Chickens are intelligent and full of character, so some people have them as pets. However, more commonly they are raised for their eggs and meat.
On average, a regular chicken weighs between 5.7 to 6 pounds. The weight variety depends on how thick the plumage is and how meaty the muscles are. Nevertheless, there are a variety of chicken breeds that can be lighter and heavier.
If you want to learn more about how much a variety of chickens weigh, continue reading. In this article, you’ll learn about determining chicken weights, including the weight differences between hens and roosters.
What Determines Chicken Weight?
Factors that determine the weight of a chicken include its breed, food availability, plumage, muscle mass, and bone weight.
- Breed. The breed of a chicken can easily affect its weight. Remember that there are a variety of chicken breeds, with some smaller and bigger than others. As a result, certain breeds will be lighter, and some will be heavier than the average chicken.
- Food availability. Another factor that determines the weight of a chicken is its food availability. When a chicken has access to enough food, it will logically weigh more than a chicken that does not have enough access to food.
- Muscle mass. The amount of muscle that the chicken developed is also a big factor in determining its weight. Through the years, chickens have been bred to have more muscle and are recorded to be twice the size of chickens from 50 years ago.
- Bone weight. The chicken’s bone also plays a role in determining its weight. It has been recorded that the chicken’s bones comprise 30 percent of the chicken’s overall weight.
How Much Does a Live Chicken Weigh?
A live chicken weighs an average of 5.7 to 6 pounds. But again, some breeds may be lighter and heavier. For example, the aptly-named Jersey Giant chicken can weigh up to 15 pounds. On the other hand, small bantam chicken breeds only weigh 3 pounds or less.
How Does Hens Compare With Roosters in Weight?
In terms of weight, there’s no denying that roosters are heavier than hens. On average, roosters are one to two pounds heavier than their female counterparts.
In most chicken breeds, there is a clear difference between the hen and the rooster. Aside from the larger comb, visible wattle, and elaborate tail feathers, the rooster is also visibly larger. With that said, it logically follows that roosters are heavier than hens.
Interestingly, a study conducted on chicken embryos revealed that body weight differences between male and female chicks start while they’re still inside the egg. While there isn’t much difference between 11-day-old embryos, it becomes evident once the eggs reach 18 days – with those containing male chicks being heavier than those with female chicks. Thus, there is already a distinction between the weights of hens and roosters before their respective chicks hatch.
How Much Does a Newly Hatched Chick Weigh?
The average weight of a newly-hatched chick is around 1.16 to 1.3 ounces for regular medium-sized chicken breeds. For smaller breeds, a newly-hatched chick can weigh as little as 0.7 to 0.9 ounces. And for larger chicken breeds, expect weights of around 1.48 to 1.79 ounces.
Interestingly, eggs are always heavier than the hatchling itself. It has been observed that the weight of the hatchling is only around 70 percent of the egg. This is because it loses the shell as well as some temporary protective organs like the amnion and allantois that kept it alive inside the shell.
What Are the Heaviest Chicken Breeds?
Jersey Giant Chicken
When it comes to the heaviest chicken breeds, the Jersey Giant will always be included on the list. With a maximum recorded live weight of 15 pounds, there’s no doubt that this chicken breed is on the heavier side. A Jersey Giant hen’s average weight is around 10 to 13 pounds, while the rooster can weigh between 13 to 15 pounds.
The all-American Brahma chicken is also notable for being a heavy breed and is often compared to the size of the Jersey Giant. In terms of how heavy they are, the hens weigh around 9 pounds, while the rooster weighs around 12 to 13 pounds.
Another large chicken breed is the Maline or the Belgian domestic chicken breed. Malines have distinctive black and white plumage, which contrasts their red comb and wattle. The Maline hen averages around 9 pounds, while the rooster can weigh up to 11 pounds.
Dong Tao Chicken
The Dong Tao chicken, which is a rare Vietnamese chicken breed, is also among the heaviest in the world. It is especially characterized by its large and wide feet – which is unique among chickens. The Dong Tao hen weighs around 9 pounds, while the rooster can weigh between 11 to 13 pounds.
