Can My Chickens Remember Me?

How well can chickens remember things? Do they recognize you as their chicken parent? Good question! Chickens are incredibly smart (much smarter than you think). People much smarter than me have done studies on chickens in an attempt to find out exactly how smart. I looked up some of this data, and used the way my chickens react to different members of my family as a personal experiment.

Chickens can remember you! Studies have shown they can recognize up to 100 individual faces. Chickens are intelligent birds that learn pretty fast, especially when there’s food involved. If you are the person who regularly feeds your chickens, they will take a quick liking to you. If there are several people feeding them, it may take a little longer for them to remember all of their individual faces, but they will eventually get there. Once they start to recognize and remember you, some chickens that are a bit friendlier may even jump into your arms when they see you.

How Well Do Chickens Remember?

My Research

Chickens may know your face, but do they know you? This is where my personal experiment comes in. I have between 50 and 60 laying hens right now. I know they can learn and remember things because we’ve been able to train our pasture raised chickens to go back into the coop at a certain time on their own (comment below if you want a post on how we did that).

My Dad does the bulk of the feeding. The hens absolutely flock him every time he sets foot on the micro farm. They surround him and make it impossible for him to walk without stepping on them. The chickens don’t even care when he steps on them because they love him so much. They associate him with food. My mom and I will feed them on occasion, but it’s not regular. The chickens come up to us when we first arrive, but quickly lose interest. They don’t follow us around like were the chicken Pied Piper like they do with my Dad.

We also have young children who visit the micro farm sometimes. The kids almost always chase the chickens around. The chickens don’t tend to enjoy this activity. I have noticed that they keep their distance when the kids are around. The chickens remember the kids and that they’re chasers. Even when they stand with me, the chickens don’t like to come very close.

These are all different reactions than when we invite someone new to the micro farm. When the chickens see new people, they keep their distance initially. Then, slowly a few brave and curious hens will come up and introduce themselves to our guests. They won’t ever get super friendly because our guests don’t usually feed them or stick around long enough for the chickens to get very familiar with them.

Related Posts:

How To Love Your Hens: Do Chickens Like To Be Pet?

How To Tell If You’re Raising Happy Chickens

Other Research

The experience my family and I have with our chickens is extremely common. All other chicken owners I have spoken to about this have also found that their chickens have consistent, unique reactions to different people. Forums for chicken owners have also described this behavior.

As stated before, chickens can recognize up to 100 different human faces. This fact is quoted in several blog posts and I have yet to find the original source. When I do find it, it will be liked here.

According to an article on National Geographic’s website titled Chickens Prefer Attractive People, “The birds can recognize and discern people based on their faces. And they apparently like beautiful humans.” This article talks about a study that suggests that chickens actually prefer people with more symmetrical faces. This study suggests that the facial recognition capabilities of the chicken are deeper than recognizing “this person feeds me” or “this person chases me.” Chickens may have preferences based purely on how much they like the way you look. You don’t have to make an impression for them to formulate opinions on you.

Granted, the chicken’s initial opinion of you will likely change or evolve based on the interactions you have with him/her. It’s also worth mentioning that this 2002 study was small and has not been definitively proven. Check out National Geographic’s article for more information on the study.

The personality and breed will affect how friendly the chickens get with people. Chickens can also change their view of people over time. They can remember both the things they perceive as good and bad that you’ve done to them.


Chickens can remember you. According to my experience, other’s experience, and other widely available research on this topic, chickens have very good memories and they can form opinions about you. They will act different towards you based on these opinions. Chickens can recognize you as a caretaker and even a friend.

The breed and personality of the chicken will affect how affectionate they are towards you. Your chicken(s) may not be super into cuddling and that’s OK. That doesn’t mean your chicken(s) don’t like you! In my post How To Love Your Chickens: Do They Like To Be Pet? I explain that if your chickens weren’t pet or held by you when they were little, they may not be super excited about physical affection when they are older (be sure to read that post for more information).

There is some evidence that the facial recognition capabilities of chickens may be more advanced than we think. While further research is needed, This just leaves me more convinced that chickens are way smarter than we think!

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