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The History Of How Chickens Were Domesticated

We love our chickens and we love having their fresh eggs, but how long have humans been raising chickens? You may be curious how chickens were domesticated. And where did chickens originate? Here are some fascinating details about the history of chickens!

You may be curious how chickens were domesticated and where they came from.   Here are some fascinating details about the history of chickens!

Where Did Chickens Originate?

The generally accepted history of chickens is that they were descended from the Jungle Fowl (Gallus Gallus) of Southeast Asia. (And before that, possibly dinosaurs!) We assume they were domesticated somewhere around 8000 years ago.

The oldest known chicken remains were found in China as early as 5400 BCE. These were definitely related to our modern chickens. However, there is no way to tell if the birds were domesticated or hunted.

Where Chickens Were Domesticated?

We do know that chickens were domesticated by 2000 BCE in the Indus Valley. Also, it’s likely that they were domesticated in several different places. Since that time chickens have spread to every continent except for Antarctica. Jungle Fowl don’t migrate, and this spread was humans transporting these very useful birds.

Domesticated chickens were kept in Ancient Greece and Egypt. Egyptians even started using artificial incubation for hatching. The Romans viewed chickens and sacred, and they were spread widely by their armies.

For a long time it was assumed that Spanish Conquistadors brought chickens to the Americas. However, genetic research indicates that chickens actually arrived in the Americas from multiple sources: Polynesia, Europe, Africa and maybe even straight from Asia.

Many of the breeds we know and love today were developed in the 19th century. Around the time of Queen Victoria there was a boom in developing the different breeds. She even had Brahmas and Cochins!

Where Do Chickens Live In The Wild?

The Jungle Fowl still live wild in Southeast Asia, and domesticated chickens are everywhere! These useful birds have an interesting and varied history, in addition to making great companions in modern times.

Penn State Extension
Phys Org
The Poultry Pages

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