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GATHERED, TESTED AND NOW
MICHAEL K. BOYER
(Poultry Editor, Farm Journal)
PHILADELPHIA— 191 1
WILMER ATKINSON CO
Price, 25 cents
WiLMEB Atkinson Co.
This work has been prepared by Michael K. Boyer, one
of the foremost poultrymen of the United States. In its
preparation he has drawn on his own great storehouse of
experience, and on those of his many friends who are authori-
ties on poultry. It is packed full of information not gener-
ally known to the average poultryman.
Permit us to say, however, that these " secrets " — like
the majority of human secrets ! — are probably not secrets to
every person. Some people have had things whispered in
their ear or have read occasional hints in papers, or perhaps
they have paid five or ten dollars to some expert who fur-
nished the information, or possibly they have bought some
expensive book that contained one or two little-known facts.
And so this so-called secret knowledge has spread, gradually
and slowly, among a — so to speak — " select inner circle " of
poultrymen who treasure it more or less carefully. Of
course some of the secrets, like different kinds of molasses,
have " leaked " faster than others, and therefore have become
We do not believe that there is a single secret in this
book which is not known to at least a few breeders of poultry.
Nor do we assert that none of these secrets have ever before
been put into print. But we say this : Some poultrymen
have paid considerable money to learn only a few of these
secrets ; many poultrymen have lost money because they did
not learn ; and every poultryman now has the first chance ever
offered, we think, to obtain in one book a summary of the
most important of the secret knowledge, old or new, that
exists to-day. This summary is as complete as money and
experience can make it, and as fast as newer processes or
methods are discovered we shall secure them promptly.
To sum up, we feel that this book should put money into
the pockets of thousands of poultry keepers — men and
wom.en — who have not before had access to the partially-
concealed knowledge which a few insiders have hitherto tried
WILMER ATKINSON CO.
Secrets of Fowl Breeding 7
Burnham's Secret of Breeding 7
Felch's Mating Secret 8
Mendel's Secret of Heredity 9
Secret of Alternating Males for Fertility 11
Secret of the Philo System 13
The Grundy Method 14
Curtiss' Secret of Hatching More Pullets Than Cockerels 15
Davis' Secret of Raising Every Chick 15
Bahcock's Secret of Developing the Spike on a Rose Combed Fowl 16
Secrets of Feeding 17
Secret of Feeding Grains 18
Dr. Woods' Laying-Food Secret 20
Feeding Lmseed Meal • ... 20
Feeding Meat and Salt 21
' Proctor's Salt Secret 22
Brackenbury's Secret of Scalded Oats 22
Feeding Charcoal, Grit and Oyster Shells 22
Secret of Green Feed 23
Secret of Feed at Fifteen Cents per Bushel 23
Sprouted Barley Secret 24
Smith's Secret of Preserving Vegetation in Poultry Runs 25
Important Feeding Secret 25
Miscellaneous Feed Pointers 26
Chick Feed Secrets 27
Seely's Secret of Dry Bran Feeding 28
Gowell's Fattening Secret 28
Gray's Fattening Secret 28
Greiner's Corn Feeding Secrets 29
McGrew's Secret of Feeding During Molting 30
Secrets of Housing and Care 31
Secret of Successful Yarding 34
Secret of Telling the Laying Hen 35
Secret of 200 Eggs per Hen per Year 36
Lawney's Secret of Insect Killers 36
Secret of Successful Molting 37
Zimmers' Secret of Securing Foster Mothers , 38
Broody Hen Secrets 38
John Robmson's Secret 38
Secret of Chicks Dying in Shell 39
Secret of Scaly Leg Cure 40
Secret of How to Hold a Fowl 40
Blanchard's Secret of Stopping Cocks from Crowing at Night 40
Egg Secrets 41
Brown's Secret of Preserving Eggs 41
Secret of Killing the Fertility of Eggs 41
Secret of Obtaining Winter Eggs 41
Secret of the Angell System , ... 44
Secret of Eggs All the Year 45
Secret of Having Perfect Eggs 45
Kohr's Secret of Selecting Layers '46
Kulp's Secret of Producing Great Layers 46
Professor Rice's Fat Hen Secret 47
Crane's Secret of Holding Eggs for Hatching 49
Boswell's Secret of Testing Eggs 49
Dr. Woods' Egg Hatching Secret ..." 50
Market Secrets 51
Judging the Age of Dressed Poultry 51
Secret of Dressing Fowls 52
Secret of Celery-Fed Broilers 52
Secret of High-Priced Stock 52
Truslow's Secret of High Prices for Ducks S3
Secrets of Exhibiting 55
Drevenstedt's Secret of Exhibition Fowls 55
Heimlich's Secret of Exhibition'Fowls 59
Zimmer's Secret of Line Breeding' 60
Rigg's Secret of Uniform Markings 61
Marshall's Secret of Training Show Birds 61
Lambert's Method of Growing Good Tails 62
Heck's Secret of Adding Exhibition Weight 63
Fishel's Secret of Preparing Fowls for Early Fall Shows 64
^ "V -^
Secrets of Fowl Breeding'
Burnham's Secret of Breeding
As a rule, a two-year-old made on twelve-month-old females,
will give the best results. The cock bird should possess in full
vigor such qualities as will reproduce his superior form and
In selecting hens, pick out the good layers, of generous size,
stout constitution and good form. A one-year-old cock on two-
year-old hens is another successful mating.
Never allow two cocks in the same pen at the same time.
Even if they do not quarrel, they will both annoy and injure the
hens, and prevent proper fertilization of the eggs.
Generally, one male with eight or ten hens is the best mat-
ing; but, in case of alternating males in the pens, as many as
fourteen females will give equally as good results. Deformed or
over-fat females should never be used, as these deformities will
probably be transmitted to the offspring.
The weights as given by the American Standard of Perfec-
tion are exhibition weights, and are about a pound heavier than
is advisable for breeding purposes. Never use a male that equals
or exceeds the Standard weight.
Males that are too greedy, or those that are so gallant that
they will not eat until the hens have helped themselves, are like-
wise of little value in the breeding pen, as they will become over-
fed in the former case, and underfed in the latter.
Some poultrymen, after the breeding season, allow the dif-
ferent varieties to run together on a common range, and then re-
mate when the hatching season again comes around. This is a
serious mistake and spoils the guarantee of absolute purity.
When a fowl or animal of any fixed breed has once been preg-
nant to another of a different variety and color, that fowl or ani-
mal is forever afterward crossed ; and the original purity of the
blood is lost.
It may perhaps be appropriately stated here, that the most
successful result in uniformity of production is realized in breed-
ing from one strain or line of ancestry direct. A prime, vigorous
cock being selected (one possessing all or a majority of the fine
qualities we seek to perpetuate), and this male being bred to a
few hens of the same type and the best of their kind, will give us
in the first progeny uniformly good chickens.
The pullets among this product, if bred back to the old cock,
will also give us a majority of good chickens. The hens only, for
a couple of years, should be bred to the original cock, or a cock
in the third remove from him. (The cocks of the first result can-
not be used adA^antageously with any of these hens or pullets.)
Then, if more hens are wanted, fresh female blood should be
introduced ; and one or two of the best cocks from this last union
may be bred back with the second hens (at two years old) to ad-
vantage. This plan avoids in-and-in breeding. Only the best
birds should be selected and mated, avoiding as much as possible
the breeding together of cockerels and pullets of the same age,
or those which come from eggs laid by the same hen.
Felch's Secret of Mating
Isaac K. Felch originated this remarkable breeding chart,
which he termed " Arithmetic in Poultry Culture," by which
method he produced thousands of chickens and three strains
of blood from a single pair, in the vigor, size and color of the
original pair. This carefully-treasured secret is very valuable ;
The illustration shows solid and dotted lines, the former repre-
senting the male, the latter the female.
Each circle represents the progeny.
In explanation : Female No. i mated to
male No. 2 will produce group No. 3,
which is half the blood of the sire, and half
that of the dam. Females from group No.
3, mated back to their own sire (No. 2),
produce No. 5, which is three-fourths of
the blood of the sire (No. 2) and one-
fourth the blood of the dam (No. i).
A male from group No. 3, mated back
to his own dam (No. i), produces group
No. 4, which is three-fourths of the blood
of the dam (No. i) and one-fourth the
Felch's Breeding Chart blood of the sire (No. 2).
Again, select a cockerel from group No. 5, and a pullet from
group No. 4, or vice versa, which will produce group No. 7, which
is mathematically half the blood of each of the original pair,Nos.
I and 2. This is a second step toward producing a new strain.
Females from No."^ mated back to the original male (No. 2)
produce a group that are seven-eighths the blood of No. 2, and
a cockerel from No. 4, mated back to the original dam (No. i)
SECRETS OF FOWL BREEDING. 9
produces group No. 6, which is seven-eighths the blood of the
original dam and only one-eighth the blood of the original sire.
Again, select a male from No. 8 and females from No. 6, and
for a third time produce chicks (in group No. ii) that are half the
blood of the original pair. This is the third step and the ninth
mating in securing complete breeding of the new strain. In all
this, the line of sires has not been broken, for every one has come
from a group in which the preponderance of blood was that of the
original sire. Nos. 2, 8, 13 and 18 are virtually the blood of No. 2.
The point is now reached where can be established a male
line whose blood is virtually that of the original dam. If now a
male is selected from No. 6 and mated with a female from No. 4,
group No. 9 will be produced, which is i3-i6ths the blood of the
original dam CNo. i) and 3-i6ths the blood of the original sire
Again select a male from No. 9, and a female of the new
strain (No. 11) and produce group No. 14, which becomes 21-
32ds of the blood of the original dam, thus preserving her strain
A male from No. 13, which is i3-i6ths the blood of the origi-
nal sire (No. 2), mated to females from No. 10, which are 5-i6ths
the blood of the original sire (No. 2) gives group No. 17, which
is 9-i6ths the blood of said sire.
Mr. Felch says : " While in No. 16 we have the new strain,
and in No. 18 the strain of our original sire (No. 2), we have
three distinct strains, and by and with this systematic use we can
go on breeding for all time to come." Remember that each dotted
line is a female selection, and each solid line the male selection.
Mendel's Secret of Heredity
Gregor Mendel, after much study and research, discovered
that heredity was no mystery, but instead a natural phenomenon,
subject to attack by the scientific method of observation and ex-
Mendel experimented first with the vegetable kingdom, and
his hybridization trials and tests became the basis for a new and
important hereditary idea which promises to revolutionize the
breeding of plants, poultry and animals. While his early experi-
ments were with plants, the same principle also holds good with
According to Mendel's theory we can take fowls — say the
Wyandottes — taking two distinct colors, the white and the black.
We cross them ; and. as a result, instead of being of an intennedi-
ate color, we find the offspring are all black, like the black parent.
CUiSiUKJOF ^ ^„ ^.O QciLlSOFCOCK
DOUmUT BLACK '
This proves that black is dominant to white, the latter being
Now, if we breed together the hybrid blacks, we shall have
blacks and whites in the proportion of three of the former to one
of the latter. The white so formed will breed true after that,
and throw no blacks, notwithstanding their black ancestry.
Mendel tells us that there are two classes of blacks. The
one might be termed pure dominants, which throw only blacks
when mated with a white bird, and the other is classed as impure
dominants which give results like the original hybrids when mated
together, giving blacks and whites in the ratio of three to one.
Such birds, crossed with whites, produce equal numbers of black
The formation of a new individual, Mendel explains, is the
result of the union of two germ-
cells, of which one is provided by
each parent, the spermatozoon or
pollen given by the male, and the
ovum or ^gg cell by the female.
Going back to the crossing of
the black and white Wyandotte,
we have the inheritance of two
alternative characters — black and
white. The main idea is that any
given germ-cell can contain only
one of these alternative characters.
Then, in the present instance every
germ-cell must carry either black
or white, but not both.
In other words, when a " black "
germ meets another " black " germ, there will be a pure domi-
nant black chicken, which itself can produce only black germs ;
when a " white " germ meets a " white " germ, a white chicken
results, which can give rise to " white " germs only. Likewise,
when a " black " germ meets a " white " germ, the resulting bird
is in appearance a black, for the r'^'ason that blackness is dominant
over whiteness. But when such a bird comes to form germ-cells,
says Mendel, the black and the white characters separate from one
another and pass singly into the germ-cells.
Therefore, a bird which has been formed by the union of a
" black " and a '' white " germ-cell does not form " gray " germ-
cells, but forms equal numbers of " black " and " white " germ-
cells. The breeding together of the hybrids, therefore, means the
coming together of two sets of germ-cells, each consisting of equal
numbers of blacks and whites. There can be only one result
coming from this — the creating of a number of offspring, of which
im itCOKS HYBm CEHtDAfm
SECRETS OF FOWL BREEDING. II
one-quarter are formed by the union of two " black " germ-cells,
one-quarter by union of two " white " germ-cells, and two-quar-
ters by the union of a black and white. Like the original hybrids,
these last will be black to the eye, for the reason that blackness
is dominant to whiteness where both exist in the same individual.
Now, going to a further generation, we find that if the whites
are bred together they will breed true, notwithstanding that both
of their ancestors were black. There can be no blacks, as the
black character has been split clean out of the germ-cells from
which they arose.
There are two classes of the blacks, of which one is twice
as numerous as the other. There are the hybrid blacks formed by
the union of a " white " and a " black " germ-cell, and when bred
together they act like the original hybrids in that a quarter of their '
offspring are whites. The other class of blacks consists of those
formed by the union of two black germ-cells. These breed as
true to blackness as the original pure black grandparent. It is
here that the great practical importance of Mendel's discovery
lies. When a cross is made between two pure strains which
differ from one another in respect of a single pair of characters
only, the second generation will contain a definite proportion of
individuals which breed as true to the characters they exhibit as
did the original parents.
Boyer*s Secret of Alternating Males for Fertility
The writer breeds White Wyandottes, Light Brahmas and
White Leghorns — covering the American, Asiatic and Mediterra-
nean classes. In mating, fourteen females are quartered in each
Wyandotte pen ; ten in each Brahma pen ; and twenty- four in each
Leghorn pen. The male bird in each pen is changed each week.
The plan adopted is as follows : Each house contains three pens,
and four males (all brothers) are assigned to each house. The
males go by Nos. i, 2, 3 and 4 and the pens by Nos. i, 2 and 3.
In the start Cock No. i is placed in Pen No. i ; Cock No. 2 in
Pen No. 2 ; Cock No. 3 in Pen No. 3 ; and Cock No. 4 in a cage in
another building. At the end of the v/eek, Cock No. i is taken
to the aforesaid building and placed in a cage ; Cock No. 2 takes
his place in Pen No i ; Cock No. 3 goes into Pen No. 2 ; and Cock
No. 4 goes into Pen No. 3. So on each week the changes are
made in regular order. This gives each male bird the advantage
of three weeks with the hens and one week of rest each month.
Where male birds are continually in the same pen, they grow
sluggish, and besides will have their favorite hens, paying no
attention to the others. On the other hand, hens have their likes
and dislikes, and will fight off certain males, and welcome others.
But where there is a weekly change of males, there is considerable
less chance for favoritism, and the eggs not only give a higher
percentage of fertility, but the chicks are stronger.
