The Natural History of the Chicken [DVD] [2001]

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The Natural History of the Chicken
The humble chicken finally gets the big-screen tribute it so richly deserves in this documentary, which offers an inside look at America's $40 billion a year poultry industry, while also casting a gently humorous eye on domesticated chickens and the people who care for them. The remarkable fowl portrayed in The Natural History of the Chicken include Miracle Mike, a chicken who in the 1940s survived decapitation to become a popular sideshow attraction; Cotton, a rooster who lives a pampered life in the home of his mistress, a Florida woman who regularly bathes and blow-dries her bird; and Valerie, a hen from Maine who survived a near-fatal case of frostbite (Valerie's own perspective on her brush with death is discussed by an animal communication expert). Elsewhere, director Mark Lewis passes along the facts on how chickens eat, breed, and interact with one another, while contrasting the extremes of commercial poultry production as he introduces the audience to both a free-range chicken rancher and a mechanized poultry processing facility. The Natural History of the Chicken received the Judge's Award at the 2000 New Orleans Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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