Poultry Science Terminology - S

Saddle: part of a bird's back just before the tail 

Saddle feathers: feathers on a chicken's saddle.  The ends are pointed in males and rounded in females; sex feathers

Salmonella: type of bacteria that causes food poisoning and is commonly found in meat and animal waste, particularly poultry

Salpingitis: inflammation of the oviduct

Sanitize: clean and disinfect in order to kill germs 

Scalding: using hot water to denatures expand feather follicles proteins to allow easier picking

Scales: small, hard, overlapping plates that cover a chicken's shanks and toes

Scratch: habit of chickens to scrape there claws against the ground to dig up food items; also a term used for any type of feed that consists of cracked corn and other whole grains. Fed as a treat for backyard chickens and not the main food source

Scratcher: affectionate name given to a range-fed (free range) chicken

Secondary feathers: large (quill) feathers of wing and closest to the body but are not used for flying yet they are visible when wings are closed

Secondary infection: disease that invades after a bird's immune defenses have been weakened by some other disease

Secretion: fluid coming from a body organ

Selection pressure: amount of pressure applied to each specific selection criteria

Seleniferous: high in selenium

Self-limiting: any disease that runs its course in a specific amount of time then stops without treatment

Semi-intensive: system of housing where the birds have access to a shelter house and an outside run enclosed by a fence to keep the birds in and predators out

Sensible heat loss: heat loss that increases the temperature of surrounding environment, includes conduction, convection, and radiation

Septicemia: blood poisoning or invasion of the bloodstream by a microorganism

Serological: pertaining to the testing of blood serum for antibodies against specific diseases

Set: put eggs under a broody hen or in an incubator to hatch them

Setting: group of hatching eggs in an incubator or under a hen; also, the incubation of eggs by a hen. (sometimes incorrectly called "sitting")

Sex link: inherited factor linked to the sex chromosomes of either parent.  Plumage color differences between the male and female progeny of some crosses is an example of sex-linkage. Useful in sexing day-old chicks

Sexed chicks: day-old chicks that are separated into separate groups of male and female chicks 

Sexing error: number of males designated as females during sexing due to faulty sexing

Sex feathers: rounded hackle, saddle, and tail feathers on a hen; pointed hackle, saddle and tail feathers on a rooster; curled feather on the tail of male ducks

Sex-linked: inherited factor linked to the sex chromosomes and used in developing specific crosses to make sexing day-old chicks easier 

Shaft: part of the feather where the barbs are attached 

Shank: part of a bird's leg between the claw (foot) and the hock (knee joint); area just above the foot

Shell: hard outer surface of an egg largely made of calcium carbonate; the shell has pores allowing loss of carbon dioxide and moisture from the egg 

Shell gland: portion of the female avian reproductive tract where the shell is added to the egg (also called the 'uterus') 

Shell membranes: two thin membranes next to the shell and surrounding the albumen and yolk; known as inner and outer shell membranes, they are one of the egg's major defenses against bacteria

Sickles: long, curved tail feathers of some roosters 

Side sprig: projection from the side of a single comb (a disqualification when showing single-comb breeds of chickens) 

Sign: objective evidence of disease consisting of symptoms and lesions

Singeing: using flames to remove tiny feathers

Single comb: moderately thin and well attached comb that stands up above the skull and has 5-6 distinctive points

Sinus: hollow space or cavity

Sinusitis: inflammation of the sinus cavities

Sire: father 

Skillion roof: roof with a single pitch or slope lacking a center gable; shed roof

Slatted floor system: system of housing similar to the litter system except that wooden slats with spacing in between are used instead of litter. Manure passes through the gaps and out of reach of the birds

Slave hopper: short term food holding hopper integral to the food delivery system of a mechanical feeding system and additional to the main food storage silo

Slip: male that did not have all of both testicles removed during the caponizing operation;(mistake)

Small intestine: narrow, winding, upper part of the intestine where digestion is completed and nutrients are absorbed by the blood

Smut: black feathers are uncharacteristic for a breed such as black body feathers on a Rhode Island Red

Snood: fleshy appendage on the face of a turkey that hangs down alongside the beak

