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Do Roosters Have a Penis?

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WHETHER YOU’RE A SEASONED CHICKEN FARMER or a newbie, this question has probably crossed your mind at least once.

“Do roosters have a penis?”

That only makes sense, right, because you can see them copulate with hens every now and then.

However, their physiology is different from that of mammals.

The reproductive organs of a rooster are neatly tucked away inside their bodies, hidden in their cloaca.

And to answer your question, NO, roosters don’t have penises.

What they do have, however, is a papilla.

Wondering how that works? We’ll explain that in this article.

A rooster and his hens

A Closer Look at the Rooster Anatomy


The testes are the primary male reproductive organs responsible for producing sperm.

In roosters, the testes are located within the body, in the body cavity near the kidneys.

Do you have an overly aggressive rooster? Chances are it has oversized testes.

If you decide to butcher your mean rooster, and you’re feeling curious, take a moment to look at the size of the testes.

They’re probably enlarged, and that excess testosterone could be the reason why he was so unpleasant.

This is a biological fact.

And once you’ve realized this, sometimes, it gets much easier to let go of mean and aggressive roos because you know that there is nothing you can do to stop this behavior.

Some also remove the testes to fatten up roosters more easily, making them more efficient with their feed and making them more docile flockmates.

This is called “caponizing,” and roosters who have been castrated are called “capons.”

While it does improve meat quantity and quality, this is not widely practiced.

For one reason, most meat producers butcher their chickens at six to twelve weeks old (one and a half to four months old), so roosters aren’t sexually mature anyway.

This is also a difficult and stressful process, takes a considerable amount of skill for the person doing the procedure, and it’s painful.

Many people consider this practice unethical, so it doesn’t happen very often.

With that said, caponizing roosters is legal almost all over the world, including all fifty US states, Canada, and the UK.

Vas Deferens

After sperm is produced in the testes, it moves through a series of ducts called vas deferens.

These ducts transport the sperm from the testes to the cloaca during mating.


The cloaca is the opening located at the end of the digestive and urinary tracts of your chicken.

It serves as the site for both excretion and reproduction.

During mating, the rooster’s cloaca makes contact with the hen’s cloaca, allowing the transfer of sperm into the female reproductive tract.


The papilla is a small bump located just inside and on the “wall” of the cloaca, where the semen exits the vas deferens before leaving the rooster and entering the hen.

This papilla does not expand or exit his body, so because of this, the birds must make their cloacas touch in a “kiss” so the sperm can be transferred over.

Sperm Storage Tubules

Inside the hen’s reproductive tract, there are specialized structures called sperm storage tubules.

These tubules provide a safe environment for sperm storage.

Once the sperm is transferred from the rooster, it can remain viable within these tubules for an extended period until it is needed for fertilization.

Understanding Hen Anatomy

While this article is centered around rooster anatomy, it can be helpful to look at how hen reproductive parts work to better allow you to understand chicken reproduction.

broody hen


Hens have a pair of ovaries located in the abdominal cavity.

The ovaries are responsible for producing eggs and female sex hormones.

Each ovary contains thousands of undeveloped ova, commonly called yolks or oocytes.

If you could look inside your hen at any moment, you would find a finished (or nearly finished) egg ready to be laid somewhere in her ovary, oviduct, or cloaca.

Inside the ovaries, she has thousands of small ova/yolks and then three to seven larger yolks that are developing to prepare to be laid soon.

A few of these growing yolks may already be the size of full-size egg yolks.

They just don’t have a shell or egg whites added yet.


The infundibulum is the first part of the hen’s oviduct, a long and coiled tube.

It is a funnel-shaped structure where fertilization occurs.

When a hen ovulates, the mature yolk is released from the ovary into the infundibulum, where it awaits fertilization by sperm.

The yolk makes up 32% of the egg.


After the infundibulum, the yolk enters the magnum, the next section of the oviduct.

In the magnum, albumen (egg white) is added around the yolk.

The albumen provides nutrients and protection to the developing embryo.

Approximately 58% of chicken eggs consist of egg white.


The yolk then moves into the isthmus, the third part of the oviduct.

In the isthmus, two shell membranes are formed around the yolk and albumen.

These membranes serve as additional protective layers for the developing embryo.

Shell Gland (Uterus)

The final stage of egg formation takes place in the shell gland, also known as the uterus.

In the shell gland, the eggshell is formed.

The hen secretes calcium carbonate, which is deposited around the egg, providing strength and protection.