Some writers advise changing males each night. Aside from
the labor this plan necessitates, I have found that it is detrimental
to a good hatch. In the first place this constant changing
harasses the hens, besides in some males it means inattention, as
they hardly have time to become acquainted with the females.
On the farm of the writer this changing of males is begun
January ist and kept up until June ist. During June no changes
are made, and on July ist all the male birds are removed from the
pens and placed in separate enclosures, where they remain until
the following January. This giv^s both sexes a good chance to
molt, and the eggs laid by the unmated hens will keep in a good
condition twice as long as those that are fertilized. There used to
be a belief that hens would not lay so well unmated as when
mated, but this theory has been found to be incorrect. The pres-
ence of the male has no influence whatever on egg production.
The mission of the male is to fertilize the eggs and right there his
Cages For Breeding Males
Each cage measures i x « feet, 2 feet high, with door made of one-inch wire netting
SECRETS OF FOWL BREEDING. 1 3
The Secret of the Philo System
Wide-awake poultrymen may have noticed in many of the
leading journals of the country an advertisement telling of a
system capable of producing $200.00 in six months from twenty
^hens, and with other startling headlines. This is the advertising
of the Philo System developed by E. W. Philo, a well-known
poultrym.an of Elmira, N. Y.
The secret of the Philo system is to crowd much in little
space and yet have the stock do well. The keynote to the Philo
system, so far as there can be said to be a dominating note, is
small numbers together. A few eggs together in the incubator
(just as there are but a few under the hen), a few chicks together
in a brooder, a few youngsters together in a colony coop, a few
layers in a small house. The development of the system has
brought about the adoption of this foundation principle, and upon
this foundation the great success of the system is based.
Mr. Philo has found that the more frequently the eggs are
turned in the incubator, the better the hatch, other conditions
being right. He recommends to turn the eggs three times a day,
instead of twice as is generally recommended, and he says there
will be no cripples in consequence.
He broods the chicks, winter and summer alike, in the
brooder without heat of any kind, the theory being that with the
right device the natural heat of the chick is ample for all purposes.
The tiny houses, or " colony coops," in which Mr. Philo keeps
six head of layers, are most interesting, and they fully illustrate
the " small units " basis of the Philo system. They are but three
feet wide each, by six feet long, and although but four feet high
to the eaves (five feet to gable) they are two stories ; the upper
floor is the roosting-laying-feeding apartment; the ground floor
is, literally, a " ground floor," and is the exercising room.
Mr. Philo doesn't feed green cut bone or beef scraps, believ-
ing he gets just as good an egg yield and more hatchable eggs
without scraps, and says " you cannot get good, hatchable eggs
when feeding green cut bone."
The eminent success of the system as a whole is shown on
the little back-yard plant, where Mr. Philo now has the sixth
generation of birds hatched, reared and kept by it, all on the
tiniest plots of ground, and as sturdy-healthy birds as one can see
anywhere. The summer coop covers thirty square feet of
ground, and sixteen birds have a little less than two square feet
of ground space each.
To get eggs when prices are high, the Philo System advo-
cates changing the season for hatching, so that the hens will molt
in the spring as naturally as they now do in the fall. This is done
by each year using only the early-hatched cockerels and pullets
for the breeders. It will take several years, however, before this
14 POULTRY SECRETS.
plan can meet with any degree of success. This advice calls for
careful breeding, just as broodiness has been bred out, or rather
more or less reduced in some breeds.
Philo claims that by proper selection and breeding it is possi-
ble to produce eggs that will show good fertility, and the chicks
will be as strong if hatched in winter as in June. Now if the
pullets are in condition to lay through the winter, they will molt
during the spring, and will be in good condition to produce high-
priced eggs during the fall and winter, just at a time when the
spring-hatched pullets will be on a vacation.
The Philo System is particularly applicable to the small
village and city poultry plant, and of less merit to the average
farmer whose poultry ranges over many acres.
While the Philo System Book is well worth purchase and
study, purchasers should not assume that they can equal at once
the remarkable profits Mr. Philo has personally secured from his
The Secret of the Grundy Method
Fred Grundy, of Morrisonville, III., a well-known writer for
the farm press, has advertised widely, at the price of $2.00, his
little book called the " Famous Grundy Method." " Feed at
8 cents a bushel " is one of the strong points of his advertising,
and he says that his book is l)ased on a series of several hundred
experiments, requiring from two months' to a year's time.
Among the contents of the Grundy book are :
The bifold method, which is starting eggs under hens and
finishing up the hatch in incubators. This is the reverse of Dr.
Woods' egg-hatching secret described on page 50. The difficulty
of the Grundy plan is to get a sufficient number of eggs started
at one time to keep even a small-sized incubator running.
Mr. Grundy's " cheap and perfect food " is not a new idea.
I advocated and published a bill of fare, practically the same,
about twelve years ago, using clover hay instead of alfalfa, as at
that time alfalfa was not on the market as a poultry feed. I
steamed the clover over night, and in the morning, after again
heating it, I mixed equal parts, by weight, of bran, cornmeal, mid-
dlings, ground oats and meat scraps with it. This was given in a
crumbly state. Sometimes I cooked the cut clover hay instead of
steaming it. Hay is the very best kind of bulky food to give hens.
Mr. Grundy cuts his alfalfa hay into quarter-inch lengths,
as that size is about right for the hens, and each evening he pours
two gallons of boiling water over an eight-gallon tub of the hay,
covers closely and allows to steam until morning. To this, the
next morning, he adds a quart of wheat bran and two quarts each
of middlings and cornmeal, mixing the whole thoroughly to-
gether. The steaming softens the fiber of the hay, and the moist-
SRCRETS OF FOWL BREEDING. 1 5
ure enables the meals to stick to it. This feed, Mr. Grundy says,
costs him " from six to fifteen cents a bushel." The author claims
that he can increase the weight of hundreds of fowls from two
to thrc-e pounds in ten to fifteen days on this food, at a cost of
only six to twelve cents for each bird. Mr. Grundy claims to
have devised and built the first scratching shed used in this coun-
try. It is a well-known fact that I. K. Felch built and advocated
a scratching shed thirty or more years ago.
While containing many excellent ideas, there is very little
in the Grundy book that has not been known to the poultry world
The Curtiss Secret of Hatching More Pullets
W. R. Curtiss, who is the head of the largest poul-
try farm in Western New York (capacity 100,000 head annually),
sends us the following valuable secret :
Everyone knows that in order to get what pullets they
want, they must also hatch cockerels, as there is no known way
of hatching all pullets. However, we are enabled to overcome
this difficulty to a considerable extent by following these rules in
mating up breeding pens : In the lighter breeds of the Mediter-
ranean classes, we use one yearling cock bird of known reliability
to from thirty to forty well-developed, vigorous pullets. With
American breeds we use one yearling male of known reliability
to from twenty to twenty-five well-developed, vigorous pullets.
By giving these birds as large yards as possible, of unlimited
range, if it can be had, we find that our hatches average from 60
to 75 per cent, pullets, and by this means we do not have to raise
so many chicks to get the number of pullets we want, as we do
if we use less females in our breeding pens. A trial of this
method will convince the most skeptical.
Davis's Secret of Raising Every Chick
Howard L. Davis contributes this valuable information as the
result of his long experience : The egg from which a chick is
to come must be from strong, healthy, vigorous stock, properly
fed and cared for, so that the egg contains all the elements and
strength to produce a livable chick.
It must be properly incubated to produce a livable chick,
which means that during its twenty-one days of incubation it
must have exactly the proper degree of heat, not about the proper
degree of heat. Too high a temperature is one of the main causes
,of diarrhoea in chicks. Too low a temperature, especially the first
week, is the main cause of deformed chicks and cripples, and
l6 POULTRY SECRETS.
either too low or too high a temperature means chicks that will
The egg chamber in which the egg is hatched must also
contain exactly the proper degree of humidity. Not as some peo-
ple say, to supply moisture to the egg, but to supply moisture to
the air of the egg chamber, so that the exact amount of evapora-
tion from the egg takes place. Moisture can in no way be supy-
plied to an egg. Too much or too rapid evaporation means little,
puny, weak chicks. Too little or too slow evaporation means
chicks too large to free themselves, and dead in the shell.
The egg chamber must also be ventilated. Never from the
bottom. No matter what kind of an incubator you are running,
if it has an open bottom, or it has ventilators in the bottom, or any
crevices in which the air can leak out through the bottom, far
better results will always be obtained if they are entirely closed.
Bottom ventilation means cripples and deformed chicks.
The chick, having been hatched under the above conditions,
after exactly twenty-one days of incubation, should then be given
comfortable sleeping quarters, never more than fifty together, not
where there is any artificial heat, but where the heat from their
own bodies will keep them comfortable, and where it is dark ;, and
properly fed. Given such a condition, you are then able to
produce the great secret, which will enable you to raise every
chick so hatched.
Babcock*s Secret of Developing the Spike on]^a
Rose Combed Fowl
H. L. Babcock, one of the old-time poultry authorities, sends
this valuable secret : In rose-combed varieties, it not infrequently
happens that the spike is undeveloped. The end of the comb
looks somewhat as a rubber ball does when a portion of its sur-
face has been pushed in. This may be the case with the finest
bird that a breeder possesses. Such a retained spike may be
brought out and developed by manipulation. Take the comb be-
tween the thumb and forefinger and keep rubbing it back and
forth. Continue the work until the inverted spike is pressed out
into its proper position. This sometimes can be done in a few
minutes ; sometimes it may take considerable time and more than
one operation. But if taken in time, the spike may be developed,
and the value of a fine specimen greatly enhanced. It is best to
take such cases in hand as soon as discovered, but I have known
the work to be done successfully while the bird was in the show
Such work is not faking. The spike is there, but for some
reason it has not come out into its natural position.
Secrets of Feeding
There is more in the feed than in the breed. To secure the
proper results you must give the .right amount of food, of the
right kind, at the right time. You must closely watch the appe-
tites of the fowls so that you can properly cater to them. Just
what would be right for one flock might be wrong for another.
Fowls in a wild state live on seeds, green stuff and bugs and
worms. In the state of domestication these articles must be sup-
plied in some form or other.
Just before it matures is about the most hungry period in a
bird's life. It can eat more then than at any other time, and if it
does not get all it can eat, more harm is done than can be repaired
during the rest of its life.
If you will go to the trouble of examining the crops of the
fowls at night while they are on the roost, it can be pretty well
determined whether they are getting enough or not. If the crop
is distended and hard, too much is being fed ; if nearly empty, too
little is given. The grain in the crop should fill it comfortably
full, yet the skin ought not to be as tight as a drum, but rather
loose and yielding. The healthy hen is a hearty eater.
The poultryman who studies the appetites of his flocks, and
feeds accordingly, never fails in putting his feed to the best ad-
vantage. It is always well to have the fowls partially hungry.
This will induce them to scratch in the hope of finding some more.
Scratching is the best exercise hens can get.
To be continually changing the bill of fare rather hurts than
benefits egg production. Have one system of feeding, but let
that system contain as much variety as possible. Purity of food
The hungry hen is seldom choice in the selection of her food.
To feed properly conditions must be studied. The amount and
quality of food that would keep a Wyandotte in good condition
would likely overfatten a Plymouth Rock.
Overfeeding is not feeding well. It is what a hen is able
to digest and assimilate, and not what it eats, that makes both
eggs and flesh. The principal requirement of a hen is a balanced
ration and regular feeding. " A feast to-day and a famine to-
morrow " will upset the best of layers. If the stock is doing well
under the present system of feeding, it is a mistake to make a
change in the bill of fare.
Careful calculations show that a fowl will eat, on an average.
l8 POULTRY SECRETS.
three ounces of the morning mash ; two ounces of grain at noon ;
and four ounces of grain at night. There can be no set rules for
feeding. Like human beings, fowls vary in appetite. We must
approximate the amount. The quality must be determined ac-
cording to the object in view.
The plan adopted by the writer is to give a large iron spoon-
ful of mash in the morning for every two fowls in the pen. The
spoonful means about as much as one would be able to pick up
with the hand. At night, a full handful of mixed grains for every
fowl in the pen is about all they can eat, and that amount will
carry them over in comfort until the next morning. But when
it is noticed that they do not readily clean up the allowance, the
next day the amount should be cut down, and continued so until
the appetite is again fully restored. Some fowls can exist, and
be prolific, on almost half what would be needed for others.
When this is noticed in a pen it is advisable to cut down their
allowance to meet the demand.
Sudden changes in the bill of fare very often throw fowls off
their appetite. I had a little experience in that line some time
ago. A fellow poultryman purchased a lot of sweepings from the
grain elevators. These sweepings contained wheat, corn, flaxseed,
bran, middlings, etc. The fowls did not take kindly to the mix-
ture, and the result was, there was a general decline in the egg
crop. Just as soon as the old bill of fare was resumed, the egg
yield increased, and gave a good record. While the articles con-
tained in that mixture were substantial egg foods, they were not
rightly balanced, and there was too much waste.
As a general thing, more fowls are overfed than underfed,
especially where small flocks, or a limited number, are kept.
While overfeeding has its bad effects, underfeeding is equally as
bad. An underfed hen may receive sufficient food to sustain the
body, but there is a lack of material for egg making. It should
be known that the first food a fowl takes goes toward the build-
ing up of waste tissues, and the overplus to the making of eggs
or fat, according to the quality of food given.
I have learned to study chemistry in feeding poultry. The
carcass of a hen consists of fat, lean meat, and bone. If we
examine the food that a hen eats we discover, in wheat for exam-
ple, that it contains starch and oil (the carbohydrates or fat- form-
ing material), which is the fat of the grain and which, when
eaten by the animal, goes to make heat, energy and fat. We see
also little grains of gluten, which might be called the lean of the
grain, and which, when utilized by the animal, makes the lean
meat. We further find the mineral matter (the ash), which
SECRETS OF FEEDING. I9
might be called the bone of the wheat, and which, when assimi-
lated by the animal, makes bone and egg-shell. Therefore it is
easy to understand why it is that when food is deficient in lime
and other mineral matter the eggs are soft-shelled; why a ration
deficient in protein produces weak, spindling chickens, or a ration
containing an excess of easily digestible carbohydrate matter
causes the fowl to become excessively fat. Thus we see the
necessity of having properly balanced rations ; which simply
means that there must be a properly balanced relationship be-
tween the food nutrients in the ration in order to produce a per-
fect animal or a perfect c^gg. A proper understanding of this se-
cret means profit.
If hens are fed their grain feed in such way that they have
to exercise vigorously to get their daily feed, they are much more
apt to lay than if fed plenty of prepared feed in troughs, allowing
them to remain idle. This is very important.
The value of grains for poultry feeding are about in this
order: Wheat, oats, corn, barley and buckwheat. Corn makes
fat and furnishes fuel. It should never be the exclusive grain
diet. The cry of " cholera " comes mainly from sections of the
country where corn is principally fed to fowls. Strictly speaking,
these " cholera " cases are indigestion. Indian com should always
be fed in conjunction with some protein food like wheat. Both
barley and buckwheat are fattening. Too much of the latter has
a tendency to produce costiveness ; it also will whiten the flesh of
the carcass if fed liberally.
