Can Organic Chicken Care be learned from a book?
A review by Chuck VanRenterghem
Starting your own backyard flock can be a bit overwhelming. Especially if you have no prior experience with organic chicken care. While preparing to bring home our initial group of layers I found myself experiencing “analysis paralysis” after searching online for ideas. The amount of information was overwhelming, and I felt that many sources were just restating the same basic facts and not providing any information that actually came from successfully raising chickens of their own. I decided to visit my public library and discovered a great little book titled, “The New Rules of the Roost: Organic Care & Feeding for the Family Flock,” written by Robert and Hannah Litt, who have over 25 years of experience raising chickens of their own.
I like that it’s written in a relaxed, conversational style and has an updated layout that is easy to read. There are plenty of helpful photographs, clearly marked sections and several recipes the authors share along the way. The writing style and layout make this a great book for beginners as it provides all the information without being overwhelming or overly technical. It takes the intimidation out of the learning and makes the process fun.
Also, the authors sift through lots of ideas and information but balance it by sharing their own experience and giving their honest recommendation. Because I am a “bottom-line” kind of guy when it comes to finding out what needs done I really liked this approach. Having the authors state the various methods and approaches of chicken care saves a lot of time and additional reading. It’s like having 2-3 books in one!
This book, with a renewed focus on a prevention-based, organic approach to care, is for any chicken keeper, novice to advanced….” – by the authors, Robert & Hannah Litt
Myth or Reality? Are organic chicken care methods really effective?
The recommendations in the book are evidence-based and are often supported by scientific studies as cited by the authors. If a chicken keeping practice was not supported by either scientific evidence or through their own experiences they stated so. Even if it’s one that is a commonly held belief. For example, adding apple cider vinegar to the drinking water of chickens is often prescribed as a natural preventative for a number of conditions. However, the Litt’s are quick to point out they were unable to substantiate this claim. Raising and caring for my chickens using natural and “organic” methods is a priority for me, but I don’t want to waste the time and money on something that hasn’t been proven to be effective, even if it isn’t harmful.
“The New Rules of the Roost” is filled with a comprehensive offering of natural and, mostly, organic chicken keeping practices that can be used to keep your backyard chicken operation clean and healthy. There are sections that address everything from wound care to nutrition, all utilizing an assortment of natural ingredients that include herbs and essential oils. Detailed explanations, recipes and step-by-step instructions are included to make organic chicken care a realistic option for most backyard chicken operations.
No matter if you have raised chickens for years or are only just beginning to plan for your first flock, “The New Rules of the Roost” is a book worth checking out. Especially if you are interested in organic chicken care practices that have been proven in the field and supported by science. Check at your local library to borrow a copy or support your independent bookstore and purchase a copy of your own. The ISBN is: 9781604698664 – but there are also electronic versions available to read or download by searching online or by going to: https://www.workman.com/products/the-new-rules-of-the-roost-1
This book will become part of my reference library and will hopefully result in many years of healthy and happy chickens for me and my family. I wish you all the best in your poultry adventures!