In terms of their versatility, chickens are one of the most popular birds among humans. These feathered birds have been bred for their eggs, companionship, and as a food source throughout history. Almost everyone has seen a chicken in their lifetime, that’s how popular this bird is. There are even places where chickens roam freely. The question then becomes, how many chickens are in the world?
Since chickens are such well-known birds, it should only be expected that there are tons of them out there. Check out these fascinating facts about chickens and all we know about the chicken population.
How Many Chickens Are In The World?
How many chickens do you think exist in the world, or even in your own country? Have you ever wondered just how many chickens there are in the world? You would be very mistaken if you thought there were millions of them. As a matter of fact, that number is nowhere near accurate! According to official statistics, the verified chicken population across the globe is more than triple our human population. According to Statista, globally, chicken numbers have more than doubled since 1990. Across the globe, there were 33 billion chickens in 2020, up from 14.3 billion in 2000.
There’s a good chance that you’re completely baffled by this number. After all, who would have believed there were so many chickens on earth at the same time? Now we’re left with another question. Why do there seem to be so many chickens in the world? Let’s explore why chickens are the most dominant bird on earth and why they have stayed that way for so long.
What Is the Appeal of Chickens?
It is no surprise that chickens are in such abundance because they are small, easy to raise, and are a very popular food source, both in terms of meat production and egg production. To begin with, we should consider what an easy and simple process reproduction is for a hen. It only takes one single mating with a rooster for a hen to lay an egg, which is fertilized by the rooster, and, if properly cared for, will hatch into a baby chicken once it has been fertilized. As a result, the process is rather simple.
A continuous increase in chicken consumption is also encouraging chicken factories to pop up more. As compared with cattle production, poultry farming is incredibly economical, and even raising free-range and grass-fed chickens is relatively inexpensive in comparison to cattle.
Among Americans, chicken is the most popular meat due to its low price. Chicken is a popular choice among home cooks because of its mild flavor and ease of preparation. The convenience and affordability of eggs make them a popular protein source in many cuisines around the world. As well as being versatile, eggs can be used in everything from sandwiches to baked goods. Due to an increase in human consumption of chicken, the number of chickens is on the rise. This has resulted in a substantial increase in chicken populations.
With a better understanding of why chickens are so popular, let’s see which countries have the most chickens.
Which Countries Have The Most Chickens?
In Asia, chickens originated as a species, and they remain popular to this day. China had the highest number of chickens in 2019 with over 5.14 billion, according to official statistics. Indonesia followed China with approximately 3.7 billion chickens. Following them were the USA, Brazil, Pakistan, Iran, India, Mexico, Russia, and Myanmar.
It is estimated that there are around 518 million chickens in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. While it is true that all U.S. states produce chickens, there are some states that are much more active than others in chicken production. It is estimated that there are 60 million chickens in Iowa, which leads the country in the number of chickens. Iowa is followed by Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. In spite of this, Iowa has nearly 20 million more chickens than any other state. As a matter of fact, the USA ranks third in world chicken production. The top spot, however, belongs to China.
We now know how chickens are distributed around the world, but how long have they existed? Let’s find out more!
How Long Have Chickens Been On The Planet?
Chickens are descendants of theropod dinosaurs. After 230 million years, this dinosaur group evolved into two groups known as Ceratosauria and Tetanurae. This resulted in a new division of the Ceratosaurida into the ceratosaurids and the coelophysoids. As a result of these two events, the Tyrannosaurus rex was born. It has been determined that domestic chickens are the closest living relatives of T. rex through genetic analysis. That’s pretty wild, isn’t it?
The modern chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) arose from a wild jungle fowl that inhabited Southeast Asia about 50 million years ago. Although research has shown the yellow skin of the domestic chicken is inherited from the gray jungle hen, Gallus sonneratii, the red jungle hen is more likely its ancestor. However, there is an excellent chance that some of today’s most popular chicken varieties have several ancestors. Finally, chickens were first domesticated between 8,000 and 10,000 years ago.
Humans have only lived on this planet for a short time compared to chickens. Their connection to one of the most feared dinosaurs is also pretty shocking.
What Are The Most Popular Chicken Breeds?
Chickens come in a variety of breeds. There are certain chicken breeds that breeders and pet owners prefer over others. Some chickens are better for laying eggs while others are friendlier.
The five most popular chicken breeds are:
- Australorp: These chickens are a great choice for anyone who owns a flock of chickens. These Australian birds are dual-purpose as they can be used for both eggs and meat, are friendly, and have a long lifespan.
- Orpington: As a result of their gentle nature, Orpington chickens make great pets. Additionally, they are extremely fluffy and gorgeous!
- Plymouth Rock: In the 19th century, Plymouth Rock chickens became the most popular breed in the United States. Despite their calm nature, they are very hardy and love to roam freely.
- Brahma: Known for their large size and calm temperament, Brahma chickens are tougher than they look. As well as that, they are tolerant of cold and damp weather conditions. Their initial purpose was to produce meat but they also lay about 150 brown eggs a year.
- Sussex: This breed is an excellent choice for small farms and homesteads because of its active nature and ability to produce meat and eggs. There are three recognized colors of hens: speckled, red, and light. They lay 250 light brown eggs each year.
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