Jenna Woginrich happily welcomes new converts to her flock.

In "Chick Days," Woginrich, who lives in Cambridge, offers a guidebook for raising chickens, covering everything from popular breeds to yolk color.

"It's a hot topic now," Woginrich said of the move back to home poultry farming - a trend that is even taking off in some urban areas. "People are raising chickens in Chicago, Memphis, New York City and Portland, Ore."

Woginrich - accompanied by several of her chickens - will talk about the book and her previous memoir, "Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Homemade Life," on Saturday at Red Fox Books in Glens Falls.

"Chickens are like having a stray cat around. You feed them, but it's not really like caring for a pet cat or a dog," the author said on Saturday afternoon as she sprinkled food on the ground outside the henhouse at her Cold Antler Farm.

The chickens greedily gulped up the feed as Woginrich spread fresh hay.

"Chick Days" is meant to be a how-to for beginners, and Woginrich runs through the life cycle from hatchlings to laying hens. The book also features images by photographer Mars Vilaubi.

"It's what to expect when you are expecting with chickens," she said.

As Woginrich strutted across her homestead farm, she looked like a seasoned veteran. But not too long ago the author, who grew up in suburban Pennsylvania, was in the same position as her target audience.

"I grew up in white-bread suburbia. There were no chickens," she said with a laugh. "It would have been like asking my parents, ‘Can I have an emu?'"

Later, when Woginrich was living and working in Idaho, she learned that a co-worker had chickens.

"She had 200 hens, plus she maintained her day job," Woginrich said. "I thought, ‘If she can have that, why can't I have chickens in my backyard?'"

In 2001, she got her first birds, starting with three chicks gifted from the co-worker. She soon ordered more and began to write a blog about her experiences.

"I was keeping a blog for my friends, and one of them said that nobody is writing books about how to farm in a backyard," she said.

Woginrich searched for a publisher and managed to sign a deal with Storey Publishing for her memoir about switching gears to a life based on homesteading rather than consumerism.

During the writing process, Woginrich moved to Vermont for a job and continued the farming effort, even adding sheep and other animals to the fold.

She recently bought a farm in Cambridge as a more permanent location for her expanding interest in farming. In addition to chickens, the property is home to geese, two sled dogs, sheep, a hive of bees, rabbits and a horse.

"It's about using the land as you can afford to use it," Woginrich said.

The author regularly writes about her adventures through her blog, Cold Antler Farm, which she describes as "a scrappy Washington County freehold."

Chickens now wander around the property, which Woginrich is rejuvenating in steps.

The birds have changed her life.

"People don't really want to get rid of chickens once they have them," she said.


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