Drumstick Please: It’s National Poultry Day

It’s your clucky day! Whether it’s shrink-wrapped in your refrigerator, a tub of extra-crispy at the drive-through or, as in my case, cackling in the coop, today, March 19, is National Poultry Day, declared by someone at some point (no one really knows who or when) and set aside for you to hug the chicken nearest and dearest to you.

Or you could read about them. Thanks to my thoughtful friend, Nancy, who gifted me Andrew Lawler’s book Why Did the Chicken Cross the World, I can now shine in the chicken trivia category. And so can you:


Did you know?

  • More than 20 billion chickens live on the planet at any given moment.
  • Red Jungle Fowl are the source of all the world’s chickens. They are suicidally skittish; there is a 5% chance every time you hold one that it will die.

The bird that started it all: the Red Jungle fowl from Southeast Asia is the progenitor of every chicken on the planet today. (Photo by Jan Harteman from gbwf.com)


  • The chicken was a rare and royal bird in ancient Egypt. Pottery dated between 1300 and 1100 B.C.,depicting a Red Jungle Fowl rooster, was found in Tutankhamen’s tomb


tutankhamen shard

This shard from Tutankhamen’s tomb is now the property of The British Museum.

  • Grandmother really does know best: all that fuss about chicken soup may have a scientific base. Chicken meat contains cysteine, an amino acid related to a drug used to treat bronchitis, and possibly possesses anti-inflammatory properties.


  • The first documented chickens in New World arrived in 1493 en route from Canary Islands with Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to Hispaniola.


  • Fun fact: for all that crowing, roosters don’t have penises.


  • A chicken in every pot: the average American eats close to 100 lbs of chicken a year.

image from etsy.com


  • More medicinal qualities: rooster combs are a rich source of hyaluronan, which reduces inflammation and has been used on racehorses for decades.


  • Thanks to Queen Victoria’s infatuation with Cochins, from 1845-55 Britain and America were gripped by an obsession with exotic chickens.” In 1849, the price for a pair of Cochin fowl could range from $150 to $700.

They do say we start to resemble our pets: Queen Victoria and a cochin hen. (pinterest image)




  • The word auspice comes from Latin and means “observer of birds”.


  • Also in the sadness department: poultry grown for food is exempted from all U.S. government rules regulating animal welfare. The words “free-range” and “organic” are  meaningless. “Grass-fed” and vegetarian” are ridiculous – chickens are not vegetarians! You can look for the word “pastured” on meat and eggs but apparently even that appellation is questionable – there is no official certification for these terms.


  • But the French, who know a good fricassee when they see it, have figured it out: the famed French Bresse chickens feast on a diet of corn, wheat and skimmed milk and forage on their own for tasty worms and bugs. They wander at least 30 square feet of open field for four months and are then fattened up for an additional two weeks.

Yet another reason to fly to France for dinner: the fabled Bresse chicken (image from frenchentree.com)


  • I’ll have the dinosaur tenders: in 2007,  scientists extracted a protein from a Tyrannosaurus Rex that proved to be identical to the chicken.

(image from 2oceansvibe.com)


So today’s the day to cockle-doodle-doo.  Spread your wings, do the funky chicken, feather your nest and cackle to your heart’s content. As for me, I’m headed out to the coop with a celebratory treat – mealworms all around!


“Did someone mention mealworms?”















About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
This entry was posted in All Things Poultry, Animal/Vegetable/Mineral, Chicken Facts and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Drumstick Please: It’s National Poultry Day

  1. dizzyguy says:

    All true, and very informative. However, among the misrepresentations that have been made to us along the way, please count this one: No chicken has ever spoken thusly, “cluck, cluck”. All I have ever heard is “buck, buck”, and that spoken with quick staccato cadence. Please correct me if I am wrong.

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