Book review: Keep Chickens!

Keep Chickens!

Tending small flocks in cities, suburbs, and other small spaces

by Barbara Kilarski

This book originally caught my attention as I have always wondered whether I could keep chickens in my back garden at home. The answer to this would seem quite clearly to be no, as my garden is about 10 metres square, and is already inhabited by a shed, a bbq, a table and chairs, a raised bed and a gigantic bay tree, not to mention a load of rose bushes. But worth a read anyway I thought, just to check.

Barbara Kilarski is very enthusiastic about domestic chicken keeping. You can tell by the exclamation mark in the title. Her well researched and thorough tips on choosing a chicken, coop design and chicken care are peppered with stories about her own flock, whom she refers to collectively

as ‘the Girls’. There are plenty of anecdotes about the antics of Whoopee, Zsa Zsa and Lucy throughout. There are some full colour pages of various breeds of chicken at the back of the book, along with some egg recipes in case you find yourself with a surplus. Illustrations are chosen from a 1940’s title called Poultry Tribune, which I think would be worth a read in itself.

This is a must read if you’re considering keeping chickens in the future, and particularly if you’re going to be building a home made coop. It has some great advice about all aspects of coop design, from nest boxes and roosts to vermin control.

The only downside to this book is that it is written from an American perspective, so some of the sections on ‘chickens and the law’ may not be relevant to non US readers.