Difference between Rooster and Hen

How do you know if it’s a chicken or a rooster? In common language, we notice that we use the hen or rooster to designate the small animal that runs in a corral, sings loudly, and lays eggs. In addition, we also know very well that we can have it as a pet. However, the chicken will be the name we will give to the animal that we cook and eat.

But, how can we know if it is a rooster or a hen at 3 months? At what age can you tell whether a chicken is a hen or a rooster? If you are asking yourself these questions, Best Pets Lover brings you the following article where we also tell you the difference between a rooster and a hen, so that you can have more information on the subject.

What is the difference between a chicken and a hen?

To know the difference between chicken and hen, we first have to know that the generic species to which they belong is the gallinaceous family. Within the gallinaceous birds, there are different poultry, which we can see, among others:

  • The chicken
  • The rooster
  • The Peacock
  • The pheasant

Secondly, we have to know that when we talk about chickens, we generally refer to the domestic chicken under the scientific name Gallus gallus domesticus. The hen is the name of the female of several species of Galliformes, while the chicken belongs to the species Gallus Gallus domesticus, but refers to the youngest category of this bird. The explanation is simple: the chicken is a young bird within the domestic hen species.

To perfectly know the difference between all their names, which often designate the same thing, it is necessary to know the growth of poultry, although the beginning is always difficult since one will never know which comes first, the chicken or the egg.

Thus, the male rooster fertilizes the hen to give an egg. It then unfolds as follows:

  • After 21 days after fertilization: the egg hatches into a chick.
  • After about 90 days: the chick becomes a chicken, which can be male or female. Upon reaching sexual maturity, the chicken becomes a chicken or a rooster that can reproduce.

Now that you understand how to recognize a chicken and a hen, and that everything is based on the growth of the animal, continue reading this Best Pets Lover article to obtain more information about gallinaceous birds.

If you want to know more about  Why Do Roosters Crow? do not hesitate to take a look at this other article that we recommend.

How can one tell whether a chicken is male or female?

The poultry species has several subspecies of Galliformes, classified according to the International Congress of Ornithology into 5 categories:

  • Megapodiidae.
  • Cracidae.
  • Numididae: we are talking about the guinea fowl.
  • Odontophoridae.
  • Phasianidae: chickens are included within it. Therefore, in Phasianidae, the generic term for the adult female is a hen, while rooster is the name that represents the adult male.

The hen can be a domestic chicken, but also a common water hen or a hen: it is the female of several species of birds. The rooster is her male. A chicken, then being a subspecies of the domestic hen, can be male or female.

To know if a chicken is male or female, we have to know that they can be distinguished between:

  1. A teenage chicken
  2. A rooster
  3. A chicken

For informational purposes, and although we do not justify these practices and condemn them within Best Pets Lover, it is worth mentioning that there is also the term capon to designate a castrated male chicken and the term chicken is a chicken from which the ovaries are removed. Both practices are intended to make the meat tenderer for human consumption.

At this point in the article, and now that you know that the domestic chicken is a subspecies, you are probably wondering how to tell if it is a rooster or a hen, or how to tell if a chicken is male or female. To do this, we will have to look at the eggs that the bird in question has laid. When between 3 and 4 weeks have passed after being born, we will realize that:

  1. If they are male: they will have the largest body and head. Physical elements such as the comb, the barbel, and the tail will be more developed in the rooster.
  2. If they are female: their body complexion will be smaller and smaller. In addition, how to know if it is a rooster or a hen at 3 months will be easier because around these months, if it is a hen, it will lay an egg.

How old must a chicken be to turn into a rooster?

Within the Gallus gallus domesticus family, the male can be called in three different ways. In fact, at birth a male domestic hen is called a chick, then as it grows it becomes a young rooster (an adolescent chicken) to finally become a rooster.

The age at which a chicken becomes a rooster is when it has reached sexual maturity, that is, between 5 and 9 months of age. This difference depends on the breed of the rooster, the amount of light received when the rooster was just a chick, and its environment.

However, full sexual maturity is reached between 8 and 15 months (according to the same criteria), so a rooster can fully reproduce at this time. The hen will also be able to breed at this time.

What is the difference between a rooster and a hen?

Now that we know what animal the chicken is and where the chickens come from, now we are going to see what is the difference between a rooster and a hen. Some of these differences that cause sexual dimorphism are:

  1. The size: as we have mentioned before, the male chicken is larger than the female. Therefore, the first difference between a rooster and a hen is that the rooster, once an adult, is twice as large as the hen.
  2. Singing: while the hen just clucks, the rooster wakes us up by singing with his characteristic “kikiriki”.
  3. The feathers’ colors are far more vivid and striking in roosters, whereas hens’ feathers are less iridescent and more opaque. Blue and greenish reflections are particularly noticeable in roosters.
  4. The crest: the males have a large and conspicuous crest. However, the crest of hens is smaller. In addition, it should be noted that said crest will depend on its size and shape depending on the species of hen we are talking about.
  5. The function: another of the differences between the rooster and the hen is that the former is dedicated to fertilizing the hens and protecting the family. In contrast, they are dedicated to incubating and laying eggs, as well as caring for them later.

Difference between laying hen and domestic hen

The difference between a laying hen and a domestic hen lies mainly in the function of the hen. In this way, we can find the following differences between one and the other:

  • The domestic hen: will be raised for its meat. This chicken will grow much faster and will be much larger because it will be for food.
  • The laying hen: will be raised for her eggs. The growth rate of a laying hen will be lower as it will serve the primary purpose of laying eggs.

The treatment of the two hens will be different since the rearing and feeding of laying hens and hens will be different.

We leave you to consult this Best Pets Lover video so that you can discover generic information about feeding chickens.

If you want to read more articles similar to The difference between a rooster and a hen, we recommend you visit our Pets section.


In short, chicken is the term used to describe both hens and roosters. When you say hen, you are talking about an adult female chicken.

When you say chicken, you can mean either a rooster or a hen. Chickens, of all ages and sexes, can be very different.

Well, I hope this article can help you answer your question about the difference between a chicken, a rooster, and a hen, and all the ‘puzzling’ terms that surround it.