there is of course many a hen has never met a cock. which is indeed what one calls a male chicken. the rooster is typically an american notion, as the word was only coined in 1772 in the diaries of a certain a. g. winslow. ‘cock’ early on and with all its subtle interpretations, was known to be mostly an all british word for the male of the common domestic fowl, gallus domesticus. most such males are turned fryers as capons these days and have little chance at a chick. yet a hen keeps on laying eggs, rooster, cock, or not. her egg is laid, fertile or not, over and over, and in one month, in september 2009, in the united states alone, egg production was six point three five billion times over again.
in the order of all things the egg has got to be much at the beginning. even in the ancient puzzlement of which came first, the egg is, no question, the pole sitter. chickens have of course always denied any reasoning of this all together. understandably so, since most of the pole sitting is done by hens, brooding or not. one chicken can lay some two hundred and sixty eggs a year. egg production takes about twenty-five hours and extends often for a period of four to six days as in a clutch. when days get short a hen lays less and slows down for winter almost entirely, only to hatch assembly anew come spring. the full setup though is interesting. it might be ‘tmi’ for some, but it utterly fascinated me. a gleam of sunlight catching a hen’s eye triggers the business of egg fabrication. she then clucks at the moment of ovulation. her ovum slowly slides down the oviduct to the infundibulum where, if on a cocks delight, his sperm makes the hen lush, or, if in his absence, renders her egg barren. from there the ovum continues regardless on to the magnum where it receives assembly of albumen, membranes and shell. once laid faultlessly as an egg the hen squawks off with some pride and production rests, but only for thirty minute or so, before action for another egg resumes all over again.