Chook/Chicken Terminology

When starting in any new venture, definitions and terminology can be very daunting and confusing.  In an endeavour to assist we have provided the following basic meanings to terms you may come across.  These terms are general and not definitive. 

Fowls/Chooks

There are 50 recognised breeds of fowls in the Australian Poultry Standards.

Day-old
A one day old chicken.

Chick
A baby chicken.

Chicken/s
A term generally used to describe female poultry.

Pullet
A young female chicken from day-old to 12 months.

Cockerel
A young male chicken from day-old to 12 months.

Hen
A pullet over 12 months old. A hen's egg will usually be larger than her pullet eggs.

Cock
A cockerel over 12 months old.

Rooster
A male fowl/chicken/chook/poultry.

Fowl
A term that covers chickens/chooks/poultry.

Bantam
A miniature version of the standard fowl.

True Bantam
A bantam with no counterpart in the standard fowl.

Large Fowl
A standard fowl of normal size.

Softfeather fowls
Feathering on softfeather fowls is moderately broad and long with dense and abundant fluff. Actual body shape is generally camouflaged by feathering.  Usually good egg layers.

Hardfeather fowls
Feathering on hardfeather fowls is moderately narrow, hard, firm and resilient with a minimum of fluff.  Actual body shape is generally quite visable.  Usually poor egg layers.

Gamefowl
Gamefowl are hardfeather fowls.

Purebred Fowls
Fowls that are bred from same breed of fowl.  Only purebred fowls should be exhibited at shows.

Crossbred Fowls
Fowls bred from a mixture of 2 or more breeds of fowls.

Point-of-lay (POL)
The age when a pullet is ready to start laying eggs, generally from around 21 weeks of age.

Layer
A hybrid fowl bred specially for its laying qualities (usually 300 plus eggs laid per year).

Meat Chicken
A hybrid fowl bred specially for its meat qualities.

Moult
When a fowl sheds its feathers and new ones are grown.  This happens around autumn annually.  It is normal for your fowl to stop laying during the moult.

Broody
When a hen stops laying and wants to sit on her eggs to incubate them. She may not be sitting on any eggs, but will be in a state of mind to sit regardless. Should you want to put some fertile eggs under her she will happily sit on them and be their foster mother!

Feather Picking
Where one fowl plucks the feathers from another fowl.  Can become a very annoying habit that is hard to break. 

Infertile eggs
Infertile eggs come from hens/pullets that have not mated with a rooster.  Suitable for eating providing they are fresh.

Fertile eggs
Fertile eggs come from hens/pullets that have been mated with a rooster.  Suitable for eating providing they are fresh.

Fancier
An individual who breeds pure bred fowls, waterfowls, turkeys or guinea fowl for the purpose of exhibiting them at shows.

Waterfowl - Ducks

There are 23 recognised breeds of ducks in the Australian Poultry Standards.

Duckling
A duckling is a young duck in downy plumage or baby duck.

Duck
A female duck.  In exhibition terminology  they are referred to as young duck (under 12 months old) or old duck (over 12 months old)

Drake
A male duck.  In exhibition terminology  they are referred to as young drake (under 12 months old) or old drake (over 12 months old)

Bantam Duck
A miniature duck.

Waterfowl - Geese

There are 9 recognised breeds of geese in the Australian Poultry Standards.

Gosling
Young geese before fledging are called goslings.  (Fledging means flight)

Goose
A female goose.  In exhibition terminology  they are referred to as young goose (under 12 months old) or old goose (over 12 months old)

Gander
A male goose.  In exhibition terminology  they are referred to as young gander (under 12 months old) or old gander (over 12 months old)

Turkeys

There are 9 recognised breeds of turkeys in the Australian Poultry Standards.

Poult
A poult is a young turkey in downy plumage or baby turkey.

Hen
A female turkey.

Gobbler/Tom
A male turkey.

Guinea Fowl (also known as Nunidian Fowl, Painted Fowl & Pearly Fowl)

There are 5 recognised colours of Guinea Fowl in the Australian Poultry Standards.

Keet
A guinea fowl chick.

Hen
A female guinea fowl.

Cock
A male guinea fowl.

 

Now you can chat with some confidence and understanding when you next talk about chickens!