Poultry Books

Review of Poultry Books, both current and out of print is included. The aim is to help you decided if any of these publications would be useful to you especially if you breed and show poultry. This is also a list of my books so I can check if I have the book a publication, as I have ended up with several duplicates. Don’t tell my husband how many poultry books I have!!

I have grouped the books in the categories to help if you are looking for a particular topic:-

  1. Basic Guides
  2. Food/Nutrition
  3. Standards
  4. Showing & Breeding
  5. Genetics
  6. Health
  7. Meat
  8. Eggs
  9. History
  10. Breed Specific
  11. Fun

Basic Guides

A Beginners Guide to Backyard Poultry

James Finger

Bell South Publication

An excellent guide for the beginner. Written by a very experienced Poultryman for Australian Conditions.

Excellent place to start and was bought for only $5 around 2010 unfortunately out of publication.

Pure Breed Poultry Raising

Rick Kemp

ISBN 0-86417-058-0

Published 1985

Written for Australian conditions and covers all the basics you need to successfully breed poultry. A must have for beginners.

A Guide to Keeping Poultry in Australia

Dorothy Reading

ISBN 0-670-90273-X

An Australian publication written for Australian conditions. General guide to keeping Poultry, covering all the usual topics. Good book for the beginner. Out of print, but readily available from online second hand book stores.

Bantams for Everyone

H Easom Smith

ISBN 0-904558-11-8

Covers basic Poultry Keeping with a emphasis on all the Bantam Breeds of Fowls.

The Contented Chook

Gardening Australia

ISBN 978-07333-30537

More than half of this book is pictures of hen house and stories from those that built them. A brief section at the front on breeds.

Backyard Poultry – Naturally

Alanna Moore

ISBN 0-9585590-1-5

An Australian Publication. A clear layout broken up into sections. Great book for the beginner and someone who wants to avoid chemicals and use natural remedies.

The Chicken Encyclopedia

Gail Damerow

ISBN 978-1-60342-561-2

Great little reference book that explains terms in details with some lovely illustrations, colour photographs. Well layed out and easy to read.

Managing Poultry for Home and Hobby

Bruce Pattinson

ISBN 1-876932-06-6

Written for Australian conditions this book covers all the basics for the first time chook keeper.

Small-Scale Poultry Keeping

Ray Feltwell

ISBN 0-571-16699-7

Another UK publication covering all aspects of keeping poultry at home.

Practical Poultry Keeping

Dr Joseph Batty

ISBN 1-85736-384-1

Dr Batty has written many poultry books. This one covers most aspects, covering how farmers manage their poultry. Lots of pictures and diagrams. Another UK Publication

Storey’s Guide to Raising Poultry

Leonard Mercia

ISBN 1-58017-263-6

One of a series of books on keeping livestock as a hobby. Published in America. Great book for the first time poultry keeper. Even covers culling and preparing for the table.

Haynes Chicken Manual

Laurence Beeken

ISBN 978 1 84425 729 4

Another beginners guide, written in the style of the car manual. UK Publication.

Keeping Poultry

DPA Tasmania Publication

Great section on night lighting. Covers all the basics.

Good Poultry Keeping

C.E Fermor

No ISBN too old

Published 1957

This Cambridge University publication, is part of a series of books on animal husbandry published in the 1950’s. Some good diagrams of the internal organs and explanations of how they function too. General book on keeping poultry.

Storeys Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds

Carol Ekarius

ISBN 978-1-58017-667-5

Excellent photo’s of 128 Breeds of birds. Helpful for identifing breeds, and with notes on each breed also choosing a potential breed to purchase.

Keeping Geese

Chris Ashton

ISBN 978-1-84797-336-8

A complete guide to keeping Geese. Habits and behaviour. 160 colour photos. UK Publication


Poultry Nutrition and Feeding

G.M. Pesti

ISBN 141207536-X

American publication for those working in the poultry industry. Very detailed information on what the effects of different nutrients have on birds.

Nutrient Requirements of Poultry 1994

ISBN 0-309-04892-3

American Board of Agriculture publication

If you want to make your own food, this could be useful to check you have provided all the poultry requirements you need.

Feeding Standards for Australian Livestock – Poultry

Standing Committee on Agriculture

ISBN 0-643-043218-8

CSIRO publication 1987

Lots of detailed scientific data with tables. Vitamins and Minerals, Energy Requirements. Sections on Meat and Egg production.

