Whether it’s a Thanksgiving turkey, scrambled eggs for breakfast, or roast chicken for Sunday dinner, humans use poultry for many occasions. Poultry includes poultry used for meat, eggs and feathers. We usually think of chickens and turkeys, but there are several other types of poultry that are often underutilized. Discover seven birds raised on poultry farms and learn what they are used for.
Chickens account for more than 94 percent of the world’s poultry population. We use chickens for their meat and eggs more than any other bird on Earth, making them one of the most abundant birds in the world. These birds are an excellent source of lean meat and are excellent egg producers. But people also use chickens to fertilize, maintain lawns and control pests. These birds are prone to eating weeds and pests such as ticks and caterpillars. Most farm animals need plenty of room to roam, but chickens are popular because they don’t need as much space. Many people keep these birds in their backyards. However, raising chickens also has some disadvantages. Be sure to check your city’s zoning laws.
Domestic turkeys are large poultry birds native to North America. It belongs to the same order as chickens and is another popular form of poultry, especially in the United States. Wild turkeys are different from domestic turkeys. Many of the animals you find on the farm have been selectively bred to produce the most meat in the shortest amount of time. While turkeys are bred for meat and eggs, some people prefer to keep male cats as pets. Turkeys are curious and have unique personalities, making them a valuable addition to a small home.
Ducks are also raised for meat and eggs. But people also use them for pest control, hen protection, and pond viewing. These birds don’t do well in large-scale agricultural processing, so we don’t see many duck options in US grocery stores. Countries such as China, Vietnam and France consume the most duck. In the US, it’s considered more of a special treatment. Duck is rich in iron and copper, but not as lean and easy to eat as chicken.
Geese are not as common on farms as chickens, turkeys, and ducks, but they are still classified as farm animals and poultry. These birds have been domesticated for centuries and are excellent additions to farms and homesteads. They are excellent foragers, weeders and guardian animals. But you can also use them for meat or down. Goose is fatty and black, and many describe it as tasting more like beef than chicken. Their feathers provide the fluffy material for blankets, pillows, jackets, and gloves. These birds are also the guardians of the chicken coop. They may not ward off predators, but they can alert farmers to intruders.
Pheasants are often mistaken for pheasants, and while they look similar, they are different species. They are game birds, which means they are usually produced for hunting and meat consumption. Pheasant meat is very thin and white, almost like chicken. But it actually has more protein, less cholesterol and less fat than chicken and turkey. Many farmers raise these birds for meat and introduce them into the wild to hunt.
Many people use quail as a substitute for chicken because they are easier to process and have a similar taste. Their meat is tender and flavorful, with a hint of game. However, they are more expensive to keep and are smaller, so they do not produce as much meat as other poultry. The most common reason for keeping quail is for meat and egg production, but they are also bred to train hunting dogs.
Guinea is related to pheasant and used as poultry. Guinea fowl are popular on farms and homesteads because they keep pest populations down, such as ticks and slugs. They are also known to attack snakes. But you can also process guinea for meat and eggs. Guinea fowl is described as having a taste similar to pheasant but leaner than chicken.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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