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.

poultry terminology
Shining a light through the egg gives an idea of what is happening inside the egg.

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.

poultry terminology
Hens in layer cage.

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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