Perhaps the title could also be, ‘what are chicks’ or ‘what is a chick’? It’s common to hear all of these terms used interchangeably. So, what are baby chickens called?
Table of Contents
What are Chickens?
The scientific name for a chicken is Gallus domesticus. Chickens are descendants of wild junglefowl and were domesticated about 10,000 years ago in Asia. There are an estimated 24 billion chickens in the world today, making them the world’s most common bird.
Chickens are kept by humans for their meat and eggs. Chickens typically lay one egg a day, although this can vary depending on the breed and conditions.
The female chicken is called a hen and the male chicken is called a cock or rooster. A young chicken of either sex is called a chick. Hens begin to lay eggs from around 6 months old, although this can vary depending on the breed.
What Are Baby Chickens Called?
Baby chickens are called chicks. A chick is a young chicken that is usually less than six weeks old. Chickens mature quickly and can begin laying eggs as early as six months old.
Young chicks are hatched after 21 days from eggs with single yolks as eggs with double yolks cannot be fertilized.
Origin of the word chick;
According to Wiktionary, the word Chick dates back to 1860 and was used to refer to a young woman.
According to Etymoline, the history of the word chick to refer to young chicken dates back to 14-c, during the periods of what’s called the era of Middle English. It could also as a shortening of the word chicken. The Middle English era was a time when words were created by adding -en to create a new word. For example, the word chicken comes from the word chick with the addition of -en.
Below is a short video of Brahma chicken chicks;
Other Baby Chicken Terminologies
There are a few other terms used to describe different types of chickens:
- Pullets – A pullet is a young hen that has not yet begun to lay eggs.
- Cockerels – A cockerel is a young rooster.
- Bantams – Bantams are small chickens that usually weigh less than four pounds.
- Fryers – Fryers are young chickens that are between four and eight weeks old and typically weigh between two and four pounds.
- Roasters – Roasters are older chickens that usually weigh more than four pounds.
I’ve also heard people called young chicken peeps and in informal language, can be ‘loads of peeps’ when they are several of them.
To sum it all up, baby chickens are called chicks, young hens are called pullets, young roosters are called cockerels, and small chickens are called bantams. Fryers and roasters are terms used to describe chickens based on their age and size.
When to use and not use the terminologies:
Chick: Can be used for any age but generally means a chicken less than 6 weeks old
Pullet: A female chicken under 1 year of age
Cockerel: A male chicken under 1 year of age
Bantam: A small chicken, usually a miniature version of a standard breed
Fryer: A young chicken between 4 and 8 weeks old, typically 2-4 pounds
Roaster: An older chicken, typically more than 4 pounds
Peep: Informal term used to describe baby chickens of any age
When to use chicks to mean baby chicken:
Chicks can be used when they are less than six weeks old. If you want to use them for meat, it is best to wait until they are at least eight weeks old.
When not to use chicks: Chicks should not be used if they are older than six weeks old. This is because they will start to develop feathers and will not be as tender as younger chicks.
Other terminologies used to refer to chickens and groups of chickens:
- Brood: A brood of chickens is a group of young chicks that are being raised together.
- Clutch: A clutch of eggs is a group of eggs that have been laid by a chicken.
- Flock: A flock of chickens is a group of chickens that are living together.
- Gaggle: A gaggle of geese is a group of geese that are living together.
- Kettle: A kettle of hawks is a group of hawks that are flying together.
When to use other terminologies for chicken babies;
- Brood: You can use the term brood when you are referring to a group of young chicks that are being raised together.
- Clutch: You can use the term clutch when you are referring to a group of eggs that have been laid by a chicken.
- Flock: You can use the term flock when you are referring to a group of chickens that are living together.
- Gaggle: You can use the term gaggle when you are referring to a group of geese that are living together.
- Kettle: You can use the term kettle when you are referring to a group of hawks that are flying together.
When not to use other terminologies for chicken babies;
- Brood: You should not use the term brood when referring to a group of adult chickens.
- Clutch: You should not use the term clutch when referring to a group of chicks.
- Flock: You should not use the term flock when referring to a group of ducks.
- Gaggle: You should not use the term gaggle when referring to a group of chickens.
- Kettle: You should not use the term kettle when referring to a group of birds that are not hawks.
At what age can you tell a female from a male chicken?
From around the 6th week, you may tell a female chicken from a male chicken by their appearance. Male chickens will have larger combs and wattles (the fleshy growths on their head) than females, and their feathers will be pointier. Females will have smaller combs and wattles, and their feathers will be rounder. However, it is best to wait until they are at least 8 weeks old to be sure.
What is a baby rooster called?
A baby rooster is called a cockerel. You can use the term rooster to mean an adult male chicken or the term cockerel to mean a young male chicken.
Generally, the term cockerel is used to describe chicken male babies from when they are hatched to a year. By the first year, they’ll have developed saddled feathers, larger wattles, and a fuller comb. After the first year, they can officially be called a rooster.
What is a baby hen called?
A baby hen is called a pullet. Pullets are female chickens that are less than a year old. After the first year, they can officially be called hens. Hens are adult female chickens that lay eggs.
What is a group of baby chickens called?
A group of baby chickens is typically called a brood or clutch. However, you can also use the term chicks to refer to baby chickens. Chicks can be used when they are less than six weeks old. If you want to use them for meat, it is best to wait until they are at least eight weeks old.
What is a group of adult chickens called?
A group of adult chickens is typically called a flock. However, you can also use the term chickens to refer to adult chickens. Chickens can be used when they are more than six weeks old. If you want to use them for meat, it is best to wait until they are at least eight weeks old.
Q: Do baby chickens need a heat lamp?
A: Baby chicks generally need a heat lamp to keep them warm. The temperature should be kept between 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit for the first week, and then can be decreased by 5 degrees each week after that.
Q: Can baby chickens drink water?
A: Yes, baby chicks can drink water. It is important to make sure that they have access to fresh, clean water at all times.
Q: What do baby chickens eat?
A: Baby chicks generally eat a diet of chick starter feed. This is a special type of feed that is made specifically for baby chicks. It contains all of the nutrients and vitamins that they need to grow and thrive.
Q: How often do baby chickens need to eat?
A: Baby chicks generally need to eat every few hours. They will usually eat less food as they get older and can go longer between meals.
Q: Do baby chickens need to be vaccinated?
A: Yes, baby chicks should be vaccinated to help protect them from diseases. Vaccinations are typically given at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age.
Q: When can baby chickens be sexed?
A: Baby chicks can typically be sexed at around 6 weeks of age. However, it is best to wait until they are at least 8 weeks old to be sure.
Q: Can baby chickens be spayed or neutered?
A: No, baby chicks cannot be spayed or neutered. This is a surgical procedure that can only be performed by a veterinarian on an adult chicken.
Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.
Hi there! My name is Ben Domb, an owner of two pets and I am one of the co-founders of OurPets HQ. I have several years of experience as a pet care professional in the New England region having spent time in various roles including a stint at a veterinary hospital in Upstate New York, Syracuse area. I am a certified pet care professional and mostly spend my time researching pet nutrition and sharing my thoughts in various blogs and columns. With quarantine and COVID restrictions, I have been spending a lot of time a lot with my dogs and cat and loving it! I also run a small consulting business providing advice to parents on pet nutrition, and especially safe homemade options to try. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org