For the purpose of producting white flesh, feed oats, buck-
wheat and skim milk; and to produce yellow flesh feed boiled
pumpkins, turnips and yellow com.
Beans, being highly nitrogenous, are excellent as a variety in
the bill of fare. Pop corn contains more nitrogen and phosphates
than the regular Indian com. In feeding grain at night, it should
be given an hour before dusk, so that the fowls can well fill their
crops before going to roost.
The majority of fowls get far too much grain, such as com,
oats, wheat, bran, etc., to the exclusion of animal substances and
green or vegetable foods, such as clover rowen, grass, cabbages,
beets, turnips, etc. Grain is a very heavy, hearty, heating and
concentrating staple of diet, and was never intended to be fed
stock without other addition.
English authorities say we American poultry raisers feed
entirely too much maize (corn), and I know that this is so. We
do not, as a rule, give enough variety. The farmer seems to think
that all the hens need is enough com so that they can help them-
selves at will, and the reason they assign for poor winter laying
is that it is unnatural for a hen to lay at that season. As one
" expert " asserted : " It takes the warm suns of spring to thaw
open the ovaries." The secret of corn is not too much.
20 POULTRY SECRETS.
Dr. P. T. Woods* Laying-Food Secret
Nearly all commercial " laying-foods " now sold to poultry-
men can be improved by adding " gluten feed." When so im-
proved and fed as a dry mash the increase in egg yield is re-
Take of the ground-grain, ready-mixed, commercial laying
food, 4 measures ; best yellow gluten feed, 3 measures ; coarse
wheat bran, i measure; mealed alfalfa or mealed clover, i meas-
ure ; best meat meal, i measure. Mix. Keep before laying stock
all the time in an easy-access food hopper. In addition feed fresh
green food freely. To each twenty-five hens also give as first
morning feed in scratching litter one quart of clean, bright,
cracked, yellow com. At noon feed in litter one pint hard sound
wheat and one pint heavy clipped white oats to each twenty-five
hens. Keep water, grit, oyster shells and charcoal always before
This plan is for laying stock for market eggs only. It is too
forcing for breeding stock for best results. Early hatched pullets
and hardy, vigorous yearlings, that do not bag down behind, are
best to force for eggs. Do not give them too liberal range. Con-
finement in fresh-air house and small runs is better where eggs
alone are wanted.
Do not keep any male bird with this market-egg laying stock.
It saves his food. The hens lay better without him. It prevents
blood clots, streaks or spots in the eggs. Sterile or virgin eggs
so produced keep better, taste better and sell better. Twenty-five
to fifty layers may be kept in one flock.
Feeding Linseed Meal
Oil cake meal is linseed meal. It is the product of linseed oil
factories. It is rich in albumen. Properly fed it promotes gen-
eral health and keeps the fowls in proper condition. During the
molting period it is especially beneficial.
I find that five pounds mixed with one hundred pounds of
ground grain is the right proportion to feed. This discovery has
been a valuable one to me.
Linseed meal is very fattening, and therefore must not be fed
too strongly. An over amount is pretty sure to bring on cases
of looseness of the bowels.
Thos. F. Rigg's method: He uses linseed meal in the soft
food for both breeding stock and growing chicks. He uses it in
the proportion of about i to 10, — that is, one part linseed to ten
parts mixture of cornmeal, wheat bran and ground oats. This he
SECRETS OF FEEDING. 21
feeds to the chicks once each day, the mixture being thoroughly
Oil meal regulates the bowels and keeps the chicks in a
healthy condition. This means extra money to you.
Animal food is a necessity, but too much of it is apt to cause
digestive troubles. There is more albumen in a pound of meat
than in a bushel of corn.
A meat diet, judiciously fed, will materially increase the egg
supply. Nearly all breeders are aware of the value of animal
food ; but, though considered necessary to make up for the lack
of insect food, it should be fed sparingly and not too often to the
young fowls, for too much animal food is worse than none at all,
and is one of the principal causes of all the disastrous diseases
which are hard to cure. I would not take $20 for this secret.
Meat scraps must be kept in a cool place.
Of the commercial meat scraps on the market, those guaran-
teed to be pure beef scraps are best. Dried blood, such as is sold
for fertilizer, is dangerous to use for poultry.
Some feed horse meat. I would not, knowingly, feed horse
meat to fowls. The meat of a healthy horse, killed on account of
some accident, would be good, but the bulk of horse meat comes
from horses that have died or been killed on account of ailment
or old age. The secret of profitable eggs is high quality.
Green cut bone, when it can be had fresh, and fed as soon as
cut, is excellent. It is not a stimulant, and consequently there is
no unhealthful reaction from its use. But it should be fed judi-
ciously, as a too liberal feeding is apt to produce worms in fowls.
An ounce, per hen, two or three times a week, is sufficient. In
fact, it should be the limit. Feed separately in a trough, and not
mixed with the mash.
A proper amount of salt aids digestion. It has a tendency to
ward off disease by keeping the fowls strong and vigorous. But
if given to excess will produce inflammation of the mucous mem-
brane. An excess, too, is apt to cause bowel troubles and loss
Salt keeps the whole system in good working order, freeing
the blood of impurities, thus avoiding colds, canger, or roup. Salt
also has a tendency to expel those miserable wiry gizzard-worms
often found in fowls.
It is generally conceded that an ounce of salt is sufficient for
the soft food of one hundred fowls. The best way to salt the
22 POULTRY SECRETS.
food is thoroughly to dissolve sufficient salt in the hot water with
which the mash is to be moistened. This will more evenly dis-
tribute it. The above pointers seem trivial, but are not.
Proctor's Salt Secret
Note this carefully: During several seasons when F. W.
Proctor mixed salt with the feed, about as would suit the human
palate, he found no difficulty in maintaining a good tgg yield until
cold weather. Last season he omitted salt, and his fowls took to
molting all through the early and late fall. This shows the value
of salt as a means of prolonging the life of the feather.
Brackenbury's Secret of Scalded Oats
A remarkably successful system : The way to feed scalded
oats is to season each feed of oats with salt at the rate of a good
large tablespoonful to each eight or ten quarts of the oats.
Sprinkle the salt over the top of the oats, and then pour boiling
water over them, being careful to use no more water than the oats
will readily absorb. Stir or mix them up well. Let the pail in
which the oats are scalded be covered while they remain in it.
Charcoal, Grit, and Oyster Shells
Charcoal is not only a great corrective of the evils of injudi-
cious overfeeding, but is also a good remedy in bowel disorders
As it has wonderful absorbent powers, especially for gases, it
should be kept in a thoroughly dry vessel with a close-fitting
cover, so as to exclude the air.
It is a good plan to mix powdered charcoal twice a week in
If charcoal is well heated before given to the poultry, it will
have a tendency to drive off impurities which may have become
absorbed, and will be equal to fresh charcoal.
Grit must be hard and sharp. Oyster shells are too soft to
serve this purpose. Lack of this secret causes many failures.
The supply of grit should never run out. It is best kept in a
small box constantly within reach of the fowls so that they can
help themselves at will.
The hens must partake of a certain amount of lime in some
form other than that found in the different articles of food. This
lime is needed for the formation of qq:,^ shells, and where there is
a lack of it, soft-shelled eggs are the result.
SECRETS OF FEEDING. 2$
It will be noticed that fowls, if given some cabbage or other
winter greens the first thing upon opening up the houses, will
pitch into the stuff to the exclusion of any grain that might be
within reach. It seems to act as a sort of " bracer," " eye-
opener " or " tonic."
Cabbage, raw potatoes, beets, turnips, and other roots
chopped up about the size of whole corn, are all keenly relished,
and do a lot of good.
A very good substitute for green food is cooked or steamed
cut clover hay or alfalfa. This can be mixed with an equal quan-
tity of ground grain. Laying hens, especially, should be regu-
larly fed cut hay during winter, as it is bulky food and contains
considerable lime and other ingredients that go to making eggs.
Boiled vegetables are relished, but care must be taken that
they are not too freely fed, as they have a tendency to overfatten,
and are apt to cause bowel troubles.
The Secret of Feed at 1 5 Cents per Bushel
The value of green food for poultry, both as an egg food
and a ration for maintaining a healthful condition, has been
known for years, but of late a method for producing sprouted oats
feed has been practised by a few knowing poultrymen who have
derived considerable profit from the idea. I give the methods of
two men, Mr. J. B. Upson and Mr. Keyser. This is the " 15-
cents-a-bushel-for-feed " secret, advertised and sold at a high
price in former years. For cheap green winter feed the plan is
Mr. Upson's method: The oats are placed in a water-tight
vessel and covered with warm water, and allowed to stand
twenty-four hours, when they are emptied into a box that will al-
low the water to drain off freely. Oats are left in this box, and
wetted twice a day with warm water until the oats have sprouted
a quarter of an inch long, when they are spread in boxes about
an inch deep. The sprinkling is continued until the oats are as
large as desired, which is generally four or five inches in length.
The hens will consume roots as well as tops.
With a temperature of 60°, ten days will bring this result,
so that after the first start this green feed can be provided for
each day. Chicks a week old will eat the oats, and, in fact, leave
all other feed for them. Fowls prefer sprouted oats to lawn
24 POULTRY SECRETS.
The green color can be given to the oats by one day's expo-
sure to the light. They grow as freely in the dark, and the boxes
can be stacked over one another if short of room.
L. E. Keyser's method is as follows : Place the grain to be
sprouted in a tub and cover with water (warm water is best) and
allow it to soak for twenty-four hours. Pour off the water and
let them drain for half a day, then cover the racks with old
sacking, single thickness, and spread the grain upon the racks to
the depth of about two inches. If space is limited, the racks may
be piled one upon another, and if out-of-doors a cover should be
made for them that will turn rain.
Night and morning the racks are taken down and the grain
sprinkled with hot water, the hotter the better, using a hand
watering-pot. The racks can then be replaced. It does not mat-
ter if the water in the upper racks drains down into those beneath,
as it will all run off in time.
When in proper condition for feeding, the sod will be three
or four inches thick, and the growth of top will be four to six
inches high. When feeding, give a block about a foot square to
fifty hens. Each rack holds about a bushel and a half of grain
before sprouting, and will make sixteen feeds for fifty hens. It
will answer the purpose of one grain feed and green food.
The racks referred to are made as follows: A frame of
1x3 inch stuff, set edgewise, 4x4 feet, with a partition in the cen-
ter, is first made. To this frame securely nail lath, placing them
from one-eighth to one-quarter inch apart. This makes a box 4x4
feet, three inches deep, with a slatted bottom and a partition in the
middle. The center partition is only fqr jthe purpose of strength-
ening the lath. The lath should be soaked in water over night,
so that they will not split when nailing.
The Sprouted Barley Secret
A Connecticut poultry raiser has had surprising success with
barley. He says : To get green poultry feed barley is the best
grain. Cover as much as you need with very warm water, and
let it remain for 24 hours. Then draw oflF the water, empty-
ing the grain into a shallow box having holes in the bottom. Keep
it quite moist with warm water and turn frequently so it will
sprout evenly. Set in a sunny or warm place, covering with
sacks, and in a few days it will germinate and start growing.
Then when healthy, green sprouts show, use as feed. Have a
number of feoxes in the work to keep a supply.
SECRETS OF FEEDING. 2$
Smith's Secret of Preserving Vej(etation in
A. C. S.nith, a successful New England poultryman, gives
a secret of preserving vegetation in poultry runs which he has
followed since 1896. Mr. Smith writes :
The idea is simple and consists of building small yards for
each pen in the house, and one large yard for every two or three
small yards. The small yards are directly in front of and con-
nected with the house, and the larger yards directly in front of
and connected with the smaller yards. Nothing could be sim-
pler, and simple as the arrangement is, it brings with it greater
benefits than may appear at first thought.
To preserve the sod or root of whatever green crop is
growing in these enclosures, several little wrinkles may be
utilized. If the season is dry and the supply nearly exhausted,
the flocks may be kept in the small enclosures until rain comes to
refresh vegetation, or the fowls may be let out only part of each
day, taking advantage of the fact that the nature of a hen
prompts her to dig and scratch early and graze later in the day.
Consequently, the sods and roots would be best preserved by let-
ting the fowls have the run during the later part of the day.
As to expense, it is most obvious that where two fences
take the place of three there is a saving of one-third involved, or
where two take the place of four, which is the case if one large
yard is built to every three small ones, the saving becomes 50
The long poultry house, as usually built, is divided into
small pens not more than twelve or fifteen feet wide at the most,
and generally only ten. The usual practice is to build a yard to
every pen in the house, which, of course, makes the yards just
the width of the pen, which in such case is too narrow to allow
fruit trees to do their best. With yards twenty or thirty feet
wide, ample space is offered for plum, pear or peach trees, and
the fences will not interfere with proper growth, neither are the
fowls liable to fly from one yard to another by aid of the branches
even with fences of the ordinary height of six to six and one-half
An Important Feeding Secret
The writer has a double run to each house, as shown in the
illustration. While the fowls are occupying the one run, in
spring and summer, the vacant run is planted to some vegetable
PEN NO 2
crop. As soon as this crop is gathered, the fowls are turned into
the plot and they find considerable green stuff as well as worms
and insects. The former lot is then planted
to rye, and by fall and even during early win-
ter and spring, a quantity of green food is se-
cured by each day mowing down sufficient for
that day's feeding.
Rape is another valuable green food, and
should be planted each year.
Miscellaneous Feed Pointers
The laying hen is a hard drinker. She
will consume about a half-pint of water a day,
and it must never be left out of the bill of fare.
It is the rule on the farm of the writer to
water the fowls about a half-hour after feed-
ing the morning mash. They will not suffer
by being compelled to wait for the water in
the early morning, and they are not so apt to
chill when they have first taken food in the
crop. To learn to water your hens properly is
worth ten times the cost of this booklet,
A pound of cornmeal will measure about
one and one-half pints; middlings, one quart;
ground oats, two and one-half pints ; wheat
bran, three pints ; clover meal, two quarts.
" Shorts," according to Webster, is the bran and coarse part
of meal, in mixture. In some sections of this country bran is
known as " shorts," and in other places middlings bear that term.
Brewers' grains contain about four pounds ash (lime, etc.),
five pounds fat, twenty-five pounds protein (flesh and albumen
formers), and about fifty pounds of starchy matter in one hundred
pounds — the balance being water.
In this country, poultrymen generally claim that there is no
saving in boiling the food, notwithstanding the increase in bulk,
as they say that there seems to be a corresponding lessening of its
sufficing properties ; and that seven pints of boiled oats will be
consumed in the same time and by the same number of fowls as
four pints of the dry grain. But still I have found that there is
economy in feeding the boiled grain in fattening, as it has been
proved beyond a doubt that the fowls will fatten more readily
with the latter.
The bones of the neck, and along the back are the easiest to
cut in a bone cutter. The bone itself is full of animal matter,
as well as lime and phosphates, for the making of greater bone
in the chick, and adding to the feather growth, and for the making
of the tgg shell. The gristle, the scraps of meat adhering to the
Double Yard to
Each Breeding Pen
While the one yard is occu-
pied the other is sown
to a green crop.
