A group of hens is called a brood. You may have also heard a group of hens being referred to as a flock. It’s fine to use this collective noun too, but a flock can mean a group of both male and female chickens.
The word brood means a group of hens (female chickens) specifically, so this is the correct term.
Here are some of the other terms used to describe hens you may have heard and what they mean:
Chick – When Does a Chick Become a Hen?
When researching when a chick officially becomes a mature chicken I came across all kinds of answers.
I always thought a chick lost its classification as being a chick once they shed their baby coat of down and started growing proper feathers. This seems to be what most people agree with, so that’s the determination I’m going with.
A chick is a baby chicken, both male and female. Once they develop feathers they become a pullet.
What Is a Pullet Hen?
The term pullet refers to a young hen, typically less than a year of age.
They are older than chicks, so they have shed their baby down and are growing feathers. Importantly, to be classified as a pullet they must not be laying eggs yet.
This means pullets are commonly young hens around 18 weeks of age. Chickens often start laying around the 18-20 week age, at this point they transaction to point-of-lay hens, and finally mature chickens.
It’s not uncommon for backyard chicken keepers to delay the sexual maturity of a pullet to push back the delivery of their first egg.
They do this so that the pullet can grow bigger and produce bigger eggs. It’s normal to wait until a pullet is at least 3 lbs in weight before producing eggs.
They do this simply by controlling the amount of light a pullet is exposed to in a day. If you expose a pullet to 13 hours of light a day, this is going to trigger sexual maturity and they’ll start laying eggs shortly after.
Point of Lay Hen
The term point of lay (POL) is one of the vaguest terms for a female chicken. It’s used to describe a pullet that is approaching the age when they will start laying eggs.
Hence the name – point of lay. This means at the point of laying eggs.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when a hen is a point of lay chicken though. The breed, environmental conditions, and some other factors affect how long a chicken will be a point of lay.
Chickens can start laying anywhere between 18-22 weeks of age. So, you could buy a point of lay chicken that’s 18-20 weeks of age, only to wait anywhere between days and weeks to find that first egg.
Brooder / Broody Hen
A broody hen, as the name suggests, is a hen that is looking after her eggs. This usually means they will be sitting on their eggs and protecting them day and night.
The interesting thing about broody hens is that they don’t know if their eggs are fertilized or not. They tend to be a bit moody too when they’re in a broody mood, so beware.
List of Hen-Related Terminology
A group of hens is called a brood.
A mature female chicken is called a hen.
An immature female chicken is called a pullet.
A hen due to start laying soon is a point-of-lay.
A broody hen is called a brooder.
A group of chickens is called a flock.
In Summary – What Do You Call a Group of Hens? – A Brood
There you have it, the official name for a group of hens is a brood.
It’s good for our brains to learn something new every day, maybe today this is what you learned. 🙂