Book Review Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens

I have to confess, it took me a while to get through Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens, 3rd Edition. However, the delay had more to do with my own (dis)interest than the author’s writing ability. In fact, if she wasn’t such a fantastic writer, I probably would have just moved on to a romance novel or something.

So, thank you Gail, for helping me make better choices for my brain ;)

Back to the review… Damerow does an excellent job of sharing her passion for chickens and everything, EVERYTHING you need to know to care for them – for any purpose. Whether you want chickens as pets, for eggs, for meat, or for shows, this book has the information you need.

Side note: I didn’t know that there were chicken shows, but apparently there are, and they are a big deal.

Back on topic again… I follow several forums and social media groups on topics like homesteading and chicken keeping, and there are regularly chicken related questions in them. To date, I have not seen a single question that wasn’t covered in this book.

Since I don’t yet have chickens myself, I think it’s worth using the experience of chicken owners to measure the book’s helpfulness. Based on this, I think the book must be quite helpful, and if more folks read Damerow’s book they would have fewer questions about their own flocks. And better answers.

Damerow’s book was a gift to me from an amazing real estate agent – one of the two best agents we have been fortunate to work with. She gifted it to me after we closed on our 1st home, as she knew I planned on getting chickens to complete our backyard homestead. Sadly, we had to leave that home only 6 months later, and I haven’t been able to pursue the chickens for a few years now.

Now that we are settled in our current “homestead” with no plans to leave anytime soon, I’m excited to say we’re finally going to get some chickens. I’m drawing up plans for our coop this winter, and my partner is going to help me build.

Okay, he is going to build it, and I’m going to pretend to be helpful. To each, their strengths.

Anyway, with our plans for chickens this spring, I am re-reading Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens. Here is why it’s worth re-reading:

  • The guide to breeds is helping me select the best birds for our region and use
  • The chapter on shelter is helping me plan a coop that will minimize common chicken ailments and maximize safety & ease of use
  • I feel more confident that I can pick out healthy chicks and identify many common ailments and disease problems; and know how to treat them properly
  • I feel like I will be able to estimate how much this will all cost, based on her feeding information, shelter and care information
  • There is ample information on how to prevent diseases spread between chickens, and between chickens and humans

My final reason for re-reading is that her passion on the topic is contagious. I’ll confess, I mostly want chickens because they complete my homestead picture – they will fast track my composting and keep bugs at bay while providing us delish eggs to eat, and eventually become soup themselves.

While I will give them compassionate care – making sure they are comfortable and happy throughout their lives – they will not be my pets. I’m not getting chickens because I really “like” chickens or something. I’m getting them for food.

However, Damerow’s passion for chickens makes me excited for them, too.

Maybe they won’t just be one more chore to take care of.

Maybe, they’ll be fun.

And then, they’ll be soup.