I’ve been hanging on to this book for months, waiting for the perfect opportunity to spring it on you all. Actually, I let my co-worker borrow it and just now made him dig it out from under a pile of papers on his desk. This seemed like a really good time to unearth it.
It’s “Minnie Rose Lovgreen’s Recipe for Raising Chickens” by none other than Minnie Rose herself (edited by Nancy Rekow and Chaya Siegelbaum). When I first saw the author’s quote on the cover, “The main thing is to keep them happy,” I knew this was going to be good.
According to the summary, Minnie Rose was born in 1888 in Norfolk County, England to a mother who ended up bearing a total of 19 children. Minnie Rose narrowly missed becoming a passenger on the Titanic and eventually ended up in Bainbridge Island, Washington, got married and helped her husband build a dairy farm. They ran it for 30 years, and she got to know a lot about chickens by raising them herself.
Minnie Rose died in July of 1975, God rest her soul. But not before knowing her book was a success. I hope she knows now that a third edition was recently published.
I love the fact that the book is hand-lettered, and that Mrs. Lovgreen’s introduction is printed in her shaky, scrawled hand: “After sixty years experience raising chickens I wrote this book to help others get started on chickens with the least cost possible. The best of luck to you and your chickens. May you find their ways as interesting as I have.”
The 31-page paperback book covers:
* The broody hen watching over her eggs (“If you peek in at a setting hen, she says ‘Kwark, kwark, kwark,” in a deep ugly voice, to say ‘Don’t bother me’”)
* Caring for baby chicks, whether hatched on your property or purchased, with mother or motherless (“I had an outcast chick once and I gave it to a boy and told him to put it under a hen. But he didn’t do what I told him and next day he brought it back and left it on the front porch in a bag”).
* “Room and board for chickens,” including housing, maintenance, medical care, fleas and supervision.
* Eggs (“It’s perfectly all right to eat fertile eggs, or non-fertile eggs. They taste the same. Sometimes people wonder about that.”)
And much more! But I just love the folksy tone of the book. It is as if little Mrs. Lovgreen is sitting in a rocking chair beside me, drinking a cup of tea and teaching me about chickens. So if those of you who have said you want to raise your own chickens are serious about it, you may wish to seek a copy of this book. Even if you don’t end up with birds, you’ll have a perfectly charming and educational book to add to your shelves.