We all know that raising chickens has become a current trend. I even wrote a post for GRIT on this. People are starting to catch on as to how (relatively) easy it is to have chickens.
This is not to say that chickens aren’t work, for goodness sake, they are living creatures and thus demand a minimal amount of care and attention, but people are always surprised to hear me say that once your flock is established, the care for your chickens can literally be accomplished in just a few minutes each day.
The problem is that many of us, unlike our parents, didn’t grow up with chickens. We think that the care of a flock must be easy, but we’re a bit on the clueless side of how to go about it. To solve this problem, McMurray Hatchery’s has just published the book “Chickens in Five Minutes a Day” (to be released May 14th) and they’ve asked me to take a look at it.
As many of us know, Murray McMurray Hatchery’s has been selling chicks for 95 years and ships more than 2 million chicks and other waterfowl each year. McMurray knows their stuff when it comes to the care of chickens. “All it takes is 5 minutes a day, and you’re a chicken owner,” the book crows and then clearly lays out the case for their statement. Grouply written by Bud Wood and those at Murray McMurray, the book covers in detail, the most important beginner chicken farmer topics like:
- Setting up the most convenient coop or run
- Choosing your chickens
- Tips for raising newborn chicks
- Step-by-step instructions on the daily routines required for raising chickens
- Daily and monthly chores
- Necessary steps for cleaning the coop
This is all tremendously useful information for the novice chicken owner.
The book includes stunning hand drawn pictures and lots of photos of the different types of chicken breeds. It covers solid information which is organized by informative headers (Chickens as Pets, A Daily Guide, etc.) including whether or not you can have chickens in your neighborhood, which cities allow chickens, and even what types of breeds to get for your needs (colder climates like the Northeast do better with some breeds over others.)
The tone of the writing is direct (the reader is addressed as “you” as in “You’ll start your day by heading to the chicken coop with some kitchen scraps to treat your birds.”) And it even includes helpful bits of advice from seasoned chicken farmers.
Perhaps the most informative section is the Murray McMurray Method for Raising Newly Hatched Chicks in Five Minutes a Day. From my classes, I find that this is the topic where I get the most questions. People don’t seem to be afraid of taking care of older birds but many get down-right twitchy at the thought of being responsible for newly hatched chicks.
Using a step-by-step method, this resource (and it really is a terrific chicken information resource) walks you through the steps needed for taking care of those young chicks. From setting up a brooder, to pasty butt, the book holds your hand while it covers it all.
The next section covers the Murray McMurray Method for Raising Chickens in Five Minutes a Day. Daily and even monthly chores are clearly outlined making the care of chickens very straightforward even for the most anxious beginner.
The last section is on problems that may occur with your flock. It’s a list of basic illnesses and conditions sorted, again, by informative headlines (“One of my chickens is pecking at the others in the flock.”) It’s a short section that does indeed cover the basics of flock care and management.
Overall, I’d give this raising chickens guide a high grade. It’s pretty much everything that would be covered in a Chickens 101 (introductory) class. The illustrations are helpful without getting in the way of the information. The text is written in a friendly yet authoritative manner (think sitting down with a glass of sweet tea to talk chickens with your Grandpa) and there is enough information to make this a good reference book to keep on the shelf for the duration of your flock farmership.
I usually tell my chicken classes that between the web and different forums they can usually find all of the information they need to start their flocks, but I’m going to throw a copy of this book into my teaching bag as an example of a helpful resource for anyone who wants to start a chicken flock. Yeah, it’s that good.
Here’s the fun part. McMurray Hatchery’s is going to give someone from this blog a copy of this book. Leave a comment and I’ll randomly pick a winner next Tuesday.
You can check out the details of Chickens in Five Minutes a Day.
Note: I am not being paid for this review, these opinions and statements are entirely my own.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.