Pure Poultry: Living Well with Heritage Chickens, Turkeys and Ducks

Pure Poultry: Living Well with Heritage Chickens, Turkeys and Ducks

by Victoria Redhed Miller

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Pure Poultry: Living Well with Heritage Chickens, Turkeys and Ducks by Victoria Redhed Miller

Pure Poultry is a timely resource for new and experienced poultry keepers who want to raise heritage breeds as an integral part of a more sustainable food system. This inspiring "how-to and why-to" guide combines revealing and often humorous anecdotes with detailed information on everything from housing, breeding and day-to-day care, to cooking and food preservation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781550925463
Publisher: New Society Publishers
Publication date: 10/21/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
File size: 7 MB

About the Author

Victoria Redhed Miller is a writer, photographer and homesteader who lives off-grid on a 40-acre farm in the foothills of Washington's Olympic Mountains with her husband David. As well as raising heritage chickens, turkeys and ducks, she works towards enhancing her family's self-sufficiency through gardening, food preservation, craft brewing and distilling, antique repair and restoration, and other traditional skills.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents: Pure Poultry

(Heritage) chickens and turkeys and ducks: oh, my!
What is a “heritage” breed and why should you care? Our initial thoughts about raising poultry; why this book doesn’t discuss geese, guinea fowl, etc.

1. When good people get poultry
The excitement and anticipation (and nervousness) of waiting for our first birds.

2. Another beautiful day in paradise
History of the farm and David’s family; what’s unique about our farm; how we got here and what we’re up to.

3. Daydreams
Brainstorming possible cottage industries; plans to raise enough food for our needs and enough left to share with our families; leaving city life to live off the grid; solar and hydro power.

4. A slippery slope: Which comes first, the chickens or the homework?
Why planning ahead makes sense; thinking about goals, motivations and daydreams; plan to start small and learn as you go.

5. A rooster called Charlemagne
Boy, were we naïve about chickens, and especially roosters. What we learned about how much we still had to learn.

6. Chickens from scratch
My initial ignorance of all things poultry; beginning research months before we got chickens; why we chose heritage breeds; narrowing down the choice of breeds to the “short list.”

7. Turkeys are people too – but they’re not chickens
Advantages and disadvantages of raising your own; differences in feed, housing and roosts; personalities and different breeds.

8. Everybody look busy – here come the ducks!
Why keep ducks? Housing and feed considerations; predator issues; do you need to have a pond to keep ducks?

9. Violet (aka Violent), Bumptious and Hampty
Anecdotes from our adventures with various farm mascots.

10. Heritage turkeys are more sustainable, and they have more fun
Heritage turkeys, by definition, are naturally-mating birds, unlike Broad-breasted turkeys, which must be artificially inseminated.

11. "The Mind of a Turkey"
Myths about turkeys; odd behaviors and endearing mannerisms.

12. Chicken tractors and slug slurpers
I haven’t seen a slug in my garden since we we’ve had ducks; how chicken tractors work; poultry and your compost system.

13. Hunt and peck: Put natural foraging behavior to work
Grains and pasture crops in small-scale agriculture; avoid threshing by letting the birds do the harvesting.

14. Turkeys as guard animals?
There is a particular call the turkeys use, that we only ever heard when there was a deer in the yard. That is, until the day when a black bear showed up in mid-morning.

15. Rooster talk: Predator alert or photo op?
How we learned to distinguish the roosters’ and turkeys' different predator-alert calls; alert calls are handy for birders.

16. Weasels are smaller than you think
Hard lessons learned about coop design and safety; keeping free-range birds safe; a flexible housing solution, useful for chickens of all ages.

17. Bobcats with chicken breath, and other bedtime stories
The all-you-can-eat organic chicken buffet; young Bobby learns to hunt; how we reduced losses by learning the hunting habits of the predators.

18. Keeping the ducks safe at night
Ducks camping out down by the bog all night; David finds himself all at sea; what it takes to get them up the hill and into their coop for the night.

19. Turkeys in the canyon
Picture this: our whole flock of turkeys down in the canyon (you know, the one where the bobcats and cougars live); turkeys like to roost in trees – and on cars.

20. Equal rights for unhatched chicks: Breeding and brooding
Lessons we learned about brooding baby birds indoors; things to consider when choosing to breed and hatch your own birds; why we love heritage breeds for their mothering abilities.

