The Chicken

Yearly Cycle of Power :   Spring
Time of Power: Morning
Attributes: Boldness, Pride, Socializing, Sexuality, Courage, Discovery, Defense

The chicken (or 'Domestic Fowl') is one of those animals that is often overlooked by books on totem animals. And even when it is included, it is either treated as a secondary animal or as having minor traits. This is unfortunate as it is a proud animal, like all animals, and if a person were to have a chicken totem, they should show this with pride. Part of the problem is that the chicken is thought of only in its modern terms as a farm animal. To view one of these creatures in the wild would be a whole different ball game. Sadly, they do not seem to have a great wild presence anymore. They have been domesticated for the last 8000 years at least and have a long history with man as a provider of meat and eggs. They originated in Thailand and Vietnam. Charles Darwin deducted that chickens were descended from a wild species called the red jungle fowl. It sounds pretty exotic.

Chicken is actually misnomer for the species. They are more properly termed 'Domestic Fowl'. Young domestic fowl of both sexes are called chickens, but the name does not apply to all ages of the bird. Even so, we will refer to them as chickens in this document to keep with the standard use. Chickens belong to the family Phasianidae (in the order Galliformes) and are classified as Gallus gallus. Adult males are called roosters or cocks while females are called hens. Females less than a year old are called pullets. Very young chickens are simply called chicks.

There is a great diversity in the sizes of chickens between breeds. They range from 20 ounces (in the adult) to upwards of 12 pounds. The male is slightly larger and generally has more fancy plumage. Chickens' plumage comes in various colours including: White, brown, black, red, yellow, gray, and blue. Who would have thought that chickens came in blue? Most chickens are incapable of flying other than short distances. The heads of most chickens are decorated with wattles and a fleshy crest called a 'comb'. As with the plumage, the males comb is usually more prominant.

Chickens are diurnal, being most active in the day. In fact, they are so associated with the coming of the day that the crowing of a rooster is seen as synonymous with daybreak. They are true omnivores eating insects, worms, seeds, and other greenery. They use their toes to scratch at the earth to uncover worms or insects. This is a chief advantage that they have over other fowl. They do not have webbed toes. Their toes are seperated and ideal for scratching.

Chickens are highly social, yet territorial. They are quite polygamous. Pair bonding is unheard of. Yet despite this abundant promiscuity, there is tremendous territoriality and rivalry between two roosters as to who gets to mate with whom. And the same applies for the hens. Both hens and roosters will get quite agressive in defending their exclusive right to mate with who they think best. These agressions are quite impressive and violent. Hens will lay their eggs on the ground or in tall grasses or weeds. They will sit on these eggs for approximately three weeks. After this the chicks hatch fully covered in down and ready to walk around and feed themselves.

The chicken has been seen as a mythical symbol of courage throughout many civilizations in the world. The romans associated chickens with Mars, the god of war. These associations are no doubt due to their aggressive and territorial behavior. You only need to think about cock fights to conjure the image of why these birds would be associated with a god of war. Chickens are also associated with Easter. There are many reasons for this. First off, the egg was associated with the goddess Oestre. Secondly, the promiscuity of the chicken shows itself in the spring when many animals have a longing to procreate. Third, the chicken is a symbol used for the ressurection of christ, and that pairs it with easter. Lastly, the spring equinox occurs in march, the month of Mars, and as chickens are associated with Mars, they also became associated with the equinox.

A person with a chicken totem, will be bold like their animal counterpart. They will prefer to be in social situations rather than in solitude as it is in group situations that they really shine. They will not fear to boast of themselves and may dress in such as way as to make people take notice of them. They love to be the center of attention. As such, they will be drawn to professions and situations that put them in the limelight, such as acting, journalism, singing, and law. This attention seeking works well if they are in a group of people who do not like to be the center of attention. However, they do not like to share the limelight. If another tries to seek attention for themselves, a chicken totem will agressively try to chase off that individual and may even get violent. A person with a chicken totem may have a heightened sexuality as well. They may be more promiscuous than the norm and may be less likely than normal to form long term relationships. Although many in our society vlaue a long term relationship, a chicken totem may think long term relationships foolish and restricting. On top of this, a person with a chicken totem will have an uncanny ability to uncover the truth. This is shown with the symbolic scratching of the animal. They scratch and scratch at something until they find what they want. With this sort of talent, a chicken totem will find themselves drawn to professions that involve investigation such as journalism or law. All in all a chicken is quite a proud and noble totem.

Written by RavenDreamer