Two Featured Farm Books From Acres U.S.A.: Raising Chickens; Preventing Deer Damage1) 'Talking Chicken" by Kelly Klober Everywhere I go people are talking about chickens. And it doesn’t seem to matter who the group is – farmers, gardeners, or foodies. Seems everyone has them, is just started up a flock or is planning to have chickens soon. Just this past weekend, a group of people coming together for a garden party and got to discussing chickens – including what to do with a surprise rooster in the henhouse and who had the most humane termination technique. Raising chickens is no longer confined to a long, low building with masses of white birds never seeing daylight and has come in from the rural areas, firmly gaining hold in suburbia and even making inroads into urban centers. Here in Austin, Texas we just held the 3rd annual Funky Chicken Coop Tour with 20 coops (all but one within city limits) showcasing between 2 and 100 chickens in a diverse collection of breeds including Ameraucana, Buff Orpington, Black Australorp, Barred Rocks, Blue Andalusian, Cuckoo Marans, Speckled Sussex, Silver Gray Dorking, Welsummer and more. All these great heritage breeds are the same ones that Kelly Klober mentions in his new book, Talking Chicken. These bird breeds from our grandparent’s days are the making a comeback on small (even urban) farms. Kelly Klober has been raising chickens all his life, since he was knee-high, helping on his grandfather’s farm collect fresh eggs from the White “English” Leghorns that produced 300 dozen eggs for a weekly egg route in St. Louis County, Missouri. Today, Kelly continues to farm with much love and attention to their heritage poultry flock and is a huge supporter of the diversity and fortitude of yesterday’s poultry breeds – with all their personality and homegrown good meat and egg flavor. Talking Chicken offers Kelly’s valuable insight into heritage breed selection, chick raising, breeding and marketing. Often with quite modest space needs and rather low start-up costs, Kelly offers his practical advice on incubators, designing henhouses, brooders, waterers, toe punching, and which breeds are better suited for different weather conditions, egg production, meat production or for dual-purposes of egg and meat. Here is some of Kelly’s poultry breed selection advice: “The Buff Orpington has both history and name recognition going for it. It does have white skin and shanks and while these are popular on meat birds in Great Britain and the rest of Europe, it is yellow skin and shanks that are the most favored here. The good buff color, the size of the better bred birds in the breed, and their quiet nature make them most attractive to everyone – from those wanting a handful of birds for a backyard flock to those building a modest sized flock for brown egg and roaster sales.” Kelly’s book has cover-to-cover practical poultry advice: “Have your incubator up and running in good working order well in advance of any egg delivery date. You will need a minimum of seventy-two hours of optimum running to assure that the incubator is operating at correct temperature settings. Request that you be sent eggs that have been laid no longer than three days. Yes, eggs up to two-weeks-old will hatch if stored correctly, but after about seven days, the hatching percentages easily start to decline. An older egg age and lengthy shipping time combined are just too big a deterrent to a good hatch.” Talking Chicken, Practical Advice on Heirloom Chickens & Eggs by Kelly Klober; ISBN 978-1-60173-021-3; Softcover, 6” x 9”, 395 pages, black and white photos throughout. $28.00 retail. For more information about this book contact Anne Van Nest firstname.lastname@example.org // www.acresusa.com 512-892-4400 // fax 512-892-4448, P.O. Box 91299, Austin, Texas 78709-1299 2) Preventing Deer Damage by Robert G. Juhre Deer and gardening rarely co-exist peacefully without some form of strong fence or major deterrent. Many people think that they can win the deer war with a half-hearted effort only to be distressed when the deer take a new tactic and the battle begins anew. Robert Juhre offers his practical advice gained from his 50 years of gardening in the worst deer country regions in the country – New York, North Carolina and Washington states. He writes, the more you understand deer habits, the easier it is to choose the best way to deter these marauding browsers. Preventing Deer Damage will help pick the best defensive strategies among the homemade natural products, fences, barriers, mechanical noisemakers, or scent repellents to protect your landscape. Preventing Deer Damage, High-Tech, Low-Tech & Natural Controls by Robert G. Juhre; ISBN 978-1-60173-024-4, Softcover, 6” x 9”, 105 pages, black and white illustrations throughout. $14.95 retail. For more information about this book contact Anne Van Nest email@example.com // www.acresusa.com 512-892-4400 // fax 512-892-4448. P.O. Box 91299, Austin, Texas 78709-1299 About Acres U.S.A., The Voice of Eco-Agriculture: Acres U.S.A. is the publisher for eco-agriculture, with books on natural farming, sustainable agriculture, eco-philosophy, organic growing and healthy living topics. Acres U.S.A. has also published a national trade magazine for 40 years that discusses all sustainable agriculture issues that affect farmers.