If you’re new to the world of chicken breeds or a first-time bird owner, you might wonder how fast chickens grow. On top of that, you like to ensure that you properly care for these little ones. If that’s the case, you are on the right track.
In this article, we did our best to answer the most highly requested questions on the web regarding chicken. So, how fast do chickens grow? How will you take good care of them? When will you expect them to become adults? So, let’s jump in and let’s talk about chickens.
How Fast do Chickens Grow?
Generally, breeders consider chickens as adults once they attain the stage of sexual maturity and start laying eggs. Usually, chickens begin laying eggs around sixteen to twenty-four weeks of age. However, this is not the rule of thumb for chickens.
So, how fast does a chicken grow? The standard answer we’ll get depends on the chicken’s breed. Some chickens will grow slowly. But other chickens will develop and mature quickly. Because of this, we can know for a fact that while chickens grow fast, not all breeds mature at the same time.
Average Growth Rates of Chickens
|Age (weeks)||Average Weight (Female)||Average Weight (Male)|
|1||0.15 lb (68 g)||0.18 lb (82 g)|
|2||0.4 lb (181g)||0.48 lb (218 g)|
|3||0.8 lb (363 g)||1 lb (454 g)|
|4||1.4 lb (635 g)||1.6 lb (726 g)|
|5||2.1 lb (953 g)||2.5 lb (1134 g)|
|6||2.8 lb (1270 g)||3.2 lb (1451 g)|
|7||3.5 lb (1588 g)||3.9 lb (1770 g)|
|8||4.2 lb (1905 g)||4.6 lb (2092 g)|
(All data are from USDA or another reliable source)
Faster-Growing vs. Slower-Growing Hens
As mentioned earlier, some chicken breeds grow more rapidly than others. This development factor is based on the genetics of the chicken species. Many meat chickens developed abruptly.
On the other hand, the egg layers of other chickens may be slower to grow. Ultimately, a chicken’s maturity is based on the laying hen.
Faster Growing Chickens
Broiler chickens, otherwise known as meat chickens, are recognized as the fastest-growing hens. Due to their fast growth, broiler chickens are primarily available in the market today.
Slower Growing Chickens
Most chickens grow at a moderate level, but some will take their time. These slower-growth chickens are known as “heritage breeds.” For instance, Brahma is not often utilized for meat since it will take around two years for this chicken breed to grow and develop fully.
Heritage breeds will take around twice as long compared to broiler chickens to achieve market weight. The truth is slower growing chickens need more fuel, feed, and water to mature.
Do you want to see how fast chickens grow in four weeks? Have a quick look at this video.
Timeline of Chicken’s Growth & Development
So, here’s the question. What are the chicken’s maturity and growth period? When the chicken is sexually mature and starts laying eggs, they are considered adults. To better understand how fast chickens grow, let’s have a quick overview of the chicken’s life cycle.
Step 1: Egg’s Fertilization
After the meeting process of the hen and the rooster, the hen will be ready to lay fertilized eggs. At this point, forming eggs begins in the hen. Usually, this process will take about twenty-five hours. The hen prefers to lay eggs in a peaceful, comfortable place. Generally speaking, the chicken will lay twelve eggs in a clutch.
Step 2: Being a Chick
Once the hen lays eggs, owners must provide the right temperature. It would be best if the mother hen would sit on the eggs. But at times, hens do not like to sit on her eggs. If that happens, the only solution would be to take the eggs inside an incubator. Usually, the growing period of a chick inside the egg is around twenty-one days.
Step 3: Chicken’s Adulthood
After sixteen to twenty-four weeks, the chick will now enter the stage of adulthood. At this moment, you’ll be able to see the chicken laying eggs.
The golden rule of thumb concerning a chicken’s adulthood is the point of sexual maturity. Once a pullet starts laying eggs, she is considered a hen. On the other hand, when a cockerel reaches sexual maturity, he becomes a rooster.
What are the Factors Affecting Chickens’ Growth & Development?
There are many contributing factors affecting the chicken’s growth. Overall, these external factors may influence the chicken’s development phase. If you’re planning to raise chickens, take these factors in mind. So, let’s dig deeper, and here they are.
Studies show that chickens living at a high temperature of 31.1 degrees Celsius have lower feed intake. On the other hand, chickens staying under the lower temperature of 20 degrees Celsius have more feed intake. From this, we know that chicken found in lower temperatures will grow faster.
So, here’s our pro-tip when raising chickens. It will be helpful to ensure that the poultry’s house temperature is consistent, especially in the early life of the chicken. Proper temperature and humidity will be beneficial to chickens later.
