Chicken Facts
March 26, 2014 3:07 PM   Subscribe

I would like to play a April Fools joke of sorts on coworkers: Someone posted these Chicken Facts to the break room fridge. I would like your help in revising them.

On Twitter, Joan Arkham suggested "Leave it exactly as-is but sub in a list of facts about President Taft", so at least one similar fact will have to be found. I also got a good suggestions from metroidbaby, Rustic Etruscan, and sculpin:

"Chickens lay more eggs while listening to music in a major key, less for a minor key."

"A chicken can swell to twice its normal size when submerged in water."

"the chicken's wattles contain a deadly poison for which no antidote is yet known."

I would like your suggestions as well! I plan to simple edit the HTML of the original webpage to preserve formatting. While I'd love to relabel the diagram as well, I don't know that I have the graphic skills.

So, please, lay (ha!) your ridiculous, absolutely untrue, but sincere and serious sounding Chicken Facts on me.
posted by maryr to Grab Bag (47 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You may be interested in reviewing the available scientific literature on chickens.
posted by neckro23 at 3:14 PM on March 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Following the Latin name for chicken: The Pig Latin name for chicken is icken-chay.
posted by amarynth at 3:18 PM on March 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Huh. I have a whole twitter full of joke facts about eggs (self link). You're welcome to use any of them, but here's some of the more chickeny ones:

Lots of chickens are female, but only the queens are capable of laying eggs
Eggs are the only known antidote to venomous chicken bites
For extra convenience while laying eggs, some chickens don't wear pants
Chickens are pretty much made out of eggs
For improved aiming precision, the insides of some hens are rifled
Chickens call laying an egg going number three
Sometimes hens procrastinate and then have to lay all their eggs at once, right before the deadline
Most eggs come from chickens, but some come from other birds, like sand pipers
Farmers have to get up early every morning to squeeze eggs out of their hens
Roosters don't lay eggs, because they're too busy making all that racket
Hacker chickens know how to "jailbreak" their eggs
Eggs are one of the best things to ever come out of a chicken's butt
posted by aubilenon at 3:24 PM on March 26, 2014 [35 favorites]

The name "chicken" comes from the Latin chicchen, meaning "superior breakfast food."
posted by insectosaurus at 3:28 PM on March 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Most chickens lay solid colored eggs, but eggs can be mottled/spotted or occasionally striped.
posted by insectosaurus at 3:29 PM on March 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The chicken was widely believed to be mythological until brought back to England by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1602, leading to his knighthood.

Chickens are one of only four animals with a natural sense of style, they avoid people wearing clashing clothes.

Chickens can reproduce by budding as well as laying eggs. These buds are commonly sold as chicken nuggets.

In Leipzig, it is traditional for children to keep a chicken in their pants on their first day of school.

Chickens are the only birds with a prehensile beak.

Chickens know your terrible secret.

The symbol of the Hapsburgs was a chicken rampant.

If you leave over 30 chickens together in a dark room, by morning they will merge into a "superchicken" (called a "bigchick" in the American South)

Chickens can sense fear. Also loneliness.
posted by blahblahblah at 3:30 PM on March 26, 2014 [13 favorites]

The only thing Chuck Norris is afraid of is chickens.
posted by cooker girl at 3:56 PM on March 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Hen's teeth are only exposed when the chicken is startled, or dropped from great height.
The last of the passenger chickens went extinct in 1986.
Five or fewer chickens is called a 'clutch', while more than five chickens is a 'cluck-tonne'.
While the chicken was the first animal to develop steadi-cam head stabilizing technology, it has not yet claimed any of the intellectual property rights that are its due. (This is due to the species' collective fear of legal eagles.)
With the exception of the Derbyshire Redcap breed, all chickens are monoglots.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 3:56 PM on March 26, 2014 [4 favorites]

You may be interested in Greg Nog's post.
posted by Mchelly at 4:00 PM on March 26, 2014

Best answer: Chickens have remarkably high IQs, higher than humans or dolphins. When given an SAT test the chicken will peck the correct answer more than 9/10 times.

The last chicken to swim the English Channel was an leghorn from Chicago known as "Legs" McClucksalot.

The tail feathers of hens, when burned to ash and then powdered, are considered a powerful aphrodisiac.

Renegade groups of chickens in the southeastern US grow to unusual sizes and are ironically called "Texas sparrows." Texas sparrows can grow to 3 feet in height.

The venom in chicken wattles in makes chicken pecking deadly. In the United States, approximately 1,000 people are killed by chickens each year. This does not count attacks by Texas sparrows.

The myth of the unicorn is thought to have originated from a pre-historic chicken sighting.
posted by bunderful at 4:05 PM on March 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Early cave paintings found in the Lascaux Caves of southwestern France depicted a battle scene between chickens and bison. The chickens were winning.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 4:24 PM on March 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

If a chicken is vibrated continuously during the laying period, it will produce a scrambled egg.

Scientists have genetically modified a chicken which can lay green eggs and ham.
posted by goethean at 4:24 PM on March 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Four ounces of chicken dung contains more fiber than an equivalent amount of flax seed and twice as much calcium as a glass of milk.

Chickens are prone to swallowing small inedible objects they find while scratching for food, and these items sometimes make their way into the eggs they lay. Among the documented items that have been found inside chicken eggs are coins, small nails, various types of jewelry, the pin from a hand grenade and a human finger bone.

In tropical climates chickens are often kept indoors as pets, as they will keep a home free from insects, mice and small lizards. They can be easily trained to use a litter box like a cat.

With some effort, chickens can be taught to talk, much like parrots and mynah birds. However, they cannot produce the sound of the letter "H" as the shape of their epiglottis prevents them from exhaling audibly. Due to this they are also unable to sing.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:42 PM on March 26, 2014 [8 favorites]

Best answer: Chickens have an additional brain at the end of their spine that provides motor control in their back ends.

In nineteenth century England, chicken feathers were woven into baskets to receive calling-cards in the homes of the nascent middle-class.

A litter of kittens raised with a chicken from birth grow up to be obedient, docile, and empathetic.
posted by Banish Misfortune at 4:46 PM on March 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

"Most of what one reads about chickens is verifiably false"
- Abraham Lincoln
posted by 4ster at 4:52 PM on March 26, 2014 [5 favorites]

Best answer: All modern chickens share a common ancestor: a 16th century Austrian bird named Ch. Grechenhoff von Neudorff.

Chickens are closely related to reptiles; their bipedal gait can also be observed among basilisks, which are commonly known as Jesus lizards.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 5:05 PM on March 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A chicken can have 4 or 5 teeth on each foot.
Chickens lay different colored eggs, depending on this season's trendiest colors, as set by the Maison des Poulins in Paris.
Chickens are bad mamma-jammas.
If cut off, a chicken's beak can be kept alive for days by submerging it in a glass of flat ginger ale.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:08 PM on March 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Chickens are the only bird who are not required to pay an income tax.

Sir Winston Churchill had a chicken walk across his back every morning while he planned his day. He referred to it as "scratching out an idea" and claimed it saved thousands of lives during the Battle of Britain.

Chickens are unable to be killed as passengers in auto accidents. They do so by flapping their wings violently when they sense a crash.

Most toucans in zoos are actually black chickens wearing a false beak.
posted by Turkey Glue at 5:36 PM on March 26, 2014 [6 favorites]

Guys, is it okay if I steal some of the eggy ones you've come up with?
posted by aubilenon at 5:44 PM on March 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

When not killed for food, chickens can survive for up to 100 years.
posted by bunderful at 5:55 PM on March 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: On the diagram change "beak" to "pecker." Add a pointer to label something Pop Sickles and one to Auxiliary Tail.
This sounds like fun!
posted by evilmomlady at 5:57 PM on March 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

Though malicious killers when provoked, there are several recorded instances where chickens have saved human lives.
posted by bunderful at 6:00 PM on March 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

You could buy a copy of this book at leave it in the break room.
posted by w0mbat at 6:04 PM on March 26, 2014

In 2014, scientists expect to reintroduce the velociraptor by modifying chicken DNA.
posted by empath at 6:12 PM on March 26, 2014

