Monday, March 12, 2012

The Chicken Encyclopedia

A Charlotte Garden is happy to be part of  the Storey Publishing Blog Book Tour for 
The Chicken Encyclopedia by Gail Damerow.
Leave a comment to win...details below! 
A warm welcome to new visitors -- and regular readers, too! 

Oleander (Nerium oleander) is a beautiful flowering shrub, so popular along the coast of North Carolina that nearly every yard has more than one.  Take for example this cute, pink-shuttered cottage at Ocean Isle Beach, NC.  There are at least half a dozen along the driveway.

If you like the beach as much as I do, you can see that carport and and all those pretty flowers and in a quick second begin to imagine driving right up, taking your suitcase inside and settling in for a week.

You further imagine sleeping in the next morning, expecting by late morning you would leave this cute house and head for the shore...

You would stroll down the sidewalk (more oleander behind a lighthouse light) sand in your sandals, balmy Banana Boat breezes in your face, the sound of seagulls overhead.

You would smell burgers at the pier grill, but it's not quite time for lunch.  There would be only  enough time to sit in the sun for about an hour.

If only I had a good book to read, you would think...

But wait...does the beach have anything to do with chickens?  Probably not, but there is a point...or, was.  It's the oleander!  Those bright blooms and slender leaves are potentially toxic to chickens.  And there are other common, everyday plants that you should keep your chickens away from.

Pokeberry (Phytolacca americana)

Milkweed (Asclepias spp.)

You will learn about this from the handy Common Potentially Toxic Plants chart on pages 272-3 of the new The Chicken Encyclopedia by Gail Damerow.

You could actually make this book your beach read if you wanted to.  Since it is an encyclopedia, the entries are listed alphabetically; you can easily look things up as you need to know them.  But many of the chicken keepers on the tour so far have said they liked it so much, that it was so interesting and full of information new to them, that they started with A and just kept on reading to Z, front to back like a good novel.

There are entries detailing various aspects of animal behavior, diagrams of anatomical features, descriptions of diseases and treatments, chick development, and terms like cackleberry which is a slang word for egg, and Dorking, which I encourage you to look up for yourself.

There are how-tos such as the practical, "How to make a roost," the fascinating, "How to hypnotize a chicken" (and why you might want to) and the slightly creepy, "How to dye a chicken," which involves needles and wax.

You can find out which breeds lay blue, brown or tinted eggs along with plenty of other information about the many available breeds.

The book has definitions, diagrams, illustrations, charts and beautiful photographs of chicks and chickens of all types -- enough variety and attractiveness to keep you moving right along.

By now in your beach dream you've reached the Cs in The Chicken Encyclopedia.  You're starting to burn, so you make a move toward the dunes and head back to the cute cottage with the pink shutters and matching flowers.  You call your daughter on the way, "Remember when you were little and you used to make me take that squiggly white thing off the egg yolk before I scrambled your eggs?...well, you're not going to believe has a name besides 'that nasty thing.'  It's called a chalaza!"

Gail Damerow has a family farm in Tennessee.  She has written several other popular books about raising chickens, including Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens which is now out in its third edition.

If you would like to win your own copy of The Chicken Encyclopedia, just leave a comment below saying so! Contest will close on Monday, March 19. Winner will be notified in an update to this post on March 20, the first day of Spring! US residents only, please.

The winner of The Chicken Encyclopedia is Marie!  Marie, please send me your email ( to confirm.  Congratulations!  A big THANK YOU to all who entered!

Follow along with the tour:
2-Mar For the Love of Chickens
3-Mar Vintage Garden Gal
4-Mar The Garden Roof Coop
5-Mar Common Weeder
6-Mar Chickens in the Road
7-Mar Garden Rant 
8-Mar Fresh Eggs Daily
9-Mar My Pet Chicken Blog 
10-Mar Coop Thoughts
11-Mar BoHo Farm and Home
12-Mar Happy Chickens Lay Healthy Eggs
13-Mar A Charlotte Garden 
14-Mar Farm Fresh Fun 
15-Mar The Hen Cam
16-Mar Life on a Southern Farm
17-Mar A Dozen Girls, the Chicken Chick
18-Mar North Coast Gardening

March 19 is National Poultry Day!  Storey's blog, Inside Storey, will do a tour finale that day with a special giveaway.  Be sure to drop by!