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Difference Between Chicken and Hen

  • Post last modified:February 13, 2023
  • Reading time:4 mins read
  • Post category:Animals

Definition of Chicken and Hen

Chicken and Hen are used to differentiate between male and female chickens, with chicken referring to both males and females and “hen” referring specifically to adult female chickens.

A chicken is defined as a domesticated bird that is typically raised for meat or eggs. Chickens belong to the species Gallus gallus domesticus and are descendants of the red junglefowl, a wild bird native to Southeast Asia. Chickens are omnivores and are often kept as livestock for their meat and eggs.

A hen is defined as an adult female chicken, specifically kept for laying eggs. Hens can lay several eggs per week and are commonly kept on farms or in households for this purpose. They are also sometimes kept as pets or for ornamental purposes.

Difference Between Chicken and Hen

Physical Characteristics:

A. Appearance of a chicken and hen: – Hens typically have a more rounded appearance and larger, plumper body compared to a chicken. – Roosters (males) have distinct characteristics such as a bigger comb and a larger tail.

B. Size and weight differences: – Hens are generally smaller and lighter than roosters. – Depending on the breed, roosters can weigh up to twice as much as hens.

C. Feathers and coloring: – Hens usually have softer and more subtle feather patterns than roosters. – Roosters have more vibrant and colorful feathers, often with a metallic sheen. – Some breeds have specific feather patterns or colorations that can help to differentiate between hens and roosters.

Behavioral Differences:

A. Nesting and egg-laying behaviors of hens: – Hens are responsible for laying eggs and will often seek out a secluded area to build a nest. – Hens will lay eggs on a regular basis, usually one per day, and will often become broody, or protective of their eggs, until they hatch.

B. Rooster behavior and mating habits: – Roosters are known for their aggressive and territorial behavior, which can include fighting with other males for access to hens. – Roosters will also mate with multiple hens and will defend their chosen hens from other males.

C. Differences in crowing and vocalizations: – Roosters are known for their loud, distinctive crowing, which they use to establish territory and attract hens. – Hens will make a variety of vocalizations, including clucking, cackling, and squawking, but they do not crow like roosters do.

Nutritional Needs:

A. Feeding requirements for chickens and hens: – Both chickens and hens have similar nutritional needs, but the specific requirements can vary depending on the age, size, and activity level of the bird. – A balanced diet for chickens and hens should include a protein source, such as grains or mealworms, as well as a source of vitamins and minerals, such as crushed eggshells or oyster shell.

B. Differences in protein and mineral needs: – Growing chicks and laying hens have higher protein requirements than adult birds. – Laying hens have a higher need for calcium, which is essential for the formation of eggshells.

C. Differences in vitamins and supplements: – Chickens and hens may require different amounts of vitamins and supplements depending on their specific stage of life or overall health. – For example, laying hens may require additional vitamin D and E to support egg production, and broody hens may require extra calcium to support the formation of eggshells.


Chickens and hens have different physical characteristics, behavioral patterns and nutritional needs. Hens tend to be larger and plumper, lay eggs, have a more rounded appearance, softer and more subtle feather patterns, and will often become broody. Roosters tend to be smaller, have larger comb and tail, are more vibrant and colorful, are known for their loud, distinctive crowing, and will mate with multiple hens.

Understanding the differences between chickens and hens is important for proper care and management of poultry. It can help to ensure that birds are receiving the right nutrition, living in the appropriate conditions, and receiving the proper care and attention. This can help to improve the overall health and well-being of the birds, as well as their productivity in terms of meat and eggs production.

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