How To Tell If Your Chicken Likes You

Chickens are often misunderstood. Not only are their behaviors uncanny, but their personalities can also be a bit quirky and downright hilarious!

Yet, these beautiful feathered creatures do have quite complex emotions, and show affection just like any other can do. Sure, the signs aren’t as clear as with other animals like cats or dogs. But still, they do have their own special way of showing you they care.

Here’s how to tell if your chicken likes you and what behaviors they will be displayed when they’re trying to show affection!

Do Chickens Have Emotions

Every animal, no matter how small or intelligent, has a range of emotions at its disposal. After all, it’s the nature of life to be able to change your behaviors depending on how you feel. Emotions are natural and work as a way to develop bonds, find mates, and over everything else — help the animal survive!

Surprisingly, chickens show a wide range of emotions, more than a lot of other animals. Chickens, whether they are just a chick, pullet, or an adult chicken, can feel happiness, sadness, loneliness, fear, friendship, empathy, and even love. Chickens will even show a preference for some colors! Of course, as a backyard chicken keeper, we will all know too well how emotional our chickens can be!

Can Chickens Show Affection

So with chickens displaying a host of different emotions, it’s no wonder their behaviors can be so erratic and hard to comprehend at times. But, be assured that they are doing those behaviors for a reason.

So, chickens can indeed show affection, whether it’s to humans, other animals, or to their friends in the flock.

They may not come right out and say “I love you”, but their screams when they’re sprinting toward you are saying something! 

When it comes to showing affection to us humans, chickens will try to stay close to you, follow you around, look you in the eyes, and allow pats and physical touch. 

How To Tell If A Chicken Likes You

So with so many different clucks and chirps, erratic and hyper movements, and through the busy life of a chicken — how can you tell if your chicken likes you?

Well, just like with most animals, over time they become more and more familiar with you. They remember when you bring them food and treats when you care for them, and they build trust with you. 

As you start forming a genuine bond with your chicken, they will begin to change their behavior toward you, and show more excitement toward you and give you more attention.

Here are the most familiar and common ways your chickens will show you their affection.

Clucking in Excitement

It’s common for dogs to be filled with excitement and rush to their owners when they come home. But did you know it’s almost just as common for chickens to do the same thing! 

Sure it’s not as grand and over the top, but it’s very sweet and fills me with joy every time.

If a chicken likes you it will generally sprint and scream towards you when you get home or go out to see them — whether you’re bringing them treats or not. When you’re around your chickens, if they like you they will often cluck at you softly and try to look at your face. I might be going mad but sometimes when I talk to them I swear they are talking back!

Another clear sign your chicken is responding well to your attention is a clear “purring” or “trilling”! Yes – chickens do purr!

Being Petted

Petting Chickens

Most pets enjoy physical attention, as it’s often a way by which animals portray certain emotions. Chickens are no different. Some chickens will downright love it and insist on being picked up, petted, or even hugged. But, for some chickens, it may be much more subtle.

If you gently pat a chicken on its body and your chicken slowly walks away from your hand or fluffs its feathers, it doesn’t actually mean they don’t enjoy being pet. That’s why they often turn and come back to you again. This is actually a way for you to interact with them, further building trust and comfort with your chooks.

You might even notice your chickens will squat down next to you, almost asking to be pat. Although they will allow a good patting if they do this, this is actually their hen instincts kicking in thinking you’re a rooster and preparing to do their thing. You’ll notice they go through ‘cycles’ of doing this when they’re laying regularly but won’t do it when they become broody.

Following You Everywhere

Another telltale sign that your chicken likes you is that it will follow you everywhere. For me, this is one of the cutest things and I can’t help but give them attention.

If you don’t have treats on you and your chickens still follow you everywhere around the yard then it’s them telling you that they like you, and they’re paying some good attention toward you!  

For a chicken to interrupt their busy lives to follow you around, well,  you must mean a lot to them.

Planting ‘Beak’ Kisses

One sign to tell that your chicken likes you is if they rub their beaks on your neck, face, or legs. It’s the closest thing you’re going to get to a kiss! At first, you can mistake it for simply being pecked, but really it’s purposefully and noticeably softer.

Studies show that the tip of a chicken’s beak has a cluster of nerves known as mechanoreceptors. They allow chickens to experience the sensation of touch via their beaks, so chickens using their beak on you can be likened to us putting an arm around one another. 

Bringing You Gifts

My chickens haven’t done this to me blatantly, but it’s well known that chickens can bring you gifts in their beaks as a sign of affection.  Imagine your chicken strutting merrily towards you with a precious gift in its mouth. There’s no denying that’s a sign of love right there!

Final Thoughts

Chickens can show affection just like any other animal, although the ways in which they show it are often harder to decipher! But truly, you can form real and legitimate bonds with your chickens, that’s why it’s so hard to say goodbye to your chicken, or so hard to cope with the loss of your chicken.

Even if your chicken appears like it’s holding a grudge against you, it’s more common that they are simply scared.

Once you’ve been around your chickens long enough you’ll start learning what their happy behaviors are, and when they just want to be left to forage, sunbathe, or dust bath. You’ll notice they will follow you often, chirp at you, and run over to you when you arrive!

By learning these behaviors you’re able to better bond with your chickens. You know what they say, a happy chicken makes for the best eggs too!

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