Four-legged chicken attracts interest in China

To eat or not to eat, that is the question -- and perhaps how many people to invite for dinner.

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To eat or not to eat, that is the question -- and perhaps how many people to invite for dinner.

These and, no doubt, numerous other questions must have been going through the head of the Chinese poultry farmer who discovered a four-legged chicken on his farm.

The farmer, Zhu, and his daughter, were so concerned by the discovery that they took the bird to local officials to see if they could shed any light on the creature that offered double the usual number of drumsticks.

According the People’s Daily Online, which has published pictures of the bird, the hen was deemed edible, and is not thought to be suffering from any long-term health issues. And all four limbs function, meaning that the chicken can walk and run as well as any other.

The four-legged feathered friend, however, while a rarity is not unique. Four-legged chickens have previously been reported in China, as well as in India, the U.S. and Thailand but, more often than not, the additional limbs are nonfunctional.

Various theories have been put forward as to why the bird, dubbed “Frankenchicken,” may have hatched with the additional legs, including stress, shock or radioactivity.

Neighbors and friends shocked

To date, it is the only four-legged chicken found on Zhu’s 10,000-head poultry farm in Shangdong Province, and it has become somewhat of a local celebrity with visitors lining up to photograph it.

But its fame will be fleeting as the father and daughter have said that --  assuming it does not outrun them -- they will eat the bird, as to do otherwise would be a waste. The questions simply remains: How many guests will be around table once the bird is served up, and who gets a leg?

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