Auditory evoked brain-stem responses (ABRs) were recorded from the surfaces of the brain of lightly anesthetized newborn (1-7 days old) and adult (7-9 weeks old) chickens as a measure of the development of auditory processing. One-day-old and older chickens showed a series of waves within 5 msec after the stimulus onset. This precocity of the ABR in chickens contrasts with the first appearance of the ABR in cats at 4 days of age. The ABR onset latency was shorter in adult chickens than in newborns. This indicates that developmental modifications of mechanical transmission in the external and middle ear or cytodifferentiation of the sensory hair cells of the basillar papilla and the neurons of the acoustic nerve continue postnatally. Within the complex wave form of the response, most of the inter-wave latencies decreased with maturation, indicating that development of the central auditory pathway also continues postnatally. One inter-wave latency (N1 to P3-4) was significantly shorter (P less than 0.05) in adults than in newborns for intense click stimuli, and even among newborns, this inter-wave latency was significantly shorter in 6- and 7-day-old specimens than in 1-3-day-old specimens. It seems likely that changes in the N1 to P3-4 inter-wave latency reflect changes in evoked activity of second order auditory neurons that are located in the nucleus angularis and nucleus magnocellularis, and that intensive developmental changes occur in these neurons during the first postnatal week. The ABR recorded in chickens is a reliable measure of functional activity in the auditory system which is reproducible between individuals and capable of demonstrating developmental changes in specific segments of the wave form.