Basic Chicken Terms for anyone new to Raising Chickens at Home...

This glossary of basic chicken terms is for anyone new to Raising Backyard Chickens and Raising and Keeping Chickens at Home. If you know them all already that's great if not we hope our list of Chicken Terms will help you...

Bantam: The Bantam is a type of chicken that does not have a larger version. Some smaller breeds of chickens are referred to as Bantams but they are actually miniatures of a larger breed of chicken.

Broody: When the hen has an urge to sit on her eggs to try and hatch them. (She is broody).

Chick: A baby chicken.

Chicken: Technically this is the term to describe a bird, either male or female of the current seasons breeding.

Clutch: - a batch of eggs in a nest.

Cock: A male bird generally after the first moult at approx one and a half years old.

Cockerel: A male bird of the current years breeding.

Comb: The red muscle on the head of chickens.

Coop: The place where your poultry live is referred to as a poultry coop.

Crest: The chicken term for the bunch of feathers on the head of certain breeds.

Crop: Is part of the pre-digestive system of the chicken. Food collects at the base of the neck and is softened before going through the rest of the digestion.

Cushion: The area of the back in front of the tail on the female chicken.

Down: Soft fine feathers on chicks.

Droppings: chicken manure.

Dust bath: Chickens love to bathe in dry dust or sand, and it helps remove any mites from their feathers.

Flight feathers: The biggest primary feathers on the final half of the wing.

Free range: To allow chickens to roam pasture freely.

Frizzle: Feathers that curl rather than laying flat also a breed of chicken.

Gizzard: The internal organ of the chicken that collects grit and grinds food down.

Grit: A grinding agent used in digestion, sometimes needs to be added to a chickens diet if not allowed to free range.

Growers: Growing chickens between 9 and 20 weeks.

Hackles: The cape feathers of a rooster.

Hen: A female chicken after her first laying period, roughly one and a half years old.

Hybrid: A chicken that has been genetically bred from two different breeds of chicken for good characteristics from both.

Impaction: A blockage of a body passage or cavity, such as the crop.

Keel: The birds breast bone - which resembles the keel of a boat.

Layers: Mature female chickens kept for egg production.

Mash: A mixture of wet or dry coarse ground feed.

Moult: The yearly shedding and replacement of poultry feathers.

Muff: The feathers sticking out from both sides of the face under the beak of certain breeds such as Ameraucana and Faverolles.

Nest Box: A secluded safe place where a hen feels she can leave her eggs.

Nest Egg: A wooden or plastic egg put in the nest box to encourage hens to lay there.

Pecking order: The social ranking of a flock - they figure it out by size and temperament. There really is a 'pecking order' and you will soon be able to tell by watching your chickens.

Pellets: Poultry pellets are formed from a fine mash bonded together.

Point of lay: The age at which bird could start laying (approx 20 weeks)

Poultry: Domestic fowls, such as chickens, turkeys, ducks, or geese, raised for meat or eggs.

Pullet: A female bird from the current year's breeding.

Pure breed: A chicken that has not been crossed with another chicken breed is known as a pure bred.

Rooster: An adult male chicken.

Saddle: The area of the back in front of the tail on the male.

Spurs: The protrusions on the legs of roosters.

Utility: Chickens bred for meat or chickens bred for eggs rather than poultry shows.

Vent: The orifice at the rear end of the chicken through which both eggs and faeces are ejected.

Wattles: The fleshy appendages hanging either side of the lower beak of poultry.

If you would like to make a contribution to chicken terms our chicken glossary we will be happy to add it to the list just let us know.

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