The Chicken Terms Glossary

Rearing of chickens is one of the economic and domestic activities carried out by many people. This is because chicken rearing provides many benefits to farmers. Some of these benefits are the production of meat and egg production.

For this reason, there are numerous terminologies used in chicken farming today. If you are a farmer rearing chickens at home for commercial or domestic use or a beginner who wants to start keeping your chicken, worry no more.

This list is prepared for you and contains all the terminologies you will encounter when managing your chicken farm.

These terms are meagerly for chicken farmers and include…


They are also known as after shafts. These are feathers that have unique branches which emerge for the vane. In most cases, they appear as small feathers attached to the main feather. These feathers protect the bird against external environmental factors such as physical injuries and weather.


This is a term that refers to a nucleus that is fertilized and undergoes the development of an embryo inside an egg that later leads to the development of a chicken. However, when the egg fails to get fertilized, it is called blastodisc. In such an egg, no chicken can be developed.


This is a collection of chickens that reproduces chicks with the same likeness as their parents. They can be chickens with similar colors, body size, and comb-type that distinguishes them from other types of chicken breeds.


This is the process of providing intensive care to chicks, especially during their early life stages. Such cares include the provision of stable warmth by keeping your chicks under an incubator designed with a thermostat. During this period, the chicks also require special foods that boost their diet for rapid growth.


This is a condition in female chickens that are controlled by hormones. This condition drags the female chicken to sit and stay on its eggs for the hatching process. It also attracts the female chicken to its hatched chicks hence providing care and protection for premature infants.


This is a heated structure designed for rearing your chicken; you can also use it to rear other bird species. In some cases, it may also be referred to as an incubator. These brooders usually provide a conducive environment for premature infants or chicks that require more protection. They are usually designed with a thermostat that helps in maintenances of a stable temperature for the chicks.


This is a type of chicken that is reared specifically for meat production. They can either be males or females and are always reared for 6 to 8 weeks before they are ready for meat production. 

Beak trimming 

This is a term used to refer to removing beak tips in chicken. This helps in minimizing cannibalism and other effects that result from it. There is special equipment designed for beak trimming to ensure that the chicken is not injured.


This is a fatty growth of skin usually found on top of a chicken’s head. It is also found in other species of birds, such as turkeys and pheasants. In some cases, it is usually referred to as cockscomb. They are usually larger in males as compared to females.

In addition, some birds, such as turkeys, usually have their comb extended to the throat. They are usually bright red in chickens, whereas, in turkeys, some may have a blue comb.


It is an opening organ usually found in the lower parts of the abdomen. It is also commonly known as a vent. Feathers always cover it at the lower part of the abdomen, making it very difficult to see. This organ forms the end and exit of many internal systems such as excretory and digestion.

The cloaca is also a reproductive organ of many species of birds, including chickens. This organ allows the release of digestive wastes such as faeces and urine. AS a reproductive organ, it is used in mating birds and laying eggs.


This is an organ found in chicken that stores swallowed food. It is always located on the right side of the chicken’s chest muscles. The tongue always directs all the foods swallowed by birds to the esophagus, which pushes the food into the crop. This organ stores food for some time before releasing the food into the stomach.


This is a term used to refer to chickens with their parents having more than one genotype. These are usually breeding of different varieties of genotypes that are reared together.


This is a practice where some adult chickens attack and eat small chickens of the same flock. This practice is sometimes hereditary, results in a loss in production, and is usually prevented by beak trimming. It usually results from congestion brought about by rearing many chickens in a small space. 


This is a term that refers to the identification and separation of non-productive or sick chickens from other members of the same flock. This helps in the prevention of the spread of diseases to other chickens as well as achieving a uniform production.


This term refers to the albumen which encloses the yolk inside an egg. It is usually white and twisted to ensure the yolk is safe and protected at the center of the egg.


This is a term used to refer to a male chicken, specifically from the day of hatching up to its first year of breeding. A made chicken is usually called a cockerel during its first six months.


This is the process in which the comb of chickens is trimmed. This process is usually carried out during the first three days of the chick from hatching. This process always results in the rapid growth of the chicken. It is also believed that this process increases the production of eggs in chickens by about two percent.

