CHICKENS:

The chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the red junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, with a population of more than 19 billion in 2011, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird or domestic animal. Humans keep chickens primarily as a source of food, consuming both their meat and their eggs.

Genetic studies have pointed to multiple maternal origins in Southeast-, East-, and South Asia, but with the clade found in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa originating in the Indian subcontinent. From India, the domesticated chicken was imported to Lydia in western Asia Minor, and to Greece by the fifth century BC. Fowl had been known in Egypt since the mid-15th century BC, with the "bird that gives birth every day" having come to Egypt from the land between Syria and Shinar, Babylonia, according to the annals of Thutmose III. (from wikiepdia.)


Some are born with hens, some achieve hens, and some have hens thrust upon them. (Sorry Mr. Shakespeare!) I was in the second category and my husband? Well, he definitely had hens thrust upon him. Our first four black rock hens came with the house. The previous owners were moving to a houseboat and hens just did not fit in with their new lifestyle. So, we were allowed to keep Kaylee, Zoe, Inara and River. (I didn't give my husband a choice; we were keeping them!) Oh, they didn't have names when we got them, we named them after the ladies of Firefly. Geeky hens!

Since then I've had rehomed hens from a free-range farm, and some lovely Calder Rangers that we actually paid money for. Oh, and then there is Shelley, the half bantam, half black rock, all crazy hen with a Napoleonic complex. My current flock consists of Shelley, Clover and Buttercup. Inara was the longest living, at 11 years. I adore them, I spoil them and coddle them. If they don't lay, well, that doesn't matter at all. They are worth far more than the production of eggs. They're my girls!

Links

Omlet
Your Chickens magazine
chickens as pets
raising backyard chickens
British Hens Welfare Trust