Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Book Review: A Kid's Guide to Keeping Chickens ~ and a Giveaway!

I'm so exciting to share this book!

I have followed the blog, Tilly's Nest, for years. It's a great resource for anyone wanting to enter the world of backyard chickens -  DIY projects, chicken keeping tips and advice, stories and photos of an endearing flock...  The chicken keeper behind the blog is Melissa Caughey. I feel that we're kindred spirits - nurses, gardeners, mothers - and we love our chickens.

In addition to her blog, Melissa contributes to  HGTV Gardens, Community Chickens, Grit Magazine and Country Living Magazine - and now she has written a wonderful book, A Kid's Guide to Keeping Chickens (Storey Publishing).

When my family undertook our first flock of day old chicks, I had no idea what an impact it would make on our daughters. Raising and growing your own food is such a good example to children (actually anyone) on not only where your food comes from, but also how important it is to humanely treat and respect the animals that provide our nourishment.

Here are some of my favorite features of this book:

  • It includes the basics of chicken keeping: the set-up, choosing a breed, how to care for chicks and the flock.
  • It's written for families considering adding backyard chickens to the mix. - Specifically how kids can contribute to the care of the hens, chores around the coop, etc...
  • There are several DIY projects, crafts, recipes.
  • The layout, photos, illustrations and articles are eye catching, creative and easy to read. - Kids of any age will love this book.
  • The book includes interviews from kids on their perspective of chicken keeping - favorite breed, advice they'd give, their favorite part of having backyard chickens, etc...

The interviews with children got me pondering on how my own daughters, Lydia and Grace, would respond to the list of questions. - Here's a few highlights of my own interview with them.
  • What do you love about keeping chickens?
Lydia: I like how they encourage self sufficiency. - Grow your own food!
Grace: Fresh eggs for breakfast and I love seeing them run around the yard!
  • Do you have a favorite breed and why?
Lydia: Buff Orpingtons - because they are so friendly, but I also love Easter Eggers and Silkies.
Grace: Easter Eggers - I love the green eggs (egg shells / not the eggs)!
  • What is your favorite thing about chickens?
Lydia: I think that it is so fun that each hen has its own unique personality.
Grace: They are not just birds or farm animals, they are family pets...
  • Do you have any advice for other kids just getting started?
Lydia: Let them free range and forage if possible. - They are so much happier and healthier if they are free to roam and explore.
Grace: Play with them from the beginning as day old chicks. - They'll be much tamer when they're large hens.

As for the DIY projects that she includes, the "Chicken Fort" is my favorite! As a gardener and mom, I can only imagine the hours of entertainment this project would provide the kids and the flock!

 Storey Publishing - A Kid's Guide to Keeping Chickens
When I give my presentations on "Gardening with Chickens" - through my local Master Gardener chapter - I always have families in the class that have so many questions on the basics of chicken keeping  - and how to involve their children in the adventure. This book will definitely be recommended and added to my list of resources.

Now here's the good part! Storey Publishing is conducting a blog tour promoting the release of this book. Not only did they send me a copy, they are going to send a copy to one of my readers. To enter this contest simply leave a comment below - including your email address - and in 2 weeks (March 24) I'll randomly choose a winner (US residents only). You can increase your chances of winning a book by visiting the blogs listed below. Good luck!

Tuesday, March 10th:
the garden-roof coop - that's me!

Wednesday, March 11th:

Thursday, March 12th:
Iron Oak Farm

Monday, March 16th:
Dandelion House

Tuesday, March 17th:
Louise's Country Closet

Wednesday, March 18th:
Chicken Art

Thursday, March 19th:
The Chicken Chick

Monday, March 23rd
Laughing Crow & Company

My kids - Grace & Lydia ~ Our chicks - day old Buff Orpingtons ♥
Follow Melissa's blog and flock by visiting these links: 

I invite you to follow my Facebook page to see the products available in our Etsy shop, my DIY projects and more photos of my backyard birds (including chickens!). 


