Chicken Vs Rooster: Differences Between Male And Female Birds Revealed!

Nidhi Sahai
Nov 05, 2022 By Nidhi Sahai
Originally Published on Oct 26, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Vikhaash Sundararaj
Check out these chicken vs rooster facts!
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.9 Min

Ever wondered what the difference between a chicken and a rooster is?

Male chickens are called roosters and female chickens are called hens. And to tell the difference, a hen lays eggs and a rooster doesn't.

The difference between a rooster and a hen depends on the breed of chicken but it's pretty easy to identify between hens and roosters. A cockerel is a young rooster who is less than one year of age and a pullet is a young chick (a hen) who is less than one year of age.

A rooster or a male chicken is also called a cock. Roosters are more aggressive as they are known to protect the group of chickens, usually female ones, and are meatier than hens.

Roosters are grown mainly for their meat. On the contrary, female chickens are reared mainly for eggs. Neck feathers whether on a hen or a rooster are called hackle feathers which are rounder and shorter in hens and longer and pointier in roosters.

All chickens have some type of combs and wattles. The combs are the red, fleshy organs on top of the chicken's head. The wattle is the red, fleshy protrusion that grows beneath the chicken's beak.

The comb and wattle on a rooster will be larger and more vibrantly colored than the comb and wattle on hens after five weeks. Roosters use this large comb and colorful wattle growths to attract the attention of hens as they hope to mate with them.

These combs and wattles make the difference between a rooster and a hen. One more characteristic in identifying hen or rooster is the difference between is their leg size. Roosters will have thicker legs than the female hen.

The feathers of roosters are more colorful if we compare them to the hen. The female chicks are known to have pale feather colors and have shades of pale white.

In size, roosters are large and not as fatty as the female chicken and that tells the difference. Roosters are very sociable around humans but they show aggression among their own groupmates.

Long saddle feathers grow on roosters' backs and down towards their tail. Cockerels will develop long, pointed saddle feathers by the time they are 12 weeks old.

Meanwhile, the pullets will have rounded saddle feathers. The female chickens do not have as much stamina and strength as a rooster has.

Different breeds have different tail feathers, but roosters always have pointier, longer, and more showy tail feathers, often in several colors. When the cockerels start to crow and the pullet starts squatting, they may start to grow, and by three months old, cockerels will have long and pointed saddle feathers.

If you have an interest in chicken or roosters, then you can also read about chicken facts and chicken wattle on our website.

Do we eat roosters or just chickens?

We consume both male and female chickens and sometimes don't know the difference between a hen or a rooster because chickens are now utilized to create chicken meat. In the egg industry, only hens are required to lay the eggs, which are then sold for human consumption; however, the chicken meat market values both male and female birds equally.

A roaster has a thicker layer of fat, which helps taste the bird more delicious as it roasts. Males are culled in egg production in the United States because they do not lay eggs or grow large enough to become broilers. The saddle feathers on a pullet are circular.

We eat hen meat when we buy store-bought chicken. This is not because male chickens are unfit for human food; rather, it is because rearing female hens is simpler and less expensive.

A rooster's main job is to fertilize a hen so for every 20-30 hens, one or maybe two roosters are raised by humans. People rarely eat roosters in American households. People in other countries, however, do not consume rooster flesh.

These days broiler chickens are available everywhere as they are more affordable, clean, and can be purchased from anywhere. Traditional chickens and broiler chickens are very different.

Chickens that are kept for the purpose of laying eggs are called traditional breed chickens. Their main job is laying eggs for the farmer who is in the business of eggs. Roosters are also classified as traditional chickens.

Broiler chickens are the chickens that are sold in supermarkets. Broilers are raised and bred just for the purpose of meat.

Broiler chickens are raised in large warehouses all over the world. It is not uncommon for approx 20,000 chickens to live under one roof!

There are regulations in these places to ensure that chicken farms are kept up to standards. Broiler chickens grow very quickly and have a life cycle of about six weeks from baby chicks to butchery, and there is no place there for old chickens.

Broiler chickens do not have as much flavor as slower-growing traditional chickens. If you want to eat the best-tasting chicken and be environmentally conscious, then switching to organic, free-range chicken is best.

What does a chicken vs rooster vent look like?

Sometimes, when chickens are young, it’s more difficult to tell their sex as differences are very difficult to make. A male chicken is called a cockerel when it is under one year of age.

