We've all heard the phrases, "Don't be such a chicken," or, "Which came first, the chicken or the egg," but have you ever stopped to wonder why? There are hundreds of references to chickens that people use every day, and some may not even realize it.
Here's a look at our favorite chicken idioms and where they came from:
Your handwriting is chicken scratch
People often use this idiom to describe someone's messy or illegible handwriting. This phrase stems from the idea that the handwriting looks like the tracks chickens leave in the dirt.
Run like a chicken with its head cut off
This phrase is typically used when someone or something is running around hastily. Think about what your mom looks like right before company comes over. This phrase, however, comes with a more morbid meaning. When a chicken's head is cut off, it sends triggers through the chicken's nerve endings, causing it to flap and move around for a few seconds.
Fox in the henhouse
Used to mimic what a fox looks like when it's prowling for a meal in the chicken coop, this phrase is often used to describe a person with bad intentions or someone who is trying to take advantage of a situation.
Don't count your chickens before they hatch
This idiom reminds people to not count on plans that may not happen. For example, just because a chicken has six eggs, it doesn't mean all six will hatch and become chicks.
A hen party is often used to describe a bachelorette party, or simply a large group of women. This is because hens are typically separated from roosters to avoid fertilization of eggs.
You're no spring chicken
This is phrase is often used jokingly to imply that someone is old. Chicks are often hatched in the spring, meaning they are at the youngest point in their lives.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket
This idiom is warning a person not to risk everything on the hope that one venture will succeed. Although the origin of this particular idiom remains unclear, many think it refers to the trouble that could come if you put a full day's harvest in one basket and then drop it.
You eat like a bird
You eat like a bird is often said to someone who is eating very little at the dinner table. This is because chickens eat small amounts at one time.
Fly the coop
Synonymous with "leave the nest," fly the coop is used to refer to someone who is leaving their home. This term comes from mysterious chickens who try to escape their home on the farm.
Like with most animals, larger chickens often get the most food at feeding time. This phrase is often used to describe the way people are ranked in relation to each other.
If those idioms got you thinking about your feathered friends, check out these treats that will make any of them cluck with happiness.