Glossary of Terms & Definitions

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - R - S - T - U - V - Z


A

ABA:
The American Bantam Association is a national poultry organization that creates poultry standards and focuses strictly upon bantam breeds of chickens and ducks.

Adaptive Significance:
A selective advantage in a new or changing environment as a result of a specific trait of an organism. Adaptive significance therefore refers to the increased chances of survival and reproduction a trait conveys.

Aggregation:
A cluster of organisms attracted to some environmental resource (e.g., feed, water, temperature, etc.). Aggregation is distinguished from grouping, in that grouping is induced by social factors.

Agonistic:
Refers to any activity performed in the context of an aggressive interaction. It encompasses the actions of both the instigator and the victim.

Agonistic Behavior:
Any behavior indicative of social conflict: such as threat, attack, and/or fight. It also includes escape, avoidance, appeasement, and subordination behaviors.

Air Pecking:
Pecking movements made by poultry toward no obvious target.

Alarm Response:
Behaviors indicating fear or awareness of danger.

Alarm Signal:
A signal emitted by an organism to alert neighboring individuals of the presence of danger. The signal carries a high arousal potential for conspecifics, and often for other animals as well. Signals often take the form of altered postures or sounds.

Alert:
A state characterized by high attentiveness, poised to respond to stimuli.

Allelomimetic Behavior:
Behavioral activities that have strong components of social facilitation and group coordination. Often accomplished through imitation.
Synonym: Allomimetic Behavior.

Alliance:
A form of cooperation between individuals within a social unit such as a flock. Also, a form of cooperation between respective flocks.

Alpha:
The animal that holds the highest social rank in its group. Benefits may include access to the best mate(s) and special feeding privileges. Recent studies indicate that among predators, the “single alpha” concept is restricted to social animals living in captivity. For example, even in a sanctuary setting, captive wolves quickly form a fixed social hierarchy. In the wild, leadership in a wolf pack is more fluid. In prey species, including many galliforms, current theories still support the idea that “pecking orders” are critical social constructs that captive animals depend upon for their survival and sense of well-being.

Altruism:
1. A phenomenon in which one organism behaves to the benefit of another organism(s), usually at some cost to itself. In the context of human conduct, altruistic moral philosophy asserts that morality cannot be performed exclusively to satisfy self-interest.
2. Behavior by which an organism manifests altruism.

Ambivalent Posture:
A form of compromise behavior: a posture that suggests the influence of a combination of different motivations.

Ameliorate:
To improve something or make it better.

Ammonia:
A compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula NH3. Ammonia is normally encountered as a gas with a characteristic pungent odor. Ammonia is both caustic and hazardous.

In livestock facilities, ammonia results primarily from the breakdown of urea (present in urine) by the enzyme urease (excreted in feces). In poultry, urease is excreted with uric acid. Undigested feed protein and uneaten feed are additional sources of ammonia in animal production systems. Atmospheric ammonia is a major aerial pollutant of poultry buildings. The current exposure limits for ammonia of 25ppm are set on the basis of human safety, rather than animal welfare.

Evidence suggests that ammonia exposure causes irritation to the mucous membranes in the eyes and the respiratory system, and can increase the susceptibility to respiratory diseases. Ammonia exposure may also affect food intake, food conversion efficiency, and growth rate.

The behavioral effects of ammonia on poultry have recently been investigated, and suggest that the safe exposure limit may be below the current threshold standards.

When establishing husbandry protocols, the available evidence for the effects of ammonia on poultry welfare should be considered. Consistent, scheduled sanitation is necessary to remove sources of ammonia. Proper ventilation prevents air from becoming stagnant.

Animal Stewardship:
The responsibility of protecting and safekeeping livestock and wildstock lineages. Stewardship is an ethic that embodies cooperative planning and management of environmental resources between individuals, organizations, communities, and beyond, to actively engage in the conservation of invaluable natural resources, genetic diversity, breed stability, and vitality.

Ecological stewardship is an ethic that incorporates the conservation of habitat and the facilitation of habitat recovery in the interest of long-term sustainability. Land stewardship includes socially and ecologically responsible agriculture. Many farms practice animal stewardship in the maintenance and continued selective breeding of heritage breeds.

Prevailing notions of effective stewardship emphasize that all aspects of an operation should be considered “testable hypotheses." The concepts of stewardship evolve in the course of education, experimentation, and analysis.

Antibacterial:
A substance that destroys bacteria or inhibits bacterial growth. Plants produce a wide array of chemical compounds to protect themselves from their natural enemies, including bacteria. When ingested many of these compounds also protect animals from bacterial infection.

The best all-around bacteria killers (they kill everything) are garlic, onion, allspice, and oregano; followed by thyme, cinnamon, tarragon, and cumin (which kill up to 80% of bacteria). Capsicums, including chilies and other hot peppers, are in the middle of the antimicrobial pack (killing or inhibiting up to 75% of bacteria), while white or black pepper inhibits 25% of bacteria, as do ginger, anise seed, celery seed, and the juices of lemons and limes.

Anticipatory Reaction:
A response to a stimulus, before the stimulus actually occurs.

Anti-Predator Behavior:
Any action that reduces attacks by predators, or diminishes predator harm to an individual or group. Anti-predator behavior includes: cryptic behavior, vigilance, avoidance or escape, grouping, temporary group dispersion, defensive formation, selection of protective nest sites, distraction of the predator from the nest site or offspring, threat display, discharge of noxious substances, and attack.

APA:
The American Poultry Association is a national poultry organization in the United States. They publish standards and evaluate licensing organizations. Domestic chicken, duck, goose, and turkey breeds of all size and weight classes are the focus of this integral association of poultiers.

Aposematic:
Conspicuous display of colored body parts that increase the effect of threats, and improve the self-defense capacity of animals.

Apparent Movement:
Subjective and illusionary visual perception of movement in the absence of real movement. Apparent movement can be generated by rapid succession of motionless stimuli that mimic the changes that occur in true movement. A familiar example of this in the human world is an LED signboard that creates the illusion of words moving across a strip of stationary lights. Galliform birds, particularly tragopans, turkeys, and Green Junglefowl, accomplish this by manipulating the intensity of colors and patterns on bare facial skin.

Appeasement Signal:
Any behavioral display indicative of conciliatory intent. Appeasement signals are often manifested toward threatening conspecifics, when escape is either difficult or impossible.

Attraction Signal:
Any vocal, visual, olfactory, or other sign, or combination of such signs, broadcast by an organism to attract other organisms.

Auricle:
The portion of the external ear that surrounds the ear canal and extends out from the side of the head. The structure of the auricle is specialized to channel sound waves into the ear canal. In junglefowl and domestic chickens, special micro-plumes line the outer ear canal and cover it as well. In species and domestic breeds that inhabit very wet and or windy regions, the auricle is often densely covered in specialized plumes that filter out the sounds of wind and also moisture. See Ear Coverts. For further reading go to:
http://members.characterfirst.com/qualities/alertness/nature/

Aviculture:
The care and rearing of birds in aviaries, enclosures, or cages: a discipline largely influenced by zooculture.

