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^^^^^^^ CORNELL J^m^^U 
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New York State Colleges 


Agriculture and Home Economics 


Cornell University 

The original of tliis book is in 
tlie Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 

'God lent His creatures light and air, and maters open to tlie sTcies; 
Man locks him in a stifling lair and wonders why his brother dies." 

— Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes. 


A Practical Book on Modern Common Sense Poultry Housing for 

Beginners and Veterans in Poultry Keeping. What to Build 

and How to Do It. Houses that Will Promote 

Health, Vigor and Vitality in Laying and 

Breeding Stock. 











HIS BOOK was written, and the illustrations made, 

for the purpose of supplying an ever increasing 

demand for plans and building instructions of the 

best and most jDractical modern open-front open-air, 

or "fresh-air poultry houses." 

The fresh-air or open-air idea is not wholly new. 
We have had a few advocates of open-air housing for poultry since 
the earliest history of domestic poultry, but general promotion of 
open-air or "fresh-air"' methods has only been developed during 
the past decade. The doctrine of fresh air has been so successfully 
preached that we now find open-front poultry buildings affording 
comfort for fowls all over the American Continent in localities 
where a few years ago open-front houses were not known. I firmly 
believe that the general adoption of open-front houses for poultry 
in cold and temperate climates and in hot climates where long, 
chilling rains are prevalent, and of cage roosts for hot or warm 
climates that are not subject to frequent heavy rains, will result in 
a decided improvement in the health, vigor and vitality of domestic 

Building plans are given for Woods' Improved Open-Air Poultry 
House, designed and built by the author; the Gillette Open-Air 
House, designed by George K. Gillette, manager Sugar Brook 
Poultry Farm Co., Central Village, Conn. ; The Stoddard Open- 
Air Cage Eoost, designed by H. H. Stoddard, Eiviera, Texas, for 
warm or hot dry climates. Illustrations from photographs of the 
Tolman Fresh-Air House are also given, but plans and building 
instructions are omitted, as such are subject to the copyright of 
the inventor. Joseph Tolman, of Eockland, IMass. 

This volume will have fulfilled its mission if it serves to create 
a greater interest in open-air poultry housing and the building of 
more practical open-air quarters tliroughont the land, thus insuring 
greater comfort and greater constitutional vigor for the fowls and 
better returns for the poultry keeper. 

Silver Lake, Mass., 1913. Prince T. Woods, M. D. 



Importance of pure open air both day and night for all domestic 
poultry — Relation of sunlight and fresh air to health and vitality — 
Nature's best aid in the prevention of diseases. 


* A few more reasons why you should use open-front open-air houses for 

y the comfort and well being of your fowls, as well as for the better- 

ment of your profits. 

Chaptee III— hints and helps ON BUILDING 31 

tools and experience required — Materials — Suggestions for saving cost, 
]^^f floors, frame, eaves, shingles or roofing — Portable or permanent build- 

•'^ iugs — Foundations. 

Chaptek IV— location OF POULTRY HOUSES 39 

Land — How to face the building — Relation to surrounding country — 
Prevailing winds and wind breaks — Continuous or colony buildings — 

Photographic building plans showing actual construction — Dimensions 
%' of buildings — Suggestions for building on colony or continuous plan — 

; , Building instructions and list of material required for house to Le 

boarded up and down. 


Line drawings showing plans and detail of frame — House to be boarded 
horizontally — List of material required. 


The house used in International Laying Competition — Description, 
plans and list of material required. 


A protected outdoor roost for fowls in warm or hot dry climates, where 
no houses are needed — Diagrams showing two types of cage roosts — 
Night quarters, which help solve the stickfast flea problem, and afford 
greater comfort for fowls in tropical and semi-tropical climates — 
Rain tight roof may be provided where frequent heavy rains prevail. 


Brief description and some views ol this pioneer among modern "fresh- 
air" houses. 

' ' 9 


Sunlight and Fresh Air 

UNLIGHT and pure fresh opja air are two of the 
greatest and best gifts which the Creator has loaned 
to all things on this wonderful earth of ours. Yet, 
because both sunlight and fresh air are free and 
easily obtainable they are seldom appreciated at their 
full value. As a rule, and as a people, we seldom 
appreciate anything until we have paid dearly for it in money or 
experience, or both. Poultry keepers everywhere have paid dearly 
through failure to appreciate the value of sunlight and fresh air. 
Today we are just beginning to realize the great menace of "germ 
diseases" among poultry. What we need is mo)-e attention to" pre- 
vention and less fussing with treatments, remedies and "cures." 
That great American master mind, Edison, tells us that: "The 
unicellular (one celled) forms of life held undisputed sway for 
ages. Then gradually the multicellular (many celled) forrns, of 
which man is the highest product, developed, and the unicellular 
forms at once sought their destruction. And so through all the 
ages the fight has gone on, and today our deadliest enemies are 
still the minute unicellular bacteria, that do their work unseen, 
and by the majority of the people in the world unheard of.'"' 

Just bear that in mind and remember that disease germs belong 
to the unicellular army and that some day we are going to eliminate 
them, and that, notwithstanding the great strides made by medicine 
and the science of reclaiming diseased bodies, prevention will be the 
means of elimination, and sunlight, combined with pure open air all 
the time, will be two of our most powerful agents in bringing the 
battle to a successful issue. 

That distinguished physician and talented author, Dr. Oliver 
Wendell Holmes, was an ardent advocate for the more general 
recognition of the priceless value of fresh air and sunshine. In 
one of his poems he aptly illustrates how blind man is to the benefits 
of these great agents for maintaining health and vitality. Dr. 
Holmes wrote : 

"God lent his creatures light and air, and waters open to the skies; 

Man locks him in a stifling lair and wonders why his brother dies." 

That is just what many poultrymen have been doing for years, — 



locking their poultry "in a stifling lair," away from fresh air and 
lacking in sunlight; and then they wonder why poultry disease is 
common and fowls waste and die. 

Nature never intended that fowls should be housed at all, but for 
our own protection and convenience we find it necessary to house 
them in some fashion. When fowls roosted in sheltering evergreen 
trees entirely out of doors they rarely became diseased, but also 
rarely laid eggs in winter, and they were easy prey for all two and 
four-iegged thieves. Closed houses were the other extreme and the 
winter egg yield was increased, but with close housing came neglect 
of ventilation, or the careless introduction of cold drafts into a 
house full of confined stale or foul air, and this brought about 
debility, disease and death. 

Fowls wear their outdoor clothing the year 'round and change it 
only at moulting time. Normally they moult in time to have a 
heavy coat of warm plumage before severe cold weather sets in. 
This coat is worn night and day; there are no outer garments to 
be laid aside on going indoors if the house is warm and close. The 
birds cannot open doors or windows at will and the attendant is 
always at a loss to know how to operate windows and ventilators 
and usuallv ends by leaving them closed. A closed house that has 
no heat is usually too warm on a sunny day and too cold and chill 
on cloudy days or at night. The cold is of the damp, chilling, 
penetrating sort that cuts to the very marrow. A closed house with 
heat is too warm and close at all times for idnlt fowls. 

We all know the difference between working in an open shed in 
winter and working in a cold, tightly closed building. The open 
shed is by far the most comfortable, for the cold is "drier," the air 
is purer and more wholesome, and there is none of the depressing 
effect of the cold and chilling, stale, damp air. Por the same rea- 
sons the open-front house is more comfortable for poultry than a 
closed house. 

Admitting that the open-front house is more comfortable than 
a closed one, some poultrymen are still afraid to use it without 
curtains for fear of frosted combs and that storms will drive snow 
and rain into the building. These fears are not sustained by the 
facts shown in actual experience. Where cold, driving storms pre- 
vail, if the house is made tight as to roof, rear and side walls, if 
the open front is covered with |-inch mesh galvanized wire net- 
ting, and if the house is made sufficiently deep in proportion to the 
expanse of open front, storms will not drive in to any troublesome 
extent; there will be no danger of frosted combs under all ordinary 
conditions, and at all times less danger than in a closed house ; and 



curtains in the front ot the house or in front of the roosts are both 
unnecessary and undesirable. 

You are building an open-front house because you wish to have 
your fowls supplied with an abundance of pure, fresh air, day 
and night? All right, then; make it an open-front in fact, and 
don't offer a sop to your qualms and fears by stopping up the 
opening with cloth or burlap. The Woods house described in this 
book has been used successfullly and with most satisfactory results 
in the deep snows and cold of British Columbia, in all parts of the 
United States, including bleak, cold and windy lake shore and 
seashore sections. When properly constructed it has proved a safe 



View of north and west sides of Dr. P. T. Woods' Improved Open-air 
Poultry House as completed and ready for painting. Roof is covered with 
Amatite. (Photo by Dr. Woods.) 

and comfortable poultry house and one that is economical and 
easy to build. It provides for ample sunlight where it is most 
needed, in both front, and rear of the house, and it is sufficiently 
open in front to afford an abundance of pure open air day and 
night, with no discomfort to the fowls and no dangerous drafts 
about the roosts. 

Sunlight and pure fresh open air are Nature's best preventives of 
disease, destroyers of dangerous germs, and promoters of health, 
vitality and comfort. Both sunlight and fresh air are necessary to 
the health and well being of our poultry and to obtaining the best 


returns from them. You have only to properly try open-air 
methods to become convinced. t 

Everyone knows, or should know, that wholesome living things 
will not thrive without sunlight in sufficient quantity for their 
needs. If we lose sunlight for many days fungus growths and 
other unwholesome things become active ; even the air becomes less 
satisfying and is oppressive, and unless the blessed sunlight puts in 
an appearance soon, and for a sufficiently long interval to do its 
beneficent work, we find disease developing rapidly. We, oiir 
•poultry and all other living creatures, must have sunlight to supply 
us with energy and many useful elements which the light brings to 
us. Everyone knows, too, or should know, that mankind is better 
for much open air living. The same is true of our poultry -to even 
a greater extent. They need an abundance of pure, fresh, open 
air to breathe day and night, and particularly at night. The 
fowl's body has a norrhal temperature considerably higher than 
that of a human being. In proportion to 'its size the fowl undoubt-, 
edly consumes a considerably greater amounf? of the life-giving 
elements of breathing air. Nature built fowls to live in the open 
and they require pure openi air for breathing purposes at all' times. 

Fowls go to bed early. They go to roost at dusk and do not leave 
the roost until daylight in the morning. They sleep longer hours 
than the ^^erage human being in summer and much longer hours 
in winter,: Man's need of pure breathing air during sleep is 
grea^r than during his waking hours ani the- fowl's need is even 
greuter. , '. 

Sleep is a recuperative process, it is ISTature's method of-helping 
to restore the proper balance of the body. During sleep the up- 
building processes within the body are considerably in excess of the 
breaking down processes, while during waking hours the conditions 
are reversed. Sleep and the restoration of bodily balance or build- 
ing up of broken down tissues is necessary to life and health. 
Oxygen is necessary for the building up processes, and this oxygen 
is to be obtained from pure, fresh, open air. The foul, stale air 
of a closed house does not contain sufficient oxygen to provide for 
the normal upbuilding and it does contain poisonoiis exhalations 
that are dangerous to life and health. The open-front open-air 
house when properly built insures an abundance of life-giving fresh 
air at night, when it is most needed. 

The total intake and outgo of oxygen for the twenty-four-hour 
day has not been figured out for fowls, but it has been determined 
approximately for human beings. Fowls require more oxygen in 
proportion to their size than do human beings, biit the figures 



which have been given will serve for purposes of illustration. Dur- 
ing the twenty-four hours the average human body takes in during 
the twelve hours of daylight only about 40 per cent of the total 
amount of oxygen required and gives off about 60 per cent of 
carbon dioxide. During the twelve hours of night, mainly during 
sleep, some 60 per cent oxygen is taken in and only about 40 per 
cent carbon dioxide is given off. From this it will be seen that the 

Interior view of F. M. Peasley's fresh-air house for 2,000 layers, Cheshire, 
Conn. Show^ arrangement of track for feed car, hoppers, roosts, 
partitions, etc. (See page 64.) 

body during the day gives up or gets rid of from 20 to 40 per cent 
more oxygen than it takes in, and during the night it takes in from 
20 to 40 per cent more than it gives up. It may be urged that 
the amount of carbon dioxide (poisonous gas) given off at night 
is considerably less than by day, but bear in mind that the space 
occupied by a sleeping fowl at night is very much less than the 
space which it occupies through the day and that at night it remains 
in one place. Unless the fowl at night is abundantly supplied with 
pure, fresh breathing air, it has less chance of obtaining the neces- 


sary oxygen than it has during the day and there is more danger 
of breathing over and over again the foul gases exhaled. 

The reader may think that for a book on houses I have given 
considerable space to this chapter on sunlight and fresh air, but if 
it will serve to promote a more general use of actual open-front 
poultry buildings it will prove syaee well spent. I have had ten 
years' experience with open-front houses of various types, and prior 
to that had for many years used closed houses, curtain front houses 
and open sheds, as well as allowing some fowl to roost in the trees. 
From my own experience and from observing the results obtained 
by others and from reports of open-front house users all over the 
American Continent, I am convinced that the properly constructed 
open-front house is the only sane and sensible method of housing 
poultry in cold and temperate climates, and the entirely open, 
roofed, shelter or the cage roost is most desirable for warm and hot 

The importance of abundant sunlight and fresh air needs no 
further comment here. If poultry keepers everywhere would 
abandon the old type of closed poultry house and adopt a well 
constructed open-front house, or such form of roqgt, shelter or 
cage roost as is best adapted to their location and climate, and 
would -breed and feed for health, there would be less poultry dis- 
ease each year and in the years to come it might be eliminated. 
Open-air housing of laying and breeding stock and common-sense 
breeding and feeding for health will do more towards obtaining 
healthy poultry, fertile, hatchable eggs, and strong, sturdy chicks 
than all the systems, treatments and remedies ever invented. 

