Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Home to Roost

Home to Roost

A Backyard Farmer Chases Chickens Through the Ages

Bob Sheasley

Thomas Dunne Books




Each day, Bob Sheasley leaves Lilyfield Farm and heads into the city. And each day, he brings along a basket of eggs for his coworkers at The Philadelphia Inquirer. Depending on the breed of hen, these eggs may be white, green, rose, blue, or as brown as chocolate. And they are all deliciously fresh, a taste of the rural way of life that people have enjoyed for millennia, one in which chickens have played a supporting role for nearly as long.

In Home to Roost, Sheasley tells of the intertwined relationship between humans and chickens. He delves into where chickens came from, what their DNA tells us about our kinship, how we've treated our feathered fellow travelers, and the roads we're crossing together. This is a story of agriculture and human migration, of folk medicine and technology, of how we dreamed of the good life, threw it away, and want it back.

Modern farming has changed the lives of both bird and man over the past century. But backyard farmers like Sheasley offer hope for a return to the pleasures of locally grown food, as diverse as the chickens he's raised on Lilyfield Farm. With wit and personal insight, Home to Roost examines of how our lives can be changed for the better, with something as simple as a backyard coop.


Chapter One

You Come, Too

A path between two garden gates connects Ulisse Aldrovandi and me. Through pasture and woods it winds away into lands where all time and distances have lost meaning.

At one end is Lilyfield Farm, my...


Praise for Home to Roost

“Bob Sheasley's engrossing, bittersweet Home to Roost describes the author's experience and fascination with chickens, their place in history and society, and the connection they provide to the American past and future. ... For the true chicken admirer, Home to Roost will be essential reading.” —The Seattles Times

“Utterly enchanting . . . a remarkable writer, a classic romantic.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer

Home to Roost is a compulsively readable history of man's relationship with Gallus domesticus, rich with anecdote, fable, and fact.” —Julie Zickefoose, author of Letters from Eden

“Combines firsthand experience and wide-ranging research in his treasury of chicken lore. . . . A diverting excursion through the coop and beyond.” —Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Bob Sheasley

Bob Sheasley is a farm boy in the city. A lifelong Pennsylvanian, he grew up on a 100-acre dairy farm in Old Order Amish county. He works at The Philadelphia Inquirer and lives with his wife, son, and three daughters in their 1830s farmhouse, where he keeps a coop of fifty or so chickens.

Bob Sheasley

From the Publisher

Thomas Dunne Books

Latest on Facebook