*Chickens are omnivores- loving seeds, insects, vegetables, grains and even mice!
*Chickens live, on average, five to ten years. (Unless, ahem, a fox gets too close.)
*The world’s oldest chicken lived to be sixteen, according to most sources, but I’ve heard there is one named Muffy, who is twenty-two. (“I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling twenty-tw0″…..I think her feelings about that may be different than Taylor Swift’s. )
*A chicken’s heart beats about 300 times per minute.
(Reminds me of Bill Cosby’s ‘Chicken Heart’ routine and the spooky heartbeat sound he made- gave me chills up my spine as a kid)
* The fear of chickens is called Alektorophobia
(My sister once brought her friend over and he jumped about two feet when he saw that a chicken was near him in the yard. Apparently, he’d never seen one in real life.)
*Many hens have lost their natural broodiness (desire to lay on and hatch their eggs) due to modern day practices. However, Buff Orpingtons are one of the few breeds that still tend to have maternal instincts. Interestingly, chicks that are hatched by a hen are likely to hatch their own eggs later. (A big plug here for home-grown babies- human and otherwise!)
*Mama hens are fiercely protective of their chicks. They puff up and dance around with serious warning sounds if anything comes near them. They also ‘talk’ to their babies a lot and call them over when they spy something yummy to eat. They let their chicks eat first, while keeping close guard.
In my opinion, chickens are one of the most versatile farm animals- providing eggs and/or meat, as well as cleaning up insects and spiders around the farm as they free-range. They’re happy to see you and get excited when you bring them things to eat. Not to mention, they can be quite beautiful. 🙂