Give the open-front house, with plenty of sunlight and fresh air, 
a fair trial, Mr. Doubter, and you, like others who came to scofE, 
will remain to pray. 


Why Use Open-front Houses 

OW AXD THEX someone asks the question : "Why 
use open-front houses ?" That person has not used 
a fresh-air house and is either in doubt as to the 
desirability of such poultry quarters or is afraid to 
use an open-front building for poultry, fearing 
danger from cold and exposure. He only needs to 
give the right sort of an open-air house a good, fair trial to become 
convinced that the danger is all imaginary. 

To be successful with poultry it is necessary to keep the fowls 
comfortable and they find comfort, real comfort, in a well planned 
house of the open-front type. The terms open-air and fresh-air 
house apply to the same type of building, i. e., one with a partly 
or entire!}' open south front. 

An open-front house is not necessarily a very cold house ; it is 
always warmer than the outdoor temperature and it is actually 
more comfortable than a similar closed building would be. A cold 
house, however, provided the south front is kept open, is no draw- 
back to the production of an abundance of eggs in winter. Fo^\ls 
actually lay better in open-front quarters in winter than they do in 
closed houses, and in climates where the temperature drops to 20 
and even 40 degrees below zero. 

Connecticut Agricultural College successfully wintered White 
Leghorns in tents and had a good egg yield, with no frozen combs 
and no sickness. Both Leghorns and S. C. Black Minorcas have 
been wintered for several years in Woods' open-air house in cold 
locations where temperature registered 10 below frequently, and 
20 to 30 below zero several times, and excellent health, fine egg 
yield and no frosted combs was the report sent us. High winds 
and driving storms did not cause fowls any inconveniences or any 
check in egg production. 

In 1908 Editor IMiller Purvis said in Xovemher VouUry: "The 
open-front poultry house is making friends all the time. It keeps 
the fowls healthy, is cheap and more comfortable than the old- 
style house." There's the reason— it is "more comfortable." Any- 
thing that "keeps the fowls healthy" and affords them more com- 
fort is sure to bring about better results and greater profits. 



Prof. James E. Eice, of Cornell Agricultural College, in a lec- 
ture given several years ago said: "The open-air house has become 
a fixture in modern poultry husbandry. Without pure air in a 
poultry house a poultrvman cannot stay long in the business, unless 
he has a large bank account to foot the bills. Hens will do far 
better in cold pure air than they will in warm impure air; fresh 
air is of more importance than warmth, if we cannot have both." 

Now, let's consider a few more reasons why you should use open- 
front open-air houses for the comfort and well being of your fowls 
and to the betterment of your pi'ofits : 

In the first place, an open-front of the best modern type will 
cost you less to build than a closed house that will house the same 
number of birds. It will be a better house and more attractive 
to look at. It should not cost you over $1 per bird housed, at first 
cost, and it ought to last at least fifteen years without repairs 
other than touching up the paint about the windows. 

You will have more healthy fowls and enjoy comparative free- 
dom from all serious poultry ailments, and you will be able to keep 
more fowls on the same land. 

Cooped up air, dust laden air, foul breathed out air, is every- 
where in closed pouJtry coops and buildings, and it is always bad. 
Pure open air, circulating freely and comparatively dust free, can 
always be had in an open-front house, and it is always only good. 
Have an open-front house and so supply your fowls with always 
good air at all times. 

You can keep 150 layers that will average six pounds each in 
an open-front house 20x20 ft. and get good results in health and 
egg yield. You can do it; it has been and is being done, but I 
prefer not over 100 layers in a house of that size. To house the 
same number in a closed building you would require double the 
floor space and would in all p)robability have much less satisfac- 
tory results and more worry and labor. 

Contrary to the belief of some open-front poultry house users, 
large flocks are not necessary to the successful use of an open-front 
house. You don't have to flll the house up with birds to keep 
them warm; that isn't the idea at all. You can keep larger flocks 
in open-front houses than you can in closed houses of the same 
size and get better results. There is less danger from crowding- 
fowls in an open-air house. If, for any reason, jom wish to carry 
a small flock in a good sized open-air house you can do so with 
perfect safety and witji good results. For two winters, both severe 
ones, I carried a little flock of special mating cock and four 
females in an open-front house 8x1-1 ft. and apparently they were 



quite as comfortable as a flock of thirty birds in a house of same 
type and size^ close by. 

House sweating and dampness causes no trouble in properly 
built fresh-air houses. When built of boards covered with shingles, 
or with some of the graveled felt roofings, I have always found the 
houses dry and free from frosting. I have had several com23laints 
of dampness and house sweating in open-front houses where the 
boards were covered with heavy, smooth, hard-finish roofing. This 

Experimental Woods' Open-air House built in 1908 at Topsfielcl, Mass. 
This house has a double board floor and is set on posts over which large 
pans have been inverted to make the house rat proof. View shows south 
front and west side. (Photo by Dr. Woods.) 

fl-as probably the fault of the roofing used. In one other case the 
house was too low studded and roof boards were too close to the 
heads of the roosting fowls. An open-front house should have 
plenty of head room about the roosts. 

Open-front open-air houses are actually open houses. Tlie open 
portion of the south front days open night and day the year 


'romid. There are no curtains of any kind. The only protection 
given to the opening in the south front is the overhang of tiie 
eaves and the screen'of ^i-inch mesh galvanized wire netting. The 
screen is used over the opening to confine the fowls and to keep 
the small birds like sparrows out of the house. Being fine mesh 
screen it serves as sulficient protection from driving wind, rain 
and snow storms, and it is really surprising how little of a storm 
gets tJirough the wire. 

During the fall of 1911 we had one of the worst wind and rain 
storms Plymouth County, Massachusetts, has experienced for many 
3^ears. It blew a howling gale from the south and west right off 
the pond and lake, damaged trees, and drove loose boards around 
like bits of paper, the wind blew the torrents of rain on a slant 
that was but little more than the horizontal and it literalh' washed 
the paint from the south front of the new barn. In spite of 
rubber clothing I was soaked to the skin going from my dwelling 
to tlie open-front poultry house, less than 100 yards away. Inside 
of the house, except for the noise of the wind and rain outside, 
one would not be aware of the fury of the storm. The wind coukl 
iiot be felt at all in the house at a distance of four feet from the 
open front. The fowls were comfortable and happy. A little 
water came in througli the wire screen, but only a very little, and 
less than one yard of the floor immediately back of the wire front 
screen received a wetting. This house is the one shown in the 
illustrations from photographs showing construction of the Woods 

It is less trouble to operate an open- front house than any other 
kind of poultry building. Being always open, there is no ventila- 
tion or ventilators, or opening and closing of windows to worry 
about. You can go to bed and sleep through hard storms and 
cold nights with no occasion for worry about the fowls or whether 
yoxi should have left the windows or ventilators open or shut. 

A dozen years ago there were very few open-front houses for 
poultry. A few poultrj-men scattered over this great country have 
used open-front sheds and partly open poultry houses for many 
years, but such houses were not in anything like general use. 
Most "authorities" used and recommended the closed type of poul- 
try house. Within the past twelve years open-front houses have 
been gaining enthusiastic admirers and advocates ever^'where. All 
over the country you will find open-front open-air poultry quar- 
ters, of one type or another, that are giving most satisfactory 

The open-front house has won its place on merit and it will 


continue to hold it on merit. The merit of heing the most sane, 
sensible and satisfactory metliod of housing domestic poultry. The 
experience of hundreds of users in extremely cold, temperate and 
warm climates, has demonstrated beyond question that open-front 
housing for poultry insures constitutional vigor, better health, 
better egg yield, better fertility, more hatchable eggs, more and 
better chicks, greater vitality and better growth in young stock, 
less danger from disease germs and comparative freedom from 
disease, therefore assuring greater profits. 

Such houses are easy to care for and therefore make a saving in 
labor. For vi^arm weather use the modern open-front house can 
be made still more open, affording sufficiently cool and comfortable 
quarters for the hot season. It is a house that is sufficiently warm 
in winter and cool enough in summer. 

Tests made with an open-front house, 10x16 ft., in cold and 
bleak Saratoga County, New York, with S. C. Minorcas, gave 
most satisfactory results. With only fifteen fowls housed the in.side 
temperature in center of house half-way between floor and roof 
stood at zero when temperature outside of the house registered 15 
degrees below zero. 

Progressive physicians all over the world are using open-air 
treatment as a means of preventing disease and as an aid in the 
cure of disease. Progressive poultrymen are learning that open- 
air housing will do the same for poultry, will lielp us to more and 
better poultry and to better returns and better profits. 

Open-air housing has never 3'et killed a fowl, it has not injured 
one, it has helped and benefited every fowl properly cared for under 
open-air methods, its has made thousands of fowls more comfort- 
able and has helped to prevent, check and cure disease in many 
forms. Why not make your flocks comfortable when it means so 
much and costs so little ? 

Don't be afraid of fresh air. Fowls don't "catch cold" from 
being allowed an abundance of pure, fresh, open air under condi- 
tions which are comfortable. They "catch cold" from breathing 
confined impure air which has been stirred up by thin cold drafts 
while the fowls are subjected to the discomfort of chilling and 
deadly, closed-in, damp, impure air. 

While it is always advisable to start 3'oung birds in open-front 
quarters and to keep them in such, there is actually less danger in 
transferring birds from a closed house to an open-front one in cold 
weather than there is in changing them from one closed house to 
another or from an open-front house to a closed one. I liave, on 
several occasions, taken sick fowls from a closed house in winter 



with the temperature ranging from zero to as low as -10 tlegrees be- 
low zero F., and transferred them to small entirely open-fro lit coops 
located on snow-covered ground, and have had all that were fit to 
live make a good recovery. This with no other treatment than 
open-air housing and liberal feeding. A few of the weakest will 
succumb and die under this treatment, but the losses have always 
been surprisingly few. Don't be afraid of fresh air. It is far 
better to lose a few sick or debilitated fowls from ex2:)osure (they 
would undoubtedly die anyway and are always a menace to the 

Another view of Experimental Woorls' Open-air Honae showing east side 
aud south front. (Photo by Dr. Woods.) 

flock) than to run the risk of losing the majority or all of the 
tiock through allo\\'ing them to remain in closed quarters. 

Some fanciers ask : "Is it safe to take fowls from tlie show 
room and place them in open-air quarters?" I believe that it is 
much safer tlian to return them to a closed house. There is alwavs 
risk in washing and in shipping and' exhibiting birds. To my 
mind it is safer to take a fowl from the shipping coop and place it 
in good open-air quarters than it is to take tlie chance of cooping 
it in closed house or coop. Most of the damage is done durinS 
transportation and in the show room. Fowls when M'ashed must, o1 
course, be dried in a well aired, warm room and should "-o froui there 


direct into the shipping coop. I would not place a recently washed 
bird in open-front quarters until it had had ample opportunity to 
dry off thoroughly and to get over the effects of its bath. It is 
simply a matter of common sense judgment. 

Can small chicks be kept in ojDen-front quarters? Tliey can 
under tlie right conditions. Place suitable brooders in any open- 
front colony house in winter and run them as 5'ou would out of 
doors in the spring. Keep the little chicks comfortable and as 
soon as they are sufficiently well trained let them have the run of 
the house. Wean gradually and when too big for the brooder take 
it away and let them continue to occupy the house. 

A successful Connecticut poultryman raises Leghorn chicks in 
cheap, home-made, lamp-heated, roofless box brooders; operated in 
cold weather in open-front sheds. It is sometimes so cold that it 
takes three lamps to keep the hover space warm enough, but the 
chicks are kept comfortable and thrive. He abandoned an unsatis- 
factory closed brooder house to use this plan, which has proved 
successful. It is not necessary to go to such extremes, but if he 
can raise strong chicks in such exposed hovers you need have no 
fear about growing them in a well constructed open-front house, 
provided you use a sensible brooder that admits an abundance of 
pure breathing air. 

In 1910 Prof. W. E. Graham, Ontario Agricultural College, 
Guelph, Canada, said in an interview that he considered that: 
"To date the single-boarded, open-front house has proved superior 
for getting eggs in winter and keeping the fowls in a healthy state." 
Prof. Eice, of Cornell, in the same 3'ear, said : "Fresh air is one 
of the most important assets which we have for building up and 
maintaining bodily vigor. To get the best results the birds should 
be housed in open-air buildings." 

Dinsmore & Co., Kramer, Indiana, use fresh-air houses, find 
them entirely satisfactory and a sick fowl is a rare thing on their 
plant. They favor the Woods type of open-front house. 

U. E. Fishel, Hope, Indiana, recommends open-front houses, 
devotes several pages in his latest catalogue to a description of the 
improved Woods house and says: "I would suggest the building 
of AVoods' Improved Open-front Poultry House, which I consider 
the best open-front poultry house built today." 

A circular letter was sent out to representative poultrymen in the 
United States and Canada, asking what type of poultrv house they 
preferred for best results — open-front or closed house. The majority 
were in favor of one or another type of open-front house and one 
breeder who is located where the temperature sometimes drops 


to 40 degrees below zero in winter, said : "Woods' open-air colony 
poultry houses. We want fresh air night and day to insure health. 
This is a eold country in winter,'' 

Bulletin No. 183, Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station, 
says : 

"A few years ago the open-front poultry house was practically 
unknown. The tendency at that time was to construct houses that 
were very tight, and ventilated by the opening of windows, and in 
many instances by means of flues and cupolas. This type of house 
as a rule was more or less damp, and it did not take many years for 
progressive men to realize that damp houses meant cold houses and 
an abundance of disease. The result has been a gradual increase 
of the amount of fresh air in the house, and less attention given 
to warmth, until today we have what is known as the open or cloth 
front house. One can still find, however, many types of poultry 
houses, but the open-front house is fast becoming the standard for 
every climate. 

