Free Range Chicken Gardens: The first reviews are in!

I remember a little over a year ago I turned in the manuscript, pictures and drawings for my book about gardening with chickens, and while it was this huge sense of relief to meet such a monumental deadline, it also made me very anxious.  I told my editor at Timber Press that I imagined it is how I would feel if I was sending my child off to boarding school or college — I did the best I could to prepare it for the world ahead, and it was in their hands to groom, critique and  prepare for publication.. which ultimately means be judged by the public.  What will everyone else think of it? My baby, my hard work?  The idea of gardening with chickens has been laughed at before.  I am no stranger to having someone judge my work, especially when it comes to my garden design skills, that I can handle.  But I was not a trained to be an “author”.  I just wrote from the heart and wrote what I would want to see in a book like this.  And with a huge sigh of relief the first few reviews that I have seen are good!  People like it!!

From  Publishers Weekly

“Through personal experience and in-depth interviews with other backyard chicken farmers, Bloom, an award-winning garden designer, takes you from her early chicken-raising days, which she recalls as about ‘as easy as herding cats, to the ultimate goal of maintaining a flock that will contrast and co-exist with a backyard garden. She gives tips about keeping the backyard from becoming a barnyard; selecting from a diverse palette of poultry from Rhode Island Reds to Easter Eggers; growing the plants that will benefit from hens and beautify a lawn; keeping ‘a simple chicken emergency kit; regulating coop temperatures; and keeping predators away. Noise reduction ideas will also help keep neighbors’ potential annoyance at bay. The presentation is enhanced by detailed charts — how many square feet of yard for how many chickens, the chicken lifecycle, feedings from egg to chick to pullet to hen — for help in creating a chicken-inclusive environment in a variety of settings. Bloom offers a comprehensive guide from mating to medicine that will particularly help beginners, and vivid color photography by Kate Baldwin helps Bloom make a persuasive case.” 

From Booklist:

“Award-winning landscape designer Bloom states that “the heart of this book has you look at your garden as a habitat for your flock.” Chickens and gardens work together synergistically since chickens reduce weeds and pests, aerate the soil, produce fertilizing manure, and provide food. Bloom’s guide to these “pets with benefits” includes comprehensive information applicable to both small urban and large rural lots pertaining to landscape design, fencing and hardscape materials, chicken-friendly plants, garden and coop designs, and predators. Details on fence fastenings and coop kits, along with numerous illustrations, full-color photos, charts and tables, garden layouts, and useful tips (“Cut Miscanthus plants in late winter and use the dried grass as bedding”), offer a wealth of practical advice. Beyond that, this how-to presents an ecofriendly, holistic view of human-animal relationships while addressing self-sufficiency and food issues, core motivations for the burgeoning organic, homegrown movement.”

A long blog post review here:

From someone on Goodreads:
This book is quite extensive in the information that it gives and it is perfect for any gardener who wants to bring chickens into their garden. There are beautiful photos of gardens with chickens, many plant pictures to illustrate the points that are made in this very useful book. This book displays the symbiotic relationship between chickens and gardens, if done properly, and how the two aspects of your backyard can benefit one another.

If you know of a gardener who has been toying with the idea of having chickens roaming around, this is the perfect book. Not only does it go into what types of gardens are chicken friendly, it also touches on the different types of chickens, which would be best for the purposes of the owner/gardener, but there are many useful tips about plants and garden design that will assist in creating the perfect habitat for your free-range chickens. Coop designs and elements necessary are also touched on, as well as natural habitats for the chickens. Plus the author touches lightly on plants that are harmful to chickens, as well as diseases and how to prevent a few of them.

I know that I will be purchasing this book, once I have a place to have both my own garden and a few chickens for those fresh eggs. There is plenty of information for the newbie chicken owner, and it does suppose some basic garden knowledge on the reader’s part, though does have a short section in the back in regards to the different ‘zones’ for gardening. This book has been well-researched and put together in a very pleasing manner.