The other evening when I was giving my second chicken workshop (the first covers from chick to coop – the second covers from coop to soup) one of the participants asked me a question that was a first.
Should you leave a radio on in your coop?
I stopped and thought. I know that leaving the radio on for cats and dogs is fairly common practice but for birds? She then told me that she had two parrots and would leave the radio on for them during the day.
It sounded logical for her situation – parrots are verbal birds, but, and with utmost respect to my flock, chickens are not parrots.
My initial response was no. Chickens do not need a radio – whether it be talk radio or music – and here’s my reasoning.
Chickens do not have the greatest of eyesight. Not only that, but the eyes are on either side of their head which is why they keep moving their heads back and forth to see you (and why it’s so darn hard to get a good facial shot.) It makes sense that if an animal were given poor eyesight, it would be compensated in other areas.
Besides being given lovely personalities, I’m willing to bet that chickens have been blessed with very good hearing. I know that they can hear me inside the house in the morning – all you have to do is look at the coop to see that they’re all ready at the coop door when they hear me up and about.
So if they have good hearing, it might stand to reason that they would really enjoy a good Brahm’s or even an occasional Brittney, but because they rely on their hearing for safety, I would think that having constant background music would eventually stress them out. Chickens constantly listen for activity around them, it’s how they survive – that little chipmunk over there is fine, the dog passing through the yard, however, is not. They can hear the difference (and if you have a rooster, he’s going to crow when he hears sounds of danger.)
If chickens cannot constantly audibly scan their environment, then they don’t know where danger comes from and if they get used to not exercising this skill, when they are released they just might not remember to pay attention.
So my answer is no. No matter how bored you think you chickens might be when you are at away, they do not need a radio or music to cheer them up. Besides, they’re happy enough, if you have a flock then you already have a few birds who are ready to talk with each other, peck, challenge, and simply interact with each other at all times.
My non-musical answer, however, will not be stopping me from singing an occasional “You Are My Sunshine” to my flock on a sunny, warm day when we are all playing in the backyard.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.
Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.