A lot of terms can be used to describe chickens. Sometimes they are used interchangeably, sometimes correctly, sometimes not. But what is the right way to describe these birds when they are in a group? I spent some time reviewing the terminology and closely reviewing the definitions to find out for sure.
So, what is a group of chickens called? An established group of chickens is called a flock. A group of eggs laid at the same time is called a clutch, whereas the collective group of chicks that are being raised together is known as a brood.
As you can see, the number one determining factor in how you should reference these birds, appears to be their age.
Let us now take a closer look at these terms and another of the intricacies involved. We will then take a closer look at some of the other important terms involved for the birds.
These are especially helpful if you are looking to keep chickens so be sure to check them all out and become familiar with them!
Group Chicken Terminology
There are generally four different terms that are commonly used to describe a group of chickens. These are: a flock, brood, clutch and a peep.
Let us now take a closer look at the nuances between them:
A flock is an adult group of chickens, or those that are of mixed age. This group will live together, most commonly in a coop, and will already have a pecking order established.
Flocks develop once a group of chickens has been together for some time; so it is possible to add new birds to a pre-existing flock.
Although if you were to, there would be a natural readjustment, as chickens find their new places in the social hierarchy.
A brood is used to describe a group of chicks. This can either be in a brooder, or that are with a broody hen.
If a brood is raised with the flock, then they will become part of it in time.
A clutch is the term used to describe a group of eggs. There is usually 12-15 eggs per clutch, and a hen will lay a new egg each day until the clutch reaches this size. At that point, the eggs will be sat on to be incubated by the mother hen.
Lastly, when chicks first hatch from their eggs, they peep out. Hence, very young chicks are sometimes called peeps.
Other Important Chicken Terms To Be Familiar With
Below, we take a look at the other important terms often used to describe chickens:
|Cockerel||A male chicken, under the age of 1.|
|Cock||Short for cockerel, so a male chicken under the age of 1.|
|Pullet||a female chicken, under the age of 1.|
|Juvenile||Young chickens of either sex can be classified together as Juveniles (so both Pullets and Cockerels)|
|Rooster||A male chicken, over the age of 1.|
|Hen||A mature female chicken, over the age of 1 year.|
|Chook||An informal term used to refer to a chicken|
|Bantam||Refers to specicifc small breeds of chicken|
|Layer Breed||Breed of chicken that is raised primarily for egg production.|
|Hybrid||A chicken of two different breeds. Not purebred.|
|Poultry||A term used to describe any domestic bird kept as livestock. This includes chickens, turkeys, geese, and ducks.|
Chicken Development – Milestones and Terminology
The last thing we need to consider is how a chicken develops, and how this development brings around different stages of life, and terms used to describe it.
Here it is, for reference.
Chick -> Cockerel (Cocks)-> Rooster
Chick -> Pullet -> Hen
At different stages of the life cycle chickens will look and behave differently.
For instance, chicks will not yet have developed many feathers and will be significantly smaller than by the time they develop into cockerels or pullets.
Its easy to get confused.
I get it, I’ve asked those very questions before myself.
Thankfully, with a little bit of research you can learn to differentiate the terms.
But, remember this.
The term chicken can be used in reference to both males and females (or hens or roosters).
A little confusing perhaps, but an important point to make.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.