Hen Vs Rooster: What’s the Difference? with Pictures

Most people get confused about what is the difference between a Hen vs Rooster vs Pullet vs Cockerels?

People ask Hey! do chicken have sex? Which chicken is male, which one is female? However, it’s not that much of a tricky thing to know when they become adults.

However, in the early months after hatching, determining sexes in chickens is a little confusing.

So here in this article we will tell you some major differences between Hen and Rooster, with historical naming of chickens. Also, we will clear your concept on how to sex chickens?

Knowing the sex of a chicken in adult chicken is easy as compared to baby chicks. Below we have explained about both sexing methods for chickens and baby chicks step by step.

How to sex chickens? Determine your chicken is a Hen or a Rooster?

Everybody knows when a chicken lays eggs we call it Hen and when a chicken crows, we call it Rooster. Read our complete list of the best egg-laying chickens.

So, In easy words we can say an adult male chicken as a Rooster and a female chicken as Hen. So, the concept is logical if we see their activities in an adult age.

After one year of age, a Hen or Rooster is called an adult bird. However, before that period, we considered a young male fowl as a cockerel and a female as a pullet. In some areas, people call adult Roosters as Cockerels.

At young ages between 1-2 months, it is hard to determine the sex of the chickens. Experienced farmers and people in the chicken farming business can only tell you which one is a girl or a boy.

Next, we will explain to you about female chicken and male chicken one by one. It will also help you determine their sex in the early age of chicken.

What is Hen?

Hen Vs Rooster: What's the Difference? with Pictures
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A Hen

Female chickens are known as Hens. The name ‘Hen’ is taken from an Old English word of Rooster, i.e. hana. However, the hana word comes from a West Germanic word khannjo.

So, you know, a young female fowl known as pullet before their first birthday. After that we call them Hens. Hens always graze with Roosters.

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Pullet vs Hen Image

Hens lay eggs, then they naturally incubate them by sitting on eggs, and they take care of baby chicks after hatching.

Usually hens never crows but to alert and train her baby chick they make some specific sounds. They also make a cluck sound when they lay eggs.

They guard their chicks and fight with any obstacle which tries to harm their chicks. But Pullets are very cool in nature. They are friendly and sit on your head or arms if they know you.

Hens have a tiny chicken comb on their head and they have smaller wattles. Most of the hens have 1-2 color feathers.

What is Rooster? 

Male chickens are known as Roosters. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, adult male chickens over one-year-old are known as cockerels whereas in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, they are more commonly called roosters. Also, the young male chickens are known as cockerel in the UK and Ireland.

So Rooster is a male fowl. They look like kings, because of their colorful shiny feathers. Most of the rooster crows after 3-4 months, but they are called adults after one year. Their curved feathers look like a half-moon, so people also call them sickle feathers.

Hen Vs Rooster: What's the Difference? with Pictures
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A Rooster Image

In rural areas, roosters are like an alarm clock. Everyday early morning from 3 to 4 am Roosters crow. That is an amazing feeling.

Like other animals, male chickens are more aggressive. Some roosters fight with other roosters when they join their flocks. They do not allow any unknown rooster to feed with them.

Except for a few chicken breeds like Aseel, most of the roosters has a big comb on their head and bigger wattles.

Before mating, most of the roosters make a mating dance, which looks amazing. They dance and move around the hen circularly. Above we have provided rooster vs hen images for easy understanding.

Hen Vs Rooster Chart : Major differences in Table 

Major differenceRooster is a male fowl.Hen is a female fowl.
Other namesAdult roosters are also known as cockerels.Hen is only known as Hen, they have no other names.
Names derived from‘Hen’ is taken from an Old English word of Rooster, i.e. hana. However, the hana word comes from a West Germanic word khannjo.‘Rooster’ name is originated from United States and ‘Cockerels’ is originated from UK and Ireland
TailRooster has longer curve shape tails.Hen has a short tail.
FeathersRoosters have a hackle feather on their neck and curved in body and tail. Also, they are shiny and pointed in shape.Hen’s feathers are not that much shiny. You may see shiny feathers when they become adults. Feathers are rounded in shape.
ColorRoosters have multi color feathersHens have one or two color feathers
LegsRoosters have thicker legs. They are pointed and sharp to fight and protect his flocks.Hens have thin legs. Legs of adult hens have spurs but they are not that much pointed as compared to roosters leg.
Combs and WattlesRoosters have tall and big combs than hens. Also, wattles are bigger and redder than hens.Hens have smaller combs and wattles than Roosters. Wattles are not that much red as compared to roosters.
EggsRoosters does not lay eggs.Hens lay eggs.
VoiceMost of the Roosters after 18-20 crows in very loud sound.Hens only crows when they give eggs and graze their chicks.
Hen vs Rooster Chart

So, now we know how to sex chicken? But Its very complicated sexing chicks. Now we will tell you how to understand which chicks are male fowl and which one is male.

