An unintelligent, but tasty, flightless bird known for having the ability to run around for a while without its head. To find some good examples of chicken go to one of these establishments:

Grocery store

See Tem42's chickens writeup for more information on this bird.

Chicken is also a dangerous game involving two cars. The two cars drive straight toward each other. Whichever car steers out of the way first loses! If neither car veers from the path, both drivers lose because their cars and bodies get all wrecked up. Exciting!

Some kids also play this game with a train. The kid stands on railroad tracks facing an oncoming train. A train can't change its path, so it's up to the kid to jump out of the way. The kid loses if he gets hit by the train or if he jumps out of the way too early for his peers' liking.

A bad guy from the Game Boy game Super Mario Land. It's a helmet-wearing war bird that flies suddenly towards Mario when it gets near his Sky Pop. It's playing chicken with Mario.

Chicken is also slang for a coward. If someone is too scared to do something like, for instance, play chicken, then his peers may call him a chicken. Oftentimes these peers will continue to chant and sing and announce that the coward is a chicken (and even throw in some chicken sounds) until the coward changes his mind and performs the dangerous deed.

People who like to lift up their shirts and show you their pot belly are showing you their chicken. It's a bashful chicken. It always seems to be turned around.

A two-player game in game theory that is intended to model the phenomenon of brinksmanship.

Two players face off. If both attack, both incur equal amounts of pain (payoff="-1"); if neither attacks, both benefit equally (payoff="1"). If one attacks and the other does not, the attacker gains, but the dove does not (payoff for attacker="2", payoff for dove="0").

Do not confuse this with the Prisoner's Dilemma game; the payoffs are different, and so are the Nash equilibria.

(Noun.) Slang in the gay male community for an attractive boy or young man. (Frequently cited in Palare resources.)

Little Known Facts About Chickens

  • A chicken will lay bigger and stronger eggs if you change the lighting in such a way as to make them think a day is 28 hours long!
  • The chicken can travel up to 9 miles per hour.
  • There seven distinctive types of combs on chickens: rose, strawberry, single, cushion, buttercup, pea, and V-shaped.
  • Unrelated to the chick, the male cock-of-the-rock bird earned the name "cock" because of its rooster-like appearance and combative behavior. The female of the species influenced the word "rock" being added to the name because of her habit of nesting and rearing the young in sheltered rock niches.
  • There are four places in the United States with the word "chicken" in their name. Chicken, Alaska; Chicken Bristle; in Illinois and Kentucky; and Chicken Town, Pennsylvania.
  • The largest chicken egg on record was nearly 12 oz., measuring 12 1/4" around.
  • The greatest number of yolks in one chicken egg is nine.
  • The record for laying the most eggs: seven in one day.
  • There are more chickens in the world than any other domesticated bird.
  • More than one chicken for every human on the face of this earth.
  • The longest distance flown by any chicken is 301 1/2 feet. (as the crow flies)
  • Every bird and mammal except the spiny anteater experiences REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
  • Did you know that some breeds of chickens can lay colored eggs? Sure enough, the Ameraucana and Araucana can lay eggs colored in shades of green or blue, depending on the breed and its ancestry.
  • In 1994, 73,866 million eggs were produced in the U.S. proving once again the U.S. has the best darn chickens in the world.
  • China not only has the most people in the world, but also has the most Horses with 10,000,000 and chickens with over 3,000,000,000 of them.
  • Chickens and turkeys are known to cross-breed, these breeds are known as "Turkins".
  • The term 'Chicken Pox' didn't come from people believing that they came from chickens, it came from the Old English term 'gican pox' - which means the itching pox.
  • Alektorophobia - Fear of chickens.
  • Laid head to claw, KFC chickens consumed worldwide would stretch some 275,094 miles. They would circle the Earth at the equator 11 times or stretch from the Earth approximately 50,094 miles past the moon.
  • There are approximately 450 million chickens in the United States.
  • There are more chickens than people in the world.
  • Chickens make sounds with actual meaning. They give different alarm calls when threatened by different predators.
  • A rooster will attack anything that he thinks will harm the hens ( that includes humans ). Their spurs (located at the back of their leg ) can cause a very painful puncture wound.
  • If a rooster is not present in a flock of hens, a hen will often take the role, stop laying, and begin to crow.
  • In Gainesville, Georgia - the chicken capital of the world - it is illegal to eat chicken with a fork! Source: local ordinance
  • McDonald's in india doesn't serve beef -- only chicken, mutton and fish. Source: notice displayed in McDonalds bombay outlet
  • The waste produced by one chicken in its lifetime can supply enough electricity to run a 100 watt bulb for five hours.
  • The longest recorded flight of a chicken is thirteen seconds.


