A “Herd of Horses”, a “Fluffle of Bunnies” – A Gilt, a Heifer and a Filly


Most folks are familiar with the terms used to describe large groups of common animals – a flock of birds, a herd of horses, etc. – and a few trivia buffs have probably even heard of a “crash” of rhinos, or, a “murder” of crows. That being said, how many have given a second thought to the nomenclature used to describe animals on the farm? Well, this is where it becomes a little bit complicated – for instance, a group of piglets is called a “farrow”, juvenile pigs group together in a “drift” and older pigs can be found in a “saunder”. Similarly,  you might stumble across a “down” of hares, a “warren” of rabbits, or a “fluffle” of bunnies. Most will also be aware that a rooster is a male chicken and a hen is the female, or that “stallion” and “mare” are the terms used for male and female horses. But this too can be further broken down. A young female pig, who has not yet had piglets, is called a “gilt” and is only called a sow after farrowing (giving birth). A young female cow, who has not calved, is called a “heifer” and is only called a cow after giving birth. The same conditions, applied to a young female horse, is called a “filly”.

Why are there so many terms for different breeds ages and even conditions of certain animals? Counterintuitively, this reason is to make things simpler. While there is a learning curve involved with committing the various terms to memory, a single term can replace an entire sentence and convey a concise meaning. This way, farmers can have a brief conversation and know exactly which animals need help, are being introduced to the farm, or need to be fed. Just for fun, I’ve included a (far from exhaustive) list of terms for groups of animals from www.yourdictionary.com… enjoy!

  • Apes: a shrewdness
  • Badgers: a cete
  • Bats: a colony or a camp
  • Bears: a sloth or a sleuth
  • Bees: a swarm
  • Buffalo: a gang or obstinacy
  • Camels: a caravan
  • Cats: a clowder or a glaring; Kittens: a litter or a kindle; Wild cats: a destruction
  • Cobras: a quiver
  • Crocodiles: a bask
  • Crows: a murder
  • Dogs: a pack; Puppies: a litter
  • Donkeys: a drove
  • Eagles: a convocation
  • Elephants: a parade
  • Elk: a gang or a herd
  • Falcons: a cast
  • Ferrets: a business
  • Fish: a school
  • Flamingos: a stand
  • Fox: a charm
  • Frogs: an army
  • Geese: a gaggle
  • Giraffes: a tower
  • Gorillas: a band
  • Hippopotami: a bloat
  • Hyenas: a cackle
  • Jaguars: a shadow
  • Jellyfish: a smack
  • Kangaroos: a troop or a mob
  • Lemurs: a conspiracy
  • Leopards: a leap
  • Lions: a pride
  • Moles: a labor
  • Monkeys: a barrel or a troop
  • Mules: a pack
  • Otters: a family
  • Oxen: a team or a yoke
  • Owls: a parliament
  • Parrots: a pandemonium
  • Pigs: a drift or drove (younger pigs) or a sounder or a team (older pigs)
  • Porcupines: a prickle
  • Rabbits: a warren
  • Rats: a colony
  • Ravens: an unkindness
  • Rhinoceroses: a crash
  • Shark: a shiver
  • Skunk: a stench
  • Snakes: a nest
  • Squirrels: a dray or a scurry
  • Stingrays: a fever
  • Swans: a bevy or a game (if in flight: a wedge)
  • Tigers: an ambush or a streak
  • Toads: a knot
  • Turkeys: a gang or a rafter
  • Turtles: a bale or a nest
  • Weasels: a colony, a gang or a pack
  • Whales: a pod, a school, or a gam
  • Wolves: a pack
  • Zebras: a zeal

Blog written by: Connor Newman, Hodges Farm Manager

Reference: https://grammar.yourdictionary.com/word-lists/list-of-names-for-groups-of-animals.html

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