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British Wildlife is the leading natural history magazine in the UK, providing essential reading for both enthusiast and professional naturalists and wildlife conservationists. Published eight times a year, British Wildlife bridges the gap between popular writing and scientific literature through a combination of long-form articles, regular columns and reports, book reviews and letters.

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Conservation Land Management (CLM) is a quarterly magazine that is widely regarded as essential reading for all who are involved in land management for nature conservation, across the British Isles. CLM includes long-form articles, events listings, publication reviews, new product information and updates, reports of conferences and letters.

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Good Reads  Ornithology  Non-Passerines  Seabirds, Shorebirds & Wildfowl

Fowl Play A History of the Chicken from Dinosaur to Dinner Plate

Popular Science
By: Sally Coulthard(Author), Alice Pattullo(Illustrator)
278 pages, b/w illustrations
Fowl Play
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  • Fowl Play ISBN: 9781801104470 Hardback Oct 2022 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 5 days
  • Fowl Play ISBN: 9781801104487 Paperback Oct 2023 Out of Print #260416
Selected version: £19.99
About this book Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

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

Earth is home to 23 billion chickens, at least ten times more than any other bird. For every human on the planet, there are three chickens. Despite being capable of flying only a few metres, this most adaptable animal has somehow managed to conquer the world.

In Fowl Play, Sally Coulthard probes every aspect of the genus Gallus: the evolution and domestication of the chicken; its social behaviour and array of physically striking varieties from Rhode Island Reds to Belgian d'Uccles and from Buff Orpingtons to White Leghorns; its importance in ancient Egyptian religion, Roman augury and Christian theology; its role as an egg-providing companion on farms and smallholdings and in suburban back gardens; and the darker reality of modern poultry farming and society's insatiable appetite for chicken breasts, wings and nuggets. This is a story of evolutionary change, epic global travel and exploitation, as well as biophilia, companionship and human ingenuity.

Customer Reviews


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.

Popular Science
By: Sally Coulthard(Author), Alice Pattullo(Illustrator)
278 pages, b/w illustrations
Media reviews

"Charming and illuminating [...] A fascinating history, light on moralising but rich in fancy that 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, Fowl Play is as smooth as chicken supreme"
Country Life

"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"
– Michael Portillo

"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

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