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City Chicks: Keeping Micro-flocks of Chickens as Garden Helpers, Compost Makers, Bio-reyclers, and Local Food Producers Perfect Paperback – January 1, 2010


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City Chicks: Keeping Micro-flocks of Chickens as Garden Helpers, Compost Makers, Bio-reyclers, and Local Food Producers + A Chicken in Every Yard: The Urban Farm Store's Guide to Chicken Keeping + Free-Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard
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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Good Earth Publications, Inc.; First edition (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0962464856
  • ISBN-13: 978-0962464850
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

From Oakland, California, to Madison, Wisconsin, to Brooklyn, New York, the backyard buzz is all about urban chicken keeping, and mainstream publications, such as the New York Times and the New Yorker, have chronicled the trend’s growth, especially among members of the local food movement. Foreman, who has authored several urban agriculture and chicken-themed titles, offers a full compendium of everything a novice city chicken farmer needs to start and maintain a coop. Included among the dense but conversational chapters is information on chicken breeding and health, incubation and hatching, becoming a “chicken whisperer,” legal issues, and starting your own profitable “eggribusiness.” Everyone interested in the subject will find something useful here. Experienced chicken keepers will want to add to their own storehouses of knowledge with the vast resource lists, while complete beginners will appreciate the basic advice, such as photos that demonstrate how to hold a chicken. The audience for this may be small right now, but the flock of city-dwelling chicken enthusiasts is growing by the minute, and libraries should be ready to meet the demand. --Gillian Engberg

Review

By PENELOPE GREEN New York Times, September 9, 2009 The chicken is still having her moment as the mascot and darling of the always-cresting locavore food movement. But as hipsters and foodies from New York to San Francisco embrace her charms and services like her ability to consume food scraps and turn them into nitrogen-rich compost much faster than, say, a clutch of earthworms can (and with bucketloads more personality) many people are struggling to learn how, exactly, to care for her. Enter City Chicks: Keeping Micro-Flocks of Chickens as Garden Helpers, Compost Makers, Bio-Recyclers and Local Food Suppliers (Good Earth Publications, $22.50). Yes, its title is a mouthful, Creators its author, Patricia Foreman, a pharmacist and author from Lexington, Va., is a very thorough woman. (She has degrees in agricultural science and public affairs and has kept chickens, and written about sustainable agriculture, for two decades.) In an attempt to have the chicken-keeping laws of Lexington changed the city, like many others, considers chickens livestock, which are usually contraband within city limits she took Attila the Hen, a comely and personable fowl (above, with Ms. Foreman), to a city council meeting. The council members, she said, loved the chicken, which purred and preened as she was passed around, but the law remained, to Ms. Foreman s dismay. I think the stakes are high, she said in a telephone interview. We need to change our food supply, manage our trash and get off the oil habit. In her book, Ms. Foreman notes that commercial fertilizers and pesticides are oil-based, but chickens make a richer fertilizer than the commercial variety and are deft weeders and pest eaters. Of course, she said, education is key, to show that chickens are an asset, not a nuisance. --New York Times, September 9, 2009

City Chicks: Keeping Micro-flocks of Laying Hens as Garden Helpers, Compost Makers, Bio-recyclers and Local Food Suppliers. Reviewed by Jd Belanger, Editor Emeritus Backyard Poultry Magazine. With a title like that, what else is there for a reviewer to say? But seriously, that doesn't even begin to describe everything you ll find in this new book from the co-author (with Andy Lee) of the immensely popular Chicken Tractor and others. This one is quite different, as she helpfully points out in comparing City Chicks with Chicken Tractor and Day Range Poultry. She says the focus is on micro-flocks of laying hens kept in urban backyards and gardens. That might be narrower than the homestead poultry production focus and the commercial focus of the other two, but she still manages to find plenty to fill all 460 lively pages. She does go a short way beyond chickens to do it, but that is not a problem in a book that headlines its interest in compost, recycling and local food. In several sections the central focus is not on chickens, but on how chickens fit in with so many other common needs and concerns of the early 21st century. It s all interesting, and it flows together seamlessly. Where chickens are front and center, we still see a much wider range than most other chicken books present. For example, I wondered why there was a chapter on Home Eggri-Business in a book about micro-flocks what is there to sell? but she starts the chapter by explaining: A backyard flock of three hens can provide enough eggs for a family of four. A micro-flock of 20 can produce enough extra eggs to sell. Aha. A micro-flock is bigger than I d thought. (My only objection would be that most urban flocks are limited to much fewer than 20 birds.) The chapter then goes on to discuss nutritional value of eggs, food safety and food-borne diseases, the unhealthy lifestyles of commercially farmed hens and much more, before running through a list of possible egg buyers, advertising (try giving talks and slide show presentations) all the way to egg st --Various reviewers

