleaning the coop, but sometimes I have that one that just has to be right underfoot. Or on top of foot, however, you want to use the expression.
She wants to keep me from doing my job so that I will sit there and pet her, which I don’t mind doing when I’m finished. Her way of getting my attention is to literally sit on my feet and refuse to budge until I have to shoo her away or push her off.
Don’t worry, I always show her love when I’m finished working.
Why Do Chickens Love Their Owners?
I would assume that chickens love their owners for similar motivations that other animals do; food, shelter and companionship. Dogs and cats love their owners for their companionship, but also because they feed them and provide a nice, cozy place to live. Chickens are the same way.
While I do believe that chickens love their owners for more reasons than just food, I think that it is also a prime motivation behind why they may like us so much.
When I go to my aunt’s house, her chickens always follow me around and squawk at me excessively. They do the same to her, but even more so when I’m there. I could be outside visiting the horses or riding the tractor through the field and they will be behind me the whole time.
Why? Well, they’re not my birds so I don’t have a special bond with them, but I do always come bringing gifts of delicious mealworms that are an extra welcome treat!
Conclusion: Chickens Love Their Owners And Food
Chickens are a complex, emotional species of bird that are certainly capable of showing signs of love and affection to their owners. They are not only emotional but also intelligent and extremely underestimated. This species is rewarding, fun and adorable, especially when they are sitting in your lap, asking for a snuggle or following you around the yard like a puppy.