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If your garden fantasies involve chickens, Jessi Bloom, author of FREE-RANGE CHICKEN GARDENS: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard (Timber Press, paper, $19.95), is here to make those dreams come true. Chickens bring out interesting characters. My new heroine is Elizabeth Zumwalt, a chicken whisperer, educator and entrepreneur who blogs about her family’s Bantam hens, sells eggs and gives half the proceeds to charity. She pulls a red wagon, topped with a chicken house, when she heads out to educate people about her birds. Elizabeth is 9 years old.
By the time you’re done with Bloom’s clever book, you’ll know almost as much about chickens as Elizabeth does. And maybe more about what chickens like than what your children do. You’ll be looking for bug logs and creating dust baths. You’ll know that chickens like to have mirrors hanging in their gardens — but take care with the angle, since they have eyes on the sides of their heads. There is no end to the vanity of a chicken.
“Experienced free-ranging chickens” — now that’s a real sign of the times; do chickens no longer have a tribal memory of roaming? — will know not to eat toxic berries, but Bloom is an expert guide for the untutored. Somehow, I’m sure that chickens prefer heirloom vegetables to any other variety. And while your flock may break free to cross the road, you’ll be relieved to learn that (unless they have an unfortunate encounter with a car) they’ll probably be no worse for the wear. Chickens don’t sweat.
Bloom genially celebrates geodesic domes and shingled coops with stone chimneys and even clean-lined modernist coops. She also writes about “naughty” chickens: “Chickens are social and hormonal creatures, and when we have them living in ways that are different from how they would live naturally, they are prone to behaviors that can be damaging to themselves or that are simply normal but just catch us off guard.” You might have thought she was talking about teenagers, but I now see that they’re easier to raise than chickens. I’m thinking . . . roast chicken with that rosemary?
"Essential guide that will bring your dream home to roost."
"This well-thought-out and thoroughly comprehensive new book covers the topic so efficiently and completely that it is bound to become the gardener's go -to reference when chickens are the focus."
Item delivered on time, was as described, great pictures and content!Published 10 hours ago by Brett D. Forsythe
Let me start by saying that I am a novice gardener and had only a year of chicken owning under my belt when someone gave this to me, so if you are way more advanced than I am in... Read morePublished 13 days ago by JayandJenni
While I was initially looking for a book more focused on designing gardens for chickens, I was still pleased with this book even though it ventured well into the topic of raising... Read morePublished 19 days ago by E. Clarke
Answers all your backyard chicken questions and has great referrals to other sources.Published 21 days ago by alysoun1
Very informative and interesting! I learned so many things about keeping chickens that I didn't know, even after a lot of research. Read morePublished 1 month ago by R.D. Cannon
I did not think this Book a How To type book really. Very good ideas on how to incorporate chickens into your homestead. Nice pictures too. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jizell
My "can't do without" book for my free range chickens. Very informative for all aspects of raising chickens. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Connie L. Barnes