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Telling the Difference Between a Rooster and a Hen

ArticleThursday 09 December 2010

Chickens are fantastic animals to keep as they provide a family with a daily egg harvest as well as being great pets. Most farms keep their female hens separate from the roosters but it can sometimes be difficult to tell chicken genders apart. While some breeds of chicken have their own different characteristics for the rooster and hen others are more difficult to distinguish. How to tell a hen from a rooster is not always easy but it is possible and this article will teach you how. %%AFC-ADVERT%%


Hen or Rooster – How to tell

  • Examine your chicken’s combs. Hens generally have much smaller combs than roosters so this is a good way of distinguishing if the chicken is a hen or rooster.
  • If you notice that some of your chicken’s combs are floppy and fall across their faces then these are the hens.
  • The next step in telling the difference between a rooster and hen is looking at the tail. The rooster’s tail feathers will be much longer and fuller than the hens.
  • Now you can look at the spur on the chicken’s feet. You should be looking at a long protrusion that looks a little like an extra toe that points in the opposite direction. Roosters have long and thick spurs. Hens sometimes don’t have spurs but if they do then they are much smaller and shorter.
  • Roosters also have shinier feathers than hens as they have oil glands that help them preen their feathers.
  • Hens cannot crow so if you notice any chickens crowing loudly you know instantly that the bird is a rooster and not a hen.


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