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Chicken in Kampung Juara, Pulau Tioman
Chicken drinking from a bucket, Kampung Juara, Pulau Tioman
Chickens near Pantai Tutong, Brunei
The humble chicken is thought to originate from the red jungle fowl and the grey jungle fowl, found in the rainforests of India. Today, the domestic chicken is thought to be more closely related to the grey jungle fowl due to the yellow colouring of it's skin. Although they are similar, the Indian jungle fowl is about half the size of a domestic chicken today.

The chicken was thought to be domesticated more than 10,000 years ago where the Indians and later the Vietnamese bred chickens for meat, feathers and eggs. The domestication of chickens is thought to have then spread rapidly across Asia and into Europe and Africa resulting in the chicken being the most widely farmed animal today.

There are thought to be at least 25 billion chickens worldwide, which is the highest population of any bird in the world. The chicken usually gets to about 40 cm tall and surprisingly, the chicken is one of the species of bird that is not very successful as far as flying is concerned. The longest recorded flight of a chicken is 13 seconds and the longest recorded distance is 301.5 feet.

The male chicken is typically referred to as a cockerel but is known as a rooster in some countries such as Australia. A female chicken is called a hen and the little, fluffy yellow babies are called chicks. Chickens can live for up to 4 or 5 years in the wild but many commercially farmed chickens usually do not exceed the age of one. Many chickens have been known to live for longer and the oldest recorded chicken was said to live until it was 16 years old

Chickens are omnivorous animals meaning that they eat a mixture of plant and animal matter. Although chickens are commonly seen scratching on the ground in search of seeds, berries and insects, chickens have also been known to eat larger animals such as lizards and even small mice.

Chickens are easy prey for numerous predators including foxes, cats, dogs, raccoons, snakes and even large rats. Chicken eggs are also a very popular snack for many of these animals and are also stolen by other animals including larger birds and weasels.

Chickens are kept by humans for their meat and eggs. Breeders tend to keep different types of chicken for these different purposes and meat chickens will often only reach 3 months old before they are killed, which is why it is crucial that chicken eaters ensure that the chicken they are eating has had the best existence possible in it's few months of life. The same principle applies to the egg laying chickens with the typical commercial hen laying around 300 eggs in one year. After that, the hens tend to start laying fewer eggs and are generally killed by their breeder.

Chickens are very sociable birds and are at their happiest when surrounded by other chickens. In one chicken flock there can be any number of hens but generally only one cockerel who is the dominant male. The dominant cockerel pushes other cockerels out of their flock when they start becoming big enough to be a threat to him. The dominant male is usually the mating partner for all of the hens that he watches over.

Chicken is one of the most widespread meats in the world with numerous cultures having their own special ways to prepare and eat chickens. The UK's most common dish is roast chicken, the USA's most common dish is fried chicken and in China they use every part of the chicken including their feet which are commonly found in soup.

There has been a great deal of media attention focused on chickens in the last few years, mainly concerning the welfare of commercially farmed chickens. Intensive farming occurs around the world where meat chickens are force fed and packed in a shed with hundreds of thousands of other chickens often with no free space for the chickens to walk around. Egg laying chickens are shut in tiny cages and are slaughtered when they no longer produce as many eggs as they used to. The conditions that intensively farmed chickens live in are utterly disgusting, which is why chicken lovers should fork out a few extra pennies for organic or free range meat and eggs, to ensure that the chicken has had a good quality of life.

Chicken Comments (16)

paisley smith

"very interesting"

paisley smith

" i got chickens"


"I like chickens and they are cool"

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Chicken Translations

Catalan Català
German Deutsch
English English
Esperanto Esperanto
Bankiva koko
French Français
Coq doré
Croatian Hrvatski
Divlja kokoš
Indonesian Bahasa Indonesia
Ayam-hutan Merah
Italian Italiano
Gallus gallus
Hungarian Magyar
Malay Bahasa Melayu
Ayam Hutan
Dutch Nederlands
Japanese 日本語
Polish Polski
Kur bankiwa
Portuguese Português
Finnish Suomi
Swedish Svenska
Röd djungelhöna
Chinese 中文

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Chicken Facts

Five groups that classify all living things...
A group of animals within the animal kingdom...
A group of animals within a pylum...
A group of animals within a class...
A group of animals within an order...
A group of animals within a family...
Scientific Name:
Comprised of the genus followed by the species...
Gallus Gallus
The animal group that the species belongs to...
What kind of foods the animal eats...
Size (L):
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is...
30cm - 45cm (11.8in - 17.7in)
Wingspan:45cm - 60cm (17.7in - 23.6in)
The measurement of how heavy the animal is...
1kg - 3kg (2.2lbs - 6.6lbs)
Top Speed:
The fastest recorded speed of the animal...
10km/h (6mph)
Life Span:
How long the animal lives for...
2 - 4 years
Whether the animal is solitary or sociable...
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct...
The colour of the animal's coat or markings...
Red, Black, Brown, White, Yellow, Orange
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal...
Favourite Food:Seeds
The specific area where the animal lives...
Open woodland and sheltered grassland
Average Clutch Size:
The average number of eggs laif at once...
Main Prey:
The food that the animal gains energy from...
Seeds, Fruit, Insects, Berries
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal...
Human, Fox, Raccoon
Distinctive Features:
Characteristics unique to the animal...
Sharp, pointed beak and clucking sounds

Related Animals

Rows of tiny plates line their teeth!
Guinea FowlGuinea Fowl
Found in a vairety of African habitats!
Most commonly found on the Indian mainland!
Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!
Closely related to pheasants and chickens!
Feathered legs and toes!