Many smallholders keep chickens, so here is some poultry terminology that will be useful.
Bantam: A small domestic chicken that is often a miniature version of a larger breed.
Breeders: Those birds that lay fertile eggs for day-old broilers or day-old pullets.
Broilers: The term used for meat-type poultry slaughtered for meat.
Brooder box: A temperature-controlled, heated box used for raising newly hatched poultry.
Broody hen: A hen that is intent on sitting on and hatching a clutch of eggs on a nest. Broody hens are often used to hatch eggs of other fowl.
Candling: Procedure of shining light through an egg to determine if it is fertilized or not.
Chick: A newly hatched or very young chicken.
Cock: A male chicken over one year of age, also called a rooster.
Cockerel: A male chicken less than a year old.
Coop: An enclosure or housing structure built for chickens.
Eggs: Experts say that this product of the poultry industry is the most balanced source of nutrients for humans.
Grower feed: Commercially available feed formulated for adolescent, growing chickens. Usually used from nine to 20 weeks.
Hatchery: This is the place where breeders hatch chicks. It plays an important role to maintain biosecurity in the supply chain of poultry meat and eggs.
Hen: A female gallinaceous bird.
Incubation: The process used to hatch eggs. This can be accomplished naturally under female fowl or artificially with a mechanical incubator.
Layers: Mature female chickens kept for egg production. Also known as laying hens.
Laying feed: Commercially available feed formulated with extra calcium for laying hens.
Pullets: The word used for female birds from hatch to the point of lay.
Point of lay: Term used to describe pullets who are about to begin laying eggs. Generally around 18-22 weeks old, depending on the breed.
Starter feed: Pre-mixed commercial food for chicks, commonly available at feed or farm stores. These feeds should be fed to chicks for the first six to eight weeks of life.
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