Gail Damerow continues the long tradition of quality Storey's Guides with a revisit and updating of this 22 year old classic on the care and maintenance of the home flock. The first edition of this book is one of the very first books I bought when we were still in the 'dreaming and planning' phase of our smallholding. It's still the first book I recommend to people who are interested in home fowl.
I think it's vitally important (especially when caring for or interacting with other living creatures) to do the very best we can to give them the highest quality life possible. This is a well written, understandable and accessible reference guide which covers pretty much everything to do with chickens in a no-nonsense and scientifically sound manner.
The book contains 424 pages with hundreds of photographs, sidebars, and illustrations. The book is split up into logically arranged chapters. The chapters progress from the truly basic and introductory (What is a chicken? What are the different breeds and what are their plus and minus characteristics? How do I get started?)... to the advanced whys and wherefores of managing breeding flocks, selecting stock, even a section on artificial insemination.
Disease management and culling are explained and defined very clearly along with illustrative discussion on whether to maintain an open or closed flock (the author herself has a closed flock).
The chapter on killing and butchering chickens and other fowl is well presented along with a good and complete explanation of the physiological mechanics involved in the musculature and why light meat is 'light' and dark meat is darker.
I have relied on the earlier editions of this book for many years for support and guidance with my own flock and I'm happy to see this updated version with newer links and further reading sections, updated glossary and updated info. The general feel and layout of the book are true to the Storey's Guides format and will be recognizable and usable for anyone.
Five stars, a great successor to a long-lived and successful title.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.