Chicken Idioms and other Funny Things We Say


We've been amazed at how many common every-day sayings originated from people who owned and raised chickens. Who would have thought that the lowly chicken was so interwoven into our everyday lives? Below are some of our favorite chicken sayings submitted by our community members. Feel free to bubmit your own chicken saying in the comments.

Quotable Chicken Quotes

- “A hen is only an egg's way of making another egg.” - Samuel Butler
- “I want there to be no peasant in my kingdom so poor that he cannot have a chicken in his pot every Sunday” - Henry IV
- “The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.” - unknown
- "Chicken one day, feathers the next” - unknown
- “We can see a thousand miracles around us every day. What is more supernatural than an egg yolk turning into a chicken?” - S. Parkes Cadman
- "Business is never so healthy as when, like a chicken, it must do a certain amount of scratching for what it gets” - Henry Ford
- "Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.” - Chuck Palahniuk
- "Religion is no more the parent of morality than an incubator is the mother of a chicken.” - Lemuel K. Washburn
- "I'll change you from a rooster to a hen with one shot!" Dolly Parton's character in 9 to 5 movie
- "Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral.” - Frank Lloyd Wright
- "Love, like a chicken salad a restaurant has, must be taken with blind faith or it loses its flavor” - Helen Rowland
- "It is better to be the head of chicken than the rear end of an ox” - Japanese Proverb quotes
-"Ain't nobody here but us chickens" - Song lyrics, Louis Jordan
-"The Sky is falling!" - Chicken Little, childrens fable
- "Boys, I may not know much, but I know chicken poop from chicken salad.” - Lyndon B. Johnson
- “The difference between 'involvement' and 'commitment' is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast: the chicken was 'involved' - the pig was 'committed'.”
- "A chicken in every pot" - 1928 Republican Party campaign slogan
- Don't have a pot to put it in - 1928 Democratic Party response slogan
- It's a chicken and egg situation - Which came first?

Talkative Women

"It is said that even the hen reared by a talkative woman crows." - Sinhalese proverb
Hen party - a large gathering of gossiping women
A whistling woman and a crowing hen, are neither fit for God nor men.
A whistling woman and a crowing hen are two of the unluckiest things under the sun.
A whistling wife and a crowing hen, aill call the old gentleman out of his den.
Whistling girls and crowing hens, always come to some bad end.
A whistling wife and a crowing hen, aill come to God, but God knows when.
A whistling girl and a crowing hen can drive the devil out of his den.
A whistling woman and a crowing hen will always come to no good end.

Finance (or putting your cart before your horse )

Nest egg - to save a little money each week
Scratching out a living - to earn enough to get by on
Don't count your chickens before they hatch - don't plan on an outcome before it actually happens.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket - don't plan on an outcome before it actually happens.
Don't spend the egg money before the hen lays the eggs - don't plan on an outcome before it actually happens.
Chicken feed - small amount of money
Feather your nest - saving for the future

Chicken Jokes

What the hen said when she saw the scrambled children are all mixed up!
Yolks on you - Jokes on you - play on words
Why'd the chicken cross the road? To prove to the possum/armadillo that it CAN be done!
Which came first the chicken or the egg?

Hen Sayings

Hen house - large number of females living in the same house
Mother hen - very protective
Madder than a wet settin' hen - very angry
Fussing like an old hen - angry
Work as hard as a hen hauling wood- hard working
Hen cackle – to laugh
Laid an egg – failed
Feeling like Henny Penny – one person doing all the work
Better an egg today than a hen tomorrow - a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
A hen that struts like a rooster is often invited for dinner - pride goeth before the fall
Scarce as hen's teeth - extremely hard to find
Long long ago, when chickens had teeth - once apon a time
Chick - young girl or teenager

Roosters (get no respect!) Sayings

Hen-pecked - nagged
The rooster may crow but the hen delivers the goods.
The rooster may crow, but this hen lays the egg!
The rooster may rule the roost but the hen rules the rooster.
The rooster makes all the noise, but the hen rules the roost!
Rooster games - willing to fight instead of trying to work out a problem.

Chicken Behavior Descriptions

Flew the coop - gone
Up with the chickens - waking early with the sunrise.
Going to bed with the chickens - going to bed early in the evening.
Walking on eggshells- treading softly where certain people are concerned; trying not to upset someone
Like a chicken with it's head cut off - running around with no direction
Like a head with it's chicken cut off - depressed
Shake a tail feather - get moving
Strutting' your stuff - Showing off
Strutting around like a banty rooster - showing off
Bird brain - senseless
Dumb cluck - senseless
You're chicken! - being afraid
Sunny side up - cheerful attitude
Hard-boiled - tough attitude
Over easy - soft inside
Chicken out - not follow through
That just flaps my wattles - when something annoys you
Ruffle your feathers - something annoys you
Chicken hearted - Not brave
Chickens have come home to roost - the past is catching up with you
No spring chicken - you're old. Plain and simple.
Like a banty on a june bug - all over you
Hatch an idea - put a plan into motion
Egg on your face - caught in an untruth
Put up a squawk - argue over something
Squawking - putting up a fuss
Rule the Roost - to be the boss
Pecking order - finding your place
Cock of the walk - to be the boss
Do chickens have lips? - dumb question gets a dumb answer
Play Chicken - a stand off, who will give first
Something to crow about - exciting news to tell
Brood over it - to worry; to hover over a problem
Chicken scratch - poor handwriting
Stick your neck out - go to bat for someone else
Stuck in your craw - upset about something and won't verbalize what's going on inside you; carrying a grudge.
Cock sure - to brag
Bad egg - less than honest person; poor moral standards
In a stew - got yourself in trouble
Neither chick nor child - a childless and/or petless person
Raise your hackle feathers - visibly annoyed
Cock and bull story - tall tales and elaborate lies
Nesting behavior- preparing a home (especially pregnant women just before a baby is due)
Empty nest syndrome - depression and loneliness when children leave home
Made from scratch - made from raw materials by hand
Making chicken salad out of chicken poop - able to cobble together things without many supplies or efforts
Chickenhawks - politicians who are pro-war but declined to participate themselves
Chicken lights - tractor trailor running lights
Tastes like Chicken - to describe the taste f any number of other meats
Use everything but the crow - use it up and wear it out; made due with what you have.
hatching rooster eggs - wasting time and/or resources


Sunny side up - cooked only on the bottom, happy yellow yolk staring at you
Over easy - flipped once and the yolk still runny
Dippy egg - Southern slang; runny yolks (often sunny side up or over easy) for dipping toast.
Cackleberries - eggs
Hen berries - eggs
Scrambled eggs - Gold trim on Naval Officers Dress Hats
Have to break eggs to make an omelet - make a mess to get something done
Not everything it's cracked up to be - disillusion
Don’t cackle if you haven’t laid - don't complain if you haven't finished your part of the effort

Chicken Parts

Pope's nose / parson's nose / dashboard - The chicken butt - the boney protrusion where the oil gland and tail feathers are located.
Cock-eyed - turned or twisted toward one side
Feet-n-feathers - the whole thing