Humans have had a long history with chickens; for over 5,000 years, they have been domesticated from the Red Junglefowl of South-Eastern Asia. Now, there are more chickens in the world than any other bird. When raising backyard chickens, you may wonder, what is a group of chickens called?
The collective noun for a group of chickens is called a peep, flock, or brood. A flock will cover a group of birds, while a brood is more specific to a big family unit of chickens.
The term a peep refers to younger chickens, although the reason for this group of chickens’ name is unknown. Domesticated chickens usually live in flocks similar to the Red Junglefowl, with complex social systems and hierarchies (pecking order).
To maintain a flock, all chickens are kept in the same coop and raised together. If two separate groups have no interaction, then you’d have two flocks of chickens. In our guide, you can find out more about what makes what in a group of chickens and why.
By the end, you’ll know what to call your domestic birds by choosing the most common collective nouns that match the number of hens you have. (Learn How Long Do Duck Eggs Take To Hatch)
Do Chickens Flock In Groups?
When keeping chickens, you’ll see how social they are as they love living in large groups. The recommendation is to have one cockerel for every 5-15 hens if you wish to reproduce.
When kept alone or with only one other bird, chickens may become anxious, and you could end up with a shy bird. Most domesticated chickens breed communally, with the hens sitting on each other’s eggs and sharing the responsibility of raising the young chicks.
In nature, feral chickens also form flocks of several wild chickens. These are birds that have escaped from domestication, yet the chickens behave in the same way and follow the intricacies involved in the pecking order.
How Many Chickens Are In A flock?
Most domesticated chickens should have no fewer than three birds in their flock. A small flock may include six to ten birds, while industrial poultry farms can have thousands. However, this is not typically considered a flock.
Do chicken families stay together?
Chickens have strong social bonds and often roost together to stay warm. When raising them, hens usually share the duties of incubating, brooding, and rearing. The social hierarchy is usually maintained with no issues. However, it can become tense when two or more flocks or broods are introduced.
The chicks stay close to their mothers for 4-8 weeks and reach sexual maturity after 4-6 months, at which point they’ll start breeding and laying eggs.
What Is A Flock Of Roosters Called?
There is no single term to call a group of roosters. Roosters are far more assertive than hens and may attack one another if there are not enough hens for them to mate with.
To prevent this, poultry farmers suggest one rooster for every 10 to 15 you have in your group of chickens when raising chickens. This number may differ when raising chickens depending on the breed, as some roosters are calmer than others.
Despite their aggressive nature, roosters will still congregate with each other. For example, red jungle-fowl roosters sometimes form their own small flocks away from the chickens’ flock. (Read Can Chickens Eat Wild Bird Seed)
What Is A Group Of Baby Chickens Called?
A collection of baby chickens is known as a brood. Although, you can often hear another term for a bunch of baby chickens, and they are called peeps.
These names are often used interchangeably with the term “chicks” to refer to a group of baby chickens.
Terms You Need When Keeping Chickens
There are many terms for what a group of chickens is called and the individuals. Here are key terms you need to know:
- Cockerel: A young male chicken under one year old. Cockerels will be sexually mature from 4 to 5 months.
- Cock: An adult male chicken. Many birds flying and are males are considered fowl and can be raised for game or meat.
- Pullet: A pullet hen is a young female chicken or a young hen less than 1-year-old.
- Juvenile: The juvenile stage is essential, as it is when most birds develop adult plumage and reach sexual maturity.
- Rooster: A rooster is an adult male chicken, another name for the cock.
- Hen: Hens are female chickens who have reached sexual maturity or reproductive age. A broody hen is when a mother hen is sitting her eggs.
- Bantam: A bantam is the smallest breed of fowl or domesticated bird.
- Layer Breed: A layer is a chicken bred for laying eggs rather than meat.
- Poultry: Poultry is the general name for any number in a group of chickens, which can be used for eggs, meat, and feathers.
Do Chickens Get Lonely?
Chickens are social, so you need to understand the importance of allowing them to socialize with other chickens. Without this, chickens get bored and can become depressed, thus leading to destructive behavior like self-harm. (Read Can Chickens Eat Brussel Sprouts)
Other Names for a Group of Chickens
There are four terms used to refer to groups of chickens:
A ‘flock’ is a group of adult birds or mixed age, usually living together and establishing a pecking order.
This hierarchy determines which chicken has first access to food, nesting areas, dust baths, and drinking facilities.
In contrast to other animals, chickens rarely show aggression or fighting towards ‘inferior’ members of the flock. Instead, it strengthens the bonds among them.
A ‘brood’ refers to chicks and their mother hens or in a brooder. After 4-8 weeks, they will slowly start to interact with the other birds. When you raise a brood with your flock, they will eventually become part of it.
A ‘clutch’ is a group of 12-15 eggs, and the mother hen will keep laying eggs until it reaches this size.
When it does, she will sit on it to incubate. When a chick hatches, it will peep out of the egg shell, hence why very young chicks are also known as peeps.
How Many Chickens are a Flock?
When chicken keeping chickens, the ideal flock size is between 6 and 10 birds. This is because a larger group provides benefits and is easier to manage.
However, it is important to consider your budget and available space when deciding how many chickens you will keep. Having too many chickens can lower your egg production and make managing the venture difficult.
Flocks of thousands of chickens can be found in industrial poultry farms, though this is not typically considered a ‘flock’ and slightly more than a fulfilling hobby. At the very least, a flock will comprise three chickens.
Keeping Roosters in a Group Setting
Are you curious what to call a group of roosters? Unfortunately, there is no particular term for them since you rarely find a group made up only of male chickens.
Therefore, you can use the same word for a collection of hens and roosters – a flock. Roosters need plenty of space to roam and explore, with at least 35-50 square feet per bird for flocks where the roosters are compatible.
Also, space should be provided for roosters who don’t get along. This space allows each rooster to keep its distance from the others if desired.
Baby Chickens and What to Call a Group
The term “brood” is widely used to refer to a group of hens that comprise baby chickens. Some people prefer to call them “peeps,” likely due to the chirping sounds they make when hatching or when they first come out of their shells.
A hen that is less than a year old and has yet to lay eggs is referred to as a pullet. When the pullets have matured and are about to start laying eggs, they are known as point-of-lay chickens, usually around 17-20 weeks old.
How Many Chickens are in a Clutch?
Broody hens typically incubate clutches of 12-15 eggs. However, you should provide your hen with the number of eggs it can comfortably cover. Not all eggs will hatch, and the average number of chicks a hen will get after 21 days of incubation is 10-14.
It’s important not to exceed the capacity of your hen, as this can lead to losses due to difficulty in raising the chicks. (Read Can Chickens Eat Cranberries)
Terminology And Collective Noun For Chickens?
There are a variety of collective nouns used to refer to chickens.
- A mature female chicken is called a hen, while an adult male is referred to as a cock or a rooster.
- An immature female chicken is known as a pullet, and an immature male is termed a cockerel.
- A baby chicken is known as a chick, and a neutered rooster is a capon.
- Additionally, a hen ready to lay eggs is called a point-of-lay chicken.
- When referring to an adult group of chickens, the collective noun is the term flock, and a group of hens is referred to as a brood.