AZA:
Association of Zoos and Aquariums

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B

Bantam:
Chicken and duck breeds characterized by their small size. Many are miniature versions of large breeds. The original bantams were named after the ancient city of Bantam in Western Java, Indonesia, which served as the primary port of the spice trade for many centuries.

Barren Environment:
An environment in which resources are relatively scarce, in comparison to more fecund/abundant environments.

Beak Trimming:
Removal of the distal portion of the beak to curtail injuries inflicted from pecking between birds housed in groups. The ethics of beak trimming has been questioned: 1. The beak is innervated. 2. Natural feeding behaviors are next to impossible. 3. Proper plumage preening is also impossible. 4. If maintained in free-range or open-pen situations, without adequate cover, de-beaked birds may drown during rainstorms.

From the perspective of economics, as well as disease prevention, beak trimming is also potentially an issue, because de-beaked birds spill more feed onto the ground than beaked birds.

Behavioral Ecology:
Behavioral ecology is the study of the environmental basis for animal behavior, and the roles of behavior in enabling an animal to adapt to its environment (both intrinsic and extrinsic). Behavioral ecology emerged from ethology after Nikolass Tinbergen (a seminal figure in the study of animal behavior) outlined the Four Questions.

Bill:
The horny, projecting structure forming the mandibles of a bird, especially one that is strong, sharp, and useful in striking, digging, pecking and/or tearing; the proper anatomical name of the beak.

Breed:
A population within a domestic species, with distinct characteristics that differentiate it from other populations of that domestic species. Characteristics must breed true [be passed on] during reproduction.

Bridling:
A postcopulatory action pattern of male ducks characterized by rhythmic thrusts of the head and neck, interspersed with occasional vocalizations.

Broadcast Signal:
A signal that is emitted to convey information to any appropriate individual(s) that may be within range (e.g., crowing and wing clapping by roosters).

Broiler:
Breeds of chickens developed for rapid growth and large muscles, specifically developed for the table. Though broilers are probably the most popular breed class purchased and raised each year, there are several disadvantages associated with these accelerated-growth breeds. Frequent issues include inadequate nutrition and behavioral problems. Many poultiers also find it very difficult to maintain adequate sanitation while working with this breed class.

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C

CAFO:
A Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) is defined as any facility with more than 1,000 “animal units” confined on site, or an Animal Feeding Operation (APO) of any size that discharges pollutants (e.g., manure, wastewater) into any ditch, stream, or other water conveyance system, whether man-made or natural. However, operations with more than 1,000 animal units are not considered CAFOs if the animals are housed or fed on areas where crops are produced during the normal growing season.

Cannibalism:
The practice of consuming the tissue of conspecifics. This term also is used colloquially for the killing or serious injury of conspecifics by biting or pecking.

Capon:
A male chicken that has been castrated to improve its growth and the quality of its flesh for the table.

Captive Stress:
Captive environments that lack complexity; whether structural, nutritional, and/or social, or are barren and deficient in some other way. Captive animals that lack access to complexity in any of these realms are at risk of psychological and/or physiological disorders.

Carotenoids:
Micronutrients in the form of organic pigments naturally occurring in the chloroplasts and chromoplasts of plants and other photosynthetic organisms such as algae, some types of fungus, and some types of bacteria. Carotenoids are invaluable in animals’ diets as they boost the immune system and overall health.

Catfish Meal (Farmed):
Channel catfish is now one of the most commonly farmed fish in the United States. As a result, catfish has the potential to become one of America’s most popular species utilized in sustainable farming.

Raised in closed, inland ponds using re-circulated fresh water and fed a mostly vegetarian diet of soybeans, corn, and rice, U.S. farmed catfish is considered to be one of the most sustainable fish species available. Closed, inland ponds dramatically reduce the risk of farmed fish escaping and spreading disease to native wild populations.

By-products of catfish farming, including all the parts of the fish unpalatable to humans, are cooked and ground into a fine meal. This meal is a sustainable source of animal protein. Many sustainable agriculturists insist on insuring that the fishmeal included in their feed is farmed rather than wild-caught, to lessen the burden on our wild fish populations.

Cayenne:
A plant with many medicinal uses, covering a wide range of ailments. Most of the medicinal properties are derived from the chemical capsaicin that imparts “heat” to the fruit and seeds. Capsaicin increases heart activity without raising blood pressure, and is said to do many miraculous things medicinally. Capsaicin may be able to prevent or even stop a heart attack. It reduces the risks of suffering a stroke, thins the blood, and lowers blood sugar. Cayenne also acts as an internal disinfectant, detoxifying the colon and aiding with eliminative functions. Cayenne is also a pain reliever and improves the body’s response to the flu. It may help lower blood sugar levels in diabetics. Cayenne is also very high in vitamin C, so it acts as a preventive against respiratory infections and can help strengthen the immune system.

Cere:
A fleshy, often waxy structure at the base of the beak.

Chelation:
The formation or presence of multiple chemical bonds of a ligand and a single central metal ion. Often, chelates are organic compounds that surround metal atoms; the resulting complex molecule renders the ion chemically inactive with other substrates.

Chelates are chemicals (nutrients) joined into soluble molecules by other organisms, therefore readily available to be assimilated via the digestive system.

Chick:
A newly hatched bird.

Chicken:
One of the most prevalent forms of livestock in the world. Chickens probably descended from the junglefowl (Gallus spp.) of Southeast Asia, and have been domesticated for many thousands of years. Growing evidence points to multiple domestication events of junglefowl species by different cultures at different times. Chickens provide an excellent source of nutrition, and provide more protein for humans than any other source. There are more than 35 billion chickens worldwide.

Chitin:
A long-chain polymer derivative of glucose found in many places throughout the natural world. It is the main component of the cell walls of fungi, the exoskeletons of arthropods such as crustaceans (e.g., crabs, lobsters, and shrimps) and insects, the radulas of mollusks and the beaks of cephalopods, including squid and octopuses. Chitin has also proven useful for several medical and industrial purposes. Chitin (a carbohydrate) has similar structural functions as cellulose and the protein keratin.

Cinnamon:
Small evergreen tree belonging to the family Lauraceae, native to Southern India and Sri Lanka. Also, the spice obtained from the tree’s bark. Its flavor is due to an aromatic essential oil that makes up 0.5% to 1% of its composition.

Medically, cinnamon acts like other volatile oils and has a reputation as a cure for upper respiratory infections. It has also been used to treat diarrhea and other problems of the digestive system. Cinnamon is high in antioxidant activity. The essential oil of cinnamon also has antimicrobial properties, which can aid in the preservation of certain foods. Cinnamon has been reported to have remarkable pharmacological effects in the treatment of type II diabetes.

Cinnamon is distasteful to rodents, and irritants within the bark powder make its inhalation very painful to ermine, raccoons, and other carnivorous mammals. Cinnamon is used as an insect repellent, being particularly useful against lice and fleas. Cinnamon leaf oil has been found to be highly effective in killing mosquito larvae.

It is reported that regular intake of cinnamon could be beneficial to oxidative stress–related illness, as the spice contains significant antioxidant potential.
One teaspoon of cinnamon contains as many antioxidants as a full cup of pomegranate juice and 1/2 a cup of blueberries.

