Sometimes the oddest questions strike you, and you realize you do not know the answer to what might seem like a simple question. If you wonder can chickens fly, know that you are not the only one.
Not only can chickens (sort of) fly, but we discovered many other fascinating chicken facts that may have never occurred to you.
Can Chickens Fly?
Not all chicken breeds can fly. Heavier breeds can fly for a short little jaunt a few inches off the ground as they hustle to wherever it is their chicken heart tells them to go.
Now, a lighter chicken can fly up to 10 feet high for as much as 50 feet. However, the average chicken you keep in a backyard coop is not going to be able to fly far or as high.
This, however, is fantastic if you own chickens and do not wish to hunt for them all over your neighborhood. A simple fence will help keep them contained.
Some chicken owners who have flighty birds might clip their wings to prevent them from getting airborne. Fortunately, clipping wings is not painful at all.
What Breed of Chickens Can Fly
Chickens that fly are not known to be awe-inspiring while in flight, so do not expect a graceful or elegant flight from a chicken.
Flying chickens are often from Mediterranean areas, and these chickens have smaller bodies, so their wings can hold them up a bit better.
Here are some chickens with the ability to fly.
Why Do Chickens Need to Fly?
- Silician Buttercups
- La Fleche
When we think of chickens now, we think of domesticated chickens we see on a farm.
However, there are still wild chickens in the world.
Domesticated chickens tend to be heavier, which eliminates their ability to fly very far.
However, wild chickens still need to fly because they need a hightail out of an area.
Also, a chicken will fly to check out what is going on around them. Chickens are curious by nature, even the domesticated ones.
This curiosity leads them to want to wander around and find some fresh green grass, as well. This curiosity is often why those who keep chickens have a coop or a short fence. Chickens may not be able to fly high or far, but they are going to try.
Chickens Have an Involved Social Structure
Chickens tend to live together in harmony without a whole lot of trouble. However, they can squabble and argue a bit.
Chickens accomplish peacefulness by having a social structure and a pecking order.
Chickens tend to rank themselves by their little squabbles over food and other resources.
Dominant chickens assert their dominance over other chickens rather quickly by pecking at them. Also, those higher up the pecking order have better access to resources such as water and food.
However, you might think this dominance relates to the size of a chicken, but that is not so.
Sometimes clever hens are assertive enough to dominate larger and younger hens just because they possess the audacity.
Also, all flock members are a part of the pecking order, as there is no ‘opt-out’ option.
It is also essential to know the pecking order is not the same all the time.
As members are taken away or added to the flock, the pecking order changes.
If there are males and females in a flock, the males will try for the top of the pecking order. If he is the only male, he is likely to succeed.
However, if there are two roosters, they will squabble until one is the alpha, and one is the beta.
The alpha rooster gets first pickings of the ladies, as well as first access to food and water.
However, even an alpha rooster will age out of the pecking-order system and will be replaced by a younger and more virile rooster.
Chickens Can See in Color
It might come as a surprise to those who wonder if chickens can fly that chickens can also see in color.
In fact, chickens surpass humans in their ability to see because their receptors are woven in these mosaics that allow them to see colors all over the retina.
To get to this super-chicken level of vision, chickens had to evolve without ever having ancestors being nocturnal.
During the dinosaur times, a lot of animals spent a lot of time in the dark, so they had to sharpen their night vision.
It is currently believed that chickens evolved from dinosaurs, but they didn’t have their time in the dark.
Therefore, their retinas have had a lot of time to evolve into super-peepers.
All this supervision is helpful to chickens because it helps them find mates with all the colorful and fancy plumage, and it helps them spot food.
Catch Some ZZZZsss
Ever wish you could nap while you work? Well, chickens can be both awake and asleep at the same time.
A chicken’s left eye is connected to the right side of the brain, and the left side handles the right eye’s business. Therefore, a chicken can close one eye and sleep while the other eye is up and at ‘em.
When chickens are roosting, which means settling in for a good night’s sleep, the chicken at the top of the pecking order gets to sleep in the middle and closes both eyes.
At the same time, the lower on the pecking order chickens hang out on the edge and keep their eye open for danger.
The chickens will rotate, so every chicken gets some sleep, though, which is thoughtful.
Also, chickens dream while sleeping. Researchers have no idea what chickens dream about, but there is evidence that shows chickens in REM sleep. We can only imagine.
End of the Road Chicken Behavior
When a chicken is close to death, they tend to separate itself from the other chickens. Often, other chickens come to visit and appear to offer comfort to the dying hen.
When a hen does pass on over the rainbow bridge, the rest of the flock tends to get a little noisy, as if they are in mourning.
Some chicken owners pay attention to what is happening with a flock. If they notice a hen is likely close to passing or becoming very old, they will separate any flock members who might have a history of antagonizing the chicken who is dying. Pecking order life can be pretty vicious.
Hens Talk to Their Baby Chicks in the Egg
About 19 days onto an egg having a viable chick, the chick begins to chirp.
Mama hens are even known to start chirping to their baby chicks at this point, which is probably one of the more wholesome things we ever heard of.
In fact, chicks in the egg make both chirps of happiness or even distress, which might communicate to mama to hang out on the nest.
Once a chick pecks its way out of the nest, the distress call is how the hen knows to go and help, if need be.
A Chicken Does Not Need a Rooster to Lay Eggs
A chicken can lay eggs whether or not there is a rooster around.
However, these eggs are not fertile.
A rooster is around to offer some protection for the lady hens. Also, roosters will perform a mating dance for the hens to show off and entice them with his fancy foot movements and wing stretches.
If he manages to capture a hen’s fancy, a hen will crouch down and allow the rooster to enjoy the fruits of his dancing labor.
The whole process only takes a few seconds, but this process is how a rooster can fertilize a hen’s egg.
A fertilized egg has the potential to grow into a baby chick.
Calm Down, Linda
The whole pecking order process is pretty eventful and can become rather aggressive, especially in smaller flocks.
However, if you keep your flock larger, say 30 to even 60 chickens, the chickens cannot all remember each other, and they tend to calm down.
If you do not want to have a noisy flock or deal with any pecking order issues, consider a big one.
It’s All About Communication
Chickens communicate vocally.
Roosters and hens alike prefer to be heard, which is why some flocks tend to make a ruckus.
Chickens do not just make noise for the sake of being noisy.
The noise made by chickens is to communicate how they feel and tend to coincide with behaviors.
Chickens cluck to make casual conversation. Also, hens tend to cluck to one another if they found something interesting or novel.
When hens lay their eggs, they tend to cackle. Once one hen cackles, a few other hens might show solidarity with the egg-laying hen by joining in with the cackling.
Also, a hen will growl, especially when sitting on its eggs. They do not appreciate anyone having the audacity to disturb them or their eggs.
When a chicken is startled, they tend to squawk. This noise means the chickens are scared or you surprised them.
Roosters have their own rooster noises as a way of communicating, as well. What you know as the early morning rooster call is typical of a rooster. Roosters tend to crow as a way to announce to the world that this is their flock and everyone else needs to watch out.
Also, if a rooster fights with another rooster, you can tell the difference between them and regular chicken noises.
Chickens Love Dirt Baths
While the rest of us seek deep bathtubs to fill with water to submerge ourselves, chickens are looking for piles of dirt.
Chickens like to find dry yet lose material like dirt so they can dig in.
The chicken will then use its wings to toss the dirt up and all over itself.
As weird as this sounds, there is actually an excellent reason for a dirt bath.
Chickens do this to get rid of parasites such as fleas or mites. Dust and dirt tend to block the breathing of parasites that pester chickens, which is a great way to get rid of them.
Related Read: How to Build a DIY Backyard Chicken Tunnel
Once chickens emerge from their dust bath, they typically shake off the dust in a brilliant display. Give them some room.
If you keep chickens, be sure to have an area available that stays dry so your chickens can handle fleas and mites without the need for insecticide.
Chickens Know Their Names
It might come as a surprise to those wondering can chickens fly, but chickens not only can learn their own names, they can remember your name, as well.
If you own chickens, make a point of saying your chicken’s names when you pick them up or work with them.
Pretty much any time you give your chicken attention, interact with their name. Also, if you make a point to announce who you are and tell them your name, they will learn yours.
When you refer and interact with other chickens of the same flock, the chickens learn each other’s names, as well.
Although, if you keep a large flock of over 30, that might become more complicated because it is more difficult for chickens to keep track of one another.
Yes, Chickens Can Fly
The answer to the question can chickens fly is yes, but not very well. This fact is especially true with domesticated chickens, who tend to be heavier.
Even though domestic chickens cannot get far or very high, it is still wise to have a moderately high fence to keep chickens at home.
Chickens are rather interesting and intelligent creatures, as is evident with all the fun chicken facts we dug up.
What did you name your chickens? Answer in the comments.