ANIMAL TERMS AND THEIR PROPER USAGE
What is a capon? What is a lambkin? Here is a list of terms that will help you better understand the words commonly used by breeders and fanciers when discussing the various species.
Livestock are animals kept by people for use or pleasure.
- Bovine is a term relating to cattle.
- Caprine is a term relating to goats.
- Equine is a term relating to horses, mules, zebras, and asses.
- Herd is a grouping of a single species of livestock. There may be exceptions to the term’s usage outside of cattle, horses, asses, swine, and rabbits.
- Ovine is a term relating to sheep.
- Porcine is a term relating to swine.
Ass is a single hoofed mammal of the genus Equus, related to the horses. They typically have a smaller build and longer ears.
- Ass is the correct term used for a donkey, burro, or jackstock.
- Burro is the Spanish term used for donkey (generally used west of the Mississippi)
- A donkey is the domesticated form of an ass.
- A hinny is a hybrid animal that is produced when a female ass (jennet) is crossed with a male horse (stallion).
- Horse hinny is the proper term for a male hinny over three years of age.
- Horse mule is the proper term for a male mule over 3 years of age.
- Jack is a male ass. (Note – young jacks are not referred to as colts)
- Jackstock is the plural referring to American Mammoth jacks and jennets. These animals are properly termed asses and are not referred to as donkeys, and never called burros.
- Jennet or jenny is a female ass. (Note – a young jennet or jenny is not referred to as a filly)
- Jennet jack a male ass used to produce donkeys.
- John is an informal term for a male mule.
- Mule is a hybrid animal that is produced when a male ass (jack) is crossed with a female horse (mare).
- Mule colts (males) and mule fillies (females) are young mules under 3 years of age.
- Mule jack is a male ass used to produce mules.
- Mare hinny is the proper term for a female hinny over three years of age.
- Mare mule is the proper term for a female mule over three years of age.
- Molly is an informal term for a female mule.
Cattle domesticated mammals of the genus Bos.
- Bull is an in-tact male bovine.
- Bull calf is a male calf.
- Calf is a young bovine. This term is used from the time of birth up until about 6 to 10 months of age when the animal is weaned.
- Cow is a female bovine that has had a calf. (This term may also be used for other species)
- Heifer is a female bovine that has not had a calf.
- Heifer calf is a female calf.
- Steer is a castrated male bovine or can be a future ox that is less than 4 years old.
- Ox is castrated bull that has been trained to work and is at least 4 years of age.
- Oxen (two) is the plural of ox.
Goat the domesticated form of capra hircus.
- Buck is a male goat over 1 year of age.
- Buckling is a young male goat less than a year old.
- Doe is a female goat over 1 year of age.
- Doeling is a young female goat less than a year old.
- Flock is a group of goats. (The term may be used in reference to other livestock.)
- Kid is a baby goat of either sex.
- Wether is a castrated male goat (or sheep).
Horse is a domesticated large single hoofed mammal (Equus caballus) with a short-haired coat, a long mane, and a long tail used for riding, pulling, or carrying loads.
- Colt is a male horse under 3 years of age.
- Filly is a female horse under 3 years of age.
- Foal is a young equine under 1 year of age.
- Gelding is a castrated male horse.
- Mare is a female horse after her 4th birthday.
- Stallion is an intact male horse.
Rabbit is a mammal of the family Leporidae or the domesticated Old World species Oryctolagus cuniculus.
- Buck is a male rabbit.
- Doe is a female rabbit.
- Fryer or “young rabbit” is a rabbit that is 2 months old and weighs 3 ¾ lbs to 4 ½ lbs.
- Kit is a baby rabbit.
- Rabbitry is where owners keep their herd of rabbits in separate cages.
- Stewer or “mature rabbit” is a rabbit 3 months of age or older averaging 6 pounds or more.
- Warren is where owners keep their herd of rabbits as a group in a large cage or enclosure.
Sheep the domesticated species ovis aries.
- Ewe is a female sheep at least 1 year of age.
- Ewe lamb is a female sheep under 1 year of age.
- Flock is a group of sheep. (The term may be used in reference to other livestock.)
- Lamb is a young sheep. When referring to meat, lamb is meat from a sheep that is 12-14 months old or less.
- Lambkin or lambling is a newly born lamb.
