Chickens have a very powerful sense of hearing. They hear much like human beings or other animals. Every chicken has well-developed eardrums, inner ear, middle ear, and outer ear.
These features help them harness sound waves before sending them to their inner ear in order to create some balance. Here is everything you need to know about chickens’ ears.
Where are Chickens Ears Located?
Unlike humans, dogs, rabbits, or cats, chicken ears are not easily visible. They are usually covered by feathers. But you can easily locate their ear lobes, which appear much like circular areas of reddish, whitish, or even black flesh hanging a short distance below the eyes.
You can find the ears of your chickens on both sides of their heads. Their location allows your chickens to receive sounds from any direction. Plus, ears at this particular location acts as a warning system in case of danger.
The structure of chickens’ ears is almost similar to human beings and several other animals. That being said, a chicken ear consists of the inner ear, middle ear, and outer ear.
Check out the detailed description of each section below:
Chicken’s Outer Ear
The outer ear of a chicken has a fringe of small feathers surrounding the opening all the way to the inside of the ear. The opening, which is also part of the outer ear, leads the ear canal to the far ends where the eardrum is located. When combined with the middle and inner ears, the outer ear enables your chicken to pick up low or high-pitched sounds from nearby and far away.
Chicken’s Middle Ear
The middle ear is well-known for being an air-filled tympanic cavity. It contains essential ligaments, a muscle, a tympanic membrane, a rod-like bone (ossicle) or columella, and the cochlea window. The main function of the middle ear is to act as a passage of sound waves to the inner ear.
Chicken’s Inner Ear
As the name suggests, the inner ear for every chicken serves as a powerful sensory receptor for equilibrium and sound. This part of the ear is made up of a vestibular organ and the cochlea organ.
Actually, the entire inner ear is part of the chicken’s nervous system. In case of an infection, the inner ear is likely to show neurological signs such as loss of balance and poor coordination, head tilt, and a wry neck (torticollis).
Do Chicks Also Have Ears?
Yes, baby chickens or chicks have ears as well. Their ears develop even before they hatch. No wonder these baby chickens start hearing their mothers as early as the 12th day of their incubation period. So, when they hatch, they come out with their ears fully developed and functioning normally. In other words, they can hear sounds as soon as they are born.
Baby chickens’ ability to hear helps them communicate with their mothers. This is very important for their protection, security, and survival at that tender age.
According to studies, chicks can be trained to respond to various auditory cues such as taping, clapping, or whistling to make them identify food and water sources. Most of these auditory cues mimic the familiar pecking noise/ sound (clucking) of mother hens. Therefore, they allow baby chickens to know that a food source is within their reach.
Additionally, baby chickens have a powerful hearing ability to receive warnings from their mothers when there is danger. Their ears can simply help them hide from predators, especially when left to free-range with their mothers in the open.
Do Chickens Have a Good Sense of Hearing?
Chickens are among the animals considered to be at the bottom of the food chain. What this means is that they are prey to a large number of predators. To survive in the wild, chickens had to develop a powerful sense of hearing.
With their strong hearing capability, chickens can evade predators early enough or warn others of the danger nearby. Even though chickens are kept as farm animals or pets, they still retain their strong hearing abilities.
Compared to humans, chickens still maintain their hearing even in their old age. They keep repairing their hearing cells as they age. This was important since deaf chickens would become an easy meal for predators in the wild. Deaf chickens or birds wouldn’t hear predators approaching or invading their space. As such, they wouldn’t flee at the right time to avoid being caught.
The chicken’s hearing is so powerful that they can accurately estimate how far the sound comes. They achieve this feat by simply timing how long the sound takes before it reaches their right ear after it has been picked up by the left ear or vice versa.
Can Chickens Become Deaf?
No, chickens (birds) fish, amphibians, and reptiles can’t go permanently deaf. These animals can indefinitely regenerate their ear hairs located inside the cochlea. As a result, they can maintain their hearing ability for the rest of their lives better than mammals, humans included.
As mentioned above, the cochlea is the cavity located in the inner ear and is responsible for interpreting different types of sounds. It is still not clear how exactly chickens regenerate their hearing capability although studies are underway to explain this interesting phenomenon.
Can Chickens Listen to Music?
Absolutely yes. Chickens love music. They can listen to any type of music provided that it is not too loud or contains beats that are too fast for their ears. Chickens in the coop can respond to music. Those on the free-range may not pay attention or show interest in music.
Numerous evidence from research and studies suggest that classical music may help increase the chick growth rate or improve egg production. Typically, music has a positive impact on the mental health of chickens and other listeners. This is attributed to the belief that good music promotes well-being as well as uplifting the morale of your chickens.
Both roosters and hens have well-functioning ears. You just have to look keenly to see these little hearing organs. Some people confuse chicken ears with their earlobes-the dangling reddish thing located on either side of the head. Ears on your chicken are holes covered with small feathers and a flap of skin on the side of your chickens’ heads.Chickens