Epic Eggs: A Book Review for Chicken Keepers


Epic Eggs by Jennifer Sartell 

Epic Eggs

A book review! You all know that I’m a newbie chicken keeper. I devour any chicken resource I can get my hands on. My recent fave book is Epic Eggs by Jennifer Sartell. It is more of a resource guide and is beautifully photographed.

“Jennifer Sartell is the primary caretaker of all animals on her and her husband’s farm in Fenton, MI. With a passion for living a simple life, Jennifer enjoys writing, reading, photography, illustration, creating art, taking in nature, raising animals and has developed a deep appreciation for homesteading and old world artisan crafts. Jennifer has raised chickens since 1994 and concentrates on breeding and egg production. Her and her husband, Zach, currently raise fiber and dairy goats and a mix of poultry. They also tend a U-Pick Lavender field, hay field and large organic garden on their property.”

Here are five reasons why you should order this from Amazon, followed by a Q&A with the author

1. Jennifer explains egg anatomy which is fascinating as a chicken keeper. The anatomy also helps if you have a broody hen and want to raise chicks!

2. Mixed flocks can be complicated and she really breaks it down into a fraction and it comes down to space. I hear this a lot and I’d love to add ducks but not until we have more space to free range them.

3. Are you hoping to find out more about which birds produce the best eggs? Read on!

4. Selling eggs is complicated but chickens are not! Jennifer talks about how to store and grade eggs! I don’t wash mine but leave them out on the counter – the bloom protects the eggs so you don’t have to wash them right away. Or should you? She talks about her recommendations and best practices.

5.How to cook eggs! Some wonderful tips on cooking a variety of egg types!

She has so much experience and deep knowledge, the book feels like you’re having a coffee together to talk chickens.

Q&A with the author, Jennifer Sartell:

Epic Eggs


Q1. I love all the sections but the one on diet I think is key – for those reading, what would be your biggest piece of advice for first-time chicken keepers when it comes to their diet?

A1. I think the best advice when it comes to diet if you’re not sure, is to keep things simple. Chickens can live completely and happily on a balanced layer feed (and grit if they are always penned). A layer feed has all the protein, carbohydrates and calcium that chickens need to stay healthy and to lay an optimum amount of eggs.

Q2. Ducks: I have two flocks that free range on 1/2 acre that is split into two areas as they live in separate mobile coops (these coops rocks and are super secure) – and I’d like to add ducks, I’ve heard so many stories – do you think chickens and ducks can live together without too much trouble?

A2. Chickens and ducks can live together quite well. We’ve successfully had a mixed flock for years. But you do have to make sure that your flock dynamic doesn’t change suddenly. Social hierarchy with poultry can be quite complicated and for seemingly no reason, chickens can start to pick on ducks. Ducks have little defense against chickens, they’re slower and because of the smooth shape of their bill, they don’t have the defense pecking ability that chickens have. For the most part, it comes down to space. In my opinion, if your birds have enough room, you can keep a variety of poultry together harmoniously. As soon as you have pecking problems with an established flock, it’s usually a sign that your space is too crowded.

Q3. Selling eggs (page 155) What’s your best advice for someone that wants to sell eggs?

A3. My best advice for someone who wants to sell eggs is to be transparent with your customers. Tell them your practices, what your definition of free range is, (if that’s what you’re selling), what you feed, and how your chickens are kept. Also, stick with a price that makes sense for your costs. It’s hard to compete with grocery store prices so charge a fair price for both you and your customer.

Q4. What’s your fave water container? I have tried so many and they all seem to get filthy from their scratching and when I put out a normal bowl they just don’t driink from it – I know this is so simple but I cannot seem to fill it enough or clean it out enough!

A4. Waterers are the chicken keepers nemesis. We’ve tried all kinds of fancy watering systems and what it comes down to is that, if it’s easy to clean, it will get cleaned more often. We use a simple, wide rubber dish. It has about 4-inch sides and is about 18″ across. They are easy to tip over with your foot, rinse out with the hose, flip again and refill. I don’t even get my hands dirty. We do this every morning. The rubber holds the heat into the beginning of winter. After that, when the temperatures drop we use heated plastic dog bowls in the same way. It also helps to keep your waterers in the run rather than the coop. This limits bedding from being scratched and thrown into the water.

Q5. What do you think of geese in general? I love the idea of guard geese – but feel like adopting them as adults may be easier than raising them – you wrote that this has helped a ton and I also free range with a large Barred Rock Roo… what’s your advice for anyone thinking about adding geese to their flock?

A5. I think if you have space and the interest to add geese, then do it. Raising goslings really isn’t much different from raising chicks. They actually have a more loving personality than some chicks. If you get them young enough, they will imprint on you and follow you everywhere. Geese raised into a flock will have a more smooth transition with a pecking order, versus those introduced as adults. I think geese are wonderful additions to any farmyard. We sadly had to re-home our geese since the book came out because they were wandering into the road and we didn’t want them to get hit by a passing car. I’ve noticed that predator attacks have increased since the geese left. In the future, we plan to fence off our front yard and when we do I will be getting goslings again.

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Epic Eggs Book Review