Clade:
A group of biological species that can be traced to/share a single ancestor. A useful taxonomic grouping for the purposes of understanding evolutionary biology.

Cockerel:
A male chicken under one year of age.

Cognition:
A process of perception, reasoning, and development of expectations.

Cognitive Behavior:
Behavior that results from a process of reasoning.

Commercial (in relation to domestic birds):
The process of raising many birds; strictly to sell the eggs, meat, or both; usually occurring in large enclosed barns.

Consciousness:
Awareness, alertness, realization, perception, cognizance.

Conspecifics:
Other individuals of the same species.

Crèche:
An aggregation of juvenile animals, typically birds, which have left their parental nests and banded together. Species whose wild ancestors form crèches in nature tend to be more suitable for captivity and domestication than those that do not.

Crowding:
An unusually high spatial density of animals, which may cause discomfort to some or all animals in the group, but not serious deprivation or injury. Reduced individual distance zones, for the most part, still can be maintained, and all animals are able to rest at the same time, stand up and lie down freely, extend their limbs without interference, and have adequate opportunity for eating and drinking. Also see “Overcrowding.”

Crowing:
A type of vocalization produced by males that has frequency oscillations of relatively wide amplitude, distinct breaks, and a duration of approximately two seconds. It is thought that crowing has a territorial and mating function, and its frequency of occurrence bears a positive relation to social status in the flock. Crowing commences after six weeks of age in most chicken breeds.

Crustacean Shell Meal:
The ground chitin of crab, lobster, prawns, and/or crayfish.

Cryptic Behavior:
Any behavior that appears to be performed for the purpose of minimizing the conspicuousness of an organism.

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D

Diatomaceous Earth:
A naturally occurring, soft, siliceous sedimentary rock that is easily crumbled into a fine off-white powder. It has a particle size ranging from less than 1 micron to more than 1 millimeter, but typically 10 to 200 microns. This powder has an abrasive feel, similar to pumice powder, and is very light, due to its high porosity. The typical chemical composition of oven-dried diatomaceous earth is 80 to 90% silica, with 2 to 4% alumina (attributed mostly to clay minerals) and 0.5 to 2% iron oxide.

Diatomaceous earth consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae. It is used as a filtration aid, as a mild abrasive, as a mechanical insecticide, as an absorbent for liquids, as cat litter, as an activator in blood-clotting studies, as a component of dynamite, and as a thermal insulator.

For decades, farmers have used diatomaceous earth as a preventive measure to protect their harvest and livestock from insect attack. Diatomaceous earth is added to grain storage bins to stop invading pests, and is also added to livestock feed to eliminate internal parasites.

Diatomaceous earth physically controls insects by abrading their exoskeleton.

Dietary Fiber:
Dietary fiber, sometimes called roughage, is the indigestible portion of plants and chitin. Dietary fiber changes the nature of the contents inside the gastrointestinal tract, and changes how nutrients and chemicals are absorbed. There are two main types of dietary fiber. Soluble fiber is readily fermented in the colon, yielding gases and physiologically active by-products. Insoluble fiber (metabolically inert) absorbs water throughout the digestive system. Insoluble fiber also lengthens the transit time through the upper digestive tract (aiding in the absorption of nutrients); and shortens the time through the lower intestinal tract (easing defecation).

Dragonbird:
One of several species of Green Peafowl, genus Pavo.
Pavo antiqus (Northern Yunnan), P. spicifer (Arakan Mountain Range and Northern Western Burma), P. annamensis (Annametic Mountain Range; Elephant Mountain Range), P. javanensis (Sunda Straits), P. muticus (Extinct, formerly of the Malaysian Peninsula), and P. imperator (Southern Yunnan, Thailand, and southeastern Burma).

Duck:
A common water bird with webbed feet, short legs, and a broad flat bill. It is found all over the world, with the exception of Antarctica.
Order: Anseriformes

Duckling:
A duck that has not reached sexual maturity.

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E

Ear Coverts:
Feathers that cover the external ear opening.

Ecology:
1. The study of the interrelationships between living organisms and their environment.
2. The relationships between individual organisms, and between organisms and their environment.

Ecospecies:
A species made up of several subgroups (ecotypes), characterized by its ecotype-specific characteristics. Though the list of birds below are true species, narrow hybrid zones exist where disparate ecosystems merge into one another. For example, Lophura, Tragopan,and Crossoptilon are three genera largely made up of ecospecies. In the case of Crested Firebacks (Lophura rufa), they inhabit low-elevation swamp forests and subtropical jungles. Their close cousins (the Western Kalijs L. leucomelena and the eastern kalijs L. edwardsi and L. swinhoei), inhabit hill scrub and sub-montane habitats. Another branch delineates into the closely related silver pheasants (L. nycthemera and L. lewisi), which prefer montane and bamboo forest habitats.

Ecosystem:
A localized group of interdependent organisms together with the environment that they inhabit and depend upon.

Ecotone:
A transition area between two adjacent distinct ecological communities. It may appear on the ground as a gradual blending of the two communities across a broad area, or it may manifest itself as a sharp boundary line.

Ecotones are particularly significant for mobile animals, as they can exploit more than one set of habitats within a short distance. This can produce an edge effect along the boundary line, with the transition area displaying a greater diversity of species than either single distinct ecological community.

The word was coined from a combination of “eco-” plus “-tone”, from the Greek tonos or “tension”: In other words, a place where ecologies are in tension.

Ecotope:
The smallest ecologically distinct landscape feature in a landscape-mapping and classification system. As such, they represent relatively homogeneous, spatially explicit landscape units that are useful for stratifying landscapes into distinct units for the measurement and mapping of landscape structure, function, and change.

Ecotype:
A subgroup of a species of organisms, whose members show genetically dictated adaptations to local environmental conditions, yet still intermix with the larger population to some extent.

Efficacy:
Ability to produce the necessary or desired results. Effective, competent action.

Egg:
The reproductive element of birds consisting of a yolk, white, and shell.

Energy Requirements:
The amount of energy needed at different stages in animal development. Juvenile birds have different energy requirements from laying hens, which in turn have different energy requirements from adult male birds.

EPA:
United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Ethics:
1. The study of moral standards and how they affect conduct. Also called “moral philosophy.”
2. A system of moral principles governing the appropriate conduct for an individual or group.

Ethology:
The study of the behavior of animals in their natural habitat, usually with the aim of proposing evolutionary explanations.

Extrinsic:
External, learned, attained, developed.

Extrusion:
A manufacturing technique used in the food-processing industry. Extruding (also called gelatinization) is a process by which feed is pressed through a constriction under pressure.  The process requires the feed to be ground to a very fine state and then steam treated to soften it and then it is forced through a steel tube by an auger.  The softened material is then EXTRUDEDED through cone-shaped holes which are smaller where the feed enters and gradually enlarge there the feed is expelled. The expansion causes disruption, or granulation, of the starch granules.  Various factors including moisture of the grain, influence the character of the final product.
It is suggested that this gelatinization improves digestibility but results may vary.  Aside from the impact on the feed efficacy, there are other advantages.  The product will be more uniform in shape and size, less dust, and more homogenous in nature.


