"Keeping Chickens: The essential guide to enjoying and getting the best from chickens". by Jeremy Hobson and Celia Lewis. amazon link here. - but if you buy it for a holiday gift, please use the A|N Amazon button, which sends $$$ to A|N!

This is a colorful, nicely illustrated book. I like raising chickens, so I also like looking at chicken photos, and this book has many colorful photos of our feathered friends. There are many breeds illustrated, and now I can impress my friends by identifying chicken varieties "That's an Australorp" "That's a Buff Orpington". Just knowing the names of chicken breeds makes people shake their heads in awe. Well, not in awe, more like amusement, but it's a great topic for conversation. It's a great way to break up an argument about politics or religion, just interject "Did you know that chickens have been domesticated for 5,000 years? And that the Romans thought it was good luck for a hen to appear from the left? Cicero said so!"

The book also tells you why to choose one breed over another. Some are pretty, but don't lay many eggs. Some don't play well with others. Some are easy to get along with, lay lots of eggs, but are plain and not very exciting (I view this as my cross to bear in life as well). Other chapters include how to get chickens (but really, Craig's list is probably good enough), when to buy them, how to care for them, how and what to feed them, chicken housing, health issues, and information about crafts and recipes. Also information about what to tell the neighbors to avoid neighborhood complaints, and By-laws. Actually, I could do without the crafts and recipes.

There is a nice sidebar on chickens in religion, including Hindu, ancient Greece, Persia, and Jesus.

I thought this was a fun book, and would give it 5 eggs on a scale of 1-5, because of the information, photos, and interesting comments.

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Thanks for the New Yorker reference. I wish it wasn't subscription-only on line. I'll watch for the old article.

Hens are hilarious. We have 5. Throw 5 chunks of stale bread to then, one will grab one chunk, run off, and the other 4 chase her around, trying to get the chunk of bread. When she finishes that chunk, they all search around, find the other chunks, and repeat the scenario. I've seen them do the same for grape leaves and dandelions. The egg house has 3 large booths for laying eggs. Last year, all of the hens used the eastern-most booth, fighting over it, cackling and complaining, and ignoring the other 2 booths. This year it's the same, but now the western-most booth.

Watching them, I sometimes think about dinosaurs. Is this how the huge beasts behaved? There is something reptilian about chickens, so maybe it is.

Eggs became a point of contention in my worplace. I gave a dozen to one coworker, and another became jealous, why didn't I give some to her? So I had to stop.

Having kept hens for 5 years now, I wouldn't have it any other way. They are a fun topic for discussion - what, YOU raise chickens? and there is instant bonding when I discover someone else does the same.




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