Are Chickens Mammals or Birds?

13,828 Views Updated: 04 Aug 2017
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Are Chickens Mammals or Birds?

Has the question whether the chicken is a mammal or a bird become a dilemma for you just like the infamous 'which came first' question. 

To answer your query whether chickens are mammals or are they birds, we need to understand the basic difference between the two animal group. 

Mammals are a warm blooded vertebrate animal that possesses fur or hair and has glands to secrete milk by which they feed their young ones. They are also warm-blooded, and most of them have teeth. The only exception to the last is anteaters, which doesn’t have teeth. 

Birds too are warm blooded vertebrate animals that possess feather, wings, and beaks. However, unlike animals, birds lay eggs instead of giving birth to young ones.

(Image Courtesy: YouTube)

Keeping in mind all the above-given information, it is quite evident that chickens are birds and not a mammal. Chickens like all other birds lay the egg and are covered with feathers. 

Not just that, mammals have mammary glands that chickens do not have. The only mammals that do not possess any hair are dolphins and whales. 

With this information, it becomes easy to categorize animals such as dogs, cats, apes, cows, and goats as examples of mammals and chicken, pigeon, eagle, and sparrow as examples of birds.

Image result for chicken mammals or birds

(Image Courtesy: Tes)

Is there any other animal who you have not been able to classify or slot in a group? Do let us know by using the comment box below.

(Featured Image Courtesy: National Geographic)


Genomic researchers determined that chickens have an expanded gene family coding for a type of keratin protein used to produce scales, claws and feathers, while mammalian genomes possess more genes coding for another type of keratin involved in hair formation.

Likewise, chickens are missing the genes involved in the production of milk proteins, tooth enamel and the detection of hormonal substances called pheromones, which researchers say may mirror the evolution of the mammary glands and the nose in mammals and the loss of teeth in birds.

Mammals and "mamory glands" (i.e. breasts) are related.

Egg laying does not rule out an animal being a mammal (think platypus), and neither would feathers neccasarily.

The primary charactoristics of mammals:

warm-blooded, vertebrate, sweat glands, milk producing sweat glands, hair, three ear bones, and a neo cortex region of the brain.

So you can see that egg laying and feathers do not rule out an animal from being a mammal (how ever I find it unlikely to find an animal with feathers AND hair). But lack of mammary glands does.

Oddly enough, chicken genes mimic human genes quite a bit actually. But they are missing key mammal characteristics, probably because the chickens are so highly inbred. .

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