A group of poultry is a flock ©Getty Images

A group of poultry is a flock ©Getty Images

Farm birds

Chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese are farm birds. Together they are called poultry (say pole-tree). Farmers sell poultry and eggs to shops for us to buy so we can eat them.  People buy eggs that come from farms. People eat chicken, duck, turkey and goose. They all come from poultry farms.

Poultry are birds. The females lay eggs. If there is no male, then the eggs do not have babies inside. If the female mates with a male, then  a baby  will grow inside each egg and will hatch in a few weeks.

Poultry eat greens and bugs and snails. On farms they are fed dry food and grains.

A free range rooster and hen ©Getty Images

A free range rooster and hen ©Getty Images

Chickens

A male chicken is a rooster, a female chicken is a hen, and the young ones are chicks.

Hens lay eggs. Most of the time they are not fertile, which means there is no baby chick inside.

The eggs are washed and packed into boxes.

Trucks take boxes of eggs to the shops so we can buy them. 

A free range hen sitting on eggs in a nest ©Getty Images

A free range hen sitting on eggs in a nest ©Getty Images

On many egg farms, hens are kept in tiny cages and can never run around. They are called battery hens. When they lay eggs, the eggs roll down onto a shelf below.  

But on some chicken farms, the hens can run around outside and scratch in the ground or hay. They go inside at night for safety and shelter. They lay their eggs on straw in nests. They can peck at the ground to find worms and can eat plants they find. This is called a free range farm. These chickens lead a more natural life than battery hens do. 

Ducklings follow the mother duck. ©Getty Images

Ducklings follow the mother duck. ©Getty Images

Ducks

Ducks paddle on the water and walk on the ground. They have webbed feet to help them swim. They make a quacking sound. They eat greens, grains, bugs and snails they find in the grass.   A male duck is a drake, a female is a duck and the young ones are ducklings. There are wild ducks and farm ducks. 

Geese ©Getty Images

Geese ©Getty Images

Geese

Some geese are wild birds, and some are on farms.  A male goose is a gander, a female is a goose, and a young goose is a gosling.

Geese are big birds. They can be fierce. They have webbed feet to help them swim.

They are good watchdogs!

Turkey ©Getty Images

Turkey ©Getty Images

Turkeys

A male turkey is a tom, a female is a hen and young ones are poults.

Turkeys are big birds. They have a big fan tail. They have red skin on their heads. The red skin that hangs down over the beak is called a snood.

Turkeys make a gobble gobble sound.  Some turkeys are wild.

Factory Farming

Most eggs, chicken, and pork products come from factory farms.

Chickens are bright intelligent birds that are the most cruelly treated of all animals. 

Chickens factory-farmed for meat are crammed in a shed ©Getty Images

Chickens factory-farmed for meat are crammed in a shed ©Getty Images

A battery hen on an egg farm is confined in a space about the size of an A4 piece of paper. She remains in this cage for her egg-laying life, never running around in the fresh air. Hens are de-beaked (beaks are cut off) and crammed together in rows of cages in vast sheds. The eggs roll down onto a shelf for easy collection. Hens stretch their necks through the cage bars to feed. It has been found that battery hens that are rescued and taken to live a natural life of scratching for food such as worms, bugs and greens are unable to roost on a branch or pole because they have not had the opportunity to perch as they would naturally.

Factory farmed chickens bred for meat don't fare any better. Thousands are crammed into large sheds, unable to run or even walk about. They are bred to grow faster than they would naturally. 

Read more about chickens and ducks:

Read about other kinds of farms: