Animal Terms and Their Proper Usage

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 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 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 in-tact 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.
  • Market hog is a hog that weighs from 220-260 pounds and is 5-7 months of age when it is sent to market.
  • 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.