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A Chicken in Every Yard: The Urban Farm Store's Guide to Chicken Keeping [Anglais] [Relié]

Robert Litt , Hannah Litt

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Description de l'ouvrage

22 mars 2011
Got a little space and a hankering for fresh eggs?

Robert and Hannah Litt have dispensed advice to hundreds of urban and suburban chicken-keepers from behind their perch at Portland’s Urban Farm Store, and now they’re ready to help you go local and sustainable with your own backyard birds. In this handy guide to breeds, feed, coops, and care, the Litts take you under their experienced wings and share the secrets to:
 
Picking the breeds that are right for you • Building a sturdy coop in one weekend for $100 • Raising happy and hearty chicks Feeding your flock for optimal health and egg nutrition • Preventing and treating common chicken diseases • Planning ahead for family, neighborhood, and legal considerations • Whipping up tasty egg recipes from flan to frittata
 
With everything that first-timers will need to get started—along with expert tips for more seasoned keepers—this colorful, nuts-and-bolts manual proves that keeping chickens is all it’s cracked up to be.

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Extrait

Chapter 1: Why Keep Chickens?
 
When we tell someone that we have seven chickens living in our backyard, there is usually a brief silence, followed by a curious “Why?” Hannah will counter, “Why not? They’re great pets—charming, and useful, too.” Indeed, which of your other pets provide you with wholesome, protein-rich food and ask so little in return? Does your dog keep the bug population at bay in your backyard? Will the cat mow the lawn for you?
 
Besides these practical considerations, we think chickens are just plain fun to be around! We derive so much delight from observing the antics of our hens that we would likely keep them even if they did not lay. Indeed, many of our customers are surprised and pleased to discover that chickens have a certain kind of grace and can be truly beautiful. Because of this, Hannah likes to call them “mobile lawn ornaments.” Robert gains the deepest satisfaction from watching them methodically graze the lawn or scratch through the compost seeking hidden bugs. As he cares for these long-domesticated animals, he feels a deep connection to the land and to a not-too-distant agrarian past. Chickens are at once so useful, colorful, and entertaining that we can no longer imagine our lives without them. Best of all, our hearts swell each time we see the look of absolute delight and fascination in the eyes of children when they see their first live chicken bounding across the lawn toward them, or when they hold a warm, fuzzy chick. Children seem to know intuitively that chickens are special creatures with a lot to teach us all about nature and ourselves.
 
 
Quality of Life and Sustainability
 
The chicken is best known as the producer of that humble staple food, the egg. Although the egg is familiar to all, we can safely say that you have never truly experienced its full potential until you have eaten one laid by one of your own hens and cracked open and cooked while still warm. Not only will its deeply colored yolk and firm white taste richer and more flavorful than you ever imagined an egg could, but this special egg will provide an immense satisfaction earned from your role in its production.
 
Backyard hens enjoy an enviable lifestyle compared to their commercial counterparts. Even so-called free-range hens often suffer from crowding in immense, climate-controlled barns; your hens, on the other hand, will enjoy a relatively carefree life full of affection, quality food, and fresh air. Couple that with the opportunity to preserve older, heritage breeds and their unique traits, and you can see why Robert likes to say that keeping a home flock truly “allows chickens to be real chickens.”
 
Another thing we love about producing our own eggs in the backyard is that they don’t have to travel to reach our table. When it comes to commercial eggs, organic included, the fragile orbs are typically deeply chilled to preserve them and then trucked many miles to your plate. Even eggs with distant “use by” dates usually were laid weeks, if not months before and are no longer anywhere near their best. Keeping a few hens in the backyard is a great way to conserve resources by eating food that’s grown so close at hand that the “local” label is more appropriately replaced by “homegrown.” This is one reason many so-called locavores have especially embraced backyard animal husbandry. Only chickens and a few other small animals can provide high-quality protein in the city or suburbs. It’s easy to see where your food comes from—and even easier to get to know the farmers when they eat breakfast with you!
 
Some backyard chicken keepers do raise birds for meat, and if you eat chicken, this is certainly a good way to ensure that the birds you are eating had a happy life and ate well while they were alive. This will not be a major focus of this book, however, because the vast majority of backyard chicken keepers regard their chickens as pets and find it unsettling—if not outright upsetting—to consider eating them. We feel that this is a choice for the chicken keeper to make; we take no position either way. If you are interested in leaning more about harvesting your birds for meat, visit www.urbanfarmstore.com to find more information and links to useful resources.
 
Finally, it’s important to consider that the eggs (and meat) from your backyard buddies will contain a more optimal balance of nutrients than their store-bought rivals. As we’ll discuss in chapter 8, recent findings suggest that eggs from small, pasture-raised flocks (like yours) are lower in cholesterol and have a healthier ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids than even organic, free-range eggs from the store. Remarkably, the nutritional comparison also showed that these eggs were higher in several important vitamins and minerals. Eggs that taste great, are laid by happy hens, and are good for your health—what could be better than that? We’ll go into a lot more detail about eggs in the chapter we’ve creatively titled “Eggs.”
 
 
Affection
 
Although few chickens show their owners the blatant dog or cat sort of love, many of our customers report that they have a mutually affectionate relationship with their hens. Some birds do seem to genuinely enjoy human company and will seek physical contact. Our store manager, Sharon, has just this sort of relationship with most of her birds. At the store she regularly picks up and handles our Crested Polish hen, Muppet, who shows her appreciation for the affection by cooing and burrowing into Sharon’s arms. At home, she has birds that are sometimes invited indoors to watch TV on her shoulders.
 
Although it’s debatable how much chickens enjoy demonstrative humans, it is clear that their owners often become very emotionally connected to them. Our customers joyfully share tales of first eggs, humorous antics, and moments of concern for their birds’ well-being, clearly indicating that strong emotional bonds form with these animals as with other pets.
 
Educational Value
 
Some of you may have grown up on a farm and experienced firsthand the many life lessons that caring for livestock can provide for young children. For the rest of us, our childhood experiences with farm animals were probably limited to petting zoos and fuzzy-paged children’s books. If you had some direct experience, keeping a few hens in the yard is a terrific way to pass on what you know. If not, it’s a great opportunity to learn together as a family project. Either way, it’s clear that kids seem to get a special kind of enjoyment from chickens. The sense of responsibility for and connection with the natural world that children develop from caring for any animal is immeasurably valuable. If that animal happens to offer eggs in exchange for the care, the bond created is even more powerful. When a child picks up his or her first egg from the nest, this incredibly nutritious food becomes very intriguing indeed. You might even find that a kiddo who used to turn up her nose at scrambled eggs suddenly begins to clamor for them.
 
We have seen many children come into the store who have clearly been studying their chickens. They can recite the exact names of breeds they own, often pronouncing the sometimes complex words better than their parents. Some of them have even written essays and book reports on chicken keeping, astounding us with their encyclopedic knowledge. Others have brought their prized birds into their classrooms for show-and-tell events—much to the delight of their classmates, no doubt. Whether learning proper holding techniques, hen-housekeeping procedures, or feeding routines, these kids really seem to enjoy finding out all there is to know about their unusual and compelling pets.
 
Many local schools in our area now have chicken coops because of their tremendous educational value. Of course, students and teachers have been raising chicks and even hatching eggs in classrooms for years. Usually, the lesson plan will center on biological aspects of the chicken life cycle, embryology, and other developmental topics. These days, our teacher customers have also been raising and keeping the chicks into adulthood to teach their students about where food comes from, nutrition, and sustainability.
 
If the chickens become ill, or when they eventually pass on, there are even deeper lessons to deliver to young ones. For adults and children alike, there is undeniable sorrow associated with the loss of any pet, and chickens are no exception. However, unlike dogs and cats, who regularly live over a decade, chickens will usually live only four years or so (up to eight under ideal circumstances). This fact means that you and your family will need to face the transient nature of life relatively often. Although this could be seen as a liability, we prefer to use the occasion of a hen’s passing as a time to reflect on the unique give-and-take these creatures share with us and ponder our own place in the natural cycle of life. That said, we have also helped several parents hurriedly replace chicks that have died suddenly, slipping them into the brooding box before the kids come home from school to discover the loss. You can play it either way.
 
 
Aesthetic Value
 
Another reason to keep chickens is that they are just plain appealing to look at. Chickens have long been appreciated for their feather colors and attractive forms, traits that have earned them a place in the art of cultures around the globe. Beyond their appearance, chickens have a unique gait that seems at once comical and graceful. They probe their environment with scratching and pecking motions that we find endlessly fascinating. A flock of chickens adds su...

