The Chicken’s Senses

Hearing and Sight

Chickens have an acute sense of hearing; they don’t have an ear lobe but have a well developed ear. They have panoramic vision of about 300°, and binocular of about 26°. They can’t rotate their eyes very much, therefore, move their head to follow objects. Their ability to discriminate color is yet to be learned.

Rhode Island Red

Communication

A large part of their communication is postural, which signifies both threat and submission. But I have observed vocal communication skills which indicated a wide variety of sounds pertaining to:

• Mating
• Contentment
• Food
• Danger / Fear
• Submission
• Territories
• Distress
• Warning
• Nesting
• Laying eggs

Taste

My observations on the chicken’s ability to taste is limited to their dislike of food that is bitter, sour, too sweet, or too salty. They have about 340 taste buds in comparison to a human’s 10,000. They don’t like drinking water that is warmer than their body temperature, but show a liking for near freezing water.

Smell

There is very little research available about a chicken’s sense of smell, or if it’s of any significance to them at all.  But one thing I know for sure, they have an incredible sense of smell for blood.

Observe your Chickens

The best way to better understand your chickens is to watch them, observe their behavior and their individual character traits.  Every member of your flock has likes and dislikes, and a personality all their own. In time, you will be able to identify behaviors by a specific sound or call.  There is a structured language among your flock members, listen, watch, and learn!

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