Q: There space so plenty of different terms for chickens--juvenile, cockerel, pullet, chick, hen, rooster, peep, biddy, began pullet, point-of-lay pullet, broody, brood, flock---what perform they all mean?


A:

There are a lot of different terms for chicken, aren"t there? It have the right to be a small confusing, specifically when you"re just starting out. For this reason let"s specify these terms.

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Male and also female chicken state

Hen, rooster, roo, capon, chicks, peeps: you probably know the state "hen" and also "rooster," which refer to female chickens and male chicken respectively. "Roo" is just short for "rooster," and also "capon" describes a neutered rooster. What you may not understand is that us don"t typically refer come young chicken or chicken by those terms. A baby chick is not a hen or a rooster. "Hen" and also "rooster" space terms supplied to refer to adult chickens only. Through contrast, baby chickens of either sex are dubbed "chicks," yet can likewise be referred to as "peeps." Why aren"t there different terms because that female infant chicks and male infant chicks? Probably due to the fact that historically, the was countless weeks prior to it was possible to tell castle apart. The Western human being didn"t know exactly how to tell masculine chicks from female chicks till the 1930s, when we learned about it from the Japanese.

Chicken, rooster: periodically newbies get confused and also think the "chicken" means female, and "rooster" means male. So we sometimes hear human being say things like, "I have actually ten chickens and two roosters." What lock mean is the they have a complete of 12 birds: ten hens, 2 roos. What they"re saying is that they have 10 chickens, two of which are males and eight the which are females. So, if you"re a newbie, be certain that you"re clean on the reality that "chickens" refers to BOTH males and females.

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

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So... What"s the age difference in between a chick, and also a juvenile, pullet or cockerel? It"s a small fluid, but generally baby chickens go indigenous being called chicks to being dubbed pullets or cockerels when they flourish in feathers fairly than down. Male chicken go native cockerels to roosters when they hit puberty and begin mating; female chicken go from pullets come hens once they struggle puberty and also begin laying. If you"re not confused enough, yet, we should include that sometimes female chickens are called "pullets" for much more or much less their entire an initial year, also after they begin laying! This is since when they first begin laying, your eggs are not full size. (They begin small--lucky because that them!) for this reason "pullet eggs" advert to small eggs set by young mrs chickens.

Started pullet or began cockerel: these are an ext specific state you"ll often hear provided by hatcheries or breeders. In this context, "started" just refers come the reality that someone has actually started increasing them already. If you buy began birds, girlfriend won"t start with them as chicks; you"ll begin with them as pullets or cockerels. The said, girlfriend don"t normally talk around your very own birds as began pullets or began cockerels--not unless you just bought them as starteds, or unless you setup to market them yourself. "Started" is more of a organization term. Began pullets can sometimes be "point-of-lay" pullets, too, meaning the chicken are four or 5 months old, and just around ready to start laying eggs.

Broody: "Broody" in this feeling is just fancy jargon because that a mommy hen. A "broody" is a hen who is either setting on eggs to flower them, or has actually hatched them already and is raising the chicks.

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Biddy: This is a colloquial hatchet you"ll hear indigenous time to time that refers to female chickens. Originally, it probably referred especially to an enlarge hen (it additionally referred to an enlarge woman, particularly a querulous old mrs or busy-body--comparing her to chicken to be pejorative). Later it came to refer to youth OR tires chickens. The word likely obtained from sound made to call the flock "biddy-biddy-biddy." however today, we have even seen world mistake the spelling--"bitty" or "bittie"--and consequently think it"s a term that refers to "itty bitty" infant chicks. Perhaps the meaning will eventually change again, however for now it is order B-I-D-D-Y and refers come pullets or hens.

Chook: You may hear this term indigenous time to time on chicken forums This is simply UK and AU slang because that "chicken." Neat!

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Collective noun for chickens

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

Flock: girlfriend doubtless know this one! It"s a term that defines a team of chickens that live together. Most backyard chicken keepers more than likely just have actually the one flock. You might have two or an ext flocks if you store chickens in different enclosures, because that instance, if you each other chickens. So, you could have a i m crying or Orpingtons and a flock of Marans. Or probably you have actually two various flocks of blended breeds, the you keep different for one factor or other.

Clutch: a clutch is a term provided to describe a broody"s repertoire of eggs that she will certainly hatch, and also to just-hatched chicks as soon as they space still dry off in ~ mom, and too young to endeavor out.

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Brood: A brood refers to a group of baby chicks the all hatched at the same time. A mommy 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 the chicks." Today, it"s a little more common to use the hatchet "peep" for each chick, quite than the group! and also I don"t recognize that I"ve ever heard anyone refer to a chattering, uneven it"s in a literary/etymological context.