The Chicken Chick’s Guide to Backyard Chickens: Simple Steps for Healthy, Happy Hens Paperback — October 1, 2017 By Shea Mormino, Kathy (Author)
Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Got Chickens
In the hope of sparing some growing pains for those about to embark on chicken keeping, I asked my Facebook fans to help compile a list of things we wish we had known before getting our first chickens.
(1) Do your homework chickens are a commitment. They can live 8, 10, 15 years or longer.
(2) Don’t assume that it’s legal just because others in the neighborhood are doing it. Research permit requirements, flock limits, and rooster restrictions.
(3) Don’t be afraid to petition the local government to change the law.
(4) A hen does not necessarily lay an egg every day. Many factors play a role in this — some you can influence, others . . . not so much.
(5) When purchasing female chicks, remember that vent sexing (see in chapter 5) is only 90 percent accurate. Have a plan for roosters that cannot be kept.
(6) Do it right the first time — don’t cut corners.
(7) Coop placement is important — shade in summer, dry location in rainy climates.
(8) ‘People-friendly’ coops and runs are easier to clean and maintain.
(9) Install removable roosts and droppings boards for easier cleaning.
(10) Their habitat will never be complete.
(11) Buy or build a bigger coop than you think you need. Chicken math is real.
(12) Buy from a reputable, National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP)–certified breeder or hatchery — not an auction or swap.
(13) Chicken wire is not predator-proof — use hardware cloth.
(14) A hen’s most productive egg-laying years are her first two. After that, production declines.
(15) Chicken scratch is not chicken feed.
(16) Chickens will take dust baths in the location you least want them to.
(17) Do not underestimate how much you will love them and how much they will change your life. You may wish you had gotten chickens years ago.
(18) And a personal favorite, from Tiffany M.: ‘Make sure they are signed up for The Chicken Chick’s blog and ‘like’ her on Facebook.’
“Kathy’s Chicken Chick blog is one of the few consistently reliable online sources of information on all things chicken. Her book does not disappoint.”
— Bestselling poultry author Gail Damerow
Kathy provides excellent information in a well-organized format about how to maintain the health of chickens and care for them properly. As a chicken owner myself, her book enlightened me on husbandry practices that I will incorporate into my flock. I am thrilled to have this comprehensive guide to pet chickens as a resource and will recommend it to all of my poultry clients.
— Forrest I. Townsend, III, DVM, DACVS
I’ve known and worked with Kathy since 2012, and am very pleased finally to see a backyard chicken book written by someone so knowledgeable and dedicated to spreading real facts that dispel many of the rumors surrounding backyard chicken keeping. You are holding a well-written and reliably fact-checked book — an invaluable addition to your bookshelf!
— Mike Petrik, DVM, MsC, aka “Mike, The Chicken Vet”
The Chicken Chick Facebook page and blog are meccas of chicken-keeping knowledge and first-hand expertise. Kathy’s book continues in that same spirit. Grab a pen as you read, because you’ll want to underline and dog-ear constantly. Newbies and seasoned poultry owners will learn something new and invaluable on nearly every page, from fun tips to advice that may literally save a bird’s life. A must-own for poultry owners and anyone looking to start this incredibly rewarding hobby.
— Brettan Hawkins, Social Media Manager, Tractor Supply Company
As a large-scale provider of poultry, we understand how overwhelming it can be to get started and continue raising healthy chickens. The Chicken Chick blog has always been a rock-steady source of reliable, information for raising healthy backyard chickens in a friendly, approachable way. Kathy now offers the same common-sense, practical approach to the care and keeping of chickens in her new book, which guides chicken keepers through everything they need to know to raise healthy chickens. We highly recommend this book to chicken keepers of all experience levels.
— Jeff Smith, Cackle Hatchery
Kathy Shea Mormino has written a practical, common-sense, easy-to-read book for both the first-time and experienced backyard chicken fancier.
— Michael Darre, PhD, Professor of Poultry Science, University of Connecticut
About the Author
Kathy Shea Mormino’s background as a litigation attorney combined with the street-cred she has garnered from sharing personal chickening successes, failures, and gaffes in real-time online makes her relatable, trustworthy advisor readers depend on to deliver the straight dope on all things related to backyard chicken keeping. Having spent years in litigation publicly fighting politicians for the right to keep backyard chickens, Mormino has consistently put her money where her mouth is, educating lawmakers and changing zoning regulations proving that animal welfare and the right to keep chickens responsibly is foremost on her agenda.
In addition to being a brand ambassador for Tractor Supply Company, Purina Poultry, Standlee Premium Western Forage, Vetericyn, and Sloggers, she is a contributor to Hobby Farms Chickens magazine, as well as online blogs by Mother Earth News and Grit magazines. Kathy has become the trusted voice in backyard chicken-keeping, frequently sought out by media outlets and publications, including The Wall Street Journal, LA Times, and Associated Press, for her perspective on chickens She appears on local and national television, radio, and podcasts, and is featured on Discovery’s Destination America reality show Coop Dreams, as well as P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home.
Kathy lives in Connecticut with her husband and daughters Sophia and MaryKate where she is a beekeeper, the personal assistant to 50+ chickens, tens of thousands of honey bees, a Netherland Dwarf bunny, and a Yorkie with cattitude.
— She’s keeping it real . . . with chickens.