The answer to the riddle "what has to be broken before it can be used" is "an egg." The shell of the egg must be broken to release the contents before it is used raw in recipes, cooked on the stove or peeled after it is hard boiled.
As of November 2014, the United States has 280 million chickens that lay approximately 75 billion eggs per year. As many as 60 percent of the eggs in America are bought by consumers, and 9 percent go to the food service industry.
Each hen produces up to 300 eggs in a year, and the United States produces 10 percent of the world's supply of eggs, as of November 2014. Most hens produce eggs between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m when commercially kept with controlled lighting. It takes about 24 to 36 hours to produce a single egg, and then the process starts over 30 minutes after egg laying.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has six weight classes of eggs, as of November 2014, including peewee, small, medium, large, extra large and jumbo. Peewee eggs weigh between 15 and 18 ounces per dozen. Large eggs weigh between 24 and 27 ounces per dozen. Jumbo eggs are more than 30 ounces for 12.
Eggs are freshest as soon as they are laid. The USDA maintains eggs are fresh when they are held in refrigeration for less than 30 days. Most eggs arrive in stores a few days after laying.
Riddles are not specific to any one country or culture, but are found throughout the world. Archaeologists can trace riddles as far back as thousands of years to Tibet, China and Japan, where they discovered puzzles carved on the walls of caves and temples. Sometimes these etchings involved mathematical formulas, but many were merely to provide entertainment. Some strategy board games, such as chess, have developed from early riddles.