PRINCE T. WOODS, M,D.
MEMORIAL POULTRY LIBRARY
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¥. A. WOLMRD
ALBERT R. MANN LIBRARY
New York State Colleges
Agriculture and Home Economics
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.
OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
FOR ALL CLIMATES
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
BY PRINCE T. WOODS, M. D.
MANAGING EDITOR AMERICAN POULTRY JOURNAL
AMERICAN POULTRY JOURNAL PUBLISHING CO.
COPYRIGHT, 1912, BY
AilERIOAN POULTRY JOURNAL PUB. 00.
ALL RIGHTS EBSBRYED
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.
Chapter I — SUNLIGHT AND FRESH AIR 11
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.
Chapter II— WHY USE OPEN-FRONX HOUSES 17
* 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 —
Chapter V— DR. P. T. WOODS' IMPROVED OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSE. 45
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.
Chapter VI— ANOTHER PLAN FOR DR. WOODS' HOUSE 59
Line drawings showing plans and detail of frame — House to be boarded
horizontally — List of material required.
Chapter VII— THE GILLETTE OPEN-AIR HOUSE 67
The house used in International Laying Competition — Description,
plans and list of material required.
Chapter VIII— H. H. STODDARD'S OPEN-AIR CAGE ROOST 75
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.
Chapter IX— THE TOLMAN HOUSE 81
Brief description and some views ol this pioneer among modern "fresh-
' ' 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, —
12 . OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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
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
FOR ALL CLIMATES
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
14 OPEN-AIR POULTRY PIOUSES
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
FOR ALL CLIMATES
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-
16 OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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.
18 OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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
FOR ALL CLIMATES
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
20 OPEN-AIR POULTRY PIOUSES
'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
FOR ALL CLIMATES 21
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
OPEN-AIR POULTRY PIOUSES
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
FOR ALL CLIMATES 23
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
24 OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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,
"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
"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."
FOR ALL CLIMATES 25
H. H. Stoddard in The Poultry World for September, 1876,
"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
"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.
26 OPEN-AIR POULTRY PIOUSES
"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
FOR ALL CLIMATES 27
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
28 OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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
"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
FOR ALL CLIMATES _ 29
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."
OPEN-AIR POULTRY PIOUSES
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.
Chalk line and chalk.
Kachet bit brace.
One-inch bit and a bit of same diameter as window bolts.
Medium hand saw.
Screwdriver to fit bit brace.
Small monkey wrench.
One-half inch chisel.
OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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
FOR ALL CLIMATES 33
$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
X^ \ ifftMg
FRonT Kf^FTCK. / J i'/i.A.lor\^
Diagram showing method of notching rafters for Woods' Open-air
you irame with pine you need larger timbers than where spruce
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
34 OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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
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.
FOR ALL CLIMATES 35
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
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
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
36 OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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
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
FOR ALL CLIMATES 37
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
38 OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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
OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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
FOR ALL CLIMATES
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
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
42 OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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
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
FOR ALL CLIMATES 43
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
44 OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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
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
OPEN-AIR POULTRY PIOUSES
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
DE. P. T. WOODS' IMPEOVED OPEN-AIE POULTEY HOUSE.
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
FOR ALL CLIMATES
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 ■
DR. P. T. WOODS' IMPEOVED OPEN-AIR POULTEY HOUSE.
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-
OPEX-AIR POULTRY PIOUSES
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-
The view in Tig. 2 is taken from the same jjosition and shows the
DR. P. T. WOODS' IMPROVED OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSE.
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
FOR ALL CLIMATES
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
DE. P. T. WOODS' IMPEOVED OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSE.
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
OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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
DE. P. T. WOODS' IMPEOVED OPEN-AIR POULTEY HOUSE.
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
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
FOR ALL CLIMATES
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
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
DE. P. T. WOODS' IMPROVED OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSE.
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
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.
OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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,
DR. P. T. WOODS' IMPROVED OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOXTSE.
Fig. 7. — View of west side of frame when ready to board in. (Photo by
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
FOR ALL CLIMATES
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.
4 sills 4x6 inches, 20 feet long.
1 sill 4x4 inches, 20 feet long.
DE. P. T. WOODS' IMPEOVED OPEN-AIE POULTEY HOUSE.
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.
OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
(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.
DR. P. T. WOODS' IMPEOVED OPEN-AIE POULTRY HOUSE.
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
2 pounds galvanized wire staples for same.
30 pounds 8d cut nails; 10 pounds lOd cut nails; 10 pounds
FOR ALL CLIMATES
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-
DE. P. T. WOODS' IMPROVED OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSE.
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
OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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."
DE. P. T. WOODS' IMPEOVED OPEN-AIB POULTEY HOUSE.
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.
FOR ALL CLIMATES
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
DE. P. T. WOODS' IMPROVED OPEN-AIE POULTBY HOUSE.
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."
OPEN-AIR 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
OPEN-AIR POULTRY PIOUSES
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 ■
._ , ... _ ,
OPEN FROKir I
■ ■ ■ ■
u -m y
I Mil 1
t ^ f y
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
FOR ALL CLIMATES
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
OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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
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
FOR ALL CLIMATES
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
cleaning house. No curtains are used in any part of house.
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.
OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
' ^' * 1
^ ^ f *9K«> jbIH
• -H a,
n c o)
r-( B t_i
FOR ALL CLIMATES 65
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
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
OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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
OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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
FOR ALL CLIMATES
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-
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.
OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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
rig. 3. ^
<~ ~ - to' ?
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-
FOR ALL CLIMATES
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.
72 OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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.
OPEN-AIR POULTRY IIOUSES
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
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-
OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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
J f } W
^> . -\..-"'
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-
FOR ALL CLIMATES
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
H. H. STODDAED'S WIEE CAGE BOOST.
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
78 OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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
H. H. STODDAED'S WIRE CAGE BOOST.
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
FOR ALL CLIMATES 79
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
OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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
OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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
^^^H^ jj_. -y^ " .. .■■■"' ■■- .■ I'n'.' rl-
',, '^. '"Jal^^li^-^- " , ■ '
"' *^-?%5:i:sft^-<'- '( -:"-^- -■■i#%-^S:^:fc;t'r -. ' 1
., *J*^:-v.;f. '■■■■■_ ■■ _. - . /
i?5ii> -^.i-iSfip^-f^ \' ;■ '•■ ^j:.
'■-;. ^ . "'■'■^■'. :)^r-.-- '■ ■[ . ^-^.. ''^ ■ ^-.:., ,■ :^^
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-
FOR ALL CLIMATES
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-
OPEN-AIR POULTRY HOUSES
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
FOR ALL CLIMATES
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
86 OPEN-AIR POULTRY PIOUSES
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."