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The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers

4.5  ·  Rating Details ·  295 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
The most comprehensive guide to date on raising all-natural poultry for the small-scale farmer, homesteader, and professional grower. The Small-Scale Poultry Flock offers a practical and integrative model for working with chickens and other domestic fowl, based entirely on natural systems.

Readers will find information on growing (and sourcing) feed on a small scale, broodi
Paperback, 394 pages
Published October 7th 2011 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Oct 27, 2011 Melissa rated it liked it
I actually got my husband to read this, which I call progress. However, he told me that my poultry flock will certainly be small-scale because it will exist only in my head, so clearly there's still some work left for me to do.
Nov 03, 2013 Hannah rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. If you could have only one book on raising poultry, this should be your choice. Unlike most (all?) of the other small-scale poultry books that I've come across, this one actually takes into account the ideas of sustainability for the small-scale poultry owner. He discusses pasturing your flock, and how to glean as much of their feed from your own property, to lower your costs, increase their nutrition, and leave you less dependent on feed store grains that have been shipped from ...more
Dec 19, 2011 Anna rated it it was amazing
The Small-Scale Poultry Flock is the book I've anticipated the most this year, and it lives up to every ounce of my expectations. Harvey Ussery writes from personal experience raising a few dozen chickens (and other poultry), merging them into a permaculture homestead. As a result, his tips are much more relevant to the backyard enthusiast than books by Joel Salatin.

At the same time, Harvey Ussery goes far beyond the basics and challenges us to integrate our chickens with our gardens and to gro
Aug 04, 2015 Christine rated it it was amazing
I've read every small-scale poultry book I could find and this is hands-down the best. It is for the detail-oriented. It even has step-by-step instructions done in color pictures.
Feb 08, 2013 Spencer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chickens
Fantastic book. I love the straight-dope style. Harvey Ussery tells what works for him. He calls a spade a spade. The author goes a bit off into hostile homesteader territory occasionally. I found that endearing. Other readers may be put off by that.

I got this from the library, but I'm going to have to buy it.
Oct 21, 2012 Tris rated it really liked it
The best all-around how-to-do-chicken-stuff book out there. Comprehensive and responsible.
Nov 26, 2016 January rated it it was amazing
There are a lot of "how to raise chicken" books out there. Unfortunately, I only had time to read 1, maybe two, books before the chicks arrive, so it was important that I chose the right one.

This one was perfect for me for a couple reasons:

- I plan on having a small flock (8) like the author. Not a tiny (almost 'pet') flock of 2. Not a commercial enterprise. The scale of the practices in here, like feed quantities and coop sizes, aligned with my flock size.

- The author's values of clean organic
Alexander W Drane
Complete, Informative, and Captivating!

Complete Guide Doesn't do this book justice! I was surprised to read about the author at the back of the book and not see multiple PhD's and teaching credits to the author. I felt like I was receiving a lecture from a world class professor on Chickens. I devoured this book lightning fast and wish he could write on other topics with the depth he showed here. Honestly this book is a true text book on this subject and challenge anyone to find a better holistic
Dec 13, 2012 Peter rated it really liked it
It may be unfair to rate the book before I start harvesting eggs & meat, but its well written, well edited, enjoyable to read. Ussery seems to be very well educated and have a lot of dirt under his nails. I fully expect to have a good experience raising chickens this spring. He definitely has a bias towards "sustainable" and "organic", but approaches things from a fair and educated perspective. He makes it clear where he stands without being overbearing (well, I didn't think so anyway). He ...more
Jun 18, 2013 Pamela rated it it was amazing
I said that the "Free-Range Chicken Gardens" book would be all I need to read to learn how to raise chickens, but this book was the perfect 2nd book & gave me several additional ideas.

Although it focused mostly on a larger flock than I will be able to keep & a larger, rural area in which to keep them, I found much of the information very helpful & am looking for ways to apply the same ideas on a smaller scale in my backyard.

I was most interested in information on feeding. I am hopin
Jun 28, 2016 Charles rated it it was amazing
This may be the best “how to” book I have ever read, at least for manual work. Yes, I haven’t even started raising chickens (yet), so my base of knowledge for that praise is small. And yes, the book I read before this was the not-good “Keeping Chickens With Ashley English,” so after that, anything would seem good. But for a combination of clarity, useful information, complete coverage, and a coherent but rational philosophy, I don’t think you can beat this book.

