Is a hen a chicken?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “Is a hen a chicken?” and provide information on what exactly are hens and chickens, the differences in their appearance, how to encourage hens to lay eggs as well as how to take care of chickens.

Is a hen a chicken?

Yes, a hen is a chicken. All hens can be called chickens. However, all chickens cannot be classified as hens. This is because the term chicken is gender-neutral. Hen on the other hand refers to females.

Chickens can refer to either males (that are called roosters) or females (called hens). Another primary difference between chickens and hens can be their age.

Hen is normally used to refer to adult female birds whereas chicken can refer to birds of any age. The term hen is a bit more specific than chicken.

What are hens?

As mentioned before, hens refer to female birds. However, the definition of hens can slightly vary among people.

Some farmers consider their female birds to be hens after they have finished laying eggs. Hens can lay eggs when they are between the age of 8 months to 2 years. This can differ based on its breed.

Some believe that hens reach maturity once they have turned a year old. Yet others believe that birds become hens when their breast bones become developed. 

As hens lay eggs, they tend to be very protective. Hens also tend to be protective over their chicks but allow the chicks to figure out some activities for themselves to become independent.

Laying hens are specifically kept to lay eggs. Hens would be able to lay approximately 300 eggs a year. The color of the eggs can vary from white and beige to brown. The size of the eggs can vary from hen to hen.

What are chickens?

Chickens refer to both male and female birds of the junglefowl family. Young chickens can be called chicks. However, the term chickens can also be used to refer to young chicks too!

Can chickens lay eggs?

Female birds that are capable of laying eggs are called hens but all chickens are not capable of laying eggs. This is because roosters and chicks can fall under the category of chicken as well. As a result, many chickens might be unable to lay eggs.

If a female bird is not capable of laying eggs, it would not be called a hen. This is because there are certain female birds that are exclusively raised for their meat. 

Is there a difference in appearance between chickens and hens?

Yes, there can be a difference in appearance between chickens and hens. Hens can be smaller in size compared to male chickens or chickens that are raised for meat. However, this does not mean that all small birds are hens. 

Another distinguishing factor between hens and chickens is that hens are less likely to have combs on top of their heads. However, certain chicken breeds do have combs atop their heads.

How can you encourage hens to lay eggs?

If you want your hens to lay eggs, it is important to provide suitable conditions for them to lay eggs. Hens that are stressed would not lay eggs. They require a proper nesting box which should be free from any kind of danger.

Apart from this, there should be enough space to move around as well. As certain hens are very protective of their eggs, you can remove their real eggs and place false eggs to reduce them from being stressed. Make sure to feed them properly as well.

How can you take care of chickens?

Chickens can be raised to obtain both meat and eggs. Some chickens are even raised as pets because they are quite friendly and get along well with children.

A pen or coop is required for housing chickens. Even though caring for chickens does not require the commitment of raising livestock, it is still important to provide care and attention to them.

During winter, you might need to warm up the coop or pen. You can also try growing chicken breeds that are able to sustain extreme cold if you live in a particularly cold region or country.

It is important to feed them well and also breed chickens if you wish to expand your flock. You need to buy a rooster for this purpose. One rooster can be enough for eight hens. If you want eggs, you can buy more hens and do not need to buy a rooster.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “Is a hen a chicken?” and provided information on what exactly are hens and chickens, the differences in their appearance, how to encourage hens to lay eggs as well as how to take care of chickens.