Abdomen – Under body area from breast to stern.
Addled Eggs – Fertile eggs that have died soon after start of incubation.
Ad-lib feeding – Availability of food at all times.
Affective Signals – Signals which convey messages about the internal state of an animal, as opposed to referential signals.
Aggression – Description of a loose categorisation of attack and threat behaviour patterns.
Agonistic Behaviour – Behaviour patterns associated with fighting and retreat eg. attack, escape, threat, defence and appeasment.
Air Cell – The air space beneath the shell at the broad end of the egg.
Albumen – The white protein area of the egg.
Allele – (Pron.-aleels) One of the different forms of a particular gene.eg. the egg colour is controlled by a gene and there are different forms or allele of this gene.
Alimentary Tract – The passage from the mouth to the vent for digestion, assimilation and egestion of food.
Allogrooming – Mutual grooming between animals.
Antibiotics – Medication for treating bacterial infection.
Antibodies – Defence mechanisms against viral infections formed in the bone marrow and spleen.
AOC – Referring to breeds – any (all) other colours.
AOV – Any (all) other varieties.
Appetitive Behaviour – Active searching behaviour shown by animals seeking a goal, as opposeed to consummatory behaviour shown when they reach it.
Ark – Originally – moveable range unit with slatted floor, traditionally used for growing birds.
AI (artificial insemination) – Collection of semen from the male and injection via a syringe into the vent & oviduct of the female.
As Hatched(AH) – Where no attempt has been made to sex chicks.
Ash – Mineral component of feed.
Attention – State in which an animal is more responsive to one aspect of its environment that to others.
Audience Effect – Influence that the presence of other individuals has on the production of signals, such as alarm calls, by the animals.
Autosexing – Varieties of pure breeds with an added baring factor, in which the sex of the chicks is easily identifiable at day old. The name of each variety ends with the word ‘bar’, eg. Cream Legbar.
Axial feather – Small wing feather between the primary and secondary.
Abdomen – Under body area from breast to stern.
Back – Top of body from the base of the neck to the beginning of the tail.
Badge – Physical feature of an animal that conveys a message about some aspect of its behaviour eg. fighting ability.
Baffle Board – Used to deflect draughts upwards from windows and air vents in hen houses.
Bands – Lateral stripes across a feather, see also ‘Cuckoo’ and ‘Penciling’.
Bantams – Small sized fowl one fourth of the weight of the large breed that it represents.
Barring – Alternate stripes of dark and light across a feather eg barred Plymouth Rock, Scots Grey and Legbars. Also used in reference to sex linked barring gene.
Battery System – Intensive method of egg production from birds kept in cages.
Beak – Two horny mandibles projecting from the front of the face.
Beak Trimming – Removal of the tip of the upper beak to stop pecking and cannibalism in intensive and badly managed poorly managed systems, treating the symptoms rather than dealing with the cause.
Beard – Tuft of feathers under the beak eg Creve-Coeur, Faverolles, Houdan and some varieties of Poland.
Beetle Brows – Heavy overhanging eyebrows eg. Malay.
Behaviour Pattern – An action shown by an animal that occurs in a predictable combination.
Blade – Rear part of single comb.
Blocky – Heavy and square in build.
Booted – Featherd shanks and toes eg. Brahma, cochin, booted bantams.
Boule – Hackle starting at the sides of the throat joining behind the neck to form a mane, thick and convexly arched, reaching to shoulder and saddle and covering whole back. eg. some Belgian bantams and Orloffs.
Brassiness – Yellowish plumage colour usually on back and wing.
Breast – Flesh either side of keel bone, and underside of body from base of neck to between the legs.
Breed – Group of birds true to type, carriage & characteristics of the breed name, which produce offspring identical to themselves. There may be different colour and marking varieties within a breed.
Broiler – Fowl bred and raised for the table.
Brooder – An artificially heated area for raising chicks.
Broodiness – Behavioural pattern in hens wishing to incubate and brood a clutch of eggs.
Candling – Method of inspecting the contents of an egg using a bright light.
Cap – Rear part of a hens skull – a comb.
Cape – Feathers betweeen the shoulders, under and at the base of the neck hackle.
Capon – A chemically or surgically castrated male bird. Now illegal in the EU.
Carbohydrates – Heat and energy producing foods found in grains and vegetables.
Carriage – The attitude, bearing & style of a bird especially at the walk.
