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


ABA - American Bantam Association
Abdomen - area between the keel and the pubic (hip) bones
Abdominal capacity - the distance between the two public bones (width) and between the pubic bones and the tip of the keel (depth)
Air cell - the air space between the two shell membranes, usually at the large end of the egg
Albumen - the white of the egg
Alektorophobia - the fear of chickens
Allantois - a sac connected to the embryo's abdomen and involved in embryo respiration
Amnion - a sac surrounding the embry filled with amniotic fluid which protects the developing embryo from shock and provides a medium for the develop embryo to exercise their muscles
Anatomy - the structure systems of an animal (skeletal, muscular, digestive, etc.)
Anthelmintic - medication given to treat a bird with internal paraistes
Antibiotic - a chemical produced by a microorganism or fungi and used to destroy or inhibit the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms
Antibody - a natural substance in the blood that recognizes and destroys foreign invaders and that causes an immune response to vaccination or infection
Antigen - a foreign protein in the blood that differs from nautral body proteins and, as a result, stimulates the natural production of antibodies
AOSB - any other standard breed
APA - American Poultry Association
Ascites - accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity
As hatched - description of a group of chicks that have not been sorted
Aves - a class of animals composed of birds
Avian - pertaining to birds
Aviary - a large enclosure for holding birds in confinement;
Aviculture - the science of birds
Axial feather - the short wing feather located between the primary and secondary flight feathers
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Banding - putting a tag or band with identification on it to the wing or leg of a bird
Bantam - a chicken breed that is one third to one half the size of a standard breed.
Banti - a non-technical term sometimes used to mean 'bantam'
Barbicels - tiny hooks that hold a feather's web together
Barring - alternate markings of two distinct colors on a feather
Bay - light golden brown in color
Beak - the hard protruding mouth part of a bird consisting of an uper and a lower part
Beard - the feathers bunched together under the beak of some breeds of chickens; coarse hairs protruding from the breast of turkeys
Bedding - material scattered on the floor of a poultry house to absorb moisture and manure (also called litter)
Biddy - a non-technical term for a laying hen that is over one year of age
Bill - the 'beak' of waterfowl
Billing out - the act of chickens using their beaks to scoop feed out of a feeder and onto the floor
Biosecurity - disease prevention program
Blade - the lower, smooth part of a single comb
Bleaching - the disappearance of the color from the vent, face and shanks of yellow-skinned chickens
Blood spot - blood in an egg
Bloom - the moist protective coating on a freshly laid eggs that partially seals the pores of the egg shell to prevent penetration by bacteria (also called the cuticle)
Blowout - when there is vent damage, typically caused by laying a very large egg (also referred to as a prolapse)
Blue - slate gray feather color
Booted - having feathers on the shanks (legs) and toes
Breast blister - enlarged, discolored area on the breast or keel bone often seen in heavy birds
Breed - a group of chickens having a distinctive body shape and the same general features; aslo a term used when group male and female birds for mating
Broiler - a meat-type chicken
Brood - to care for a batch of chicks
Brooder - a devise used to provide warmth to young chicks
Broody - a hen that is sitting on eggs with the intent of hatching them
Buff - orange-yellow color in feathers that is not shiny or brassy
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Candle - to examine the contents of an intact egg with the use of a light
Candler - light used to examine the contents of an egg without breaking it open
Candling - using a candler to check the contents of an egg
Cannibalism - when poultry eat the flesh of fellow flock mates
Cape - narrow feathers between a chicken's neck and back
Capon - a castrated male chicken (requires surgery since the reproductive organs are internal
Carrier - an apparently healthy bird that can transmit a disease to others; also refers to a container to transport birds
Caruncle - brightly colored growths on the throat region of turkeys and the face of muscovy ducks
Cecum - a blind pouch at the junction of the small and large intestines that hosts a community of microorganisms that can ferment (digest) fiber (plural = ceca)
Chalza - two white cords of tightly spun albumen (egg white) found on either side of the yolk and important in keeping the yolk properly positioned within the egg (plural = chalazae)
Chick - young (baby) chicken
Chicken tractor - a portable pen for chickens on pasture
Chick tooth - a tiny, hard projection on the beak of a newly hatched chick that was used by the chick to break the shell to hatch (also called an egg tooth)
Chook - an Australian term for chicken that has been used in the US for chickens in a small flock
Chorion - a membrane the surrounds the yolk sac and amnion
Class - a group of chicken breeds that were originally developed in a particular region of the world (e.g. American, Asiatic, Mediterranean)
Clean legged - having no feathers on the shanks or toes
Cloaca - the portion of the avian anatomy where the intestinal, reproductive and urinary tracts end
Clubbed down - a condition where the down feathers do not erupt from their feather sheath resulting in a coil-like appearance
Cluck - sound a hen makes after laying an egg
