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The Urban Hen: A practical guide to keeping poultry in a town or city

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  • Posted March 29, 2011

    Urban Hen Covers All the Essentials to Poultry Farming in the City

    The Urban Hen is an exceptional guide to backyard poultry farming, covering all the essentials to establishing and maintaining a poultry farm in the city. Using his experience as editor of the Home Farmer Magazine, Paul Peacock delves into issues including, but not limited to the anatomy of the chicken, potential diseases, and poultry care. More importantly, Peacock strives to build a homely relationship, a strong bond between poultry and the owner. Eggs that taste great and manure for the garden will be two of many benefits the reader will discover. With hectic schedules and a busy lifestyle, 21st century urbanized society will likely seek the easy way out for their poultry needs: the supermarket. In a nutshell, Paul persuades the reader to keep hens because "poultry are pretty and simply being near them gladdens the heart and lifts the spirit." Moreover, a poultry farm allows today's youth to step away from their sedentary lifestyle and appreciate the beauty of nature while instilling a sense of "care and responsibility" in children. For those new to chickens, Peacock lays the ground rules clearly and concisely. The first step is to understand chickens, their habitat, and the environment in which they are most happy. For instance, Peacock reveals that "hens do well in bright, airy, calm conditions"; however, they prefer the summer shade and a shelter during the rainy winters. Essentially, it is imperative to conceal the hen hut from inquisitive passersby including children and curious animals (e.g. raptors, foxes, and rats). The second aspect of keeping poultry goes hand in hand with the first: ensuring the health of your chickens. Painting an image with words, Peacock masterfully concocts a chapter dedicated to the myriad diseases afflicting chickens. Not unlike humans, poultry diseases can range from simple bacteria and virus infections to "morphological problems of deformations and genetic disorders." As potential poultry farmers, Peacock strongly urges the individual to pay attention to the abnormal signs and be prepared to "cull" the birds when the time is near. It is not a crime to put these birds out of their misery, but it is unethical to allow them to suffer endlessly. Ultimately, Paul Peacock's The Urban Hen is educational, even incorporating an extensive glossary to explain the nuances of poultry care in straight-forward language. Peacock references a series of poultry clubs--including the famous "Poultry Club of Great Britain" for pure breeds--as a resource for additional help and access to materials and equipment. Overall, The Urban Hen is a must read that provides many valuables lessons for not only the beginner but also the experienced poultry farmers.

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