Chalaza – Internal membrane of an egg which holds the yolk suspended centally.
Chick – Young bird from day old to six weeks of age.
Chick Crumbs – Starter ration formulated for chicks.
Chicken – A bird of the current seasons breeding and of either sex, or up to the age of 12 months.
Chromosome – A package of genes on a thread like structure found in the nucleus of a cell.
Cinnamon – Dark reddish-buff colour.
Clavicle – Wishbone.
Clears – Infertile hatching eggs.
Cloaca – Opening at end of the rectum.
Close Feathering – Feathers held close to the body.
Clutch – A number of eggs laid by one hen.
Cobby – Short round or compact in build.
Cock – A male bird age overr 12 months or after first moult.
Cockerel – A male bird of the current year’s breeding or up to one year of age.
Cockerel-Breeder – Male or female bird selected for producing true to type cockerels.
Comb – Fleshy growth on top of the head varying in size and type eg. cushion (Silkie), horn or V shaped (La Fleche and Sultan), leaf or shell (Houdan), pea or triple (Brahma), rose (Hamburg,Wyandotte), single (Cochin, Leghorn), cup (Sicilian Buttercup), strawberry or walnut (Malay), raspberry (Orloff).
Condition – General state of a birds health.
Coop – Small house with or without a run.
Corky – Light and firm to handle eg. Old English Game.
Coverts – Small covering feathers on the tail and wings.
Cow Hocks – Weak hocks.
Crescent – Description of shape.
Crest – Tuft of feathers on top of the head also known as a ‘top-knot’ eg. Creve-Coeur, Faverolle, Houdan, Poland, Araucana, Cream Legbar, and in Old English Game as a ‘tassel’.
Crop – Pouch in the esophagus at the base of the neck where food is stored before passing into the gizzard.
Cross Breeding – The mating of two different breeds.
Crow Head or face – Narrow and shallow head and beak, indicates a poor layer and poor condition.
Cuckoo – Indistinct and irregular bands similar to barring eg. cuckoo Marans and Leghorns.
Cull – to remove a non productive or sick bird from a flock.
Cup Comb – Resembling a tea-cup with spiked edges eg. Sicilian Buttercup.
Cushion – Mass of soft feathers on the hens rump covering the root of the tail. eg. Cochin.
Cushion Comb – Almost circular cushion of flesh covered in small prominences with a transverse furrow across the centre. eg. Silkie.
Cuticle – The protective bloom left on a new laid egg.
Concave Sweep – Hollow curve from the shoulders to part way up the tail.
Daw Eyed – Pearl coloured eyes
Deaf Ears – Dewlaps or fold of skin hanging below the ears – can be purple, turquoise, cream, red and white.
Dewlaps – Loose folds of skin under the beak on the throat.
Diamonds – See wing bay.
Dominant – Referring to genes, only one copy needs to be present for a characteristic to show. Most genes, with the exception of those located on the sex chromosones, come in pairs.
Double Comb – Rose comb
Double Laced – Two thin lines of black, one on the edge and one set in from the edge of the feather. eg. Indina Game hen.
Down – Soft hair on baby chicks, also the fluffy lower part of the feather.
Dressing – Preparing a table bird for the oven.
Drumstick – The tibia (ref. meat).
Dubbing – Removal of the comb, wattles and ear lobes, in fighting birds or if they interfere with feeding. The practice is banned in the UK.
Duck Footed – Hens with flat feet, resembling ducks feet.
Dusky – Yellow with black shading.
Dustbath – An area of fine soil or sand in which the bird cleans the plumage and controls external parasites.
Ear lobes -Folds of skin hanging below the ears with variations in shape, size and colour which can be purple, turquoise, cream, red or white. Hens with white ear lobes usually lay white or blue eggs.
Ecto-parasites Mites, lice and ticks.
Egg tooth Horny tip to the beak of a chick
Endo-parasites Internal parasites, eg. worms.
Fı – Short for filial. 1,2,3 etc is the rating corresponding to the number of generations of either sex, from the parental generation.
Face – Area below and around the eyes with no feathers
Fancier – Breeder of exhibition birds
Feather-legged – Feather growing on the shanks and or toes eg. Brahma, Cochin, Faverolles
Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) – Ratio of food consumed in relation to egg numbers or body weight
First Cross – Offspring of two different breeds when crossed
Flat shins – Flat fronted shanks instead of being round
Flight coverts – Small stiff feathers covering base of primaries
Flights – Primary or long wing feathers
Fluff – Downy part of the feather, also sometimes seen as a fault on shanks and toes; downy feathers on the thighs.
