We can all draw a chicken with minimal effort by the time we’re in
kindergarten, or at least picture one in our head. We can see their beaks, the red doo-dad that hangs from
their neck. The other red doo-dad that comes out the top of their head. Um…yeah what the heck are all
those things? Well, let’s stop for a moment and answer some of these questions about strange chicken
The red appendage that seems to sprout from the top of most chickens’ heads is called the comb and comes in
a variety of shapes and sizes, some of which are the defining characteristic of the various breeds. You can
find V-shaped combs, rose-shaped combs, buttercup-shaped combs, and even strawberry-shaped combs. They can also
come as a single comb or be split.
But what’s really interesting is that the comb is used not just as decoration, but as a means of cooling the
chicken off. Yup, those red parts on the top of the head are actually miniature air conditioners, to some
The opposite of the comb is the wattle, the usually red appendage that dangles under the beak from around
the chin. Like the comb, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, sometimes being nearly absent altogether.
They, too, function as a means of air conditioning and actually work in conjunction with the comb. Blood
circulates between the wattle and the comb and in doing so, the chicken can be warmed or cooled. Plus, they
just look cool!
Chickens are birds, and birds have beaks. With chickens, their beaks are particularly small and built to
peck and crunch smaller items, such as seeds and insects. The natural formation of a chicken beak is that of a
point, though it’s common practice to perform what’s known as a “debeaking,” which isn’t actually removing the
beak but rounding the tip out to prevent the chicken from harming other birds or its young. This is
particularly common with hens used for breeding and egg laying.
Again, since chickens are birds, they have talon-like feet. Most chicken breeds have feet and legs that are
devoid of feathers, though some breeds, such as the Sultan, do actually have feathers throughout their feet and
toes. There feet are shaped the way they ate to allow for the birds to easily scratch at the ground in order to
stir up bugs. It’s just all part of the peckin’ and a scratchin’.
Chickens are rather unique farm animals and have a very iconic image. They may seem strange, but all those
features are actually rather useful indeed!
Chickens as Pets?
Chickens and Religion
Are You Raising a Cockatrice?
Simple Chicken Recipes
5 Excellent Egg Recipes
Fiction Fowls: The Good, The
Bad, and The Chicken
Naming Your Dinner
Top 5 Long-Lived Chickens
Why Does the Rooster Crow?
How Smart Are Chickens?
Other Farming Fowl
Gonzo and Camilla
Chickens In Common Sayings
Is Chicken Healthier Than Other Meat?
Strange Chicken Anatomy
Chickens Through History
Avoiding Salmonella in Chickens
The History and Legacy of Cockfighting