Sunday, May 20, 2012

Free-Range Chicken Gardens Book Review and Giveaway


Photography by Kate Baldwin

Call me crazy, but I have always wanted to keep a few chickens in my garden. I honestly don't know what it is about them I love, I just do. They strike me as real characters full of personality.

Growing up my family had a typical array of pets: dogs, cats, even a few rabbits. The closest we ever came to chickens was tiny budgie birds. My favourite was a blue and white budgie we called "Snowy". He or perhaps she, we could never figure out how to tell which Snowy was, liked to land on your shoulder and chew on the ends of your hair.

Though I have always wanted to have two or three chickens as pets, my experience with livestock is non-existent. I know absolutely nothing about them and so I have put this ambition of mine to one side for years. Caring for a live animal or bird is not something you would want to mess up! You would definitely want your chickens to be well-fed, clean and cared-for. And of course you need to worry about things like predators. It would be devastating to wake up one morning and find that a raccoon or some other animal had devastated your chicken coop.


Then last month, I was visiting blogs when I came across Kylee Baumle's review of Free-Range Chicken Gardens by Jessi Bloom. I was so excited! It was as if the book had been written just for me. Of course I had to rush out and get a copy. I have been slowly reading it ever since.

The book covers everything nicely; from practical considerations like plants for a chicken friendly garden to food to housing and protection from predators.

Photography by Kate Baldwin

Photography by Kate Baldwin

Take a look at these very posh digs! Already I have started to think about what my own chicken coop might look like.

One of the biggest surprises in the book was to discover that chickens can be trained. Who knew! Not me anyways. Apparently they are quick learners and can be taught basic commands by using food as a reward.

Photography by Kate Baldwin

If, like me, you would love to have a few chickens in your garden, then this is the reference book for you.

This is a short YouTube video about the book.

To thank me for my interest in Free-Range Chicken Gardens, Timber press has kindly agreed to send a copy of the book to one lucky reader. If you would like to be included in the draw for the copy of Free-Range Chicken Gardens, please leave a comment below. If you are too shy to leave a comment, but would still like to be included, please feel free to drop me a line by email and I will be glad to include your name in the draw. 

I will leave the contest open for a full week (until  next Sunday 12am my time) and will do a draw early the following week. 

Many thanks to Timber Press for providing a book for this giveaway. Good luck everyone!

I am going to link this post to Holley's monthly book review party. To discover some other really great gardening themed books, be sure to click the link: Roses and Other Gardening Joys.

About the Author and Photographer:

Jessi Bloom is an award-winning landscape designer whose work emphasizes ecological systems, sustainability and self-sufficiency. She is a certified arborist, as well as a long-time chicken owner with a free-range flock in her own home garden.

Visit the author's website here: nwbloom.com.






Kate Baldwin (right) is a food and lifestyle photographer living in Seattle. 

Find more of her beautiful photography on her website: www.katebaldwinphotography.com







Photo credits this post: All photographs marked with a copyright are by Kate Baldwin and have been used with kind permission from Timber Press.


32 comments:

  1. We've been keeping a few hens for almost 10 years now and would never be without them. Yes, there has been the odd tragedy, such as a visit from a raccoon in broad daylight, and a visit from a neighbour's little boy, who brought his dog with him....but overall it is so very satisfying. The hens are such pleasant little creatures, and the eggs are very welcome!

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  2. Oh y goodness - I would live in that white hen house if I got the chance..! :-D

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  3. I used to love keeping hens they are a great source of amusement and also somewhere to get rid of all your old weeds and garden leftovers etc. Unfortunately where we live is full of foxes and the poor hens don't stand a chance so I gave up.

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  4. How timely! My husband, recently retired, has fond memories from his childhood of relatives who kept chickens. Never underestimate the power of fond childhood memories, for now he is talking about us possibly raising chickens! Oh course we personally have zero experience. If I don't win the book, I will have to buy it!

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  5. OH!!!! COUNT ME IN!!!! I'm toying/thinking/dreaming with the idea of getting a few chickens - am even calling the town to see if it's doable right here in the middle of town. Love the little a-frame coop. Now that's definitely something one could easily do.

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  6. I have often thought of keeping just a few chickens. Fresh eggs every morning sounds so tempting! But I'm not sure I'm ready yet to plunge into chicken keeping. However, this book sounds like just the book to have if/when I'm ever ready! That white chicken house is beautiful - the red house above it is more my style. Thanks so much for joining in. Your giveaways are great!

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  7. What a neat idea!
    I've always wanted ducks in our pond, and thought about bringing them in, but we also have coyotes at night, so I thought better of it. :-(

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  8. Oh yes! Count me in on your book give away. We have 4 chickens already and this is one of those books that I'm eager to read. Thanks for the wonderful book review and scrumptious photos.
    P.S. If you get chickens, just get two or three. It's a lot of work but also a lot of fun. David/:0)

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  9. Growing up we had chickens and I've always wanted a few of my own. The book is just what I need to get started. Love your blog and photos.