"The beneficial effects of a dry house with an abundance of 
fresh air, has been very forcibly demonstrated by several Experi- 
ment Stations. * * * The open-front house can be modified to 
meet a wide range of climate. * * * 

"In different parts of the state where new buildings are being 
erected, the open-front or fresh-air idea was in evidence. There is 
little doulit but that the open- front house is one big step toward 
putting the poultry industry on a firmer basis, and for houses of 
all sizes this type of house is strongly recommended." 

Manager A. Carr, of the Milton Poultry Station, New Zealand, 
recommends the open-air system of housing and says : 

"Owing to the continued increasing demand for breeding stock 
and sittings of eggs, I have been obliged to further increase the 
accommodation by altering a number of the original houses and 
adding the new type of cheap 'open-air houses.' These have proved 
a complete success in every way and prove beyond all question that 
the old style close and expensive house is quite unnecessary for the 
keeping of poultry for profit." 

In the 1909 report of the Poultrv Division of the Now Zealand 
Department of Agriculture is the following : 

"Experiments carried out at the Milton Station in the open-air 
system of housing have proved very satisfactory, and the system 
can now be recommended to poultry raisers in any part of the 
Dominion, no matter how severe the climate." 

A successful user of open-front poultry houses refers to the old- 
fasluoned type of closed house as a "roup factory." 


H. H. Stoddard in The Poultry World for September, 1876, 
said : 

"We cannot be over-mindful of the facts that clear fresh air 
continuously, pure clean water for drink, and untainted food and 
quarters, are highly promotive of the health of poultry, and at 
all seasons. But we are constrained, again to affirm that of all 
these, pure air for them to breathe is of the first and last import- 
ance towards their continuous health and thrift." 

In 1910, in a personal letter to the author, H. H. Stoddard 
wrote : 

"Shake, Doctor ! You are in it ! I don't know whether you stop 
to pat yourself on the back very much or not, but it is fair to 
presume that it is pleasant for you to reflect that now, and for 
ages, thousands and millions and billions of pairs of lungs will 
push and pull a volume of fresh air, minus carbon dioxide, that 
will equal a volume of the atmosphere over an empire, and a wave 
of good hearty animal happiness will roll, like the British drumbeat 
encircling the earth and ceasing not so long as there is civilization 
and the keeping of domestic animals ! 

"I write with some ardor on this fresh air biz for reasons I will 
proceed to set down. For fifteen j^ears or more I read nothing on 
poultry. Lost the run of things entirely. Then read E. P. J. files 
through 1909. Learned more of importance, I can truthfully say, 
from your pen than from all my previous reading of poultry 
books and papers put together. 

"My interest in the anti-tuberculosis crusade, and the wonderful 
vigor imparted by the open windows o'nights practice to well peo- 
ple, made me read carefully your statements. I determined to 
open two big doors to my poultry house. Now, here is an import- 
ant thing. The oldest residents (about fifty yeBocs is the limit since 
exclusive Pawnee occupation here in this part of Nebraska have 
never experienced so severe a winter. Tor six weeks the cold had 
no let-up. For twelve mornings in succession, by a very strange 
uniformity, my thermometer said 5 degrees below, almost to a 
hair. Previous to that, and afterwards, it was every morning 
from zero to 18 degrees below, in the whole six weeks period. 
My house doors stood open on the east and the perches were not 
way back from the opening. House, a barn really, so wide, long 
and high that animal heat couldn't warm it to amount to anything. 

"I expected frozen combs would compel me to stop the experi- 
ment. Had very large, freezable combs. None froze ! Birds 
very bright, active and healthy. Water left by mistake froze six 
inches in one night. 


"A ncio'libor with new brick poultrj' liouse witli stove and fire 
night and daj-. Very enthusiastic. No end of care. Fed fresh 
meat some, and variety of good things. Sat up late to tend fire. 

"Educated, very intelligent and energetic young woman with 
Philo plant and 55 early well developed Wyandotte pullets raised 
by her in the plant. Tremendous lot of work put in. 

"Good output of winter eggs in all three flocks. Stove man 
very slightly ahead. Philo lady and I 'nip and tuck.' But now 
see where I shine. My birds by long odds more vigorous than 
eitlier of the other flocks. Philo lady ran a small hen hospital 
on the side. I had need of none. Half my number semi-tropical 

"I came to scofE and remained to pray. I am converted and 
reformed. Thought I nnderstood fowls. For nearly fifty years 
I have preached ventilation. Am throngh. No ventilation is 
necessary for a bird in a tree, or for fowls which have practically 
the same exposure to the outside air as their wild progenitors had 
in the trees." 

Friend Reader, take a tip from Editor Stoddard, a man who 
knows poultry as probably no other living man on this green earth 
does, give the modern, practical open-front house a thorough and 
fair trial, forget your doubts and let experience convince you. 
Even if you, too, have come to scoff, you will remain to pray. 

Secretary F. D. Coburn, of the Kansas State Board of Agri- 
culture, says relative to poultry housing : "Pure air must be 
supplied at all times if the fowls are to do their best. Pure fresh 
air is a tonic — an invigorator — and will do more toward keeping the 
fowls healthy than all the nostrums ever invented. Whatever plan 
(of housing) is used, pure fresh air must be supplied. It is not 
a luxury, but a necessity — just as essential to thrift and health as 
food and water." 

C. L. Opperman, instructor in poultry husbandry, says : "The 
perfection of the open-air house has made it possible to save almost 
one-half the cost over former construction, for it has been demon- 
strated that the health and productiveness of the flock is much 
better than when double-walled construction and various ventilating 
devices were in use." 

Henry B. Prescott, practical poultryman, Derry. N. H., believes 
in fresh air for poultry of all ages. Plis remarks concerning chicks 
are of interest : "An abundance of good vitalized air is an import- 
ant factor in poultry raising. The fresh air chick comes into the 
Avorld with an especially good lease on life for he is possessed of 
one of the most valuable qualities in man or beast, that of power 


of resistance or disease resisting ability. Wlien we want a fire 
to burn more freely we open the drafts and allow a free contact of 
the air with the fuel; when we want the best development of the 
chick or better results with adult fowls, we must see to it that the 
supply of oxygen is unlimited. The best way to do this is to let 
the chick live in the fresh air from hatching time to maturity." 

Joseph Tolman, Eockland, Mass., one of the pioneers in fresli- 
air housing, says : "In the spring of 1903, after eight years in 
the poultry business, using old-fashioned, closed house methods, 
and having very poor results, I decided, upon the advice of Dr. 
Prince T. Woods, the well-known writer and authority on poultry 
diseases, to give my fowls more fresh air both night and day. I 
have learned that fresh-air methods mean better, healthier, more 
profitable poultry. Fresli air prevents and cures disease. It 
increases the egg yield, insures fine fertility, good hatches, and big 
sturdy chicks that live and thrive. Fowls housed in my open-front 
house show practically no check in egg yield, no matter how severe 
or how sudden the winter changes of weather may be. I was nearly 
down and out. Adopting fresh-air methods put me on my feet 
again and enabled me to make a success of my poultry keeping. 
Now, after nine winters of fresh-air housing of breeding and laying 
stock and fresh-air rearing for the young flocks, I am planning to 
build more open-front buildings and have invented and built a large 
successful fresh-air brooding system that makes chick raising easy." 

D. W. Eich, Mount Pleasant, Iowa, has had five or six years ex- 
perience with open-front houses and finds them a great success in 
the severe and changeable climate of that section. Such houses 
are still quite new and novel in his neighborhood, but his success 
with them is interesting many poultry keepers. Among the benefits 
of fresh-air houses claimed by Mr. Eich are : "Hardier, healthier 
and more vigorous fowls, with roup and colds almost eliminated." 
He believes that in the near future the open-front house will be 
the type of poultry building in general use throughout the middle 

F. C. Marshall, West Burke, Vt., prefers open-front colony houses 
and believes that they will solve the problem of producing and 
maintaining healthy poultry in his state. He finds that it has 
improved the health and vigor of his flocks. 

Dr. C. Bricault, Lawrence, Mass., says: "I was a warm-house 
advocate at first, but when I saw the good effects of the open house 
I adopted it and I would not go back to the closed house. I have 
tried open-front houses over twelve years, so am in a position to 
judge." , 


Prof. James Dryden, Oregon Agricultural College, claims that 
tests he has made show that fowls prefer an open-front house even 
though they have been accustomed to a closed house. A flock 
which had Seen originally divided equally between two houses, one 
closed and the other open-front, was given the choice between the 
two houses and at roosting time about nine out of every ten of the 
hens crowded into the open house. He says : 

"It is the nature of the hen to roost in the tree rather than in 
a house, and the poultryman should study her nature if he wishes 
to succeed. 

"There are times, of course, in severe storms when chickens 
prefer the shelter of a roof to roosting in a tree, but the lesson 
is tliat fowls prefer the out-door life, or the 'simple life,' and when 
we put them in close houses and compel them to live there under 
the mistaken notion that wc are being good to them we are imposing 
conditions that will result in decreased vitality. Housing is really 
an artificial condition for chickens and it is a serious mistake in 
poultry-keeping to follow too closely artificial lines." 

]\fany more successful poultry workers could be quoted in favor 
of the open-front house, but this chapter must be brought to a 
close and I will cite but one more authority and that an important 
one. Many poultrymen who believe in fresh-air are still afraid to 
use an entirely open-front house in cold climates and cling to 
curtain-fronts or curtains in front of the roost. With fine mesh 
wire netting over the open front curtains are more objectionable 
than useful. I do not believe in the use of curtains, no matter what 
kind of fowls you keep or where your house is located. Curtains, 
or any kind of shutters, in the front of an open-front building defeat 
the purpose of the house. Curtains collect dust and filth and strain 
the air through it. They get wet and foul and render the house 
more liable to dampness. I cannot see any possible practical use 
for curtains in an open house except that they may possibly keep 
out the little snow which sifts in through the wire screen, and the 
snow does not blow into a properly constructed fresh-air house in 
sufficient quantity to cause any trouble. I do not approve of curtains 
in open-front houses and I most earnestly urge you not to use them. 
Build 3'our house right and you will find it all right when run 
open. Here are some extracts on the subject from the 1909 Report 
of the Department of Agriculture for the Province of British 
Columbia. When the open-front house has proved better than the 
cui'tain-front or the closed houses in a climate like British Colum- 
bia, I don't think that any of us need worry about the use of 


open-front houses in severe cold climates. Following is quoted from 
the report : 

"In place of the curtain-front houses we find the open-front 
houses giving better satisfaction. Considering the climatic condi- 
tions of this Province, the open-front house is deemed most ad- 

"What the curtain-front house was to^the closed house, so the 
modern 'fresh-air' house is to the curtain-front house. The ad- 
vantages of this house over the curtain-front house are many. It 
is less expensive and less labor is required in tending the flocks. 
A larger supply of pure air is supplied to the fowls at all times, thus 
keeping the birds in better health, with an increase in the fertility 
of the eggs and a larger egg yield. 

"The birds are protected at all times from draughts by the tight 
back, sides and roof. Only one side of the house being open, cold 
winds do not penetrate the house. The fowls are more comfortable 
all of the time and seem to enjoy the greater abundance of fresh 
air than is supplied by the old closed house or when the air is 
diffused through a curtain. 

"In brief, a cheaply built house with an open front, will give 
eqrially as good results as. if not better than, a more expensive or 
warmer house. Not onlv will poultry lay more eggs if the house is 
supplied with plenty of fresh air, but the hatchability of the eggs 
from such houses will be greater, and a stronger and more thrifty 
brood of chickens will be the result." 



Woods' open-front house in use at Oak Hill Poultry Farm, Kingsbury, 
Quebec, March 11, 1911. Snow was four feet ileep and photo was taken 
five feet above snow level. There was a five-foot drift baok of door. House.5 
are single boarded and sides covered with " Neponset rope roofing" and roof 
with "Paroid." Thepe houses are rebuilt 12x12 colony houses to make 
fresh-air houses 12x18 feet. 

Two Woods' open-front poultry houses at Oak Hill Farm, Kingsbury, 
Quebec, March 11, 1911. The further house is almost hidden by snow drifts, 
which cover windbreaks completely. 

Hints and Helps on Building 

XPEEIEjSTCE in carpenter work need not he ex- 
tensive in order to build an open-front poultry 
house. Anyone who has any aptness for learning 
how to handle tools can soon master the essentials 
of house building and will not find the work of 
construction very difficult. 

Eight here, in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, two city girls 
liave started in the poidtry business and are making a success of 
it. They had had no experience with poultry or in carpenter work, 
but they determined to build their own poultry houses and they did 
it and did it well. If two inexperienced city girls can frame, Ijoarcl 
in, and shingle a building and make a good job of it, others can 
certainly learn to do it and the man or well grown boy who thinlcs 
that he can't, ought to brace up and try. 

The tools required are not many; a full tool kit is mighty handy 
to have but is not necessary. The following will serve the purpose 
of the amateur builder : 

Spirit level with plumb. 

Folding two-foot rule. 

Steel square. 

Chalk line and chalk. 

Carpenter's pencil. 

Nail hammer. 

Nail set. 

