Further Reading

If you start keeping chickens, then, as well as reading about them on the internet, I would also suggest you  get a good general book on chickens to learn more and use as a reference as you go along. I would also recommend you get a good book on Chickens’ Health which can pay for itself many times over when things go wrong (and they frequently do!).

If you are a beginner looking to keep chickens then my recommendation would be Anne Perdeaux’s excellent “A Family Guide To Keeping Chickens: How to choose and care for your first chickens” This is a very practical book that is ideal for the complete beginner.

Family Guide to Keeping Chickens Book

Another book I can recommend as a beginners / intermediate book is the Haynes Chicken Manual written by Laurence Beeken.

Two books I recommend

I wouldn’t be without The Haynes Chicken Manual and Diseases of Free Range Poultry.

It covers just about everything you could ever possibly need to know including some more advanced topics on hatching, and showing chickens.

For chickens health, there is still really only one book to consider and that is Victoria Roberts ‘Diseases of Free Range Poultry’ which is written by a vet from the UK.

The other books I have read have either been very expensive and technical, or aimed at the American market (such as the Chicken Health Handbook).



  1. Madam, great site and congratulations on it! Quick question, you mention that chickens may start moulting and not laying eggs from now until spring. I am new to chicken keeping and have just got three lovely hens. How will I know what is the natural moulting cycle and when is it; as compared to if they are sick? I am worried that the stress of the change of environment to thier new home may have an impact. Thank you.

    • If your hens are moulting, they will look scruffy and have missing feathers. There will be feathers all over the place too in their run. They usually don’t moult in their first year so if your hens are young, you probably won’t see this happen this year.

  2. Thank you for your reply. I have another quick question. I am going to get some Sebright Bantams. I am told that if I put them in with my normal size chickens, they will be bullied, so I am getting another run for them. If I put the runs so they are seeing each other, would they get on better when mixing in the garden? Thanks again in anticipation.

    • If you give hens enough space and have enough feeders around, they should be able to find their own area without being bullied. If you coop them all up together in a small run, you’re sure to have problems. If they live in separate runs, there will be a different pecking order in each – so mixing them may cause some bullying so just keep a watchful eye.

  3. Thanks again. One of my new hens laid an egg on it’s first day, but did not lay one today. It’s bottom is twitching and tail is low, does it mean it is egg bound? Has the recent re-house to my coop stressed it and made it egg bound? Anything I can do?
    Last question! Promise!

    • It’s unlikely to be egg bound – but you’d need to feel if there was an egg there and see whether she was constantly going to the nestbox and straining. They often get a penguin stance.

  4. The chicken I was worried about today laid an egg, the like of which I have never seen. It is like a Cadbury Mini egg. A small version of an egg, bascially. It looks a little sick to me, would you know what is wrong? Thank you,

  5. Please could you help me I am thinking of getting six chickens and have them just for egg laying, but do i also need a cockerel? I am doing loads of research before I commit myself to having chickens.

    • No, you don’t need a cock bird for chickens to lay eggs. Only if you want fertile eggs for hatching.

  6. hi there i have a problem with my cockeral…. he keeps attacking 2 of my hens (i have 4 hens).. is this normal…. ive had them 8 months and its only started a couple of days ago….my wife keeps telling me to neck him….is this normal or have i got to sort it as the wife says…

    • They can sometimes squabble if they feel threatened within the pecking order. I would give him a few weeks to settle, if not…

  7. Hi thanks for the great site, it has inspired us to get chickens,we now have three lovely girls but i do have one question.
    What is the best way to get the chickens into their house at night or do I have to entertain both my family and my next door neighbours every night by getting into the run with them and physically putting them in, any ideas would be welcome.

    • Put them in for a few nights, or keep them in the house for a couple of nights and they will soon learn where to roost. After this, they will go back to the coop every night and you won’t have to entertain the neighbours any more 😉

  8. I have 4 hens all different they are now about 20-21 weeks old and have been laying poulet size eggs for abot 3 weeks now. Except 1 my Speckledy, she laid between 8-9
    double yokes in the first 2 weeks of laying. My problem is for the past 3 mornings 1 has been laying a soft shell egg very early before they are let out. Consequently they all have a peck at these shell-less eggs. Initialy I thought it may be the Speckle but yesterday morning after they had been let out they laid 4 perfect poulet sized eggs inspite of having the soft shell in early morning. They all appear healthy and get plenty of grit. Should I be overly concerned?

    • No, unless it becomes a long term problem, don’t worry. It is usually a passing problem in hens coming into lay or finishing laying, especially high production hybrid hens.

  9. hi i have had 3 hens for about 2 years now all seemed well untill about a month ago when the egg supply stopped but i have been finding what looks like yoke in the coop and the run does this mean they are eating the eggs and if so is there a way to stop them was thinking about getting some more hens as we have increased size of run but worried that they would have their eggs eaten or start the same practice themselves any advice would be great havent found any shell remains

    • Yes it sounds like they are egg eating although they normally leave most of the shell. Check their diet (feeding page has some tips), check nest boxes for red mite and then darken nest boxes by nailing an old feed sack over the top half of it. Place dummy eggs in the box (or golf balls) to encourage laying in the nest box. Once they are regularly laying in the nest box, collect eggs regularly. If you still have problems, you can scatter golf balls / ping pong balls or dummy eggs around the floor of the coop so the egg eaters will try to peck them and fail and eventually get board.

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