Rock County 4H poultry Project Information


Here are some of the words and their meanings that are used in owning, raising and showing poultry. For a complete list of terms refer to the American Standard of Perfection, or other poultry resource books.

 Bantam: A diminutive fowl, some are distinct (special) breeds, others are miniatures of a larger breed. They are approx. 1/4 to 1/5 the size of standard weight. Usually they are ornamental in character.

Barring: Alternate traverse markings of two distinct colors on a feather, regular in shape as in barred Plymouth Rocks, irregular in Dominique's, Hollands, and Cuckoo Belgian Bearded d'Anvers bantams and in Campines.

Beak: The horny formation projecting from the front of the head of chickens, turkeys and ducks, consisting of an upper and lower mandible which forms the forward mouth parts.

Cock: A male bird.

Cockerel: A male bird that is less than a year old.

Comb: The fleshy part that is seen on top of the head. Male combs are larger than females Usually they are red, but do come in other colors depending upon the breed of the bird.

Condition: The state of the health of the bird which includes, cleanliness, brightness of the plumage (feathers), head parts and feet.

Crop: The enlarged part of the gullet lying in front of the body at the base of the neck and partially concealed in the cavity located between halves of the wishbone. It serves as a temporary storage area for ingested food.

 Disqualification: Also known as a DQ. It means that your bird has been eliminated from competition. It has a fault or many faults that make it unshowable. Some faults might be that it has a genetic defect such as a extra toe, or it could be that it was the wrong sex for the class. There are many reasons for a DQ. Most of the time the judge will explain why it was a DQ.

Down: The first soft fluffy stuff that covers baby chicks.

Fault / defect: Refers to something that is wrong with the bird. It could be a simple point deduction or cause a DQ. Most faults are only point deductions such as missing a wing feather or having a odd colored feather where it is not supposed to be. Basically a fault is anything short of perfection.

Hen: Female chicken

Hock: The joint between the lower thigh and shank sometimes called incorrectly the knee.

Laced: A border of contrasting color around the entire web of a feather. It should be distinct, uniform in width and usually is moderately narrow.

Molt: Means when the bird is losing feathers which then will be replaced by new ones. Most birds go through a molt at least once a year or under stress. It is a normal occurrence.

Mottled: Plumage that is variable percentage of the  feathers are tipped with white. Some birds that are mottled include Anaconas, Hondurans,Javas, Japanese and Belgian Beardeds d'Anvers.

Mottling: Is plumage in which the surface is spotted with colors or shades of color that differ from the ground color. This is a defect.

Split Comb: A definite division or split in the rear blade of a single comb it is a disqualification.