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What is a Group of Chickens Called?

Chickens have been around for a long time, having become domesticated from a form of jungle fowl. For the 5,000 years or so that chickens have lived alongside humans, language has evolved to describe that thing chickens do when together.  You may know a group of chickens to be called a flock, but did you know there are other collective nouns for them as well? There happen to be several, and this article is going to describe them for you! Let’s jump right in.

What is a Group of Chickens Called?

flock of chickens in the yard
As you already know, a group of chickens is known as a flock.

Here is a list of all the ways a group of chickens can be described:

  • Flock of chickens: referring to a collective of chickens of all ages and sexes living together
  • Brood of chicks: a group of chicks that has hatched together; can also be used to describe a group of hens
  • A clutch: a group of eggs or hatchlings
  • Trio of chickens: one rooster and two hens
  • Bachelor of roosters: a group of male chickens living together
  • A peep of chickens or chicks: a bit of onomatopoeia describing the sound that young chickens make
  • A run of chickens: a group of chickens wandering around an enclosed run
  • Flight of chickens: wild or free ranging chickens running or flying around an area

What is the Origin of the Term ‘To Flock’?

Flocking is something applicable to most birds, not just chickens. Flocking is a behavior that may have carried over from a time before chickens were domesticated by humans and bred for meat and eggs. It is known that flocking tends to be a social behavior among chickens and other species of birds as a way to simulate order and stimulate reproduction. Flocking also helps chickens huddle together and stay warm.

Or, if you remember that classic scene from Jurassic Park, flocking is also a bird (or dinosaur) stampede.

You can think of ‘swarming’ and ‘flocking’ as synonyms, but the etymology is different. Flock stems from an Old English word ‘flocc,’ which was used as a generic term for troop, group, or herd of animals, be they sheep, goats, cattle, or chickens. Interestingly, Old English ‘flocc’ is descended from an ancient Germanic word ‘flukkaz,’ meaning ‘crowd.’

a brood of chicks
A Brood of chicks

Is There Such a Thing as a Flock of Roosters?

Sure, you can call a group of chickens a flock, but that generally applies to the hens in the collective, not the rooster. To be correct, roosters do not flock — not when ladies are present. If you want a group of roosters to get along and form a group that you can give a name to, you need to make sure there are no hens wandering around. Otherwise, you’re going to have a problem.

When the conditions have been met to get a group of roosters to gel, they are called a “bachelor.”

Guess that means you can call the male-run coop a “bachelor pad,” huh?

What is a Group of Chicks Called?

If a group of hens is called a flock or brood, what about the babies? You may be fascinated to know that the US marshmallow treat that is infamous around the globe called Peeps is actually named after a peep of chicks.

A peep of chicks or a flock of chicks — both can mean the same thing. However, a “peep” is being observant of the age of the birds. When chicks peep, they are still rather young. Older chickens do not peep. It takes time for chicks to mature and for their peeps to become a cluck or crow.

You can also watch this video, which explains the case with hens in more detail:

How Many Chickens Make Up a Group?

In order for a group of chickens to be called a flock, it needs to be at least three birds. If you have two hens and a rooster, then you can call them a trio. Generally, a small flock is around 3-6 birds. Larger backyard flocks may be 10-12 chickens. Industrial farms, however, may have thousands of birds on the premises, but that is a bit too big to be called a flock.

If you want your group of chickens to flock together, then you are going to need at least 5. Chickens prefer to live in slightly larger groups. Smaller flocks can create anxiety, because chickens crave the company of other chickens. Some docile breeds do well with smaller groups, but they are going to also need you — their owner — to interact with them.

What Are Other Groups of Birds Called?

Now that you know that a group of chickens is a flock, you may be wondering how that compares to geese, ducks, and quails. Keep in mind that any group of birds can be called a flock, regardless of the species. Even people can flock. However, some species have other names to describe a group.

AnimalGroup Name
DucksTeam, Badling, Paddling, Raft
QuailsBevy, Covey
PheasantsNest, Nye, Bouquet
PartridgesBew, Covey
SwansBevy, Herd, Wedge, Bank
GeeseGaggle, Herd, Corps, Skein
MagpieGulp, Mischief, Tidings, Conventicle

Next time you are chatting with friends about what a group of chickens is called, be sure to break out this list. You can impress your friends or win a round of trivia with this knowledge. Maybe.

clutch of five eggs on straw
A clutch

Final Thoughts on Group Names

There are many ways to say that you have a group of chickens wandering around the yard, including a flock, a bachelor, a brood, or a peep. What you call the group of chickens ultimately depends on the sex of the members, their age, and what they are doing. However, most of the time, calling your group of chickens or chicks is perfectly adequate!