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.

No comments:

Post a Comment