I was on the phone to my brother, David.
“How are there enough chickens?” says David, quite unexpectedly following immediately after a deep and difficult conversation about a psychopath’s attempt to kill him by un-bolting the suspension on his truck (but that’s a story for another day).
“What do you mean?” I say, looking at my phone like it’s mental.
“Think about it. Think of all the chickens in all the supermarkets. Think of all the KFCs and late night takeaways. And the chicken farms are still full of chickens. They are not empty. Where are they getting all the chickens from?”
I sit down and pick up my glass of whisky. “You’re right. And pigs too. Think of all the bacon we eat. How can there be enough pigs?”
“There should be a shortage. There’s not enough chickens.”
“Fuck. I need to think about this, man.”
“How many people live in England?”
“Loads. I mean, I know at least 30 people.”
“There’s way more than that.”
“I have to go. I need look into this.”
I couldn’t let the idea go. I had to find out what the fuck was going on with the chicken shortage that should be happening but for some reason is not.
Here’s what I discovered –
Approximately 875,000,000 chickens are produced in the UK each year. If all those chickens were alive at the same time and had 1 square foot of land each they would take up an area of 31 miles, which is about the size of Slough.
There are 65,000,000 people in the UK so we get about 13.4 chickens each per year. Damn. The math adds up. I text my brother with the news.
He replies, “That’s still a lot of chicken!! But it still makes no sense, I eat more than 13.4 chickens a year!!!”
“Then you are eating somebody else’s chickens, buddy!” I reply.
So that’s my exciting mystery / possible conspiracy solved. Damn, I was looking forward to uncovering some kind of cloning base. Maybe a whole island that’s been kept secret from us and is entirely populated with chickens.
It did get me thinking though. It reminded me, as everything does, of that fucking prick called Donald Tramp and our own anti-evidence government in the UK. This whole anti-fact anti-expert thing. It’s frustrating.
It’s more fun, and much easier, to believe the person shouting the mad bullshit. Shocking soundbites spread around with great ease and become common knowledge, regardless of accuracy. Sadly the same is not true for the more long-winded and slightly boring nerd saying, “Actually, I think you’ll find…”
This wasn’t meant to get political. I’m not sure what the point was going to be. Lot of chickens though isn’t it?
On a side note, I have just discovered there is a real place called Chicken Island in Krabi in Thailand. So named for its rock formation. Sadly there are no chickens on Chicken Island.
*The heading isn’t technically click-bait as it is true as per the definition of the word incredible:
Incredible adjective – 1. Impossible to believe. 2. Difficult to believe; extraordinary.