Cruelty-free, organic eggs and poultry are easier than ever to find in your local market, but for those who desire to be a part of the farm-to-table experience, finding a guide to raising one's own poultry can be daunting. Fortunately, Victoria Redhed Miller's book, "Pure Poultry: Living Well with Heritage Chickens, Turkeys and Ducks," offers a glimpse into what to expect as a newbie poultry farmer.
Pure Poultry is not the traditional-type livestock manual that reads like stereo instructions; it's written from Miller's direct experience of raising turkeys, chickens, and ducks on her Washington state homestead. She documents her years of experimentation, trial and error, and anecdotal evidence with a down-to-earth writing style that is not intimidating, breezy, and makes for an easy read. Although the knowledge she shares with the reader is real and proven, her delivery comes across as if you were sitting on the front porch of her farmstead, enjoying an iced tea, and listening to her spin stories like an old friend.
It should be noted that this book is more of an experiential overview on poultry, predators, and the dilemmas involved with raising poultry, as opposed to a primer on the subject; however, she often cites other texts the reader can reference for more in-depth knowledge on the topic she is touching upon. Miller follows her words of wit and wisdom with thorough resource list, appendix, and a planning worksheet for those who are just venturing into the world of raising poultry.
Miller's anecdotes and musings are plenty entertaining, though, and contain hidden gems of advice (such as clearing away the understory brush and greenery that made it possible for bobcats to hide and pillage her flocks) around each page you turn. She also includes recipes, and sound suggestions for processing poultry and food preservation that rounds out the storytime aspects of the book. For those interested in the commercial possibilities of raising heritage poultry, Miller details her own experience with local supply, demand, and how one can balance the two.
All in all, Miller's Pure Poultry provides entertainment, education, and a hearty laugh for the reader who wants to peek inside the world of the feathered farmer. Even if you prefer your eggs pre-packaged in the cartons, you won't regret giving this book a read.
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