All About Chickens
Chickens are the icon of farming. The rooster’s early morning call wakes the fields and the hens’ soft “cluck-cluck” announces the arrival of a new egg. From farm-fresh eggs to nutritious meat to the joy of watching chicks hatch, chickens are undoubtedly a farm favorite. There are chicken breeds galore, so whether looking to add to a flock or start a new one, there are myriad poultry choices to strike your fancy. The Popular Farming Series: Chickens has everything you need to know to start raising chickens or to embark on a new adventure with your flock. With beautiful photos and in-depth articles, Chickens is a must for any poultry enthusiast’s or small farmer’s library.
What You’ll Find
The Popular Farming Series is a collection of magabooks that covers farming topics of interest to small farmers today. The series is designed to provide valuable information to those who already have a small farm as well as those who are pondering the big move to the country. As an all-encompassing guide to raising poultry, you’ll find helpful and interesting information about all aspects of chicken husbandry, breeds, hatching, daily chores, protection from predators, and even some advice on how to understand chicken behavior in “Chicken Psychology 101.”
“When given the opportunity, chickens move around a great deal during the day. Scientists have put pedometers on hens to discover that they can walk and run close to a mile and a half a day, though it is usually all within a few hundred feet of their home turf or roost area. Although they are not great flight birds, chickens like to roost in high places and will fly onto a barn rafter or tree branch to sleep or rest.” –Carol Ekarius
Hatch A Love for Chickens
One of the greatest joys of raising chickens is watching a chick break free of its egg and make its first “peep” in the outside world. For some, the wonder of hatching chicks never gets old. Popular Farming’s Chickens issue gives you all the dirt on how to hatch your own chicks. From choosing a breed and a hatchery to caring for and incubating your eggs, Gail Damerow’s article, “Crack Open the Joy of Hatching,” uncovers what you need to know to experience the joy of hatching chickens.
“Hatching eggs may come from your own flock or they may be purchased from someone who keeps the breed you want. Buying hatching eggs is fun, but risky. The eggs may be too old to hatch. They may have been stored or handled improperly. They may not be fertile. Few sellers guarantee their eggs will hatch. Sometimes you can arrange with a breeder to share the hatch from eggs the breeder provides, giving you a good chance of getting quality hatching eggs plus an inexpensive start on your flock. Trying to hatch eggs purchased from a grocery store is nearly impossible. These often come from caged layers and therefore are not fertile; even if they are fertile, they are likely to have been stored at too low a temperature to remain hatchable.” –Gail Damerow
Hatching chicks is not the only how-to information contained in the pages of Chickens. Get detailed plans on how to construct several different chicken coops that will protect your birds from predators, keeping them happy and healthy. Also, get a veterinarian’s advice on how to recognize sick birds as well as how to treat and prevent illness in your flock in “Top 12 Chicken Ailments.”
“An important step in prevention is to observe your chickens’ health and interaction daily. When you become familiar with their healthy appearance and behavior, you’ll be able to recognize quickly when something is wrong. In general, a sick chicken is less active, retracts its neck close to its body and has an unkempt appearance, but not all diseases have the same presentation. Keep in mind that diseases are caused by many different factors and organisms.” –Dr. Jose A. Linares and Dr. John El-Attrache
Find out how to care for your flock, build your own coop and raise chickens organically, plus much, much more in Chickens.
A Little Chicken Fun
Sure there are chores to be done when you raise chickens, but there is also a lot of fun to be had and a number of ways to do it. Learn some tricks of the poultry-show trade to take your birds on the road to 4-H competitions, state fairs and other poultry exhibitions. After you’re comfortable with raising chickens, why not try a little poultry breeding? Popular Farming’s Chickens can give you the basics to get started. How about volunteering with your favorite hen as a therapy animal in a retirement home? And of course, all chicken connoisseurs love to find poultry collectibles, such as vintage photos, figurines, plates or crates. Discover the many ways to have fun with a favorite feathered friend.
There’s a lot to know about chickens; and Popular Farming’s Chickens is loaded with information from chicken lingo to breeder resources and associations to hatcheries and chicken supply houses—it’s an essential resource for anyone interested in raising poultry.
Popular Farming Series: Chickens
4 | Around the World in 80 Centuries
From India to the Plymouth Rock of America, learn a little chicken history.
By Pat McKnight
12 | Chicken Breeds A to Z
Discover the vast variety of chicken breeds.
By Maria del Carmen Martinez-Tennessen, PhD
22 | Pickin’ Chickens
From choosing the breed right for you to knowing the signs of a healthy bird, discover how to pick your chicks.
By Sue Weaver
34 | Chicken Psychology 101
Why do chickens do what they do? Find out how this bird’s brain works.
By Carol Ekarius
42 | Crack Open the Joy of Hatching
Experience the awesome joy of hatching your own chicks.
By Gail Damerow
52 | Resources
Check out these handy resources for everything from hatcheries to chicken supplies to help you raise your own flock.
54 | Chicken Chores: The Daily Scratch
Caring for Chickens is simple is you have the right set-up. Find out what you need to simplify your daily chore routine.
By Cherie Langlois
66 Stop Thief!
Protect your flock from predators with our tips to help keep your birds safe.
By Carol Ekarius
76 | Coop du Jour
Build a secure chicken coop with these coop designs—they’re sure to keep your birds happy and healthy.
By Autumn Foushée
82 | Takin’ Care of (a Poultry) Business
Tips on how to turn your hobby into a successful poultry business.
By Matt John
92 | Top 12 Chicken Ailments
Get a veterinarian’s tips about how to keep your flock disease-free.
By Jose A. Linares, DVM and John El-Attrache, PhD
104 | Gone Organic
Does the extra work and expense pay off? Find out what you need to do to raise organic chickens.
By Cherie Langlois
112 | Fun With Chickens
Discover all the fun you can have with your feathered friends!
By Autumn Foushée
120 | Savor the Bounty of Chickens
Savor these recipes that celebrate chickens.
By Autumn Foushée
124 | Glossary
Chicken lingo defined.
128 | Why We Love Chickens…