Review of “The Small-Scale Poultry Flock”

The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers (Paperback)
by Harvey Ussery

Price: $26.93
52 used & new available from $21.00
4.8 out of 5 stars (247 customer reviews)

CONTENTS:

  1. Why Bother?
  2. The Integrated Small-Scale Flock
  3. Your Basic Bird
  4. Planning the Flock
  5. Starting the Flock
  6. Housing
  7. Manure Management in the Poultry House: The Joys of Deep Litter
  8. Watering
  9. Pasturing the Flock
  10. Managing the Pastured Flock Using Electronet
  11. Mobile Shelters
  12. Putting the Flock to Work
  13. Chickens in the Garden
  14. A Question of Balance
  15. Thoughts on Feeding
  16. Purchased Feeds
  17. Making Our Own Feeds
  18. Feeding the Flock from Home Resources
  19. Cultivating Recomposers for Poultry Feed
  20. One Big Happy Family
  21. Protecting the Flock from Predators
  22. Helping the Flock Stay Healthy
  23. Managing the Winter Flock
  24. Other Domestic Fowl
  25. Breeding for Conservation and Breed Improvement
  26. Managing the Breeding Season
  27. Working with Broody Hens
  28. Butchering Poultry
  29. Poultry in the Kitchen
  30. Serving Small Local Markets
My Review:

I LOVE this book! The Small-Scale Poultry Flock is my favorite poultry book. I think it’s worth the price. The other nine books I have read don’t go into nearly as much detail on natural feeding. This book has a short chapter about commercial feeds, a chapter on making your own feed, another on feeding the flock from home resources, and a fourth on growing worms and other “bugs” for them. It contained wonderful color pictures, and the information on natural care and feeding was more comprehensive than any other book I’ve ever seen.

The rest of the book was also excellent. The chapter about housing had several new ideas for me, especially using open-air structures. Another good area was putting the flock to work – tilling, composting, enriching the soil, and more. Those chapters were aimed at chickens, but some areas apply to ducks as well. I completely support his all-natural outlook, and he gives so many wonderful ideas that even the most limited flock owners can find something to do.

One problem is that the author doesn’t have experience with everything and thus leaves out other options in some areas. He only describes the breeds he has raised, and only discusses electronet as fencing. (Electronet doesn’t work in our circumstances.) Also, there is a chapter about deep litter (which certainly has remarkable advantages, but isn’t necessarily the best for every duck owner), but the author doesn’t discuss other options for bedding. However, one advantage to only discussing the option you know is that then the information is true and from personal observation, rather than copied from other sources.

Also, you would need a different book (or this site 🙂 ) to learn all the specifics of raising ducks. The author focuses on chickens, mentions other poultry here and there, and has one chapter devoted to ducks, geese, guineas, and turkeys. Fortunately, most of the information about chickens also applies to ducks.

Nevertheless, because of the all-natural approach, I think The Small-Scale Poultry Flock is definitely worth owning, whether you have chickens or not.