Fold unit – Moveable house on grass
Fowl – Description of all Chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese or all ages and sex.
Foxy – Rust/reddish colour
Frizzle – Name of a breed, also describes feathers which curl outwards and forwards towards the head or could be described as curling backwards- away from the direction of growth.
Furnished – Fully feathered with all the adornments of an adult
Gapes – Description of a bird opening the beak in a gasping action usually due to parasitic nematodes
Gay – Excessive white plumage markings.
Genotype – The birds genetic identity, the biological make up which doesn’t show in visible outward characteristics.
Gizzard – The stomach of a bird.
Grit – If mixed – contains oyster shell (soluble) or flint to help break down food in the gizzard.
Grizzled – An all black bird with grey in the flight feathers.
Ground colour – Main background colour of plumage.
Grower – A young bird from age 6 weeks to maturity.
Gullet – The dewlap or loose fold of skin under the lower mandible eg. Cochins.
Gypsy Face – Dark mulberry or purple coloured facial skin.
Hackles – Neck feathers and the saddle plumage of the male which are long, narrow, pointed feathers
Handling – The art of picking up a bird correctly
Hangers – Feathers, sily in appearance, hanging from the posterior part of the male fowl. Tail hangers are the smaller sickles and tail coverts and similarly saddle hangers hang below the saddle
Hard feather – Close tight feathering as in game birds
Hardening off – The process of removing young birds from heat and preparing them to go outside
Haugh unit – Measurement of the height of the egg white denoting the density and freshness
Head – Skull, comb,face, eyes, beak, ear lobes and wattles.
Hemizigous – Only applied to females. Describes a female which carries the only copy of a sex-linked trait on her Z chromosome.
Hen – Female after the first adult moult
Hen feathered – or ‘henny’. A male bird without hackles and sickles.
Heterozygous – Having dissimilar pairs of genes for any hereditary characteristic.
Hind toe – The back, fourth toe.
Hock – Sometimes called the knee or elbow. The joint at the top of the shank.
Hollow comb – Depression in the comb
Hollow lobes – Depression in the ear lobes
Homozigous – Having two identical alleles for a given trait. As in pure breeding when the offspring is identical to the parents.
Horn comb – A comb resembling horns or a letter ‘V’. eg. La Fleche or Sultan male
In-breeding – Mating of brothers and sisters or using closely related breeding stock.
Incubation – The 21 day development of the embryo in a fertile or hatching egg.
In-kneed – Knock-kneed
Iris – Coloured part of thee eye surrounding the pupil
Joule – A unit of measurement for energy in feed
Keel – Blade of the breast bone or sternum
Keel bone – The sternum
Keyes tray – A pulp or plastic tray for holding 30 eggs
Kibbling – Chopping of grain into small particles.
Knock-kneed – Hocks too close together
Lacing – Dark single or double stripe around the edge of a feather eg. (single)Andalusian, Wyandotte, Sebright, (double) Indian game. The inner stripe is narrower than the outer.
Leader – or spike at the front of a rose comb.
Leaf Comb – A comb shaped like a butterfly with the wings held flat and the insect’s body resting on the front of the head eg. Houdan male.
Leg – Shank.
Leg feathers – On the side of the shanks or toes. eg Cochin, Faverolles, Langshan, Booted Bantam, and Maline.
Lobe – See ear lobe.
Lopped Comb – Falling to one side of the head.
Lustre – Sheen.
Mandibles – Horny upper & lower parts of the beak.
Marking – Barring, lacing, pencilling, spangling etc. of the plumage.
Mealy – Stippled with a lighter shade giving the appearance of being dusted with meal. A fault in buff coloured plumage.
Melanin – The pigment found in poultry plumage which is divided into two groups – eumelanin which is black, and phaeomelanin which is red. All colour seen in poultry is derived from these two melanin types.
Moons – Round spangles on feather tips.
Mossy – Confused or indistinct marking, a universal defect.
Mottled – Mottled with tips or spots of a different colour.
Muff – Tufts or whiskers, of feathers on each side of the face eg. Faverolles, Houdans, and some Polands and Araucanas.
Mulberry – Gypsy face.
