<p><b>From dinosaur to dinner plate, Sally Coulthard tells the fascinating – and sometimes shocking – story of the domestic chicken.</b></p><p>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.</p><p>In <i>Fowl Play</i>, 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.</p><p>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, <i>Fowl Play</i> 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.</p>
<p>From dinosaur to dinner plate, Sally Coulthard reveals the cultural history of the chicken.</p>
'Charming and illuminating... A fascinating history, light on moralising but rich in fancythat details. It may put you off your capon nuggets, but it will give you a good story to share with the parson's nose'
Mail on Sunday
'Wonderfully entertaining and informative'
Tim Birkhead, author of Birds and Us
'[A] marvellously complete and utter history of chickens... Hen-like herself, Ms Coulthard, a smallholder, has left no stone unturned in a book as well-researched and wide-ranging as it is written. From the first page to the last, <i>Fowl Play</i> is as smooth as chicken supreme'
'My first reaction was that this was an extraordinary book to have been written, but then I came to wonder how it had not been written before, so interesting is the subject'
'A playful, entertaining and satisfyingly informative study of this humble bird and the integral and varied roles it played thoughout human history accross the world... Thoroughly researched and engagingly written... A great read'
Archaeology Worldwide Magazine
'A genial and wonderfully diverting read... A timely book indeed'
<p>The chicken is the most numerous bird on the planet and its story reveals a great deal about human culture and society across the ages.</p>
<p>Sally is a prolific author and her books about natural history and rural life have together sold 60k copies.</p>
<p>Sally's writing style is engaging and fun at the same time as being authoritative and informative.</p>
<p>MARKET: <i>A Short History of the World According to Sheep</i>; John Lewis-Stempel; Patrick Barkham; Amanda Owen; Roger Deakin; <i>English Pastoral</i>.</p>