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What are the differences between a hen and a chicken?

What are the differences between a hen and a chicken?

When you don’t know much about farm life, you can ask yourself questions that would seem incongruous to people from the countryside. Children’s books are full of basic information and can be a useful resource. However, a ten-page children’s book devoted to the hen indicates how to name the different parts of the animal, what she eats, etc., but does not answer the question of the differences between a hen and a chicken. . Let’s take a closer look.


The only term of “hen“may seem clear, and yet … It appeared in the French language in the 13th century. For most of us,” hen “refers to the animal that gives its name to the henhouse: it is the hen domestic alias Gallus gallus domesticus.

However, by digging a little longer, “hen” also designates the female of other species of birds, the first term being then completed by a second as in “water hen” or “pheasant hen”, “hen partridge “,” hen of heather “… to distinguish with the domestic hen of the farms.

From hen to chicken

Let us take a couple made up of a rooster, the male, and a hen, the female.

A hen lays an egg every day or every other day. If it is too hot or too cold, the hen will lay less.

If the hen has been fertilized by the rooster and the egg is incubated for three weeks, a chick will be born. What characterizes it is its soft yellow down. This chick can be a male or a female.

In both cases, as soon as the feathers appear, the young animal is no longer a “chick” but a “chicken“. The” chicken “therefore designates the young of the hen, whether male or female, having reached sexual maturity. We can find the term”chickto emphasize that it is a female. Over time, the male chicken will become a rooster and the female chicken or pullet will become a hen.

A hen lives between 12 and 15 years. Designated as “layer”, she is raised for her eggs, designated as “incubator”, she is raised for her chicks.

The quality of its flesh when tasted, that is to say its tenderness, depends on the breed of the hen. The 5 breeds recognized as the best for their flesh are the Faverolles, Houdan, Bresse-Gauloise, Neck nu du Forez and Gâtinaise.

The differences between hen and chicken on the plate

The chicken is slaughtered after 3 to 10 months of life. Its flesh is then tender and fatty. And it will be delicious roasted.

The “chicken“is a particular chicken. Aged 4 to 6 months, it is a young fattened hen. The flesh of the hen is yellowish because it is mainly fed on cereals (75%). 3 weeks old, she is fed white corn and buckwheat supplemented with milk. It is thanks to this diet that she gets fat quickly. She evolves in the open air from the age of 6 weeks, but 10 to 15 days before slaughter, it is locked up for final fattening.

The male equivalent of the chicken is the “capon“.

Because of its advanced age, goose flesh is less tender than that of a chicken. To consume it, it will be necessary to boil and simmer it.

To consume a hen or a chicken as completely as possible, consider using the carcass to produce good poultry broth.

Have you thought about it?

A chicken coop in town is more and more trendy …

Indeed, a hen requires much less maintenance than a dog or a cat and, by its eggs, it provides the pleasure of a healthy food of close proximity. In addition, the hens will consume some of your culinary waste such as leftover vegetables and stale bread. They can even eat a little meat from time to time.

Be careful, however: having chickens in your garden is a source of noise and odors that could be harmful to your neighbors. Hens also require maintenance time that should not be neglected: about twenty minutes a day.

A hen will only lay eggs in a suitable environment. You will therefore need to select the most appropriate breed of hen in relation to the surface area you have.

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