A female chicken is a hen, a male is a Rooster and the young are known as chicks. A rooster does not lay eggs, only the hen, and a young hen is able to lay eggs when she is six months old.
There are four chicken breeds used in the Australian egg industry and all have been imported into Australia over the last ten years, they include the Hisex, ISA, Hy-line and Lohmann brown. These four breeds account for approximately 98% of all egg layers in Australia and all eggs are brown due to consumer preference.
During breeding a hen will sit on her fertilised for 21 days before they hatch. She keeps them warm with her body heat and regularly turns the egg so that the developing embryo does not stick to the shell. After the 21 days the chick pecks a hole around the shell and pushes themselves out of the egg. Initially the feathers are wet but they soon dry and the chicks are able to run about and feed themselves shortly after hatching.