( Originally Published 1912 )
Care and Management of Poultry on the Farm
Feeding For Eggs
Diseases of Poultry—Symptoms and Treatment
Valuable Poultry Pointers
Care and Management of Poultry on the Farm
I fear that the poultry end of the farming business is very much neglected. The hen on the farm has been considered a necessary evil, left to forage for herself and lay a few eggs in the season when prices are lowest. In cold weather it is more work to care for the chickens, and with no winter eggs forthcoming, they are considered unprofitable. During the hatching season it is believed that about so many chickens die anyway, whether they have good care or not.
This is a great mistake. There is no question that farmers can make more money out of poultry than the person who is raising poultry on a small place. Many waste products of the farm can be turned into profit by marketing poultry and eggs. It is an occupation in which the farmer's wife can share. For this reason it behooves the farmer, or his wife, to give the matter of poultry raising most careful thought and attention. Modern methods and experiments have proven that with proper care, administered with a liberal amount of common sense, the rate of loss among chicks is very small, while the profits are greatly increased.
Poultry raising on the farm is becoming of more and more importance. The farmer is learning that it is good business policy to secure and keep pure bred fowls. A great many farmers have already started to raise pure bred cattle and hogs, and well bred horses. If it is policy to secure cattle with high records, why not keep pure bred fowls from a good laying strain and add to the income from this source? It costs no more to maintain a flock of high-grade poultry than it does one of mongrels, yet the increase in market value, whether of eggs for hatching, or meat for table use, more than compensates for the original high cost of securing pure bred fowls.
To realize the most profit from poultry on the farm, a breed of fowls should be selected that are rustlers, that will go out into the yards and field and pick up at least a part of their living during the summer months. Besides being good layers, they should have a good market value after their usefulness as egg producers has passed. The different varieties of Plymouth Rocks, Orpingtons, Wyandottes or Rhode Island Reds are among the general purpose fowls. If good breeding stock is made the basis of the flock, and they receive the proper care, the egg basket will be well filled, and the poultry department pay a good profit both summer and winter.
The two main factors in the successful raising of poultry are proper housing and proper feeding. Of these, perhaps, the most important is the housing. The comfort, health, and productiveness of the fowls depend almost entirely upon housing. Dry, well ventilated houses, with plenty of light and sunshine, are necessary if the best results are desired. More diseases and losses are brought about by dampness, filth, and foul air, than by any other cause. Poultry will withstand severe cold much better than they will warm, poison-laden air, hence good ventilation is necessary. A house situated where it gets but little sunlight is unfit for poultry. Without sunshine, young chicks will make but a sickly growth and the older stock will soon degenerate. The cloth front houses are fast becoming popular among the best poultry raisers. This style of house gives plenty of fresh air without the drafts that are so dangerous to fowls.
The poultry house should be placed on ground that is always well drained and a sandy soil is preferable. Low, ill-drained clay soil, where water stands on the surface, attracts filth and causes disease. It makes a poor footing and consequently harder work while tending the flock. On the higher, well drained ground, it is far less difficult to keep the house dry and clean. We prefer a location with a gentle slope to the south or southeast. It is desirable that the building be exposed to the sunlight as long as possible on winter days and at the same time be sheltered from the cold north wind.
The amount of floor space allowed for each fowl depends upon the breed, the style of house, and the amount of confinement. Large hens require more space than small ones. Fowls that are confined a great part of the time, need more floor space than those that have free range. Ordinarily for hens of medium size, in flocks of twelve or more, three to six square feet of floor space per hen is sufficient ; but if fewer than this, the space should be greater proportionately. The house should be high enough to accommodate those working in it, but' no higher, as additional height increases the cost and makes the regulation of temperature more difficult. If possible, build a scratching shed in connection with your poultry house. Make this with open front, covered with poultry netting and curtain of muslin or burlap, to let down in stormy weather. Such a shed allows much more floor space and permits the building of smaller roosting and nesting quarters at less expense. A house 12 feet wide by 20 feet long would be suitable for a flock of 50 fowls of the larger breed, or for 60 or 70 fowls of the smaller varieties. Much floor space can be gained by placing dropping boards under the roosts. These should be 8 or 10 inches from the roosts and ought to be cleaned at least once a week or oftener.
The most suitable material for roosts are 2 by 2, or 2 by 4 timbers, with the uppermost corners slightly rounded. These should be made removable to facilitate cleaning. Fowls of the larger breed require 7 to 9 inches space on roost, the smaller ones require from 6 to 7 inches. The nests should be darkened as the hens naturally seek a secluded place in which to lay their eggs. A good place for the nests is under the front of the roosting platform, the entrance to the nests in the rear, with a board on hinges to give access from the front to gather the eggs and clean out the nests. The nests should be 12 to 14 inches square and of about the same height. The inside of the house, roosts, nests and other fixtures will be kept sweeter' and cleaner if they are thoroughly whitewashed at least twice a year. Mix a liberal amount of Disinfectall with the whitewash and you will be but little troubled with mites and lice. The main thing in housing poultry is to give them plenty of room. Overcrowding leads to disease, and disease cuts down the profits.
BREEDING FOR VIGOROUS LAYING STOCK.
