"The Chaff-cutter" portrays a scene of 17th century peasant life. The man is cutting straw into fine pieces (known as chaff, which is commonly used as fodder for livestock) most likely for the white horse in the picture. A saddle bag on the ground indicates that this is a working horse, and that the man may have just returned from a journey on horseback. The horse is already grazing on some hay. We see chicken, a key source of sustenance for the peasants, wandering around in the foreground. Birds nesting in the dovecote may have been kept for their flesh and eggs. Teniers was known for his paintings of peasant scenes and this is an example of an illustration of rural life, highlighting the strong interdependence between man and beast.