Processed chickens may be classified into one of seven different USDA defined groups: broiler, roaster, capon, rock Cornish hen, rock Cornish fryer, hen and rooster.
A young chicken usually 6-8 weeks old. A broiler may be of either sex and will be tender-meated. The dressed weight of whole birds will range from 2.58 to 4.50 pounds. Broilers are sometimes referred to as fryers.
Roasters have the same general characteristics as broilers, except that their dressed weight will range from 4.75 to 7.50 pounds. Roasters are processed when are 8-12 weeks old. Roasters are generally sold as whole birds.
A surgically desexed male chicken. Capons are grown to the ripe old age of 15 weeks. Dressed weights range from 6-9 pounds. Sometimes called Christmas Bird, capons are meaty, flavorful, tender and highly regarded for holiday meal celebrations. Capons are marketed as whole birds.
Rock Cornish Hen
The offspring of a Cornish chicken or a Cornish chicken crossed with another breed of chicken. The Cornish hen is a young, immature chicken, usually 5-6 weeks old with a dressed weight of not more than 2 pounds.(Poussin)
Rock Cornish Fryer
A cross between a purebred Cornish and a purebred Rock Chicken. Rock Cornish Fryer are young, of either sex, and will be tender-meated. The dressed weight will range from 1-2 pounds.
A mature female chicken. Chickens of this classification are generally spent hens. Referred to as fowl, hens may be further classified as heavy or light depending on their breed and weight. Hens may be used for stewing, baking or may be deboned for use in processed meat.
A mature male chicken with coarse skin and toughened, dark meat. Roosters are generally spent breeders that are deboned for use in processed meat