The definition of...

Albumen: The white part of an egg, the white consists of water and proteins.
Ark: An apex shaped, portable poultry house and run.
Auto-sexing: The ability to identify the sex of chicks at day old by their colour and markings. Possible with many barred breeds
Bantam: A True bantam is a breed that does not have any large fowl counterparts of the same breed. Otherwise a bantam is a miniaturised version of the large fowl.
Barring: Alternating bars of colour going across the width of a feather.
Billy: A male goat
Boar: A male pig
Bouquet: A term used to describe a group of pheasants.
Bow legged: A defect in livestock where each leg is bowed outwards there is a larger distances between the hocks than between the feet.
Breed: A breed is a group of animals or birds within a species that have been deliberately created by man to have a distinctive appearance or attributes.
Broiler: A type of domestic fowl reared for table purposes.
Brooder: Is typically a container with an artificial heat source for rearing chicks for the first 2 or 3 weeks after hatching.
Broody hen: A female bird that in its natural instinct has started to sit tightly on eggs with the intention of hatching them.
Buck: A non-castrated male rabbit
Bull: An intact male bovine animal.
Butterfat: The natural fat found within milk and dairy products.

Candling: The process of checking the fertility and condition of incubated eggs, usually carried out on the 7th and 18th days by using a strong light held under the egg to see from above if it is fertile or damaged. Candling can also be used to check for blood or meat spots, cracks and freshness.

Capon: A physically or chemically castrated male bird and a male bird that has been fattened for the table.
Carding: The process of disentangling wool and converting it from the natural staple form to slivers in preparation for spinning or combing.
Chalazae: Coil of albumen that connects the yolk to the ends of the egg.
China eggs, (nest egg, pot egg): Ceramic eggs are used to encourage hens to lay in the required place and to allow broody hens to settle before introducing hatching eggs.
Clears: Eggs that are infertile when candled after 7 days of incubation.
Cock: Male chicken over 18 months of age.
Cockerel: Male chicken under 18 months of age.
Comb: The fleshy part on top of the head of male and female chickens. The comb allows the bird to cool its blood when it is hot and also acts as a sexual feature to show off and attract females. Combs should be bright red and well developed. A large comb on a hen can indicate a productive and healthy layer. Pinched/anaemic combs indicate mite problems.
Combing: The means of placing all wool fibres in parallel alignment while also remove short fibres.
Cow: A mature female bovine animal which has had at least one calf.
Cow-hocks: Hocks of the legs are close together with feet spaced. Synonymous with knock-kneed and in-kneed.
Cross breeding: The hybridisation of two different breeds or varieties of poultry. This will often result in hybrid vigour where, because of the introduction of blood from other breeds the offspring are especially strong, hardy and vigorous.
Crimp: The natural folding and curling of wool fibres
Crutching: See Dagging
Cull: To kill unwanted livestock because of ill health or unsuitability for breeding, laying or table use.
Cuticle: Final layer of an egg shell that is put on prior to laying to act as a disease barrier.

Dagging: The shearing of fleece from the tail area to remove soiled wool or prevent wool and tail from becoming soiled. A useful measure to prevent fly-strike in many breeds particularly heavy lowland types.

Day old: A term used to describe a chick that is no more than 72 hours old.

De-beaking: Involves clipping off part of the upper beak to prevent birds from feather pecking.
In time the beak will grow back.
Dewlap: A loose flap of skin that hangs from the throat of rabbits and geese.
Dished Bill: A dip in the upper line (culmen) of the bill some breeds of ducks and drakes.
Doe: Female rabbit
Down: Soft fine covering of hair on young chicks that is replaced gradually over 3 to 4 weeks with feather, the wing feathers being the first to appear.
Drake: Male duck
Dual purpose: Breeds of poultry that are suitable for both egg production and table uses. Cattle will have value as beef and dairy animals
Dust bath: Created by birds when they flush fine dry soil through their feathers to help remove lice and mites.
Duck: The female and a commonly used collective name for certain species of waterfowl.

Evisceration: The removal of the internal organs of a bird when preparing it for the table.


Farrowing: A sow giving birth to piglets, a farrow is a litter of pigs.
Flock: Term used to describe a group of chickens, geese, ducks (usually applied if in flight) and sheep.
Fly back coat: When the coat of a rabbit is stroked the wrong way, the hair flies back to its original state.

Fly strike: The process by which flies lay eggs on often soiled fleece and hair. The result is an infestation of maggots that can consume living flesh. Potentially leading to the death of the host animal.

Fount: A drinker that uses a vacuum effect to suspend water within a container while attached to a trough. As the water level in the trough drops below the exit hole of the water container, air passes up into the container releasing the vacuum allowing water to flow out until the exit hole is below the water level.
Free range: Birds that roam freely outside with access to grass pasture with room to dust bathe and stretch wings.

Gander: Male goose
Gang: Term used to describe a group of turkeys
Gaggle: Term used to describe a group of geese on the ground.
Gilt: A female pig that has not yet had a litter
Gimmer: A female sheep
Gimmer hogg: A female sheep in her first year.
Gizzard: A tough leathery pouch that acts as a muscle to grind food with the aid of grit.
Grit: Insoluble granite or flint grit, consumed by the birds to aid digestion in the gizzard.
Different grades, for use by chicks to Turkeys are available.
Gypsy face: Refers to the mulberry or dark purple colour of the face skin in some chicken breeds/varieties.



Hard feather: Close and tight feathering, seen on Game birds (chickens/domestic fowl)

Heifer: A cow which has not yet had a calf or has only had one calf.

