Chickens are a fantastic addition to a garden or outdoors space - you don't have to live in the back of beyond to have a few clucking around and giving you fresh eggs. They come in all shapes and sizes: some are layers, some are just born to strut. Mark Diaco begins at the basics, showing how you can raise chickens from eggs, and look after them once they start laying their own. The first part of Chicken & Eggs explains how to think ahead about what kind of chickens you want and how many to get, whether you are going for a breed that lays eggs regularly, or that you might eventually use for eating, or that simply looks decorative. You can choose from Orpingtons, Derbyshire redcaps, Muffed Old English Game, Leghorns and many more. Mark then goes on to show how you can breed chickens, encourage them to lay, work out what kind of eggs you have (are they destined for the eggcup, or will they hatch into baby chicks?), and take care of them day to day, as well as how you can go about getting the birds on the table. The final part of the book is a recipe section that goes far beyond the roast, with lots of delicious ideas for fresh eggs or home-reared chicken. With an introduction by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, this is an essential guide for anyone who can't stop thinking about chicks.
A smallholder and writer, Mark Diacono is known for his commitment to sustainable, ethically produced food. Mark leads the Garden Team at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage and is a regular on the River Cottage TV series. As well as having a unique take on growing your own food, Mark champions climate change growing, an approach to producing food that takes sustainable advantage of the new weather conditions; Otter Farm, his smallholding in East Devon, has become famous as home to the UK's first olive grove. Mark's book Veg Patch: River Cottage Handbook Number 4 was named Practical Book of the Year at the Garden Media Guild Awards 2009 and A Taste of the Unexpected won the Guild of Food Writers' Book of the Year 2011.