Feather vane

This is the plumed extension of the feather from the middle shaft. In most cases, the veins are always equal in their sizes on a feather. However, different feathers have different sizes of vanes according to their size. The distribution of these veins is usually uniform in each feather.

Fertile egg

This is an egg with a female ovum joint with male sperm to form an embryo, which is the chicken developing inside an egg. In most cases, these types of eggs are usually used to produce more chicks.


This is a term used to refer to the total number of chickens hatched from the same incubator and can be sold. It is usually expressed as a percent of the total number of eggs hatched.


This is a female chicken that has started laying eggs. It is mostly used to refer to chickens that lay eggs to produce chicks. However, if the chicken produces eggs for sales and consumption, it is called a layer.


This is a term used to refer to a female chicken reared specifically for egg production purposes. They usually lay eggs in large numbers for human consumption hence are not usually reared for the production of chicks.

Layer cycle 

There is a period from which the layers begin laying eggs up to the moulting time, which ceases the production of eggs in chicken. In most cases, it is usually the period in which the productive level of the layers is maintained. This is because, during this period, the production of eggs is usually maximum.

Live ability

This is a term used to refer to the total number of chickens that survives in your flock. In most cases, it is usually the total number of chickens that survived up to sales.


This is the process where birds shed off their feathers. Hormones in the body usually control this process. However, it can also be caused by stress, resulting in the casing of egg production. It is usually evident in premature infants developing into adult chickens in most cases.


This is a term used to refer to ejected vent during the egg-laying process. It is a situation that occurs only in female chickens. The vent ejects due to the larger size of the eggs and the heavyweight of the hen.


This is a term used to refer to a female chicken that has laid eggs for the first time. It is also used to refer to young female chickens approaching the egg-laying season.


This term refers to a collection of chickens that share a common origin. There are many type of this that live together. This type of chicken usually reproduces chicks that have a similar likeness. This is because purebred chickens always have the same genotype.

Pipped egg

This is an egg with a crack on its shell, usually formed when a chick begins to hatch. During hatching, the chicks always break the eggs by forming cracks in the egg membranes and the shell. This results in the outer shell breaking into smaller pieces and eventually falling off. The beginning of this process is mostly referred to as egg pipping.


This is a term usually used to refer to an adult male chicken. It is an American name derived from the roosting habit of male adult chickens. In some countries, such as the UK, roosters are usually called a cock or sometimes cockerel. These roosters are the male birds that mostly protect chickens from predators and prevent other rooters from attacking their females. Cockerel also ensures the safety of all your chicken. So, cockerel are also important chicken that will offer great benefit to the entire chicken rearing field. 


This is a disease of chickens that results from inflammation in the chicken’s oviduct. It is most common in chickens and ducks with bacterial infections. The bacteria whose infections lead to this condition are E. coli and Salmonella. The most common signs of this condition include leaking of urates, destruction of vents, and the death of the chicken. Birds in the early stages of this condition can be treated using an antimicrobial drug. However, the best way to control this infection is by effectively immunizing your chickens.


This is the practice of separating the chickens into their respective sexes. The grouping of the chickens into males and females. This is usually done to limit excess reproduction in the flock if you have achieved the exact number of chic hens you require. This will also help in ensuring that you’re controlling the growth of your chicken number. Sexing will also help you to ensure that you’re keeping your chicken in their right grouping without mixing out things. 

Spent hen

This is a term used to refer to an old female chicken. It is a female chicken that has reached the end of its lie of laying eggs. This type of chicken has its reproductive period expired and can therefore be used for meat production. This type of hen is always prone to cannibalism and should always be trimmed if it is still interacting with the other flock members. 


These are the yellow components found at the center of an egg of a chicken. The York has a variety of nutrients such as calories, proteins, and fats. These nutrients help reduce blood pressure and improve your immunity system. Other minerals found In York of an egg include iron, potassium, sodium, calcium, and zinc. Most people often recommend the eating of York a fresh because of the many nutrients that it comes with. Just like any other food product that is eaten when not completely ripe, so York also offer great nutrients.


These terms are essential in chicken farming and will provide you with more understanding of how-to mane your flock. The terms are of different types ranging from the organs, appearances, most common diseases, and the categories of the chickens. This ensures that you accurately describe the various terminologies encountered on the farm. The terminologies described in this write-up apply to both domestic and commercial chicken farming.