Poultry Science Terms - D

Dead-in-shell: chicks that fail to hatch from the egg

Debeaking: removal of 1/2 to 1/3 portion of upper mandible (beak) and trimming of lower mandible in birds to prevent feather pulling or cannibalism

Deep litter: system of housing where a suitable material called litter is provided on the poultry house floor for the birds to live on

Defect: any characteristic that makes a chicken less than perfect 

Dehydration: loss of body water  (over 12% loss results in death)

Depopulate: to destroy or get rid of an entire flock 

Dermatitis: inflammation of the skin

Dewlap: the flap of skin below the beak of turkeys and some geese including: Toulouse and African Geese, Brahma Chickens, and turkeys 

De-caking: removing wet litter material from a house

Diarrhea: frequent, runny bowel movements 

Diathesis: susceptibility to certain diseases

Digestibility: ability to breakdown nutrients chemically and physically in the gastrointestinal tract preparatory to absorption; can also be an estimate of nutrient efficiency, and is defined by the amount of the nutrient absorbed that does not end up in excreta

Direct cause of disease: exposure to, or contact with, pathogens or other substances that cause a decrease in animal health

Dirties: eggs with dirt or stains covering more than 1/4 of the shell

Disease: condition that affects the proper functioning of the bird’s system(s), organ(s) or tissue(s)

Disinfect: destroy disease-causing organisms through chemical means 

Disqualification: a defect or deformity serious enough to bar a bird from a poultry show 

Dominecker or Dominicker: colloquialism for the Dominique breed, often erroneously applied to Barred Plymouth Rocks

Double Yolker: egg containing two or more yolks

Down (Ruff): soft, fine and fluffy layer of feathers found under the tough exterior feathers on birds; initial hairy covering of baby chicks or poults

Drake: an adult male duck 

Drench: give liquid medication orally; also, the liquid medication itself

Dressed: cleaned in preparation for eating (feathers and guts removed) 

Droppings: another term for chicken manure 

Droppings tray: tray for poultry manure to fall through and be caught

Drumstick: tibio-fibula of birds prepared for consumption. Well-fleshed drum­sticks are an important point for selection of breeders in broilers

Dual purpose: breeds of chickens that are bred to be used for both meat production and egg production including: Barred Rocks, Buff Orpingtons, Rhode Island Reds,

Dub (Dubbing): to surgically remove a bird's comb and wattles close to the head 

Duck: common name for many fresh and saltwater waterfowl in the family Anatidae. Most ducks raised domestically are descendants of Mallards and also the muscovy duck species and are normally smaller with shorter necks and legs than other species in their family; also refers to a female of the species by the same name

Duck foot: a disqualification of chickens where the hind toe is carried too far forward and touches the third toe or is carried too far back and touches the ground 

Duckling: young (baby) duck 

Duodenal loop: upper part of the small intestine (also referred to as the duodenum) 

Dry-bulb thermometer: thermometer with a dry, uncovered bulb used used to determine the temperature in a room or incubator 

Dust bath (Dusting): common chicken behavior to splash around in soft soil to clean their feathers and discourage external parasites and mites

Dusting powder: chemical powder for removing of external parasites such as lice or mites. Usually used on chickens to be ruffled through their feathers; also known as louse powder



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