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


A:

There space a lot of of various terms because that chicken, aren"t there? It have the right to be a little confusing, specifically when you"re just starting out. Therefore let"s specify these terms.

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Male and also female chicken state

Hen, rooster, roo, capon, chicks, peeps: you probably recognize the terms "hen" and also "rooster," which describe female chickens and male chickens respectively. "Roo" is just short for "rooster," and also "capon" refers to a neutered rooster. What you might not know is that us don"t typically refer to young chickens or chicks by those terms. A infant chick is not a hen or a rooster. "Hen" and also "rooster" space terms used to refer to adult chickens only. By contrast, baby chickens of one of two people sex are dubbed "chicks," however can additionally be called "peeps." Why aren"t there various terms for female infant chicks and also male infant chicks? Probably because historically, that was many weeks before it was feasible to tell lock apart. The Western people didn"t know exactly how to tell masculine chicks native female chicks until the 1930s, as soon as we learned about it from the Japanese.

Chicken, rooster: periodically newbies gain confused and also think that "chicken" method female, and also "rooster" means male. Therefore we sometimes hear world say things like, "I have actually ten chickens and two roosters." What lock mean is the they have a full of 12 birds: ten hens, two roos. What they"re saying is the they have actually 10 chickens, two of which are males and also eight of which space females. So, if you"re a newbie, be sure that you"re clean on the fact that "chickens" describes BOTH males and also females.

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Pullets, cockerels, juveniles: once they"re young, female chickens are "pullets," and also male chickens room "cockerels." Young chickens of both sexes--pullets and also cockerels--can be dubbed "juveniles" or "juvenile chickens."

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So... What"s the period difference between a chick, and a juvenile, pullet or cockerel? It"s a tiny fluid, but generally baby chickens go indigenous being called chicks to being dubbed pullets or cockerels as soon as they grow in feathers quite than down. Male chickens go indigenous cockerels come roosters when they fight puberty and begin mating; female chickens go native pullets come hens when they hit puberty and also begin laying. If you"re not confused enough, yet, we should include that sometimes female chickens are dubbed "pullets" for much more or much less their entire first year, even after they begin laying! This is since when they an initial begin laying, your eggs are not complete size. (They begin small--lucky for them!) so "pullet eggs" advert to little eggs to adjust by young woman chickens.

Started pullet or started cockerel: these are an ext specific state you"ll frequently hear used by hatcheries or breeders. In this context, "started" simply refers to the fact that someone has started raising them already. If friend buy began birds, girlfriend won"t begin with them together chicks; you"ll start with them as pullets or cockerels. That said, you don"t normally talk about your own birds as started pullets or started cockerels--not uneven you just bought them as starteds, or unless you arrangement to offer them yourself. "Started" is more of a business term. Started pullets deserve to sometimes be "point-of-lay" pullets, too, definition the chickens are four or 5 months old, and just about ready to begin laying eggs.

Broody: "Broody" in this sense is just sophisticated jargon because that a mommy hen. A "broody" is a hen who is either setting on egg to flower them, or has hatched them already and is increasing the chicks.

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Biddy: This is a colloquial ax you"ll hear indigenous time to time that describes female chickens. Originally, it most likely referred specifically to an older hen (it also referred to an larger woman, specifically a querulous old mrs or busy-body--comparing her to chicken to be pejorative). Later on it pertained to refer to juvenile OR maturation chickens. The word likely derived from sounds made to speak to the i m crying "biddy-biddy-biddy." yet today, us have also seen world mistake the spelling--"bitty" or "bittie"--and consequently believe it"s a ax that describes "itty bitty" baby chicks. Possibly the an interpretation will eventually shift again, but for currently it is order B-I-D-D-Y and also refers come pullets or hens.

Chook: You may hear this term native time to time top top chicken forums This is just UK and also AU slang for "chicken." Neat!

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Collective noun for chicken

Last, let"s speak a couple of group terms.

Flock: you doubtless recognize this one! It"s a hatchet that describes a group of chickens that live together. Many backyard chicken keepers probably just have actually the one flock. You might have two or an ext flocks if you store chickens in separate enclosures, because that instance, if you each other chickens. So, you might have a i cry or Orpingtons and also a flock of Marans. Or perhaps you have actually two different flocks of combined breeds, the you keep different for one factor or other.

Clutch: a clutch is a term used to describe a broody"s repertoire of eggs the she will certainly hatch, and to just-hatched chicks once they room still drying off beneath mom, and also too young to endeavor out.

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Brood: A brood describes a group of baby chicks the all flower at the exact same time. A mom hen, or "broody," raises a "brood" the chicks. Historically, a team of chicks have the right to be referred to as a "chattering the chicks" or a "peep of chicks." Today, it"s a little much more common to usage the ax "peep" because that each chick, fairly than the group! and I don"t know that I"ve ever before heard anyone refer to a chattering, uneven it"s in a literary/etymological context.