I know that one is a female chicken and the other is male chicken. Are the chickens laying eggs considered the same species as those that we use for poultry meat? Or, are they different sub-species, analogous to how there are multiple breeds of dogs?

  • $\begingroup$ Hi @fedslaur, I have made some corrections to your spelling/grammar to make it read more easily. I have made sure to keep the nature of your question. $\endgroup$ – user560 Apr 25 '14 at 23:56

The main difference between a rooster and a hen is that the former is male and the latter is female. Their appearance differs in several ways [1].

A rooster also known as a cockerel or cock, is a male gallinaceous bird. The term usually refers to a male chicken [2]. The hen or the chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl [3].

And yes, the chickens laying eggs could be the same as the chickens that we use for poultry meat.


  1. Anjus Chiedozie. Rooster Vs. Hen on eHow.com
  2. Wikipedia. Rooster
  3. Wikipedia. Chicken

There are probably different breeds that are commercially preferred for egg laying versus eating.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Actually, this is partially correct. I disagree with the downvoting. Yes hen = female, rooster = male of same species. But although basically all chickens can be used for meat and for eggs, there are some breeds that are better for prolific egg-laying and some for fast growth of thick meat. See here: extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/as/as-518.pdf $\endgroup$ – DoctorWhom Apr 26 '14 at 9:02

Yes, they are the same species. Meat birds and layers are the same species, they have just been bred differently to produce a certain result. (Along these lines, you may wish to picture a tomato, there are many different shapes and colors. However, they are all the same thing.). As with humans, certain chickens have certain characteristics. And to an extent "personalities". It does appear, based on this link, that chickens are a subspecies of Red Junglefowl. However, chickens themselves do not appear to have an subspecies within them. Sorry I had to use Wikipedia.


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