Animal Science Terms - P

Palatable or Palatability: appeal and acceptability of feedstuffs, including the taste, odor, texture, and temperature of the feed. A forage that is highly palatable has a pleasant taste and texture to livestock

Pancreas: long, irregularly shaped gland in vertebrate animals that is located behind the stomach and is part of the digestive system. It secretes hormones (insulin, glucagon and somatostatin) into the bloodstream and digestive enzymes into the small intestine or gut. The pancreas also secretes sodium bicarbonate, which protects the lining of the intestine by neutralizing acids in the stomach

Parasite: organism that lives on or in a different kind of organism (the host) from which it gets some or all of its nourishment. Parasites are generally harmful to their hosts, although the damage they do ranges from minor inconvenience to debilitating or fatal disease

Parrot mouth or Overshot mouth: animal that has the lower jaw shorter than the upper jaw and the lower teeth hit the back of the dental pad. This is disqualifying feature for confirmation

Parturition: act of giving birth to young one is called parturition

Passive immunity: acquiring the protection against infectious disease from another animal. This commonly occurs when a newborn consumes antibody-rich colostrum from its mother. Failure to consume sufficient colostrum increases the animal’s risk of contracting a disease

Particle size: diameter of granular feed materials (e.g., grains, pellets, mineral particles) and/or the length of roughage fragments. Particle size can affect mixing of feed ingredients and digestion rate

Parts per million (ppm): measurement used for nutrients present in very small quantities (e.g., microminerals); ppm = milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) or milliliter per liter (mL/L)

Parturition: action or process of giving birth to offspring. In cows, parturition is called calving, and in pigs parturition is called farrowing

Pasture: fenced area of forage (grasses or legumes), usually improved, on which animals are grazed 

Pasteurization: simple, effective method to kill harmful pathogens through heat treatment without affecting the taste or nutritional value of milk. Since its introduction over a century ago, pasteurization is recognized around the world as an essential tool for protecting public health. The process was named after its inventor, French scientist Louis Pasteur

Paternal: pertaining to the father or sire

Pathogen: agent that causes infection or disease, especially a microorganism, such as a bacterium or a virus

Paylean: directs nutrients toward quality lean gain and away from fat deposition, resulting in an increase of high-value, lean cuts of meat in pork carcasses. It is a product of Elanco Animal Health

Pearled: feed ingredients (grains) reduced to smaller smooth particles by machine brushing or abrasion

Pedigreetabulation of names of the ancestors of an animal that generally goes back 3 - 8 generations. It is often used to prove parentage for registration in a breed association. A shorter list can be used by producers to trace parentage of animals on their farm and used to establish genetic relationships among individuals to use in genetic evaluations

Pelleted: feed ingredients compressed into a circular or cubic mass, forced through die openings by a mechanical process and cut at predetermined lengths

Pelt: skin of an animal with the hair or fur still on it

Pencil Shrink: percentage adjustment in live weight, generally between 2 and 4 percent, which is subtracted to ensure that responsibility for weight loss during transport is shared by the buyer and seller

Performance data: information related to the growth rate of the goat. This often will include birth to weaning data and adjusted weaning weights. It correctly refers to any weight and animal gain data available on an animal

Peritonitis: inflammation of the internal surface of the abdomen. This condition is often the result of infections and certain diseases

Pesticides: substance created to prevent, destroy or repel pests — such as insects, plant pathogens, weeds, nematodes and microbes — that destroy property, spread disease or are a nuisance. The EPA has strict regulations about farm practices involving the use of pesticides and the FDA tightly monitors foods for pesticide residues

pH: measure of how much acid (acidity) or how much base (alkalinity) is in a sample. Values range from 0 (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline or basic). A pH of 7 is considered neutral (neither acidic nor alkaline). Normal rumen pH should be around 6-7, depending on the ration being fed   

Phenotype: external appearance or measurable result of an individual or it is the actual expression of the character as determined by the genotype and environment in which it has lived  and includes: animal’s external appearance, measures of its productivity, weaning weight, post wean gain, reproduction and other physiological characteristics

Phosphorus: highly reactive, poisonous nonmetallic element occurring naturally in phosphates, especially in the mineral apatite. It exists in white (or sometimes yellow), red, and black forms, and it an essential component of protoplasm

Photoperiod: duration of an organism’s daily exposure to light. Also length of day (or length of period that that artificial light is provided). This also can be expressed as a ratio of daylight to darkness

Physically effective NDF (peNDF): fraction of neutral detergent fibre (NDF) that stimulates chewing; calculated as the product of NDF content and physically effective factor (measured as a proportion of dry matter retained on a 1.18-mm sieve after vertical shaking. High fibre and coarse feeds have higher peNDF values. The minimum peNDF suggested for lactating dairy cattle rations is 22%

Phytase: feed-additive enzyme that is capable of releasing a matrix of minerals (especially phosphorus) from phytic acid, which is a naturally present mineral-rich component of plant cells indigestible to monogastric animals. Used to reduce the amount of supplemental nutrients fed to meet animal requirements

Phytate: salt form of phytic acid, the principle storage form of phosphorus in many plant tissues. Phosphorus and inositol in phytate form are not, in general, bioavailable to nonruminant animals because these animals lack the digestive enzyme phytase required to remove phosphate from the inositol in the phytate molecule. On the other hand, ruminants readily digest phytate because of the phytase produced by rumen microorganisms

Pig: young swine that is not sexually mature; mature swine with an adult weight under 150 pounds

Piglet or baby pig: refers to a young pig in its first 14-21 days of life and is still nursing

