February 7, 2016

New Zealand farming. Poultry – Glossary of terms

Dr Clive Dalton

Albumin:  The white of an egg made up of four different layers.

Avian:  Relating to birds.

Bantam:  Small type of laying fowl.


Battery cages:  Wire cages with sloping floors to hold laying birds from a single to multiples (usually four).  Arranged in decks with provisions for feeding, watering, egg collection and dung disposal.  There are now ‘welfare’ cages where birds have more room.

Laying birds in multiple-bird cage

Beak trimming: Removing the sharp end of the upper beak with cauterising iron to prevent pecking other birds.

Blood spot: An egg defect maybe caused by the rupture of small blood vessels in the bird’s ovary at the time of releasing the yolk into the oviduct. Blood appears in the egg white or attached to the yolk membrane of the egg.

Boiler:  An adult old fowl used for meat at the end of her productive egg laying life.

Breed: Old types of fowls (e;g; Rhode Island Red and Plymouth Rock) kept for eggs and meat which are genetically different. Most modern commercial birds are 'hybrids' produced by crossing inbred lines by large international companies.

Broiler:  Young meat chicken specially bred for rapid growth and high meat yield.  Grows to around 1.8kg liveweight in 40 days.
Ready - cooked broiler chicken
 Brooder: Equipment to provide artificial heat for young chicks from one day old to 3-4 weeks.

Broodiness: Desire of female fowl to sit on eggs, known as being ‘broody’ or ‘clucky’. Usually occurs in old breeds after an egg laying period.

Cages:  Wire cages (with wire floors) mounted in tiers to hold laying birds, either singly or in multiples.

Candling: Visual  examination of eggs by holding them in front of a light source to check if they are fertile.

Cannibalism: Behavioural vice in fowls of all ages, but especially in laying birds kept in very confined conditions.  Seen as pecking other birds’ feathers, heads, toes, vents, combs or wattles which can lead to death of the sufferer.

Capon:  Castrated male chicken.

Chalaiza:  Spiral strings of dense albumen opposite one another on yolk of an egg.  Maintains the axis or orientation when an egg is turned during early stages of incubation to allow proper development.

Chicken:  The domestic fowl Gallus domesticus, of family Phasianidae.  Also young egg or meat strain type bird one month old or less.

Clutch:  Number of eggs laid on consecutive days.

Cock:  Mature male chicken.

Cockerel: See cock or rooster.
Mature male bird (Cock, cockeral or rooster).  

Crop:  Pouch-like part of the digestive system at the base of the neck.  Serves as the initial receptacle for eaten food. 

Culling: Removing non-productive birds from the flock to reduce waste and improve profit.

Day-old:  The age immediately after hatching at which chicks are sold for rearing.

Deep litter system: Keeping birds for egg production or meat on a level floor on which litter made up of composted wood shavings, sawdust or other waste material to an initial depth of about 150mm.

 Double yolked egg:  Egg with two yolks which is considered a marketing defect and also a defect for hatching eggs.

Drake:  Adult male duck.

Dubbing:  Cutting or trimming (cauterising) the comb or wattles of birds to prevent injury from other birds.

Duckling: Young duck from birth to about 6 months old.

Dust bath:  Action of birds to rid themselves of parasites by working dust up into their feathers.

Egg bound:  Condition where a bird cannot lay any more eggs because of a blockage in the oviduct.

Egg floor:  Licensed marketing  venue to receive, grade and distribute eggs to retail outlets.

Egg grader:  Machine used to grade eggs by passing over a weighing device to sort then into different sizes (grades).

Egg marketing area:  Area where eggs must either be sold directly from the poultry farm or the egg floor.

Egg-type stock: Breeds or types (mainly hybrids) of birds kept for egg production.

Entitlement: License to farm with a set number of laying hens.  Can be purchased with a going-concern farm.

Feed:  A balanced diet that meets all the nutritional needs of the fowl made from ground grains as a meal or formed into pellets to increase feed intake.

Birds eating pelleted feed
 Filler flat:  Tray made of moulded paper or plastic for transporting eggs safely.

Flock:  Birds usually of the same age and type in one group.

Forced moult: Altering the feeding and environment of laying birds to give their reproductive system a rest before a further period of lay.

Free range:  System of keeping laying hens so they have have access to outdoor areas and are not confined.

Gander:  Adult male goose.

Gizzard:  Part of fowl’s digestive system used to grind food, helped by ingested gritty material.

Gosling:  Young goose.

