After the umpteemth conversation with urbanites this week, I thought about sharing some critical barnyard truths.  People are so far removed now from agrarian understanding that it's nearly impossible to imagine what goes through their heads.  This is not meant to be condescending, but enlightening.

For example, Saturday I had yet another conversation about horns on cows.  Horns and antlers are different.  Antlers are solid; horns are hollow.  Both male and female bovines grow horns; being horny has nothing to do with what's on top of the head; it's what's between the legs.  Bovines who do not grow horns are called polled.  Most modern cattle are polled.

Years ago, farmers wanted horned cattle in order to put harnesses around them for draft power.  Today, horns are considered a liability in most quarters, except for biodynamic practitioners, who view horns as antennae to absorb cosmic energies.

Bottom line:  a bovine with horns does not tell you a fig about bull or cow. 

Second, chickens don't need roosters to lay eggs.  Just like women, hens lay eggs just fine by themselves; but they aren't fertile.  If you want to hatch eggs, you need a rooster; but you sure don't need a rooster to make eggs.

My favorite:  chickens don't pee.  Birds combine their urine in their poop and it all comes out together in one glob.  Chickens don't even have a stomach.  They have a crop, which is a fermentation holding sac, and then a gizzard, which is a grinding pouch.  After being ground--yes, literally with rocks--the slurry goes directly into their intestines for absorption. 

So whereas a cow has four stomachs, a chicken has none.  A pig has one.  That's why anatomically a pig is closer to the human than any other animal. 

Since urine contains the lion's share of the nitrogen, a key fertilizer, chicken manure is said to be hot (7:1 carbon:nitrogen ratio) whereas horse manure is said to be cold (25:1 C:N ratio).  It all has to do with where the nitrogen is.  So the next time you need to ask a thought-provoking question, ask this:

How do you keep a chicken from peeing on you? 

Answer:  They don't pee.  Hee!  Hee!  Hee!