It’s National Poultry Day! When someone says “poultry” what is the first think you think of? I would guess – chicken. Am I right? How poultry ever became the generic word for certain birds is unknown. The word is derived from the Latin word “pullus” which means small animal. A mouse is a small animal but it is definitely not poultry.
Today poultry is used to mean birds like chicken, turkeys, and other birds that are kept for their meat and eggs. Chickens were raised for their meat around 100 BC, maybe even earlier. Researchers believe these birds were kept for entertainment purposes over 10,000 years ago.
Today we raise poultry for their meat and eggs. Chickens are one of the few “livestock” that are allowed in some cities. Chickens can make good pets, too. They can be more colorful than tropical fish and more friendly, too.
The turkeys we eat today were domesticated and bred from a species call Wild Turkeys. These turkeys were native to parts of Mexico. It is believed that the Mayans domesticated these birds for food about 2,000 years ago.
Ducks were raised for both eggs and meat for at least 4,000 years. Researchers believe ducks were first domesticated in China, Egypt, and parts of Europe. A duck produces more eggs annually than a chicken! These eggs are higher in Omega 3 fatty acids. They also stay fresh longer.
Recent findings suggest that the goose was the first bird domesticated for meat and eggs. The dig was in China. The bones were carbon dated to 5,000 B.C.E. China is the largest producer of goose meat. Goose meat is also a significant part of their diet.
Even some exotic birds are considered poultry. This includes the ostrich, emus, rheas, and cassowaries. How do they taste? I’ve had emu. Surprisingly it’s a red meat and tastes like beef!
Roasted, fried, or BBQed, poultry is the favorite meat for many people. Is it better for you than beef? Like beef or other meat, it all depends on how it was raised and prepared. There are many pros and cons for both.
Today, let’s get out the rotisserie and enjoy our favorite bird.
KeiLin Farm, a producer of farm fresh beef, chicken, pork, and eggs, is in Davisburg, Michigan. Check out our website to discover all our products and services.