I don't know if there is a set age, but maybe you could say when a chick is able to produce offspring it becomes a chicken.panjandrum said:Could you put an age on that?
When does a chick become a chicken?
Do chickens ever become hens these days, like they used to?
That explains a lot.A "hen" is a female chicken and a "rooster" is a male chicken (both adults).
Chicken is singular.
This is not an example like child, children: brother, brethren: ox, oxen.
Chick is a shortened form of chicken.
Except in the dialect of the South West of England, where chick is singular, chicken plural - as Savoir suggests.
I have the very distinct impression that the word chicken is used for all ages of the domestic fowl these days. Chickens just grow into bigger chickens. Although the female chickens are hens, they are hen chickens, in full. For more confusion see Hen vs.chicken.Living chickens can become hens.
Are you suggesting that some of the chicken on my dinner table may in fact be mutton dressed as lamb?However, those birds, of any age, on the dinner table are always called chicken.
No, quite definitely no. And it's not that old thing about the English term used for the animal and the French for the meat. Both hen and chicken are English.Have you ever seen "roast hen", "hen fricasee, "hen pie" or "hen soup" on a menu?
Rushing off to see what I can find by way of hen ... recipes
For me a chick is a baby chicken (or a pretty girl), and remains a chick as long as it is fluffy, and cheeps. As I remember it, a chick quite soon (two to three weeks ?) becomes a chicken. For me the plural of chick is chicks.
I have only come across "chicks" the way Rover KE and Thomas Tompion describe.I've always thought of chicks as being the young of wild birds, or the newly-hatched yellow balls of fluff of the domestic fowl which will become chickens when they're old enough to be eaten.
I have the very distinct impression that the word chicken is used for all ages of the domestic fowl these days.
I'm afraid not. A poussin in an English shop is a miserable little bird, young perhaps, but usually without flavour.Never having fancied buying, cooking or eating these birds, I can't comment further.
Maybe I'm making conclusions that should not be there, but poussin is simply French for baby chicks (which they don't usually call poulet until it's on your plate). Given the English delight in according French labels to all things touching la cuisine, isn't the English poussin just a fancy name for chicken again?
Would it be true to say that the rooster is the American cousin of the English cock? (no jokes please!)
Interesting about chickens, hens and dinner -time, because just as a parallel it is interesting to note that the French eat both poulet (chicken) and poule (hen). Do we also eat both, while always using the same term chicken?