You may think that chickens are just ordinary birds. It’s true that chickens are one of the most common animals in the world, but they’re more interesting than you might think. There’s more to the chicken than meets the eye, and you’ll learn a lot if you get to know more about them.
1. There are more chickens than humans
According to a 2010 census, there are about 6.9 humans on the planet Earth. However, there are more than 25 billion chickens. That’s more than three times as much! Humans would really be in trouble if chickens decided they wanted to take over the earth.
2. Chickens are used for airplane safety
In the 1960s, scientists invented a “chicken gun,” a cannon that could launch a chicken carcass at incredible high speeds. This cannon was created to ensure that jet engines would be able to stand strong in the case of collisions.
Before a new jet engine can be certified as safe, it has to have numerous chickens shot at it. All kinds of jet parts are tested in this way, from a plane’s wings to its tail. It’s even used to test a plane’s black box. The next time you see a jet soaring through the sky, you’ll know that chickens are helping to keep it safe.
3. Chickens are used by the US Military
When you think about what soldiers take with them on missions, you probably don’t think about chickens. However, chickens have played a vital role in numerous military operations.
Chickens have unusually weak respiratory systems, which means that they’ll react quickly if something is wrong with the air. If soldiers are worried about chemical warfare or residual chemical warfare, they bring chickens with them in cages. If the chicken reacts to the air, the soldiers know that they need to put on their protective gear.
4. Chickens can be hypnotized
Chickens can be put into a hypnotic trance very easily. In fact, this is something that’s often done in order to keep a chicken safe.
If a chicken is afraid, it will fall into a catatonic state. During this state, the chicken will be completely still. This is a natural defense mechanism the chicken has.
However, you don’t need to scare a chicken in order to get them to enter the state. Instead, you can hypnotize them by drawing a straight line in front of their beak. The chicken will enter that same, immobile fear state, and you’ll be able to move it out of an unsafe area.
5. Chickens were bred to be fighting animals
Since chicken is a dietary staple, most people assume that chickens were originally bred to be a food animal. However, research suggests that this isn’t the case. It appears that chickens were actually bred for cockfighting.
Cockfighting is rarely practiced today, but a lot of the chickens you’ll see on farms still have that fighting instinct.
6. Chickens can fly
A lot of people think that the chicken is a flightless bird. It’s true that you won’t see a chicken soaring through the skies anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean that chickens are completely incapable of flight.
Chickens are able to become airborne, and they can actually get pretty high. Chickens have been known to fly over fences, and have even flown into trees. You may not see chickens flying around very often, but flying is definitely something that they’re able to do.
7. The chicken was the first bird to have its genome sequenced
Chickens have been incredibly useful to scientists in a number of ways. These birds have frequently been used for research, and have led to a number of advances in the scientific world. The amazing facts below about the genome sequencing.
However, one of the most notable advances that the chicken was a part of was in the field of genome sequencing. The chicken was the first ever bird to successfully have its genome sequenced. The draft chicken genome sequence was completed in 2004, and it allowed scientists to compare birds to numerous mammals in valuable ways.
8. Chickens like to dance
It’s common to see male roosters dance when they go to pick up their up their food. This type of dancing is known as “tidbitting,” and it’s believed that roosters do it in order to make themselves more attractive to hens.
The dance typically involves the chicken making a few calls to get attention, and then bopping their head up and down as they pick up and drop a piece of food. If you spend some time watching chickens, you’re sure to see this dance in action.
9. Chickens are extremely intelligent
Chickens may not seem that smart on the surface, but research shows that they’re very intelligent creatures. They have one of the best memories in the animal kingdom, and are able to distinguish between more than 100 chicken faces.
Chickens also have complex social structures. The term “pecking order” was derived from this. The social behaviors that a chicken follows are very similar to behaviors you’ll see in the human world.
In addition, chickens have a strong understanding of object permanence. In fact, one study showed that chickens have a better understanding of object permanence than a human toddler. Clearly, chickens aren’t a creature that should be underestimated.
10. Chickens are descended from dinosaurs
Scientists believe that many of the birds we see flying through the sky today are descended from dinosaurs, and that includes the chicken. In fact, it’s believed that one of the closest dinosaur relatives that the chicken has is the T-rex.
Chickens may be small, and they may not look intimidating, but they have some powerful ancestry behind them. When you look at a chicken, you’re looking at a creature with a dinosaur lineage.
As you can see, chickens really are amazing creatures! There are more to these birds than feathers and eggs. Take the time to learn more about chickens and other creatures in the animal world. You may be surprised by what you find.