Shingling hatchet. 

Kachet bit brace. 

One-inch bit and a bit of same diameter as window bolts. 

Medium hand saw. 

Eip saw. 

Compass saw. 

Screwdriver to fit bit brace. 

Small monkey wrench. 

Combination pliers. 

Draw knife. 


One-half inch chisel. 





Crow bar. 

Post hole digger. 

Eound poiDt shovel. 

While man}' useful tools might be added to the above list, it will 
make a very handy kit for the beginner. A man handy with tools, 
and used to working with whatever comes to hand, can get along 
with considerably less. I used to do my own building with a very 
small outfit, consisting of a good strong pocket knife, a shingling 
liatchet, two saws, a screwdriver, crow bar and a round pointed 
shovel ; and I got along very well. 

Boards. In selecting the materials for house building a consider- 
able saving can be made on the covering boards if the outside of the 
bouse is to bo covered with some good roofing felt (heavy roofing 
with a graveled outer surface preferred). In such case common 


Detail of eaves of poultry house when 
flush boarded. Manner of making eaves 
with double course of shingles is shown ; 
also method of imtting on the roofing 
fabric on roof and sides. This makes 
the tightest joint possible at the eaves 
and is wind-proof. 

"wormy" box l}oards to be had at from $7 to $9 per thousand 
will answer very well. They are not quite good enough or heavy 
enough to shingle over. Common country "bull" or pitch pine 
boards can be had for from $8 to $12 per thousand, that will 
hold shingles as long as the nails last, but small nails must be 
used that will not go through the boards. All of these boards are 
usually cut in box board mills and run %-inch in thickness. 

Common % or 1-inch hemlock or other covering boards are best 
for holding shingles and cost more; usually cannot be bad for 
less than $34 per thousand. 

North Carolina hard pine matched %-incli "roofers" cost me 


$25 per thousand and I put tliem on up and down without any 
covering and give tliem a good coat of paint. This makes a neat 
house. The roof boards are covered with roofing material. It is 
a little trouble to make such a house tight, but it appears to be 
comfortable; though, personally, I like a shingled house better. 
The house shown in the illustrations described in Chapter V are 
from photographs of Woods' house covered in the "N. C. roofers" 
and which were taken before house was painted. Such a house 
could be shingled but it would not be economy to shingle over 
matched boards as such lose the width of the match in laying and 
do not cover as well as common boards. For shingling, the house 
should be boarded horizontally. 

Frame Material. For frame of building common country pine 
framing stuff can often be had cheaply in some sections, but it 
seldom pays to use it. Good spruce framing material can be 
had for slightly higher cost, is a great deal stronger, holds nails 
better and makes a much better and more lasting building. If 

TfeAK i^/\FTei{ 

X^ \ ifftMg 

FRonT Kf^FTCK. / J i'/i.A.lor\^ 

Diagram showing method of notching rafters for Woods' Open-air 

Poultry House. 

you irame with pine you need larger timbers than where spruce 
is used. 

Roof and Shingles. For covering the roof I like good clear 
shingles best, laid 4I/2 inches to the weather. It takes about 800 
shingles to cover 100 square feet when so laid and requires about 
4 pounds of shingle nails to fasten them on. A man can lay 1,500 
to 2,000 shingles a day. In laying shingles always have a double 
course at the eaves. 

Where shingles are used to cover sides they may be either first 
or second "clears" and may be laid either 5 or 5I/2 inches to the 
weather. So laid it will take from 720 to 655 shingles to cover 100 
square feet. If shingles are so put on as to lap or break joints at 
the corners of the building it makes a good tight and attractive 
finish and no finishing boards are needed for the corners. If 
finishing boards are used, waterproof sheathing paper should be 


used nnder the joint where shingles and fmisli hoards meet. Finish 
hoards or a frame will he needed around doors and windows, and it 
is well to rabhet the top finish hoard of door or window to allow 
shingles to lap over it and keep out the weather. 

Where shingles are used paint the finish boards, doors and 
window sash, but do not paint the shingles; let them weather. 
Weathered shingles will last longer than painted ones and I 
think that thej look better. 

Make j'our building to use and wear, save on the cost where 
yorr can without sacrifice of strength or durability. 

Nails. Where %-inch box hoard stock is used I prefer six- 
penny cement coated wire nails for boarding in, and three-penny 
galvanized cut nails or cement coated wire nails for fastening 
on the shingles. The galvanized nails will last longest. If 
boarding in stock is %' or 1-inch thick boards, use eight-penny cut 
nails to put on the boards and four-penny galvanized cut nails for 
laying the shingles. 

For frame where eight-penn}' nails are not sufficiently large to 
hold when "toe-nailed in," use 4i/i"inch or thirty-penny wire 
spikes. Ten-penny nails may be used in framing. 

It takes from 4 to 5 pounds of nails to lay a thousand shingles. 
About 30 pounds of eight-penny nails are required for each 
thousand feet of covering hoards. 

Floors. The character of the soil on which you locate your 
poultry house should determine the kind of floor. Exception to 
this rule where for any reason it is desired to elevate the house 
and have a run beneath it. Where house is elevated you must have 
a double board floor. 

On light sandy, leachy, well-drained soils an earth floor will 
answer ever}^ purpose and prove satisfactory, but it will not be 

On heavy or clayey soils, or in any location that does not drain 
well, or where sub-soil is such that it is difficult to keep an earth 
floor sweet and wholesome, then use a raised board floor (that 
you can get a good ratter dog under), or lay a good solid cement 
floor laid on a bed of rock or cinders or on a layer of two-ply 
tarred paper. 

Cement floors are best and may be made six parts good coarse 
sharp sand and clean gravel to one part cement (parts by meas- 
ure). Mix well dry and do not wet until ready to use. Use 
just enough water to have it wet through and to handle well. 
Tamp it well in place. Make the cement floor 2% to 3 inches thick 
inside of house and about 6 inches thick under sills for foundation. 


Set wood sills in cement or bolt tliem to it. Floor inside should' 
come about half way iip on inside of «ill. Sills should be placed 
before cement sets. A finish coat of one part cement and two 
parts sharp sand will give a better floor and may be made smooth. 
Make it half an inch thick and moisten the first cement floor 
before you lay the finish coat. A cement floor is always better 
for having a good crushed rock or cinder foundation under it. 

Wood floors must be tight and smooth or you cannot keep them 
clean. There must be a way to get under them or rats will nest 
beneath the floor. Wood floors should be double and top layer 
should be laid across (at right angles to) the bottom layer. Tar 
paper between the laj-ers is advisable if top is not made of matched 

Floors of either wood or cement should be covered with 1 or 
2 inches of sand for summer use and with 1 or 3 inches of sand 
and 6 to 8 inches of bright straw litter (to be renewed when 
badly soiled) for winter use. 

Earth floors need more attention than any other kind. If not 
cared for the soil will become contaminated to a depth of not 
less than 10 inches and sometimes 18 inches in a single year. If 
neglected, and the soil not renewed at least once and better twice 
a year, the soil may become contaminated with disease producing 
germs and filth to a depth of 3 or more feet in a few seasons. To 
keep an earth floor sweet, in a sandy location, requires the removal 
of at least 12 inches of top earth each year and renewal with 
new sand. 

Framing. Spruce is the best framing material. Don't frame 
too light. If you board up and down j^ou will use less framing 
stuff. I would not board the roof up and down; roof boards are 
more difficult to lay that way and cut to more waste and it does 
not make quite as stiff a building. Where matched stock is used 
and no covering, board sides up and down. You must decide on 
how you will board in the building before you place your frame. 

For sills of building 30x20 feet, use outside sills of 4x6-inch 
stuff and a middle sill of 4x4-inch; 10x18 foot buildings or 
smaller use outside sills of 4x4-inch stuff; no middle sills re- 

For studding, straps about windows and doors, and for plates 
use 3x3-inch stock. Place as shown in plans in Chapters V 
and VI. 

For roosts use 2x3-inch spruce stock, with 8-inch smooth side up 
and sharp edges rounded with a nlane. 

For rafters use clear 3x4-inch spruce. Place 2 to 31/2 feet 


apart unless yon have a middle partition which supports roof, when 
they may be placed 3 feet apart. Bear in mind that the roof has 
to he strong enough to hold the weight of snow in winter. Rafters 
should be notchecl to fit plate (see illustration), but do not notch 
too deep as it will weaken rafter. 

Either eight or ten-penny nails may be used in fastening studs 
in place. The larger nails are easier to place to hold. I like to 
spike plates and strap to studs and to spike rafters in place. It 
is easier to do that way if you are working alone. When putting 
up the frame get all sills level and the studs plumb. Fasten them 
in position with brace timbers until you can nail them firmly in 
jiosition. Keep the frame well braced and be sure that corners 
are all plumb until you have stiffened the building sufficiently 
by laying covering boards enough to hold all in place. 

Framing is the difficult part. If you get your frame right, the 
boarding in is easy. 

Eaves. Before you put up your frame decide whether you want 
to make projecting (or overhanging) eaves, or to make flush joints 
at eaves when boarding in and get your overhang with shingles. 

It is easier to make the flush joint eaves tight and wind proof. 
To do this the rafters are cut short so that they are just flush 
with the outer edge of the plates. The roof boards come down 
flush with ends of rafters and the side boards come up flush with 
the top of roof board. On this joint at lower edge of roof a 
double course of shingles is laid to break joints and to form an 
overhang of 3 inches beyond side boarding, forming the eaves 
and carrying the drip away from the building. 

To make projecting eaves the rafters are cut long to extend 
from 6 to 8 inches beyond the side walls front and rear. The 
side boards are put on up to level of top of rafters and planed to 
fit roof boards, which are laid to end of rafters and to cover a 
narrow finish board nailed to end of rafters. It is a difficult 
joint to make tight and is visually blocked still further by boards 
fitted between rafters; placed over the shingles or siding fabric 
and made as tight as possible. 

Side Walls. Double walls with "dead air" spaces and all such 
expensive nonsense are not necessary for buildings intended for 
breeding and laying stock. Leave the double wall for the brooder 
house, which must be insulated in order to save waste of heat 
and coal. 

A single wall is the best for the poultry house and it costs less. 
In climates where the winters are mild the side walls may be 
boarded up and down and made of matched boards or of common 


boards and the cracks covered with wide battens. Such houses have 
yielded good results where winters are severe, but personally 1 like 
the appearance of a building with shingled sides, believe that it 
lasts longer and know that the side and rear walls are much more 
apt to be tight than where matched stock or battened common 
boards are used. 

If boards are to be covered with roofing fabric or with shingles 
you can save more than the cost of the shingles or roofing by using 
cheaper boarding in stock. 

Foundations. It pays to make a good foundation for a per- 
manent building. If set on posts use cedar posts and set three feet 
in the ground. If you have a cement foundation get small rock 
and cinders for at least a foot below your concrete and have your 
cement or concrete wall at least 6x6 inches in which your sills are 
fastened to bolts fixed in the cement. If you use only a rock 
foundation get it low enough so that frost will not move it. See 
paragraph on cement floors in this chapter. 

Portable or Permanent Buildings. Large colony buildings should 
be built to stay on a permanent foundation. Small colony houses 
can be made portable. If so built they require stifEer framing 
and heavier sills to stand moving about. If made to move they 
require no floor and sills should rest on the ground or on thin 
boards. Moving the house to new ground once each season will 
insure a clean and safe earth floor. They should only be used 
on well drained land. Portable houses for damp or moist locations 
should have board floors ; or when placed in position for the season 
should be filled with dry sand to the level of top of sills. 

In buying covering boards or framing stuffl buy such lengths as 
will cut with the least waste. Eefuse boards with large loose knots, 
and cracked or split frame stuff. Do not accept badly warped or 
twisted boards. You can only afford to use cheap lumber when 
you buy it at so low a price that it makes waste and shrinkage a 
matter of small importance. If you have to pay the going price 
for good material, insist on getting good material and have it 
in lengths that will fit into your building with the least possible 
waste. You have to pay for the waste. 

When 3'ou buy new windows, paint them before 3'ou put them on 
and touch them up again afterward. It pays, and makes the 
windows last longer and holds the putty in place. If not painted 
the putty will dry and fall out after a brief exposure to the 

Elevated Houses. Some poultrymen, especially those with limited 
laud area, like an elevated house or poultry house on stilts. The 


open-front house bnilt with a board floor can easily be built that 
way. One of the first Woods open-air houses was built on stilts 
2% feet above the ground level and was made rat proof by inverting 
metal pans over tops of posts before the sills were spiked to the 
posts. It makes a good house so built. It requires a double board 
floor. The space beneath the house is used as a run or shelter 
when the fowls are permitted to run. Such a building is best 
built on a slope so that soil beneath the house will wash well in 
heavy storms, otherwise it is difficult to clean out beneath the 
building. Friends in Massachusetts and in Michigan built a num- 
ber of Woods houses after this plan and like them very much. See 


Location of Poultry Houses 

AND for the poultry house site should be con- 
veniently located and well drained. While fowls 
will thrive and do well on almost any kind of land 
that is not too heavy and wet, and while poor light 
land that is not available for cropping will serve, 
it does not follow that poor land is best or that it 
is particularly desirable and economical to use for poultry runs. 

Land that will grow small fruits, orchard trees, and take a good 
grass sod is best and will yield the best returns. Good corn land 
is excellent, and a not too heavy loam that will grow garden truck 
can be made use of to good advantage. The advantage of such 
locations for profitable poultry keeping is considerable. You can 
alternate crops and poultry, make j'our land pay you a profit on 
both crops, and, what is equally important, cropping the land part 
of each season, or every other season, will keep the soil sweet and 
prevent diseases which result from, poisoned ground. 

