You’re not alone—many people have difficulties with word problems. You may find a few helpful hints here.

I always look at the last sentence or the sentence that actually specifies what you have to find. In this case we need the numbers of roosters and horses, so we represent these by convenient letters, r for the number of roosters and the h for the number of horses.

Now we look for clues and numbers given in the question. We have feet and wings. How many feet does a horse have? 4. And how many feet does a rooster have? 2. So if one horse has 4 feet, h horses have 4h feet and r roosters have 2r feet. The total number of feet is 4h+2r=88 (given).

How many wings altogether? 0h+2r=40, that is, 2r=40, so r=40/2=20 roosters.

Now we go back to the feet: 4h+2r=88, and we know that 2r=40, so 4h+40=88, 4h=88-40=48, so h=48/4=12 horses.

20 roosters and 12 horses.