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69 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Consummate Guide
I got a chance to hear Harvey speak at the Mother Earth News Fair in Pennsylvania. I also got to take a look a the last copy of his book, because the Fair sold out! While I couldn't buy this last copy, I did get to spend considerable time looking through it, with my super critical eye- having raised chickens for the past 45 plus years. Even with my experience in raising...
Published on October 7, 2011 by Cheesalady

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28 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy if you are raising ducks or geese...it's a chicken book, not a "poultry book"
This book is advertised as a book for all poultry, but in fact, it does a terrible job laying things out for ducks and geese. How much space they need, how they use shelter, coupling, brooding are given little to no attention for ducks or geese but much attention when it comes to chickens. I am disappointed by the lack of well-rounded information. Off to buy another book...
Published on March 27, 2012 by M. Barnes


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69 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Consummate Guide, October 7, 2011
This review is from: The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers (Paperback)
I got a chance to hear Harvey speak at the Mother Earth News Fair in Pennsylvania. I also got to take a look a the last copy of his book, because the Fair sold out! While I couldn't buy this last copy, I did get to spend considerable time looking through it, with my super critical eye- having raised chickens for the past 45 plus years. Even with my experience in raising and butchering, I could still learn some things from this book.

I love Harvey's passion for utilizing the natural instincts and qualities of poultry to increase the quality of the entire small farm- through insect and pest management, cultivation of soil, and use of poultry manure. Also his kindness, humility, and vast knowledge are evident throughout the book- what a role model his is!

This book is the perfect example of a much covered topic (chickens) that has been done in such a fashion as to bring new and better information to what had seemed like a thoroughly covered field.

The only thing I wish he had covered in the butchering section (but perhaps I missed it in my hurry to look through the entire volume)was how to skin instead of pluck. For those who don't eat the skin, but can compost the feathers and skin as one, this method is speedy and clean- a nice option to know about.

I hear he is working on another book, can't wait to see it as well!
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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the best small flock poultry books!, October 12, 2011
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This review is from: The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers (Paperback)
If you are looking for a book on poultry READ THIS BOOK FIRST. It has made me completely rethink how we are going to manage our small flocks. This book is the real deal. You know it's got to be good when Joel Salatin writes your intro. These are the men I respect when it comes to natural, sustainable agriculture and livestock husbandry. I'm thrilled they are teaching the new wave of farmers that are adopting their practices. This is the exact information we need to start the long road of ending, or at least reducing, the factory farm conglomerates that are detrimental to our health (as well as the animals), and our food supply chain. Long live small, independent, natural farming the way it was intended to be!

I have read many books on backyard flocks but nothing compares to Harvey's book. I love Harvey's stories in Backyard poultry, Mother Earth News and Countryside magazines and was always hoping he would write a book. I have been anxiously awaiting for this to be published. I preordered immediately when it became available and waited paitently. It has by far passed all my expectations. The book chock full of pictures is simply amazing in it's depth and scope of knowledge for the small homesteader/farmsteader. From general poultry health, natural feed, promoting small farm sustainability and production, to using your chicks as a farming partner as composters and tillers, Harvey covers it all in depth and humour. Old wisdom with today's advancements thrown in makes the THE book to have in your livestock library.

I cannot state enough how good this book really is. Flock management used to be commonplace when we grew most of our food, but has been a dying art. Thanks to guys like Harvey and Joel a new wave of flock owners will have that knowledge passed on to them.

I received it three days ago and it has become one of my favorites. Who would have thought I would be so excited over a book about poultry? I have been looking for a book like this for years. It will be revisited many times as we gear up for next Spring's hatching and gardening adventures. Follow our adventures online at Drowning Creek Homestead. Just google it..

Now, just click that button and add it to your cart. I guarantee you will be extremely happy you did!
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76 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the comprehensive all-natural approach I was looking for, December 8, 2011
This review is from: The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers (Paperback)
The Short Story:
In a nutshell, I was looking for a book that covered feeding my poultry flock with homegrown feed year-round, pasturing my flock without worry of predation (my property adjoins nearly 3 million acres of contiguous national forest land and this is a BIG concern for me), caring for my flock without the use of antibiotics and pesticides yet also without the hardcore Darwinian approach espoused by The Accidental Farmers, and integrating my poultry with my other homestead practices of gardening and rearing livestock. Frankly, I feel that this book delivered in every one of these categories...and then some. I had considered Joel Salatin's book Pastured Poultry Profits but chose to go with this book instead because it has a lot of the information I would've gotten from that book without the opinions/general preachiness/gripes that the man is notable for. It's not that I don't appreciate hearing and learning from others and stretching my mind with their points of view, it was simply that I was looking for a book about the poultry, the whole poultry, and nothing but the poultry, so help me God.

The Protracted Story:
Let me preface this review by saying that this is not the first poultry-keeping book I've bought, or check-out of the library or borrowed from a friend or pinched from the bookstore while the attendant's back was turned -- okay, just kidding on that last one, but you get the idea. Most notably among that list being Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens: 3rd Edition and The Encyclopedia of Country Living as well as numerous articles from the Mother Earth News and Backyard Poultry magazines. While both of the aforementioned books had their merits, they also had drawbacks. For me, the Storey publication focused too much on commercialized or large-scale procedures such as commercial feed, antibiotics, pesticides, and some extremely high maintenance and generally unnecessary procedures (such as scrubbing out the coop with disinfectant as often as once a week!). It also seemed (to me) to be unfairly dismissive of electric net fencing for poultry, stating, "An all-electric net fence designed specifically for poultry sounds great in principle but in practice is not ideal. It must be constantly electrified so poultry, pets, and predators don't get tangled in the net; if you live in an area prone to power outages, you must use a battery- or solar-operated energizer and make certain it's always fully functional." Coming from writers who expected me to scrub my coop floor to ceiling once a week, it seemed a little ridiculous to dismiss an electric net fence because it had to be plugged in to an outlet or charged battery and mown along the perimeter periodically. It goes on to state that your poultry can get caught in the wires and electrocute themselves, which was true of older models but is extremely unlikely in current models and not (to me) a reason to deter me from using them. As far as the Encyclopedia of Country Living is concerned, it is a great book and very comprehensive in a lot of areas; however, it really fell short for me in the area of pasturing your flock. In a book just under 1,000 pages, it makes mention of pasturing the flock in only one section covering one quarter of one page. It does not cover mobile shelters, except to say that they exist, and makes no mention whatsoever of electric net fencing (which seems to be the most common method of pasturing poultry today, in my experience). In defense of the author, this information is probably omitted simply because it was written long before this sort of thing became either possible or practical and the author has since passed away. However, understanding this does not change the fact that I wanted more information on pasturing than this book provided.

Having read these books and been somewhat disappointed, I was pretty dubious about buying yet another book about poultry and considered waiting until it became available at the library. However, I'd first run across Harvey Ussery in an article he wrote about cover cropping and was impressed both by his depth of knowledge and his ability to use the many facets of farm life in effective and synergistic balance (for examples: using cover crops not only for the traditional use of protecting and replenishing the topsoil, but also as forage for his poultry/livestock, protection for (s)lower growing crops like alfalfa, and as natural weed exterminators; or using poultry not only for the traditional uses of eggs and meat, but also as small-scale tillers/tractors, weed/pest control, and fertilizers). These impressions drew me to the book and I chose to preview it on google books to see if it really offered everything I was looking for. Once again, I was impressed. There is an extensive portion of the book available for preview on that site and it is chock full of comprehensive and practical information regarding every facet of poultry life, from birth all the way to the egg-bearing/child-rearing phase and on into death and the afterlife (in the stockpot). Of particular note, Mr. Ussery is particularly good at providing endnotes that factually shore-up the practices he is espousing. This may not be essential in a lot of cases, but I appreciate knowing that his information is based on scientific studies and I find that it is generally beneficial to balance the wisdom of the ages with the information of the present. I feel that he does both.

An Addendum:
I made mention in the beginning of this review to Pastured Poultry Profits. In fairness to Joel Salatin, I can neither recommend nor discourage customers from reading/purchasing his book as I have not read it myself. I merely made my choice based both on the reviews of other customers and also on the references contained within Mr. Ussery's book to Joel Salatin. It appears that Mr. Ussery was greatly influenced by Salatin and I felt that I would be, in a sense, getting the best of both worlds in purchasing The Small-Scale Poultry Flock rather than Pastured Poultry Profits. I will most likely check out Mr. Salatin's book if I ever get the chance and do not in any way mean to write it off any one's list by this review.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book for the backyard homesteader in 2011!, December 19, 2011
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This review is from: The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers (Paperback)
Harvey Ussery's The Small-Scale Poultry Flock is the number one homesteading related book to read this year. I know, I know --- Joel Salatin put out his first non-self-published book, The Dirty Life promises to reach beyond the usual homesteading readership, and Sepp Holzer has finally published a book about his methods in English, all in 2011. But for the backyard homesteader itching to turn her farm into a permaculture masterpiece, Harvey Ussery's book has those bestsellers beat hands-down.

