If you were to go back in time to seek out junglefowl in the wild, you would be stumped to find that the chickens of the past looked nothing like the ones we have today. Long ago, junglefowl weighed less than 2 pounds (0.9 kg). These days, domesticated chicken breeds are heavier, but how much does a chicken weigh exactly? While the average weight of a female chicken is 5.7 pounds (2.6 kg), there are some factors that can make chickens weigh less or more than usual.
Let’s take a look.
How Much Does a Chicken Weigh?
There are hundreds of breeds of chickens throughout the world, some that we may not even know about. Yet, most chicken breeds are split into one of two groups: bantam and standard or large. In the US, chickens are used for their eggs and meat. Sometimes, it is also for shows and companionship. A chicken roaming your backyard will probably weigh less than those raised by industrial farms for meat.
As mentioned, the average weight of a chicken is around 5.7 lbs (2.6 kg), but weight is very dependent on breed.
How Much Chickens Weigh By Breed
Here is a close look at the average weight of several popular breeds of chickens for you to compare:
|Chicken Breed||Average Rooster Weight||Average Hen Weight|
|Ancona||6 lbs (2.7 kg)||4.2 lbs (1.9 kg)|
|Araucana||6.6 lbs (3 kg)||4.4 lbs (2 kg)|
|Faverolle||11 lbs (4.9 kg)||9.4 lbs (4.3 kg)|
|California Gray||5.5 lbs (2.5 kg)||4.4 lbs (2 kg)|
|Welsummer||6.6 lbs (3 kg)||5.1 lbs (2.3 kg)|
|Cornish||8.6 lbs (3.9 kg)||5.5 lbs (2.5 kg)|
|Barnevelder||7.3 lbs (3.3 kg)||5.7 lbs (2.6 kg)|
|Australorp||8.2 lbs (3.7 kg)||6 lbs (2.7 kg)|
|Marans||8.4 lbs (3.8 kg)||6.2 lbs (2.8 kg)|
|Orpington||9 lbs (4.1 kg)||6.8 lbs (3.1 kg)|
|Jersey Giant||13 lbs (5.9 kg)||9.9 lbs (4.5 kg)|
|Plymouth Rock||7.5 lbs (3.4 kg)||6.5 lbs (2.9 kg)|
|Wyandotte||8 lbs (3.6 kg)||6 lbs (2.7 kg)|
How Much Does a Baby Chick Weigh?
There is no denying that a hatched chicken is one of the cutest, lightest handfuls around. Their little peeps and soft down makes them feel weightless. However, baby chicks gain weight rapidly. By the end of the first day, a Rhode Island Red chick weighs around 38 grams. On the second day, they gain about 20 grams of weight, averaging around 60 grams. Within a month, that same chick will be around 115 grams.
Of course, there will be a slight deviation in how much a chick weighs based on its breed and shape.
What Are The Heaviest Breeds?
When you are looking to answer how much a chicken weighs, you may be interested to find that the heaviest breeds are the ones raised for meat. These are birds that mature quickly so that they can be used for a meal sooner than later. Among the heaviest breeds of chicken are Jersey Giants, Orpingtons, Cochins, and Brahmas. Each of these breeds are exceptionally large, averaging between 8-10 pounds when fully grown.
How Much Do Broiler Chickens Weigh?
A broiler chicken is weighed when the bird is still alive, prior to human consumption. Interestingly, the size of a broiler chicken is now double what it used to be back in 1925. A broiler chicken used to weigh around 2.5 pounds. In 2018, the average weight of a broiler chicken was around 6.3 pounds.
This change in the size of broiler birds is also seen in other domesticated breeds. Human intervention, interbreeding, food availability, and climate change have impacted the size of broiler chickens and other breeds immensely.
What Are The Lightest Breeds of Chicken?
How much does a small chicken weigh on average? Breeds like the California Gray, Leghorn, Ancona, and Cubalaya are tiny compared to Rhode Island Reds and Jersey Giants. They tend to be used for producing eggs rather than meat. Weighing at around 5 pounds, these breeds have a standard growth rate.
Bantams, though, weigh much less. Some bantam chickens weigh only 1.6 pounds, but the smallest breed of chicken? That would be the Serama, which weighs a mere 1.1 pounds!
How to Tell How Much Your Chickens Weigh
Knowing that the average weight of a chicken is around 5.7 pounds for hens, you may be curious if the members of your flock are the same. You do not want your chickens to be under- or overweight for a couple of reasons. The main factor is that they will be too sick or too lethargic to lay eggs or put food on the table. Thus, weighing your chickens is important to their health.
You will need a digital scale to tell how much a chicken weighs. It’s the easiest method.
Grab your chicken. Set the scale to zero then put your hen on top. The weight will be quickly calculated by the scale. The scale’s capacity doesn’t need to be too large — unless you only have large or broiler breeds wandering around. Record the weight of your bird then compare it to the average weight for the breed.
It is best to pick up your chickens for weighing at night, when they are sleepy and easier to catch. You can rest them right on the scale without much issue.
Final Thoughts on How Much a Chicken Weighs
Whether you want a small or large breed of chicken, it is a good idea to ask, “How much does a chicken weigh?” The average is around 5.7 pounds for a hen, but there are bigger ones. Keep that in mind. Some chickens are bigger and good for meat. Others are small, strictly ornamental or for incubating the eggs of larger, more clumsy chickens. Keep the weight of your birds in mind, too, for when you want to start building a mixed flock. That weight will play into the pecking order dynamic.
Valerie has been content writing since 2016 for websites and companies all around the world. A traveler, dancer, martial artist, Valerie loves gathering experiences and wisdom. Her travels have taken her to over 20 countries, and she hopes to see more of the world soon.