The Library - More Chook Books

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The first article I published in this section was in 2010 covering backyard livestock books. Since then I have picked up a few more poultry books and more specifically chook books, and this is what I have come up with –

Jackie French’s Chook Book – Jackie French – Manna Press (AUS) 2010 ISBN 978 0 94721 459 3 – Completely revised and updated. This is no longer a basic little book, it now covers why everyone should keep chooks and a year’s guide to chook economics, choosing and breeding chooks including breeds, where to get them and how to transport them, keeping chooks including food, keeping systems and other chook needs, chook safety and health problems, chookie extras ie using chook products, eating chooks and eating eggs. This is now a much more well-rounded and comprehensive reference, all told with Jackie’s unique style.

Free-Range Chicken Gardens – Jessi Bloom – Timber Press (US) 2012 ISBN 978 1 60469 237 2 – This is a rare book, one that gives you options on keeping your chooks free-ranging but having a garden too! It talks about chickens and your garden, sustainability and lifestyle, practical considerations like the benefits of free ranging, and keeping both plants and chooks safe. The book gives you information around designing your garden plan, infrastructure and choosing the right plants as well as hard- and soft-scaping materials for landscaping. It also covers suggestions for plants of various sorts and different types of chook housing as well as pests and predators of chooks. Lots of colour photos.

Backyard Chickens: Guide to Coops and Tractors – David Thiel (Ed.) – Betterway Home Books (US) 2011 ISBN 978 1 4403 1696 8 – There is a short and VERY basic section on chicken raising but this is followed by a much longer section (covering the greater part of the book) on construction techniques. This section also provides plans and construction details for 13 stationary chicken houses and 3 tractors. There are line drawing plans for each type of accommodation as well as lots of colour photos showing the stages of construction. There is a resources page at the back, but this is only applicable to the US.

Reinventing the Chicken Coop – Kevin McElroy & Matthew Wolpe – Storey Publishing (US) 2012 ISBN 978 1 60342 980 1 – There is a small section at the front of the book covering the essentials which need to be in every chook house and the basics covering mesh, roofing, construction materials, locks and latches as well as some construction techniques. Each design provides a comprehensive materials list and step by step construction instructions including both line drawings and colour photographs. Most of the designs are simple and easy to build and include both stationary coops and tractors.

Backgarden Chickens and other Poultry – John and Cara Harrison – Constable & Robinson Ltd (UK) 2011 ISBN 978 0 7160 2268 8 – This is a basic book, covering all the usual suspects: preparing for poultry, housing, runs and equipment, choosing your poultry, introducing new birds, caring for poultry, feeding and watering, breeding. There are also a few pages on specific issues with each non-chook type of poultry – ducks, turkeys, geese & quail. There are a few line drawings and the centre of the book has 8 colour plates.

The Contented Chook – Gardening Australia Magazine –Harper Collins (AUS) 2012 ISBN 978 0 7333 3053 7 – The book is in 3 parts: part 1 - Keeping Chooks covers the basics, setting up a hen house, materials, flooring, ventilation, food, vermin proofing etc choosing your chook which provides 1 page of information plus a photo for 24 breeds of chook. Part 2 – Chook Places covers over 60 chook houses and runs people have built with a page or two and lots of colour photos on each, but no construction details. Part 3 – Practically Speaking covers naming your chooks and the hen house and then gives step-by-step instructions on how to build a chook shed and a chook tractor. A few line drawings and lots of colour photos.

The Chicken Health Handbook – Gail Damerow – Storey Publishing (US) 1994 ISBN 978 0 88266 611 2 – This is the most comprehensive book on chook health and disease that I have seen. The book covers health and nutrition, the anatomy of a chook, external parasites, internal parasites, infectious diseases and environment-related problems in considerable detail. It also provides a series of diagnostic guides to help you determine what your chook has based on a description of symptoms. It even provides details on how to do your own post-mortem (just to check if your diagnosis was right!). The book discusses enhancing your chooks immunity, incubation and brooding as well as providing a series of detailed monographs on common chook diseases to assist in diagnosis. There are a few line drawings and black and white photos (including on the post-mortem stuff!)

Backyard Chickens: Beyond the Basics – Pam Freeman – Voyageur Press (US) 2017 ISBN 978 0 7603 5200 7 – This is not your basic chook book! Chapter 1 covers expanding your flock including hand raising chicks, using a broody hen and adding older chooks. Chapter 2 covers flock behaviour like the pecking order and how to integrate old and new chooks as well as working with your flock, chapter 3 is on life with a rooster including dealing with spurs, chapter 4 is all about eggs and chapter 5 is about health of your flock. Chapter 6 covers predators and chapter 7 covers feeding including how chooks eat and digest and feeding with kitchen scraps. Chapter 8 is chook keeping through the (North American) seasons and chapter 9 gives the low down on designing and cleaning your coop. The last few pages in Chapter 9 is a wonderful section on preparing for emergencies. Lots of colour photos.

Storey’s Guide to Raising Poultry – Leonard S. Mercia – Storey Publishing (US) 2001 ISBN 978 1 58017 263 6 – This book is part of a series by Storey on raising various farm animals, so it is designed around larger scale than back yard, but has lots of good info. It covers all the basics such why raise poultry, housing and equipment, poultry biology, starting and managing a laying flock, brooding and rearing. It also covers the production of fertile eggs and producing meat chickens. Producing turkeys, waterfowl and game birds each get a chapter, with the final two chapters being on home processing of eggs and poultry and flock health. The book has lots of line drawings.

Storey’s Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breed – Carol Ekarius – Storey Publishing (US) 2007 ISBN 978 1 58017 667 5 – This book is pretty much what it says on the tin. Chapter 1 gives a short introduction on natural history, genetics and species, breeds and varieties. The second chapter (first over half of the book) is chook breeds, laying, meat and ornamental, chapter 3 is waterfowl – ducks and geese, chapter 4 is turkeys and chapter 5 is the “also rans” including emus, ostriches, peafowl, pigeons, quail and swans. There is a h=short monograph on each breed, including a description and a colour photo usually of the cock and the hen.

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