Most of us eating chicken meat aren’t even concerned with whether the meat comes from a male or female chicken bird. The simple answer is that the meat chickens can be both male or female.
Both the male and female birds can be raised for meat. This is unlike in the egg production industry where you will rely on the female birds. In the meat production industry, both are equally valued. The main difference between both industries is that the meat chickens are generally not raised in cages like poultry layers.
Additionally, the meat chickens come from a completely different breed than the layers. These are generally breeds that have evolved over generations of selective breeding into prolific meat chickens.
On the kitchen table, it is not possible to know if the meat you are eating is from a male or female chicken. They both look the same and taste the same. In reality, we eat both in almost equal proportions. Roughly 50% of the meat we consume is from male chickens and the other half from female chickens.
Are male and female chickens grown differently?
Do they also look different? In the free range production systems, it may be possible to tell the physical differences between your male and female birds. However, in conventional poultry production systems, both chickens are grown together in the same barns and under similar conditions. It is therefore impossible to distinguish male and female birds, especially when they are still very young. You will certainly not be able to tell them apart when they are one day old.
As the chickens grow older, you will be able to tell them apart. This is especially from the age of 30 days when their physical differences begin to emerge. By the time the meat chickens are being collected for processing, it will be very easy for you to tell which of them are male and female.
The male chickens generally have meatier breasts with thicker legs and feet. They also have wattles and combs that are brighter, bigger and more noticeable compared to their female counterparts.
The male chickens also grow a lot faster than their female counterparts so if you have the chickens of the same age, the bigger ones will tend to be the male chickens. Due to this, the male chickens generally produce more poultry meat than their female counterparts.
The bottom line is that if you are raising chickens from the same bred for the meat, chances are that there are roughly equal numbers of males and females in the flock.