The U.S. Department of Agriculture has revised its definitions of fryer (broiler) and roasting chickens and turkey, lowering the ages of poultry in five classes and reflecting the increasingly short time needed to bring U.S. poultry to market.

The new definitions more accurately describe the characteristics of poultry in today's market, according to the USDA. Fryer chickens will now be classified as chickens less than 10 weeks old, three weeks less than the current definition. Roaster chickens will have an age of eight to 12 weeks, rather than the current three to five months. A ready-to-cook weight of five pounds or more has also been added. Three other poultry classes — Rock Cornish game hens, capons and fryer-roaster turkeys — have also had their ages lowered.


The new definitions will go into effect on January 1, 2014.