Chickens, milk cows, and beef cattle are much better producers today than they were 200, 100, 50, or even 20 years ago because of selective breeding and outcross genetics that use a real axis of production to measure the pennies spent on feed and shelter against the pounds returned in milk, eggs, and meat.
Sadly, no such axis of production exists in the world of dogs, especially not show and pet dogs. The result is that almost all pure breed dogs are much worse today than they were 100 years ago.
Improved efficiency in milk production down on the farm, however, has enabled the U.S. dairy industry to produce 186 billion pounds of milk from 9.2 million cows in 2007, as compared to only 117 billion pounds of milk from 25.6 million cows in 1944.
And what about meat chickens, aka broiler chickens? The numbers here are astounding, with birds more than twice as big, being produced in half the time, at a cost of less than half the feed per pound, and with one fifth the mortality.
Right now, there are an estimated 25 billion chickens being raised around the world, making Gallus gallus domesticus the most common bird in the world.
The amazing thing is that the most common bird in the world has been almost entirely created by the hand of man.
Though descended from both both Grey and Red Junglefowl, the modern egg and meat chicken grows so much faster, produces so many more eggs, and looks so different than its wild ancestor, than it can be thought of as an entirely different species.
And did I mention that chickens produce eggs? True! The little state of Iowa, with a population of just 3 million people, has a chicken population of about 53 million birds producing about 14 BILLION eggs a year.
And what happens to all those commercial egg-laying hens after their second egg-laying season?
A large number end up as dog food, as these birds are now too old to be of much value as roasting birds.