how to raise chickens

Book Review – Backyard Chickens Beyond the Basics by Pam Freeman.

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Quarto Publishing Group – Voyageur Press for providing me with a free electronic RC, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

When I first started reading this book I was a little worried it was going to be too location specific to be of much help to me… As in, it is very obviously written for an American audience and that can sometimes make a book not that useful to me – an Australian reader…

BUT! I was totally wrong. I mean, yes there are areas of ‘Backyard Chickens Beyond the Basics’ that were indeed location specific – like the predator section – but to be honest, that didn’t detract from the overall usefulness of this book.

For those who have not read my previous reviews, I am a chookie owner. I have six right now but spring is just kicking off here in the Adelaide Hills and so I hope to fix up the coop and figure out how to get me some more. Just don’t tell my husband. 😀

And so I am indeed qualified to give judgement on the usefulness of this book. And useful I did indeed find it. Yes there were sections I did skim a little as it was either something I already knew/ did or felt not relevant, due to my location – see how to deal with racoons. Goannas, snakes and red back spiders in the coop… would have been helpful (though I am pretty on to fixing those) but I can’t say racoons have even been a bother. Foxes on the other hand… hmmm, I best not tell my son the urine deterrent or he’ll be all over that… or have it all over everything. :-/

Oh, what? You suddenly realise I am a TMI reviewer?

So anyway, back to ‘Backyard Chickens Beyond the Basics’. I found the majority of the book very interesting and extremely useful. Especially the ideas on how to increase your flock and what to do with egg eaters.

I have other backyard chicken books that go more into diseases, illnesses and natural remedies than this book did… but that is not saying it is lacking as it did cover a lot of the basics and important issues too.

All in all I found it a great little resource for those wanting to have some chooks in their family as ‘Backyard Chickens Beyond the Basics’ will help guide them through to first few hurdles and then some.

As it is a resource book I will go into the layout, format, etc. It was okay, but please bear in mind that I was reading an electronic version and so any issues I had were mostly due to that format. The paper format will not have these issues… BUT! I did find it rather clunky and hard to read at times. Plus the pictures and little blurbs throughout the book did detract from what I was trying to read more than I wish they had. Again, if I had been reading it as a paper book these issues would not have existed.

Other than that it was a clear, concise, easy to read and easy to follow format and layout. Nice, clean, open pages and relevant pictures throughout made it into why I feel it would be an excellent resource book for those just starting out as being chicken parents.

Although I do feel ‘Backyard Chickens Beyond the Basics’ is mostly aimed at new chicken owners or potential chicken owners, I did find it useful myself and I’ve own chickens on and off my whole life. I wouldn’t call myself a chicken expert, more someone who knows how to be owned by chickens. 😉 So I honestly do feel like it justifies the “beyond the basics” part of its title.

Would I recommend this book to others?

I think I would, you know? Despite the minor location specific issues, I loved the personal stories and touches Ms Freeman added to the book and feel it makes it a good chook reference book to have. It’s not just a “how to” book, it’s written by a fellow chook addict who is there to help. So, yes, a book I can see myself recommending.

Would I buy this book for myself?

I would be sorely tempted to you know… For the same reasons as above. The personal touches help the reader connect to the book and the passion for chooks. I also found the blog style “how to” writing style easy to follow and learn from so could honestly see myself buying this as a reference book to go with my others.

 

In summary – a good, easy to follow guide to helping you raise backyard chickens.

 

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – Backyard Chickens: How to keep Happy Hens by Dave Ingham.

backyard-chickens_cvr4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Murdoch Books for providing me with a paper copy of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

And what a book it is too. As corny as it sounds, it really is something my whole family can enjoy. This was proved many times when I went to read it to find my children had “borrowed” it and were either reading it themselves, or outside reading it to our chickens.

backyard chickens feathers

Our children (or chooks) have been book marking the book!

Though I will state here and now I don’t think you need to have chickens (or book stealing children for that matter) to find this book enjoyable and useful.

It covers all the needed basics of setting up some backyard chooks for yourself – shelter, feeding, watering, common ailments, etc. It’s all there and all written about in a manner I loved as it was factual, but enjoyable and entertaining all at the same time.

And, as much as my kids loved reading it and using it to ensure our chooks were being looked after appropriately, that does not make this a childish or immature book. It’s something young and old interested in sharing their yard with some feathered girls will love.

Oh and Mr Fox came a calling for the first time ever while I was reading this book…. No, not blaming ‘Backyard Chickens’ or Mr Ingham for that. We have just been very lucky in the years we’ve had chickens to not meet him until now. What was most shocking – despite the demise of Pepper the Australorp – was Mr Fox came for a visit at about 11am! Following guidance from Mr Ingham’s fine book we have done our best to improve security on the yard. The pen they are put in at night still has not failed us… but obviously when they are free ranging the yard during the day, we had left gaps in our yard, despite it being surrounded by a 5 foot, concrete embedded metal fence. We know that fence was good at keeping foxes at bay as, when we were chasing the critter around the yard  – after penning the remaining girls in cat carriers – it couldn’t jump over our fences to escape! But we followed it to the gap at the front – bushman’s gate of wire and lumber – and have since sealed it tighter.

So, you could say ‘Backyard Chickens’ was here at the right time! We are now down to 6 chooks, but it could have been worse! And come next spring the useful guide in the back as to the different sorts of chickens that make the best backyard buddies, will be used to get more girls. We will then follow the wise words in the ‘Flock Management’ section and go from there.

Can you see this book is very relevant to us? And such an essential addition to ensuring our feather babies have the best life they can and keep giving us those giant, golden yolk eggies!

Finally, I will also say that, despite growing up with chickens in my life and knowing most of their ins and outs and foibles, I still found ‘Backyard Chickens’ a good read as it did cover some stuff I didn’t know. Backed up some the stuff I already did and helped share my love of chooks with my children.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. And not just to people who already own chickens in their yards, but people who care about where their eggs come from and are considering getting their own chooks to ensure their egg providers are getting the best treatment. Mind you, pasture eggs are also a good option… but that doesn’t give you a chook to chat while you hang out the washing.

Would I buy this book for myself?

I may have to if my kids keep stealing my current copy! 😉 If I lost it or had to replace it (after too many chickens were taught to read it) then yes, yes I would buy it. For now I am very happy and feel very honoured to have been gifted a paper copy.  If my kid’s school ever gets chickens again, I might just need to buy a copy and donate it to them as it’s really a book for adults and children alike to read, learn from and enjoy.

In summary – an excellent, very comprehensive book aimed at Australian’s learning to raise their own backyard chooks.

Until next time,

Janis.