WIN a copy of Martin Gur­don’s funny and fas­ci­nat­ing Hen and the Art of Chicken Main­te­nance (worth £14.99)

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WHEN mo­tor­ing jour­nal­ist and Your Chick­ens’ colum­nist Martin Gur­don started keep­ing a few gar­den hens they changed his life. He had ex­pected eggs and ru­ral idyll. In­stead he got an avian soap opera of hor­monal pas­sions, feather yank­ing power strug­gles and frankly de­viant be­hav­iour involving goose-step­ping, gen­der-neu­tral cock­erels.

He chron­i­cled these and other some­times tragic, of­ten hi­lar­i­ous dra­mas as they over­took his flock in Hen and the Art of Chicken Main­te­nance, an un­likely best­seller about the lives, loves and ob­ses­sions of birds such as Elvis, the girl with the boy’s name, and Satan the ban­tam.

Now, 15 years af­ter Hen first ap­peared, it is back (pub­lished by Com­pan­ion House Books), beau­ti­fully il­lus­trated and com­pletely re­vised with three ex­tra chap­ters fea­tur­ing a new cast of char­ac­ters, in­clud­ing Bom­bay, the In­dian Run­ner duck with an un­healthy in­ter­est in blonde chick­ens. Still the fun­ni­est book about keep­ing chick­ens, Hen and the Art of Chicken Main­te­nance is prob­a­bly the most truth­ful too.

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