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Backyard Animals
Raising Bees, Chickens, Goats and more

See also: Wildlife

Here we are in the 21st century when keeping goats, chickens and bees in the backyard doesn't seem quite as outlandish as it did 15 years ago. Who can tell whether the craze will die out.

Selected Books

Livestock in General

Barnyard in Your Backyard: A Beginner's Guide to Raising Chickens, Ducks, Geese, Rabbits, Goats, Sheep, and Cows
q SF61.B348 2002
If you want to go "whole hog", pick up this beginning primer to raising all sorts of barnyard animals (except pigs). Editor Gail Damerow is author of several books on chickens and a breeder of dairy goats.
Cooper, Carlotta
The Complete Beginner's Guide to Raising Small Animals: Everything You Need to Know about Raising Cows, Sheep, Chickens, Ducks, Rabbits, and More
This guide includes details about how to purchase, house, feed, breed, record, and butcher animals of all types as well as how to gather milk, use goats and cows for maintaining your fields, etc.
Childs, Laura
The Joy of Keeping Farm Animals: Raising Chickens, Goats, Pigs, Sheep, and Cows
SF65.2.C45 2010
Small farm owner Laura Childs reveals what it takes to start raising your own animals, including chickens, geese, goats, sheep, pigs, and cows.

Chickens and Poultry

Bloom, Jessi
Free-Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard
SF487.B64 2012
Can you have a nice garden with free-ranging chickens? Jessi Bloom shows you how in this book from Timber Press.
Damerow, Gail
Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens: Care, Feeding, Facilities
SF487.D185 2010
This 3rd edition covers choosing breeds and hatching chicks to building coops and keeping birds healthy and safe from predators.
Ekarius, Carol
Storey's Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds
"chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, emus, guinea fowl, ostriches, partridges, peafowl, pheasants, quails, swans"
q SF487.E33 2007
Presented here, breed by breed, are more than 120 barnyard fowl from chickens and turkeys to emus and pheasants. For each animal, readers will find stunning color photography, a brief history, and a detailed description.
Foreman, Patricia L. (Patricia Louise)
City Chicks: Keeping Micro-Flocks of Chickens as Garden Helpers, Compost Creators, Bio-Recyclers and Local Food Suppliers
SF487.F578 2010x
What's not to love??? Are chickens any noisier than dogs? Here's a book especially for city folk and suburbanites.
Hobson, J.C. Jeremy and Celia Lewis
Keeping Chickens: The Essential Guide to Enjoying and Getting the Best from Chickens
SF487.H68 2007x
Colorful, lively characters, chickens have become the hottest new garden accessory. This book, in its various versions, shows enthusiasts exactly how to care for these pets.
Holderread, Dave
Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks: breeds, care, health
SF505.H65 2011
This 2nd edition presents information on twenty-three domestic North American breeds, covering such topics as duck attributes, anatomy, behavior, colors, incubation, rearing ducklings, diet, butching, health, and guidelines for showing.
Megyesi, Jennifer
The Joy of Keeping Chickens: The Ultimate Guide to Raising Poultry for Fun or Profit
SF487.M42 2009
Farmer and animal expert Jennifer Megyesi discusses all the basic details of raising chickens: general biology, health, food, choosing breeds, and also stresses the importance of self-sustainability, organic living, and the satisfaction of keeping heirloom breeds.

Goats & Sheep

Belanger, Jerome D.
Storey's Guide to Raising Dairy Goats: Breeds, Care, Dairying, Marketing
SF383.B44 2010
So you've become addicted to chevre and want to raise your own dairy goats to make your own cheese, maybe even some Drunken Goat Cheese.
Sayer, Maggie
Storey's Guide to Raising Meat Goats: Managing, Breeding, Marketing
SF383.4.S24 2010
So you have some male goats that don't give milk. In the second edition of a title originally published in 2007, Sayer offers up-to-date guidance to all aspects of raising goats for meat that is appropriate for backyard homesteaders, large-scale producers, and even locavores deeply interested in where their food comes from.
Spaulding, Janice and Ken Spaulding
Goat School: A Master Class in Caprine Care and Cooking
SF383.S68 2011
This book will not only tell you how to raise goats but how to make goat chees and cook goat meat.
Childs, Laura
The Joy of Keeping Goats: The Ultimate Guide to Dairy and Meat Goats
SF383.C55 2011
Covering everything from selecting a breed to how to make goat cheese, this guide is for anyone interested in learning more about these multi-purpose animal companions.
Simmons, Paula & Carol Ekarius
Storey's Guide to Raising Sheep: Breeding, Care, Facilities
SF375.S56 2009
Haven't you always wanted to raise sheep so that you can make your own feta cheese and spin your own wool yarn? And they should also help mow the lawn.
Zimmerman, Brent
Get Your Goat: How to Keep Happy, Healthy Goats in Your Backyard, Wherever You Live
SF383.Z55 2012
Get Your Goat is a comprehensive, engaging way to answer all your questions about keeping goats, as backyard farm animal or even as a pet.

