You’ve probably noticed that there’s a dizzying amount of chicken literature out there. So we’ve taken
it upon ourselves to do a little research for you. After careful review of the possible choices, here are our recommendations for every stage you may find yourself in, from chicken collector to chicken novice to mere chicken sympathizer. With the right selection, you’ll be able to decide if you are ready to be a chicken tender…or were just craving one.
For the Newbie Chicken Tender
Chickens in your Backyard:A Beginner’s Guide/Rick and Gail Luttmann
If you’re deciding whether to purchase your first flock, Chickens in
your Backyard is the ultimate beginner’s guide. It’s straightforward,
engaging and practical. The Luttmanns give an honest and personal account of
chicken husbandry that details both the ugly (chicken lice and mites) and the
delicious (eggs Benedict, you say?). Having made most beginners’ mistakes themselves,
they’ll navigate the first year in the hen house for you.
For the Poultry Optimist
Chickens! Tending Small Flocks in Cities, Suburbs, and Other Small Spaces/Barbara Kilarski
If you’ve got your heart set on chickens and are sick of hearing about all the little things that can go
astray (cannibalism sure is depressing), read Keep Chickens! Not only does the book make it seem like chicken tending is easy as pie, it also makes you crave pie. The scrumptious recipes at the end of the book will get you pumped up and planning your new egg-centric diet for weeks to come. However, you’ll have to invest in a more thorough troubleshooting handbook once you get live animals and are face to face with
the more unsavory bits.
For the Hopeless Anthropomorphizer
Hen and the Art of Chicken Maintenance/Martin Gurdon
Hen and the Art of Chicken Maintenance is pure soap opera. With a cast that includes Wimpy chicken, Bossy chicken, and Psycho chicken (Wimpy when she finally snaps), this book will have you spellbound by the seemingly endless expressiveness of chickens. It’s an exposé on the vicious pecking order that is sometimes humorous, sometimes mildly tragic. For those of you who might find the book’s chicken-on-chicken abuse appalling, stick with it for the touching love stories and daring rescue missions. These chicks were made for show business.
For the Chicken Collector
Guide to Raising Chickens/Gail Damerow
You started with a few chickens and somehow they’ve multiplied. Maybe you decided to keep that amorous
rooster or maybe you have a raging chicken-rescuing complex. Don’t worry, hero: Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens has your back. Put the feel-good stories aside and study the details that will
help your birds thrive, however large your flock grows. It may be an intimidating
amount of information for a Newbie Chicken Tender but it will equip you for the
very non-human challenges that chickens face.
NOT for those with a weak stomach
Chicken Health Handbook/Gail Damerow
The Chicken Health Handbook is the horror story otherwise known as “everything
that could possibly go wrong with your chicken.” At least it offers helpful
advice after scaring you. It’s a troubleshooting book, a no-nonsense guide to
combating disease, infection, and all the freaky accidents that can befall
unsuspecting birds. If one of your chickens gets sick, you’ll feel comfortable
knowing you have this book to turn to for detailed (sometimes illustrated)
By Paulina Lopez, Sunset editorial intern