Monday, May 7, 2012
Keeping Chickens with Ashley English: All You Need to Know to Care for a Happy, Healthy Flock by Ashley English
Keeping Chickens has lots of color pictures of different breeds of chickens, chicken coops, eggs and chicken accoutrements, making it as appealing as a glossy magazine.
I flipped back through the book just to make sure I’m not exaggerating when I say there is a photograph, graphic or drawing on almost every set of pages excluding the glossary and index. It has ten mini “Portrait of a chicken owner” biographies, directions on how to make a chicken tractor, recipes, a chicken anatomy guide plus a resource list complete with addresses, phone numbers and/or websites. It would be a great gift for a friend who has just researched Title 16, Chapter 8-5-10 of the Dubuque City Code to discover that city residents can keep “a maximum of four (4) chickens and/or ducks (hens only)” for egg production.
As an experienced chicken wrangler of nine years, I found English’s book accurate and insightful. She didn’t spend a lot of time talking about raising meat birds and butchering, which was fine with me because I don’t eat my chickens. She captures the fascination that I and other small time backyard farmers have with chickens. If we were raising thousands of chickens for a living, we wouldn’t have the time to enjoy the different personalities in our little flocks.
Ashley English has degrees in holistic nutrition and sociology, and she writes in a practical, easy-to-follow voice. She also writes for the blog Design*Sponge, is a member of Slow Food USA and quotes Michael Pollan, all points in her favor from my point-of-view. Our Library has three other titles in the Homemade Living series that sound equally inviting as Keeping Chickens. I want to read English’s book about canning before my tomatoes ripen. Imagine that! I’m already thinking of preserving my ‘mater crop that isn’t even planted yet. Hope springs eternal--along with weeds.
- Michelle, Adult Services