"Chickens, Eggs, and Other Nonsense" by Neal Murphy

November 23, 2021 - The lowly chicken has provoked a number of interesting questions in the past, such as: Why did the chicken cross the road, and which came first – the chicken or the egg? These two questions have been pondered for many years, and every person must come to their own personal conclusion. I have decided that the real reason that the chicken crossed the road was because she wanted to get to the other side. Others have stated that she crossed the road to prove to armadillos that it COULD be done.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? My opinion is that the chicken came first because the Bible says that God created all animals, fowls of the air, and fish in the sea. Nowhere does it state that God created only the eggs or embryos for the chickens. But, that’s just me.

A bigger question about the chicken is this one – which end of the egg comes out of the chicken first? Seems like a dumb question, but the more I thought about it the more this question begins to nag. Does the larger, round end come out first, or the smaller one? Or, is it just a random shot?

A question of this magnitude requires much research in order to attempt an intelligent answer. So, I did that. I turned to Cornell University professor Karvous Keshavarz, poultry czar on the Straight Dope Science Advisory Board. According to professor K., the egg initially moves through the chicken’s oviduct small end first. When it reaches the uterus, however, it hardens, that is the shell calcifies, then rotates 180 degrees, and makes the rest of the trip big end first.

This may sound like doing it the hard way, but actually it’s the most efficient way to push the egg. When the muscles of the chicken’s uterine walls squeeze the egg’s small end, it squirts forward and out into the cold, cruel world. I am sure that you will think about this information each time you crack an egg for cooking.

All of this talk about chickens reminds me of the story about Colonel Sanders, the founder of the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. It has been reported that years ago Colonel Sanders was driving along a dusty back road in Kentucky when a three-legged chicken ran alongside his car. The strange chicken with three legs caught his immediate attention. He watched as the chicken ran ahead of him on the road, so he sped up to forty miles per hour. The chicken ran even faster and stayed ahead of him. Intrigued, the Colonel followed the fast-moving chicken down a dusty driveway to a farm house. 

Colonel Sanders could not believe his eyes at seeing dozens of three-legged chickens in the yard. In his excitement, he called out to the farmer, “How did you get all these three-legged chickens?” The farmer replied, “I breed ‘em. Ya see, we’re a family of three and we all like chicken legs. We were always one short, so I started breeding this three-legged variety so we could all have our favorite piece.”

“That’s amazing”, said Colonel Sanders. “How do they taste?” “Well, I don’t rightly know,” the farmer drawled. “I ain’t caught one yet.”

So, the next time you see a chicken crossing the road, just consider it “poultry in motion.”