Review: The Chicken Keeper’s Problem Solver

Chicken Keeper's Problem SolverEven a cursory examination of my social media hints at the fact I adopt ex-battery hens. Which means I’m constantly on the lookout for information on how to best care for them.

That’s both in terms of providing them with the best quality of life, heading off potential illnesses and issues, and giving them the best medical support if and when they fall ill.

A friend and fellow writer and editor Clare found Chris Graham’s The Chicken Keeper’s Problem Solver recently. She sent me one of those random awesome texts you get where it’s a picture of a book you might be interested in.

Obvs I completely was, so I promptly ordered a copy of it.

(As a side note, I discovered Graham has a 500-issue version entitled Wisdom for Hen Keepers: 500 Tips for Keeping Chickens if you’re after a slightly more robust version. Given that it talks about showing and breeding chickens, it’s the antithesis of what I need, but I’m flagging it here just in case it’s of interest to anyone else.)

Identifying and explaining 100 of the most common chicken problems, The Chicken Keeper’s Problem Solver book is a fantastic reference, and its communication design is to be applauded.

Divided into 10 sections that include Food and Water, Housing, Parasites, Health Issues, and Behavioural Problems, with roughly 10 questions in each, the book is logical, functional, and designed to be scanned quickly.

Wisdom for Hen KeepersEach question is posed as you would think of it: My hens have gone off their regular feed; My hens seem bored; One of my hens has a swollen, hard lower neck; I can’t catch my chickens. They’re all for real, including the latter one, with which I have had personal experience.

Squeaker, one of the current battery hens I look after, is absolutely tiny and arrived with nary a feather on her. But she’s also the Speedy Gonzalez of chickens, which is probably what helped her survive to date. She’s had me running around my backyard with Benny Hill music playing in my head.

Thankfully, she’s a little more trusting of me now and applies her speed mostly to moments when she’s trying to scoot in the door to snarfoo some of the dog’s food.

Anyway, each of the questions is summarised and then explained in greater depth. All are in lay terms and all are accompanied by strong images, call-out boxes with handy hints, and—as I discovered on a second read—fab illustrations that often sit subtly behind or near the text.

So if you are fortunate enough to have chickens in your life—ex-battery hens or other varieties alike—I’d suggest this book is a handy go-to troubleshooter.

It’s written for the northern hemisphere, so I’d love to see a southern hemisphere version (*cough* *hint*), but there’s still enough in there to make it suitably applicable here.

It’s definitely one of the books I’ll be recommending slash loaning out slash gifting to other people kept by chickens (because frankly, I think it’s the chickens who are doing the keeping, not so much us).