Historians believe the chicken has been domesticated as far back as 2000 B.C. They also believe chickens were not native to the U.S. Instead, they think chickens arrived in South America with Polynesian explorers at least a century before Columbus' first sailing. The chickens eventually moved north with other explorers.
Chickens may have come from other lands, but turkey and duck are both native to the U.S. Early explorers to North America discovered the value of turkey and took birds back to Europe. When the Pilgrims and other settlers arrived in America, they were already familiar with raising and eating turkey. Celebrating Thanksgiving with turkey became a national tradition. It was such a popular bird that Benjamin Franklin wanted America's national bird to be the turkey, but the bald eagle was chosen instead.