Chickens have been kept for millennia. Millions of us eat them regularly. There are thousands of chicken articles out there on the internet, hundreds of chicken-related books line library and bookstore shelves, and backyard chicken magazines populate many grocery stores. With the increased interest in raising chickens, the amount of information out there is astounding. Yet here are some interesting facts you may not know about chickens.
1. They Were Built for Speed
Chickens are known for meandering around the yard more than they are known for sprinting, but chickens are actually quite speedy on their feet. According to the Museum of Natural History, chickens can top out at 9 mph for short distances. This is handy for escaping predators… or backyard chicken farmers trying to urge the birds back into their chicken run.
2. Those Clucks and Crows Mean Something
Dr. K-lynn Smith and Professor Chris Evans of Australia’s Macquarie University claim that not only are chickens intelligent and social, but they can also adjust what they “say” depending on who is listening (http://www.globalanimal.org/2011/03/23/cluck-you-chickens-arent-dumb/11446/). Chicken noises are a language of their own, indicating their desires and intentions. Impressive, huh?
3. Eggs Come In Ridiculously Small Sizes
The smallest chicken egg was recorded in 2011 at 2.1 cm long, or about the size of a penny. Check out a picture at: http://www.worldrecordacademy.com/nature/smallest_Egg_John_Spencer_Russell_Egg_sets_world_record_112451.html. The egg seems to have been a fluke from “a normal size chicken.” Not much of an omelet from that egg!
4. Eggs Can Be Unnaturally Large Too
Look Eastward to China for the largest egg on record. Three times the size of the average chicken egg, the record was set in 2009 with an egg from China’s Heilongjiang Province. This egg was 6.3 centimeters wide, 9.2 centimeters long, and weighed 201 grams. For a picture, check out: http://www.worldrecordacademy.com/nature/largest_chicken_Egg-world_record_set_in_China_90261.htm. The chicken’s breed is not listed.
5. We Thought 7 Billion People Were a Lot…
There are approximately 19 billion chickens on Planet Earth today. That’s about 3 chickens for every person alive. That is impressive! China raises more chickens than any other country on Earth. What’s the environmental impact of this gigantic chicken population? Now that would be an interesting article.