21. Keeping poultry with other farmyard (and backyard) animals
On small farms, diversifying is important to long-term sustainability. If you have dogs and/or cats, or other livestock, you need to consider them when you decide to get poultry.

22. Small farm new math: If (chicken tractor), then (pig plow)
The amazing rooting behavior of Tamworth pigs; using the pigs to turn unused land into pasture; why it's good to have ducks if you have pigs.

23. Farm-fresh eggs: what’s the big deal?
What does "Grade AA" mean, anyway? What’s different about cooking with really fresh eggs? Terms on egg cartons defined and explained.

24. Duck eggs are delicious, and great for baking
Bakers love duck eggs; the viscosity of the white is greater than that of chicken eggs, making them a perfect choice for flourless brownies, quiches, sponge cake and more.

25. Slaughtering and processing poultry
Lessons we learned the hard way; why we don’t just chop off their heads; fresh or frozen?
Sidebar: Slaughter vs. Harvest
Why we choose to use the term “slaughter”; definitions.

26. The best-laid schemes…
When Turkey Slaughter Day was called on account of snow

27. How to cook your heritage turkey
Tips and suggestions for brining, roasting and smoking your turkey; why smaller turkeys really are preferable.

28. Tastes like chicken: Cooking and preserving poultry
Making stock and bouillon; canning meat and stock; differences in cooking free-range poultry.

29. Chicken (or turkey) pot pie recipes
Classic recipes with variations on both crust and fillings, including gluten-free options.

30. Egg money
How even a small flock of heritage poultry can help earn its keep; where the term “egg money” comes from.

31. The bigger picture: Poultry and the community
Coop-building parties, community canning kitchens, poultry clubs and processing co-ops.

32. Why and how to buy heritage-breed poultry products
What if you don’t have the space, time or inclination to keep poultry yourself? How to connect with local producers to enjoy heritage eggs and meat.

33. Summer is apparently over
Why I look forward to the fall each year; if the trees change color, it must be molting season for the birds; dealing with the chickens molting early; fall colors and winter coats.

34. There's a chill in the air
The days are getting shorter, and the birds have less time to forage. Adjustments we make to keep them healthy, happy, and laying.

35. Chicken coop for the soul
Getting ready for winter off the grid. Should you insulate or even heat your poultry coops? What we learned about keeping the birds comfortable and safe during winter weather.

36. Warmth
Heating our home with two wood-burning stoves works great, but requires lots of time and effort, and planning ahead. And what about keeping the birds warm?

37. Back to Standard Time, which the birds never left
How seasonal changes affect the health and behavior of poultry; why we don't use lights in our coops.

38. Pure Poultry Premise #1: Purebred animals are more sustainable
Example: Broad-Breasted turkeys cannot mate naturally. Conclusion: Breeding for one characteristic might seem to make sense, but in the long run it backfires.

39. Pure Poultry Premise #2: Shorten the food chain
Why buy locally-produced food and other products? Profile of Sequim’s Alder Wood Bistro, a restaurant committed to sourcing ingredients locally.

40. Pure Poultry Premise #3: Challenge the “get big or get out” myth
Are we making a living or making a life? For farmers, are “get big or get out” really the only choices.

41. Pure Poultry Premise #4: Have fun!
From varying the daily routine to Happy Hour with the Chickens, it’s important to have fun. After all, if it’s not enjoyable, it’s not sustainable.

42. Abundance and gratitude
Our birds enjoy a good life here, entertaining and educating us as well as helping to feed us. We’re grateful for our opportunities, and take seriously our responsibility as stewards of this land and our animals.

43. Love
We love this land, we love our animals, and we love the life we share in this beautiful place. I

44. Roots and a roost

45. . Tomorrow
Review of the first five years, and changes in the air.

Appendix A: Poultry from Scratch worksheets

Appendix B: Resources (books, web sites, blogs, organizations, etc.)


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Pure Poultry: Living Well with Heritage Chickens, Turkeys and Ducks 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book. However, if you are looking for just ONE book as a starting reference for your entry into raising poultry, I don't think I can recomnend this one. There is a fair amount a good information presented that will be of use to the novice, but it won't tell you everything you need to get started. The author does list some other good sources, and that is helpful, but most of the book is anecdotal episodes of the author's first several years of raising chickens, ducks, and a few turkeys. She and her husband raise the chickens and ducks mostly for eggs, and they sell them (their primary buyer appears to be a lcal bistro). I found the book entertaining and well-written. If you don't need this to be your primary resource for how to raise poultry, you may well enjoy it.