For those who know any French, the word for "egg" in French is "oeuf," which is pronounced roughly like "off." In Hebrew, "chicken" is "עוף," roughly pronounced like "off." Because Biblical Hebrew came before French, this confirms that the Chicken "עוף" came before the egg "oeuf." Like this comment if you get my joke. (The chicken came before the egg, proven by languages.)
Does this phrase apply to both having chicken for dinner, and keeping a chicken in your backyard? Or would you use a different word for one of those situations?
עוף = the meat of a chicken (like beef is the meat of the cow) OR a word for a bird in general. swan, chicken, goose, eagle, etc` like humans, chimps, whales, and lions are mammals.
rooster = תרנגול.
hen/chicken = תרנגולת
You can argue it's correct. But in the meaning of "bird", "עוף" is outdated. It's used in some set phrases such as "עופות מים" (water birds) and "עוף דורס" (bird of prey), but generally "bird" is almost always "ציפור", and "עוף" is almost exclusively used for chicken meat.
The position of the יש varies between initial (with pronouns) or after the subject (with, e.g., 'the children'). Is that an artifact of the sample sentences - so either could be written in either order - or a requirement of grammatical structure?
I think it's safe to say that most of the time you can change the order. However, sometimes we use the word order to stress different parts of the sentence. For example, יש לנו עוף(the basic form of the sentence) stresses the chicken, or the 'have', depending on the way it's said and the context. לנו יש עוף stresses 'us'.
i thought that עוףsometimes meant poultry (meat) and that תרנגולת meant chicken (the bird)
You don't say you're having poultry for dinner though, so while עוף means chicken meat you still have to use chicken in English.