Domestic Chicken

Domestic Chicken

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Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Taxonomic Name: Gallus gallus

 
Range: Domesticated form found worldwide except on Antarctica, wild junglefowl (Gallus gallus) are from Southeast Asia.
 
Habitat: Wild form found in thick secondary forest near more open areas for feeding.
 
Physical Characteristics: Varies by breed.
 
Longevity: Average 15 years.
 
Social Structure: Separate dominance hierarchies for males and female - the original "pecking order"!
 
Active Time: Diurnal
 
Diet:    Wild - Insects, grains, fruits, seeds.
Zoo - Commercial chicken feed
 
Bahavior: Male chickens are called roosters and females are called hens. Roosters don't crow only at dawn, they start in the morning, but they continue throughout the day to claim their territory against other roosters. They spend their day scratching at the ground searching for food. Chickens have gizzards that hold pieces of sand and stone to help them digest their food. Rather heavy bodied, they can only fly short distances and prefer to roost up of the ground. Their hearing is better than their sense of smell.
 
Reproduction: Hens lay eggs whether or not they've been bred by a male. Only eggs laid by mated hens can hatch into chicks. As gallinaceous birds like pheasants and quail, their young hatch out able to walk, feed, and drink for themselves. After being incubated for 21 days, a chick first breaks into the air sac at the large end of the shell using a small, pointy "egg tooth" on the tip of their beak. This egg tooth falls off the beak after a couple of days after hatching. It applies pressure to the shell with the egg tooth, forcing it to crack. This moment is called "pipping". The chick starts to rotate itself inside the egg, enlarging the crack, and eventually uses it feet to force the end off of the shell. While inside the egg, the chick breaths through an umbilicus connected to a network of blood vessels within the lining of the egg shell. Once the chick breaks into the air sac before beginning to pip, it begins breathing through its lungs. The yolk and albumen (egg white) provides food for the growing chick.
 
Interesting Facts: 
  • Bantam breeds are small. The word bantam is used to designate a small variety, much like the word pygmy or dwarf.
  • Domestication of the chicken dates back to at least 2000 B.C., that's over 4,000 years ago.
  • There are more chickens on Earth than people (6 billion).
  • 2005 is the Year of the Rooster on the Chinese calendar, a symbol of success, health, and strength.
Relationship With Humans: The red jungle fowl from Thailand is thought to be main ancestor of the domestic chicken. As soon as people began to farm, they recognized the usefulness of keeping chickens for both eggs and meat.