Can animals be racist?


My baby chicks are 6 weeks old now and the hen who sat on the eggs abandoned the chicks a few weeks ago. It was really sad to see the 4 little chicks all huddled up to sleep at night with no hen to tuck them under her wings. Low and behold as I was doing head count a few nights ago I noticed one of my hens was not on her usual roost. I looked around for her and found her on the floor of the chicken house with all the chicks tucked under her wings. 


This hen would have been the one I would have voted lest likely to be a good mother. She is bossy and sometimes aggressive to the other hens. She is the same kind of chicken as my rooster and all the chicks look like her. I could not help but wonder if this played any part in her taking over as their mother. Now the chicks follow her everywhere and she stays with them constantly. 


I have seen this in horses as well. You will have a herd and sometimes it seems all the grays or paints are together. Sometimes I will also see segregation of breeds. I don’t know but it may be a natural thing  to seek out those that are like you. Does that make animals racist? 


As people I certainly believe it is important to seek to get along with those who are different from us. Most, if not all, our conflicts come from lack of communication and understanding. At the same time, however, accepting another for who they are does not mean you have to give up who you are. The animals seem to have this worked out pretty well. Madalyn

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About Madalyn Ward, DVM

This blog provides information based on my unique take on horse health and well being. The articles are based on experience of treating and working with horses for over 40 years. In most cases the articles are focused on an holistic approach to health and management. When conventional medicine offers good research or therapy, I share this information as well. Madalyn Ward, DVM

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