Poppy George's Farm Advice: Start a Flock of Sheep, Fertile Eggs in Laying Hens, Treating Bumblefoot and More

"Poppy George" Plitt answers homesteaders questions about starting a flock of shep, treating bumblefoot and other homesteading insights.

| November/December 1974

"Poppy George" Plitt graduated from college with a degree in agriculture in 1932. During the years that followed he made a 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, 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. 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's readers down-to-earth advice on the care and feeding of homestead livestock.  

Question: I have a few dollars and want to start a flock of sheep. Should I buy registered stock or just plain woollies? 

Spend your "few dollars" on 12 to 15 — more if you can afford them — young crossbred ewes (not registered). That way, you'll get extra vigor for your money. Then buy a male of the Suffolk or Hampshire sheep variety, not necessarily registered, and you're off to a good start. (One ambitious ram can serve 40 females.) Be sure, though, to look at the mouths and teeth of the sheep you plan to purchase. If they're too old, pass them by and find young, healthy stock elsewhere.

Sheep combine the profitable elements of cattle and swine without the high investment. You must like these animals, however, to make raising them a profitable enterprise.

How long will laying hens continue to produce fertile eggs after the rooster has been removed from a flock? 

If the rooster was doing his job properly, your hens' eggs will continue to be fertile for 10 days to two weeks after he's gone. The pattern follows the laying cycle of each bird: That is, if a hen produces daily for seven days, stops for a day or two and then lays for another week, the first batch of eggs should be fertile.

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