KEEPING HENSA Chatty Guide to Chickens

Keeping Hens is easy. This friendly, chatty book gives you all the everyday information you need to keep your hens happy and safe. It covers all the questions you might have: How many hens to keep? What to feed them? What about a cockerel? Will they get on with the dog or destroy the vegetable patch?

Jane Furnival shares her decade of experience with a back garden flock, which over the years included battery rescue hens and cockerels. As you’d expect from the Queen of Thrift, Jane’s top tips include no-nonsense money-saving ideas and practical suggestions. This chatty guide also includes instructions on how to build a hen house by Jane’s husband Andy.

Jane’s hilarious and heart-warming stories of life with Winchester the cockerel and his hen-pecked retinue will entertain animal lovers and inspire anyone who is thinking about keeping chickens.

Genre: Pets, Agriculture & Farming, Popular Science and Nature

Date of Publication: 01/11/2020


Jane Furnival is the author of this heart-warming guide to chickens. She became one of the first female creative directors in London. After that she went into journalism and she wrote for most British national newspapers and some international ones. She as well became a broadcaster. But what she loved the most was to be a wife and mother and to spend time loving and looking after her animals.

She wrote a number of books including ‘Smart Spending with Jane Furnival’ and ‘Mr Thrifty’s How to Save Money on Absolutely Everything’

This book was written between 2010 and 2012 and was ready to be published but sadly Jane passed away in early 2012. Almost 10 years later with some updates now Jane’s work is finally published.

This book has the collaborations of Andy and Will Tribble. Will is Jane’s older son and who was able to bring to date her mothers work. We can as well see how Andy built a Henhouse from scratch and his advices on how to do it.

The beautiful cover and end page were designs by the very talented Suzy Thomas.

Wide Open Sea published ‘Keeping Hens a Chatty Guide to Chickens’.

Rating: 4.5 / 5


This week I was given the slightly unusual opportunity to review this guide to keeping chickens.  While I have no plans to keep them myself the books synopsis sounded really interesting and I decided to give it a read and I’m really happy that I gave it a chance. This book is addressed to anyone who is interested in keeping hens, who already have them, people who love pets or anyone who enjoys a great quick read. As the title of the book says this is a chatty guide on how to keep hens which was very enjoyable, funny and heart-warming. 

Jane created a great guide full of personal experiences about how to get hens, feed them, care for them and more. Jane was a very resourceful person and she wanted to be self-sufficient so she decided to get a few hens and also to grow some vegetables. Jane also points out that if people are thinking about getting some hens they should be ready to care and love them just like she did and how anyone should consider how much time keeping hens can take. We learn from the book that Jane would keep a maximum of thirteen chickens at a time and the least she ever had were three chickens.  There was a great reason for this, which I didn’t know, and is that chickens are very sociable animals and they need other hens around for their psychological health. There are also lots of tips that Jane shares throughout the book about her own experiences, for example how to protect your vegetables and flowers from the hens.  All this was written with the intention of helping others.

Will, her son, made a great job of updating some of the information in this guide as well as clarifications and disclaimers on new legislation from this year. He managed to get great information from The British Hen Welfare Trust.

Also at the end of the guide Andy Tribble explain to us how he built a henhouse with all the requirements that Jane asked. You can definitely see the interaction of the whole family and how everyone helped Jane to make her dream of keeping hens come true.

There are so many fascinating personal experiences but my favourite by far was the one about ‘Winchester the Cockerel’ walking into a library! I mean I seriously wanted to be there and see this with my own eyes.

I couldn’t stop reading this amazing book. It was really funny, light-hearted, chatty and informative but most of all you can see how much love and passion Jane had for her animals and family. I learned a lot about chickens from this guide and I actually didn’t realise that hens can be very friendly with how they interact with each other.

My youngest son’s school keeps hens and we sometimes look after them for a week during the holidays and now I understand more their behaviour and the needs that they have, so next time we have the opportunity to look after them we will be more prepared. 

I highly recommend to give this book a read even if you have no intention of keeping animals just because it was wholesome and interesting. This Guide is Jane Furnival legacy which is truly a great read.

Availability: The book is available in a Paperback Edition and as an Ebook.

You can get the book in the Wide Open Sea website here . For every book bought direct from them Wide Open Sea will include a donation to the British Hen Welfare Trust.

Thank you so much To Alice Sage and Wide Open Sea for my copy.

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