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F

Forage:
1. A search or the process of searching for something, especially a search for food and supplies or a search among a varied collection of things. Animals forage for food in the wild and in captivity.
2. Food for animals, especially crops grown to feed livestock.

ForageCake:
A nutritious granola block for animals, formulated with varying percentages of dietary fiber and proteins. A ForageCake provides behavioral enrichment, by requiring animals to be more active while feeding upon it, when compared to conventional pellets, crumbles, mashes, or kibbles.

Foraging Party:
A group of birds, often of mixed species, that travels together in search of food. Among galliform bird species, pheasants and partridges are often observed foraging together, especially in subtropical species. Crested Guineafowl travel beneath the canopy behind groups of monkeys and other primates. Crested Guineafowl feasts on fallen fruit (and invertebrates embedded in the fruit), which the monkeys inadvertently drop on the forest floor.

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G

Gamebird:
Any of many wild species such as Chinese Ring Necked Pheasants, Bobwhite, Wood Quail, Chukar, and Hungarian Partridge, which are captive bred and raised for sport hunting. These birds are maintained in a manner similar to domestic poultry. Some of these species have been selectively bred into well-established domestic breeds, utilized entirely for the table. The Alaskan White True Pheasant, Buff California Pheasant, White Chukar, and Tennessee Red Bobwhite are examples of gamebirds raised solely for meat production.
Also see “New Heritage Breeds.”

Gander:
A male goose.

Goose:
1. A large waterfowl with a long neck and webbed feet, noted for its seasonal migrations and distinctive honking sound. True geese belong to the genus Anser and include species such as the Snow Goose, Bean Goose, Swan Goose and Greylag Goose. Domestic Geese are descended of this genus. Brant Geese belong to the genus Branta and include species such as the Canada Goose, Nene, Red Breasted Goose, and Black Brant. Subfamily: Anserinae.

Gosling:
A goose that has yet to reach sexual maturity.

Guineafowl:
Any of several long-legged, long-necked, large-winged and rather corpulent appearing galliform genera, endemic to the continent of Africa; with characteristic bare heads and necks, plumage that resembles a starry night sky. Guineafowl are an ancient and isolated group distantly allied to Cracides, new world quail, and Peafowl.

Guinefowl are invaluable for the health of Africa’s large ungulate, pachyderm, and equine herds, as they are adept gleaners: subsisting almost entirely on ticks, fly larvae, and locusts during the dry season. During the wet season, Guineafowl follow the great herds, consuming carrion, leaves, and succulent shoots. The West African Numida meleagris coronata was imported into Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas during the African slave trade.

The birds have subsequently become of vital importance in North America, serving as a biological control of weevils, ticks, and hornworm. Family: Numididae.

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H

Habitat:
The environment in which an organism lives, or the immediate environment that surrounds, influences, and is utilized by a population of organisms.

Heirloom:
1. Something of great intrinsic value that has been in the possession of a family or culture for many generations.
2. An heirloom plant or animal is generally a very specific lineage of a stringently maintained breed or variety/cultivar.
3. Currently, heirloom breeds are of particularly high value, because of their genetic diversity. Genetic diversity is increasingly disappearing from mainstream commercial varieties of plants and animals raised for human consumption, making food supplies susceptible to widespread disruption, as a result of disease, pests, or other factors. Two factors have critically endangered the discipline of livestock stewardship: the adoption of commercial husbandry ideologies and protocols on farms and ranches, and the separation of the general populace from a direct connection with their food supply.
Also see “Stewardship.”

Hen:
A female fowl over one year of age.

Herbivorous:
An herbivore is an animal that is adapted to eat plants. Herbivory is a form of predation in which an organism consumes plants, algae, and photosynthesizing bacteria. Geese and many species of ducks and grouse are largely herbivorous, as are tragopans and koklasses. Many species are primarily herbivorous for certain seasons, or as adults, but most species require some percentage of animal protein in the first few weeks after hatching. Fungi, bacteria, and protists that feed on living plants are usually termed plant pathogens. Microbes that feed on dead plants are saprotrophs. Flowering plants that obtain nutrition from other living plants are usually termed parasitic plants.

Heritage:
1. The status, condition, or character acquired by being born into a particular family or social class.
2. A country’s or area’s history and cultural sites that are considered to be of interest and value to present generations.
3. Something such as a way of life or a traditional culture that passes from one generation to the next in a social group.
4. Property or land that is or can be passed on to an heir.

Heritage Breeds:
The livestock, vegetables, fruit, or flowers of a culture or region. Many heritage breeds are on the verge of extinction. Each heirloom lineage of a given heritage breed is necessary for the long-term health and genetic diversity of each heritage breed. Lackadaisical record keeping and unscrupulous selective breeding often lead to the decline and eventual extinction of cultural heritage breeds.

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I

Integument:
An outer protective layer or part of an animal or plant, for example, a shell, rind, husk, or skin. Also includes feathers. In commonly kept bird species, the integument is of vital importance for the health and well-being of the animal. Diets inadequate in certain vitamins, for example vitamin E and vitamin B, may result in infirmities including inferior plumage, excessive feather dander, and dull-looking or bare facial skin. Birds maintain their integument by frequent grooming called “preening,” and by wallowing in rough sand and/or water. Special oils are generated in the uropygial gland, which are preened into the plumage to seal it against the elements and condition the skin.

Intrinsic:
Innate, essential, basic, inherent, fundamental.

Invertivore:
Species that consume invertebrates. This category includes insectivores and molluscivores.

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J

Junglefowl:
Any of four species within the genus Gallus. Now strictly subtropical and Asiatic, extinct fossil species of this genus were present in Europe and the Near East well into the Pleistocene. Because of superficial similarities and habits, the Junglefowl were once considered pheasants. However, recent molecular research has disproven this theory.

Junglefowl are closely related to the african francolins and more distantly related to the Chukar Rock Partridge. Three of the four junglefowl species are ecological specialists, inhabiting very unique habitats. The fourth species, Gallus gallus or Red Junglefowl, is the matriarchal ancestor of all domestic chickens. The Red Junglefowl is an ecological generalist, making it highly adaptable to a wide range of habitats and food sources.

Males from each of the remaining species have likely played some role in the development of different breeds deep in the antiquity of the domestication of the chicken. The Grey Junglefowl passed on its genes for yellow skin and yellow legs to many domestic breeds. Male Ceylon Junglefowl were heavily involved in the make up of the Fayoumi Chicken. The genes of Green Junglefowl males are at the foundation of domestic breeds that produce blue or green eggs and those with very long tails. According to historians, there was another Junglefowl native to the Comoros Islands in the Indian Ocean. This species, Gallus giganteus, may have been the primary ancestor of large fighting breeds such as the Malay and Saipan, and the source of the naked neck gene. This species was apparently flightless and without fear for humans. Early Austronesian voyagers carried this species from the Comoros to Madagascar, Indonesia and Southeast Asia. The Madagascar Gamebird may be the closest proximity to this extinct species, as it was present on the island when the first Europeans arrived.

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K

Keat:
A guineafowl, Stone Partridge, Roul-roul, new world quail, or “peacock-pheasant” that has yet to reach sexual maturity.

