Why are chicken wings so small?

Chickens are one of the most common and familiar animals with people, they are also one of the most crucial meat sources of people’s daily diet as well. Though chicken thighs, chicken breast or chicken wings are all chicken meat, they still do have each flavor.

So, have you ever recognized the tiny sizes of chicken wings in comparison with other parts while buying or cooking them? Why are chicken wings so small?

Why are chicken wings so small?

There are two main reasons why chicken wings are so small. Firstly, chickens rarely use their wings. And secondly, chicken wings need to be light for them to fly.

Related: Why do chickens have wings?

To get a specific understanding of why chicken wings are so small, let’s read on and figure out some explanations below.

Chickens rarely use their wings

A lot of people mistake that chickens can’t fly; however, they do fly.

In fact, chickens can fly high enough to cross a fence or reach for a tree branch. Their longest fly time is thirteen seconds, it is quite long, right? But why do many people not know that chickens can fly?

The reason is that chickens just and only fly in case of being threatened and escaping from danger, so they seldom use their wings.

Chickens are known as the most raised poultry in the world, with a huge quantity. Chickens are easy to raise and care for, they are also one of the most vital meat sources as well, so that is why many people choose chickens.

Further reading: Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Chickens

Since chickens are considered as the targeted attack of some animals like dogs, hawks, foxes, everyone always provides them with a safe place to live and develop when raising chicken flocks.

Therefore, it is hard for predators to get close to chickens and endanger them. As a result, chickens are not scared and do not need to fly. And that makes their wings so small.

Because chickens use their wings once in a blue moon, their wings do not need to be big or meaty. This is totally different from their thighs.

chickens rarely use their wings
chickens rarely use their wings

Chickens love walking around to look for their food, or they just simply enjoy taking a walk under the sunshine really often, so their thighs develop strongly. They are a thick combination of muscle, fiber and bone used to help chickens walk.

And have you ever noticed that chickens’ thighs are darker and leaner than other meat parts of them? It is mainly because chickens use their thighs continuously. (Source)

Chickens wings need to be light for them to fly

Chickens are animal species that have quite tiny sizes. Specifically, a normal mature chicken just weighs from 2 to 3 kilograms. Therefore, their wing sizes have to be smaller as well as lightweight to help them fly.

When chickens fly, they have to use their wings’ power to lift their bodies. If their wings are too heavy, it will definitely be hard for them to fly when being in danger or escaping from threats.

That explains why chicken wings are smaller in comparison with other parts like their breasts or thighs.

In addition, chickens raised for meat do not need wings with big sizes since they are not beneficial and impede their flying.

Chickens are known as a rich source of eggs and meat. Even though there are a few people raising chickens as pets, it is rare. Most farmers usually raise chickens for egg or meat purposes.

Nowadays, people’s demands for chicken meat are higher and higher so a lot of workers mostly raise chickens for the meat purpose. Once serving for the meat purpose, the fattier chickens are, the more benefits they have.

In case that chickens have heavy weight, large wings can cause troubles and make chickens difficult to fly. (Source)

Hens can fly
Hens can fly

Another reason

Of course, there are some exceptions. Apart from the most common and the normal chicken breed we discussed, it still has a couple of special chicken breeds that are much huger.

For instance, Brahma chickens weigh up to 6 to 8 kilograms or Jersey Giant chickens are about 5 kilograms, etc. And since those chicken breeds have larger sizes, their wings are also bigger than normal chicken wings.

However, though there are chicken breeds having more dominant sizes than usual chickens, chicken wings are still so small in comparison to other parts of chickens in general.

Read more: How high can chickens fly with clipped wings?

Whether or not chicken wings we consume are baby chick wings?

Since chicken wings are so small, it is not unusual that a lot of people have wondered whether they are baby chicken wings when having meals at restaurants.

Actually, they are not. We eat chicken wings which only come from adult chickens, not baby chickens.


In a nutshell, to answer the question “Why are chicken wings so small”, they come to two main reasons.

For the time meeting, we are going to repeat them again. The first one, chickens use their wings once in a blue moon, and the second one is that chicken wings need to be light for them to fly easily.

Apart from those two primary reasons, chicken breeds are also one of the explanations for today’s question.

I hope this writing will bring some helpful information for you to make your question clear.