Chickens are common birds that live in flocks. Everyone that has been to a farm has seen how chickens behave with each other. While spending time with them on the farm you may have noticed that chickens are particularly attracted to anything that is red. Why is this?
Chickens are attracted to the color red because it is one of their natural instincts. They will attack injured and bleeding flock members until death to avoid being detected by a predator. Since they associate the color red with blood, they will often attack anything the color red.
Chickens have these instincts to help them survive. They are a part of their biological makeup. So, read on to find out more about chickens’ affinity for red, what it means, and how you can prevent the negative outcomes that come with it.
Chickens are hard-wired to be drawn to the color red. It is an instinct that tells them that food is close by. Red also signals blood, injury, and weakness to chickens. In their natural social order, chickens will attack weak and injured members of their flock to weed them out and let the strongest survive.
- Chickens will attack another chicken if they see that it is bleeding to achieve a higher rank in the flock.
- Sometimes, this can lead to the death of the injured chicken.
- For some reason, chickens like the taste of blood and will continue pecking at an injured one just to get more blood into their system.
- Chickens like blood because they are opportunistic eaters and will eat any food source.
In the wild, a wounded member of the flock would put the rest of the chickens in danger of being attacked by a predator. So, they would attack the injured member until death so that they could move on without them and risk more chickens dying.
Since chickens have a natural affinity for the color red, farm owners will paint their feeders and coop red so that they feel motivated to go up to them to eat or rest and lay eggs, respectively. Red can be used to encourage chickens to approach any object or human.
There is no exact consensus on this, but some members of the chicken owning community say that if they wear red or other bright colors, their chickens will become angry and chase them. While red makes bulls act aggressively, people are not sure if chickens react the same way.
Chickens are drawn to the color red because of instinct, as mentioned above. Here’s a video with some ideas to keep chickens from fighting with each other.
Chickens have better color vision than humans. They can see red, green, and blue wavelengths of light, as well as sense ultraviolet light. This means that chickens can see a whole range of things we cannot.
Chickens have the level of vision they do because it helped them survive in the wild. Now, they use their vision for the following tasks:
- Mate selection- male chickens show off vibrant and fluorescent coloration on their feathers to attract mates
- Identification- chickens use their sharp color vision to easily identify their chicks and other family members in large flocks
- Chick health- the fluorescent feathers on chicks tells a mother chicken which of her babies is the healthiest. The mother will spend more time taking care of the healthy chicks because they have a better chance of survival
- Egg identification- chickens can use their color vision to notice the small differences in color among eggs and pick out theirs in a coop full of different ones
- Getting food- the superior vision chickens have helps them find safe food to eat while outdoors. They use it to see things like seeds hidden among blades of grass
Chickens have a very wide vision spectrum that serves a variety of purposes to help them survive. Without well developed vision, a chicken is likely to be abandoned or attacked by flockmates because they cannot fend for themselves or contribute meaningfully to the flock.
If you wear red around a chicken, this does not mean you are unsafe, but may want to use a little caution. Red signifies weakness to chickens, and they will often peck at weak members of the flock.
So, if you are wearing anything red at all, do not be surprised if a chicken comes up to you and starts pecking you. They are only exhibiting natural behavior.
There have not been stories of deliberate attacks from chickens on people that are wearing red. However, if you wear red clothing, the chicken will be enticed to come up to you and investigate.
This may be because chickens mistake you for an injured or weak flock member and start pecking you aggressively as they would their own.
The easiest way to stop the pecking is to avoid wearing red while you are taking care of your chickens. Then they will know you are not a threat and leave you to do your chores in peace. You can also separate chickens that are pecking constantly from the flock.
Chickens are attracted to the color red because it is in their natural instincts. They know that red means blood or injury. In the wild, chickens will attack injured and bleeding flock members until death to avoid being detected by a predator. You can prevent these attacks by changing the environment that your chickens live in positively.