Mutation – Spontanious malfunction of a gene, which, if significant enough can create a completely new characteristic. Mutations can be dominant or recessive.
Nankin – An Asian breed.
Open Barring – Widely spaced bars on a feather.
Open Lacing – Narrow outer lacing giving more space for the base colour.
Outer Lacing – Lacing on the outer edge.
Out-breeding – Mating different strains of the same breed.
Oviduct – Passage from the ovary to the vent, which the egg travels down.
Parti-Coloured – Plumage with two or more colours or shades.
Pea Comb – Triple comb, resembling three divided small combs, the central one being the highest, and joined at the base. eg. Brahma.
Pearl Eyed – or Daw eyed, pearl coloured eyes.
Pecking Order – The hierarchial order within a flock.
Pencilled Spikes – Long thin spikes of a single comb, usually a defect.
Pencilling – Small markings or stripes, or bands on a feather eg. straight across in the Hamburgh or following the outline as in the Brahma, Cochin (partridge), Dorking (silver grey), and Wyandotte (partidge & silver pencilled) females. and fine stippled on Old English Game females and Brown Leghorns.
Peppering – The springling of a darker colour over a lighter background.
Phenotype – The outward, physical characteristics eg. plumage, leg, eye and skin colour. A fully phenotypic bird is one with matching genotype and phenotype.
Pile – Description of a breed with a piebald male and a single coloured hen eg. Pile Game and Pile Leghorn.
Pituitary Gland – Small light sensitive gland in the brain which controls the egg laying mechanism.
Pipping – When the chick breaks a hole in the shell prior to hatching using the ‘egg tooth’.
Point of Lay – POL. the period when a pullet is about to lay – normally between 16 -20 weeks but in some breeds, and in the autumn may extend to 24 weeks.
Precocity – Starting to lay too soon, before fully grown.
Primaries – Flight feathers of the wing – total ten.
Primary Coverts – Flight coverts.
Proventriculus – The glandular stomach area before the gizzard.
Progeny Testing – The assesment of breeders by monitoring the performance of their offspring. eg. egg colour, numbers and size.
Pullet – A young female of the current season’s breeding or between 6 and start of lay.
Pullet Breeder – The name of a male or female breeding bird to be used for breeding good quality pullets.
Pupil – Black centre of the eye.
Pure Breed – A line which will breed true.
Quill – The hollow stem of a feather which attaches it to the body.
Raspberry Comb – Resembling a raspberry cut lengthways and covered with small protuberances.
Reachy – High carriage.
Recessive – A gene masked by a more dominant one. A recessive characteristic will only show if two copies of a particular gene for that characterisitc are present, one from each parent and in the absence of any dominant genes.
Roach Back – Humped back (fault).
Roche Scale – Measurement of yolk colour.
Rooster – Old English and American name for a cock.
Rose Comb – Broad comb with a flat top covered in small points and finishing in a spike or leader.
Rust – Patch of red-brown colour on the plumage of usually black-red females, also known as foxiness.
Saddle – Corresponding to the cushion in the female, and covering the whole of the back of the male reaching to the tail.
Sandiness – Plumage with the apprearance of having been sprinkled with sand.
Sappiness – Plumage with a yellow tinge.
Scapulars – Shoulder feathers.
Secondaries – The quill wing feathers which are visible when the wings are closed and second to the primaries.
Self Colour – Uniform colour eg. white, black, buff.
Serrations – Pointed sections of a single comb.
Sex-link – A mating of two breeds producing sexually identifiable offspring.
Scales – Horny tissue covering the legs.
Serrations – Divisions of the comb.
Setting – Stored fertile eggs awaiting incubation.
Shaft – The quill part of a feather.
Shafty– Lighter colour on the quill than on the webbing eg. Dorking females and Welsummers.
Shank – Part of leg between the hock and the foot.
Shank Feathering – Feather legged.
Sheen – The shine and highlights on black plumage. Lustre on other plumage colours.
Shell Comb – Leaf comb.
Shoulder – Upper part of the wing nearest to the neck, known as the shoulder butt in game birds.
Sibs – Offspring of a brother-sister mating.
Sickles – The top pair of ong curved feathers of a male bird, the remaining ones being called the lesser sickles. sometimes used as a description for the tail coverts.
Side Sprig – A spike growing out of the side of a single comb.
Single Comb – A comb with a narrow, single, straight line of spikes separated by serrations and mounted on a single blade.
