Friday, November 10, 2017

Chicken Fact or Chicken Poop

Andy Schneider, aka 'The Chicken Whisperer', is well known on chicken keeping and backyard poultry boards, as well as from media appearances.  He's a no-nonsense, down to earth, and very funny guy on all things poultry.

His first book, The Chicken Whisperer, was published in 2011 and has become a go-to book of up to date information on suburban chicken keeping. The book filled a void because information is scanty and difficult to find at best, and downright scary and incorrect at worst. Most poultry keepers have been forced to consult each other for information about husbandry on backyard chicken fora and newslists. A short skimming of homesteading groups will net you everything from top-notch expert advice to downright incorrect information.  Caveat emptor, indeed.

Thus Chicken Fact or Chicken Poop fills a void with careful, science based question and answers in an easily digested format written in layman language which is accessible and clear to everyone. The writing is clear and concise, though the format takes a bit of getting used to.  Each page has a 'Fact or Poop' sidebar with the question itself as a header, the expert giving the answer (and their credentials), and a concise answer to the question.  Some example questions and answers include: “ Adding red pepper flakes to your chickens’ feed will increase egg production.”, “ Chicken coops need heat.”, “Keep vitamins and electrolytes in the water at all times so your chickens will have stronger immune systems.”, and many others (note, the above quoted examples were mostly 'poop' (i.e. false).

The book is divided into three broad chapters with many subheadings.  The chapters are: 1: Home Sweet Home, 2: Safe and Sound, and 3: Illness & Ailments.  Many of the question and answer pages have sidebars with more information and specifics concerning diseases in chickens which can also affect humans, such as salmonella and coccidiosis.

It's a short book, 136 pages, peppered with full color plates including lots of pictures of beautiful chickens.  The pictures are beautiful but I couldn't find any identification of breed or type of bird.

The book ends with a useful links/resources list which, though suited to a North American audience, is useful to poultry keepers in other areas.  There is also an index after the resources section.

Final verdict, very entertaining and interesting book, well written and on-topic, and fighting the good fight against misinformation.

Four stars

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.  

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