One of the most useful farm animals, a chicken can provide eggs, meat, and pest control. One appealing thing about chickens is that, wherever they live, they provide inexpensive forms of protein, from meat to eggs, without requiring large amounts of space or feed.
Scientific & Common Names
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Aves
Order - Galliformes
Family - Phasianidae
Subfamily - Phasianinae
Genus - Gallus
Species & Subspecies - G. gallus domesticus
Common Names - Chicken; hen (female); pullet (young female); rooster (male); cockerel (young male); cock (male);
The appearance of a chicken can vary widely. They all have squat bodies, feathers, combs and wattles, two legs and two wings. While chickens are birds, they have significantly lost their ability to fly. Some breeds can fly short distances, but meat breeds cannot fly at all. Bantam (miniature) birds are quite small, usually about 1/4 of the size of the standard variety. Standard birds can weigh between 4 and 12 pounds. Roosters have long spikes on their feet called spurs that may be used to attack other roosters or predators.
Chickens reach adulthood around six months of age. At this time, the hens will begin laying eggs and the roosters are capable of reproducing.
Roosters crow whenever they feel like it. Hens cluck and squawk. Some breeds are more vocal than others. Chickens spend their days scratching for seeds and bugs, laying eggs, taking dust baths, and investigating their world. Some breeds are better foragers than others and some are more aggressive than others. All chickens prefer to sleep at night and off of the ground, on roosts or in trees. Chickens prefer to live in flocks and don't mind if there is no rooster in the flock. In some breeds, hens will lay a clutch of eggs, incubate them, and care for their chicks. However, other breeds have had the instinct to raise their chicks bred out of them.
Scientists believe that all chickens are descendants of the Red Jungle Fowl of southeast Asia. This bird still exists in the wild. Records indicate that over 3000 years before the time of Christ, chickens were domesticated and kept as useful animals in India. Originally, most chickens were kept for cockfighting, a cruel sport where owners wager on fighting roosters equipped with razors attached to combs and spurs. However, in the 18th century people began to use chickens for eggs and meat rather than fighting. Poultry exhibitions became popular in the United States during the mid-1800s and led to the development of 175 varieties of chickens.
The chicken is the most numerous kind of bird across the world. Chickens are kept in every country across the globe.