On the Behavior of Farm Chickens

Watching chickens on a New Zealand farm can be very entertaining because the birds have very complicated social interactions and exhibit a number of interesting behaviors. Like most domesticated animals, chickens prefer to be in a flock, which is how a group of chickens is called.

1024px-Free_range_chicken_flockKnowing a bit about chicken behavior can be very beneficial to everyone who keeps chickens on their farm because you’ll be able to tell by their behavior if your birds are having any issues.


Chickens are vocal birds. They communicate frequently by using sounds. When they are not asleep, they very rarely stay quiet for prolonged periods of time.


When it comes to food, chickens will eat almost anything because their taste buds are not very developed. Chicken don’t even notice the tastes that humans consider disgusting. This is a potential issue because chickens will eat things like chemical fertilizers, Styrofoam and anything else that to them looks like food.

For this reason, you want to make sure your chickens don’t get to pesticide-coated items that you may be growing on your New Zealand farm and things like plastic, Styrofoam beads, and other potentially dangerous items.


Chickens do not experience light sleep. When they sleep, they really do sleep. Total darkness makes them go into levels of sleep in which they are almost unconscious. In this state, they are very easy marks for predators because they won’t be able to defend themselves or escape. If you need to catch or inspect one of your farm’s chickens, go into a dark coop with a flashlight and you will have no problems grabbing the bird.

Being very vulnerable during sleep is the reason why chickens prefer to sleep as high off the ground as possible. They like to sleep in the same location every night, so once they get used to their coop, they will be coming back even if you allow them to roam freely during the day.