Candle or candling: Taking an egg and holding it in front of a bright
light in a dark room to see the development of the embryo inside the
Cape: The area of feathers between the shoulders and neck on a
Capon: A castrated rooster
Chalazae: The two coils that hold the yolk in place inside of an egg
Chicks: Baby chickens hatched from fertilized eggs
Clutch: A group of eggs laid by a broody hen
Coccidiosis: A protozoal infestation causing disease and sometimes
Cock: A male chicken after his first molt

Cockerel: A male chicken under 12 months of age
Comb: The fleshy piece of skin on top of a chicken’s head. It helps to
identify the breed. It comes in a variety of shapes including single,
pea, V-shaped, and rose.
Coop: Housing for chickens; can be made of different material and
customized to fit the needs of your flock
Crest: The feathers on top of a chicken’s head
Crop: Located inside the base of a chicken’s neck, right before the
gizzard. Food passes through the crop where it is softened and then
moves on to the gizzard.
Crumbles: Food for birds, often broken up pellets, into medium size
shapes for the birds to eat
Cull: Killing sick or unwanted birds in a humane fashion
Debeak: Removing the tip of the beak from a bird. Often, it is done to
birds raised in close quarters in order to prevent them from pecking
at each other.

Down: The new, soft feathers on a baby chick before it grows its
feathers. It is also the fluffy layer of feathers underneath the main
feathers on an adult bird.

Dual-purpose breed: A breed raised to provide both meat and eggs
Dust bath: Birds “bathe” or roll around in fine dirt or sand to help
remove external parasites from their bodies.
Earlobes: Skin below a chicken’s ears that can vary in color and
shape depending on the breed
Egg tooth: The very tip of the chick’s beak that pierces the egg when
the chick is ready to hatch. It falls off within the first week of hatching
after it is no longer needed.
Exterior albument: The narrow fluid layer next to the shell
membrane in an egg
Fertilized egg: An egg containing an embryo that will produce a
baby chick
Flighty: Unstable behavior
Flock: A group of chickens
Free-range: Chickens that are not caged

Frizzled: Feathers that curl on a bird and give the appearance of a
fuzzy, fluffy look
Fryer: A chicken, typically smaller, bred for meat. Another name for
broiler, this is the type of chicken found mostly in grocery stores.
Germinal disk or blastoderm: The small circular spot on the
surface of the yolk. It is the point where sperm enters the egg.
Gizzard: The part of the chicken’s digestive system that contains the
grit used to breakdown the food
Hackles: The feathers located on a chicken’s back between the
shoulder and neck
Heavy breed: A breed in which the female weighs more than 5 ½
Hen: A female chicken after her first molt
Hock: The joint between the thigh and shank on a chicken
Hybrid: A crossbreed

Incubation: The stage of a chicken’s life cycle when the fertilized egg is in an artificial incubator or under a hen as it matures 21 days
to hatch

Keel: The blade of a chicken’s breastbone.
Kill cone: A cone-shaped cylinder tube, typically made out of plastic
or steel, to place chickens in upside down for slaughter and to drain
the blood from their bodies after they have been killed
Lacing: The markings on a chicken’s feathers. This can sometimes
help identify the breed. It is a contrasting color on the edge of a
Layer: A hen proficient in laying eggs
Mandibles: The upper and lower part of a beak
Marek’s disease: A highly contagious viral neoplastic disease in
Mash: Finely ground food usually used to feed baby chicks
Newcastle’s disease: Avian distemper affecting the respiratory
Middle albumen: The thick, white layer of dense matter known as
the egg white inside of an egg

Molt: The shedding of feathers on a bird. It usually takes 3 months to
complete the process, and it occurs once a year. Hens do not lay
eggs during this time.
Mottled: Markings on a chicken’s coat. The feather’s tips or spots on
the feather have a contrasting color, typically black with a white tip.
Nest boxes: An area in the coop that hens can lay eggs and sit on
them until they hatch if they are fertilized
Nest egg: A fake egg or egg replacement to fool a hen into thinking
she has laid an egg to induce egg laying in the bird
Nucleus of pander: The plug of whitish yolk inside the yellow yolk
that is purely for nutritional value
Ovum: A hen’s egg cell
Pasted vent: A condition in which a chick or chicken’s vent is
clogged with feces; more common in baby chicks than chickens

Pecking order: The social hierarchy in a flock of chickens
Pencil: Markings on a chicken’s coat
Pellet: Food for birds, compressed into a long, cylinder shape
Pinfeather: Sometimes called a “blood feather.” It is a developing
feather on a bird. It can be a new feather during infancy or a
replacement feather during molting.
Plucker: A piece of equipment that removes feathers from a dead
chicken, turkey, duck, or other poultry; can be commercial and
automated or homemade
Pox: A virus in which wart-like bumps appear on the wattles and
combs of chickens
Pullet: A female chicken under 12 months of age
Purebred: A breed of chicken whose parents are the same breed
Run: An area of space for chickens to run, forage, and roam
Rooster: An adult male chicken

Scalder: A piece of equipment that submerges a dead animal,
typically a bird or fowl, with the intent to burn the feathers off the
Sexing: The process of determining the gender of a baby chick
Spangled: A “V” marking at the tip of a feather on a chicken’s coat
Splash: A term used to describe the colors and markings on chicks’
and chickens’ coats
Spur: A stiff, sharp spine on the leg rear of a chicken’s leg
Stress: To a chicken, stress can be triggered by a number of things,
including loud noises, overcrowding, children, other animals, and
bright light. Stress is harmful for chickens because they are sensitive
birds. Too much stress can cause illness, decreased egg production,
and even death in some cases.
Thrush: A condition in a chicken that affects the upper digestive
Twisted legs: A leg deformity in birds

Wattle: The fleshy pieces of skin that hang down on either side of a chicken’s beak. It can be used in identifying a breed of chicken and is
typically larger on males than females.
Wheaton: The color of a chicken’s coat, referring to an array of
browns and tans
Vent: The opening in the rear of a chicken where eggs and bodily
excretions pass through
Yolk: The yellow mass of materials found in an egg that surrounds
and provides nutrients to the developing embryo and consists of
protein, lecithin, and cholesterol

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