Poultry are domesticated birds kept by humans for their eggs, their meat or their feathers. These birds are most typically members of the superorder Galloanserae, especially the order Galliformes. The term also includes birds that are killed for their meat, such as the young of pigeons but does not include similar wild birds hunted for sport or food and known as game. The word "poultry" comes from the French/Norman word poule, itself derived from the Latin word pullus, which means small animal.
The domestication of poultry took place around 5,400 years ago in Southeast Asia. This may have originally been as a result of people hatching and rearing young birds from eggs collected from the wild, but later involved keeping the birds permanently in captivity. Domesticated chickens may have been used for cockfighting at first and quail kept for their songs, but soon it was realised how useful it was having a captive-bred source of food. Selective breeding for fast growth, egg-laying ability, conformation, plumage and docility took place over the centuries, and modern breeds often look very different from their wild ancestors.