In addition to our blog, we compile the best of our chicken-keeping wisdom into low-cost ebooks. If you’re new to poultry, I recommend starting with a free download of Getting Started With Your Working Chicken, then branching out into my longer ebooks further down the page.


Getting Started With Your Working Chicken

Get ready for your new flock in thirty minutes or less!

A short, sweet, and self-sufficient guide to keeping chickens as part of a rural or urban homestead. Learn everything you need to know to get started on your poultry adventure, with quick answers to frequently asked questions like:

  • What kind of chickens should I get?
  • Which color eggs are best?
  • How many chickens should I get?
  • Should I add a rooster to my flock?
  • Where should I get my chickens?
  • She’s so cute! Can I name her?
  • When should I kill my chickens?
  • What infrastructure do I need to make my chickens happy?
  • What should I feed my chickens?
  • Should my chickens have a tractor, a coop, or be free range?
  • How much space do my chickens need?
  • How do I manage my working flock?
  • What is the chicken’s place in the farm ecosystem?

“The author gives just what is needed to get started raising chickens.” — Veronica

“This is a quick little book packed with lots of good realistic advice.” — TSP

“A great first-read for anyone considering raising chickens. Lots of useful factual information for the experienced chicken keeper as well as for the beginner.” — pamela

“What a fun book to start with chickens. I like the photos of the chickens and the tractors. The breed list is very helpful also. The flow of the book is Interspersed with her dry humour. Love the children’s book at the end.” — Mark D. Ellestad


Building a DIY Chicken Waterer

Building a DIY Chicken Waterer:

Bringing Poop-free Poultry Water to the Backyard

Grab a copy from your favorite retailer!

Are you tired of filthy waterers in your coops and tractors? Do you want to keep your flock hydrated in the winter when traditional waterers freeze? Or perhaps you’d like to give your flock something to do so they don’t pick on each other?

The creators of the Avian Aqua Miser share tips and tricks from over a decade of experience in this image-heavy ebook. From easy-to-build bucket waterers to complex PVC arrays, you’ll save time and money while creating the perfect waterer for any type of poultry while learning from the pros.


Pasture BasicsPermaculture Chicken: Pasture Basics

Grab a copy from your favorite retailer

Do you want to enjoy healthy eggs and meat from chickens raised on pasture?

Permaculture Chicken: Pasture Basics starts at the beginning to help you design the best pasturing setup for your flock and for your homestead. Great grazing for chickens won’t be found in the perfect pasture for sheep or cows — you need to tweak your design to match a chicken’s unique behavior and stomach.

Included in this volume are an explanation of chicken digestion and behavior, pasture specifics like size and shape, a rundown on which traditional pasture plants chickens enjoy, tips on maximizing plant growth during rotation, and an explanation of how to establish new pastures and maintain existing grazing areas. Cut your feed costs by pasturing your chickens!

59 photos and diagrams.

“Even for experienced chicken growers.” — Andrew Ayers “Ashaldaron”

“It was very informative and I believe that it will prevent me from making quite a few mistakes that I would have otherwise made do to my lack of understanding about the diet of chickens.” — NJS86

“This is actually a very well researched and organized book, replete with graphs, diagrams, and photos. Info is given on layout designs, types of vegetation, and creating and maintaining areas of chickie-optimized pasture. The text is informative and professional in tone, and refreshingly free of superfluous ‘filler’.” — Ava Wilkerson

“This was just what I expected it to be. A basic description of what you need to know to get started on rotating chicken pastures to optimize chicken health as well as pasture health.” — Albert


Incubating and Hatching Homegrown ChicksIncubating and Hatching Homegrown Chicks

Prepare to embark on an egg-citing adventure, raising healthy chicks from your own eggs!

Incubating and Hatching Homegrown Chicks walks you through the exhilarating process of chicken incubation. By the time you’ve turned the final page, you’ll be confident of your ability to ensure successful hatches every time.

Whether you’re a novice or seasoned poultry parent, this comprehensive guide is your ultimate companion, providing invaluable insights and practical advice on every aspect of hands-on flock growth. With ninety full-color photos bringing incubation to life plus essential charts, diagrams, and tables providing hard data, you’ll achieve a hatch rate of 85% or more without the angst of dead chicks.

From understanding the role of flock management in a permaculture system to choosing the best incubator and troubleshooting common incubation problems, this book covers it all. Dive into topics like egg selection, incubation basics, hatch-related ailments, and post-hatch care. Then come away equipped with the knowledge and skills to turn eggs out of your coop into happy homegrown chicks.

Don’t miss out on the joy of successful hatching. Crack open the shell of excitement and start your journey into the fascinating world of chicken incubation today!

“If you are considering incubating hatching eggs then this is the book for you!” — Thunder

“Wished I had read this before my first try at incubation.” — V. Schafer

“Empowering!!” — Emily K. Reusing




Thrifty Chicken Breeds
Thrifty Chicken Breeds: Efficient Producers of Eggs and Meat on the Homestead

Grab a copy from your favorite retailer

Do you want your chicken habit to pay for itself?

Many backyard chicken keepers are surprised to learn that they spend more on store-bought feed than they would have paid for eggs and meat at the grocery store.  If you’re on a budget and want your foray into poultry to save money, not lose money, your first step should be to select thrifty chicken breeds.

The best breed for the cost-conscious homesteader will be a dual-purpose chicken that forages well, doesn’t cost much to feed, stands up well to predators and weather, and lays copiously in the winter.  In addition, Thrifty Chicken Breeds covers a variety of other factors homesteaders should look for when choosing new birds, then explains why a dozen common breeds do or don’t make the cut.

This new installment in the popular Permaculture Chicken series helps make backyard chicken keeping cheaper, sustainable, less smelly, and more fun.  Join the thousands of readers who have used Hess’s tips to turn chickens into a frugal part of their permaculture homesteads!

38 photos and diagrams.