Stupidity is the devil. Look in the eye of a chicken and you'll know. It's the most horrifying, cannibalistic, and nightmarish creature in this world. 

WERNER HERZOG

Chickens

Chicken Origins


The chicken is the world’s most populous bird. Precise estimates of the global population are difficult to make but it is unlikely to be fewer than 20 billion.

The UK’s chicken population in 2005 was 174 million, two-thirds of which were ‘broilers’, i.e. raised for meat not eggs. Despite this we manage to eat 10 billion eggs a year (or 28 million a day).

The original chicken was a species of pheasant from Thailand. Although the Red Jungle Fowl is now widespread across southern Asia, genetic analysis of one sub-species only found in Thailand - Gallus gallus gallus - has confirmed it as the progenitor of all domesticated species.

No one knows how or when chickens arrived in Britain. There is a legend that Phoenician tradesmen introduced them but it seems likely they were carried here by Iron Age tribes migrating from the East.
 
Danish chickens go gok-gok; German chickens gak gak; Thai chickens go gook gook; Dutch chickens tok tok while Finnish and Hungarian chickens say kot kot. The French hen goes cotcotcodet

About 1 in 10,000 chickens can change their gender.

ISABEL ALLENDE

Erotica is using a feather, pornography is using the whole chicken.

Male chickens sold for eating are castrated cocks and are called capons.

Eating Chickens


Mass-production of chickens and eggs started in about 1800. Eating chicken began as a by-product of egg production. Only chickens too old to produce enough eggs were killed and sold for meat.

In the early 1960s, chicken meat was still a luxury. It wasn't until the 1970s that it became the meat of choice for most families. Today it accounts for almost a half of all meat eaten in the UK.
 
Britons eat 23kg of chicken per head per annum – the equivalent in weight to a seven-year old child.

As a result of selective breeding and hormone treatment, the average broiler now takes 43 days to reach maturity, which is twice as fast as allowing nature to take its course.

98% of all chickens raised anywhere in the world – even organic ones – come from breeds developed by three American companies. More than half are Cobb 500s, developed in the 1970s by the Cobb Breeding Co.
 
70% of the UK’s broilers are processed by just four companies. The largest, Moy Park, based in Craigavon near Belfast, is part of the Brazilian food giant, Marfrig, who supply most of McDonald’s meat. Marfrig ‘processes’ an estimated 3.7 million chickens a day. 

W. H. AUDEN (1907-73)

Charles Dickens 
Could find nothing to say to chickens
But gossiping with rabbits
Became one of his habits.

Arsenic used to be used to fatten poultry.

Colour-Coded Chickens


Most chicken owners will tell you that hens with red/brown earlobes lay brown eggs and those with white earlobes produce white eggs. This is a useful rule of thumb but there are exceptions.

The Penedesenca from Spain has white earlobes and lays a dark brown egg. Silkies have dark blue earlobes but lay pale brown eggs, and the South American Araucana has red earlobes but lays a blue egg. 

The word ‘polecat’ comes from French meaning ‘chicken-cat’ (because it kills chickens).

The industry term for chicken feet is 'paws'.

Benjamin Franklin was the first recorded person to use artificial respiration to revive an electric shock victim, a chicken.