The traditional poultry farming view of the domestication of the chicken is stated in Encyclopædia Britannica (2007): "Humans first domesticated chickens of Indian origin for the purpose of cockfighting in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Very little formal attention was given to egg or meat production... " Recent genetic studies have pointed to multiple maternal origins in Southeast, East, and South Asia, but with the clade found in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa originating in the Indian subcontinent. From India the domesticated fowl made its way to the Persianized kingdom of Lydia in western Asia Minor, and domestic fowl were imported to Greece by the fifth century BC. Fowl had been known in Egypt since the 18th Dynasty, with the "bird that gives birth every day" having come to Egypt from the land between Syria and Shinar, Babylonia, according to the annals of Tutmose III.
2 General biology and habitat
2.1.1 Social behaviour
2.1.3 Nesting and laying behaviour
5.1 Reared for meat
5.2 Reared for eggs
6 Artificial incubation
7 As food
8 As pets
9 Diseases and ailments
10 In religion and mythology
11 In history
12 South America
13 See also
15 Further reading
16 External links
In the UK and Ireland adult male chickens over the age of 12 months are primarily known as cocks, whereas in America, Australia and Canada they are more commonly called roosters. Males less than 1 year old are cockerels. Castrated roosters are called capons (surgical and chemical castration are now illegal in some parts of the world). Females over a year old are known as hens and younger females as pullets although in the egg-laying industry, a pullet becomes a hen when she begins to lay eggs at 16 to 20 weeks of age. In Australia and New Zealand (also sometimes in Britain), there is a generic term chook /ˈtʃʊk/ to describe all ages and both sexes. The young are called chicks and the meat is called chicken.
In some breeds the adult rooster can be distinguished from the hen by his larger comb
"Chicken" originally referred to chicks, not the species itself. The species as a whole was then called domestic fowl, or just fowl. This use of "chicken" survives in the phrase "Hen and Chickens", sometimes used as a British public house or theatre name, and to name groups of one large and many small rocks or islands in the sea (see for example Hen and Chicken Islands).
In the Deep South of the United States chickens are also referred to by the slang term yardbird.
General biology and habitat
Chickens are omnivores. In the wild, they often scratch at the soil to search for seeds, insects and even larger animals such as lizards or young mice.
Chickens may live for five to ten years, depending on the breed. The world's oldest chicken, a hen, died of heart failure at the age of 16 according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Roosters can usually be differentiated from hens by their striking plumage of long flowing tails and shiny, pointed feathers on their necks (hackles) and backs (saddle) which are typically of brighter, bolder colours than those of females of the same breed. However, in some breeds, such as the Sebright, the rooster has only slightly pointed neck feathers, the same colour as the hen's. The identification can be made by looking at the comb, or eventually from the development of