The main thing, after selecting the breed you like best, is to secure good breeding stock with exceptional vigor and vitality. It is impossible to raise healthy, lively chicks, that will develop into strong, vigorous fowls unless you have the vigorous foundation stock to breed from. You must have vitality whether your fowls are bred for market purposes or for eggs. You cannot expect a profit from weak and sickly birds.
A common mistake among poultry raisers, and especially among farmers, is to use eggs for hatching collected from the whole flock. The chances are that a few of the eggs are from the best hens, but the majority of the chicks will be poorer stock and will not help to build up the flock. The proper way is to separate a few of the best hens from the remainder of the flock, mate them with a good, vigorous male bird and use only the eggs from this pen for hatching. In this way you know just what your breeders are and will make more improvement in your flock in one year than you will the other way in three.
It is a good plan. in order to maintain the vigor and other good qualities of your flock to introduce new blood occasionally. This may be done by purchasing new male birds each year or every second year, or you may buy eggs from some reliable poultry raiser and select the best stock hatched from these eggs for next season's breeding. In either case be careful that you get equally as good or better stock than you already have. In buying new birds it is well to get them early enough to become accustomed to their new surroundings before the breeding season begins.
The selection of new stock is important and requires some knowledge of the qualifications of poultry in general. One must consider the appearance, the shape, size, and color. He must consider the condition of the fowl, whether it is healthy and full of life and vigor, or whether it is weak and sickly. In purchasing birds for the improvement of your laying stock its past performance is most important. Be sure that it is stock from a strain of fowls that has produced winter eggs.
In mating up your fowls for breeding, the age of the stock must be considered. Mating immature birds on both sides is rarely productive of strong chicks and generally means many chicks dead in the shell. Birds must be full grown and well matured before they are in a fit condition to reproduce themselves. Eggs from older hens are better for hatching than those from pullets. The usual and probably the best method is to mate a good vigorous cockerel with two-year-old hens or a strong cock bird with pullets. The number of hens to one male bird depends largely on the condition of the male and whether or not his attentions are well distributed. A safe rule may be from six to a dozen, but good results have been obtained with as many as thirty hens to one male, but in such cases the vitality of the chicks is sure to be lowered.
Where poultry is raised on an extensive scale, incubators and brooders are a necessity, since hens cannot be depended on to become broody in sufficient numbers and at the right time to furnish the early hatched chicks so necessary to the large poultry plant. But to the farmer who raises but a hundred chickens or less, the natural means of hatching is preferable. For those who prefer to use incubators, it is always best to follow closely the rules laid down by the maker of the incubator. He knows best just what his particular machine will do and just how it should be run. The same may also be said of brooders.
As a general rule, hen-hatched chicks are more vigorous than those hatched in incubators. Especially is this true where the farmer or his wife has not sufficient time to give proper attention to the incubator, or to properly look after the chicks when raised in a brooder. The hen knows better than the. average farmer how to care for her little ones. If the farmer would spend as much time in caring for his setting hens and their chicks as he would with an incubator and brooder, he would probably have as many chickens in the fall, and they would be stronger and more vigorous than if he had hatched them by artificial means.
If convenient, set several hens at the same time and when the hatch comes off, give all the chicks to as few hens as can conveniently care for them. Break up the other hens and get them to laying again as soon as possible. The setting hens should be in a secluded place by themselves. The constant noise and disturbance made by the rest of the flock is apt to break up their setting and cause them to leave the eggs before they are hatched. Very often a hen will get discouraged and leave the nest two or three days before it is time for the hatch. Do not throw them away. Keep them in a warm place by the stove and in nine cases out of ten the heat generated by the eggs, or rather the chicks themselves, will complete the hatch and all be good and lively.
The setting hens and their nests must be kept perfectly free from mites and lice. Nothing will discourage a setting hen quicker than the constant irritation caused by lice. Use Diolice freely on the hens and nests up to the third or fourth day before the hatch is to come off. Give the hens access to a good dust bath. Place plenty of fresh water, grit, and oyster shells where they can help themselves at will.
About the tenth day it is a good plan to test the eggs. Very often enough clear eggs may be taken out so that the remaining eggs tray be set under fewer hens. In this case, one or more of the hens can be broken up and put with the laying stock. Egg testers may be bought of incubator manufacturers or poultry supply dealers. A good home-made tester can be made in a few minutes by using an ordinary pasteboard shoe box, set on end. Place a small lamp inside and put the cover on. Cut a hole in the top for ventilation, and on the side opposite the cover cut a hole, just a trifle higher than the flame of the lamp, about the size of a silver half dollar. Darken the room when testing. Place the egg over the hole and turn slowly. If the egg is opaque, except the air space, it is fertile. If it is clear it is not fertile and should be thrown out. The clear eggs may be saved and boiled for feed for the little chicks.
FEEDING FOR RESULTS.
Feeding poultry of any kind is a problem of great importance. While a scientific knowledge of the balance ration is not necessary, the fundamentals of correct feeding should be understood. The question is what to feed, how much and when. Fowls in a wild state live mostly on green food, bugs and worms, during the breeding season, thus getting the necessary rations for egg production. We want our hens to produce eggs the year round, if possible, therefore we must feed an egg producing ration and surround them with the proper environments. The three essentials are grain foods, animal foods and succulent green foods. If these three varieties are placed in sufficient quantities before the fowls, they will balance their own ration and supply their own needs according to their individual requirements. Overfeeding is more harmful than underfeeding. It tends towards fatness and laziness, and a lazy hen is not a laying hen, hence the necessity of feeding the proper amount in such a manner as to give the necessary exercise. Exercise is necessary to keep poultry in good condition. When fowls are confined, all grain food should be scattered in six inches or more of straw, leaves or some other similar litter. Of course, this is not so necessary for fowls that have free range.
