About: Domestic chickens vary greatly in appearance due to breed, though they share common traits: squat stature, rounded bodies, dense feathers, and wattles of flesh around the face. Adult roosters (males) have distinct combs of red flesh and striking plumage including flowing tails and shiny, pointed feathers. Roosters may also have spurs on their legs, which they employ in battles with other males. With some breeds, a “beard” of feathers is prominent under the chicken’s face. There are ‘bantam’ breeds, a smaller variety of chicken, and some breeds have tail feathers that span several feet long!
Life Cycle/ Social Structure Chickens have very sophisticated social behavior with a dominance hierarchy where higher individuals dominate subordinate individuals. This is where the term “pecking order” comes from! The dominant male protects the females (hens) and they choose to feed close to him for safety. Roosters are generous when it comes to food-the males may call to their hens when he finds food, prompting them to eat first. This behavior is also seen with hens and their chicks.