18 Facts About Fowl

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Fowl birds are a diverse group of birds that include chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, pheasants, and more. These birds have been an important part of human history, providing food, feathers, and companionship.

While we may be familiar with seeing fowl birds on farms or on our dinner plates, there is still much to discover about these remarkable creatures. Read on below for 18 fascinating facts about fowl birds that may surprise you!

Facts About Fowl Bird Biology

  • Fowl birds have excellent color vision and can see a wider range of hues than humans. Male fowl often have colorful plumage to attract mates.
  • Many fowl species have feathers on their legs and feet called “feathered shanks.” This helps protect them from cuts and scratches when searching on the ground.
  • Fowl have a poor sense of smell but very good hearing and vision. Their eyes are on the sides of their heads giving them a panoramic, 300° field of view.
Type of FowlAverage Body Temperature
Chicken107° F
Turkey106° F
Duck107° F
Goose104° F

Facts About Fowl Birds and Humans

  • Fowl were first domesticated over 8,000 years ago in Southeast Asia. Descendants of the red junglefowl would become the modern chicken.
  • The world’s oldest chicken was a hen that lived to be 16 years old according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
  • In the 12th century, European goose farms would pluck live geese for their feathers and down to fill pillows. This is where the story of “plucking the goose that laid the golden eggs” originates from.
  • Turkey droppings were once used to make saltpeter for gunpowder production.
  • Some fowl like chickens and quail will engage in “dust bathing.” They bathe in dust to clean their feathers and deter parasites.

Facts About Fowl Intelligence and Behavior

  • Mother hens “talk” to their chicks while they are still in their eggs. The chicks chirp back as they prepare to hatch.
  • Studies show domestic fowl can recognize up to 100 different faces of flockmates or humans.
  • Fowl birds like turkeys and chickens have distinct personalities. Some enjoy human company while others are more shy and anxious.
  • Male fowl are polygamous and mate with multiple female partners. The females raise their offspring alone in nests on the ground.
  • Roosters crow early in the morning to signal the start of a new day and claim territory. Hens lay eggs later in response to the rooster’s crowing.


While there is still much research needed, these fascinating facts show us that fowl birds are intelligent, emotional, and complex creatures. Beyond being a source of food, fowl interact with humans and their environment in remarkable ways. The next time you see a fowl bird, take a moment to appreciate the curious behaviors and adaptations of these common yet extraordinary animals.

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