Reprinted from THE COUNTRY GENTLEMAN, copyright 1915,
The Curtis Publishing Company
Pastured Poultry and Sanitary Poultry Ranges
More chicks are hatched and reared each succeeding spring
and summer. The ever-increasing demand for broilers,
breeding birds and pullets for laying pens has created in
the poultryman a desire to raise a larger percentage of the
chicks hatched, and this has resulted in a realization of
the importance of several small points, one of the most
important being the condition of the ranges over which the
youngsters run. The old idea that chicks will grow
successfully anywhere out of doors is laid aside, for now
not only are chicks required to grow, but they must grow
quickly and continuously. As growing chicks spend most of
their time on the range during the late spring and summer
it naturally becomes necessary to have that range in such
condition that it will tend to produce and maintain the
health and vigor of the stock.
The question of what kind of range is of first importance.
On many farms the orchard is the first place to be thought
of as summer range for the chicks. The writer has used a
peach orchard for this purpose with fine results. An
abundance of shade is always to be found beneath the fruit
trees, while the surface soil of an orchard is always fresh
if it is well kept. Some good green crop is always growing
in the orchard, which insures against contamination.
It must be admitted that the effect on the chicks is likely
to be better than the effect on the fruit trees, but if the
chicks are not left on the orchard after the fruit is
reaching development there will be little trouble. The
writer has found that chicks may be kept on peach-orchard
range until they are four months of age before they will do
much injury by roosting in the trees at night or by eating
If it is not convenient to use the orchard the next best
range is a cornfield. The soil must have been turned under
and thoroughly tilled before the corn can have made growth,
thus insuring that the field is in a sanitary condition.
The luxuriant corn plant furnishes the shade that is so
essential to the health of the fowls during the hot months.
If the surface soil of a range is not turned under and kept
perfectly fresh accumulations of droppings and filth soon
make excellent breeding places for disease germs and
vermin. The type of soil affects this point. The chicks
should range on a sandy loam soil, preferably, as that type
is most easily and quickly drained.
There are other possibilities for sanitary ranges. Soy
beans make good shade and the crop is excellent for growing
poultry. The planting of several rows of sunflowers is
good, not only for the shade, but also for the seed, which
may be saved and fed with great profit to layers during the
The range should be roomy. The exact number of chicks that
can be placed on any range will depend largely upon the
nature of the range itself. There should never be so many
chicks as to keep the green crops entirely eaten down. Oats
may be sown as a spring cover crop, to be followed by a
mixture of oats and field peas, and then by soy beans.
The range should have shelter from the sun during the
summer days. If it is not possible to have a grove, or an
orchard, or corn, or sunflowers as a part of the range, it
is wise to build a wooden shelter in some part of the
field. Shade keeps the birds comfortable and growing
continuously. It prevents death by sunstrokes. The water
fountains should be placed in shady spots. If possible
select a poultry range with running water on it.
Cleanliness is an absolutely essential feature. Never bury
dead carcasses on the poultry range-in fact they should
never be buried, but always burned. Last summer the writer
visited a number of poultry farms on which there had been
many mysterious deaths among the growing chicks on the
ranges. In every case it was found that dead carcasses had
been unearthed by the growing chicks and the eating of the
partly decayed flesh had caused a sort of ptomaine
poisoning. Puddles of stagnant water should never be
allowed to accumulate in any part of the field. Disease
germs multiply in stagnant water and so infection spreads.
These pools may be destroyed by ditch drainage in most
cases, though sometimes it may pay to tile drain. The colony
houses should he located on the higher ground of the range.
Plow the poultry ranges in order to keep fresh ground on
top. This means a succession of green crops on the range,
and also prevents the surface from becoming packed and slow
to drain. Chicks like to scratch in the loose, fresh earth,
and that is Nature's way for keeping their bodies free from
lice and other vermin.
