Mini Encyclopedia of Chicken Breeds and Care: A Color Directory of the Most Popular Breeds and Their Care

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A comprehensive and richly illustrated guide to keeping chickens.

Chickens kept as pets are increasingly popular, even in urban environments, as more and more people discover it is easy to keep chickens, even in a small backyard. They make excellent pets and offer the immeasurable benefit of a free and ready supply of fresh eggs.

The expert author alerts the many newcomers to chicken-keeping to the amazing ...

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A comprehensive and richly illustrated guide to keeping chickens.

Chickens kept as pets are increasingly popular, even in urban environments, as more and more people discover it is easy to keep chickens, even in a small backyard. They make excellent pets and offer the immeasurable benefit of a free and ready supply of fresh eggs.

The expert author alerts the many newcomers to chicken-keeping to the amazing variety of breeds available — more than 100 registered pure breeds and bantams, as well as many hybrids.

This beautifully illustrated reference provides essential advice about the housing and care of chickens, as well as profiles of more than 70 of the most popular breeds, with details such as:

  • History and origins
  • Weight ranges
  • Egg characteristics
  • Physical appearance
  • Behavior.

The Mini Encyclopedia of Chicken Breeds and Care provides an unrivalled depth of practical information, and it features more than 500 specially commissioned color photographs. From the plump, cushionlike beauty of the Buff Orpington to the extravagantly ornamental bantams, readers will discover there is a chicken breed that ideally suits them.

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Editorial Reviews

Phoenix Home and Garden
Frances Bassom offers a plethora of information on raising chickens in her Mini Encyclopedia of Chicken Breeds & Care: A Color Directory of the Most Popular Breeds and Their Care. In the first half of the book, Bassom covers the basics, including housing, feeding, breeding and showing chickens. The second half acts as an encyclopedia, describing characteristics of certain breeds, such as size, feather patterns, and the color of the eggs they lay. Raising poultry for food not only adds to a healthy lifestyle, the author notes, it also helps lower a homeowner's carbon footprint by reducing the distance food travels to reach the plate.
Seattle Times - Mary Brennan
Frank and abundant detail ... handy, heavily illustrated.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554074730
  • Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 9/25/2009
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 231,223
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 7.30 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Frances Bassom is chairperson of the Surrey Poultry Society and a member of the Rare Poultry Society. She has developed a new variant of the Vorwerk bantam and is working to preserve a chocolate gene found in the Minorca bantam.

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Read an Excerpt


Poultry keeping is booming

Poultry are popular. Hardly a week seems to go by without a magazine or newspaper carrying an article about another celebrity's newfound love of keeping poultry. Not since the heady days of the 1850s, when "hen fever" was at its height and people vied with each other to purchase new breeds of poultry for enormous sums of money, have our feathery friends been so in demand.

For those people who had been quietly keeping poultry for many years, it initially came as something of a shock to discover more and more people deciding to add poultry keeping to their lives. After all, prior to all this recent interest, they had been classed as the odd ones out!

One of the reasons for this rise in popularity is that people have realized they need to become more curious about how their food is produced. Added to this is the growing awareness of the large distances most food has traveled to reach our plates. It is estimated that 23 percent of our carbon footprint is taken up in food miles. Eating eggs, meat and vegetables from your garden not only reduces your carbon footprint, but it also adds to a healthy way of life and provides an enjoyable pastime the whole family can get involved in.

The rescue of battery hens from cages, allowing them to live out the rest of their productive lives cage-free, is perhaps one of the fastest-growing ways that people are being introduced to the pleasure of having eggs from their own hens. With their missing feathers and trimmed beaks these hens look a far cry from the fancy show birds. Yet, once they have regrown their feathers and are living happily in your yard, you will discover that, as well as laying eggs, they arrive fully equipped with a personality. Caring for such hens is a wonderful introduction to domestic poultry keeping.

Although at first you may become involved in poultry through keeping a few laying hens, sooner or later chances are you will visit somewhere that has other, more exotic-looking breeds of poultry and be tempted to enlarge your flock. Not all breeds are suitable for novices. If you already keep laying hens you can hardly be classed as a novice, but some breeds may have a temperament trait that you are unaware of, or maybe their care will consume more time than you can afford if you have a busy lifestyle.

This book provides not only the basic information you need to care for your birds, but it also introduces you to a whole range of breeds that you may not have known existed. From the ultrarare to the fluffy and cute, from the solid, reliable utility types to the fine-boned thoroughbreds of the poultry fancy, somewhere out there is a breed of chicken that will fit perfectly into your backyard — a bird that will meet all your requirements and spark enough interest to convince you that keeping poultry is definitely the hobby for you.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Part One: Practical Section

Poultry keeping is booming
History of domestic breeds
Which type of chicken is best for you?
Housing chickens
Management and feeding
Breeding chickens
Understanding chicken behaviour
Health care
Showing birds

Part Two: Chicken Breed Profiles

Light Breeds
Autosexing breeds

Marsh Daisy
Old English Pheasant Fowl
Scots Dumpy
Scots Gray
Sicilian Buttercup
Yokohama, Red-Saddled White

Heavy Breeds
German Langshan
La Fleche
Lincolnshire Buff
New Hampshire
Norfolk Gray
North Holland Blue
Plymouth Rock
Rhode Island Red

True Bantams
Bearded Belgian d'Anvers
Bearded Grubbe and Bearded Watermael
Belgian Bearded d'Uccle and Bearded d'Everberg
Booted Bantam
Cochin Bantam

Game Breeds
Belgian Game

Cornish Game
Modern Game
Old English Game
Old English Game Bantam
Long-crowing breeds

General Index
Index of chicken breeds

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 5, 2014

    For the Avid Poultry Enthusiast

    Pitch perfect information for at home hovbbiest or professional breeder. Great as a gift too.

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