There are so many different methods of feeding poultry, varying with the variety of fowls, the climatic conditions surrounding them, and the purpose for which they are fed, that it is impossible to describe them all here, but a few suggestions may be helpful.
Do not feed young chicks for twenty-four hours after they are hatched. The first thing that chicks will look for is grit. Be sure to supply them with coarse sand or fine grit, for without this they cannot readily digest their food. Their first feed should consist of hard boiled eggs chopped fine and dry bread crumbs, to which a small amount of Dr. David Roberts' Poultry Tonic should be added. This acts as a tonic and helps to assimilate and digest the food, thus warding off indigestion and bowel trouble, which carry off 75 per cent of the chicks that die under two weeks of age. This food should be fed for two days; then for eight or ten weeks practice this system of feeding: In the morning feed mash composed of the following ingredients, in the proportion given :
Wheat Bran 5 lbs.
Oatmeal 2 lbs.
Unbolted Cornmeal 3 lbs.
Middlings 2 lbs.
Beef Scraps 4 lbs.
Crushed Oyster Shell 1/2 lb.
Dr. David Roberts' Poultry Tonic 1 lb.
Mix with warm milk or water to a crumbly mass, not sloppy. Allow to stand at least fifteen minutes in a closed vessel or covered with a cloth, carpet, sack, or something similar. Feed just what they pick up clean without stuffing them-selves. One of the best indications whether or not you are feeding the correct amount is the fact that when the chicks are through their morning mash, they should at once start in quest of insects, bugs, etc. ; but if overfed, they will sit around all drawn up as is usually the case from a derangement of their digestive organs.
At noon, feed hulled or pinhead oats. In the evening, feed small wheat, or in place of the grains here mentioned, you may feed any of the commercial chick feeds which may be obtained of your grocer or feed store. Scatter this feed in fine litter of some kind and see how greedily they will search for it even when but two or three days old. In feeding young chicks always keep in mind that they need coarse sand or grit of some kind. If this system of feeding is kept up until the tenth week, you can feed chicks just the same as adult birds, and you should raise 90 per cent of those you hatch.
FEED FOR GROWING AND LAYING STOCK.
The feed for growing stock and the feed for laying stock should be practically the same. In both cases food is needed for building new material, for keeping the body warm and for replenishing the energy used in every movement. The elements required for those purposes are found in the nearly right proportion in the ordinary grains, such as corn, wheat, and oats. The amount of benefit derived from these grains in feeding poultry will depend on the skill of the one who selects and mixes them. Growing and laying stock need more of the foods that are rich in protein and carbohydrates than of those that are rich in fat. A good balanced ration for layers is the following in the proportions given:
Wheat 50 lbs.
Oats 15 lbs.
Wheat Bran 10 lbs.
Beef Scrap 5 lbs.
Dr. Roberts' Poultry Tonic 1/2 lb.
Scatter the wheat and oats in the litter as a scratch food. Mix the bran, beef scrap and Tonic, and feed dry in a hopper. Supply the necessary green food, grit, oyster shells and plenty of pure water. In very cold weather add 20 lbs. of whole cracked corn to the scratching food. The smaller breeds can stand more corn than the larger varieties, because they are more active and use up more energy. Corn tends to fatten the larger fowls unless they are made to exercise a great deal.
The question of feeding mashes, whether wet or dry, is one on which many poultrymen differ. Some get better results from the wet mash, others get better results from the dry mash. We prefer using both methods. A variety gives relish to the food. The more the fowls relish their food the more good will they get from it. A hot or warm mash, wet just enough with water or milk to make it crumbly, makes a good morning feed three or four times a week. When milk is fed to the chickens less beef scrap or ground bone will be required. Milk, either sweet or sour, is an excellent food for poultry. When fed in large quantities the flesh of the fowl is much whiter and more tender. For this reason there is a demand for milk-fed poultry, and a better price may be obtained. Dr. David Roberts' Calf Meal is a good substitute for milk, as it contains the same elements. It may be profitably fed to poultry instead of milk and the same results be obtained at less cost.
The following makes a good dry mash mixture for laying hens:
Wheat middlings 6 parts.
Wheat Bran 4 parts.
Corn Meal 4 parts.
Beef Scrap 4 parts.
Oil Meal 1 part.
Alfalfa Meal 1 part.
Dr. Roberts' Poultry Tonic 1 part.
Feed this mixture in a hopper, giving the fowls access to it in the afternoon only. If they have it in the morning they are apt to fill up on the mash and not get the exercise they need and obtain by scratching over the litter in quest of the whole grains.
GRIT, CHARCOAL, AND OYSTER SHELLS.
