Recommended Reading for Chicken Keepers

It’s the perfect time of year to start reading about projects you’re going to tackle next year. If you’re planning on adding a flock of chickens, this is the right time to start reading up on how to care for your feathered friends. A friend asked for recommendations of chicken books, so I compiled a list of five of my favorites. Do you have other favorite chicken books? Leave a note in the comments.

Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow

This is a solid reference book for chicken keepers. It’s comprehensive and the information is clear and helpful. The writing is straightforward, like talking to a rural veterinarian, although some might describe it as dry or clinical. Still, when you need a reference book for chickens, you don’t need a lot of romantic stories about sweet peeping baby chicks. This book is the authority on everything from coop design to maintaining the health of your flock.

A Chicken in Every Yard: The Urban Farm Store’s Guide to Chicken Keeping by Robert & Hannah Litt

This book is by the people behind Portland’s Urban Farm Store. It is a great addition to the genre of chick(en) lit. The focus here is on the backyard chicken keeper, especially in cities, but the information applies to any small flock. This book provides a sort of quiet confidence (or maybe just competency), which made me feel better about our backyard flock in the early days. I’ve read a lot of chicken books in the last three years, and mostly I finished them feeling a little overwhelmed like, “Well, I guess I’ll mostly learn by doing.” After this book, I just felt excited.

Keeping Chickens by Ashley English

Keeping Chickens is part of Ashley English’s Homemade Living series. There are a lot of beautiful photos and illustrations in this book. This is like having a cool, knowledgable friend to walk you through the process – selecting a breed and acquiring your chicks, all the way through delicious egg recipes. There are some woodworking instructions, too, to help you build a nesting box and basic chicken tractor. Ashley also writes a great blog where you can follow her homemade adventures.

Chick Days by Jenna Woginrich

This is a favorite in my household. From the early days of puffball chicks, you can watch Jenna’s chicks grow through their first year. Along the way, there is information about food, housing, health, and other details beginners need to know. Since the information is presented in an accessible way with lots of photos, it’s great for younger chicken farmers in your flock, but it’s not only for kids. This is a useful book for grown-ups, too. Jenna’s also a blogger; you can keep track of her farm happenings here.

The Chicken Health Handbook also by Gail Damerow

Many city vets don’t care for livestock, so it’s important that chicken farmers are able to care for their own birds. This book has a lot of good information, including charts where you can look up symptoms to diagnose your bird. There’s detailed nutrition information, preventative advice, and way more than you ever knew you didn’t know about poultry health. We’ve been pretty fortunate with our birds so far, but we have a responsibility to be prepared. They’re dependent on us.

So, those are my favorites. I hope it helps if you’re planning on getting a flock next year. Raising chickens has been an extraordinary adventure for us. I love those silly birds.


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Filed under chickens, urban farming

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