Rate this book

The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach To Raising Chickens And Other Fowl For Home And Market Growers (2013)

by Harvey Ussery(Favorite Author)
4.49 of 5 Votes: 1
1603582908 (ISBN13: 9781603582902)
Chelsea Green Publishing Co
review 1: If you want to keep poultry and need to build a conceptual and practical understanding, go straight to the best and skip the rest. This book stands head and shoulders above the many popular but shallow "how to" books, and is much more readable and useable than the academic tomes. Respect for the animals as fellow creatures sharing the planet sets the tone. The author explains the principles of permaculture and integrated pest management without ever using those words. He has a well-articulated bias against commercial feed, along with acknowledgement of its value and necessity, with some methods of adding fresh, live food to even the smallest hobby flock. I appreciate especially the author's respect for the fact that every reader's situation varies and his urging each "flo... moreckster" to learn and modify practices continuously from personal observation. Ussery achieves every great teacher's goal of expanding both technical knowledge and the reader's imagination of how to use it. Actionable ideas for my own flock were sparked in every chapter. The book is appropriate reading for the beginning backyard poultry keeper to the homestead aiming for agrarian self sufficiency.
review 2: It may be unfair to rate the book before I start harvesting eggs & meat, but its well written, well edited, enjoyable to read. Ussery seems to be very well educated and have a lot of dirt under his nails. I fully expect to have a good experience raising chickens this spring. He definitely has a bias towards "sustainable" and "organic", but approaches things from a fair and educated perspective. He makes it clear where he stands without being overbearing (well, I didn't think so anyway). He gives very fair (if sometimes brief) credit to counter arguments. He seems like the sort of person with whom I could amicably disagree, and yet his open approach makes his arguments all the more compelling, even when I don't completely agree. A few of his ideas are out there a ways, but have merit. Lots of his ideas (deep-litter compost instead of shoveling a lot of poop) seem so sound I can't believe they aren't more widely practiced.Anyway, moving on, the book covers about everything you would need to raise your own chickens for use as egg & meat birds in a sustainable way, as well as a lot of information about more traditional ways to get the job done. It starts with basics (why bother, chicken anatomy, how do you house and feed the dang things) all the way through to the kitchen table (sorta skipped most of the stuff on breeding and large scale slaughtering, but paid really close attention to the small-scale butchering).Most everyone who has tried to dissuade me from my goal of keeping a productive flock has pointed out how nasty it is to deal with bird doo. "They Stink", "keep your shovel handy", "my dad used to hate mucking out the coop". Right off he suggests that there is a better way. Quoting organic farming guru Joel Salatin: " If you are around any livestock operation, regardless of the species, and you smell manure---you are smelling mismanagement." The deep litter idea is awesome. That alone makes this book worth reading.The middle of the book is called "working partners" and in several chapters he details how to use chickens to work for you. The core idea that, to me, seemed revolutionary, is to let the chickens make compost for you. Its easy, it doesn't stink, it recycles wastes and makes them productive, it keeps the chickens happy, it provides free food and entertainment for them, and extensive studies have shown that it significantly contributes to their health, even over an open range (and way more than the ankle deep feces you find in traditional commercial poultry houses). Basically they take more care of themselves and get some useful work done for you (and lay eggs while doing it).I plan to house my chickens in a deep-litter filled run during the summer, and in the winter to open them onto my planting beds where they can till and compost them for me until spring. If it works well, maybe I'll bump this rating up a notch. TTFN! Either way, I'm excited to eat healthier eggs & meat.--Peter less
Reviews (see all)
The best all-around how-to-do-chicken-stuff book out there. Comprehensive and responsible.
Great book, would recommend it to anyone who wanted to raise chickens!
The best poultry book I have read so far! Excellent!
Best overall reference for raising chickens
Write review
Review will shown on site after approval.
(Review will shown on site after approval)