Common Chicken Sayings Idioms Other Funny Things We Say

We've been amazed at how many common every-day sayings originated from people who owned and raised chickens.
By BYC Support · Jan 10, 2012 · Updated Mar 18, 2012 · ·
  1. BYC Support
    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

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Recent User Reviews

  1. 007Sean
    "Chickens, say what?"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed May 13, 2019
    Nice collection of sayings.
  2. SunnyTheFrizzle
    "Good read!"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Feb 6, 2019
    007Sean likes this.
  3. jsullivan704
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Sep 18, 2018


To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!
  1. cluckmecoop7
    Not sure if this one is in it already, but: "The rooster crows but the hen delivers". :D
  2. Ted_Harrell
    Had to read the whole thing, couldn't stop. Thanks...
  3. cluckmecoop7
  4. silly4buttons
    Awesome job love it
  5. silly4buttons
    Awesome job love it
  6. ChickenyChickeny
    most of the ones about talkative women are stereotypical and sort of insulting
  7. Pugsabi
    A Hen-do/Hen-party= Bachelorette party
  8. wonderchick22
    Shake your tail feathers
  9. Egg-citable
    Why did the chicken cross the road? To show the raccoon how.
  10. Frutfarm
    This was a totally immature joke back in likely the 6th grade, but it still makes me laugh-
    Someone would say, "What's up?!" Then the person would respond, "Chicken butt!"

    Keeping it classy.
    1. Hybridchucks
  11. gimmie birdies
    Shake it off.
  12. dunnmom
    I want to live in a world where a chicken can cross the road and not have it's motives questioned. No idea who came up with that one, but it's one of my favorites. I also catch myself saying, "It's a chicken or egg kind of thing", in conversations with people.
      Pugsabi, Colorrific and chicken4prez like this.
    1. Pugsabi
      I love it!
  13. sassysarah
    WOW!!!! GOOD JOB!
  14. amiachicknorwat
    My fave came from the fellow who sold us our mobile chicken coop: "every jailbird deserves a prison yard", of course puts in perspective the necessity for an outdoor chicken run.
      AMERAUCANAS4REAL likes this.
  15. Beer can
    Verse from a old folk song,
    "Rooster rooster what makes your claws so hard
    From a scratching round in this barnyard it's a wonder I ain't tired I ain't tired"
    Grant Rogers, Catskill mountain songmaker.
      MrsMistyReal and Hybridchucks like this.
  16. chicken4prez
    I love this article!!!
  17. Hybridchucks
    GREAT!! well done!
      MrsMistyReal likes this.
  18. RodNTN
    Great article! Yeah, I know @guinealeghorn! My chickens never "chicken out!"
  19. guinealeghorn
    Why do people say "You're chicken" when someone backs out? My chickens are pretty brave and always check out anything new. They explore before the guineas do.
  20. spitfirecream15
    I acutally found you site looking for chicken sayings to give me ideas for my 'advice from a chicken'. Thanks for posting these! Some of them really made me laugh. Here is the advice from a chicken:
    Advice from a Chicken:
    · Don’t wait too long to come home to roost
    · Work hard and scratch out your living
    · Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
    · Wake up with the sunshine
    · Don’t let other ruffle your feathers
    · Hatch your ideas
    · Find something to crow about
    · Gather your chicks under your wings
    · Stick with your flock of trusted friends

    1. wonderchick22
      I like this one
  21. Frindizzle
    I think you forgot " Cocky."
  22. yogifink
    Guess What?....Chicken Butt!!
  23. oceanjean
    Ha ha ha ha! Funny
  24. bigbangrooster
  25. amycomp
    @ Scooter&Suzie, I would love to read your paper. I often connect life to chickens.
  26. Scooter&Suzie
    Thanks - I'm doing a 10 page paper on chickens and this really is helping! I can have different chapters, and one is going to be on how chickens affect our everyday life.
  27. SteveBaz

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