Zoology & Botany

hen

Prepare a picture of/book about/a toy Hen in advance

Say: Look at this animal. (Show a picture of Hen.) This is a bird.

Remember, to be classified as a bird an animal should have a beak or bill, should have 4 toes on each foot, meaning to be zygodactyl.

The bodies of birds are covered with feathers.

All birds have two wings and a tail. Remember, all animals move! Wings help birds fly and soar. The hen is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the red jungle fowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, there are more hens in the world than any other species of bird. Hens have compact bodies, sturdy legs, strong feet, and short, pointed beaks. Their short wings are not capable of sustained flight. Hens are distinguished from other birds by the comb, a fleshy red growth on the head of both sexes. The morning call you hear on the farm every morning is actually the rooster crowing "cock-a-doodle-doo". (Did you hear me, baby? Let´s crow like a rooster.) The female is called a hen and she goes "cluck-cluck" (Let´s imitate the hen, cluck, cluck). The young are called chicks and they go "chick-chick"(Let´s pretend we are chicks, chick, chick). They can flap their wings sufficiently to raise themselves about three meters off the ground. Hens cluck or cackle to communicate with chicks and rooster Let’s cackle like a hen!

Point to the picture of a hen and say: Let’s find its beak, feathers, wings, tail and feet. Look at those claws! They are very sharp. In addition to walking, claws are used in fighting for protection and in finding food. The hen´s feathers play an important role since they provide insulation and buffer extremes of heat and cold.

Remember that hens are living things and need energy to survive. They are omnivorous animals meaning that they eat both plants and other animals. Hens like to eat worms, insects, seeds, grains, snails, slugs, fruits, vegetables and many other foods. The gizzard which is a part of the stomach contains tiny stones to help grind up the food. Hens are very sociable birds and are at their happiest when surrounded by other chickens. In one chicken flock there can be any number of hens but generally only one cockerel who is the dominant male. Under natural conditions, a pullet or hen lays one white- or brown-shelled egg each day until there are 10 or 12 in the nest. She then stops laying and spends most of her time on the nest until the chicks hatch out—a period of about three weeks. She does not start laying again until the chicks are old enough to look after themselves. It is not necessary for females to be mated to lay eggs. Eggs laid by unmated hens or pullets are infertile, and are preferred for table use. Eggs for hatching purposes must be fertile. Hens live in forests, grasslands, sand and rocky areas. They can be found in yards and farms. Humans keep hens primarily as a source of food, consuming both their meat and eggs. We need to take care of hens and treat them with respect because they are living things just like us, people.

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