The Chicken and Egg Problem


A chicken farmer has figured out that a hen and a half can lay an egg and a half in a day and a half. How many hens does the farmer need to produce one dozen eggs in six days?

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    This is a classic problem that many people get wrong because they reason that half of a hen cannot lay an egg, and a hen cannot lay half an egg. However, we can get a satisfactory solution by treating this as a purely mathematical problem where the numbers represent averages.

    To solve the problem, we first need to find the rate at which the hens lay eggs. The problem can be represented by the following equation, where RATE is the number of eggs produced per hen·day:

    1½ hens × 1½ days × RATE = 1½ eggs

    We convert this to fractions thus:
    3/2 hens × 3/2 days × RATE = 3/2 eggs

    Multiplying both sides of the equation by 2/3, we get:
    1 hen × 3/2 days × RATE = 1 egg

    Multiplying both sides of the equation again by 2/3 and solving for RATE, we get:
    RATE = 2/3 eggs per hen·day

    Now that we know the rate at which hens lay eggs, we can calculate how many hens (H) can produce 12 eggs in six days using the following equation:

    H hens × 6 days × 2/3 eggs per hen·day = 12 eggs

    Solving for H, we get:
    H = 12 eggs /(6 days × 2/3 eggs per hen·day) = 12/4 = 3 hens

    Therefore, the farmer needs 3 hens to produce 12 eggs in 6 days.

    anikam Expert Answered on 18th August 2015.
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