The Facts

  • Genus/species: Gallus gallus domesticus
  • Conservation status: Least Concern
  • Location: World wide


The Scoop

The Most Useful Bird

Chickens are birds that cannot fly. Babies are called chicks, adult females are called hens and adult males are called roosters. Roosters have striking plumage, long flowing tails and bright pointed feathers on their necks. There are over 150 different breeds of chicken that come in various colors, patterns and sizes. Roosters make a very loud crowing sound usually very early in the morning and can be quite aggressive birds. Hens lay eggs that range in color from white to pale brown to other pale colors depending on the breed. Chicks are usually fluffy, yellow and very cute. While a rooster crows and hens cluck, a chick just chirps and goes ‘cheep cheep.’

Adult chickens can be about 15 inches tall and weigh between two to three lbs. Baby chicks are just adorable little balls of fluff! Chickens have a varied diet. They will feed on small seeds, herbs and leaves, grubs, insects and even small mammals like mice if they can catch them. Chickens often scratch at the soil to get at adult insects and larva or seeds. Chickens have a well-developed gizzard - a part of the stomach that contains tiny stones- that grinds up their food.

With a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other bird. Chickens are very beneficial to humans. They can be kept as pets for breeding and for egg laying and for a food product.


Did You Know? 

  • Although chickens are flightless birds, they try to fly by running and flapping their wings. Sometimes they manage to fly short distances or over a fence.
  • Chickens live together as a flock.
  • Chickens are actually not the bird brains many people think they are. They can recognize over 100 individuals’ faces, learn from watching each other and worry about the future.
  • Chickens have over 30 distinct calls, including separate alarm calls.


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