Ancestry



The “forefathers” of our chickens basically came from Asia. Especially the brown gallus bankivus, living in India, is deemed to be the forefather of our domestic chicken. In India, people have been keeping chickens since about 3200 before Christ. It is estimated that there were chickens in Egypt as early as 4400 BC which were kept to praise with their voice the sun god. In Central Europe, the chicken was introduced during the Hallstatt/La Tène period. In ancient Rome seers predicted the future by watching how chickens behaved. Later the era of cockfights began, and chickens were also kept because of their meat. For their eggs they are being kept since the last few centuries only.

During the millenniums chickens spread over the whole world and many different sizes and colors developed. The bantams e.g. have only 1.5 pounds while tall Malays weigh about 14 pounds. In the course of time people bred races with distinct features such as feathers on the legs and tall or small combs. But also the laying performance varies. Today’s white Leghorns, for example, can lay more than 300 eggs a year. The Gallus bankivus lays 5 eggs a year and hatches them all.

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© 2001-2002 Lukas Kiefer, Schönau Last Update: 30/11/01