The Difference Between Cockerel, Cock, Pullet & Layer

Some poultry farmers don’t know (or are confused about) the difference between a cockerel and a cock. Some farmers also find it difficult to figure out the difference between a pullet and layer (hens). Well, this post would quickly highlight the differences.

Difference Between Cockerels and Cocks

The difference between cockerels and cocks lies in their age. Both are male chickens but cockerels are still very young and not sexually matured while cocks are sexually matured. This is all you need to know about cockerels and cocks.

Difference Between Black and White Cockerels

The difference between black and white cockerels is not really much, but it is believed that the black cockerels are more disease resistant, most preferred by consumers, and convert feed better than the white cockerels.

Difference Between Pullets and Layers

Also, for pullets and layers, both are not the same. Pullets are young female chickens that are not sexually mature and less than 4 months old or but more than 2 months old. Layers or hens are sexually matured chickens that are ready to lay eggs. Point-of-lays could also be called hens or layers since they are sexually matured.

How to Identify Cockerels and Pullets in a Flock

When you procure your chicks from a hatchery, there are possibilities that both males and females. If you want to tell the difference between a cockerel and a pullet, there are a few things you can look for in determining if a chicken is a male (cockerel) or female (pullet).

1. Wattles and Combs

Cockerels have larger and more developed combs and wattles than pullets. These combs and wattles of cockerels turn red sooner than the wattles and combs of pullets. Also, the combs of pullets flop over while the combs of cockerels stand upright.

2. Body and Legs

The body of a cockerel is bigger than that of a pullet. A cockerel also has thicker legs while those of a pullet are quite small. When both are of the same age and body size, the legs of the cockerel are much larger than the legs of the pullet.

3. Feathering

A cockerel has hackle feathers (pointed feathers on his neck) while a pullet has rounded feathers on her neck. Saddle feathers (pointed feathers on the back) are present on the back of cockerels and they also have sickle fathers (curved tail feathers). Pullets have straight feathers on their tails and other feathers on their body have rounded ends.

4. Plumage Color

The feathers of cockerels are brightly colored and have more iridescence and color variety to them than those of pullets.


About Author

Akinbobola Akinwemoye

I am an livestock farmer, certified animal scientist, consultant and blogger. You can follow Livestocking on Facebook and Twitter. Click Here to send an E-mail.

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