Q: There are so many type of different terms for chickens--juvenile, cockerel, pullet, chick, hen, rooster, peep, biddy, started pullet, point-of-lay pullet, broody, brood, flock---what do they all mean?


There ARE a lot of different terms for chicken, aren"t there? It can be a small confmaking use of, particularly when you"re just starting out. So let"s define these terms.

Male and also female chicken terms

Hen, rooster, roo, capon, chicks, peeps: You probably recognize the terms "hen" and "rooster," which describe female chickens and male chickens respectively. "Roo" is simply short for "rooster," and "capon" describes a neutered rooster. What you may not recognize is that we don"t commonly refer to young chickens or chicks by those terms. A baby chick is not a hen or a rooster. "Hen" and "rooster" are terms offered to describe adult chickens just. By comparison, baby chickens of either sex are called "chicks," yet have the right to also be dubbed "peeps." Why aren"t tbelow different terms for female baby chicks and male baby chicks? Probably because historically, it was many weeks prior to it was possible to tell them apart. The Western civilization didn"t know how to tell male chicks from female chicks till the 1930s, when we learned around it from the Japanese.

Chicken, rooster: Sometimes newbies get confused and also think that "chicken" means female, and "rooster" suggests male. So we occasionally hear civilization say things favor, "I have actually ten chickens and also two roosters." What they mean is that they have actually a total of 12 birds: ten hens, 2 roos. What they"re saying is that they have 10 chickens, two of which are males and eight of which are females. So, if you"re a newbie, be certain that you"re clear on the truth that "chickens" describes BOTH males and also females.

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Pulallows, cockerels, juveniles: When they"re young, female chickens are "pullets," and male chickens are "cockerels." Young chickens of both sexes--pulallows and cockerels--deserve to be referred to as "juveniles" or "juvenile chickens."


So... what"s the age distinction between a chick, and also a juvenile, pullet or cockerel? It"s a little liquid, however mainly baby chickens go from being dubbed chicks to being called pullets or cockerels once they flourish in feathers quite than dvery own. Male chickens go from cockerels to roosters once they hit puberty and begin mating; female chickens go from pulallows to hens as soon as they hit puberty and also start laying. If you"re not perplexed sufficient, yet, we should add that sometimes female chickens are called "pullets" for more or much less their whole first year, even after they start laying! This is bereason as soon as they initially begin laying, their eggs are not complete size. (They begin small--lucky for them!) So "pullet eggs" refers to little eggs lhelp by young female chickens.

Started pullet or began cockerel: These are more certain terms you"ll regularly hear provided by hatcheries or breeders. In this conmessage, "started" simply refers to the reality that someone has started raising them already. If you buy started birds, you will not start via them as chicks; you"ll start through them as pulallows or cockerels. That shelp, you don"t usually talk about your own birds as started pulallows or started cockerels--not unless you simply bought them as starteds, or unless you setup to sell them yourself. "Started" is more of a service term. Started pulallows can periodically be "point-of-lay" pullets, too, meaning the chickens are 4 or five months old, and also simply about ready to begin laying eggs.

Broody: "Broody" in this sense is just fancy jargon for a mom hen. A "broody" is a hen who is either setting on eggs to hatch them, or has actually hatched them already and also is increasing the chicks.


Biddy: This is a colloquial term you"ll hear from time to time that describes female chickens. Originally, it most likely referred especially to an older hen (it also described an older woguy, particularly a querulous old womale or busy-body--comparing her to chicken was pejorative). Later it concerned describe juvenile OR mature chickens. The word likely obtained from sounds made to contact the flock "biddy-biddy-biddy." But this day, we have also viewed world mistake the spelling--"bitty" or "bittie"--and subsequently believe it"s a term that describes "itty bitty" baby chicks. Perhaps the meaning will eventually shift aacquire, but for now it is spelled B-I-D-D-Y and refers to pullets or hens.

Chook: You might hear this term from time to time on chicken forums This is just UK and also AU slang for "chicken." Neat!

Collective nouns for chickens

Last, let"s talk a couple of team terms.

Flock: You doubtmuch less recognize this one! It"s a term that defines a team of chickens that live together. Most backyard chicken keepers more than likely simply have the one flock. You could have actually two or more flocks if you store chickens in separate enclosures, for circumstances, if you breed chickens. So, you could have a flock or Orpinglots and also a flock of Marans. Or possibly you have 2 different flocks of mixed breeds, that you save separate for one factor or various other.

Clutch: a clutch is a term supplied to refer to a broody"s repertoire of eggs that she will certainly hatch, and to just-hatched chicks when they are still drying off beneath mom, and also also young to undertaking out.

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Brood: A brood describes a team of baby chicks that all hatched at the exact same time. A mother hen, or "broody," raises a "brood" of chicks. Historically, a team of chicks have the right to be referred to as a "chattering of chicks" or a "peep of chicks." Today, it"s a little even more widespread to use the term "peep" for each chick, fairly than the group! And I don"t know that I"ve ever heard anyone refer to a chattering, unless it"s in a literary/etymological context.