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Head of Zeus
Fowl Play
Fowl Play: A History of the Chicken from Dinosaur to Dinner Plate by Sally Coulthard

From dinosaur to dinner plate, Sally Coulthard tells the fascinating – and sometimes shocking – story of the domestic chicken.

The chicken can fly only a few metres but – somehow – this unlikely evolutionary descendant of Tyrannosaurus Rex has conquered the world. Earth is now home to more than twenty billion chickens, at least ten times more than any other bird. For every human on the planet, there are three chickens.

In Fowl Play, Sally Coulthard charts the chicken's fascinating journey from dinosaur to domestication to exploitation, exploring every aspect of the history of Gallus gallus domesticus: its importance to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans as food source and fighting bird; its symbolic roles in religion and folklore and metaphorical function in the language we use; its homely place as egg-providing companion on farms, smallholdings and in suburban back gardens; and its darker modern-day fate as battery bird raised to satisfy society's unquenchable addiction to wings and nuggets.

Of all animals, chickens perhaps best represent the contradictory way we humans treat other species; both beloved pet and cheap commodity, symbol of a sustainable good life and brutalised object of factory farming. The chicken is also a bird we feel deeply familiar with and yet know very little about. As informative as it is entertaining, Fowl Play tells a remarkable tale of evolutionary change, epic global travel and ruthless exploitation – as well as of companionship, ingenuity and the folly of human nature.

Head of Zeus, an Apollo book * Natural History
13 Oct 2022 * 288pp * £20 * 9781801104470
REVIEWS
PRAISE FOR SALLY COULTHARD:

'Full of fascinating social history' Independent.

'Global in scope, with fascinating vignettes from the ancient world to the present day' BBC History Magazine.

'A snappy, stimulating book' Mail on Sunday.

'Many wonderful tales unearthed by Coulthard... A smart little book' BBC Countryfile Magazine.

'One of our favourite books of the year'
 Yorkshire Post
Author
Sally Coulthard
Sally Coulthard
Sally Coulthard is a bestselling author of books about natural history and rural life including The Barn, A Short History of the World According to Sheep, The Book of the Earthworm, The Hedgehog Handbook and over twenty more titles. She lives on a Yorkshire smallholding which she shares with her husband, three girls and an assortment of unruly animals.
ALSO BY Sally Coulthard
The Little Book of Building Fires
The Hedgehog Handbook
The Little Book of Snow
The Bee Bible
A Short History of the World According to Sheep
The Book of the Earthworm
The Barn
The Book of the Barn Owl
OTHER BOOKS YOU MIGHT LIKE
The Wisdom of Trees
The Meaning of Birds
The Lucky Dog Weight Loss Plan
The Little Book of Building Fires
The Hedgehog Handbook
The Little Book of Snow
The Chimpanzee & Me
Life at Walnut Tree Farm
The Hare and the Moon
Flowers of the Field
Trees of Life
The Bee Bible
A Short History of the World According to Sheep
The Book of the Earthworm
The Story of Life in 10½ Chapters
The Book of the Barn Owl
Fowl Play
Alien Worlds