January 30, 2014

Once Upon a Flock--a Review

Once Upon a Flock: Life with My Soulful Chickens
by Lauren Scheuer

Okay, the current chicken-raising craze baffles me, I must admit. Although I was raised in a rural Indiana town, surrounded by cows and corn fields, I have never been a farm girl, not least because I have varying degrees of allergy to nearly every land-dwelling creature. However, I have many friends who are animal lovers and small-scale farmers, and I completely understand and respect the attention they lavish on their livestock. I have a more difficult time comprehending the people who decide to raise chickens in backyard suburbia. And yet, the moment I spotted this wonderfully-illustrated book in the library, I knew somehow that I had to read it, and I devoured it without pause in one sitting. Though I have not achieved Lauren Scheuer's degree of success, I am a fellow blogger, and I really enjoy the brief, pithy tableaux that characterize our infant genre. It is a writing style that Scheuer has certainly mastered.

Once Upon a Flock follows the author's journey with her unusual pets from fluffy, down-laden chicks through the trials of motherhood and chronic illness. (Who knew chickens could develop such diseases?) It definitely isn't all smooth sailing in the coop, but there is delightful humor to ease the dilemmas, and Scheuer managed to make me genuinely care about a group of squawking chickens. When I think of chickens, I normally think of crap everywhere, dust flying up that could be fatal to my lungs, and invasions of the damn mites with which most birds are replete. I couldn't believe a writer inspired me to emotionally invest in a flock of them, but she did it with ease, and I enjoyed this read very much. I can recommend it to readers of all kinds.


  1. Hee hee, suburban chickens are all the rage here. I think people around here got started very early with the trend. I have several friends (and one brother) with 3 or 4 chickens in their backyards, and I think they're mostly pretty great. (Although the one guy who lets his chickens come in the house and hang out on the table strikes me as a little too enthused.) Just a few chickens don't smell bad at all, and it is very pleasant to sit in a backyard and watch the kids run around and have chickens coming and going.

    We don't keep them, but we've raised a couple of batches of chicks for my mom, who has 2 acres and 10 chickens. My girls love them, but have also had some painful moments since chickens are really good at dying in creative ways.

  2. This is a great review. Sorry about your allergies. I have a fear of chickens. My grandpa had a very mean rooster and after being attacked by him, I now have a fear of all chickens. Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for your kinds words. I wish you all kinds of success for 2014.


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