Jerome D. Belanger, known to friends and family as J.D., did a terrific job with this Complete Idiot's Guide to Raising Chickens. My connection with him is as publisher of Backyard Poultry magazine, where I'm a regular contributor.
J.D. compiled all the basics of chickens and chicken husbandry in this book. His humor shiens through, not only in the text -- "Nobody but an irrational grouch could complain about chickens that don't even make their presence known (although such grouches abound)." -- but in nuggets boxed frequently throughout the text. Amaze your friends with Cocktail Conversation items such as where 'chickenpox' got its name (from the blisters that were thought to look like chickpeas) and the fact that the brown color can be rubbed off newly-laid brown eggs, if you get to them before they dry.
J.D. has made the information acessible and his light touch makes it fun. His encyclopedic knowledge, from a lifetime's experience with birds of all kinds and chickens in particular, make this invaluable.
You don't need to own chickens to enjoy learning what J.Dd. shares with us in this book. Next to my own book, it belongs on every chicken lover's shelf.