The Edible Chicken

Chicken is a type of poultry, that is, a bird raised for the dining table, not a wild or game bird. The domestic chicken, Gallus domesticus or Gallus gallus, is thought to be descended from the Southeast Asian red jungle fowl, Gallus bankiva (gallus means comb in Latin). Though originally domesticated for fighting, today chickens are bred for meat, eggs, and feathers. It's the meat I'm going to focus on here.

Chicken is versatile: it can be served whole, cut into pieces, or ground; and can be baked, fried, roasted, grilled, broiled, boiled, stewed, steamed, smoked, or barbecued. As far as I know, no religion that allows the eating of animal flesh forbids the eating of chicken meat, so chicken is suitable for a wide range of palates. Many people who won't eat beef or pork will consume chicken. Chicken also has the advantage in the western world at least of being relatively inexpensive, though this was not always the case. It only became cheap after World War II when mass chicken production emerged. More on that in a minute.

Chickens range in size from 1 lb (about .5 kg) to 10 lbs (about 5 kg). The smallest are rock cornish hens and squab chickens, squab broilers, or poussins (not to be confused with squab, a game bird). The diminutive rock cornish hens, a cross between white Plymouth rock and cornish chickens, are slaughtered (let's not mince words here, that's what it is) when 4-6 weeks old; they are usually just over a pound in weight (about 2.5 kg), and as such are of a perfect size for a single serving; they are usually roasted whole - sometimes stuffed - or split along the backbone, butterflied (laid flat) and broiled. Poussins are regular chickens that are also killed when very young; harder to come by, they are usually prepared in a similar way to cornish hens.

Larger whole chickens come in a range of grades. They may be labelled "broiler-fryer" or "roaster" chickens; chicken parts (breasts, wings, drumsticks etc.) will generally be cut from one of these two types of bird. The former are a few months old, the latter up to 8 months old. Roasters have a higher fat content and so are indeed most suitable for roasting. "Stewing chickens" are a year or more in age; this greater age makes them more flavourful but also tougher, so they are best cooked with moist heat. A capon is a rooster that's been castrated, fattened up, and killed at about 10 months; it's very tender and juicy and suited for roasting.

I should also mention kosher and halal chickens. Halal chickens are hand-slaughtered by someone of the Muslim faith, unlike most chickens, which are machine-slaughtered by stunning or suffocation. Kosher chickens are processed according Jewish dietary laws, which involves ritual slaughtering under the supervision of a rabbi, after which the chickens are defeathered, soaked, brined, and dried. Cook's Illustrated, the cooking magazine for the fuss budget, recommends brining chicken for moistness and flavour; if this is too much work, buy kosher chickens instead.

There's some grisly terminology in there, and rightly so, for the raising of chickens on farms is rather disgusting. Chickens are big business, and they are raised in tiny 1 foot square cages stacked one atop the other in huge stinky sheds; the chickens crouch in these tiny wire enclosures with nothing to do but eat, shit, and sleep. In these cramped quarters they have little possibility of movement and have no view of green or sunshine. It's a totally artificial environment. If you've ever been in a chicken farm - more properly factory - you won't forget the noise, the smell, the crowding. In such conditions disease can spread quickly, and so factory-raised chickens are fed huge amounts of antibiotics to control illness and hormones to fatten them up faster for market.

