These old farm magazines provide advice on on pastured poultry, jersey cows and starting a quince orchard.
Reprinted from The Country Gentleman, copyright 1915, The Curtis Publishing Company.
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 the fruit.
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 molting season.
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.
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 pounds, and bran and cottonseed meal, 75 pounds, will give satisfactory results.
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.
How many quince trees do you recommend to the acre? — R. R. T, Mass.
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.
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