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Little Chicken History
descend from the wild red jungle fowl of India
and belong to the species Gallus gallus.
They have been domesticated for at least 4,000
years. Chicken meat and eggs did not start to
become mass-production commodities until the 1800s.
Modern high-volume poultry farms, with rows of
cages stacked indoors for control of heat, light
and humidity, began to proliferate in Great Britain
around 1920 and in the United States after World
War II. The females are raised for meat and for
their edible eggs. Mature males have long been
used for sport (now mostly outlawed), but most
immature males are castrated (in modern times
usually chemically, with hormones that cause atrophying
of the testicles) to become meat birds, called
capons. Originally, meat production was a by-product
of egg production. Only hens that could no longer
produce enough eggs were killed and sold for meat.
By the mid-Twentieth century, however, meat production
had outstripped egg production as a specialized