Well It is a big can of worms I have opened.
It seems that there are other unanswered questions to do with chickens. I recently headed back to Leicester for a family party and mentioned my quest. Several questions were raised apart from this initial one (not surprising considering the amount of alcohol usually at one of my parents gigs but some of the most obviously missed ones were by the more sober people. All credit will be given in the questions asked but first I wish to address the oldest chicken question on the books (nothing to do with crossing the road I'm afraid)
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
This is a time old question but seems very simple to me. I don't claim to be any kind of biologist but the logic seems simple evolution-wise. Something not quite a chicken gave birth to something we now call a chicken and the first stage of that was an egg so the egg came first, plain and simple.
Where did chickens originate?
Thanks to Richard and Mark for this one. I don't know why nobody spotted it before because it is an all important question. We have been asking where chickens have and have not been introduced to but where did the first chickens exist as chickens. I shall have to look into this when I have time but if anyone can send me decent links then feel free.
I have found this link stating that the domestic chicken originated on the Asian continent with the Red Mountain Fowl Gallus gallus.
Nick Walton has some different views however:
"Now, of course, one has to rewind the clock sufficiently, and I've traced back as far as Archaeopterix , and the raptors, and I believe that Chickens evolved around 104,323 years ago from a line resembling the Dodo. An initial archaeological search of the suggested ‘evolution area' has revealed that not only did the chicken DEFINITELY come before the egg (which evolved around 64 days after the chicken), but that the chicken first came into being without human introduction somewhere on the continent of Pangaea at 12degress north, 4 degrees west.
Subsequent tectonic movement means that Pangaea no longer exists, but that particular landmass area has NOT succumbed to the atlantic plate subduction , common in that area, and is therefore still above the surface. Using advanced grid computing services, we've placed the current location of that area as somewhere just outside Middlesborough , probably in the car park of the little chef on the A19, just after the condom factory.
Therefore, England is the only country in the world where the chickens have never, and will never be introduced by human hand. "
Was there a dinosaur equivalent of the chicken?
Cheers Tim. It now seems an accepted fact that birds are the closest genetic links to dinosaurs but which known dinosaur was closest to the chicken?
Where does the phrase 'No Spring Chicken' come from?
Well, look at this site here.
What is the most dangerous chicken in the world?
Maybe not as silly a question as it sounds. Chickens may not seem that imposing but there are more of them than there are of us and it seems that they are also involved with weapons of mass destruction. It is claimed that during the cold war a nuclear landmine was developed and they decided that the best way to stop the components from freezing was to use the body heat from chickens. Lead singer from The Cure and head of press and publicity at The National Archives denies that this was an April fools joke.
If chickens themselves are not actually used in the weapons themselves then maybe they can be used to buy them as this news report about a possible trade between Thailand and Russia indicates.
If a chicken was president of the United States of America would that be a dangerous thing? And one without a head at that. As far as I'm concerned, jury's out on whether he could have done a better job.
What is the word for a fear of chickens?
Alektorophobia is a specific fear of chickens and, more obviously, ornithophobia is a general fear of birds. This site gives a comprehensive list of phobias although some of them do seem a tad dubious, such as arachibutyrophobia: Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth.
Steve Mahoney informs me that: "A famous Alektorophobe is Mickey Rourke's character Harry Angel in 'Angel Heart'. He states on several occasions that he has 'a thing about chickens'. We later find out that it is because they were used in a satanic ritual that he was trying to block-out. He also refuses an egg, which suggests he has a phobia of eggs too, probably relating to his Alektorophobia." The 'thing about chickens' quote can be verified via ibmb.com.
Are there any famous quotes involving chickens?
Funnily enough there are at least a couple. More than that in fact so I have created a new Chicken Quotes page.
What are older names for chicken?
The old english name for chicken is cicen probably from the Latin cicer although Latin does have many other versions including Gallus domesticus, pulli, pullis, pullorum, pullos, pullum and pullus
If women have a hen night, why don't men have a cock night?
That is a strange one Tim and one that has never occurred to me. Why do the 2 marital traditions use different animals? Learning the origin of both names would be quite interesting.
What is the origin of scotch eggs?
This question is from Andy G. I have no idea at the moment but shall try and find out for you.
Can all eggs produce chicks? eg can you take a battery hens egg and get a chick or is it only possible after breading with a cockrel?
Well Eric, as far as I am aware there is not a warm blooded species on the planet that does not need fertilization by a male to produce young.
If you have any other burning questions or answers to any of the unanswered ones here then let me know.