Keeping chickens is a very popular hobby today but it was just as popular in 1918, albeit for different reasons. In the early twentieth century keeping chickens was often a money-making enterprise that anyone with a small amount of land could undertake. However, it is clear from Poultry Keeping that taking care to look after chickens and other poultry properly was vital, whether for profit or pleasure.
Although this Vintage Words of Wisdom title is often amusing and quaint, the advice given is provided by acknowledged experts and it stands the test of time. There are wise words here on keeping chickens clean, well-fed and healthy, with regular reminders that chickens need space and time to scratch and forage for food themselves in order to stay well and productive. This is in a time before battery hens were crowded into tiny cages with no room to stretch their wings or have a dust bath. The authors provide advice on building a chicken coop, detailed menus for feeding chickens through the year and a chapter on the various diseases and ailments of poultry. The authors also provide guidance on the breeds of chickens to buy for different purposes - egg-laying, chickens for eating, showing, etc. - breeding and care of chicks, showing chickens (which was very popular in 1918), the business side of poultry-keeping, as well as advice on keeping other poultry such as ducks, geese, turkeys and guinea fowl (though the authors do not recommend keeping ostriches!).
The illustrations are charming as well as informative, the text is engaging and describes a world in 1918 that is sometimes familiar and at other times very different. From Orpingtons to silkies, Poultry Keeping offers timeless wisdom on raising chickens from egg to adult bird. We heartily recommend this book as an enjoyable and nostalgic read for anyone who has chickens, or who is thinking of keeping chickens as a hobby or as a backyard business.