What is the value of a chicken? To pet owners, no doubt, they will tell you they are priceless! Backyard chicken owners have discovered a very precious thing in their chickens. Not only something that loves treats but loves hugs. Not a single chicken on our farm has not been handled and hugged and then hungers for more. Since this is our full-time job, we’re able to give our chickens affections, and we have over 200 chickens that have a home with us here at Egg Well Farm. Some of those guys love the hugs, but most of them hate the hands coming towards them.
Socks is a Deathlayer cockerel that somehow got a cut on the back of his head
and he continued to scratch it until he made a huge gash. We had to bring him in the house and keep baby socks on his feet, which is how he got his name. Every time I would reach in his brooder to pick him up, he would run around and flap his wings and scream, but after I caught him, he would snuggle up on me and look at me eye to eye with the sweetest sparkles in his eyes. Every time I felt he was saying I love you. It’s something you need to experience for yourself to understand.
Not many chickens will look you in the face, they’re usually looking for an escape, so when it does happen it’s very easy to bond with those special babies. I have several on this farm that will look me in the eyes when I pick them up. I have a few that will follow me everywhere and cry for me to pick them up. Sometimes they just want to sit in my lap and sometimes they just want a quick hug and then down again.
I don’t know how the world got to a place of thinking chickens are different than other creatures. It’s pretty much recognized that cats, dogs, and many of the animal kingdom creatures have and express feelings, emotions, empathy, and affection, but when it comes to chickens, they seem to think they have none of those things, which couldn’t be any more wrong.
I have had chickens most my life and many different breeds and one thing I know for certain out of my experiences is that they are extremely affectionate. They bond with their flock and they’ll bond with their owners if given the option. They have a system of communication and are very intelligent. Of course, as with all living things, you’re going to find some that are intellectually challenged. They cry when they’re upset and make sweet sounds when they’re happy. They get scared when predators come around and will scream for help when they feel threatened. They grieve and get depressed. I have seen chickens taken from their flocks due to an injury or was going to a new home go into a very sad state.
We have this one Sebright hen named Tinkerbell that goes from the farm for a
couple of weeks and then travels back home with my daughter to stay, and just as soon as she sets it down in her house it goes through the kitchen down the hall and into her bedroom and then to her spot on the side of her bathroom.
Chickens have great memories and can recognize not only animals but people. A few years ago, we had this humorous Rhode Island Red hen that would run to the one person that she knew she’d be safe with and fly upon his shoulders whenever a rooster got loose and was chasing her. She always went to the same person. They build relationships with people as well as with each other. One of my favorite hens is Sunshine. No matter how far away from me she is if I call her name, she will come to me for a hug. I will usually scoop her up and give her a good 5-minute hug showered with kisses. Other people have tried to call her, but she only comes to me. Contrary to popular belief chickens do know who loves them and who they can trust.
Once when we took our breeder rooster named Brutus to the veterinarian to be
treated for an ear infection and anemia, we kept him in the barn for daily treatment for almost 2 months. On the day we were finally able to return him
back to his flock, his hens put on a display of love and affection that almost brought me to tears. He did not go in his lot trying to breed but simply walked around in circles with 10 hens following on both his sides and making such sounds of sweet excitement. This went on for hours! I was able to video the last part of it, which is on our Egg Well Farm YouTube, but I missed the beginning when they showed the most pleasure in seeing him again. I had no idea what I would witness. I was totally unprepared for the display the hens showed of excitement and love to see their rooster, Brutus, was back home.
For me, I have to say the value of a chicken can be priceless because they give something no other creature has given in my life. To share my love for chickens with others is the main goal of having our farm. Also, we want to do our part to contribute to bringing certain chicken breeds off the critical or extinct list of The Livestock Conservancy.
We’ve discovered some of the most beautiful and unusual chickens are going extinct. One of the reasons for this sad circumstance is the introduction of hybrid chicken breeds. Hybrid chickens produce eggs at a younger age and produce more per week than the Heritage chicken breeds.
Hybrid chicken breeds are formed by breeding 2 pure breeds that are really good egg layers to produce a new hybrid of chicken. The development of hybrid chickens started in the 1950s when there was a huge growth in the demand for eggs and meat. There are countless hybrid chicken breeds one example is the Isa Brown which will give you an egg nearly every day, but they usually die