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About The Book

When longtime illustrator and lover of power tools Lauren Scheuer was looking for a project, she got the idea to raise backyard chickens. Her husband and teenage daughter looked on incredulously as coop sketches and chicken-raising books filled their New England home. But when the chicks arrived, the whole family fell in love with the bundles of fluff and the wild adventures began.

Once Upon a Flock: Life with My Soulful Chickens stars Scheuer’s backyard chickens—with their big personalities, friendships, rivalries, and secrets—and the flock’s guardian, Marky the terrier. The flock includes Hatsy, the little dynamo; Lil’White, the deranged and twisted Buff Orpington; Pigeon, the fixer-upper chicken; and Lucy, the special-needs hen who bonds with Lauren and becomes a fast friend.

This charming story of Lauren’s life with her quirky flock is filled with moments of humor and heartbreak: When Lucy is afflicted with a neurological disease, Lauren builds Lucy a special-needs coop. When Lucy’s nesting instinct leads

Lauren to act as a chicken midwife of sorts, Lauren hatches a chick in her home. And when Lucy’s best friend Hatsy falls ill, Lauren finds an unlikely friend for Lucy in a chicken named Pigeon, who requires an emergency bath and blow-dry. Enthusiastically immersing herself in the world of her flock, Lauren discovers that love, loss, passion, and resilience are not only parts of the human experience, but of the chicken experience as well. Throughout it all, Lauren documents the laughter and drama of her flock’s adventures with her own whimsical photos and illustrations. At once humorous, poignant, and informative, Once Upon a Flock is a feathered tale like no other.

About The Author

Photo © Sarah Stoutamire

Lauren Scheuer writes the popular blog “Scratch and Peck.” A UCLA graduate and freelance illustrator, she lives in Massachusetts with her family and her chickens. You can find out more at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria Books (March 19, 2013)
  • Length: 256 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781451698756

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Raves and Reviews

"Lauren Scheuer is a writer of immense warmth who beautifully captures the quirks, comedy, and drama of backyard chickens. You will love Lucy, Hatsy, and the other amusing characters of her flock. You will love Marky the dog and Danny the husband. But most of all you will love Lauren and her gentle and generous soul. This remarkable interspecies family will make you laugh, will touch your heart, and -- yes, believe it -- just might make you cry. Once Upon a Flock is a celebration of all that is sweet and simple and pure in life."

– John Grogan, author of Marley & Me and The Longest Trip Home

“This book is like a cool breath of fresh air on a hot summer day. It’s full of delight, whimsy, joy, and hilarity, yet it goes much deeper than that. Each member of this little flock has her own personality traits, quirks, preferences, and logic. Some are compassionate and nurturing, others are competitive and mean-spirited. With her photos and drawings throughout the book, Scheuer entertains, teaches, and captivates the reader. You will learn more about chickens than you ever thought possible, and will fall in love with them along the way. I highly recommend this book!”

– Stacey O’Brien, author of Wesley the Owl

“Part memoir, part photo album, part comic book, Once Upon a Flock is wholly delightful—as are all the distinctive, compelling individual chickens you’ll come to know and love in these pages. I loved it!”

– Sy Montgomery, author of Birdology and The Good Good Pig

“From the first page, Lauren Scheuer and her flock are the next-door neighbors you wish you had. She is witty, charming, and constantly delighted by the antics of her backyard hens. This is the book I wish I'd read when I brought my first chicks home from the feed store. As an artist and as a writer, Lauren perfectly captures the joy and heartache of backyard chicken-keeping. Whether you're raising a flock yourself or only dreaming of it, you'll love this book.”

– Amy Stewart, author of Wicked Bugs and Wicked Plants

“Once Upon a Flock has a clear message: Chickens are people, too. They form bonds, have spats, make new friends and even fall in love. Prepare to be charmed and even moved by the story of these birds, so much so, you might find yourself the proud owner of a couple of chicks.”

– Tamara Staples, author of The Fairest Fowl and The Magnificent Chicken

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