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The Urban Hen

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Thousands of backyard poultry keepers are springing up all over the country, experiencing afresh the joys of their first hen, their first egg, their first happy chuckle in the morning garden.

Keeping poultry in the city brings with it not only joys but responsibilities. The Urban Hen is the perfect companion for the city poultry keeper and shows you how to maintain a happy, healthy garden or backyard flock in ...

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

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Thousands of backyard poultry keepers are springing up all over the country, experiencing afresh the joys of their first hen, their first egg, their first happy chuckle in the morning garden.

Keeping poultry in the city brings with it not only joys but responsibilities. The Urban Hen is the perfect companion for the city poultry keeper and shows you how to maintain a happy, healthy garden or backyard flock in towns and cities everywhere.

In this book you'll discover how to:

find the best poultry for the small garden-and how to house them properly

feed your birds, tune in to their daily needs and enjoy your own eggs

avoid annoying the neighbours by showing that it is possible to keep poultry without attracting unwelcome pests

recognise healthy happy birds and learn their daily routine

recognise poorly hens-and how to treat them or get help

incubate and care for fertilised eggs and raise chicks

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Editorial Reviews
The "Urban Hen" takes you step by step through everything you will ever need to know about keeping hens. We thoroughly recommend this book to any one thinking about keeping chickens. It highlights the difficulties and the advantages in very clear terms. And if you decide to keep chickens then this book has everything you need to feed and care for them.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781905862276
  • Publisher: How To Books
  • Publication date: 11/15/2009
  • Pages: 172
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Peacock is Editor of Home Farmer Magazine and has written extensively for the gardening press. Educated at Leeds and Manchester universities, he is author of many books on gardening and self-sufficiency and advises on gardening and cookery on internet channels.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Free range or not? 1

Pollution 2

Regime 2

Why keeps hens at all? 3

Why keep hens in town? 4

Check your deeds-are you allowed to keep poultry? 7

You have to work harder to keep hens in the city 8

A word about holidays 9

1 New to Chickens 10

Hens in the garden 10

Predators 12

Hen housing 14

Criteria for a happy hen 21

Minimum requirements 22

Notes on how to buy chickens 22

Introducting hens to their new home 25

Chickens and children 28

Diseases 30

Coping with horrid jobs 31

How to kill a chicken 32

Breeds 35

Other pets 36

So, should I keep hens? 36

2 Anatomy of the Chicken 38

Simple creatures 38

Immunity 39

Externally 39

Internally 43

The egg factory 46

3 Breeds 51

Why are there so many different breeds of chickens? 51

How to buy hens 53

Pure breeds and hybrids 56

Pure breeds 57

Pure breeds for the garden 57

Pure breeds unsuitable for the urban situation 68

Hybrid birds 69

Battery Hen Welfare Trust hens 71

Breed checker 73

4 Feeding Your Chickens 75

No teeth 75

The hen's digestive system 76

Recognising good chicken poo 78

How to find a local supplier of hen feed 78

Rations for laying hens 79

Supplementing their diet 81

The compost box 83

Water 84

Grit 85

Oyster shell 85

Should I use a hopper? 86

Cannibalism 87

Points to remember 88

5 Poultry Care 89

Daily jobs 90

Jobs for every couple of days 91

Weekly jobs 91

Monthly jobs 92

Bimontly jobs 93

Six monthly jobs 93

6 Chicken Diseases 94

What does a healthy bird look like? 96

External signs 96

Compacted crop 97

Poultry parasites 97

Internal parasites 102

Marek's disease 105


Mycoplasma 110

Pecking birds and cannibalism 111

Avian flu 114

Fighting damage 115

Calcium deficiency 116

Food supplements for healthy birds 117

Chicken diseases at a glance 119

7 Chicks-Making Your Own 121

Why fertilised eggs? 121

When a hen goes broody 122

Stopping a hen from going broody 123

What you need for a hen to incubate her eggs 123

Hatching 124

Sexing chicks 125

Incubation by machine 126

Hatching 130

Moving chicks 131

Expect mortality 132

Daily routine 132

Vaccination 134

8 The Egg 135

The assembly line 136

The egg's construction 136

Poo on my eggs 137

How to collect eggs 137

Storing and preserving eggs 138

Cooking eggs 140

9 Getting Help 143

Bio-security 144

Getting help with illness and finding a poultry vet 145

Poultry clubs 146

Help with hybrid hens 151

Publications 153

Glossary 155

Index 161

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • 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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