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  10. Jennifer, thanks so much for the mention! I LOVE this book and Jessi's pretty awesome herself. Of course, don't enter me in the giveaway, but I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate that you were inspired to buy the book from my review. I LOVE my chickens and I really hope you get some of your own! :-)

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  11. I've heard of this book & would love to read it!Though I don't have chickens I 'share' my neighbor's beautiful flock. Thank you & thanks to Timber Press!

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  12. Don't count me in the drawing for the book thank you but I do want to let your readers know what a GREAT person Jessie is as well as an excellent writer and speaker. I'm so pleased that you did this review for her. Personally I have enough wildlife and neighborhood pets to fulfill any livestock keeping cravings I might once have had. Plus my best friend locked me in a hen house when I was 5 - long story!!

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  13. I would love to have chickens but it's against the HOA rules for my neighborhood. Plus, the chickens would probably beat up my dogs. :o) Don't put me in the drawing. But, jeez, I really want chickens someday!!

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  14. Jennifer, I didn't know that the chicken could be trained, too. I thought they are unteachable, can only dig the soil! Successes!

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  15. Get some chickens! I started keeping them a few weeks ago and they are quirky and funny and really make the garden come alive!

    Beware though, chicken-keeping is highly addictive.... you will want more!

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  16. My friend keeps chickens. The first time I saw them one of her dachshunds was chasing one in the garden. Alarmed, I pointed this out to her. It turned out they were playing, and next thing the chase went the other way, with the chicken running after the dog!

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  17. I saw many homes where chickens were reared in my childhood days. Now since I am living in a big city, this is a rare sight.
    So glad to see the pictures.
    I really love small chicks in white and yellow color, my parents once bought them before handing them over to a person having a chicken farm. They are so cute !
    love,
    Sanghamitra

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  18. I love the thought of chickens too, but sadly, doubt they are compatible with my two canine terrors. There was an unfortunate 'incident' when I visited friends with chickens. We did rescue the poor bird in question, and they reassured me it had made a full recovery when I enquired later, but I have since come to realise they didn't actually look me in the eye when they gave that assurance, and, some time later, I suspect they were just sparing my feelings.

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  19. Good luck with your chickens, we used to keep them when we lived in the UK and there is nothing like your own fresh eggs.

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  20. I have had a chicken keeping fantasy for a long time, eventhough we live in a suburban neighborhood. Our city is easing up on its restrictions now so perhaps it will become a reality. I love the pictures of those chicken coops! Thanks for a great book review!

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  21. I love that first picture of the chicken - such personality! I've been dreaming about adding chickens to my garden for a while, but am still on the fence. Not sure how much work it's going to be... Looks like a great book, thanks for the review.

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  22. The photos are great! I don't have any experience with chickens, but I once taught a friend's cat to sit before playing fetch with her. She already knew how to fetch. :)

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  23. Please count me in! Thanks for the offer!

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  24. That chicken photo made me smile and I think that is what I can generally say about chickens. I share your chicken love and enthusiasm! I too wish I could keep them now as I had chickens and ducks as a kid.

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  25. Our family had a budgie too when I was a child , Pixie was the name... Go for the chickens think you would enjoy them and the eggs are so good we had them for several years...... well worth the work...

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  26. Love that first shot of the chicken - what attitude! Would love to raise them, but I live in a town home and don't have my own yard.

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  27. I have had my first chickens for almost a year. I have six older girls and 4 little girls (almost 3 months old). It has been work, but well worth it. The eggs are wonderful. Just watching them and getting to know them is priceless! Hope you can get some! I love your garden!

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  28. Jennifer girl I have been so busy in my own garden I haven't been here in a while but wow ! (I have to comment on the above post too because those colours are outstanding girl !) .. chickens in your garden .. or a separate garden and enclosure for chickens and get a load of those posh digs is too right !
    I think there is something to thinking if you have chickens in a garden it must be homey and healthy .. chickens eat bugs too don't they ? .. I am not totally sure about what chickens do other than lay eggs, which is great .. but how they spend their time otherwise I have no clue ! So a book to teach me about chickens would be a good thing ! LOL
    Joy

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  29. What gorgeous photos! I have five hens that I adore, and I would love to have this book!

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  30. What gorgeous photos! I have five hens that I adore, and I would love to have this book!

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  31. We jumped on the backyard chicken wagon three years ago and have never looked back. We're currently raising our 2nd set of three chicks. We hadn't any experience with farm animals either but did a lot of research and found out most of what we needed to know. Our three original hens are still healthy, happy, and laying eggs.

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