This book jumped out at me on a recent visit to my local library – Chicken Coops for the soul – is an absolutely lovely book. Full of interesting snippets about hens, tied to the story of how she got two hens and a rabbit and what happened next. I’m now after a packing case .. but you’ll have to read the book to know why!
When Julia Hollander agreed to buy her small daughter a rabbit, she had no idea that she would end up with two hens as well. Finding herself at the wrong end of a very steep learning curve, she then had to master the many skills of hen husbandry in short order, from what to feed them to how best to fox-proof a small urban garden.
Chicken Coops for the Soul is a record of the five years of trial and error that ensued, in which Julia charts the joys, challenges and inevitable moments of disappointment thyat face any aspiring poultry keeper. It’s also a compendium of wisdom about the humble chicken that explains, among many other things, which breeds are most productive, why some hens lay double-yolkers, and how we have the Second World War to thank for our ability to tell newly hatched male and female chicks apart. Not to mention a considered discussion of where the first chicken (or egg) came from.
Fascinating and entertaining by turns, this is a book that will prove invaluable to the aspiring keeper and remind chicken aficionados why they became hooked in the first place.