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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
They were 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.

The red 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.

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