Book recommendations for raising chickens
March 30, 2015 10:14 AM   Subscribe

My mom is interested in raising a few chickens and I'd like to send her a few books. Any good recommendations?

I'm already getting Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens and Raising Chickens for Dummies. Any other good books out there?

She is especially worried about predators, so a book with a good section on predators or a book specifically about protecting chickens will also be appreciated. They have the entire predator chain from snakes to wolves, including rattlers, bullsnakes, foxes & coyotes, raccoons, different weasels, birds of prey, etc.

For that reason their chickens will not be truly free ranging either, so books specifically about that aren't needed. They also have plenty of room and no need to worry about zoning laws. But any other topic oriented chicken book would be cool - I'm hoping to find her some good plans that I won't have to download from the internet and mail them in order for her to see them.

Please, no website recommendations - my parents' location does not have internet access. Thanks!
posted by barchan to Pets & Animals (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I came to recommend the two you already mentioned as they were recommended on Cool Tools. i also have Homemade Living: Keeping Chickens with Ashley English: All You Need to Know to Care for a Happy, Healthy Flock bookmarked on my computer, although I don't remember where I received that recommendation.
posted by bluecore at 10:25 AM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If she likes magazines, Backyard Poultry might be a nice gift.
posted by zamboni at 10:25 AM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

I would probably send her The Egg and I, the classic memoir of raising chickens in the Pacific Northwest in the 1930s.

As far as predators go, I'd suggest printing out information for her on electric fences -- they won't prevent snakes and raptors but they will cut down on a lot of the other varmits. (Bonus: they can keep deer etc. out of her garden as well, if she has one.)
posted by pie ninja at 10:31 AM on March 30, 2015

Best answer: The Dummies folks have a book specifically on building coops, too.

If they're not online, do they at least have a computer? You can get the entire archive of Mother Earth News on DVD now and they've had a ton of articles on keeping chickens over the years.

We just started using an electric poultry fence and I can shoot you some info on that out-of-band if you're interested.
posted by jquinby at 10:38 AM on March 30, 2015

Response by poster: Aw yeah, zamboni, a magazine is a great idea! Thanks!

I appreciate the electric fence recommendations but my parents don't use electric fences for any of their stock for a lot of reasons, the biggie being wildfire - I imagine they'd rather risk losing chickens then chancing a fire.
posted by barchan at 10:50 AM on March 30, 2015

A Chicken in Every Yard is the go to book for urban chicken care. We used it when we were researching raising chickens and just lent it to a friend who is building a coop. It definitely covers protecting from predators and how to design a coop and run.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:15 AM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Chick Days is great for this and Jenna has other books about small scale farming if your mom is interested.
posted by youcancallmeal at 11:17 AM on March 30, 2015

Best answer: Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens is a great pick. It's been my go-to for 15 years. I've found Backyard Poultry very useful, too.

I picked up The Chicken Encyclopedia (written by Gail Damerow, who also wrote Storey's Guide) from the library last week and and found it an excellent reference. Lots about anatomy and breeds and general chicken topics. I've already ordered a copy.

I also have predator issues, but have largely had good luck with dug in chicken wire fence, though it's not particularly attractive.
posted by farmerd at 11:44 AM on March 30, 2015

Best answer: As for magazines, I'd go with Chickens (Hobby Farm). Also, Storey is the best. She should also, if she's a facebook person, find the Chicken Chick. Very useful (although sometimes gross, but that's what you get with poultry).

I have 4 chickens, I had my coop built for me with sunken cinder blocks and have had no predator issues in 4 years. It's brilliant and I'd be happy to tell you more if you're interested.
posted by Sophie1 at 1:03 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you for the suggestions, everyone. This is a great start and I'm pretty excited to send my mom your recs.

(Also thanks for verifying that the books I already picked out are going to be useful.)

Sophie1, don't be surprised if you hear from me in the future with questions about your cinder block coop as that sounds pretty useful for their situation.
posted by barchan at 10:15 AM on March 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

Two of my neighbors wrote The Joy of Keeping Chickens. The author, Jenn Megyesi, is a farmer and a vet tech at the local animal hospital. The photographer also works for the local newspaper. Excellent source for us when we kept the birds.
posted by terrapin at 3:42 PM on March 31, 2015

Barchan - feel free! I'm always happy to talk about my girls and their setup.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:24 PM on April 2, 2015

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