We can’t possibly cover every term under the sun which pertains to our chickens and hens┬ábut here are┬ásome you may be wondering about…

Air cell is the pocket of air at the end of an egg.

American Poultry Association is an organization whose mission is to promote and protect the standard-bred poultry industry in all its phases.

Avian influenza is also known as Bird Flu. Serious, highly contagious illness in birds that must be reported to state and local government if your flock has an outbreak.

Band is the marking on a bird’s coat. It’s often black and runs across a feather.

Bantam is a miniature version of a chicken breed. True bantam breeds do not have a large counterpart.

Banty is simply another name for bantam.

Broiler is a chicken bred for meat consumption. This is the most common found in your grocery.

Brood is another name for flock.

Broody hen is a hen who has stopped laying eggs. Now she’ll continue to sit on eggs, her own or another hen’s eggs in order to hatch them.

Bumblefoot is the swelling of a chicken’s foot.

Candle or candling is when you hold an egg in front of a bright light in a darkened room so you can see the embryo development.

Cape is the area of feathers between the shoulders and neck of the chicken.

Capon is a castrated rooster.

Clutch is a group of eggs laid by a broody hen.

Coccidiosis is a protozoal infestation causing disease and sometimes death.

Cock is a male chicken after his first molt.

Cockerel is a male chicken under the age of 12 months.

Comb is the fleshy piece of skin on top of the chicken’s head. Variety of shapes and helps identify the breed.

Crest are the feathers on top of the chicken’s head.

Crop is located inside the base of the chicken’s neck. Food is softened in the crop and moves on to the gizzard.

Crumbles means food for birds, often broken up pellets.

Cull means to kill sick or unwanted birds in a humane fashion.

Dust bath is a chicken’s dream. They “bathe” by rolling around in fine dirt or sand to remove external parasites and clean their bodies.

Egg tooth is the tip of the chick’s beak which they use to pierce the egg to arrive into the world. It will fall off within the first week of hatching.

Fertilized egg contains an embryo that will become a cute baby chick.

Flighty is unstable behavior in a chicken. And we know humans like that, too!

Flock is a group of chickens.

Free-range are chickens that are not caged.

Gizzard is the part of the chicken’s digestive system that contains the grit used to break down their food.

Hackles are the feathers located on a chicken’s back between the shoulder and neck.

Heavy breed is a breed where the female weighs more than 5 1/2 pounds.

Hen is a female chicken after her first molt.

Hybrid means crossbreed.

Incubation is the stage in the life cycle of the chicken when the fertilized egg is under a hen or in an artificial incubator for the 21 days it takes to hatch.

Keel is the blade of a chicken’s breastbone.

Layer is a hen that is proficient in laying eggs.

Mandibles are the upper and lower part of the beak.

Marek’s disease is a highly contagious, viral neoplastic disease in chickens.

Mash if finely-ground food usually fed to baby chicks.

Newcastle’s disease is Avian distemper which affects their respiratory system.

Molt is the shedding of the bird’s feathers. It takes 3 months to complete the process and occurs once a year. Hens do not lay eggs during this time.

Nest boxes is the area of the chicken coop where hens can lay their eggs and sit on them until they hatch, if fertilized.

Ovum is the hen’s egg cell.

Pasted vent is the condition in which the vent is clogged with feces. More common in baby chicks than chickens.

Pecking order is the social hierarchy of a chicken flock.

Pellet means food for birds which is compressed into a long, cylinder shape.

Pox is a virus which causes wart-like bumps which appear on their wattles and combs.

Pullet is a female chicken under 12 months of age.

Purebred is a breed of chicken whose parents are the same breed.

Run is the area of space given to the chickens to run, roam, forage and have a good time.

Rooster is an adult, male chicken.

Sexing is the process of determining the gender of a baby chick.

Splash is a term used to describe the colors and marking on the bird’s coats.

Spur is a stiff, sharp spine on the leg rear of a chicken’s leg.

Stress must be avoided in chickens because too much of it can cause illness, decreased egg production and in some cases, even death.

Thrush is a condition in a chicken which affects the upper digestive tracts.

Twisted legs is a leg deformity in birds.

Wattle are the fleshy pieces of skin that hang down on either side of a chicken’s beak. The wattle can be used in identifying the breed of chicken. Typically larger on males than females.

Vent is the rear opening of a chicken where eggs and bodily excretions pass through.

Yolk is the yellow mass of materials found in an egg. It surrounds and provides nutrients to the developing embryo and is made up of protein, lecithin and cholesterol.

Of course, there are many more terms and abbreviations in the world of keeping and raising chickens. If you come across something you are not sure about, an online search, library or fellow poultry farmer should be able to give you the answers you need.

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