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A rooster (left) and hen (right)
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Genus: Gallus
Species: G. gallus

A chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) is a kind of domesticated bird. It is raised widely for its meat and eggs.[1] There are 24 billion chickens worldwide.[2] They are usually kept by humans as livestock, which means it is kept for its meat and eggs. Chickens are flightless birds, meaning they can't fly. They can jump short distances.

A male chicken is called a rooster or a cock (short for cockerel). A female chicken is called a hen. A young chicken is called a chick. Like other female birds, hens lay eggs which can hatch into chicks.

When raising chickens, a farmer needs to build a chicken coop (like a little house) for the chickens to roost (sleep) in. They also need a run or yard where they can exercise, take dust baths, eat, and drink. The chickens also need to be protected from predators such as foxes, which is often done with fences. [3]

Chickens can also be farmed intensively. This lets farms make a lot of chicken meat and eggs, but this is not good for the chickens.

Chicken and chicken pox

Chickenpox has nothing to do with chickens. When chicken pox was first described, it was noted that the pox spots looked like the vegetable called chickpeas placed upon the skin. The Latin word for chick peas is cicer, and that is the original word that chicken pox got its name from.[4]


Chickens are well known for their eggs. Many people eat them.


Two gamecocks fighting in rural Thailand.

Because of the low cost, chicken meat (also called "chicken") is one of the most used kinds of meat in the world. Americans eat 8 billion chickens every year.[5] The most popular dishes with chicken are Buffalo wings, butter chicken, chicken rice, chicken balls, chicken pot pie, chicken soup, fried chicken, roasted chicken (see picture), and tandoori chicken.


In some parts of the world people breed chickens to fight and they bet money on which of two gamecocks will win. In many places this is illegal.


  1. "chicken (bird) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  2. according to Firefly Encyclopedia of Birds, Ed. Perrins, Christopher. Buffalo, N.Y.: Firefly Books, Ltd., 2003.
  3. How to Raise Chickens, retrieved 15 Mar, 2011.
  4. "Why is it called chicken pox?".,,3q8n,00.html. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  5. "Chicken Facts by The Easy Chicken for beginners". Retrieved 1 May 2010.
Roast chicken