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The Chicken Chick’s Guide to Backyard Chickens-Book review 2020

The Chicken Chick’s Guide to Backyard Chickens

I saw the Chicken Chick’s Guide to Backyard Chickens for sale on Amazon with a whopping 832 reviews and a 4.9 star rating!!  

Wow that is impressive.  

I decided it was a book that I needed to check out and see what all the fuss was about.  Long story short?  It’s a really good book I wish I’d had when I first started out in chickens.

What is the book about?

The author, Kathy Shea Mormino, runs a popular blog called The Chicken Chick.  She wrote The Chicken Chick’s Guide to Backyard Chickens as a guide for people who want to be self reliant, but don’t know how.  

As the book says “Most of those venturing into modern-day chickening do so sans family mentors or local Sherpas to guide the way, unaware of the pitfalls that the “how hard could it be?” mentality forebodes. Moreover, few are prepared for the shocking realization that these unique, food-producing animals quickly become beloved family pets with specific management and medical needs that the veterinary community is largely untrained to meet.”

The book aims to cover everything you need to know about backyard chicken ownership from housing to feeding to egg production even to veterinary care.  And to be honest, it does a pretty darn good job of it too.

Enjoyable to read

The Chicken Chick’s Guide to Backyard Chickens is extremely well written and I found it entertaining and even funny.  She has some really nice photos of her family and flock that makes the book personal.  Yet it isn’t stuffed with photos of herself and her family like I’ve seen other authors do.  

Just starting with the photo of the chicken gazebo in the introduction section was enough to get me hooked into wanting to read the book.  I can’t tell you how happy I was to see she had DIY instructions for it later on in the book!

The book is very easy to read, but it isn’t dumbed down.  It is straightforward and the advise is sensible and down to earth.  It’s also entertaining and funny!

Gives confidence to the beginner

Read some of these amazing reviews. What could be a better book for beginners! The Chicken Chick’s Guide to Backyard Chickens would have definitely upped my confidence level when I first started in chickens.

“Her no-nonsense, easy to follow approach gave me the confidence to start with backyard chickens of my own and I am so happy to have her book as a resource at home.”

“Kathy makes chicken keeping pretty easy if you follow her guidelines. Everything she has recommended, from her easy peel hard boiled eggs, to her heated cookie tin waterer, has worked perfectly, and that kind of honesty REALLY has meaning for me.”

“It covers every possible scenario one might encounter in the care of enjoying the backyard flock.”

What I don’t like

The only thing I don’t like about the book, and it’s a very minor complaint that really doesn’t bother me.  The book is a bit disjointed and gives the sense that it is a bunch of blog posts all put together into a book…which considering she is a blogger, I’m assuming it was!

Now is that a negative? Meh, maybe a little.  Most books are written with a flow that makes sense.  This book is written into chapters with very distinct sections that jump from one thing to another without necessarily being any more related than fitting into the chapter subject.  

Considering the quality of the information in this book, I don’t think it in any way detracts and some people might even like it better than traditional book formats.

Look how gorgeous this photo from the book is

What the negative reviews say 

Mostly about keeping backyard chickens as pets.  Not a production book, not about meat birds.

But she says in the introduction that the aim of the book is to foster an appreciation of chickens as pets.  It even says “This is not a book about raising meat birds, showing chickens, or breeding flocks.  It’s not a how-to guide for starting a commercial poultry farm..”

Unlike some very few of the reviewers (literally only 1% gave 1 star), I would never criticize a book for doing what the author set out to do.  If you want a production book, check out Joel Salatin’s book Pastured Poultry Profits. It’s free with Kindle Unlimited.

What I like

Actual Research

What I liked most about The Chicken Chick’s Guide to Backyard Chickens was she did actual research.  She lists scientific studies that were done to back up her recommendations and doesn’t just pull ideas out of her uh…coop.  

When talking about what to use for coop litter, she sites a study done by the Auburn University Poultry Department comparing pine shavings to sand.  The study found that sand holds onto less water than pine shavings and therefore has  a lower bacteria count.  This makes sand much more sanitary than pine shavings.

Honesty about backyard chickens

Kathy Shea Mormino is an honest writer and I liked that. She tells you how it is and is honest about the crap that happens when you own chickens (literal and metaphorical).  

For instance, she discusses this idea of supervised free ranging and lets readers know that it is a myth.  She tells a story of a coyote that grabbed a chicken right in front of her and left her with nothing but a pile of feathers.

I’ve experienced the same and she is absolutely right.  I was once walking a line of goslings from the grassy yard to their pen in the barn and a coyote got to within ten feet of me and the baby geese before I was able to scare him off.

I appreciate that she doesn’t sugar coat things in her book.

Conclusion

The Chicken Chick’s Guide to Backyard Chickens seriously covered everything a backyard chicken owner needs to know.  I would say it is a very helpful book for the first time chicken owner.  There were even things I learned in the book and I’ve had chickens for over 15 years.

Like I said, I absolutely loved that Kathy Shea Mormino used and cited real scientific research instead of just voicing her opinion.  This is a no nonsense book that, while still entertaining, cuts out all the fluff and baloney that is floating around out there on the internet.

After reading this book, I will not only be glad to keep it handy on my bookshelf.  I will also be looking up her blog and making sure I follow along!

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Have you read this book? What did you think?!

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2020-01-28T19:36:01-08:00
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