Keratin:
A family of fibrous structural proteins. Keratin is tough and insoluble, forming hard structures found in reptiles, birds, amphibians, and mammals. As far as biologically produced substances, keratin is rivaled in toughness only by chitin.

Kibble:
Meal that has been ground into small pieces and then formed into pellets, especially for pet food. A processed food that is harder and more compact than traditional pelleted feeds and crumbles, kibble does not lose structural integrity or disintegrate in ambient moisture as happens to traditionally processed feedstuffs, reducing dust in enclosures.

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L

Larder:
In behavioral ecology usage, a larder is defined as a rich food source, such as a termite mound or a fruiting tree. An ideal larder for a guineafowl is the manure of large mammals that contains fly larvae. An ideal larder for a Chukar Rock Partridge is an ant nest, while an ideal larder for a Wild Turkey is the forest floor beneath an oak tree, littered with acorns.

Layer:
A bird kept primarily for egg production: mostly chickens, Coturnix Quail, geese, ducks, Rheas and Emus.

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M

Maintenance Ration:
Daily ration of the primary food source provided by an animal manager that meets basic functions and normal behavioral energetic needs. The maintenance ration does not specifically provide additional energy required for growth, reproduction, or other energetically high-demand activities performed by the animal.

Market producer:
A poultier primarily focused on production of eggs and meat for sale to consumers. Market producers must take all economic (and often social) issues into consideration, as they impact the ability of the poultier to: make a profit, operate sustainably, and deliver products that meet the (perceived) needs of the consumer.

Monophyletic:
A taxon (group of organisms) that forms a clade, meaning that it consists of an ancestor and all its descendants. It is contrasted with paraphyly, which is a taxon consisting of an ancestor and some of its descendants, and polyphyly, which is a taxon that does not share a common ancestor. Monophyletic groups are characterized by shared derived characteristics.

On the broadest scale, definitions fall into two groups:

1.The widest, and arguably the semantically correct meaning of the word, is any two or more groups sharing a common ancestor. This very broad definition strips the term of scientific utility. Therefore, scientists today restrict the term to holophyletic groups only: that is, groups consisting of all the descendants of one (usually hypothetical) common ancestor. However, assuming that one individual (or mating pair) is the ancestor of all following generations is unrealistic, because species are, by definition, interbreeding populations.

2. Using a broader definition, such as a species and all its descendants, doesn’t really help to define a genus or species. A satisfactory and comprehensive cladistic definition of a species or genus is in fact impossible, and reflects the impossibility of seamlessly impressing a gradualistic model of continual change over the “quantum” Linnean model, where species have defined boundaries, and intermediaries between species cannot be accommodated.

Molt:
1. To shed integument, e.g., feathers, hair, or skin cyclically, especially seasonally, to allow replacement and repair with new growth,
2. The process or time during which a bird or animal casts off all or part of its feathers, fur, or skin.
3. The material shed while molting.

Animals require optimal nutrition while molting. Optimal nutrition increases the structural integrity of new feathers, and augments pigmentation of plumage and skin cells. Inadequate nutrition can lead to prolonged molt and increased stress upon birds. This is particularly true for laying hens, rare breeds, and wild species such as peafowl and pheasants.

Morphology:
1. A branch of biology that deals with the form and structure of animals and plants.
2. The form and structure of an organism or any of its parts.

Mullet:
1. An alpha hen that adopts a masculine role, often in the absence of roosters. Most mullets have ceased producing estrogen due to age or prolonged illness, and are thus sterile. Some mullets actually crow and still others develop male plumage, which increases in development with each succeeding molt.
2. Cockerels of certain heirloom strains of rare cultural heritage breeds such as Crested Mapuche, which closely resemble hens until their second or third molt.

Mycotoxin:
A toxic metabolite produced by an organism of the fungus kingdom, including mushrooms, molds, and yeasts. Fungi are found almost everywhere in extremely small quantities, due to the minute size of their spores. The term “mycotoxin” is usually reserved for the toxic chemical products produced by fungi that readily colonize crops. They consume organic matter wherever humidity and temperature are sufficient. One mold species may produce many different mycotoxins, and/or the same mycotoxin as another species.

Where conditions are right, fungi proliferate into colonies and mycotoxin levels elevate. The production of toxins depends on the surrounding intrinsic and extrinsic environments. The toxins vary greatly in their severity, depending on the organism infected; and its susceptibility, metabolism, and defense mechanisms. Some health effects found in animals and humans include allergic reactions, identifiable diseases, weakened immune systems, and mortality. When hay is used for bedding in chicken houses, mycotoxins flourish.

The frequency of mycotoxin contamination of poultry feeds appears to be rising across the globe. Such contamination can seriously affect bird health and performance. Proper measures are needed to minimize losses. Subtropical species of birds maintained in captivity often succumb to mycotoxins, most notably Aspergillus.

Mycotoxins can appear in the human and animal food chains as a result of fungal infection of crops. Mycotoxins greatly resist decomposition or digestion, so they remain in the food chain in meat, egg, and dairy products. Even temperature treatments, such as cooking and freezing, do not destroy mycotoxins.

Mycotoxins are metabolites produced by fungi that can infest crops pre-harvest and can flourish under suboptimal storage conditions. Grains with high moisture content are particularly unstable, prone to mold proliferation and possible mycotoxin production. Excess rainfall at harvest and at key periods during the growing season can be a major factor leading to mycotoxin contamination of feedstuffs.

The most significant species of mycotoxin-producing fungi that have an impact on poultry production are Aspergillus and Fusarium. The most significant mycotoxin produced by Aspergillus fungi is aflatoxin. The effects of feed-borne aflatoxin on poultry production have been extensively studied, and a good understanding of the tolerance of various classes of poultry exists. This knowledge is partly born from the concern for human health and food safety issues arising from contamination of poultry products with aflatoxin, since aflatoxin is a potent hepatocarcinogen or cancer-causing toxin. Analytical techniques for aflatoxin analysis in feeds are very practical due to the small number of different compounds that allow their simultaneous analysis.

Another important mycotoxin is the nephrotoxin ochratoxin A. This compound is produced by Aspergillus ochraceus and Penicillium verrucosum. As with aflatoxin, there is concern that residual ochratoxin A in poultry products could pose a threat to human health due to the possible carcinogenic nature of this compound.

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New Heritage Breeds:
Newly developed breeds of alternative livestock species and heirloom strains of heritage livestock composites. The White Alaskan Pheasant, Jumbo Bobwhite, French Guineafowl, and White Chukar have been developed for the table. Cameo and Bronze Peafowl, Slate Guineafowl, and Chocolate Muscovy ducks have been developed with aesthetic considerations, and are important insect pest and tick predators. The North American Quetro is bred for its eggs and plumage, which is utilized in fly tying and haute couture. White Rhea and emu strains, White Mandarin Ducks, and Yellow Goldens are other familiar examples. New heritage breeds reflect the evolving profile of sustainable agriculture, and serve as evidence that the discipline of selective breeding remains alive within modern times.