2. Feed Intake
Feed is the chicken’s source of valuable nutrients. Knowing the proper feed your chickens should eat will be best if you’re in the chicken poultry business. For instance, a balance formulated feed or protein diet is an excellent choice for chickens.
3. Growing Practices
A growing practice is essential to a chicken’s growth and development. You should ensure air control and proper ventilation as chicken breeders and raisers. On top of that, owners should consider the quality of the litter.
Always remember that chickens must be in a comfortable place to grow and develop. When owners put these little ones into a crowded place, it would not only cause disease. Overcrowding would make the transmission of infectious diseases quick and fast.
Further, breeders should always provide chickens with adequate food and water for everybody. If these resources are lacking, it would most likely result in pecking, which happens when chickens fight for food and water.
How Fast Does Chicken Grow for Slaughter?
Overall, the time it would take for chickens to be ready for slaughter depends on the weight and breed you want. Most of the time, chickens can grow for slaughter and put into the freezer in six to twelve weeks.
Breeders slaughter broiler-fryers at seven weeks. On the other hand, older chickens such as roasters will be good for slaughter in three to five months.
In addition, it would take around ten months to one year in a half for owners to slaughter baking or stew hens. Humans can safely consume male chickens or capons around sixteen weeks to eighteen months.
How Fast Does Chicken Grow to Become Full Size?
What’s fascinating about chickens is that they become full size at different times. Certain breeds tend to grow more rapidly than others. For instance, Cornish Cross Chicken become adults once they reach the age of seven weeks.
On the other hand, chickens like Jersey Giant Chickens, a giant in the world of chickens, need about eighteen months to reach full size. All in all, chickens’ full size is based on the breed. On average, chickens get the full length in twelve months or one year.
Growth of Specific Chicken Breeds
Depending on the breed, there are different growth periods for chickens. We listed the typical ages of development and maturity in chickens where they can reproduce and lay eggs.
- Orpington– nineteen to twenty-four weeks
- Golden Comet–sixteen to twenty weeks
- Brahma–eighteen to twenty-four months
- Marans–twenty-two to twenty-six weeks
- Leg Horn– eighteen to twenty weeks
- Silkie– thirty-two to thirty-four weeks
What is the Life Expectancy of the Chicken?
The standard life expectancy of the chicken is around three to eight years. Usually, suppose owners protect the chickens from the dangers of being prey animals. In that case, these little ones will have longer life spans than they are used to. The oldest chicken that ever lived in the world was around twenty years of age.
So, owners should always ensure chicken coop runs safely for their birds. This safety practice will help chickens live a long, healthy life. In addition, infection, sickness, and diseases will cause problems if these birds stay and live on the same ground for years.
Cleanliness and hygiene are also a must since the accumulation of bacteria and parasites will allow the growth of worms and coccidiosis. On top of that, since many chicken breeds are used mainly for egg production, this can cause their fatality rate. A high rate of egg production is not healthy for chickens.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you want to give your chickens the best standard of living conditions? In this portion of the article, we’ve pulled some strings to answer the most frequently asked questions on the web regarding chickens. So, here we go!
How many times each day should chickens eat?
Based on research about chicken’s eating regimen, it would be best to feed these birds twice a day to grow faster. Here’s our quick trivia. Chickens do not overeat. These birds would only eat when they feel hungry or when necessary.
Can you feed your chicken in the coop?
No, you cannot allow your chicken to eat in the coop. As you may see, chickens do not stay awake all night to drink and eat. Once you put feeds in the cage, it would only create an unnecessary mess. On top of that, feeding in the coop will encourage the growth of germs, bacteria, molds, and, worst, diseases.
What should I feed my chicken?
It will not be wrong to give your chickens sometimes treats aside from their everyday food. Here are the foods that these birds can safely consume and eat to grow healthy and faster.
- Vegetables: cucumber, squash, beets, chard, lettuce, broccoli, kale, pumpkin, and turnip greens.
- Perennials: roses, coneflowers, ferns, daisies, hostas, and daylilies.
- Fruits: watermelon, blueberries, and strawberries.
- Herbs: cilantro, thyme, cilantro, mint, lavender, parsley, and oregano.
Now we know for sure that chicken breeds do not grow at the same time. The development and maturity of these birds vary according to their species. On top of everything, reaching full size depends again on the breed.
But one thing is sure. Owners got to give their best for chickens to grow and live a long and healthy life. Then, and only then, chickens will grow faster.
Joseph Hudson has been raising chickens for over 15 years. In 2018, he completed the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. He currently raises over 1400 chickens on his 7.5-hectare farm. He keeps sharing his experience on raising healthy and happy chickens on Chicken Scratch.