The history of chickens is much like the wolf being the common ancestor of dog-breeds. Scientists have compared DNA and found that every breed of domesticated chicken descended from the ‘Red Jungle-fowl’. The Jungle-fowl and various chicken breeds have been spread around the world by us humans for thousands of years.
They likely originated in Asia, where it is believed they were first domesticated some 8-10,000 years ago. They have been around for a very very long time, they are infact the closest living relative of the dinosaur T-Rex. The next time you see a chicken, look into its eyes and look at its feet! They have ‘Raptor’ written all over them!
We have engineered the Jungle-fowl into an amazing variety of sizes, shapes and colours. The natural robustness of this wild chicken has enabled it to thrive across the world in many different climates and habitats.
Here are a few more random and unusual facts that you may find interesting!
There are more chickens on earth than their are people, over 3 billion in China alone.
A chickens’ heart beats at an astounding 280-315 beats per minute.
If you have a fear of chickens then you are Alektorophobic.
In their natural environment chickens are very clean and preen their feathers everyday.
Chickens are ‘omnivores’, they eat both meat and vegetables. Chickens like grit in their diet, this helps them to digest their food.
Wild chickens can live up to eleven years which is alot longer than confined chickens who are farmed for their eggs and meat. ‘Broiler’ chickens (chickens bred for their meat) are only with us for a short time, about 6-8 weeks!!
Chickens live together as a flock, much like other birds.
Some breeds of chicken can lay coloured eggs. Ameracana and Aracana can lay eggs in shades of green and blue.
Chickens are very sociable, they form firm friendships, preferring chickens that they know whilst avoiding those they do not.
Over 29 million eggs are eaten everyday in the UK.
Chickens are not completely flightless, they can fly enough to get over a fence or into a tree.
Headless Mike was a famous chicken who had his head chopped off and survived for over 18 months. He was fed and watered through a pipette.
Chickens have been with us for thousands of years and will probably be around for thousands more. They are adaptable, sociable and intelligent, not the dumb, smelly birds that some people view them as. Scientists have learned that chickens can be cunning and deceptive, they possess communication skills and they can solve complex problems. Chickens can actually learn their names and just like us, they can recognise each other.
We cannot talk about chickens without asking the question:
Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
An age old riddle that has been debated by many, I have my answer but what will yours be?