When animals begin to form groups, they can have various names- a herd of Buffalo, a pack of wolves, or a murder of crows. Since we’re talking about groups of animals, what is a group of chickens called?
A group of chickens can be called a flock, peep, or brood. “Flock” is a standard identifier denoting a group of most types of birds. “Peep” is most commonly referred to as hatchlings or young chickens that still make a peep-like vocalization. “Brood” is a group of young chickens born at the same time.
A Flock of Chickens
The word “flock” is likely more familiar to most people out there, as groups of birds are observable almost everywhere on the planet.
One can look up and see a flock of Canadian Geese flying overhead or head to the beach and see a flock of seagulls patrolling the area.
The word “flock” is associated with most groups of birds, with few exceptions. Chickens are not among the exceptions and can generally be called a flock.
It’s used as a broadened term, ignoring any relations between the chickens or implying age differences within the group. It’s a top-tier kind of term, similarly to how the word “math” is a top-tier term with a host of sub-terms or sub-categories beneath it.
How Many Chickens are in a Flock?
There is no set minimum number to establish whether or not a group of birds is a flock. Few would say that no less than 20 birds can be thought of as a flock, but most use the term when there are more than three individuals.
Other terms could be used (which we’ll be referring to below). Less than three, say two, could be considered a pair, and one chicken would be considered a chicken.
When you see a flock of chickens, it will usually be the female chickens, otherwise known as the hens, who are all flocked together. There may be a rooster in the mix, but if so, it will only be one, two at most.
Is There Such Thing as a Flock of Roosters?
Likely, you’ll always see a flock of hens but never see a flock of roosters, and male roosters will only get along with no hens involved. Even still, a hierarchy or “pecking order” within a group of roosters can become a struggle.
For roosters to get along, there has to be either no hens to compete for or so many hens that there’s no need to fight or compete. This is why many small farms or backyard chicken coupes will either have only one rooster or at most two.
The general rule is a ten to one ratio- ten hens to one rooster to avoid conflict. Many people tend only to have hens as a rooster isn’t necessary for the egg-laying process.
So, if someone is raising chickens to eat eggs, there are no roosters necessary. This reason, along with their tendency to compete over hens, is why you’ll never see a flock of roosters.
A Peep of Chickens
There’s a reason why the sugar-covered marshmallow treats given to kids on Easter are shaped like chicks and called Peeps. Baby chickens (chicks) are often referred to as “peeps.”
“Peeps” is a term or sub-category tucked under the flock category, being more specific than the overall “flock” term. It concentrates more on informing of the age of the chickens being observed.
As aforementioned, young chickens are called “peeps” is self-explanatory- it’s due to the sound that they make from being a hatchling up until their vocalizations can perform a full-fledged “cluck.” They make a quiet peep sound up until that point.
Synonyms for a Peep of Chickens
Other terms are synonymous with peeps when referring to baby chickens. One of which I’ve already used above- chicks.
Like the term flock, chicks are a very broad term used to refer to a baby bird of any type. One baby can be a chick, and multiple babies are called chicks. With chickens, a group of chicks or peeps can be called a “peep of chicks” or a “chattering of chicks.”
People can use the word “peep” similarly to “chick.” For instance, one baby chicken can be called a peep, and more than one can be called peeps or a “Peep of Chickens.”
A Brood of Chickens
A “brood” of chickens is a term that is far more specific and provides more detail than both the terms “flock” and “peep.” You could even say that “brood” is a sub-category of “peeps.”
Unlike every term that we’ve explored thus far, “brood” is a term that crosses into other animal types, not just chickens or birds in general. Brood is used to refer to the young of insects as well.
What’s the Difference Between “Brood” and “Peeps?”
“Brood” denotes familial relation. In other words, a mother hen with her group of hatchlings would be a hen with her brood.
So, peeps are a bunch of young chickens or hatchlings, but a brood is all related to each other through the same mother.
What is “Brooding?”
In the world of poultry, brooding is the term used to denote the time that the mother gives special care and protection to their recently hatched peeps, or more specifically, their brood.
Hens stop brooding over their chicks when the brood can handle ambient weather conditions without the assistance of additional heat.
Many of us may be more familiar with the term as it reflects one’s mood- brooding over something. One may brood over a circumstance while struggling to find a solution.
You can observe a flock of chickens and see that there are peeps in the mix. You may notice mother hens paying close attention to her brood among the peeps.
That’s a quick sum-up of the terms covered here to describe a group of chickens and why. They’re not all synonymous, but all have particular meanings and uses that help describes a scene or a situation in the world of chickens.