Do not think that because sandy and gravelly soil can be used 
for poultry that you should seek to provide it. Sun-baked, bare 
runs are not desirable and are only to be considered when no other 
location is available. I have in mind a Springfield, Mass., poultry- 
keeper who several years ago called on me to tell him what was 
wrong with his breeding stock. He had located his poultry 
house, an expensive one, on a very desirable southerly slope with 
a fine stretch of well sodded grass land in front, where the yards 
were to be located. He had read somewhere, or someone had told 
him, that fowls do well on sand and gravel, and had conceived 
the notion that the fine black soil, well turfed with grass and 
clover, in front of his house, was not the right thing. So, he had 
the sod removed and then filled in the yards at least a foot deep 
with gravel and sand. He could not understand why his fowls 
failed to do well and I had some difficulty in convincing him that 
he had spoiled his runs to the detriment of the fowls, and that the 
original grass land was almost ideal as a poultry run before he 
tampered with it. 

Low, heavy clay soil ; that floods with water in heavy rains and 
in spring and fall, and that bakes dry and cracks in liot, dry 




weatlicr, is the least desirable of all locations for a poultry plant. 
Yet a certain man, well known to the poultry fraternit)', selected 
just such a site several years ago to establish a model poultry 
farm for experimental and instruction purposes. There were 
plenty of better locations near at hand to be had for less money, 
but he would have that one in spite of all opposition. It has cost 
thousands of dollars, has an elaborate system of tile drainage that 
don't work very well, on account of the lay of the land and the 
character of the soil, and so far as I have been able to learn has 
not yet been able to make a creditable showing in the production 

Spring Garden Poultry Farm, Frank W. Floyd, Prop., Birmingham, Mich. 

of poultry or poultry produce, though it has been in operation a 
number of years and has had enough good money spent on it to 
establish several good practical plants. Today it still poses as a 
plant built to demonstrate to others how to go into the poultry 
business. Nevertheless, it is looked upon as a subject for joke and 
jest by such practical poultrymen as have visited it, and it certainly 
is a monumental example of how not to do it if you want to 
establish a practical and profitaljle poultry farm. 

Salt marsh and moist meadow land, if fairly well drained, can be 
utilized for poultry provided the houses and a part of the range 



are liigli and dry. You can nse such laud if you have to, and 
where fowls can run on high and dry land a part of the time there 
are lots of worse ranges than a good salt marsh. 

The best location is a gentle southerly slope of light sandy loam, 
not too light to take a good grass sod, and having a good coarse 
sand or gravel sub-soil. If such a location is convenient for a water 
supply and is sheltei'ed with evergreen trees on the north and west 
it makes a very nearly ideal place for building a poultry plant. 
Eolling land, with the hollows between the knolls or hills, well 

Spring Garden Poultry Farm, Frank W. Moyd, Prop., Birmingham, Mich. 

drained, makes a good location, but don't get the poultry houses in 
the hollows. 

Get your poultry house in a place where water, from melting snow 
and from heavy fall of rain, will always drain away from the build- 
ing. You want the drip from the roof to run away from the house, 
not under and into it. 

Facing the house is a matter that will depend some on the 
particular location selected, its relation to the surroundings and 
the climate in which the house is built. Wherever there is con- 
siderable frosty or freezing weather in winter, place the house so 
that it will get the most sunlight inside during the cold season. 

The prevailing wind storms for the particular section should 


also be taken into consideration, also wliatever windbreak there maj' 
be near the house. Try to locate the house, sunlight considered, 
so that the sweep of the prevailing winds will strike the house at an 
angle, rather than flat on sides or ends. 

My buildings face due south and south by east. Those that face 
south by east get the most winter sun. Some houses to be built 
on the southwesterly slope will be made to face about soutli-south- 
west. The essential point is to get as mircli sun as possible into all 
parts of the house (so far as construction permits it) and to have 
the front take the worst southerly storms a little on the slant rather 
than direct. 

The immediately surrounding country will have more or less in- 
fluence on the position of the jjoultry house. The Woods house 
built for purpose of illustrating this book is located on a slight 
ridge on a southerly slope and land drops very gradually from the 
house to the south and a little to southwest and southeast. This 
building faces south 10 degrees east and is just about right for 
the location. One hundred yards north of the building is a strip 
of thick pine woods on slightly higher land. About 125 yards 
to the west is lower land well wooded, mostly white pine. To the 
south and east there is open country for a considerable distance. 
To the south and southwest some 300 yards or more away is the 
pond and the outlet of Silver Lake and through this opening come 
some of the fiercest winds of this location. The house gets the force 
of this wind directly on its southwest corner and the wind blows 
around and over the house, but does not make itself felt in it. 
Southerly storms, with heavy rain, blowing directly across the open 
land and striking this building almost flat on the wire screen of the 
open front, have not wet the floor for a greater distance than 3 
feet immediately back from the opening and then only a very little 
water has blown in, not enough to make the floor very wet. It 
dries out very quickly. In November, 1911, we had three exceed- 
ingly heavy rains accompanied by very high soirtherly wind which 
drove the rain before it at an angle of about 20 degrees or less. 
The house staid dry and comfortable through those storms and we 
are not likely to ever experience anything more severe unless we get 
a cyclone which will carry off the building. 

It is a good plan to provide wind breaks to shut oif the northerly 
storms in winter. A good row of evergreen trees is about the best 
possible wind break, but stacks of marsh hay, straw, and corn 
stnver are excellent and can be utilized so as to provide outdoor 
scratching places in winter. Corn stover in shocks set in rows on 
east and west side of house, and extending 20 to 50 feet in front 


of the building, will make a fine wind break and provide an out- 
door run for winter use that is well worth while. The shocks 
are best placed against fencing so that thej' will hold up in high 
winds. Where a drive or walk runs in front of the house let the 
row of shocks extend to east and west and turn out the fowls on 
south side of the rows. 

Wherever houses are located in exposed positions attention given 
to providing suitable wind breaks will be well repaid. The secret 
of profitable poultry keeping is making your fowls comfortable at 
Sll times. Comfort means much. 

Personally I prefer a number of colony houses to a long or 
continuous poultry house, though there is some saving in labor with 
the continuous house where a large number of birds can be cared 
for under one roof. With colony houses conveniently arranged 
with a view to labor saving, and so disposed as to make best use 
of the land available for poultry, there is very little extra work 
and the danger in case of sickness, or other trouble, is very much 
less than where a long house is used. 

Owing to the wide stretch of open front in a long house I prefer 
to have a solid partition for every twenty feet of length of the 

The plans given in this book are for colony houses but can be 
made to suit the requirements of anyone who wishes a long house, 
by simply considering the plans as for one section of a continuous 
building, and adding as many sections as may be desired to give 
the length of house wanted. 

The open-front house may be operated with or without yards. 
For breeding stock plenty of yard room is to be desired. Where 
fowls are kept for laying only, they may be confined in the house 
all of the time if not too crowded. One hundred layers may be 
kept the year 'round in a Woods open-front house 20x20 feet of 
stud specified in plans given in this book. 

Long, narrow yards are to be preferred to short ones. Where 
possible each house should have two yards, or double yards, so that 
one can be cultivated while the other is in use for the fowls. With 
a long, narrow yard you will need rather less space per bird than 
where square yards are used. Allow from 50 to 75 square feet of 
yard space per bird. 

Using open-front colony houses each 20x20 feet, 1,000 breeding 
birds can be comfortably housed and provided with double yards 
on al)out tliree acres of land. If there is plenty of land available 
from four to five acres per thousand bead of breeders can be used 
to better advantage. If continuous plan house is used 1,000 breeders 


can be housed and yarded on from two and one-half to four acres, 
according to the lay of the land and the shape of the lot. For 
laj'crs smaller yards may be used or the birds may be confined to 
the houses and not allowed to run out. Some successful egg pro- 
ducers use the latter method, keep the layers confined to the house, 
push them hard for egg production, market the flocks when egg 
yield falls of! in summer, just before moulting time, and then stock 
the houses up again with new flocks of pullets and young hens. 


Dr. P. T. Woods' Improved Open- Air Poultry House 

N" THE FALL of 1908 an experimental Woods" 
open-air poultry house was built on an exposed hill- 
side on a farm in northern Massacnusetts. It 
yielded such satisfactory results that the plans were 
published the following summer. The house became 
immediately popular and many were built by poultry 
keepers throughout the United States and Canada. Eeports from 
north, south, east and west show that the house has proved satis- 
factory under a very wide range of climatic conditions. It has 
stood the test of severe winters with heavy snows or with high 
winds and bare ground, and of hot, dry summers and wet, cold and 
foggy seasons. 

The house has been built of various dimensions and used as a 
laying house, a breeding house and as a house for the operation of 
individual brooders. Eeports received thus far have been very 
gratifying. One poultryman reports that he intends to build a 
hot-water pipe brooder house on a modification of this plan, using 
curtains between front and rear section and for the open front to 
prevent waste of coal and heat and to aid in regulation. The 20x20 
foot plan has been built as a colony house and as one section of a 
long or continuous house. In 1910 a Woods' open-air house 
20x400 feet was built on a Connecticut farm and proved so satis- 
factory that another house of same size was built in 1911. In the 
same season two of these houses, each over 400 feet long, were 
built on another Connecticut poultry farm. A Michigan breeder 
built one to house 500 breeders and has found it very satisfactory. 
Personally, I prefer the colony house. 

If the house is to be built on the long or continuous plan, the 
30x20 foot plan is best and I would not build a long house that has 
sections smaller than 10x16 feet. Would keep these houses the 
same height as the 20x20 foot house herein illustrated. 

For small colony houses the best dimensions have proved to be 
8 feet wide by 14 feet deep for flocks of from 5 to 25 birds. This 
house can be made a little lower stud than the 20x20 house and 
three light "cellar" windows used in the monitor-top, if desired. 
For flocks of 30 to 40 birds the house can be made 10x16 feet or 




10x18 feet for flocks of 40 to GO. I prefer such houses built the 
same stud as the 20x20 foot house and to use six-light sash in 
the monitor top. Tlie large colony house 20x20 feet will give com- 
fortable quarters for 100 la3-ers or breeders and 150 layers can be 
lioused in it. There is nothing to be gained by crowding the house 
to the limit of its capacity. One hundred females and 5 or 6 males 
are enough to keep in the house for best results, but in the fall and 
early winter when there is surplus stock on hand and house room 
is scarce, you can crowd them a little without doing any serious 


Fig. 1. — This illustration shows four outer sills (4x6 in. spruce, 20 ft. 
long), and middle sill (4x4 in. spruce) leveled and spiked to posts. 
Posts are cedar and are set 3 ft. deep in ground. View is from north 
and west. West posts come higher above ground as house was built 
without grading the natural slope of the ridge. Ends of sills were 
halved to match in a tight rabbet joint. (Photo by Dr. Woods.) 

harm, particularly if the birds have liberal range. Windows in 
monitor top remain closed in winter and are kept open in summer. 
Woods' Improved Open-Air House, as illustrated in this chapter, 
Tig. 1 to Fig. 12 inclusive, was built by the author for the purpose 
of illustrating this book. I could not get a carpenter to build it the 
way I wanted it built or to wait during construction for time for 



taking suitable pliotographs; so I had to do the carpenter work and 
photographing. It is, therefore, the work of an amateur carpenter 
and not of a skilled artisan. Owing to the considerable amount of 
editorial and other work that had to be done, there was little time 
for the house building and it had to be built in odd hours and spare 
time from other work. 

Eventually this house will have a cement floor, but it was decided 
to run it through the first winter with an earth floor. jSTo attempt 
was made to level or grade the land. With a square and line the ■ 


Fig. 2. — Dimensions of this house are 20x20 ft. sill measurement. This 
illustration shows the rear studs in position on sills and the rear plate 
made fast to top of studs. Diagonal straps are. simply braces to steady 
the frame. Studs are made plumb and then held so by the braces. Studs 
and plate are 2x3 in. spruce. Eear studs are 4 ft. long and there are 
five of them. (Photo by Dr. Woods.) 

location of the 20 foundation posts was determined and the holes 
dug with a post^hole digger. These posts were set 3 feet in the 
ground and tops were sawed to bring the sills level, with corner of 
sills at highest point of ground not over an inch above ground level. 
The ends of the sills were squared and then half sawed to make a 
tight rabbet joint where sills join. When sills were placed in posi- 



tion on posts they were leveled and corners squared before spiking 
them to the posts. Middle sill was not mortised into front and rear 
sill, as foundation post projected enough to support it when butted 
to them. Fig. 1 shows posts and sills in position for foundation of 
frame. If a cement foundation had been prepared and bolts set in 
the cement to hold sills, consideiably lighter sills could have been 
used. Sills were 4x6-inch spiuee, 20 feet long and middle sill 4x4- 
inch stuff. 