SECRETS OF FEEDING.
bone, with the blood, make a kind of " worst meat " mass, of
which the chickens will eat every bit. The small bits of bone
through the mass make the ideal grit supply also.
The crate-fed bird has a better appearance than a pen-fed
one, and is not a flabby fat, but has nice solid flesh.
Soft roasters fed in houses show more average gain than
when fed in crates. Forty birds may be put in a house 7x20 feet,
with a yard 10x15 feet.
In crate feedmg, if a bird will not accumulate fat during the
first ten days it is shut up in the crate, it is very much wiser to
take it out. When you put them in the crate you should starve
them for the first day or so.
Some birds can be put in a crate for two weeks, and fed three
times a day, and money will be lost on them. On the other hand,
some birds can be fed in that way for five weeks and still make a
profit. Some birds are ready in ten days and others after being
fed for two weeks will commence to go back in weight.
Chick Feed Secrets
Here is a secret that will surely help you : The cost of food,
per chick, to weigh one pound, is three cents for ground grain;
or three and seven-
tenths on whole grain.
An easily pre-
pared chick food : Six ^
pounds cracked wheat ; &
two pounds finely
cracked corn ; one
pound rolled oats, or
pin-head oatmeal ; one
pound millet seed ;
half - pound
rice ; two pounds fine
granulated beef scrap ;
Protected Chick Runs
broken Measure : 2 feet wide and 2 feet high, 12 to 16 feet in length,
covered with one-inch wire netting. Should be moved
to new ground every two weeks. Used by hen
and her brood.
half-pound granulated bone ; six pounds pearl grit. This is the
same as expensive prepared chick foods which cost twice as much.
Robert J. Terry's secret formula : For chick food, to be given
after the young are a day or two old (before that time dried bread
crumbs should be given): Cracked wheat, twenty-five parts;
hulled or cut oats, fifteen parts ; white millet seed, twelve parts ;
small cracked corn, ten parts ; small cracked peas, six parts ;
broken rice, two parts ; rape seed, one part ; small grit, ten parts.
Rolled oats can be used in place of hulled oats. The food is fed
dry and brings good results.
aS POULTRY SECRETS.
Seely*s Secret of Dry Bran Feeding
James H. Seely, one of the pioneer broiler raisers of Ham-
monton, N. J., and late poultry manager on the farm of ex- Vice-
President Levi P. Morton, here gives a secret that he has prac-
ticed and kept sacred for years. The way he discovered it was as
I had a lot of broilers in the brooder house, hatched during
the months of December, January and early February, from
which I selected 105 pullets, which I decided to keep for winter
eggs. Being forced for broilers, they, of course, became rather
fat, but, nevertheless, in July some of them began laying. The
eggs being very small, they were of no particular use to us, so I
shut off their regular feed, and instead filled the trough with
dry bran, keeping it before them all the time, for about six weeks.
Then I commenced feeding for eggs and soon got them,
90 per cent, being strong, large eggs, showing good fertility. The
pullets kept up this laying for the rest of the season.
I also discovered that this same method worked well with
old hens for winter eggs. In that case I shut off the feed for a
month (substituting dry bran), when the eggs were cheap. This
threw them into an early molt, and again started to lay at a time
when eggs were scarce and the price necessarily high.
Gowell's Fattening Secret
If chickens intended for market, weighing one and a quarter
to one and a half pounds, are placed by themselves in a house with
a yard say twelve feet square, and fed on a porridge three times
a day, they can be gotten ready for market in very short order.
The porridge is made of six parts cornmeal, two parts mid-
dlings, one-half part linseed meal and two parts beef scraps, by
weight, and mixed with milk or tepid water.
Feed all they will eat in one-half hour, when the troughs
must be removed and cleaned. Keep the yard clean by covering
with sand, straw or hay. The birds will stand this feeding for
two or three weeks with good appetites. When they commence
taking less they are ready to be dressed for market, and should
weigh two and a quarter pounds dressed. ( Note : I have used
Prof. Gowell's secret method with great success.)
Gray's Secret for Quickly Fattening
Ivan B. Gray, a successful raiser of broilers and roasters
for market, uses the following secret in fattening his stock, and
says that at no time of the year has he any trouble to dispose of
his broilers, roasters, or even old hens, and always at several
cents per pound advanced price over the market rate.
SECRETS OF FEEDING. 29
The secret is to feed molasses to the stock being fattened.
He uses the common stock molasses, which can be purchased
very cheaply in any of the large cities.
He dilutes one quart of molasses in six quarts of water
(sometimes using more and sometimes less molasses, according
to the condition of the bowels).
With this molasses and water mixture he uses enough to
make the following mash crumbly : One hundred pounds yellow
cornmeal, 50 pounds wheat middlings, 15 pounds oil meal, and
25 pounds beef scraps. (Note, the Gowell mixture, given above,
can be used with the molasses and water solution.)
Confine the fowls in a pen or small yard, and feed all they
will eat up clean, removing the troughs as soon as the fowls are
through eating. Should the bowels become loose, he simply adds
a handful or two of middlings to the mash, and if this does not
correct the trouble, he withholds the molasses for a day or so.
The above plumps the fowls very quickly and adds weight,
while the molasses also gives the carcass a very sweet and juicy
Greiner*s Corn Feeding Secrets
T. Greiner, of New York State, an experienced and success-
ful poultryman, has demonstrated the following facts in regard
to feeding corn :
Corn, of all cereals, is just the one for which all fowldom
seems to have a very marked preference, just as children have a
preference for candies and rich cakes.
Hens will fill their crops to the very limit of capacity with
com, in less time and with less eltort than they could with any
The exclusive or excessive use of com, while permissible and
useful just once in a fowl's life (shortly before it is sent to the
block), will lead to all sorts of evils in a flock of layers, and will
cripple the prospects for a big egg-yield. In the hands of the
careful feeder of poultry, it is a good, useful and almost indis-
pensable cereal, and a great aid to success, especially during the
colder portions of the year.
Some of the best ways of preparing and feeding com to
poultry seem to be little known to the general poultry keeper, and
so are little practiced.
The process of cracking does not add anything to the food
value of whole com, but gives a chance for a loss of some of the
smaller particles, besides adding the expense of cracking to the
cost of the product. The tremendous digestive powers of the
larger birds will take care of whole corn nearly as readily as of
cracked com. The secret of the advantage of cracked com is
30 POULTRY SECRETS.
mainly the greater demand for effort and exercise on the part of
the hen which hunts for it among the Utter of the scratching shed.
But there are even better ways of feeding com than giving it
in cracked form : The secret is in feeding it on the cob. Let the
com get some age,, rather than feed it new. It is safer. But
even new corn can be made safe for feeding if you know this
secret : Place the ears in a hot oven, and let them get hot, brown,
perhaps even scorched and charred. Then take them out and
feed them while still warm, on a clean floor, for an evening meal.
The hens will work with the ears, pick at them, and soon get the
corn off the cob — with effort enough to afford proper exercise.
The scorched and charred portions of corn take the place of char-
coal, and promote the hens' general health. In mild weather,
with good sound com, this heating will not be required.
Another secret: Run the ears through an ordinary feed cut-
ter, cutting them in about two-inch lengths. The passage and
pressure between the two iron rollers loosens the kernels suffi-
ciently so that the hens can more surely pick off every single one.
If you will watch a flock of hens, toward evening, busily engaged
and hugely enjoying themselves with a quantity of corn on the
cob thus cut, you will at once believe that you have discovered a
secret worth knowing.
McGrew's Secret of Feeding During Molting
T. F. McGrew, one of the leading authorities on poultry cul-
ture, sends this secret :
If properly handled and fed on a feather-forming ration,
poultry will molt much more satisfactorily than they do when
fed in the ordinary way. The following mixture is for mash
food. The receipt is sufficient for loo hens :
Put 3 pounds of short cut clover or alfalfa hay in a bucket
and cover it with scalding hot water. Let it stand for at least
2 hours, and stir into t)iis the following mixture,
2 pounds wheat bran,
I pound wheat middlings,
I pound cornmcal,
I pound ground oats,
I pound beef scrap,
I pound linseed meal.
Mix all into a crumbling mass and feed while warm (not
hot) to the hens.
When the molt is under way, add i ounce of linseed meal
each day until you are feeding 2 pounds of it or 20 per cent, of
the mash. Feed this until the molt is almost finished ; then reduce
to the original amount of linseed meal. The original mixture is
an almost perfect egg-producing ration and can be fed either as
a dry or wet mash.
Secrets of Housing' and Care
A poultry plant should be planned with a view to saving
steps. This extra labor costs money, for which there is no equiva-
lent. Besides, houses built on the colony plan are far more expen-
sive than if in one continuous line. By bringing them together,
one end of each house is saved. This will mean quite an item in
lumber. The colony houses, too, are much colder than a continu-
High ceilings in houses are expensive, and cold. They
should be built as low as possible without danger of bumping
heads. Low houses are kept comfortable by the animal heat
thrown ofF by the fowls.
Colony Chick Coops
Measure 4x4 feet, ground floor, and 4 feet high to peak of roof. Yards 125 running feet. Large
enough to start 50 chicks, decreasing number of chicks as they mature-
The working unit in building a hen house is the floor and air
space required for each pen. Prof. Rice has discovered that a
safe working rule is about five to six square feet of floor space
for every fowl. The lighter breeds, because they are more active
and restless, require about as much room and air as larger breeds.
There is a great difference of opinion as to the best method
of calculating the number of fowls a poultry house will accommo-
date. The common method of calculation is based upon floor
space, the height being considered immaterial. Houses built on
32 POULTRY SECRETS.
this principle are low, and consequently the least expensive that
can be constructed. Another method of calculation is based upon
the amount of perch room, while the third is based upon the vol-
ume of cubic contents. The right method is to allow at least ten
cubic feet of space per fozvl.
In view of the widely divergent views on this subject, and the
lack of definite knowledge, K. J. J. Mackenzie and C. S. Orwin,
of the Southeastern Agricultural College of England, undertook a
series of experiments to determine more definitely the amount of
air space required by poultry. They studied the frequency and
rate of respiration in fowls, the amount of carbon dioxid thrown
off, the amount of vitiation of the air which the fowls could stand
without injury, and examined different types of poultry houses
with reference to their suitability for furnishing proper conditions
Assuming that the air of poultry houses should not contain
more than nine parts of carbon dioxid per 10,000 of air, they esti-
mated that each fowl must be supplied with about forty cubic
feet of air per hour, the requirements of small fowls being practi-
cally the same as of large.
In wooden poultry houses with ventilation at the top the air
apparently changes about four times per hour. Each bird must,
therefore, have ten or more cubic feet allotted to it. Now then :
The number of birds a house will hold depends on its volume
and not on the floor space or perch room. The maximum number
is found by dividing the volume expressed as cubic feet by ten. I
have learned to keep within this number.
The greatest capacity can be most economically obtained from
a given amount of timber if the house is cubical in shape. This
cannot be quite realized in practise owing to the necessity for a
sloping roof, but the nearer one gets to it the better.
In building long, continuous houses, the pens should be
divided by tight partitions, either cloth or boards (the latter pre-
ferred), to avoid draughts. Otherwise cold and dangerous air
currents will be formed whenever windows, doors or ventilators
Prof. Rice says that when air is warmed it expands and rises ;
cooling has the opposite effect. He further says: Provide the
houses with good ventilation. Pure air is as necessary to good
egg production as pure food and pure water. Damp air may be
removed by ventilators, which will necessarily make the house a
little cooler. Warm air rises.
But here's my secret : S cratching-shed houses do not need
ventilators. They are self-acting in that respect. If the curtains
are drawn up each morning, the fresh air will quickly enter, and
the pens will receive the very best airing. On the farm of the
writer, no ventilators are placed on the houses, but the scratching-
«hed plan is used. The result is that the houses never have a foul
SECRETS OF HOUSING AND CARE. 33
odor, and the fowls get the benefit of the outside air without be-
ing compelled to face rain or snowstorms, or heavy winds.
On this point Jacobs some years ago made a very useful
discovery. He found that it is a very difficult matter to ventilate a
poultry house without causing draughts of air on the fowls at
night. The proper mode, he learned, is to keep the poultry house
clean, leave the doors open during the day, and shut the house at
night, allowing no ventilation at all. That was discovered before
the present scratching-shed plan was adopted. By the latter
method, we can better air our houses than we could with the old-
style houses, and by simply leaving the door open during the day
time. The scratching shed plan cannot be overestimated.
The roof is practically the most expensive part of a house. It
is important that the best attention be paid to it. Some poultry-
men prefer shingles, and some heavy roofing-paper. There are
advantages and disadvantages in both. Frost will gather on the
shingle roof, inside the house, unless the roof is ceiled. This
makes an additional cost. Shingles, too, are apt to warp in time,
causing leaks in the roof. But a shingle roof, well put on, —
using No. 3 eighteen-inch cedar shingles, and giving the roof a
coat of paint, will be better. One gallon of paint will cover 250
square feet of shingle roofing. Some of the earlier roofing papers
did very well until there was a break in the paper, and then the
first good, strong windstorm would quickly tear it all oflf. But
to-day we have roofing that is strong and durable, looking very
much like tar roofing, but which contains no tar. Tar roofing
contracts and expands zvith the weather, but this new roofing does
not. The roofing is put on with tin caps, and then the seams are
cemented, and the entire roof coated with a graphite paint. The
writer has such roofs on his hen houses, and has had them for
quite a number of years. They are as good to-day as the day they
were put on. This hint saves money, and yet few builders know it.
There seems to be quite a difference in opinions regarding
the proper flooring for poultry houses. Some writers claim that
board floors, heavily covered with sand, are the best, arguing the
point that they are more dry. Others prefer concrete cement, for
the reason that it is rat-proof and easily cleaned. My secret is
to use nothing but the natural earth. If there is a brick founda-
tion around the hen house, and the floor is filled up a foot with
earth, making it that much higher than the level of the out-
side ground, the floor will not only be dry and rat-proof, but the
hens will find more comfort in it, and will not only have something
to scratch in but will be able to wallow in it, taking a needed dust
The perches in the houses should be not over two feet from
the ground floor, and about six inches under these perches there
should be placed a solid board platform to catch the droppings.
All perches should be on a level. The best perch is a 2x^ inch
34 POULTRY SECRETS.
scantling, planed and the edges rounded. It should be placed so
that the fowls will roost on the two-inch side. These broad roosts
give a fowl the chance to spread its feet, so that it will not be
compelled to cramp them to hold itself, as is the case with the old-
style round perches.
Take my advice, and see that all nests are made movable.
This is so even where trap nests are used. This gives a good
chance to take them outdoors and give a good cleaning,
which should be done at least every spring and fall. The best way
to place nests is to have a board platform upon which to set
them. This platform should be about two feet from the floor,
and broad enough so that there would be from eight to ten inches
on the platform, in front of the nests, for the hens to walk.
Never nail up nests so that the hens must Hy on them. Trap
nests should never be placed on the floor, as the hens are apt to
scratch dirt in them, often clogging them so they will not work
accurately. Hens prefer semi-darkened nests to those out in the
In heavy-soil countries dust-boxes should be placed in each
pen, so that the fowls can wallow in the dirt. In light-soil sec-
tions, and especially when the houses have scratching sheds
attached to them, no dust-boxes need be provided, as the fowls
can dust themselves with the loose dirt on the floor of the shed.