Poultry Feedstuffs

Supply, Compostion and Nutritive Value

J.M. McNab, K.N. Boorman

ISBN 0-85199-464-4

UK/USA Publication is one of a series of 25 industry publication by the Poultry Science Symposium. It is a collection of scientific research on poultry food.

Lauke Mills – Poultry Feeds

Laucke Mills

Laucke is the premium poultry feed, with a specific products aimed at the poultry breeder. This guide will help you choose which is the best for your purpose. Be it Showbird Breeder containing all the vitamins and minerals for optimum reproduction, to Gamebird Starter.


Australian Poultry Standards

ISBN 978-1-921488-23-8

A must have book for those who plan to show Poultry in Australia.

Learn those first 25 pages inside out and upside down along with the addendum at the back and which every breed you choose to show.

Australian Poultry Standards – Addendum

A must have for those birds brought into the Australia from 2014 onwards. Scotts Grey, Lakenvelder etc.

British Poultry Standards

The British Poultry Club

ISBN 978-1-119-50914-1

The 7th Edition Published 2019

Look out for the latest edition. A good reference. Not all the breeds are available in Australia. If showing in Australia get yourself a copy of the Australian Standards.

Showing & Breeding

Showing Poultry

Glenn Drowns

ISBN 978-1-61212-529-9

Great little introductory book for those wanting to show their birds. This American publication covers the basics very briefly and is a good starting point.

Guidelines for Judging and Stewarding Exhibition Poultry

FCAQ Publication

Great little book on how to run a show and follow all the rules.

Poultry: The Major Breeds

Bruce Pattinson

ISBN 1-876932-22-8

This Australian Publication written by a teacher goes into detail of the breeds most commonly kept and shown.

Poultry Shows and Showing

Dr Joseph Batty

ISBN 1-85736-188-1

Another book by this Poultry Guru. All the tips and tricks to showing off your fowls. Explains faults.

Exhibition Poultry Breeder’s Handbook

Rick Kemp

ISBN 0-86417-233-8

Published 1989

Fabulous book written by a teacher, who clearly knows how to impart knowledge. Covers Breeding Strategies, Keeping Records, Artificial Insemination. Breed Sections with Sillouhette shapes and breed specific tips.

Poultry Colour Guide

Dr Joseph Batty & Charles Francis


A Series of illustrations of the breeds of standard poultry. To help you understand the colours and patterns available for that breed. For example for OEG Giner, Pile, Brown Breasted Brown Red etc… The same for Leghorn – Cuckoo, Buff, Brown, Pile, Silver Duckwing, Godlen Duckwing. Not every breed or every colour, but the most commonly kept. Also a glossary of Poultry Terms, with a focus on feather colours.

Artificial Incubation & Rearing

Joseph Batty

ISBN 1-85736-326-4

Detailed guide to using an incubator. Lots of pictures of each stage of chick development. Problem Shooting guides.

The Specialist Chick Sexer

R.D. Martin

ISBN 0-646-19886-6

Published 1994

The history of chick sexing; Chick sexing schools; Sexing chickens, turkeys, guinea fowls, ducklings, ostriches and emus.

Very detailed history of chicken sexing. Lots of diagrams and pictures only black and white, but still useful for those hoping to sex chicks at home.

Sexing All fowl

Loyl Stromberg

ISBN 0-915780-03-08

First section focus on chickens with Vent sexing chicks. Also a section on feather sexing of chicks and later of adults. Then all the other breeds of bird. Cover Caponing too.

Managing Poultry for Exhibition

H Easom Smith

ISBN 0 904558 72 X

Published 1980

This book has a good section on how the judge works. Systematic Scrutiny and other tips and tricks for breeding and showing.

Exhibition Poultry Keeping

David Scrivener

ISBN 1-86126-739-8

English Publication giving all the basics for poultry keeping. Love the first chapter explaining how many eggs you may need to set a year to get a few good birds. Talks about housing, leg rings, day length and other little tit bits that are very helpful to someone just starting out breeding.

Popular Poultry Breeds

David Scrivener

ISBN 978-1-84797-103-4

This book builds on from David Exhibition Poultry Keeping, with more detail about each breed. For the Welsummer the comment about the standard not having changed since 1932 made interesting reading.

Rare Poultry Breeds

David Scrivener

ISBN 1-86126-889-0

This continues on from Davids Exhibition Poultry Keeping.