Ussery covers every aspect of maki
Johnny Bennett
Jun 15, 2015 Johnny Bennett rated it really liked it
The Small Scale Poultry Flock by Harvey Ussery is a comprehensive study on raising poultry via a pastured model. Exhaustive may be a better word. By the middle, I was getting worn out. Though the back half did pick up a bit and was more interesting.
This isn’t your introduction to keeping a flock, though one could use it as such. This has detailed information on all sorts of domestic fowl. Step by step directions in the appendix for building coops and dusting boxes, butchering instructions, and d
Rocha Dollar
Sep 01, 2013 Rocha Dollar rated it really liked it
Why the hell do I need to know all this? Well, from having previously raised four hens from chicks and dealing with the massive shit in my TN red, crap for growing clay soil, this book was kind of like, 'woah.' Now I'm all SUPER informed and shit on how the solider fly can be harvested in conjunction with a long-term protien source, such as the red worms (although you don't really *expressly* tell me how to make a worm compositor - you just sort of allude to it - asshole), and how to use ...more
Feb 26, 2013 Leslie rated it it was amazing
If you want to keep poultry and need to build a conceptual and practical understanding, go straight to the best and skip the rest. This book stands head and shoulders above the many popular but shallow "how to" books, and is much more readable and useable than the academic tomes. Respect for the animals as fellow creatures sharing the planet sets the tone. The author explains the principles of permaculture and integrated pest management without ever using those words. He has a well-articulated ...more
Feb 15, 2016 Fernleaf rated it it was amazing
This is the best book I've found for those who want to raise poultry as an integrated part of their homestead or farm. Ussery treats the birds and the subject with great respect, but without a 'pet' mentality either. His focus is on the practical functions that poultry (primarily chickens) have, going beyond just 'backyard eggs' to consider pest control, compost making (a new one for me) and of course meat for the table. He champions deep litter, and helping a flock stay healthy rather than ...more
Jan 10, 2013 gina rated it it was amazing
For someone who currently has a (less than one year old) 3 bird flock in her backyard- this book was fantastic. Not only was it humorous (explaining how chicken poo literally is "holy shit" because of the miracles it can work on your garden/yard), but it also taught me a lot of stuff I didn't know and helped me feel more confident in my natural approach to chicken raising (not a lot of meds). It encouraged me to make more of a leap with various foods and grazing on pasture vs the bagged feed we ...more
Angela England
Apr 11, 2012 Angela England rated it it was amazing
Shelves: backyard-farming
One of the best how-to-raise chicken books out there, his methods and suggestions won't cost you a fortune to implement. They also won't result in a struggle against nature by artificially separating elements that were designed to work in tandem together.

I've read a lot of chicken books. A lot. This is the best one out there by far. After reading this book you will understand the important role that pasture-raised poultry plays in providing truly healthy meat for our families in way that isn't
Heidi Thorsen
Apr 21, 2015 Heidi Thorsen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: instructional
I checked this out of the library, but I liked it so much I'm going to buy a copy for myself. It covers everything about raising chickens in a natural and environmentally sustainable way. I like that the author presents several different options for coops and open space, and includes photos. There is quite a variety of successful strategies, that was encouraging. He suggests different ways to deter different predators, and I plan to incorporate many of them into my own coop design since I have a ...more
Nov 21, 2015 Carol rated it it was amazing
Can't say enough about this book. This was my second read and I refer to it again and again. I absolutely love Harvey's approach to raising fowl. I've tried very hard to emulate what he has done with my own flocks. Get his book, if you are thinking about getting chickens, if you have them already or want to believe there truly is a way to raise animals in a kind, caring and good for the earth manner.
Jemma Z
Mar 01, 2013 Jemma Z rated it it was amazing
A thorough and experienced guide to raising poultry. The author's current operation, while non-industrial, is still larger than mine will likely ever be, but he offers advice for urban and suburban poultry raisers of any size. Specifically those who are interested in avoiding the industrial food supply. I am most excited about all the wonderful ideas I now have to integrate chickens with my garden.
Nov 29, 2013 Alison rated it it was amazing
Excellent book for beginning chicken lovers or flocksters, as Ussery calls them. This book is full of practical information, realistic ideas and sprinkled with humor. We got chickens half-way through reading and finished by the time they were 3 weeks old. It helped me to understand some of the questions I had that I was afraid to ask. Lots of information of being self-sufficient with your feed too, so that you don't have to fork over a bunch to farm supply stores. Great read.
Nov 10, 2015 Cara rated it it was amazing
This book outlines easy ways to keep your flock healthy and happy. At the same time, Ussery doesn't shy away from the more challenging aspects of raising poultry. Though the book is aimed at homesteaders and market growers, I found that I could adapt many of these techniques for my backyard.
Feb 04, 2012 MarkZane rated it really liked it
This books came highly recommended by a homesteading blog I follow. I checked the book out from the library and it did not disappoint. When I start my own poultry folk, I will need to purchase this book as a reference.
Sep 06, 2014 Pamela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've found this to be the best resource as I've embarked on backyard chicken-keeping, because I am very in-tune with Ussary's philosophy, admire his experience and find his tips to be practical and down to earth.
Alicia Carlson
Sep 01, 2014 Alicia Carlson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chickens
Easy and clear to read. I was very impressed with the step-by- step instructions on processing. I haven't ventured into that arena yet, but his explanations and directions make it less scary to attempt, even as a newbie.
Matthew Wilson
Sep 19, 2012 Matthew Wilson rated it it was amazing
Beautiful prose mixed in with practical advice.

I especially like the time he calls some breeds of poultry "works of art sketched in DNA."
Feb 10, 2015 Caren added it
For the serious live off the land farmer with chickens / using chickens for farming. Very serious, very specific.
Jan 29, 2013 Mwalkes rated it really liked it
Harvey covered everything one would want to know using a common sense, frugal perspective. Great photos, wonderful attention to detail.
Sep 25, 2012 Jacqueline rated it really liked it
Nice book. Thoroughly covers raising many different sorts of poultry for those who want to make a living at a small poultry farm. Very readable.
Jul 05, 2015 Denise rated it liked it
Shelves: self-chosen
Very informative. Great coverage of how to identify what type of predator has hit, if it happens, and tactics for prevention
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“If there is anything our culture desperately needs to learn about the morality of food production, it is that carrots can be grown using methods devastatingly destructive and deeply immoral--monoculture, herbicides, insecticides, destruction of habitat by plowing to the ditch banks, fill in the blanks--and beefsteaks can be produced in a way that protects and nurtures the soil and the total fabric of life, a pretty moral thing to do, in my mind.” 0 likes
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