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Keeping Chickens Newsletter

Page 02

Keeping Chickens Newsletter

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January 2009

Diary of A Poultry Keeper
Thoughts from a rural poultry keeper at the turn of the last century.


"This is one of the coldest months of the year, and one must see that the fowls are all comfortably housed and in good condition. Pullets will be mostly laying by this time and backward ones can be brought on by a special diet of green bone fresh from the butcher's. The older hens ought also to be well forward, and breeding-pens should be mated at once with second or third year birds. In the early days five hens to one cockerel should not be exceeded, especially as eggs are expensive at this period, and one wants every one of them fertilised. The male bird should be introduced to the pen about three weeks before the eggs are required for incubating, and it is well to feed him heavily for a week or two before mating up. A male bird should never be allowed to run loose with pullets.

All birds not absolutely needed for egg-production or breeding should be culled out and sold. Be sure that the house be as warm as possible and free from draughts. Feed plenty of good, wholesome food. If you feed dry mash, let the hopper be open all day, and feed not less than two ounces of sound grain per bird per day. If wet mash is fed, let the birds eat as much as they can pick up in, say, half-an-hour, but afterwards clear away anything remaining until the next meal. Vary the grain food by giving wheat, oats and barley or kibbled maize alternately.

Get your incubators ready and give them a trial run to see they are in working order. If there are any frost-bitten combs apply a little camphorated oil gently rubbed in. Be sure that you do not get your hatching eggs frozen by leaving them exposed too long."

Vaseline applied to the combs and wattles of roosters (and hens) with large combs, can help protect against frostbite in freezing weather - and will soothe frostbitten areas if any does occur.

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Keeping Chickens Newsletter - Published January 2009 by