What's Killing My Chickens?

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Nov 2019

Member Reviews

What's Killing My Chickens? is a useful tutorial and advice guide for smallholders and poultry-keepers by Gail Damerow. Due out 10th Dec 2019 from Storey, it's 272 pages and will be available in paperback and ebook formats.

There are an absolute plethora of smallholder books out and nearly all of them have something to say about keeping poultry. Additionally, there are poultry specific books and all of them show happy, healthy, trouble free chickens running around being entertaining and not being killed and/or eaten by everything from hawks to human neighbors. This is an in-depth troubleshooting guide for figuring out what has gone wrong and how to avoid it in future.

This is from the author's introduction:

    This book will help you determine which predators are likely to appear in your area (and, just as important, which are not), give you insights into their behavior, and use the information to devise effective ways to keep your poultry safe.

The book is arranged in two main sections. First is a list of criteria to figure out what conditions led to the loss of stock and how to avoid losses in future. The second half of the book is a chapter by chapter list of common (and less common) poultry predators by families (weasels, raptors, cats, dogs, bears, rodents, corvids and others) along with their ranges, habits, tracks, scat, and more.

This is an extremely useful book, full of illustrations and photographs. The typeface is easy to read and with good contrast. It's aimed at readers in North America, but will be at least partially applicable to species with a larger range.

This would be a good selection for a smallholder's personal reference library, a cooperative extension lending library, public library, or the like. It could be potentially useful as a support text for a number of other vocational/agriculture classes such as animal husbandry, veterinary subjects, or similar.

Five stars.
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This is a "how-to" detective manual for identifying chicken-killer predators.  Now that I've read it, I'm ready to help my friends who keep chickens the next time a chicken is eaten.  And I recommended this book to them, too;  we will figure it out instead of just guessing like in the past.
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An interesting book on the different predators that attack and kill chickens. The book helps give clues to read, including the appearance of the feathers, to reflect which predator it is. It also gives ways to determine by what is killed (adult, chick, egg) and also ways to protect the poultry. It is interesting to see that the focus is on how to make it safer, but not necessarily killing the predators. A good reference book for anyone who is considering raising a few chickens, turkeys, ducks or geese, and ways to keep them safe from predators. The book is easy to read and it is one I highly recommend.
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I have had raptors take my chickens, one horrible week, when five were eaten day by day by a red tailed hawk. 

We still have the hawks in our neighborhood, but fortunately the crows and the roosters keep them at bay.

Living in a rural area means that there are foxes and mountain lions, and hawks, to name a few, that want to feast on my chickens. For the most part I know who is hunting them. But I once lost three banton chickens to an unknown predator, who I always assumed as an owl, as they got out after dark, but I never found any remains. 

So, I thought this book would be helpful, and it is, very much so. It is probably too much information, if anything. There are stories of how to trace the predator by what it leaves behind, what the footprints might be like, and what to do about it all

If anything, it is all a little overwhelming, as there are things that you might never run into such as alligators or bears.

But the advice is good, and will probably help someone who has lost any amount of chickens to the great outdoors.

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.
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