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A rotten or otherwise inedible egg. Or an egg in which the embryo died during early incubation.
Age of lay
The age at which a pullet starts laying eggs. For instance, age of lay for lightweight breeds is generally 18 to 22 weeks; heavier begin laying around 24 to 26 weeks of age.
The air space that develops at the rounded end of an egg, inside the shell between the inner and outer membranes.
A colorless gas that develops in a coop where the litter retains too much moisture. A high level of ammonia increases the flock’s susceptibility to respiratory disease.
A deworming preparation.
Chicks that remain unsorted by gender at the time of hatch.
Sex-link characteristics within a pure breed, as compared to a sex-link hybrid.
A small chicken that’s about one-fourth to one-fifth as heavy as a large-size chicken and that generally weighs 2 pounds or less.
Adjusting the length of mismatched halves of a chicken’s beak so the chicken can properly eat and preen.
A dense clump of small feathers attached under a chicken’s beak and always associated with a muff, a feature typical of Belgian Bearded D’Anvers, among other breeds.
A prominent forehead projecting out over the eyes, a feature is typical of Brahmas, among others.
The bad habit of a chicken or duck that wastes feed by using its beak or bill to scoop feed from a feeder onto the ground.
A collection of management precautions that keep a flock safe from disease.
Alternative name for a pinfeather, so called because pin feathers are filled with blood.
A harmless small, dark spot of blood that appears inside the shell of less than 1% of eggs laid.
The thin, moist protective coating on a freshly laid egg that prevents bacteria from entering the egg and minimizes evaporation of moisture from within the egg. Also called cuticle.
To discourage a hen from being broody so she will continue to lay eggs.
A blister resulting from excess pressure on a chicken’s breastbone, often occurring in heavy-breed males and in broilers.
An organization that promotes a specific breed of poultry.
Usually some form of Cornish Cross that has the best feed conversion for its age and weight, and typically butchered at 4 to 7 weeks of age.
A artificial substitute for a mother hen, consisting of protective surroundings, feed, water, and a source of heat.
A bare area on a broody hen’s breast where she has removed the feathers so body warmth and moisture will be closer to the eggs.
The tendency for a hen to incubate a nestful of eggs until they hatch.
An abscess on the bottom of a chicken’s foot that may cause the chicken to limp and to sit on its hocks while resting.
Not confined to a cage, but may be confined within housing.
To shine a bright light through an egg’s shell to examine the contents and determine its interior quality for eating or embryo development for hatching.
A device used for candling eggs.
A chicken’s unpleasant habit of eating another chicken’s flesh or feathers.
A portable or moveable chicken house or coop or pen that is easily movable to new ground, grass, or dirt on a regular basis. The process of regularly moving chicken tractor provides a clean area for chickens to eat grass/dirt/bugs/minerals while leaving their manure to fertilize the ground for future vegetation growth.
An internet discussion site where people hold conversations in the form of posted messages about chickens.
An internet journal, or web log, describing experiences, observations, and opinions of chicken topics and often having images and links to related websites.
Wire mesh fencing made from thin wire twisted and woven together into a honeycomb pattern. Although chicken wire will confine chickens, it is not predator resistant because it tears easily.
A group of breeds for exhibition purposes. For example, The American Poultry Association groups large breeds according to their place of origin: American, Asiatic, Continental (European, not including England), English, and Mediterranean. A catchall class — All Other Standard Breeds (AOSB) — includes any that don’t fit into any another class.
Description of a chicken that has no feathers growing on the legs or feet.
The opening just inside a bird’s vent where the digestive, excretory, and reproductive tracts expel their respective products.
All the eggs a hen produces during one laying cycle. Also a group of eggs that hatch together.
An intestinal disease of chickens and other poultry, caused by coccidia, resulting in the interfere of nutrient absorption.
A male chicken that’s less than one year of age.
The state of health and cleanliness of a chicken or other type of poultry.
The body shape of a chicken, or other poultry, that is characteristic of its breed.
Exposing a chicken, or other type of poultry, to conditions it will encounter during a poultry show. By minimizing stress, coop training increases the ability of the bird to achieve a higher placing at the show.
A pouch at the base of a chicken’s neck, on the left side, that bulges with feed after the bird has eaten.
A crop jammed with feed to the point that none can pass through to be digested.
A beak with the upper and lower halves growing in opposite directions. Also called scissor beak.
A form of feed consisting of pellets that have been crushed into smaller pieces.
Coarse, irregular barring such as occurs in the plumage of a Dominique.
To remove a chicken from a flock because of undesirable appearance or behavior.
The thin, moist protective coating on a freshly laid egg that prevents bacteria from entering the egg and minimizes evaporation of moisture from within the egg. Also called bloom.
A characteristic that makes a chicken less than perfect, compared to the standard description for the breed or variety.
To destroy an entire flock, typically to prevent the spread of a serious disease.
An abrasive powder, created by grinding up diatom fossils, used as an insecticide.
A characteristic that renders a chicken ineligible for receiving a show award.
An egg containing two yolks.
Dual Purpose Breed
A breed 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 a good compromise as farmstead chickens.
