Brush Up On Your Poultry Trivia With These Chicken Facts

Think you know everything there is to know about America’s favorite backyard poultry? Check out these chicken facts and expand your poultry knowledge. 

by Ana Hotaling
PHOTO: Jacqueline Anders/Adobe Stock

It’s inevitable: Once you start keeping chickens, you become an encyclopedia of all things poultry. If you’re like me, you get your hands on every publication available in pursuit of new chicken facts. I have five bookshelves dedicated to chicken books. I have acrylic magazine holders stuffed with issues of Chickens and Hobby Farms. My browser features a folder full of bookmarks for reputable chicken web sites.

My phone’s Contacts app has entries for professors of poultry science, avian veterinarians and chicken breeders. You’d think that I probably know everything there is to know about chickens … but I don’t. I learn new facts about chickens with pretty much every article I research and write.

When I discover new facts, I get excited all over again and eagerly wait for my family to get home from work and school so that I can share my new knowledge about our chickens with them. Naturally they’re not as enthusiastic as I’d hope—perhaps because they’ve been at computers all day. But, luckily for me, I can share these nuggets with all of you.

Here are four sets of chicken factoids I recently learned for you to enjoy and perhaps share with your own poultry people.  

Production Pro 

The United States leads the world in poultry-meat production, surpassing the planet’s 194 other countries in output. America raises more than 513 million chickens and more than 216 million turkeys annually, with more than 59 billion pounds of that being broilers. 

Those 730 million birds brought in approximately $77 billion dollars in revenue in 2022.  As enormous as this seems, the U.S. actually only produces 17 percent of the world’s poultry, with China and Brazil following close behind.  

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Chicken Chow Down 

America not only produces the majority of the world’s poultry; it also consumes most of the world’s chicken. About 15,000 metric tons of chicken is eaten each year in the U.S., and it’s easy to understand why: chicken wings, fried chicken, chicken soup, roast chicken … Americas just adore chicken.

Not only is it a tasty protein, it’s also an inexpensive one, much less costly than beef, veal or seafood. Chicken’s affordability definitely helps put a chicken in every American pot.

But it’s not just the U.S. that loves chicken. Global consumption of poultry is estimated to be 136,000 metric tons in 2023, more than nine times what the U.S. consumes.The country that eats the most chicken after the U.S.? China. 

The Real Eggsperts 

The United States is also a global leader when it comes to egg production, with more than 109 billion eggs produced annually. According to United Egg Producers, more than 55 percent of America’s annual egg production is consumed right here in the U.S. Less than 1 percent of the US’s annual egg production—about 0.15 percent, or 160.8 million eggs—are exported to other countries, mainly to Mexico, Canada and Japan.  

Does that mean the United States is the world’s top egg producer? Nope! That title goes to China, which produces more than 586 billion eggs per year, more than five times the amount produced by America.

The U.S. is actually No. 4, after India (122 billion) and Indonesia (114 billion). As far as eggsporting, the world’s top spot goes to The Netherlands, which exports almost 21 percent of the world’s eggs. 

Flock Talk 

According to the American Pet Product Association (APPA), approximately 13 percent of American households keep backyard flocks. That’s more than 10 million households across urban, suburban, and rural America.

Iowa takes top marks as America’s top chicken-keeping state, followed by Ohio and Indiana. Who are America’s backyard flock owners? Most of the micro flocks—15 percent—are owned by millennials (born between 1981 and 1996), followed by the 10 percent owned by Gen Z (born between 1997 and 2012) and the 6 percent kept by Gen X (born between 1965 and 1980).  

In addition, three quarters of America’s backyard-flock owners view their chickens as pets, making chickens the fourth most common pet in the U.S. after dogs, cats, and fish.  


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