About a year ago now I bought a copy of the best chicken book I have ever read. Its taken me that long to read it properly, I’ve read it three times now, in between reading other books, just to be sure that I got everything, because there’s just so much information, its easy to miss something on the first or second reads!
The best chicken book that I’ve ever read is The Small-Scale Poultry Flock, by HarveyUssery. Harvey has years of experience with a whole range of poultry, but the thing that makes this book the best I’ve read is the way that he explains how to integrate a flock into a garden or farm system. So many chicken books start off by going through all the breeds, tell how to house and feed them in a little cage and collect the eggs etc, its all just the same simple information regurgitated. This book tells you how to get the most out of your chickens, whether you’re keeping them for meat or eggs, how to also put them to work in the garden and how to grow food to feed them, how to raise chicks and how to encourage broody behaviour, how to manage roosters and finally how to butcher a chicken. It covers all the practical aspects of chicken-keeping to help make it a more economical and enjoyable activity. They are not just pets in the corner of the back yard, they are workers on the farm or in the garden, if you let them, and they can provide much of their food for themselves.