Chickens are domestic or farm birds. The live span of a chicken is about 10 to 15 years. The male is larger and more brightly colored than the female. This is common feature in birds. The males show off their colorful feathers to attract the females.
A chicken has a comb on the head and two wattles under the neck. The male has a larger comb compared to the female. The male is called a rooster. The female is called a hen while the young are called chicks. The female is usually ready to lay her first eggs when she is around six months old.
The morning call your hear on the farm every morning is actually the rooster crowing "cock-a-doodle-doo". The female is called a hen and she goes "cluck-cluck". The young are called chicks and they go "chick-chick".
What do chickens eat?
Chickens eat worms, insects, seeds, grains, snails, slugs, fruits, vegetables and many other foods. The gizzard which is a part of the stomach contains tiny stones to help grind up the food.
Who are the chicken's enemies?
Animals like the hawks, bobcats, snakes, skunks, owls, raccoons, foxes and opposums prey on chickens.
Breeds of chickens
There are approximatelty 175 varieties of chickens. They are grouped into 12 classes and approximately 60 breeds based on geographical areas :
- Asiatic, American, Continental, English, Mediterranean
See below for some of the different breeds :
- Bantams. These are miniature chicken breeds.
- Plymouth Rock. Originated in the United States.
- Marans. They are small breeds preferred for their eggs rather than meat.
- Leghorns. Most popular commercial breed. Usually white in color.
- Rhode Island Red Chicken. This is a very popular breed of chicken.
Usually raised for their meat and eggs and sometimes as show birds.
Life-Cycle of a chicken
The hen does not need a rooster to lay eggs. However, the eggs will not hatch because they are not fertilized. Chicken eggs come in different colors like white, brown, blue or bluish green and pink. The unique blue eggs come from the Araucana breed, from South America. Most chickens will stop laying eggs when the weather is cold. They will start laying when it gets warmer again.
Watch the video of "The Lifecycle of a Chicken: The Story of Penny
How long does it take for a chicken egg to hatch?
A hen lays an average of 300 eggs per year. The hen will sit on her eggs to keep them warm so that they will hatch into chicks. A fertilized egg starts developing into a chicken when its temperature reaches 86 degrees farenheight. A chicken takes 21 days to hatch.
Have you ever seen a chicken laying an egg? Well, this video clips shows a chicken laying an egg very clearly. Click here to watch the video
CHICKEN WORKSHEETS & COLORING ACTIVITIES
CHICKEN LESSON PLANS AND RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS
Free Stuff Animations
Chickens - Hen standing - Free Bird Clipart
Hen on nest clipart
Hen on nest clipart
CHICKEN ACTIVITIES AND GAMES
John's Chicken Activities
Ideas for games and more from a Master Teacher in pdf format.
Recommended Age Groups: early or later Elementary
CHICKEN SONGS AND RHYMES
Chicken Dance Song
Original lyrics. Sing along with the music format.
Lyrics to kids songs format.
Hickety, Pickety, My Black Hen
Songs, Rhymes, Stories, Activities, Crafts - eggs.
Eggshell Mosaic. Age : 5 +
Hatch a chick
String eggs. Age 5+
Claypot chick. Age 3-5
The Adventures of Ready Rooster
Story coloring book about safety on the farm. Very nice.
The Further Adventures of Ready Rooster
Story coloring book about safety on the farm. Very nice.
Links to more facts about chickens
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IMPORTANT : We are not responsible for any links beyond our site.
The health benefits of chicken include its ability to provide a good supply of protein, essential vitamins, and minerals. It also aids in weight loss, regulating cholesterol and blood pressure, and reducing the risk of cancer.
Chicken is the most common type of poultry in the world. It has been domesticated and consumed as food for thousands of years. It is believed that chickens were first domesticated in India thousands of years ago, primarily for cockfighting and later for meat consumption. Later, chicken spread to other parts of Asia, Africa, Europe, and eventually America, where it was brought by the early colonists from Europe.
Until the 19th century, chickens were often domesticated in households, both for their meat and their eggs. An excess amount of meat and eggs were used in bartering systems. In the latter part of 19th and the early 20th century, household chicken farming gave way to chicken farming as a big business due to the increasing demand from cities.
Large-scale chicken farming gave rise to many breeds since breeders had to increase chicken production. Several new breeds have been developed since then, some of which include American, Mediterranean, British, Asiatic, Plymouth Rock, Wyandotte, Rhode Island Red, New Hampshire, Black Cochin, Red Malay game fowl, and Leghorn. Chicken, irrespective of its breed, is healthy and has high nutritional value.
Nutritional Value of Chicken
According to the USDA, chicken (100 g) has moisture (65 g), energy (215 kcal), protein (18 g), fat (15 g), saturated fat (4 g), cholesterol (75 mg), calcium (11 mg), iron (0.9 mg), magnesium (20 mg), phosphorus (147 mg), potassium (189 mg), sodium (70 mg), and zinc (1.3 mg). In terms of vitamins, it contains vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, and vitamin K.
