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Spring season begins May 27
Maze opens July 1
10 Fun Facts About Chickens
1. The scientific name for a chicken is Gallus gallus domesticus. Male chickens are called roosters, female chickens are called hens, and babies are called chicks.
2. A study done in 2003 estimated that there were over 24 billion chickens in the world. Not only do chickens outnumber people more than 3 to 1, but there are more chickens than any other kind of bird in the world.
3. Chickens are omnivores, which mean they eat both plants and meat. In the wild, they’ve been known to feast on seeds, insects, and even larger animals like lizards and wild mice. Domesticated chickens usually eat corn meal, seeds, and wild grasses.
4. Domesticated chickens generally do not fly, though they may travel a short distance by air if they perceive danger, or to get over a fence or into a bush.
5. Chickens are very social and congregate together in a flock. They form what is called a “pecking order,” and give priority to dominant birds in terms of food access and nesting locations. Adding or taking away a hen or a rooster from a flock can cause great stress to all the birds, resulting in fights and injuries until a new pecking order is established.
6. Mother hens don’t usually feed their chicks directly (like many other birds do), but rather she leads them to appropriate food and water sources and encourages the babies to feed themselves. She will care for them for several weeks until they are big enough to fend for themselves.
7. The ancient Greeks believed that even lions were afraid of roosters, as evidenced by several of Aesop’s Fables, such as “The Lion and the Elephant.”
8. The rooster is one of the signs of the Chinese zodiac, being associated with loyalty and keen observation. The next Year of the Rooster will be in 2017, and run from January 28, 2017-February 15, 2018.
9. The color of a hen’s egg is determined by the breed of chicken—and the color of their ears! Generally speaking, chickens with red earlobes will lay brown eggs, and chickens with white earlobes will lay white eggs. The color of the chicken’s feathers have nothing to do with the color of the egg. Surprisingly enough, there are no known nutritional benefit to brown eggs over white eggs (or vice versa), so it seems to be all in the personal preference!
10. The earliest known printing of the classic joke, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” was in 1847, in The Knickerbocker, a New York monthly magazine. The magazine labeled it in the category of “quips and quillets” because of its simple answer (“Because it wanted to get to the other side” ). Since that time, it’s spawned an infinite number of variations, involving rhyming words (Why did the chicken cross the playground? To get to the other slide), puns (Why should the chicken not cross the road? Because it would be a fowl proceeding), references to the original, (Why did the duck cross the road? To prove he was no chicken), and mathematical jokes (Why did the chicken cross the Mobius strip? To get to the same side).