City Chicks is a revelation! It s time that someone expertly connected gardening to raising and keeping hens. The two practices go hand in hand. This book is filled with excellent advice so that everyone can confidently prac- tice good earth stewardship, not to mention have a prize garden! Michael C. Metallo, President National Gardening Association The best solutions today are integrated solutions. City Chicks show how to successfully produce protein along with your garden vegetables while managing waste and increasing soil fertility...a 3-for-1 benefit! Will Raap Founder, Gardener s Supply Far more than just another book on chickens, City Chicks opens the door to a whole new world of poultry possibilities. Keeping small flocks is good for gardens, municipalities, education, and the local food movement. City Chicks covers a lot of ground, and is a comprehensive information source. Richard Freudenberger, BackHome Magazine Publisher & Chicken Owner City Chicks shows how local governments can save thousands if not millions of tax-payer dollars that are spent on solid waste management simply by allowing resi-dents to keep hens to help with composting food and leaf and yard waste in their backyards. Mimi Elrod, Ph.D. Mayor, Lexington Virginia The focus is on how chickens fit in with so many other common needs and concerns of our century. This is a book for our times. JD Belanger, Editor Emeritus Backyard Poultry Magazine I love the lightheartedness, the humour, the fun in it, as well as the really solid information that City Chicks pro- vides. I really love it! Marjorie Bender, Research & Technical Program Manager American Livestock Breeds Conservancy City Chicks is an outstanding book that covers it all. It is comprehensive starting with fresh eggs through to raising replacement hens...and integrating chickens into urban agriculture with all the joy in between. Novice and expert will enjoy this book. Andy Marsinko Grandmaster Exhibitor, poultry Judge American Poultry Association Hall of Fame I love that City Chicks details every facet of humane and compassionate care for these lovely birds. The chapters on Poultry Primary Health Care and The Poultry s Pharmacy cover just about all of what you need to know for treating and keeping your flock in optimal health. Well done! Cindy Downes, Veterinarian --Reviews from fans

Reviewed By Jd Belanger Editor Emeritus ith a title like that, what else is there for a reviewer to say? But seriously, that doesn t even begin to describe everything you ll find in this new book from the co-author of the immensely popular Chicken Tractor and others. This one is quite different, as she helpfully points out in comparing City Chicks with Chicken Tractor and Day Range Poultry. She says the focus is on micro-flocks of laying hens kept in urban backyards and gar- dens. That might be narrower than the homestead poultry production focus and the commercial focus of the other two, but she still manages to find plenty to fill all 460 lively pages. Have extra eggs to sell? but she starts the chapter by explaining: A backyard flock of three hens can provide enough eggs for a family of four. A micro-flock of 20 can produce enough extra eggs to sell. Aha. A micro-flock is bigger than I d thought. (My only objection would be that most urban flocks are limited to much fewer than 20 birds.) The chapter then goes on to discuss nutritional value of eggs, food safety and food-borne diseases, the unhealthy lifestyles of commercially farmed hens and much more, before run- ning through a list of possible egg buyers (don t forget your book club and exercise class), advertising (try giving talks and slide show presentations) all the way to egg storage and legal concerns. That s what I call comprehensive. She does go a short way beyond chick- ens to do it, but that s not a problem in a book that headlines its interest in compost, recycling and local food. In several sec- tions the central focus is not on chickens, but on how chickens fit in with so many other common needs and concerns of the early 21st century. It s all interesting, and it flows together seamlessly. There is also an unusual and interest- ing chapter on children and chickens. ( If you are using an adult hen, wrap her in a towel with her legs back. Having the legs extended backwards calms the hen and she can t get a foothold to stand up. The towel restrains her wings so flapping won t scare the child or get a wing tip in the eye. ) That s good advice most dot- ing grandfathers wouldn t even stop to consider. And there s much more. Where chickens are front and center, we still see a much wider range than most other chicken books present. For example, I wondered why there was a chapter on Home Eggri-Business in a book about micro-flocks what is there The author herself summarizes the book very neatly in an epilogue, when she says, City Chicks is written in the same spirit as the Have-More Plan (a magazine-size book from the 1940s that s famous for ushering in one of the great back-to-the-land movements of the past century). It is not just another book about chickens, although it does describe how to keep micro-flocks of laying hens ... (It) has the ambitious intent of exploring three subjects: namely, urban agriculture systems, recycling food and yard waste, and using local resources to preserve and enhance the environment. This is a book that sees chicken- raising as much more than an avian hobby interest like fancy pigeons or canaries. It s a book for our times. Jd Belanger founded the original Backyard Poultry in 1979. His latest book is The Complete Idiot s Guide to Self- Sufficient Living, which will be released in December, 2009. City Chicks; Keeping Micro-flocks of Laying Hens as Garden Helpers, Compost Makers, Bio-recyclers and Local Food Suppliers is available from the Backyard Poultry Bookstore. --Backyard Poultry Magazine , August September 2009.

