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Video clip synopsis – After a long battle with depression, Queensland rare chicken breeder Mark Tully is now on a mission to protect the endangered chickens to which he owes his life.
Year of production - 2008
Duration - 2min 4sec
Tags - DIY Doco, documentary genre, environment, health, see all tags


Rare Chicken Rescue

How to Download the Video Clip

To download a free copy of this Video Clip choose from the options below. These require the free Quicktime Player.

download clip icon Premium MP4 rarechicken_pr.mp4 (15.3MB).

ipod icon Broadband MP4 rarechicken_bb.mp4 (7.2MB), suitable for iPods and computer downloads.

Additional help.

About the Video Clip


This video clip is an excerpt from the documentary film Rare Chicken Rescue, produced in 2008.

A Film Australia National Interest Program in association with Freshwater Productions. Produced in association with the Pacific Film and Television Commission and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Curriculum Focus



Students read and view texts that entertain, move, parody, investigate, analyse, argue and persuade. These texts may include documentaries that contain accessible but challenging issues that deal with local, national and international events. They explore personal, social, cultural and political issues of significance to the students’ own lives.

Students understand that readers and viewers may need to develop knowledge about particular events, issues and contexts to interpret texts.


When students write information or argument texts, they make appropriate selections of information from a few sources and attempt to synthesise and organise these in a logical way.

Students write imaginative texts in print and electronic mediums that contain personal, social and cultural ideas and issues related to their own lives and communities and their views of the expanding world.

These are extracts only. For further information please see the National Curriculum Statements for English.

Background Information


Queensland rare chicken breeder, Mark Tully, battled reactive depression and anxiety for a long time. He embarked on a mission to protect the endangered chickens to which he owed his life and began an epic ‘chicken chase’ fueled by his determination to find ‘lost’ breeds of poultry before they’re gone forever.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, over 1000 livestock breeds face extinction. In Australia, chicken species such as the Sumatran, the Phoenix, the Transylvanian Naked Neck, the Spanish, the Azeel and even the humble Leghorn are just some of the breeds under threat.

One of Australia’s many ‘poultry fanciers’, Tully set out on a ‘chicken chase’ that covered 10,000 kilometres and spanned five Australian states as he tracked down rare heritage breeds and met others who shared his passion.

The journey took Mark south from his rare poultry stud in Queensland through New South Wales, Victoria, South Australian and across Bass Strait to Tasmania, to the annual show of the Devonport Poultry Club.

While Mark spent his days rescuing poultry, he revealed that the unconditional love of his large collection of turkeys, chooks and other birds – and the serenity he finds in their company – helped save his own life after a long battle with depression.

Classroom Activities


Comic documentary style
In a comic documentary the filmmaker chooses to make their point using humour. They can do this by using unusual characters, locations or a parody (making fun of) of other styles. Even though they make people laugh, comic documentaries have serious messages.

  1. View the video clip several times and construct a Shot list (list of each scene – or series of shots) that includes eight items.
  2. Beside each item on your running sheet write a brief description of the film techniques used. For example:
    Birds running in yard – close up shots, circus type music
  3. Write a paragraph describing how the filmmaker achieves humour in Rare Chicken Rescue.


  1. View the videoclip several times and listen out for the following quotes:
    1. “the birds saved me”
    2. “without them I wouldn’t be coming out of the house”
    3. “exterminated – not because of what they are but because of what they are not”
    4. “it’s like you’re the most important person on the face of the earth”
    5. “he’d have some chickens in a box”
  2. Now answer the following questions for each quote
    1. who says the dialogue?
    2. to whom?
    3. what does it mean?
    4. what does it tell the viewer about the personality of Mark Tully?

Letter to principal
In the documentary Rare Chicken Rescue the filmmaker explores two large themes; dealing with depression and rescuing endangered species.

  1. Write a 400-word formal letter to your principal outlining the reasons why Rare Chicken Rescue should be studied at your school. Include information about:
    1. the need to protect endangered species
    2. the importance of helping people who suffer from depression
    3. some facts and statistics about depression in Australia
    4. the humour in the documentary
    5. why students might enjoy viewing the film
    6. what students may learn from the film.

Make sure your letter is well research by accessing relevant websites.

Further Resources


Go to DIY Doco website

Go to The Poultry Club

Go to Mark Tully’s website Blue Hills Poultry Stud

Go to Beyond Blue – the National Depression Initiative