Fencing is another important matter to consider. After try-
ing all or nearly all of the styles of wire-netting fencing, I have
gone back to the old Climax mesh, which has proved to be a
money saver and much more durable. As it is galvanized after
being woven, it seldom ever rusts. Some of the new styles are
galvanized before weaving, and the result is that they sooner or
later rust and break. I have in use Climax wire netting that has
now stood the test for nearly fifteen years, and practically is as
good as the day it was first put up. The Climax wire netting can
be purchased from any dealer in poultry supplies.
In putting up fencing, no top rail should be used. By having
the posts eight feet apart, the wire can be stretched by hand, and
if carefully done will not sag.
Secret of Successful Yarding
I have found that for best results in &gg production yarding
is better than free range. I have discovered that for tenderness
of flesh in market chickens, yarding is preferable. On the other
hand, I have proved that for quick growth of young stock, free
range is the thing.
All poultry runs should be at least one hundred feet in length
— and this divided into two separate runs. That is, have a run of
fifty feet in front of the house, and fifty feet on the back. Then
as the fowls are occupying the one, the other can be sown to some
SECRETS OF HOUSING AND CARE. 35
green crop and thus disinfected. In this way the soil will always
be pure. This secret alone is worth many dollars.
An argument in favor of free range is that the fowls get
much needed exercise. So they do, but just as much exercise can
be given them where scratching sheds are provided, and where
the grain is thrown among litter so they must work for it.
In market chickens, too much exercise toughens the sinews,
and the flesh of a yearling bird is tougher than that of a two-year-
old fowl yarded. This is especially so where corn has been the
On the farm of the writer, a specialty is made of supplying
spring roasters to a select retail trade. The reputation of the
farm for choice, juicy carcasses is so well established that even at
an advanced price the orders cannot be regularly served, they be-
ing compelled to go in rotation. The roasters are caged and fed
a balanced ration, are never hog fat, but always in a good condi-
tion. The result is, the meat is sweet and tender, and as only the
purest of food is given, the flesh is never tainted with some pecu-
liar taste, nor does it have that strange odor so often noticed in
poultry direct from the farmer.
But when it comes to raising young stock, especially when
growing them for future breeders or roasters, free range gives
them quick maturity, and they are all the more hardy for the
rough and tumble life they are having.
In the case of broiler raising, however, range must not be
given, or the carcass grows too lanky.
But yarded poultry must he well taken care of. They must
be regularly fed, must be made to exercise, the houses must be
kept clean, and everything possible must be done for their com-
Neglected poultry, especially if yarded, will soon be a finan-
Secret of Telling the Laying Hen
Before the advent of the trap nest, quite a number of ideas
vvere advanced concerning the general make-up of the laying
hen, but none has been so accurate as that furnished by the trap
nest. The hen is caught in the act, and is known by the number
of the band on her leg. The number is placed on the Qgg, and at
night credit is given on a record sheet kept for that purpose. This
method takes time and attention, but is absolutely accurate and
There is another secret method for telling the laying hen, and
that is by the condition of the pelvic bones. Just as the size of the
udder of a cow is a good indication of its milk qualities, so is the
condition of the pelvic bones a good sign of the egg-laying quali-
ties of the hen.
36 POULTRY SECRETS.
The pelvic bones are located at the lower part of the abdomen
— in the rear of the fowl — between which the egg passes when it
is being laid.
If the tip of the fore-finger fits snugly between these bones,
the hen is a poor layer. If it requires the tips of the first and
second finger snugly to fill the space between these bones, it is a
good layer ; and if the tips of the first three fingers are needed to
fill this space, the hen is an excellent layer.
A pullet that has not laid, or has just begun laying, will have
these bones of the pelvis almost touching. The bones gradually
widen as the fowl continues laying, and at two years of age are
much farther apart than at one year old.
This method of determining the laying hens in a flock and the
cocks apt to produce egg laying strains is the central thought of
the well known and widely advertised Walter Hogan System of
Fergus Falls, Minn., Palmer's Method of Selection, sold by C. H.
Palmer, Alfred, N. Y., and others. Each of these concerns
claims to be the originator of this method, but it is probable that
the same observation of the significance of the position of the pel-
vic bones has been made independently by many poultrymen as
long as poultry have been kept.
Two other methods of determining the best layers are given
on page 46.
Secret of 200 Eggs per Hen per Year
Persistent trap-nesting will produce a 200-egg flock; nothing
else will, in my ozvn personal opinion.
Trap nests not only tell us which are our best layers, but we
also learn the size and color of the eggs laid, and which hens lay
eggs that are strong in fertility.
The trap nest will pick out the layers of the largest eggs, en-
abling the breeder gradually to get his whole flock to produce
eggs of the same size. When I began my experiments with traps,
I found that seventy-five per cent, of my hens were laying either a
white or a light-colored egg; to-day ninety-nine per cent, lay
Lawny's Secret of Insect Killers
RoUa Lawny gives us two valuable secrets — one for an insect
powder, and the other for a lice paint — just the same as are
offered for sale by some dealers.
For Insect Powder, he says: Take one pint crude carbolic
acid and three pints gasoline. Mix in agate pan or earthen crock,
and add plaster paris by sprinkling in and thoroughly stirring so
that every particle of plaster paris will be wet, until the liquid has
SECRETS OF HOUSING AND CARE. 37
all been absorbed by the plaster paris. Spread on heavy paper
in a room for excess gasoline to evaporate. Then run through
a sieve made of window screen, and the powder is ready for use.
It can be used a number of times by holding the fowl over
a newspaper to catch what falls off. Shake the powder well
through the feathers. Mr. Lawny says he has found this powder
much more effective than six different preparations now on the
market, all of which he has given a fair test.
Lice Paint. — Substitute kerosene for the gasoline as directed
in the powder, making the formula one pint of crude carbolic acid
to three pints kerosene. Painted on the roosts after three o'clock
will get many of the body lice from the hens after they go to
roost, besides destroying all mites and lice that may come in con-
tact with it. He says he has found this much more efficient than
many of the high-priced proprietary articles he has used.
The Secret of Successful Molting
The proper months for molting are August, September and
October, but in young stock it is apt to begin a month earlier and
in old stock a month later. The older the fowl the more delayed
will be the commencement of this period.
The sexes should be separated until the fowl has completed
her new growth. In fact, it is not advisable to remate before the
first of the new year.
Any weakness a fowl may have is pretty sure to develop at
molting time. Molting is not a disease, but the strain in growing
new feathers is apt to weaken the fowl, making it more or less
susceptible to sickness.
It is generally accepted that it takes one hundred days for a
fowl to change its coat of feathers.
The Van Dresser method of starving and then overfeeding
fowls to make a quick molt has not stood the test expected. The
best poultrymen still stand by Nature's method.
Both sunflower seed and linseed meal are valuable additions
to the bill of fare at this season of the year. The bill of fare
should be rich in nitrogen. Green food is important. Unless the
material in the food is of a feather-making nature, the fowls can-
not shed the old coat.
When a hen receives a large supply of carbonaceous food she
increases her fat without supplying the necessary elements needed
in the renewal of the feathers, and there is a general wasting
away, inactivity of the bird, and death. When no stimulant is
given, the shafts of the new feathers seem to stick on too i-^ng,
not splitting open freely.
38 POULTRY SECRETS.
Zimmer*s Secret of Securing Foster Mothers
F. B. Zimmer, who is a bantam raiser, successfully adopts
this method of hatching and rearing his chickens:
I use an incubator for hatching the eggs, and have the
hens act as brooders. In many cases the hens have not been
broody and on their nests for more than two to five days before
the chicks they are to raise are hatched in the incubator, but that
is all the better, as then they will set much more quiet, after
having the chicks given them, and will brood them more steadily
and carefully than if they had been hatching for three weeks
and were tired of being inactive.
My method is to take chicks of every color I have hatched,
and when it is all quiet and dark, say about 9 or 10 o'clock at
night, go out to my hens and place under them chicks of all the
different colors. This method has a double advantage. You
can give each hen, after you take her off the nest, as many chicks
as you choose of any of the colors you have.
As each hen has chicks of the same color as has the rest,
and as they are all of the same age and size, the coops can be
arranged close together, and the hens will not kill each others'
Broody Hen Secrets
The quickest way to break up broodiness, is to remove the
hen from her nest the very first evening she deserts her roost
The sitting fever grows in intensity each day after it has fairly
begun. Obstinate cases will require a week or more to cure,
but when taken in time a few days will suffice. Broody hens
should be penned in a pen that is light and the front of which
has wire netting, so that plenty of air can be admitted. Feed
them regularly and have fresh water constantly before them. Be
sure that no nests are in the building.
John Robinson's Secret of Breaking Up
John Robinson, a practical Pennsylvania poultryman, has
hit upon a novel and quick method of breaking up broody hens.
He places the hen in a cage built entirely of lath, there being no
solid floor to it. This cage is then hung on the fence outdoors,
SECRETS OF HOUSING AND CARE. 39
SO that the air can pass through. Being hung up in an airy place
the hen becomes confused, diverting her attention more to her
situation than her condition, and consequently in twenty-four
hours the broody fever leaves and she can be placed back in the
pen with the other fowls. During the time she is placed in the
cage the hen is deprived of both food and water. In some
instances it was necessary to put them in the cage for a second
day after having given them food and water, but he has never
found it necessary for more than two days with the most obstinate
Secret of Chicks Dying in the Shell
C. F. Townsend, President of the National Poultry Associa-
tion, writes that the secret of so many fully-developed chicks
dying in the shell is not through weakness, but due to the fact
that they were smothered. He adds : " The remedy is easy. If
you have properly tested out the eggs, there should be none left
except those that are hatchable. Therefore, at the end, if any
fail to pip, have ready some water as hot as the hand can bear.
Dip the eggs in this for a moment, and then remove them quickly
to the outer air. In a great majority of cases the chicks will
hatch and will be as strong and lively as any of the litter."
Miss Frances E. Wheeler gives the same reason for chicks
dying in the shell, and adds : " When struggling to extricate
themselves from the shell, they surely need more instead of less
air than at any other time. Therefore the closing of the valves
of the incubator at this critical period must injure the hatch.
While a hen sticks to her nest for the last forty-eight hours, she
sweats heavily, and swells out her feathers, keeping them ruffled
out as during no other period of the hatch. In this way she
gives even warmth, extra moisture and extra ventilation.
My expeiience is that eggs need considerably more air
and moisture in the incubator all along the trip, than is usually
recommended. If plenty of moisture is supplied, evaporation of
the air space will not be excessive, even with the valves two-
thirds open, and in a rarified atmosphere.
If the incubator temperature runs too high, the hatch may
be saved by removing the trays from the machine and sprinkling
the eggs with tepid water, returning them to the incubator when
the eggs are reduced in temperature to ninety degrees. But a
harsh or extreme atmospheric change must be avoided to prevent
Secret of Scaly-Leg Cure
While grease — lard or vaseline — and kerosene, will greatly
assist in ridding fowls' legs of scales, the most positive and the
simplest treatment the writer has tried is thoroughly to coat the
legs with gas tar. When the tar wears off the scales go with it,
leaving the legs clean and fresh looking. This gas tar can be
secured at any gas works.
Right Way to Carry a Fowl
Note the ease of the bird. There is no undue
pressure on any part of its body.
Wrong Way to Carry a Fowl
Note how the breast is bulged out.
Blanchard*s Secret of Stopping Cocks from
Crowing at Night
W. J. Blanchard writes : For thirteen years I kept Leghorns
in a city, only one block from the city hall. We lived in " Doc-
tor's Row " (nineteen of them), and of course they did not like
to be kept awake at nights by cocks crowing, and thought I would
have to sell the males, but as I was watching them crow the
thought dawned on me that a bird could not crow unless he
threw his head way up. So I built some coops for spare cocker-
els right over the roosts, only about a foot above, and every time
a bird thought of crowing he threw up bis head and struck the
bottom of the coop. This would so scare him that he forgot to
crow. It worked to perfection.
Brown's Secret of Preserving Eggs
Judge George O. Brown writes : I have packed eggs in
summer in boxes in salt, when eggs were selHng at twelve cents
a dozen, and sold them in January for thirty-five cents a dozen.
These eggs were infertile, no males running with the hens.
I put in a box a layer of two inches of salt or dry oats.
The eggs were placed close together (but not so they will touch),
with the big end down, and then I sifted salt or oats on the layer
of eggs to make a foundation for another layer, and so on until
the box was full. I then took the box to the cellar, and placed it
on scantling supports to keep it off the cellar floor.
By placing the eggs big end down^ prevents the yolks
settling to the shells, as the air bubble will hold them up. Only
clean eggs should be packed ; dirty eggs should never be washed
with water and then packed, as they will not keep so well.
Secret of Killing the Fertility of Eggs
Fanciers, after the season for selling hatching eggs, generally
market their egg crop for table use ; and, in order to prevent any
one from hatching those eggs, resort to various tricks to kill the
germ. Some dip them in boiling water for a few seconds. This
partially hardens the albumen, and the eggs taste as though they
were stale. Others smear the egg with lard so as to close the
pores. This causes the germ to die and the egg quickly spoils.
And still others make a hole in the egg with a needle which
pierces the yolk, causing it to break. Such eggs have the appear-
ance of being addled. All such practices are unfair to the buyer
of table eggs.
On the farm of the writer, as soon as the breeding season is
over the male birds are removed from the pens, and the egg crop
goes to market. Such eggs are unfertile, and being so will keep
in a fresh condition twice as long as fertilized eggs. In fact, an
unfertile egg never rots.
Secret of Winter Eggs
I have discovered that it is best to have the pullets start lay-
ing the latter part of November, and have found that such birds
as a rule give the best results during the winter.
42 POULTRY SECRETS.
To prepare for the winter's work, the pullets should be placed
in their winter quarters as early in October as possible, so that
they will feel more at home. Moving pullets from place to place
will so upset them that laying is often delayed for a month or
Large families must be avoided. For profit a family of -fif-
teen is best. Nothing is gained by crowding twenty-five birds in
a house that will comfortably quarter but fifteen.
The scratching-shed houses are to be preferred, especially for
young birds. These houses admit plenty of air, and induce the
stock to exercise by scratching among a lot of litter. Pullets
placed in tightly-built houses never do as good work as when
they are accustomed to conditions as near outdoors as possible.
Another advantage in the scratching-shed house is that the fowls
can exercise indoors during bad weather, and are not compelled
to endure all sorts of weather. The stock must be protected, and
herein is a great secret in winter egg production.
A writer in an exchange says : " How shall we induce the
hens to lay when eggs are scarce and high? Up to the present
time it has baffled the world. We can count on the annual scarcity
of eggs and accompanying high prices as confidently as we can
count on the regularity of the tides of the ocean. . . . When I
see an occasional hen lay regularly right through November,
December and January, and even see an occasional man's whole
flock do the same thing, I believe that the day is coming when we
shall be able to understand just the conditions which can be
depended on to produce the desired result in any given case. . . .