Poultry Breeds and Management an Introductory Guide

David Scrivener

ISBN 978-1-86126-994-2

Published 2008

Great Book for Breed Specific information. Begins with a section on each breed, with things to look out for when buying and breeding. Followed by all you need to know about breeding and showing poultry. UK publication so is geared for their climate.

Start where you are with what you have

Ralph Sturgeon

Great little pamphlet, that explains what to do with a small flock, without bringing in more birds. Practical examples.


Creative Poultry Breeding

Dr W.C. Carefoot


Published 1985

This classic book, explains the genetics of poultry. With lots of tips on choosing birds for breeding and showing. A must have for every enthusiast. Lots of details and references for further reading.

ABC’s of Poultry Genetics

Dr W.F. Hollander

Explains Genetics and how they work with Poultry. Lots of illustrations. With references at the back.

Genetics of Chicken Colours

Sigrid Van Dort & David Hancox et al

ISBN 978 90 6674 404 2

Sigrid has pulled together lots of photographs to illustrate how the genetics are seen in feather pattern. Grouped by Colour and Pattern.

Genetics of the Chicken Extremes

Sigrid Van Dort

ISBN 978 94 6190 118 7

Following on from colour book, this has many photographs of chooks. This focusses on the body parts such as legs and what genets affect the colour.

Genetics of the Fowl

F.B. Hutt

ISBN 9780972177030

Published 1949, with reprint 2003.

A big brings together all the current scientific studies of the time into one huge volume. Grouped in to categories based on physical characteristics – plumage, skeleton, egg etc

Genetics A conceptual Approach

Benjamin A Pierce

ISBN 0-7167-8881-0

This explains all the principles of genetic theory, mainly focussed on humans, but can be applied to chickens.


A Fanciers Guide to Poultry Diseases

A.E. James, B.Vsc (Hons)

Bell South Publications

Excellent guide to everything health for Poultry. For Australian Conditions with some great diagrams.

The Structure of the Fowl

O.C. Bradley & Tom Grahame

Published 1960

Old it maybe, but it is full of detailed information about the anatomy of chickens. This covers not just the bone structure, but also the internal organs and their function and location in the body. With detailed illustrations and photographs.

Chicken Health for Dummies

Julie Gauthier & Rob Ludlow

ISBN 978-1-116-44427-6

Using the standard Dummies format, each section is very clear. Some great illustrations of the internal organs. Good sections on Bio Security, how to evaluate your efforts. Handling and diagonosing illness is very down to earth and practical. Chicken Behaviour was useful.

Poultry Health and Management

David Sainsbury

ISBN 0-632-05172-8

Published 2003

Written by a Vet, covers keeping poultry and lots of health information, for the Farmer rather than the backyard breeder. Covers diseases. Also Species specific information on Ducks, Turkeys, Geese and Quail as well as Chickens. Information on housing design for hot climates.

Natural Remedies for Poultry

Mark Gilberd

Published 2003

All the alternatives to modern medications. Also prevention.

Acute Virus Infections of Poultry

J.B. McFerran & M.S. McNulty

ISBN 0-89838-809-0

Published 1985

European Union Publication is for the Academic’s and give the latest research on Infectious Diseases that affect poultry. This hardcore book is full of charts and tables with the results of research.

Diseases of Poultry

T.G. Hungerford

Published 1962

Australian Academic Publication. describes ways to diagnose a disease and treatments. Black and White Photos of examples of infected birds.

A Manual of Poultry Diseases

B.S. Bains


Published in Switzerland. This manual is to describe briefly the most commonly diagnosed poultry diseases. It aimed for anyone not just Vets. Gives details of practices to mitigate a disease.

Diseases of Poultry

B.W. Calnek et al.

Published 1991

American Publication aimed for Vets with lots of details on diagnosis of diseases. With pictures and academic references for further information.

The Chicken Health Handbook

Gail Damerow

ISBN 978-61212-013-3

Get the 2nd Edition if you can.

Excellent resource when you have a sick chook to treat. Lots of very good illustrations to show how to administer treatments. Aimed for the hobbyist.

Backyard Poultry Medicine and Surgery

Cheryl Greenacre & Teresa Morishita

Published 2015

ISBN 9781118335437

Expensive book, but great when your vet knows nothing about chickens! It is written for Vets by Vets. Lots of colour photographs to refer to.

