When Julia Hollander went to buy her daughter a rabbit for Christmas she came home with a couple of hens. Five years later, the whole family was on its way to the National Poultry Club show, connoisseurs of the rarest and the purest breeds.

This is the story of that evolution: the thrills and spills of hen husbandry. With humour and practical good sense, Hollander swings from the importance of cockerels in our cultural legacy to the best techniques for hypnotising them, from current concerns about the impacts of industrialised food production to the origins of the domestic hen. Whether you are familiar with the hassles of trying to pen a flock, or yet to discover the joy of turning leftovers into eggs, this book will appeal to anyone with an interest in chickens.