Grit:  Hard material needed in a bird's diet to help it digest feed in the muscular gizzard. Either fed separately or incorporated in compounded diets.

Hatchery:  Place where eggs are artificially incubated and from where day-old chicks are produced. 

Heavy breeds:  Dual purpose breeds which after their egg laying life have a meaty carcass.  Usually are around 2.5kg at point of lay.

Hen:  Term for mature female chicken or turkey.

Hybrid:  See breed.

Incubation:  The hatching of eggs by means of heat, done naturally under a broody hen or in an incubator.  Incubation time between setting the eggs and chicks hatching averages 21 days.

Incubator:  Chamber which provides the correct heat and humidity to hatch eggs,

Infertile eggs:  Eggs laid by a hen that have not been fertilised by a male bird (cockerel or rooster)  so are incapable of embryonic development.

Light breeds:  Egg laying breeds weighing about 1.8kg at point of lay.

Moulting:  Annual process where a hen sheds old feathers to grow new ones. Usually the first annual moult happens at the end of the annual laying season. Modern laying strains have been selected to have a short moult, as opposed to old breeds with lower production and a longer moult.

Oviduct:  Long tube in hen’s body cavity through which the egg yolk is moved and in which the albumin, shell membranes and shell are formed.

Oviposition:  Laying of an egg.

Point of lay (POL): Period in the bird’s metabolism just prior to the start of laying the first egg.  The comb and wattles of most breeds enlarge and become bright red.  The stage at which many egg producing fowls are purchased.

Poult:  Young turkey before becoming sexually mature.

Poultry:  General term for domesticated species of birds reared for egg or meat production.  Includes chickens, ducks, turkeys, guinea fowl, etc.

Prolapse:  Eversion of part of the oviduct and rectum through the vent.

Pullet: Female bird ready to lay or in its first production season.

Rooster:  See cock and cockerel.

Spectacles:  Plastic spectacles fitted on a bird's beak to stop it seeing directly ahead and prevent it pecking and cannibalising other birds.

Stag (Jack):  Adult male turkey.

Wattle:  Fleshy appendage at each side of the base of the beak.  Most strongly developed in male birds.

February 5, 2016

New Zealand farming. Hides and skins – Glossary of terms

Dr Clive Dalton

Cockle: Defect in a lamb or sheep pelt  seen as nodules that have developed over the pelt surface.  Can be prevented by appropriate dipping.

Dressing skin:  Woolly lamb skin, which is suitable for processing into leather after all wool has been removed.

Fellmongery: Factory or department in abattoir or freezing works where wool is removed from lamb and sheep skins.

Grain: Surface layer of a pelt, hide or leather containing and showing wool or hair follicles.

Green skin: Undried skin from a farm or slaughter facility, which does not have long-term keeping quality.

Hide:  Skin from a mature cattle beast or calf.  Also used in deer.

Liming: Alkali chemical treatment of a hide or pelt to make it softer and pliable

Paint:  Chemical mixture to penetrate the skin to loosen wool. 

Painting: Applying paint by spray or other means to the flesh side of  a sheep skin to remove the wool.

Pelt: A lamb or sheepskin after wool has been removed.

Pickled pelt:  Lamb or sheep pelt preserved for export with brine and sulphuric acid.

Pinhole:  Defect in a lamb or sheep pelt seen as small holes in the pelt grain caused by wool fibres growing in groups, and most prevalent in fine wool breeds.

Rawhide:  See green skin.

Ribby pelts:  Pelts of wrinkly sheep breeds such as Merinos, which greatly restricts their value.

Skin: Derived from sheep, goat, deer, opossum or rabbit (not cattle).

Slink: Skin from young dead lamb or fawn in utero or just newborn.

Skins from these dead lambs (slinks) will be processed for high quality gloves.

Slipemaster:  Machine used to recover wool from pelt trimmings in a Fellmongery.

Slipe wool: Wool recovered by a wool puller, after chemically loosened with sodium, sulphide and hydrated lime mixture.

Sweating:  Method of dewoolling skins which depends on induced bacterial degradation to loosen the wool. Used mainly in France.

Wet blue: Hide or skin tanned with chromium salts and kept in a wet state, which also make it a blue-green colour.

Wool pull: The estimated weight of wool able to be removed from a skin.

Wool puller:  Person or machine who removes the wool from a lamb or sheep skin after it has been chemically loosened.

February 4, 2016

New Zealand farming. Goats – Glossary of terms.

Dr Clive Dalton


Saanan milking goats on rotary milking platform

Milking dairy goats:
British Alpine
Anglo Nubian
Fibre goats:
Feral goats 

Meat goats:
Feral goats

Angora male goat kids

Feral goats mustered from the wild and farmed for their fibre and meat
Beard:  The hair which grows below the jaw on mature male goats.

Billy goat:  Same as buck and used mostly when referring to feral goat males.

 Browse:  Feeding habits of goats where they select and eat longer more mature herbage and tree leaves, compared to grazing seen in sheep.  Also name given to the mature feed they select to eat.

 Buck:  Entire male goat of any age. 
Angora buck

Cashmere:  Fine downy undercoat fibre in the base of the fleece of a Cashmere or some feral goats.

Cashgora:  Goat which is a cross between  Angora and Cashmere parents. 

Cashgora doe

 Doe: Mature female goat.  ‘Nanny goat’ also used for females of some breeds such as feral goats.

Goatling:  Same as hogget.

Hogget:  Young goat up to one year old.
Saanan goatlings or hoggets up to one year old
 Kid: Young goat of either sex up approaching a year old.

Kidding: Giving birth to an offspring.

Saanan doe just after birth of her kids

Mohair:  Fibres from an Angora goat.

Mohair fibre

Tassels: Structures which grow on neck of some goats near the jaw.

Teeth and aging:  Goats are born with 8 milk teeth which are replaced in pairs from the middle of the lower jaw to the sides at 1.5, 2.5, 3.5, 4.5 years of age.  After a ‘full mouth’ at 5 years old you cannot age a goat by its teeth.

Weaning: Removing goat kids from sucking their dams.  In dairy goats they are weaned at birth but other breeds can be weaned at any age up to 4 months.

Wether:  Castrated male goat.

February 3, 2016

New Zealand farming. Pigs – Glossary of terms

Dr Clive Dalton

 Baconer: Pig slaughtered around 80kg live weight (60kg carcass weight) to produce bacon and ham.

Barrow:  A castrated male pig. Mainly an American term.

Boar:  Uncastrated male used for breeding but can be used for younger pigs.

·      Large white
·      Landrace
·      Berkshire
·      Welsh
·      Hampshire
·      Tamworth
·      Wessex saddleback
·      Large black
·      Hybrids from commercial breeding companies
·      Kunikuni Maori native pig
·      Feral pigs
Modern hybrid gilts of Large White and Landrace cross

 Farrowing: Process of giving birth to a litter.

Farrowing pen or crate:  Confined area where sows is held while farrowing or suckling piglets in first few weeks.

Sow confined in farrowing pen to allow piglets to suckle without being overlain.

 Farrowing index:  Average number of litters of piglets a sow produces in a year.

Sow and litter in farrowing pen given more space to stand up and move around.

Gilt: Female pig of any age from birth to having her first litter.

Hog:  General term (mainly American) for young pig.

Litter: All the piglets produced by a sow at one birth.

Porker: Pig slaughtered at about 50kg liveweight (40kg carcass weight) for fresh meat (pork).

Runt: Small poorly developed piglet in a litter.

Sow: Female kept for breeding which has had at least one litter.

Sucker:  Young pig of either sex still, sucking its dam.

Super porker:  Pig of bacon weight killed for trimmed pork cuts.

Tassels:  Seen on some feral pigs, e.g. NZ Kunikuni.

Tassle on Kunikuni pig's jowl

 Weaner:  Pig removed from suckling its mother from 3 weeks (early weaning) to 8-10 weeks (conventional weaning).

Large black 8-week old weaners

February 2, 2016

New Zealand farming. Fencing – Glossary of terms.

 Dr Clive Dalton

Auger: Tool for boring holes in timber or for boring holes for fence posts in the ground.

Batten: Used to keep wires on a fence at equal distance apart, preventing stock pushing through the fence and adding strength to the fence.  Ususlly made from lengths of wood (50 x 50mm) but can be made from wire, lengths of chain or plastic strip. Same as dropper.

Boundary fence:  Fence which divides two or more properties and which must comply with the New Zealand Fencing Act 1978.

Legal boundary fence. Note how fence line has been cleared to make fencing easier and more stock proof when finished.
Barbed wire on boundary fence
Breast plate: Piece of timber placed in the ground that supports the stay at a strainer post, an angle or corner post.  May be called a stay foot.

Bridge spikes: Large nails with square heads and shank used to attach decking to bridge stringers (main supports).

Cap rail:  Top rail on cattle yards used to walk along.  Also top rail on any wooden fence.

Cattle stop: A grill structure above a pit in a roadway or track that stock will not cross when they see the gaps.  Also called a cattle grid.

Chain: Imperial unit of length to measure fencing.  I chain = 22 yards.  Metric equivalent used is 20m.

Contract:  Arrangement made between farmer and fencing contractor to define what work has to be done.  May be verbal for small job but fully documented for large jobs with legal implications.

Crowbar:  Steel bar sharpened at one end to make holes in ground or be used as a general purpose lever.

Dead man:  Anchor to which a strainer, angle or corner post is tied back, and buried deep in the ground.

Dogs:  Same as gudgeon.

Dropper: Same as batten.

Fence: Definition under NZ Fencing Act 1978. 
‘A substantial post, batten and wire fence, having not lass than seven wires, not more than two of the wires being barbed; barbed wires to be placed in a position agreed upon by the persons interested, or to be omitted if those persons agree, the posts to be of durable timber, metal, stone or reinforced concrete, and not more than 5.03m apart, and securely rammed and, in hollows or where subject to lifting through the strain of the wire to be securely footed, or stayed with wire: the battens to be of durable timber or metal, evenly spaced, and not less than four in each space between the posts, the wires to be galvanized and not lighter than No. 8 gauge; the barbed wire to have barbs spaced 0.15m apart, and to be galvanized; the bottom wire to have barbs not more than 0.12m  from the ground, the three bottom wires to be not more than 0.12m apart; and the top wire to be not less than 1.14m from the ground; all wires to be strained tightly and fastened to or let through the battens and posts to provide a tight durable, stock-proof fence’. 

A boundary fence can be modified by agreement between the land owning parties.  On a boundary fence, you have to fence your neighbour’s stock out, so battens go on their side of the fence.

Fence laying: Delivering materials to the line of the fence and laying them out ready for work to start.  Materials used to be delivered by pack horse or fixed wing aircraft, but now helicopters can be used.

Fence line: The actual position of the fence.

Fencing types:
  •  Power or electric fence.  Fence made from insulated standards and electrified wire
  • Pig fence: Netting fence usually 1.07m high.
  • Sheep fence. 
  • Post and rail fence: Wooden posts joined by rails. 
  • Deer fence: Netting fence 1.6m high.
  • Boundary fence:  Seven wires, fully battened (see Fencing Act).

Four wire electric fence to restrain sheep
 Foot: Block of wood attached by wire to the base of a post and then buried and rammed in a post hole to stop it being twisted or pulled out when the wires are strained.  Plural of foot is foots!

Footing:  Same as foot.

Fixed foot:  Where the foot is secured to the bottom of the post before ramming, and not rammed separately when attached by a wire – sometimes called a flying foot.

Fencing pliers: A combination hand tool used to cut and bend wire.

Flying fox: Wire fixed between two ‘dead men’ used to carry fencing materials when laying out a line in steep hill country.

Gate: Structure which closes access between paddocks or pens in yards.  Many kinds depending on function made from wood or metal.
·      Drafting gates in yards to separate animals.
·      Lift and swing gates in woolshed pens.
·      Backing gate:  Used in stockyards to prevent animas moving backwards.
·      Vet gate: Narrow gate in cattle yard to allow vet to operate behind a beast held securely in a head bail.
·      Taranaki gates made from fence battens and wire pulled tight to close gaps.
·      Flood gates: Used across a stream and which can rise during floods.

Modern galvanised gates

 Grass fence: Fence made from two electric fence wires at the same height and about 1m apart, where the herbage is allowed to grow up between the wires.

Gudgeon:  Part of a gate hinge assembly that is knocked into to the gate post.  The hinge straps fit over the gudgeon.

Guide wire: Wire used during construction to define the position and line of the fence.

Hinges:  Used to allow gate to swing open or closed.  Made up of gudgeons and strap hinges.

Jenny:  Device for holding roll of wire to make unwinding easy. Also called spinning Jenny or wire spinner.

Knots: Used to join wires. Main types are figure 8 and double loop.

Maul:  Wooden hammer to driving pointed stakes.

Measuring up: Calculating the length of a fence and the materials needed to estimate costs.

Netting: Fencing wire woven into a net with varying sized mesh depending on the stock that have to be restrained.

Netting added to boundary fence as well as hot wire near top.
 Outrigger: Electrified wire placed attached to the main fence but fixed on brackets away from it.

Hot wire on boundary fence held by outrigger
 Peg:  Pointe piece of timber used to mark out the exact line of the fence.

Pinchbar:  See crowbar.

