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The Scientific Name of Hen

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What is the Scientific Name of Hen?

The term “hen” is used to refer to the female chickens or other female birds which belong to the order of Galliformes. Chickens are omnivorous birds, they feed on insects, lizards, seeds and food grains. Chickens are one of the most widely found domesticated farm birds. They live together in groups called “flocks” and their young ones are called “chicks”. The chickens we see nowadays are descendants of the wild variety of chickens of the Gallus Gallus family which are also called red jungle fowl. If the ancestry is traced back even further, chickens are related to a group of dinosaurs called the theropods. In fact, the latest research shows that chickens are 58% genealogically related to the now extinct carnivore Tyrannosaurus Rex. In this article on the Vedantu website, students will learn about the scientific name of hens, breeds of hens and their uses.

Scientific Name

According to the binomial nomenclature, the biological name of hens is Gallus gallus domesticus. It deviates from the normal naming of creatures using two names, one is the family name and the second is the genus or the name of species. Hence the name binomial nomenclature. The scientific name for a hen is trinomial in nature where the first name represents the genus while the other two names represent the specific name. All the names in a binomial nomenclature of any creature are written in Latin.

Body Parts and Life Expectancy

A hen generally lives up to ten years. Chickens are usually affected by the cold which affects their production and is harmed by intestinal worms and several parasites. 

The body of a hen usually consists of the beak, Hackel, fluff, back, hock joint, feathers, eyes, toes and claws.

Body parts of hen can be divided into two parts: external and internal Parts.

  • External: The different parts of the hen are Hackel, Back, Tailfeather, Fluff, beak, Hock joint, Shank, Ear, Eye, Claw, and Toes.

  • Internal: The different internal parts of hen are Nostril, Larynx, Trachea, Esophagus, Crop, Heart, Gallbladder, Spleen, Liver, Gizzard, Pancreas, Small intestine, Large intestine, Oviduct, Kidney, Ovary, Caeca, Lungs, and Brain.


Chicken belongs to the Phylum - Chordata, Kingdom - Chordata, Class - Aves, Family - Galliformes, Genus - Gallus, Species - Gallus. gallus this is the order of classification of female chicken.

Largest Breeds of Hens

There are over 500 breeds of hens found and bred worldwide. They have been a constant source of meat and eggs since time immemorial. Chickens can be artificially incubated when the mother hens are incapable of sitting over eggs or when the eggs have to be hatched earlier and with proper care. Here are some of the largest breeds of hens which are most commonly found around the world.

  • Rhode Island Red: This breed of hen first originated in Rhode Island in northeast America. They are an exciting source of eggs and reach a weight of around 9 pounds, they are also bred for meat. They can be easily recognised by their rich color of feathers.

  • Malay: This breed of hens were originally used for cockfights but is now used for their egg production of up to 120 per year. This is a crossbreed that originated in the UK and was crossed with breeds of India and Asia.

  • Orpington:  This breed of hens was first developed in the UK but is found worldwide now. They are a docile breed and are a dual source of food, ie, eggs and meat. This breed is also a crossbreed between three hens.

  • Jersey Giant: This is the world's largest breed of hens. They are docile and are known for their excellent temperament. They lay large brown eggs and make excellent mothers.

  • Cochin: Previously known as Shanghai chicken, this breed of hens have a notably stunning appearance with a lot of feathers. They can weigh up to 11 pounds but make excellent mothers despite their huge size and weight.

Uses of Hens

Hens have been bred as pets and as birds kept on the farm for as long as one can remember history. There are several reasons which make hens and chickens useful to humAns: Hens are raised in the poultry for eggs and meat. A special kind of chicken called boilers is bred for slaughter which serves as meat in numerous delicacies around the world. Chicken meat is the most widely used form of meat everywhere. Hens have been kept as pets and male chickens are usually used for cockfights which is a type of sport widely prevalent in Asia and other parts of the world.

  • Farming: Chickens are raised for meat and eggs, It is consumed as food. Which leads to poultry farming to meet the large requirements.

  • Reared for meat: Generally chicken lives five to six years but, Boilers (chicken farmed for the meat) takes 6 weeks to get slaughter size.

  • Reared for eggs: The female chickens mainly grown for eggs are known as layer hens.

  • As pets: Usually, People kept chicken for eggs but they were named and treated as any other pet animal. It became very popular in the 2000s.

  • Cockfight: This is a type of sport where two male chickens are left to fight. And this fight continues till one becomes injured or it dies.

  • Artificial incubation: the chickens can be incubated artificially in 21 days. With the help of machines that provide a correct and controlled temperature for developing chicks.

  • Disease and ailments: Chickens are generally harmed by several parasites and intestinal worms.

Did You know? 

When was the word ‘hen’ first used? It was first used in the 14th century to refer to females of any bird species. In older English, hen was written as ‘henn’.

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FAQs on The Scientific Name of Hen

1. What is the scientific name of hen?

The scientific name of hen is Gallus Gallus domesticus. It is closely related to a wild variety of chickens of the family Gallus Gallus.

2. How are hens used by humans?

Different breeds of hens have been bred by humans for meat and eggs all around the year worldwide. In some places, male chickens called cocks are used in sports and games by making two cocks fight which is known as cockfighting. Hens have also been for keeping as pets or hatching out eggs of other birds like ducks or geese as some breeds of hens make excellent mothers.

3. How are hens bred?

Eggs are usually kept with the mothers for them to hatch out by sitting on them and keeping them warm. But some breeds of hens are either too big or too heavy to sit on them and break the eggs before they are hatched. Therefore, eggs are taken in artificial incubators where optimum temperature and environment are provided for the proper development of the eggs.

4. What are the diseases affecting hens?

Hens are usually attacked by intestinal worms and various kinds of parasites that make them sick. They are also affected by the cold weather, especially the breeds which have a thin layer of feathers which in turn affects their egg-producing ability.

5. What do hens look like?

Hens are birds that can grow up to 20-26 inches in the largest breeds and can weigh up to 11-12 pounds. They have notable claws, feet and distinguishable, colorful feathers. They also have a beak, heckle and fluff which are unique to different breeds.

6. What is the female chicken called?

Female chicken more than a year of age is known as a hen. But, In the egg-laying industry, the hen starts to lay an egg at just 16-20 weeks of age.

7. Is hen a chicken?

Yes, Hen is a chicken. As in humans, we use men and women to describe gender. Same way in chicken, Rooster refers to the male chicken and hen refers to the female chicken.

8. What does chicken eat?

They are the kind of animals who have the ability to survive on both animal and plant matter known as omnivorous. They generally enjoy eating Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, Incests, and Grubs which are rich in protein. Chickens eat only which fit in their beak and are found nearby their yard.

9. How does poultry help in agriculture?

Poultry generates manure which is of high fertilizer value. This manure can be used to increase the yield of all the crops, which helps to produce more crops naturally.

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