ETYM Old Eng. foul, fowel, foghel, fuhel, fugel, AS. fugol.
Chicken or chickenlike bird. Sometimes the term is also used for ducks and geese. The red jungle fowl Gallus gallus is the ancestor of all domestic chickens. It is a forest bird of Asia, without the size or egg-laying ability of many domestic strains. Guinea fowl are of African origin.
ETYM From Poult.
Flesh of chickens or turkeys or ducks or geese raised for food.
Domestic birds such as chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese. They were domesticated for meat and eggs by early farmers in China, Europe, Egypt, and the Americas. Chickens were domesticated from the se Asian jungle fowl Gallus gallus and then raised in the East as well as the West. Turkeys are New World birds, domesticated in ancient Mexico. Geese and ducks were domesticated in Egypt, China, and Europe.
Good egg-laying breeds of chicken are Leghorns, Minorcas, and Anconas; varieties most suitable for eating are Dorkings, Australorps, Brahmas, and Cornish; those useful for both purposes are Orpingtons, Rhode Island Reds, Wyandottes, Plymouth Rocks, and Jersey White Giants. Most farm poultry are hybrids, selectively cross-bred for certain characteristics, including feathers and down.
Since World War ii, the development of battery-produced eggs and the intensive breeding of broiler fowls and turkeys has roused a public outcry against “factory” methods of farming. The birds are often kept constantly in small cages, have their beaks and claws removed to prevent them from pecking their neighbors, and are given feed containing growth hormones and antibacterial drugs, which eventually make their way up the food chain to humans. Factory farming has led to a growing interest in deep-litter and free-range systems, although these account for only a small percentage of total production.
In France and elsewhere in mainland Europe, geese and duck are force-fed to produce the delicacy pâté de fois gras; of the two, goose fois gras is considered the greater delicacy.