Most people don’t get chickens for affection. If you want a pet that shows you, unconditional love, get a dog. It doesn’t mean that chickens don’t bond with their owners, they do. So how do chickens show affections to humans? It’s not easy to see, but if you watch your chickens closely, you’ll be able to tell when your chickens are saying “I love you you” in their own strange way.
Do Chickens Show Affection to Humans?
Chickens can and do show affection to their owners. The signs can come in the form of rubbing their beak on your neck or fact, squatting to be petted, watching your every move, talking to you in their own way, tilting their head when you talk, lays down next to you.
Like all animals, chickens can’t come out and say they love you. But if you pay attention to the chicken and rooster body language, you will know when they are saying I love you.
Once you begin to notice their behaviors, you’ll notice that chickens also show affection to other chickens.
Do Chickens Have Feelings?
According to the Royal Society, an animal can only be affected by pain or distress depending on the capacity it can feel empathy. Chickens like humans have the ability to feel a wide range of emotions, and love and affection is one of those emotions.
We’ve already written an article on whether chickens get sad when you take their eggs, so you might want to read that if you’re nervous about collecting their eggs.
Today, we’re going to discuss the ways chickens show their owners love and affection.
Of course only if you believe that animals have feelings. There are some people who think that chickens are dumb and don’t have feelings. However, this isn’t the case at all, chickens are very smart animals.
Here’s some ways chicken owners have said their chooks show their love and affection.
How Chickens Show Affection
If you’re new to owning chickens it can be hard to know whether chickens are capable of bonding with humans.
According to several community members of Backyard Chicken, their backyard chickens show them some level of “affection” or “love” by the body language and behaviors on a daily basis.
If your flock is demonstrating any of these behaviors, they may be trying to communicate their love for you.
#1 Chickens Follow You Everywhere
If you notice your chickens following you everywhere, it’s easy to think they are begging for food, especially since these birds can eat a lot. However, that’s not always the case.
Some chicken owners say their birds follow them everywhere, even when you’re walking along outside the chicken coop fencing. When I go to my father-in-law’s their birds will follow me everywhere even when I’m on the riding lawn mower.
However, since they are not my birds, I’m sure they’ve come to learn when I visit I always feed them meal worms. If your birds are following or chasing you everywhere you go, they likely may be trying to say more than “feed me”.
#2 Rubs Their Beak on You or Jumps On Your Lap to Lay Down
Some people say their chooks display affection by rubbing their beak on their face, neck, face, or legs. Of course, this will depend if you squat down so your chickens can reach you.
One person experienced their hens rucking their head under their hair while she was bent over giving them a hug.
#3 Screams at You or Gets Under Your Feet
Does it seem like your chickens scream whenever they see you? You’re not alone, some breeds are louder than others and use screaming and yelling to not only get your attention, but as a way to communicate what they’re feeling.
#4 Lays an Egg in Your Lap
If your chicken has chosen to lay an egg in your lap, it’s because she trusts you! Consider this an honor, since chickens only prefer to lay their eggs in a safe place.
Chickens are creatures of habit, that’s why it’s easy to get them to lay eggs in the nest box.
#5 The Rooster or Hens Bring You Gifts
Some chicken owners have even experienced their roosters and chickens bringing them gifts. They didn’t say what those gifts were, but you can only imagine what type of gifts they can carry in their beaks.
#6 Your Chickens Gives You A Hug?
Yes, chickens can give you hugs, you just need to get down on their level. Some will enjoy being held and cuddled, especially, if they were raised with that type of closeness from a young chick.
#7 They Squat to Be Petted
It’s not normal for chickens to be want to be pet or held like a dog. However, if your chickens trust you, it’s not unusual for them to squat so you can pet them.
Some people say their chickens peep or purr gently while they are being pet.
#8 Touches You With Their Tail or Just Wants to Be Near You
If your chickens are skittish and don’t enjoy being pet, you may have felt their tail feathers rub up on your legs. Some chickens may not like being touched, but that won’t stop them from getting as close as possible to you.
Of course, if you reach down to pet them, they may run. If you ignore them they may feel comfortable to lie down next to you.
#9 Try to Groom You
Believe it or not, chickens thrive on cleanliness. They give themselves “dirt baths” to preen their feathers and keep themselves clean and cool. Some people say that it’s a natural instinct for chickens to groom each other.
If your chicken has ever tried to groom you, then consider that as an honor because they consider you a part of the pack. One member stated that her cuckoo Maran grooms her hair when she is sitting in front of her perch on her bucket seat.
#10 Stand on Your Feet
Another member said her hen shows him attention by standing on his feet. If he moves, she will come back and get on top of his feet again.
The bird will keep doing it until she bends down to pick up for a bit.
#11 Snuggle on Your Lap
If you raised your chickens from a young age, don’t be surprised if they enjoy snuggling on your lap whenever you sit down outside. Most people think if their chickens come running they’re looking for food.
That’s not always the case, especially, if your chickens scream or growl until you pick them up and hold them.
A chickens love will never be as easy to notice as a dog’s love. However, when you take the time to notice the behaviors of your flock, you’ll be able to tell when they are saying “I love you” or “I want attention.”
Chickens have big personalities are are smart birds. Most animals have their own unique way of displaying affection. Unlike humans, they can’t just come out and say “I love and appreciate you.” You have to be open and willing to see it to understand that your backyard birds do have feelings.
Next time you head out to the coop to visit your birds, start paying attention to their behaviors and reaction. I’m willing to be they are telling you a lot more than “I’m hungry”!