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Chicken Glossary: A Glossary Of The Different Chicken Types

Page 5: Chicken Terms G To M

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  Chicken Hearts
A plate of chicken hearts, part of the giblets. Photo by Hipkorat | IST.

Edible parts of the bird that are not dark meat or white meat: specifically, the gizzard, heart, liver and neck. They can be cooked in soups or stews and added to rice dishes and stuffing. Centuries ago the term had another meaning: in Old French and Middle English, gibelet was a stew of game, gibelotte a rabbit stew.



An organ that contains grit for grinding up the grain and plant fiber a chicken eats. It’s part of the giblets that come with a whole chicken, and is chewy and delicious.


A plate of raw chicken gizzards. Photo by Jack F. | IST.

Boned chicken that has been ground in a meat grinder. If you are purchasing it (as opposed to grinding it yourself), check the label to be understand what you’re getting. The leanest option is white meat only, no skin, about 3% fat, and is labeled “ground chicken breast.” Regular “ground chicken” is generally made from white and dark meat with some skin, and has about 10% fat. Some options may be all dark meat with skin, comprising about 15% fat.


The bird is split from front to back through the backbone and tail to produce two halves of approximately equal weight. The upper half (the breast and wing, or breast quarter) is white meat; the lower half (thigh and drumstick, or leg quarter) is dark meat.



A mature female chicken. The hen is the egg layer. Hens will continue to lay eggs as they age, but the number will decrease over time. The most eggs are produced during the first one to four years of laying. When their production is no longer profitable, they are turned into stew chickens.

  Half Chicken
A half chicken: breast, wing, thigh and drumstick. Photo courtesy

The offspring of a hen and rooster of different breeds, each of which might themselves be crossbred; often erroneously applied to the offspring of a hen and rooster of different strains within a breed.



The process of hatching fertile eggs, which takes place in an incubator, a device that provides warmth and other favorable conditions. According to The History Of Food, the Romans are believed to have invented the incubator by keeping egg-filled chambers warm with hot mist. The Egyptians and Chinese before them kept the eggs in warm ovens.



The leg of the chicken is the thigh-drumstick combination. It is all dark meat. The whole leg differs from the leg quarter in that id does not contain a portion of the back. Some markets sell a boneless, skinless leg: the whole leg with the skin and bone removed. Boneless, skinless thighs are available, as well.


The leg quarter comprises the drumstick, thigh and lower back.


A chicken leg. Photo courtesy
A miniature chicken is different from a bantam chicken. While bantams are very small breeds (and should not be confused with young chickens, or poussin), up to half the size of a standard chicken, a miniature chicken is a smaller version of a standard-size chicken. Most large chicken breeds have a miniature counterpart. Miniatures are usually one-fifth to one-quarter the size of the standard breed, but they should exhibit all of the standard breed’s characteristics.


The feathers, or whiskers, sticking out from both sides of the face, under the beak, of such breeds as Ameraucana, Faverolle and Houdan.

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A Houdan chicken. Photo courtesy Check out the many beautiful fancy breeds.
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Last Updated  May 2018

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