Best answer: You probably should add a label pointing at the butt that says "ovipositor".
posted by aubilenon at 6:20 PM on March 26, 2014 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Don't forget to label the horsefeathers.
posted by amtho at 6:29 PM on March 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

The Indigo Girls song "Chicken Man" was inspired by a little known cult from about 100-80 BCE which worshipped chickens. The lyric "Chicken Man, Chicken Man, Chicken Man hold my hand" is a direct quote from their ancient manuscripts.
posted by bunderful at 6:34 PM on March 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm a pretty big expert on chickens, and would like to make a suggestion: instead of fanciful chicken "facts," why not dig a little deeper for true facts based on reality? I'll save you the trouble (apologies ahead of time for any duplicates and formatting errors-- I'm just copying these from my phone's CHKFAX.TXT file).

1. There are more than 23.5 million chickens living on the planet at any given time.
2. Chickens can be found on every continent, including Antarctica, in modern times.
3. The latin name for the common domesticated chicken is Gallus gallus domesticus.
4. The common egg found in the market is unincubated.
5. Most hens can lay more than 300 eggs per year. That's a lot of eggs!
6. Egg yolks grow in size with time, as it absorbs more water from the surrounding albumen.
7. The whites of eggs, called albumen, is comprised of albumin, which is a water-soluble protein.
8. In the medical world, the most common protein in the serum of humans is albumin, the same as found in egg whites!
9. Human babies do not require eggs in their diet, as they are the product of fertilized eggs themselves.
10. As we age, we require more eggs in our diet to replace the albumin lost with time: the average adult male requires 8.8kg albumin per year. This is approximately 220 eggs!
11. It is not uncommon to find many older adults to be in a state of mild malnutrition, which is defined as having a serum albumin of less than 3.5g/dL.
12. Chicken eggs not only provides us with protein, but also all of the essential amino acids. That's one handy and wholesome food!
13. Chicken eggs also provide us with many vitamins, including vitamin A, which is necessary for keen eyesight and night vision.
14. Vitamin C was first isolated in the breast meat of chickens that were fed a diet rich in oranges.
15. Chickens, in general, do not like lemons. Gallus gallus bastalompus are the exception. It is thought that the high acidity of lemons is responsible for the large waddles of male G. g. bastalompus.
16. For this reason, G. g. bastalompus are often referred to as the "hipsters" of the chicken kingdom. It is also the reason why their clutches are often comprised of a smaller number of eggs, as more energy is devoted to waddle growth.
17. The leg meat of chickens has a high concentration of Vitamin D, which named after the "dark" meat. This color comes from the higher amounts of myoglobin found in leg muscles.
18. During World War II, Vitamin D capsules were referred to as "jump pills" by soldiers of many armies. It is the reason why chickens can jump so high.
19. It is also the reason why the Maginot Line was such a failure: the "Grand Plague de Poulet" (literally: "the great chicken plague") of the 1920s led to a generation of Frenchmen whose vertical mobility was severely handicapped. The broad use of the antibiotic Penicillin by most other nations, including Germany, not only cured chicken plague, but also fattened up livestock.
20. This is also the reason why, though chickens can jump high, cannot fly: the overuse of antibiotics has led to chicken obesity, which has become the number two cause of death in all chickens. Can you guess what number one is?
21. Humans. Humans are the number one cause of death in all chickens.
22. Like humans, chickens are omnivorous. This means they seek out both vegetable and beef for sustenance.
23. One supporting argument for evolution is the development of the chicken's beak over the ages: a more beef-centric diet and genetic selection for survival mechanisms against death has led to sharper and sharper beaks over time.
24. The typical chicken beak of the 20th century chicken was able to produce over 1.21 giganewtons of force. Considering the very small strike area of beaks, this was enough force to penetrate most bulletproof materials!
25. The concomitant development of increased strike speeds unfortunately led to cavitation of surrounding fluids such as air and water. This led to the demise of whole populations of chickens, including G. g. hydrobellum, or the fabeled "chicken of the sea."
26. This is the reason why the number of chicken attacks on humans and cows has plummeted in the past 25 years.
27. The internet phrase "gg" comes not from "good game" as commonly believed, but has its roots in the Korean custom of signing correspondence with a remembrance of G. g. hydrobellum and G. g. aiurlitica, chicken subspecies which died out in the 1990s and 1980s, respectively.
28. Ch
posted by herrdoktor at 7:28 PM on March 26, 2014 [10 favorites]

Whoops. Apparently Android 4.4.2 doesn't handle text files greater than 4gb (I think this has to do with FAT32?!). MeMail me if you want the rest.
posted by herrdoktor at 7:29 PM on March 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

Chickens can travel through time by accelerating to 88 miles per hour.