The view in Tig. 2 is taken from the same jjosition and shows the 



Fig. .3. — Illustration shows frame for rear or high section of the build- 
ing. Miflille studs (2x3 in. stock, 8 ft. long) are shown in position. 
Upper middle plate spiked to top of studs and lower middle plate spiked 
to front of studs are shown in place. Plates are 2x3 in. stock 20 ft. 
long. Lower middle plate supports rear end of front rafters. Stud of 
2x'3 in. stock 6 ft. long with "T" plate 9 ft. S in. long is shown in 
center of this section to support center of roof and to nail middle par- 
tition to. Eight rear rafters (2x4 in. stock 14 ft. long) are showTi in 
place. Diagonal straps are for braces only. (Photo by Dr. Woods.) 

next stage in construction. Here the rear studs are shown in posi- 
tion with rear plate in place on top of them. The diagonal straps 
are simply l)races to hold the frame during construction. This 
building is somewhat lighter framed than the one illustrated in 



Chapter VI, as the sides here are to be boarded up and down. 
Bear ituds are of 2x3-inch stock and are 4 feet long. There are 
five of them. Plate is 2x3-inch spruce 20 feet long. 
■ The next step was to prepare five 2x3-inch middle studs 8 feet 
long. On top of these was spiked a plate of same dimension stufl: 
20 feet long, and to the front of each about 4 feet 6 inches from 
bottom the plate which supports rear of front rafters was spiked. 
This can be done with frame on ground and when it is firmly put 
together it is easy to raise it into position, plumb it, brace with 
diagonal straps and then nail to the sills and the middle posts 


Fig. 4. — Eear view of frame for rear section shown in Fig. 3, looking 
from north and east. Position of studs, plates, rafters and side straps is 
clearly shown. This rear section is 12x20 ft. ground plan. Manner of 
notching rafters and placing same for overhanging eaves is clearly 
shown. (Photo by Dr. Woods.) 

(see position on Fig. 3). Eight rafters of 2x4-inch spruce 14 
feet long were then prepared by notching them to fit plates. Do 
not notch them too deep, as it weakens them. See illustration. 
Chapter III. Rafters are placed 2 feet 8 inches apart, and are 
spiked to plates. Fig. 3 shows frame for rear section of building, 
with studs, plates, side straps and rafters in position. Stud on 



east side is 2x3-inch stock 7 feet long and is placed 3 feet from 
middle stud; 3 foot strap is placed between studs at 6 feet from 
sill and forms top of door frame. Strap 8 feet 3 inches long is 
placed between door and rear stud to nail to in boarding east side. 
West side has stud 6 feet long 5 feet 8 inches from middle stud, 
with two straps for top and bottow of window frame 5 feet 8 
inches long between it and middle stud and one strap 5 feet 7 
inches long between it and rear stud. All straps are 2x3-inch 







Tig. 5. — Front view of frame before boarding in. Frame is complete 
except for straps below windows for monitor top. Nine front studs 
(2x3 in. stock 3 ft. 4% in. long) are shown in position; also front plate 
(2x3 in. stock 20 ft. long) and eight front rafters (2x4 in. stock 8 ft. 6 
in. long), are^shown in position. Diagonal braces are left in place until 
boarding in stiffens the building. (Photo by Dr. Woods.) 

spruce. Fig. 4 shows rear view of framing here described viewed 
from northeast. 

Front frame was built next. First nine studs each 2x3-inch 
spruce 3 feet 4i/i> inches long were placed in position, as shown in 
Fig. 5, and front plate was spiked to top of each. Eight rafters 
were then prepared of 2x4-inch spruce 8i/> feet long and notched 
to fit plates and spiked in place. A "T" plate of 2x3-inch stuff 



was placed in middle of rear section to give additional support 
to roof and to give a stud for middle partition ; see Fig 3. 

East and west sides of front section each have one 4-foot stud 
and two window straps about 4 feet 7 inches long; see Pig. 6. 
Straps for monitor top windows are about 4 feet 10 inches long 
and are placed between middle studs, as shown above front roof in 
Kg. 9. 

Fig. 6 shows frame of east side ready to board in. 

Fig. 7 shows west side of same stage of frame. 

Fig. 8 is view after beginning to board in. Eear wall is put on 


Fig. 6. — View of east side of frame when ready to board in. Center 
support for roof and stud for partition are clearly shown. (Photo by 
Dr. Woods.) 

up and down. Partial partition in middle is boarded horizontally. 
This partition extends only 9 feet front from rear wall. 

Fig. 9 is view of south front when nearly boarded in. The front 
roof is complete and covered with Amatite roofing. Window straps 
in the monitor top are shown in position. 

Fig. 10 is view of east and north ends before putting on roofing ; 
location of door and window is shown by openings. 



Fig. 11 shows south front and west side finished and ready for 
painting. It will be noted that the windows are bolted on to outside 
of building, eight tire bolts with steel washers are used for each 
window, nuts are inside of house. One-quarter-inch mesh wire 
netting covers the open front for a space of 3 feet high by width of 
house. This space is always open. There is no partition of any 
kind between the front and rear sections of house and no curtains of 
any kind are used. 

Fig. 12 shows south front and east side of completed building, 

Fig. 7. — View of west side of frame when ready to board in. (Photo by 

Dr. Woods.) 

ready for painting. The door was painted to make it show up 
well and to prevent warping. Door has two 10-inch corrugated 
"T" hinges and a hinged hasp, staple and a padlock. 

No droppings boards were used in this building. Floor was filled 
in with sand to level of bottom of sills. Eoosts were placed rear of the 
house 3 feet above the top of sills, four on each side of the three- 
quarters middle partition of rear of house. Nests made of cover- 
ing board stock were hung on walls of house in front of roosts. 
These were made 14x14x13, with sloping roof and an alighting 



shelf. Bottom part of sontli front is boarded up to edge of wire 
netting. At each end of front a poultry hole (to be covered with a 
slide) will be cut and a cleated incline furnished for fowls to 
walk up on. House as shown can be built for $100 and given a 
good coat of paint. 
Materials Required. 

4 sills 4x6 inches, 20 feet long. 

1 sill 4x4 inches, 20 feet long. 


Fig. 8. — Beginning to board in. North Carolina hard pine "roofers," 
%-in. matched stock, put on up and down for outside, were used for 
boarding in. About 1,300 sq. ft. of 16 ft. boards were used. Illustration 
shows about half of rear wall in place and boy at work on the middle 
partition, which divides rear section for about 9 ft. from rear wall. 
View shows west side and north end of building. (Photo by Dr. Woods.) 

4 plates 2x3 inches, 20 feet long. 

8 rafters 2x4 inches, 14 feet long. 

8 rafters 2x4 inches, 8I/2 feet long. 

8 roosts 2x3 inches, 10 feet long. 

6 pieces 2x3 inches, 15 feet long to cut for studs. 

3 pieces 2x3 inches, 16 feet long to cut for studs. 



(i pieces 2x3 inches, 13 feet long to cut for studs and straps. 

10 cedar 6-incli jjosts, 8 feet long to cut for foundation 

1,300 square feet hard pine matched roofers. 
200 running feet -l-inch pine finish boards. 

7 six-light 8xl2-inch pane half sash. 
56 tire bolts %-incli, 2i/ii-iiiclies long to fasten on sash. 


Fig. 9. — View of south front of building when nearly boarrled in. Rear 
roof is not finished. Front roof is complete and covered with Amatite 
roofing. Straps of 2x3 in. stuff: which go below monitor-top windows are 
shown in place. Height of monitor-top above front roof is 3 ft. 2 in. 
(Photo by Dr. Woods.) 

.56 steel washers for same to fit under nut. 
IF ('re Front. 

20 running feet 3/4-incli square mesh galvanized ^Yire netting 36 
inches wide. 

2 pounds galvanized wire staples for same. 

30 pounds 8d cut nails; 10 pounds lOd cut nails; 10 pounds 



30d spikes; 1 pair 10-inch corrugated iron "T' hinges and screws 
for same; 1 box li^-inch screws for cleats on doors; hasp, staple 
and padlock; two gallons of ready mixed "outside" paint, any 
good covering color. 

In the following chapter are given plans for this house when 
built of common boards put on horizontally and intended to be 
covered by shingles or some good roofing. Detail of partition is 
shown in Fig. 19, Chapter VI. 

Here are a few more comments on the Woods' open-air house : 
H. Einghouse, Clackamas, Ore., says : "Dr. P. T. Woods' fresh- 


Fig. 10. — View of east and north end before putting on roofing. Opening 

shown for door and window. (Photo by Dr. Woods.) 

air house is by far the best plan I have ever seen for the middle 
and eastern states, where they have cold winters, and very hot 
nights in summer, and it is equally good for this coast. The roosts 
are in the rear, where the fowls are well back from the open front, 
and during the hot weather the ventilation through the open 
windows" (in the monitor top) "makes the roosting section quite 
comfortable. The windows in top, together with the large window 
opposite the door, furnish plenty of light and allow the sun to 



sliine in rear ])ait of house. I can think of nothing which would 
add to tlie vahie, comfort and convenience of this, the very latest 
and best plan yet offered. It would serve admirably as a con- 
tinuous house. * * * These houses are no experiment. They 
have been thoroughly tested alongside of curtain-front and closed 
houses by a large number of our leading breeders and most of 
the agricultural experiment stations and have proved their worth 
by the egg yield, better fertility and general health of the flocks." 

Fig. 11. — Front view of completed house, showing south front and west 
side ready for painting. Holes are to be cut in boarded part of each side 
of front end for poultry doors. Wire front is shown in place. Owing to 
rapid development of the White Eock chicks it was necessary to move 
them into this house before it was finished. (Photo by Dr. Woods.) 

Sidney S. Morris, Berw3-n, Pa., says : "I consider a house of 
this type perfect and shall never build any other kind." 

Frank W. Floyd, Birmingham, Mich., built a number of Woods' 
houses, set them up on posts, made rat proof with inverted metal 
pars on top of posts, provided doul)le board floors for houses and 
likes this style of building, very much. He has also built a long 
house of same type. 



Ealpli E. Woods, Slielton, Neb., built small colony house of 
this type and reported very satisfactory results. 

George Gelly, Nokomis, 111., reported for a 10xl6-foot Woods 
house, winter of 1909, fowls went through severe blizzard in excel- 
lent condition. He says: "In it I housed 17 White Plymouth 
Eocks through the winter without a frozen comb or a cold of 

Pig. 12. — View showing east side and south front before painting. 
Door only is painted. Owing to press of other work this house did not 
get painted in time to show a picture of it in this book. (Photo by Dr. 

any kind. The pullets were late hatched, but they started laying in 
December and kept it up right through the cold weather. The 
house is in a very exposed position, but that does not seem to 
handicap it any, so we have decided that it is about the correct 
thing in poultry houses." 



Buililing a Woorls' house, 10x16 ft., portable colony type. Wozelma 
Farms Producing Co., Silver Lake, Mass, (Photo by John E. Zeller.) 


Another Plan for Dr. Woods' House 

HE AETICLE and jjlans in this chapter are from 
tlie June, 1911, American Poultry Journal. This 
is the same house as described and illustrated in 
Chapter V except that it is planned and framed 
for horizontal boarding and the use of cheap build- 
ing material to be covered with either roofing fabric 
or shingles. U. R. Fishel gave this house his endorsement in his 
catalogue for 1911 and published the plans and article in it. Here 
they are : 

In the few years that it has been before the public the Woods' 
Open-Front Poultry House has made many friends. It has been 
successfully used in bleak and cold sections of Canada and onr 
own northern states and has given equally good results in the 
warmer climate south of Mason and IDixon's line. It has been 
built in many sizes, both as a colony house and as a long or 
"continuous" poultry building. We do not claim that it is better 
than the several other good types of "fresh-air" houses. It is a 
good, practical poultry house and one that is adaptable to a wide 
range of locations and climatic conditions. 

Open-front poultry houses have won their popularity on sound, 
practical merit and have come to stay. Poultry keepers who have 
once used a good open-front or "fresh-air" house and given it a 
fair trial, would not return to the old-fashioned closed building 
for their flocks. Even the large combed Minorcas and Leghorns 
have been found to do better in an open-front house than in a 
closed one. The size or style of the house does not matter bo 
much provided the front is kept always open and the pens are 
deep enough to have the roosts well back from the opening. 
Some of the advantages claimed for the open-front house are: 
The front being always open there is no ventilation to worry 

Pure fresh breathing air for the fowls both day and night. 
Freedom from frost and dampness. Not an uncomfortable cold 
house, because air is dry and pure. 

None of the penetrating chill common to closed houses in cold 




Comfortable at all times and all seasons in all locations. 
No breathing over and over again of bad, foul, dead air. 
Cool in summer and warmer and more comfortable than a ciosed 
nouse in winter. 

1 M— — — Ti ■ 

._ , ... _ , 

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Fig. 1.3. — Dr. P. T. "Woods' improved open-front poultry house. Gnound 
plan drawn to scale. 'A strip of paper marked to correspond with scale 
and used on jilan will give dimensions in feet. "W, W are windows. X) 
is door. Black squares show position of studs on sills. 

Better health for the flocks at all times. 

Better egg yield, with less tendency to be affected by weather 



Better fertility and better chicks from the eggs. 

Better returns for the food and care given the flock. 

Economical to build, easy to use and in every way practical and 

The Woods' improved open-front poultry house difl^ers con- 
siderably from the plans first published and is a much larger 
house. In essentials it is similar to the first semi-monitor-top open- 
air house. Features that experience has proved to be non-essentials 
have been eliminated. The plans here given are for a colony house 
for a large flock on a practical plant. By keeping the proportions 
similar the house can be built as a smaller colony building or as 
a continuous house. It has been successfully used as a long house 



Fig. 14. — Dr. P. T. Woods ' improved open-front poultry house. East 
elevation plan of timbers showing posts, sills, plates and rafters. Black 
squares are plates. W is window. D is door. Use scale on this plan 
for Fig. 15 also. 

20x400 feet, with pens 20x20 feet; as a small colony house 8x12 
feet, 8x14 feet and 10x16 feet. The depth of modifications of 
this house plan should not be made less than 13 feet for best 

The large colony house, for which plans are presented herewith, 
is 20 feet wide by 20 feet deep, 41/0 feet high in front of low front 
section and 6 feet high at rear of same ; this front section is 8 feet 
deep; rear section is 12 feet deep and 9 feet high in front and 
51/2 feet high in rear. This gives a building with plenty of head 



room where needed. Jleasnremcnts are from ground level. The 
house will accommodate 150 laj'ers or breeders and tliej' will divide 
up 0. K. on the roosts. 

