Poultry Terms and Meanings

Below are some of the basic poultry terms and terminologies you need to be aware of:



ChicksBoth male and female birds of one day old (D.O) to 6-8weeks old.
GrowersBoth male and female birds of 8-12weeks old
PulletsFemale birds that are less than 20weeks old
CockerelsMale birds that are less than 20weeks old
HensFemale birds that are above 20weeks old
BroilersYoung birds raised for table meat
PoultryDomesticated birds kept for eating (meat and eggs)
FlocksGroup of birds or animals
CaponA male chicken that has been castrated (had part of its testes removed) and made fat for eating
BreedsCrossing of selected birds together with male and female to get “Day old chicks” (D.O.C)
OvaryOrgans in female birds in which ovum are produced
OvumFemale egg that can develop into a fertile or infertile york
PenSmall enclosure for either cattle, poultry or sheep etc.
CullThe removal of undesirable or sick birds
MortalityThe death of birds
LitterLitter is a material used as bedding for poultry or to absorb their droppings such as wood shaving, Groundnut husks etc.
PeckingAn act by which birds eat the flesh of one another or damaging eggs
DroppingsWaste matter I.e: poultry manure dropped from bird’s body
CannibalismThis is an act whereby birds peck each other or eat the flesh of each other. They can peck their heads or feathers which are very dangerous and it can mean some financial loss to poultry farmers.

However, to avoid this embarrassment, you must avoid some careless acts like:

1. Overcrowding of birds

2. Collecting birds of different ages

3. Unbalanced rations

4. Inadequate Equipment

5. High temperature

CandlingCandling is an act of detecting fertile or infertile eggs by electric testing bulbs
IncubationIncubation is an act of setting fertile eggs into the incubator under all necessary conditions to hatch out “Day Old Chicks” (D.O.C)
DebeakingThis is an act whereby the sharp end of the birds beak is cut off and it is designed to prevent birds from damaging eggs or pecking each other.

Note: The blade of debeakers should be sharpened and kept real hot. The beak should be cut off to prevent birds from damaging eggs with their beak or pecking each other as earlier stated above.

Cutting should not be done harshly i.e. to cut off ½-⅓inch of upper beak slight straight or curved inwardly and cutting should not be done too close to the head or else birds may die of bleeding.

DewormingThis is an act of removing worms from birds. Deworm all birds kept in the deep litter by using any deworming drug once every 6months or before starting to lay eggs.

For the fact that birds run away from the taste of this drug for instance (for being bitter), poultry farmers are advised to mix the drugs in water after leaving the birds for sometime preferably a day without water and give them the following day as drinking water, it is expected that birds would rush to drink it at least at that particular time they are thirsty.

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