Hot Chickens: not really

It might seem like an odd thing to be thinking about but a few days ago I had to decide if I could toss out some kitchen scraps to the chickens.

Chickens love scraps so why not give them, you might ask. Well, it so happens that there was a lot of spicy heat in those scraps and I didn't want to injure their little mouth parts---or anything that comes after the mouth either. Chicken shit isn't all that nice to start with. You really don't want to make it worse.

So that led to some biological research. Specifically into TRPV1, which happens to be the receptor whose main job is detection and regulation of body temperature, but which also is the capsaicin receptor. The full name, in case you're curious, is transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1.

As it turns out, though dogs, mice, and humans have a strong reaction to capsaicin, other species---even though they also have the TRPV1 receptor---don't have the same response. And chickens are one of these. They can eat hot peppers without any repercussions. But don't feed spicy foods to your dogs or you'll be sorry!

Comments

Birds do like spicy foods. They even sell domestic bird seed - like for parakeets, etc. that are labeled "spicy". And now we know why! Thanks!
Anonymous said…
I think they do it to keep the squirrels from eating the birdseed in (outdoor) bird feeders.
utenzi said…
Those damn squirrels eat almost everything. It'd be great if spicy things will keep them away.

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