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Who Knew???

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On this day in 1843 Napoleon E Guerin invented the first egg incubator; he received the patent for his "Egg Hatching Apparatus" creation in the city of New York. The patent described a mode of distributing steam heat, purifying air, etc for hatching chickens by artificial heat.

Incubation can successfully occur artificially in machines that provide the correct, controlled environment for the developing chick. The average incubation period for chickens is 21 days but may depend on the temperature and humidity in the incubator.

Many commercial incubators are industrial-sized with shelves holding tens of thousands of eggs at a time, with rotation of the eggs a fully automated process. Home incubators are boxes holding from 6 to 75 eggs; they are usually electrically powered, but in the past some were heated with an oil or paraffin lamp.

Since antiquity chickens have been, and still are, a sacred animal in some cultures:

The Greeks believed that even lions were afraid of cocks. Several of Aesop's Fables reference this belief.

In the sixth century, Pope Gregory I declared the cock the emblem of Christianity and another Papal enactment of the ninth century by Pope Nicholas I ordered the figure of the cock to be placed on every church steeple.

In many Central European folk tales, the devil is believed to flee at the first crowing of a cock.

The Talmud speaks of learning "courtesy toward one's mate" from the rooster. This might refer to the fact that when a rooster finds something good to eat, he calls his hens to eat first. The Talmud likewise provides us with the statement "Had the Torah not been given to us, we would have learned modesty from cats, honest toil from ants, chastity from doves and gallantry from cocks."

In Confucian Chinese Weddings, a chicken can be used as a substitute for one who is seriously ill or not available (e.g. sudden death) to attend the ceremony. A red silk scarf is placed on the chicken's head and a close relative of the absent bride/groom holds the chicken so the ceremony may proceed. However, this practice is rare today.

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Thanks Pat - a beautiful Easter to you and yours as well :~))

Thanks Hanne, I would love to try it one day... but it is not possible at the moment :~))


It's very funny to try it at home!! When the eggs hatch it's SO wonderful!! Thanks so very much Mandy!!


This is great .. love all the info.. thanks Mandy... Have a beautiful Easter..


Thanks Katie, that State Fair sounds like fun, it must be lovely to know you'll be able to see some chicks hatching :~))

Whatnauts I did some research and found "The color differences in eggs are simply from the breed of the hens they comes from. Brown eggs are laid by larger red-feathered hens with red earlobes, and white-feathered hens with white earlobes produce white eggs." I also read an article that told me that they have stopped producing white eggs in New Zealand, apparently because the population believe brown eggs to be more nutritious, when in fact there is no nutritional difference between them. So you are right!!!

I'm glad about that Lesley... it would have been a bit odd if your brown hens laid white eggs... after my reading of the research I posted above!!1

Thanks Francince, I'm glad you're enjoying the series :~))


Mandy, thanks for another informative puzzle. Do enjoy this series. :)


Yes, consumers do prefer brown eggs. As a general rule, I think brown hens lay brown eggs and white hens lay white eggs. I keep brown hens and I always have lovely brown eggs.


Mandy, I think it has to do with the type of chicken. It could be the British prefer brown eggs, so those are the types of chickens that are bred for consumer eggs. (Of course, I could be wrong!)


Hi Mandy, fantastic information with this puzzle - you've outdone yourself with the variety of interesting facts provided! The Ohio State Fair always has a small incubator with eggs ready to hatch in their agriculture building. There are always a few chicks out, and usually at least one where the chick has started to peck open the egg. I find it fascinating and stop there every year.


Shazzaannie, that must have been a real treat, I don't remember ever seeing that, although I have seen chicks being incubated. My daughter recently was given 3 baby chicks that had been incubated in her employer's son's school... in London, and since so few of the children were able to take them home my daughter ended up with them... she looks after their country house in the Cotswolds... where they already keep chickens!!

I thought it would make a wonderfully seasonal Who Knew puzzle too whatnauts, I'm so glad you agree!! I'll have to do some research into the white/brown egg thing... and see if it is geographical!!


This is a terrific Who Knew puzzle since Easter is tomorrow (as previously mentioned). The baby chicks are so cute. Most of the eggs I see in the stores are white - must be a geographical thing. Thanks for the puzzle!

Ahhh. I remember when I was a child going to our local department store at his time of year and there being an incubator with eggs and chicks. it was lovely to go in there and see the eggs/chicks progress Probably wouldn't be allowed now.


Rosie, that would be so fun to see, if they came out different colours!!! I do remember a time when many eggs were white, and my Mum used to check the boxes in the supermarket to find the brown ones... now they all seem to be brown.... hmmm I sense some sort of genetic manipulation there!! I'm sure making a mess if part of the fun though!!

Oh, oh, oh JOSIE - I see you!! I've blinked several times and you're still there... it's a good time. Thank you so much for telling me you enjoy the information as well as the puzzle!!

Ardy, isn't it amazing that for this year at least this falls on today!! Thanks for your compliments especially regarding the frame!!


I'm sure it must be much nicer for the chicks to be hatched by a real live bird Edie... but some of these incubators hold thousands of eggs... and I don't think there are many hens that would cope with that!!! I'm so pleased you enjoyed the puzzle, thanks :~)


Forgot to mention - Love your frame It picks up the colors from the pictures so nicely.


Wonderful puzzle and even more wonderful information, Mandy. It's amazing for this to come in the middle of Easter weekend. Thanks for all your efforts to bring us such delightful puzzles and nicely researched information.


Oh, oh, oh, look at me, I made the board, don't blink, it can't last. Your puzzles are insane with information, always enjoyed, thank you.


Wonderful, new, informative puzzle. Perfect for Easter. Sure wish they would come out of the chickens dyed pretty colors for this holiday so I don't have to make a mess first to see the end results. Thanks, Rosie


I used a Silkie hen to hatch all my chicks. Good thing about them is that they continue to look after the chicks long after the incubator's job is done. Thanks for another informative puzzle Mandy.


When I first saw this celebration day I knew I had to post it... as you say Barb, it is perfectly timed for Easter this year!! It's good to know you enjoy the info as well as the images, thanks - and I hope you and yours all enjoy a wonderful Easter too!


Very timely subject for today's Who Knew puzzle, Mandy, with Easter being tomorrow. Love your 'egg' images and thanks for the history and all the info.
And finally, a very Happy Easter to you. :-)


Thanks Magda - I guess we'll know tomorrow if it produces Easter bunnies!!


I see Easter eggs in the incubator. Do they produce Easter bunnies? Thanks for the informative (as usual) puzzle.