Fig. 13 sliows ground plan. It will be noted by compass that 
the house faces a little east of south. This will prove best in mott 
locations. The black squares on ground plaxi show position of the 
studs. It will be noted that the house is partly divided by a parti- 
tion from front to back. This partition is solid matched boards 
from floor to roof from the back wall to within 9 feet 6 inches 
of the inner edge of front sill. This divides roosting section of 
house and affords better protection for the roosting fowls in very 
windy weather. This solid partition has not been found necessary 
in small hoiises, but with an open front 20 feet wide it proved 
effective in stopping strong air currents about the roosts when 

Fig. 15. — Dr. p. T. Woods' improved open-air poultry house. West ele- 
vation plan of timbers showing posts, sills and rafters. Black squares 
are plates, W, W, W are windows. Scale on Fig, 14. 

l)ot]i windows and doors were open as well as the front. The bal- 
ance of the partition is only 18 inches high and serves to prevent 
interference of males. No wire is used above this low partition, 
the fowls having access to the whole house. Four roosts, each 10 
feet long, are used on each side of full partition at rear of house. 
These are placed 21^ feet above the floor and 14 inches apart, center 
to center. Two by 3-inch stuff, with edges slightly rounded and 
placed 2-inch side up, is used for roosts. No dropping boards are 
used . 

Fig. 14 shows cast side elevation plan of posts and timbers. Fig. 
15 sliows west side elevation of same. Sills rest on posts 6 inches 



above ground level. Posts are set 3 feet in ground. If desired the 
sills maj' be set on a concrete or stone foundation. Black squares 
in these elevation plans are the plates. Plans show position of 
sills, studding, plates, rafters, door (D) and windows (W, W). 
A strip of paper marked to correspond with the scale will give 
dimensions in feet. 

Fig 16 shows elevation diagram of complete building. Note 
tliat six-light half-sash are used for windows. The open front is 
covered only with 14-inch square mesh galvanized steel wire net- 
ting. If a continuous house is to be built the colony house serves 
as plan for one pen; solid partitions every 20 feet. Wire front in 
continuous house should be on frame and removable to facilitate 

Fig. 16. — Elevation diagram of completed building — Dr. P. T. Woods' 
open-front poultry house. Front is always open, closed in only by 
galvanized wire netting, one-fourth inch square mesh. No curtains used 
in any part of house. Windows kept closed in winter and all wide open 
in summer. 

cleaning house. No curtains are used in any part of house. 
Material Required. 
20 short posts. 

4 pieces 4x6, 20 feet long, for sills. 

1 piece 4x4, 20 feet long, for middle sill. 

5 pieces 2x3, 20 feet long, for plates. 

14 pieces 2x3, 21/2 feet long, for window frame 
1 piece 2x3, 3 feet long, for door frame. 
7 pieces 2x3, 3 feet long, for front studs. 
7 pieces 2x3, 4 feet long, for rear studs. 
10 pieces 2x3, 71/0 feet long, for studs. 
3 pieces 2x3, 5 feet long, for studs. 








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3 pieces 2x3, 6 feet long, for studs. 

3 pieces, 3x3, 7 feet long, for studs. 

3 pieces 3x3, 41/^ feet long, for studs. 

2 pieces 2x3, 4 feet long, for studs. 

8 pieces 2x3, 8% feet long, for rafters. 

8 pieces 2x3, 10 feet long, for roosts. 

8 pieces 2x4, 14 feet long, for rear rafters. 

1,100 square feet lumber for sides, roof and partition. 

7 six-light, half-sash for windows. 

20 running feet of i/4-inch square mesh netting, 30 inches wide. 

1,000 square feet roofing fabric for sides and roof. 

Nails, hinges, screws, etc. 

Windows in semi-monitor top should be put on with hinges at 
top from outside and made to open outward. They are run wide 
open or taken off altogether in summer. It is a good plan to 
provide an inner wire netting door for use when house door is 
left open. 

This house may be built with a double wood floor, a cement floor 
or with a floor of earth or sand. If earth or sand is vised, fill in 
to level of top of sills. If cement floor is used bring it to bottom 
of sills and fill to top of sills with clean sand. Beach sand is 



Building a portable colony type Woods' open-air poultry house, 10x16 ft., 
Wozelma Farms Producing Company, Silver Lake, Mass. 


The Gillette Open-Air Poultry House 

JNOTHER MODEEN poultry house which has be- 
come popular is the Gillette Open-air House, de- 
signed and built by George K. Gillette, manager of 
Sugar Brook Farm Company, Central Village, 
Conn. Poultry houses of this type are used on tlie 
400-acre plant of the company for housing all breed- 
ing and laying stock. 

Plans for this house were first published in American Poultry 
Journal for March, 1911. In the fall of 1911, Connecticut Agri- 
cultural College and Experiment Station built a model poultry 
plant of fifty 12x12 feet Gillette open-air houses for the purpose 
of housing the North American International Egg Laying Com- 
petition, each house being divided into two pens, five birds in a 

Sugar Brook Farm has found this house so satisfactory in opera- 
tion and so attractive in appearance, as well as economical of con- 
struction, that all new breeding and laying houses are to be built 
after this pattern, either as separate colony houses or as a long or 
continuous house, using plans for colon)' building as one section 
of the long house. 

The Gillette open-air house is 20x20 feet ground measurement, 
6-foot high walls back and front and 9 feet high at the peak. ( See 
plans.) As is shown in "Fig. 17, Side Elevation," the roof pro- 
jects about 1 foot beyond the front and back walls, making eaves 
which carry the drip from rain or snow well out from the build- 
ing. There is a ventilating door for summer use in each side wall 
near apex. This door is 2 feet square (see "a" in plan), and in 
hot weather both east and west doors are kept open, making the 
building cool and comfortable. There is also a window ("b") in 
each side wall about 4 feet from the floor, made of two half sash, 
each, containing six 8xl2-inch lights. These sash are hinged at the 

"Fig. 18, Front Elevation," shows open-front (covered only 
with wire netting), location of doors, poultry slides, etc.; "c, c" 
are the poultry slides, each 1 foot wide by 18 inches high, located 
at each front corner for convenience. In some of the houses these 




slides are in east and west ends near the front. The open-front 
is 3i/;x9 feet and is never wholly closed. Balance of front, excejat 
doors, is boarded. There is a door 3% feet wide on either side of 
open front. Each has a solid matched board door which opens 
in, and another door (top half wire netting and bottom half cot- 
ton cloth) which swings out. The solid door is kept open all day 
in winter, except in extremely cold storms. In summer the solid 
door is kept open all the time. The screen door of wire and cloth 
is used when solid door is open and it is desired to confine the 

. — 






SIB£ . fl-EV/tT/O// 

Fig. 17. Side elevation Gillette open-air poultry house; "a" is 2 feet 
square, ventilating door for vfarm weather use; "b" is glass window, 
two half sash each, six 8x1 2-inch lights. 

fowls to the house, or in very windy weather when it is not con- 
sidered desirable to have front so wide open, "d, d" are remov- 
able boards that are used to keep litter and sand out of the door- 
way. It will be noted, in illustrations of this house from photo- 
graphs, that a cloth screen is shown which slides up over open 
front, partlj' closing it. This cloth screen slides in a groove of 
wooden cleats and is held in place by a wooden pin. Detail of 
curtain slide is shown in "curtain detail" in plan. It will be 
noted that curtain does not fit close against front of building, 
but is some 2 inches from it, leaving an air space between cur- 
tain and front of house. It has been used but seldom in ex- 
tremely hard winter wind storms and has never been wholl)'' 
closed. I am of the opinion that the curtain or cloth screen is 
not necessary to successful use of this house. It will be seen from 
the plan that roof projects about 1 foot bej'ond side walls of 
building, which is considered a desirable feature. 

"Fig. 19, Ground Plan," shows the square floor plan of house 



and location of drop boards and roosts. Tliere are four roosts 
about 8 inches above the drop boards on eacli side of middle parti- 
tion. Drop boards are about 21/2 feet above the floor. As shown 
in the plan, there is a solid matched board partition in the middle 
of each pen extending from floor to roof and from rear wall to 
within 6 feet of the open front of the building. This partition 
helps prevent interference of male birds and also prevents all 
drafts about the roosts even when the house is run wide open in 
very windy weather. The flocks divide up nicely at night and do 
not show any tendency to crowd on one side. The 6 feet in front 
of the partition is always open. Houses are set on a stone and 
concrete foundation. Sand on floors to level of sills is preferred 
to straw litter. Mr. Gillette furnished the following bill of Jum- 



cunr/nN jasTfiii. 

Fig. 18. FroTit elevation and curtain detail Gillette open-air poultry 
house. Wire front, 3%x9 feet, always open; "<>, c" poultry slides; 
"d, d" movable boards to keep litter or sand out of doorway. 


ber for this house and stated that the house complete, including all 

hired labor and stone and concrete foundation, can be built for 


Material Required for Gillette House. 

2 pieces 4x4, 12 feet long, for corner posts. 

5 pieces 2x4, 20 feet long, for plates and one collar beam 

4 pieces 4x6, 20 feet long, for sills. 

4 pieces 2x3, 20 feet long, for roosts. 

4 pieces 2x3, 20 feet long, for girds. 

7 pieces 2x4, 12 feet long, for studs. 

22 pieces 2x4, 12 feet long, for rafters. 



800 feet good dry cypress lumber, matched. 

GOO feet matched lumber for roof. 

The sides of this house are boarded up and down and are 
painted. No paper or shingles are used on sides. Roof is covered 
with roofing fabric. 

"Fig. 20," is from a photo taken on January 26, 1911, a cold, 
cloudy day with frequent showers during the latter part. This 
view shows the south front and east end of building with a partial 




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Fig. ]0. Ground plan showing dimensions of floor, middle partiliou 
and location of roosts and drop boards, Gillette open-air poultry house. 

view of the interior. A part of the flock are enjoying the scratch- 
ing litter which is used in sheltered places OUTSIDE of the house. 
ilr. Gillette prefers sand for the floors inside of the house and 
likes to use litter outside. The whole straw, containing the grain 
just as harvested, is thrown outside of house and the birds work 
in it most of the day. 

"Fig. 21" is from a photo taken on the same day and shows a 
fine lot of sturdy White Plymouth Rock breeders enjoying a wind- 



Fig. 20. From a photograph of Gillette open-air poultry house. View 
shows east end and south front and a partial view of interior. Flock 
is scratching in litter outside of house. 

Fig. 21. Windbreak of corn stover used with Gillette houses at Sugar 
Brook Farm, Central Village, Conn. Fine outdoor exercise for the 
breeders in winter. 


break of corn stover stacked against a wire fence. In this shel- 
tered jjlace the fowls get abundant outdoor exercise and it helps 
greatly in getting well-fertilized strong-germed eggs. Mr. Gil- 
lette tells me that he is a great believer in the benefits from this 
sort of exercise and he plans each fall to have either a straw stack 
or stover stack for each houseful to work about. It certainly 
beats working in litter indoors where the fowls kick up a great 
dust to the injury of their breathing apparatus. The outdoor lit- 
ter is washed by the rain, dried and sweetened by the sun and so 
kept sweet. They have but little heavy snow in this part of Con- 
necticut and the fowls can enjoy the outdoor straw stack and lit- 
ter throughout the winter. Although the houses are not very far 
apart and there are 150 breeders allowed to each house the flocks 
do not mix to any great extent, not enough to cause any trouble. 
"Fig. 22" shows a row of six Gillette houses on the Sugar Brook 
Farm range for breeding stock and although taken in bad weather 
the birds will be seen at work outside the houses. This open-front 
house is a practical one and appears to be well adapted to free 
range work with poultry on a large plant. If I M^ere operating I 
would not bother with the cloth screen or curtain. 









Woods' open-air poultry house, 10x16 ft., portable colony type as useil 
by Wozelnia Farms Producing Company, Silver Lake, Mass. (Photo by 
John E. Zeller.) 


H. H. Stoddard's Open-Air Cage Roost 

IHEN KEEPING POULTRY in a warm climate it 
is only a short step from oiDcn-front housing to no 
house at all or to simply a roofed shelter. The 
open-front house will give excellent service where 
the summers are hot and the winters are cold or 
wherever the climatic conditions and variations 
are such that a house is needed. It has been successfully used in 
the far north and the far south, but for the south and for tropical 
or semi-tropical climates a simple roofed shelter or an entirely 
open cage roost, depending on the frequency of heavy rains, is the 
most satisfactory method of protecting roosting fowls. 

In most warm climates insect pests abound, especially tick-like 
bugs and fleas. In the south where the soil is rather sandy, the 
stick-fast flea is a most pestiferous insect and annoys man and 
fowl alike. It is almost impossible to keep free of these insect 
pests when ordinary houses are used. The fleas breed in shaded 
sandy places under buildings and, once they take up their abode 
there, moving or burning the building is about the only means of 
dislodging them. 

Frequent moving of roosting quarters and construction that will 
admit of sunlight and fresh air penetrating to all parts of the 
shelter or coop is the best method of protecting the fowls against 
these insect pests. 

Where rain storms are common and the rainfall heavy, some 
sort of roofed shelter should be provided. All that is necessary are 
roosts about 18 inches above the ground, enclosed in wire netting 
and a not too high roof to keep ofE the rain. See "Stoddard's 
Bower," Fig. 23. 

