Jennifer GrayAward-winning children's author

Chickens: Your Roost Needs You!

My name is Professor Emeritus Rooster. This is a call to wings.

For too long chickens have been oppressed, ending up on humans’ dinner plates and in foxes’ tummies. Save for a few notable exceptions (I speak of the excellent Fox Busters and the brave determination of Ginger and Mac in Chicken Run), we have also been ignored in literature and film. Our enemies, on the other wing, are applauded. What, I ask you, is so great about Fantastic Mr Fox? The answer is nothing, if you are a chicken.

On the contrary it is we, fellow chickens, who are fantastic. And not just because of our eggs or our delightful singing voices. Chickens are at least as smart as humans. We have our own social hierarchy known as the pecking order. We protect our families and friends. We enjoy classical music and TV. (As you know, the Bird Broadcasting Corporation has been producing egg-cellent shows for over 50 years.) We make nests and roost in trees. We navigate by the sun and communicate over long distances by crowing at dawn. All hen-sational accomplishments, I think you will agree.

With this in mind I have commissioned one of the growing number of humans who are beginning to understand our capabilities – an author known as Jennifer Gray – to write a series of egg-citing adventures about what we can achieve if we put our minds to it. The books tell the story of three ordinary young chickens – Amy, Boo and Ruth – who are trained in combat at the Kung Fu School for Poultry (KFP) high in the mountains of Tibet. Together they form an elite squad whose mission is to defeat bird-kind’s most ferocious enemies. Operating under my watchful eye at Chicken HQ, and with the assistance of some of my brilliant inventions, these chickens mean business. Admittedly they cluck a few things up along the way but the important thing is they learn from their experience – another remarkable chicken trait – and kung through in the end. I trust that their story will inspire you to set up your own chicken cells to protect your roosts, and that one day you too will be immortalized in tales of chicken derring-do that will be passed down from generation to generation and into popular culture.

Chickens: our moment approaches. It is time for all 19 billion of us to stand up and be counted. Do not forget we outnumber humans three to one. Together we can do great things.

Forget Mission Impossible: it’s time for Chicken Mission.