The primary concern of any chicken owner is ensuring the birds are healthy. And a healthy chicken has the optimal weight. So, how much does a chicken weigh on average?
We all know that chicken is priced according to its weight. Furthermore, healthier chicken gives forth to healthier offspring.
Many factors besides weight determine the general health and quality of life of a chicken. However, weight is what we can see. It’s what will assure us that our birds are healthy and happy.
Being aware of how much an average healthy hen or rooster weighs is vital. It allows you to gauge the health condition of your poultry better. If you keep chicken for meat, then such knowledge will be crucial in deciding the breed to rear.
How Does Hens Compare With Roosters In Weight?
Roosters are bigger and heavier than hens. Take a look at your flock if you doubt it. Even when hatched the same day, male chicks will grow faster and bulkier than hens.
Mature chickens weigh between 1.8kg and 4.5kg (4lbs to 10lbs). For each corresponding weight and age, roosters are one to two pounds heavier.
However, there are so many breeds of chicken. Larger species may weigh much more than smaller breeds. Even those belonging to the same breed can vary greatly depending on many factors. We shall learn more about those factors shortly.
When we consider all the common chicken breeds currently globally, the average weight is approximately 2.5kg (5.5lbs) for hens and 3.5kg (7.5lbs) for roosters.
Nonetheless, it is not unnatural to find healthy breeds that weigh as light as four pounds. Others may weigh as heavy as 10 pounds.
What Determines Chicken Weight?
Chickens, like other animals, gain weight as they grow. Several factors can affect this process. Let’s discuss the most important of these factors.
- The breed of chicken
- Nature of feeds
- The living environment
- The hatch weight
- The flock size
This may not be the complete list. However, they represent many factors determining the overall weight a given hen or rooster will achieve.
The Chicken Breed
Discussing all the breeds here is not realistic. However, some species are conspicuously big. As it stands now, Jersey Giant is the heaviest chicken breed in the world. Hens weigh an average of 4.5kgs (9.9lbs), while the roosters weigh about 5.9kgs (13lbs).
Remember that the heaviest breeds are those explicitly raised for their meat. Doesn’t this make economic sense? The bulkier species fetch more than lighter ones. However, just a few of the birds achieve their ultimate weight because they are killed prematurely.
The miniature chicken breeds today are bantam breeds. These birds achieve a kind of dwarfism that genetically limits their growth potential. Dwarfism is a sex-linked trait. This means it can be controlled by gene modification.
Feed Form and Intake
Chicken like you and I are omnivores. It means they feed on both plants and flesh. Birds love grains, vegetables, and even fruits, providing them with vitamins, minerals, and energy. The vitamins and minerals keep their feathers, scales, and claws solid and healthy.
Several commercial feeds are available for specific needs. For example, you will find meals for chicks, for growers, and for maturity. Both hens and roosters can only achieve their total potential weight if you feed them properly.
Such special feeds are often very expensive. Many backyard chicken enthusiasts may not have enough money to sustain those meals. You dare not worry if you are in this category. Many resources are available online to offer you information on how to feed your chicken.
Pellet feeds are better options than other forms. Pelleting feeds results in improved density and intake of the ration. It also improves feeding efficiency and growth. The overall outcome is heavier and healthier chicken.
The flavor of the feeds is also crucial. Birds, like humans, have taste buds. They appreciate the excellent flavor, and this will increase their intake. Chicken also needs water from time to time. Only well-watered chickens can achieve their best in terms of weight.
The Living Environment
Chickens are social animals. They react and respond to stress and other life conditions. Sources of stress can range from noise to the amount and type of lighting and the room temperature.
Chickens tend to like feeding in natural light. Under dark conditions, they eat better in white light. Studies have shown that birds raised under alternative dark and white light conditions achieve optimal weight performance.
Noise can also cause stress. Loud external noises such as those from airplanes taking off or landing can negatively affect chicken feeding. The same happens with internal noises such as those from generators, fridges, and ventilation equipment. These noises can interfere with the chicken’s feeding.
The Hatch Weight
The hatch weight of a chicken is a crucial determinant of chicken weight. Its influence on the growth performance and health of the birds. Heavier chicks will grow and gain weight very quickly.
However, they are verrucous feeders. You must be able to provide them with enough high-quality rations. This may cost you much, but the yields will be much better. Healthy chicks begin with a wide selection of eggs to incubate.
As in all ecosystems, there is survival for the fittest. If you have a large flock, there will be competition not only for food but also for space. If you want your chicken to achieve their maximum weight, you will need to ensure that you keep the right flock size.
Achieving the Full Potential of Your Chicken
I believe you now have a rough idea of how much a chicken weighs. You also know that heavier chicken and healthier and happier. They will most likely gain their maximum weight if you allow them to live their entire lifespan.
Backyard chicken enthusiasts may not be able to manage the heaviest chicken breeds. So, what can you do to get the most out of your ‘normal’ chicken? Here are a few suggestions:
- Cross your normal hen with a heavy breed
- Ensure your chickens are living in optimal conditions
- Feed them a balanced diet
- Give your birds occasional treats such as fruits and meat
- Keep only the number of birds you can care for well
Top 5 Heaviest Chicken Breeds
I feel you can benefit from a list of top breeds that can achieve maximum weight. You can use this information to pick a rooster to cross with your normal hen.
- Jersey Giant,
You have it. Heavy chicken offers many benefits. However, they may be a little demanding when it comes to maintaining them. Go for the large breeds if you want a decent yield from your side hustle. The best idea is to use a giant breed rooster for breeding progressively larger and heavier chickens.