Specially bred yellow chickens provide all the feathers for the Big Bird costume used on Sesame Street.

The first hybrid of a chicken and a turkey, known as a "chirkey," was hatched in 2002. It was reportedly delicious.

A pet chicken once escaped from its owners' car at a gas station in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and four months later arrived on its own at their new home in Forks, Washington.

There is a chicken behind you at all times, but it moves out of your range of vision whenever you turn around.

Chickens enjoy making up outrageous lies about themselves.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:56 PM on March 26, 2014 [4 favorites]

Only the peregrine falcon can fly faster than a chicken.
posted by double block and bleed at 9:23 PM on March 26, 2014

An eleven year old boy in Providence, RI was one of 637 people in the US to die last year of gallus toxicosis ("chicken poisoning") after eating 43 Chicken McNuggets.®
posted by double block and bleed at 9:35 PM on March 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Ramses II paid over 500 pounds in gold and electrum for a single chicken feather as a gift for his daughter, as chickens were unknown in Egypt at that time.
posted by double block and bleed at 9:44 PM on March 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you removed all of the chickens from Earth, the length of day would decrease by four minutes, due to the lower mass of the planet. If you removed all the Chickens from the moon, all intercontinental shipping would cease, due to the utter lack of tides.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 9:49 PM on March 26, 2014

Best answer: The deadly game of chicken is based on the competitive behaviour of poultry during the rutting season, in which two birds face off and ram into each other head-first. This is how a pecking order is established.

A chick is a juvenile hen; young roosters are called dudes.

Chickens perform most bodily functions via a single orifice called the egg nog.

Nearly all chicken recipes can be made vegetarian by replacing the poultry with an equal amount of marshmallow peeps.

Mock chicken soup, popular during the chicken famine of the 18th century, was made with turtle meat.

An egg cream is a popular drink made with eggs and cream.

The ostrich is known as the chicken of the sea.

The ancient Babylonians, pioneers in the redistribution of wealth, worshipped a golden hen called Qu'ic-ken, from which the popular tax software gets its name.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:32 PM on March 26, 2014 [5 favorites]

