Chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus) are domesticated birds that are raised for meat and eggs. There are over 24 billion chickens worldwide. Raising chickens is relatively inexpensive. Because of the low cost, chicken meat (also called "chicken") is one of the most common kinds of meat in the world.
Most breeds of chickens can fly for short distances and some roost in trees. Chickens are omnivores. In the wild, they often scratch at the soil to search for seeds, insects and even animals as large as lizards, small snakes or young mice.
Chickens may live for five to ten years, depending on their breed. The world's oldest chicken died of heart failure at the age of 16 according to Guinness World Records.
Male chickens are called a rooster or a cocks (short for cockerel), female chickens are called hens, and young chicken are called a chicks. Roosters can usually be differentiated from hens by a striking plumage of long flowing tails and shiny pointed feathers on their necks (hackles) and backs (saddle.) However, in some breeds, such as the Sebright chicken, the rooster has only slightly pointed neck feathers, the same color as the hen's.
Adult chickens have a fleshy crest on their heads called a comb, or cockscomb, and hanging flaps of skin either side under their beaks called wattles. Collectively, these and other fleshy protuberances on the head and throat are called caruncles. Both roosters and hens female have wattles and combs, but in most breeds they are more prominent in males. Several breeds of chickens have an extra feathering under their face, giving the appearance of a beard.
Genetic studies have indicated that chickens originated in Asia. From India, the domesticated chicken was imported to Lydia in western Asia Minor, and to Greece by the fifth century BC. Chickens had been known in Egypt since the mid-15th century BC, with the "bird that gives birth every day" having come to Egypt from the land between Syria and Shinar, Babylonia. The chicken genome has changed less from their dinosaur ancestors than most birds.
Overall chickens are an excellent livestock for a backyard farm, a small, ranch, or a major ranching business. They are fairly low maintenance, safe around small kids, and their eggs and meat are eggcellent…especially when they were laid on your own farm, or backyard!