Honey Bees

Conrad, Ross
Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture
SF523.C75 2007
In the face of Colony Collapse Disorder, Conrad advocates organic, nontoxic beekeeping.
Flottum, Kim
The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden
SF523.F63 2010
The Backyard Beekeeper is a how-to guide to the art of beekeeping and how to set up, care for, and harvest your own hives; it is also a honey cookbook with recipes for using honey in cooking, cosmetically and medicinally. See also The Backyard Beekeeper's Honey Handbook: A Guide to Creating, Harvesting, and Cooking with Natural Honeys.
Flottum, Kim
Better Beekeeping: The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Stronger Colonies and Healthier, More Productive
SF523.F635 2011
Questions answered for the advanced beekeeper.
Ilona (Photographer) and Edward Readicker-Henderson
A Short History of the Honey Bee: Humans, Flowers, and Bees in the Eternal Chase for Honey
SF523.7.I45 2009
There are around 16,000 species of bee but only seven of these produce honey. Even the nonbeekeeper will enjoy A Short History of the Honey Bee as it follows the journey from flower to hive to honey throughout history.
Peacock, Paul
Keeping Bees: A Complete Practical Guide
SF523.P33 2008
For the beginning beekeeper who seeks practical advice, Keeping Bees is the perfect guide to help in getting started with the hobby


Klober, Kelly
Storey's Guide to Raising Pigs
SF395.K54 2009
This third edition is a resource for pig farmers, providing authoritative advice on breed selection, housing, humane handling and butchering, and disease prevention and treatment.
Lewis, Celia
The Illustrated Guide to Pigs: How to Choose Them, How to Keep Them
SF395.L43 2011x
This book covers thirty-eight of the most common breeds of pig and tells how to buy pigs, the equipment required to keep them, and advice on their basic care, feeding, and hygiene.


Bennett, Bob
Storey's Guide to Raising Rabbits: Breeds, Care, Housing
SF453.B462 2009
Storey's Guide to Raising Rabbits is as essential to the owner of pet rabbits as it is to the farmer raising rabbits for meat or fur. Breed selection, year-round care and feeding, safe housing, humane handling, and disease prevention and treatment are all addressed.

Browse the Catalog

For addtional titles, browse the library catalog under the subjects:


Web Sites

  • Backyard Poultry Magazine
    Backyard Poultry is published bi-monthly in north-central Wisconsin and covers Breed Selection, Housing, Management, Health and Nutrition, and Rare and Historic Breeds
  • Community Chickens
    From Ogden Publications, the publisher of Grit and Mother Earth News.
  • Maryland Small Ruminant Page []
    An information portal for sheep and goat producers, the site was developed and is solely maintained by Susan Schoenian, University of Maryland Extension Sheep & Goat Specialist.
  • Meyer Hatchery
    This poultry farm in Ohio has chicks, ducks and geese for sale. It's fun to browse through the pages even if you are not buying!
  • Mississippi State: Rabbit Production
    Includes informations on setting up a backyard rabbitry, including slaughtering.
  • Sheep 101
    The purpose of Sheep 101 is to teach 4-H and FFA members, students, teachers, beginning shepherds, and the general public about sheep, their products, how they are raised, and their contributions to society.
  • Storey Publishing
    This publisher of books for country living has many handbooks on animal husbandry and is now releasing some of its best-sellers in substantially revised editions with sections on organic methods and the importance of rare breeds.

Pittsburgh Region

  • The Bee Hunter: Types of Bees
    Jim Abraham removes unwanted bees and wasps but also has information about identifying the various insects.
  • Burgh Bees
    Burgh Bees aims to introduce beekeeping to Pittsburghers in order to promote bees and beekeeping and in so doing, stewardship of the environment.
  • Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association (PSBA)
    An association of beekeepers in the state that provides a newsletter and support.
  • Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Festival
    An annual festival in May, celebrating the Heritage of Sheep, Wool & Fibers in Greene County (southwest of Pittsburgh). If you are interested in raising sheep, you might like to check it out!