28. Chickens bob their heads to stabilize their vision. Lacking the musculature found in humans that allows for fine control of eye movements, they make do with the chicken equivalent of saccadic motions.
29. While Mercedes-Benz has recently been credited with the use of chicken-based technology, it was Nikon that first adapted Chicken Stabilization Technology (CST) for image stabilization in 1995.
30. Another technology derived from chickens is the coffee grinder. Thomas Bruff stumbled upon the idea when he was investigating the reason why his chickens seemed to be dying from lack of sleep: after performing several dozen post-mortem examinations, he noticed that they all had eaten coffee beans and had been crushing them in their gizzards. Talk about nature being the mother of all inventions!
31. These days, chicken farmers provide inferior instant coffees to their stock. It is thought that this is the reason why chickens taste so different to some members of the older generation.
32. Researchers have recently discovered two additional receptors for taste: “umami,” for savory, and a receptor that specifically binds a ligand found in high concentrations in chicken meat. This compound is found in varying amounts in nearly all foodstuffs, which is the reason why many things taste like chicken.
33. It is thought that the curative effects of chicken soup is a myth. Selenium, believed to be the active ingredient in chicken soup, is found only in trace amounts in most preparations. Proponents of homeopathy claim that there is another yet-undiscovered molecule that is responsible for chicken soup’s salutary effects.
34. Chickens are direct descendants of the platypus. In the Devonian period, the chicken’s tail was paddle-shaped, which aided their evolution and rapid proliferation from being water-based to land-based.
35. Examination of fossil records shows that primitive man hunted chickens to near extinction in Devonian days. It is theorized that the migration of chickens from sea to land gave birth to a critical period of chicken evolution, during which chickens were lacking in locomotory appendages. This made them extremely easy to hunt.
36. It is possible to overdose on the Vitamin D found in the dark meat of chickens, and this is the reason why the primitive chicken population was able to rebound. One of the effects of Vitamin D overdose is the irreversible binding of a specific cannabinoid receptor necessary for critical thought (this is also the reason why Vitamin D is frequently mistaken to have its roots as ‘Vitamin Dumb’).
37. Surprisingly, there is no common compound in chickens and marijuana, even though both chicken and pot contain compounds that trigger cannabinoid receptors.
38. Colonel Sanders, the famed father of Kentucky Fried Chicken, rose to his rank in post-war Japan. Captain Harland Sanders served in the 102nd Airborne Division, which suppressed the great chicken uprising of 1949. President Truman personally awarded Captain Sanders with the Distinguished Service Cross and a promotion to Colonel.
39. Rather than succumbing to bigotry, Colonel Sanders preached tolerance for chickens. In his memoirs, Sanders writes: “For they were fearless, not fearful, in their combat and must be respected. We must do them justice and encourage their growth, and in doing so engender man’s own growth. We must do them right.” Unfortunately, this was misappropriated as “At Kentucky Fried Chicken, we do chicken right.”
40. A common chicken’s brain is about the size of marble, yet it is able to calculate such math problems as 1+1=1 and reduce complex differentials to a common solution of 1 as fast as IBM’s Watson supercomputer!
41. Novel research in mutant chickens has yielded specimens that can count as high eight. These chickens have developed musculature that allows them to look down at their feet.
posted by herrdoktor at 11:11 PM on March 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

posted by caution live frogs at 7:09 AM on March 27, 2014

As proven by a lucky stowaway on Apollo 14, it only takes one chicken laid end to end to breach the gap between the earth and moon.
posted by Turkey Glue at 3:21 PM on March 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'd be tempted to put in a Breaking Bad joke with Los Pollos Hermanos.
posted by barnone at 3:28 PM on March 28, 2014

Hey maryr, if you get a chance, would you post a photo of the end result? I'd love to see what you end up with!
posted by evidenceofabsence at 5:13 PM on March 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Will do! And I appreciate all the contributions - I'll mark any I use as a 'best answer'. Right now I'm struggling through the horrifying autogenerated HTML used on the original web page. Not entirely sure where I can post a simple HTML web page these days either! I'm not web 2.0 ready!
posted by maryr at 9:33 PM on March 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Final product is here featuring contributions from *takes a deep breath* neckro23, amarynth, aubilenon, blahblahblah, Cold Lurkey, Serene Empress Dork, Banish Misfortune, evidenceofabsence, Rock Steady, Sys Rq, double block and bleed, herrdoktor, and the aforementioned Rustic Etruscan and sculpin. (I think that's everyone!) Metroid Baby did the wonderful, wonderful graphic. And I would have liked to use more, but I wanted to keep the list pretty close to the original length.

I'll let you know if my co-workers react at the end of the work day, but I thought you'd enjoy reading the final product. I had a blast putting this together; thank you all again!
posted by maryr at 8:34 PM on March 31, 2014 [6 favorites]

I'll let you know if my co-workers react at the end of the work day

maryr's lack of update can only mean one thing. One of these facts hit a little too close to home, and she was disappeared by black helicopters, and now is being held captive by shadowy forces.

Or she decided to eat dinner first.
posted by aubilenon at 8:00 PM on April 1, 2014

Final product is here
It is beautiful in every way. Thanks for sharing it with us!!
posted by evidenceofabsence at 11:52 AM on April 3, 2014

Ahahahaha... I love it! The labels on the graphic are hysterical. I don't know why "root chakra" made me snort out loud, but it did.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 1:32 PM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: It's a bit late, but here's a better link for the final copy:
posted by maryr at 2:11 PM on October 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yay, I'm Contact Information!
posted by aubilenon at 3:54 PM on October 1, 2014

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