"There have been several scientific studies in the past decade or so that show quite clearly that chicken soup contains something that helps us get over a cold. It won't cure your cold. But it will definitely help take care of some of those symptoms, like a runny nose or fever. In the ancient world, the chicken was considered a kind of two-legged pharmacy. If you had diarrhea, if you were depressed, if you had a child who was a bed wetter, you name it, there was some part of the chicken that could cure you.
We have some friends who have free-range chickens. They thought they were just getting eggs, but they're getting a number of other benefits: They have no slugs in their garden, no mosquitoes and no ticks in their yard. What else do chickens do that are good for us?
As I said before, I think one of the most important things that chickens can do for us urban folk is to remind us where our food comes from. In earlier times chickens ate the scraps that the housewife threw out the door after dinner. The chickens took care of insects. In West Africa, they were important for exterminating pests. So chickens were welcome around the house, unlike, say, pigs and cows, which traditionally were kept farther away from dwellings. When archaeologists study ancient sites in the Middle East, they find chicken bones right in the living area. That's because the chicken does a lot of things for us. It cleans things up, gets rid of bugs, and provides us with those eggs we like to have for breakfast."