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Poultry Books

We have used all the following poultry books to help us raise and manage our various poultry flocks. Whether you are a backyard poultry hobbyist, a small family homestead or a commercial farm looking to improve your flocks, you'll find ways to meet your goals amongst this collection. All these titles and authors are highly recommended.

One thing to keep in mind as you look through these titles - many poultry books will focus on either layer flocks or broiler (meat bird) flocks.  The feeding, housing, healthcare and other management strategies used for those two different categories are often not the same.  This is primarily due to the lifespan of the birds themselves.  Most layers are kept for at least 18 months, and often for several years.  Broilers, on the other hand, are typically only raised for 6-8 weeks.  So poultry books about layer flocks will emphasize disease management, nutrition for good egg laying, social needs within the flock to minimize stress and optimize cost effective feed conversion and egg production.  Books about broilers, on the other hand, will emphasize cost-effective temporary housing which can be moved frequently.  This allows the young birds to be raised with minimal casualties, as cleanly as possible, as cost-effectively as possible, for best feed gains.  Many books will provide information on both types of birds, and for instance discuss long-term housing issues for layers in one section then short-term tractor housing for broilers in another.  Nevertheless, readers should try to keep in mind whether they are primarily interested in layer flocks or broiler flocks (or truly want to have both forms of poultry production).  By focusing on those different forms of production, the reader can decide which poultry books will provide the most relevant information.

Also along those lines, readers may want to consider the difference between general poultry books, and more specific topic-focus books.  For instance, a number of the books listed below are general introductions to the entire realm of small-scale poultry production.  Those books will have chapters ranging from feed to housing to nest boxes to disease control to meat production to brooders.  Yet other poultry books are very specifically about just one or two topics within the realm of small scale poultry production.  For instance, most general poultry books will provide at least a few pages on housing.  Yet three of the below books, The Chicken Coop Manual, Day Range Poultry and Chicken Tractors, go into great detail about all the different facets for their chosen topic - in this case, poultry housing.  As poultry owners are getting started, the more general books can provide a very nice overview of the entire topic.  Yet the more detailed books can provide many more options, and how-to information, for their relevant subjects.  We have tried to offer a wide range of books, both general and specific, to provide for both needs.

Finally, we are always on the lookout for additional books to add to this list.  If readers are aware of good poultry books which aren't already listed below, please Contact Us with the details and we'd be happy to add that book to our list.  As more folks are getting into poultry, more poultry books are being released all the time.  And in the words of a true book lover, the more poultry books, the better!

The Chicken Coop Manual

NEW!We are very excited to offer a book we wrote and self-published. The Chicken Coop Manual was written for folks just starting out with poultry, who need some guidance about how to build a chicken coop for their particular circumstances. Not all poultry coops are 8x12 shacks. Poultry owners around the country are pushing the boundaries of coop design and appearance to fascinating new places. This book covers 8 conventional designs and 12 of those alternative shelter concepts. The book also discusses various design criteria which every flock owner should consider prior to building, to ensure that their particular coop will meet their particular needs.

We offer this book in three different formats: PDF, Kindle, and print. Please visit The Chicken Coop Manual page for more information. Or simply click the link below for either the Kindle or print formats.

Storey's Guide to Raising Poultry
by Leonard Mercia

This is one of the quintessential guides to raising chickens, waterfowl, turkeys and guineas. Housing, feeding, egg production, meat production, and disease prevention and treatment are all covered. Suitable for those who have never worked with birds before. A very good foundation poultry book.

Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens
by Gail Damerow

Like the book above, this is a Storey guide to raising, managing, feeding and using poultry. But in this case, the book is all about chickens, nothing else. Gail Damerow has been raising and writing about fowl for many years and that experience shines through. I think this was our first chickens book, back in the day when we were in a downtown apartment dreaming of the day we'd finally have a farm. Suitable for beginners, but this poultry book will also provide good reference material for more experienced poultry keepers.