Ussery keeps 24 layers and raises another 48 to 72 broilers every year on an acre of pasture. He also experiments with a couple of dozen waterfowl every year. Although this sounds like a lot of birds, it's well within the average homesteader's grasp and makes his experiences much more relevant than any information you can find about Joel Salatin's commercial poultry operation.

I've been poring over Ussery's articles for years in Backyard Poultry Magazine and Mother Earth News. In fact, his articles are often the only ones worth reading since they always introduce new ideas rather than rehashing the same old information you read in previous issues. The Small-Scale Poultry Flock takes those articles and expands them into a reference guide that will suit anyone from the raw beginner to the advanced chicken-keeper. In addition to basic information on chicken care, you can learn about backyard breeding, raising chicks with a broody hen, innovative feeding techniques, and much more.

I highly recommend you get the book and read it from cover to cover. I guarantee it'll change the way you integrate your flock into the homestead.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful reference work, October 11, 2011
This review is from: The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers (Paperback)
The author's thirty years of experience with homesteading and keeping a chicken flock provides a background for this masterful reference work. His personal experimentation is the source of many original recommendations on the subject of homestead and animal culture. Not just a read, this is a must have reference for any homestead enthusiast.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book for chicken lovers!, November 20, 2011
By 
L. Stephan (New York State) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers (Paperback)
This book has everything you need to know to keep chickens, for any purpose. It teaches how to make them healthy and happy in earth-sustainable ways and save money doing it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Chicken Book Ever, March 16, 2012
This review is from: The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers (Paperback)
I got to hear Harvey speak at the Weston A. Price Foundation conference in November 2011. I was so fascinated by his ideas that I immediately rushed to buy his book. It is absolutely excellent! I read a good chunk of it on the plane home and wished I had a highlighter in hand. Every few seconds I kept thinking "Ooh! That's a good idea." Truly the best chicken book I've ever seen and valuable to the beginner as well as the experienced poultry person. I've been telling everybody I know who is interested in chickens that they simply MUST buy this book!

While the whole book is exceptionally good and has beautiful pictures throughout, I was particularly interested in an excellent section covering how to feed chickens using home resources when you can't run to the feed store for feed or simply want to raise your chickens on a more natural diet.

I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in poultry!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chickens playing a greater role on the farm., February 18, 2012
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This review is from: The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers (Paperback)
This is a wonderful addition to my library of farm books. We already had a flock of laying hens but this book helped us come up with more ideas to incorporate chickens and other fowl into other areas of our farm.

Using chickens to work your compost pile is genius. I am building a smaller coop near my compost pile and plan to create a secondary flock to "manage" my compost for me and make a valuable addition.

This book takes Joel Salatin's methods of using chickens on the farm and expands it to the next logical level. Taking poultry management to a more sustainable practice, this was a great compliment to our existing poultry strategy.

For anyone who wants to move from just raising chickens to raising them sustainably, this is a must read.

John G.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars gift that pleased the recipient, January 6, 2012
By 
Nanalou W. Sauder (Lexington, VA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers (Paperback)
This was a gift for my daughter-in-law who has a small flock of chickens. She was VERY pleased to receive saying that it was the most up to date and best book on that subject going. I knew she wanted it, thus the gift. However, not having read it, I can't really review it, but it gets five stars for being a gift my daughter-in-law wanted.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book for Before as well as After., November 11, 2012
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This review is from: The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers (Paperback)
Moving from suburbia to a small acreage gave us the opportunity to do something we had no experience in at all - keep and raise a small flock of chickens (and then add some ducks, which are also within the scope of the book).

The Small-Scale Poultry Flock gave us the confidence to make the commitment as well as all the information we needed to do it with as few mistakes and problems as possible.

Twelve months down the track the book has also proven to be the go-to information source for sorting out all the issues and answering all the questions that have arisen over that time. Those issues and questions included handling a problem rooster, a prolapsed hen, mis-formed eggs, mites, hens secretly laying when free-ranging, providing our own feed, evolving the best nesting arrangements, raising and feeding chicks, as well as introducing ducks to our flock.

Harvey Usery's answers to those problems were easy to find, easy to read, and provided concise and useful information that worked for us.

The book has an excellent balance between good informative easy to read text and clear and useful illustrations.

As an aside: my sister in law is a passionate small farmer and has been raising chickens (and almost every other animal possible) for over forty years. She borrowed the book and wouldn't give it back until we went and took it back. I have now bought her one for Christmas. :-)

Four stars instead of five is because a) no single book can provide *all* the answers and b) to leave room to recommend *the bible*: 'The Encyclopedia of Country Living' by Carla Emery. Outside of these two books there is little left to know.
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