The Shocking True Story of Twin Chickens

Baby ChickensIn the film Chicken Run, the two rats, Nick and Fetcher, make a deal with Rocky for all his eggs, only later learning that they’ve been conned because, “It’s a lady thing, apparently.” But at one point, Nick asks how the egg is coming, and Rocky says, “This is a double yolker.” That got me thinking. It isn’t that I’m unaware of double and even triple yolk eggs. I really like chickens and I used to care of a clutch of chickens. But my experience with a multiple volk was in the context of a frying pan. Rocky’s comment made me think, “What would happen if the eggs had been fertilized and allowed to hatch?

I guess I should point out something that may come as a bit of a surprise to many people. That white thing we call an egg is not, in fact, an egg. The egg is the inside. It is released into the chicken’s oviduct. Once there, the shell is created around it. Well, on occasion, a chicken will release two (or more) eggs into the oviduct and they will end up inside a single shell. These would be fraternal, not identical, twins. I’m not sure identical twins would be possible with chickens.

My big question is whether twin chickens survive in nature. As it is, there is very little room inside the shell for even a single chick. On the other hand, double yolk shells are larger than normal shells. Check out this picture of one double and two single yolk eggs from Fresh Eggs Daily:

Double Yolk Egg Comparison

Not surprisingly, hens occasionally become egg bound. This is more or less what it sounds like: the egg shell gets stuck in the hen’s oviduct. Egg size isn’t the only reason for this. It happens to very young hens, obese hens, those with too little calcium or too much protein. Check the link above if you want more information. Lisa Steele, the woman behind Fresh Eggs Daily, has all the information — and helping a chicken from this fatal problem is actually a lot less complicated than you would think.

Anyway, getting back to those multiple yolk egg shells, they are much more common among hens who are just starting their laying careers, and those who are at the end of them. But in Asia, hens are bred to produce multiple yolk eggs because they are seen as a kind of delicacy. I’m not sure how nice that is to the chickens, but regardless, much worse is done to chickens in this country.

My sister pointed me to two videos of hatching twin chickens. They were created six years ago by a woman (Rebecca Bowers?) under the account needmorechickens. Sadly, these are the only two videos she’s ever posted. The first video shows her carefully hatching a pair of twins. It is amazing, delicate work. And even though it is over ten minutes long, it’s almost impossible to stop watching. Or maybe it is just because I like chickens so much. Here it is:

The second video, Chapter 2, shows the chicks a few hours later, dry and fluffy, walking around. She then hatches a second set of twins. One of them was dead. It apparently had been for a while, because it hadn’t developed eyes. That’s sad, but according to the video, all three of the ones that survived were doing great. So at least with the help of caring humans, twin chickens can survive birth, which is awesome!


The main picture above is cropped to HDTV size from Fresh Eggs Daily, which is a fantastic site for all things chicken. If this article made you more interested in chickens, you should go over there and learn from someone who really knows what she’s talking about.

Update

In a private email, Lisa Steele said that “a double yolked egg can hatch on its own, but rarely do both chicks make it because there’s just not enough room inside the shell for both to develop correctly, but it can happen.” So we have our answer. But it is clearly best if you have your very own shell!

Even Paul Bibeau Can’t Find Humor in Palin-Trump

Paul BibeauAbove is where I’d put the video of Sarah Palin interviewing Donald Trump on that weird irregular bin TV news network, and then I’d make fun of it. I’ve made fun of Palin and Trump in the past, and I will completely do so again.

But I found I couldn’t watch it. I saw five seconds of that garbage and just turned it off. I thought I had a strong stomach for idiot celebrity sociopaths — It’s my gig, right? — but they got to me. God, those people…

They’re awful. I don’t have a joke to follow that up. No. They are just really awful. We should really all be on board with how terrible they are. The fact that we aren’t is disturbing.

What the hell is wrong with this country? What the fuck is happening out there in Cleetusland?

