A comprehensive and richly illustrated guide to keeping chickens.
Keeping chickens became very popular 15 years ago when cities eased restrictions and small-scale farmers in cities and in the country relished the flavor and nutritional benefits of free-range eggs, and the meat of chickens that lived a good life - away from factory farms.
Now the inflation in food prices gives new impetus to growing your own, and that's especially true of chickens. This book is packed with sensible advice and practical guidance for all aspiring poultry keepers.
It explores all aspects of keeping chickens, including housing, day-to-day management, feeding, breeding, chicken behavior and - for those who take special pride in their breeds - showing at fairs.
Part One: Practical Section contains information on selection of breed, housing, management and feeding, eggs, breeding chickens, understanding chicken behavior, health care and showing birds.
Part Two: Chicken Breed Profiles shows and describes breeds from Ancona to Yokohama (light breeds), and from Australorp to Wyandotte (heavy breeds), plus bantams and game breeds. Each breed is described in words and color photographs.
This is a down-to-earth and useful book that can get anyone started on keeping chickens - or continuing with chickens but doing it better.
Frances Bassom is chairperson of the Surrey Poultry Society and a member of the Rare Poultry Society. She has developed a new variant of the Vorwerk bantam and is working to preserve a chocolate gene found in the Minorca bantam.
Poultry keeping is booming
Poultry are popular. Hardly a week seems to go by without a magazine or newspaper carrying an article about another celebrity's newfound love of keeping poultry. Not since the heady days of the 1850s, when "hen fever" was at its height and people vied with each other to purchase new breeds of poultry for enormous sums of money, have our feathery friends been so in demand.
For those people who had been quietly keeping poultry for many years, it initially came as something of a shock to discover more and more people deciding to add poultry keeping to their lives. After all, prior to all this recent interest, they had been classed as the odd ones out!
One of the reasons for this rise in popularity is that people have realized they need to become more curious about how their food is produced. Added to this is the growing awareness of the large distances most food has traveled to reach our plates. It is estimated that 23 percent of our carbon footprint is taken up in food miles. Eating eggs, meat and vegetables from your garden not only reduces your carbon footprint, but it also adds to a healthy way of life and provides an enjoyable pastime the whole family can get involved in.
The rescue of battery hens from cages, allowing them to live out the rest of their productive lives cage-free, is perhaps one of the fastest-growing ways that people are being introduced to the pleasure of having eggs from their own hens. With their missing feathers and trimmed beaks these hens look a far cry from the fancy show birds. Yet, once they have regrown their feathers and are living happily in your yard, you will discover that, as well as laying eggs, they arrive fully equipped with a personality. Caring for such hens is a wonderful introduction to domestic poultry keeping.
Although at first you may become involved in poultry through keeping a few laying hens, sooner or later chances are you will visit somewhere that has other, more exotic-looking breeds of poultry and be tempted to enlarge your flock. Not all breeds are suitable for novices. If you already keep laying hens you can hardly be classed as a novice, but some breeds may have a temperament trait that you are unaware of, or maybe their care will consume more time than you can afford if you have a busy lifestyle.
This book provides not only the basic information you need to care for your birds, but it also introduces you to a whole range of breeds that you may not have known existed. From the ultrarare to the fluffy and cute, from the solid, reliable utility types to the fine-boned thoroughbreds of the poultry fancy, somewhere out there is a breed of chicken that will fit perfectly into your backyard -- a bird that will meet all your requirements and spark enough interest to convince you that keeping poultry is definitely the hobby for you.
Table of Contents
Part One: Practical Section
Poultry keeping is booming
Part Two: Chicken Breed Profiles