Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Davaroo, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Every chicken newbie has about a million questions, and that is good. So they come here and get about a million answers to thier questions. Often, that is not so good.

    This information avalanche runs the gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous, often leaving the newbie more confused than satisfied. What is needed is a decent reference, one that answers questions and can serve as a guide book. You do remember books, don't you?

    Fortunately, these are plentiful and cheap - there is no reason not to have one. Read on.

    As an experiment, I went lookng for one of my favorites, "Raising Poultry the Modern Way," by Leonard S. Mercia. I used to have a copy, which I referred to so much that the cover was mostly torn off at one point. It was a favorite, to say the least!

    But it went missing, recently, and so I set out to get another. Here's how I did it. I expect that others may wish to follow suit.

    1. GO to or will do as well.
    2. SEARCH for book by title.
    You can also just use the words, "chickens," "poultry," etc.
    I found many copies of Mr. Mercia's book, several at $1.99, with the average about $10-15 for new.
    3. BUY one that meets your budget.
    I got one of the el cheapo's @$2 and, well... there you go. I paid more to ship it than I did to buy it. [​IMG]

    Now, I can recommend Mercia's book, but there are many others. Related titles that popped up in this one search were:

    "ABC of Poultry Raising," J H Florea ................. A+ rated

    "Chickens in Your Backyard: A Beginner's Guide, by Rick Luttmann," Gail Luttmann .................. A rated

    "Raising Poultry Successfully," by Will Graves ...................... A rated

    "Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens: Care / Feeding / Facilities," by Gail Damerow .......................... A+ rated

    "Modern Livestock & Poultry Production," by James R Gillespie ........................ B rated

    "Keeping Pet Chickens," Johannes Paul, William Windham, Joe Stahlkuppe ..................... A rated

    Most of these could be had for $10 or less. I've all but the last one at some point in time or another and I can recommend them.

    I have also NOT mentioned any of the OOP and vintage books available. Some people like them, other do not. However, the fact remains that many of those are at least as good, and sometimes better, than the more modern ones.

    Another great source for such references is eBay. You can usually find the same titles there, and it is often the only place to find some of the OOP copies you may wish to own.

    NOTES ABOUT EBAY: EBay is hit-or-miss on availability, especially on the "oldies." Often, the prices are higher than if you just found them used, as well. Most titles that are less than 20-30 years old are there in abundance, however, and at good prices.
    The thing to do is use ebay to find one and then search the other sites for that title.
    There is also a knack to using eBay to your advantage and some people don't like it. If you are not comfortable with it, don't buy there.
    But it makes a great starting point. Just search "poultry" and look in books for what's available.

    SO do yourself a favor - do a little research, spend a little dough and get you a good reference book.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2009
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    If you could have just one, get Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens. I agree, David, people need to start reading again. And you can get these in your library system most likely. Research! I read several books on raising chickens before I had any.
  3. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

    Dec 16, 2008
    great info [​IMG]

    I remember a post a while back where I think you mentioned Profitable Poultry Production by M. G. Kains I was able to find it on alibris. It is a great book, one of the vintage ones.

    Thanks [​IMG]
  4. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Quote:There is no subsitute for ownership, however, Cyn. A worthy book in hand, is worth ten in the library.
  5. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Quote:I'm glad you liked it.
    Mr. Kains' books is perhaps THE classic poultry book to own. If you could have only ONE vintage poultry book, I would not hesitate to recommend it.

    I have one of the originals from the first printing of the Orange Judd series, myself. They are readily available as OOP copies AND you can download it FREE off the internet, here:

    Mr Kains was a prolific writer in his day and has many desirable titles under his name. You should google them and try to get them.
    If you would be a small producer of poultry and farm products, his information is near priceless.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2009
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    You know, you can get used books from Barnes and Noble. And you can fill out the order online, then call in your credit card number so it is not out in cyberspace. I've gotten many books like this and sometimes they are very cheap. I agree that owning a book so you can refer to it anytime you like is preferred, but I was suggesting checking them out from the library because some can't afford to buy much in this economy. BUT, they really are not that expensive.
  7. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Quote:I know times are tight, and you make a good point about the library offerings. I don't mean to discount that option. It is a good one.

    There is also a lot of free information on the internet. A few hours spent compiling on the 'Net will get you about all you will ever need. More is overkill, for most people. Believe me, I know. I have gigabytes of data stored and you know how much of it I refer to?
    About 5%. Total.

    And that is the greater point to this: chickens are simple, nearly self regulating.
    (My own, "Five Rules of Chickens," will take you a long way, all by themselves.)
    The information you must know to do well with poultry is concisely contained between the covers of one, maybe two, handy books. Seriously. We believe that more is always better, but that just aint so. Simpler is always better, with chickens.

    That single volume I got today is by one of the most important men from the "Golden Age" of small flock management. He knew his stuff and having his wisdom at hand is hard to beat.
    I paid under $6 for the book - with shipping. A little diligence and perseverence should net the same results for anyone. Even in tight times, that is hard value to beat.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2009
  8. Mojo Chick'n

    Mojo Chick'n Empress of Chickenville

    I have a copy of Raising Poultry the Modern Way - my hubby found it on ebay for me last fall.

    I was surprised it even had directions for caponizing in there.

    good book, different from most "hobby poultry" type books.

    eta - I adore Alibris books - have spent a few dollars there, myself [​IMG]

    Last edited: Apr 19, 2009
  9. ChickyLaura

    ChickyLaura The Crazy Chicken Lady

    Mar 31, 2009
    Eastern/Central PA
    What a good thread, maybe this could be a sticky?

    I found several books at my local TSC. Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens is definitely an 'A+' book.

    I am a newbie. I googled chickens when I first entertained the idea of getting 2 chickens, and found this website. Now, I've got 12 chicks, 8 more in the bator, and I may be buying a second bator for more eggs... I am planning on attending a poultry show soon, too. This hobby is turning into more than I thought it would, but wow, it's so exciting! Who knew there were so many breeds!

    Anyway, I love this website for the info, but I agree with what you said. Plus, a lot of questions would not be repeated if a little information was garnered beforehand.

    Anyway, thanks to everyone who has experience, and is so willing to offer it! I truly appreciate it![​IMG]
  10. valentinebaby

    valentinebaby Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 23, 2009
    Sherman-Denison, TX
    I read several of the newer books (checked out from the library) and purchased Storey's Guide; however, the one I found the most informative and complete was a book I purchased at an antique store for 25 cents. Title: How to Grow and Produce Your Own Food, by Charles Boff, Odhams Press Limited, Reprinted in 1946. I designed my coop based on his plan for a "smaller" house. It's full of pictures (the men in the pictures have on ties!!!) showing nest design, coop designs, and details (i.e., how to make a sloping, hinged weatherboard, laying nests, large coop and neat tractor). I got so much information from his chapters re: poultry than any other book. Plus, the book is chock full of information on everything from growing veggies to raising goats! His poultry section covers every stage of chickens, from how to start, to disease, and how to treat.

    The main difference is he states: "Where outdoor exercise is possible, as in a wired-in run or a field, birds should be allowed about 2 sq. ft. of floor space each in the roosting and laying house; and the wire-in run should allow each not less than 5 sq. ft. Thus a dozen birds would require a house say 6 ft. long by 4 ft. wide, and about 4 ft. high; and a run not less than 10 ft. by 6 ft." This differs greatly from what most of the BYC members here have said. Take a look at my page - I've added a few pages from his book.


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