Placenta: sac-shaped membranes that attaches the embryo or fetus to the uterus during pregnancy in most mammals. Blood flows between mother and fetus through the placenta, supplying oxygen and nutrients to the fetus and carrying away fetal waste products. The placenta is expelled after birth and is also referred to as the afterbirth at parturition

Placentitis: abnormal inflammation of the placenta, usually due to infectious disease

Polled: naturally hornless animal. Having no horns or scurs

Polyunsaturated fatty acid: typical structure of vegetable oils that have double bonds in the molecular structure. These oils are characterized by being liquid at room temperature

Pomace: see Pulp

Pony: mature horse that measures 14.2 hands or left depending breed requirements

Popped: improved appearance and palatability [of beans] via a commercial process promoted as a method to improve protein digestion

Porcine: term relating to swine

Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS): result of a viral disease that causes reproductive failure in breeding stock and respiratory tract illness in young pigs

Pork: culinary name for swine meat

Pone Fat: fat deposited on either side of the tail. Tail pones are useful in predicting quality grade in all cattle, especially dairy and exotic breeds. Animals showing no fat deposits on either side of the tail head should be considered for the standard quality grade. Select quality grade will show only small amounts of pone fat (about the size of a tennis ball) and choice grade cattle will show moderate amounts of pone fat (about the size of a soft ball)

Postpartum: occurring after birth

Postpartum Interval: number of days between parturition (Birth) and the first postpartum estrus (first Heat after Birth)

Post legged: little or no set to the hock. The back legs appear very straight, and the animal tends to swing the hind leg from the hip instead of flexing the hock to move forward. Picture yourself walking without bending your knee… The opposite of post legged is sickle hocked, when there is too much set to the hock joint

Poult: young domestic (not wild) turkey

Poultry: domesticated birds kept by humans for the purpose of producing eggs, meat, and/or feathers. These most typically are members of the super order Galloanserae (fowl), especially the order Galliformes (which includes chickens, quails and turkeys) and the family Anatidae (in order Anseriformes), commonly known as "waterfowl" (e.g. domestic ducks and domestic geese). Poultry also includes other birds which are killed for their meat, such as pigeons or doves or birds considered to be game, like pheasants

Pounds Heavy: means they weigh more. If we have the ability to weigh the animal, this becomes definitive, not subjective. If no scales are available, it is still important to learn to estimate weight and differences in performance. The one that weighs the most is the pounds heavy calf

Poussin (spring chicken): young chicken, 3-4 weeks old, weighing about 1 pound that is prepared as a single serving

Prebiotic: non-digestible feed ingredient that beneficially affects the animal by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon 

Premix: uniform mixture of one or more microingredients and a carrier, used to facilitate uniform dispersion of micronutrients into a larger mixture. A mineral premix contains higher fortification of trace minerals and vitamins than a mineral supplement

Prepartum: occurring before birth

Prepotency: ability of certain individuals to stamp or impress their characters upon their offspring or prepotency is the ability to transmit characteristics to offspring to a marked degree

Preservative: substance added to protect, prevent or retard decay, discoloration or spoilage of a substance during storage or use

Primal cuts: also called wholesale cuts the original cuts resulting from the first division of the fore and hind saddle of lamb or mutton

Probiotic: see Direct-fed microbial

Processed Meat: meat that has been altered from its original state for flavor, preservation and/or convenience. The methods used for processing foods include canning, freezing, refrigeration, dehydration and aseptic processing. Sausages, jerky, cured meats, meat patties, bacon and salamis are all examples of processed meats

Processing Plant: facility that pasteurizes, homogenizes and packages milk that comes directly from dairy farms. Once the milk leaves the processing plant, it is available to the public through a variety of channels, including grocery stores, schools and restaurants

Progenyyoung, or offspring, of the parents

Prognosis: chances of an animal having a normal quality of life following a disease or problem. This is reported using the words poor, fair, good, or excellent

Prolapse: interior organ pushing outside of the body cavity

Prolific: tendency to produce many offspring

Prolificacy: ability to produce large number of offsprings. The animal is said to be prolific

Protected fat: fat that has been treated or combined with another substance to prevent its breakdown by microorganisms in the rumen. 

Protein: any of a large class of complex organic chemical compounds that are essential for life. It is made of naturally occurring compounds containing nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, and sometimes sulfur or phosphorus. Proteins are made up of complex combinations of amino acids and are essential for animal growth, production, reproduction, and repair of body tissue. They play a central role in biological processes and form the basis of living tissues and consist of long chains of amino acids connected by peptide bonds

Protein Supplement: feed mixture that contains a high density of protein or protein equivalent (20% or more) to supply additional protein in the ration (examples include: soybean meal, canola meal) along with vitamins and minerals to provide a complete diet to livestock

Proximal: structure that is nearer the main body. For example, the three bones in the foot are designated by the terms proximal, middle, and distal depending on their location relative to the main body

Puberty: stage in the development of humans and other primates marked by the development of secondary sex characteristics, including the beginning of the menstrual cycle in females. In humans, puberty occurs at the onset of adolescence, between the ages of about 11 and 14 in girls and 13 and 16 in boys

Puberty: period when reproductive tract & secondary sex organs/characteristics start to acquire their mature form and the animal begins to become sexually mature. Before on set of puberty the reproductive tract of an animal grows proportionately to body growth

Pullet: female chicken less than one year of age. It has yet to start laying eggs

Pulp: solid residue remaining after juice extraction from fruit, vegetables, roots or stems (e.g., apple pomace, beet pulp)

Purebred: individual whose parents are of the same breed and can be traced back to the establishment of that particular breed through the records of a registry association.

Purulent: term describing pus-like discharge or infection

Pyelonephritis: inflammation of the kidney, beginning at the “pelvis.” Generally due to a bacterial infection



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