Under the Microscope

Dr Danny Brown

ISBN 0-9577024-8-5

Useful book if you have a microscope and want to do your own analysis of chook pooh. How to prepare slides and count worms. Save the cost of sending samples to the lab.

A Textbook of Chicken Production

K.H. Nahm and S.B. Chung

Published 1995

This Korean publication has detailed information on mass production of Poultry. Written for studensts studying animal sciences.


A Beginners Guide to Fowls for Meat

James Finger

Bell South Publication

Great little book on raising chicken to eat. Everything you need to know. Written by a very experienced Poultryman for Australian Conditions.

The Mobile Poultry Slaughterhouse

Ali Berlow

ISBN 978-1-61212-129-1

Detailed guide to processing poultry at home. Written for America, but a lot of the same principles apply. Covers legal obligations and hygiene, even marketing birds to sell for food.


Egg Nature’s Miracle of Packaging

Robert Burton

ISBN 0-00-219437-6

Fabulous Book on every type of egg, particularly bird eggs. Lots of pictures and interesting facts. The evolution and how an egg works.

The Perfect Egg

Teri Lyn Fisher & Jenny Park

ISBN 978-1-60774-625-6

When you have far too many eggs and looking for inspiration on what to do with them.

Poultry Eggs

Malcolm Thompson

ISBN 978-1-78926-681-8

UK publication, written by past president of the the GB Poultry Club. Covering all aspects of showing eggs, with diagrams and pictures. History of showing and selecting eggs to show.

Epic Eggs

Jennifer Sartell

An American guide to eggs for those keeping poultry. With lots of pictures and diagrams in colour. Covers Turkeys and Ducks as well as Chickens. Lots of information with tables for easy reference.

The Most Perfect Thing

Tim Birkhead

ISBN 978-1-4088-5127-2

I was recommended to read this book by Megg Miller (Australian Poultry Magazine). It was absolutely fabulous reading, if you are nerd like me and wanted to know more about eggs then this is well worth getting.


Races of Domestic Poultry

Edward Brown

ISBN 0-947647-23-6

Terrific book that gives a detailed history of each breed of poultry grouped by the country/region of origin, with lots of illustrations and pictures all black and white.

The Chicken A Natural History

Dr Joseph Barber

ISBN 978-1-937994-03-7

Great bedtime reading, a lot about the behaviour of the chicken by 5 chicken experts. Gives some ideas of what your chicken needs to be a happy bird. With lots of lovely photos.

Poultry of the World

Loyl Stomberg

This book tells the chicken story, with lots of references, pictures and illustrations. With Breed section at the back, giving a brief history and a picture.

Old Poultry Breeds

Fed Hams

UK publication

Great little guide to breeds of poultry. Only a brief description with photographs.

The Chicken Book

Page Smith and Charles Daniel

An American History Book about Poultry. Lots of writing, no diagrams or pictures! Some interesting historical recipes at the back of the book.

A New Life

Noel Milne

ISBN 0-7242-3403-9

History of the Poultry Industry in Queensland

Chicken Chat

New England Exhibition Poultry Association (NEEPA)

Edited by Chris Hardman

This magazine for the club, has lots of interesting articles and pictures. 8 Publications a year.

Breed Specific

The Sussex

Peter Smith

ISBN 0949340154 PB

This Australian publication is written by an authority on this breed of Poultry and is a must for anyone breeding Sussex.

The Complete Orpington

Dallas Smith

ISBN 0949340-27-8 PB

This Australian Publication is a must for any Orpington breeder.

Lots of breed related information.

The Welsummer Fowl

Dr Joseph Batty

ISBN 1-8736-353-2

Lots of repetition from his other books. With some focus on the Welsummer for faults and breeding thrown in.

The Welsummer

W. Powell-Owen


Powell-Owen was the UK authority on the Welsummer Breed of birds. This edition has colour photos and also pictures of feather patterns for reference. By far the best Welsummer Book. Unfortunately now out of print.


Cracked-Up Joke Book

Aardman Publication

A little fun, full of jokes of every variety particularly about chickens and eggs.

Chicken Games & Puzzles

Patrick Merrell & Helene Hovanec

ISBN 978-1-61212-087-4

If you are doing a quiz night for your poultry club, useful few questions to throw in from this book. Otherwise have some activities for kids at your next show.

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