Uncommon Friends

Keeping Chickens the Animal Lovers' Way

Non-Fiction - Animals
198 Pages
Reviewed on 01/18/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Grażyna Witkowska is a healer, researcher, teacher, coach and radio presenter. She is deeply passionate about creating a world where animals are respected and valued, and she is dedicated to raising awareness of animals as valuable world citizens and co-creators of our future.
To this end, Grażyna has developed a unique process where, by deepening human-animal relationships, both humans and animals are liberated to live more authentically, capitalise on their potential, and bestow their unique gifts to the world. Believe it or not, all this could begin by committing to look after your backyard chickens!

To find out more about Grażyna visit www.BestVersionsOfUs.com

    Book Review

Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite

For a long time, chickens were considered nothing more than egg suppliers, but fortunately, things have now started to change. In her comprehensive and enjoyable book, Uncommon Friends: Keeping Chickens the Animal Lovers' Way, Grazyna Witkowska shows us how to treat these intelligent animals as real pets - if we do not already think about them that way. Witkowska tells how she had her first chickens and how they changed her life. Then, she invites you to learn more about these feathered friends. From the food that chickens eat to the correct way to raise them, as well as some notions about "free-range eggs" and other facts, Uncommon Friends is a book that will make you love and appreciate these beautiful animals as they deserve.

I read Uncommon Friends because I have chickens and a rooster myself, and many times I have had the same thoughts Witkowska has about them. Although different from cats and dogs, chickens are wonderful as pets. I loved that Witkowska made this clear. The first part, the one where she talks about her chickens, is funny, sad, and most of all, engaging. I felt like I was talking to another animal lover who shared her experiences directly with me. The following sections of Uncommon Friends give you many interesting insights if you want to have your first chickens or want to know more about them if you already have some. Finally, I praise Uncommon Friends for its magnificent illustrations and photographs. I highly recommend this book to animal lovers seeking the company of unusual pets.

Daniel D Staats

Have you heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? Grazyna Witkowska adapts this model to apply to animals in Uncommon Friends. Chickens are her close and personal friends. She desires to share her philosophy of caring for animals with readers. She feels humans must treat animals with respect and value them for being who or what they are. While most people think of chickens as egg layers or dinner, Grazyna thinks of them as valuable friends who are vital, whether they lay eggs or not. Grazyna shows how intelligent and friendly chickens are. Personally, I would rename this book Chickens Are Human, Too. Most of the information in this book was new to me. As a psychological counselor, I especially enjoyed the parts of the book that not only apply to chickens but also to human relationships.

Grazyna Witkowska has written a love story in Uncommon Friends. This book is about her love of animals and chickens in particular. Grazyna shares how she became friends with three chickens and many more over the years. The first part of this book details how her life changed as she grew close to her chickens. Then, because of her love of animals, she goes into detail about preparing to care for chickens later in the book. Explaining that each chicken has its own personality, Grazyna discusses the various types (breeds) of chickens. This book contains everything you need to know to welcome chickens of your own. In addition, topics such as set-up to long-term maintenance are discussed. Grazyna writes in an easy-to-read style in which her love for chickens shines through. This book is for you if you are curious or thinking about having chickens as companions. The pictures in this book are wonderful.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

“Friendships change our lives. They make us wiser and more discerning, and they fill our days with more joy, love, and effervescence.” Having a pet is like having a special friend, one who can fill your days with meaning, purpose and, yes, love. Did you know that the third most popular pet in Australia is chickens? Have you ever considered having chickens as pets? Or do chickens mean merely the production of eggs? Surprisingly, those who have accepted these charming creatures as pets are definitely amazed at how resilient and loyal chickens can be and how they, too, can display family squabbles, heartbreak over loss, joy in the little things in life, and lots of love. Something to consider.

Grazyna Witkowska’s book, Uncommon Friends: Keeping Chickens the Animal Lovers’ Way, is part memoir as she leads the reader through her personal experiences with owning chickens as pets and not as egg-layers. She begins her journey in a vet’s office where, while waiting patiently for one of her chickens’ appointments, she’s confronted by another pet lover who naively asks a question that suggests her view of chickens is more as livestock than as pets. The short memory snippet leads into an interesting dissertation on the merits of owning chickens as pets and what they can teach us, as well as what good company they are. I particularly enjoyed the story about asking the chickens to help mulch the garden, which they did with great enthusiasm. The stories and the photographs introduce the reader to a whole new perspective on the idea of raising pet chickens. A very interesting read.

Katelyn Hensel

Grażyna Witkowska has made the case for keeping chickens in her book Uncommon Friends, and I for one am 100% sold! Granted, she had a captive audience as I've been looking into the possibility of urban chicken keeping in my tiny DC condo, but I loved the idea of keeping chickens not just for egg-related purposes but simply for companionship. I was startled to find that, previously, I too found myself associating chickens with just being egg-layers and not as pet birds in their own right. But it's true. Why shell out $250 for an exotic parrot when a chicken might cost $25 and a chick even less. What makes those exotic, foreign birds any more of a fun companion than a common, trusty avian companion that might exist already in your own neighborhood?

I loved the artwork! I wasn't expecting artwork in a non-fiction book but this had lovely images and the formatting was visually appealing and pleasant. It was clear that a lot of effort has gone into the formatting, page layout, etc. and it all made for such an easy but informative read. Some of my favorite parts of the book were Witkowska's own personal anecdotes, her experiences with the poultry industry, and her own home life, and about her own chickens. It added a layer of relatability and fun to the book. However, the vast majority of Uncommon Friends is really a how-to guide on keeping happy, healthy, fulfilled chickens, the features and qualities of various breeds of hens, and also some notes on the politics surrounding commercial egg production. If the horror of finding out that so-called "Free-range" chickens can be stocked up to 10,000 per hectare doesn't spur any animal enthusiast into action, I don't know what will! I found this book to truly be a handy guide and will keep it bookmarked as I continue to plan for my own chickens and coops.

Jamie Michele

Uncommon Friends: Keeping Chickens the Animal Lovers' Way by Grazyna Witkowska is a comprehensive care and information guide for those who are considering keeping chickens on their property, who already have chickens in their care and those who are interested in learning more about what chicken rearing and guardianship is all about. Broken down into eight distinct and interconnected parts, Witkowska delves into the background of chickens throughout history, their roles beyond being eggs suppliers, planning for chicken keeping, roosters, and the practicalities of keeping chickens. She also provided checklists and resources, lesser-known facts, and planning appendixes.

What an informative piece of literature Grazyna Witkowska has gifted the world in Uncommon Friends! I went into this having thought in the past that chicken keeping was really only done as some sort of a business unless it is in the form of a rescue. Little did I know that ordinary people can take chickens in, give them freedom and happiness, and simply enjoy the company and the eggs they may give back to you. It was fascinating to read about Witkowska's own journey and then being shown how I could start my own. There are also a lot of little gems I found particularly interesting, such as the need for chickens to take “dust baths” and that there is such a thing as a “chick starter”—a special food for baby chickens. Overall, this is a clear and wonderful book that I have no doubt animal lovers of all degrees will enjoy.