Making the ranges sanitary and clean is not a spring job
only. It is a piece of work that will need attention
several times during the summer. Chicks can grow
continuously and thrive well only when they are surrounded
with healthful conditions. Cleanliness removes the agencies
that work against their best development.
Colony houses must be roomy and well ventilated, for
growing chicks need fresh air during the night as well as
during the day. The simpler the design of the houses the
better, for they are more easily kept clean.
Ration for Jersey Cows
I should like to have a balanced ration for my Jersey cows,
composed of as few grains as possible, such as wheat, corn,
oats and barley products. Also please advise me if my
practice of adding a handful of charcoal to each feed is
profitable. — A. R. G., W. Va.
The amount of grass that the cows consume daily will have a
considerable influence on the amount of grain and other
rough-ages that should be fed. We shall assume that the
pasture is not good enough to supply all the roughage
needed. The flow of milk will also influence the daily
allowance of grain and roughage. Two-thirds of a full
ration should be sufficient, which would allow one pound of
grain to each four to five pounds of three and one-half per
cent milk produced daily. The hay should be allowed at the
rate of one-half pound daily to each hundred pounds live
weight. For the grain feed a mixture of corn or
corn-and-cob meal, 400 pounds, dried brewers' grains, 150
pound., and bran and cottonseed meal, 75 pounds, will give
When the cows are kept in the stable and fed a mixture of
clover and timothy hay as roughage the same grain mixture
will suffice, except that about fifty pounds of oil meal
should be added to the mixture and this fed at the rate of
one pound of grain for each three pounds of milk produced
daily. The roughage should be fed in such amounts as the
cows will clean up daily. No change in the amount fed daily
need be made when all clover hay is fed. The amount of
cottonseed meal or bran in the ration may be slightly
reduced. The feeding of such grains as wheat, oats and
barley is not advisable, as they are too expensive.
There is no harm in feeding a small amount of charcoal to
the cattle. It might be well to put some salt in the
mixture, as otherwise the cattle will have to be salted at
intervals of about a week. W. H. T.
Starting a Quince Orchard
How many quince trees do you recommend to the acre? — R. R.
Quince trees are usually set about twelve feet apart in
each direction. At that rate approximately 300 trees may be
planted to the acre. It is difficult to advise you how many
quince trees it would be profitable for you to plant. A
great deal depends upon the demands of the markets to which
you intend to ship. We should advise that you consult
commission men and grocers before deciding upon the size of
the quince plantation. The demand for this fruit is very
limited and in years of plentiful crops it has been amply
supplied. Do not put out too large an area in this fruit,
especially at the start. Two or three acres for the initial
planting would be sufficient. H. R. C.
Put four quarts of shelled corn in a large kettle; fill
with water and set on the back of the stove, where it will
cook but not burn; add three tablespoonfuls of baking soda
and cook the corn for six hours. After cooking keep in a
large crock. The corn may be winnowed and dried.
There is also another method: Take one gallon of good wood
ashes and three gallons of water; put the ashes in a sack
and boil until the lye is strong; then take out the ashes
and drain off the lye. Wash the kettle and put the lye
back; put in the corn and boil until the lye takes off all
the outside husks of the corn. Drain and dry.
Cracked Wheat Bread
Boil a cupful of cracked wheat in a pint and a half of
water for an hour; then cool and add half a cupful of
molasses, two teaspoonfuls of salt, a yeast cake dissolved
in half a cupful of tepid water, two tablespoonfuls of
melted butter, and sufficient flour to make a stiff dough.
Knead well and let rise. Knead a very little, divide into
two buttered bread pans, let rise again and bake for forty
minutes in a moderate oven.
Another method is to mix a cupful of cold boiled cracked
wheat with a cupful of cornmeal, two teaspoonfuls of baking
powder, a teaspoonful of salt, a tablespoonful of butter,
the beaten yolks of two eggs, a cupful and a half of milk
and the whites of the eggs beaten stiff. Turn into a
buttered baking dish and bake in moderate oven for an hour.
Serve from the dish.