In his chatty, how-to book, author K.C. Jacob Nofsinger has tapped into the exploding market of residential chicken farming – a surprising but passion-driven trend that has swept backyards from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.
With a nod to his grandmother’s old school way of doing things, the underlying premise of Nofsinger’s book is that large-scale commercial poultry farming not only produces food that is less healthy but is cruel to the chickens. It is better, he says, to not only do it yourself but return to simpler methods.
“We need to respect, be thankful for what our ancestors have left us, regarding the old ways of agriculture. Many of us cannot afford to lose any more of our heritage,” he writes, adding a dose of snark: “If you are keeping your hens in any other way than what is absolutely traditional and natural, you may as well want to stick to buying your eggs at the grocery store.” Such a tone might be welcomed and validating to true believers but could feel like condescension to novices still finding their way.
The early part of the book is a bit jumbled as he discusses the different varieties and temperaments of hens, and it can be confusing, particularly to those new to the topic. He settles down later in the book to offer practical, easy-to-follow advice in every step of incubation, hatching, and assimilation. It is in the latter part that the book shines.
It might have been nice had the author added more narrative, perhaps about his grandmother’s life and his own journey to chicken farming. This would have deepened the book and made it less of a manual and more of a story to be enjoyed by a wider readership. As it stands, this slim book is for a very specific audience and will be appreciated for the author’s obvious depth of knowledge.
Also available as an ebook.