I have in my poultry library, text dating back to 1860, including the farm series alongside poultry science college text books.
I buy chicken books! Back in the 90's, I carried Gail's book titled Chickens in your Backyard and I was hooked on all things poultry!
I was also hooked on all things written by Gail Damerow ever since... from periodical articles, to what I consider her benchmark work The Chicken Health Handbook (no serious poultry person should be without a copy).
The reason I mention this, is that I would be considered extremely well informed, read and experienced with poultry. I am a licensed Poultry Technician, have kept free range chickens for over a decade, teach about chickens and have hatched more than I can count. It is easy to let pride get in the way and assume that I know all there is to know about chickens... closing the door on new text and published works.
Then comes a new and much needed title to the scene... and by none other than my favorite farm animal author, Gail Damerow! I clicked "buy" without even reading all the content nor going beyond the title. The Chicken Encyclopedia arrived in the middle a snow storm, just in time for me to sit by the fire and delve into this new and fabulously illustrated chicken reference.
Not five minutes into it, I have learned something new! I get my note pad, as I'm scheduled to give a talk on chickens in less than a week... wow... I didn't know that (under my breath)... something as common as the chicken egg, ground I've well covered (or so I thought) over the years. Yes, white ear lobe = white shell... sure, red ear lobe = brown shell (old news)... but hold the phone! Blue egg shells (as one may get from the Ameraucana) have the color through the thickness of the shell, yet the brown shell (as one may get from a Rhode Island Red) have brown pigment only in the surface layer! What?! This I did NOT know... ("> In an instant, I am deeper in my knowledge of poultry!
I found one "aha" moment after another, page by page, illustration by illustration. 319 pages chockablock FULL of meaningful information.
I wanted a hard bound edition, these pages and cover will be dog eared and worn down in no time at all! The photography is Top Notch, the illustrations are not the recycled images I have found over and over in other texts... Bethany Caskey gets a A+ from me on her illustrator prowess (flawless).
This is a grand book, extremely well designed, easy to access information, dense with useful facts and terms. I feel robbed that I did not have this 20 years ago... when I was heavy on the learn. But the good news is, for the new poultry generation and those to come, this will certainly be a common site on many a coffee table and book shelf. I suggest it also belongs in biology class rooms.
Gail does it again and I feel, has stepped above all her previous works with this single book.
It's for anyone who has questions about breeds, terms, traits, physiology and all things chicken... without loading the reader with scientific mumbo jumbo that has no practical end.
My only complaint... inexpensive binding... page six has already begun to come free of it's stitching. I will anxiously await the hard bound edition and would consider any price to be well worth it!
This is indeed a TRUE Encyclopedia Regarding Chickens... what are you waiting for? Have questions? The answers are here! Buy The Chicken Encyclopedia without reservation, you won't be sorry.