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4.7 out of 5 stars53
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 23 May 2009
I am likely to be a little biased as some of my birds are photographed in this book but I do think that this is the best guide to starting out with chickens available at the moment. All of the essential information is laid out in clear, plain English with all potentially confusing terms fully explained. The breed encyclopedia section gives full page articles on most of the common and rare breeds you are likely to find, giving a tempting hint of the wide range of poultry available to choose from. Because the breed section includes several rare and unusual types and includes enough information about them it will be useful to those who already keep chickens as well as those just starting out.
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on 29 August 2009
This book is exactly what a beginner at poultry keeping needs. It is a reasonable price for such a mine of information. My husband has just purchased Pekin bantams and has used this book to build a run and house for them. It is full of common sense advice and colour pictures of a wide range of breeds. Worth every penny.
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on 21 November 2009
What a great little book. All the information you need to know about keeping chickens, types of breeds and how to look after and diagnose early health problems.
If you wanted just one book I would recommend this as it is a first class read for those just starting out and is a great source of reference for the more experienced keeper.
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on 8 November 2012
I highly recommend this book to anyone thinking about starting to keep chickens.
Not only does it have lengthy knowledge on many breeds of chickens, but it also contains lots of useful information on how to care for and look after your birds, finding the right housing, incubation, good husbandry tips, and information on chicken health.
This book is also useful to people who already keep chickens, especially if they are hybrids, who what to purchas pure breed birds. It lists and details, with clear pictures, many of the pure breeds, (light and heavy, bantam and true bantam) so you can see what sort of pure breeds are out there, and make a more informed choice, when it comes to chicken expansion...or breeding!

This book was my bible when I first started out and I was able to turn to it when looking for answers to many of the initial queries that pop up in your first year or so. I still enjoy looking through it now, and lusting over all the amazing pure breeds of chicken I would so love to help preserve.

The only thing that the book doesn't say, that I would whole heartedly recommend to any newcomer to the enthusiasm, is to choose a breed and stick to it for your first year. As lovely as a mixed flock is prancing majestically about the garden in all the glorious colours imaginable, there are many many problems and logistics involved in keeping them happy together, that you would never even consider as you set out on your chicken journey.
So to avoid later complications and potential distress, research your chicken breeds wisely. View the birds before you buy them. Never feel pressured into buying a bird. Get the seller to show you the correct way to hold and handle the bird. Always handle a bird before you buy it as you will be able to feel if all is well under those fluffy feathers. Never buy a sleepy/less active bird, because they are nice and 'calm' and 'chilled out', as they are likely sick. Make sure your first chicken coop is larger then what you need (if you are wanting 4 chickens, buy one that has room for 6-8, trust me). And buy birds of the same breed and size during your first year, as this will lower the chances of bullying.

I would also recommend that if you are a fist time chicken owner you start out with a breed that has 'clean' legs and face. By this I mean to avoid any breeds with feathery legs, beards, muffs, tufts and crests, as these birds require much more thorough and regular care/inspections, as they are more susceptible to becoming infested with mite and lice.
I'm not saying never get them, as they are most wonderful, I am saying to avoid starting off with them, and wait until you have a bit more experience and chicken no how.

So to recap, this book is amazing for both new and even existing chicken keepers looking to find a new breed of bird to keep.
If you are an existing chicken keeping enthusiast, and are not looking to expand or look into a new breed, then this book would probably be of little use.

Hope this helps!

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on 30 January 2010
I bought this book as an introduction to keeping chickens in my garden and was not dissapointed. There is plenty of material for the beginner to read, on setting up a home and caring for thier birds while the section on the different breeds is a fascinating read for the newcomer. With everything in full colour you shouldn't have any trouble in telling a Cuckoo Marans from a Rhode Island Red. Highly reccomended
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on 1 November 2009
As a novice this is a good read and informative but it leaves me with as many questions as the answers if gave me.

Well illustrated and easy to read but far too short.

I would be pleased if the "Mini" were to disappear from the title so that this could be expanded into the encyclopedia it promises to become.
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on 17 April 2012
This is a brilliant little book, Excellent value for money and contains a wealth of useful and informative information. I had looked at more "academic" works for the information I required but this little book told me all I wanted to know and more.If you are thinking of keeping poultry or just wanting to upgrade from the odd laying hen onto fancy breeds, this is the book to start with - you can go onto the others later!
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on 27 October 2010
Part 1 will tell you all you need to know about keeping the different breeds and guidance on which breeds to choose. Found this to be invaluable advice which is not often found in such detail elsewhere.

Part 2 is a comprehensive full colour encyclopedia of more chicken breeds than I have seen in any other book anywhere near this price. To get a more comprehensive list of breeds you would have to buy the British Poultry Standards which costs a small fortune.

The photography throughout is excellent and the style of writing is easy to understand and does not treat the novice as an idiot.

This book would appeal to both experts, who will be delighted by the in depth breed histories, and the novice wondering where to start out. The sort of book you delve into again and again always finding something new.
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on 21 August 2010
If, like me, you are considering keeping chickens then this book is the ideal place to start...
It has an opening section dealing with chicken housing, feeding, health care and everything else you will need to know.However where I found it really useful was in the description of the various breeds and particularly breeds which are ideal for the novice chicken keeper.All breeds are described in great detail and there are also gorgeous photographs of each.This is where the first problem arises as its hard to decide on which breed to choose!There is also a comprehensive section on chicken breeding.
A super book and highly recommended......I think its the Buff Sussex for me!....
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on 30 May 2013
A very comprehensive review of all the different chicken breeds, including any special features specific to the breed, additional needs and also the ease of keeping the breeds which is Important for beginners in poultry keeping. We have had poultry for years but it has opened me up to new breeds some of which we have now got and some which we are considering for the future. Very much enjoyed this book and will be lending it to my friend who is about to get chickens for her back garden.
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