Very often the cause of failure in the poultry business may be traced to an insufficient supply of one or all of the following essentials in the poultry yard. All fowls, large and small, young and old, must have grit of some kind. They cannot grind their food without it, and their food must be ground up or it will not digest. A large percentage of bowel trouble in fowls can be traced to the lack or scarcity of grit. Do not make the common mistake of thinking that the fowls will find a sufficient quantity by themselves. With a flock of hens or ducks ranging constantly over the same ground day after day, every pebble is soon picked up and the supply of grit is exhausted. Even when the fowls have free range, a box or hopper should be kept well supplied with grit of some kind and placed where the fowls can help themselves at will. The importance of this cannot be too strongly impressed on the mind of the poultryman.
Oyster shells are too soft to serve as grit. While they are a necessary part of the ration, supplying the elements for building bone and shell, they cannot take the place of grit. Cut clover is rich in lime and is a good food for producing egg shells, but granulated bone or oyster shells should be kept in boxes or hoppers so the fowls can supply their needs.
Charcoal is an excellent aid to digestion and a good blood purifier. It may be fed in a granulated form in hoppers, or it may be powdered and fed in the mash. It will prevent many of the bowel disorders and is a valuable corrective of these troubles. Charcoal will readily absorb gases and impurities. This is one reason why it is such a valuable article of diet for-the poultry. If it is the least bit damp it ought to be placed in a hot oven and thoroughly dried out before feeding.
A plentiful supply of clean, fresh water is important. Laying stock especially needs lots of water. In ordinary circumstances a laying hen will drink nearly half a pint of water in a day. The drinking utensils must be kept scrupulously clean to prevent diseases and infection. They should be thoroughly scalded out at least once a week or oftener. The drinking water, if neglected, may be a great source of contagion. The watery discharge from a roupy fowl dropping in the drinking water will infect the whole flock. For this reason a sick fowl should be kept entirely away from the remainder of the flock. In cold weather the water should be warmed enough to take the chill off, and if cold enough to freeze, see that fresh water is given twice or three times during the day.
SUCCULENT GREEN FOOD.
Every variety of poultry requires green food of some kind. This is as much a necessary part of their ration as hay is to horse or cow. They must have it all the year round in some form or other to insure the best results. There are various ways and methods of supplying this need. Garden vegetables, such as cabbages, carrots, or mangels, are good. In feeding turnips, beets, or mangels, or other large roots, cut them in half and lay them with the flat side up and the chicken will pick them out clean. Or drive a spike or two through boards two or three feet long, fasten them to the wall of the coop and stick the roots on these. This is a cleaner method than leaving them on the floor. Smaller vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes, etc., may he chopped fine or boiled and fed in the mash.
One of the best green foods is sprouted oats, especially in winter time, when other fresh green stuff is hard to obtain. Soak the oats in warm water about ten hours, or over night. Drain off the water, but leave the oats in a deep pail or box, well drained; sprinkle daily until they begin to start roots. As soon as the roots start, put the oats in shallow boxes to a depth of about three inches. These boxes should have holes in the bottom to let the water drain off, but the oats must be wet daily to keep them growing. In a very few days sprouts will start and the feed is ready for the chickens. Sprinkle a little salt on them to make them a little more appetizing, and the chickens will leave all other food for the oats. The resulting increase in egg production more than pays for the trouble of sprouting the oats.
In the summer time, where the fowls are confined and do not have access to grass or other green stuff, a parcel of ground in the yard may be spaded up and oats sown. Soak them in warm water about ten hours and sow very thick. They will soon sprout and the chicks will scratch them out, getting green food and exercise at the same time.
Corn silage is excellent as a green food for poultry. They will quickly clean up every bit but the cobs and joints of the stalks that do not get broken up. This makes a cheap green food on the dairy farm where silos are in use.
FATTENING FOR MARKET.
Before marketing fowls of any kind it is advisable and profitable to separate them from the rest of the flock and give special feed until they are in a suitable condition for the table. It takes but little to fatten poultry, and a much higher price can be obtained for birds thus conditioned than for the ordinary run of fowls marketed without this finishing touch.
To fatten a fowl, food is required that is rich in carbohydrates and fat, rather than being rich in protein, as these elements are converted into fat whenever the fowl is fed more than enough to keep it warm and keep it strong enough to per-form the work it has to do. Give all feed in troughs in order to keep the fattening stock inactive as much as possible, so the food consumed will develop fat instead of bone and muscle.
For the first day or two feed a little less than they will eat up clean. This will make their appetites keen for the forcing feed that is to follow. The addition of Poultry Tonic to the ration will also have the effect of sharpening the appetite and more benefit will be gained from the food consumed. A good ration for fattening may be made up of equal parts of wheat bran, corn meal, and cut clover, or alfalfa. To every four quarts of the mash add a tablespoonful of Poultry Tonic. Dampen slightly with water or milk and feed once a day as a mash, preferably in the morning. At noon feed any kind of meat scrap, or table scraps, that you may have, together with equal parts of wheat and cracked corn. The night feed should be mostly of corn. Be sure there is no food left over from one feeding to another. The sight of food before them all the time is apt to spoil their appetites so they will not relish the fresh supply as they should. If you have no clover, or alfalfa meal, feed any other green stuff that you may have. Green food is necessary since the forcing ration is too much concentrated for the fowl's digestive organs unless they have exercise. An abundance of good, sharp grit must be supplied. The large amount of food consumed requires good grinding material to aid digestion. It is also necessary that plenty of clean, fresh water be kept before them all the time.
Cock Cockerel Hen Pullet
lbs. lbs. lbs. lbs.
