Plant & Animal Sciences

The Success of Poultry for Economic Development and Human Nutrition

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Fried ChickenSo many of us enjoy chicken, other poultry, and eggs. Fried chicken is so loved in the US South and increasingly throughout the world. We have McNuggets©, chicken sandwiches, rotisserie chicken, and buffalo chicken – a feature of watching a football game. Chicken masala is one of the favorite dishes of England. Many Chinese dishes include chicken, such as garlic chicken. We eat roast turkey for Thanksgiving, and put sliced turkey in deli sandwiches. Don’t forget Peking duck, fried eggs, egg salad, and omelettes.  “A chicken in every pot” is a common quotation equating a high standard of living, with chicken. This was first used by Henry IV of France and later used by Herbert Hoover in the 1928 presidential election campaign. Today, poultry prices are steady while those of beef are increasing.

Globally, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)The poultry sector continues to grow…… in many parts of the world. An increasing population, greater purchasing power and urbanization have been strong drivers of growth.”  The reason for this includes the increases in income and ability to produce poultry meat and eggs at a price less than comparable products.

For the last year for full FAO statistics, 2012, global production of poultry was:

  • Over 100 million metric tons of poultry meat
  • Over 70 million metric tons of eggs

ChickenThis compares to 109 million tons of pork, 63 million tons of beef, and 8.5 million tons of sheep meat.

Globally, production of poultry and poultry products is growing rapidly.  Between, 2002 and 2012, examples of the increases production of poultry are the following:

  • Increase in chicken meat production – 46 %
  • Increase in duck meat production – 50 %
  • Increase in chicken egg production – 55 %

This compares to the increases production of beef and pork are the following:

  • Increase in beef (cattle meat) production – 11 %
  • Increase in pork (pig meat) production – 23 %

I suggest that the biology of chickens and other poultry species is the underlying factor allowing the growth of poultry production and consumption.

Avian Physiology FeaturedAvian physiology has multiple unique features. Poultry production depends on the superb functioning intestine, the tremendous appetite of the birds, the rapid growth of large muscles and the capability to produce large yolky eggs. If we consider a 1 kg hen producing 300 eggs averaging 70g, this is equivalent to 21000 g or 21 kg per year.  To learn more on the physiology of birds, take a look at Sturkie’s Avian Physiology. This builds on a great tradition but with new chapter and new authors. I am also the new editor! I’ve published widely on avian biology and held senior faculty and/or administrative position at the University of LeedsRutgers – the State University of New Jersey,Iowa State UniversityMississippi State University and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

The book is now available for pre-order!

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The science of living things holds a special fascination for human beings, as we strive to understand our place in the seemingly endless array of life on our planet. Research into agricultural and plant science, ecology, animal science and behavior, aquatic and marine science, organismal biology, entomology, and evolution continues…

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