Poultry, domestic birds raised for their meat and eggs. Chickens, geese, and ducks are of greatest worldwide commercial importance. In the United States and Canada, turkeys are second only to chickens in importance, but turkeys are not raised on a large scale in other countries. Ornamental birds such as swans and peacocks, and birds raised for exhibition or for cockfighting, are sometimes called poultry.Turkeys are raised throughout North America.
Poultry meat and eggs are highly nutritious. The meat is rich in proteins and is a good source of phosphorus and other minerals, and of B-complex vitamins. Poultry meat contains less fat than most cuts of beef and pork. Poultry liver is especially rich in vitamin A.
Poultry is a convenient livestock for small farms and for family subsistence, because of the relatively small size of individual birds. Eggs in their natural state are less perishable than meat and dairy products, and may be processed in many ways for safe storage and transportation.
The United States is a world leader in poultry production. Its poultry industry is highly specialized, and is largely concentrated in mechanized commercial farms each having 10,000 to 100,000 birds or more. Poultry and poultry products, including chicken eggs, account for roughly 9 per cent of cash receipts from farm marketing in the United States.
The rest of this article is concerned primarily with chickens.