Light Brahma 12 10 9 1/2 8
Dark Brahma and All Cochins 11 9 8 1/2 7
Langshan 10 8 7 6
Javas and Plymouth Rocks 9 1/2 8 7 1/2 6 1/2
All Wyandottes 8 1/2 7 1/2 6 1/2 5 1/2
American Dominique 8 7 6 5
Orpingtons 10 8 1/2 8 7
Minorcas and Spanish 8 6 1/2 6 1/2 5 1/2
Andalusians 6 5 5 4
Rhode Island Reds 8 1/2 7 1/2 6 1/2 5
SELECTION OF BREEDS.
For meat: Brahma, Cochins and Langshans.
For general purpose: (Meat and eggs combined.) Plymouth Rock, Wyandottes, Rhode Island Reds and Orpingtons.
For eggs : Leghorns, Minorcas, Hamburgs or any of the smaller active breeds.
DUCKS ON THE FARM.
The raising of ducks and geese on the farm is a part of the industry that is not appreciated as it should be. There are thousands of farms all over the country which could be made more profitable by raising flocks of well-bred ducks or geese. To a certain extent ducks are more profitable than chickens. They are easier to raise, are less subject to disease, and take but little room. They are not unlike hens in one respect—a few pay better proportionately than many.
A duck of the improved breeds will lay from 120 to 160 eggs in a year and usually begins in February. They are more profitable when sold as soon as they reach four or five pounds in weight. After that, feed that is given to ducks that are to be marketed is practically thrown away, as they gain but little in weight. The growth of the duck is more rapid than that of any other fowl known, thus making a broiler early in the season when prices are high. The feathers are always in demand. They can be plucked every six or eight weeks from those ducks that are carried beyond the broiler age.
Ducks are never troubled with mites or lice unless they are housed with chickens or turkeys. They do not thrive if housed with other poultry. They do not have the same digestive apparatus as chickens, consequently the manner of feeding is different. Ducks require at least two-thirds of their diet in a wet, mash form, while chickens do better on a larger amount of dry grains—hence the difficulty of housing and feeding both kinds of fowls together.
While ducks take naturally to water, they should have dry quarters and dry bedding at night. The most frequent cause of disease among ducks is filth and dampness. They are naturally more filthy than chickens, hence the necessity of keeping their house well supplied with clean, dry litter. Ducks rarely lay in nests, but prefer the floor, and in order to keep the eggs clean, the straw must be kept fresh and clean. They generally lay before eight o'clock in the morning, consequently it is better to keep them shut in until this time in order to get the eggs and prevent their stealing their nests.
In mating, one drake to six ducks is about the right proportion. Select breeding stock that has lots of vigor and vitality. The ducks that are used for breeding purposes should have free access to some pond or stream of water. Swimming in water is to a duck what scratching is to the hen. It is their exercise, and exercise is necessary to give fertility to the eggs and vigor to the young ducklings.
The feed for young ducks differs somewhat from that for little chickens in that ducks require more wet food, a good quantity of green stuff, and more animal food of some kind. They can eat much more and grow much faster than chicks. Like chickens they should not be fed until the second day after they are hatched. The first two or three days' feel may consist of hard-boiled eggs and dry bread crumbs broken up fine, to which should be added a small amount of coarse sand for grit. A good mixture for feeding after the third or fourth day may be made of six parts of corn meal, six parts wheat middlings, and one part of beef scrap or blood meal. To this add a small portion of Dr. David Roberts' Poultry Tonic to aid in its digestion. Wet this mixture to a crumbly mass and feed all they will eat. The green food may consist of any kind of succulent vegetable, chopped up fine, grass clippings, or even weeds of a juicy character. I have known a flock of ducklings to grow and thrive on no other food but chopped weeds, mixed up with a little bran or corn meal, and an occasional feed of dry cracked corn. Of course, they had the run of the yard and picked up an occasional bug, or worm, which supplied their need of animal food.
After the ducks are three or four weeks old, cracked corn and whole wheat may be given, but it must first be well soaked. If convenient give them all the milk they can drink. The pan or trough used for watering should be deep enough for the ducks to dip their bills into above the nostrils. Unless they can do this their nostrils get clogged and the ducks are apt to suffer in consequence. Give them all the fresh, clean water they want, but not enough to swim in. Although ducks are water fowls, they will quickly die if they get thoroughly wet before their plumage gets heavy enough to protect them. During the first week or two, grit should be added to their mash feed in the form of fine gravel or coarse sand. After this age they will pick it up themselves if kept in sufficient quantities where they can get it easily. They also need cracked oyster shells and charcoal kept before them all the time to get the best results.
For laying and breeding ducks the following mash food is good:
Wheat Bran 10 parts
Corn Meal 10 parts
Ground Oats 8 parts
Cut Clover or Alfalfa Meal 6 parts
Grit 2 parts
Dr. Roberts' Poultry Tonic 2 parts
Mix with about four parts of boiled turnips or other vegetables and feed all they will eat twice a day. At noon give whole corn and oats. For green stuff, follow the suggestions as given for chickens on page 162.
Ducks that are well taken care of are very seldom sick. They get colds and lameness from sleeping in damp quarters. In case of cold, remove the cause by putting clean, dry bedding ,in their house. If the cold is severe, causing a frothy scum over the eyes, treat the same as for roup in chickens.
