Chicken boy


Growing up in an ex-mining town in Nottinghamshire, Arthur Parkinson never wanted a dog, or a cat, or a pony – just hens. As a kid, he was known as ‘chicken boy’, a taunt Arthur now proudly reclaims with his crested coterie that includes countless hens, from Sheila the white Silkie to Clarissa the champagne-coloured Buff Cochin. A personal and humorous memoir of Arthur’s life amongst his hens, ‘Chicken Boy’ is illustrated throughout with his own characterful watercolours and candid photography of his ‘ladies’. This is an invitation to discover the joy that is only possible in the company of these intriguing creatures: Pekins are friendly, Lavender Leghorns aloof, while Burford Browns have a bad habit of feather-pecking.

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A captivating, beautifully illustrated memoir of a life in nature, and a testament to the mutual rewards and delights of keeping chickens, by the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Flower Yard

‘I am a toddler the first time I meet a chicken, and we are equal in size and height. The hen has tiny eyelashes, a strawberry-jam face and a voice of purring clucks. I sense a happy spirit of inquisitiveness and smile in fascination. From that moment on, I will always love the company of chickens. I have found my tribe’

Most of us want a dog, or a cat, or a pony when we are young – for Arthur Parkinson, it was always hens. Growing up in an ex-mining town in Nottinghamshire, the other kids in the playground called him ‘Chicken Boy’. But the quiet fulfilment of keeping hens became his sanctuary, a tonic for mental and physical health, a connection with his family and the natural world. From the local allotments and his nan’s back garden, to Chatsworth and an unlikely friendship with the late Duchess of Devonshire, a famous hen-keeper, Chicken Boy tells the story of the love and satisfaction to be found in caring for living things.

Illustrated with Arthur’s own characterful watercolours and photographs of his ‘girls’, and laden with practical hen-keeping tips, gardening advice and introductions to common, rare and pure breeds, Chicken Boy is a one-of-a-kind memoir of a life in nature.

Additional information

Weight 0.572 kg
Dimensions 22.5 × 14.4 × 2.6 cm










636.5 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K