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Feathered and Fascinating: Fun Facts About Chickens

What do you know about chickens? Maybe you raised chicks in the classroom growing up, or maybe you keep your own backyard flock. No matter what your level of experience with these fascinating creatures, there’s always more to learn. Whether you want to take better care of your own birds or you simply want to learn something interesting, you’ve come to the right place. Boost your knowledge with these incredible fun facts about chickens.

What Do Chickens Dream of?

When you dream, you experience the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep. Chickens experience this as well, which means they dream just like humans do. Even more interesting, chickens experience an additional phase of sleep known as unihemispheric slow-wave sleep (USWS). During this phase, one half of the brain sleeps while the other half stays awake. As a result, chickens can sleep with one eye open and alert—a skill that proves particularly useful in avoiding predators.

Pecky, But Not Picky

If you’ve ever kept your own chickens, you know that they’ll eat pretty much anything. One of the fun facts about chickens is that they are omnivores, which means they’re happy with a diet of seeds, grains, and vegetables as well as insects. Some chickens will even go after slightly larger prey, like lizards, toads, and field mice. In fact, many backyard chicken keepers use their flocks to get rid of kitchen scraps like softened fruit, bread, and other compost items.

A Clucking Community

Chickens come in flocks for a reason. These birds are incredibly social creatures who will communicate with each other through a variety of sounds and mannerisms. They’ll use this unique language to warn each other about predators or notify everyone of a tasty food source. Chickens also have a complex social hierarchy known as the pecking order. This system establishes who is most dominant in the flock. The bird at the top of the pecking order gets privileges like the best roosting spot or first access to food. However, this chicken also has a responsibility to look out for the rest of the flock.

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