Poultry Terms: From Auto-sexing to Broiler.

Poultry Terms: From Auto-sexing to Broiler.

Cock, Cockerel, Rooster, Chicken, Hen, Pullet, Layer, Capon, Broiler are all terms used to describe a chicken, some are often used in the wrong context, so I thought i would put the definitions I use in my blog.  Nerdy I’m sure, but I’m also sure people will find this useful 🙂

Autosexing: Term used to describe chicks than can be sexed at hatched based on their colouring/markings. An example of this is the Cream/Crested Legbar (see picture above)

Broiler: A bird bred for meat, generally applied to those under 14weeks.

Broody: A female chicken that is ready to sit on/hatch some eggs.

Capon: This is a male chicken castrated before sexual maturity, use to raise bigger birds. This process is currently illegal under animal welfare standards in the UK.

Chick: a baby chicken, generally used for birds less than 4 weeks

Cock: A male chicken over a year old

Cockerel: A male chicken less than a year old

Dual Purpose: used to describe breeds that can be used for egg production or meat, the Ixworth is an example.

Fowl: General term used to describe domestic birds

Grower: A young chicken, typical lets than 14weeks

Hen: A female chicken older than a year

Hybrid: A bird bred from two (or more) different chicken breeds, sometime refereed to as Cross-breed

Layer: A Chicken used for Egg Production

Pullet: A female chicken under a year of age.

P.O.L: Point of Lay, term used to refer to a female pullet who is just coming into lay. For hybrids this is typically 18-20 weeks, often later in pure breeds. However this term is over used in poultry sales and applied to birds as young a 14 weeks.

Purebreed : A Chicken who’s parentage comes from the same breed line.

Rooster: Another term for a Cock, more wideless used in the US.

I hope you found this useful, I am open to feedback, so please feel free to leave comments.



November 1, 2012at 8:09 am

very interesting about the capon , not sure I want to think about how they are castrated.

The butchers on our local market sell something labelled Capon at christmas ….i guess they are using the wrong term and perhaps just selling large chickens


November 3, 2012at 10:14 am

Fantastic! I think I nearly guessed them all OK (didn’t know the difference between a cock and a cockerel!)

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