The wild species of chicken, red jungle fowl, originates from the forests and glades of Asia. Domestic chickens, like their wild counterparts, can walk, run and see perfectly well. However, they are afraid of water, unable to swim, and only just able to fly. At night, they fly up into trees, climb up to rest on a branch and tuck their heads underneath their wings.
As omnivores, they scratch around in the dirt all day looking for insects, worms, seeds, seedlings, fruits and berries. At midday, they like to take a dust bath in the sunshine and have a little nap. Preening themselves and one another, stretching their feet and wings and flapping their wings are all normal comfort behaviours.
Organic farmers have to invest a lot of time in ensuring that their birds are able to express these behaviours on the farm too. Their poultry houses and runs are meticulously designed. When out in the pasture, the birds need structures to provide safety and protection from the elements and from predators like birds of prey.
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