Pigments may also be added to create variations in eggshell color.

The shell makes up 10% of the egg.

Vagina and Cloaca

After the shell is complete, the egg moves through the vagina and is eventually laid through the cloaca, a common opening for both waste elimination and reproduction.

The process of laying an egg is controlled by muscle contractions in the oviduct and cloaca.

Hens will lay an egg once every twenty-four to thirty hours.

Some hens may stop laying for several reasons but should produce anywhere from two to six eggs a week.

How Do Chickens Breed?

Chickens reproduce through sexual reproduction.

Chicken breeding involves the interaction between a rooster (male chicken) and a hen (female chicken).

Let’s explore how chickens breed.

tips for breeding chickens


The breeding process often begins with courtship behavior.

The rooster will display various courtship behaviors to attract the hen’s attention.

He will puff out his feathers, perform mating dances, offer gifts, and vocalize.

Every rooster is different and will have different methods to court his hens.

The hen may respond by ignoring him or showing receptive behavior, such as crouching down or accepting the rooster’s advances.


Once the hen displays receptive behavior, the rooster will mount her from behind.

During mating, the cloaca of both birds comes into contact.

The rooster transfers sperm from his cloaca to the hen’s cloaca.

This process is typically quick, happening in five seconds or less, and may involve multiple mating attempts.


Inside the hen’s reproductive tract, the transferred sperm travel to the infundibulum (mentioned above in the hen anatomy section), where fertilization occurs.

The sperm and egg (yolk) meet, and the fertilized egg begins developing.

Hens are capable of holding onto sperm for two to fifteen weeks.

If you want to breed your hen to a new rooster for egg hatching, you’ll need a sixteen-week separation from her old rooster to ensure the offspring belongs to the new rooster.

Egg Formation

After fertilization, the egg goes through a series of stages in the hen’s oviduct.

The egg develops as it passes through the magnum, where albumen (egg white) is added, and then into the isthmus, where shell membranes are formed.

Finally, the egg moves to the shell gland (uterus), where the eggshell is formed, and pigments may be added.

Egg Laying

Once the egg is fully formed, it moves through the hen’s oviduct and is eventually laid.

The muscle contractions in the oviduct and cloaca help push the egg out of the hen’s body.

This egg-laying process is usually completed within minutes, and hens typically lay one egg every 24 to 26 (sometimes 30) hours.

It’s important to note that for successful breeding, the rooster and hen should be of reproductive age and in good health.

The presence of a rooster is not necessary for hens to lay eggs, but fertilization requires the interaction between a rooster and a hen.

california grey chicken

Roosters and “Penis” – FAQs

Do Roosters Have a Penis?

Roosters do not have a penis like mammals do.

Instead, they have a papilla inside their cloaca, which is a single opening used for both excretion and reproduction.

During mating, the rooster’s cloaca makes contact with the hen’s cloaca, allowing for the transfer of sperm.

Do Hens Need Roosters to Lay Eggs?

Hens do not need roosters to lay eggs.

Hens will lay eggs regardless of whether or not there is a rooster present.

Some hens will actually lay more eggs when a rooster is not present because some roosters are aggressive and stressful, leading to her producing fewer eggs.

However, eggs laid by hens without mating with a rooster are unfertilized and will not develop into chicks.

Do Roosters Have Testicles?

Roosters do have testicles.

The testicles are internal and are located near the kidneys within the body cavity.

They are responsible for producing sperm.

Do Roosters Have One Hole?

Yes, roosters, like other birds, have a single opening called the cloaca.

The cloaca serves as the exit point for both waste elimination and reproduction.

It is through this opening that roosters transfer sperm to the hens during mating.

Do Hens Have One Hole?

Hens also have a single opening called the cloaca.

Similar to roosters, the cloaca in hens is responsible for both waste elimination and reproduction.

It is through this opening that hens lay eggs.

What Does Rooster Sperm Look Like?

Rooster sperm is not visible to the naked eye, and many chicken keepers will go their entire lives without seeing rooster sperm (or even semen).

It is microscopic and needs a microscope to be fully seen.

Sperm cells are tiny and have a unique shape suited for their reproductive function.

Roosters Have Papilla!

I hope this article answers your question about a rooster’s reproductive organs, as well as the process of chicken breeding.

If you’re interested to learn more about a chicken’s physiology, we got a couple of interesting articles you can choose from.

Read our recommendations below.

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