Health Benefits of Chicken
Being known all around the world for its protein content, chicken has a wide range of health benefits. Let’s discuss them below.
High Protein Content
Chicken is one of the best foods for protein. Protein plays an important role in our diet. It is made of amino acids, which are the building blocks of our muscles. Generally, the recommended amount of daily protein requirement is 1 gram per 1 kg of body weight or 0.4 g of protein per pound of body weight. For athletes, the daily requirement of protein is about 0.6 g to 0.9 g per pound.
Important Source of Vitamins & Minerals
Chicken is not only a good source of protein but is also very rich in vitamins and minerals. For example, B vitamins in it are useful in preventing cataracts and skin disorders, boosting immunity, eliminating weakness, regulating digestion, and improving the nervous system. They are also helpful in preventing migraine, heart disorders, gray hair, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
Vitamin D in chicken helps in calcium absorption and bone strengthening. Vitamin A helps in building eyesight and minerals such as iron are helpful in hemoglobin formation, muscle activity, and eliminating anemia. Potassium and sodium are electrolytes; phosphorus is helpful in tackling weakness, bone health, brain function, dental care, and metabolic issues.
Diets with high levels of protein have been known to be effective in reducing weight and chicken has been one of the main contenders in weight loss. Studies and trials have shown that significant weight control was observed in people who regularly ate chicken.
Control of Blood Pressure
Chicken consumption has been found to be useful in controlling blood pressure as well. This was observed in people with hypertension and in many African Americans, though the diet was also comprised of nuts, low-fat dietary products, vegetables, and fruits.
Reduced Cancer Risk
Studies have found that in non-vegetarians, a higher consumption of red meat, pork/ham increased the risk of colorectal cancer, while in chicken and fish eaters, the risk of developing this cancer in later life was reduced, although the evidence is not conclusive.
The amount of saturated fat and cholesterol found in red meat such as beef, pork, and lamb are much higher than the levels found in chicken, fish, and vegetables. Therefore, the American Heart Association has advised consuming chicken or fish instead of red meat for a lowered risk of cholesterol and subsequent heart disease development. The AHA also says that consuming chicken or fish must be limited to normal levels, as excessive consumption can also lead to the development of heart disease.
Treatment of Common Cold
Intake of warm chicken soup also provides relief from common cold, including symptoms like a congested nose and a sore throat.
Quick Serving Ideas for Chicken
Chicken Salad: Add roasted chicken breast, cherries or cranberries, halved seedless grapes, diced apple, chopped green onions, and boiled mushrooms to a bowl and mix well. Add salt and pepper to your preferred taste. This salad is healthy and easy to prepare.
Chicken Sandwich: Toast 2 slices of bread and spread butter on them. Put slices of cucumber, beetroot, onion, capsicum, and cooked chicken on one slice. Add salt and pepper to taste, and cover it with the second slice. Serve with ketchup or mayonnaise.
Oven-fried Chicken: Take medium-sized cut chicken breast pieces, season them with paprika and salt to your preferred taste. Dip the pieces in egg whites and later dip them into a mix of crushed cornflakes. Grease a baking tray and place the chicken pieces on it. Bake for 30 minutes and serve.
Measures to Be Taken While Buying Chicken
Here are some of the safety measures that should be taken while buying chicken.
The USDA has specified certain rules and regulations for handling chicken. All the details are mentioned on their official website.
All the varieties or breeds that are sold in the market are treated as chickens.
The USDA inspects all the chickens sold in the market as well as in the farms to make sure that they do not have any diseases that spread and guarantee that the consumers get the best quality chicken.
Chicken can be either fresh or frozen. According to the USDA rules, “fresh” is where the raw poultry has not been frozen below 26° F or -3.3° C. Raw poultry that has been held at 0° F or -17.8° C must be labeled frozen or previously frozen.
According to the USDA, no growth hormones are used while raising chickens. On the other hand, antibiotics are used to prevent the spread or development of microbial infections and diseases. However, the law requires the withdrawal of such antibiotics weeks before the slaughter of chickens so that no residual antibiotics remain in the chickens’ systems.
The USDA also specifies the temperatures at which chicken can or cannot be stored. At temperatures between 40° F and 140° F, bacteria can start multiplying in the chicken. Freezing cannot kill bacteria but will stop the bacteria from multiplying and decomposing the chicken. Only the thorough cooking of poultry above 165° F or 73.9° C will kill the bacteria present in the chicken.
Some bacteria that can be found in chicken include Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus, Campylobacter jejuni, Listeria monocytogenes, and Escherichia coli.
The USDA also recommends washing hands and cleaning the surfaces often to avoid bacterial infections. Raw poultry, red meats, and fish must be stored separately to stop the spread of any bacteria to other foods.
These are some of the rules and recommendations laid down by the USDA to ensure a safe distribution and consumption of chicken. Now, go out and enjoy some delicious chicken!