Where did chickens originate?


Quick Answer

Historians aren't sure where the first chicken originated. The first historical reference to chickens may have occurred in 2000 B.C., in Mesopotamia. This is debatable, as the bird was referred to as "the bird of Meluhha," although scholars admit it is possible the bird was a chicken.

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Full Answer

Although inconclusive, another theory concerning the origin of the chicken suggests that chickens may have spread westward from the Indus Valley. This is where the city-states of an ancient civilization carried on a lively trade with the Middle East more than 4,000 years ago. Archaeologists have also recovered chicken bones from Lothal, which was once a great port on the west coast of India, raising the possibility that the birds could have been carried across to the Arabian Peninsula as cargo or provisions

Religious texts suggest that chickens originated with the creation of the world. In addition, in the Christian Bible, in the book of Matthew, 23:37, Jesus likens his care for the people of Jerusalem to a hen caring for her brood, which suggests that chickens originated before the birth of Christ.

Chickens have played an important role in the civilized world, not only as a source of food, but Romans took chickens into battle with them, and watched their behavior as a sign or ill or good fortune.

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