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The animal on the cover of Java Cookbook, Second Edition, is a domestic chicken (Gallus domesticus). Domestic chickens are descended from the wild red jungle fowl of India. Domesticated over 8,000 years ago in the area that is now Vietnam and Thailand, chickens are raised for meat and eggs, and the males for sport as well (although cockfighting is currently illegal in many places).
With their big, heavy bodies and small wings, these birds are well suited to living on the ground, and they can fly only short distances. Their four-toed feet are designed for scratching in the dirt, where they find the elements of their usual diet: worms, bugs, seeds, and various plant matter.
A male chicken is called a rooster or cock, and a female is known as a hen. The incubation period for a chicken egg is about three weeks; newly hatched chickens are precocial, meaning they have downy feathers and can walk around on their own right after emerging from the egg. They’re also not dependent on their mothers for food; not only can they procure their own, but they also can live for up to a week after hatching on egg yolk that remains in their abdomen after birth.
The topic of chickens comes up frequently in ancient writings. Chinese documents date their ...