Cornish Cross Chicken
The Cornish Cross is a hybrid breed between the Cornish Cross and the White Rock chickens. It was particularly developed to produce chickens with broad breasts and big thighs, making them heavier than the average chicken. The Cornish Cross hen weighs around 8 pounds, while the rooster can weigh between 10 to 13 pounds.
What Are the Lightest Chicken Breeds in the World?
Serama Bantam Chicken
The Serama Bantam breed from Malaysia is recognized as the smallest chicken in the world, and it follows that it’s also one of the lightest. On average, a hen weighs only around 0.55 pounds, while the rooster weighs between 0.6 to 1 pound.
Belgian Bantam Chicken
The Belgian Bantam is a true bantam breed, which weighs no more than 3 pounds. On average, the Belgian Bantam hen only weighs around 1.21 pounds, while the rooster weighs around 1.43 pounds.
The silkie is a unique chicken breed. It is notable for its adorable features, particularly its feathers that look a lot like fur. That gives them the appearance of small pom-poms with feet. Silkie hens weigh around 3 pounds, while the roosters weigh around 4 pounds.
Other bantam breeds
Bantam refers to a group of small fowl, which includes chickens and ducks. Some bantam chickens are either true bantams or miniature versions of regular-sized chicken breeds. Bantam breeds are usually so small and lightweight that they do not exceed 3 pounds.
Medium-Sized Chicken Breeds
Barred Rock Chicken
Otherwise known as the Plymouth Rock, the Barred Rock chicken is among the medium-sized chicken breeds. With its rock-like plumage of dark gray and black, it’s one of the most eye-catching breeds on the market. On average, the Barred Rock chickens weigh between 7 to 8 pounds.
Cochins are among the most eye-catching chicken breeds out there. This medium-sized chicken has a rounded body with thick plumage covering its body and legs. That gives them an adorably fluffy appearance. Both the Cochin hen and rooster weigh around 7 to 10 pounds. There are also some records of Cochins reaching 13 pounds.
Another medium-sized chicken breed is the leghorn. With its white plumage and red comb and wattle, it’s quite the head-turner. This breed is also popular among farmers considering its impressive egg-laying ability and can produce up to 300 eggs per year. The Leghorn hen weighs around 4.5 pounds while the rooster can weigh up to 6 pounds.
Rhode Island Red Chicken
The Rhode Island Red is another popular medium-sized chicken breed. It is a mixed breed developed from the Malay chicken breed and the Leghorn. On average, a Rhode Island Red hen weighs around 6 pounds while the male weighs around 8 pounds.
The Australorp is another medium-sized breed that is known for producing more than 300 eggs per year. This Australian breed is also known for being calm and docile, perfect for mixing with your flock. The Australorp hen weighs around 4 to 5 pounds, while the rooster weighs between 7 to 8 pounds.
Another medium-sized chicken breed is the Orpington. Orpingtons originated from England and are notable for their large round bodies and seemingly fluffy plumage. The Orpington hen weighs around 5 pounds, while the rooster weighs between 7 to 10 pounds.
How Much Does a Chicken Breast Weigh?
On average, a chicken breast weighs around 6 ounces. However, there are recorded instances of smaller chicken breasts weighing 4 ounces, while some larger cuts can weigh up to 10 ounces.
How Much Do Boneless Chicken Thighs Weigh?
A boneless chicken thigh weighs around 2.93 to 3 ounces. With the skin and bones still intact, a chicken thigh would weigh around 4.41 ounces.
How Much Does a Whole Chicken Leg Weigh?
The whole chicken leg, also known as the drumstick, weighs an average of 4 ounces. The meat part of the drumstick weighs around 1.5 ounces, while the remaining 2.5 ounces represent the bone and skin collectively.
How Much Does Half a Chicken Weigh?
On average, half a chicken weighs around 1 to 1.5 pounds. This is the weight with both skin and bones still intact.
To conclude, chickens come in different shapes and sizes, so their weight also varies. But, a whole regular chicken has an average weight of 5.7 to 6 pounds.
For a dressed chicken, this weight drops by around 25 percent since it loses its plumage and some body parts. It’s also worth noting that there’s a difference between the weights of hens and roosters of different breeds.