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Chickens vs Roosters What’s the *DIFFERENCE*

Chickens vs Roosters Whats the Difference

The main difference between chickens and roosters are 1) Leadership 2) Combs 3) Wattles 4) Feathers 5) Spurs 6) Pecking Order. One key difference between roosters and hen is that roosters are very aggressive, prone to violent fights, and are spectacular in driving off predators when compared to their female counterparts, the hens.

Chickens vs Roosters

Chickens vs Roosters – Hens, and Roosters, In as much as we’d love to generalize the term chicken, it might interest you to know that they are of different types, which vary based on their physical and behavioral attributes. And that’s why today, we’ve decided to lay our emphasis on the key differences between chickens (a hen), and roosters, and what you certainly need to know about these two.

  • Crow Sound
  • Combs
  • Wattles
  • Spurs
  • Prowness
  • Leadership
  • Pecking Order
  • Coloring
  • Feathers


Roosters are the male species of a chicken breed, which often exhibit and appear different from the rest. Below are some of a rooster’s unique features;

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hens and roosters – rooster vs hen – how tell a rooster – sexing chicks

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Crow Sound

The most apparent distinctive trait that helps in identifying a hen from a rooster is in how the latter crows. Typically, a rooster makes a —crowing sound. And while each breed varies in sound, often, the rooster crow is specific to the chicken’s family. When other kinds of chicken make a ‘crowing’ sound, it’s never confused with that from a rooster.


Roosters have a large comb, significantly larger than even the best egg-laying hens of the same breed. Many Bird Breeds, the Males are very colorful, much larger features, bright neck feathers, hackle feathers, tail feathers, and saddle feathers, are all brighter than in female chickens.


Rooster wattles are also very large than a hen’s wattles. Plus, they usually have longer (especially the coverlet feathers above the real tail), curved, modified, and frequently quite colorful feathers in the tail, the shanks (above the legs), and ruff (around the neck).

A Chickens wattles help regulate the temperature of the chicken. These are two fleshy growths, that hang under the chicken’s chin. These are filled with blood vessels that can help cool the chicken down. Chickens do not sweat. So they help the chicken maintain proper temps.

Leg Spurs

Roosters, unlike hens, always have leg spurs on the backs of their legs, above the rear toe. These spurs don’t become sharp until the cockerel becomes a year-old rooster. A Rooster uses his spurs for fighting and self-defense.

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saddle feathers – hackle feathers – how tell a rooster

Aerial Prowess

When a hawk tries to attack, roosters make a siren sound when responding to the aerial challenge. Hens, however, do not make this sound, even in the face of an attack from a hawk. Instead, they’ll respond quietly or do so in hiding.


One key difference between roosters and hen is that roosters are very aggressive, prone to violent fights, and are spectacular in driving off predators when compared to their female counterparts, the hens.

Years ago and still in some countries, Rooster Fighting is a sport. Where Roosters fight with others. Spectators betting on the winners. Roosters fight to the Death.


Another quality you’ll mostly find in a rooster is that they are born leaders. They lead the flocks around. Often, they’ll forego scratching for bugs and treats, and instead take a high, vigilant stance, ready to call out to the rest of the flock if there’s danger, most often from aerial predators.


Roosters always have a more fanciful plumage than hens. That is, their colors and neck feathers are often bright and vibrant whereby, those with iridescent feathers will always have their feathers capturing sunlight and redisplay it as beautiful blue and colorful green highlights. So, if you find any chicken with shimmering plumage, then that’s undoubtedly a rooster.


Crow Sound

When a hen wants to crow or make a sound, it “Clucks.” However, it’s only broody (as in wanting chicks and staying on the nest) hens that do this. Clucking is a repeated single sound usually done by a hen, about 2–3 times a second. Disturbed broody hens while in their nest, may cluck after giving an indignant warning screech.

Another time they do this is when they are walking around with their chicks, and they make the cluck sound, which, in their terms, implies for the chicks to follow her. However, this type of clucking is generally faster, higher-pitched, and of seemingly great urgency than the rooster’s crowing.