Ducks and geese are very hardy and you may depend on it that they will live and grow, even with very little attention, after the first few weeks, providing they have the proper kind and the proper amount of food.
PROFIT IN GEESE.
Geese are about the easiest fowls to raise on the farm, since they require but little care after they are four weeks old. They are grass eating fowls, and will thrive and grow on less grain than any other variety of poultry. They are hardier than other fowls, consequently do not require such comfortable quarters; a low shed for protection in stormy weather is sufficient. Low, marshy ground, suitable only for water fowls, can be profitably utilized by raising geese, providing they have a dry place to sleep in.
In mating, one gander with from one to four geese is the rule. Breeding stock at pasture need but little attention. Those kept in confinement must be provided with plenty of green food, rather than too much grain. Do not let them get too fat. After a goose has laid nine or ten eggs she will become broody and want to set. Break her up as you would a hen and she will soon start to lay again. After she has laid the third lot of eggs in this way, it is a good plan to let her set. The first eggs may be hatched under hens. The time for incubation is from thirty to thirty-two days. After the fifteenth day it is a good plan to moisten the eggs occasionally so the young goslings will be better able to break through the shell.
In caring for and feeding the young goslings, the suggestions given for ducks may be followed. Keep them warm and quiet until the second day and do not let them get. damp or chilled. They require but little care and attention and as soon as they are strong enough, give them the run of the farm.
TURKEYS NEED MORE ATTENTION.
It is generally considered difficult to raise turkeys successfully, but this is partly due to improper care and attention during the first few weeks. Very many failures in turkey raising may be traced to the poor selection of breeding stock. Many diseases and losses among turkeys, more than in other poultry, is caused by lack of vigor in the old birds. Inbreeding and breeding from immature birds, or from run down stock, is sure to cause disaster. It is almost necessary to secure a new tom, entirely unrelated, each year. Do not depend on exchange of toms with turkey raisers in the neighborhood, especially if such exchanges have been made previously. It is better to purchase of some remote dealer so there may be no possibility of relationship. Vermin, filth, and dampness are often causes of loss among turkeys. The remedy is obvious. Keep them dry, clean, and free from lice.
Breeding stock should be well matured. Turkey hens, two years old or more, are to be preferred. Be sure that both male and female are healthy and vigorous. The breeders should be separated from the rest of the flock and kept well fed but not over-fat. Being of roving nature, it is advisable to give them as wide a range as possible in order to give them exercise and at the same time allow them to pick up a large part of their feed. Provide nests in a secluded place. A good place for turkeys may be made by placing a barrel on its side and putting straw inside for the nest. Partly cover the barrel with brush or other material so it will be almost hidden.
You may raise a few turkeys by hatching under a chicken hen, but the turkey mother is much more successful and is also cheaper, for she will take the young poults out on foraging expeditions so they secure the greatest part of their living from the fields; while otherwise they would have to be fed nearly all they would get. The time required for hatching is twenty-eight days. Let the turkey hen alone until she brings the brood from the nest.
The young turkeys should not eat until they are thirty-six hours old. The first two days' food may consist of hard-boiled eggs and stale bread crumbs. After that for three or four weeks, feed stale bread moistened with milk, with the milk pressed out so the bread will crumble. After two weeks mix a little Poultry Tonic with the bread crumbs. Do not allow them to get damp or chilled in the morning, and keep fresh, clean water and grit where they can help them-selves any time. As soon as they are strong enough to run with the mother they may have the run of the farm. Feed turkeys almost entirely on dry grains and green stuff as they do not thrive on mash foods.
The profit in turkeys comes from raising as many as possible and having them ready for the Thanksgiving market. According to the U. S. census, there were nearly three millions fewer turkeys in 1910 than there were in 1900, or a decrease of nearly half. In view of the terrific loss in numbers of turkeys, their increasing scarcity has boomed the price until they are now a luxury. This surely means money to the successful raiser of turkeys.
Take a tail or wing feather, strip the web from it excepting just at the point. Dip feather into some Poultry Roup Paste, insert feather into the treachea (wind pipe) and give a quick turn. This is a delicate operation, but if you are careful there is no danger.
See Prescription No. 186, page 183.
CATARRHAL OR DIPHTHERIC ROUP.
Make a solution of one teaspoonful of Disinfectall to a quart of water, and wash head, eyes, nostrils and throat thoroughly. Then apply Poultry Roup Paste by rubbing some into nostrils, over head and comb, and well into the mouth. Feed nourishing soft food, reduce corn and increase meat foods. In order to effect a permanent cure, one must use a good tonic in connection with the above treatment. The best tonic extant is made by taking equal parts of wheat flour and Poultry Tonic, mixing same with just enough water so you can form it into pills about size of a large pea, and administer one or two of these pills three times a day until a cure is effected.
See Prescription No. 185, page 183.
Associated with Roup, the symptoms being similar and the treatment the same.
A cheesy matter collects on the tongue, roof of the mouth and around the opening of the windpipe. Fowl usually breathe with mouth open.
Apply Disinfectall direct to the canker with a small brush or feather. Feed same as for Roup.
See Prescription No. 187, page 183.
Caused by neglect or improper feed.
