Where Did The Domesticated Chicken Come From?
Ever wonder where the first chicken came from? Or how the wild bird became a domesticated one? Or why the animal became such a staple in so many meals?
We wondered the same thing!
The domesticated chicken is really a subspecies of a combination of many many other species, some of which are no longer around! But where did it first start?
It was once thought that the domesticated bird originated from the red jungle fowl, a wild bird found in India and many other countries, including China, Malaysia, and even the Philippines. The Red Jungle Fowl even resembles our modern day domesticated chicken. But a recent study (Web edition of PLoS Genetics) has found that the Grey Jungle Fowl is a closer cousin.
How did the domesticated bird make it's way over the ocean? One theory is that Spanish explorers brought the bird back after one of their journeys, landing in South America, in what is now known as Peru. Another theory is that Asian explorers may have brought the birds over much earlier than that. One this is for certain, the bird became wildly popular in these areas and quickly spread throughout.
Slowly, these birds were mated and other popular breeds became available, including Cornish Hens and White Rock Hens - the two birds that are believed to be the ancestors to our modern day hens raised for meat.
These wild birds have now calmed down and become the social creatures you see now a days! Who would have thought!
Today, our domesticated birds are now immune to many diseases that used to cause problems, but they've also come with their fair share of new diseases and illnesses. Veterinarian care is also available to help keep your birds healthy for the long haul. Just like humans, the average lifespan of the chicken has increased tenfold, with proper care and handling!
These birds are great companions now, and will continue to be for the long haul!
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