After one year, he is considered a rooster. A female chicken is called a pullet when it is under one year of age.

After one year, she is considered a hen. Vent sexing is the only technique by which one can tell whether a chicken is a rooster or a hen and it is a highly specialized technique.

The cloaca is the single rear opening under the base of a chicken's tail. Its primary use for a hen is to lay eggs.

It's also frequently called the 'vent' which is why this type of sex reveal is called vent sexing. Coloring is another method for determining the gender of your flock members early on.

Some types of chickens, called 'sex link chickens' have different colors for each sex when vent sexing is done. When a chick is fresh out of the shell and dry, the only reliable technique of sex is to look at the sex organs in its vents. Vent sexing is a highly technical practice that takes years to master.

The distinction between male and female sex organs in newborn chicks is slight. If done poorly, vent sexing can result in significant harm or death, thus this technique is better left to experts.

Vent sexing is a highly complicated process. In fact, to be a skilled chicken 'sexer' i.e.

the specialist, you need to go undergo a formal extensive training. When done poorly, vent sexing can result in serious harm or even death to the chicken since it entails discharging feces from the cloaca of the birds in order to see the birds' distinct sexual features.

In fact, the only good places to buy 'vent sexed' chicks are from any hatchery where they keep highly trained personnel to do this job. This means that if you order female chicks from a hatchery you still have a chance of ending up with one or more cockerels!

Are all male chickens roosters?

Yes, all male chickens grow up to become roosters. When they are less than a year old they are called cockerels or cock. The female's gender of the breed shows various differences, in the flock in the legs, egg-laying capacity, and hackle feathers. Pullets have round saddle feathers.

The difference between a rooster and a hen depends on the breed of chick but it's pretty easy to identify between hens and roosters. The size of a rooster is much bigger than a hen, another way to differentiate is roosters have larger combs and wattles and both comb and wattle are deeper in color red than a hen's.

The wings, feathers, saddle, and legs portray differences in the breeds.

Why are roosters mean to hens?

A rooster has two purposes, one is to mate and the other is to protect his females from the dangers of predators. A rooster can even die to protect the hen.

They may also die after mating due to physical strain and exhaustion. If not taken care of properly, the roosters can sometimes kill the hens after over-mating.

The rooster will pull a feather or wattles or combs from the back of the females of chicks and will grab the legs or neck of hens, or climb on the top of the hens. Pullets have round saddle feathers and they lay the egg after maturing.

The roosters will show this kind of behavior more often when they will turn four to five months old and not as baby chicks. It might look aggressive but it is their natural instinct and they do so to perform mating also.

Roosters show this behavior is for the whole flock of hens.

Hens and roosters will show a mutual understanding if the hens will accept the mating offer of the roosters and let him climb on the top.

When there are different chicken breeds in the flock, it is possible that the more docile or old chicks will show more bald spots because of the feather plucking by roosters. The Malay rooster breed is considered the most aggressive breed.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for chicken vs rooster: differences between male and female birds revealed, then why not take a look at can chickens lay eggs without a rooster, oh yes they can, sorry Mate!

or can chickens eat watermelon, fresh melon can be your birdie's treat?

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Written by Nidhi Sahai

Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication

Nidhi Sahai picture

Nidhi SahaiBachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication

Dedicated and experienced, Nidhi is a professional content writer with a strong reputation for delivering high-quality work. She has contributed her expertise to esteemed organizations, including Network 18 Media and Investment Ltd. Driven by her insatiable curiosity and love for journalism and mass communication, Nidhi pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, graduating with distinction in 2021. During her college years, she discovered her passion for Video Journalism, showcasing her skills as a videographer for her institution. Nidhi's commitment to making a positive impact extends beyond her professional pursuits. Actively engaging in volunteer work, she has contributed to various events and initiatives throughout her academic career.

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Fact-checked by Vikhaash Sundararaj

Bachelor of Fine Arts specializing in International Business

Vikhaash Sundararaj picture

Vikhaash SundararajBachelor of Fine Arts specializing in International Business

With a background in International Business Management, having completed his degree at the University of Hull. Vikhaash has volunteered with 'Teach For India' to help students create a monthly newsletter. In his free time, he enjoys sports and was the assistant captain of his school's hockey team. He has also gained marketing experience through an internship at Decathlon Sports India.

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