Terminology of Chickens

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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This is a complex area. Apart from anything else, there is an awkward overlap in Britain between ‘chicken’ and ‘boiling fowl’ (a mature hen, called poule in French, now less often marketed, but formerly a great standby). A poussin is a baby chicken weighing around 450–500 g (about 1 lb), best suited to being grilled. Spring chicken (a term fallen into disuse, since chicken alone now has this meaning), French poulet, will weigh about 1–2 kg (2 to 4.5 lb). A French poularde, e.g. from Brittany, may be a chicken that has been reared and fed in an exemplary manner for most of its life, but then confined and fattened for the table.