Take the chicken test- or are ya chicken?
Updated: Apr 3
Chicken is one of the most popular foods there is. It's great for the fast-food giants like KFC, Popeyes, and Chick-Fil-A. It's a staple used in Chinese foods, Italian foods, healthy foods and chicken nuggets. There are more chickens in the world (25 Billion) than any other bird or even humans. Americans consume some 200 pounds of chicken per person every year, and that isn't likely to change.
Because of its mild taste and low cost, chicken is more popular than beef. So here's a quiz to test your chicken knowledge.
Which came first?
___ The chicken
___ The egg
2. Chickens believed to have evolved from
___ Tyrannosaurus Rex
3. Which part of the chicken is the healthiest to eat?
___ White meat
___ Dark meat
___ Buffalo wings
4. What portion of chicken nuggets is actually chicken?
5. A grilled chicken breast from KFC has 210 calories. How many calories does an original recipe fried chicken breast from KFC have?
6. Which of these is NOT a benefit that chickens provide besides tasty meat?
___ Aircraft safety
7. Chickens can be dangerous to eat and handle. Which of the below the biggest problem with raw chicken meat?
___ Saturated Fat
8. True or false, chickens are stupid and cowardly birds.
9. Which of these items are not currently ethical concerns with eating chicken?
___ Treatment of male baby chicks
___ Cages used in chicken and egg production
___ Treatment of poultry workers
___ Use of antibiotics in agriculture
___ Trick question- they're all bad
10. You've heard of the impossible burger, but scientists are now currently able to produce lab-grown chicken meat. True or false.
The egg! This was covered in my blog post on eggs. Eggs are fertilized first from dissimilar parents and the new animal grows from that.
T-rex. Scientists believe they are the only living descendent from the T-rex and other similar dinosaurs.
White meat, which includes the wings and breast, are lower in fat than dark meat. Because the two dark meat portions, leg and thigh, are used for most of the movement and energy of the chicken, they do most of the work and have a higher fat content. The skin is actually the least healthy portion, where much of the fat resides.
Estimates run 40 to 50% actual chicken meat in chicken nuggets. What's the rest? Fillers, preservatives, breading, and other parts of the chicken. And not all nuggets are alike. Pink slime, in contradiction to popular rumors, is not involved in chicken nugget production.
Original recipe KFC breasts have 390 calories, or 85% more than grilled. They also have 3 times as much fat (21 grams vs 7 grams) and almost twice as much sodium (1190 vs 710). Extra crispy KFC breasts have 530 calories!
Chicken feathers are not used for clothing, thank goodness. They are prolific egg layers, which is an entire industry and food source. Chicken eggs are used in vaccine production to help multiply cells of the vaccine. And dead chickens are actually propelled by special guns to test airplane windows so they can withstand bird strikes.
Salmonella is the biggest problem with chicken meat, and why it should never be exposed to anything else. Chickens harbor the salmonella bacteria in their guts, but they can be fatal to humans if ingested. (Some European countries have succeeded in removing Salmonella from their flocks). Raw chicken meat should be assumed to contain salmonella and should only be eaten once cooked thoroughly. And people should wash their hands after every contact with raw chicken meat and be careful to wash anything else it contacts. Even with packaged chicken in the grocery store, it's recommended that you bag raw chicken separately in your grocery cart, and wash your hands and the cart handles with antiseptic wipes in the off-chance juices have leaked out. Saturated fats are found in chicken, but in much lower levels than red meats. Pesticides are found in everything unfortunately, but hopefully in low levels. Salt and brine solutions are injected into chicken meat before it is sold to add taste, weight, and bulk. Those with high blood pressure need to be wary of the salt content in their chicken.
False. Chickens are both smarter and braver than many other birds. Chickens have a unique language, can recognize up to 100 faces, exhibit emotions, see in color, dream, and can even perform tricks.
And they are not cowards. They were originally domesticated for their fighting ability- specifically cockfighting, which is still popular in parts of the world. Even hens are known to peck at each other (where we get "pecking order" from), and they are no more cowardly than any other bird. The association of cowardice with "are you chicken?" may go all the way back two millennia, when the French (whose Latin name is similar to chickens) were taunted by the Romans.
9. Yes, these are all terrible, and are ethical reasons to either not eat chicken, or to lobby for change from producers. In all four cases the US is behind Europe in this regard. Poultry workers are generally treated poorly and there are issues with muscle damage, noise levels, viruses, and respiratory diseases for people who work the assembly lines. Male chicks, who aren't used in the poultry business, are routinely killed shortly after hatching. In Europe they've found ways to detect gender well before hatching, which is a more humane way of dealing with it. Antibiotics are routinely used by farmers to keep their chickens healthier in crowded conditions, but when they are over-utilized stronger, more deadly and resistant bacteria can be a by-product. And many chickens in the US are still kept in tiny cages where they can barely move, although that has been getting better the past decade with the growth of free-range chicken facilities.
10. True. Cells from chickens have been used to grow chicken meat. The cost is still prohibitive (unless you want to pay $50 per nugget), but as the technology improves lab-grown meat is expected to be available everywhere by the end of this decade, which could solve a lot of the problems in question 9.
So how did you do? Hopefully you learned something about chickens today and can help spread the word about this wonderful bird and how we can treat them better.