Meeting the wishes of philatelists in the country and abroad, Romfilatelia introduces into circulation on Friday, August 18th, this year, the “Poultry” postage stamps issue, consisting of four stamps and a First Day Cover.
Poultry are the most numerous (by number of individuals) of all farm animals. They are an important source of food (meat and eggs) for the Earth’s ever-increasing human population.
The species in the current issue are large, terrestrial, related birds belonging to the order Galiformes and
the representative species of this order is the hen.
The helmeted guineafowl – Numida meleagris (in Romanian it is also called “piche” or “pichere”), depicted on the stamp with the face value of Lei 2.30, was domesticated in the lands of West Africa between 1300 and 5500 years ago. The helmeted guineafowl it is a monogamous species in the natural environment so even domesticated it thrives best in male-female pairs. Sexual dimorphism in this species is not very pronounced, so at first glance it is more difficult to distinguish males from females. Helmeted guineafowls live in flocks and are extremely noisy, which makes it somewhat difficult to keep them in households. However, this has an advantage: the noise they make scares away foxes and other predators, so guinea fowl are considered to be true poultry guardians. Also, by feeding on ticks, helmeted guineafowls provide real biological control of the spread of these mites.
The hen – Gallus gallus, illustrated on the stamp with the face value of Lei 3.10, is in fact the most common and best known of the domestic bird species. Chickens show a marked sexual dimorphism, i.e. the male – called a cock – and the female – called a hen – show visible, easily noticeable differences. The species was domesticated about 6,000 years ago in Southeast Asia. Evidence has been found in our country that chickens have been bred in Dacia since Roman times. Today chickens are by far the most numerous species bred for human food (both for meat and eggs), with an estimated 35 billion chickens in 2023.
The cock – Gallus gallus, is depicted on the stamp with the face value of Lei 4.70.
The hen and the cock are two species of polygamous birds (a male mates with several females).
The wild turkey is a bird that lives in North America and its domesticated form appeared about 2000 years ago, somewhere in Mexico. This species also has a pronounced sexual dimorphism, with the male (male turkey) being much more spectacular than the female (female turkey).
The domestic turkey – Meleagris gallopavo, illustrated on the stamp with the face value of Lei 9, is much larger than the species living in the wild (about twice as large), because artificial selection has been directed towards obtaining as much meat as possible from one bird. Also, unlike the wild form, the domestic form is unable to fly. The domestic turkey ranks sixth in the number of birds reared for human food (also for both meat and eggs), with about 300 million birds.
Romfilatelia thanks Senior Researcher Luis Ovidiu Popa, General Manager of the “Grigore Antipa” National Museum of Natural History, for the collaboration in the development of this issue of postage stamps.