Sire – Male parent.
Sitting – A number of fertile eggs which one hen can cover.
Slipped Wing – `When the primaries hang below the secondaries. Similar to a split wing when the primaries and secondaries are separated.
Smokey Undercolour – Grey pigment in the undercolour of the plumage – a defect.
Smut – Undesirable dark or smutty undercolour.
Soft Feather – Soft plumage.
Sootiness – Undesirable grey or smokiness usually in undercolour.
Spangling – A contrasting circular spot of colour at the end of each feather. In the case of the Poland it consists of broader lacing at the end of the feather.
Spike – The rear leader of a laced comb
Splashed Feather – Irregular splashes of a contrasting colour on a feather.
Split Comb – A division or split in the rear blade of a single comb.
Split Crest– A crest with a parting
Split tail – A division in the tail starting at the base.
Split Wing – A separation between the primaries and secondaries.
Sport – A new characteristic caused by a random mutation eg. White Wyandotte from a Silver Wyandotte.
Spur – A horny projection on the shanks of males, used in fighting.
Squirrel-Tail – A fault in which the tail which bends forwards towards the head or back, similar to a squirrel’s tail.
Staggy – A description of table cocks when the flesh becomes strong tasting and the feathers are difficult to pluck.
Standard – The ideal benchmark for pure breeds to follow.
Sternum – see Keel
Strain – A family bred over a number of years from any breed or variety.
Strawberry Comb or Walnut Comb – Resembling half a strawberry with the round part uppermost.
Striping – Markings down the centre of the hackles eg males of partridge variety or the neck hackles of a Columbian Wyandotte and Light Sussex.
Stub – Short partly grown feather.
Sword Feathered – Scimitar shaped sickles eg. Japanese bantams.
Symmetry – Good proportions.
Tail Coverts – see coverts.
Tail Feathers – Straight stiff feathers of the tail. Contained inside the sickles and coverts in the male.
Tassel – Crest or Beard.
Tertiaries – Feathers attached to the wing bone or humerous.
Thigh – The part of the leg above the shank.
Thumb-marked -comb – A defective single comb with indentations in the blade.
Ticked – Either, plumage tipped with a different colour eg. Ancona, or small coloured specks on the feathers.
Tipping – Feather tips of a different shade or colour.
Top Colour – Surface colour.
Top Knot – Crest
Trap-nest – A self closing nest for identifying an egg before the hen is released.
Treading – A description of the action of the cock’s feet on the back of the hen when mating.
Tri-Coloured – Three colours, mainly in buff and red birds, usually applied to males with darker hackles, tails and or wing bows. compared to the rest of the plumage.
Trio – A male and two females.
Triple Comb – Pea Comb
Twisted Comb – A faulty shaped pea or single comb.
Twisted Feather – A feather with a twisted shaft and web.
Type – Conformation
Undercolour – Fluff colour below the surface of the feathers.
Uropygium – Parson’s nose.
V-Shaped Comb – see Horn Comb
Variety – A clearly defined branch of a breed known by it’s colour or marking. eg. Black Leghorn. A sub-variety is a variation of a variety.
Vent – The opening of the oviduct through which the egg emerges.
Vulture Hocks – Quill feathers growing from the thighs and extending backwards from the hock joint. eg. the Sultan.
Walnut Comb – Stawberry comb. eg. Brahma.
Waterglass – Sodium silicate solution traditionally used for storing eggs.
Wattles – Fleshy appendages hanging either side of the beak and more pronounced in the cockerel.
Wethering – An amber tint to white birds such as the White Leghorn.
Web – Of feather is the flat or plume portion. Web of feet is the skin between the toes. Web of wing is the triangle of skin where the wing joins the body.
Whiskers – Feathers growing from the side of the face – muffs.
Wing Bar – A dark coloured line across the middle of the wing caused by the lower wing coverts
Wing Bay – Triangular part of the folded wing between the wing bar and the point, covered by secondary wing feathers – also called the diamond.
Wing Bow – The shoulder part of the wing.
Wing Butt or Point – The ends of the primaries or wing, also called lower butts. Upper ends are called the shoulder butts.
Wing Coverts – Feathers covering the roots of the secondary quills.
Work – Small spikes on top of a rose comb.
Wry Back – Deformed bone structure associated with humped back.
Wry Tail – A tail carried to one side and not in line with the spine.