Five surprising facts about chickens

​Chickens bred for meat are the most numerous land animals farmed in the world. Scientists have predicted that one of the most enduring impacts of humans on the Earth will be the great volume of chicken bones.

Despite approximately 120 million chickens slaughtered for meat each year in Aotearoa, many of us have not interacted with these lovely animals.

Most of us don’t really know much about chickens, and how wonderful they are. So here are five facts about chickens to help you appreciate them.

A white chicken looking in the mirror. Text reads "1. Chickens are individuals"

Try not to let the numbers and percentages thrown around about chickens fool you. Each year in Aotearoa, we farm about 120 million chickens and each one is an individual.

Just like cats and dogs, each chicken has their own personality, likes and dislikes. Anyone who has ever had a companion chicken will know they have distinct personalities.

Some chickens are assertive and others more timid. Some love to be cuddled and others would rather be doing their own thing. Some have lots of friends in the flock and others just one favourite.

A white chicken with their head tucked under their wing. Text reads "2. Chickens have dreams"

The Rapid Eye Movement (commonly known as REM) stage of the sleep cycle that makes us dream, is also experienced by chickens. Even cooler, one side of their brain can sleep while the other side stays awake with an eye watching out for danger. 
I wonder what they are dreaming about?

A chicken pecking at a calculator repeated four times. 3. Text reads "Chickens can count"

Chickens can do maths! They might not be able to use a calculator or solve a formula for X=Y, but they can certainly do basic addition and subtraction, and count up to at least six. ​

An image of a white chicken and a dinosaur on its back legs. Text reads "4. Chickens descended from dinosaurs"

You may not be able to tell when you look at the chickens kept on industrial farms, but chickens are actually descended from two-legged dinosaurs, called theropods. 

The chickens farmed for meat have been selectively bred, by the chicken industry, to grow ‘meat’ not sustain life. Their body shape is very unnatural, so you’d be forgiven for not realising they used to be dinosaurs.

To yellow chickens standing on litter with their beaks touching. Text reads "5. Chickens are very cute"
Image credit – Farmwatch

We don’t think this needs an explanation. Just look at these chicks!

Take Action – Put an end to NZ chicken cruelty

Chickens bred for meat are bred to suffer.

A white chicken sitting on dirty brown floor. They are photographed from above and one of their legs is sprawled out to the side in at an unnatural angle.

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