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The following was taken from a section on the physiology of a hen our of a book called "The Complete Handbook Of Poultry Keeping" by Stuart Banks, and to think... we thought a chicken was just a chicken. What a fearful and wonderful creation!

Doctor A. B. Gilbert, of the ARC Poultry Research Centre, Edinburgh, in 1970, compared an average laying hen of 2 kg (4½ lbs) body weight with an average woman weighing 60 kg (132 lbs) or about thirty times as much as the hen.

During a nine-month pregnancy a woman deposits, in the foetus, material equivalent to approximately 6% of her body weight. The hen accomplishes the same thing in two days, by laying just two 60 g (2 oz) eggs, and continues the process for long periods.

The efficiency of this reproductive process is quite staggering. Even to obtain such a bulk of material from the diet is no mean feat. a laying hen eats approximately 120 g (4½ oz) of food per day, providing about 18 g ½ oz) protein, 4 g (1/10 oz) fat, 60 g (2 oz) carbohydrate and 10 g (1/3 oz) minerals, of which the major part is calcium.

Dr. Gilbert calculated that the equivalent human dietary intake would need to be over 500 g (17½ oz) of protein, 120 g (4½ oz) fat and nearly 2 kg (4½ lbs) or carbohydrate daily. But since the foodstuffs for human consumption have not been so completely processed, the woman's total intake would have to be higher. Meat, for example, has a 20-25% protein content and potatoes contain only 20% of carbohydrates, so a woman would need to eat about 2 kg (4½ lbs) meat, 2 kg (4½ lbs) or potatoes and 2 kg (4½ lbs) or cereal of beans.

She would still be severely deficient in calcium and would need to eat about thirty teaspoonfuls of pure chalk or 10 kg (22 lbs) of cheese a day -- roughly twice the average annual cheese consumption per head in Britain! (And we could be certain that she wouldn't weigh 132 lbs for long!)

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