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O

Omega-3 fatty Acids:
Essential fatty acids necessary for avian and human health. EFAs are termed “essential” because most mammals and birds cannot produce these substances; they must ingest them. Omega-3 fatty acids are obtainable by eating fish, certain freshly ground spices, and some nut/seed oils.

Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development of cells and tissues.

Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function.

Omnivore:
Species that eat both plants and animals as their primary food source, not specifically adapted to eat and digest either meat or plant material exclusively. Omnivores are generally opportunistic feeders.

Examples of omnivorous bird species include Red Junglefowl, Indian Blue Peafowl, Mallard Duck, and Muscovy Duck. Omnivorous species tend to fare better in captivity than invertivorous species. For example, the North American Wild Turkey is an omnivore and the ancestor of billions of domestic turkey. The Ocellated Turkey is an invertivore, and, comparatively speaking, on the verge of extinction in captivity.

Osteological:
Influencing or describing bone/bony tissues.

Overcrowding:
Confinement at “high stocking density” is one part of a systematic effort to produce the highest output of livestock products at the lowest cost by relying on economies of scale, modern machinery, biotechnology, and global trade. Confinement at high stocking density requires antibiotics and pesticides to mitigate the spread of disease and pestilence that is exacerbated by over-crowded living conditions.

Factory farming is practiced differently around the world. Debate continues over its benefits and risks. Issues include the efficiency of food production, animal welfare, environmental impact, health risks, and the question of whether factory farming is essential in order to feed the growing global human population.

Factory farms can operate mostly indoors or mostly outdoors. The phrase “confinement at high stocking density" implies a lack of natural vegetation accessible to animals, and a level of overwhelming animal waste that exceeds the ability of the surrounding landscape to “process” it. High stocking density destroys the vegetation and often produces harmful pollution from animal waste via runoff and groundwater infiltration. Laws have been enacted in an attempt to address these concerns, hence U.S. EPA regulations regarding Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO’s).

Chickens were the first animals to be factory farmed. The discovery of vitamins and their role in animal nutrition in the early 1900s led to vitamin supplements, allowing chickens to be raised indoors by the 1920s. The discovery of antibiotics and vaccines improved disease management, facilitating livestock being raised in larger, more concentrated groupings.

Confinement and overcrowding of animals results in a lack of exercise and natural locomotory behavior, which weakens their bones and muscles. An intensive poultry farm also harbors the ideal conditions for viral mutation and transmission: Thousands of birds crowded together in a closed, warm, and dusty environment is highly conducive to the spread of contagious diseases. Selecting generations of birds for faster growth rates and higher meat yields has resulted in a high degree of genetic uniformity in the population, increasing the likelihood of disease. These selection pressures have consequently also left birds’ immune systems less able to cope with infections.

Some authorities have suggested that further intensification of the industry is the answer to “avian flu” (and other potential global disease risks), on the rationale that keeping birds indoors will prevent contamination / transmission of avian flu (and other) disease vectors. However, this relies on perfect biosecurity; and such measures are near impossible to implement. People, materials, vehicles, and livestock continually move between farms: fairly negating any attempts toward biosecurity. Intensive farming may in fact be creating more potent avian flu strains. Considering the frequent flow of goods within and between countries, there is a very high potential for worldwide spread of disease(s).

Feedlot animals reside in crowded conditions and often stand in their own waste. Unlike a city, where human waste is channeled to a sewage treatment plant, livestock waste is not treated. As a result, feedlot animals face increased exposure to various viruses and bacteria, via the manure and urine in their environment. Furthermore, factory-farmed animals often carry residual manure on their bodies when they go to slaughter. Therefore, confinement and overcrowding of animals incurs risk of meat contamination from viruses and bacteria.

Overeating:
Gorging on food when more than enough has been consumed. This habit is particularly pronounced in domestic utility breeds. Gorging produces copious amounts of phosphate rich, moist, and fetid droppings, due to incomplete digestion of feedstuffs.

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P

Paraphyletic:
A group of taxa is said to be paraphyletic if the group contains its last common ancestor but does not contain all the descendants of that ancestor.

Partridge:
Medium-size fowl, intermediate between the larger pheasants and the smaller quails. They tend to exhibit fairly short tails and appear corpulent due to greatly elongated flank coverts and compact shape. Partridges are native to Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, and are paraphyletic: meaning that they are grouped together on the basis of morphology. Common partridges kept in captivity include Grey and Hill Partridges, grouse, and bobwhites. These species are most commonly maintained as garden/display birds due to impressive feather patterns and ground-dwelling habits.

Many partridge genera are only very distantly related. For example, the Bamboo Partridge is a cousin of the Junglefowl and the domestic chicken, whilst the superficially similar Grey or Hungarian Partridge is a close cousin of the pheasant. The rock partridge group includes the Chukar, which belongs to a different subfamily, grouped with the enigmatic Snowcock. The superficially similar Snow Partridge is related to the turkey and the Monal Partridge is very close relative of the monal.

The Roul-roul and Hill Partridge belong to a family of their own, and the Crimson-Headed Partrdige is a close relative of the peacock-pheasants. The African Stone Partridge’s closest relatives are Toothed Quails from Central and North America.

Peafowl:
Any of several genera of large, primarily terrestrial galliform birds endemic to Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and Central Africa. Fossil records indicate that extinct Peafowl species inhabited East Africa and Europe well into the Pliocene. Peafowl are somewhat superficially similar to pheasants. Molecular biology studies have disproved the theory that peafowl are closely related to the so-called “peacock-pheasants” of the genus Polyplectron. Peafowl are only very distantly related to the pheasants, being more closely related to the Chukar Partridge and Coturnix Quail.

Peafowl can be distinguished from pheasants by their greater size, marked elongation of their necks, legs, and toes, and many osteological features. As compared with those of pheasants, the wings of peafowl exhibit greater proportional surface area. Peafowl differ markedly from pheasants and grouses in their habit of perching on emergent trees towering over the canopy, or on tall trees in open habitats. Peafowl are unlike most pheasants in their habit of making daily sustained flights that may easily cover more than a mile.

Peafowls are similar to the South American cracids and Australasian megapodes (in contrast to pheasants and grouses) in their markedly ambitious and early flight development, and in their delayed sexual maturity. Peafowl no older than a few days are capable of making prolonged flights of several hundred yards. Great Argus and Indian Peafowl are not fully mature until their third adult year. The Crested Argus and at least two forms of the Green Peafowl are not fully adult until their fifth or sixth year of life.

Family: Pavoninidae
Rheinartia (Crested Argus and Ocellated Argus)
Argusianus (Great Argus)
Afropavo (African Peafowl)
Pavo (Typical Asiatic Peafowl)

Pheasant:
Any species of several genera of large, primarily terrestrial galliform bird species, closely related to grouses. The word “pheasant” stems from the Latin Phasianus, meaning bird of the Phasis River (in Caucus region near present day Iraq). Molecular biology has shown us that the term “pheasant” is not a particularly helpful term for systematics, as many of the so-called “pheasants” are derived from paraphyletic ancestors. For example, the peacock-pheasants, Junglefowl and peafowls are only very distant relatives, while the enigmatic European Grey Partridge of the genus Perdix is more closely related to pheasants than other so-called “partridges.”

