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Chicken (Animal)by Annie Potts
Synopses & Reviews
No creature has been subject to such extremes of reverence and exploitation as the chicken. Hens have been venerated as cosmic creators and roosters as solar divinities. Many cultures have found the mysteries of birth, healing, death and resurrection encapsulated in the hen’s egg. Yet today, most of us have nothing to do with chickens as living beings, although billions are consumed around the world every year.
In Chicken Annie Potts introduces us to the vivid and astonishing world of Gallus gallus. The book traces the evolution of jungle fowl and the domestication of chickens by humans. It describes the ways in which chickens experience the world, form families and friendships, communicate with each other, play, bond, and grieve. Chicken explores cultural practices like egg-rolling, the cockfight, alectromancy, wishbone-pulling and the chicken-swinging ritual of Kapparot; discovers depictions of chickenhood in ancient and modern art, literature and film; and also showcases bizarre supernatural chickens from around the world including the Basilisk, Kikimora and Pollio Maligno. Chicken concludes with a detailed analysis of the place of chickens in the world today, and a tribute to those who educate and advocate on behalf of these birds.
Numerous beautiful illustrations show the many faces (and feathers and combs and tails) of Gallus, from wild roosters in the jungles of Southeast Asia to quirky Naked-Necks and majestic Malays. There are chickens painted by Chagall and Magritte, chickens made of hair-rollers, and chickens shaped like mountains. The reader of Chicken will encounter a multitude of intriguing facts and ideas, including why the largest predator ever to walk the earth is considered the ancestor of the modern chicken, how mother hens communicate with their chicks while they're still in the egg, why Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece required him to play a chicken, whether it’s safe to take eggs on a sea-voyage, and how “chicken therapy” can rejuvenate us all. This book will fascinate those already familiar with and devoted to the Gallus species, and it will open up a whole new gallinaceous world for future admirers of the intelligent and passionate chicken.
Despite, or perhaps because of, its everydayness, the chicken has been the object of such extremes of reverence—hens have been venerated as cosmic creators, roosters have been seen as solar divinities, and in many cultures the mysteries of birth, healing, death, and resurrection are symbolized in the hen’s egg. In Chicken, Annie Potts introduces us to the astonishingworld of this farmyard bird, tracing the evolution of the jungle fowl to the current domestication of chickens by humans.
Potts gets inside the world of the chicken, describing how they form families and friendships; communicate with each other; and play, bond, and grieve. She also explores practices such as egg-rolling, cock-fighting, wishbone-pulling, and chicken-swinging rituals, and she provides a bestiary of bizarre supernatural chickens from around the world. Alongside a multitude of intriguing facts, the book presents many beautiful illustrations, such as paintings by Picasso and Chagall, images of chickens made of hair-rollers, and chickens shaped like mountains. Among the unusual anecdotes and ideas collected here are why the largest predator ever to walk the earth may actually be the ancestor of the modern chicken, how mother hens communicate with their chicks while they’re still in the egg, and how chicken therapy can rejuvenate us all.
From chicken farmers to chicken eaters and those still puzzling why it crossed the road, Chicken will open up a whole new world for admirers of this fascinating bird.
About the Author
Annie Potts is associate professor at and codirector of the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch.
Table of Contents
1. From T. rex to Transylvanian Naked Necks
2. Chicken Wisdom
4. Popular Chickens
5. Gallus graphicus
6. Meat Chicks and Egg Machines
Epilogue: Appreciating Chickens
Timeline of the Chicken
Associations and Websites
What Our Readers Are Saying
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