Eggs and turkey bacon for breakfast, an open-faced turkey avocado sandwich for lunch and then perhaps a good, ol’ fashioned fried chicken dinner to finish off the day. Poultry is the theme for March 19th as it is National Poultry Day.
Poultry refers to domestic birds that are raised for meat and eggs. These birds include chicken, turkey, ducks, geese, quail, and pheasant. Poultry is farmed in large numbers with chickens being the most numerous. Poultry are domesticated birds kept by humans for the purpose of producing eggs, meat, and/or feathers. Poultry comes from the French/Norman word, poule, itself derived from the Latin word Pullus, which means small animal.
- It is believed that chicken was introduced to American soil by the European explorers in the 16th century.
- Chicken consumption in the United States increased during World War II due to a shortage of beef and pork.
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the poultry production in the United States. Estimates place production at around 9 billion chickens in the United States. Chicken and turkey are lower in fats and cholesterol than other meats.
- Dark meat, which is referred to as “red muscle,” is used for sustained activity (walking), in the case of a chicken. The dark color comes from the protein myoglobin, which plays a key role in oxygen uptake within cells. White muscle, in contrast, is suitable only for short, ineffectual bursts of activity such as, for chickens, flying. Thus the chicken’s leg and thigh meat are dark while its breast meat (which makes up the primary flight muscles) is white. Other birds with breast muscle more suitable for sustained flight, such as ducks and geese, have red muscle (and therefore dark meat) throughout.
- Chickens are classified by age and weight. Young chickens are tender and cook quickly; older chickens need slow, moist cooking to make them tender.
- Poultry is the second most widely eaten meat in the world, accounting for about 30% of meat production worldwide, after pork at 38%.
- In Ancient China, a goose was given as a wedding present to represent faithfulness.
- The oldest duck ever to have lived in the United Kingdom was a female mallard duck called Desi owned by Ingrid Raphael from Maidenhead, Berkshire, UK that lived to be 20 years 3 months and 16 days old before she died in August 2002.
- Chickens have panoramic vision of about 300°
- Chickens and other birds are thought to have descended from dinosaurs.
- The first Poultry Exhibition in the US took place Nov. 14, 1849.
- The chicken, Gallus gallus domesticus, is a domestic subspecies of the red junglefowl, a member of the pheasant family that is native to Asia. Genetic studies have found that the grey junglefowl also contributed to the chicken’s evolution.
- This bird was probably first domesticated for the purpose of cockfights, not as food.
- Chickens aren’t completely flightless—they can get airborne enough to make it over a fence or into a tree.
- With 25 billion chickens in the world, there are more of them than any other bird species.
- Roosters perform a little dance called ‘tidbitting’ in which they make sounds (food calls) and move their head up and down, picking up and dropping a bit of food.
- Researchers have found that females prefer males that often perform tidbitting and have larger, brighter combs on top of their heads.
- A female chicken will mate with many different males but if she decides, after the deed is done, that she doesn’t want a particular rooster’s offspring and can eject his sperm. This occurs most often when the male is lower in the pecking order.
- Chickens communicate with more than 24 vocalisations, each with a distinct meaning, including warning their friends about different types of predators or letting their mothers know whether they’re comfortable.
- A mother hen turns her eggs about 50 times per day, and can lay more than 300 eggs per year.
- The color of the egg depends on the chickens earlobes. Red ear lobed chickens lay brown eggs, while white ear lobed chickens lay white eggs.
- The earliest known printing of “Why did the chicken cross the road?” was in 1847 in a New York Magazine.
- In South Korea, there are more fried chicken restaurants than there are McDonald’s restaurants worldwide.
- Americans consume 8 billion chickens per year which is more chicken than beef; at 80 pounds of chicken per capita compared to 63 pounds of beef per capita.
- The fear of chickens is called Alektorophobia.