Pastured Poultry Profits
by Joel Salatin

For small family farms and larger commercial operations, this is one of the authoritative books on how to get those birds out on pasture. Cut your costs, boost your flock health, improve your pasture soils and participate in the lucrative pastured poultry and pastured eggs markets, thanks to the information in this book. This is one of Joel's earlier self-published books and the fonts and layout will reflect that. But the information is pure gold. Hundreds, if not thousands, of small scale poultry producers have followed Joel's lead and introduced birds to their operation with profitable results. Even if you don't follow every word of his recommendations, he'll give you a lot to think about and ways to diversify your operation. This is the management method we use for our meat birds and layers during summertime. Very highly recommended.

Day Range Poultry
by Andy Lee and Patricia Foreman

This is another book about kicking birds out of the coop and into the pastures. But Andy and Patricia have a slightly different take on how best to do that. They day range their birds, such that the birds (and farmers) reap all the rewards of pastured poultry without some of the predation risks that come from having birds out at night. Their management methods are slightly different from Joel's as well, with slightly more emphasis on semi-permanent or permanent housing but slightly less day-to-day work. This is the management method we use for our birds in wintertime. Also very highly recommended.

Chicken Tractor - The Permaculture Guide to Happy Hens and Healthy Soils
by Andy Lee

This is the book we started with, when we began putting birds out on pasture.  It has served as the how-to manual for many, many other small flock owners besides us.  One of the interesting things about this book is that, like Pastured Poultry Profits listed above, this book is completely dedicated to the use of field pens for both layers and broilers production.  Yet the specific designs discussed in this book are quite a bit different than in Salatin's book.  Just goes to show there is more than one way to do pastured poultry well.  Highly recommended.

Chicken Health Handbook
by Gail Damerow

This book is dedicated to one very overlooked and under-served topic for small scale poultry production - poultry health and disease control.  Where most poultry books may provide a single chapter covering the most common health issues, Gail's book goes into great depth.  How to keep birds healthy, what causes illness, how to diagnose illness, and how to treat it.  While most experienced poultry owners (including us) have developed our own strategies and treatment methods over time, many of us started with this book.  Without this book, we would have been lost when our first sick bird came along.  For folks just getting started with poultry, it will save them from a lot of frustration.

Egg Production with Urban Chickens
by Amber Richards

This is a relatively new release, and it's different from the other books listed above for two reasons.  First, it caters specifically to urban flock owners, and secondly, it is currently only available in Kindle format.  I have not read this book myself, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it got quite a few good reviews.  I was also pleased to see that it actually covered more than just egg production - it addresses a variety of issues particular to small or micro-flocks in an urban environment.  In other words, it's all about backyard chicken flocks.  It is probably the only book in our list which can lay claim to being entirely for the urban or suburban flock owner.  I intend to read this book soon, if only to acquaint myself with issues relevant to that small-but-growing subset of the poultry owner community.

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The Chicken Coop Manual

We released our very first self-published book. The Chicken Coop Manual in 2014. It is a full color guide to conventional and alternative poultry housing options, including 8 conventional stud construction plans, 12 alternative housing methods, and almost 20 different design features. This book is available on and as a PDF download.  Please visit The Chicken Coop Manual page for more information. 

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Rabbit Colonies: Lessons Learned

We started with rabbits in 2002, and we've been experimenting with colony management ever since.  Fast forward to  2017, when I decided to write another book, this time about colony management.  The book is chock-full of  practical information, and is available from both Amazon and as a PDF download. Please visit the Rabbit Colonies page for more information.

The Pastured Pig Handbook

We are currently working on our next self-published book: The Pastured Pig Handbook.  This particular book addresses a profitable, popular and successful hog management approach which sadly is not yet well documented.  Our handbook, will cover all the various issues involved with pastured hog management, including case studies of numerous current pastured pig operations.  If you have any questions about this book, please Contact Us.