Deciphering Fowl Language

What is the difference between a broiler, a fryer and a roaster chicken? And what exactly is a capon? Good question! This “fowl language” can be confusing, especially since different recipes will call for different types of birds. Broilers, fryers and roasters are all terms that denote different sizes of chickens. While the terms are often used interchangeably, there is a technical difference. The most common types of chickens are Broiler, Fryer and Roaster Chickens. Here’s what each term means:

  • Broiler Chickens are chickens that are usually harvested at about 8 weeks old and weigh around 2.5 lbs. each.
  • Fryer Chickens are chickens that are usually harvested at about 8 weeks old and weigh around 3.5 lbs. each.
  • Roaster Chickens are slightly older chickens that are harvested at about 12 weeks old and weigh around 4-5 lbs. each.

Even though “Roaster Chicken” is a technical term for a larger chicken, if you see a recipe calling for a “roasting chicken”, you can use whatever size bird you’d prefer. At Lake Geneva Country Meats, we have whole roaster chickens and cut up fryer chickens. There are other types of chickens as well, like Stewing Chickens that are older chickens (usually over 10 months old) and weigh over 5 lbs. These chickens have tougher meat, so are only used for industrial uses like stewing.

Capons are an entirely different breed. These are castrated male chickens that don’t grow as fast as “normal” chickens since they don’t produce as many growth hormones. As they slowly grow, they put on more body fat, resulting in a very tender and rich flavor. Capons are very popular in classic European cuisine. They’re available frozen at Lake Geneva Country Meats.

Have you ever had a Cornish Game Hen? These are a special chicken that weighs around 2 lbs. at five weeks of age. One bird will serve one person, so they’re an excellent way to make an impressive serving display without much work.


There you have it, that’s the lowdown on fowl language. Do you have other questions about meat terms? Leave us a comment and we’ll be happy to answer!

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