In the November issue of Real Living we have a fun feature on backyard chooks. Read on for some useful resources and fun chooky facts.
There are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird and there are more chickens on earth than there are people - over three billion chooks in China alone!
Domestic chickens are not capable of long distance flight, although lighter birds are generally capable of flying for short distances such as over fences or into trees (where they would naturally roost). Chickens may occasionally fly briefly to explore their surroundings, but generally do so only to flee perceived danger.
Hens can be extremely stubborn about always laying in the same location. It is not unknown for two (or more) hens to try to share the same nest at the same time. If the nest is small, or one of the hens is particularly determined, this may result in chickens trying to lay on top of each other!
A rooster crowing (a loud and sometimes shrill call) is a territorial signal to other roosters. However, crowing may also result from sudden disturbances within their surroundings. Hens cluck loudly after laying an egg, and also to call their chicks. Chickens also give a low warning call when they think they see a predator approaching.
Chicken language has real meanings. The birds give different alarm calls depending on which type of predator is threatening them.
If you have a fear of chickens you may be Alektorophobic.
Chickens enjoy dust bathing and become frustrated if they are prevented from doing so, such as in the close confinement of factory-farmed battery hens.
Some breeds of chickens can lay coloured eggs: Ameraucana and Araucana chooks can lay wonderful green or blue eggs, depending on the breed.
It takes a hen 24 to 26 hours to lay an egg.
A mother hen turns her egg approximately 50 times in a day. This is so the yolk doesn’t stick to the shell.
A chicken loses its feathers when she becomes stressed.
Chickens experience REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. So they dream as well!
A chicken's heart beats 300 times a minute (about 4 to 5 times more than a human’s heart).
Where to buy chooks
Other Sources: Sixchickens.com.au, Petpages.com.au, Allclassifieds.com.au, Localclassifieds.com.au, Chooktrader.com.au, Chooknet.com.au
Don’t forget you could always give a caged hen a better life. Visit the RSPCA Hen’s Deserve Better website for info on how you can save caged hens: Hensdeservebetter.org.au