H. H. Stoddard, of Eiviera, Texas, has devised a cage roost 
that has proved most satisfactory' poultry quarters in the warm dry 
Gulf coast section of Texas. These consist of cages, of one inch 
mesh poultry netting, containing roosts. These cages may be built 
any shape or dimensions desired or found most convenient. They 
should be made easily movable and with as little woodwork as pos- 

The cage roost is designed to provide entirely open-air sleep- 




ing quarters, tliere is no roof, and at the same time to protect the 
fowls from coyotes, owls, and other night marauders. 

Mr. Stoddard says that the heat of southwest Texas is steady 
and prolonged rather than excessively severe. He finds that cage 
roosts are particularly well suited to the climatic conditions. Long 
heavy rains are not common. When it does rain everything dries 
quickly and looks the brighter and better for it. Fowls roosting 


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Fig. 23. — H. H. Stofldanl 's "Bower" for poultry in the Southwest. 
This is simply a roofed shelter for the roosts and is surrounded by 
hexagon poultry wire. 

out in heavy rainfall (|uickly dry out bright and happy. lie con- 
siders the cage roost a perfect success. 

Fig. 24 shows frame for a triangular cage roost. This frame 
is to be covered entirely, sides, ends, and bottom, with one inch 
mesh poultry netting. It should be provided with a wire door in 
front. Fig. 25 shows frame for a hexagon cage roost, which can 
easily be rolled from one location to another. This also is in- 



tended to be provided with a door and covered entirely with one- 
inch mesh poultry netting. 

All cages can . be made small as compared to ordinary poultry 
houses. They need not be over four to six feet high. The roosts 
need not be over eighteen inches from the ground. The fowls are 
shut out of the cage in the day time, as it is only designed to afford 
them safe roosting quarters. 

Nests elevated on posts or "stilts" may be placed about the poul- 
try runs. These nests should be simple, easily cleaned, roofed 

Mr. Stoddard recommends making these cage roosts in any form 
which may be convenient, triangular, cylindrical, square, or hex- 
agon. Writing about the cage roost, he says: 

"These cages can be moved and partly or completely inverted 

Eig. 24. — H. H. Stoddard's wire cage roost. This is diagram for the 
"A" or triangular cage roost and shows construction of frame. The 
frame is to be entirely "covered, top, sides, ends and bottom, with 1-inch 
mesh hexagon wire poultry netting. A, A, are telephone wires to support 
edge of wire netting, B, B, are wires to support the roosts. 0, C, are the 
roosts. Front roost should be provided with a wide door. 

each day to permit the sun to strike tlie under side of the perches, 
an advantage the usual roost does not possess. There is the very 
minimum of woodwork to harbor parasites or any disease germs. 
"Imagine the luxury of seeing rows of fowls clean and fresh 
looking on their perches, with no tainted quarters and no more 
possibility of inhaling the smallest quantity of second-hand air 
than a robin or blackbird in a tree. It is ideal. A soaking ram 


seems to do them good. It is true that they look bedraggled and 
sorry enough while it is actually raining, but it is wonderful how 
quickly they get in full dress uniform after a storm, and their 
combs, wattles, and plumage look as fresh and bright as if pre- 
pared with care for the exhibition coop. I have found that heavy 
and prolonged rain does not check laying in the least. The average 
number of eggs during a rainy spell and several days following, 
was exactly the same as before it, although we had 3I/2 inches of 
rain in 36 hours. Bain on the birds is natural. The skin and 
feathers get into a better condition and look fresher and more 
lustrous, just like the wild birds. The oil gland secretes normally 
and copiously and the birds use it more and make their toilet with 

Fig. 25. — Diagram showing frame for a hexagon shapeil Stoddard cage 
toost. This frame is to be entirely covered with 1-iiich mesh poultry 
netting and to be provided with a wide door in front. 

evident enjoyment and good results, whereas, as my readers liave 
noticed, when kept under a roof, this gland is often partially or 
completely atrophied and useless, its contents being solidly caked, 
the skin dry and harsh and the plumage dull. Nature knows 
what she is about. You cannot thwart her with impunity. Fowls 
that are under a roof all night when it rains never look as clean 
and healthy and never move about the next day with tlie vigor 
and sprightliness of the 'back to nature' birds." 

No house cleaning or whitewashing is necessary where cage 
roosts are used. Where heavy rains occur frequently during the 
"wet season" I should prefer a roost that has a roof to afford some 
protection from the rain. It may not be absolutely necessary, but 


it is not contrary to nature. The fowls are confined in the cage 
roost and they cannot get out to seek shelter when heavy rains 
come. If they were free to do as they chose, they would in all 
probability seek a sheltered roost in a thick foliaged tree on the 
opproach of a heavy rain storm. Occasional heavy rains would do 
no harm but I should not want to expose my flocks to freqiaent 
successive heavy rain storms. It is possible to have too much of a 
good thing. 



Portable Tolman pattern open-front house, 6 ft. wide by 10 ft. deer), 
built on skids. Used for small eliicd;;s by Wozelma Farms Producing Com- 
pany, Silver Lake, Mass. (Photo by John E. Zeller.) 


The Tolman House 

HE TOLMAiST Fresh-Air House was invented and 
promoted by Joseph Tolman, of Eockland, Mass- 
one of the leading pioneers in the development or 
open-front poultry houses. This house has a double 
pitch roof with the long slope of roof to the south 
and the highest point of the roof directly in front 
of the roosts. It has an entirely open front. The usual dimen- 
sions for Tolman houses are, sill measurement : 8 feet wide by 14 
feet deep; 10x16 feet, and 14x24 feet. Height at rear, 5 feet from 
sill, at peak 8 feet from sill, in front 3% feet from sill, for the 
smaller houses. The large house has proportionately higher stud. 
The Tolman house is an excellent house and I used two of them 
for several years in Middleton, Mass., with satisfactory results. 
Mr. Tolman's own story as told in March, 1911, American Poultry 
Journal, is interesting; here it is as told by himself: 
Fresh-Ail' Poultry Housing, hy Joseph Tolman 

"The first eight years of my work in the poultry business was 
with the closed type of poultry house, and I met with very poor 
results. Then it was no uncommon thing for me to take hatch 
after hatch out of my incubators, place the chicks in the brooder 
and, in less than three weeks, carry them out again in pails and 
bags, losing practically the whole hatch, for those that lived would 
be very poor specimens. Perhaps these poor results cannot be 
wholly attributed to the manner of housing, yet, from results I 
have obtained since using my fresh-air houses, I am convinced that 
most of the trouble was due to close housing of my breeding stock. 
"When we stop to think of the closed houses, poorlv ventilated 
and full of stale, foul air, that the maioritv of poultrvmen used 
for poultry a dozen years ago, we should not be surprised at the 
frequency with which diseases like roup, diphtheria, tuberculosis, 
cholera, etc., developed in closed-house flocks. Tt is a fact that 
breeding fowls have been so weakened in vitality and disease- 
resisting power throua-b lack of fresh air, particularly at night, that 
it has been almost impossible to raise their chicks. 

"My first open-front or fresh-air houses were used during the 
severe cold winter of 1904 and 1905, and remarkably good results 




were obtained. Perhaps readers will be interested to know what 
led me to develop my fresh-air poultry house. During the spring 
of 1903, Dr. Prince T. Woods visited a number of poultry plants 
in my neighborhood, where at that time very unsatisfactory re- 
sults were being obtained. Post-mortem examinations made on a 
great many birds of various ages led him to believe that an abun- 
dance of fresh air in the poultry houses night and day was what 
was most needed to put the stock in better condition. Acting on 
his advice, I took the windows out of my poultry houses at once and 
kept them out until late fall. Seeing a marked change in t|ie 

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Group of large Tolman houses on plant of Joseph Tolman, Rockland, 
Mass. (Photo by Dr. Woods.) 

health and vigor of my birds, and knowing the remarkable results 
being obtained in the treatment of the diseases of human beings 
by treating them in open-air sleeping rooms, I felt sure that in 
order to get best results with my breeders I needed to keep the 
poultry house windows wide open all winter. This was the winter 
of 1903 and 1904, and now after eight winters of open-air poultry 
housing I could not be induced to return to old-fashioned closed 
poultry buildings. I am convinced that open-front, fresh-air poul- 



try buildings are the only de'sirable type for the successful housing 
of breeding and laying stock. 

"In 1903-04, although the three houses I used for breeders were 
not well adapted to such exposure to the elements in severe winter 
weather, I obtained fine results. The egg yield from 150 Light 
Brahmas during the coldest months was from 50 to 60 per cent. 
I was able to hatch from 55 to 65 per cent of the total number of 
eggs placed in the incubators, and the chickens were large, strong 
and vigorous. That spring (1904) I had a very small death rate 
among my chickens and was greatly encouraged. 

Tolman open-air roost for growing chicks anrl surplus cockerels, as used 
on Tolman fresh-air poultry plant, Eockland, Mass. ^Photo by Dr. 

"The three houses that I made this test with were 20x10 feet, 
with double pitch roof, side posts 5 feet, two 13-light windows on 
south side. These were run with windows wide open day and night. 
During a heavy snow storm the snow drifted into the house so 
that it had to be shoveled out and to overcome this I designed 
that fall what is now widelv known as the Tolman fresh-air poultry 
house. While experimenting, and to get actual fresh-air, open- 
front houses quicldy and at least expense, I swung these 30x10- 



foot houses around with the 10-foot end facing south, put back 
the windows and tore out the south end of tlie building, covering 
the opening with wire only, and placed the roosts in the north end 
of the building. These radical open-front houses gave good re- 
sults, much better than I had ever had in closed houses, but were 
not as comfortable in severe weather as the Tolman house. See 
illustration showing house as operated with end torn out; these 
buildings were used successfullv for several winters. 

"The improved Tolman house which I have finally adopted as 

Eadical fresh-air methods employed on the plant of Joseph Tolman, 
Eockland, Mass. This is an early type of fresh-air building successfully 
used through several winters. It is an ordinary double-pitch roof 
building 10 feet wide by 20 feet deep, with the south end torn out and 
the opening closed only by wire netting. Boosts are in the north end. 
This building proved better for the fowls than the closed house. 

the standard type of poultry building is so well known now that 
it does not need a full description here. These houses are hip- 
roofed with the long reach of roof to the south and are built 10 to 
14 feet wide and from 16 to 24 feet deep. The front is always 
open and covered only wdth wire netting. No curtains are used. 
See illustration from photographs of one of my first improved pat- 
tern Tolman houses. I believe that in fresh-air houses of this type 
the fowls are much more comfortable than in buildings of other 
types, and they are protected at all times from the ill effects of 
weather changes. Fowls housed in these oiJen-front houses show 



practically no check in egg yield, no matter how severe the winter 
weather ehanges may be. 

"The fresh-air house is always dry and comfortable. In closed 
poultry buildings in severe cold weather moisture collects on the 
walls which makes the house very uncomfortable. The dampness 
and lack of fresh air in a closed house, particularly the foul night 
air that is breathed over and over again, causes fowls to contract 
colds which develop into roup or other contagious diseases. Damp- 
ness and bad air also lead to frosted combs and wattles. These 
conditions of frost, dampness and insufficient fresh air are elimi- 
nated in my fresh-air type of poultry houses. 

"In a fiesh-air house the fowls have an abundance of pure, fresh 

Modern Tolman house of the improved open-front or fresh-air type as 
used by Joseph Tolman, Eockland, Mass. 

breathing air at all times, direct from outdoors, night and day. 
This insures healthy fowls and freedom from infectious ailments 
common to flocks housed in closed buildings. A house 10x16 feet 
will accommodate 40 breeders and one 14x24 feet will house com- 
fortably 100 breeders. This type of building is comfortable for 
the fowls at all seasons of the year and the air in them is always 
alive and fresh, never dead and foul as it often is in a closed 
building. The dry, live air in the open-front house is invigorating 
and the fowls enjoy their quarters both night and day. In houses 


of the fresh-air type you never get the deadly cliill that is common 
to a dosed house in winter. Floor and litter keep dry longer and 
keep sweeter than in dosed houses. Though the front is always 
open, the house is not a cold one in winter and is much warmer 
than a shed-roofed building. 

"As to results in open-air houses I do not believe that they can 
be duplicated in buildings of the closed type. Reports from all 
over the covmtry for several years past from users of open-front 
poultry buildings show Ijetter liealth of the breeding stock, better 
egg yield, better fertility, and better chicks from the eggs used for 
hatching. I have had remarkable success and attribute it chiefly 
to open-air housing of both breeding and growing stock. Si.x 
hundred White Plymouth Rocks were wintered from October 1 to 
March 1 with the loss of only six Jjirds, foirr of these being crop- 
bound from eating straw litter. These birds gave a GO per cent egg 
yield in Deccml)er and the fertility ranged from 75 to 85 per cent, 
with excellent hatches. 

"Eight years ago, after eight )'ears of experience with poultry 
in closed buildings, I was nearly down and out. Adopting fresh- 
air methods put me on my feet again and enabled me to make a 
success of my poultry keeping. Now, after eight winters of fresh- 
air housing of breeding and laying stock and fresh-air rearing for 
the 3'oung flocks I am planning to build more open-front buildings 
and a large fresh-air brooding system. Two seasons ago I put in 
a GOO-egg Hall mammoth incubator and have shipped chicks all 
over the country that have made good by developing husky, vig- 
orous breeding stock. This season the demand for da3'-old chicks 
has been so great that T have been unable to fill many orders and 
am now preparing to install another mammoth incubator of the 
same make. Fresh-air methods made this possible for me."