Continuing the pioneering work of legendary turkey farmer extraordinaire Bernard Matthews, Irish chicken breeder Patrick O'Feckit has come up with an ingenious scheme which may answer the ever-increasing demand for chicken.
For many years he has been running a top secret breeding programme at his laboratory in Tipperary (it's a long way to Tipperary, by the way!), and he now believes he may be on the verge of producing a ground-breaking new type of chicken as a result of a highly scientific and systematic programme of cross-breeding, inter-breeding, and finally genetically modifying your basic farmyard hen. "It's early days yet" he told our reporter Bray King-News "and we don't want to count our chickens before they're hatched, so to speak, but in a year or so production will hopefully be in full swing and the supermarket chicken we are so familiar with will be replaced by a totally new type of bird - the "O'Feckit Autohen".
The revolutionary "Autohen" will look much the same as a standard chicken, but will be test-tube produced and fully programmable, with a cheap Chinese microprocessor embedded in its brain which will control every stage of its short life. It will have a prodigiously fast growth rate, it will know when to eat, how much to eat, when to sleep, when to wake up, how long to exercise, and perhaps more importantly for the farm's production manager, when to die.
At the end of their short, but apparently happy and completely satisfying existence, these obedient "Autohens" will march proudly, with heads held high, in an orderly file down a narrow passageway where they will be met by high-speed rotating blades which will remove their heads, and the now redundant, but eminently re-usable microchips, will be collected by robots, examined, washed, sterilised, and sent back to the breeding laboratory for re-implanting into the brains of the next generation.
The now "headless chickens (!)" will then proceed to implement their final instructions before they lost their heads, so to speak. Firstly, using their own specially modified legs and feet, they will pluck and dress themselves, before sliding happily down a chute into a large tank of boiling salted water where they will be blanched before being automatically trussed and packaged and loaded by conveyor belt into giant freezer containers prior to being shipped to their final destination as home roasters - the Supermarket.
But the real beauty of the "Autohen", from the business man's point of view, is firstly the low cost of production, and secondly the short life span of the bird itself. From test-tube to table will take no more than an unbelievable THREE DAYS, which means that this particular source of all-purpose protein can be produced in hitherto totally unimaginable numbers!
Yes folks, it would now be appropriate for us all to rejoice and give thanks, because never again will we have to worry about the terrifying possibility of our local food retailer running out of chicken. Or perhaps I should say "Autohen".