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Poultry refers to meat derived from some domesticated birds such as fowls, guinea fowls, turkeys, ducks and pigeons. The composition and nutritive value of poultry is similar to that of meat from animals. In poultry, especially fowls and turkeys, the fat lies under the skin and around the giblet; it is not embedded between the fibres as in meat. Poultry has lower fat content than meat and is therefore more easily digested than meat.

Poultry can be classified in two: white meat and dark meat, the white meat consists of meat derived from the breast and wings of the bird while the dark meat refers to those gotten from the legs. The white meat is more digestible than the dark meat, this is because the dark meat is more muscular and of coarser fibre because of the greater muscular activity of the legs.

Species Young Mature
Chickens Young chicken, broiler, fryer, roaster, cockrel Mature chicken, hen, stewing chicken, fowl
Turkeys Young turkey, fryer-toaster, young hen Mature turkey, yearling turkey, old turkey
Ducks Duckling, young duckling, broiler duckling, fryer duckling, roaster duckling Mature duck, old ducks



  1. Protein: like meat, poultry flesh is rich in protein of good quality. It is a 1st protein that contains all the essential amino acid.
  2. Fat: poultry have little fat, but the fat lies under the skin and around the giblet, especially fowls and turkeys. It is not embedded between the fibres as in meat.
  3. Vitamins: poultry have small quantity of the B-Complex vitamins but less nicotinic acid around the legs of the bird than the breast.
  4. Water: poultry meat virtually contains water.
  5. Minerals Salts: the flesh of poultry contains iron and phosphorus.



  1. There should be plenty of down feathers over the body of the bird. The quills on the wings should not be difficult to remove. There should be no long hair on the thigh.
  2. The comb and wattles should be small, bright red in colour.
  3. The legs should be smooth and pliable; the scales of the legs should not be thick but slightly overlapping.
  4. The feet should be supple and the beak pliable.
  5. The breast should be plump. The prominent bones e.g back bone should be covered with flesh.
  6. The weight of the body should be more than that of the feathers.
  7. The eyes of the bird should be bright and sparkling.
  8. The bird should not look dull but lively.
  9. There should be no grains of corn in the crop.


The birds should be killed at least one hour before cooking. This is to allow sometimes for hanging until the period of ‘Rigor Motis’ is passed. After killing the bird, its carcass becomes stiff, rigid and difficult to bend. This stage is what is known as ‘Rigor Mortis’. However, after sometimes all the muscles relax again, at this stage, ‘Rigor Mortis’ is passed. The flesh of the poultry usually becomes more tender after passing this stage. If the intention is to make the poultry very tender, the carcass can be suspended by the feet in a cool dry place for another one to two hours. After this, the bird is then immersed in boiling water. A cup can be used to pour the boiling water all over the body. The feathers should be plucked quickly without allowing it to cool. If the bird is very young, do not dip in boiling water, pluck it dry, but if the wing feathers are difficult to remove, dip the tips of the bird in boiling water and they will come off easily.

After the feathers have been removed, singe over a smokeless fire to remove long hairs. Cut off the head and feet, If these are required, remove the scales from the feet and feathers from the head. Cut off the nails and beak. Wash the bird well with a clean sponge and some soap, wash twice if necessary and rinse each time after washing. Rinse well to remove any trace of soap. Cut at the joint, cut off the legs and the thighs then the wings and the neck. Cut down the breast bone and remove the internal organs, put this on the plate. Cut the body into the number of pieces desired. Carefully remove the gizzard, slit open at the side and remove inner bag and discard. Cut off the liver, being careful not to burst the gall bladder, remove the part and discard the rest of the internal organ.


  1. Broiling
  2. Frying
  3. Roasting
  4. Grilling


  • Mention 6 factors to consider when choosing poultry.
  • btw the nutritive value of meat and poultry.


–  State the various methods of poultry storage.

–  describe the red and white meat of poultry in two paragraphs.


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