- Ram is an intact male sheep that is at least one year of age.
- Ram lamb is a male sheep that is under 1 year of age.
- Sheep is a mature ovine at least one year of age and may also refer to the ovine species.
- Wether is a castrated male sheep (or goat).
Swine are even-toed ungulates of the family Suidae, including pigs, hogs, and boars.
- Barrow is a castrated (before sexual maturity) male swine.
- Boar is an adult male swine.
- Gilt is a female swine that has not given birth.
- Drove is a group of swine.
- Feeder pig is a young pig, most often between 40-70lbs that is produced by one farmer and sold to another for growing out to market weight.
- Hog is a mature swine with an adult weight above 150 pounds.
- Lard types of pig were developed to have large deposits of fat that could be more easily butchered from the animal in large chunks. This makes rendering easier and results in less loss of good meat.
- Market hog is a hog that weighs from 220-260 pounds and is 5-7 months of age when it is sent to market.
- Meat types of pig (also known as Bacon types) were developed to have more lean meat with moderate marbling of fat.
- Pig is a young swine that is not sexually mature or a mature swine with an adult weight under 150 pounds.
- Piglet or baby pig refers to a young pig in its first 14-21 days of life and is still nursing.
- Shoat is a young hog (not sexually mature) that has been weaned and is ready for market weighing 150-260 pounds
- Sow is an adult female swine.
- Stag is a castrated (after sexual maturity) male swine.
Poultry are domesticated birds that are kept for meat or eggs including birds of the order Galliformes: chicken, turkey, natatorial (swimming) birds: duck and goose.
- Flock is a group comprised of one species of poultry.
- Trio is typically a group of poultry with one male and two females
Chicken is a common domestic fowl (Gallus domesticus).
- Broiler is a meat chicken processed at the age of 7-12 weeks when it reaches 2 ½ to 3 ½ pounds live weight.
- Fryer is a meat chicken usually marketed at 12-20 weeks.
- Capon are male chickens that have been castrated and they are harvested at 4-8 months old. They weigh 5-9 pounds and produce more white meat and have higher fat content than other chickens.
- Chick is a newly hatched or a very young chicken.
- Cock is a male chicken at least one year of age or older.
- Cockerel is a male chicken less than one year old.
- Cornish game hens are a cross between a Cornish and Plymouth Rock chicken (although originally they were pure Cornish), 4-5 weeks old, weighing about 2 pounds. They may be of either sex.
- Hen is a female chicken at least one year of age.
- Poussin or “spring chicken” is a young chicken, 3-4 weeks old, weighing about 1 pound that is prepared as a single serving.
- Pullet is a female chicken less than one year of age. A pullet is, in industry, a young female that has yet to start laying eggs
- Roasters are chickens that are 6-12 months of age weighing 4-7 pounds.
- Rooster is a male chicken over one year of age.
- Stewing fowl is a mature male or female chicken over one year of age.
Ducks are any wild or domesticated swimming birds of the family Anatidae, typically having a broad, flat bill, short legs, and webbed feet.
- Drake is an adult male duck.
- Duck can refer to a female of the duck family.
- Ducklings are baby ducks.
- Old drake is a male duck over 1 year of age.
- Old duck is a female duck over 1 year of age.
- Young drake is a male duck under 1 year of age.
- Young duck is a female duck under 1 year of age.
Geese are wild or domesticated water birds of the family Anatidae and of the genera Anser and Branta that typically have a shorter neck than a swan and a shorter, more pointed bill than a duck.
- Gander is a male goose over 1 year of age. (Also referred to as old gander.)
- Goose is the singular of geese or a female goose.
- Gosling is a young goose up until feathers have replaced all of their down.
- Old goose is a female goose over 1 year of age.
- Young gander is a male goose under 1 year of age.
- Young goose is a female goose under 1 year of age.
Turkey is a large North American bird (Meleagris gallopavo) that is widely domesticated for food and comes in many varieties.
- Hen is a female turkey over one year of age.
- Old hen is a female turkey over one year of age.
- Old tom is a male turkey over 1 year of age.
- Poult is a young domestic (not wild) turkey.
- Tom is a male turkey.
- Young hen is a female turkey under 1 year of age.
- Young tom is a male turkey under 1 year of age.