Chicken Terminology. Whether you are new to raising chickens or you are a seasoned chicken keeper, there are some words that you may scratch your head and think ‘what‘.
We are all constantly learning new things, so listed here (in alphabetical order) are some common chicken terms.
Bantam – A miniature version (usually half the size) of a standard breed chicken.
Bloom – The natural coating on the outside of an eggshell that seals the eggshell pores. The bloom helps to prevent bacteria from getting inside the shell.
Broody – A natural instinct for a hen to sit on eggs until they hatch.
Brooder – A container that chicks are kept in until they are ready to live outside.
Bumblefoot – A bacterial infection on a chickens foot. The infection is usually swollen and can be caused by many things, including a small cut, scrape, or other injury.
Clutch – A collection of eggs that a hen gathers to start brooding on.
Coccidiosis – An intestinal disease caused by parasites. The main symptom is bloody diarrhea and many times results in death.
Cockerel – A male chicken, less than one year old.
Comb – The flexible, usually red, growth on top of a chicken’s head.
Coop – A structure for chickens that provide shelter and protection.
Crop – The holding area in the esophagus where food is deposited after swallowing.
Molt – The process a chicken goes through in which they lose their feathers and grow new ones. Molting generally takes places one to two times per year, usually to get prepared for colder weather.
Nesting Box – A designated place to encourage hens to lay their eggs. Can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, metal, or plastic. A nesting box is usually inside the coop.
Pecking Order – The social order within a flock. The ‘higher’ in the flock will peck at those ‘below’ them in the social order, taking first choice of food and roosting spots.
Pullet – Older than a chick, but younger than a laying hen.
Roost – (noun) A pole or branch inside the coop where chickens sleep.
Roost – (verb) Sleeping on the pole or branch.
Run – The outside area where chickens spend their days. Generally built around the coop.
Sex Link – Chicks that are able to be separated by male and female at birth, based on their coloring.
Sexing – The process used to determine the sex of a newly hatched chick.
Spurs – Sharp growth on a rooster’s leg, mainly used for protection.
Straight Run – Chickens that have not been sexed before being sold, meaning you don’t know if they are male or female.
Vent – The rear opening which both eggs and feces exit the chicken’s body.
Wattles – The two rubbery growths under a chicken’s beak, hanging on the neck.
Did you learn anything? What would you add?