



 
Marina, For years I taught a mathematics course to students who were studying to be teachers. This problem is one I used very often as an example of a problem which is much easier solved without algebra than it is with algebra. It even bothers me to write down an algebraic approach as it clashes with my sense of the aesthetics in mathematics, but here goes. Let c be the number of cows and h the number of chickens (hens). There are 65 heads so
Each cow has 4 legs, each hen has 2 legs and there are 226 legs in total so
Multiply both sides of the first equation by 2 and subtract it from the second equation to get
From the first equation it then follows that h = 65  48 = 17. Harley  


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