I once supposed that if a hen was fed a ration that supplied every-
thing needed to carry on the functions of life and produce eggs,
and in liberal quantities, eggs would surely be forthcoming. I
now know by sad experience that while this holds true during
what we call the natural laying season, it does not hold true in
autumn and winter."
Now that experience is no doubt the experience of the ma-
jority who keep poultry, but, nevertheless, it does not prove a fact.
I have kept poultry for fully thirty years or more, and admit that
at first my experience was like that of the writer just quoted. But
I find it different now — our summer egg crop is not nearly so
large as that of winter. What is the secret? Trap nests, selec-
tion, proper management, care and feed.
A. F. Hunter says : " There are thousands and thousands of
farmers grumbling because their fowls do not lay eggs when the
eggs would bring good prices (in December, January and Febru-
ary), when it is not the fowls' fault at all, but the fault of the
cruel ' penny-wise and pound-foolish ' owners, who, to save a dol-
lar or two in the grain account buy cheap, damaged food for the
fowls, and then expect them to make eggs."
EGG SECRETS. 43
That is correct so far as the feed question goes, but it is not
feed alone that must be considered. In my experience I have
learned that it is most important to have the proper housing, and
to have the stock not only early-hatched, but hatched from eggs
laid by winter layers. That's the real secret.
I use trap nests and keep a strict record of every egg laid be-
tween October ist and June ist. In making up my breeding pens
for the following year I select only the best winter layers — those
giving the highest records (as pullets) during the months men-
tioned. I discard all pullets that do not lay in January. Each
year these trap-nest trials are repeated, and in this way each year
I strengthen the ability of the stock to give good results in winter
eggs. Pullets hatched between April ist and May 15th should
lay well during December and January — ^they certainly will if
A well-known poultry authority has the following remarks to
make on this interesting subject: "Much has been said and
written regarding the keeping of hens or pullets for winter layers,
and as yet the question is as far from being answered as it was
years ago. Those who have taken care of their year-old hens,
looked after them during the spring and summer and watched
over them during the molting season, are a unit in saying that
hens in their second year are the most profitable, while those who
neglect them and allow them to get in poor condition complain
and say they do not lay so well as pullets."
I am not ready to endorse that, for certainly a two-year-old
hen cannot have sufficient control and strength to produce the
number of eggs that a pullet, with all the vigor of youth, can
command. But I have had yearling hens beat my pullets' records.
During 1899 I began experimenting with pullets, and from
several pens secured 9,808 eggs. During 1900 these same birds
— as yearling hens — laid 13,702 eggs, a gain of 3,894 eggs. But
even that cannot be taken as a rule, for I have in many cases had
the pullets out-distance the yearlings, and as for two-year-olds, I
never expected them to reach even the yearling record.
The same authority continues : " Hens, if through their molt
before November ist, should and will begin to lay during that
month, while, on the other hand, the time of maturity of the
pullets will determine definitely whether or not they will be profit-
able during the winter months. If they are hatched too early
they will begin to lay in August, and will molt in October, and
therefore will not lay again until spring. If they are hatched
too late they will not mature before cold weather, and, as with
the early-hatched poultry, they will not lay during the time
when eggs are scarce and highest. They must be hatched at ex-
actly the right time, and they must be kept growing, else they will
not make good winter layers."
Secret of the An^ell System of Securing
Briefly stated, this system consists of a yard divided by a
house into two unequal parts. One yard large enough for twelve
hens, and a smaller yard for the cock. In the house are trap
nests with two openings. Every night the hens are put in the
larger yard. The cock stays permanently in his own quarters.
Every hen that lays an egg or enters a trap nest goes out into the
apartment with the male and is promptly served. When night
comes, the laying hens are all with the male bird, and they then
are returned to their own side of the house and yard, to go
through the same process each day. In the morning the male
bird is alone in his yard. The author says he should not be
ARRANGEMENT OF TRAP NESTS UNDER THE ANGELL SYSTEM.
allowed to serve more than twelve hens in order to have every
The hens which do not leave their yard are the non-layers,
and may be removed.
The trap nest is made by simply fashioning two light doors,
using one-inch mesh, wire netting. The door to the nest which
the hen enters through to lay is hinged from the inside, and is
pushed open by the hen, closing behind her. The door in rear
of the nest, opening out into the cock's yard, is hinged from the
outside. When the hen enters the cock's pen she cannot return,
as will readily be seen. These doors, or gates, are light, and
work easily, and should be the size of the entrance of the nest box.
and hinged to the top.
The little book sells for $i.oo, and is published by Albert
Angell, Jr., of Orange, N. J.
EGG SECRETS. 45
Secret of Egg(s all the Year
During the months of October, November and December of
each year, there is always a more or less scarcity of fresh eggs,
and the prices, in consequence, go up. This scarcity is due to
two things in general : the molting period for old hens, and the
absence of early-hatched pullets.
It is at that time of the year that the condition powder and
the poultry-food man begins to cry his wares, and it is surprising
to see what business he does. While I believe in the tonic effects
of a good condition powder, or a scientifically-prepared poultry
food, I do not credit these articles with all that is claimed for
They should be used with judgment — a little goes a great
way. To accustom the fowls to them is but to lose the tonic
effect. They are not so much calculated to make eggs as they
are to tone up the tissues and to keen the appetite. In that condi-
tion the fowl eats more freely and better assimilates the egg food
that it gets in good pure grain.
This scarcity of fresh eggs on the farm can only be remedied
by early hatches of pullets. Pullets hatched in March and April,
and well grown, will begin laying in the fall, and continue in the
good work right through the winter. The molting hens will
again start up in January, and by February the combined work of
the pullets and hens will give a big supply of eggs, and it will be
noticed that in February the market prices for eggs are on the
The great trick is to get the eggs during the last three months
of the year, and this can be done by early pullets given good hous-
ing, good feed and good care.
Secret of Having Perfect Ei(gs
It is common every now and then to read an account in some
newspaper of one of the subscribers bringing an extraordinarily
large egg into the office of the editor, and the aforesaid editor at
once heralds the news as though it was one of great public im-
Such eggs are important, but not in the same way as meant
by the editor. They are important to the poultryman inasmuch as
they are danger signals. They tell of an unhealthy condition of
the hen that laid them. No strong, healthy hen will lay either a
double-yoked egg, a round egg, or a badly-shaped egg. Some-
thing is wrong with the ovaries of a hen that lays anything differ-
ent than a regular-shaped egg. The main trouble lies in the fact
that the hen is overfat. Soft-shelled eggs can come from one of
two things, viz., lack of sufficient lime in the food, or of an over-
46 POULTRY SECRETS.
Instead of rejoicing at these extra-large eggs, there is cause
for regret. At once the matter should be investigated, and the
general condition of the flock looked into. If it is found that all,
or the majority of them, are heavy, it is best to cut down the quan-
tity of the carbonaceous or starch foods, and increase the nitro-
In the main, the egg-eating habit is caused by soft-shelled
eggs being laid. The hens get a taste of the egg and thus form
To prevent these bad eggs the fowls should be compelled to
exercise, and there should be such feed given as will supply
plenty of lime, and in addition a small trough of cracked oyster
shell should be constantly within reach of the fowls, so they can
help themselves at will.
Kohr*s Secret of Selecting Layers
.J. W. Kohr sends us a unique method of selecting layers that
favorably responded to all tests made with trap-nest hens. He
writes : Every good layer will, when about half grown, form
the position of the feathers along the sides of the comb, and the
more these feathers stand up and curl forward, resembling a
brush, the better layer she will be. For six years I used this
secret, selecting such pullets which had the largest brush around
the comb, and my flock averaged 182 eggs per hen per year. Not
using trap nests, I cannot say what the highest individual record
I discovered this secret about fourteen years ago. My two
sons received a present of a hen, which became a great pet and
an excellent layer. The boys named her " Old Shorty," and I
noticed that she had loose feathers along the comb that stood up
and were curled forward, resembling a brush. I bred her, and
all of her daughters that inherited the brush along the comb were
The value of this secret is that if one wishes to purchase good
laying stock, he need not handle them to pick out the layers, as
one is obliged to by any other method. You can tell at a distance
if the hens are good, medium or poor layers.
Kulp's Secret of Producing Great Layers
W. W. Kulp, one of the most successful poultry raisers in
this country, writes :
The trap nest is a sure and good way for picking out
great layers, but I know a better and easier method. I built up
a strain of Leghorns of which three pullets from one setting laid
726 eggs in one year, or an average of 242 eggs each. They
were not forced in feeding.
EGG SECRETS. 47
This is my secret: Soon after I began poultry-keeping as
a business, in 1884, I selected my breeding birds according to a
t)^e. I selected hens that were broad across the back and at
the shoulders. These wide hens I have found have plenty of
room for the inside works, and are strong and full of stamina.
While not all such will prove extra good layers, they form a grand
foundation for such a stram.
Mate these hens to a male that came from a hen that laid
four eggs in five days, or five eggs in six days. There are hens
that will do better than that, but they are not so plentiful. Such
a mating will produce pullets that will have the blood line from
the male side, the very best mating to start the strain. A hen
that will lay four eggs in five days, or five eggs in six days, can
make a record of over two hundred eggs in twelve months, pro-
viding she is properly cared for. A Leghorn that is a steady
layer for two weeks or a month can be put down as a sure layer
for the year, and capable of a great record. Be sure that the
male is out of a great layer, and as much progress will be made
as by the use of trap nests.
Professor Rice's Fat Hen Secret
Professor James E. Rice, of Cornell University, probably the
foremost living American poultry expert, gives me the following
statement of his conclusions as to the proper physical condition of
liens for laying.
I believe that I am not misjudging the natural laws govern-
ing reproduction in domestic animals when I lay down the broad,
general principle that a condition of pregnancy carries with it a
tendency to fatness. When we apply this principle specifically
to fowls we feel justified in assuming that a condition of egg
laying is not only a condition of reproduction but also of preg-
nancy. After a very large number of examinations of fowls in
various conditions of laying we find that in every instance, a fowl
which is in a laying condition has a large amount of surplus fat
in her body, and, conversely, a hen that is not in a laying condition
is invariably poor or at least does not show a condition of fatness.
It would appear that a poor hen cannot lay.
When we seek an explanation for this condition we find the
composition of the yolk of the egg gives us a clew on which to
base a theory. The yolk of the egg contains approximately 64
per cent, fat, while the white of the egg and the shell contain no
fat. The yolk is the first part of the egg to be developed. It is,
in fact, the enlarged ovule that develops from the muscular tissue
of the ovary. Manifestly, the first part of the egg, therefore,
cannot be developed unless there is surplus fat in the fowl's body.
Observations in methods of feeding also bear out the truth-
fulness of the above statement, because fowls, in order to lay well
48 POULTRY SECRETS.
must be given all of the right kind of food that they will eat and
digest if they are to give continuous egg production. This is be-
cause the egg is made from the surplus nourishment assimilated
by the fowl over and above the actual maintenance ration.
The fact that a hen must be more or less fat in order to lay
undoubtedly will be questioned by most persons who have not
closely observed the relationship between the physical condition
of a fowl and her reproduction. I go on record as saying that if
we are to get large egg yields we must first so feed our fowls
that they shall be reasonably fat and then take our chances on
their becoming overfat, which might result, in the end, in fatty
degeneration and death. A few hens will generally have a ten-
dency to become overfat without laying. These would, in any
event, be likely to prove unproductive by any system of feeding
because they inherit a tendency to throw their energies into flesh
rather than into eggs, and therefore take full advantage of the
opportunity to grow fat when heavily fed. All that we can do
to overcome this tendency to overfatness is to keep the fowls in
the best possible physical condition by keeping them in clean,
fresh air houses and encourage them to exercise freely for all of
the cracked or whole grain that they eat, and meanwhile give
them all that they can eat up clean once each day of nourishing,
easily digestible and palatable meat and ground grain in order to
make certain that they have all they can digest. In addition, of
course, they should have always accessible bone, oyster shell and
In practice this result can best be secured by letting the fowls
become hungry once each day, preferably in the morning, and to
have all that they can possibly eat twice each day, preferably
ground feed and meat at noon in case of wet mash, or in a hopper
during afternoon if dry mash is used and mixed whole or cracked
grains at night. They should go to the roost with their crops full
with a little grain left over in the deep litter to induce early morn-
ing exercise and feeding.
In view of the above does it not seem reasonable to assume
that fowls in order to reproduce themselves must have surplus
energy which is stored up in the fowl's body in the form of fat,
against a time of need ? This, it seems to me, is a reasonable ex-
planation of the well known fact that fowls always eat more for
a considerable length of time before they begin to lay, which is
followed by an increase in weight before actual production takes
place, and the well known fact which anyone can observe, that
the hen in her highest condition of reproduction weighs more than
at any other time during her life. The natural conclusion is that
fowls must be fed not only well balanced rations suited to all of
the demands of the body as to protein, fat and mineral matter,
but that they must also have a sufficient quantity to satisfy the
demands of the body, which are immense. The hen is the great-
est known condenser of feed into a finished animal product.
Crane's Secret for Holding Eggs for Hatching
Professor Otis Crane, instructor in poultry at Purdue Uni-
versity, sends this plan for constructing an egg rack. See illus-
The rollers in this rack are made of broom handles, and are
placed one and a quarter inches from the back. This back can be
the wall or a back can be put on
the rack. The side pieces are
two and a half inches wide.
The illustration shows a
comer of the rack, and also
shows how it is constructed.
The rollers are put in by nails
driven through gimlet holes into
the ends of broom sticks. These
gimlet holes should be bored
three inches apart and one and
a half inches from the back.
The advantages of this rack
are: Cheap and easy to build;
by turning the roller all the eggs
on it turn, thus saving much
time ; the rack takes but little
room, being against the wall;
the air can pass around the eggs,
can be held for a longer time.
and in consequence the eggs
Boswell's Secret of Testing Eggs
John W. Boswell, Jr., one of the leading utility poultrymen
in the South, here gives a method which he has used for years in
testing eggs on the third day of incubation, and later. He claims
the method is infallible in detecting unfertile eggs, and is said to
have been used by the incubatories of Egypt and China for hun-
dreds of years. The method follows :
Place the warm tray of eggs on top of the incubator or
some other solid place. " Thump " each egg sharply, but lightly,
with the finger nail, or tap with the butt end of a lead pencil.
The eggs which give a decided " clink " or glassy sound are unfer-
tile. Those which give a deader, mellow sound contain a germ
which has begun to develop.
A few tests will convince the most skeptical that this is
the most practical and infallible method of testing eggs early in
incubation. Whether the eggs are white of shell, or very dark
brown, makes no difference. The ramifications of the minute
blood vessels, and the change which has taken place in the allan-
tois, cause the mellow souncl in the fertile egg ; while the contents
of the unfertile egg remain unchanged, so that they " clink "
50 POULTRY SECRETS.
Upon first attempting this way of testing, provide some
fresh eggs which have not been incubated. Compare the sounds
of these with those of the eggs in the tray. You will soon *' catch
on " if you have any delicacy of ear, and will never fool with a
lamp tester again.
On the tenth day you may test the same way for the germs
which have died.
