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Hen vs.chicken.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Little_LIS, Aug 26, 2008.

  1. Little_LIS

    Little_LIS Senior Member

    What is the difference between "hen" and "chicken"?

    Thanks in advance :)
  2. Franzi Senior Member

    Astoria, NY
    (San Francisco) English
    A hen is an adult female chicken.
  3. Little_LIS

    Little_LIS Senior Member

    Is chicken a male?
  4. Little_LIS

    Little_LIS Senior Member

    Thanks Franzy :)

    But, do you mean that chicken is not adult?

    Both Chicken and hen are females,right ?
  5. kitenok Senior Member

    Here's an explanation by way of analogy to human beings:

    A chicken may be either male or female. A hen may only be an adult female. A young female chicken is called a "pullet."
  6. Franzi Senior Member

    Astoria, NY
    (San Francisco) English
    'Chicken' can refer to any bird of that species, or any adult of that species, or just an adult female of that species (a hen). It depends on the context and the speaker.

    'Hen' always refers to the adult female birds.
  7. gasman Senior Member

    Canada, English
    It was also the standard term when talking to a friend of the female sex, in the NE of England, or Glasgow, in my youth. It could also be used by women addressing a man, surprisingly enough.
  8. liliput

    liliput Senior Member

    U.K. English
    Hen can refer to any female bird, although it's most commonly associated with domestic birds and particularly chickens. To take one spectacular example, the peacock is a male peafowl and the female is a peahen.

    As gasman says, hen sometimes also refers to women - hence brides-to-be have a hen-night. One must, of course, be careful not to call the groom-to-be a cock - he has a stag-night (stag is an old word for male bird,although people now associate it with deer).
  9. Chaska Ñawi

    Chaska Ñawi modus borealis

    an old Ontario farmhouse
    Canadian English
    To complicate the issue, young hens are called pullets - not hens.

    Young roosters are called cockerels.

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