How to sex chicks? Understand baby chicks, which one is female or male? 

Sexing baby chicks is a very complicated process, and sometimes highly professional persons also cannot do it. From a flock of newly hatched chicks is difficult to differentiate, which one is a girl or a boy.

However, most of the hatcheries use their professional methods for sexing chicken. Doing incorrect chicks sexing methods by unprofessional persons may kill your flocks.

So, here are some tips sex your chickens.

Vent Sexing 

Vent sexing is only done by highly experienced personnel because it is the most complicated method for sexing chickens.

Some time skilled chicken sexers cannot determine the correct sex of fowl. In easy words, this method help you to know the rooster vent vs hen vent in their early stage of life.

A minor mistake in vent sexing may kill your chicken. It is almost 80- 90 percent accurate, if by a trained hatchery person. Not 100 percent because most of professional sexers sometimes fail in this method.

Vent sexing
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Vent Sexing for Chickens

Picture Source: Backyardchickens

In this method, the professional vent sexers hold the chicks in upside down and remove the chicken feces by squeezing the chick’s body. After that they analyze from the cloaca, If there is a bump inside then it’s a male fowl (cockerel).

Feather Sexing 

It is one of the prominent methods of sexing chicks. This is 100 percent proven method for determining chicken sex parent lines are sexed properly.

This method mainly depends upon the breeds of your chicken. In some breeds hatched pullets born with fast feathering quality but in some breed cockerel.

So, this method works withing few days after hatching. After that this method won’t work because the feathers looks same in both pullets and cockerel.

Comparison of pullet and cockerel one day old chicks
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Wing or Feather Sexing for Chickens

Picture Source: survivalfarm

In this method, the sexer or professional check the wings of the chicks and determine which one has the same length feathers. If same length feathers are there, then it’s a male fowl. The best thing about this sexing method is it’s a safe technique as compared to vent sexing.

Comb colors and sizes for sexing 

Checking the comb colors and sizes of a chick for sexing is one of the best techniques. This method works for the same breed of chickens.

comparison between hen and rooster in baby chicks
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Comb colors and sizes for sexing

If you can see an obvious bigger line color of comb on chicken head, then it’s a cockerel. In pullets, you may see an only thin small line comb color.

This method is 100 percent accurate after 1-2 month of chicks age. After that, you can also see red and pink color combs in your flocks.

Sexing by observing behaviors 

This method is a no-touch method for sexing chicks. You just have to sit a bit far from your newly hatched chicks and observe them.

You can easily determine their sex if you give some time to analyze their behaviors.

Cockerels look vibrant and they move more around the feeder as compared to pullets. They stand with fluffed chest. Whereas the pullets stay in the corners of the brooder box.

You will see jumping and fighting between chicks that show signs of cockerels and the pullets are calm and they stand with their neck down.

How to Tell a Rooster From a Hen at 2 months?

Recognizing a rooster vs hen in 2 months age (8-10 weeks) is easy as compared to baby chicks. It is because their physical appearance was changed and by analyzing them you can make your result.

Roosters in two months of age are called cockerels. So, most of the cockerels at this age have developed a little bit longer and thicker legs with large size combs.

Also, they have fluffy chests and they stand like brave ones. They are always ready to fight and graze alone while pullets (small hens) stay calm.

Most of the 2 months age pullets graze with flocks and the main rooster protects them. They also have a small murmuring sound as compared to cockerels.


Hope, this definitive guide on sexing chickens helped you to understand the major differences between rooster and hen.

Also, we have cleared about the most prominent methods to determine the sex of a chicken? Some methods like vent sexing are so complicated and some are safe like feather, comb, and behavior checking.

Still, have any questions on how to sex a chicken? Feel free to ask using the comment section below. I hope now you can easily recognize your flocks between – cockerels vs pullets and roosters vs hens.

If you liked this guide on ‘Hen vs Rooster’ must share it on your social media to help other chicken farmers.

Thanks for reading.

Bijaya Kumar
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