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The Natural History of the Chicken (2000)

Through interviews and reenactments, The Natural History of the Chicken investigates the role of the chicken in American life and tells several remarkable stories. A Maine farmer says she ... See full summary »


Mark Lewis


Mark Lewis

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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Janet Bonney Janet Bonney ... Herself - Farmer
Joseph Martinez Joseph Martinez ... Himself - Farmer
Joel Vavra Joel Vavra ... Himself - Farmer
David Forrester David Forrester ... Himself - Homeowner
John Kogge John Kogge ... Himself - Homeowner
Leslye Simak Leslye Simak ... Herself - Homeowner
John Simak John Simak ... Himself - Homeowner
Bobby Wayne Webb Bobby Wayne Webb ... Himself - Neighbor
Ray Johnson Ray Johnson ... Himself - Game Cock Breeder
Karin Estrada Karin Estrada ... Herself - Homemaker
Clyde Gore Clyde Gore ... Himself - Headless Chicken Witness (as Clyde 'Babe' Gore)
Harold Lloyd Harold Lloyd ... Himself - Headless Chicken Witness (as Harold 'Doc' Lloyd)
Troy Waters Troy Waters ... Himself - Lloyd Olsen's Grandson
Elwynjohn Johnston Elwynjohn Johnston ... Himself - Headless Chicken Witness (as Elwynjohn 'Bud' Johnston)
Joseph Tauer Joseph Tauer ... Himself - Author, Call Me Chicken (as Pastor Joseph Tauer)


Through interviews and reenactments, The Natural History of the Chicken investigates the role of the chicken in American life and tells several remarkable stories. A Maine farmer says she found a chicken frozen stiff, but was able to resuscitate it. Colorado natives tell a story of the chicken who lost its head-- and went on living. A Virginia farmer tells about (and demonstrates) the benefits of raising chickens for his own consumption. Perhaps most surprising is the case of the Florida woman: she bathes her pet bird, and takes it both swimming and shopping. Through these and other stories, this documentary illuminates the role that chickens play in (some of) our lives. Written by Ken Miller <wkmiller704@yahoo.com>

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Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

22 January 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Istories gia kotoules See more »

Filming Locations:

Crete, Nebraska, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


Troy Waters: [about Mike, a rooster that survived a beheading] I don't really know what to think of why Mike lived. Was it just fate? Did this one particular rooster have just that much will to live? Or was it just because he was so dumb of an animal that he didn't even know that his head was cut off?
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Performed by Mississippi John Hurt
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User Reviews

Plucky Cluckers
23 March 2008 | by pdwebbsiteSee all my reviews

You know if it says PBS it will have quality, as far as documentaries go--but who would have thought an hour's worth of chicken fact, trivia, and homespun truth could be so entertaining! Having grown up around friends and neighbors who raised chickens in their backyards I know how amusing these feathered comedians can be. Yet, there is also something dignified about them as well. This documentary covers the whole scenario of where chickens are in the hearts of Americans. They are livestock, they are pets, they are sideshow wonderment,and they are noisy nuisances. They are also big business. Clever editing, reenactments, and filming techniques make this a keeper. We tend to watch it in winter, right around when the snow is lingering too long on the ground. Watching Cotton the Chicken taking a swim, or the drama of Valerie's rescue is enough to bring anyone out of the winter glums.

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