Family: Phasianidae
Sub-family: Phasianinae: (Monophyletically Derived Genera of Pheasants)
Acomus (Crestless Fireback Pheasants)
Crossoptilon (Eared Pheasants)
Catreus (Chir Pheasant)
Chrysolophus (Ruffed Pheasants)
Lobiophasis (Bulwer’s Pheasant)
Lophura (Crested Fireback Pheasants; Western Kalij, Eastern Kalij, and Silver Pheasants)
Inornata (Sumatran Heath/Savadori’s Pheasants)
Syrmaticus (Long-Tailed and Bar-Tailed Pheasants)
Phasianus (True, Caucasian and Japanese Green Pheasants)

Phytonutrients:
Chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants, such as beta-carotene. Salicin, having anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, was originally extracted from the White Willow tree and later synthetically produced to become the drug aspirin. There is evidence from laboratory studies that phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer, possibly due to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allow limited health claims regarding certain specific phytochemicals, including soluble fiber.

Polyandry:
A reproductive strategy, whereby a female is mated with more than one male. Tinamous and ratites, including the Kiwi, Cassowary, and Emu are polyandrous. Males take up incubation and chick-rearing duties while females may continue to lay other clutches incubated by additional males they have partnered with.

Facultative polyandry is a condition that some species like the Roul-roul and Crested Guineafowl appear to employ in ideal habitats. Polyandrous serial monogamy may be a contrived condition of polyandry. Peacock-pheasants, Ceylon Junglefowl, and Blood Pheasants appear to practice polyandrous serial monogamy, whereby a single female associates with a pride of socially unified males, pairing with a different male for each clutch. These species do not fare well in captive situations when they are bred following the principles of polygamy (pairing a single male with a number of females). Polyandrous reproductive strategies may have evolved in species that experience fewer females surviving the nesting cycle than males.

Polygamy:
Reproductive social group structure comprising a single male and multiple females.

Polyplectron (Peacock-Pheasants):
Any of several insectivorous, semi-terrestrial, gallinaceous birds endemic to Southeast Asia. They are characterized by the presence of multiple metatarsal spurs in one or both sexes. Their Latin name means “many to strike with”: referring to the formidable kicking thorns used in self-defense against reptiles and competitors, as well as to rake though leaf litter to uncover invertebrates. Termites, ants, insect larvae, and mollusks are preferred food items, but leeches, small fruits and drupes are also taken.

The most familiar of this family of birds are peacock-pheasants. Peacock-pheasants were long believed an intermediate link between peafowl and pheasants, until molecular genetics determined that they are actually an ancient group closely allied to Haematortyx and Galloperdix, but otherwise totally isolated. Members of the Polyplectron family are distantly allied to Roul-roul and Hill Partridge, but may also be linked to new world quail and guineafowl.

Polyplectrons exhibit complex social behaviors and vocalizations. Members of the genus Polyplectron exhibit iridescent ocellations called “mirrors” at the terminal ends of most dorsal plumes. Galloperdix Spurfowls superficially resemble and behave much like miniature junglefowl, while Haematortyx is remarkably partridge-like. Unlike members of the genera Polyplectron and Galloperdix, the Haematortyx is almost tail-less and lives only on subtropical mountains at relatively high elevations.

In appearance, the peacock-pheasant (genus Polyplectron) falls somewhere between bird and dinosaur. It almost seems to slither as it strides cautiously along shadowy trails, winding through dark ravines. The highly stereotyped motions, curiously looped neck, and seemingly beakless head, together with its hyper-dilating eye, present an arresting sight. These movements are accentuated by the position of its wings and tail, which may be heightened or lowered amid its short, halting movements and frequently dramatic pauses. Most species are adept shapeshifters, capable of altering their silhouettes from fowl to reptile and back again. They clamber over deadfall and through thick underbrush in the manner of a quadruped and, once properly launched, fly with grace, endurance, and speed, bringing to mind both chachalacas and touracos.

Family: Polyplectronidae
Haematortyx (Crimson-Headed Wood Partridge)
Polyplectron spp (peacock-pheasants)
Galloperdix spp (Asiatic spurfowls)

Postcopulatory:
Following the act of copulation.

Poult:
A turkey, monal, or tragopan that has yet to reach sexual maturity.

Poultry:
Domestic fowl in general; for example, chickens, turkeys, ducks, or geese, raised for meat and/or eggs.

Prebiotic:
General term that refers to non-digestible dietary ingredients that stimulate the growth and/or activity of beneficial microbial populations in the digestive tract.

Probiotics:
Live microorganisms thought to be beneficial when ingested by a host organism. Lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria are the most common types of microbes used as probiotics; but certain yeasts and bacilli may also be helpful. Probiotics are commonly consumed as part of fermented foods with specially added active live cultures; such as in yogurt, miso, and kim chi. Probiotics can also be obtained via dietary supplements.

Probiotics are thought to benefit the host by improving intestinal microbial balance, thus inhibiting harmful bacteria that produce pathogens and toxins. Research on probiotics continues today: Specific health effects are being investigated and documented including alleviation of chronic intestinal inflammatory diseases, prevention and treatment of pathogen-induced diarrhea, alleviation of urogenital infections, and improved conditions of individuals facing various atopic diseases.

Pullet:
A young female chicken, especially one that has not begun laying eggs.

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R

Ratite:
A flightless bird characterized by the presence of an unusually flat breastbone, lacking the keel typical in flying birds. Cassowaries, Emu, rheas, Ostrich, and kiwis are the only surviving species of ratites. Though ratites are flightless, and strictly terrestrial in habitat, they are capable swimmers and divers, even as chicks.

Rhamphotheca:
Horny sheath produced by the outer layers of special skin cells, structurally resembling other horny parts, such as claws, nails, and spurs. In the majority of birds, the horny covering of the bill forms one coherent sheath. Sometimes, as in the Anseres, the greater portion of the outer sheath of the bill is soft, and only the tip of the bill is transformed into a thick horny neb, which contains numerous tactile organs.

Recurved:
Having or marked by a curve or smoothly rounded bend that, for birds, indicates a bill shape that curves upwards (as opposed to decurved, curving downwards).

Rooster:
A male chicken over one year of age.

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S

S.P.P.A.
The Society for the Preservation of Poultry Antiquities. The S.P.P.A. is the foremost authority on rare cultural heritage breeds of North America and Europe.

Satiation:
1. Pleasantly satisfied or full, as with food.
2. A livestock feeding strategy: To put out only as much food as the animal will eat, and no more.

Sustainable agriculturists limit the amount of feed provided each day, and insure that the quality of feed materials is high. Millet and oats are very filling for birds and tend to fill the crop, helping to aid in satiation. See “Overeating.”

Selective Advantage:
Generally refers to traits (i.e., genetic, behavioral, anatomic, physiologic) that predispose an individual or species to be more suitably adapted to specific conditions (i.e., environments, stressors, etc.) compared with other individuals; construes better chances of survival.

Species:
The major subdivision of a genus, regarded as the basic category of biological classification. A species is composed of related individuals that resemble one another, and are able to breed among themselves, but are not able to breed with members of another species.