Hen: Female chicken, pheasant, partridge, quail and turkey
Hog: A castrated male pig reared for slaughter. A young sheep that has not yet had its first shearing.
Hogget: A young sheep that has been weaned but not yet sheared for the first time.
Hopper: A feeder that holds a reserve of feed above the trough.
Hock: The knee joint
Hybrid vigour: The vigour and improved qualities often seen in livestock that are the result of crossing different breeds/species.

In-breeding: The mating together of closely related animals.
In time this may result in loss of vigour. Inbreeding helps to fix attributes good and bad.
In-pig: A pregnant pig
In-kindle: A pregnant rabbit
In-kneed: See also cow-hocked and knock-kneed.
Incubator: An artificial means of incubating and hatching eggs.

Kemp: Hollow and dead fibre found within some wool.
Kindling: The birth of a rabbit litter.
Kit: A baby rabbit
Knock-kneed: See also cow-hocked, in-kneed.

Lacing: A line of colour running around the perimeter edge of a feather which is of a different colour to the ground colour. Double lacing exists when there is an inner line of colour often running almost parallel with the outer lacing.
Lactating: When a female animal produces milk.
Lambing: The act of a ewe giving birth.
Litter: A group of young animals born to the same mother at the same time.
Lop eared: Ears falling vertically
Lustre: The sheen of a fleece its wool or yarn.


Mash: Finely ground feed consisting of wheat, maize, peas, beans, soyabeans and added vitamins and minerals.
Mash can be fed wet as a paste or dry.
Micron count: The diameter of wool fibres to a millionth of a metre and quoted in microns. The lower the Micron number, the finer the hair fibres are.
Moult: The act of moulting occurs once a year and is necessary to renew the feathers. It can take place between Mar-Aug. Moulting can take up to three months to finish. Ideally moulting should start after August, ensuring that egg production during the summer, when they are most productive is not interrupted. Birds that moult early should not be used in breeding programs.
Mule: A term used specifically to name cross-bred sheep that are derived from a crossing of a Blue faced Leicester ram with various hill/mountain breeds.
Mutton: The flesh of mature sheep that are over one year of age and after their first shearing.


Nanny: A female goat.

Out-crossing: The crossing within a breed of different strains that are unrelated.

Pelleted feed: The conversion of finely ground ingredients (mash) in to pellets using a binding agent. Pellets are less messy than mash but are consumed more quickly.
Point Of Lay (POL): A bird that is soon to be laying, generally sold from 17 weeks of age. A POL bird may not lay for several weeks from the purchase date but this can be dependant on the breed.
Poult: A young turkey of undetermined sex.
Primaries: The 10 feathers that lead to the tip of the wing. It is these feathers that are clipped back to prevent/limit flightiness.
Pure breed: A Breed of poultry that has been kept pure by not crossbreeding with other breeds or varieties.


Ram: An intact male sheep.
Roll back coat: When a rabbit’s fur is stroked the wrong way, the fur gradually returns to its position.
Rumen: The first of four stomachs (four parts of the stomach) which receives the food/cud initially.
Ruminant: An even-toed ungulate mammal, including cattle, deer, goats and sheep. The word refers to the ability of these animals to re-chew their food, as in the expression chewing the cud.



Self coloured: A single uniform colour over the whole animal or bird.

Set (setting eggs): The act of placing eggs in an incubator.

Scouring: The process of washing a fleece to remove dirt and grease prior to carding.
Semi-feral: A domestic animal that is free to roam with limited or no maintenance and almost in a wild state but still under the control, care or watchful eye of humans.
Shearing: The removal of a sheep’s fleece by clipping and usually carried out once a year in early summer.
Shearling: A female sheep that has been sheared once and has two front adult teeth.
Soft feather: Applied to any other breed of domestic fowl (chicken) that is not a game breed or classed as hard feather. Soft feathered birds do not have such tight feathering as game fowl. Feathering is sometimes very profuse.
Sow: A female pig that has had at least one litter.
Spur: A pointed horny growth on the inside of the leg near the foot and can be found on both male and female birds but are far more prominent on the male.
Spangling: A marking consisting of a spot of colour at the tip of the feather and different in colour to the ground colour. The spangle, depending on breed can be circular or crescent and horseshoe shaped which can make the spangle appear like a laced tip.
Stag: Male turkey
Staple: The wool fibre with regard to its length and thickness.
Steer: A castrated male bovine animal.
Store / stores: Animals kept back to be grown on/fattened for slaughter.
Stud: A breeding collection of rabbits.


Terminal sire: A ram used to produce prime lambs for slaughter.
Trio: Three birds, consisting of 1 male and two females.
Tup: A male sheep


Utility: Livestock that are bred purely for their edible qualities. In the case of poultry, egg laying ability or their table value. They are not animals or birds bred for exhibition purposes.

Variety: A variety is a distinctive version of a breed that differs from others in the breed by its colour, but is identical in other respects. Sometimes a variety can differ from others in the breed by way of a different physical trait.

Weaning: Weaning is the natural or sometimes human encouraged process whereby a young animal gradually becomes independent from its mother.
Weaner: A calf, lamb or pig that has been weaned from its mother.
Wattles: Two fleshy growths that hang below the beak and head of male and female chickens. They are most prominent on males. Due to the inability of chickens to sweat they are a useful way for birds to cool their blood when they are hot.
Wether: A castrated male sheep
Wool: The dense curly or wavy hair that makes up the coat of a sheep or in some cases goat or rabbit.