—Paul Bibeau
This Is The Post Where I’d Be Mocking The Palin-Trump Interview

Stupid Conservative Scorecards

Liberty ScoreI was writing about an article on Breitbart, Iran Deal Likely to Pass, Says Senator Who Made it Impossible. This refers to Bob Corker. The brainiacs at Breitbart apparently think there was some way for Congress to have set thing up so that they could just kill the Iran nuclear deal by not voting for it. The whole point of the deal was to sidestep Congress, because everyone knows that the Republicans there wouldn’t approve of anything other than starting another pointless war, allowing the poor to starve to death, or giving more money to the rich. So their contention that Bob Corker screwed everything up is just dumb.

But I noticed on the article, that Bob Corker has a “liberty score” of just 51%. After the mention of any politician, Breitbart sticks in the score so you can know who the “good guys” are. But it’s interesting that it is a thing and not just some kind of advertising. The scores come from a group called Conservative Review. So on their Bob Corker page, they give him a grade of “F.” This is roughly the same score that most Republicans get. Mitch McConnell and Orrin Hatch (who was once considered uber-conservative) get exact the same grade (F) and almost exactly the same score. John McCain gets a score of 43%. Lamar Alexander gets 24%.

The only people who get high scores are very special kinds of extremists. Rand Paul gets 93%. Ted Cruz gets 96%. And Mike Lee gets 100%. It’s just ridiculous. And the thing is that none of these guys disagree in any substantive way. It’s like the NRA scores. If you are extremely pro-gun like my Representative Mike Thompson, you get a C- from them. That’s because it isn’t just about policy; it’s about fealty to the cause. It’s about taking votes that don’t make sense to anyone just to show that they own you. So it doesn’t matter if it is the NRA or the Conservative Review.

This is what the conservative movement is about in this country. They decide to set up scoring so that only those politicians who actively want to prostrate themselves to these movements look good. Even Marco Rubio gets only 80% from the Conservative Review. And the truth is that a lot of people (this is especially true with NRA members), just look at the scores and base their votes on them. As is usually the case, when a Democrat and a Republican are running against each other, the Democrat has views about guns that are more in keeping with the NRA member. But they don’t look at the issues; they just look at the score. It’s like people who buy The New Rolling Stone Record Guide and decide to like all the 5-star rated albums. Turn off your mind and let the “experts” tell you how to vote.

I don’t see this on the Democratic side. I know there are liberals groups who score candidates. But first, it is almost always on a specific topic. And second, no one on the left goes around quoting such nonsense. And this, I would say, is part of what’s wrong with the Republican Party. They’ve set up so many partisan groups that do nothing but this kind of thing that they’ve ended up with a party that can’t legislate. Anyone who actually does the work of politics would get a single digit score from Conservative Review. As it is, such a towering figure in the art of making the Senate useless, Mitch McConnell, only manages to get a 52% score — and a grade of F.

Even by the standards of dying empires, this is madness. We should really just admit it: the Republican Party is treasonous. It wants to destroy the country. It isn’t that the individual members want this. But it has set up institutions that serve no purpose but to hurt the country. And I’m afraid that all the reformacons in the world won’t be able to fix it.

GOP Cries Foul When Democrats Use Filibuster

Bob CorkerAfter all the posturing and faux concern, it looks like the Iran nuclear deal is going to happen. Politico reported, White House Pushes for Iran Filibuster. It had looked like the anti-deal bill was going to fly through Congress and Obama would have to veto it. And at times, it looked like he mightn’t even be able to sustain the veto. But now it is looking like the Democrats may have the votes for a filibuster in the Senate so that it won’t even come to a veto. This would be a good thing, because we really don’t need this deal to look like something so fragile that a simple change of presidents will kill it.

(There is something to think about in that regard, however. Imagine if it does come down to a veto and there is a Republican president on 20 January 2017 and he does as most of them say they will: kill the deal. This is not going to change anything regarding our other P5+1 partners. So the one thing that the US can do that will make Iran most likely to get a nuclear weapon is for some nimrod like Scott Walker to talk tough and destroy the deal. But of course, the Republican attacks on the deal have nothing to do with Iran getting a nuclear weapon.)

Jonathan Chait noted something loony and quite frankly, hilarious, in that same Politico article, Republican Senator Discovers Minority Can “Filibuster,” Is Outraged. Said Republican in Bob Corker, who is not, you know, new to the Senate. He was part of the gang in the early days of Obama’s presidency who filibustered everything short of the least controversial post office names. When he found out that Harry Reid was trying to build a filibuster, Corker said, “Are you kidding me?”

