Coop - A Year of Poultry, Pigs and Parenting – A Book by Michael Perry

I picked up this gem by Michael Perry eight years after its publication.  Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention—I don’t know how I missed this book for so long.  Not only is it a first-rate and compelling book, but I feel like Perry is speaking directly to me.  Needless to say, his other books are now on my reading list. When I first cracked open the cover, I was expecting a story about chickens.  That’s not what it’s about. To be sure, chickens are minor characters in this book, but it’s a memoir—so it’s really about Michael Perry.  Perry tells us the story of his first year in an old house on a Wisconsin acreage with his new wife and daughter, with frequent flashbacks to his childhood on a Wisconsin dairy farm amidst an “obscure fundamentalist Christian sect”.  Along the way he discourses on home birth, milking cows, slaughtering pigs, building a chicken coop, and even blowing one’s nose using a technique he calls the “farmer snort”.  And ultimately, perhaps he offers us his perspective how one should live one’s life.

Are Chickens Dinosaurs?

Composite picture: T. rex courtesy of the ever generous public domain - Emile the rooster courtesy of Emile the rooster

Here are some statements for your consideration:

  •    “Tyrannosaurus rex was really just a big chicken.”
  •    “Chickens are the closest living relative to Tyrannosaurus rex.
  •    “Chickens are directly descended from T. rex.”
  •   "Chickens are dinosaurs"
Lately I’ve been running into declarations like these a lot, and I’ve got to say that I wasn’t buying most of them.  None of these statements, it seemed to me, had the ring of truth.  So, I decided it was time to get to the bottom of the dino/chicken thing and find out if there really is some sort of connection between dinosaurs and chickens and if so, what it is. And, after some research, here we go: