You’re building a new barn and one of the many questions that runs through your mind is whether you opt for power or natural ventilation.
Harry Huffman, a ventilation expert with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, told turkey producers at the 1999 annual meeting of the Ontario Turkey Producers’ Marketing Board that there is a great deal of information available, but no easy, ultimate answer.
“I don’t think there is a right choice in barn selection. You have to decide what you want to work with,” he said at the London, Ont. meeting.
Either system can work well, but the system selected must suit the management system and the location.
For example, a good location with sufficient space around it is essential for a naturally ventilated barn. Barns with power ventilation are much more flexible as to location, he said.
That is just one element, albeit a critical one, in the choice of systems.
But everything that goes into the decision must be in response to the question: “what are we really trying to do?” Huffman said.
The answer is equally straight forward. “As soon as we put animals in a barn we have to ensure fresh air – especially with turkeys,” he said.
You must also maintain the barn temperature in the animals’ comfort zone and that is especially important with turkeys which are less tolerant – especially when they are young – of inappropriate temperatures than other species.
As the birds age their comfort zone widens.
Once a comfort zone has been established in a barn, you want to maintain it, he said.
“You can’t do that with a lot of naturally ventilated barns,” Huffman said. But so long as temperature change happens slowly the turkeys will adapt.
Another factor is humidity which must be kept at a reasonable level.
“If you get wet litter, it stays wet,” he said. Adding to the problems will be ammonia gas which is attracted to the moisture.
“We want to keep odors and gases at a reasonable level and that is directly related to humidity,” he said.
Humidity will also be affected by the temperature of the incoming air. Cold air doesn’t hold as much moisture as warm air.
The rule is that for every 10 degree centigrade rise in temperature air will hold twice as much moisture. “Warm air is a super good sponge,” he said.
And because warm air rises it can be removed from the barn by fan or chimney. The air expelled by the birds is warm and will rise.
This allows for the removal of moisture, but can contribute to drafty conditions, which are to be avoided. As the warm air rises and is removed cool air moves in to fill the space. The barn should be designed so that the incoming cool air is warmed by the exiting warm air.
Another factor in ventilation is the presence of obstructions. “Air doesn’t like to make 90 degree turns,” he said.
In the case of naturally ventilated barns, which generally have better air quality because of the breeze going through the building, outside obstructions can have a major impact.
Obstructions will affect the air flow for a distance 10 times the height of the obstruction, he said.
Huffman also gave a quick rundown of the advantages and disadvantages of power ventilation versus natural ventilation.
Power ventilation uses fans which can be noisy versus the quiet of natural ventilation. Power ventilation requires more main-tenance than natural. Power ventilation systems have low operating costs, but that is still more than a natural system. Power ventilated barns often have poor lighting .
However power ventilated systems have more flexibility so far as location is concerned than naturally ventilated operations where location is critical. Dark outs can be accommodated in power ventilated barns, but are not possible in naturally ventilated barns. And the cost of a power ventilated barn is equal to or lower than a naturally ventilated set up.
There are also climatic factors to consider. In Southern Ontario, temperatures are a concern for naturally ventilated systems when they are too cold (below -10 degrees C), which happens 10 per cent of the time and when they are too warm (above 20 degrees C) and there is a the possibility of stagnant air. But this only occurs 10 per cent of the time in each case.
In those circumstances fans have a better opportunity to maintain proper conditions inside a barn.
But 80 per cent of the time it doesn’t matter what kind of system, he said.
Growers are also going to have to do a better job of removing carbon dioxide. Studies show that up to age five or six weeks an air flow that controls moisture is sufficient to control carbon dioxide. But as the birds grow, removal of carbon dioxide requires more air movement, he said.
And when buying ventilation equipment, Huffman advised the growers that the cheapest option is not always the most economic.
For example, more expensive fans may be worth the money because they last much longer. It is also not advisable to skimp on insulation because a well-insulated barn is always easier to ventilate, he said.
But as to which type of ventilation system is best, Huffman said there is no pat answer.
Peter and his wife, Elsa, own and operate the Cedardale Poultry Ranch Ltd., 32926 King Road, Abbotsford, B.C.
For years the Cedardale Poultry Ranch has been a "slat barn" operation. But the Koch's knew that they would have to modernize in order to compete in today's marketplace.
After investigating several types of new facilities and equipment, Koch employed John and David Pankratz, partners in Northwest Agrinomics Ltd., Abbotsford, B.C., specialists in agricultural management. About that same time, Koch had a visit from Ian Peacock, manager of Peacock Equipment Ltd., Cloverdale, B.C.
"I had heard about Peter's modernization plans, so I called on him to introduce one of my newest lines, Favorite Poultry Equipment," Peacock said. "I felt certain we could meet the needs of Cedardale Poultry Ranch with Favorite's new Cal-Aire reverse cage system in a 4-deck configuration."
Koch says the type of cage system he would install in the new facilities was critical.
"I was interested in the operating plusses offered by the reverse cage system," Koch admits. "The idea of greater bird density, more eggs per bird, better feed conversion, lower mortality and cracks and especially no dropping boards, scrapers or plastic sheets to clean, convinced me that Favorite's Cal-Aire System was my best choice.
Checked in Atlanta
Nonetheless, last January, Koch visited the Southeastern Poultry & Egg Association Conference and Exhibit at Atlanta, Georgia to evaluate all brands of equipment. The trip reaffirmed his choice of Favorite.
With the assistance of the Pankratz brothers, financing for the project was secured through Perry Creighton, manager of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Abbotsford.
Upon Peacock's suggestion, Koch decided on the Cal-Aire 4-deck reverse cages, four rows to a house. This allows for 62,720 birds at four birds per 18" x 12" cage, or 31,360 birds per barn.
The cages were put into two fully automated, 390' long by 42 ½" wide deep pit, total confinement layer barns. Barns are 20' apart and connected by an enclosed passageway. On one side there is a 20 ft. x 30 ft. egg room and a 30 ft. x 30 ft. cooler room to serve both barns. Eight ft. deep manure pits run under the entire cage system of each barn; barns are metal clad wood frame construction on 3 ft. high concrete foundation walls. A skid steer loader can be used for manure removal.
The cage feeders are Favorite flat-chain-in-trough type, travelling at 60 ft. per minute, powered by 1 ½ HP 3 phase electric motors through a new industrial type gear box that has a 3 year manufacturer's warranty and is claimed to need less power than competitors'.
A unique system of feed supply using the Favorite multi-flex hoppers is used to give maximum flexibility i.e. immediate ration change and to ensure that the old feed is used up before the new. In front of each barn there are 4-8 ton feed storage bins to make a total of 8. The bins are paired, standard 4" augers from each pair of bins supply feed to a multi-flex hopper located between them. Each multi-flex hopper has two flexible coreless augers. One flexible auger going to each cage row supplying the manifold that keeps the flat chain feeders filled. The bulk feed bins have a new design of boot developed by Peacock Equipment that completely cleans out the feed in the bins. The 4" augers have ½ HP 1 phase motors; the 2 7/16" flexible augers have ½ HP 3 phase motors. All motors are controlled by high/low feed level switches. The flat chain feeders are controlled by time clocks.
For egg collection Koch chose the Favorite system using 4" poly web belts to collect the eggs from the cage rows to the collector towers at the row ends. The eggs are moved on to the escalator belts with the new flexible finger cups and conveyed down onto the 12" wide cross conveyor belt. The cross conveyor belt runs under the floor picking up the eggs from each row end in both buildings, taking them to the egg room. The eggs are then elevated to an accumulator before being candled after which the eggs are packed onto plastic flats by a Seymour 60 case per hour farm packer. The egg flats are then stacked on pallets and moved into the cooler, which has a 2 HP 3 phase egg cooler to maintain quality until they are picked up by Canada Safeway for grading and cartoning.
Control of all egg belts and the counters for each of the 64 cage belts are mounted in impressive panels located in the egg room.
For watering Koch chose Swish, as this is what he was using in his rearing barns.
Importance of Ventilation
The ventilation system is another first. At Peacock's suggestion Variable speed fans were not necessary. A number of single speed fans of sufficient volume would give the variety of air movement required. Twenty 48" dia. belt drive fans powered by 1 ½ HP 3 phase motors individually controlled by thermostat met the required air movement of 6 c.f.m. per bird. The fans are mounted 10 per building in 5 banks of 2. Koch also pioneered the use of a new air intake system that Peacock offered. This continuous air intake vent can deflect incoming air either up or down or both at the same time. Intake can be automatically controlled by the static pressure to maintain a steady velocity of the incoming air.
Koch is especially proud of his standby electrical power system: two Winpower 600 amp. 3 phase, liquid propane fired generators. Each unit has an 85 KW capacity. The primary circuit powers all lights, fans and water; this is easily handled by one generator. Koch figures his standby system is good for eight 24-hour days of full power before his liquid propane tank would be exhausted.
In addition, a complete alarm system monitors barn heat, water pressure, burglary, fire and the proper operation of fans throughout the barns. A radio-controlled paging system sounds the alarm. The system was supplied and installed by Ashley International Electronics.
Two Age Groups
"We have two age groups of birds," Koch explains. "One age group in each barn. Within each age group there is spacing of two weeks representing his pullet growing facilities.
Because of age-group spacing, an entire flock can be replaced over an eight-week period. This allows sufficient time for vaccination and precision debeaking of new birds, as well as in/out handling. "Further," Koch states, "our processing plant has a capacity of about 8,000 birds per killing lot, so we're geared to their capacity."
Month's Mortality Less
Dr. Douglas McCausland, Cedardale's Veterinarian, worked out a plan to move 28,000 birds already on the ranch and at six to eight months of lay, from older facilities to the new barns. The results: little or no loss of production, and only about half again the normal mortality for one month.
Koch and Dr. McCausland keep all birds under a health maintenance program, which includes blood testing, vaccination/medication, and vitamins to assist stress. A complete bird health history is constantly maintained.
Aart Spyker, manager of Ritchie-Smith Ltd., Abbotsford, has supplied feed to Cedardale Poultry Ranch for years. "We've found the 'preventative' health maintenance program works best for our mutual needs. Our company nutritionist, Dr. A.J. Leslie, works closely with Cedardale's Dr. McCausland, to set rations and contents. Weekly visits check progress. We put heavy emphasis on least-cost production and lots of cooperation."
Lucerne Foods Ltd.'s Plant Manager, Don Martin says, "As far as I'm concerned, the product quality out of Cedardale's new facility is tops and improving weekly! We see one of the lowest Grade B outputs in the area, and the eggs are definitely at the low end of the percentage of cracks and checks. We purchase Cedardale's total output, and pick up 3 times a week." Lucerne Foods is located at Langley, B.C.
The bottom line was, of course, the cost to produce eggs. For Peter Koch, that led him to select equipment from Favorite Manufacturing of New Holland, PA, U.S.A. a the heart of his system.
"Equipment quality, low maintenance features, and thus, the projected lifetime of the equipment, were all high in my mind when making my choice," Peter Koch relates. "With every day that passes, I'm more convinced that we've made the right decisions for Cedardale's future."
Poultry production is following the general pattern of agriculture – growing into large operations and becoming mechanized.
And the device which is making this change largely possible and profitable is the automatic or mechanical feeder, a comparatively new invention. Ever since the incubator permitted large scale hatching of chicks, the bottleneck of the poultry industry has been the feeding of flocks. When done by hand it was a costly, and time – and feed consuming process. The automatic feeder has broken that bottleneck.
The feeder is simply a machine that takes feed from a central hopper or bin out to the birds continuously all day. In place of having to fill a score of separate feeding troughs, the poultryman fills just one – the hopper – and does it just once a day. With some machines it is even possible to use a direct spout from an overhead bin and never have to fill the hopper by hand.
Every mechanical feeder consists of three basic parts. They are:
1. The hopper. This holds the supply of feed and usually also has the drive mechanism mounted on it.
2. The distributing system, which carries the feed from the hopper throughout the poultry house.
3. The driving mechanism, consisting of a motor, usually electric, a reduction gear, drive shaft and sprockets.
The distributing system consists of an endless chain driven by the motor and gears, a trough in which it travels, leg assemblies, which form joints between the lengths of trough and provide a means of raising or lowering the trough; and corner units which permit the chain to run corners.
Usually the distributing system is set up so the trough forms an oblong in which the chain travels.
After the feed is put into the hopper and the machine started, the operation is continuous.
Feed in the hopper is moved to an outlet port in the bottom of the hopper. It falls through this opening onto the slowly moving chain. The chain, which travels in the trough, carries the feed along with it out to the flock. The birds eat it from the trough.
Basically, that is the way every automatic feeder on the market today operates. But there are many differences in design. A major one is the chain. Some machines use ordinary heavy sprocket chain with bars or scrapers welded on one edge of the link. These scrape along the bottom of the trough, moving all the feed. Another makes use of a riveted chain. Another has a novel Y-shaped link. One has a chain, which was developed just for the automatic poultry feeder. It consists of a light steel link curved at one end. This patented design allows the chain to go around corners and still run flat.
A good automatic feeder today will make money for its owner under a variety of conditions. It will feed baby chicks, broilers, laying flocks, adult turkeys. Some of the feeders will handle any kind of feed and operate successfully with any of the usual litter materials. For a machine to work under all these various conditions requires a wide flexibility.
It must be possible to adjust or control the amount of feed delivered by the machine to the flock. Baby chicks naturally will consume less than laying hens. Hence it must be possible to slow down the amount of feed going from the hopper to the chain. One automatic feeder has a further control – it can slow the speed of the chain from 20 feet a minute to 6 feet. Another control is provided by time clocks which will turn the machine on and off for varying lengths of time.
A most important adjustment is that of height. Keeping the top of the trough level with the backs of the birds means that the flock will waste a minimum of feed. The better automatic feeders today have hoppers and trough supports, which permit a quick and easy adjustment for height as the birds grow.
The advantages of automatic feeding over hand feeding are many. First, of course is the saving of feed. Many users claim the machine will pay for itself within one to two years on the saving in feed alone for hens and 3 to 4 months for broilers. Pennsylvania State College made strictly controlled tests of automatic vs. hand feeding. Those fed with an automatic machine consumed .49 lbs. less feed per dozen eggs laid and .45 lbs. of feed less per lb. for broiler meat.
The saving in feed comes in two ways. The birds do not waste feed by billing it out from an automatic's trough as they do from a hand-filled trough. The movement of the chain seems to attract them, encouraging the birds to eat more and more often.
The second big saving is in labor. In place of spending hours each day filling troughs, the poultryman can dump a few bags of feed into the hopper, check the chain and feeding system – and forget the feeder for the day. He does not have to clean troughs. In place of taking in one set and putting out a larger one as the birds grow, he merely raises the trough and hopper a little higher. Unlike hand feeders little or no cleaning of the trough is necessary.
An indication of the time and labor saving is given by the experience of the Buffalo County Poultry Farm at Kearney, Nebraska. There, one man cares for 40,000 to 50,000 broilers instead of 10,000 he could when hand feeders were used.
An example of what an automatic will do for a poultryman was furnished last year by A. H. Douty of Clovis, Calif. He started two similar flocks of 10,000 broilers each in two houses. One was hand fed, the other had an automatic. The flock using the mechanical feeder netted 6 cents more per bird, or a clear extra profit of $600, which came close to paying for the machines.
Fashions don't necessarily change every year with chickens, that is, with the feathered kind. However, they are now changing rapidly in modern poultry raising.
Whereas standard type and colour have obsessed the fancier and exhibition breeder of the past, quantity egg and meat production are the dominant objectives of the commercial poultryman in 1951. While the first quarter of the century was marked by remarkable gains in egg production, the second quarter, recently concluded, has witnessed the consolidation of these gains in breeding flocks and the dissemination of better blood lines throughout the flocks of the world.
The magnitude of these gains in total production may be appreciated when it is realized that, as the statisticians tell us, the average hen lays 50 more eggs now than she did 50 years ago. Multiply this increase by the number of hens (500,000,000) on this continent, and we can only try to imagine he astonishing increase of 24 billion eggs that are available for human consumption in one year. In Canada alone, this increase amounts to about 2 billion eggs per annum, worth $60,000,000. To take care of this, the annual per capita consumption of eggs has increased from around 200 to 390 eggs in the United States – more than an egg a day – the highest in the world, and 300 eggs in Canada.
It is remarkable that, while such progress was being made in the production and consumption of eggs, the production and marketing of poultry meats had just dragged along as incidental to egg production. Poultry meats, in other words, have been largely represented by surplus birds not kept for egg production, and in many cases, have been poor meat type and quality. Within the past few years, it has been realized that not only the production but the marketing of poultry meats have been grossly neglected. In one branch alone, viz., broiler production, a startling change has taken place, one that promises to revolutionize chicken-meat production if it has not already done so. No longer is the light, skinny, bony broiler of 7 to 9 weeks fashionable.
Instead, great numbers of thick-meated and tender "baby beef" chickens are being produced, weighing 3 to 4 lb. or better at 12 weeks – 50 per cent more than the old-fashioned chicken. These frying chickens are being turned out by mass production methods in one to ten thousand lots or more, in big roomy pens, where they may be crowded but remain healthy as they are nourished by modern efficient rations. Such birds, moreover, grow so quickly into delicious tender meat that chicken-meat now competes in both quality and price with all other meats to be found on the market.
These modern chickens have to be early and full feathering, uniformly rapid growing, vigorous, plump-breasted, with maximum edible meat and minimum waste, to meet market requirements. In other words, they must be "prime" when very young. If the birds are kept to the heavier roaster or capon stage, they must be capable, moreover, of maintaining heavy weights desired. To make good roasters, they must also be completely feathered and comparatively free of pin-feathers when prime.
It was indicated some years ago, in the annual reports of poultry meat inspection of the Dominion Markets Branch, that the better grades were decidedly in the minority, and that there was urgent need for a breeding and selection program that would include not only the maintenance of egg production but extra pressure of selection for improved meat type in the breeding stock of this country.
Breeding research at the University of B.C.
There are two schools of thought as to the methods of breeding better meat types of chicken. One is to use out-crosses of the extremely broad-breasted low-set Cornish – an extreme type of meat game produced by fanciers – to such well-known utility breeds as the New Hampshire, Rhode Island Red, or Plymouth Rock, and to breed back to the latter breeds until a type is more or less fixed. Some remarkably fine meat strains have evolved from these and other crosses in the past three years, as they have proved in the famous "Chicken of Tomorrow" contests that have brought so much publicity to the broiler business in the United States. In order to provide certification for R.O.P. in meat production, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is inspecting random sample progeny tests from matings entered by private breeders this year.
Another approach to the problem of improving meat type in poultry is through certification of meat characteristics as well as egg production in flocks already entered in R.O.P. This would merely involve further extension of existing inspection in Canadian R.O.P. to cover such economic factors as rate of growth in addition to early feathering and meat type as included at present.
Selection for market qualities
Under R.O.P. regulations, selection for improved meat type and better feathering has been continuous in University of British Columbia flocks of Barred Rocks and Rhode Island Reds since 1935. No significant correlation was found to exist between meat type and egg production in these strains, thus simplifying the dual purpose objective in breeding and selection. Little was known in the earlier stages about the mode of inheritance of various feathering characteristics in these two breeds, except that slow feathering appeared to be dominant to early fast feathering. The inheritance of full feathering was not fully understood although the Leghorns possessed the quality.
At first selection consisted largely of discarding the slowest feathering types and the sharper breasted, angular meat specimens, and including only the better feathering, plumper breasted birds in the breeding pens. Arbitrary classifications were used to distinguish various grades. Observations were made of feathering, and weights taken at ages of 6 weeks in chicks and at regular intervals until maturity. Families were marked according to grading of offspring and undesirable ones eliminated. The U.B.C. strain of Reds is now pure for early fast feathering, but lacks the full feathering of the White Leghorn or certain strains of New Hampshires. Recent studies indicate that a bareback factor and slow feathering in the neck, hackle, and tail may be factors inhibiting full feathering in birds pure for the early feathering gene.
The popularity of the Barred Plymouth Rock as a table bird had until recent years become almost proverbial on general farms in Canada. While its position has recently been challenged by the New Hampshire and to a lesser degree by the White Rock and Light Sussex, the Barred Rock has earned its prestige in the trade for its feeding and fattening qualities and ability to finish well as a roasting chicken or a heavy, fat fowl. In these forms its fleshing is unsurpassed. The Barred Rock, however, has not been so suitable for broiler or fryer production because of some slow-feathering characteristics and lack of uniformity in many strains.
In order to utilize the desirable qualities of both the Barred Rock and Red, including the autosexing colour pattern of the former, a crossing project was undertaken to fix the white barring factor in the early fast-feathering Reds. By first crossing a Barred Rock male to Red females and back crossing to Red, and then to Barred Reds in succeeding generations, pure Barred Reds (autosexing Redbars) were produced. They were superior in meat type, and tested 96.3 per cent accurate in autosexing. Meanwhile the U.B.C. strain of New Hampshires was giving good performance in eggs and meat production and hatchability. Moreover, although a newer breed, they excelled in viability, showing the greatest resistance to disease, including the paralysis complex. Lacking only the barring characteristics for autosexing purposes, a Barred New Hampshire (Hampbar) bred after the fashion of the Barred Red (Redbar) became a promising prospect. Time was saved in fixing the colour pattern of the breed by using Redbar males for crossing with specially selected New Hampshire females. Results ere so favorable in production and apparent vigor of early generations as to suggest greater emphasis being placed upon the development of this new autosexing breed. Accordingly a plan for improvement by crossing both ways by males and females to New Hampshires was extended last year. As time goes on, this technique of breeding improvement may be carried on with this autosexing breed, thus offering a very broad scope for utilizing good blood lines in New Hampshires for improvement of the Hampbars. Satisfactory egg production was secured in R.O.P. last year, while the larger entry appears still more promising this year.
The current shortage in supplies of heavy roasting chickens and fowl in Canada, and the comparatively firm prices of same, no doubt will encourage increased production. However, high feed prices require maturity or finish for market at earlier ages. It will therefore be earlier feathering, earlier maturing and faster growing strains of poultry that can provide material for profitable production. The New Hampshires have been setting the pace and are now being improved in meat type, reduction in broodiness, and persistence in production. The Hampbars have the advantages of autosexing and lighter pin feathers in the dressed carcass. The Barred Rocks and Rhode Island Reds are also being brought up to higher utility standards of meat as well as egg production to serve modern needs in the industry.
Much attention is also being given to the remarkable advances made very recently in the efficiency of broiler rations. Elaborate tests are being conducted, in U.B.C. nutrition laboratories, of A.P.F.*, antibiotics, amino acids, and other supplements or ingredients that stimulate rapid early growth in chickens. With better bred stream-lined chickens, nourished by better feeds, poultry meat production is gaining rapidly on egg production in economic importance.
Recent records made in the production of broilers and fryers in some areas have been truly sensational, adding many millions of dollars to returns from broiler production constitute as much as 80 per cent of the value of all agricultural products. While the accent seems to be on youth in the form of the young tender chicken, there is a great need, too, for increased production of big roasters and capons. More people really want to eat more chicken if the industry will only provide the right kind and quality.
*Animal Protein Factor
The past few years has brought about many changes, and most notable, is the trend towards quality eggs and the possible increase in the total hatch of chicks from high quality eggs.
Three years ago a group of hatcherymen in the Fraser Valley started to candle all eggs before setting, and to this, the increased hatch for the Province is in great part due. The total hatch on all eggs set climbed from 63.4% to 69.8% of saleable chicks.
With the quality factor in mind the writer had high hopes when Dr. A. L. Romanoff of Cornell announced the inventing of an electronic Egg Candling Machine, as this would remove the human factor in candling. This was short lived as it was not possible to secure a machine.
At this point Mr. T. Gascoigne of Cloverdale, British Columbia let it be known that he was working on a machine and the task of ironing out the difficult points started.
Early this year the Bureau of Animal Industry U.S. Dept. of Agriculture released a Farm Paper letter on Pre-Incubation for Higher Hatches and we give it as it appears in Poultry Digest.
"A new method of handling hatching eggs has been found whereby infertile eggs can be detected and removed by candling on the farm where they are produced before being sent to the hatchery. This method, according to the Bureau of Animal Industry, USDA, makes it possible for those producing hatching eggs to guarantee almost 100% fertile eggs to the hatchery. To effect the extra cost of pre-incubating and candling, it would be to the interest of the hatcheryman to pay the flock-owner a premium for such eggs."
"The method consists of incubating hen eggs for 16 to 18 hours at 100 degrees F., then removing them, and with the aid of a candler separating the fertile and infertile eggs. The embryo a this state of development is about the size of a dime, and appears before the candler as a small bubble floating on the surface of the yolk."
"After the fertile and infertile eggs are segregated, the fertile eggs to be sold for hatching purposes are place in open wire trays in a cooler for two hours at 50-95 degrees F. This is done to check further embryonic development before the eggs are shipped. The eggs are then packed in pre-cooled cases and shipped to the customer."
"Test shipments of pre-incubated eggs as well as unincubated eggs have been sent on round trips from Beltsville, Md., to Hartford, Conn., St. Louis, Mo., and Des Moines, Iowa. On return, the eggs of each shipment were replaced in the incubator and allowed to hatch. It was found that the pre-incubated eggs, after being shipped to these points and being en route from 50 to 96 hours, hatched as well as unincubated eggs of the same quality which served as controls and which were shipped along with the pre-incubated eggs in the same cases. Slightly over 80% of the pre-incubated fertile eggs shipped hatched and 18 hours earlier than the eggs used as the controls."
"These studies have now been extended to include turkey eggs. Some 1,500 Beltsville Small White turkey eggs have been pre-incubated and shipped following, in general, the same procedure as that used for chicken eggs. The turkey eggs, due to slower development of embryos, are incubated for 24 hours before being candled. They are then cooled for tow hours at 50-55 degrees F."
"Although it is more difficult to see the turkey embryos than chicken embryos, eggs with near perfect fertility can be sent if the shipper is willing to withhold all "doubtfuls." These "doubtfuls" can be incubated by the producer in order to salvage any mistakes. With a more powerful candler many of these "doubtfuls" could probably be eliminated.
"Cases of pre-incubated turkey eggs have been shipped all the way across the country, and the hatchability of fertile eggs of the pre-incubated group was as good as that of the unincubated eggs used as controls."
"Getting rid of infertile eggs at the farm before the eggs are shipped has many advantages. It is estimated that on the average 15% of all hatching eggs are infertile. Removal of these eggs at 18 hours incubation thus saves incubator space as well as reduces cost of shipping and handling. Since almost all the pre-incubated eggs shipped would be fertile, the hatcheryman could be assured of a near-perfect fertility and consequently a higher percentage hatch of total eggs set."
This was brought to the attention of Mr. G. R. Wilson District Inspector of Poultry Services of B.C. who thought some test work would be in order, so with the co-operation of several Hatcheries, Mr. Gascoigne, and Mr. Pat Cain, Head of the Egg Grading staff, a number of hatches were run through, a few of which are given as a progress report.
5 cases – at 17 hrs. incubation
Fertile A or No. 1 – 656 eggs, 505 cks. = 77 %
Fertile B or No. 2 – 672 eggs, 405 cks. = 60.3%
Not candled – 236 eggs, 142 cks. = 60.1%
2 trays marked Top Grade A hatched 81%
1 tray marked Low Grade B hatched 54%
On a set candle for quality only before setting.
No. 1 or A's, 1878 eggs, 1412 chicks = 75.2%
No. 2 or B's, 537 eggs, 316 chicks = 58.2 %
On a set with Incubation for 18 hours:
Fertile A's or No. 1, 1044 eggs, 797 chicks = 76.5%
Fertile B's or No. 2, 304 eggs, 176 chicks = 57.8%
In this set a very interesting point appears – In the A's – 82 eggs were removed at the 18th day transfer and 165 were left on the trays.
On the B's – 81 eggs removed at the 18th day and 47 left on the trays.
This gives a 7.8% death rate up to transfer time on A quality while B quality is 26.5% and the left on trays is the same in both i.e. – 15.4%.
A top grade A tray hatched 86.7%
A low grade B tray hatched 50.8%
From these hatches one might reason that candling at the incubator would solve a lot of problems, but candling should be done at the nest. The question is, will a chick hatched from a low quality egg, in turn, lay a low quality egg, if so, why should the breeder ask the hatchery operator to correct mistakes made in the breeding program.
To ship fertile eggs only, would require more study, but it is quite possible to put the program into operation on a breeding farm or hatchery. Incubation must be stopped at the 18th hour by quick cooling if the eggs are to be shipped. And it also would be wise to do so even if the eggs are going back into the machine so as to insure hatch time.
Infertile eggs show no change as the 18th hour period. On the electronic machine they show a drop of 2 points while a fertile one drops 8 to 10 points.
The job of cleaning dirty eggs in a manner that will not damage the quality of the eggs has long been a tedious and time consuming one.
There is little question that washing is the quickest and easiest method of removing visible dirt from the shells of eggs. However, washed eggs are at present discounted on certain markets, particularly for cold storage purposes.
The reason for this is no doubt due to the unsanitary manner in which the eggs are often washed and to quite general opinion that washing removes the natural "bloom" from the shell, thus permitting a greater loss of moisture. Washing large numbers of dirty eggs with a damp cloth or even in a pail of water no doubt spread bacteria through the whole lot of eggs, thus increasing the spoilage. This is particularly true if could water is used.
The new machine washes the eggs in a sanitary manner, and, according to a test, removes a negligible amount of the "bloom." The eggs are fed into the machine between moving fingers that carry the eggs in back of revolving wet abrasive-coated cloth disks where the cleaning is done. From a tube above the disks the hot water (165 degrees F. or hotter at the disks) drips down on the disks to the eggs where it softens and loosens the dirt so that the disks can more readily clean the eggs. The water flushes down through the machine and runs to waste, taking the dirt with it. The disks are self-scouring and are constantly flushed with hot water. The hot water may be obtained from any convenient source, but to insure the desired minimum temperature an automatic water heating attachment is being developed.
Thus, the eggs are flush-washed with clean water that is hot enough to kill the common spoilage bacteria that may be on the outside of the eggshells. The ends of the eggs are cleaned as well as the sides, and the action of the disks is so gentle that seldom is an egg broken. In fact, cracked eggs can be washed.
After the washing of the eggs, they are carried by the moving fingers around to the front of the machine and are rolled across the drier to the discharging opening. A piece of toweling in the drier quickly absorbs the free water from the eggs and a blast of hot air completes the drying. The eggs are dry enough to pack when they roll out of the machine on the receiving tray. Another machine has been developed which will transfer the eggs from the drier to a grader.
The eggs are in the washer for 22 seconds and an equal length of time in the drier. The temperature of the eggs at the discharge is only two degrees above that at the feed end. The rapid evaporation of the moisture in the drier removes most of the heat picked up by the eggs while in the washer.
Five Cases an Hour
The machine has the capacity to wash and dry approximately five cases of eggs per hour. By use of the attachment for transferring the eggs to a grader, it is possible for two people to wash, dry, grade and pack at the rate of five cases per hour.
Although the machine has adequate capacity for large producing establishments, it has been designed to meet the needs of the small operator with only a few hundred birds.
In cooperation with Dr. G. O. Hall of Poultry Husbandry and Dr. C. N. Stark of Bacteriology at Cornell University, tests have been made on the keeping quality of eggs washed in the machine.
Samples of fresh, nest run eggs were soiled with chicken manure and cultures of the common bacteria that cause eggs to spoil, stored at room temperature (70-75 degrees F.) for a day, then washed in the machine, using cold water, warm water, hot water, soapy water and with chlorine solution of 500 ppm. After washing, all samples, including the "nest clean" untreated samples, were stored under a controlled temperature of 81 degrees and a relative humidity of 85 per cent or more for a period of 33 days. This was estimated to be the equivalent of six months in cold storage.
Washed Eggs Keep
At the end of the storage period, the eggs were candled and broken out to test for quality, spoilage and any damage that might have been done by the hot water. It was found that in every case where the washing was done with water at 165 degrees F. or higher, the treated washed eggs kept just as well as the untreated nest clean eggs. The samples washed in cold water or warm water did not keep as well.
There was no visible evidence of damage having been done to the interior of the eggs by the hot water.
This new type of cleaner should make it possible for poultrymen to clean eggs conveniently and quickly in a sanitary manner immediately after gathering, so that they can be packed or stored in better condition than has been the general practice heretofore.
- From the American Agriculturist
In the strictest sense artificial lights do not increase annual egg production, but merely influence the distribution of production, which makes it possible to get more eggs during the fall and early winter period of normally highest prices. For this reason, use of artificial lights can be planned to give desired results, dependent upon egg sales for market or hatching purposes.
It is usually unwise to light a flock of pullets being kept as a hatching flock, because the resulting stimulation of fall and winter production is made at the expense of a somewhat lower level of production in the early spring, when hatching egg demand is greatest.
Old Hens Under Lights
The lighting of the laying flock beginning in mid-August or early September is one example of greater production control that enables more net earnings. Lighting of old hens at this time, beginning at 4:00 a.m., makes it possible to postpone molt for a large portion of the flock and extend production for 45 to 60 days into the period of higher prices.
This practice as particular merit this year for the poultry raiser who wants to take advantage of price conditions to get the most net income from his production.
The smaller hatches this past spring and higher feed costs, which usually mean later maturing pullets and delaying fall production, all add up to strong demand and rising prices, and these extra eggs from old birds will mean greater income.
This result of artificial lighting is based upon findings of the Kansas State College of Agriculture and Ohio State University. Experiments established the fact that production increase was due to stimulation of the pituitary gland by the infra-red light rays. This stepped up glandular activity resulted in greater egg production, which brought about higher feed requirements and consumption. These facts made it possible to discard the earlier explanation of higher production due to a longer feeding period and greater feed intake.
Aside from this common use of lights for stimulating egg production during the fall and winter months numerous other values can put extra dollars in the poultry raiser's pocket.
Artificial lights may be used to reduce early chick and poultry mortality, to bring turkey breeder flocks into production more uniformly, and to increase the number of turkey hatching eggs produced per hen by approximately 10 eggs in the average season. They may be used to moderate the effects of extremely hot, as well as cold weather. Late hatched pullets can be brought into production earlier and at heavier weights, and late molting, "cream of the crop," breeder hens can be hastened into production to obtain hatching eggs earlier in the spring.
The research department of one prominent feed company has established a close relationship between the interval of time between hatching and the beginning of feeding and watering of turkey poults and livability and weight of these poults at 6 weeds of age.
Livability ranged from 91.7 per cent, when feeding was begun within 24 hours, to the lower figure of 73.7 per cent when delayed until 72 hours after hatching. The same experience is also common with baby chicks. Since time is so important, the use of all-night lights in the brooder house frequently makes it possible to shorten this hatching-to-feeding interval and to make added use of these critical "starting period" hours. This, in part at least, will offset the effects of unavoidable delay in getting chicks and poults on feed. Brighter lights, that is 40 t 60 watt bulbs, may be used for this purpose, to be followed, after 3 or 4 days, by 7 ½, 10, or 15 watt bulbs, which also aid in avoiding piling and loss from smothering if brooder temperatures accidently range too high or low.
Missouri College of Agriculture experimental results show that rate of chick growth is definitely retarded during hot summer weather. This is likewise true of turkey poults, though perhaps to a lesser degree.
Lights for Growth
Producers in the western and southern portions of the country, where daytime temperatures, for days on end range in the upper 90's or higher, have found that the use of dim – 10 to 15 watt – all-night lights in the brooder house helps to maintain growth. Feed and water consumption during the cooler night portion of each 24 hour period equals that of the daytime period and helps keep poults and chicks growing at or near the optimum rate through the 8th to 12th weeks.
Turkey Hatching Eggs in 30 Days
Turkey breeder hens that are approximately 7 months of age can be brought into production rather uniformly within 30 days after they are placed under artificial lights.
This fact proved important this past season to George Lewis of Quinlin, Okla. Mr. Lewis' flock of 400 breeders, which were lighted during the last few days of December, began laying in late January and continued to lay at a 50 per cent or better rate until sold on April 29th. Mr. Lewis sums up his first experience with artificial lights by saying that he sold 12 extra eggs per hen over the previous year in a season when hatching egg demand ceased 30 days earlier than in 1945.
Applying Lighting Principles
In stimulating egg production, intensity of light is the important consideration along with flock comfort. A safe rule is that of providing one 40 watt lamp for each 200 sq. ft. of floor space. The light should be located about 6 ft. from the floor and equipped with shallow reflectors 12 to 14 inches in diameter, to insure illumination of roosts as well as feeders and water fountains.
If reflectors are not provided, larger bulbs – at least 60 watts – are helpful. Much of the value of artificial lighting may be lost unless these principles are followed.
Intensity of light appears to affect turkey breeding flock production to a greater extent than is true with chickens. For this reason, 60 watt bulbs for turkeys more nearly insure desired results.
Flock comfort is important, and housing requirements vary with climactic conditions. In the southern climates where winters are mild, turkeys can be successfully lighted in a protected shed that is entirely open on the south. Some growers, with out door roosts, have successfully used flood lights mounted on poles 10 or more feet above the ground. These are arranged to light the roosts, feeders, and water fountains. Lighting is usually delayed approximately 30 days beyond the time when they might be used with greater housing protection from severe weather, which is generally of short duration.
Turkey breeder hens respond to light stimulus about 2 or 3 weeks sooner than the toms. For this reason, fertility must be protected in these first eggs by lighting toms 2 weeks before the lights are used on the hens, if both sexes are of the same age. Oklahoma College of Agriculture results indicate that toms that are from an earlier hatch, and consequently 30 or more days older than the hens, do not require this special consideration.
Begin Lights Gradually
Lighting of laying flocks should be started gradually and the lighting period lengthened 10 to 15 minutes per day until a 13 or 14-hour total light or feeding period is attained. Once begun, lighting should be continued until normal daylight approaching this number of hours prevails.
The use of automatic time switches in turning on the lights in the laying house will be found helpful. It avoids the necessity of being present in the house to turn on the lights. When an automatic time switch is used, provision must be made the night before – in the case of early morning lights – to have water available as soon as the birds come down from the roosts. This means, in wintertime, having water heated in the fountains.
Feed and Water Important
Satisfactory results, that is, higher production and an increased or maintained rate of growth, are related to higher feed intake. For this reason, the feed supply must be adequate and readily available. The water supply is of equal importance. During the winter months, provision must be made for an abundant water supply with a temperature range of 55 to 65 degrees F. Unless the chill is removed from the water and the supply is adequate, the results are likely to be disappointing.
National Poultry Digest from A.P. Journal
Baby chick batteries first became popular with hatcherymen for holding day old chicks that were surplus to orders. From this came a demand for started chicks of a week or two weeks old. Today, baby chick batteries are to be seen on many poultry farms that do not hatch their own chicks but have found out that the battery gets the youngsters off to a better start than putting them straight on the floor on arrival from the hatchery.
The advantage of starting them in batteries is most marked among flock owners who use electric brooders. There is quite a trick to educating chicks to run in and out of electric brooders from the first day, and considerable time must be devoted to teaching them. With the battery, all that is required is to raise the temperature to the correct level, put in feed and water, and that is all. The chicks immediately find the heat, and the feed and the water.
At the end of a week they can be transferred to electric brooders, the curtain of which should be fastened up, the attraction to light turned on and a corral made about two feet from the edge of the brooder. With this arrangement the chicks run back and forth and quickly find the source of heat. There will be no piling up, no chilling, no overheating.
With other types of brooders, coal or oil, the battery serves a useful purpose, but with the latter, where there may be some noise from the oil burning, the chick will be scared at first and may need some careful handling to prevent piling.
For pedigree chicks the battery is convenient for checking development at the end of the first or second week when a transfer to the floor is made. Feather growth can be noted as well as ensuring the wingbands are in place and have not slipped over the wing joints.
For the average poultry farm a battery is a might useful piece of equipment, saving space in the brooder pens, and ensuring a better start for each brood of chicks.
In the last twenty-five years we have seen many changes within the poultry industry. Especially is this so in the methods of rearing chickens, and, of course, in the hatching of eggs. The greatest revolution has taken place, however, in the British Isles, and that too, in the last nine or ten years. Chiefly, it relates to the method used in caring for birds after the brooding period and also during their laying years.
Curiously enough, the system now in vogue is a throw back to times before commercial egg production, as we know it now, came into existence.
The Southern counties of England, principally Sussex and Surrey, have long been famous or the production of high class table birds and before most of us were born the birds that were destined for the London markets were raised—after the brooding period –in little contraptions know as Sussex Arks.
These arks were very simply constructed, being of an apex type with the roofs forming the side walls. The floor was made of slats, usually not more than two inches wide and spaced about an inch or an inch and half apart. The original idea was probably to counteract the tendency of the youngsters flying onto a roost with the possibility of crooked breast bones resulting, for they just had to sleep on the slats – and like it.
Well, they apparently liked it, for the system became generally adopted and the quality of table chickens produced was unsurpassed.
In those far-off days we are told that sickness and disease were almost unknown, and knowing what we do now, the remarkable health, in an age when ventilation was not the science it is today, and vitamins were unheard of, can be directly traced to the adoption of these slatted floors.
Now what is so remarkable about a slatted floor? Nothing except that when birds sleep on a slatted floor raised several inches above ground level, and with nothing to stop the flow of air between the floor and the ground, EVERY BIRD HAS UNLIMITED FRESH AIR EVERY MINUTE IT IS IN THE HOUSE.
Of course, one could go too far on the fresh air idea and the young birds would become chilled through drafts, but these little arks were so constructed that no chilling took place. Later on I will quote from an authority on the subject of what he calls “Open Floor Houses.” But right here let’s look for the reason that birds do not get chilled in this type of house.
Sufficient birds were always put in these arks to entirely cover the floor when they were sitting down at night. More than enough would obviously have meant overcrowding but to fill the house was merely good economy. So, at night, a blanket, so to speak, was formed over the entire floor by the birds themselves. Now, air coming into a house from all sides does not cause a draft and only as much air can enter a building as is escaping from it. With these arks the only place air could enter was through the slats, and the only means of escape was either through the same slats or out of the apex, which was constructed just as are the majority of our present day large laying house roofs with a ridge ventilator. The heat generated by the mass of birds made the air warm and consequently it would rise and escape through the roof. Therefore, there was a constant filter of fresh air coming in, being breathed in by the birds and expelled, and sent out at the top.
Chickens were placed in these arks as soon as they could be taken away from the mother hen and around fifty would e put in a little ark say 6 by 3 feet, or 6 by 4 feet. As they grew they would be thinned out, always leaving a house full, however.
With these old type arks it is not on record that the reason for the extraordinary health of the birds was because of the abundance of fresh air and the system was allowed to go into the discard for a number of years, being considered archaic. It has lately been revived, as you will read.
And so, we will move on to more recent days, days when commercial egg production dwarfed the importance of table meat production throughout the entire civilized world. During this post-war period mass production came into being and during this time the chick and adult mortality was creeping, no, jumping up, and the various housing systems in general use commenced to be studied with the possibility that here at least might be found some of the trouble.
We all know the wilted appearance of young cockerels and pullets so often seen in large flocks. Pale legs that should be yellow or orange, faces white that should carry the pink of healthy blood coursing through the veins, and, particularly in battery brooders, that lopped-over comb of the your Leghorn cockerels. We’ve all seen hundreds and thousands of them, raised some them ourselves and lost plenty, felt sorry for the little beggars and more sorry for their owners.
Six years ago I was in California and visited a large broiler plant. Thousands of chicks passed through this plant in a season and all were raised in batteries. The owner told me that each room was perfectly ventilated and he showed me the electric fans forcing fresh air in and drawing out the foul air. This man told me that, by regulating the amount of fresh air he could wilt the birds in a period of 48 hours to a point where the cockerels’ combs would commence to fall over. Conversely, by again increasing the amount of air he could straighten up the combs in the next 24 hours.
I was intensely interested in what he told me for it demonstrated he power of fresh air or oxygen. It is easily understandable too, when one considers that a bird can live for weeks without food, days without water but only a few minutes without AIR.
Furthermore, the owner of the broiler plant had reached a point in his experiments where he knew definitely the air requirements of a chicken. Here is his formula. ONE POUND OF CHICKEN REQUIRES ONE CUBIC FOOT OF AIR IN ONE MINUTE.
The average person raising chicks has no means of measuring the amount of fresh air his chickens are getting, but it is safe to say that the great majority of young pullets raised today in large flocks, other than on slatted floors, DO NOT get sufficient fresh air at night.
Who it was who recommenced using the arks in England during the last few years I do not know, but in a very short time the system has taken hold to such an extent that today it is not news over there to hear of a farm where upwards of twenty thousand birds are raised each year on slatted floors.
From rearing young stock the idea soon spread to the housing of laying birds and apparently the system has many advantages as long as the farmer has considerable acreage on which to range his stock. Such houses are inexpensive, can be easily moved, are fitted with wheels or skids and have such built-in features as mash hoppers, nests, dropping boards under the slats, water troughs, broody coops, etc. A house 8 by 10 feet will accommodate one hundred birds, but the usual size is somewhat smaller than this.
For many years it has been customary for the English farmer to buy his poultry buildings ready made. Manufacturers cater to this trade in a very pronounced manner and from the evidence I see in the poultry papers of that country, they undoubtedly form the largest single class of contributors to the poultry industry.
All the buildings are shipped flat and are ready to erect upon delivery. The various sections are bolted together and the manufacturers usually quote a price delivered. For a slatted floor house to hold 75 hens or 150 youngsters the prices range from forty-five to sixty dollars. Most of them are treated with creosote under pressure before leaving the factory.
Adaptable in Canada?
A hundred pages could be filled with illustrations for various types of these houses. There are many variations in design and ingenious space savers, but all have the one feature in common, a slatted floor (or a heavy gauge wire netting floor) with air entering from underneath and escaping from the top.
Much has been written in the English press about these houses and occasionally one reads something of a derogatory nature. The great majority of people, however, have found them to be far ahead of the long fixed house with the birds all roosting at the back of the house. They claim lower mortality, practically no trouble from colds or roup in laying hens, lower cost of buildings and equally as good egg production, even in cold weather.
For Canada, such a system could not be advocated for laying hens except on the Pacific coast., but for rearing young stock there is no reason why the slatted floors should not be adopted from one end of the country to the other.
The view of an authority will be interesting and the following is quoted from an article entitled “The Open Floor Method of Housing Poultry,” by H.E. Davies, County Instructor for Flintshire. Mr. Davies says: “The old type of farmers’ colony house went out of use some years ago. Few people regretted its passing for a number or reason. The ventilation left much to be desired, roosting space was not what it might have been, and no ne will agree that to have their birds constantly walking over their own droppings on the floor of the house was hygienic. With this type of housing low production and high mortality was experienced. I am not suggesting that the housing was solely responsible for the disease because I realize that other factors can play a very important part in this matter, but there is no doubt but what improved housing conditions are assisting in keeping down disease.
“For several years now Sussex Arks have been used all over the country for growing chicks. In every instance with a well-constructed ark, the health bill of the birds has been good. Encouraged by these results appliance makers have attempted to adapt this principle for the use of birds of all ages. Difficulties were encountered but the majority of these were in detail only and today the open floor house holds its place in the market on sheer merit in the face of sever competition from other systems.
“There are today a number of people who feel that this type of housing is draught and will not suit exposed conditions. Let it be realized that where one is situated with unrestricted ventilation on all sides, than no draught is experienced. Let that ventilation be closed on one or two sides and then a draught is created by the diversion of air through a given channel. In a good open floor house there is ventilation on all sides. When this point is clearly understood many of the objections to open floors will die away. The situation of the floor is important and the larger the capacity of the house, the higher up inside should the floor be. In all cases it should be six inches above the bottom edge of the sides, and in the larger house 8 inches to 10 inches is to be preferred.
“Experiments have shown that no useful purpose is serve by having the birds in larger units than eighty. A house 8 feet by 8 feet will accommodate these. Above this size the unit becomes unwieldy and difficult to move with the result that to a great extent control is lost. The ideal size is 7 feet by 5 feet with a capacity of 50 birds. Commercially however this size is not in such general demand wing to the increased cost per bird. In other ways, however, this house has much to commend it.
“Easy moving is a main feature to be considered. May I advise those about to embark upon this system that they thoroughly examine the construction of the house they contemplate buying. Remember that your house will have to stand constant pulling and if the construction is weak the shape will soon be lost, with the result that the doors, hoppers, and nests will become difficult to open, and wear and tear will thereby be heavy. The house itself should be a separate construction and should rest on a well-braced ‘chassis’ or undercarriage. When moved the pull must be exerted from this undercarriage. By this method of construction the house should stand many years of moving and should never lose its shape. There is no doubt but what constant moving will to a great extent keep land free from disease and will at the same time enable fields to be used evenly and in rotation.
“In minor details such as mash hoppers and nests, most houses are very well equipped. The purchaser usually has the choice of fittings to suit his own requirements or is offered a specification backed up by practical trail.
“A question frequently asked is how the birds in these houses stand up to hard climatic conditions. There is no evidence to show that hard weather has any detrimental effect upon the health or production of the birds. In fact the reverse is often the case. Snow in most parts of the country is negligible and in nearly every case it is possible to sweep a small space clear to allow the birds to drink in the open. Even if the birds should have to stay indoors for an odd day or so in the year, the space although restricted is far removed from droppings and disease.
“In conclusion, just a word from the economic side. Production is not likely to be worse that in any other type of housing. Health should certainly be very good, and mortality will thereby be lower. The labor costs will be lower owing to less cleaning out being necessary, and what is perhaps another costly item, which is entirely eliminated, is the cost of litter.
“There can be no doubt but what to those with space above that where purely intensive work becomes necessary, the open floor system competes successfully with an other method of housing.”
Note: Next month an illustrate article will appear, featuring the Folding System. This is an adaptation of the slatted floor principle and has the advantage that the birds are confined in a small space during the daytime yet have clean ground every day of the year. The Folding Unit is the very latest in field houses.
Coccidiosis as a severe disease is largely due to the development of specialized poultry raising. Responsible for it are: (1) the large rearing unit; (2) limited range; (3) continuously used range; (4) proximity of poultry farms and (5) increased trafficking in fowls.
His statement does not signify that specialized poultry farming is doomed to failure because of coccidiosis. It does, however, emphasize the necessity of recognizing the importance of this problem and becoming adequately informed.
The Cause – A small parasite distinguishable only under the microscope has been established beyond question as the cause of coccidiosis. Various forms of mismanagement or feeding of the flock, resulting in lowered vigor, are often regarded as primary factors in the production of the disease, but erroneously so. There is so much experimental and field evidence to disprove these assumptions, that they would not be worthy of mention here if it were not for the fact that many interested in poultry still cling to such misconception. It should be obvious that these muddle the situation and stand in the way of successful control.
Kinds of Coccidiosis – At least six kinds of coccidian are found in chickens, five of which affect particularly the small intestine and one the ceca and rectum. One is capable of causing severe bleeding from the ceca and the rectum, another from the small intestine. The remaining four as a rule cause slight or no bleeding, but do cause excessive amounts of mucous or slime in the small intestine and droppings.
The Nature of the Parasite and the Disease – When the fowl eats contaminated material the parasite gains entrance and passes into the intestines. In the meantime the parasite undergoes various changes and finally emerges in an egg form, or what is known as an oocyst. It then passes out in the droppings. This stage is not capable of producing disease. The fresh droppings from an infected fowl will not produce coccidiosis.
After being passed in the droppings, the oocyst undergoes a change, it proper conditions of moisture, air and temperature are provided. At this stage the parasite is capable of producing disease.
About four to six days, depending upon the kind of coccidiosis present, are necessary for the parasite to attain much development after being consumed. During the succeeding few days, heavily infected fowls discharge millions of oocysts in the droppings and thus expose others to infection.
Severity of the Disease Dependent Upon Number of Parasites Consumed – The number of oocysts consumed determines the severity of the disease. Fowls infected with small numbers appear perfectly healthy. Young fowls infected with a large number for the first infection regularly die with the disease in the case of the bloody types. Older fowls may show considerable cecal hemorrhage or bleeding and recover, but are not so likely to recover with small-intestine infection accompanied by bleeding. The fact that severity of the disease is determined by the number of coccidia is of considerable importance, as it means that reducing the number serves as a control measure. This is accomplished by sanitation. Since the oocysts pass out in greatest numbers during the first week after symptoms develop, the value of frequent cleaning during that period is obvious.
Method of Distribution – The parasite may be carried mechanically on the shoes, by flies, birds, used brooder equipment, which has not been thoroughly cleaned, streams, or irrigation ditches. Used unsterilized feed sacks may also act as a carrier, but are probably not a frequent source. In other instance the purchase of infected fowls is a source of infection. It is highly important to remember that mature fowls provide a very likely source of infection for your stock on the same farm. Droppings from the mature fowls, adhering to the attendant’s shoes, perhaps afford the most common means of carrying the parasite to the brooder stock.
Seasonal Conditions exercise a distinct influence on the development of coccidiosis. This is due to the fact that moisture and warmth provided during the spring and summer months permit of rapid and regular development of the oocyst to the stage, which is capable of producing the disease. Therefore, it more frequently occurs in severe form at such times. It is possible for severe coccidiosis to develop during the winter. When this occurs the source of infective oocysts is likely to be soil or material contaminated during the warm season or contaminated material during the warm season or contaminated material kept warm by the brooder stove.
Symptoms and Diagnosis – The symptoms in many cases of coccidiosis may not differ from those of a number of other diseases. This is particularly true when moderate infection exists. Where very mild infection occurs there may be no outward evidence. These cases can be diagnosed only with the aid of a microscope. There are times, however, when the average poultry raiser could hardly be mistaken in making a diagnosis.
Severe sudden outbreaks of cecal and sometimes small intestine coccidiosis are accompanied by the passage of distinct amounts of pure blood in the droppings. Young fowls affected with severe coccidiosis may die suddenly, without any symptoms having been noticed other than a pale comb, and a slight amount of blood on the vent fluff. Fowls dying under such circumstances may be in perfect flesh and show no symptoms until a few hours before death. They should be examined and the condition of the intestines noted. Such fatal cases of coccidiosis will often show the ceca or blind intestines bulging with pure blood, or in other instances such material will occur in the small intestine usually some distance below the gizzard. When the small intestine is so affected, it is common for it to be distinctly enlarged where the infection is most severe.
If the infection is moderately severe, the fowl will usually be droopy for several days up to a week or two, lose weight, and die during this period, or gradually show less symptoms and possible come back to normal weight. When many fowls in growing flocks appear droopy, and no other cause for disease can be determined, it is usually the safest plan to conclude that coccidiosis is the cause the apply sanitation accordingly.
Effect Upon Fowls of Laying Age – Fowls, which have not been infected during the rearing period, may be disastrously affected in the laying-house. Such flows consuming large doses of coccidia may show a slight to complete lack of egg production with six kinds of coccidiosis.
Coccidiosis and Paralysis – Paralysis is not infrequently stated to be brought on by coccidiosis. Since coccidiosis is so widespread it is not at all surprising that the two are frequently found in the same fowl. This does not signify that paralysis is due to coccidiosis. Paralyzed fowls may show large numbers of coccidia or none at all. This does not prove that coccidia are or are not the cause of paralysis. Fowls, which are free from coccidiosis, may have been infected in the past and in fowls, which are infected the parasites, may have no relationship to the paralysis. Substantial evidence at hand contradicts the hypothesis that paralysis is due to coccidia.
Prevention – “Sanitation is the foundation of coccidiosis control…. The inauguration of sanitary measures on an economic basis cannot be expected totally to eliminate coccidium infection, but they should result in holding infection down to a low degree, and permit of successful rearing.” These statements, made a number of years ago, are still consistent with the known facts.
Rearing fowls absolutely free of coccidiosis is highly undesirable if they are later to be kept under average commercial flock conditions. Such fowls would then be disastrously affected, so far as mortality and egg production are concerned, if they obtain large numbers of the parasite. Management factors, which allow the fowls to consume small doses during the growing period, are more likely to prove satisfactory. This by no means constitutes a recommendation for the use of methods generally recognized as insanitary.
Soil Conditions – Well-drained soil provides the most suitable land. This type dries out more readily and therefore assists in preventing development of the oocyst. Those, which do develop, are likely to die more quickly in dry soils than in damp soils.
The common practice of plowing the yard and growing a crop is to be recommended, but this cannot be relied upon to rid the soil of all coccidia. Annual plowing and leaving the yards idle for three or four years will probably result in practically all of the oocysts being destroyed since they would, during such time, be subjected to drying, which is very destructive to them. Where only one or two yards are provided, it is perhaps best not to plow at all, but to sweep the yards and haul the sweepings away. Plowing or spading the yards during an outbreak only serves to encourage the disease.
Types of Brooding and Equipment – The colony brooder, which is moved to new land, offers one means of controlling coccidiosis. Until recent years it has been the most accepted method of brooding to control intestinal parasites. This method has the disadvantage of high labor cost.
