Most of the people get confused about what is the difference between a Hen vs Rooster vs Cock vs Pullet?
People ask Hey! do chicken have sex? Which chicken is male, which one is female? However, it is 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 Chicken sex in adult chicken is easy as compare to sex baby chicks. Below we have explained about both sexing methods for chickens and baby chicks step by step.
- 1 How to sex chickens? Determine your chicken is a Hen or a Rooster?
- 2 How to sex chicks? Understand baby chicks which one is female or male?
- 3 Conclusion
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.
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 pullet. In some areas people call adult Roosters as Cocks.
In 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?
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.
Hens lays 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 cocks 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.
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 or cock to feed with them.
Except for a few chicken breeds like Aseel, most of the cock 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 in a circular manner.
Hen Vs Rooster Chart : Major differences in Table
|Major difference||Rooster is a male fowl.||Hen is a female fowl.|
|Other names||Adult roosters also known as cock.||Hen is only known 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 ‘Cock’ is originated from UK and Ireland|
|Tail||Rooster has longer curve shape tails.||Hen has a short tail.|
|Feathers||Roosters have a hackle feather on their neck and curved in body and tail. Also, they are shiny and pointed in shape.||Hens feathers are not that much shiny. You may see shiny feathers when they become adults. Feathers are rounded in shape.|
|Color||Roosters have multi color feathers||Hens have one or two color feathers|
|Legs||Roosters 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 compare to roosters leg.|
|Combs and Wattles||Roosters have tall and big combs than hens. Also wattles are more bigger and redder than hens.||Hens have smaller combs and wattles than Roosters. Wattles are not that much red as compared to roosters.|
|Eggs||Roosters does not lay eggs.||Hens lay eggs.|
|Voice||Most of the Roosters after 18-20 crows in very loud sound.||Hens only crows when they give eggs and graze their chicks.|
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 fail to 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 is only done by highly experienced personnel’s because it is the most complicated method for sexing chickens. Some time skilled chicken sexer fail to determine the correct sex of fowl.
A minor mistake in vent sexing may kill your chicken. It is almost 80- 90 percent accurate if done by a trained hatchery person. Not 100 percent because most of the professional sexers some time fail in this method.
Picture Source: Backyardchickens
In this method the professional vent sexers hold the chicks in upside down and remove the chicken feces by squeezing the chicks body. After that they analyze from cloaca, If there is a bump inside then it’s a male fowl (cockerel).
It is one of the prominent method 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.
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 its a male fowl. The best thing about this sexing method is it’s a safe technique as compare 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.
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 looks vibrant and they move more around the feeder as compare 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.
Hope, this definitive guide on sexing chickens helped you to understand the major differences between rooster and hen.
Also, we have cleared about most prominent methods to determine 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 question on how to sex a chicken? fell free to ask using comment section below.
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Thanks for reading.