Chicken (Bulk)

Chicken (Bulk)

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What is Chicken ? The history of chickens is still a bit of a puzzle! Scholars agree that they were first domesticated from a wild form called red junglefowl, a bird that still runs wild in most of southeast Asia, most likely hybridized with the gray junglefowl. That occurred probably about 8,000 years ago. Recent [...]

What is Chicken ?

The history of chickens is still a bit of a puzzle! Scholars agree that they were first domesticated from a wild form called red junglefowl, a bird that still runs wild in most of southeast Asia, most likely hybridized with the gray junglefowl. That occurred probably about 8,000 years ago. Recent research suggests, however, there may have been multiple other domestication events in distinct areas of South and Southeast Asia, southern China, Thailand, Burma, and India.

Since the wild progenitor of chickens is still living, several studies have been able to examine the behaviors of wild and domestic animals. Domesticated chickens are less active, have fewer social interactions with other chickens, are less aggressive to would-be predators, are less susceptible to stress, and are less likely to go looking for foreign food sources than their wild counterparts. Domestic chickens have increased adult body weight and simplified plumage; domestic chicken egg production starts earlier, is more frequent, and produces larger eggs.

The earliest possible domestic chicken remains are from the Cishan site (~5400 BCE) in northern China, but whether they are domesticated is controversial. Firm evidence of domesticated chickens isn't found in China until 3600 BCE. Domesticated chickens appear at Mohenjo-Daro in the Indus Valley by about 2000 BCE and from there the chicken spread into Europe and Africa. Chickens arrived in the Middle East starting with Iran at 3900 BCE, followed by Turkey and Syria (2400–2000 BCE) and into Jordan by 1200 BCE.  The earliest firm evidence for chickens in east Africa are illustrations from several sites in New Kingdom Egypt (1550–1069). Chickens were introduced into western Africa multiple times, arriving at Iron Age sites such as Jenne-Jeno in Mali, Kirikongo in Burkina Faso and Daboya in Ghana by the mid-first millennium CE. Chickens arrived in the southern Levant about 2500 BCE and in Iberia about 2000 BCE.  Chickens were brought to the Polynesian islands from Southeast Asia by Pacific Ocean sailors during the Lapita expansion, about 3,300 years ago. While it was long assumed that chickens had been brought to the Americas by the Spanish conquistadors, presumably pre-Columbian chickens have been identified at several sites throughout the Americas, most notably at the site of El Arenal-1 in Chile, ca 1350 CE.

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