Spices:
Pungent or aromatic seasonings obtained from the bark, buds, fruit, roots, seeds or stems of various plants and trees (whereas “herbs” usually come from the leafy part of a plant). Spices were prized long before recorded history. Though they've always been used to flavor food and drink, throughout time spices have also been favored for a plethora of other uses, including: medicines and perfumes, religious ceremonies, and as burial accoutrements for the wealthy. Spices are also known to possess antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral activity.

Over 4,000 years ago, the Beja people of northeastern Africa were primary practitioners of the spice trade, bringing their rare cargo back to Egypt from India and Eastern Asia by boat. Beja peoples from the Yemen region took up the eastern leg of the journey by arduous camel caravans. In subsequent years, Arab merchants monopolized the spice trade. During the Middle Ages the demand for spices was so high that they became valuable commodities: A pound of mace could buy three sheep, and the same amount of peppercorns could buy freedom for a serf.

Today, the United States is the world’s largest spice consumer. Among the more popular spices are allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace, nutmeg, paprika, pepper, saffron, and turmeric.

Standard:
A detailed official description of a breed and its recognized varieties. In the United States, the American Poultry Association (APA) and the American Bantam Association (ABA) maintain the standards for domestic chickens, turkeys, and waterfowl. Recognized breeds and standards differ from country to country.

Standard Size:
A full-size to large-size domestic fowl, as opposed to a bantam size.

Starch:
A carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined together by glycosidic bonds. All green plants produce this polysaccharide as an energy storage unit. It is the most important carbohydrate in the human diet, and is contained in such staple foods as potatoes, wheat, maize, corn, rice, and cassava.

Substrate:
1. The surface or medium on which an organism lives, grows, or is attached.
2. In ecology usage, the substrate generally is used to describe the material making up the soil and litter on top of the soil.
3. In animal husbandry usage, substrate is used to describe added bedding materials and the soil of the paddock or other enclosure.

Careful attention must be given toward the sanitation and maintenance of substrate in all captive collections: Both wild and domestic species are vulnerable to bacteria, nematodes, and fungi, which thrive in captive environment substrates.

Sustainable Agriculture:
In 1990, the US government defined “sustainable agriculture” in Public Law 101-624, Title XVI, Subtitle A, Section 1683, as “an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will, over the long term, satisfy human food and fiber needs; enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends; make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources, and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls; sustain the economic viability of farm operations; and enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.”

The confusion with sustainable agriculture is that the definition is more a philosophy or way of life than a strict set of rules, and farmers can interpret the meaning differently. In addition, there is no legal obligation to follow any of the criteria for sustainability, so food can be labeled “sustainable” when in actuality it is not. Many terms that describe this type of food, such as “natural” or “cage-free,” do not have a legal or clear definition (though the USDA is currently working on this). For example, cage-free chickens might not be raised in cages, but they could be raised in overcrowded conditions in indoor barns, which is still inhumane.

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T

Taxon:
A taxonomic category or group, such as a phylum, order, family, genus, or species.

Tomium:
The tomium is the sharp cutting edge of the bill. Sometimes the edge is serrated for tearing through vegetation (in the case of geese and new world quail).

Toothed Quail:
Synonym for “new world quail”; refers to the curious teeth-like serrations on the bills of most species, used to snip tender shoots and buds.

Trace Minerals:
Dietary minerals are chemical elements required by living organisms, other than the four elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen present in common organic molecules. The term “mineral” is archaic, since the intent of the definition is to describe ions (atoms), not chemical compounds or actual minerals.

Dietitians may recommend that dietary minerals are best supplied by ingesting specific foods rich with the element(s) of interest. This idea is derived from the apparent ease of assimilation when minerals are chelated. Some minerals do not require chelation, as in the case of iodine in iodized salt.

The focus on dietary minerals derives from an interest in supporting biochemical reactions that require specific elemental components. Thus, appropriate intake levels of certain chemical elements are required to maintain optimal health.

Turkey:
Largest terrestrial gallinate endemic to the Americas. The Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo, had a large historic range, which included the midwestern and the eastern United States, and much of Mexico.

The Ocellated Turkey belongs to a separate genus, Agriocharis, and is found only in Central America. However, fossils of a closely related extinct species, Agriocharis californicus, once inhabited southern California, and are well represented in the La Brea tar pits. Extinct species of turkeys were quite diverse, with many appearing to have had little superficial resemblance to other members of the same subfamily.

Turkeys evolved from the same ancestor as snow partridges and monals. This same lineage eventually split into the branches that gave rise to koklasses, grouses, tragopans, and pheasants. The Mexican subspecies of the Wild Turkey was domesticated by indigenous cultures many centuries ago, and is the progenitor of the majority of domestic breeds.

Like the superficially similar peafowl, turkeys perch on emergent trees in the forest. North American Wild Turkeys are seasonally vegetarian, consequently being capable of utilizing vegetable proteins with great efficiency. Conversely, the Ocellated Turkey is highly insectivorous year-round, requiring higher percentages of animal protein and fat throughout its life cycle.

Turmeric:
A flowering plant (Curcuma longa) in the ginger family, has long been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent, a remedy for digestive disorders and liver problems, and as an effective treatment for skin diseases and wound healing. Today, in a large number of scientific studies, turmeric is being investigated in the United States for these medicinal properties, particularly its ability to reduce inflammation in patients with inflammatory rheumatic disease.

In addition, in one study, turmeric was also found to improve symptoms in the autoimmune eye disorder uveitis. In this study turmeric was shown to be as effective as corticosteroids, but free of the side effects commonly associated with steroids.

Turmeric is native to Asia, where it grows as a perennial flowering plant. The roots are used to produce turmeric powder for medicinal and food uses. With its distinct golden hue, turmeric is used as a food color and as a spice or flavor enhancer. Turmeric is one of the principle ingredients in yellow curries. The active ingredient in turmeric is a substance known as curcumin.

Although curcumin has only recently been studied by Western scientists in relation to its effects on humans, it has been widely studied in animals for its protective effect on the liver, anti-tumor action, anti-inflammatory properties, and its ability to fight infections. In (eastern) Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric has been studied and used as a medicinal agent for thousands of years. Turmeric powder has long been considered an effective treatment for colds and influenza.

Because of its ability to induce bile flow, curcumin helps break down fats and increases the production of stomach acids. It may also help increase pigments that tint blue and green eggshells.

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U

Utility Breed:
The traditional barnyard birds bred for a combination of egg laying and meat production.

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V

Variety:
Specific, recognized variations within a breed, which can be passed on to subsequent generations.

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Z

Zeolite:
Microporous, aluminosilicate minerals commonly used as commercial adsorbents. Natural zeolites form where volcanic rocks and ash layers react with alkaline groundwater. Zeolites also crystallize in post-depositional environments over periods ranging from thousands to millions of years in shallow marine basins.

Zeolites have been used in animal nutrition mainly to improve performance traits, and based on their fundamental physicochemical properties, they have also been tested and found effective in the prevention of ammonia poisonings and heavy metal toxicities, as well as protecting against radioactive element uptake, and reducing metabolic skeletal defects.


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