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10 Things Chickens Do When They’re Happy

Knowing that our chickens are happy is what keeps us as owners happy, but how do you know if they are or not?

Chickens show happiness through dust bathing, vocalizing contentedly, foraging actively, preening, laying regularly, showing curiosity, roosting peacefully, having bright, clear eyes, displaying smooth feathers, and engaging socially with their flock.

I put together this article to show you 10 key ways to identify that your chickens are happy in their day-to-day lives and that they’re behaving as you should expect.

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1 – They Make Contented Sounds

Chickens use various noises to communicate with each other, and these noises are often a good indication of how they’re feeling at the time.

When chickens are happy and contented, you’ll hear them making gentle clucking and purring noises as they go about their business.

When a chicken is distressed or alarmed, its noises tend to get louder in volume, whereas more gentle, relaxed sounds are a sign of contentment.

If you sit with your birds when they’re sunbathing or preening, you might be able to hear them gently purring. It’s not a sound you often hear unless you stop to listen, but it’s a true sign of a happy chicken.

2 – They Graze for Food

A chicken is at its happiest when it’s grazing and scratching for natural food such as insects, worms, grass shoots, and seeds.

When a chicken is allowed the space to graze and free-range, they are behaving as they would naturally, and when they show normal behavior, this is a sign that they’re happy and contented.

If chickens don’t get time to free-range they become bored frustrated because they have an overwhelming urge to be free to do what they enjoy.

Click here for more information on the food which chickens eat naturally.

3 – They Enjoy Sunbathing

Chickens love sunbathing and on a warm sunny afternoon they will lap up any warmth in the sun, especially if you live in a place where winters are cold and long.

Chickens are most happy when the weather is warm because although they deal with cold and wet weather quite well, they don’t really like it.

When the sun is shining, chickens will make the most of their sunbathing time by incorporating it with relaxing, socializing, and cleaning their feathers. All of which are more difficult in cold, wet weather.

Click here for more information on how chickens like to sunbathe.

sunbathing chickens

4 – They’re Dust Bathing

Chickens dust bathe as part of their cleaning routine to remove parasites and debris from their feathers.

They will generally dust bathe when the sin is shining, and the dirt or soil is dry enough to do a good job of exfoliating and cleaning their bodies.

Dust bathing is a sign that a chicken is happy because it’s displaying natural behavior, which they normally do as a small social group.

It’s also normal to hear contented noises coming from chickens as they dust bathe.

Click the link for more information on dust bathing and how chickens clean themselves.

5 – They Enjoy Relaxation Time

Chickens love their relaxation time and will often take time out in the afternoon to take a break from grazing to sit and sunbathe, socialize and preen.

On a warm day, they might even close their eyes for a moment to take a quick nap in a place where they feel safe.

Being relaxed and contented is a sure sign of a happy chicken who doesn’t feel threatened or distressed.

6 – They’re Preening

Preening is another example of natural chicken behavior, which demonstrates that they’re happy and contented.

Chickens usually stop for a period of time to preen their feathers with their beaks to get them back into shape and to remove any debris.

Preening is generally performed as a social activity as the flock relaxes and takes a break from grazing. Chickens particularly enjoy preening in the sunshine and they will also incorporate the activity with dust bathing.

chicken feather preening in the shade

7 – They’re Socializing

Most chickens are social creatures who enjoy being together as a small group throughout the day.

When chickens are relaxed and happy with each other socially, they will make contented sounds and even do a bit of mutual preening.

Tensions within a flock can cause birds lower down in the pecking order to become stressed and unhappy. It’s usual to see them forming smaller social groups within the flock, and in some cases, individual birds just prefer their own company.

8 – They’re Displaying Normal Eating Behavior

Normal eating behavior is another good clue that a chicken is happy and healthy because it’s not uncommon for a sick or unhappy chicken to go off their food.

Chickens love eating, it’s their favorite pass time, and they devote most of their day looking for tasty morsels of food as they scratch and graze from the ground.

As well as grazing, chickens should have a good feed when they come out of the coop in the morning and again in the evening or throughout the day, depending on your feeding routine.

If you’re looking for more information on feeding patterns, you might find the article below helpful:

How many times a day should you feed chickens?

9 – They’re displaying Normal Laying Behavior

A normal laying pattern is another sign that a chicken is happy and that the bird has a good routine and feels comfortable laying on the nest.

When a chicken is stressed or unhappy about something, it can stop laying for a period of time until things sort themselves out.

It’s not always easy to spot if there’s a problem as a bird gets older, is going through a molt, or when the weather is bad because all of these things can all lead to a break in laying.

So, when a chicken isn’t laying, it’s not always a sign that they’re unhappy, but it’s a good idea to check that there isn’t an underlying issue that could be causing the problem.

10 – They’re Interacting With You

If you keep chickens, then you’ll probably know that most of them enjoy being around and interacting with humans.

This is one thing people find most surprising about chickens because it’s easy to think they’re unintelligent creatures who just pack at the ground, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

A happy chicken will come running up to you when they see you, and they’ll also make soft, contented, or inquisitive sounds when you’re around.

Of course, each bird is different, so some will be more social than others, but spending time with your flock can really help them to become more and more happy and relaxed in your company.

In Summary

So, if your flock is displaying all or most of these behaviors, then this means you’ve got happy birds that are living life as they should.

This article was first published on May 6, 2021 by Pentagon-Pets.

Try not to worry too much if you don’t see your chickens doing all of these things every day.

It’s normal for certain things to bring them down now and again, such as cold weather or because they’re going through a molt.

If your chickens are getting free-range time to graze, then this is the number one key to chicken happiness.

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I hope this post has helped you to find out more about the things chickens do when they’re happy, you might also like the following articles too:

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Pentagon Pet is the owner of this article that was first published on May 6, 2021.

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Our recommended coop

Chicken coop for different flock sizes and different weather.

This article and its contents are owned by Pentagon Pets and was first published on May 6, 2021.

Click here to find out more about our recommended coop.