Why Do Chickens Have Wings if they Don’t Fly? We all are misled by the word “bird” as we think that these animals can fly. Despite their large wings, chickens cannot fly in the same way as other birds. This animal can still glide and even fly low for a short time. Everything also depends on the breeder, who may or may not have chopped down its wings, a technique used to prevent its escape.
As with other animals bred by humans – dogs or cows for example – hens have been selected to produce multiple breeds. These selections have, therefore, profoundly changed their morphology and behavior. The hens are heavier and their muscles are no longer sufficient. In a few generations, domestication has made the chicken, goose, and turkeys lose their ability to fly at a great altitude.
Note that the golden rooster, which still lives in the jungles of South and Southeast Asia, is perfectly capable of flying, especially to escape its predators.
Why Do Chickens Have Wings if they Don’t Fly / General Information
The chicken is one of the most domesticated animals in the world. The first domestic creations of the species probably appeared in Asia, about 4,000 years ago.
Naturally, it feeds on insects, grains, seeds, fruits, and earthworms. On average, they live up to 16 years.
Why Chickens Can’t Fly / Historical Anatomy
The wild chicken (Gallus ), a bird originally from India, China, and southwest Asia, is the closest ancestor we have domesticated for over 8,000 years. Unlike the wild hen, which can fly short distances, the domestic hen can barely lift off from the ground.
For this reason, we can say that the chicken does not fly because her ancestor was not a great flier either. However, man’s intervention only made things worse for the chicken in this sense.
The pneumatic bones, air sacs, and muscles of chickens are less developed than eagles, parrots, etc.
Descendants of the dinosaurs, the beaked birds had teeth a few million years ago. But according to the ornithologists, since they did not need to chew their food they became useless and the beaked birds lost them. But in the chicken, the teeth have not completely disappeared from their DNA… Except briefly, during the development of the avian embryo, during which appeared a single tooth, called “egg tooth”, grows at the tip of the chick’s beak before falling. It is this “tooth” that allows it to break the shell when it wants to come out.
Production Of Chicken
Chickens are those land animals raised for food consumption.
In 2016, 66,000 chickens were raised and slaughtered worldwide, 7.4 billion chickens in the European Union, 800 million chickens in France.
Presently, 23 billion chickens live on Earth. 10 times more than any other species of bird and 40 times more than the number of sparrows. Researcher Carys Bennett reports that the total mass of domestic chickens is three times that of all wild bird species combined.
Standard Chicken Farming
In France, the raising of chickens is mainly intensive since more than 80% of the birds are raised according to this mode of production.
In this type of breeding, birds are kept at 22 per square meter on average in large closed buildings. Unlike some chicken farms, in France, broilers are not reared in cages. The great proximity between animals is a great source of discomfort and stress for birds.
The high densities, as well as the presence of litter often dirty and wet (the latter is rarely changed between the arrival of the chicks in the farm and their departure for the slaughterhouse a month later), helps in the spreading of diseases. Intensive farming is, therefore, one of the culprits in the outbreak of avian flu-like epidemics.
Intensive breeding chickens come from fast-growing strains, genetically selected to give individuals which grow quickly.
This growth is more rapid over the centuries since the birds reach today their slaughter weight in 35 days, which is 4 times faster than in 1950. This rapid growth is likely to cause locomotive problems in birds.
More than 30% of the chickens die inbreeding because of these conditions of production. To limit the mortality rate and increase the productivity of the birds, antibiotics are often distributed in the food of chickens.
Chicken farming is regulated at the European level by the European Directive for the protection of broiler chickens. Entered into force in 2010, this text is regularly criticized by animal protection associations as insufficiently protective to ensure animal breeding conditions without suffering.
To be brought to the slaughterhouse, the chickens are picked up by hand or by machine, most often by specialized companies. This stage of production is often a source of significant stress and suffering for animals already weakened by their breeding conditions and genetic selection.
The transport time of the animals is regulated by the European regulation which authorizes traveling of 12 consecutive hours without access to water. The most common method of slaughter is electronarcosis.
