Wondering how many legs does a chicken have? It’s not that silly of a question; chickens have 2 legs, and 4 limbs in total as they also have 2 wings.
There is often some confusion as it’s easy to buy packs of 4 chicken legs (or more). This simply means that you’re buying legs from any number of chickens.
Do Chickens Have 2 or 4 Legs?
If someone has told you that a chicken has 4 legs, the only reason I can think of that they’re saying that is because chickens have 4 limbs.
If you count their two wings and two legs, that does of course equal 4.
If you watch a chicken walking around, it’s not like they walk on all fours like a cat or a dog. Chickens clearly walk on two legs.
Related - How many toes do chickens have?
Do Some Chickens Have 4 Legs?
It’s amazing how many times I’ve heard someone mention chickens have 4 legs, but it’s simply not true.
There have been cases where chicks have been born with 3 or 4 legs, but this is an abnormality. Extra limbs can happen due to mutations, but they are never functional.
I really don’t know if it’s a joke, a myth, or there is some other reason for some people thinking or saying chickens have 4 legs - but take it as fact, chickens have 2 legs.
Do Chickens Have Limbs?
Chickens do have limbs, yes. If you look up the definition of a ‘limb’ in the dictionary, you’ll see it states the following:
an arm or leg of a person or four-legged animal, or a bird's wing.
Therefore, chickens have 4 limbs just as we do. You will not often see them using their wings, and they really can’t fly very high or far though.
Related - Can chickens fly?
Do Hens and Roosters Both Have 2 Legs?
When talking about chickens there is often some confusion around male and female chickens.
To clear this up; male adult chickens are called roosters, and female adult chickens are called hens.
They both have the same limbs, wings, and legs. Roosters tend to be larger, have more impressive feather displays, and are a lot more aggressive.
While hens are the ones that lay eggs and most people are much more familiar with them. This is why most people just call hens ‘chickens’.
Why Are Chicken Legs Called Drumsticks?
Personally, I’ve always found it a bit strange that chicken legs - at least the way they are served to eat - are called ‘drumsticks'.
Researching the origins of this, the most reliable information I can find suggests that chicken legs are called drumsticks due to them resembling actual drumsticks in the ~1500s.
Believe it or not, drummers and percussionists’ drumsticks were not as thin with a small head as today’s sticks.
They were thicker and had much larger heads, much like how a chicken leg looks when served up.
A nice bit of trivia to impress friends with next time you order in a KFC bucket?!
Related - How many wings do chickens have?
What Part of Chicken’s Leg Do We Eat?
The interesting thing about chickens’ legs is that the meat part we eat is actually tucked under feathers up near their bodies and not visible when looking at a chicken walking around.
The lower part of the leg you can see on a chicken attached to their feet - which is typically yellow and scaly for most breeds - is the thin part of the drumstick with very little meat on it.
The tender meat on the drumstick is higher up and attached to the thigh, which is the meatiest part of the leg.
I don’t know about you, but I prefer leg meat. This is probably due to chicken leg meat being more tender than meat from other parts of a chicken as it’s higher in fat content.
Hopefully, I’ve cleared up any rumors, misinformation, or curiosity you had - chickens absolutely do have only two legs, not four.
It’s easy to get confused, especially if you’ve never seen a chicken in real life. But know you’re an expert in the anatomy of chicken legs!
Image credits - Header photo by Leonardo Iheme, chicken drumstick photo by Ekaterina Novitskaya on Unsplash
Who Named the Drumstick? - Patch.com