Chickens

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Nikki
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Chickens

Post: #57866 Nikki
Sat May 19, 2007 10:30 am

Hi you lovely ish folks,

I've read tons from the internet, now I want my very own book. But I don't have the cash to buy several. So I need your expertise on which chicken books are the best, i.e, the most comprehensive.

I've trawled Amazon, and am more confused than not. The reviews are very scarce.

I'm interested in basic chicken rearing, as well as free-range info.

tia
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Post: #57877 Wombat
Sat May 19, 2007 11:29 am

Hey Nikki!

The best chook book that I have found (even though it is Aus) is Alanna Moore's "Backyard Poultry - naturally" It gives you the info to DIY but is good for beginners!

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Post: #57913 farmerdrea
Sat May 19, 2007 7:39 pm

One that I've had since it came out in 1976 is Chickens in your Backyard, by Rick and Gail Luttman, Rodale Press. I'd raised chooks seriously from the age of 12 till about the age of 20, and that was the book I learned from. I'm pretty sure it's still in print, too! Rodale Press, USA

If you get more serious (I've usually got around a hundred birds on the place, and that's just the chooks!), and keep lots of birds (chooks), and diagnosis any ills, the best book in my opinion is Gail Damerow's The Chicken Health Handbook. It has really good lists of symptoms to help you match up with the disease/ill, and treatment methods (not exactly natural most of the time, but I use it as a diagnostic aid).

Cheers
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Post: #57919 Magpie
Sat May 19, 2007 9:14 pm

I like Jackie French's "Chook Book". Also, anything by Rodale Press, as recommended by Farmerdrea - they are always good.

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Post: #57950 Nikki
Sun May 20, 2007 9:23 am

Thanks!

Ok, took a look at Amazon reviews for the ones mentioned.

These two for Chickens in Your Backyard made me pause:

"Although it is written in a easy going style and does seem to be aimed at beginners, I found it a bit light on some of the basic things I really wanted to know. For example, I don't know how long chickens can live for."

"A terrible book, totally dated. Not for someone who wants eggs from happy chicken. They recommend to clip their wings and cull them when they get 'lazy laying eggs' or in other words when they are 3-4 years old. There are other dated recommendations."

Backyard Poultry
I love the idea of the 'naturally' in the title but at only 156 pgs can't see that's going to be very comprehensive?

The Chook Book is only 132 pgs and includes recipes.

The Chicken Health Handbook looks very interesting and seems comprehensive, considering it's over 300pgs just on health. So I've added that to my wish list.

This one, Complete Encyclopedia of Chickens, looks interesting, but am concerned it spends too much time on breeds.


Hmmmmmmmm :scratch:
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Post: #58020 Magpie
Sun May 20, 2007 8:53 pm

Not sure you can base things on number of pages - some people can waffle on about nothing for chapters, others can get their point across in a paragraph or two.

And I don't think clipping wings is out-dated or inhamane, it doesn't hurt the chook, and can save on super-high fencing.

Maybe you could just borrow the books through your library - that way you're not wasting money. Our library will often buy in books for me, if they don't have them, and I request them. Then others can benifit from them too.

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Post: #58022 Shirley
Sun May 20, 2007 9:12 pm

I like the Katie Thear books - quite a few on the subject of poultry.
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Post: #58033 farmerdrea
Mon May 21, 2007 1:25 am

I think if you are going to keep hens for eggs, and you have in limited space in which to do it, you have to be prepared to cull the older hens at some stage, whether it be to the stew pot, or giving them to someone else as a pet. Most breeds' really good productive life is 3-5 years, with the peak at less than 2 years for some of the commercial laying strains. In a commercial scenario, hens are usually culled at about 15 months, because they are that burnt out by then (not that they won't continue to lay in the right circumstances, but being laying machines takes a lot out of them). We keep our girls on for about 4-5 years, and then they go in the stew pot (except for the pet hens and roosters). If we kept them all, we'd be overrun with chooks in short order. It all depends on what you want to do, but I think the point the authors of the book in question (Chickens in your Backyard), are being practical rather than cruel for the space they have to work with (their backyard!).

And, agreed, it isn't cruel or painful or inhumane to clip wings. All you're doing is cutting off some of the wing feathers twice a year (after they've grown back in after the moult), and when you suddenly have a mass of hens in where they don't belong, you know it's time to clip again!

Cheers
Andrea
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Post: #58053 Nikki
Mon May 21, 2007 7:19 am

Magpie wrote:Not sure you can base things on number of pages - some people can waffle on about nothing for chapters, others can get their point across in a paragraph or two.


Hiya,

No, I know you can't. But there is a lot of information required to raise livestock and there isn't a lot to go on to make the decision of which book to buy, so you have to use what;s available. Page number is available, and anything under 150 pages might be skipping quite a bit, especially when it includes recipes.

Maybe you could just borrow the books through your library - that way you're not wasting money.


Would if my library had such books. But reference books are always worth buying in my book (oops, no pun, honest).

Hey Andrea - I would like to keep my chooks for a long time. We'll be a small family smallholding, not a farm, not a business (although if we could sell something from the land why not).

Our chooks will be part pets, layers mostly. I doubt clipping would be necessary as they'll have tons of room.

I can't say at this moment, but clipping doesn't seem inhumane especially if it stops the animals hurting themselves in the long run. So I don't have a problem with that, but do prefer to leave animals as nature intende as much as possible.
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Post: #58058 farmerdrea
Mon May 21, 2007 7:51 am

Hi again... when I was a kid, and raising chooks, we kept them on (and on and on and on!). But then, my parents were paying the bills, and I really had no idea how much it cost to keep them (and then it wasn't organic feed). We had some hens live to their early teens, laying about 3 eggs a week. Even now we have some very old girls, still laying now and again (we were told one girl, an Australorp X) was about 8 when we got her and that was 4 years ago. She has raised up some lovely babies for us as well. I guess we're kind of a mixed bag, farming-wise, as we'd like the birds to pay their way. Some months they do, some months they don't, but they earn us about 50% what it costs to feed them. But, on the other hand, for the quality of eggs and meat we get, if we had to buy the same in the shops, they far outdo themselves! A recent example was pointed out to me by a townie friend: she buys organic chicken breast meat, for $40/kg!!!!! Crikey!!

Anyway, I'm tired (howling norwester keep me up most of last night), and I'm just babbling now.....

Cheers
Andrea
NZ


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