There are lots of good books on raising poultry, and a lot has been written both on general care of chickens and other poultry and on specific aspects, such as certain breeds, laying, breeding, etc. These are a few of the books that we have and have found useful.
We have found that many of the older books on poultry (written prior to about 1950) are excellent sources of information. Many are still available as reprints, and many are available to read for free online through Google Books.
- Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens. Gail Damerow. This is one of the best books to start with on raising chickens. It covers a wide range of topics and is somewhat comprehensive. If you need a good general reference and good starting point, this is a good place to start.
- The Call Of The Hen Or, The Science Of The Selection And Breeding Of Poultry For Egg Production  by Cornell University Library. If you’ve not read much on selection of poultry for production, this book will be quite enlightening. The author developed a means of evaluating poultry based on certain characteristics in order to be able to fairly accurately predict their laying and meat production tendencies and their likelihood of passing those characteristics to their offspring. An important book to read if you’re planning to start your own breeding flocks.
- Don’t Kill the Laying Hen.Thomas F. Potter (1909). A fairly short book that explains in detail a lot of the basics that you’ll need in order to maintain a productive laying flock. In addition to laying good groundwork on laying and the things that can potentially cause a hen to not lay, it lays out in considerable detail how to know which of your hens are the best and worst layers by performing some simple tests and observations on them, without the use of trapnesting.
- The Dollar Hen. Milo M. Hastings.
- Principles And Practice Of Poultry Culture. Robinson.
- The Philo System of Progressive Poultry Keeping. Philo, Edgar Woodruffe (1863).
- The Kellerstrass Way Of Raising Poultry. Ernest Kellerstrass.
- Pastured Poultry Profits. Joel Salatin.
Raising Other Poultry
- Storey’s Guide to Raising Ducks. Dave Holderread. A very thorough book that covers both raising and breeding of ducks.
- Storey’s Guide to Raising Turkeys. Don Schrider. Even if you’re not planning to raise turkeys, this book is worth getting because of its section on breeding that applies as well to chickens and other poultry.
- Gardening with Guineas. Jeannette S. Ferguson.
- Storey’s Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds. Carol Ekarius. It has a nice easy-to-read synopsis on each of many different breeds including some of the breed’s history and some of the basic information that you’d find in the Standard of Perfection. If I’m thinking about raising another breed, this is one of the first sources that I turn to.
- American Standard of Perfection (1998, 2010, other years also available). A must have book for poultry breeders. These are somewhat expensive, but they have the definitive information on each breed that’s been accepted by the APA.
- Fresh Air Poultry Houses. Prince T. Woods.
- Day Range Poultry. Andy Lee and Patricia Foreman. Lots of good information on moving your chickens around on fresh soil and pasture, but on a larger scale (larger houses) than what’s discussed in the Chicken Tractor book by the same authors.
- Chicken Tractor. Andy Lee and Patricia Foreman. Lots of good information on the concept of moving your chickens around on fresh soil and pasture.
- A Guide To Better Hatching. Janet Stromberg. This relatively small book covers all the basics of incubation. It’s a good place to start.
- Practical Incubation. Rob Harvey.
- The High Road To Better Hatchability And Profits. B.L. Rosenberg.
- Incubation And Brooding of Chickens. Marlow William Olsen (1906). Available online at https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6181/m1/1/
Breeding of Poultry
- The Mating And Breeding of Poultry. (1920). Harry M. Lamon. This is one of the old standards on poultry breeding. New copies are available from online bookstores.
- Gamefowl Breeders Manual And Cockers Guide, Chronicles of Kenny Troiano, Volume Two. Kenny Troiano.
Health and Disease
If you’re just starting out with chickens, the list of things that can go wrong can (as described in books on chicken health and chicken diseases) seem somewhat overwhelming, but if you are careful with the basics of proper initial and ongoing care, including hygiene, feed and nutrition, water, housing, good ventilation and such, flock health issues tend to be minimal and manageable.
- The Chicken Health Handbook. Gail Damerow. Lots of information on different diseases and maladies that chickens are subject to.
- Chicken Diseases. F. P. Jeffery. Short book (more of a pamphlet) that may be hard to find. Has a good overall approach to chicken health.
- The Merck Veterinary Manual. This excellent and detailed source is available as a book and also online at: http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/poultry.html