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Thursday, September 04, 2014

Raising Chickens

If you're a do-it-yourself type of person, you might want to consider raising chickens for show, for eggs, for meat, or just for the pleasure of their company. (Don't laugh, I know some people who are quite attached to their backyard poultry.)

If you're interested in showing them, you may want to pick a heritage breed such as the ones found in a book new to our collection, An Introduction to Heritage Breeds: Saving and Raising Rare-Breed Livestock and Poultry by The Livestock Conservancy and D. Phillip Sponenberg [338.162 SPO]. The introduction to the book explains the reasoning behind raising heritage breed animals. Here's an interesting passage:
Over the entire globe, human communities in a wide variety of environments tested, molded, and perfected thousands of breeds of chickens, goats, sheep, cattle, horses, and other traditional farm animals. This long history of partnership between animals and people often goes even deeper: many heritage breed also reflect the cultural approaches to survival of various ethnic groups, specifically the different ways in which each group adapted to and used its environment.
This passage puts the raising of animals into a cultural context that is both fascinating, and important to remember as we think about the future. You can learn more on The Livestock Conservancy's website.

I love the colorful names of some of the heritage chicken breeds: Buckeye, Buttercup, Cubalaya, Dorking, Java, New Hampshire, Redcap, Shamo, Yokohama.

If you want to try your hand, you can start by reading, and then moving on to the building of a shelter and providing for the animals. Manuals such as Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens: Care, Feeding, Facilities by Gail Damerow [636.5 DAM] can be found on our nonfiction shelves.

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