Chicken Terms/Definitions/Phrases

 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

– B – 

Broiler chicken
Generally the modern day broiler is some form of Cornish Cross Chicken developed by a selective breeding process that will produce a chicken that can be dressed out within 4-7 weeks. Usually they have the best feed conversion for the time and weight.

A tendency for a hen to incubate a clutch of eggs until they hatch.

– C –

Chicken Tractors
Generally a portable or moveable chicken house or coop or pen designed to allow chickens to be moved to new ground, grass or dirt on a regular basis. The purpose is to provide a clean area for chickens to eat grass/dirt/bugs/minerals. This process of regular movement of the chicken tractor allows the manure to fertilize the existing ground for future vegetation growth.

Chicken Forum
The chicken forum or internet message board is an online discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages about chickens. They differ from chat rooms in that messages are often longer than one line of text, and are at least temporarily archived. Also, depending on the access level of a user or the forum set-up, a posted message might need to be approved by a moderator before it becomes visible.

Chicken Blog
Our chicklen blog contains a writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., of chicken topics and often having images and links to related chicken websites. A single entry or post on such a website and or to maintain or add new entries to a blog. Chicken bloggers.

– D –

Dual Purpose Breed
A chicken that is used for both meat and eggs. These breeds usually do not lay as well as those bred for laying and do not grow as well as those for meat production, but are good farmstead chickens.

– E –

Egg Bound
A condition where an egg gets stuck just inside the vent, usually because the egg is too large, the pullet is fat or unhealthy, or the pullet/hen’s body isn’t fully mature when she starts laying.

Egg Tooth
A small, sharp temporary cap at the tip of a newly hatched chick’s upper beak, which helps it break out of the egg and falls off a few days after hatching.

– F –

Feather Picking
A form of cannibalism most common when chicks are feathering out. The newly emerging feathers are filled with blood and once chickens have a taste of it they want more. Normally seen when there is overcrowding, lights left on 24 hrs, too few feeders and waterers.

Fertile Eggs
Produced from hens that have been exposed to a rooster. Eggs are still safe to eat but kept under right conditions can develop into a baby chick.

Forced molt
A process of restricting the water and feed intake of chickens (usually in Sept) to force the timing of the natural process of molting. Generally this will stop the egg production and allow the chicken to molt off significant feathering. After 3-5 weeks of restricted water and feed, then put chickens back on full feed and water to rebuild feathering. We have good luck using a chick grower feed for this rebuilding of feather process (4-6 weeks) and then change over to egg crumbles. Molting allows time for rest of egg production and allows nutrients to be used for new feathers.

Free Range
Technically, means chickens which are not confined, but in practical terms means chickens allowed to roam at will within a fenced outdoor area.

– G –

Grandma’s Chickens
Usually this term refers to heritage chicken breeds that may be pure or crossed bred among other heritage breeds.

– H –

Heritage chickens
Heritage poultry, sometimes referred to as traditional breeds or old time established breeds and are most often recognized by the American Poultry Association. General poultry characteristics can include natural mating, good foragers, good broody hens and good mothers, disease resistance, good fertility, longevity, alert for good natural flight or fight responses, domesticated qualities for human care and usually a good sustainable dual meat and egg producer.

– M –

Marek’s Disease
A viral infection that primarily affects the nerves of growing chickens, causing leg paralysis and droopy wings, and sometimes death.

– N –

Nest Egg
A fake egg placed in a nest to encourage hens to lay their eggs where you can find them.

– P –

A fairly common condition in newly hatched chicks is having loose poop stuck to the vent area. Pasting can be caused by stress due to chilling or overheating or by feeding improper diet. Soft droppings that stick to the vent will harden and seal the vent and eventually cause death. It should be carefully removed by softening in warm water and very gently removed.

Pastured management for chickens
A process of using a movable chicken fence, pen, coop or house to new grass or ground on a regular basis. The purpose is to provide a clean area for eating grass/dirt/bugs/minerals and clean an area for manure droppings.

– R –

Rare Breed
A breed that is not commonly used in modern agriculture but once may have been. The organizations that strive to preserve these breeds include American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, Rare Breeds Canada, and the Society for the Preservation of Poultry Antiquities.

– S –

Scaly Leg
An unhealthy condition that affects the toes and legs of chickens and is caused by the scaly leg mites.

Self Sufficient Breeds
Breeds that are aggressive foragers tend to be more low maintenance than other breeds.

Splayed Leg
A condition in newly hatched chicks whereby one or both legs slide out to the side so the chick cannot properly stand and walk. Most generally caused by using a slick or smooth brooder floor causing its legs to slide.

Straight Run
Cockerels and pullets that have not been sorted as to gender and remain in the ratio that they were hatched from a setting of eggs.

– T –

True Bantam
A small breed of chicken that lacks a larger counterpart. True bantams include American Game, Bearded d’Anvers, Bearded d’Uccle, Booted, Dutch, Japanese, Nankin, Pyncheon, Rosecomb, Sebright and Serama.

– V –

Vent Sexing
A traditional Japanese method of determining a hatchling’s gender by checking for minor differences in the tiny cloaca which is inside a chick’s vent.