A chicken is a bird, right? They have wings - but can they fly?

Here at Team Titan, we thought we would discuss whether or not chickens can actually fly and why this might be. 
It seems like chickens are not quite the bird of prey soaring through the skies but they're not quite like the flightless penguin either! The answer to whether or not chickens can fly is: technically yes, but they're not very good at it. This answer is because some breeds can fly quite high but not for very far. The longest recorded chicken flight is only 13 seconds long!

Why is this?

The modern domesticated chicken's anatomy is no longer adept for flying. Their predecessors - the Red Junglefowl - were also not the best flyers but they can fly for short distances to roost in trees to avoid predators. As chickens have been domesticated, they have been bred to have more desirable traits for livestock. For instance, in the meat production industry - it pays to have plump and fat chickens! Not the ideal combination with small wings for flying! In short, modern chickens weigh more than their feathers can support in flight. However, some chicken owners may have noticed that some of their chicken breeds are better at flying than others! The much smaller breeds, such as bantams, can fly much higher than their larger counterparts. Breeds like Orpington tend to flap and hop instead. 

What can their wings do instead?

Flying is not the only use for chicken wings! Their wings have many different functions. They can help chickens regulate their body temperature, flapping to cool down as they do not have sweat glands. Mother hens can also shield and protect their young from the external world. Chicken wings can even be used for mating purposes where the roosters flap them impressively.