1. The origins of poultry farming

Home Knowledge 1. The origins of poultry farming

1. The origins of poultry farming



Do you know the origins of poultry farming?


The origin of what we know today as poultry farming can very probably be traced to South East Asia.

Charles Darwin believed that present-day hens come from a wild species of fowl known as “Gallus Bankiva”, which originated in a broad area of Asia extending from India to the Philippines, and which was first domesticated 7,000 years ago.
 


“Preparing Ducks”, scene from the Tomb of Nakht (Theban Necropolis, Egypt), 15th century BC.


Fowl are the domestic animals which appear most often in written history. In fact, there were references to them in Chinese documents as far back as 1,400 BC.  

In 400 BC Aristotle wrote that the Egyptians even practised “artificial” incubation of hens’ eggs using dung heaps. Greek writers such as Aristophanes also mention hens in 600 BC and the Romans considered them to be an animal sacred to Mars, the God of War.

The first treatise in which there is a reference to poultry farming practices is the one by Cato (200 BC) which describes the fattening of hens for meat production.

The Muslim Abu Zacaria Iahia, who lived in Seville (Spain) during the twelfth century, dedicated a chapter of his "Book of Agriculture" to poultry farming.
 

Expansion of poultry farming (20th Century)


It was at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century that, thanks to advances in genetics and nutrition, poultry farming became an expanding livestock activity.
 


Antique hatchery for 1,000 eggs with separated cavity for births.
 

The popularity of chicken meat and eggs generated a continuous demand that resulted in the creation of a real industry.

Chicken meat is not subject to any type of religious restrictions, it is healthy and can be produced anywhere. This is why consumption and production of chicken is the highest, higher even than pork.

 

Poultry farming today


Currently, almost 60,000 million chickens are fattened every year and 4,500 million hens lay more than 300 million dozen eggs a day.
 

   

 

An industry of this type requires a high level of technology, both in the genetics of the birds themselves, and in their nutrition.

Against this background, the control of diseases affecting poultry is of the essence: Newcastle, Gumboro, Bronquitis, PneumovirusSalmonella and Coccidiosis inter alia, are the diseases that the industry has to deal with.

In addition, in recent times, the need to combine animal welfare measures and antibiotic-free production has changed the production process significantly, especially prevention strategies.


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