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Chicken as Food



A chicken is a type of domesticated bird which is usually raised as a type of poultry. It is believed to be descended from the wild Asian Red Junglefowl, Gallus gallus.


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Chickens as food

Chicken can be prepared as food in a large number of ways. Common traditional Western methods include roasting, baking, and frying, or more recently as a form of fast food (chicken nuggets). Their eggs are also eaten.

Chickens raised specifically for meat are called broilers.

In ancient Greece, where chickens were still rare, they were a rather prestigious food for symposia, like hare or wildfowl. Castrated cocks (capons), which produce more and fattier meat than normal roosters, were already known. Delos seems to have been a centre of chicken breeding.

In 161 BC a law was passed in Rome that forbade the consumption of fattened chickens. It was renewed a number of times, but does not seem to have been successful. Fattening chickens with bread soaked in milk was thought to give especially delicious results. The Roman gourmet Apicius offers 17 recipes for chicken, mainly boiled chicken with a sauce. All parts of the animal are used: the recipes include the stomach, liver, testicles and even the pygostyle (the fatty "tail" of the chicken where the tail feathers attach).

Capons are considered a delicacy. They were especially popular in the Middle Ages.

Many animal advocates object to killing chickens for food or object to the conditions under which they are raised. In many countries, such as the United States, the vast majority of chickens are raised in large crowded warehouses that prevent the chickens from engaging in many of their natural behaviours. Another welfare issue is the use of genetic selection to create heavy large-breasted birds, which can lead to crippling leg disorders and heart failure for some of the birds. Slaughter is another important welfare issue. Based on USDA figures, it is estimated that millions of chickens are burned alive in scalding tanks every year. Many chickens also suffer broken bones caused by rough handling before and during slaughter. In the United States, chickens are exempt from the Humane Slaughter Act.

External Links concerning the treatment of chickens raised for food:

Chicken diseases


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