The birds come out of the transport boxes and hung them by their legs, on a metal rail. Head upside down, they are then immersed in an electric water bath, a step aimed at making them unconscious before their slaughter.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is strongly against this method of slaughter because of the great suffering it causes to chickens. INRA had already pointed out the suffering linked to this method hence causing fractures, dislocations, hemorrhages to the poor animals.
It was through a genetic selection that man was selecting chickens, to satisfy his hunger. Thus, we can say that chickens are not natural species, since they are not, what they are today, due to “artificial selection” made by Man.
In the case of “meat hens”, they were selected based on their muscles, since they render more meat. These overweight chickens and their rapid growth, not only prevent them from flying, but they also suffer from many associated problems, such as joint and leg diseases.
It is its weight (between 2 and 3 kg), ( 4lbs – 8 Lbs) that prevents it from gaining altitude and the low lift of its wings that prevents it from ensuring a gliding flight.
Conversely, the hen, losing its ability to fly, learned to run faster by developing 3 fingers on each leg. If the hen no longer flies, it is because of man.. Man has long understood that this gallinaceous animal presented an important and inexpensive source of food.
Sometimes, chickens, since they are lighter, manage to have a proportion of weight more appropriate to the size of their wings, which allows them to fly short distances. However, the distance and height they can fly are so small that it is easy to keep them within a small fence so that they can not escape.
Egg Laying Hens
The so-called ‘egg-laying hens’ (chickens that ‘lay’ eggs) can produce about 370 eggs per production cycle, between 18 and 80 weeks of age.
The hen alone, due to the characteristics of its reproductive system, produces eggs without the need to reproduce with the rooster. When this happens, chicks are born. Their color is determined by the breed of the hen. So there are white, beige, and dark beige eggs. Species have a habit of setting up their own families, formed alongside one rooster for every ten hens
On the other hand, these hens were selected to lay more eggs. Laying hens can reach up to 300 eggs per year, unlike wild hens that lay between 12 to 20 eggs per year.
Although this selection does not significantly affect the flight capacity of these chickens (they can fly at short distances) it has other associated problems, such as the loss of calcium originated due to excessive production of eggs that are often associated with lack of exercise as they cannot move freely in little spaces, which is the clear exploitation of these animals at the hands of owners.
Although chickens have limited flight capabilities, they have many attributes that most people are unaware of. They are very intelligent animals, with logical reasoning abilities.
Why Don’t They Fly If They Have Wings
The domestic chicken is very heavy, as it is raised for the production of eggs and chicken meat. These animals are subjected to a form of breeding that helps them to increase their weight. Another problem is that these farm birds lay eggs every day, a fact that also increases the weight of these animals.
Another explanation is that, during the evolution of such species, the chicken was domesticated and ended up losing the need to fly. Chickens also do not have pneumatic bones, air sacs, and highly developed pectoral and wing muscles.
Thus, we will hardly see a chicken flying because we only live with fat domestic chickens, raised only, to be consumed by men. Hence we can say, that chickens are very useful animals in terms of food but the avarice of man has prompted this poor fellow to lose its wings at the expense of just a few bites.
Family Sized Chicken Farm Egg Calculator
|Number of Chickens||Number of Eggs / Day||Number of Eggs / Week||Number of Eggs / Month||Number of Eggs / Year||Family Size||$ Value = .30 / Egg|
Per Day / Per Week / Per Month / Per Year / Dollar Value
Rare Breed Chicken Farming
|Rare Breeds||Country of Origin||Eggs/Week||Average Weight||Price / Chicks|
|Black Penedesenca||Spain||3-4||4-5lbs||$ 13.43|
|Black Sumatra||Sumatra||4 / Tinted in Color||4lbs||$ 4.56|
|Ameraucana||United States / Chile||3 / 4 Blue||5 lbs||$ 4.25|
|Lavender Orpington||England||4 / 5 Brown||5 lbs||$ 6.08|
|Partridge Chantecler||Canada||3-5 / Brown||7 lbs|
|Wyandotte||United States||3 - 5 / Tinted Brown||6 lbs||$ 4.90|
|Welsummer||Welsum Netherlands||4 / Dark Brown||5 lbs||$ 5.95|
|Silver Grey Dorking||UK / Roman||8 lbs||$ 5.95|
|Light Brahma||United States / China||Brown||13 lbs||$ 4.90|
|Silver Laced Cochin / Shanghai||China||5-6 / Brown||6 lbs||$ 4.90|
|White Marans||Marans / France||4 / Dark Brown||5 lbs||$ 6.08|
|Dominiques||United States||4 - 5 / Brown||7 lbs||$ 4.90|
|Exchequer Leghorn||Tuscany Italy||White||5 lbs||$ 4.25|
|Silver Spangled Appenzeller|
|Buff Brahma Standard||Shanghai China||Brown||13 lbs||$ 4.90|
|Silver Laced Polish||Poland / Netherlands||4-5 lbs||$ 5.95|
|White Sultan / Fowls of the Sultan||Turkey||2 - 3 / White||4-6 lbs||$ 7.75|
|Mottled Houdan||Houdan Paris France||White||4 - 5 lbs||$ 7.75|
|Dong Tao / Dragon Chicken||Vietnam||2/3||$ 2500 -|
|Ayam Cemani||Indonesia||3 / Cream||5 lbs||$ 50 - $ 2500|
|Onagadori / Honorable Chicken||Japan||$ 49.00|
|Polverara||Italy||2 / 3|
|Ixworth||Sussex UK||4 / Cream|
|Naked Neck / Transylvanian Naked-Neck chickens.||Transylvania||5||$ 4.25|
|Campaign||Belgium||7 / White||5 lbs||$ 7.75 / Golden|
|Deathlayer /||German||7 / White||$ 99.00|
|Serama / Smallest Chicken in the World||Thailand||.5 - 1 Lb||$ 39.00|
|Silkie / Silky||Chinese||2 / Cream||$ 5.75 / White $ 5.75 / Blue $ 5.75 / Buff
$ 5.75 / Black
Types of Chicken Breeds
|Chicken Breeds||Origin||Meat/ Layers / Dual Purpose||Finished Weight||Eggs per Week||Weeks to Slaughter|
|Broilers||Canada/US/Europe||Meat||3.3 lbs||5||14 Weeks|
|Cornish crosses||England||Meat||6.5 - 8.5 lbs||3||8 - 9 Weeks|
|Jersey Giants||USA||Meat ( Intended to replace Turkeys)||13 lbs||4||8 - 9 Months|
|Hertigage Breeds||6 - 9 months|
|Delaware||USA Delaware||Duo||6.5 lbs||4 - large||8 Months|
|Dorking||United Kingdom||Duo||10 - 14 lbs||5 - med||5 Months|
|Buckeye||USA Ohio||Duo||6 - 9 lbs||4 - med||5 Months|
|Rhode Island Red||USA Rhode Island||Duo||6 b- 8 lbs||5-6||5 Months|
|Leghorn||Italy||Eggs||4 -5 lbs||4||8 Months|
|Plymouth Rock||USA - Massachusetts||Duo||7.5 lbs||4||5 Months|
|Sussex||United Kingdom||Duo||7 lbs||4 - 5 - large||5 Months|
|Wyandotte||Canada||Duo||7 - 9 lbs||5 Months|
|Welsummer||Netherlands||Duo||7 lbs||4 / Week||5 Months|
|Hamburg||United Kingdom||Eggs||7 lb||4 - med||9 weeks|
|Black Australorp||Australia||Duo||\3 - 5 lb||5 - med||5 months|
|Buff Orpington||England||Duo||7 - 8 Lbs||4 - 5||8 months|
|Brahma||Meat||11 lbs||3 - med||5 monthss|
Dual Purpose Breeds
Natural Foods for Free Range Chickens
|Insects They Love to Eat||Insects they will not eat|
|Fly / Maggots|
Insects they will Eat
Insects they will not eat
Chicken / Poultry Breeder Associations
|US Poultry & Egg Association||United States||USPA|
|American Poultry Association||California||APA|
|Ohio Poultry Association||Ohio||OPA|
|National Chicken Council||United States||NCC|
|British Poultry Council||United Kingdom||BPCE|
|Poultry Club of Great Britain||United Kingdom||PCGB|
|Association of Poultry Breeders in EU||Europe||AVEC|
|Australian Chicken Meat Federation Inc||Australia||ACMF|
|Australian Poultry Hub||Australia||Poultry Hub|