Soft scald: lower water temperature retains the outer layer of the epidermis

Soluble grit: various sources of calcium in the diet that usually manufactured granulated or grit form of limestone

Spent hen (Spent): layer that reached the end of her economic egg laying life and is no longer laying many, if any,  eggs 

Sperm (Spermatozoa): male reproductive cells capable of fertilizing the ova from the female 

Spike: round extension found at the end of a rose comb 

Splayed legs: legs are positioned so that the bird is unable to stand up. Legs are spread out the the side. and usually caused by too slippery a surface in incubator or brooder; also called spraddle legs 

Spleen: organ near the stomach that aids in the functioning of blood

Spore: seed of fungi or the inactive form of certain bacteria

spp.: (as in Salmonella spp.) abbreviation used to indicate more than one species

Spur: sharp, horny protrusion on the back of a bird's shank. More prominent on males than on females. They are used for defense and will grow throughout the birds' life

Squab: young (baby) pigeon that has not yet left the nest (fledged); also refers to pigeon meat since pigeons are usually marketed before they leave the nest; also known as a squeaker 

Squeaker: young pigeon still in the nest; also known as a squab

Squirrel tail: tail that has more than a 90 degree angle 

Stag; cockerel on the verge of maturity, when his comb and spurs begin to develop

Standard: description of an ideal specimen for a breed; also, a chicken that conforms to the description of its breed in the American Standard of Perfection.  Sometimes erroneously used to refer to large as opposed to bantam breeds

Standard bred: poultry bred with selective pressure toward the American Poultry Association

Standard of Perfection: these would be birds that would be competitive at poultry shows

Started pullet: also known as ready to lay pullets, an egg laying female that is raised to approximately 17 weeks of age. These birds will begin to lay eggs a few weeks after pick-up 

Starter feed: pre-mixed commercial food for chicks fed to chicks for the first six to eight weeks of life. It provides the right amounts of proteins, enzymes, and nutrients for the first 2-3 weeks of their lives

Started stock: layer replacements post brooding to point of lay

Starve-out: failure of chicks to eat

Steal: hen's instinctive habit of hiding her eggs

Sterile: permanent disability to reproduce

Sternum: breastbone or keel

Stewing chicken: mature female chicken, usually more than 10 months of age; that requires moist, pressurized, or extended cooking; also called hen or fowl

Stigma: area on the follicle wall that is void of blood vessels where ovulation occurs; specifically, suture line or non-vascular area where the follicle ruptures when the mature ovum is dropped

Still-air incubator: mechanical device for hatching fertile eggs that does NOT contain a fan to circulate warm air

Stocking density: number of animals per unit of floor space

Straightbred: purebred

Straight run chicks: used to describe chicks for sale that have not been sexed (not separated by gender). On average, there is a 50/50 split between male and female and broiler chicks are straight run chicks

Strain: group of birds within a variety of a breed that has been bred by one person or company for generations and have more or less uniform characteristics and capabilities

Strain cross: offspring of parents of two or more different strains belonging to the same variety

Stress: any physical or mental tension that reduces resistance to disease. 

Strawberry comb: very low and compact comb extending no farther than the middle of the skull is named for it's appearance similar to that of a strawberry

Stub: down on the shank or toe of a clean-legged chicken 

Stubbing: removal of the short stub or pin feathers after plucking

Subspecies: reasonably permanent regionally isolated group of birds within a species. Examples include: Eastern Wild Turkeys, Rio Grande Wild Turkeys, Osceola Wild Turkeys, and Merriam's Wild Turkeys

Subclinical disease: no readily available disease signs or symptoms exist and can be detected only through laboratory analysis

Subcutaneous: directly beneath the skin

Sustainable Farming: philosophy of farming that recognizes and seeks to lessen its impact on the environment and the welfare of animals. Sustainable poultry practices include raising organic chickens and utilizing pastured poultry or free-range techniques

Swans: large elegant species of the family Anatidae (water birds). Known for the fact that they mate for life. Some breeds are raised for their ornamental qualities

Syndrome: group of symptoms that occur in combination in a particular disease 

Symptom: detectable evidence of a disease

Synergistic: working in cooperation 

Syringe: tube with plunger that holds a drug to be injected

Systemic: involving the entire body

 

 

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