Chicken is animal that useful for people. Indeed they became human pet and livestock for decades. They quite productive both egg, meat, feather, and other part of their body can be utilize by people. Chickens is tame, likeable, but they also have a unique behavior. If you want to create a poultry farm at least you have to understand about how to take care chicken for beginners, how to keep their coop clean, and of course their behavior to keep them productive, happy, and healthy.
Chicken have a hierarchy status in their flocks. But basically in small poultry farm you will find at least rooster, hen, and chicks. Rooster like to crow with a strong voice more than 100 db. They like to do it to claim their teritory or just showing off their power. Hens also did the same thing sometimes, but they also have another strange behavior namely pecking order. Just lika rooster, hens claim their position in the flock by pecking order since there always be a dominant one among hens. Basically chicks is in the lower rank of status.
Another strange behavior of all chicken is they like to cross road. Did you ever see or maybe hit them crossing the road while biking or cycling or driving your bike or car? Did you ever wondering the reason of why chicken cross road?
5 Reasons of Why Did Chicken Cross Road?
It’s been a public jokes of why did chicken cross road. There are some jokes about this matter such as below :
- Albert Einstein : The chicken did not cross the road. The road passed beneath the chicken
- Isaac Newton : Chickens at rest tend to stay at rest. Chickens in motion tend to cross roads.
- Nicolaus Copernicus : The chicken was moving at a slightly different orbital speed around the sun
Well but lately there are some researches trying to understand about this behavior of chickens. As we all know that road is very dangerous place for all animals including chickens. There are car, bike, truck, and other transportation which could harm chickens and other animals. Bird maybe able to fly, but still road is very dangerous place for them.
A researcher Christopher Johnson conducting a study in his campus area Griffith University. The study was conducted in the forest of Toohey in South Brisbane where almost 30% of bird species live there. And the study conducted by observe an area near the road until 100 m from the road itself.
Johnson begin his study by classify his observation according to the size of the roads and bird species, weigh, and lifestyle (wild birds or poultry). By classifying the birds according to their lifestyle he wants to understand what is the impact of that matter to their decisions.
The study found out that the reason of why chicken cross road as following explanation :
1. Source of food
Animals including chicken have an instinct. And to find a source of food is also their instinct. When they found out that there is a source of food across the road their instinct to find that food will be greater than the alert or warning instinct of danger. So without thinking twice the will cross the road even there might be danger approach. They won’t hesitate to risk their life. And according to the research itself a fowl or poultry is more reckless than the wild one. Their defense and danger instincts is bad since they were rise in a very comfy place and lost their natural instinct.
2. Intimidated by an open space
Chickens or other birds naturally afraid of open space, they will be more cautious in the open space. This is because they feel they will be a prey of the predator. An open space will make them as an easy target for predator. If they accidentally meet a highway or road, they will tend to avoid it and sometimes end up by crossing the road itself and find safety place.
3. Disturbed by a loud noise
Chicken also disturbed by loud noise from the road or highway. The sound of bike, car, truck, horn will give them a stress. Not only that the loud noise also disturbed them, and they will try to avoid where the sound come from. As the result chicken’s survival or defensive action will be running across the street.
4. An inbuilt magnetic compass guides them to the other side of road
Another research develop by Study leader Wolfgang Wiltschko of Frankfurt University found out recently that domestic chickens are equipped with magnetic sensors that work like compasses.
Like we all know that many animals have an inate sense of direction they sometimes detect Earth’s magnetic field and use that as a guidance. From the past studies it has been found that more than 20 birds species act like a magnetic compass.
So according to the study itself they trained newly hatched chicks to associate a red ball as their “mother”. Meanwhile each of a confinement or pen (where the chicks kept) designed to correspond to magnetic North, South, East, and West grid and they were place in a white screen. The red ball was hide behind one of the four screen and taught the chicks that the red-ball mother was always behind the screen in the magnetic North side. And after some sort of experiments the chicks was tend to head into the direction where the red ball mother is (the North side).
And after that the researcher rotated the magnetic field and switch that the North correspond to the geographic East direction. And surprisingly the chicken showed them that they relied on the magnetic field to search the red ball.
5. The power of emotions and decision making on chicken
Based on some research by Bechara and Domasio and Stephens it is well understood that both humans and other animals make a complex decisions according to emotions more than logic. For animals making decisions are based upon emotional resposes to various factors in the environment. And for animal whether they want to avoid or approach that environment will be rely on welfare. Indeed chickens also consistently choose to approach an environment that provide better welfare as measured by several physiological welfare indicators (Nicol).
Therefore the behavior of chicken crossing road may affected by these thing. Since chickens trying to find a better place that offer them better condition, food, or stress free. As mentioned before chicken avoid loud noise, or complex environment to get rid their mind from stress.