Sunday, April 9, 2023

REVIEW: How to Speak Chicken: Why Your Chickens Do What They Do & Say What They Say (nonfiction book) by Melissa Caughey

How to Speak Chicken is nonfiction. I bought my copy new.


I'll start by saying that I don't own chickens and am unlikely to ever own chickens. I read this primarily because animal communication interests me, and this looked like it would be a relatively quick and entertaining read.

This has lovely pictures and is certainly a quick read. It doesn't go into a lot of depth on anything - readers just get basic information on animal observation, chicken behavior and communication, and the emotional life of chickens. There are brief profiles of various backyard chicken keepers, and the author frequently mentions birds from her own flock. There's a tiny bit of info about egg development, but otherwise there's very little about chicken biology or development. This book is more about learning to connect with and appreciate chickens as individuals.

Although there's a brief mention that some people deal with aggressive roosters by "[adding them] to the soup pot" (65), it's pretty clear that this book is intended primarily for backyard chicken keepers who likely view their birds as pets. All mentions of specific aggressive birds end with them being rehomed.

One thing I wish the author had done in the backyard chicken keeper profiles was include labeled pictures of all the breeds mentioned as being in the keepers' flocks. True, I could look them up online, but this was otherwise such a well-illustrated book that the lack of breed photos was noticeable.

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