Age Indicators

Poultry Parts
Dressed Poultry
Standards & Grades
Age Indicators
Sex Indicators
USDA Labels

  Young Birds Mature Birds
Comb Chickens Pliable, resilient, not wrinkled, points sharp. Wrinkled, coarser, thicker points. rounded.
Bill Ducks Pliable- Not completely hardened. Hardened.
Plumage Fresh, glossy appearance Faded, worn except in birds which have recently molted.
Fat Smooth layers with brighter color. Not lumpy over feather tracts. Generally darker in color, inclined to lumpiness over heavy feather tracts.
Breastbone Cartilage, if present, pliable and soft End of keel- hardened cartilage, bony.
Pinbones Pliable. Not pliable.
Shanks Scales on shanks, smooth small. Scales larger, rough, and slightly raised.
Oil Sac Small, soft. Enlarged, often hardened.
Spurs (Male chickens. turkeys. occasionally adult females) Small, undeveloped. Corn-like Spurs gradually increase in length with age, becoming somewhat curved and sharper. Hens often have fine, sharp spurs after first year
Wind pipe Ducks, Geese Easily dented. Hardened. almost bone-like to the touch.
Flesh Tender-meated, translucent appearance. Fine texture. Coarser texture, darker, hardened muscle fibers.
Drumsticks Lacking in development, muscles easily dented. Generally rounded, full, firm.
Sex does not become a factor in classing poultry until such time as the natural differences in the body conformation and distribution of flesh become quite evident. This never happens in such classes as geese and most breeds of ducks.

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