Once Upon A Flock, by Lauren Scheuer, is the perfect read for those of us who keep hens, those who are considering doing so, or those who are simply curious as to why back garden hen keeping has become so popular. It is a humorous account of the author’s decision to acquire a small flock of hens, and how she then came to love and care for her feathered friends.
Illustrated throughout with photographs and sketches it is a visually appealing book as well as being an entertaining read. It also provides some great insights into the challenges that keeping hens presents.
The adventure begins when:
“one day, totally without warning, Sarah grew up. She retreated to her room and began morphing into a teenager – the sedentary, electronic type.”
Having lost her outdoorsy playmate, the author decided that her daughter’s place in the garden could be taken by chickens. Lauren already had a chicken keeping friend. She also had impressive carpentry skills so could make her own coop. When I was contemplating my own hen keeping adventure the initial cost seemed the biggest hurdle. Lauren could offset this by making everything from scratch.
Her initial flock were purchased as day old chicks which Lauren raised inside her house under a heat lamp. When the cute and fluffy chicks had grown and developed enough to become feathered they were relocated to the yard. Lauren describes how she regularly moves them to fresh ground, and keeps them safe while they free range. Training the family dog not to attack the birds was just one of the challenges she faced.
Over the course of a couple of years she deals with sickness, changes to the pecking order, re-homing, a broody hen, death, and the integration of new birds. There is also a proliferation of eggs, extremes of weather, and the need for hen sitters whilst on holiday. The book reads like a story but manages to cover the basics of looking after a back garden flock in a useful but always amusing way.
Chickens each have their own quirky little characters and are great company in the garden as well as being entertaining to watch. Lauren obviously adores her birds, but she doesn’t shirk from describing the difficulties they can present.
The writing flows and the illustrations help bring each new challenge to life. This book was a pleasure to read and I will be recommending it to all my chicken keeping friends.
My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Souvenir Press.
Lauren blogs about her chicken keeping adventures over at Scratch and Peck.