If you are a chicken parent, I’m sure you’ve gone through the phase of deciding which ones lay eggs and which one’s a crows and disturb your sleep. Most certainly, you’ve been puzzled by the question, “Is that a chicken or a rooster?” when the tiny chicks have only recently begun to roam around.
You can’t just sit there and wait for the chicks to keep stumbling around and crow to identify them as roosters, right? Neither will the eggs arrive soon to dictate who the queens are.
Normally You can spot the difference by checking the neck feathers, which are longer and pointier on roosters than a hen. Hen has round and short neck features with the same color pattern on hens and different patterns on roosters.
So, how to tell the difference between a hen and a rooster? Here are a bunch of hints that can help you!
Spot These Differences Between Hen vs Rooster
It can be tricky to tell a hen from a rooster at an early stage of maturity because they all look similar and share common behavior patterns. Once the crowing begins, there will be no problem identifying which is which. But how can you tell when they’re still young? Here’s how.
The Feathers Tell a Lot
The hackle feathers are a type of feather found in the neck area of a chicken. These don’t look the same for a hen and a rooster. The feathers of a pullet, also known as a female chicken, will be shorter and rounded in comparison to a rooster’s long, pointy ones. What’s more, only the back of a cockerel is covered in long saddle feathers, which appear to be missing in pullets.
Aside from these, the tail reveals a lot. A male chicken will have longer tail feathers that are wavier and beautiful, whereas a pullet will happily roam around with little round tail feathers.
Rooster vs. Chicken Meat
There is a bit of difference when eating a rooster and a chicken. Rooster meats are a bit tougher than chicken, and also the taste is a bit different.
It can be cooked with the same recipes, but to make the meat soft, you need to cook it a bit more time than a chicken.
Appearances & Coloring
It’s more common in the animal kingdom, where males appear more beautiful and attractive than females. The male peacock has the most colorful feathers, whereas the females have very few. The same can be said for a lioness and a mighty lion with a beautiful mane.
There is no difference for the chickens as well. You’ll always notice that male chickens or roosters have the most vibrant and varied colors. Their longer, lustrous feathers with beautiful colors will be enough to differentiate which is which. A rooster’s striking bluish and fleshy colors would be more appealing to you, whereas hens’ feathers are just plain and opaque.
The Chicken Hat
The spongy red crest on a chicken’s head is referred to as the chicken hat. At the same age, the rooster’s comb will be more red, scaly, and evolved than a hen’s. It would look more developed and more extensive compared to a hen’s.
A pullet’s comb can be large as well, but it will always fumble over where the rooster has the sharp comb that stands still. It will also have color differences, such as the rooster’s comb being brighter than usual and the hen’s being lighter in color.
This unique trait, however, varies depending on the breed of chicken.
This trait is also entirely dependent on the breed of chicken. Some breeds have spurs and sometimes sharp claws on their legs. Hens don’t have these spurry legs most often. After a few months, these spurs can grow to be half an inch long, with sharp claws. These claws can become a danger if the rooster becomes more aggressive and attempts to attack.
Aside from that, rooster legs appear to be thicker and stronger, so you can tell the differences by checking out the legs as well.
A Chicken’s Personality
There are also personality differences between them. Because they have more stamina, roosters can be more daring than hens.
Hens are more reserved, whereas roosters are frequently more aggressive. You’ll notice a change in their behavior pattern as they get older, such as fight club scenes between roosters clawing out each other’s feathers while raising the hackle feathers to pose a threat.
However, there is no discrimination served; a hen’s aggression can also be more than that of a rooster who prefers to do shy walking and remain as introverted as possible.
Chickens are pretty outspoken and expressive in all that they do. They, every once in a while, do cook-a-doo for no apparent reason at all. Crowing is one of the most common ways to tell if you’re raising a rooster or waiting for eggs. It’s a rooster’s habit to crow when the sun rises, disrupting your peaceful sleep. They also crow a lot to attract the attention of other chickens.
In short, there’s no way to be 100% certain or guess correctly whether it’s a hen or a rooster. These are just a few observations we made after spending a long time observing the chickens and their characteristics.
Moreover, you won’t know for sure until they reach maturity and begin laying eggs. Because, as far as I know, roosters will not give you an egg, no matter how much you beg! Jokes aside, the next time you see a chicken, try to identify it using the listed attributes, and we’ll see how exactly you are!