The permanently located brooder provides a particularly desirable type of brooding from the standpoint of convenience and labor. It is frequently open to objection because of its tendency to aggravate the development of coccidiosis.
In order to overcome the objection to the permanently located brooder, because of its favoring intestinal parasitic diseases, an artificial yard is sometimes used. This commonly consists of concrete or wire netting. Such a yard preferably extends the length of the brooder. It may be up to about 20 feet in width. The wire yard does not require frequent cleaning. While the concrete yard requires more frequent cleaning, it gives some opportunity for the fowls to acquire coccidial infection in mild form and to develop immunity. Having such a yard permits of cleaning it as thoroughly as the house and with slight labor. It is desirable to have the concrete yard sloped about eight to ten inches away from the brooder. It may be covered with sand or not, as desired.
One should not conclude that the concrete yard itself eliminates the losses. It merely provides suitable conditions for assisting in prevention and particularly for control when a severe outbreak occurs. It also assists in controlling other intestinal parasite diseases, especially roundworms and some tapeworms. As soon as brooding is completed, the fowls should be moved to range houses provided with wire floors high enough to prevent access to the droppings.
Drinking vessels placed on wire-covered or slatted frames will prevent access to moist places and will prevent the birds from consuming moist droppings. Wire floors over the entire brooder floor are undesirable. Coccidiosis may be entirely prevented by such equipment and if the fowls are placed on litter or soil later, serious coccidiosis may result. If one must resort to the use of such equipment to control coccidiosis, it would perhaps be preferable to go out of the business.
Range Conditions – Flocks on range present a difficult situation when seriously affected with the disease. Under such circumstances the houses should be moved farther apart to provide to flows with increase range. This reduces the degrees of contamination in the soil and accordingly the possibility of severe infection.
Treatment is of secondary importance, and can be recommended only as a means of making the best of an already bad situation, not as a routine preventive. Coccidiosis occurs in spite of any treatment, which has been reported. Feeding a ration consisting of about 20 per cent powered skim milk or buttermilk assist s in controlling cecal coccidiosis accompanied by blood. When this amount of dried mil is given, an ample supply of water must be provided, as considerably more is consumed than normally. It is advisable also to provide more driking space.
Control of Sudden, Severe Outbreak – When outbreaks of this nature occur involving bleeding from the ceca, the above mentioned milk feeding is advised to be continued for a week or ten days. Milk feeding may have no value for the control of coccidiosis of the small intestine. Its use offers definite objections from the standpoint of causing the droppings to become more liquid, thus favoring development of the oocysts in the litter. The following, which is essentially the so-called “Wisconsin” ration, may be used as an all-mash ration for the control of cecal infection:
Ingredients Parts by weight
Ground yellow corn 80
Wheat middlings 20
Bone meal 5
Limestone grit 5
Fine salt 1
Dried milk (skim or buttermilk) 30
Daily cleaning of the house is an advantage and the yard should be swept daily until marked improvement in the flock results.
If the weaker fowls are separated from the others, they do much better, the deaths are less, and the well fowls are less likely to become infected.
Moist places frequently occur where the fowls drink. Special precautions are taken to eliminate these moist places during warm weather and near the brooder stove at all times.
Flocks showing a severe outbreak can sometimes be handled to advantage by taking the cockerels out and placing them in fattening crates with wire bottoms so that the droppings pass through and cannot be reached by the fowls. This management alone will prevent further losses other than those already severely infected.
Additional heat is necessary during acute outbreaks, particularly when feeding liberally of milk or milk products. More careful observation is necessary to prevent losses due to huddling.
There is no more interesting chapter in the history of the rise of the poultry industry than the sensational progress made by the people of Japan. The records show that they accomplished more over there in the five-year period 1925-1930 than we have in this century to date. Of course, the alert Japanese learned much from us when in 1927 and 1928 they came over to inspect and study the methods that were responsible for the world’s record stock of British Columbia and the Pacific States to the south. Encouraged and assisted by a sympathetic and progressive government with a real policy of improvement, they were not slow to secure the very best of the high record bloodlines of this continent. They accomplished this because they were willing to pay a good price for stock. Through the government farms and departments of agriculture and education in Japan this blood was multiplied and distributed to the farmers on such a comprehensive scale as to literally transform the poultry keeping from and insignificant sideline in farming into one of the most important branches of agriculture.
Figures from official records indicate an increase of 12 million head of high producing poultry in the country from 1927 to 1932. Egg production itself was raised from an average of 107.2 eggs to 122.8 in the same period. This the highest average secured in any country in the world. Higher averages are obtained in some districts but not over a nation as a whole. This is all the more remarkable when it is considered that the poultry population of Japan still includes a considerable proportion of the native breeds like the Nagoya and other less productive ones. Such production is pretty certain proof of the efficiency of the methods practiced in Japan. As a matter of fact there appears little doubt that these thorough going people have learned practically all that Occidentals had to teach them and “then some”. Ample evidence now exists to show that in ne important new art the Japanese are three years ahead of the poultrymen in this country. This discovery is the determination of the sex of baby chicks by differences in the rudimentary copulative organs, or particularly the cloaca.
The Japanese got into the same trouble as our poultrymen with regard to surplus Leghorn broilers. Conditions in Japan were ever worse in this respect than in this country in 1929. There was practically no market over there for the tremendous numbers of these young cockerels produced through the rapid increase of the Leghorn breed in connection with the government’s big ten year program for increased production. Japanese scientists came to the rescue as they perfected their technique in sex determination. As far back as 1925 Dr. Masui of the Veterinary Division of the University of Tokio published a report of certain differences that he discovered in male and female chicks. When more advanced work was reported in a paper on “The Rudimentary Copulatory Organs of the Male Domestic Fowl and the Difference of the Sexes of Chickens” world wide interest was created in the important discovery. It was not considered to be feasible, however, from a commercial standpoint and also because of the time required to examine the chicks and the danger of injuring the young bird in the process.
It was not known by Dr. Masui or his co-workers in the early stages that chick sexing could be made practical for hatcheries or poultrymen. However, through the indomitable application of such practical pioneers as Kojima the practice was found to be commercially feasible. By intensive study of Dr. Masui’s method and the examination of the copulative organs of older chicks of 60 days of age he became familiar with the differences in the sexes. By comparing the organs of younger 30 days old and still younger chicks Kojima gradually improved his technique and familiarity with the organs and their differences to a point where he could distinguish the sexes at a day old. He also became able, through continued practice over a six months period during which he handled and examined thousands of chicks of different ages to make the examinations and decisions quickly.
Many others, like Sakajiyama have followed the example set by Kojima and have become practical teachers of Dr. Masui’s method of chick sexing. Meanwhile, Dr. Masui and Dr. Hashimoto have carried on their research on differences in different breeds and strains of chicks and other phases. The most recent findings are embodied in a book, which is now in the press. The previous classifications showing the different types of male and female chicks according to the presence or absence of genital eminence in the cloaca, as described in the Japanese textbook, are presented for students in the New Edition in the English translation.
Introduction of Chick Sexing into America
Considerable skepticism existed in England and on this continent regarding the commercial feasibility of chick sexing until recently when the Japanese expert Yogo gave his practical demonstrations. In Japan, the work, which has been developing ever since Kojima had such success in 1929-1930, is now carefully regulated for the most part by important organizations. The chief of these is the Japan Sex Propagate Association which consists of important scientists and officials in Japan, and which has received strong support from the Japan Poultry Journal. Mr. Takahashi, the owner and publisher of the Journal and an important teacher and investigator in his country, is president of the association, and Mr. Yamaguch, who is so well known in this country, and who is associate editor of the journal, is a director. The sexing experts themselves make up the principal rank and file membership in this professional organization.
Chick sexing in Japan is on a well organized educational and professional basis. Training schools have been conducted there for years in important poultry and hatchery centres. Students train for diplomas of third, second and first class Standards. Beginning with Thirds they gradually work up to the higher efficiency of speed and accuracy. A good many fail to qualify but already there are over 100 experts holding First Class Certificates in Japan. These men and women (there are 30 duly qualified young women experts in Japan) have shown in examinations that they can sex chicks at the minimum rate of 100 Leghorn chicks in 30 minutes, and with an accuracy of over 92 per cent. Most of them exceed these marks, especially after practice. The hatcheries employing such experts may safely guarantee that the sex of the chicks sold as pullets will be 90 per cent correct.
Although chick sexing was bound to be shown in this country soon, it was fortunate that the progressive Chick Sexing Propagate Association donated as a prize to the Grand Champion chick sexer of Japan a free trip to America. The Central Contests are held every year in Japan to stimulate competition and create interest in the outlying districts where the preliminary contests are held. Under the management and direction of Mr. Yamaguch, as is so well known now, demonstrations were arranged for and held this last spring at the University of B.C., Oregon Agricultural College, University of California and many hatcheries in different centres on the Pacific coast.
Every practical poultryman who does not cater to a special meat market knows what a nuisance the young cockerels are. The extra equipment, heat, space, labor and feed required just to rear to the age where sex can be detected, or they are fit to be “shot” into the market makes if a very expensive proposition. The expense appears to be superfluous, too.
If the cockerels could be marketed at a fair price when they were ready the trouble would be worth while. Even then their very presence would militate against the welfare of the pullets. So few commercial poultrymen, especially egg producers, make anything out of broilers that the more completely and the sooner they can be removed from the flocks the better.