There is another sound a hen makes, which is known as cackling. And this sound, which is often a slight replica of clucking, but punctuated with a very sharp sound, is commonly used when the hen wants to announce that she has laid her eggs.

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hackle feathers / wing feathers – rooster from a hen – vent sexing – tail feathers


Hens do not develop spur buds on the backs of their legs like a rooster. Individually, breeds like silver or brown leghorn hens, often grow usable spurs, but still, most don’t. Buds grow into spurs under the influence of male hormones at even advanced ages, that’s why roosters have it, and hens don’t.

Combs and Wattles

Hen’s comb and wattles are often smaller than rooster versions in the same breed, even when actively laying eggs. When they are not laying eggs, they have enlarged, dull pinkish combs.


Unlike the roosters, hens have unmodified feathers all through their body, particularly in the tail region where only the real tail feathers are significantly elongated, rigid, and very stiff like the feathers found in their wings.


Unlike roosters, hens are less aggressive. That’s not to say hens don’t fight; they do, however, not as conspicuous as roosters. On the downside, this less zeal of action, often causes hens to lose their feathers quickly than roosters as they age.

So, while hens and roosters all belong to the same bird family, nevertheless, they are different based on gender, physical attributes, and behavioral patterns.

Things You Need To Know

While these two species of birds, hen, and roosters differ in their perspective, there are some key facts you should know about them.  Early on vent sexing.


A neutered (caponized) young cockerel, will grow up into a large plump hen-like creature known as a capon, rather than a rooster. This type of breed of chicken, often provides a lot of great-tasting chicken meat, when compared to the other ones.


A rooster in the chicken world originally refers to a sexually mature male chicken, who is over one year of age and not an adult male chicken as often shown in an exhibition. Instead, “roosters” are the right words for an adult male chicken.

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saddle feathers – combs and wattles – tell rooster from a hen


A male chicken under one year of age is called a cockerel. Aside from immature blunt spurs in the case of cockerels, roosters and cockerels otherwise look and act similarly. In a nutshell, the differences between a hen and a rooster are somewhat less significant in the sense that, other than their physical appearance and crow sound, one needs to take a proper and closer look, before they can spot the difference.

So, if you’ve ever wondered what could have been the differences between a hen and a rooster, I hope this article helps you out with that.

At What Age Can You Tell a Rooster from a Hen

To be able to tell the Sex of a Baby Chick. The Chick needs to be at least 7 Days old. Before that, they have not had enough feather development to be able to distinguish the difference, between the Hens and Roosters, in the many chicken breeds.

How Early Can you tell the sex of a Chick – combs and wattles – roosters and hens

How Do You Know if a Chick is Male or Female

You want to tell quickly when you have chicks what their sex is. You only need one Rooster, but you need laying hens so it is crucial as early as possible. Here are some clues on Your chicks

  • A Hen Chick will have long wing feathers, much longer than Males will Have longer tail feathers
  • Hen Chicks have the second row of feathers overlapping the first Row
  • Male chicks – a short row of Feathers
  • Male Chicks do not have the second Row of Feathers

Can a Hen Turn into a Rooster

No, Female Chicken has one ovary. It is on the left side and develops into a functioning female ovary. On the Right side is an undeveloped gonad, or testes normally remain dormant.

Do we eat Roosters or just Chickens

We Usually Eat Hens. There is nothing wrong with eating a Rooster. The Reasons most are hens are as follows

  • Rooster Meat is stronger, gamier
  • Hens Grow more consistently
  • Many layers become Fried Chicken when laying days are over
  • When growing Broilers, they do not separate them, just grow them and butcher. Eating both sexes.

Are Hens Happier with a Rooster

Yes, Hens are more content with a rooster around. The Rooster helps protect the Hens from predators. They will also help lead the hens to food. One Rooster can fertilize a bunch of Hens.

The Roosters will also help the hens find safe places to lay eggs, and also help protect them. Roosters have been known to be very protective in watching over the hens and their eggs.

Chickens Digestive System

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  • Gregory Gaines

    Darlene and I have Lived on a 500 Acre farm, we lived there raising our 3 children and 6 Foster Children. On That farm we and our Children Raised Rabbits Chickens Hogs Cattle Goats Gaines Gregory