Eating 'Tillie': Book Offers Tips on Raising Chickens for City Folk

Backyard fowl is a modern essential.
​As she cheerfully reports, Tablehopper is in Jerez this week -- swilling sherry, noshing on jamon, perhaps celebrating the completion of the manuscript for her upcoming book. While Tuesday's bulletin was understandably dosa-thin, she did not fail to ferry along something worth reading: a book recommendation, more specifically, a first-person testimonial from Peter Mulvihill of Green Apple Books. The text in question -- Jennifer Megyesi's The Joy of Keeping Chickens: The Ultimate Guide to Raising Poultry for Fun or Profit -- might prove useful to readers enamored enough with urban homesteading to start their own little house on the Haight.

Amazon calls this book "the most comprehensive full-color chicken book ever," which is about as good a blurb as a book about anything at all could ask for. Buoyed by Megyesi's advice, Mulvihill recounts his foray into fowl-rearing with delight, describing how his family's "picky-eater preschoolers" provided plenty of scraps for the growing flock, how he had to slaughter, pluck, cook, and eat "Tillie" when she turned out to be, not an egg-layer, but a small, strutting rooster with an ever-growing comb and an ear-splitting cockle-doodle-doo. He shares some good information as well. In San Francisco, you can keep up to four chickens -- or any legal animal for that matter. Hens are hardy; you can leave them unattended for days on end, providing someone -- a neighbor, a friend -- regularly harvests the eggs. It might be easier than you think. If you're curious, read the bulletin, buy the book, and keep checking Craigslist for coops.


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