Harvey 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.
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Ussery keeps 24 layers and raises another 48 to 72 broilers
every year on an acre of pasture. He also experiments with a
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
soldier flies for his chickens previously, and you can read many
of his original articles on his
The 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.