Poultry types and examples

Did you know that chickens represent 91% of the world’s poultry population and that they contribute 89% to the world’s poultry meat production? Other species of birds that are also part of this group of animals that humans use for their consumption are ducks (5%), turkeys (2%) and geese and painted hens (remaining 2%). These and other data reveal the importance of poultry in the omnivorous diet followed by most of the world’s population. But, specifically, what are poultry or farm birds ? What types and species of birds can we find among them? How does the rearing of poultry according to an ecological and sustainable method differ from the methods traditional industrial?

What are poultry and their characteristics

All those species of birds that humans have domesticated throughout history, for the use and consumption of their eggs, meat and / or feathers, belong to the group called “poultry or farm birds “. Being an ancestral technique that allows the use of different species of birds, today, it is easy to find farms and pens all over the world dedicated to the breeding and use of poultry.

The main characteristics of poultry or farm birds are:

  • They all belong to the order of the Galliformes (within the taxonomic classification that allows them to be grouped according to their evolutionary biological history), in which they include about 250 species .
  • Poultry are distributed throughout the planet, since they have been domesticated by humans and, in addition, they have great adaptability for the colonization of different types of ecosystems.
  • They are medium or large in size, with a robust bearing and legs adapted to running, as well as to the action of digging in the ground, thanks to the presence of strong nails (in certain species).
  • They feed preferentially on grain.
  • Most of these species are flightless birds. You can know a variety of these and other non-domestic in this other post in which we show 10 birds that do not fly .

Types of poultry

Unquestionably, chickens and hens are the best known poultry worldwide, due to the great demand they present within the poultry production system. However, the term “poultry or farm birds” includes many other species and breeds, both from native birds from different regions of the planet to those others that have been created by humans (through crosses between individuals of the same or different species), in order to achieve the breeding and subsequent commercialization of domesticated breeds.

In addition, on numerous occasions, those species of birds that have also been domesticated but with the simple purpose of serving as ornamentation in parks and gardens or as pets are included within poultry. This is the case of peacockspigeonscanaries and swans (genus Cygnus), as well as birds of the Psittacidae family to which macaws belong , parrots , parrots, parakeets and lovebirds .

In the next section we will focus exclusively on poultry themselves, that is, those that have been domesticated for the consumption of their eggs or meats.

Examples of poultry

The most representative poultry species , those that we can find in farms and homes around the world, are:

Domestic turkey

Famous for its use in the Thanksgiving dinners that North Americans celebrate each year, the raising of domestic turkeys is very common in North America. The European and Asian continents follow in the domestication of turkeys for their meat consumption.

Roosters and hens 

Native to Southeast Asia, those commonly known as roosters (males), hens (females), and chickens (young), belong to the domestic speciesAmong the various breeds of this species, intended for meat consumption, the Prat, Barnevelder and Ancona breeds stand out, as well as the Andalusian Blue and Andalusian Southern breeds.

On the other hand, regarding the hens used as egg-laying birds, it should be noted that 92% of the world’s egg production is carried out by them. There is a huge variety of egg-laying hen breeds, among which are: Orpington, Australop, Painted or Guinea fowl and the black Castilian hen.

Besides, there are also breeds that are raised as pets, being one of the family, although also to compete in events and contests for the best specimen.


Asia is the continent where we can find the greatest number and diversity of domesticated ducks, used as poultry, both for consumption and as pets. The most abundant species are: mallards, Creole ducks.


They are common in poultry productions in Africa, both in small rearing and production systems, as well as in those on a large scale, highlighting the common geese or common geese as the most abundant species.

Organic poultry farming

Faced with the industrialized breeding of poultry, the ecological and sustainable method involves numerous changes and techniques that take care of both animal welfare throughout its breeding and development process, as well as the maintenance of adequate food and establishments. Some of the specific measures that are carried out during organic poultry farming are:

  • Reduced transport times to avoid stress for the animals and ensure their well-being.
  • In the case of organic poultry farming to sell their eggs, meat and feathers (that is, not only for self-consumption or to keep them as pets), the animals and their corresponding products are always correctly identified. throughout the production process (preparation, slaughter, cutting, transportation and marketing).
  • The use of allopathic tranquilizers (typical of modern or western medicine) are prohibited before and during the transport of animals.
  • Synthetic amino acids and other chemical compounds that stimulate the “artificial” growth of animals and the acceleration of egg production, as well as subjecting them to force feeding, are also strictly prohibited .
  • The environment must always be spacious, clean, bright and everything that involves welfare for the animal . There must be large outdoor and indoor areas, which they can enter whenever they want to take refuge (to sleep, protect themselves from extreme temperatures, etc.). The so-called organic chickens or other poultry raised in this way must be able to enjoy a natural environment , as close as possible to their natural habitat.

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