Chicks are baby chickens! Baby chickens are called chicks, 3 month old females are called pullets (until they start laying eggs around 6 months), adult females who lay eggs are hens, and males are roosters, cocks, or cockerels.
After a mother hen lays an egg, she sits on it for almost 24 hours a day until it hatches. After 21 days of incubation, a baby chick will hatch by pecking it's way out of the egg! These little peeping fluff balls grow very quickly and double in size in their first two weeks. They start growing adult feathers almost immediately, they reach full size in 20 weeks, and can lay eggs of their own at only 6 months old!
Baby chicks start peeping to their mom even before they hatch, and the hen will cluck back to the baby! From day one, a chick can recognize its mother’s calls. The chick stays close to mom for the first 12-16 weeks to help keep it warm and to learn how to be a chicken! A mother hen helps teach the baby chick what foods to eat, how to drink, and how to socialize with other chickens. Mother hens are very protective of their chicks, and will even defend their chicks from predators. So the next time someone calls you a chicken, you can take it as a compliment!
Believed to have originated from several different species of junglefowl, chickens were originally domesticated 7,000-10,000 years ago. Today there are 25 billion domesticated chickens on the planet. This is more than any other species of bird! Chickens outnumber humans by a ratio of 3:1 and are found on every continent except Antarctica.