I’m not convinced you need a how-to book to raise chickens; they’re pretty resilient and will eat damned near anything and still lay eggs. But the best reference guide we have is the Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens by Gail Demerow. Easy to read, full of information, and covers the whole range from hatching to keeping layers to raising meat birds to dealing with problems.
The standard catching hook consists of a 30-inch (75cm) length of 8-gauge (4mm) wire bent at one end into a hook and firmly attached at the other end to a wooden rake or broom handle.
Scratch can be used to trick chickens into stirring up their coop’s bedding to keep it loose and dry.
Toss a handful over the litter once a day (traditionally late in the afternoon when birds are thinking of going to roost) and your chickens will scramble for it.
Depending on the weather and on the bird’s size, each chicken drinks between 1 and 2 cups (237-474 ml) of water each day. Layers drink twice as much as nonlayers. In warm weather, a chicken may drink two to four times more than usual.