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Name:  Joan
Status: educator
Age: 50s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 10/16/2004

One of my students has a question he must find the answer for. Do chickens fly?

Hi Joan!

yes... chicken can fly. Mostly if they are raised at country,farms, open space. But they have a poor flight, not much high...They can fly over fences, trees, things like that.

OK? Who won the bet?

And thanks for asking NEWTON!

(Dr. Mabel Rodrigues)

The adult domestic fowl can fly to a certain extent, ie. can get airborne for a few seconds, but the immature offspring can only flutter its wings.

Howard Barnes

Ahhh Science is ALWAYS the answer to a dispute!

Actually, they both win a little. My Aunt used to raise chickens. When I'd go out to feed them, they would fly up and at me as well as run around on the ground. They were pretty happy I brought them a little something to eat. They certainly couldn't take wing and leave the place like a Canadian goose, but my mom actually had a rooster that could fly up into the tree in the back behind the house. He enjoyed hanging out there at dawn and waking all of us up. (He was a skinny chap though.)

Which leads me to the rest of the answer. The poultry we raise today for eating is bred for breast meat. That's what people like, so the birds have been selectively bred to satisfy our wants. Take your common Butterball you find at thanksgiving, that bird looks nothing like his wild counterpart. Mr. Butterball and his cousin the roasting chicken can't really fly anymore; they're too top heavy and no longer aerodynamic. However, the skinnier younger hens can flap and jump out of the way.

Our goofy rooster boy evaded capture and hung out in that tree for two years. He either froze to death one winter, or something bigger than him got a nice dinner. I kind of miss waking up to the crowing.

So tell those boys to be nice. They both win. No more arguing. "Don't make me stop this bus!".

Happy science,

Martha Croll

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