DIY





Poppy George's Farm Advice: Egg Incubators, Watering Livestock, and Grain Mix

"Poppy George" Plitt answers homesteaders questions about egg incubators, watering livestock, creating your own feed mix, and and other homesteading insights.

| March/April 1975

"Poppy George" Plitt graduated from college with a degree in agriculture in 1932 During the years that followed he made good many friends and a name for himself (as a gentleman, inventor and executive) in the field of bird and animal husbandry and care. At various points in his career, Mr. Plitt served as Director of Nutritional Research and Field Services for two of the East's larger grain mills. He is also the originator of Pride of the Valley Wild Bird Food and Kleen Kitty cat litter. Mr. Plitt now raises and trains standard bred horses and keeps a wide variety of other birds and animals on a New York farm. "Poppy George" is now sharing his experience by giving MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers down-to-earth farm advice on the care and feeding of homestead livestock. 

QUESTION: My neighbor has warned me not to set eggs either in an incubator or under the hen because the embryos will be killed by the sound of our area's sonic booms and dynamite blasts. Many people around here are concerned about the same possibility. Is this a real hazard, and what can I do about it? 

 ANSWER: I'd say go ahead — by either method — with little fear of mishap. Despite old-timers' advice, I've set many, many eggs (both under hens and in incubators) during periods of lightning storms, etc. ... and as long as my flock was healthy and vigorous, the results were always very satisfactory.

QUESTION: In MOTHER EARTH NEWS NO. 28 you stressed the vital importance of water to livestock ... but my outdoor water source freezes and I just can't seem to stand the physical strain of carrying all those buckets from the house to the barn. Please, Poppy George, what can you suggest?  



ANSWER: I hate to recommend expensive measures for MOTHER's folks, but in this case I'd advise an investment that will pay dividends over the years (and ease the wear and tear on you and your helpers): Buy a frost–free hydrant like those made by IXL (available from most farm and garden supply stores). Such devices don't freeze even in below zero weather, because the valve is self-draining and located on the bottom of the pipe.

Purchase a hydrant with a yard or more of pipe attached, and lay a 3/4 inch plastic waterline from your home or well to the barn or area near your coops, sheds, etc. — or out in a field, if you wish — where it will be most convenient to serve your stock with water. Attach the plastic pipe to the hydrant and you're all set. The unit has a lever on top which you lift to start the flow and lower when the container or pail is filled.






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