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You are watching: Whats the difference between a chicken and a hen

Most american only know that chickens are the white meat sheathe in plastic the they see presented at the supermarket. This is not surprising considering only two percent live on farms in the unified States, leaving the various other ninety-eight percent to stay in the dark about the various breeds and habitats of chickens.


So,chicken, hen, or rooster: What’s the difference? There are several breeds ofchicken and also hens room the females if roosters space the males the the species. Plus,there are numerous differences in between roosters and also hens v assorted sizes, colors,and other features that do one much better eating than the others.

Thisarticle will focus on:

Whatare Pullets?Whatare Hens?Whatare Cockerels?Whatare Roosters? Whatare Capons?AFew an easy Facts around Chickens TheDifferences in between Hens and Roosters

Trynot come salivate for eggs or crave bacon together this item tells all around chickens.

Table the Contents

Whatis a RoosterHowDo you Tell a mrs Adult Chick native an Adult Male? Other differences BetweenHens and Roosters Whatis the Hen’s Song?

Whatare Pullets?

A pullet is a young mrs chicken under the age of one that has not set her an initial eggs. They are not, however, chicks together chicks are freshly hatched, and pullets are teenage chickens between twelve and also sixteen mainly old.

Pointof lay pullets is those that room approaching their very first laying that eggs.

Likehuman teenagers, pullets approaching her an initial lay will certainly be moody, grumpy,talkative, and go from nest to colony as if looking for something. Pullets areoutcasts in the hierarchy of chicken culture until they end up being hens, and also theflock accepts them right into the flock.

Whatare Hens?

“Hen” is a term used to describe females of any kind of bird varieties that put eggs.

Untilher very first lay, a mrs chicken is called a pullet.

As stated, woman chickens before they put their first eggs room not thought about hens, yet afterward, she will lay eggs as frequently as her nature will allow and continue until old age at between three and four years old.

Henshave no manage over as soon as they will certainly lay eggs and are wooed by roosters incourting, no so ethereal and very noisy adjustment rituals.

Hens live for eight to ten years.

Whatis a Cockerel?

Cockerels are male chicks till they reach sex-related maturity at about one year old, climate they are described as roosters.

Onaverage, cockerels begin to crow between the periods of twelve to 16 weeksold, although part breeds to start earlier. In ~ first, cockerels crows aresqueaky or gargled, lot like male people go through a voice change.

Withpractice, a cockerel learns to crow and becomes louder v a definitivemessage; “This is my territory, stay out.”

Even as soon as still young chicks, rival males try to develop dominance end each other and also the pullets they were hatched with. The males will certainly bump chests and also stare down each other, climate play fight. Normally, the score is to create a hierarchy amongst the males through the subordinates watching and imitating the movements of the dominant male rooster.

However,cockerels have little power end hens who will not tolerate them assertingdominance end them and also let him recognize it.

Whatis a Rooster

After a cockerel reaches maturity, at around one year old, he i do not care a rooster and starts mating with the hens. Roosters become bold, pushy, and also aggressive as they vie because that hens to include to their flock. If roosters aren’t culled (separated), they will injure each other using their sharp hackles and also sickles situated on their legs and feet.

A rooster is expected to security his flock, warn them the danger, carry out food because that them, and also make sure they are taken care of. He will certainly intervene in fights between members that his flock come make certain no one is hurt.

Roostersconstantly are on the lookout for difficulties from various other younger roosters, andif castle fight and also he loses, there will be a brand-new leader that the flock. The oldrooster could hang around on the area about the i m crying or move away and live anisolated life.

Ifthe enlarge rooster shed the hit due to condition or injury as opposed to oldage, he may return to the flock and difficulty the new rooster because that his position.

Roosters deserve to live from in between five come eight years.

What is a Capon?

Capons are immature roosters that have had their testicles surgically removed, or lock have had an Estrogen implant. These procedures reason a lowered aggression in the animals and also the meat come become much more tender, flavorful, and juicy.

In Europe, Spain, and also France, capon meat was once taken into consideration a luxurious delicacy right for just the rich and powerful. Caponization is quiet widely exercised in France.

In other places, caponization has actually fallen the end of favor together it is a high-risk surgery and too high-quality to do it profitable.

AFew simple Facts around Chickens

First,as odd as it might seem, chicken (Gallus Gallus Domesticus) did no originate inthe united States. Instead, lock are believed to be descended from wild Indianand south-east asian Red Junglefowl.

A team of chicken is dubbed a flock, and because the humanity’s love affair v chickens, over there are more chickens in the human being than any other bird. Castle also administer two foodstuffs; your meat and their eggs.

Humanshave numerous other uses than food for chickens:

Wekeep them as petsWeraise them for breedingWealso enjoy their plumage and also use that to as stuffingTheirfeces are offered as fertilizer

Ascan be seen, chickens room greatly helpful to humanity, and also yet they can posea peril through disease as well. An ext on that topic later.

Howto call a Hen indigenous a Rooster Chick

Knowingthe sex of baby chicks is vital for the complying with two critical reasons.

One, you have to know because having too many roosters will certainly cause large problems under the road when they reach mating age. Roosters will certainly fight and also even kill each other to establish a flock of hens, and also their hackles can reason enormous damage. keeping only one or 2 male chicks deserve to save the resides of your flock.

Two,the much more hens you have actually in her flock, the more eggs they will certainly produce, soknowing the variety of nesting box one requirements is crucial.

