Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Book Review - The Chicken Whisperer's Guide to Keeping Chickens


The Chicken Whisperer's Guide to Keeping Chickens: Everything You Need to Know . . . and Didn't Know You Needed to Know About Backyard and Urban Chickens

By: Andy Schneider and Brigid McCrea
Publisher: Quarry Books
Publication Date: September 2011
ISBN: 978-1592537280
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: March 6, 2012

With the resurgence of people interested in growing their own food and knowing the actual raising process, whether it be lettuce or chickens, guides such as this one are welcome and quite useful. The term "chicken whisperer" in the title is a bit of a misnomer as many might expect some sort of dialogue on how to speak to your flock much as Nicholas Evan's horse whisperer talks to horses. No, you won't be whispering to your chickens, but you definitely will know how to take care of them. In part, I see this as a decision making guide for many. Do I really want to raise chickens?

One of the first considerations you must consider, even before considering purchasing this book, is whether or not your municipality will even allow you to raise chickens. Additionally there are your neighbors. Mind you, I live in a rural area and am zoned residential and agricultural as are many of my neighbors. The mixed zoning is creating some animosity. Let's just say that the animal life around here is not welcomed by all in the village. "Can you smell that?!!" If you really want to raise chickens and have a green light (think about that rooster) then by all means I'd consider this book.

There is a nice section on the selection of breeds that will mesh well with your personality, the type and color of eggs you might prefer, or even the beauty of them. You'll be able to read about several breeds, their appearance, personality, popularity, and will be able to see a full-color photograph of one. Do you know which kind of hen lays brown-shelled eggs? It's quite simple, but you'll have to read the book to find out.
This is not an expansive book, but I don't believe the intent was to be encyclopedic. I do like the flow and layout of the book as it will help guide the reader in his or her decision making process. Once a decision is made, there are other books that can be purchased if you need more specific information. I'd lean toward purchasing the hard copy as this is a great reference. In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, a list of mail-order poultry supplies, organizations, and additional recommended book and website resources to explore. Would I recommend it? Most definitely!

Quill says: All in all, I'd say this is an excellent guide for the beginner to explore the topic and think about the feasibility of raising chickens.