Chicken has now past beef and pork as the most consumed meat
in the U.S. The chicken is a descendent of the southeast Asian
red jungle fowl first domesticated in India around 2000 B.C.
Most of the birds raised for meat in the U.S. today are from the
Cornish (a British breed) and the White Rock (a breed
developed in New England). Chicken today are raised in a very
sanitary, temperature controlled environment and fed enriched
feed for quick growth and maximum yield.
All of the chickens listed here are from the same family of fowl,
but raised differently for different purposes.
Broiler – Fryer: A young, tender chicken about 7 weeks old.
Weight is between 2-1/2 to 4-1/2 lbs. Can be cooked by any
method. Popular for fried chicken May be found whole, halves,
quartered, 8 or 9 piece cut-up.
Roaster: Also known as a roasting hen, an older chicken about
3 to 5 months old. Weight is between 5 to 7 lbs. The bone
structure is about the same as a fryer chicken but yield more
meat per lb. Usually roasted whole
Stewing/Baking Hen: A mature laying hen 10 month to 1-1/2
years. The meat is less tender than young chickens. They are
best used in moist cooking such as stews.
Cornish hens: A small broiler-fryer weighing between 1 to 2
lbs. Popular for stuffing and usually cooked whole or
butterflied. The price is much higher that other chickens.
Capons: Capons are de-sexed male chickens, about 16 weeks
to 8 months old. Weight is between 4 to 7 lbs.. The capon has a
large amount of tender white meat. Usually roasted.