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Keep Chickens! Tending Small Flocks in Cities, Suburbs, and Other Small Spaces First Edition Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 003-7038174915
ISBN-10: 1580174914
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Chickens are hot right now, as attested by articles on backyard chickens in the Wall Street Journal and House and Garden (not to mention Martha Stewart and her palatial henhouses). Kilarski is a self-proclaimed "city chick," and her approach to chicken keeping reflects this background. This is a book for people who want to keep chickens in the city or suburbs, not for those with large flocks in the country. Kilarski also makes an important point--keeping chickens in this context really means keeping hens, as roosters with their crowing are generally illegal in urban areas. In eight short chapters, the author covers the basics of chicken keeping, including feeds and feeding, coop and henhouse design, breeds that are suitable for backyard flocks, and recipes featuring the fresh eggs that the hens will provide. Sidebars offer factoids about chickens and poultry keeping. The text is profusely illustrated with period advertisements and includes a color gallery of hens and coops. Nancy Bent
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

..".the pet of choice...could well be the lowly chicken. From Washington State to Martha's Vineyard, upscale homeowners are placing orders for fancy chickens, hatching their own chicks, and signing up for classes on raising the birds."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC; First Edition edition (June 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580174914
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580174916
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #658,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a nice introduction for those thinking about keeping a few pet chickens. An easy, quick, and fun read. The author's enthusiasm is infectious. She helps you to feel that you, too, can keep chickens! :)

I was disappointed by one part of the book, though. The author strongly advocates using rat poison to deal with the rodents that inevitably want to dip into chicken feed and invade chicken coops. She states that using a box for the poison which has a small entry hole will prevent cats and dogs from being poisoned. Don't count on it! Rat poison is an anticoagulant which slowly kills rats and mice by causing massive internal bleeding. When cats or dogs catch and eat these sick, miserable rodents (or scavenge dead rodents) they are inevitably killed, too-- there is no effective treatment. I personally know of two dogs and two cats which died horrible deaths after ingesting poisoned rodents. So... unless you want to risk killing your own pets and your neighbor's pets, avoid rat poison. There are plenty of other alternatives on the market.

All of the chicken books I have read have the same advice regarding poison, so this isn't a downside for this particular book. (The Storey Guide by Gail Damerow has a little more guidance about which poisons are the most dangerous, but still advocates using poison.) Overall, it was a great book!
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Ok, I have to be honest. I don't own any chickens.... yet. I plan on building a coop this spring and getting some though. I have been reading lots of books on chickens and I recommend this one for the small flock owner along with Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens.
For one thing Keeping Chickens is more warm fuzzy, pro-chicken as pets kind of book than any of the other books I have read. Some of the other books get a little dry especially in the "processing" chapter. I can only have three hens and they are going to be pampered pets so the "processing" parts don't interest me.
It has some nice color pictures in the middle and lots of good chicken advice throughout. I was dissapointed by the lack of more detailed coop design although she gives lots of good tips and advice on building one.
I do have one bone to pick with the author though. The book lists some of the major cities and their chickens laws and it got Juneau's wrong. She listed that there were no rules and cited the animal control ordinances as proof. Actually, there are rules and they are in title 49 of the zoning and planning ordinances. Be warned, check your local laws for yourself. Call Animal Control, the Humane Society or the City and double check!
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Format: Paperback
I love the simplicity of this little book. The author makes it sound so doable to keep chickens in the city. However, I was dismayed to read that she so flippantly suggests using poison as way to manage rats, who are inevitably drawn to the chicken feed. Well, the problem with poisoning rats--who die of a "bad stomache" as she describes it -- is that these rats not only suffer a horribly cruel demise but also could be eaten by predators such as raptors who will suffer a similar end. I know this very thing happened in San Francisco, where the red tailed hawk population was affected by rat poison placed in Golden Gate Park.
I am just surprised that a book published by an "eco friendly" company would allow such a cavalier recommendation to use a method that is anything but eco-friendly in the larger sense. I love chickens but there is a larger world and context beyond them. Still, it is useful and enjoyable how-to on raising chickens, and if it were minus the presumptious attitude about ridding the coop of rats it would be something I'd recommend.
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I didn't find this book very useful. First, it is a slim volume to start with, so it is not really very comprehensive.

Half of it is the author just sort of rambling on about her chickens. She includes lots of stories about her chickens, how she decided to keep chickens, other people's reactions to her chickens, etc. I found this part somewhat charming but not really helpful in any way. And after a while, it got kind of annoying [like someone telling stories about their children incessantly - kids you've never met - and just going on and on. Our children tend to be cuter and funnier to *us* than they are to strangers - after a while I'd had enough of cutsie stories about how adorable she thinks her personal chickens are].

Then the other half of the book is some really, REALLY basic information on getting chickens and raising them. But the information is so simplistic that if you have already read ANY other book on raising chickens, then you know far more than you are going to get from this book.

Some of the information she included was just kind of strange... like saying that you have to line your brooder cage with either rags, towels, or old socks and then throw them out every day and line the cage with different rags, towels, or socks.... not only have I never seen that advice in ANY other chicken book [and I've built quite a library at this point], but that seems like it could get really expensive pretty quick... how many socks am I willing to waste lining a brooder box with fresh socks every day?

She also says you need to feed your chickens cottage cheese and spinach every day....
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