chicken definitions!!!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by howehens, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. howehens

    howehens In the Brooder

    Dec 31, 2014
    west Virginia
    I am new to the chicken world and would live some insight on chicken lingo......bantam(sp?)? Pullet and others
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi

    Mar 27, 2012
    My Coop
  3. LRH97

    LRH97 Songster

    Jul 29, 2013
    Southern Illinois
    Bantam: In short, mini chickens. Often called the "flower garden" of the chicken world.

    Pullet: Female chicken under a year old. (Year+ is called a hen)

    Cockerel: Male chicken under a year old. (Year+ is called a rooster or cock)

    Hackles: A chicken's neck feathers.

    Saddle: More or less the lower back, close to where the back meets the tail.

    Shank: The lower part of the leg, just above the foot. This area can be free of feathers, as in a Rhode Island Red for instance, or can be feathered, as in Cochins.

    Treading: A polite term for mating.

    Broody: The state in which a hen becomes willing to set on a clutch of eggs and hatch them. The natural (and easiest) way of raising baby chicks. This tendency varies by breed, and ultimately the individual bird.

    Cull: To kill a non-productive bird or remove them from the flock.

    These are just a few off the top of my head and that seem to pop up a lot. I'm sure I'll think of more as the night progresses. Post any other questions you may have regarding terms, or anything really! The above link should do you wonders. Welcome to the awesome world of raising poultry, by the way.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  4. pdirt

    pdirt Songster

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA
    Yeah, I was confused by all the terms as first, too. Here's a few more:

    Types of chicken feed:

    Starter: usually fed to chicks at least to age 20 weeks, usually around 20% protein
    Grower: can be fed to chicks age 6-8 weeks and older (depends upon the brand), usually around 17% protein
    Layer: not to be fed until your pullets start to lay eggs, or shortly before, usually around 16% protein

    Broiler (sometimes also called grower): generally fed to meat birds, usually the Cornish Cross breed
    Game Bird: a higher protein feed suited for certain breeds of fowl
    Turkey Broiler: just what it sounds like
    Scratch: Not a balanced feed, but a low protein "treat", usually a mix of corn and grains without additional necessary vitamins and minerals

    There's others too, "finisher", "developer" and specialized feeds "feather fixer". So many different feeds!

    Most people feed starter feed to their chicks until age 20 weeks or so and then switch to layer feed. In most cases, this works, because usually most of the birds will be begin to lay at that point. The only problem with this is not all birds will follow this "general rule of 20 weeks" and may not begin to lay for 32 weeks, or even longer. It's not good for the pullet/hen's health to be feeding them layer feed if they are not laying. A few weeks, no big deal, but months, not good. It can cause visceral gout and kidney problems, either of which could lead to an early death. It won't happen overnight, but usually over time.

    For this reason and others, many folks (myself included) never feed layer feed. The main difference of layer feed is it already has extra calcium mixed into the feed, calcium required to make all those eggshells. The downside of this is the chickens will eat the calcium in the layer feed whether they need it or not. You can feed starter or grower feeds to any full grown chickens. If you have birds that are laying, all you need to do if you are feeding grower/starter is offer crushed oyster shell, for calcium, on the side in a separate container. Laying birds have an excellent ability to self-manage their calcium needs. Non-laying birds (including chicks and roosters) don't need nearly as much calcium and will mostly leave the oyster shell alone.

    If you decide to go the no layer feed route, I'd recommend a 17-18% grower feed with crushed oyster shells on the side. Now chickens need a certain amount of protein each day and if they don't get enough, their health can suffer and they will stop laying eggs. How much they actually need is debatable, but the general consensus is you usually don't want less than 16% and no more than 20%. There are experienced folks here that don't follow those parameters (feeding more than 20% or less than 16%), but they're experienced and I trust they know what they're doing. If you decide you like to feed lots of low protein "treats" such as kitchen scraps and leftovers, cracked corn, scratch, etc, then feeding a higher protein feed can help maintain their protein needs.

    Welcome to the fascinating world of raising chickens!
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015
    1 person likes this.

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