Can Chickens Cry?

It is generally assumed that chickens don’t feel emotions much like other animals such as cats or dogs.

But, when you consider that chickens are very social creatures that exhibit various behaviors such as cheeping or clucking that are indicative of emotional distress, it is altogether presumptuous to think that these flightless birds do not feel joy or sadness.

Question is – Can chickens cry?

Indeed, chickens cannot cry as they do not possess tear ducts to produce tears or have a limbic system – a part of the brain that processes emotions.

But, it is essential to keenly observe chicken behavior to understand whether or not chickens can be sad.

So, read on and find out more about chickens and their emotions! 

How Can You Tell If A Chicken Is Sad?

Chicken owners all across the globe claim that they have often witnessed fights between two chickens.

In such scenarios, they usually see that a chicken will start to furiously peck on the ground to show displeasure or anger or completely ignore its fellow chicken in utter dejection.

If you look closely at such circumstances, the fights don’t last too long as the matter is resolved relatively quickly.

Yet, when a dispute between two chickens continues, you will catch the chickens clucking or cheeping more regularly.

Chickens aren’t like dogs with very expressive eyes or even humans who communicate their unhappiness through speech or body language.

Hence, it isn’t easy to make accurate assumptions about their feelings. 

But, experienced chicken owners are pretty adept at telling when their birdies are feeling unsettled or sad.

A happy chicken is found among the crowd, happily foraging for food, but a chicken suffering from melancholy is usually away from its peers, staring into space.

One of the most obvious signs of discontented chicken is when it has its favorite meal before it but refuses to eat it.

Chickens also tend to droop their head and flatten their feathers when upset.

Moreover, if all is healthy with your fowl, but your hen refuses to lay any eggs or hide them, you can be sure that something is bothering your bird.

Do Chickens Have Emotional Feelings?

Chickens are complex birds commonly seen as emotionless or simply too stupid.

As many know that chickens do not possess any limbic system, it is conjectured these bird beings just don’t have any feelings.

But, when you look deeply at the limbic system, you will find that the limbic system is responsible for both behavioral and emotional responses.

Chickens have what could be called the functional equivalent of limbic structures. 

According to Dr. Lori Marino, founder of the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy Inc., who recently published a review called ‘Thinking Chickens: A Review Of Cognition, Emotion And Behavior In Domestic Chicken’ in the journal Animal Cognition, chickens have both negative and positive emotions.

Moreover, she states that chickens communicate in complex ways, have distinct personalities, and can reason and make logical inferences.

The same ideology resonated in the works of bird experts John Marzluff and Tony Angell in their essays in Psychology Today.

In their article, both experts claim that chickens are intelligent and feeling beings that do have the capacity for emotional feelings.

Does A Chicken Mourn?

For a novice bird keeper, chickens may appear boring creatures of habit.

They eat, lay eggs, forage, and die.

But, such logic is proved ridiculous when you look at how chickens behave in a coop over a long time.

Chickens follow a social order.

And, when you see hens take chicks of a dead hen under their wings, or you catch a bunch of hens sharing food with an unwell hen, people are forced to believe that chickens feel grief and mourn the loss of their fellow-creatures much like humans. 

In some cases, chicken keepers claimed that a few of their hens closed off an area of the coop of the hen that passed away, and in other situations, chickens were found refusing to eat or forage when they witnessed the death of another coop-mate.

Often, chickens will even revert to staring off into space away from everyone when they see the death of another chicken.

There are many other signs when a chicken feels a sense of loss or abandonment, such as loss of plumage, feather plucking, decreased food intake, loss of productivity in the form of reduced egg-laying, and excessive sleeping.

So, yes, it might sound incredible, but chickens do seem to mourn.

Now if you see your chicken upset and going through a tough time

You may be wondering how you can help cheer your chicken up

This leads me to my next point

How Do You Cheer Up A Chicken?

Many bird experts believe that the easiest and surest way to help your fowl get over their feeling of grief is to show more love.

It may seem unbelievable, but chickens notice and care when their humans show a greater interest in them.

Love is a universal language that translates to all beings, human or otherwise.

And, your extra show of care and attention will eventually cheer up your bird. 

Ensure that you provide healthy meals to your flock of chickens, routinely clearing up their coop, offering enough space for your birds inside the coop so they aren’t feeling stressed

Adding their favorite treats to their meals can also work wonders on depressed chickens.

Using a soothing tone of voice to talk to them is a great way to relax your flock  and will work if you aim to cheer up your chickens.

Furthermore, if you introduce new members to the coop, you will certainly divert your chicken’s attention away from its sense of loss.

In short, the more creature comfort you offer your chicken along with your time, the more ease you will provide your flock of aggrieved chickens.

Wrapping Up

All beings, humans or animals, including chickens, require love and care.

While it is true that chickens are low-maintenance and sturdy pets, these birds still need your time and attention.

Chickens are seen as simple creatures incapable of feeling and understanding.

But, science with extensive research is proving things to be far from the typical assumptions made about chickens.

So, if you plan to become a chicken keeper, you better be willing to show your pets the TLC they deserve.

I’m sure you would!

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