Dr. Woods' Egg Hatching Secret
It is well known that the greatest losses in artificial hatching
are through almost fully-developed chicks dying in the shell. To
prevent this loss, economize the time of hen mothers, and get the
best returns in livable chicks. Dr. P. T. Woods uses this secret
method, which has been jealously guarded by a few New England
egg farmers for a number of years :
Start your eggs in the incubator when you have a fair num-
ber that you wish to set. The fresher they are the better. It is
not necessary to start with a machine full. When machine is
started, round up your broody hens and get them located in hatch-
ing nests on nest eggs to get them accustomed to the place where
you wish them to sit. You have this to do anyway if you set
hens. Prepare nests in the usual manner with a moist earth or
sod bottom, covered with clean hay or soft straw.
By the time your incubator has been running seven to ten
days you should have a number of hens ready to receive eggs.
Test out your incubator at this time and give each broody hen
from eleven to fifteen of the fertile eggs from the incubator. In
this way you should be able to set from four to forty hens at one
time on fertile eggs exclusively. The incubator, now empty, may
be filled again and the procedure repeated.
This method saves the time of the incubator and the time of
the hens. The hens sit only on known-to-be- fertile eggs, and in
many cases hatch every egg. The eggs are hatched in from
eleven to fourteen days after the hens get them, thus saving time
of the hens, an item of importance on an egg farm. The hatch
of two hens makes a comfortable brood for one hen, and the
remaining broody biddy can be set over again on the next lot of
fertiles from the machine.
While it is usually best to transfer the eggs from machine to
hens by the tenth day, they may remain in the machine until
the fourteenth day if necessary in order to obtain sufficient
broodies to cover them. Even when eggs have been kept in the
incubator until the seventeenth and eighteenth days the results
in chicks hatched under hens by this plan have been good, with
very few chicks dead in the shell. Eggs from same lot allowed to
remain in incubator until the chicks were hatched showed much
greater losses from chicks dead in the shell.
Secret of Judging the Age of Dressed Poultry
When the writer was a boy, more old fowls were placed in
the general market than is the case to-day, as no one parted with
their hens until the fowls were so old that they were not profitable
for egg production.
To-day, therefore, the poultry buyer is often fooled in his
judgment of the age of poultry. A smart housewife taught me
the following method of determining the age, and it is certainly
a secret worth knowing: When she selected a hen she would
note if the spur was hard, and the scales of the legs rough — indi-
cations of old age. If the specimen showed very little spur, and
if the legs were more smooth, the market women would bend the
underbill. If unable to bend it down, and the comb seemed thick
and rough, she would refuse to buy, no matter how fat and plump
the carcass might be.
A young hen has only the rudiments of spurs, the scales on
the legs are smooth, glossy and fresh colored, whatever the color
may be ; the claws tender and short, the nails sharp, the underbill
soft, and the comb thin and smooth.
If the turkey hen had rough scales on the legs, callosities on
the soles of the feet, and long, strong claws — or if the turkey cock
had a long beard — this housewife knew that either of the car-
casses was old.
An expert in dressed poultry can judge the age very closely
by using this method: Take the end of the breast bone farthest
from the head between thumb and finger and attempt to bend
it to one side. In a very young bird (say a broiler or a green
goose) it will be easily bent; in a bird a year or so old it will be
brittle; and in an old bird, tough and hard to bend or break.
Unfortunately, tricky dealers sometimes break the end of the
breast bone before showing the bird, and thus render the test
Mackenzie's method is as follows : A young turkey cock has
a smooth black leg, with a short spur. The eyes are full and
bright, and the feet supple and moist. The bill and feet of a
young goose will be yellow, and there will be but few hairs upon
them. If old they will be red.
Scammel's method is : The feet and neck of a young fowl are
52 POULTRY SECRETS.
large in proportion to its size. A young capon has a thick belly
and large rump, a poll comb, and a swelling breast. Young ducks
and geese are plump, with light, semi-transparent fat, soft breast-
bone, tender flesh, leg joints which will break by the weight of the
bird, fresh-colored and brittle beak, and windpipe that will break
when pressed between the thumb and fore-finger. In selecting a
goose or duck, take hold of the toes and pull them apart ; if the
web separates easily it is young.
Secret of Dressing Fowls
The following method is practised by an expert, and is
recommended for quick and thorough work in dressing fowls:
The carcass is first dipped into cold water and then allowed to
drip, after which finely pulverzied rosin is sprinkled over the
feathers, using a dredging box for convenience. This being care-
fully done, the fowl is scalded in the usual manner. The rosin
sticks the feathers together so that pinfeathers come out with the
others, saving much trouble. Use the common crude article.
Secret o^ Celery-Fed Broilers
Some years ago a broiler plant on the outskirts of Washing-
ton, D. C, secured quite a trade, at advanced prices, for what it
termed " celery-fed broilers." Two weeks before being marketed,
celery was chopped up fine and fed the birds being fattened. This
gave the stock a peculiar wild flavor, similar to the canvas-back
duck. It had no pronounced celery taste, but it so changed the
order of things that epicures '' smacked their lips " and cried for
Secret of High-Priced Market Stock
In these days of sharp competition with breeds of all classes,
the beginner is apt to become puzzled by the arguments used on
all sides, and is very much undecided just what breed will give
the best returns.
Of course much depends upon the kind of roaster wanted. If
a medium size is most salable, say four to five pounds at six
months of age, I raise such breeds as the Plymouth Rocks,
Rhode Island Reds, or the large-size strain of White Wyandottes.
But if a bird is wanted that will weigh from six to eight
pounds at six months of age, you should raise either the Light
Brahma in its purity, or a cross of Indian Game on Brahma. This
cross, by the way, gives a very satisfactory roasting fowl. The
Indian Game, being a solid, plump fowl, will add more weight
MARKET SECRETS. 53
than would a cross between one of the American or the Mediter-
ranean breeds on the Brahma.
An expert lately revealed to me that he can get ideal roasting
fowls best from the Light Brahma in its purity, especially if he
first grows a good frame on his birds, and then fills them out with
At any rate a bird must be produced that will stand extreme
forcing and at the same time have a plump and nice body, with
good weight. The prime spring roaster, or, as it is sometimes
known, the " soft roaster," is a bird not more than six months of
age, and which has the foregoing characteristics. Such a fowl
will certainly be good and tender.
In mentioning these varieties it is assumed that the market
calls for a yellow-skinned carcass. Should it demand a white-
skinned bird, then be sure to raise the Black Langshan in its pur-
ity, or a cross of Black Minorca and Black Langshan.
Tmslow*s Secret of High Prices for Ducks
One of the most successful raisers of ducks, catering to the
fancy New York trade, is William H. Truslow, of Pennsylvania.
His ducks average several cents per pound higher than usual mar-
ket prices, and his supply is seldom greater than the demand.
This is the way it is done :
In the first place, Mr. Truslow has excellent stock, well fat-
tened and prepared for market. He proceeds along well-known
lines of duck culture, with no unusual methods or secrets.
In the next place, Mr. Truslow is a close student of his mar-
ket. He knows just what weight and color of skin his customers
favor. He knows at what times of year the demand for ducks
is heaviest, and he plans months ahead to have his stock at its best
at those times. He sees to it, also, that his shipments can be
relied on for regularity, so that customers can have no excuse
for going to other shippers.
Where Mr. Truslow's method differs from others is just
here : he knows that only where a breeder is able to create a de-
mand for his own particular product, either of poultry or eggs,
he will secure the higher prices. As soon as he establishes a repu-
tation, and customers are able to identify his goods, they will in-
sist on having them and are willing to pay more for them. Mr.
Truslow thus solves the problem of labelling his ducks wherever
they are sold :
He buys from the American Can Company a quantity of tin
54 POULTRY SECRETS.
tags, an illustration of one of which is shown herewith, and when
each duck is killed, a tag is inserted in
the web of the foot. Patrons of the
high-priced hotels, and swell cafes who
want an extra nice duck always order a
" Truslow," and they know they are
getting it by means of this tag, which
is left in the foot when the duck is
cooked and appears with the bird on
the table. If only a portion of the duck is served, the foot, with
the web spread out showing the tag, is placed on the side of the
dish as a garnish. These tags are practically the same as are
used on plug chewing tobacco, except that the points are longer.
It is brown in color, about the shade of roast duck, and printed
with black ink.
To apply the tag, have one point straight and the other bent
to a right angle ; the straight point is inserted in the web of the
foot, the web is then stretched as much as possible, when the bent
point is pushed in and then straightened out. The elasticity of the
web holds it firmly in place. These tags are unavailable for
chickens, but no doubt a hole could be punched in the chicken's
foot and a tag of a different design attached firmly in some way.
The design of the tag is Mr. Truslow's trade mark. It is
made familiar to his customers and others by appearing on his
note head and shipping tags, etc.
Secrets of Exhibiting
Drevenstedt*s Secret of Conditioning Fowls
J. H. Drevenstedt, acknowledged to be one of the best judges
and authorities in the country, gives the following:
Many an inferior bird has won a prize over a superior
specimen because the owner of the former was master of the
" tricks of the trade," while the latter was " the man that stood
still." The one groomed, plumed and even faked his charge ; the
other was content to put it in the show pen as Nature grew it.
The secret of success in winning prizes depends largely on
the condition of the fowls exhibited. The mere fact that you
have grown a chicken to feather out perfectly, kept it free from
lice, made it weigh up to standard weight, does not indicate that
you have the prize winner. The other fellow has done the same
thing with his, and a little more. He groomed and trained his
exhibition specimens. To illustrate this briefly, we will cite an
instance which occurred at the New York Show about twelve
years ago, viz. : A prominent exhibitor had imported a ver>'
fine Black Red Game cockerel from England, took him from the
steamer direct and placed him in a cage; another exhibitor had
a bird of the same variety in a cage close by. When the judge
poked his stick into the cage where the English bird was, the
latter would try to " fly the coop." In other words, it would not
pose or stand while being examined. The American-bred bird,
when touched by the judging stick, knew its business and showed
its training by posing nicely, and won the prize. Yet the for-
eigner was intrinsically by far the better bird ; it simply was not
in proper condition to show its superior points when the judge
came around. The secret of showing all Games and Game ban-
tams to advantage is in proper training and handling.
This is a simple matter, which requires patience and kindly
affection for the birds in hand. A little petting goes a great
way in taming those Game birds. Rubbing the skin under the
bill gently from the neck upward and stroking the back down-
ward, slapping the wings, will make the bird show off his gamey
qualities in fine form. The oftener you do it the better the
chances will be for a grandstand appearance in the show pen.
The plucking of hackle feathers to make the neck look leaner,
the pulling of the wing feathers, i. e., the primaries, to make them
56 POULTRY SECRETS.
grow just long enough for a scheduled show, are tricks of a
trade that are practiced and seldom detected. One of the chief
faults of a Game or Game bantam is a long wing. By pulling
the primary feathers some sixty days prior to a show, a new set
will appear that is usually about the proper size — for that show.
You can call this faking, if you choose, but no judges can detect
it, so we must abide by the unwritten law observed by old
chicken exhibitors, viz., " Faking is only faking when it is dis-
In breeds other than Game, training is just as important.
All exhibition specimens must be thoroughly handled and tamed
by the owner or his help. Granting this has been done, we will
come to the other little secrets that help win the ribbons.
Perhaps the hardest classes to exhibit and judge are white
fowls. Conditioning White Plymouth Rocks, Wyandottes and
Leghorns has become a very important factor in determining the
winner at our great winter shows. In fact, it is more of an art
than a secret. Every means is resorted to to get a bird white
as the driven snow, and the old creed, followed centuries ago by
its founders and ever since by apt and willing pupils, viz., " The
end justifies the means," must have struck a very deep and
responsive chord in the breasts of some of our breeders and
exhibitors of white fowl. They certainly stop at nothing to gain
This brings us to the parting of the ways — one road follow-
ing the natural, the other the artificial, course.
The birds of the air, unrestrained and unconfined by the
.hand of man, breed, thrive and grow feathers of surpassing
beauty. It is the survival of the fittest, the survivors growing
their garb in the perfect environment only Dame Nature can
offer. But the coloring of wild fowl is far different than that of
domesticated poultry. The pampered pets of man must be
handled differently to attain the Standard of Perfection ideal in
the show room. It is true that natural methods will produce
satisfactory results with parti-colored fowls, but with white fowls
Nature must be aided by the artifice of man in most cases.
Twenty years ago we heard or saw little of the bleached
birds that are omnipresent at our big shows to-day. Yet I remem-
ber scores of White Leghorns and White Wyandottes shown in
perfect condition with lustrous white plumage and clean yellow
legs, that never were subjected to the modem bleaching pro-
One of the leading White Leghorn breeders in the Empire
State always showed his birds in splendid condition and won
hundreds of prizes fifteen years ago. I was at his farm in the
summer of the early nineties and saw several thousand White
Leghorn chickens foraging in a big cornfield. The shade
SECRETS OF EXHIBITING. 57
afforded by the tall maize and the rich pickings of grubs afforded
by a generous soil and green fodder of the cornstalks, just grew
those Leghorns in an ideal way. When rounded up in the late
fall, the birds were clean in color of shanks and plumage. The
best specimens were selected and placed in large pens, the bot-
toms of which were covered with clean straw, and here those
birds were trained and tamed until ready to exhibit. They were
not washed at all. A thorough rubbing of the feathers with a
silk handkerchief removed the outer dust, if any, and polished
the web; the legs were carefully brushed and oiled with sweet
oil ; the comb was rubbed with a very small amount of vaseline.
That's all. And these birds were winners and looked like such.
To-day it's a different stor)\ Birds must be washed and
bleached to get that " dead white " plumage so fashionable and so
foolishly demanded by exhibitors and judges. Not only must
the plumage be white, but the quills also. As a matter of fact,
a real white bird in Nature always has white quills and usually
white plumage, albeit a little tinge of straw color will appear on
wing-bows and back of males occasionally. Peroxide of hydrogen
may remove this, but no chemicals have yet been safely used
that will bleach a yellow quill.
Birds intended for the show-room should be selected two
months prior to the show, the males separated from the females
to avoid breaking of feathers. Each specimen should be care-
fully examined and all broken and off-colored feathers removed,
which, if pulled at this time, may come in perfect, as off-colored
feathers are often caused by a bruise or injury to the feather
when it is forming. Dust each bird with a good insect powder
to make sure that it is free from lice. On stormy days confine
the birds to the buildings. J4 the birds are quite dirty they will
require several washings to get them in the best possible condi-
tion. The first wash should be about two weeks before show-
To wash birds, a warm room, soft water, good soap —
Ivory or castile — a sponge, several towels, three washtubs and a
requisite amount of patience and care are the chief requirements.
Perhaps we might add a little " elbow grease."
Fill two tubs half full with warm water, just hot enough
for the hand to feel comfortable in. Rub the soapsuds thor-
oughly into the plumage, rubbing with the feathers, not against
them. Lather the bird thoroughly in every section and
remove every particle of dirt. Begin at the head and never
leave a section until assured that the dirt is removed. Rinse
the bird in the second tub, using the sponge saturated with
water freely, until every particle of soap is removed. This
is important, for if any soap remains the plumage will come
out blotchy and will not take the blueing water evenly.
