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Domestic Chicken Fact Sheet

  • Latin Name

    Gallus domesticus
  • Class

  • Order

  • Range

    Chickens are domesticated around the world.

  • Status

    There are more chickens in the world than any other bird.

  • Habitat

    Living conditions in domestication vary from small, organic farms to massive poultry-production facilities.

  • Niche

    Wild chickens are omnivores, gobbling insects, seeds, lizards and young mice. Domesticated birds are usually fed simple, balanced diets of feed. Contrary to their reputation, roosters are generous when it comes to food-the cocky males may call to their chickens when he finds food, prompting them to eat first. (This behavior is seen with hens and their chicks.) While wild chickens are preyed upon by a host of predators (most are incapable of flying more than short distances), their domestic cousins are protected by their handlers.

  • Life History

    Chickens can live about a decade, though birds raised for food are often slaughtered well before that time. Hens are most productive early in their lives, when they can produce an egg nearly every day. Chickens are social animals that live in flocks, within which pecking orders dictates access to food and nesting locations.

  • Special Adaptations

    Roosters will crow (produce a shrill call) to alert other males about their territory. Hens will cluck after laying an egg and also use this vocalization to gather their chicks.


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2001 North Clark Street • Chicago, IL 60614 • 312-742-2000

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