There is no apparent reference to the domestic chicken in the Hebrew Scriptures, but in the Christian Greek Scriptures the crowing of the cock is mentioned (Matt. 26:34), and Jesus Christ referred to the hen gathering her chicks under her protective wings in his simile concerning unresponsive Jerusalem. (Matt. 23:37; Luke 13:34) The Greek word there used (orʹnis) is generic and hence may refer to any bird, wild or domesticated. But in Attic Greek it usually meant a hen, since this was the most common and useful of the domestic fowl. Jesus’ reference to a son asking his father for an egg (Luke 11:11, 12) indicates that the domestic hen was common in Palestine at that time. (See COCK.) From the Greek orʹnis (or, orʹni·thos) comes the English word “ornithology,” the branch of zoology treating of birds.
Concerning the domestication of this bird, The Encyclopedia Americana (1956, Vol. 22, p. 462) states: “The exact origin of the chicken will probably never be known with certainty. However, most authorities on the subject are in agreement that the place of origin was in southwestern Asia.” Some believe the poultry chicken derives from a wild red jungle fowl found particularly in India, Burma and Malaya and evidently domesticated there from early times. The Greek author Aristophanes referred to it as the “Persian bird,” indicating that it reached Greece from Persia.
Certain rabbinical laws forbade the eating of eggs laid on the sabbath day, since it was held that this constituted work on the part of the hen; some, however, allowed the eating of the eggs if the hen was one kept for eating and not for laying. The Bible, however, contains no such rules.