Why Do Chickens Have Wings if they Don’t Fly / Do Chickens Fly

Why Do Chickens Have Wings if they Don't Fly

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.

Why Do Chickens Have Wings if they Don't Fly / Do Chickens Fly 1
did chickens ever fly

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.

12 Ways to Make Money by Chicken Farming—Extensive Guidelines for Chicken FarmersOpens in a new tab.

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.

able to fly

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.

Why Do Chickens Have Wings if they Don't Fly / Do Chickens Fly 2
have chickens ever been able to fly / chickens can fly

Production Of Chicken

Chickens are those land animals raised for food consumptionOpens in a new tab..

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 Opens in a new tab.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.

Why Do Chickens Have Wings if they Don't Fly / Do Chickens Fly 3
could chickens ever fly

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.

chickens can fly

Chicken Slaughtering

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.

Man’s Fault

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

Why Do Chickens Have Wings if they Don't Fly / Do Chickens Fly 4
escape predators

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

This answer is simple,  chickens do not fly because of their weight.

The domestic chicken is very heavy, as it is raised for the production of eggs and chicken meat.Opens in a new tab. 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.

Final Thoughts

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 ChickensNumber of Eggs / DayNumber of Eggs / WeekNumber of Eggs / MonthNumber of Eggs / YearFamily Size$ Value = .30 / Egg
How Many Chickens Do I need to Provide Eggs For my Family
Per Day / Per Week / Per Month / Per Year / Dollar Value

Rare Breed Chicken Farming

Rare BreedsCountry of OriginEggs/WeekAverage WeightPrice / Chicks
Black PenedesencaSpain3-44-5lbs$ 13.43
Black SumatraSumatra4 / Tinted in Color4lbs$ 4.56
AmeraucanaUnited States / Chile3 / 4 Blue5 lbs$ 4.25
Lavender OrpingtonEngland4 / 5 Brown 5 lbs$ 6.08
Partridge ChanteclerCanada3-5 / Brown7 lbs
WyandotteUnited States3 - 5 / Tinted Brown6 lbs$ 4.90
WelsummerWelsum Netherlands4 / Dark Brown5 lbs$ 5.95
Silver Grey DorkingUK / Roman8 lbs$ 5.95
Light BrahmaUnited States / ChinaBrown13 lbs$ 4.90
Silver Laced Cochin / ShanghaiChina5-6 / Brown6 lbs$ 4.90
White MaransMarans / France4 / Dark Brown5 lbs$ 6.08
DominiquesUnited States4 - 5 / Brown 7 lbs$ 4.90
Exchequer LeghornTuscany ItalyWhite5 lbs$ 4.25
Silver Spangled Appenzeller
Switzerland54 lbs
Buff Brahma StandardShanghai ChinaBrown13 lbs$ 4.90
Silver Laced PolishPoland / Netherlands4-5 lbs$ 5.95
White Sultan / Fowls of the SultanTurkey2 - 3 / White 4-6 lbs$ 7.75
Mottled HoudanHoudan Paris FranceWhite4 - 5 lbs$ 7.75
Dong Tao / Dragon ChickenVietnam2/3$ 2500 -
Ayam CemaniIndonesia3 / Cream 5 lbs$ 50 - $ 2500
Onagadori / Honorable ChickenJapan$ 49.00
PolveraraItaly2 / 3
IxworthSussex UK4 / Cream
Naked Neck / Transylvanian Naked-Neck chickens.Transylvania5$ 4.25
CampaignBelgium7 / White5 lbs$ 7.75 / Golden
Deathlayer / German7 / White$ 99.00
Serama / Smallest Chicken in the WorldThailand.5 - 1 Lb$ 39.00
Silkie / SilkyChinese2 / Cream$ 5.75 / White $ 5.75 / Blue $ 5.75 / Buff
$ 5.75 / Black
Pricing is buying 1 Chick - Bulk gives better prices - they are also only available during a special date ranges

Types of Chicken Breeds

Chicken BreedsOriginMeat/ Layers / Dual PurposeFinished WeightEggs per WeekWeeks to Slaughter
Canada/US/EuropeMeat3.3 lbs514 Weeks
Cornish crossesOpens in a new tab.EnglandMeat6.5 - 8.5 lbs38 - 9 Weeks
Jersey GiantsOpens in a new tab.USAMeat ( Intended to replace Turkeys)13 lbs48 - 9 Months
Hertigage Breeds6 - 9 months
DelawareUSA DelawareDuo6.5 lbs4 - large8 Months
DorkingUnited KingdomDuo10 - 14 lbs5 - med5 Months
BuckeyeUSA OhioDuo6 - 9 lbs4 - med5 Months
Rhode Island RedUSA Rhode Island Duo6 b- 8 lbs5-65 Months
LeghornItalyEggs4 -5 lbs48 Months
Plymouth RockUSA - MassachusettsDuo7.5 lbs45 Months
SussexUnited KingdomDuo7 lbs4 - 5 - large5 Months
WyandotteCanadaDuo7 - 9 lbs5 Months
WelsummerNetherlandsDuo7 lbs4 / Week5 Months
HamburgUnited KingdomEggs7 lb4 - med9 weeks
Black AustralorpAustraliaDuo\3 - 5 lb5 - med5 months
Buff OrpingtonEngland Duo7 - 8 Lbs4 - 58 months
BrahmaMeat11 lbs3 - med5 monthss
Name of Breed
Meat Breeds
Laying Breeds
Dual Purpose Breeds

Natural Foods for Free Range Chickens

Insects They Love to EatInsects they will not eat

GrasshoppersLady Bugs
GrasshoppersHoney Bees
TerminatesBumble Bees
GrassesStink Bugs
Green Leafy
Parisite Eggs
Japanese beetles
Tiny Lizards
Tomatoe Worms
Cabbage Worms
Pill Bugs
Fly / Maggots
Fire Ants
Natural Foods for Free Range Chickens
Insects they will Eat
Insects they will not eat

Chicken / Poultry Breeder Associations

Rabbit AssociationLocationLink
US Poultry & Egg AssociationUnited StatesUSPAOpens in a new tab.
American Poultry AssociationCaliforniaAPAOpens in a new tab.
Ohio Poultry AssociationOhioOPAOpens in a new tab.
National Chicken CouncilUnited StatesNCCOpens in a new tab.
British Poultry CouncilUnited KingdomBPCEOpens in a new tab.
Poultry Club of Great BritainUnited KingdomPCGBOpens in a new tab.
Association of Poultry Breeders in EUEuropeAVECOpens in a new tab.
Australian Chicken Meat Federation IncAustraliaACMFOpens in a new tab.
Australian Poultry HubAustraliaPoultry HubOpens in a new tab.

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