Now, I've raised chickens that roamed free, and they're not too bright; it's hard for me to have much respect for a chicken. But I've also been in a chicken factory, and I care about what I eat. So I go for the free range chicken, or even organic chicken, when I can. A free range chicken has a 2 foot square cage as well as access to out-of-doors, though the outdoor pen itself may not be large. Organic chickens are almost always also free range chickens; they are raised without antibiotics on feed that comes from organic fields. No doubt they're still killed in horrifying ways, though.

Chicken should be stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator, generally at the back near the top, and eaten within a day or two. If you can't consume it that fast, freeze it; it will be fine for up to a year, but it'll have the best texture if you eat it within a month or so. Thaw chicken in the fridge or in cold water before cooking.

The thing to really be cautious of with chicken and all poultry is not to allow surfaces that have come in contact with raw chicken - knife, cutting board, hands - touch cooked chicken (or turkey). So always wash these objects thoroughly while the chicken is cooking to avoid salmonella.

I should add that raw chicken is used to make sushi in Japan. Apparently the chickens are raised and prepared in very hygenic conditions, but a life of warnings about the dangers of un(der)cooked chicken made me recoil after I had taken one bite the one time I was served this delicacy.

My father grew up in Mobile, Alabama. My grandfather, who was a a successful children's book salesman owned the farm they lived on, and occasionally farmed it. To further my father's education in the rural arts, he gave him a chicken.

Now, chickens are not the brightest of animals. In fact, they are really nothing more than a mobile vegetable. My father discovered this while defending his chicken. There are lots of chicken hawks in Alabama. The circled like vultures above my father's bird. Sometimes they would dive.

But Dad had a BB gun and he soldiered on, laying down a withering hail of BBs until the feathered predators sheered off. For weeks he remained on guard around his chicken, fighting off fowl.

Eventually the chicken got sick and died. Dad was not displeased. It had clucked on, completely oblivous to the battle raging over its head. Not once did the bird look up to check for chicken-hawks.

To this day my father eats chicken with particular satisfaction. "This bird was meant to be fried" he said, and I agree. If I ever become a vegetarian, at least I'll still be able to enjoy chicken.

As mentioned by m1a9366b's rather extensive write up, chicken is a game, if you will, played by consenting drivers whereby two cars race toward each other at high speed, willing the other to swerve first. It is very important to know which way you should turn, otherwise you may both look rather the worse for wear. Always swerve in the direction that you country's road rules follow. That is, in Australia and England you should turn left and in America and almost everywhere else you should go right. Observe by this ascii art:

            _____|   | |
___________/     |___|_|
           _____   _________        In England/Australia
          | |   |_/         

           | |   |___
           |_|___|   \______
_____     _____                     Everywhere else
     \___|   | |

You would look pretty stupid if this happened (you wouldn't however, look pretty)

_____     _____ * _____      ______
     \___|   | |*| |   |____/

Excuse my ascii - It is my first attempt ever.
Chicken is a popular stunt in the movies, such as Death Race 2000, Cry Baby and Mad Max

In High School High, there is a different kind of chicken played, called a Chickie Run, where two cars race toward a cliff, the first person to jump out being the loser (kind of a cross between car chicken and train chicken). sid tells me that the same thing happened in Rebel Without A Cause - the High School High name is probably a reference.

Chick"en (?), n. [AS. cicen, cyceun, dim. of coc cock; akin to LG. kiken, kuken, D. Kieken, kuiken, G. kuchkein. See Cock the animal.]


A young bird or fowl, esp. a young barnyard fowl.


A young person; a child; esp. a young woman; a maiden.

"Stella is no chicken."


Chicken cholera, a contagious disease of fowls; -- so called because first studied during the prevalence of a cholera epidemic in France. It has no resemblance to true cholera.


© Webster 1913.

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