Glossary of commonly used game bird terms

Never heard of that game bird term? This glossary of terms can help
calendar icon 28 October 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

We want to give credit to the original authors of this listing. It comes from USDA's Poultry Industry Manual: The Foreign Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Plan (FAD PReP)/National Animal Health Emergency Management System (NAHEMS) Guidelines.

Please note: these terms will lean toward those used in the North American game bird market.

Game Bird

Any bird that is used for hunting.

Upland Game Bird

Wild turkeys, partridges, pheasants, and quail (birds in the order of Galliformes). Excluded from this group are waterfowl and pigeons.

Started Bird

Birds ready to leave the brooder house, generally between five and eight weeks of age.

Mature Bird

Birds that have achieved adult weight and plumage and are ready for release onto a preserve or into the wild.

Commercial Production

Game birds raised to generate income for the grower.

Hobby Production

Birds raised for recreational purposes.

Hatching Eggs

Fertile eggs incubated for production of live chicks.


Birds ready for release or placement into the wild or on preserves.

Raised for Release

Game birds being raised for release onto a preserve or into the wild, as opposed to birds that are raised for meat production or breeding.

Straight – Run

Raising or selling birds of both sexes together. Chicks intended for straight-run production are not sexed after hatching.


A wide, saucer shaped, propane-fueled heater for brooding baby chicks.


The shank or featherless area of the leg below the hock.

Vertical Integration

Multiple phases of production encompassed in one company. For instance, a verically integrated company may have breeders, hatchery, commercial production, and hunting preserves. They may also have a feed mill.

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