More About the Author

Patricia Foreman is the Founding President of the Gossamer Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to global sustainability and local foods. As Pat says: "We can't have one without the other". www.GossamerFoundation.org.

Pat is the author of the popular paradigm-shifting book: City Chicks: Employing Chickens as Garden Helpers, Compost Creators, Bio-recyclers and Local Food Suppliers. City Chicks is the primary textbook for the Chickens and You™ Training Series that leads to the Master Backyard Chicken Keeper™ Certification (with a diploma suitable for framing). www.ChickensAndYOU.com.

She is the co-author of:
* Chicken Tractor: The Permaculture Guide to Happy Hens and Health Soil
* Backyard Market Gardening: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Selling What You Grow.
* Day Range Poultry: Every Chicken Owner's Guide to Grazing Gardens and Improving Pastures
* A Tiny Home to Call Your Own: Living Well in Just Right Houses.

Forthcoming books in progress are:
* Way of the Hen: Incubating Eggs and Raising Chicks Naturally--Summer 2014
* Primary Poultry Health Care and The Poultry's Pharmacy-- Late Fall 2014
* Garden Chicks: Growing Food With and For People and Chickens--Fall 2015
* Chicken Whispering: Discover the Chicken You Never Knew-- Spring 2016 (maybe earlier)

Pat has been widely published in major national magazines including Mother Earth News, Backyard Poultry, BackHome Magazine, and others. She is a very popular guest on local and national radio and TV talk shows, including NPR and CBS. She was the Co-host of the Chicken Whisperer Talk Show for 4 years.

Her many awards include a Fulbright Scholarship, and appointment as a Presidential Executive Management Intern. She served as a Science Officer for the United Nations in Vienna, Austria, and has worked in over 30 countries conducting workshops and providing consulting services. Agencies funding projects she has worked on include the U.S. Agency for International Development, World Bank, World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization.

Pat has kept poultry for over 25 years. Her experience includes raising chickens not just for eggs, but to specifically build and enrich topsoil for community gardens. She co-owned and operated a small farm raising free range, organic layers, broilers and turkeys. The farm operations included keeping breeder flocks, incubating eggs, brooding baby chicks, finishing birds on pasture, and on-site processing. She formulated their feed rations.

Pat keeps a family flock of heritage chickens to help with the kitchen garden, egg supply, entertainment and as research assistants for future books. Her flocks have been her teachers. As she says: "I'm chicken taught". One might say her chickens granted Pat an honorary PhD--Poultry Honor Degree. Whatever, it's no yolk that she's a genuine Poultry Pioneer.

Pat is the course developer and director for the live 2-day intensive, and online 8-week series of the Chickens and YOU Training Series™ that awards the Backyard Chicken Keeper Certification™. (www.ChickensAndYOU.com). Classes include:
* The Chicken Have-More Plan
* Laying Hens Made Easy
* Brooding & Educating Baby Chicks
* Introduction to Gardening With Chickens
* Composting & Biomass Recycling with Chicken Helpers
* Primary Poultry Health Care
* The Poultry's Pharmacy
* Chicken Whispering: Discover the Chicken You Never Knew!

Other available workshops that award the Master Backyard Chicken Keeper Certification™ are:
* Chickens as Partners Toward Zero Waste
* Way of the Hen: Incubating Eggs and Raising Chicks Naturally
* Animal Control Handling & Management of Chickens
... and about 6 other workshops.

Pat lectures and facilitates workshops across North America on various topics of enabling local food systems and helping communities navigate these transition times with healthy food security and self-sufficiency. She is available for consulting services. Contact her through www.GossamerFoundation.org.

Customer Reviews

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Very fun, informative book!
Rita E. Deml
Thanks to Pat and her fabulous advice our chickens are healthy, happy, well-housed and producing eggs daily.
Tally Calvert
This is a great book and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in raising backyard chickens.
KO

