The tiny pores are sometimes too small to see without magnification. The spores are white.
The flesh is white, light yellow, or pale salmon, and looks like chicken meat. It’s soft when the mushroom is young, then becomes dry and crumbly when the mushroom is too old to eat.
People sometimes confuse the brightly-colored chicken mushroom with the nonpoisonous, dull orange-brown Berkeley's polypore.
One man wanted to have found a chicken mushroom so badly, he convinced himself that 30 lbs. of mature, inedible, drab Berkeley's polypore was a bright orange chicken mushroom. He hauled it out of the woods to has car and brought it to me to confirm its identity.
After I told him it was worthless (you can only eat it when it's very young) and he had to return it to the woods, it instantly reverted to a dull orange brown color before his eyes!
One more source of confusion is the fried-chicken mushroom, a completely different edible species with a similar name.
The chicken mushroom grows on trees, logs, or stumps, deciduous or coniferous, across North America. Most common in autumn, it also appears in spring and summer.
The chicken mushroom tastes very much like chicken, especially with customary chicken seasonings. Properly prepared, it’s wonderful.
To adapt it to traditional chicken recipes, include a source of protein (i.e., grains or beans) to make the dish filling, plus some olive oil or vegetable oil, because unlike chicken, this mushroom contains no fat.
Unless the mushroom is so young and tender it almost drips with juice, it’s better to cook it in moist heat (i.e. in soups, stews, or in grains) than to cook it in oil.