Whilesexing chicks is not precise science through a ten percent fail rate, theeasiest and most successful of these techniques is vent sexing.

Withvent sexing, a farmer hold the chick and also gently expulsion poop indigenous the cloaca inorder to see the sexual characteristics of the bird. If the cloaca reflects apenis, climate it is a male, and also if not, you have actually a hen. However, if thisprocedure isn’t done properly serious damage or even fatality can take place for thelittle bird.

HowDo you Tell a female Adult Chick native an Adult Male?


Determining the sex of an adult chicken is extremely crucial so that they deserve to be separated into their suitable groups. This is because as castle grow, birds of the same sex law differently depending on whether they room egg-laying hens or compete roosters.

Whileit is simple to recognize chicks and adults but exceedingly complicated todetermine the sex of an adolescent bird because of them not yet emerging theiradult characteristics however having shed those they had as chicks.

A few details around birds to look because that have already been covered in this piece, their wattles, and combs. However, spur are likewise a critical tell-tale sign of telling the sex that a chicken. This development on the back of a chicken’s foot is important for reproduction together it enables the rooster come cling come the hen during mating. Compare the spur size of a female and male will assist determine i beg your pardon sex has actually what in a new flock of chicks.

Feather Shape and Color

The best method to recognize the sex of one adolescent bird is by looking very closely at the feathers of the neck the the bird. A female has actually rounded fathers, and a male has pointed feathers.

Toexamine a bird, pick up the bird, organize it securely under one arm, climate take asturdy piece of an index map or credit card and also place that under a row offeathers If the neck feathers have actually pointed ends it is most likely a male ifthey are rounded climate it is more than likely a female.

This method, choose all looking at various other body components on a chicken, is not foolproof, for this reason a farmer shouldn’t be too surprised if they obtain it wrong.

Normally,in birds that have actually multiple feather colors, pullets will certainly be a dull shade withuniformity of the color throughout your plumage. Cockerels, top top the various other hand,will have a wide variety of color to their feathers and will not be simply onesolid shade all over.

Other differences BetweenHens and Roosters

Thereare numerous other differences in between hens and also roosters other than their sex. Theyhave different

Plumage BehaviorWattlesand CombsLegsand Spurs


When hens resided in the wild, they developed plumage that is subdued in color, showing up in browns, yellows, and also whites to do it a smaller sized target for predators. This trick of color helped the varieties to remain viable.

Arooster has vibrant and elaborate feathers to assist attract hens for mating.They likewise use their feathers come puff us up when intimidating otherroosters, hopefully, to hold their harem while avoiding a bloody fight.

Roosters additionally have feathers that are iridescent and also capture the irradiate to display off a beautiful blue and green plumage. As a preeminence of thumb, if a chicken has iridescent feathers, that is most likely a rooster.


Aschickens become mature, roosters become bolder and friendlier to people whenthey space young but come to be cantankerous together they age. Hens, on the various other hand,tend to heat up to every other and also humans.

Both sexes that chickens might fight, however roosters are much more violent in their conflicts. This is specifically true as soon as they are all set to friend one or more hens who room in heat. Roosters execute a mating dance for his liked hens, dance in a circle with a drooping wing.

Hensroost in nests amongst other females and, after ~ laying eggs, will remain thereuntil one of two people the egg hatch or the eggs are eliminated for food.

Roosters space solitary birds preferring to continue to be on the periphery of your flock to store watch. they are constantly watchful for various other roosters and will struggle them off if he must to defend his harem.

Wattles and Combs

Wattlesare the red tissues the hang beneath the bills the are part of a chicken’sheat regulation system. Chickens room unable to sweat and also instead coolthemselves utilizing passing his blood through the wattles.

Combs is the tall organization on peak of a chickens head. They are also important to the cooling device of chickens as they are full of capillaries and veins.

When a chicken hatches they have actually no wattles or combs but come appear around the age of three weeks. Chicks that obtain their combs beforehand most most likely will build into cockerels and eventually roosters.

Wattleswill begin to redden roughly five or six weeks the age about the start of thetime pullets start their first laying. A hen’s wattles and also comb will turnbright red or pink.

Wattlesare component of a rooster’s adjustment allure, with hens coming to be attracted toextremely upright wattles gift the most preferred by hens. Roosters withfloppy or missing wattles will certainly not it is in as effective at recognize a girlfriend if theycan at all.

The brighter the wattle ~ above a chicken, the healthier they space as chickens that are ill or that are molting will have actually shrunken or pale wattles. Indeed, the shade of a wattle may suggest the existence of a disease and the need to visit a veterinarian.

Legs and Spurs

Roosters frequently have thicker, and also longer legs than hens, and also those legs room edged with sharp spurs. Spurs room sharp bone-like growths just above the toes top top a rooster. Old hen sometimes have spurs that room not as lengthy or sharp as roosters.

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Spursare used as a defense and also are attention if the rooster is aggressive. Whennecessary, owner of specifically feisty roosters will remove their spurs toprotect both the rooster and the remainder of the flock indigenous injury.

Unfortunately, the aggressive tendency of some roosters makes them prime because that an illegal sport called cockfighting, whereby roosters space turned loosened on each other for a fight come the death.

The sector that Feeds America’s Obsession with Chicken and EggsTo produce enough meat and also eggs to feed the ravenous stomachs the Americans, chickens room no longer only elevated on farms. Now they are hatched, raised, and live out their stays in huge chicken farms located roughly the country.