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Renee F. Wrede on April 16, 2010
Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
I own sixteen (really!) books and have taken five classes about urban chickens. I found City Chicks to be the most inclusive book of all which makes it a great bargain. The author gives incisive information on care, behavior, housing, and even explains how to best use their ah, manure. Foreman discusses different ways you can use your chickens in your garden, what their coops should have as well as delve deeply into the differences between commercial and homemade feeds. Although there are reference books you should not be without, I feel this book should definitely be included in your library if you want to have backyard chickens.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Ann M. Huebner on October 14, 2009
Format: Perfect Paperback
I bought this book a couple of weeks ago, right before my first shipment of day-old chicks arrived. Boy, am I glad I did. The brooding chapter alone told me everything I needed to start my chicks. There is a very good check list of supplies. I took it with me to the Tractor Supply and bought everything I needed. The photos are very helpful; you can see how things are supposed to look. The day-by-day diary was also very helpful. As a first time brooder, I was very nervous, but breaking things down in day-by-day chunks made the process manageable. My friends started chicks last spring. They just followed the generic advice the hatchery sent and ended up with a lot of dead chicks. I haven't had ANY losses. There was one chick dead-on-arrival in the box. The other twenty-four were thriving by the end of the first day.

The other thing I like about Pat's brooder set-up is the hygiene. The aspen shavings keep everything very clean and dry. There is no smell at all.

I heartily recommend this book.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By KO on March 26, 2010
Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in raising backyard chickens. Lots of information, and I refer to it often. There's even a section on what steps to take to change the ordinances in your city if chickens are currently not allowed.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Treex3 on January 10, 2011
Format: Perfect Paperback
This book is not for beginners! I needed very basic questions to be answered, including definitions of terminology. What is a pullet? How many nesting boxes per chicken? This author constantly uses terminology without explaining it, suggests things that I would have no clue where to buy, and doesn't answer my most basic questions. Her criticism of just about every kind of feed especially left me confused about what I CAN feed. It seems that NOTHING is safe. Sheesh!! After reading this book, I felt that raising chickens must be an extremely difficult business and I cannot do it. Fortunately, I know some people who do it and I can see for myself that it is not this complicated. This is a book for people who already know what they are doing and they just want to do it better, and more expensively.

Instead of just criticizing things, she should make straightforward, affirmative recommendations, provide definitions and tell us where to buy some of this weird stuff. But in fact she stops short and just left me feeling clueless.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Joanne of Joanneunleashed website VINE VOICE on April 24, 2011
Format: Perfect Paperback
In City Chicks, Patria Foreman enthusiastically describes the many benefits of keeping backyard chickens beyond providing fresh eggs. Chickens keep gardens free of bugs like ticks and fleas, provide fertilizer, and recycle kitchen waste while reducing garbage going to the landfill. You can enlist their help in keeping down weeds and use controlled fencing to channel their love of scratching to build composted, raised beds for future vegetable gardens. And chickens are friendly and entertaining. There's something quite soothing about the clucking of a few happy hens.

City Chicks can help you select the right breed for your environment and needs; order chicks (or eggs) through the mail; raise them to adulthood; feed and house them; treat injuries and diseases; build appropriate fencing to control their movement; choose watering and feeding equipment; understand chicken psychology, the pecking order and broody hens; protect them from predators; make money with chickens; find other poultry enthusiasts; and lobby for rights to house chickens in cities that don't allow them.

Foreman is unabashedly fond of chickens, and it shows. The book's tone is friendly and often humorous-at times perhaps a little too cutesy. But it made me laugh and yearn for having my own chickens, because I too am a fan. Foreman even includes goofy tricks you can teach your chickens. I fondly remember "hypnotizing" my chickens when I was a child.

City Chicks doesn't provide architectural plans for building coops, but you'll know why perches should all be the same height, why chickens shouldn't sleep in their nest boxes, the importance of a draft- and damp-free environment, and when they need to be locked up.

My main criticism is that the book needs extensive editing.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Natasha S. on March 13, 2011
Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fun book. The author clearly loves chickens and knows a lot about them. However, don't try and make this your only chicken book, if you're new to chickens. This book is kind of like having a bunch of long conversations with an expert neighbor. The good information is there, but you really have to dig for it.

The 'Garden Chicks' chapter is tantalizing, but apparently a promo for another book in the works (using chickens as garden helpers). And it is probably the most clearly organized chapter. The book contains a ton of information, from breed types to first aid and health care for chickens, to what you need in a coop, to what to feed them, to even things like tricks the author has taught her chickens.

But it needs some charts and diagrams and maybe some blueprints. You have to go through the whole chapter on coops and take notes to figure out: okay, I need so much square feet per hen, the roost bars need to be so thick, so many nesting boxes, etc etc. Nowhere is it laid out for you quickly and concisely; you really have to read the whole book and take close notes. At which point you're left thinking, maybe I'll just buy a pre-fab coop.

Or, the garden chapter. So many great ideas - but no real good comparison of what is the best way to reach which goal. It's just a confusing mishmash of a huge amount of information that is a long slog to sort through. So I liked the book - but I didn't love it, and I"m stuck buying at least one other book on chicken-keeping before I actually get any chickens. This one simply isn't sufficient.
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