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In Praise of Chickens: A Compendium of…

In Praise of Chickens: A Compendium of Wisdom Fair and Fowl

by Jane S. Smith

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Oh, what a completely charming little book of chicken related quotes and excerpts. The quotes and information come from such varied sources, as far back as ~400 BCE, that it's just amazing that Smith was able to unearth so much of it. And there are lots of great images throughout, from paintings and drawings, to advertisements and WWII propaganda posters.

A couple of my favorite quotes:

"Did chickens evolve from dinosaurs? It's an attractive theory... The word "evolve" derives from the Latin for "out of the egg," after all, and at least some dinosaurs had feathers, wings, and probably beaks. Recent molecular studies of dinosaur protein suggest that chickens may be the closest genetic descendent of the fierce Tyrannosaurus rex, a fact that won't surpise anyone who has watched a hen attack a hapless worm." Jane Smith

"It is taken for granted, the box and nest have been made perfectly clean for the reception of the hen and that a new nest has not been sluggishly and sluttishly thrown upon an old one." Bonnington Moubray, Esq. 1824

"Chicken Cholera-- If diagnosed at an early stage recovery may be expected in nearly half of the cases from the administration every three hours of: Rhubarb (5 grains), Cayenne Pepper (2 grains), Laudanum (10 drops). Administering midway between each dose a teaspoon of brandy diluted with rather less water than half its bulk, into which have been dropped five drops of M'Dugall's Fluid Carbolate, or three grains of salicine" Lewis Wright 1890 (I have to say, any chickens that have the gall to die after a treatment like that... man, oh man. Hell, any of them that lived would have a serious opiate addiction!)

"Foxes do not attack roosters who have eaten the dry liver of that animal or if the roosters wear a skin taken from a fox around their neck." Pliny 79 AD (Again, I am going to have to make this suggestion to my roosters tomorrow and see how they feel about it...)

Naturally, I loved it, but I kept asking myself if anyone who didn't raise chickens would find it interesting at all. And I think the answer is yes. If you are interested in natural history, or just plain old history, there are some gems in here. Especially the excerpts from well known authors such as Benjamin Franklin (An Humble Petition, Presented to Madame Helvetius by Her Cats), Harriett Beecher Stowe (The Hen that Hatched Ducks), and Mark Twain (who's story, To Raise Poultry, is hilarious).

http://www.librarything.com/topic/130721#3162142 ( )
  leahbird | Jan 11, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0762773502, Hardcover)

Everywhere, it seems—from urban backyards to latter-day gentleman’s farms in the country—chickens have become a passion for those who love animals, feel strongly about consuming locally, and/or find conventional mechanized alarm clocks somehow insufficient. And here is the book for such people.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:03 -0400)

Celebrating the most popular member of the poultry family, this entertaining collection of chicken quotations and wisdom, accompanied by whimsical illustrations, includes a demonstration of how to hypnotize a chicken, Mark Twain's sly tips on raising chickens and more.… (more)

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