Author Topic: Terminology  (Read 8668 times)

John W Blehm

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« on: March 06, 2015, 07:39:27 PM »
These chicken breeding terminology definitions are based on definitions from "Start Where You Are With What You Have," by Ralph Sturgeon; the Merriam-Webster dictionary; The Poultry Consultancy and other sources. 
Breed - birds that meet a written "Standard" description.  Often called a recognized or accepted breed.
Purebred - a breed that shares the same genetic makeup, although it would be next to impossible to be "pure" (homozygous) for every trait.
Standard bred - birds that are bred to a "Standard", but not necessarily claimed to be "purebred".
Pedigree - birds with a recorded linage over several generations are considered pedigreed.  This is mainly used in commercial hybrid flocks. 
Variety - generally relates to the color and pattern of a bird's feathers.  There can be many varieties within a breed.
Strain or Line - birds of a certain breed and variety that aren't closely related may be of different strains or lines.
Mixed breed - when at least one parent bird is not a recognized breed.  Several, often unknown, breeds may be involved.

Crossbreed & Outcross
Although there are various definitions for these two terms they can be confusing when we are not using common definitions for them in our discussions.  I think it would be clearer to use terms like, strain-cross, variety-cross, breed-cross & species-cross to make it obvious what cross mating is being discussed.  They would then all just refer to the different levels of "crossbreeding".
Crossbreeding - "mating two...individuals from (two) totally different breeds"...crossing recognized breeds and/or mongrel chickens.  Crossbreeding has the word "breed" in it, so when I read it I relate it to crossing Breeds, even though it is used as a verb.  Crossbreeding can also refer to crossing two different species to create a hybrid, but generally we are only talking about one species here - chickens.   
Outcrossing - crossing (mating/breeding) different strains/lines or even varieties within a particular breed...crossing birds of the same recognized breed, but not from the same flock (strain/line).  It is a way of bringing "new blood" and genes into a flock.         

Inbreed & Linebreed

Inbreeding is "the controlled mating of brother to sister, mother to son, father to daughter" to preserve and fix desirable traits & eliminate unfavorable ones.  Inbreeding could be viewed as the strictest form of Linebreeding.
Linebreeding is the tool most often used by breeders.  Linebreeding is mating "first cousins, nieces with uncles, grandparents with grandchildren and so on" within a line or stain.  Keep in mind definitions may vary and even though Inbreeding can be seen as close Linebreeding generally think of Linebreeding as somewhere between Inbreeding and Outcrossing.

Commonly Used Abbreviations

C = Cock, a male one year or older
H = Hen, a female one year or older
K = Cockerel, a male under one year old
P = Pullet, a female under one year old
BB = Best of Breed, RB = Reserve of Breed
BV = Best of Variety, RV = Reserve of Variety
AOV = *Any Other Variety,
LF = Large Fowl
AOCCL = Any Other Comb Clean Legged (bantams only)
AOSB = All Other Standard Breeds (large fowl only)
ABA = American Bantam Association
APA = American Poultry Association

F1, F2, F3, etc. The "F" stands for Filial = The offspring of genetically different parents.  F1 (also written as F1) designates the first filial generation of chicks hatched from parents of different/contrasting genotypes.  Mating two F1 birds produces the F2 generation, mating two F2 birds produces the F3 generation, etc.

At poultry shows only cocks, hens, cockerels and pullets are entered into competition.  Those are the proper terms when exhibiting.
For breeding purposes we don't always distinguish between cocks and cockerels or hens and pullets.  Sometime age doesn't matter.  Often we will use the terms male and female just to distinguish sexes.  Rooster may be used here also for male.   

*More on AOV

Ameraucanas are not entered in shows as AOV.  All chickens are always entered under their proper variety name whether recognized or not. AOV seems to be an abbreviation that causes a lot of confusion.  It is defined in the APA Standard as "All Other Varieties, or Any Other Variety", but that is it.
If you only raise/breed wheaten Ameraucanas then AOV could include all varieties except wheaten to you or in conversation.  If a black Ameraucana wins Best of Breed (BB), then AOV could include all the losing varieties.  Other than the definition given in the APA Standard, I haven't read anywhere where they use it.

For most of us longtime Ameraucana exhibitors AOV has historically meant to mean any variety that isn't one of the recognized varieties.  With, black, blue, blue wheaten, brown red, buff, silver, wheaten and white being the only varieties that are recognized/accepted by the APA/ABA, lavender, splash, and All Other Varieties are considered AOV, by us, at our sanctioned meets...but once again never entered as "AOV"...always by the variety name.

Our club may give out awards for Best AOV and Reserve AOV.  When two or more AOVs are competing at an Ameraucana meet we want the judge to pick the best and reserve AOV and there is a place on our Meet Report Form for the show superintendent to fill in that information.  This extra judging isn't something the APA/ABA asks for or cares about.  It is only for our club.  Other breed clubs sometimes request "special" judging at their meets also.  Just as we also request for judging of Champion and Reserve Champion Ameraucana Over-All, between the BB & RB bantams and large fowl at our National Meet.       

