Do Chickens Recognize Their Owners?
The question of whether chickens recognize their owners is one that is often asked by backyard chicken owners. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that chickens can recognize their human owners and form close bonds, but it’s difficult to be sure.
What’s more, the standards and practices of the owner affect the emotional and overall welfare of the bird, so it’s impossible to be certain that chickens have an actual feeling of affection when they are around their owners.
Yes, chickens do recognize their owners
As a rule of thumb, if you see your chicken following you around or rubbing its beak on your neck and fact then it is likely to be recognizing you as part of its flock. This means that they have a mental link with you and want to be around you.
If your chicken is squatting to be petted then this also indicates that they have a strong bond with you. This can be especially true if they are raised with this closeness from young chicks and have grown up trusting you.
Your chicken will also be able to sense when you’re happy and content, making soft contented sounds such as peeps and trills. This is a good indication that you are doing something right with them and they love being around you!
They will follow you round the yard or coop and try to get close to you when they feel safe. This may include laying down next to you and getting under your feet to stare at you as well!
Grooming and preening themselves when you’re sitting with them is another way to show they are enjoying being around you. This is important for the health of your bird but it’s also a sign that you are loved. They will let you brush and groom them which is a privilege they only allow people who they know and trust to do with them.
Some chickens will pick bits off your body or even lie down next to you so that they can be close to you. This is a very natural behavior that chickens do to let you know that they are a part of your flock.
Your chicken may also pick bits off your face if they feel uncomfortable. This is a sign that they are trying to protect you from anything that could hurt them.
They will let you pick them up and cuddle with them if they are comfortable doing so. This is a very rare occurrence but it can be seen by some chickens who have a strong bond with their human owners.
What’s more, they will usually tilt their heads when you talk to them or look at you in the eye. They will also be a bit fussy when you try to feed them and won’t eat anything if you are not prepared for it.
The ability of chickens to recognize their owners is a great benefit for them, and many of us are quite surprised to learn that they can do it so easily. It’s a testament to the incredible cognitive abilities of these animals. They are also very social creatures and if you have the time and dedication to keep them healthy and happy, they can be the best companions that you will ever have.