  1. This would be a great gift for my son!

  2. my grandkids are begging for a flock. Your book would be very helpful. Looking forward to following your pages.

  3. I know a little boy who loves all things chickens. This book would be a great companion for his chicken experience! Thanks!

  4. What a cool idea! My kids love diy books. This chicken book would be a fabulous addition to their collection.

  5. What a cool idea! My kids love diy books. This chicken book would be a fabulous addition to their collection.

  6. My granddaughter would love to have this book. She has been helping with my(our) chickens and the knowledge that she has retained is remarkable. She has been helping with the chickens since practically birth. I know your book has more knowledge than either one of us has and this would really help her in many ways I would love to win this book and be able to give it to my granddaughter. Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to win this giveaway.

    1. Please notify me jakenhoss@Gmail.com Thank you

  7. FOR SURE going to need a chicken fort this summer! :) fleming.lyndalu@gmail.com

  8. I pre-ordered my copy, got it last week and read it from cover to cover the first day. Now, I want to win one so I don't have to lend my copy out... :)

  9. My daughter Lydia would love this book!

  10. We love our chickens! We have 2: Mrs. Hen and Mrs. Chicken. :)

  11. This looks fabulous!
    ~ Kelsey

  12. How exciting!!! I hope I win as I am eager to introduce chickens to our life!

  13. Wow, this book looks fabulous. My girls and I would really enjoy this book. My email is deeziesunshine@aol.com

  14. I don't keep chickens, but it looks like so much fun! If I was a little younger and had a little more time, I think I would do it. Sounds like a great book!

  15. We recently move outside city limits where we can legally have chickens! My 3year old is helping me finish our garden for spring planting next week, and hopefully chicks will follow soon! nicolelewis.massage@gmail.com

  16. I have this book and love it, would love to win another copy for a homeschooling friend.

  17. This book would help our organization teach at-risk kids how to care for hens! It's a dream of mine to teach the kids we serve how to raise chickens! I have 10 hens at my home and I think there are SO many great lessons kids can learn from raising chickens. My family has even traveled to Central America to build coops for an organization serving needy children and widows. - Andrea Shelton, Atlanta, GA aheartbound@comcast.net

  18. This would be so fun to go through with my son!

  19. My boys love our chickens! thimblenest@gmail.com

  20. Appreciate that you all wrote a book on the subject. In addition to the usual City Mouse and the Country Mouse, there needs to be a Suburb Mouse who is raised somewhere between those two extremes, Much more familiar with domesticated cats and dogs (as well as sharing a neighborhood with all kinds of wild life like skunks, coyotes, and deer to name a few species). I long to raise a couple of chickens. Your blog makes that dream seem much more attainable. Thanks for the giveaway! (aunt_bees@hotmail.com) Bridget from Cali

  21. I appreciated you interviewing your own daughters! Would love to win a copy!

  22. This sounds like a awesome book. We have a family with 4 kidos this would be a great resource and bedtime read. tammy.quinn@gmail.com

  23. I'm hopping over from Tilly's Nest to check out your blog, the book, and the giveaway! Great interview with your girls! My daughter is dying to get chickens (me too!)


    1. p.s. snow pumpkin at gmail dot com (no spaces of course). It's also on my profile, I'm *not* a no-reply blogger!

  24. Thank you for this chance to win this wonderful book. kohler435@msn.com

  25. Would love to have this for my 2 daughters!!

  26. Thanks for the great giveaway. Would love this book for my four year old!
    collins4128 @ yahoo.com.


    1. Congratulations Kim! You're the winner!
      Check your email. :)

  27. Thank you for the great giveaway! I'm so glad I found your blog, I can't wait to look through it! The living roof coop is beautiful! pvortega99@gmail.com

  28. This looks like a fun book to have in by chicken library.
    slrdowney at hotmail dot com

  29. This contest has ended and a winner has been chosen. Thanks for all the comments. - Be sure to follow Tilly's Nest (blog and facebook) for more updates on her flock and book!



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