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  • Writer's pictureBrowns' Family Farmstead

Do Chickens Recognize Their Names? The Surprising Truth

Whether you recently got chicks, or you are thinking about it here are our top tips to naming your chickens, determine if you should name then, when to name, and our carefully curated list of names.

Cuckoo Maran and Barred Rock Chickens, One staring into the camera like a goof

Table of Contents

Should you Name your Chickens?

Like many things in life, it depends.


If you have egg layers, children, or generally love animals; then naming them can be a good way to connect with and identify your birds.


Naming your chickens can increase your relationship and attachment to them. This becomes particularly difficult if they will be butchered either by you or an outside source.


Similar to meat chickens, if your flock has a high risk of mortality by other means such as predators, naming can make losing a member of the flock more devastating.


In the event you have a large flock it can be difficult to tell them apart, especially if you have a lot of a particular breed, or a large flock in general. In this instance we recommend you use names for the breeds, or perhaps your select favorite birds.


What Age Should You Name Your Chickens?

Four Easter Egger Chicks and 2 Leghorns

It is hard to refrain from naming baby chicks right away. But it is generally recommended to wait several weeks to name them. We personally recommend 6 to 8 weeks as they get their full feathers. This is because as your chicks quickly grow their distinguishing features change rapidly.


We had several instances where we could could clearly tell the baby chicks apart based on a dark dot on their beak, the size of the dot on their head, or other physical characteristics. These characteristics changed in an so quickly and we re-assigned names when they were fully feathered.


Can Chickens Remember their Name?

Yes!


Studies over the past five years have indicated chickens can learn their names. Not only that, but they can learn the names of people they interact with regularly and even other birds in the flock!


The best way to teach your chickens their names is to interact with them individually and call them by their name when doing so.


We have experienced this firsthand on our farm when our one chicken Taupe (lovingly called Taupe-e-kins) had a serious vitamin deficiency, and we have to bring her inside for a week while she was given large doses of vitamins to get her back on her feet.


During this time she got a lot of hugs and one on one attention. I would often sing her name, and admittedly I still do. Due to these dedicated interactions, she knows her name well and to this day comes running when we enter the coop.


Tips for Naming Chickens

Inspiration for naming chickens can come from anywhere. To make this easy for you we have curated comprehensive lists based on tips to easily name your birds.

  • Color: A common way to name chickens is by the color of their full-grown feathers. For example: a bird with black feathers could be named Midnight, Blackbeard, Morticia, or Onyx to name a few.

  • Personality: Taking the approach of call them like you see them, names can represent a chicken's personality such as Bossy, Charger, Chirpy, Cuddles, Sweetie, etc.

  • Physical Characteristics: Some birds have notable features that quickly distinguish them from the flock. These names depend largely on your bird, but for example large birds could be called Chunky, Mammoth, Tank, Guardian, etc. Alternatively, names better suited for small birds include Pixie, Itsy Bitsy, or Groot to name a few.

  • Themes: One of the most fun ways to name chickens is based on a topic personal to you. This can be Disney Character Names, your favorite flowers, fruits, trees, candies, or anything in-between. Some of our favorites are Old Lady Names for Hens and Old Fashioned Names for Rooster.

Themed Chicken Names

A complete list of names based on themes using these tips.

Themes:

Final Thoughts

There are certain instances such as it is not advisable to name your flock, such as chickens you plan to butcher. If your flock is primarily for laying eggs, if you have children, or if you want to enhance your connection to your birds naming can be a great way to do this.


In the end you have to consider the purpose of your chickens and if it makes sense in your situation to name them.


We hope you have found this list helpful. If you use one of these names, we would love to hear! Additionally, if you have another theme you would like to suggest please send us a message or leave a comment.


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