« Last Edit: September 20, 2021, 02:15:35 PM by John W Blehm »

John W Blehm

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Re: Terminology
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2015, 07:42:57 PM »
Best or Champion?

We use "Best" when describing the Best of Breed (BB) and Best of Variety (BV), but when it gets to the class levels, like AOSB and AOCCL, and higher the best is called "Champion".  This is the terminology used by both the APA & ABA and I'm sure the Ameraucana Alliance will follow suit.

Second best in a class is called "Reserve Champion" or just "Reserve" as in Reserve AOSB.

What is Class?

The word "class" can cause confusion.  Above, I'm using it to refer to classes that breeds are lumped into, but when you get down to the different sexes (cock, hen, cockerel & pullet) they are each a different "class" also.   
What is a Display?

A Display is 7 or more birds of the same breed and variety, shown by the same exhibitor, and must include at least 1 cock, 1 hen, 1 cockerel, 1 pullet and 1 trio. 
Quote from: [url=
According to the ABA's Official Show Report Form...[/url]]...All entries of a display shall be of the same variety and of the same breed of bantam. A display shall consist of five or more entries to be made up of not less than one entry in each of cock, hen, cockerel, pullet and trio classes.  At shows not catering to trios, a display shall consist of seven or more entries in the cock, hen, cockerel and pullet classes. (One cock, hen, cockerel and pullet plus three more birds.)...
« Last Edit: February 08, 2019, 01:36:50 PM by John W Blehm »

John W Blehm

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Re: Terminology
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2015, 07:45:53 PM »
What is a "standard" chicken?

Did anyone ever ask you if you have "standard" chickens, when they really want to know if you have "large fowl"?  This is not just a problem with new-comers to the fancy, but many old timers, breed clubs and show clubs refer to large fowl as standards.  It is true that if the bird looks like what the American Poultry Association's (APA) written "standard" says it should it is a standard.  But, so is any bantam chicken that looks like what the "standard" says it should.  If your birds are not mongrels they are standard chickens, regardless of their size, or any other traits.  My bantam chickens are standards, because they are bred to meet the standard.  I have standard bantams and standard large fowl.  Some will say they mean a standard "size" bird.  But there again my bantams are standard size when they meet the weights described in the standard.  They could call a large fowl a regular sized chicken as opposed to a banty, or miniature chicken, and that is fine when using colloquial terms.  Once someone understands what the word "standard" means relative to breeding they should begin to use the proper terminology.

Breeds, Varieties and Strains

Also note that Breeds, Varieties and Strains (lines) are different things.  Plymouth Rock is a breed.  Barred is a variety and Joe's barred Plymouth Rocks could be a stain of that breed and variety bred by some guy named Joe.

These are just some observations about some poultry terminology and you may add to the list.  It is not a list to pick on anyone, but rather to get us all on the same page and not promote a bilingual fancy.  When in doubt about the proper jargon, in the poultry world, check the APA "standard".
« Last Edit: September 06, 2021, 11:46:15 AM by John W Blehm »

Denise Baker

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Re: Terminology
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2015, 01:18:36 PM »
Or just ask some one who knows better.  It's nice to know, but if unsure, just ask.  We have a lot of the best of the best here in AA. I'm sure I will always be able to find some one who knows better and willing to share experience and knowledge.  I find a lot of those"some one"s in my AA club.  Gee I wish I could say that without sounding like I'm in a 10 step program.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2015, 01:20:44 PM by Denise Baker »
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Rebecca G Howie

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Re: Terminology
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2016, 10:09:44 PM »
Thanks, have wondered about some of those abbreviations, some I kind of figured out jest of them by context when reading. I don't show, but it nice to know and understand.

John W Blehm

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Re: Terminology
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2018, 02:26:11 PM »
Fowl Stuff FAQ page
Roosters are not entered into poultry show competition at APA sanctioned meets.  They only accept Cocks (C), Hens (H), Cockerels (K) or Pullets (P) whether they are chickens or another species of poultry.  Laymen that aren't into the poultry fancy may call a "cock and hen" a "rooster and chicken.  Even though chicken refers to all chickens regardless of gender it has sometimes been used to mean just female (hen) chickens, just as "dog" refers to all dogs but also specifically to male dogs. 
Some poultry shows are now trying to "cleanse" their Entry Forms of the word cock, due to cultural correctness, by titling their gender categories as Old Male, Old Female, Young Male and Young Female.  When questioned some will claim those titles are more inclusive when it comes to waterfowl, guinea fowl and turkeys, but the reality is they have to revert back to C, H, K and P when they fill out the APA meet report formFor the purpose of this report: C=Cock, Old Drake, Old Gander or Old Tom; H-Hen, Old Duck, Old Goose or Old Hen; K=Cockerel, Young Drake, Young Gander, Young Tom; P=Pullet, Young Duck, Young Goose, Young Hen. And yes, the ABA also uses "C, H, K, P" for bantam ducks on their form.  Someday this terminology may change, but for now it would be nice to see my fellow fanciers be more professional and less concerned with a few ignorant giggles and grins.   
« Last Edit: September 06, 2021, 11:52:43 AM by John W Blehm »