What is poultry?
The term poultry refers to the class of animals called Aves. There are several members of this class that have been domesticated but the most popular families are the Phasianade, Meleagridae, Anatidae and Numididae. Of these, the genus and species Gallus domesticus 
(chicken), Meleagris (gallopavo (turkeys), Anas platyrhynchos (ducks) and Numida meleogris (guinea fowl) are well known in Nigeria.
 In terms of commercial production however, the chicken has been the most 
extensively exploited. Most the discussion in this study unit will be centred on the chicken. 
Poultry meat and ages are amongst the most nutritious products for human consumption. The nutritional quality of the egg is so good that it has often been used as the standard for assessing the quality of other food protein sources. Compared with other forms of livestock farming, 
poultry farming has the following well-known advantages: 
1. Short generation interval and rapid fecundity 
2. Rapid turnover of invested capital. Broilers can be invested in 8 weeks while pullets begin laying eggs at five month of age 
3. Small space requirement and low initial capital investment requirement.
These advantages no doubt account for the fact that commercial and backyard poultry rearing is very popular in this country. In addition to these advantages, the chicken is an outstanding laboratory animal that has been exploited for teaching biology, demonstrating the principles of animal husbandry, investigating the nutritional requirements of animals and extensive physiological and biochemical studies in other biological and medical sciences. 
The wealth of knowledge that has been accumulated about the biological 
needs of the chicken for optimum productivity forms the basis for the 
management practices for successful poultry production. This unit summarises the basic management practices essential for the efficient and profitable production of poultry eggs and meat products.

Types or Stains of Poultry 

Poultry are kept primarily for egg or meat production. Many years of scientific breeding and selection has produced specialized breeds of birds that are either capable of growing very fast and are heavy (meat type) or are prolific egg producers (egg type). In both cases, it is possible to rear parent stock that will produce fertile eggs from which the commercial broiler or pullets are obtained. The prospective farmer’s first major assignment is to decide on a suitable poultry production 
enterprise that can be established within the limits of available resources and which is also relevant to the market demands for poultry products in his locality.
Poultry are kept essentially for egg or meat production. The duration and 
management practices required for egg and meat type of production differ, though the two may be integrated naturally as in backyard poultry production or by sharing the same poultry equipment and appliances or facilities. In either of the two enterprises (broilers or pullet production), 
production operations are undertaken in phases – brooding and rearing, starter and finisher phases (for broiler management), pullet and layer phases (for pullet management). Productivity and/or profitability is dependent on the appropriateness in time and effectiveness with which routine management practices are applied. Understanding of the principles of poultry presupposes their application which this study unit endeavours to provide to students in this course