Clutch - a group of eggs or chicks
Cock - adult male chicken (also referred to as a rooster) or an adult male pigeon
Cockerel - immature male chicken
Coccidia - protozoan intestinal parasite
Coccidiosis - a parasitic infection (coccidia) in the intestinal tract of poultry
Coccidiostat - a drug used to keep poultry from getting coccidiosis
Coliform - any bacteria resembling Escherichia coli
Comb - the fleshy red outgrowth on the top of a chicken's head
Condition - typically refers to a chicken's state of health and cleanliness
Conformation - refers to the body structure of poultry
Conjunctiva - mucus membrane covering the eyeball
Conjunctivitis - infection of the conjunctiva
Contagious - disease that is easily passed from one bird to another
Contract grower - a farmer that grows chickens, under contract, for a broiler company
Coop - the house or cage in which poultry are housed
Coverts - feathers that cover the primary and secondary wing feathers
Crest - ball of feathers on the heads of some breeds of chickens and geese
Crop - enlarged part of the digestive tract of birds that serves as a temporary storage space of food
Crossbred - the offspring of parents from different varieties or breeds
Crumbles - a poultry feed that has been pelleted and then the pellets broken up
Cuckoo - a course and irregular barring pattern in feathers
Cull - to remove a bird from the flock because of productivity, age, health or personality issues
Cuticle - the moist protective coating on a freshly laid eggs that partially seals the pores of the egg shell to prevent penetration by bacteria (also called the bloom)
Culture - incubating a sample from a diseased bird to look for the presence of bacteria
Cushion - mass of feathers that gives a round effect seen in female cochins
Cygnet - young (baby) swan
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Defect - any characteristic that makes a chicken less than perfect
Depopulate - to destroy an entire flock
Dewlap - the flap of skin below the beak of turkeys and some geese
Disinfect - kill bacteria through chemical means
Disqualification - a defect or deformity serious enough to bar a bird from a poultry show
Down - a layer of feathers found under the tough exterior feathers
Drake - an adult male duck
Dressed - cleaned in preparation for eating (feathers and guts removed)
Droppings - another term for chicken manure
Dub - to surgically remove a bird's comb and wattles close to the head
Duck foot - a disqualification of chickens where the hind toe is carried too far forward and touches the third toe or is carried too far back and touches the ground
Duckling - a young (baby) duck
Duodenal loop - the upper part of the small intestine (also referred to as the duodenum)
Dry-bulb thermometer - used to determine the temperature in a room or incubator
Dust bath - the habit of chickens to splash around in soft soil to clean their feathers and discourage external parasites
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Ear lobes - the flesh patch of bare skin located below the ears of birds
Ectoparasite - an external parasite
Egg tooth - a tiny, hard projection on the beak of a newly hatched chick that was used by the chick to break the shell to hatch (also called a chick tooth)
Electrolytes - a mineral solution used to treat dehydration
Embryo - the developing cihick in an egg
Embryology - the study of the formation and development of embryos
Encephalitis - inflammation of the brain
Endoparasite - an internal parasite
Enteric - affecting the intestines
Enteritis - inflammation of the intestines
Esophagus - the portion of the digestive tract that moves from the mouth to the stomach
Etiology - causes of a disease
Evaporation - changing a liquid into vapor
Exudate - fluid associated with an inflammation or swelling
Exudative diathesis - accumulation of fluid (exudate) under the skin or around the heart
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Faking - the dishonest practice of concealing a defect or disqualification from a potential buyer or a show judge
Feather-legged - a description of those breeds of chickens with feathers growing down their shanks
Fecal - pertaining to the feces
Feces - droppings/manure
Feral - wild, untamed
Fertile - an egg that is fertilized and thus capable of having a chick develop (under the right environmental conditions)
Fertility - percentage of eggs that are fertile
Finish - the amount of fat under the skin of a meat bird
Flock - a group of birds living together
Flight feathers - the large primary and secondary feathers of the wings
Fluff - downy feathers
Foie gras - French for 'fatty liver' and is a food product made from the liver of a duck or goose that has been specifically fattened for this purpose
Fomite - inanimate objects such as shipping crates, feed sacks, clothing, shoes, and tires that may harbor disease-causing organisms and thus able to transmit the disease
Foot candle - a measurement of light intensity
Forage - to scratch the ground in search of food; also refers to the crops in a pasture
Forced-air incubator - an incubator that has a fan to circulate warm air
Fowl - domesticated birds raised for food or other similar purpose; also refers to a hen at the end of its productive life (a stewing hen)
Free-range - a term that does not have a legal definition but is typically used to refer to providing a flock with outdoor access
Frizzle - a feather that curls rather than laying flat
Fryer - a young meat-type chicken
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Gander - a male goose
Germinal disc - the site of fertilization, if it occurs, in an egg
Germs - disease causing organisms
Giblets - the parts of a chicken carcass that consist of the heart, gizzard and liver.
Gizzard - a portion of the avian digestive tract with thick muscular walls that crushes and grinds food
Gobbler - an adult male turkey (also referred to as a 'tom')
Goose - a type of waterfowl; the female of the species is also referred to as a goose (the male is a gander)
Gosling - a young (baby) goose
Grade - to sort according to quality
Grit - small pebbles eaten by birds and used by the gizzard to grind up feed
Guinea hen - an adult female guinea fowl
Guinea pullet - a female guinea fowl under one year of age
Guinea cock - an adult male guinea fowl
Guinea cockerel - a young male guinea fowl under one year of age
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Hackles - feathers over the back of a chicken which are pointed in males and rounded in females
Hatch - the process by which the chick comes out of the egg
Hatchability - the percentage of fertile eggs that hatch when incubated
Hatchery - a place where eggs are incubated and chicks hatched
Helminthes - a category of parasitic worms
Hen - adult female poultry including chicken, turkey, duck, pigeon, pheasant, etc.
Hen feathered- the characteristic of some breeds of chickens where the male has rounded feathers (rather than pointed) like those of a female
Hock - the 'knee' joint of a bird
Horizontal transmission - disease passed from mother to offspring via the egg
Host - an animal that has a parasite or an infectious agent living on or in it
Hover - canopy type brooding system
Humidity - the amount of water in the environment (usually measured with a wet bulb thermometer)
Hybrid - offspring of parents from different breeds (also referred to as crossbred); the artificial crossing of two different species
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Immunity - resistance to disease (active immunity develops when an individual has had the disease or been vaccinated; passive immunity is passed from mother to chick through the egg)
Impaction - the blockage of a part of the digestive tract, typically the crop or cloaca
Inbred - offspring of closely related parents
Incubate - to apply the required conditions (heat and humidity) to eggs to allow embryos to develop and chicks to hatch out
Incubation period - the time it takes for an egg to hatch once incubation starts; also refers to the time from exposure to a disease causing agent to the time when the first symptoms of the disease appear
Incubator - a piece of equipment especially designed to incubate eggs
Infectious - capable of invading living tissue and multiplying so as to cause a disease
Infertile - an egg that is not fertilized and therefore will not hatch
Infertility - the inability to reproduce (can be with either the male or female and can be a temporary or permanent condition)
Infundibulum - The beginning of the oviduct that picks up the ovulated yolk when it is released from the ovary (also called the funnel)
Ingest - to eat
Intensity of lay - how well a hen is laying right now
Intraocular - in the eye
Intranasal - in the nose
Intravenous - injection into a vein
Iris - colored circle that surrounds the black center in the chicken's eye
Isthmus - the part of the female reproductive tract where the inner and outer shell membranes are added
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Jake - a young male turkey
Jejunum - a portion of the small intestine
Jenny = a young female turkey


Keel - the breast bone of birds
Keet - a young (baby) guinea fowl
Keratin - key structural material of feathers (as well as wool, hooves, and human skin, hair and nails)
Knob - protrusion from the skull


Lacing - border of contrast color around the entire web of a feather
Litter - material scattered on the floor of a poultry house to absorb moisture and manure (also called bedding)
Lopped comb - a comb that falls to one side
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Magnum - the portion of the avian oviduct in which the thick white (albumen) is added
Mandible - upper or lower bony portion of the beak
Mechanical transmission - disease causing agents carried on a surface (such as shoes, tires, shovels, etc.)
