Joanne does a great job of introducing readers to the family farmers. The farmers discussed come from different education, ethnical, and cultural backgrounds and grow chickens under contract with different poultry companies. They also took different routes to get to where they are today, but all have a commitment to their profession and are excellent caretakers of the chickens and the environment. It was refreshing to read about the true faces of those producing the chicken we eat. Joanne also does a great job discussing how someone with an interest could get into chicken production.
Urban flocks are becoming popular in almost every state of the country. Joanne gives a good overview of such flocks and introduces you to some of the people who have decided to keep chickens in their backyard.
Overall, the book was a great read, and I would strongly recommend it to anyone with an interest in chickens.

Dr. Jacqueline Jacob
Poultry Extension Project Manager
Department of Animal and Food Sciences, University of Kentucky

Joanne Guilfoil’s words and Kevin Fleming’s photos have captured the flavor of the Delmarva poultry world – especially its people. In addition, this book emphasizes the beauty and majesty of Gallus gallus and the relationships between chickens and the people who care for them. A marvelous meshing of facts and stories, this book is a captivating read.

Robin W. Morgan
One of several scientists who migrated to Delaware to work at the nexus of poultry disease prevention and microbiology at a time when advances in molecular biology and genome science were exploding.

A Must-Read

An insider’s realistic view of both the large-scale raising of broiler chickens and backyard flocks. A must read for people interested in poultry and issues faced by the people who raise them.

Temple Grandin, author
Animals in Translation
Animals Make us Human


Chickens on Delmarva
100 Years of Backyard Flocks, Farms, and Friends

Joanne K. Guilfoil explores the chicken industry’s history on the Delmarva Peninsula, which includes parts of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. She painstakingly researched everything from the Delmarvalous chicken brand to the current chicken production system. In the process, she uncovered some colorful stories. Consider the rumrunners in the 1930s who stashed their hooch in chicken houses and the soldiers who dined on Delmarva chicken in Iraq.
Guilfoil provides readers with a behind-the-scenes look at hardworking chicken farmers, many of whom are employing innovative processes to minimize the impact on the water, land, and air. Some are following in family members’ footsteps, while others have taken an unconventional path. There are full-time farmers and people who entered the field as a second profession. Several are military veterans, and they would like other vets to join them. Those interested in pursuing a career in chicken farming will learn how to build a chicken house from scratch. Since construction methods have changed over the years, Guilfoil lists options for chicken houses no longer in use.
 She also introduces the reader to people who keep chickens in the backyard for table eggs, to show, or as pets. These enthusiasts include fanciers, who breed birds, members of the 4-H and FFA, and even celebrities. Guilfoil tells the fascinating story of model-actress Isabella Rossellini, whose mission is to maintain diversity among the breeds and preserve the environment.

180 pages, over 400 photos, 10"x8.5", full-color




An excellent resource to learn more about this great hobby or career.
“As a lifelong poultry lover, past President of the Delmarva Poultry Fanciers Club, the current owner of several Heritage Breeds (my favorite being The Real Delaware Blue Hen) I believe this A to Z Manual will be very helpful for new and not so new Poultry Fanciers. Having so much information all in one place, in an easy-to-read format, makes it an excellent resource to learn more about this great hobby or career. My grandfather passed on the love of animals, especially chickens, to me. I have passed it on to my children, grandchildren, and many friends or acquaintances over the years. Thank you Joanne for this informative manual and . . . for including me in it!”
~ Joe Mastin, Past President
Delmarva Poultry Fanciers Club

This will be a great tool for young and old.
“What a pleasure to read through! Thank you for the opportunity to do so! This wonderfully compact and informative manual by Joanne Guilfoil was a joy to read. For me, a person involved as a non-grower but has a spouse (Dr. Tom Oscar, USDA) and a co-worker (Dr. Jon Moyle) so involved with different aspects of the poultry industry, and I thought I was ‘in the know’, I totally enjoyed and learned so much from this easy read. You can tell Joanne put in a lot of time researching, and her enthusiasm for the subject comes through! You don’t have to be a grower to want to read the descriptions given by Joanne – this will be a great tool for young and old to learn about poultry and the wonderful reason we have so many growers (large and small) on Delmarva.”
~ Sheila H. Oscar
Administrative Assistant II
University of Maryland
Lower Eastern Shore Research and Education Center (LESREC), Salisbury, MD

A must-have manual for quick and easy reference!
“Question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Answer: Joanne Guilfoil’s “Chickens on Delmarva A-Z Reference Manual”. In simple but science-based language that anyone can understand and appreciate, this delightful and informative manual covers poultry terminology and famous people who helped put Delmarva’s poultry industry on the chicken world map. Anyone interested in raising poultry for food (eggs or meat), pleasure, or education (including research, teaching, and Extension) must have a copy of this manual for quick and easy reference!”
~ Nathaniel Tablante, DVM
Extension Poultry Health Specialist
University of Maryland, College Park, MD


Chickens on Delmarva
A-Z Manual


This manual is structured much like an illustrated dictionary in alphabetical order, an easy reference for school or club projects, or just plain interest in chickens on Delmarva. On any random East-West drive across Delmarva or a North-South trip, even a casual observer might notice small backyard flocks, farm equipment suppliers, large poultry farms, egg farms, field crops like corn and soybeans, poultry processing plants, veterinarian offices, chicken trucks, and cover crops like winter wheat. Harrington, the home of the Delaware state fairgrounds, is where birds are exhibited and seminars for growers and farmers are conducted.

