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The Anatomy of a Chicken

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The Anatomy of a Chicken

In Latin “Gallus Domesticus”

Anatomy of a Chicken

The Gallus Domesticus is the domestic chicken, the fore bearer of the Gallus Bankiva, and in English Gallus means comb.

If you are going to be keeping chickens as pets or as a source for fresh eggs or meat it is important to know something about the anatomy of a chicken, and originally these birds were domesticated for sport (fighting cocks), not food!

While it is a bird, the one thing which distinguishes the chicken from other birds is the fact that it has one appendage on its head, the comb, and two under its chin, these are its wattles.

These features are more prominent in the male of the species and are secondary sexual features. In birds such as guineas they have similar appendages only the comb is called a helmet and few of this species have wattles.

The Anatomy of a Chicken – Physical

The combs are recognized as eight different types, the cushion, buttercup, single, rose. pea, strawberry, V-shaped, and silkie.

Chickens all have two legs and two wings and it is this factor which determines how they are housed, together with the fact that they are land birds.

They have all but lost the ability to fly and kind of flap around to gain little height, but no more than sufficient for roosting in a safe place off the ground at night.

Even though they have lost the ability to fly properly they still have pneumatic bones and air sacs in the body to make it lighter for flight.

The feet and shanks are covered with scale-like skin and their respiration rate is higher than in larger animals. Generally speaking the smaller the bird the faster it breathes.

The male chicken breathes more slowly than the female, and both also have faster heart rates and rapid digestion. They have a beak or bill and food is masticated in the gizzard where it is ground into soft pulp.

The Anatomy of a Chicken – Temperature

Chickens have a body temperature of around 107 degrees to 107.5 degrees F and baby chickens are hatched not born. Which leads us to the eternal dilemma, which came first, the chicken or the egg? If you have the answer to this we would be grateful for your input.

The lifespan of a chicken is very much dependent upon the way they are treated. If they are bred for meat, this is obviously not very long.

If they are exposed to weather and predators the same is true. But some chickens who have been kept as pets have been known to live as long as 10 – 15 years, the norm is about 5 – 10 years however.

Poultry exhibition is very popular in America and this started as far back as 1849, this has led to a great interest in breeding and led to the large number of different breeds which are available today.

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