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Ducks amongst other poultry

Poultry is the category of domesticated birds that people keep for the purpose of collecting their eggs, or killing for their meat and/or feathers. These most typically are members of the superorder Galloanserae , especially the order Galliformes (which includes chickens, quails and turkey) and the family Anatidae (in order Anseriformes), commonly known as "waterfowl" (e.g. domestic ducks and domestic geese). Poultry also include other birds which are killed for their meat, such as pigeons or doves or birds considered to be game, like pheasants. The term also refers to the flesh of such birds.


Bird Wild ancestor Domestication Killed or used for
Chicken Red Junglefowl Southeast Asia meat, feathers, eggs, ornamentation
Duck Mallard/Muscovy Duck various meat, feathers, eggs
Emu Emu various, 20th century meat, leather, oil
Goose Greylag Goose/Swan Goose various meat, feathers, eggs
Indian peafowl Indian Peafowl various meat, feathers, ornamentation, landscaping
Mute swan Mute Swan various feathers, eggs, landscaping
Ostrich Ostrich various, 20th century meat, feathers, leather
Turkey Wild Turkey Mexicomarker meat, feathers
Domesticated guineafowl Helmeted guineafowl Africa meat, pest consumption, and alarm calling
Common pheasant Common pheasant Eurasia meat
Golden pheasant Golden pheasant Eurasia meat, mainly ornamental
Rhea Rhea various, 20th century meat, leather, oil, eggs

Cuts of poultry

The meatiest parts of a bird are the flight muscles on its chest, called breast meat, and the walking muscles on the first and second segments of its leg, called the thigh and drumstick, respectively.

White meat has less oxygen-carrying myoglobin than the dark meat, and is thus lighter in color. Dark meat comes from muscles more heavily exercised, which therefore have more fat stored in them. This accounts for both dark meat's reputation as being unhealthier, and yet more flavorful. Birds that fly rarely (domestic turkey) or sporadically (chicken) have white meat breasts, and birds that fly frequently or long distances (ducks, geese and doves) have dark meat breasts. Quail breast meat is intermediate in color. Leg meat is dark.

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