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10 interesting fun facts about chicken

By Dr Watson Messo Odwako
There is a rare breed of chicken which is completely black due to abnormal pigmentation caused by excessive melanin production. One chicken costs Sh250,000 in Indonesia.

Like all living creatures, chicken has fascinating facts. Today, I will highlight some of these fun facts to help you understand them better and boost production.

1. Chickens mate in the afternoons and lay eggs in the morning. It is therefore important that more feed is given in the late afternoon than in the morning. Some farmers or workers fill up feeders 100 percent in the morning before leaving for work and only top up in the afternoon, this means birds stay at night without feed at a time they require it most during egg formation. Feed your birds 40 per cent ratio in the morning and 60 per cent in the afternoon for maximum egg production.

2. Believe it or not, it takes 25 hours to lay one egg. Some people believe that a hen lays one egg every day, far from it, the journey from the ovary to the nest takes 25 to 26 hours and therefore the best production in a week is six eggs per hen.

3. A hen turns its eggs during incubation 50 times in a day. During artificial incubation, eggs are turned every hour at an angle of 45 degrees. This is very important to help developing embryo grow within the centre of the egg and improve its chances of survival to term. After seven days of incubation, the turning of eggs is less important.

4. After hatching chicks, a hen will encourage its newly hatched chicks to eat her faecal droppings. Yes, this is very important as the gut of the chicks need to be filled up with the good micro-organism for early immunity and competitively exclude the bad bacteria. This is the first line of defence for these chicks against enteric infections.

5. You can tell the colour of eggshell a chicken will lay by just looking at the colour of its earlobe. Chicken with brown earlobe is brown egg layers while those with white earlobes are white eggshell producers. In Kenya and most East African countries, our people prefer brown shell coloured eggs whereas white shelled eggs are popular in the west.

6. There is a rare breed of chicken which is completely black due to abnormal pigmentation caused by excessive melanin production. One chicken costs Sh250,000 in Indonesia.

7. Japanese eat over 320 eggs per person per year while Indians eat 50 eggs per person per year. People in sub-Saharan Africa including Kenya consumes less than 40 eggs per capita. World Health organisation recommend minimum of 180 eggs per capita consumption to fight malnutrition in women and children. Eggs are expensive, scarce, and rarely consumed by children in much of Africa and South Asia.

8.  Roosters perform a little dance called ‘tidbitting’ in which they make sounds (food calls) and move their head up and down, picking up and dropping a bit of food. Researchers have found that females prefer males that often perform tidbitting and have larger, brighter combs on top of their heads.

9. Scientists think that the rooster’s wattle the dangly bit beneath his beak helps him to gain a hen’s attention when he is tidbitting.

10. A female chicken will mate with many different males but if she decides, after the deed is done, that she doesn’t want a particular rooster’s offspring and can eject his sperm. This occurs most often when the male is lower in the pecking order.

You can get more additional info from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/14-fun-facts-about-chickens

[Dr. Watson Messo Odwako email messo@kenchic.com or vet@kenchic.com]

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