Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fresh Eggs Daily: a Fresh Take on Chicken Keeping (& Book Giveaway)

"There is a TON of conflicting information. You can rest assured that I will only give advice based on MY personal experience."

These were among the first words of wisdom shared with me in an email from Lisa Steele more than a year and a half ago.  I was in fervent research mode preparing for the arrival of our chicks and found myself quite puzzled.  It seemed that of each book I read, every website I reviewed and all the magazine articles scoured, I was met with as many opinions on chicken keeping as there were authors.  While a few did provide research or statistics behind their logic, many took on a 'just because' air in which I was simply supposed to trust what the writer was stating.

I was relieved to have Lisa tell me her approach to chicken keeping, which I'd been keeping up with via Fresh Eggs Daily's Facebook and her Fresh Eggs Daily blog, was tried and true for her.  Her thriving, healthy flock was just what I was hoping for in my little chicks future, so I began paying close attention to Fresh Eggs Daily and conversed quite regularly with Lisa...and my poor friend hasn't been rid of me since!

I was thrilled when I learned her first book would be published and knew that so many could benefit from her experience and advice.  In reading through the chapters, I found that Lisa was able to convey her passion for raising healthy, happy animals with clarity for those inexperienced and offering a fresh outlook to shake the dust off the old school keeping methods.

This is not a beginner's how to raise chickens manual, nor is it another book filled with the same recycled advice you'll find in other basic poultry care books.  (It even kindly says so toward the end of the introduction)  It is a wonderful companion book to your chicken health library. This book is an absolute go to resource for strengthening the health of your flock while also improving the quality of their lives.  By using Fresh Eggs Daily's advice, you will be incorporating herbs into your chickens diet in order to prevent certain illness, offer them the immediate beneficial effects of the herbs and also to give them nutritious treats.
Could the catnip I was growing for our feline
friends offer benefits for my birds?  You bet!

I knew that herbs had positive health benefits, but I truly had little idea a fraction of what they were capable of.  Repelling mosquitoes?  Blood clotting?  Pain relievers?  Yes, all these things and much more!  In my inexperience, I simply thought that they were just good for them - kind of in the way that I know vaguely the benefits of eating vegetables are.  I never thought that I could use them to help prevent illness in my hens or, if the worst came, I could rely on them as part of my first aid kit.

In true Fresh Eggs Daily fashion, there are also several recipes and how-to projects to make your coop kids happy with healthy treats and sprays to make their digs clean and smelling great too!  Lisa knows I love to spoil my animals, so I was thrilled to see a few new snack ideas for them in the chapters.  My girls will be distracted this winter by a few tasty creations!

Again, this is not old school chicken keeping.  The book offers it's share of tried and true advice, but you won't just get bare bones basics of raising poultry.  Can you raise a flock without herbs?  Absolutely.  You can offer them basic chicken feed straight from the bag, feed only cracked corn (as a few I know do) or let them free range and hope they get enough from scavenging.  It has been done for countless decades past.
But consider this: if you ate the bare minimum of food and nutrients you needed to survive, what could you expect your health to be like?  Do you think you'd be very strong or lively?  How happy would you be to sit down to a basic, bland diet every day?

In caring for animals, as in caring for people, you absolutely get what you give.  

In spending a small amount of money and time growing herbs, you can offer your flock a nutritional boost, protection against illness and a fun treat.  (Also in having herbs grown for the chicken, consider the ways you can incorporate them into your life)  Some may think such things are frivolous, but I disagree.  You will be rewarded with more nutritious eggs and healthier birds.  And who doesn't love a big beautiful egg or watching their girl's gorgeous feathers shimmering in the afternoon sunlight?

This barren planter box will hold a
bevy of beneficial herbs come spring!

If the minimalist approach to animal care is for you, I wish you luck.  You will need it eventually, I fear.  As for me, I will eagerly look forward to spring and deciding what herbs I'll try my hand at growing for my girls.  As always, I will turn to Fresh Eggs Daily for more insight and wisdom that works!  This beautifully photographed and highly informative book will remain front and center in my chicken keeping library - and now I'd like to give you a chance to put it to use in your own flock!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Entries will be accepted until Friday October 25.  The winner will be announced Saturday October 26!    If you aren't that lucky winner announced, be sure to go to order a copy today!  Good luck to you all!

My Fresh Eggs Daily Review, by Meredith Anderson

*Mom Disclaimer: my daughter is an animal lover with a thirst for knowledge, so it didn't surprise me one bit that she too wanted to read Fresh Eggs Daily.  She has read through all the books and magazines I've collected on the subject, and while some of it was a bit above her comprehension level, she wanted to learn all she could about her feathered friends.  She read this book on her own and in turn wrote a review.  All mom did was type, hit spell check and post.  BE KIND OR HOLD YOUR TONGUE!  Mama Tina gets pretty protective when it comes to her girl!*

Taking notes for the review!
Hi, my name is Meredith Anderson.  I'm 9 years old and in 4th grade.  I have had chickens for about 1 1/2 years because I thought they would be a fun 4-H project.  I love my chickens because they always cheer me up.  I have large breed laying hens and I have 6 bantam babies.  Raising chickens has made me want to learn more about them and I have tried to read everything I can find on them.

My mom's friend Lisa wrote a book about chicken keeping and she said I could do a review on it.  I think Fresh Eggs Daily is a good book for kids because there is a lot of good information for kids to learn.  This book is different from other books I've read because it is about doing things naturally.  In most other books it wants you to go out and get medications for your chickens, but Lisa talks to you about making your own treatments for your chickens with herbs.  I never knew there were so many good herbs for your chickens!
Herbs can help my chickens
lay better eggs!

My favorite chapter in the book is chapter 7, When You Want to Spoil Them, because there are a lot of good treats you can feed your chickens and bad treats you should not feed them.   My favorite recipe idea for chickens to eat would be the Cranberry Scratch Wreath in chapter 10.  It looks like the chickens would really enjoy this because there are many healthy foods in the wreath.

Munchkin the silkie and I can't wait to try some herbs!
I have learned a lot about how to help take care of my chickens in this book.  I will read this book again when I need helpful information about making my chickens healthy and happy in a natural way.  My birds and I love Fresh Eggs Daily!