The first documented records of chickens go as far back as 10,500 years ago, namely in China and India. However, it wasn’t until the early 1900s that poultry farming really hit its stride. There were some hitches along the way, but significant developments over the century turned chicken farming into the enormous industry it is today.
In this short post, we’ll take you through five interesting facts about the history of poultry farming and how it’s changed to meet new demands. Let’s jump in!
1. It Utilizes Increasingly Sophisticated Equipment
The start of chicken farming was incredibly basic and required very little setup, and the amount of chickens owned was significantly lower than it is today. To keep up with demand, poultry equipment has had to become increasingly sophisticated to ensure that a large flock of chickens is kept safe and healthy.
2. Chicken Eggs Were Originally the Primary Product
Although these days, the meat itself is the primary reason behind chicken farming, in the early days, It was actually the eggs that were considered the most valuable. Chickens could produce between 80-150 eggs per year, which would be sold for profit. Chicken meat was actually considered a delicacy and only ever eaten on holidays or similarly special occasions.
3. There Was No Purpose-Built Coop for Them
The first ever documented chicken coop was actually from 1877, but they weren’t popularized until much, much later. Chickens weren’t given a specific home on farms. In fact, they often just roamed the barn with other animals.
In the rare event they were given their own building, it wasn’t purpose-built like a modern-day coop. Chickens today don’t know how good they’ve got it!
4. World War II Greatly Enhanced the Size of Poultry Farming
World War II was an incredibly significant time in history for many reasons, but you’ve probably never considered the impact it had on chicken farming. This is understandable, but the impact was huge.
US citizens were encouragedto raise chickens due to their small size and ability to produce eggs, feeding families and soldiers alike. This led to a dramatic increase in the number of chickens bred for farming, and the trend never went away.
5. Chickens Outnumber the Population of Humans
In the current era, chickens are more populace than ever. Astonishingly, they actually outnumber humans, although this becomes less surprising when you consider how often we use chickens in food. This was largely thanks to improvements in nutrition and mass production throughout the 1970s, allowing poultry farmers to raise hundreds more chickens than they ever could before.
Chicken Farming Is a Complex Industry
The history of poultry farming is far more detailed than you might realize, and given that it only hit its stride just over a century ago, it’s fascinating how quickly the industry has developed. Now chicken is one of the most widely consumed meats worldwide and shows no sign of losing its popularity anytime soon.