Under the Henfluence: Inside the World of Backyard Chickens and the People Who Love Them

Highbridge Audio. Apr. 2023. 7:01 hrs. ISBN 9781696611350. $14.95. ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
Journalist Danovich leaves New York City for the suburban utopia of Portland, OR, and the move rekindles a long-held desire to raise chickens. Reading her own story with emotion and conviction, Danovich describes how charmed she was when her first three chicks—each with its own personality and voice—arrived via the U.S. Post Office. While chronicling her journey raising backyard chickens, Danovich delves into the history of chickens on the family farm. She visits the site in Iowa where her chicks were hatched, uncovers the story of wild chickens in Hawai‘i, discusses the role of chickens as pets, and explores the culture surrounding show chickens. Danovich interviews farmers, hobbyists, and industrial chicken hatchery personnel. She highlights the plight of roosters, a largely unwanted bird, and discovers that veterinary care for chickens is scarce, and she notes that a poor economy correlates with a rise in chicken keeping, as was especially evident with the COVID pandemic.
VERDICT An informative and enjoyable listen, interweaving Danovich’s personal experiences with entertaining details about historical and current issues in the world of chickens.
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