Small bunches of hard substances appear just under the skin on the comb, face and wattle, and in a short time they exude a liquid matter which dries and gives the head a scabby or scaly appearance.
Feed same as for Roup. Wash affected parts with a solution of one part of Disinfectall to nine parts of warm water, dry with a cloth and apply Poultry Roup Paste.
See Prescription No. 188, page 183.
This disease is quite prevalent among poultry, although many other diseases are diagnosed as cholera. Sometimes filth is the cause of this disease, which is contagious and oftentimes spreads rapidly through the flock. If a bird is suffering from the advanced stages of cholera, it is wise to kill it and burn the carcass.
The first symptom is a watery discharge from bowels, lacking in color as the hours go by. The bird sits around with its feathers ruffled, head and neck drawn up close to the body, eyes closed, is very feverish and thirsty. It is inclined to remain standing just where it is. As the disease increases in violence the discharge increases, and the ability of the bird to move decreases.
Put one tablespoonfud of Poultry Cholera Medicine to every' quart of mash, feed twice a day until all symptoms of the disease disappear. If the fowl is unable to eat, make pills of the Cholera Medicine by dampening it and administering one every four hours until a cure is effected. Follow up after a cure is effected by using Poultry Tonic in the feed.
See Prescription No. 189, page 183.
Impaction of the crop is a condition known to many poultrymen. This is caused by the retention and swelling of grain, by the accumulation of dead gases or by some obstruction of the outlet of the crop. It is also caused by poor digestion, and occasionally a bird has had a fast, then when allowed all it will eat it stuffs its crop to the utmost capacity.
Swell crop. Fowl stretches its neck occasionally as though choked or trying to swallow.
Take ordinary baking soda (saleratus), dissolve a tablespoonful in one pint of warm rain water, flush crop by pouring the water down the fowl's throat. Knead crop gently between thumb and finger until the mass is broken up. Tie fowl by feet, lay its head downward, hold mouth open, work crop gently, and in this manner the crop may be emptied. In extreme cases, the knife must be resorted to, and when this is done the incision should be as high up as possible. After the mass is taken out, the opening should be sewed. Feed nothing but soft feed for eight or ten days, and a mixture of Poultry Tonic. It is a rare case when the fowl dies from the operation.
See Prescription No. 190, page 183.
In chickens and adult fowls is caused from too coarse food, filthy water, improper temperature, etc.
Discharge or looseness of the bowels.
Use Poultry Cholera Medicine as prescribed for Cholera, using half the amount for chicks.
See Prescription No. 191, page 183.
This is a parasitic disease prevalent among chicks. The worm that causes the disease is hatched from an egg containing embryo, and they attach themselves to the lining of the windpipe. They live and flourish until they become so numerous as to choke the chick, if nothing is done to hinder their progress.
The chicks go around with their mouths open, gasping for breath and making a gasping noise. Feed Poultry Tonic to your chicks and keep them free from lice, and they will never have Gapes. In case the chicks already have them, use the same treatment as for Bronchial Roup.
See Prescription No. 192, page 183.
Caused from in-breeding, lack of nourishing food, overcrowding, damp quarters and sometimes from too wide a perch to roost upon.
Unsteady gait. Bird will attempt to walk and topple over, either forward or backward, and in advance stages is wholly unable to walk. The feet and legs become feverish and dry.
Rub legs with Oil of Camphor and add fifteen grains of Iodide of Potassium to every quart of drinking water. Feed nourishing food, containing double the amount of Poultry Tonic that is usually given.
See Prescription No. 193, page 183.
These pests are the cause of more deaths among poultry than any disease. In fact, they are the cause of many of the diseases and ailments among poultry. One must wage a constant war against vermin to keep the fowls free from them.
To keep the fowls free from vermin the following method should be used: To every gallon of whitewash add one-fourth pint of Disinfectall. Whitewash inside of poultry house and nests. Use Disinfectall in its purity on the roosts and dropping boards. Apply same with a paint brush or spray pump. Dust the poultry thoroughly with Diolice Power, and the most effective way of doing this, if you have no machine, is to place fowls' legs between your knees, the head toward your body, raise the feathers with your left hand and dust the powder with right, being careful that the powder gets to the skin.
To keep the air pure and healthful in your poultry house all the time, fill a burlap bag with shavings or excelsior thoroughly saturated with Disinfectall and hang the same in poultry house.
See Prescription No. 194, page 183.
This is not a disease, but may be touched on just here. This change takes place once a year and if properly cared for, poultry will begin to moult in late summer. Then by early winter they will be through, and will have their entire coat of new feathers, and be ready to start in on their winter lay of eggs. This is a vital period for the hen, and it is important that she should be fed Poultry Tonic, as there is nothing better to aid in the growing of new feathers.
See Prescription No. 195, page 183.
Caused by the fowl being in a feverish condition.
The tongue becomes very dry and parched, the point of it becoming almost like horn.
Give fowl two drop dose of tincture of aconite every two hours until the sixth dose has been given. Use same treatment in connection as prescribed for Diphtheric Roup.
See Prescription No. 196, page 183.
This is a disease that comes from sudden changes of the weather or may be due to birds being exposed to drafts. It may be the result of hereditary tendencies, overcrowding, contagion, filth, etc.
There are several forms of Roup, known as Catarrhal, Diphtheric, Cankerous, Bronchial and Pulmonic.
