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Gateway to poultry production and products

Poultry species

Poultry are domesticated avian species that can be raised for eggs, meat and/or feathers. The term “poultry” covers a wide range of birds, from indigenous and commercial breeds of chickens to Muscovy ducks, mallard ducks, turkeys, guinea fowl, geese, quail, pigeons, ostriches and pheasants.

Poultry are raised throughout the world, with chickens by far the leading species everywhere. As regards other kinds of poultry, there are many more ducks in Asia than in other regions, while the number of turkeys is highest in North America, followed by Europe and Asia. Africa and Asia lead in guinea fowl and geese.

Chickens, ducks, guinea fowl, geese and turkeys can be found in all types of poultry systems, both large and small. But pheasants, quail and ostriches are almost exclusively found in large-scale systems.

Did you know?

  • In 2016, chickens accounted for some 91 percent of the world’s poultry population, followed by ducks (5 percent), and turkeys (2 percent). Other poultry, such as geese and guinea fowl, made up the remaining 2 percent.
  • Chickens contribute 89 percent of world poultry meat production, followed by turkeys with 5 percent, ducks with 4 percent and geese and guinea fowl with 2 percent. The rest comes from other poultry species.
  • Chickens provide 92 percent of world egg production. At regional level, non-chicken poultry species lay 13 percent of eggs in Asia, 1 percent in the Americas (with 3 percent of that in Latin America), 0.6 percent in Oceania and 0.9 percent in Europe. Egg production from poultry other than chickens is almost non-existent in Africa.