Poultry Science Terms - C

Cages: system of housing where the birds are confined to a wire floor singly or in multiples with attached feeder and waterer from outside. This prevents contact with their own or other bird’s feces which is an important disease control measure. 

Calcar: bone protruding from a mature male bird's shank that is surrounded by a horny layer that together, make up the spur

Calcium Grit: ground oyster (or other shellfish) shell is often called "grit".  Fed to chickens and digested to replenish the calcium used by the chicken to produce egg shells.  True grit is sand and small pebbles or crushed granite or marble eaten by a chicken and used by the gizzard to grind up grain and plant fibers. Calcium "grit" does not remain in the gizzard

Cancer: malignant tumor that tends to spread

Candle (candling): visual examination of egg by holding it in between the eye and a high intensity light to assess some internal characteristics and freshness of the egg. Used during incubation to see if the egg is fertile and how the chick is developing. Also used in viewing eggs to see if there are blood or meat spots on eggs

Candler: small appliance fitted with little bulb illuminating rays of light through a focal point used to observe the inside characteristics of an egg without destroying it

Cankers: whitish bumps that erupt to form sores usually on the face or in the mouth

Cannibalism: bad habits that can occur to chickens of any age including: feather plucking, egg eating, picking (to the vent, head, wing, intestine or toe), infighting (injuries to comb and wattle), and some cases eating other birds

Cape: narrow feathers between a chicken's neck and back

Capillariasis: capillary worm infection

Capon: castrated male chicken neutered to increase growth rate, improve meat quality, and produce more white meat with higher fat content than other chickens. They grow for a longer period than cockerel. They have better flavor, finer texture and is more tender. This usually is accompanied by underdeveloped comb and wattles and longer hackle, saddle and tail feathers than a normal male

Carcass grading: using USDA standards to assign a degree of quality, this is voluntary

Carrier: apparently healthy individual that transmits disease to other individuals;  also, a container used to transport chickens

Caruncling: red flappy skin on turkeys and muscovy ducks

Cauterize: use a hot iron to burn, sear or destroy tissue

Ceca: two pouches blind gut of the digestive tract where the small and large intestine join, some fermentation of feed occurs here

Cecum: blind pouch at the juncture of the small and large intestine. (resembles the human appendix); Plural: ceca

Cephalic: pertaining to the head or skull

Cestode: tapeworm

Cestodiasas: tapeworm infection

Chalazae: type of albumen that surrounds the yolk of the egg and extends as creamy white, twisted, rope-like cords on opposite sides of the yolk that hold the yolk in the center of the albumen and serve as a rotating axis to keep the germ cell on the top side of the yolk and next to the heat of the hen's body. Singular - chalaza 

Chalaziferous layer: thin layer of thick white surrounding the yolk, continuous with the chalazae

Check: egg with a cracked shell, but with the membrane still intact

Chick: newly hatched or very young chicken; a peep

Chick tooth: hard, tiny, sharp, horny tooth-like projection at the end of a chick's upper beak. Also known as an egg tooth, it is used by the chick to peck holes in the shell when hatching

Chick-type drinker: drinker that is more suitable for young chickens to access water. 

Chick-type feeder: feeder that is more suitable for young chickens to access food. 

Chicken: domestic fowl (Callus domesticus) usually reared as a farm bird kept and also used for commercial poultry production and includes improved exotic breeds and desi fowls. They are a member of the Pheasant family, chickens probably descended from the Jungle Fowl of Ceylon. They are an efficient protein source of, producing both meat and eggs. One of the most common forms of livestock bred around the worldwide

Chicken tractor: mobile coop that can be moved around on grass for the birds to forage for their feed

Chondrodystrophy: having short bones

Chook: Australian and British word for chicken

Chopped and formed products: very small pieces are arranged into a specific shape

Chorion: embryonic membrane that surrounds both the yolk sac and the amnion. As the egg matures it fuses with allantois and shell; this memberane produces the carbonic acid which aids in releasing the calcium from the shell for absorption by the chick. By releasing calcium it also weakens the shell which is beneficial for hatching

Chromosome: microscopic cell containing the genes that carry hereditary determination

Chronic disease: disease continuing over a long period of time or having gradual effect

Chronic Respiratory Disease (CRD): common disease of chickens that is characterized by sneezing and difficulty breathing. Commonly controlled with antibiotics usually administered in feed or drinking water

Class: group of chickens that has been developed in a particular region of the world. Also a group of chickens competing against each other at a show

Classification: grouping of purebred chickens according to their place of origin, such as "American" or "Mediterranean"

Clean legged: having no feathers growing down the shanks

Clear eggs: infertile eggs (containing no embryos) usually removed from the incubator during incubation. 

Clinical disease: disease in which symptoms of the disease are expressed. Symptoms of that allow identification of the disease

Cloaca: common external opening in the rear of fowl for the digestive, urinary and reproductive tracts to empty

Clubbed down: down that fails to emerge in an embryo or newly hatched chick, mostly around the neck and vent

Cluck: sound a hen makes to comfort her chicks; also, the hen herself

Clucker: affectionate word for a mother hen

Clutch: bunch of eggs incubated by a hen at one time; number of eggs laid on consecutive days without gap. Length of clutch determines the productivity of bird; group of baby chicks or eggs

Clutch length: complete set of eggs produced or incubated at one time by a single hen in consecutive days

Coccidiasis: infection with coccidial protozoa without showing any signs

Coccidiosis: disease caused by infestation of the parasite Coccidia within the intestinal tract. Coccidiosis spreads from one chicken to another by contact with feces or ingestion of infected tissue. It affects many types of animals including chickens and turkeys and symptoms include a bloody stool

Coccidiostat: drug usually added to the feed and used to prevent the disease coccidiosis 

Cock: male that has finished one season as a breeder. Usually refers to older birds

Cockerel: immature male chicken, generally under one year of age whose meat is comparatively better than rooster in respect of its texture, consistency, tender­ness, chest bone, and structure 

Coliform: bacteria resembling Escherichia coli bacteria

Coloring chicks: act of injecting dye into a fertile egg so that the chicks hatches with colored fluff

Comb: fleshy growth or crest on the top of a chicken's head designed to cool the bird. It is filled with blood vessels and allows heat to escape from the body. Combs are usually larger on males than on females and are generally red in addition comb. Combs can be either single, rose, pea, button, V, or buttercup

Comb dubbing: practice of removing the comb or parts of the comb, (and the wattles in game chickens)

Commercial poultry: poultry raised by large corporations to produce meat and eggs for the grocery stores and export. The commercial poultry industry is the reason for the demise of many heritage breeds of poultry

Complete feed: poultry feed scientifically formulated to offer all the nutrition that the bird needs. I highly recommend that every one offer there birds a complete feed

Condition: chicken's state of health and cleanliness

Conduction: transfer of heat through a medium, warmth is passed to cooler particles by direct contact

Conformation: chicken's body structure

Congenital: existing at birth but not hereditary

Congested: filled with blood

Conjunctiva: mucus membrane covering the eyeball and inner surface of the eyelid

Conjunctivitis: infection of the conjunctiva

Contagious: description of a disease that's readily transmitted from one individual or flock to another

Contract Grower: farmer who makes an agreement with an agribusiness company, giving the company the power to make all the farm's decisions, including which animals are raised there, what they are fed, and how they are treated. In return the company pays the farmer and buys the supplies

Controlled environment housing: intensive housing system where the operator can control temperature, air quality and light. 

Convection: flow of heat through air or water

Cool house brooding: raising poultry under controlled cool house conditions with warm areas provided for the chicks to find as needed

Coop: enclosure or housing structure built for chickens

Coturnix: old world quail usually used for meat and eggs. There are many color mutations of the coturnix quail

Crest: ball of feathers on the heads of some breeds of chickens and geese

Crested: breed of usually chickens that has feathers coming out of their head. Most common Crested breed are: Silkies, Sultans, Houdans, Appenzeller Spitzhaubens, and Crevecouers 

Crop: pouch at the base of a chicken's esophagus that grinds the feed. Food is stored here prior to entering the digestive tract and it expands to allow the bird to consume relatively large amount of feed rapidly and then move to another location to continue digestion

Cross ventilation (natural ventilation): using natural natural or mechanically induced air flow across the width of a house to exchange air in a poultry house

Crossbred: bird with parents of two or more different genotypes (or breeds or varieties) 

Crossbreed: mate male and female chickens of different breeds

Crude protein: nitrogen sources in feed. It is not true protein, as nitrogen is found in dietary compounds other than protein. 

Crumbles: complete feed that starts as a ground up mash, then is pelleted. and then the pellets are ground up into small pieces. Generally chick feed is crumbles

Cuckoo: course and irregular barring pattern in feathers

Cull: identification, separation, and removal of unproductive birds from the flock for reasons including: poor productivity, old age, poor health or personality issues

Culture: incubate a sample from a diseased bird for several hours (or days) and look for the presence of bacterial growth

Cushion: mass of feathers that gives a round effect seen in female cochins

Cushion comb: small flat and solid comb with no spikes or depressions

Cuticle: moist, waxy protective coating (outer membrane) on a freshly laid eggs (oviposition) that partially seals the pores of the egg shell to prevent penetration by bacteria (called the bloom)

Cygnet: young (baby) swan

Cyst: sack-like structure containing fluid or semi-solid material

 

 

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