Sneezing, discharge of the nostrils, difficult breathing, wheezing, rattling in the throat. Any one or several of these symptoms may be present, accompanied by a bad odor about the nostrils or mouth. Fowls thus affected want to sleep most of the time with the heads under the wings.
Apply Roup Paste three times daily to nostrils, head, comb and wattles and place a little of it in the mouth and throat by the use of a stiff feather. Better results can be obtained if head is washed and throat swabbed with a mild solution of Disinfectall. If there be a canker use Disinfectall full strength. When canker is killed remove with a flat stick and then apply the Poultry Roup Paste.
All birds affected as above should be separated from the rest of the flock and the premises should be given a thorough cleaning and disinfecting. Especially should the drinking vessels and feed troughs be carefully attended to. To prevent the spread of the disease, use a teaspoonful of Disinfectall to every gallon of drinking water, also use Poultry Tonic, giving twice the amount prescribed for ordinary use.
See Prescription No. 197, page 183.
Caused from a small parasite propagated by filth, burrowing under the scales on the legs.
Legs are very rough and unsightly.
Apply kerosene to the affected parts, then anoint with Badger Balm.
There are more than a dozen different kinds of worms that infest domestic fowls, yet there are but three that are common enough to warrant suggesting means of getting rid of them. They are the tape-worm, round-worm and pin-worm. The tape-worms are jointed, the same as are found in man, only much smaller. They have small hooks arranged so that they cling to the wall of the bowels and thus subsist on the nourishing elements of the food found there. Round-worms take their name from their appearance. They are seldom passed in the droppings. They multiply very rapidly and are often present in great numbers. Pin or thread worms are very small, being about the size of a thread, white in color, and from one-half to one inch in length. These are quite often found in the gizzard, having eaten through the lining and into the gizzard proper.
Symptoms of the different worms are essentially the same. Indigestion, some-times accompanied by looseness of the bowels. Fowls sit around, draw up, feathers ruffled, comb becomes pale, fowl feverish. The surest sign is where the fowl "goes light," i. e., eats well but seems to gain no weight, and in fact decreases in weight all the time.
Let the birds fast for twenty-four hours, then feed a bran mash twice a day, to which has been added some Worm Powder for Poultry. Use one tablespoonful to twenty-five head of poultry.
As a preventive, use one-half of the amount once every two weeks.
In extreme cases, coop the bird and do not feed it for twenty-four hours. Make a pill about the size of a pea from Worm Powder, and give to the fowl. Give light feed of bran mash, and in three hours give the bird a teaspoonful of Epsom Salts dissolved in water.
See Prescription No. 198, page 183.
The time to prepare your hens for winter laying is all the time. Don't wait until the price of eggs is at its height in the winter before you begin to give the laying stock the proper care and feed. Keep them in good condition all the year around. Select the hens for breeding purposes early and do not force them for winter egg production. Save this vitality for the hatching season and get better hatches and more vigorous chicks.
Hatch your young stock in March and April. They will then be ready to lay by October and November and keep it up all winter, if they receive the proper care and feed. From the best laying pullets select the hens for next season's breeding and mark them with leg bands. In this way you will build up your flock for winter egg production.
When the fowls are confined have a shallow box filled with road dust in which has been mixed a small amount of Diolice. Place the box where it will be in the sunshine as much as possible. This dust bath is a luxury for the hens and helps to rid them of lice and other vermin.
In considering poultry for profit one must not overlook the value of the manure as a fertilizer. It should not be used as a top dressing, but mixed with soil and applied principally to garden crops. It is worth from two to three times as much as common barnyard manure.
Hens that are over-fat are not good layers. Feed less corn and wheat and more green stuff. Make them exercise as much as possible.
An excellent way to feed oats is to Iet them soak over night, then boil until they are soft. Add a little bran or a portion of the mash mixture until it forms a crumbly mass. Feed while it is warm, and on a cold morning this mixture will be greatly relished by the fowls.
Make a careful study of your birds and care for them according to their individual needs. All fowls are not alike. Some need more attention than others.
Any disturbance among the hens that causes any degree of fright will noticably affect the egg yield for a time. Be very careful that no strange persons or animals cause any excitement among the laying hens.
If you are troubled with hawks getting the little chickens, try raising a few guineas. Being of a wild nature they are constantly on the alert and will quickly give the alarm when they see a 'hawk or some strange animal approaching. Chickens and other fowls soon learn the signal and waste no time in seeking a place of safety. Guineas are very industrious and will pick up nearly their whole living, if given the run of the farm. They have never had much reputation as a table fowl, but on account of the gamey flavor of their flesh, they are fast becoming a favorite dish on the tables of first-class hotels and restaurants. This increasing demand for the guinea will add another source of profit to the farmer.
A hen will not lay eggs if she is constantly tormented with lice or mites. Give your laying hens access to a good dust bath. Keep the roosts and walls sweet and clean with whitewash. Spray occasionally with Disinfectall and do not neglect to dust the hens once in a while with Diolice. Fight the vermin and keep the hens as comfortable as possible.
In order to make the most profit from your poultry you must get the highest prices possible for the products, and at the same time keep the cost of production as low as possible. Every effort made in increasing the output of your poultry yard, and every convenience added to make the work easier and more efficient, is adding that much more to the value of the farm.