Alektorophobia or the fear of chickens is derived from the Greek word ‘Alektor’ which means ‘rooster’ and ‘phobos’ meaning ‘fear’. As the name indicates, this phobia causes an irrational fear of chickens (or other feathered creatures as well as their eggs) in the sufferer. It is not only seeing the chickens in person that causes a panic attack in the individual; sometimes, merely the images or photographs of chickens are enough to trigger such reactions.
Causes of Alektorophobia
Alektorophobia is not a common phobia, but those that are impacted by it tend to have had a traumatic experience involving feathered fowls. Naturally, most phobic individuals are never born with the fear; they just learn it owing to certain experiences at social events or during one’s school days.
In Alektorophobia, the fear is mainly targeted towards the live birds (usually not their meat) as one believes the birds might attack them. This type of phobia is hence found to be more common in individuals living on farms.
Often, people suffering from the fear of chickens do not even remember how it started in the first place. They simply remember experiencing the symptoms of fear. Evolutionary psychologists believe that it is a part of the brain that recognizes the flight or fight response on seeing the feathered beings. In majority of these cases, the fear just continues to grow with age.
As with every kind of phobia, the “why” is not as important as the “how”- what this means is that, instead of determining where or why the fear has developed from, it is essential to understand “how” the mind creates the fear (does it create images, what are the thoughts one gets and so on). This is more important for considering the right line of treatment.
Symptoms of the fear of chickens
There are physical and psychological symptoms of Alektorophobia.
- A person might display signs of anxiety prior to visiting a farm. For others, even the mental image of a feathered bird is enough to cause a panic attack.
- Most suffering from Alektorophobia will go to lengths to avoid encountering chickens.
- Irritability or restlessness upon seeing chickens is one of the symptoms of this fear of chickens.
- Dry mouth, sweating and trembling, cardiovascular symptoms like tightness in the chest or difficulty to breathe are few other physical symptoms of Alektorophobia.
- Nausea and other gastrointestinal distress as well as the inability to form words and articulate thoughts are some other symptoms of Alektorophobia.
Treatment of Alektorophobia
There are various methods and therapies for overcoming the fear of chickens phobia.
- Medications like benzodiazepines may be prescribed but they should be considered as the last line of treatment owing to their severe withdrawal symptoms. Moreover, these drugs do not cure the fear but only treat the anxiety symptoms associated with it.
- Hynotherapy or hypnoanalysis is useful in helping the individual determine the exact cause of the fear and develop new patterns or ideas along with positive suggestions for overcoming it. The American Medical Association has approved this line of treatment since 1958 for overcoming many phobias.
- Neuro Linguistic programming is another method used for curing Alektorophobia. This science is based on the principle that an individual creates words related to his/her phobia and continues to use and think them over and over causing the fear in the first place. Therapists practicing this method study the patient’s facial expressions and eventually help in remodeling one’s thoughts when faced with the object of the fears.
- Cognitive behavior and behavior therapies that involve exposure and gradual desensitization can be useful to learn to tolerate the anxiety experienced in such cases. However, the drawback of these therapies is that they take a longer time for complete cure.
- Energy therapies like meditation, Tai Chi, Qi Gong techniques and positive visualization, deep breathing etc are self help techniques that are known to help cure many types of phobias. Energy psychology aims at altering the Chi or life force energy so that one’s fear of chickens is eliminated completely as if it was never there in the first place.
As can be seen, there are various methods for overcoming one’s fear of chickens. But it is essential to choose the right cure that gives permanent results rather than temporarily masking the symptoms of Alektorophobia.
I’m using this website to do a school project of phobias.
Justina Chillo says
In my childhood, a dream about a bunch of chickens attacking me with their stingy beaks left a terrifying impact on my mind. Till date I never cross a lane where a chicken is lingering. I use other people walking ahead as shields to protect me.
I scream my lungs out and freeze every time a chicken flutters near by.
Eating cooked chicken is the only way I feel triumphant over them.
Wow, didn’t know that this was a real phobia. My mom and I have been suffering from this for years, and we thought we were weird! We have to have someone walk in front of us if we know there is a possibility we could run into any kind of chicken or rooster. We make many trips to Hawaii and it’s starting to become more and more miserable with all the chickens on the island. Every time we walk past a chicken we scream and run, even pictures of chickens scare the hell out of us! We just can’t handle the ugly beaks and the pointy feet that look like claws. We love to eat chickens because it makes us feel like we are reducing the population. We have no idea what to do to be cured, any suggestions?
Hi! I actually have that too. When I was 4, I went to a dairy farm to get some treats, and there were some really aggressive chickens that pecker me all over. I was able to get over it by forcing myself to look at photos of chickens gradually. The real breakthrough was when I was able to go inside a chicken pen. I still run in the other direction when I see a chicken, though.
I have HATED chickens since the time I was three. All because of one st*pid chicken named snowflake who attacked me.
I got chased by a flock of chickens so I’m terrified of them, it’s like they can see into your soul.
I was also attacked by a chicken. It chased me and I almost fell down while running away. The fear has actually increased over the years.
Isaiah Zacharias says
Very good for research on animals.
I Am awfully terrified of chickens, birds, roosters , chicks any creature with a beak and their creepy feet. I don’t know why I have this very bad fear of them. I’ve tried so hard to remember if anything ever happened to me but it’s like my brain blocked out this issue I don’t understand I even have nightmares. And every thing that was stated in the article has described myself. I am desperate for help. I’ve been with this bad fear for 35 years.
Oh my God, it’s the same thing by me. It’s terrible.
Chickens are so freaking scary like wow, that’s crazy.
Why do i see things?
Because you’re not blind
The guy who does not want to be known says
I don’t live in a farm but my grandparents do. My grandfather always wants me to get the eggs. Yeah, I’m glad my grandmother does it in the morning on the days he asks me to do it on.
I hate fawls they’re nasty and fragile. I think there is the word fragile-phobia like holding an infant.
Simon Adams says
I have chickens at home they are lovely to have, they follow you with food and are very friendly. They are like dogs, cats and other animals! Even better they talk to you as well.
Yeye Nwidaa says
Me too I can’t walk past them without screaming
Vincent Sun says
chickens are even worse than Kelenken or Argentinavis
Alden Bogtree says
Oh my god! I hate chickens, they scare the crap out of me.
How old are you? How did it start if you can help me. As my daughter is 13 and having fear of being attacked by chickens, she even hates the feathers.
Did you try medication like suggested benzodiazapine in the article or go for hypnosis.
That image of that chicken scared the hell out of me.