Membrane - a thin, soft, pliable layer
Metabolism - the physical and chemical processes that produce and maintain a living body
Mite - a type of external parasite
Molt (Moult) - a part of the hen's reproductive cycle when she stops laying and loses her body feathers
Morbidity - a health problem of a bird that typically requires it to be put down
Mortality - death due to disease or accident
Mossy - indistinct, irregular, or messy-looking markings that break up or destroy the intended color pattern on feathers
Mottled - plumage where a percentage of feathers are tipped with white; a discoloration of egg yolk caused by damage to the yolk membrane
Muff - fluffy feathers on the face of chickens (tufts are feathers that protrude from the face)
Mounting - when the rooster mates with a hen
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Necropsy - a postmortem (after death) examination of an animal (equivalent to a human autopsy)
Necrotic - pertaining to dead tissue
Nematode - a roundworm
Nest egg - artificial egg placed in a nest to encourage hens to lay there
Nest run - ungraded eggs
Neural - pertaining to the nerves
NPIP - National Poultry Improvement Plan
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Ocular - pertaining to the eye
Oil sac - large oil gland on the back of birds at the base of the tail and used by the bird to preen or condition feathers (also called the uropygial or preen gland)
Organic - a legalized regulated term related to production of food products according to pre-set standards
Osteomyelitis - inflammation of the bone marrow
Osteoporosis - thinning and weakening of the bones
Ova - female germ cells that become eggs
Ovary - a part of the female avian reproductive tract which holds the female genetic material and collects the yolk material normally associated with eggs
Oviduct - a part of the female avian reproductive tract where the egg white (albumen), shell membranes, shell and bloom (cuticle) are added to form a complete egg
Oviposition - the laying of an egg
Ovulation - the release of a yolk from the ovary
Ovum - the female germ cells in the ovary (plural = ova)
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Pasting - loose droppings sticking to the vent area
Pathogen - disease-producing organism
Pathogenic - able to cause disease
Pathogenicity - the degree to which an organism is able to cause a disease
Pathology - the study of damage caused by disease
Pecking order - the social rank of individuals within a flock
Peachick - a young (baby) peafowl
Peacock - an adult make peafowl
Peahen - an adult female peafowl
Peep - a term for chick sometimes used by small flock owners
Pellets - a form of feed where the contents are compressed into bite-sized morsels
Penicled - crosswise lines or bars on feathers that form a pattern
Pendulous crop - a crop that is impacted and enlarged and hangs down in an abnormal manner
Perch - a place where chickens can get off the floor (also called a roost)
Perosis - malformation of the hock joint
Perch - the area above the ground where birds will sit, primarily for sleeping at night (also called roosts)
Persistency of lay - the ability of a hen to lay eggs steadily over a long period of time
pH - a number that indicates acidity or alkanity (7 is neutral, above 7 is alkaline and below 7 is acid)
Pick out - vent damage caused by other chickens' pecking
Pigeon milk - a cottage-cheese looking crop substance produced by both the male and female pigeon to feed the young from hatch till about 10 days of age
Pigmentation - the color of a chicken's beak, shanks and vent
Pip - when a chick breaks through the shell
Pipping - breaking through the shell prior to hatch
Pin bones - pubic bones
Pin feathers - a developing feather on a bird
Plumage - the total set of feathers covering a bird
Post - to conduct a postmortem (after death) examination
Poult - young (baby) turkey or pheasant
Poultry - a term for domestic fowl raised for meat, eggs, feathers, work or entertainment
Preen gland - an oil sack on the back and near the base of the tail of birds providing oil used in preening (also called the oil or uropygial gland)
Preening - to straighten and clean feathers, typically with oil
Prolapse - when there is vent damage, typically caused by laying an very large egg (also referred to as a blowout)
Proventriculus - the true stomach of birds where pepsin and acid are produced
Pubic bones - two bones that end in front of the vent of birds
Pullet - immature female bird (used with several species of birds, but most commonly with chickens)
Purebred - offspring from a hen and rooster of the same breed
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Rales - any abnormal sounds coming from the airways of birds
Ration - a combination of feed ingredients formulated to meet a bird's nutritional requirements
Ratite - a type of domestic bird that does not have a keel bone and includes ostriches, emus and rheas
Renal - pertaining to the kidneys
Render - the process by which slaughter by-product are treated to convert them into protein products for use in animal feeds
Rigor mortis - stiffness following death
Roach back - deformed, hunched back (a disqualification when showing poultry)
Roaster - a meat-type chicken raised to a size that makes them suitable for roasting
Roost - a place where chickens can get off the floor (also called a perch)
Rooster - adult male chicken (also referred to as a cock)
Rumpless - genetic trait in some chicken breeds where they have no tail
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Saddle - a part of a bird's back just before the tail
Sanitize - to clean and disinfect in order to kill germs
Scales - small, hard, overlapping plates that cover a chicken's shanks and toes.
