The definition of a chicken tractor is some what simple and straight forward, it's a mobile house for chickens that gets moved around our garden, in our field, wherever we need our soils to be mineralized and fertilized, lightly tilled, and pest freed. Is it only this? no, it is a way to have healthy hens for eggs, or roosters and chickens for meat. Its a way of stacking functions. We all know a lot about chicken tractors. But what the authors have done in this book is to condense all their knowledge on this subject, and not only, to take the reader down the path of abundance. This book is a classic that from 1994 has still a lot to teach us. Expanded, updated and even more detailed, many photos and diagrams make important information visual and easy to understand.
This hands-on book is a best seller, that has helped thousands have better gardens and rediscover the importance of keeping a flock in our backyard or homestead. Has this book finished teaching us important information? no, its not outdated its still well on of the good reads on this subject.
When I received this book I was thrilled to think of an entire book on chicken tractors and the systems that are based on this simple idea. Yeah maybe I’m strange I can get thrilled by some strange stuff. We all know what a chicken tractor is and have our ideas on how to build one. But having someone share years of experience on this subject is awesome. Reading it I found out it was not only about chicken tractors but much more.
Is this the ultimate read on the subject? no, is there ever a book that we can, or should, treat as a truthteller guess not. Searching around I found many titles, there Anne Hess's books, but the title of this one just convinced me. I was sort of in doubt about the book because no one spoke of it, or had reviewed it. That’s probably one of the reasons I brought it, I wanted to understand why, a book on specific systems part of a permaculture design was sort of forgotten. It has been published quite a few years ago in 1994, but does this mean its outdated? no absolutely, I found the read great, complete and I guess many of us should give it a try.
Have we kept chickens or not the book is a great collection of ideas and experiences. Is it only about chicken tractors? No way, you pass from the chicken tractor systems, to read of soil fertility, garden organization, from farm to backyard, and then practical tips.
The book gives the reader count of seven different chicken tractor systems, depending on what your possiblities are, your desires, and the land you have. Then one passes to the straw bale chicken house (I loved the idea) that can be attached to the tractors as a fixed solution in some moments. We pass then to a long section on soil building with chicken tractors, and then on to how to market your eggs and meat, and build your poultry processing system, and use it.
The authors share their experience built in over thirty years by the time they were writing, and really take the reader down a clear path. Once you finish reading you really have some clear ideas of what to expect from your chicken project.
We're not speaking of Joel Salatins scale projects, the authors show the reader how to start as a part time job and eventually scale up. The authors do the numbers, they show what to expect when one starts with a small flock of birds, and how to cover the expenses of the meat or eggs we eat by selling some of the products we will gain. Of course the numbers have to be redone for today’s costs and prices but their logic is still strong.
There is the chapter on step by step chicken tractor building and the variations for turkeys or guinea fowl.
They recall the breeds and what we should expect from the commercial selected breeds and the old nearly lost ones that were bred in the family farms up to a few years ago.
While reading the book I crossed Justin Rhodes notes on his filming sessions for Permaculture chickens, the film should be out in autumn, well who did he go to interview? Pat Foreman one of the two authors. Sounds like she’s really serious about chickens if after twenty years from the publishing of this book she’s still a top speaker for the Permaculture chickens project. That told me I was on the right path reading this book.
This is going to go in my classics shelf by all right. I think it is a very nice and simple read that takes you down a path of great knowledge. Seen the year in which it was published I would guess quite a few of our teachers must have crossed paths with this title. I think it time to give its place and if you’ve got copies of it take out, blow the dust from it and pass it on to youngers guys and gals we need knowledge, and you got to share the one in this book.
To be honest I've read this book twice and I never really noticed that it has permaculture in the title. Don't know why. My brother had this book and gifted it to me when he moved out of his old house eight years ago. I read it then and once more before I got chickens a few years ago, and I never caught onto the permaculture theme...weird! The function stacking, and utilizing the chicken as a farm implement is quite clever. This one is the perfect primer for anyone getting into raising chickens in a sustainable way, and a good step to getting into a regenerative mindset. The mix of general concepts and specific how-to's is great!