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South African Show Poultry Organisation

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on your question below to display the answer. Click again to close the panel.

If your question is not there, or if you want more information, check out the Southern African Show Poultry Organisation (SASPO) Glossary of Terms which can be downloaded. A lot of info is also available directly from the websites of the SASPO and the Pretoria Poultry Club.

If you still have a problem, please do not hesitate to email us directly by clicking on the email link above.

What is a "Standard of Perfection"
Poultry breeding organizations such as the Southern African Poultry Organisation (SASPO) or Show Poultry Southern African (SPSA) as well as international organizations such as the American Poultry Association or the Poultry Club of Great Britain maintain a Standard of Perfection or Breed Standard for each of the poultry breeds recognized by them. The relevant Breed Standard can be obtained from their respective websites.
What is Standard-bred / Breed Standard Quality?
Standard-bred Poultry refers to poultry bred according to a Standard of Perfection that describes the shape, colour and characteristics of each breed and variety in detail. The descriptions and characteristics reflect the prototypical production bird, either for laying or meat purposes or both. In addition, Standard Bred poultry are capable of natural reproduction and breed uniformly and to type (American Poultry Association).
What is a pullet?
A female chicken under the age of one year.
What is a hen?
A female chicken over one year of age.
What is a cockerel?
A male chicken under one year of age.
What is a cock?
A male chicken over one year of age
Why are my pullets not laying?
The most important reason why pullets are not laying, together with all the reasons hens don't lay, are that they are too young. See point of lay below.
Why are my hens not laying?

The most important reasons hens are not laying are usually because of one or more of the following:

Moulting (just wait the required two to three months)
Lice infected (treat with inter alia Karbadust)
Stressed (remove cause)
Sick (treat the disease)
Too old (cull)

What is "moulting"?
Moulting is when poultry change their feathers (moult), usually once a year. Chickens start to moult after their first laying seasons of about 10 months and the process of molting takes about two to three months, followed by the next laying season of about ten months. The cycle repeats for the life of the chicken.
What is "point of lay"?
A misnomer, as point-of-lay is generally considered at four to five months of age, while chickens only actually start laying around six months of age. Even this various according to breed and external factors such as the time of year the pullets were raised. For example, pullets hatched in spring will reach maturity as winter approaches (together with reducing day-length), and start laying later. To avoid confusion, ask for the actual age of the pullets.
What is "just in lay"?
A term coined by ourselves to resolve the uncertainty of the term “point of lay”. The term refers to pullets that have just started laying, which is at about six months of age. Varies according to breed and external factors such as the time of year the pullets were raised. For example, pullets hatched in spring will reach maturity as winter approaches (together with reducing day-length), and start laying later.
What is Inbreeding?
Mating of related chickens - The same ancestor occurring within five generations on both sides of the pedigree. The degree of inbreeding can be measured through the Sewall Wright Inbreeding Coefficient defined as "The proportion of homozygous genes over and above the average for the population”. If inbreeding becomes too high, size and fertility will decrease while deformities will increase. Solve by out-crossing.
What is an Out-cross?
Mating of chickens of the same breed not related within five generations. Significantly, mating an inbred chicken with another chicken unrelated within five generations will result in offspring with zero inbreeding. This holds even if both are highly inbred, they must just not be related within five generations.
What is a Cross / Cross breeding?
Mating of chickens of different breeds. Not advisable to the serious breeder wishing to breed Standard Bred poultry. Cross bred chickens cannot produce predictable offspring if they are bred from.
What is a Commercial Cross?
Cross breeding chickens of different breeds with the aim of producing a terminal generation of offspring with superior production qualities by utilizing so-called "hybrid vigour". Such crosses, no matter how good the production qualities, should not be bred from as the sought after qualities in the next generation will be totally unpredictable, ranging from good to bad.
What is a Niche?

Scientifically defined as The functional role an organism plays in it's environment. In terms of small scale chicken farming, the functional role a small scale producer must carve out for himself is one that is relatively unique and free from significant competition, especially from the large companies. Such as niche should fulfill a need as well as enable a small farmer to make a sustainable living.

What is a Pathogen?
A Pathogen is a bacterium, virus, or other microorganism that can cause disease.


© Frikkie & Sonia van Kraayenburg 2018