What Are Baby Chickens Called?

Baby chickens are usually called chicks. The term chick is gender-neutral, meaning that it can apply to both male and female young chickens. Maybe the reason why these chickens are commonly called chicks is that it is extremely difficult to tell the sex/gender of a baby chicken after hatching. Therefore, a catch-all genderless name makes sense when it comes to describing baby chickens.

Some people refer to chicks as peeps, but this name is only used informally. It is often used to describe freshly hatched chicks. This happens in the period between the hatching (emerging of the chicks from the egg) and when the newly hatched baby chickens are transferred to the brooder.

The nickname comes about due to their soft chirping or peeping sound while inside the incubator. The moment you hear “peeping” noise, rest assured that your baby chickens have been successfully hatched. Let’s learn more about different names of baby chickens in the section below:

What is a Baby Female Chicken Called?

You need to be very observant to know the sex of your chicks. Doing so will help you identify males from females. To achieve this feat you need to take into account every visible sign that your chicks display to draw a line between males and female ones.

A baby female chicken is referred to as a pullet. The name is used primarily to describe a young female chicken that is not yet one year old. It also refers to a female hen that has not started laying eggs.

When your young female chickens are about to start laying eggs, you can call them point-of-lay chickens. Such a name serves as a reminder that your young hens are starting to lay eggs when they are barely a year old. Once they reach one year old while laying eggs, they automatically become hens.

What is a Baby Male Chicken Called?

Chickens continue growing up to the age of 12 months (one year). As they grow, they develop adult feathers and their sexual dimorphism becomes easily known. At this stage, you can effortlessly differentiate male from female chickens. During this growth phase, young males are called cockerels and when they reach maturity, they become roosters.

In most chicken breeds male chicks display wattles and combs that are redder compared to female chicks. These physical differences are apparent as chicks of different sexes grow. Other features that will help you identify a male chick include strutting with their heads held up. Also, their chest becomes puffed out while the legs grow thicker than the females.

Regardless of emerging physical differences, baby roosters are commonly called cockerels. However, there is no specific age that you can say your cockerel has grown into a rooster. This is because their maturity varies depending on the type of breed you are raising and your geographical location.

Some keepers consider their male chickens to be cockerels when they attain the age of one year. Beyond that age they become roosters. At this particular stage, roosters have already developed their characteristic long tail feathers, saddle feathers, and spurs.

What is a Group of Baby Chickens Called?

A collective name for baby chickens or chicks is the “brood”. Usually, the term applies to chicks that were hatched at the same time. Don’t confuse this name with “broody” which is a term that refers to a mother hen.

Historically, a group of baby chickens was known as a “peep of chicks” or a “chattering of chicks”. At the moment they are just called “peeps” as stated above. Other common terms used to refer to chickens include:

  • Flock: a group of chickens both young and mature.
  • Hen: a mature female chicken.
  • Pullet: a young female chicken
  • Cock or rooster: a mature male chicken
  • Cockerel: a young male chicken
  • Capon: a neutered rooster
  • Chick: a baby chicken
  • Brood: a group of hens
  • Peep or clutch:  a group of chicks
  • Chook: a slang name for a chicken
  • Point-of-lay chicken: a hen that is ready to lay eggs
  • Poultry: an overall term for fowls
  • Biddy: an older hen

At What Age Can You Tell if a Chicken is Male or Female?

You cannot determine whether your chicks are male or female at hatching. But at six or eight weeks old you can differentiate between baby roosters and baby hens. At this age, you will realize that combs and wattles for male chicks grow rapidly and become larger and redder in comparison to female chicks.

Often their legs grow differently with the male baby chickens growing chunkier legs than females. At around 12 weeks old your male baby chickens may start to crow although some breeds can start later.

The practice of identifying the sex of your baby chickens is called sexing. Although it is not 100% accurate in the initial few months of their life, sexing your chicks can help you separate males from females. The most common sexing method used is to search for rudimentary sex organs by observing the cloaca or the vent cavity for each chick.

Other methods involve looking closely at the wing feathers. For cockerels, their feathers will be of the same length. Studying the color and size of your baby chickens’ comb is another method that can help you identify both male and female chicks.

In the case of baby roosters, their combs will be larger and brighter than what you will see in pullets. Observing the behavior of your baby chickens, studying the color of vents, and listening to their vocal sounds are all methods that you can use to identify male and female chicks.

Summary

At this point, you should know that there are a few names or terms used to refer to chickens at their various stages of growth and development. Baby chickens are commonly called chicks. Some people refer to them as peeps. Both terms are acceptable. Young female chickens, however, are known as pullets.

Pullets become hens when they are about one year old. This is the exact time they start laying eggs. Young males are referred to as cockerels when below one year old. Upon reaching one year, their name changes to roosters. Basically, these different names will help you describe your chickens better as they grow.

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