Chickens and ducks are amongst the most common of all
farm stock. Every culture knows them. They have been
used for many centuries. They survive with little care
and management. Village Scavenger chickens are mostly
self reliant, capable of withstanding harsh climate
conditions and inadequate nutrition. They live largely
on weed seeds, insects and feeds that would ordinarily
go to waste. They compete very little with humans for
food. Chickens vary in sizes from a bird less than 1kg
to giant breeds weighing 5kg or more. Scavenger chickens
tend to weigh 1kg. The Zoo has giant breeds for other
countries: Buff Orpington and Black Australop.
Buff Orpington chicken
developed in Great Britain in 1886 by William Cook of
Orpington. They are a giant breed with a rooster
weighing between 4.5 and 6.5 kg whilst hens weigh 3.4 -
4.8 kg. They have lovely laid-back personalities and
absolutely stunning appearance. The hens can be
excellent mothers because they tend to be broody.
Black Australorp chicken
They too are giant
breeds, with a rooster weighing between 4.6 and 5 kg and
a hen 3.7 to 4.2 kg. They originated in England and were
developed by selective breeding in Australia, from an
exhibition breed into a popular commercial breed.
Chicken were first used
for cock fighting, then religious rituals and much later
were raised for eggs, meat , feathers to provide cash.
Their meat is high in quality protein, low in fat and
easily prepared. Chickens are more suited to �urban
farming� than most livestock and can be raised in many
city situations. They are conveniently sized, easily
transported alive and by and large do not transmit
diseases to humans. No other domesticated animal has
enjoyed such universal acceptance.
jungle fowl is the ancestor of the chicken. It has a
wealth of wild genes, it is not susceptible to heat and
humidity, it inhabits the warmest and most humid parts
of Asia and it may also be resistant to various chicken
diseases and pests. Red jungle fowl is not a rare
species. They are wildly hunted but survive by fast
running and agile flying. They are highly adaptable and
live in a variety of habitats from sea level to 2000m.
Most are found in and around damp forests, secondary
growth, dry scrub, bamboo groves and small woods near
farms and villages.
There is a greater need to preserve genetic variability
in poultry especially in chickens. Traditional breeds
are diminishing rapidly and the number of rare breeds.