Helping to support Chicken Encyclopedia "

Join the Banner Rotation


Air Cell   The empty space between the white and shell at the large end of the egg.

Albumen  Also known as egg white. Albumen accounts for most of an egg's liquid weight, about 67%. It contains more than half the egg's total protein, niacin, riboflavin, chlorine, magnesium, potassium, sodium and sulfur.

Avidin  A protein found in small amounts (about .05%) in egg albumen. Avidin is inactivated by heat.

Banty Refering to a bantam hen

Beak The mouth or hard protrusion on the front of the birds mouth, 2 parts, upper and lower.

Beard The cluster of feathers (usually associated with muffs) found under the beak of many breeds: Araucana, Faverolle, Houdan

Biddy Referring to a hen

Blood Spots  Also called meat spots. Occasionally found on an egg yolk. Contrary to popular opinion, these tiny spots do not indicate a fertilized egg. Rather, they are caused by the rupture of a blood vessel on the yolk surface during formation of the egg or by a similar accident in the wall of the oviduct. Less than 1% of all eggs produced have blood spots.

Bloom The moist coating that protects the freshly laid egg, it dries so quickly it is hard to see.

Breed True Purebred chicks that resemble both parents

Candle Examining the contents of an egg using a very bright light, to determine if fertile

Cockerel  A young male, less than 1 year old.

Cholesterol  One Large egg contains 213 mg cholesterol.

Debeak The process of removing part of the upper portion of the chicks beak to stop cannibalism

Double Yoked Egg is due to liberation or two ova from the ovary at the same time or that the one ovum may be dropped into the body cavity or picked up by the mouth of the oviduct at the same time. The other ovum was liberated from the ovary or one ovum being liberated from the ovary a day ahead of time and being arrested in its progress through the oviduct and 2nd one
caught up. Some records of 3 yolks in one egg, also an egg within a egg.

Droppings Chicken manure-black gold (great fertilizer!)

Dub To remove or trim down the comb, usually done on Game Roosters when showing

Egg Tooth A horny spot on the chicks upper beak that assists when he pips through the shell

Equinox  Either of the two times each year when the sun crosses the equator and day and night are of equal length everywhere. During the spring (vernal) equinox (about March 21), it is said that an egg will stand on its small end. Although some people have reported success, it is not known whether such results were due to the equinox or to the peculiarities of that particular egg. Others insist that some eggs will stand on their small ends at any time of the year.

Fertile Eggs  Eggs which can be incubated and developed into chicks. Fertile eggs are not more nutritious than non-fertile eggs, do not keep as well as non-fertile eggs and are more expensive to produce. Fertile eggs may contain a small amount of male hormone, but there are no known advantages.

Formation  A hen requires about 24 to 26 hours to produce and egg. Thirty minutes later, she starts all over again.

Freshness  How recently an egg was laid has a bearing on its freshness but is only one of many factors. The temperature at which it is held, the humidity and the handling all play their part. These variables are so important that an egg one week old, held under ideal conditions, can be fresher than an egg left at room temperature for one day. The ideal conditions are temperatures that don't go above 40°F. (4°C.) and a relative humidity of 70 to 80%.

Frizzle Curling feathers rather than flat, rather like a chicken with a perm..

Gizzard The organ in the chicken that grinds up the whole grains and food a chicken eats

Grading   Classification determined by interior and exterior quality and designated by letters AA, A and B. In many egg packing plants, the USDA provides a grading service for shell eggs. Its official grade shield certifies that the eggs have been graded under federal supervision according to USDA standards and regulations. The grading service is not mandatory.

Hatchability The percentage of fertilized eggs that actually hatch when artificially incubated

Hen  A female chicken, greater than 1 year old.

Julian Dates  Starting with January 1 as number 1 and ending with December 31 as 365, these numbers represent the consecutive days of the year. This numbering system is sometimes used on egg cartons to denote the day the eggs are packed. Fresh shell eggs can be stored in their cartons in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 weeks beyond this date with insignificant quality loss.

Litter The bedding used

Mite A nasty critter, very tiny, a parasite this lives on poultry

Mortality Percentage of Death

Nematode A Roundworm

Nest Egg  A natural or artificial egg placed in a nest to encourage a hen to lay there rather than in some secluded hiding place.

Organic Eggs  Eggs from hens fed rations having ingredients that were grown without pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or commercial fertilizers. No commercial laying hen rations ever contain hormones. Due to higher production costs and lower volume per farm, organic eggs are more expensive than eggs from hens fed conventional feed. The nutrient content of eggs is not affected by whether or not the ration is organic.

Oviduct  The organ in the hen which accepts the yolk after ovulation, where the egg is completed.

Oviposition  Laying of the hen's egg.

Ovulation  Release of the egg yolk from the hen's ovary.

Postmortem Complete exam of chicken after death

Pullet  A young female, less than 1 year old.

Rooster  A male chicken, greater than 1 year old.

Soft Shelled Eggs are more prevalent in the springtime  heavy laying season. Being laid prematurely before secretion of shell in the uterus or some physiological disturbance in the laying hen.

Spurs Sharp nails grown on Roosters shanks, occasionally a hen will grow spurs.

Vent The outside opening of the hen, through which the egg and droppings are expelled, they do come from separate channels 

Wattles The two red or purple flaps that hang from under the chickens beak

Whiskers Muffs

Yolk    The yolk or yellow portion makes up about 33% of the liquid weight of the egg. It contains all of the fat in the egg and a little less than half of the protein.


Back to Top


The Chicken Encyclopedia™