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Do Chickens Have Hair?

Do Chickens Have Hair?

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Chickens are adorable creatures covered in different types of feathers. One of the most common questions is whether chickens have hair.

They also have fine hair-like feathers on their bodies, which you can easily notice while preparing fresh chicken. The “hairs” in chickens are known as filaments.

They help to regulate the temperatures of chickens. This article will discuss everything you need to know about the different types of chicken feathers. Keep reading to learn more.

Backyard chickens

Do Chickens Have Hair Or Feathers?

Chickens have feathers but not hair. However, with a close look, you will also notice that chickens have several hair-like feathers.

While feathers add to the general aesthetic value of a bird, they also have other important functions. For instance, they enable birds to fly and act as a form of insulation. 

A chicken’s body has different types of feathers, each performing different functions. Here are some of the types of feathers on a chicken’s body.

Contour Feathers

The contour feathers refer to the outermost feathers on a chicken. They cover the tail, wings, and body.

These feathers make up the shape and color of a chicken and are used to distinguish different chicken breeds. They have well-developed shafts with barbs branching off. 

Tiny barbules radiate off the barbs and lock together to create a neat and smooth plane. These feathers are differently structured in some breeds of chicken.

They change their appearance and distinguish them as a particular chicken breed.

The contour feathers of silkies have unusually long barbs and more delicate shafts.

Their barbules are arranged irregularly and elongated. This gives them a fluffy and soft feathered appearance. 

Down Feathers

Down feathers refer to the fine layer of feathers that are common in chicks and young birds.

In older birds, they are, they are a form of thin and loose feathers found under the tough exterior feathers or under the stomach.

These feathers help in insulating chickens by covering their abdomen. Their loose structure enables them to trap air and insulate the chicken against heat loss. 

Hackle Feathers

Backyard chickens

Hackle feathers in chickens are a type of contour feathers. They can be distinguished as long, fine feathers covering a chicken’s saddle and neck.

In roosters, they can be pointy and elongated, while in hens, they are rounded at the ends.

Semiplume Feathers

Semiplume feathers are hidden between contour feathers that cover a chicken’s body.

They act as extra insulation for the chicken to keep it warm. These feathers also maintain the streamlined and smooth appearance of the chicken.

They have a shaft, like contour feathers. However, they do not have the hooks holding the barbs together. Therefore, they have the soft appearance of down feathers.


Filoplumes are located at the base of contour feathers. They are stiff and have a hair-like appearance. They do not have specific feather muscles.

However, their nerve endings help keep the contour feathers in an inappropriate position. 


The primaries are the outer feathers of the dominant flight feathers. They are the strongest and largest feathers of the flight feathers. These feathers grow out from the end of the wings. 


These are the inner flight feathers. They are positioned behind the chicken’s primaries. They normally grow out from the forearm of the wings. Secondaries provide lift in both the flapping and soaring functions of flying.

Can You Eat The Hair On Chicken Wings?

One question many ask is whether or not you can eat chicken hair on a chicken’s wings.

While some people find them not appetizing, some will just take a bite without removing them. But is it okay to eat them?

The answer is YES; you can eat the chicken hair on the wings. They are safe to eat and do not have any known health issues.

Most of them are signed and plucked off when preparing the chicken. However, with more than 4000 feathers on a mature chicken’s body,.

You can miss some small hairs during preparation. As a result, these hairs may end up on the dining table.

You should need chicken feathers, such as the contour and down feathers. These feathers are made from keratin, a protein that also makes up the fingernails and hair in human beings.

A human being’s digestive system cannot digest keratin. Therefore, if you eat chicken feathers, you should expect a stomach ache in the long run.

Chicken Breeds With Afros

Chicken afros are also known as crests. Some backyard chicken breeds have fluffy crowns of crests that give them a unique appearance.

Here are some of the most popular chicken breeds with afros or crests.

These chickens are ornamental and usually have a slightly different skull structure.

Their skulls require more maintenance as they can easily lead to vision impairment. However, there is no other difference between crested and non-crested chickens.

Which Breeds Of Chicken Have Feathered (Hairy) Legs?

Backyard chickens

You may have realized that some chickens have feathered legs while others do not. Here are a few chicken breeds with feathers or hair on their feet and legs.

Backyard chickens with feathered legs and feet and ornamental for the larger part. However, these extra feathers on their legs and feet have different challenges.

For instance, they can get muddy, especially in rainy seasons. It can become a big disaster if you do not clean off the mud.

They can also increase the risk of your birds contracting frostbite. Besides, they can make your chickens more susceptible to scaly leg mites and even lice.

Therefore, you will need to ensure they are clean all the time.

How To Remove Hair From Chicken Wings

As stated earlier, you should not be worried about consuming a few hairs on a chicken’s wings. They are safe and will not lead to any serious health issues.

However, if they bother you a lot, you can pick them off or remove them using tweezers.

Most of the hairs will be removed during the cooking process. You may not notice the few that remain after cooking.

Here are a few techniques to remove hairs from chicken wings.

Using Tweezers

Tweezers are not only good for removing human eyebrows and other things. You can also use them to remove chicken hair and even fish bones.

Just remember to soak your wings in hot water to make plucking easier.

Using Rubber Gloves

If the hairs are thicker than pins, you can pull them out with rubber gloves. To clean many wings, you will require warm water to dip your hands in between each pluck.

Coating the Wings with Oil

You can remove the chicken hairs with cooking oil, olive oil, or canola oil to increase the chances of the hairs being singed when cooking. 

Using a Torch

You can use a barbecue lighter, a larger propane torch, or a creme brulee torch to singe the small hairs. Be sure to pass the torch over the wings one at a time.

You can hold the wings with grilling gloves to protect yourself from burns. If you are using a smaller torch, you will require a set of tweezers to pluck off the hairs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Okay to Eat Chicken Hair?

There is no known health-related issue associated with eating chicken hair. While the hairs are most common on wings, you will only find them on rare occasions.

Besides, they are too small, and you can hardly see them even when looking closely. 

Do Chickens Have Hair Or Fur?

Chickens neither have hair nor fur. However, they have different feathers on their bodies, some of which look like hair.

These hair-like feathers on chickens are known as filaments. The composition of feathers is similar to that of hair, as all are made from keratin.

What Are Chicken Feathers Used For?

Feathers help chickens in various ways, such as insulation and flying.

Humans use chicken feathers in decorative products, such as feather fans, boas, bird ornaments, costume accessories, and masks. You can also use them in the production of fishing flies.

Can You Sell Chicken Feathers?

Since chicken feathers can be used in different ways, they can be sold too. They can be used to manufacture consumer goods and replace expensive fibers.

What Is a Hackle On a Chicken?

A hackle on a chicken refers to the feathers around the neck. They can be showy on roosters.

These feathers usually become erect when a rooster is fearful and when they want to show dominance over other birds in the flock.

What Breed Has Furry Feet?

The common chicken breeds with furry feet are the Faverolles, Cochins, and Brahmas.


Chickens have small hair-like feathers known as filaments. They are mostly found on chickens’ wings, thighs, and legs.

While no health issues come with eating these hairs, you can easily remove them if they bother you a lot. You can coat the wings with oil or use a pair of tweezers to remove them.

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