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Chelsea Green Blog

Reader Reviews: The Small-Scale Poultry Flock

Harvey Ussery’s new book The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers has been out for five months, and homesteader-bloggers are loving it.

Each week we’re hearing more from folks who have learned useful tips from Harvey to improve their flocks, feed them sustainably, house them comfortably, and use them as part of a whole-farm system of cooperating creatures.

Here’s a handful of snippets from recent posts.

From Care2:

If Harvey Ussery were stranded on a desert island and could bring only one thing, he would bring a flock of chickens.

“They would feed themselves by foraging over the island, keep me supplied with eggs, one of the most perfect foods,” says the Virginia homesteader and author of The Small-Scale Poultry Flock. “In the process, they would continually improve my island’s soil by working in plant covers and their droppings, increasing its productivity for whatever food crops I was able to grow. Hens who went broody would hatch out chicks to renew the flock each year.”

From Simple Green Living:

“In Part One, Getting Started, the first chapter is called “Why Bother?” and it proceeds to give a full answer, from the amount of joy they can bring you, to the contribution your own chickens and eggs bring to your ability to eat better, to the horrors of commercial chicken raising and the related food safety issues, including the  massive amounts of antibiotics and arsenic that commercial chicken raisers feed. He adds in Peak Oil and financial meltdown as further good reasons for raising your own chickens….Reading The Small Scale Poultry Flock  is like having an extended series of conversations with your favorite uncle who happens to know darn near everything about chickens!”

From Temperate Climate Permaculture:

“This is hands-down the best book on raising chickens (and other poultry) that I have read… and I have read a lot. …While not using the word “permaculture” very much, this book is all about modeling the natural biological systems of chickens to produce healthy eggs and meat in a stress-free environment.  Using the principles outlined in this book, we can almost eliminate all harmful chemicals, unnatural activities, and poor health from our home poultry flock.  These principles can and have been expanded to large, commercial-sized flocks as well.

I cannot recommend this book enough.  If you plan on having chickens or waterfowl at your home, homestead, or farm, then I feel that this book is a must have.”

From Milkweed Diaries:

“Ussery’s book is thorough, detailed, funny, smart, and grounded in immense respect and care for the animals that he’s describing….It reminded me that we are not really being honest with ourselves if we think we can have eggs without chickens dying. Chicken lovers ordering day-old chicks from hatcheries are either contributing to male chicks being killed at the hatchery (if ordering pullets only) or will have some extra roosters to deal with down the line (if ordering “straight run” or unsexed chicks). In terms of true sustainability with farm and homestead systems, the issue of culling has to be addressed. We can either outsource it, which is what we’re doing if we buy female chicks from a hatchery, or we can be responsible for it ourselves.”

Thanks, bloggers!


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