Posts:  Main part of fence used to support the wires.  Many kinds:
·      Strainer posts:  Main posts at either end of a fence to take the strain of the wires
·      Intermediate posts: Posts between the strainer post.  May be called line posts.
·      Angle posts:  Posts placed where the fence changed direction and need extra support by stays and tiebacks.
·      Treated posts:  Timber posts treated with preservative – called ground treated to withstand being buried for at least 10 years.

Round posts

Quarter round posts
Post timbers:
·      Radiata pine: posts and battens.
·      Totara:  posts, battens, foots.
·      Rimu: battens.

Post driver: Tool or tractor mounted machine  to drive posts into the ground.

Post cap: Metal cover for the top of a post to protect it from rot.

Post hole borer:  Engine driven machine to bore post holes in the ground.

Ram: To consolidate earth around a post with a rammer.

Ratchet: Part of a fence strainer used to tighten wires.

Tension:  The strain put on each wire of a fence.

Tension meter:  Device to measure how much tension each wire has.

Self-tapping bolt:  Threaded bolt that makes it’s own threaded hole when screwed into a wooden post.  Used to thread in a gudgeon.

Standard:  Pointed metal post to hold wires (electric or plain), or plastic insulated post specifically to carry an electric wire – and which is moved regularly during grazing.

Electric fence standards used for strip grazing pastures

Standard lifter:  Lever device to lift metal standards out of the ground.

Staples:  U-shaped double pointed nails to secure wires to wooden posts.

Stays:  Support for strainer or angle posts.

Stay block: See breastplate.

Stock proof: Fence which totally effective in restraining stock.

Strain: Tension put on fence wires.

 Stringer:  Main weight bearing truss on a bridge, usually made of timber.

Tie downs:  See dead man.

Tie back: See tire wire.

Twister: Tool to make a wire twitch.

Twitch: Twisted wire tie of two or more strands.

Twitch wire: See tie wire.

Twitch stick: Twister made of wood or steel.

·      Plain or smooth.
·      High tensile.  Strong wire usually 12.5 gauge or 2.5mm diameter.
·      Number 8 wire.  Smooth wire 8 gauge or 4mm in diameter.
·      Barbed.  Two smooth wires twisted into which barbs are woven at intervals.

New Zealand farming. Electric power fencing – Glossary of terms.

Dr Clive Dalton

Amp: Unit of current.  Watts divided by voltage.

Current: It is current and the duration and rat of its low which causes a shock.  Increasing voltage increases current.  Current decreases as resistance increases.

Capacitance: Ability to store a charge of electricity.

Capacitor:  Stores electrical chares and ule as energy which builds up in the capacitor and is released by the SCR switch into the fence at approximately one per second.

Electrolysis:  Corrosion which occurs when different metals are connected in a wet environment such as with electrical connections on a fence line.

Impedance: Combination of resistance, induction, frequency and capacitance (sometimes called AC resistance).

Induction: Power transfer without contact.  For example – charging of dead or neutral fence wires which run parallel to live ones.

Insulator: A material across which current will not flow.

Joule:  Unit of energy. Watts x seconds.  Measures the ‘kick’ of a fence pulse.

Leakage: Loss of power conducted from the fence to the ground, caused by poor insulators, shorts and herbage growth on the wires.

Measurement: 500 ohms (2mS) which is the maximum a human or animal can conduct in the worst conditions e.g. with feet and hands in salt water.  5000 ohms (0.2mS) is the equivalent of a cow touching an electric wire.  ( See Siemens).

Ohm:  Unit of resistance.  The ohm scale is a reverse one – so low numbers indicate heavy load and high numbers indicate a light load.

Outrigger: Electrified wire attached to conventional fence, supported in a way to keep stock from contacting the fence.

Outrigger carrying hot wire on boundary fence

Power consumption: Electricity consumption does not increase with leakageon the fence because most energisers operate on maximum all the time and the VDR’s absorb the unused surplus.

SCR:  Silicon Controlled Rectifier which is a transistorised pulse switch.

Siemens:  Unit of conductance, leakage or load.  Reciprocal of ohm.  1 Siemens = 1 ohm, 1 millisiemens (mS) + 1000 ohms.

VDR:  Voltage dependent resistor. Prevents voltage of more than 5000 volts from leaving the power unit by short circuiting the excess voltage.

Volt:  Unit of electrical pressure which causes current to flow. Voltage = current x resistance.

Watt:  Unit of power – both electrical and mechanical.  746 watts = 1 Horse power.

Acknowledgement of information source:  To Gallagher New Zealand.