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ORIGINS OF CHICKENS

From their origins in Southwest Asia chickens have spread to all corners of the world due in a great part to their usefulness to man.

Charles Darwin considered that all chickens as being descendants of a single wild species, the red jungle fowl, Gallus Bankiva, which is found in a wild state from India through Southeast Asia to the Philippines.

The chicken is mentioned in ancient Chinese documents which indicate that they were introduced into China in around 1,400BC.

Chickens are also depicted in Babylonian carvings of around 600BC and mentioned by early Greek writers, notably the playwright Aristophanes in 400BC.

Indeed the Romans considered chickens to be sacred to Mars, the God of War

Bantam Naked Neck cock Poultrymad©

 

HANDLING CHICKENS

Barred Plymouth Rock cock Poultrymad©

Birds can peck and scratch when handled in a tentative fashion so be firm and positive in your actions. Cockerels, especially, can have large spurs or claws which can inflict serious injuries.

Birds can be calmed down by having their head or eyes covered by a soft cloth but the most important point at the time of capture is to keep the wings restrained.

  • With both hands hold the wings down against the body of the bird.
  • Gather the wings in one hand nearest the body of the bird
  • Hold them behind the bird
  • Restrain the legs between the fingers of the other hand

Chickens can be caught by the legs if required and held upside down for a short period in order to gain control - but this is only a short term expediency before righting them into a more comfortable handling position.

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