The books books on chickens in history and in your backyard

The Books I Picked & Why

Why Did the Chicken Cross the World?: The Epic Saga of the Bird That Powers Civilization

By Andrew Lawler

Why Did the Chicken Cross the World?: The Epic Saga of the Bird That Powers Civilization

Why this book?

Why Did the Chicken Cross the World? might be the worst title of all time, but it is a wonderfully surprising and fascinating book. There are tasty nuggets here for everyone (sorry/not sorry for the pun). Did you know that Mexicans eat more eggs per capita than any other people in the world? Or how many different slang terms and metaphors there are for chickens through time? (“Biology can’t explain why our favored slang word for the male organ refers to a bird that lacks one.” Ha!) Or that in the mid-nineteenth century, Britain and America were absolutely obsessed with raising exotic “fancy” chickens? And that pound for pound, chicken releases only one-tenth the greenhouse gases of red meat such as hamburgers? Read up on the world’s favorite bird and laugh while you’re at it with Lawler’s book.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Tastes Like Chicken: A History of America's Favorite Bird

By Emelyn Rude

Tastes Like Chicken: A History of America's Favorite Bird

Why this book?

Tastes Like Chicken is a seriously excellent book on the history and culture of chickens in America since its earliest days! The book is fun and well-crafted for a wide audience because it covers so much about the chicken industry, as well as the history, uses, and symbolism of chicken, as well as a wider range of foods in the United States.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Chicken Health Handbook: A Complete Guide to Maximizing Flock Health and Dealing with Disease

By Gail Damerow

The Chicken Health Handbook: A Complete Guide to Maximizing Flock Health and Dealing with Disease

Why this book?

My god, a book about keeping chickens and chicken heath that's actually based on science and experience! (Sorry, there are sooooo many terrible blogs and books and posts out there by people who care just cutting and pasting from other crappy blogs and books.) This is the very best source for everything health-wise on chickens. Check here for the real scoop on adding vinegar to chicken water (why and at what dose), what's up with garlic (neutralize the order of chicken poop, and I promise it won’t flavor your eggs), diatomaceous earth, and thousands of other chicken topics and ailments. As a new chicken keeper, I felt a lot safer keeping my backyard chickens healthy, and diagnosing their issues, with this book on my shelf.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Chicken Chick's Guide to Backyard Chickens: Simple Steps for Healthy, Happy Hens

By Kathy Shae Mormino

The Chicken Chick's Guide to Backyard Chickens: Simple Steps for Healthy, Happy Hens

Why this book?

This is a good, thorough book on chicken keeping that contains quite a bit of information other chicken books lack. I like Mormino's no-nonsense approach: she offers strong words against using all the “woo-woo” herbs, vitamins, and supplements that are hocked on so many other websites. I think she's right in her assessment: people are more open to the woo-woo stuff because (like me) there are so many first-time backyard chicken owners who didn't grow up with chickens AND there's no vet service that takes chickens seriously in my area. So we feel like we're going it alone and want all the help we can get. Mormino emphasizes what's basic and what's proven, and has other good tips besides.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

How to Speak Chicken: Why Your Chickens Do What They Do & Say What They Say

By Melissa Caughey

How to Speak Chicken: Why Your Chickens Do What They Do & Say What They Say

Why this book?

There are an estimated 50 billion chickens to the world’s 7 billion humans, and chickens are the closest living relative to Tyrannosaurus rex, so why wouldn’t you want to learn their language? This is a fun, fast book to read in anticipation of getting your first little flock. The central lesson in the book is that you should spend time with your chickens--watching them, but also listening to them. The book teaches what their core vocalizations mean, therefore also helping you in caring for their needs. I couldn’t wait to have a "chicken name" assigned to me by my laying ladies!


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Closely Related Book Lists

Random Book Lists