Storey's Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds
Carol Ekarius packs an unbelievable amount of information into a beautifully designed book in Storey's Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds. Chickens breeds to swans and everything in between, this book offers breed information, history, gorgeous photographs, and much more. Whether you are considering getting a few hens for the backyard, or you are looking to make your poultry hobby profitable, you will find this book useful.
The 274 pages that comprise Storey's Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds are divided into five chapters:
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Chickens
Chapter 3: Waterfowl
Chapter 4: Turkeys
Chapter 5: Other Birds of Interest
The introduction chapter provides information on "Species, Breed, and Varieties," along with basic genetics and some descriptions of different breeding approaches. Many flock keepers are happy to go along with the same species, breed, and flock for years, but plenty of others realize they love raising poultry and want to expand. The information in Chapter 1 is vital for a person in that stage.
Chapter 2: Chickens is by far the longest chapter in the book, which makes sense because more people keep chickens than any other type of poultry. The chapter is broken up into "Laying Breeds," "Meat Breeds," and "Ornamental Breeds." The breeds in each section are arranged alphabetically making it easy to find what you are looking for.
Each breed description includes at least one fabulous photo, a list of facts about that breed, and a few paragraphs about the history, popularity, or just miscellaneous information. Be warned: if you are undecided about which breed to raise and you are looking to this book to help, expect to want them ALL. The photos alone are enough to make you want just about every breed.
The section on waterfowl is equally appealing as the one on chickens. It begins with an introduction to waterfowl in general, then gets specific with ducks. Again, each breed is illustrated with a gorgeous photo, a list of facts, and text describing details about the origination, popularity, and uses for that type of duck.
After ducks, come geese, and then swans finish out the waterfowl chapter. The chapter on turkeys is a bit different for a few reasons. For one thing, the industrialization of turkeys has caused huge changes in how they are raised, and there are distinct differences between turkeys that are raised for commercial purposes and what are known as heritage turkeys. Ekarius explains all of that, and much more, in the introduction section of Chapter 4.
Each type of turkey is described and illustrated with beautiful photographs. There are "fact boxes" in this section as well, though they are much smaller. For turkeys, the text paragraphs are far more important because Ekarius delves into what you should expect in raising the different types, as well as offering the history and various other tidbits of useful information.
The final chapter, "Other Birds of Interest" gives information on types of poultry that are not as commonly raised as chickens, waterfowl, and turkey. Peafowl, emu, quail, and many more appear in Chapter 5, along with the reasons one might choose to raise those species. The photographs in this section are no less than you would expect based on the rest of the book, and the "fact boxes" are packed full of easy-to-read, handy information.
The last few pages of the book are dedicated to a glossary and several lists of resources, included poultry organizations, hatcheries, online resources, books, and more. From the first page to the last, Storey's Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds is jam-packed with information. Even if you don't raise poultry, it is a worthy volume to own.