Hands-on Chicken Anatomy Lessons

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As most of you know, we are in full out chicken mode right now with Gage’s business assets arriving (chicks) and with the webcam up and running (see link in the right hand column, click play), I thought this would be a perfect time to start an in-depth, hands-on study about chickens!  I will even attempt to answer the proverbial question, “which came first, the chicken or the egg?”.  Read to the bottom for that one 🙂  In the meantime, let’s get to some hands-on chicken anatomy lessons!

Vocabulary Matching Chicken Family Tree


The first thing that I teach about chickens is the vocabulary.  Most areas of study or professions have a certain vocabulary that is associated with that particular topic.  Chickens are no exception.  Some of the vocabulary will be very familiar, but some won’t be.  I try to use the correct vocabulary for all the works in a particular area, so this is the first document to present to your students.  I call it the Chicken Family Tree because so much of it surrounds the names of the chickens at different stages of their life.



Chicken 3 Part Cards Montessori Print ShopThe next area I typically teach is the anatomy of a chicken.  Montessori Print Shop has a beautiful set you can purchase.  If you are not in a position to purchase them, here is another set of chicken anatomy that I found this is free.  Unfortunately, I don’t remember where I got these, if you know who to give credit to, please let me know!  

I know some people consider nomenclature (3 Part) cards to be just for young students, but I use them with my older boys all the time.  If you are a visual learner (I am and two of my boys are), we like to see it… so we continue to use nomenclature cards even though they are 9, 11, and 13  (and I’m 47) now.  It’s all about following the child to teach them the way they learn the best!  Anatomy is the same across breeds but not across gender.  So any set of chicken anatomy cards needs to distinguish if they are defining anatomy of a hen or a rooster.  Here is a great chart of the differences between hens and roosters.  


Chicken Anatomy Cones Free 3 part CardsDid you know chickens can’t sweat? Since they do not sweat, they lose a primary way to cool their body down.  Instead, chickens have combs and wattles to help them regulate their body temperature. But not all combs and wattles are created the same. I have created a Chicken Anatomy Combs work to show the reason for the differences and variations.  The comb variations are usually based on breed and gender.  The comb is not just a means to cool off, it is also used to attract a mate.  In addition, when a young female chicken (called a pullet) is ready to start laying eggs, her comb will turn from pink to red.  


Since we are now discussing various chicken breeds, there is a great chart here to help your children see all the variations in each breed.

Now, back to the question about the chicken and the egg and which came first… if you believe in the Bible, it answers this question for us.  

Gen 1:20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
Gen 1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Gen 1:22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
Gen 1:23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

Since I’m pretty sure there were not any eggs walking around, it would mean the chicken came first 🙂

I have so much more to cover regarding chickens, but this is a good place to stop for this study.  I’ll be posting much more on chickens since it appears we will be spending much of our time with our new chicks.  We recently received a request to host some homeschool field trip days, so we will be creating lots of works to teach our guests when these field trips start.  

Until next time….

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Trish Corlew

Founder and Author at Live and Learn Farm
Trish has been married to her best friend, David, for 16 years and they have three sons (aged 13, 12 and 9). Trish is from the coast of North Carolina, but they now live in rural West Tennessee on a 40+ acre farm. She has been homeschooling since 2009 and her homeschool style leans towards a Montessori approach with a heavy emphasis on hands-on learning. They also own a small business that Trish runs from home. Trish’s family is Messianic and they love studying the Scriptures, learning Hebrew and growing in their faith and walk daily. In her spare time, Trish loves to write, work in their garden and can regularly be found trying to learn something new, modeling that learning is indeed a life-long endeavor!


  1. Pamela Wade says:

    I am so pleased you are inviting home school groups to come out.

    • It will take several weeks before we have our routine down (and the garage cleaned out, LOL!)… but I am looking forward to having homeschoolers out! We plan for our farm to become a teaching facility, where we have camps during the summer for children to get to know a working farm! We can teach elementary botany and zoology. Won’t be able to do that this year… but hoping to do it next year! My children are so excited about that aspect! It is so Montessori for the olders to teach the youngers! The youngers already tend to look up to the older children, but it also reinforces the concepts with the olders and gives them an opportunity to be “project leaders”. They lead different areas based on what their skills are. It’s another “real world” experience for them… after all most of us take turns being leaders in our work environments based on the skills needed on a specific project. We are training them for their entry into the real world 🙂

      Thank you so much for your encouragement! It means so much to me!!!

  2. Barbara Anderson says:

    This is fabulous, Trish! Wish I had seen it when I first started out with chickens. Great resource for children!

  3. This is really great, Trish. I like how you have tied in the Creator with your studies. Not to mention that someone has finally answered the proverbial question of which came first, the chicken or the egg!

  4. Awesome :). I linked to your post.

  5. Thank-you for all your time and effort. This is a great little unit 🙂

  6. Great post. A friend recommended your blog. I will be back for sure!

    I am giving away a set of Ball Canning blue pint jars on my blog right now, I hope you’ll stop by!

    Fresh Eggs Daily

  7. Thank you for sharing these! I look forward to hopefully being able to make use of them someday soon!

  8. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment Amy! I hope they will be a blessing to you and your family when you do get around to using them.


  1. […] posts on basic Chicken Anatomy. Be sure to visit the other posts too!  You can find them here:  Hands On Chicken Anatomy Lessons and Bird’s Nest study. […]

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