Chicken ears – the better to hear you with…


Yes, chickens have ears! They actually start developing hearing on day 12 of incubation! Of course they don’t look like ours or another animals with an external display of ear.They are located on either side of their head, and are small holes that can be difficult to see because they may be covered in feathers. You may be able to see their lobes which stick out slightly from their head, and are located in the space behind the eye and wattle (the red floppy skin under their chin).

The chicken ear has three parts like ours, the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear (to help with balance). Also, chickens have the ability to regrow the inner ear hair cells! Humans cannot do this, and as we age our inner ear hair cells contribute to loss of balance. Research is looking at how chickens can help humans with hearing loss!

The color of your chicken’s ear lobes can actually be a good predictor of the color of their eggs. A white lobe means they will lay white eggs, a brown lobe means they will lay brown eggs. The color of a chicken’s feathers may not be the same color of their lobes. For more on the color of the egg go here.

Chicken_head
Chicken head, notice the ear and the ear lobe – the color indicator of eggs. (Photo credit: eXtension.org).
Turkey_head_labeled2
Turkey head – ears and all! (Photo credit: eXtension.org)

I bet you will never look at a chicken head the same way again!

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4 thoughts on “Chicken ears – the better to hear you with…

  1. The last time we incubated eggs, the baby chicks kept peeping at one another through their shells; it was like they were encouraging each other to “just keep pecking!” That’s so cool that they can hear through the shells! 🙂

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