The manual is not just for serious poultry keepers; it is packed with scientific/agricultural terms and drawings, historical facts, and names of actual growers, all designed to also be of interest to Fanciers, service providers and other related poultry workforce personnel, teachers, students, folks interested in the history of Delmarva, and chicken lovers of all ages.




Are you ready to learn the alphabet and everything you always wanted to know about chickens and the poultry industry on Delmarva but were afraid to ask? If so, then you must read this amazing ABC book. Within these pages of funny, thoughtful, and witty poetry (in English) and prose (in Spanish), along with delightful drawings to color, author and artist Joanne Guilfoil succeeds in using the alphabet to tell the great story of Delmarva’s poultry industry to a diverse audience. She demonstrates to all ways in which chickens can be vital to our economic stability, health, and happiness.

~ Nathaniel Tablante, DVM
Extension Poultry Health Specialist
University of Maryland College Park

This book about Delmarva poultry is long over due. As you can see, Delmarva has some great poultry history. The commercial broiler industry started here. Poultry life on Delmarva involves friendly and fascinating people in all aspects, past and present. Author Joanne Guilfoil examines these different aspects, from the commercial industry to exhibition clubs. Each contributes so much to our Peninsula; who would have ever known? Enjoy reading this fact filled and entertaining book!

~ Mike Wasylkowski
Small Farm Educator, Delaware State University
APA & ABA Licensed Judge

The content of this book was designed to share the history of the Delmarva chicken industry. It is presented in two languages - English and Spanish - in hopes that it will assist members of the Hispanic population who are involved in some way with today's chicken industry to learn from this and expand their language skills. Hopefully, the text will also inspire English speakers to take the opportunity to read and learn some Spanish. The main objective is to appreciate the history of the Delmarva chicken industry and its statewide importance, while building better communication through having a little fun!

~ Dr. Janet Hickman


The ABCs of Chickens on Delmarva

Includes English & Spanish on each page
This is the fifth in a series of ABC books about life on Delmarva. This one is all about the chicken industry as we find it across the Peninsula, including chicken breeds, growers past and present, the companies they grow for, chicken farms, chicken coops, chicken x-rays, and the famous Delaware Blue Hen!

With two pages per alphabet letter, you will read informative text, illustrated with color photographs and line drawings by the author, for readers to color. The goal is to present a view of the Delmarva chicken industry and all it has to offer. Equally important however, is the effort to honor the involvement of our Hispanic population, so very central in this vital work. A Spanish translation is presented alongside the English version of the text for each letter of the alphabet. So get ready to learn about chickens on Delmarva then and now . . . and perhaps learn a little about a new language!



Joanne Guilfoil, Ph.D.

I published textbooks on environmental design and field guide paintings of fish and reptiles while teaching college in Kentucky. My recent publication, FLYING OVER DELMARVA: Spray Planes, Banner Planes & Bi-Planes, was my first hardbound book for aviation enthusiasts, young and old. This is my first activity book for young readers, who may one day become aviation enthusiasts, or at least better readers. 

"When you dig just a little under the surface, a whole new world emerges."


Other Books

Flying Over Delvarva
Flying Over Delvarva
ABCs of Flyting Over Delmarva
The ABCs of Flying Over Delmarva
Flying Over Delmarva A-Z
Flying Over Delmarva A-Z
Ocean City ABCs
Ocean City Maryland ABCs
Now and Then
Berlin Maryland ABCs
Berlin Maryland ABCs
Bethany Beach ABCs
Bethany Beach ABCs
Now and Then
The ABCs of Chickens on Delmarva
The ABCs of
Chickens on Delmarva
Spray Planes, Banner Planes, & Bi-Planes

Flying Over Delmarva

This is a coffee table book filled with gorgeous color photos of many types of aircraft from all over Delmarva. It is also a rich historical account of military, agricultural and recreational airplanes, with stories provided by friends, families and pilots who flew them, including: a Mitchell B-25, Navy trainers, a Talon T-38, Stearman, Beechcraft, King Air, Cessna, Erco Ercoupe, Waco, 1929 Great Lakes and many banner planes!

250 pgs.  Hardcover (2017)



Scroll to Top
Malcare WordPress Security