Scratch - the habit of chickens to scrape there claws against the ground to dig up food items; also a term used for any whole grains fed to chickens
Sexed chicks - day-old chicks that are separated into separate groups of male and female chicks
Sex-feather - the curled feather on the tail of male ducks
Sex feathers - rounded hackle, saddle, and tail feathers on a hen; pointed hackle, saddle and tail feathers on a rooster
Sex-linked - an inherited factor linked to the sex chromosomes and used in developing specific crosses to make sexing day-old chicks easier
Shaft - part of the feather where the barbs are attached
Shank - the part of a bird's leg between the foot and the hock
Shell gland - the portion of the female avian reproductive tract where the shell is added to the egg (also called the 'uterus')
Sickles - long, curved tail feathers of some roosters
Side sprig - projection from the side of a single comb (a disqualification when showing single-comb breeds of chickens)
Spent (as in a spent hen) - a hen that is no longer laying eggs
Sperm - the male reproductive cells capable of fertilizing the ova from the female
Spike - round extension found at the end of a rose comb
Splayed legs - the legs are positioned such that the bird is unable to stand up (also called 'spraddle legs')
Spur - the sharp horny protrusion from the back of a bird's shank (typically larger in males than in females)
Squab - a young (baby) pigeon that has not yet left the nest; also refers to pigeon meat since pigeons are usually marketed before they leave the nest
Squeaker - a young pigeon still in the nest
Squirrel tail - tail that has more than a 90 degree angle
Snood - the flap of skin that hangs over the turkey's beak
Starve-out - a chick that has not eaten
Straight-run (chicks) - day-old chicks that have not been sorted by sex (also called unsexed)
Strain - a group of birds within a variety of a breed that has been bred by one person or company for generations
Stub - down on the shank or toe of a clean-legged chcken
Syndrome - a group of symptoms that occur in combination in a particular disease
Synergistic - working in cooperation
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Testes - the male reproductive glands (located internally in birds)
Tin hen - slang for an incubator
Tom - an adult male turkey (also referred to as a 'gobbler')
Torticollis - twisted or wry neck
Toxin - a poison produced by microorganisms
Trachea - the windpipe
Trio - a male with two females of the same species, breed and variety
Type - the size and shape of a chicken that tells you what breed it is


Unsexed - day-old chicks that have not been sorted by sex (also called straight-run)
Urates - uric acid (the avian form of pee)
Uremia - poisoning caused by accumulated wastes in the body, typically due to kidney failure
Uropygial gland - large oil gland on the back and at the base of the tail of birds providing oil for the birds to preen their feathers (also called the preen or oil gland)
Uterus - the section of the female avian reproductive tract where the shell is added to the egg (also known as the 'shell gland')
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Vagina - the section of the female avian reproductive tract where the bloom/cutlicle is added to the egg just prior to being laid
Variety - subdivision of a breed, according to plumage color, comb type, etc.
Vector - the means by which a disease is spread
Vent - the common outside opening of the cloaca in birds through which the digestive, excretory and reproductive tracts empty
Vertebrae - bones in the spinal column
Verticle transmission - disease transmitted from parent to offspring through hatching eggs
Virulence - the level at which a disease-causing organism is able to cause a disease
Vitelline membrane - the thin membrane that surrounds the yolk
Vulture hock - feather-legged breeds where the feathers grow off the shank and touch the ground
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Wattles - the flap of skin under the chin of a chicken or turkey
Web - the network of interlocking parts that give a feather its smooth appearance; a part of the feet of waterfowl
Wet-blub thermometer - a thermometer used to measure the amount of moisture or water vapor in the air (humidity)
Wing clipping - a procedure in which the primary wing feathers of one wing are cut to prevent flight
Wry tail - tail that lays to the left or gith side and is not symmetrical with the body line


Xanthophylls - the yellow pigments found in leaves, grasses and green plants that are added as pigment to avian skin as well as providing the yellow color of egg yolks


Yolk - the round yellow mass upon which the genetic material of the female (and male if the egg is fertilized) is located and that provides nutrients for the devloping embryo
Yolk sac - the membrane that surrounds the yolk in the incubating egg
Zoning - laws regulating or restricting the use of land for a particular purpuse such as raising poultry
Zoonosis - a disease transmissible from an animal to a human (plural = zoonoses)

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