A rooster is a male chicken, and a hen is a female chicken. While it is often difficult to tell them apart when they are young, some basic physical characteristics distinguish roosters from hens.Continue Reading
The process of identifying the gender of chickens is called sexing. It can be difficult to determine the sex of chicks, which are baby chickens. Sexing chicks becomes easier as they grow older.
There are many different breeds of chicken, but terminology tends to remain standard across types and breeds. For example, a young female chicken that is not of breeding age is called a pullet while a young male chicken of similar age is called a cockerel. Adult females are called hens, and adult males are called roosters. Gender distinctions begin at the pullet and cockerel stage for many breeds.
A few general characteristics aid in the visual identification of chickens by gender:
In certain breeds, roosters are also larger than hens. Additionally, roosters crow, while hens do not.Learn more about Chickens
When a rooster and hen mate, the semen is stored inside the oviduct and is used later to fertilize the egg before the shell forms around it. The semen can be used up to a month after storage.Full Answer >
The most obvious physical differences between a hen and a rooster are the larger, more pronounced comb and wattles on the rooster's head as well as the rooster's thicker legs and well-developed spurs. Hens have all these features, but they're much smaller and less developed than on a rooster.Full Answer >
Chicken eggs become fertilized when chickens mate and the rooster's sperm successfully comes into contact with the ovum released by the hen's ovary. After the ovum's release, the sperm have around a half an hour to fertilize it before the shell begins to form.Full Answer >
Once it has reached physical maturity at about 6 months, a hen lays eggs regardless of whether it has mated with a rooster. The egg production also occurs regardless of male participation.Full Answer >