Do we eat male or female chickens?

We consume both. Production facilities raise both male and female chicken for meat. This common misconception arises because of our association of word chicken, the female of the species. Chicken is a type of bird species that describes both male and female of the species. Also, to distinguish between the genders, female chickens are often called hen or pullets, and male chickens are called cocks or roosters.

The egg-laying chicken breed is called Layer chicken and is a  different breed from the broiler chickens grown for meat production. Chicken hatcheries breed one or the other types of chicks based on the poultry industry it supplies – meat or eggs. Layer chickens are bred to produce more eggs, whereas meat chickens are bred to grow large breast muscle and legs.

In the egg industry, only hens are required to lay eggs for human consumption while both male and female chickens are grown for meat and are equally valuable for the meat industry. Leghorns are the top egg-laying variety while red rangers, freedom rangers, and Cornish Cross( better at converting feed to meat) are grown for meat.

It is practically impossible to know whether meat comes from a male or female chicken as they taste almost the same. Generally, chickens are grown together in the same barns and its impossible to distinguish them in the early stages. The difference between both sexes starts to emerge only after a month, and Chickens are generally collected for human consumption before they reach their sexual maturity.

Broiler chickens generally take seven weeks to reach market weight, and once they are of the proper size and weight modern poultry processing farms, make sure to ensure that the chickens are processed as painlessly and quickly as possible. The chicken is rendered unconscious and unaware of pain before slaughter making it more humane to produce meat.

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