The Natural History of the Chicken

Netflix just brought us this highly entertaining PBS documentary about chickens. It is not, as the title might lead you to believe, a natural history of chickens. I wish it was, because I have many questions about the natural history of chickens. Why do they lay an egg every day? Why are Araucana eggs blue? Why do they roost in trees but otherwise have such a limited ability to fly? I know that some of this has to do with how we’ve bred them, but there must be more to the story.

Back to the film. It doesn’t answer these questions, but it does tell many interesting stories of chickens and the people who love them. You’ll meet a woman whose home is entirely decorated in chicken kitsch and who dotes on her Silkie rooster, putting diapers on him and even floating with him in her swimming pool; another much more down-to-earth Maine woman who found one of her hens frozen under the porch, only to realize, as she prepared to bury her, that the bird was still alive (this earned the bird a week of recuperation in the house, snuggled in an old baby crib, where she enjoyed television and other indoor comforts); a family living the good rural life, which includes sending the children out to collect eggs and giving thanks to the butchered bird they sit down to eat at dinner; and much more.

Worth watching. If the video store doesn’t have it, the library might. Check it out.