Whether you are a first time chicken owner or you’ve been raising chickens for a few years and want to increase your knowledge, there are some great chicken books for you. I have reviewed all of these books previously on the website, and you can see the full review by clicking on the titles below.
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Best Books on Raising Chickens
This is the most comprehensive book on raising chickens. If you are only going to buy one chicken book, this includes everything. It’s required reading for students in the UMass-Amherst college course that I teach. It covers all the basics like housing, manure, watering, feeding, pastured poultry options, predators, breeding, butchering, and selling. It is ideal for anyone interested in raising chickens naturally, whether they want to feed themselves or their community.
This chicken book would be in the number one spot for backyard chicken keepers who simply want eggs from their pet hens. It is a beautiful book with tons of gorgeous photos. Fresh Eggs Daily includes all of the information that a first time chicken owner would need for keeping backyard hens naturally. It does not include any info on butchering, which would also make it the best book for a vegetarian who plans to keep hens for their natural lives, even when they are no longer laying eggs.
Rather than going to a review of the book, the above link in the title goes to a podcast where I interviewed the author of Fresh Eggs Daily. (It includes a full transcript if you prefer to read rather than listen.)
If you want to start breeding chickens, this is the book for you. It tells you everything you need to know in order to successfully hatch eggs in an incubator or under a broody mama hen. It includes the life cycle of a chicken from before the egg is laid through the 21 days of incubation and then hatching and brooding chicks. The author even gives you the info you need in order to do a post mortem on eggs that don’t hatch, so you can figure out when the embryo stopped developing and why. If you’re a science nerd like me, you may also think this is the coolest chicken book ever! This book is also required reading for my UMass students.
If you have a problem with predators, this book can help you figure out whodunnit. Think of it as a predator detective manual for chicken owners. It includes information on identifying dozens of chicken predators, from their paw prints to their modus operandi. The information in this book can also help you prevent predator attacks by giving you info on how predators live and behave.
I am listing this chicken book after the predator book because if you follow all of the advice in The Small-Scale Poultry Flock, your chickens will probably be quite healthy. We had raised chickens for 15 years before I could no longer say that I could count on one hand all of the chickens whose lives had not ended as someone’s dinner — either ours or a predator’s. Pastured chickens are incredibly healthy. But, at some point you may have a chicken that’s doing something weird that makes you worry. And it’s nice to have a reliable source of information that helps you figure out what’s happening.
This is another great book about chicken health, but it was published in 2013, which is why it’s listed after the other health book, which was published in 2015 and is slightly newer. However, Chicken Health for Dummies was written by an avian veterinarian, so that makes it much better than Dr. Google when you have a chicken health question. I’ve also seen the author speak at a conference, and she is extremely knowledgeable and has a focus on preventing illness, which I really appreciate. If you just want one chicken health book, either one would be a great choice!
Best Chicken Books to Give as a Gift
All of the above books would make great gifts for the beginning chicken owner, but if you aren’t really sure how much knowledge someone has, the following books would be amazing for any chicken lover — even someone who doesn’t have any chickens.
It was hard to decide which list to put this book into because it does contain a lot of great info for beginners, but the ultimate goal of this book is to help your chickens happily co-exist with your garden, which puts it into the enrichment category. I don’t want to say that it’s not essential information because this would be the perfect gift for that friend who is complaining about her chickens destroying the garden.
This book is perfect for that person who really loves their chickens and already has everything dialed in to perfection in terms of housing, feeding, fencing, health, and protection. It is the most fun chicken book I have ever read!
This is another fun chicken book that would make a great gift for the chicken lover in your life. It’s part memoir and part how-to about the author’s experience raising heritage poultry, including turkeys and ducks, as well as chickens. This book would be awesome for anyone with chickens or even someone who is simply dreaming of being a chicken owner but has no plans to actually buy them.