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The Small-Scale Poultry Flock

The Small-scale Poultry FlockHarvey Ussery's The Small-Scale Poultry Flock is the number one homesteading related book to read this year.  I know, I know --- Joel Salatin put out his first non-self-published book, The Dirty Life promises to reach beyond the usual homesteading readership, and Sepp Holzer has finally published a book about his methods in English, all in 2011.  But for the backyard homesteader itching to turn her farm into a permaculture masterpiece, Harvey Ussery's book has those bestsellers beat hands-down.

Ussery keeps 24 layers and raises another 48 to 72 broilers every year on an acre of pasture.  He also experiments with a couple of dozen waterfowl every year.  Although this sounds like a lot of birds, it's well within the average homesteader's grasp and makes his experiences much more relevant than any information you can find about Joel Salatin's commercial poultry operation.

I've been poring over Ussery's articles for years in Backyard Poultry Magazine and Mother Earth News.  In fact, his articles are often the only ones worth reading since they always introduce new ideas rather than rehashing the same old information you read in previous issues.  I've posted about the way he raises worms and black soldier flies for his chickens previously, and you can read many of his original articles on his website.

Appleyard DuckThe Small-Scale Poultry Flock takes those articles and expands them into a reference guide that will suit anyone from the raw beginner to the advanced chicken-keeper.  In addition to basic information on chicken care, you can learn about backyard breeding, raising chicks with a broody hen, innovative feeding techniques, and much more.  I'm going to highlight some of his most interesting tips in later posts, but if you have a spare weekend, I highly recommend you get the book and read it from cover to cover.  I guarantee it'll change the way you integrate your flock into the homestead.

Our chicken waterer makes the backyard flock even easier to care for.

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