What Does “No Spring Chicken” Mean and Where Did the Expression for Old People Come From?

To say someone is “no spring chicken” is to suggest he or she is past his or her physical prime.

This expression grew from a time in New England before raising chickens had become the cruelly sophisticated industry it is today.

Chickens came from free-range family farms with no incubators or warm hen houses, which meant baby chicks couldn’t be hatched or raised in the winter.

The prime price for chickens sold during the summer was for those born the previous spring.

Anything older and less succulent that was pawned off as part of the spring crop was quickly identified by shrewd shoppers as “no spring chicken,” or not as young as what was being presented.

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