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Among the most common domestic animals, the chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) is a medium-sized poultry, raised for its meat and eggs. There are billions of chickens around the world, making them more diverse than any other bird on Earth.
See the fact file below for more information on the chicken or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Chicken worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The word “chicken” initially refers to young domestic fowl. The genus was then known as domestic fowl, or simply fowl.
- In the United States, Canada, and Australia, the common name “rooster” is given to male chickens; however, in the United Kingdom, they are widely known as “cocks” (adults) or “cockerels” (young).
- Castrated roosters, or those that lost their testicles, are labelled as “capons.”
- Adult females are called “hens” while younger ones are known as “pullets.”
- Young chickens are generally called “chicks.”
CHICKEN ANCESTRY: THE RED JUNGLEFOWL
- Researchers believe that chickens are the descendants of the wild Indian and southeast Asian red junglefowl (Gallus gallus). These birds are smaller breeds, weighing only 0.5 to 1 kg (1 to 2 lbs).
- Red junglefowl exhibit strong sexual dimorphism. Males are usually larger than females, displaying hefty, plump red wattles on the head.
- Their long and vibrant gold and bronze plumage forms a “shawl” or “cape” from the neck to the lower back. The tail is made up of long, curved feathers that originally appear to look black, but glimmer with blue, purple, and green in bright light.
- Females have no combs on their heads. Their features are designed for camouflage as she protects her eggs and young.
- Red junglefowl live in small factions. Once hatched, chicks are already totally feathered. They are adept to roam and search for food for themselves while the mother hen keeps an eye on her young. Roosters, on the contrary, watch over the flock and notify other chickens in times of danger.
- During the breeding period, males produce a loud and well-known call known as the “cock-a-doodle-doo,” thus drawing attention to the prospect mates and warning other male fowl within the parameter.
- Originally kept as pets rather than as a source of food, the red junglefowl was initially domesticated in India in 3000 BCE.
- Cockfighting was already a famous form of entertainment during those times.
- From India, these birds spread east to China and west to Egypt around 1400 BCE. Years after, they have been introduced to Europe through Persia and Greece, and South America by Chinese or Polynesian travellers.
- There is a wide diversity of chickens in different locations. In most places, the capability of a rooster to fight was the most crucial feature chicken breeders look for.
- In China and ancient Rome, the quality of chicken meat is selected. The Chinese produced lavish breeds with unique and attractive feathers; however, the Roman bred white chickens that were to be sacrificed and offered to their gods.
- Although generally able to fly short ranges, such as over fences, these domestic chickens cannot bear long distance flights.
- Most of the time, chickens scrape and scratch the soil to look for food, mainly insects and seeds.
- Chickens live in groups called flocks; they seem to have a collective approach when incubating their eggs and raising their chicks.
- A social hierarchy can be noticed among flocks of chickens and can be grouped according to sex and they exhibit a pecking order that helps in determining access to food, nesting sites, mates, and other necessities. Getting rid of hens or roosters from a flock leads to a temporary confusion in their social order until a new pecking order is created.
- They can identify more than a hundred faces of members of their own kind. Studies show that chickens are even more intelligent than young kids.
- Chickens communicate with more than 24 calls, each with a different meaning, including alerting other chickens about their predators and even allowing their mothers to understand if they are comfortable or not.
- These birds enjoy playing, jumping, and running under the sun. They also love dust baths, which help them clean themselves, get rid of parasites, and maintain feather insulation.
- Dreaming is also part of their usual routine. They experience Rapid Eye Movement (REM) when asleep, a sign that their minds may be wandering.
- Hens will even try to lay in nests that already have eggs. They are also notorious for transferring eggs from other nests into their own. This behavior causes the flock to choose few preferred locations, instead of having distinct nests for each fowl. Fake eggs made of plastic or stone are even placed in nests by farmers to invite hens to lay in a specific location. It is completely normal for two or more hens to share the one nest at the same time. Chickens may also try to lay on top of each other if the nest is too small.
- Roosters crow loudly or even do a shrill call at any time of the day or night, usually giving a territorial signal to other roosters.
- When roosters spot food, they normally cluck in a high pitch, calling other chickens to feed on it first. This is also done by mother hens when they are calling their chicks.
- In some chicken courting rituals, roosters drag the wing of their mate on the ground, while circling her. When a hen is already familiar with her mate’s call, the rooster will then mount himself on the hen and proceed with fertilization.
- Sometimes, hens stop laying and will just concentrate on incubating the eggs, maintaining a constant temperature and humidity – a behavior that is generally known as “going broody.”
- A broody chicken is protective and aggressive of her eggs, and will rarely leave the nest to look for food, drink, or take a dust bath. Hens can only lay one egg approximately every 25 hours.
- The incubation period lasts an average of 21 days. Afterwards, fertilized eggs will hatch, and the broody hen will look after her chicks. Eggs do not hatch at the same time so hens usually remain on the nest for about 48 hours after the first egg hatches. Mothers can also sense their chicks peeping inside the eggs, and will gently make a short, guttural sound to encourage the chicks to break out of their shells. Unfertilized eggs that do not hatch are left behind the nests by the hens.
- Chicken eggs vary in color depending on the species of hen.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the chicken across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Chicken worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the chicken which (Gallus gallus domesticus) is a medium-sized poultry, raised for its meat and eggs. There are billions of chickens around the world, making them more diverse than any other bird on Earth.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- American Water Spaniel Facts
- Chicken Basics
- Chicken Anatomy
- Chicken Life Cycle
- Chicken Questions
- More Chicken Facts, Please!
- Chicken and Turkey
- Chicken Cuts
- Exotic Chicks
- Chicken Alphabet
- Which Came First
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Link will appear as Chicken Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, February 5, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.