Which Came First? The Chicken or the Egg?

July 29, 2022

Mountaineer News

Farm Life Friday's | Fun Fact Edition

It's Chicken Facts Galore for this Farm Life Friday, including a philosophical article posing the age-old question... which came first? The chicken or the egg?

So, it's off to the races...

Chicken quotes and sayings:

  • Don't count your chickens before they are hatched. - Aesop Fables

  • It is not unprofessional to give free advice, but advertising that the first visit will be free is a bit like a fox telling chickens he will not bite them until they cross the threshold of the hen house. Warren E. Burger

  • If a man's gonna eat fried chicken, he's gonna get greasy. - Author Unknown

  • The chicken came first—God would look silly sitting on an egg. - Author Unknown

  • When arguing with a chicken a grain of corn is always wrong. - African Proverb

  • Ever think of what pets must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul - chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we're the greatest hunters on earth. - Anne Tyler

  • It is better to be the head of chicken than the rear end of an ox. - Japanese Proverb

  • The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed. - Martina Navratilova

  • An overcrowded chicken farm produces fewer eggs. - Chinese Proverb

Chicken Facts and Trivia

  • Heat does not kill chickens, humidity does. Chickens function fine in higher temperatures, however humidity has been know to lower a chicken’s performance and render them dead.

  • Americans consume an average of 8 billion chickens each year.

  • On average, a hen lays 300 eggs per year.

  • Chickens have full-color vision.

  • There are more chickens on earth than humans.

  • Chickens lay different colored eggs, including such colors as white, brown, green, pink, and blue.

  • There are over 150 kinds of domestic chickens.

  • Chickens have more bones in their necks than giraffes!

  • To produce a dozen eggs, a hen has to eat about 4 pounds of food.

  • The chicken is the closest living relative to the tyrannosaurus rex.

  • The waste made by a chicken in its lifetime can make enough electricity to run a 100 watt bulb for five hours!

  • Chickens can mourn for each other.

  • A rooster takes 18 to 20 breaths a minute, and a hen 30 to 35.

  • The greatest known number of yolks in one egg is nine.

  • A chicken is 75% water.

  • The fear of chickens is called Alektorophobia.

  • Gainesville Georgia is the chicken capitol of the world.

  • A chicken takes 21 days to hatch.

  • Chickens can travel up to 9 miles per hour.

  • A chicken loses feathers when stressed.

  • A mother hen turns her egg approximately 50 times a day, so the yolk does not stick to the shell.

It is one of the great questions of science and an almost equally great question of comedic potential - which came first, the chicken or the egg? In this short article I will endeavor to answer this paradox of cyclical cause and effect with a mix of light science and humor (just wade through the light science to get to the humor).

And yes - as far as I am concerned, there IS a clear and very definite answer to this question!!

The Religious Chicken and Egg

I'm a believer in science, but to briefly consider the religious perspective;

In the Judaeo-Christian religions, God creates 'fowl that may fly above the earth' but makes no mention of any egg before the fowl. The assumption would therefore perhaps be that chickens come first?

In Buddhism and in some other religions including those of the ancient Mayans and Aztecs, there is a cyclical view of creation, so time repeats itself and there is no beginning. If this implies eternity, then can we make the assumption that neither comes first?

In the Hindu faith, as I understand it, chickens and other birds are created by Lord Brahma, and there is a process of destruction and renewal. But there is also the concept of a 'cosmic egg' from which all of the universe was created, including animals and birds, so in terms of original creation perhaps an egg - if not a chicken egg - comes first?

The Ancient History of the Chicken and Egg Question

You think the chicken and the egg question is a recent one? Not a bit of it. It's a question which dates back to antiquity as can be seen in this quote by Aristotle the Greek c. 350 BC, who also related the seeming impossibility of the conundrum to the birth of man: