The Chicken Book

Title Details

Pages: 392

Illustrations: 17 b&w photos

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 04/27/2000

ISBN: 9-780-8203-2213-1

List Price: $34.95

The Chicken Book

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  • Description
  • Reviews
Liberating today's chicken from cartoons, fast food, and other demeaning associations, The Chicken Book at once celebrates and explains this noble fowl. As it traces the rise and fall of Gallus domesticus from the jungles of ancient India to the assembly-line hatcheries sprawled across modern America, this original, frequently astounding book passes along a trove of knowledge and lore about everything from the chicken's biology and behavior to its place in legend and mythology. The book includes lively discussions of the chicken's role in literature and history, the cruel attractions of cockfighting, the medicinal uses of eggs and chicken parts, the details of the egg-laying process, the basics of the backyard coop, recipes, and much more. Entertaining and insightful, The Chicken Book will change the way we regard this too often underappreciated animal.

This book will definitely have a place on my bookshelf. Originally published in 1975, it began as a collaborative college course on the chicken by a scientist, a historian, and their students. Except for the professors, who were backyard chicken keepers, none knew a whole lot about chickens. The result: a big book that pretty much covers the subject from Araucanas to Plymouths to Yokohamas; from the origins to cockfighting, folklore, modern chicken/egg 'factories,' and backyard chicken raising.

—Michael Gaspars, Whole Earth

It's hard to decide whether this book is more fascinating and valuable for its information on chickens or for its insight on the modern homestead movement. But then, just about anyone will find The Chicken Book to be interesting, amusing, and fun to read on several levels. . . . Chicken lovers will be delighted with all of this. But the general reader will also be rewarded. . . . Underpinned by several serious ideas but sprinkled with a generous dose of humor, [it] makes for some fine reading.

Countryside and Small Stock Journal

A fascinating account of the great impact that the chicken has had upon man. For anyone with any interest in chickens, the book is not only informative but is also fun to read.


Smith and Daniel are obviously enthusiastic (though not sentimental) about their subject, and they've provided some good, interesting, and useful reading on the chicken.

Library Journal

At times amusing, essentially very serious, this engaging offbeat look at the chicken—as an estimable creature in itself and as a symbol of man's desensitization through technology—[is] a pro-chicken, pro-man Western omelette worth reading and pondering.

Publishers Weekly

A delightful treatment blending evident research with forthright admiration for the ubiquitous chicken.


About the Author/Editor

Page Smith (Author)
PAGE SMITH (1917-1995) was a professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Charles Daniel (Author)
CHARLES DANIEL is an emeritus research professor of biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.