58 POULTRY SECRETS.
Then give the bird the final rinsing in the tub of clean, cold
water, to which a very slight amount of liquid blueing has been
added. The latter is as important as the blueing used to whiten
fine linen. Dip two or three times in the blueing water to make
sure the latter permeates all through the feathers. But don't
put too much blue pigment into the water, as it will show next
to the quills in the web of the feathers and lose, instead of win,
the prize. After the bird has been thoroughly rinsed in this
blueing water, squeeze the water out of the plumage, drying with
the towels, place the bird in a roomy coop having a wired or
slatted front, the side and top being covered with muslin. The
bottom should be covered with clean straw or coarse shavings.
Place this coop near a good fire — not a roaring, red-hot one —
about ninety degrees is a safe temperature, and in a few hours
the bird will plume itself, and when thoroughly dried will look
as clean and white as it is possible to make it by legitimate
means. Artificial means go further, viz., if any tinge of brassi-
ness is observable on back or wing-bows, a sponge saturated with
peroxide of hydrogen, rubbed gently over the surface, will often
remove it without injuring the lustre of the plumage or destroy-
ing the texture of the web of the feathers. The oxalic acid
bleaching process with the talcum powder rub, or magnesia
carbonate powder, requires a slick person to apply. It is a
method that should be universally condemned, as it is injurious to
the feathers and an imposition upon the judge and prospective
buyer of birds so prepared. There are persons, however, who
make a business of bleaching birds by a similar process. The
consideration for changing a brassy-surfaced plumage to a snow
white one is usually ten dollars. If anybody desires to fool the
public and does not care to expend ten dollars, he or she can
experiment with peroxide, oxalic acid, Javelle water, or any of
the straw-hat bleaching powders, and possibly obtain similar
The bird, being washed and in fine plumage, now needs the
finishing touches to the comb, wattles, lobes and legs. There are-
all kinds of preparations used to bring these " points " out efifect-
ively, but there is nothing better or easier to use than pure car-
bolated vaseline. After comb, wattles and lobes have been
washed and dried, rub ve^y little vaseline into the texture of the
skin, and rub it good and hard. It will bring out the color in
great shape. Shanks and toes, after being thoroughly brushed
with soap and water, applied with a toothbrush, and dried, can
be anointed the same way with vaseline. Fowls treated in this
manner and placed in shipping coops that have muslin on the
inner sides, plenty of coarse straw or shavings on the bottom,
will arrive in the show-room in first-class order, and need little
or no handling prior to the judging. With large fowl, such as
SECRETS OF EXHIBITING. 59
Brahmas and Cochins, which are slow in getting into condition,
liberal feeding with sweet milk and raw, lean beef will accomp-
lish wonders in making them grow and shine.
Buff color is the hardest to maintain to an even shade.
The secret of getting even, rich, golden buff color is never to
allow sun or rain to touch the surface of a showbird. One of
the most successful exhibitors of buff fowl provides dense shade
for his growing chicks, and when the latter attain their full
plumage they are kept in a shed where sun and rain cannot enter
to any great extent.
With parti-colored breeds the main thing is to have birds
tamed and in high condition. Washing is not necessary where
cleanliness and care are observed in housing the fowls. But in
laced and barred varieties of fowl, it is necessary to pluck the old
feathers and often some of the new and overlapping ones, from
the back, wing-bows and breast, to bring out a better-laced or
penciled effect. This is what might be called " grooming," and
can hardly be classed under the much-discussed and abused term
of " faking " as defined in the American Standard of Perfection.
Briefly speaking, the secret of conditioning fowls for exhi-
bition is the specimen itself, thoroughly cleaned, trained and
groomed by a careful, painstaking exhibitor.
Heitnlich's Secret of Producing Successful
D. T. Heimlich, one of the most popular poultry judges and
exhibitors in the West, writes :
After ten years' experimenting to produce high-class exhi-
bition stock, I learned that to get the best and most satisfactory
results, the essential feature of success was to have range where
a variety of food is supplied in the way of grass, slugs, bugs,
grasshoppers ; wheat, corn and oats fed just as they choose to
help themselves — and when night comes every hen goes to roost
with a full crop.
All during the summer and fall, up to the first day of
December, these flocks of mine roost in a cedar hedge, and on
plum and apple trees, and is the only shelter and roost they have
for six or seven months of the year. After that they are driven
in the hen house for a few evenings, which, by the way, is an
Chicks soon after feathering form the habit of roosting on
the cedar limbs, and this exposure to wind and weather seems to
make them immune to colds, roup or diseases of any kind, and but
few of them ever become lousy or scaly-legged. We raise from
one hundred and twenty-five to two hundred annually under these
6o POULTRY SECRETS.
conditions, and in comparison with other flocks these gain from
a half to a pound in weight over chicks raised under different
methods of care and feeding.
When removed to the houses, those pullets intended as
breeders are selected, banded and mated to two brothers as near
alike in general character as can be selected from other matings
of the same blood and breeding. Pullets as a rule are laying at
six or seven months of age.
Hens with chicks are kept penned for two weeks, then
given the range of the farm, and are fed twice daily on chick
food, and in this way are constantly kept growing.
My method of winter feeding for fowls kept in runs is a
mixture of two bushels of ground corn, two of ground oats, four
of wheat bran, fifty pounds of beef scraps, twenty pounds of
alfalfa, and twenty pounds of oil meal. This is fed in troughs,
dry, where they can help themselves. In addition, twice daily,
cracked corn and whole wheat is thrown to them in the scratching
pens, which are littered with straw to the depth of about six
inches. Grit, charcoal and pure water is placed so the fowls
can have access to it at all times. For change of diet, s-prouted
oats, or oats soaked in water over night, is fed. The latter is
especially resorted to when a poorly-formed shell appears among
the eggs laid. Two or three days' feeding of oats will correct
this trouble and bring about normally-formed eggs. Should this
not entirely prevent soft or irregularly-formed eggs, then I drop
a small lump of lime into the drinking water, and cut off the
com feeding in the litter.
I have also found that equal parts of the above ground mix-
ture wet with soaked oats, is a mess that will be greedily eaten
when fed two or three times a week, and gives the most satis-
factory results for size, quality and abundance of eggs when
wanted in winter and spring.
Zimmer's Secret of Line Breeding
F. B. Zimmer, one of the old-time poultry judges and poul-
trymen, says in mating and breeding for desirable qualities he
has made rapid progress, and at the same time fully established
his desires by choosing the most typical representative in the
qualities desired. If a male, the first season he bred him to the
best or strongest female having as many of the desirable qual-
ities as possible to obtain. The next season this typical sire
is bred to one or more of his own daughters that are strong in
In one instance Mr. Zimmer bred a sire to his daughters,
out of his daughter, for five generations. The sire was a typical
Red Pyle Game bantam. The result of the mating was the most
SECRETS OF EXHIBITING. 6l
beautiful and typical pullets in America, Mr. Zimmer never fail-
ing to secure first prize for pullets at the leading shows. He fur-
ther says that the last chicks produced were just as hardy, just
as good layers, and just as strong as the original pair.
Any quality — be it size, shape, color, comb, laying qualities,
etc. — can be improved upon and made permanent, and in the
shortest possible time, by this method. The mating can be a
son on the perfect dam, or the perfect sire to his nearest perfect
daughter. Mr. Zimmer does not call this method " in-breeding,"
but rather scientific line breeding.
Rig'g's Secret of Uniformly-Marked Exhibition
Thomas F. Rigg, who for more than thirty-six years has
bred Standard-bred poultry, writes that in all that time he has
not introduced one drop of new blood into the strain on the male
side. By so doing, he reasons, he would by a single blow shatter
the foundation which it took him years to obtain.
He introduces new blood by the purchase of a female. This
female must be a hen and not a pullet. He says that no one, not
even the most skilled and experienced fancier, can tell anything
of the qualities of a pullet as a breeder. The pullet must be
allowed to go through the second annual molt before one can
determine its worth so far as plumage markings are concerned.
The new blood must be from known quality.
This hen Mr. Rigg mates with a male of his own strain.
The males from this mating are not used, but instead sent to the
butcher, but the best pullet is kept until the spring of her second
year before she is mated. She is then mated to one of Mr. Rigg's
males — to her father, or to a son of her father.
In this way, every few years, a little new blood is injected
into his strain without detracting from it. This new blood will
carry him for several years.
Mr. Rigg further states that the introduction of a new male
into a fancier's flock each year is ruinous. The two blood lines
are fighting for supremacy. The conflict gives us all kinds of
markings and practically no high-scoring, finely-marked speci-
This line breeding of Standard-bred fowls is a plan that will
insure success in both dollars and satisfaction.
Marshall's Secret of Training the Show Bird
F. J. Marshall, one of the leading poultry judges of the
South, writes : After an experience of over a quarter of a
century in the show-room, judging and exhibiting, I have come
to the conclusion that the greatest secret of success in the show-
(52 POULTRY SECRETS.
room, other things being equal, is the trained show bird. Nothing
in my estimation goes so far toward showing all the good points
a bird may possess as to have him so trained that the judge or
his attendant may handle him with perfect ease. That he will
stand in any position in which he may be placed, and is ever ready
to pose as if for a picture.
A judge will give such a specimen every point he deserves,
and the benefit of any doubts against him. In handling such
birds the judge very naturally feels kindly toward them, and
when you get the judge in his best mood you get the best he has
A few spare moments a day devoted to handling and train-
ing show specimens will soon convince them that you are their
friend and will do them no harm. Have a few fine morsels of
meat, or something to tempt them, while handling them. This
will put them in a good humor.
For increasing the weight of your show birds, after they
have been shipped to the show-room, and perhaps lost quite a little
in transit, nothing helps more, and is so safe to feed, as the regular
cooked and seasoned bologna sausage. It is highly seasoned, and
I do not know of a case of sickness attending its use, but, on the
contrary, it usually produces the best of health.
Feed grain dry, what they will eat up clean, and then fol-
low with the sausage and water, and you are ready for the
weigher. Find out when the weighing is to be done, and have
everything in readiness. Attend to these matters yourself, as no
one else can or will.
Lambert's Secret of Growing Good Tails
Daniel J. Lambert, one of the best-known poultry judges and
authorities in America, and teacher in the Rhode Island State
College Poultry Department, gives a valuable secret for growers
of exhibition poultry :
One of the secrets not generally known outside of profes-
sional poultry judges and experienced exhibitors is the neces-
sity of show males possessing good tails. By good, I mean those
in size, shape and color as described in the Standard and in per-
fect condition when the bird is shown. I have often advised
prospective exhibitors on this point more than others because I
knew that if the tail were full fledged, unbroken and clean the
balance of the bird would usually be in the pink of condition.
Of course, abounding vitality is a paramount requisite,
and a cock or cockerel lacking in vigor will show it quicker in the
carriage of his tail than in color of comb or in any other way.
The most Standard-like tails are bred from ancestry pos-
sessing such themselves for at least two previous generations.
SECRETS OF EXHIBITING. 63
High tails, low tails, long tails, broad and pinched tails are usually
the result of poor breeding, while wry and squirrel tails are often
caused by roosting too close to the sides or top of building. A
safe roost is at least eighteen inches from the walls and twenty-
four from the rafters.
The time to show birds is when they are in their prime,
neither immature or over ripe, as their tails are then all in and
the proper length. This necessitates hatching at certain periods
for particular shows and special preparation of cock birds to
hasten or retard their molt. The growing cockerels must have
plenty of room and a good range, with grass, shade, pure water
and sound feed in abundance. A cock bird may be hurried with
his molt by feeding a very narrow ration (one rich in protein and
deficient in carbohydrates) or retarded by giving one weak in
protein and rich in carbohydrates.
Lice, mites and nice show birds do not grow in the same
coop. Vermin not only reduce the vitality of their victims, but
injure the shape and lustre of their plumage. Prospective win-
ners must be kept clean from the shell to the show-room ; look
carefully around the base of the tail of each bird for vermin. No
oil or grease of any kind can be used on or around show birds,
not even on their shanks, unless they are immediately wiped clean.
It is easy to wash a bird nicely when you know how, but not
so easy to get all of the soap out of their tail feathers without
breaking the web or otherwise injuring the sickles. It is much
better to keep them away from dirt and filth so that they will be
clean and attractive at all times.
As the show season draws nigh, say six or eight weeks
before the date of the exhibition, they should be examined and
all broken feathers in wing or tail removed so as to allow time
for new ones to grow in their place. When these are growing
be careful to see that the main feathers are unobstructed and
that the sickles curve nicely on the sides of the tail.
It is best to pen show males separately in a cage similar
to an exhibition coop, for at least two weeks before the show,
allowing them to exercise, alone, under cover on a clean straw-
covered sand floor. For transportation to the show use shipping
coops high enough (thirty inches) for the bird to stand up in and
wide enough (sixteen inches) so that the largest males can turn
around without breaking, bending or injuring that all-important
Heck*s Secret of Adding Exhibition Weight
Frank Heck, one of the best authorities in the West on exhi-
bition poultry, gives here a secret that has never before been
Many a bird of superior merit fails to win because of the
64 POULTRY SECRETS.
severe cut for shortage of weight. Generally a pound or si
pound and a half can be added to a bird by expert feeding. The
special feeding should begin about four to six weeks before the
fowl is to be shown, and it should be confined in a small pen or a
big roomy coop. One feed each day is a mash, the greater por-
tion of which consists of two or more of the following articles :
boiled rice, boiled potatoes, corn meal, barley meal, buckwheat
meal. Bran, wheat, middlings, ground oats, etc., may form a
small percentage of the total bulk. Five per cent, of beef tallow,
linseed meal or cotton seed meal is added. Mix the mash with
whole or skim milk, the former preferred. Give sweetened water
to drink. Two other feeds per day are given, consisting of com,
barley or buckwheat. An ample supply of grit is kept before
the birds. With the variety of food here specified, the breeder
can avoid feeding the same mash or the same whole grains two
days in succession. The object should be not to cloy the appe-
tite of the birds by continued feeding of the same rations. A
good tonic or condition powder is valuable to counteract the ill
effects of forcing, although some birds will not need it. The
following is used by a number of experts, and has been until
now a guarded secret: One ounce each of fenugreek, mandrake,
ginger and gentian root, with four ounces of bicarbonate of
soda ; mix thoroughly and place one teaspoonful in each quart of
Fishers Secret of Preparing Fowls for
Early Fall Shows
U. R. Fishel, one of the most successful exhibitors in the
West, gives this method of preparing fowls for early fall ex-
The first two weeks of July we practically starve our breed-
ers, getting them very thin in flesh. The last two weeks of July
we feed heavy, starting slowly at first, but gradually increasing to
heavy or full feed. By then we notice that the feathers are
dropping, and the fowls are in full molt. We continue heavy
feeding, using a mash three times a week, and by the first of Sep-
tember we have, in consequence, a lot of fine exhibition birds, all
in full new plumage. Every now and then we go over the entire
flock, plucking all broken tail and wing feathers, so that the
new ones will come in even and proper. We never coop up a
white fowl that we want to show at an early show, for they are
apt to become creamy and their plumage does not ripen ou;; prop-
erly. We have found this method a successful one, as jui rec-
ords for many years past will prove.