Chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus) are a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the red junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, with a population of more than 19 billion in 2011, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird or domestic animal. Humans keep chickens primarily as a source of food, consuming both their meat and their eggs.
- [Chickens] may be capable of affection or loyalty or maybe even pride, but if so, they feel these feelings in an ancient and birdlike way, like glassy-eyed visitors from another world.
- Today more than ninety per cent of all large animals are domesticated. Consider the chicken, for example. Ten thousand years ago it was a rare bird confined to small niches of South Asia. Today billions of chickens live on almost every continent and island, bar Antarctica. The domesticated chicken is probably the most widespread bird in the annals of planet Earth. If you measure success in terms of numbers, chickens, cows and pigs are the most successful animals ever. Alas, domesticated species paid for their unparalleled collective success with unprecedented individual suffering.
- Yuval Noah Harari, Introduction to Peter Singer's Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for our Treatment of Animals (London: The Bodley Head, 2015. ISBN 9781473524422).
- Well they are very frightening for me because their stupidity is so flat. You look into the eyes of a chicken and you lose yourself in a completely flat, frightening stupidity. They are like a great metaphor for me... I kind of love chicken, but they frighten me more than any other animal.
- Werner Herzog, on the Signs of Life (1968) DVD audio commentary (2005).
- I didn't even know that chickens could fly, and suddenly one was landing on me. It happened when I was visiting a farm sanctuary. If I had been younger I would have asked my parents if I could take her home, please! After all, she chose me. Never mind that she chose everybody; she was a particularly friendly chicken. She made soft, strange cooing sounds and nestled into my arms like a happy kitten. … In fact she was an ordinary chicken, but simply one who had no reason to believe that people were after her. This is how chickens and humans would relate to one another if one was not exploited and the other doing the exploiting. Very much like cats and dogs. They just wait for the chance.
- Then there are those proverbial “bird brains” of the barnyard, chickens, surely the most maligned and abused animal on the face of the earth, and—just as surely—among the brightest, most social birds we'll find anywhere. … Chickens not only are capable of learning, they are also capable of teaching one another. It turns out that chickens are not as dumb as popular mythology makes them out to be.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 124.
- Good-morrow to thy sable beak,
And glossy plumage, dark and sleek,
Thy crimson moon and azure eye,
Cock of the heath, so wildly shy!
- Joanna Baillie, The Black Cock, Stanza 1.
- While the cock with lively din
Scatters the rear of darkness thin,
And to the stack or the barn door
Stoutly struts his dames before.
- John Milton, L'Allegro.
- The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn,
Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat
Awake the god of day.
- The early village cock
Hath twice done salutation to the morn.
- Hark, hark! I hear
The strain of strutting chanticleer
- Alas! my child, where is the Pen
That can do justice to the Hen?
Like Royalty, she goes her way,
Laying foundations every day,
Though not for Public Buildings, yet
For Custard, Cake and Omelette.
Or if too old for such a use
They have their fling at some abuse
As when to censure Plays Unfit
Upon the stage they make a Hit
Or at elections seal the Fate
Of an Obnoxious Candidate.
No wonder, Child, we prize the Hen,
Whose Egg is Mightier than the Pen.
- Oliver Herford, The Hen, reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 365.