Revue de presse

“Backyard chickening may be the best next step beyond backyard gardening. Leveraging their own experience with their Oregon customers’ shared wisdom, Robert and Hannah bring to every aspiring next stepper a mentoring book that can nudge anyone into micro-eggery.”
—JOEL SALATIN, founder of Polyface Farm, author of You Can Farm, and contributor to Food, Inc.: A Participant Guide
 
“This is the guide to raising chickens that I desperately needed when I first started urban farming. Robert and Hannah have seen it all when it comes to raising cluckers.”
—NOVELLA CARPENTER, author of Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer

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Amazon.com: 4.8 étoiles sur 5  64 commentaires
96 internautes sur 98 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 the perfect book for keeping urban and suburban chickens 26 août 2011
Par Silea - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This is the only book you need if you want to keep a few chickens in your yard.

Flipping through a lot of the other highly-rated chicken books, it quickly became clear that most of them are oriented toward large-scale chicken keeping. Sure, some have added token acknowledgement that some people keep chickens as pets that happen to lay eggs, but the tone and the information are suited toward people who don't plan to name their chickens or tell stories about their antics. They're low on details about how tall a fence should be to keep the chickens from ravaging your vegetable garden, and discredit methods like clipping wings because it's just not viable if you have 200 birds.

If you want to experience the joy of cracking open an egg still warm from the chicken, of knowing exactly what the chicken ate and how it was cared for, of knowing that the only carbon footprint involved in your breakfast was your trip down to the feed store every few months, this is the book for you. If you have no plans whatsoever of eating your chicken just because it stopped laying 7 eggs a week, this is the book for you. If you want a practical guide for housing chickens in a small urban back yard, heck, this book even has detailed plans for building a simple but safe coop and run. It even has a neat breakdown of how much time you will need to set aside for caring for your birds (five minutes in the morning to feed and collect eggs and let the birds out, five minutes in the evening to feed and collect eggs, and lock the door of the coop, 20 minutes once a week to add more bedding, and so on) so you have some idea of what time commitment you're actually making.
41 internautes sur 41 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Get the book. Then get chickens! 28 mars 2011
Par LuvThatChicken - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
As a customer of the Urban Farm Store, I'd been anxiously awaiting Robert and Hannah's how-to book on keeping small backyard flocks. Turns out, this is much more than a how-to book. It's beautiful, for starters, featuring original illustrations by Portland artists and photographs shared by customers. The authors draw from their own experiences raising chickens, studying animal nutrition, and running their shop. They take you from the "why" to the "how" to the "what now," covering all the basics plus some of the touchier issues too (vet care, roosters, end of life). Most importantly, they give voice to the wide-ranging experiences of the community of chicken keepers that has formed around their store.

I was in their Portland store last year on the first cold day of the year. The phone rang at least a dozen times in the short time I was there, and each time Robert listened patiently, then gave clear advice on how to prepare chickens for the winter. This book reminds me of that day. The authors have heard it all, yet manage never to come off as know-it-alls. I highly recommend it.
53 internautes sur 55 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The best 28 mars 2011
Par KS - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I must have 10 books on raising chickens, trying to be as educated as possible before I get started with the birds. This is the best of them. It is clear, concise, practical, very readable. This is the book you read first, and keep on the shelf for questions as they develop. Wish I lived close enough to visit with Robert and Hannah.
17 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Highly Recommended & A Must Have 10 septembre 2011
Par Susan Louise - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I have toyed with the idea of raising chickens for a long time but never really found a good book that was well-organized or interesting enough to read thoroughly - front to back... until I picked up this book. It is extremely well-written and educational, very informative and fun to read. I had soooo many questions about raising chickens - from the simple (what do they eat?) to the complex (what do I do about this ailment, or, what happens if, ect.) -- it answered them all. My doubts and concerns about raising chickens were addressed, as well as housing, feeding and watering, life cycle, social structure, benefits and disadvantages, breed, temperament and personality... need I go on? I am a beginner in the adventures of raising chickens, but after reading the book, I no longer feel like a newbie. The detail was just right (loved the humor and experience tid-bits) and not to 'heavy' to read like a dry text book. It has become my go-to for reference and reminder information. It has helped me plan when I'll get my chicks and given me excellent ideas of what kind of coop will be best for them, my lifestyle and yard. This book is a valued addition to my library and I highly recommend it.
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Fantastic book on back yard chickens 4 avril 2011
Par A. Pullen - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I bought this book because I've been to the Urban Farm Store in Portland, and the owners really seemed to know what they were talking about. So when I decided to get 3 back yard chickens and I saw they were writing a book, I had to get it. It is filled with useful, tried and true knowledge about how to raise chickens. It's a must have!
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