If I said that I didn’t
completely geek out get a little excited when I was given the opportunity to review Amy Fewell’s new book, “The Homesteader’s Natural Chicken Keeping Handbook“, I’d not be being 100% upfront with you.
If you don’t know who Amy Fewell is, let me tell you a little about her. Amy has a blog and a Youtube channel called The Fewell Homestead and she is the founder of the Homesteaders of America. Be sure to go check her out and get to know more about what she does.
I have Amy’s first book. “The Homesteader’s Herbal Companion” and it is an awesome book to have on hand. I knew that if her chicken book was anything like her herb book, it would be fantastic and it did not disappoint.
When the book hit my hands, my kids were wondering what I was so giddy about. When I showed it to them, they were giddy too. In fact, I wasn’t so sure that I’d be the first in the household to get to read it. Kylie (12 years old) is especially fond of chickens and is hoping to have a full blown chicken business one day.
Before I got the chance to thoroughly read the book, Kylie was telling me all of the things she had learned in her time of pouring over it.
Now we get to where I actually got to read it. First of all, I love reading but I’m also a super visual person. This book is full of beautiful pictures and that made me even happier to read it than I already was.
I’ve been keeping chickens for a lot of years now and I have always used natural care. That being said, we are alway learning and pursuing better and more knowledge for what we do on our homestead. All of the valuable info in this book has really blown my mind. I learned so much that I didn’t already know from reading it.
Let’s get to the meaty stuff in the book! Amy touches on everything you can think of when it comes to chicken husbandry.
The Homesteader’s Natural Chicken Keeping Handbook
I love the style of Amy’s writing. She is a wealth of knowledge and teaches you what you need to know but she sprinkles her personal story and experience throughout her books. This really keeps the read interesting, full of life, and very in touch with Amy as she educates.
Getting Started with Chickens
The first two chapters in the book teach you everything you need to know to understand, from the history of chickens, the terms used in chicken keeping, types of chickens, chicken characteristics, to different breeds. I found myself just enthralled learning things that I didn’t know.
Hatching, Purchasing, and Raising Chickens
I think this was Kylie’s favorite part of the book. She loves to hatch or buy baby chicks to raise. We often call her our chicken whisperer (Really, she’s an any animal whisperer). You’ll find all you need to know about choosing fertile eggs, candling eggs, incubating eggs, having a broody hen, purchasing baby chicks, getting them started in a brooder, as well as basic chick care.
Raising a Healthy Flock
Obviously, if you’re raising chickens, you wan them to be healthy. We are huge advocates of using natural means and methods in caring for our chickens. We avoid medicated feeds and antibiotics or pharmaceuticals for problems that arise. In leu of those methods, we choose to use herbs, essential oils, and other natural products that God created for us. Amy talks about the options for healthy feed, what chickens need to eat to be at optimum health, types of coops and housing as well as maintaining cleanliness, troubleshooting and treating common chicken health issues, how to make herbal treats and medicinal products for chickens.
Glorious Egg Layers
I think most people keep chickens for the benefit of getting fresh eggs from them. Chapter 11 breaks down everything you could possibly want to know about egg layers. You’ll learn about laying hens, storing and preserving eggs. There’s just something so fulfilling about looking at the rainbow of eggs we collect from our hens everyday.
The Chicken Business
This was another chapter that really peaked Kylie’s (and mine for that matter) interest. Like I said before, she really wants to start a chicken business and this has given information and inspiration to move towards getting started. There are several options when it comes to chicken business avenues. You can sell the eggs produced by your chickens, raise meat birds and sell the processed chickens to consumers, you can have chicken hatching business, or even sell fertile chicken eggs. This is actually a great source of homestead income and I know many farmer’s who make good money from their chicken businesses.
A Family That Gathers Together
This is huge for us. Having all of our children involved in homesteading is what drives us to do what we do. There’s a bond we form from working together to produce our own food that just cannot be explained. There is nothing like taking young children out to the coop and letting them collect the eggs, they get so excited no matter how many times they’ve done it. Honestly, I get excited every time I collect eggs too. Amy sums up the importance of family involvement in this last chapter to a T. Another awesome thing she does is throw in some delicious recipes utilizing eggs.
Get This Book!
So, seriously, you need this book in your life. I’m not kidding, go get this book and then get yourself a few (dozen?) chickens if you don’t already have a flock. Even if you’re an experienced chicken keeper, there is plenty of information to expand your knowledge about chickens in here.
Here are my thoughts about the book on video:
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