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. Hi, I have 2 chickens two and a half years old. I have not had eggs from them for the last two months. They are healthy, have grit and are happy. I do get sometimes an egg without a shell. Can you help.

    Val Loder

    • It is a common problem. They will stop laying from time to time and don’t lay as much as they get older either. They should come back into lay when they are ready, providing they have the correct diet and are healthy.

  2. This is a great web-site, and I have learnt loads thank you. I have had 8 ex-batts for 3 weeks now, and they have settled in really well, and I can’t believe how individual they are! However, this morning under the perch in the sleeping quarters was a soft egg. I give them oyster shell in their feed, maybe I should keep a supply in the run for them to help themselves to? Also I was concerned that it wasn’t in the nest-box, apart from the first couple of days when there were eggs in the run, they have been laying in the nest box. Is this something that happens from time to time?

    • Yes, you’ll get the odd soft egg, especially from high production hens like ex-batts. It’s nothing to worry about.

  3. Hi there, couple of things, My chickens wont lay in the next box and i dont know hot to encourage them to, or if i should leave them where they do?
    Also the oldest of my bantums was laying and now has gone broody, i’ve tried taking her out of coop regularly, check she isnt sitting on anyone elses eggs, but she still not laying, do i get her some eggs to hatch or do i persiver with what i’m doing?
    Thanks in anticipation

    • Make nest boxes dark and place dummy eggs in there. This should encourage them to lay there. For broody hens, you can use a dog crate without the bottom on a cold floor (garage?). Provide food and water but no nesting material or paper. Pop her back in the coop at night. After a few days she should be fixed!

  4. Hello, I wonder if you have any advice on a broody chicken, we have had six hens since april this year (we had them from 16weeks old) we have all different breeds, oneof them is a speckled hen and she go’s broody regular as clockwork once every month for a anything up to 5-6 days. we put her in a dog crate untill she snaps out of it. we were told that it is triggered by warm weather so we were hoping that now the weather is turning colder that would be the last of it untill next summer, but she went broody again yesterday near enough 30 days after the last time. she is the only chicken we have that does it. is this just a common occurance for this breed of hen? or just one of those things, will she stop being broody in the winter. any tips and advice most appreciated.
    thanks again for a superb website.


    • That does seem a little excessive. Most good broodies will go broody 3 or 4 times in a year.

      Most will stop this over the darker winter nights. Other than putting her in the sin bin as you are doing, I am afraid there isn’t much else I can suggest.

    • Probably not. Most breeds can’t get off the ground but Mediterranean breeds can fly quite well. Leghorns for example. I would see how you get on first. Remember if you do that you should only clip one side to unbalance them and only when the feathers are fully grown. The quills must not have any blood in them.

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