A container of soft soil, loose sand, or deep bedding that chickens toss over themselves to condition their feathers and rid themselves of external parasites.
A clump of feathers sprouting from a tiny finger-like appendage protruding from the side of the neck just below the ear, as is characteristic of Araucanas.
A container for collecting and transporting eggs.
A condition where an egg gets stuck just inside the vent, often because the egg is too large or the hen is too fat or otherwise unhealthy.
A rectangular box used for selling or storing eggs.
A form of cannibalism in which chickens eat their own eggs (or those of other chickens).
A small, sharp cap at the tip of a newly hatched chick’s upper beak, used to help the chick break out of the egg before falling off after the hatch.
A mechanical device that automatically rotates eggs during incubation.
A powdered mixture of natural salts and other minerals that help regulate body processes and maintain hydration.
Inflammation of a chicken’s small intestine resulting in diarrhea.
The process in which a baby chick grows its first full set of plumage.
A form of cannibalism most common when chicks are starting to feather out and pick each other’s newly emerging feathers.
Eggs from hens that have been exposed to a rooster and are therefore capable of producing chicks if incubated under appropriate conditions.
Description of chickens that are excitable.
Eggs laid on the coop floor, not in provided nests.
Any object — such as a cage, feed sack, or shoe soles — that may carry and transmit infectious organisms from one flock to another.
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.
A viral disease, spread by blood-sucking insects or through injuries, that causes scabby skin, fever, and loss of appetite. It has nothing to do with chicken pox in humans.
Water, feed, or supplements available to chickens at all times, so they can eat or drinkn as much as they need.
Managing a flock by allowing it to roam around a large outdoor area.
Frozen body tissues, typically the comb, wattles, and/or toes.
Degree of variation at the gene level. The greater a flock’s diversity, the more robust it is and able to resist stresses, including disease.
A chicken’s mechanical stomach, where feed is ground up prior to digestion.
Grand Master Exhibitor
A designation by the American Poultry Association for a member who accumulates 100 points by winning a sufficient number of class championships in a single variety of a single breed.
Small, hard objects, such as pebbles or coarse sand, eaten by a chicken to help the gizzard break down tough foods for digestion.
A chicken’s neck plumage.
The ability of fertile eggs to hatch when incubated.
A business — such as Cackle Hatchery® — that hatches poultry eggs and sells the chicks, usually of several different breeds and species.
Eggs that are intended for incubation, rather than for eating. The main difference is are that table eggs aren’t necessarily fertile, while hatching eggs must be fertile.
A chicken breed that’s more round than slender, and generally weighs at least 6 pounds (hens) or 8 pounds (roosters).
A chicken breed in which the sex feathers and color markings are the same for both the hen and rooster, a characteristic of Sebrights.
The ability of a characteristic to be genetically transmitted from a chicken to its offspring.
Sometimes referred to as traditional breeds or old-time breeds, heritage chickens have these characteristics: 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.
The joint between a chicken’s thigh and shank, corresponding to the human ankle.
The offspring of a rooster and a hen of two different breeds, one or both of which might also be hybrid.
A mechanical device designed for hatching fertile eggs.
Chickens originating in the jungles and forests of southern Asian that are the ancestors of all domestic chickens.
The bony ridge along the center of a chicken’s breast, which resembles a boat’s keel.
Description of plumage in which a narrow edge of contrasting color surrounds each feather.
Coagulated bits of egg particles, laid as an egg, that result from infection within a hen’s oviduct. It is technically known as caseous exudate — in other words cheesy discharge.
A plastic or aluminum ring that wraps around a chicken’s leg for the purpose of identification.
One of more than 50 different genes that result in a a chicken’s death, typically as an embryo during incubation. One such gene is associated with the Araucana chicken’s tufted trait.
Small, wingless, parasitic insects that live on chickens and irritate them by chewing their skin.
A large chicken breed (not a bantam) that is more slender than round, and in which hens usually weigh 4.5 pounds or less and roosters weigh 6 pounds or less.
Loose material (such as wood shavings) scattered on the floor of a chicken coop to absorb moisture and droppings, cushion the birds’ feet, and provide insulation.
One of several chicken breeds, such as Denizli, that are bred specifically for the tone and duration of the rooster’s crow.
One of several chicken breeds — including Yokohama and Phoenix — that are prized for having particularly long tail feathers.
Chicks that are shipped by mail immediately after they hatch, while they are still absorbing residual yolk as nourishment until they reach their destination.
A viral infection that affects mainly the nerves of growing chickens, causing paralysis and and sometimes death.
A vaccine that prevents paralysis caused by Marek’s disease, but does not prevent chickens from getting the disease and shedding the virus.
The optimal number of hens available for each rooster in the flock to ensure good fertility.
A chicken breed or hybrid developed for rapid growth and heavy muscling.
A tiny spiderlike body parasite, related to the tick, that survive by eating a chicken’s skin, feathers, or blood.
The annual shedding and renewal of plumage that typically occurs in the fall, before the arrival of cold weather.
A measure of the number of chickens in a given flock that come down with a particular disease.
A measure of the number of chickens in a given flock that die from a particular disease.
A fake egg placed in a nest to encourage hens to lay their eggs where you can find them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.