Liberal Arts Blog — The Math of Chickens — The Egg Cycle, Global Population, Breeding, Slaughter

John Muresianu
4 min readMay 29, 2023

Liberal Arts Blog — Monday is the Joy of Math, Statistics, Shapes, and Numbers Day

Today’s Topic: The Math of Chickens — The Egg Cycle, Global Population, Breeding, Slaughter

Have you ever had a pet chicken? Did you get the chicken for the eggs, or the entertainment, the companionship? There are more chickens than humans on the planet. In fact the ratio is about 4 to 1. That translates to about 33 billion chickens. The second most populous bird species in the world is the sparrow-sized red-billed quelea at 1.5 billion. “In the United States alone, more than 8 billion chickens are slaughtered each year for meat, and more than 300 million chickens are reared for egg production.” Today, a few more math facts about chickens. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

HOW MANY EGGS DOES A SINGLE HEN LAY PER YEAR?

1. It takes a hen about 25 hours to make an egg.

2. “A healthy, well-fed chicken will lay about 250 eggs per year.”

3. “The most significant piece of the egg formation process happens in the uterus or “shell gland” of the hen. The developing egg spends about 20 hours in the shell gland, where the shell is formed and eggshell color is added during the last 5 hours.”

NB: “The biggest involvement for your hen is creating the eggshell. The shell defends the yolk from harmful bacteria and keeps the chick or yolk safe.”

BREEDING HAS DRAMATICALLY IMPROVED THE PRODUCTIVITY OF THE CHICKEN BUSINESS (see graphic below) BUT FACTORY FARMING HAS A DARKER SIDE

1. About 190 million chickens are slaughtered per day globally.

2. The average life span of a chicken in the wild is six years, in a factory farm, it takes a chicken about six weeks to reach “slaughter size.”

3. “A free range or organic broiler will usually be slaughtered at about 14 weeks of age.”

CHINA IS TOPS WHEN IT COMES TO EGG PRODUCTION; IOWA HAS THE MOST CHICKENS IN THE US

1. In China, hens lay about 590 billion eggs per year.

2. US is second at 100 billion.

3. The most common method of killing chickens is “live shackle slaughter” — in which birds are hung upside down, submerged into an electrified bath, slit by the throat, and then immersed in boiling water.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken

https://thehumaneleague.org/article/how-many-chickens-are-in-the-world

https://www.birdspot.co.uk/bird-brain/what-is-the-most-common-bird-in-the-world

How Do Chickens Lay Eggs| Purina Animal Nutrition

https://www.purinamills.com/chicken-feed/education/detail/how-do-chickens-lay-eggs-understanding-your-egg-laying-chickens

How Chickens Lay Eggs In 4 Simple Steps

https://thehumaneleague.org/article/the-time-to-end-live-shackle-slaughter-is-now

QUOTE OF THE MONTH — Have you made your own Bible yet?

“Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

My spin — then periodically review, re-rank, and exchange your list with those you love. I call this the “Orion Exchange” because seven is about as many as any human can digest at a time. Game?

ATTACHMENTS BELOW:

#1 A graphic guide to justice (9 metaphors on one page).

#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, (11/17/20)

Last four years of posts organized thematically:

PDF with headlines — Google Drive

James Watt FRS FRSE (/wɒt/; 30 January 1736 (19 January 1736 OS) — 25 August 1819)[1] was a Scottish inventor, m…

PDF with headlines — Google Drive

YOUR TURN

Please share the coolest thing you learned this week related to math, statistics, or numbers in general. Or, even better, the coolest or most important thing you learned in your life related to math.

This is your chance to make someone else’s day. And to consolidate in your memory something you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.

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John Muresianu

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.