Chicken Stats

Use these quick facts to better understand how your chickens operate.

by Audrey Pavia
PHOTO: Shutterstock

Chicken Physiology

  • Life span: 10 to 11 years
  • Heart rate: 220 to 360 beats per minute
  • Respiratory rate: 12 to 37 breaths per minute
  • Temperature: 103.6 to 109.9 degrees F
  • Water intake: 210 to 400 milliliters per day
  • Urine volume: 100 to 200 milliliters per kilogram of weight per day
  • Gastrointestinal transit time: Approximately 4 hours
  • Blood volume: 6 to 12 milliliters per 1/10 kilogram of weight

Chicken Reproduction

  • Puberty: 4½ to 5 months
  • Age at laying: Approximately 6 months
  • Clutch size: 5 to 8
  • Incubation: 21 days
  • Birth weight: 30 to 80 grams
  • Independence of chicks: 3 months of age

Chicken Anatomy

  • Legs: Featherless in most breeds; can propel body up to 9 mph
  • Nails: Sharp; used for scratching in dirt, grasping to perch
  • Wings: Short flight feathers, limited lifting ability
  • Tail: Short in hens, fuller in roosters; used for balance in flight and perching
  • Ears: Sizable hole on either side of head, covered by feathers; fleshy earlobe just below ear hole
  • Eyes: Set on the side of the head for a 360-degree view; sole means of identifying food; color vision superior to that of humans
  • Beak: Jawbone covered with lightweight keratin sheath; used to pick up food, grooming and fighting
  • Nostrils: Located on top of beak; poor sense of smell
  • Mouth: No dentition; tongue used to push feed to back of mouth for swallowing
  • Comb: Fleshy protuberance on the top of chicken’s head containing nerve endings and blood vessels; larger on roosters than on hens
  • Wattle: Fleshy protuberance hanging below a chicken’s beak; contains nerve endings and blood vessels; and matches the comb color; larger on roosters than on hens

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