Chait went into some depth about how Corker doesn’t seem to even understand what a filibuster is. Corker is saying that it will be used to stop the Senate from talking about it. But it is the opposite. The filibuster keeps debate going and stops the Senate from voting on it. As Chait put it, “Every senator who wants the chance to read their canned talking points on the Senate floor while the other senators ignore them will have the chance to do so either way.” I can’t say if Corker is ignorant or disingenuous, but I wouldn’t be surprised that it is the former. Among Republicans, it seems to be the case that anything that allows them to “win” is acceptable. Believing in norms requires understanding the purpose of them. You go a long way to destroying them by not understanding their purpose.

I’m not a believer in the filibuster because it is totally out of hand and has been for a long time. But I’m not against the idea of the filibuster. There was a time when the filibuster was only used to stop things that Senators really hated. Sure, the bigots filibustered the 1964 Civil Rights Act. But they didn’t filibuster everything else just because they disagreed. I think the Iran nuclear deal is an issue that is important enough for people on both sides to filibuster. (The way things are, there is no point to the anti-deal side filibustering; but if things were different, I would be against them, but I would admit that the issue rose to the level of filibuster importance.)

So what we have here is a case where Republicans filibustered executive branch nominees who would later be approved unanimously. And that was something that Bob Corker was fully supportive of. But the moment the same tactic is used against him, he’s outraged. That, my friends, is the very height of the maturity of the Republican Party.

Morning Music: Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin - PearlA story my mother used to tell me was that in the early years of her marriage with my father, he wanted to go out partying with his friends. And she had to explain that he was married now; he had children and responsibility. He felt trapped and wanted his freedom. And she used to repeat the refrain from the song, “Me and Bobby McGee”: freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose. As I’ve written before, my mother didn’t think there was a problem that couldn’t be fixed with the appropriate application of a song lyric.

There’s just one problem with that story: the timing is off. My parents had been married for over ten years when Janis Joplin had her megahit with it. But maybe my mother was referring to the Roger Miller version of the song, but that only gains us a year and a half. I’m not doubting my mother. I’m sure she did mention this to my father at some point. But for all my parents problems, I don’t recall my father’s lack of commitment to the family being one of them. So I’m going to give him a pass on this one. Anyway, maybe I have the story all wrong and it wasn’t even about my father. I’ve got a lousy memory for that kind of stuff.

Anyway, here is what I still think is the best version of the song off by far Joplin’s best album, Pearl:

Anniversary Post: Death of Henri Paul

Henri PaulI am not one to wish anyone dead. Well, except for Antonin Scalia — I really wish he would have a heart attack and die — quickly, painlessly, but completely and irrevocably. But on this day back in 1997, Henri Paul died. So did Dodi Fayed. And that other woman: Diana, Princess of Wales. For the record, I never liked her. I don’t like any of the royal family. They are good for tourism in the United Kingdom?! Great! Disneyland is good for tourism here. I’m all for that. But would it be news if Mickey and Minnie Mouse had a baby? I don’t think so. And I similarly think that people who care about what’s going on in the royal family are idiots.

This isn’t to say that I don’t think that the royal family is useful. They are a great example of how screwed up we humans are. There was a time when Queen Elizabeth would have total power over her nation — a time when she could kill anyone she wanted just because she was in a bad mood. And this was thought to be perfectly acceptable because the royalty were thought to be better than other people.

It’s good that those times are gone. Except that they aren’t. It is just that today — in America most especially — being rich means that you are special — better than other people. If you are poor, it is because morally you are a lesser soul. It might even mean that God doesn’t like you. If you are rich, well, you must be doing something right in God’s eyes.

We humans are followers. And it is not rational at all. We do not follow the smart when we need the smart and the wise when we need the wise, but we do follow the strong when we need the strong. But that’s just because we follow the strong always. I’ve noticed it in my life recently. As my working life has become better, I’ve felt better about myself, and people treat me better — even though if anything, I’m more of a jerk. But I’m no more smart or wise than I was before.

When Princess Diana died in the car crash, so did Dodi Fayed and Henri Paul. It’s sad they died. But no one cares about Fayed and Paul, so why care about Diana? No reason at all.