It is from the standpoint of disease and the added menace brought about by brooding and rearing two chickens where only one is needed or ought to be that the greatest advantage would appear to accrue from chick sexing. The evils of overcrowding, in its stunting effects on birds, the unfair chance that the pullets have in competition with the more vigorous cockerels for feed; the feather eating, cannibalism, piling up; greater danger of infection from B.W.D., Coccidiosis, worms and paralysis and many more sanitary conditions or the absolute reduction of numbers as a safeguard. Chick sexing, which permits the egg producer to purchase just what he wants, viz., pullet chicks, looms up as a very useful aid in management problems and fighting the disease menace.
A New Profession
Boys and girls between the ages of 18 and 24, according to experience in Japan, will be attracted into this new and lucrative profession. A little calculation will show their earning possibilities with fees at one cent a chick, and experts capable of sexing from 3000 to 5000 a day.
While these laboratory demonstrations were eminently successful in showing the extreme accuracy and speed with which chick sexing could be done by a first class expert of Yogo’s caliber, the practical work done for hatcheries was still more convincing. The star example was at the Bolivar Hatcheries where 25,000 chicks were sexed by Yogo in four days. A check of these birds at 5 and 6 weeks revealed only 39 cockerel chicks out of one large lot of 11,800 pullets or an error of less than one third of 1 per cent or an accuracy of 99.7 per cent, which is incredibly high. In the case of the cockerels the error was less than 1 per cent. It is reported that one poultryman who purchased 2000 sexed cockerel chicks and who expected to do well on the deal wasn’t so enthusiastic about it when he finally counted all of the pullets, which he could find.
In one lot of 500 sexed cockerels kept and fed by the Washington Co-operative Hatchery at Bellingham, one lone pullet was discovered later. In answer to a questionnaire sent out by the Co-op. to six of its members who had purchased sexed pullet chicks (2850 in number) the losses in brooding were found to be very light. The customers were well satisfied with the chicks and the majority were enthusiastic about chick sexing, promising to purchase nothing but sexed pullet chicks next season if they were available.
A very successful demonstration was given at the International Baby Chick Convention at Grand Rapids, Michigan, on August 8th, last, before over 1000 commercial poultrymen of U.S. and Canada. Before this assembly Yogo sexed 100 chicks with 100 per cent accuracy and on the speed test he sexed 200 chicks in 13 minutes and 27 seconds. A profound impression was created in the minds of these progressive hatcherymen, and a good many of whom turned out more than a million chicks in a year and who are appreciative of the importance of such a revolutionary practice. It was impossible to satisfy the demand or the demonstration and reservations were made by the hatcherymen for all available experts for the coming season.
Service to the Industry
It is not necessary to dwell upon the surplus broiler problem at this time. The writer has found it to be even more serious in other parts of this continent than in British Columbia. Poultrymen everywhere have sought to be relieved of it for years. Breeding sex-linked varieties has in some places been adopted to enable the detection and separation of the male from the female as baby chicks. This practice has attained considerable vogue in England and in the New England States. It does not meet the situation, however, on a large scale and leaves the White Leghorn entirely out of its sphere.
While records as high as 8,000 to 10,000 chicks have been made by experts in Japan, a good commercial average would be 4,000 to 5,000 chicks in an eight hour day. The work requires concentrated scrutiny of the eyes and exacting technique of the hands so that excessive speed is hard on the operator and does not make for the highest accuracy. In a hatching season approximately 100 days at least 300,000 could be handled by one expert.
An important part of the technique is the way in which the chick is held. The chick should be held firmly but softly so that the fingers and hand may be coordinated as light pressure is applied to the abdomen of the chick and the cloaca inverted and its folds exposed. The genital eminence of the male can be seen as a whitish projection when the vent has been properly opened, whereas in the female the folds and membrane do not show such a raised organ. Since the vent is very small and folds smaller very sharp eyes and strong eyesight are necessary. Whereas young people of from 18 to 24 years generally have the keenest eyesight and have the best chances of success in learning the art, it was really older men who perfected the art in Japan. Anyone with keen senses of touch and eyesight may become proficient. In any case it requires much practice, the use of many chicks and continuous reference to the text book to attain efficiency in separating the sexes.
Chick sexing has made its debut in this country and proves its worth at once. Henceforth it will be possible through its adoption by hatcherymen to supply poultrymen with the pullet or cockerel chicks as required. Poultrymen will produce better pullets at lower cost even when they pay twice as much for pullet chicks as for mixed chicks. The destruction of many young broilers will relieve the broiler market and permit of better prices for all market chickens. Broiler specialists will supply the market with chickens of better quality. Everyone concerned will benefit from the adoption of chick sexing, and work with good remuneration will be provided for many of our Canadian young men and women. Millions of extra chicks will be required too for the schools. It all looks like good business for the poultry industry.
When we first published the C. P. Feed formulas, last October, it was a question in our minds whether poultrymen preferred to mix their own feeds or to purchase them ready mixed. We knew how good the feeds ere and that the best possible results could be expected. Now, after three quarters of a year has gone by, from the letters we have had and the poultrymen we have talked to, there is no doubt that the Supplement has popularized the home mixing of mash. With all the small ingredients, and incidentally the most important, in one bag, it is a simple matter of make up any formula suited to individual requirements. The actual combination of ground grains is relatively unimportant. They can be regulated according to market prices, the seasons and class of stock.
In the Supplement we aimed to include every necessary element in which the grains are deficient. Thus, we have animal protein and a high percentage of organic minerals. Vitamins A and D are also present. If birds were kept under natural conditions, conditions that they would instinctively choose, and were allowed to live their lives in their own way, we would not have to supply them with any proteins or minerals or vitamins. Things being as they are, necessitating the keeping of several hundreds of birds to the acre, sometimes totally confined even, if we don't supply them with every element that nature intended them to have, we are courting trouble and we usually get it.
The ingredient that always causes comment is the dehydrated kelp. Some people have never heard of it being used for poultry and still others do not know what it is. Kelp is seaweed and supplies come to us principally from the Pacific Ocean. The plant grows in profusion only in certain locations along the Pacific coast where there is the proper combination of water depth, water temperature, atmospheric temperature, currents and rocky bottom. One strange characteristic is that kelp does not take root in the ocean bottom, and always grows from rocks to which its many roots attach like claws, forming heavy masses.
From these rocks the plants grow to the surface of the ocean 60 feed or more above and then develop along the surface until they reach an average length of 120 feet at maturity. The water in which the kelp grows is so clear that the bottom of the ocean can be clearly seen. Kelp is harvested by a large boat carrying special equipment. This harvester moves slowly through the kelp beds, while reciprocating knives, like those on a grain harvester, cut a clean swath ahead of the boat. After the kelp has been cut, it is picked up by a conveyor which discharges it into the hold of the harvester, When the boat has been loaded with freshly harvested kelp, it returns to the manufacturing plant where it is dehydrated and ground.
Now, as to the value of kelp for feeding poultry. It is well known that the minerals in the land are gradually washed, by rains, into rivers and find their way to the sea. Very gradually, a little each year, the land is yielding up its mineral content to the sea so that today, in many parts of the world, the land has become woefully deficient in the minerals vitally necessary in maintaining perfect health. Plants grown on land that ordinarily have the ability to store up these valuable elements are unable to do so if the elements are not present in the soil. Therefore, we must ask the sea to yield up some of its abundant store. Fish contain some of these vital elements but the richest source is found in plants that grow in the sea and so we use kelp for our supply.
The remarkable ability of the giant brown kelp plants to absorb the essential minerals from the ocean and to concentrate them in vegetable form gives kelp meal great value in animal nutrition. These digestible mineral salts constitute more than one third the weight of kelp meal and they are several thousand times more concentrated in the kelp plant than in the ocean water. The variety of minerals in kelp is as important as the digestible, vegetable form in which they are present.
The more important essential minerals of kelp are vegetable Iodine, Iron, Copper and Manganese. Prominent among its other mineral constituents are Calcium, Phosphorus, Sulphur, Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium and Chlorine. These essential elements are usually very deficient in land grown feedstuffs. Such a combination of minerals in practical concentration cannot be found in any other plant. The extraordinary amount of vegetable iodine is one reason why it is such a valuable foodstuff for poultry and cattle. The real value of iodine for poultry is only beginning to be realized. It is known to assist in the assimilation of calcium, promoting a better bone structure, and it is usually found that birds fed on kelp eat less food, the supposition being that because of the action of iodine, working through the thyroid gland, greater assimilation of the digestible particles of the food takes place.
It is also acknowledged that a supply of kelp gives greater resistance to disease, and this, in itself, is worth the consideration of poultrymen.
Because kelp is very high in minerals does not mean that it is a complete mineral feed in itself. Calcium and phosphorus in greater quantities than are found in kelp need to be supplied to poultry. The Supplement includes calcium carbonate (ground oyster shell, clam shell or limestone) and the bone meal and meat scrap supplies the phosphorus.
There is no mystery about mixing good feeds. It is something that every poultryman should become acquainted with. The successful feeder is he who knows how to ring the changes, who senses the coming needs of his birds and is able, through knowledge of the value of foodstuffs, to maintain his birds in the very finest condition throughout all the seasons.
(Courtesy of “Poultry Press”)
Ever alert to new developments and better methods in poultry production, poultry husbandry specialists, by extensive use in their “Grow Healthy Chicks” campaigns, have awakened the poultryman to the value of destroying disease germs by fire in poultry laying and brooder houses.
Until recently the poultry breeder turned liquid chemicals, whenever disease took excessive toll. These liquid chemicals were not generally effective, especially on the hardy and more harmful forms of disease germ life, such as coccidiosis, parasitic worms, etc. Besides being ineffective, liquid chemicals do not leave the houses and equipment in condition for immediate use, making an additional investment in the form of added houses and equipment necessary to provide for the stock during the “drying period,” if a good sanitation job is to result.
But now science, with its newer application of controlled fire has provided the poultryman with a positive way to destroy disease germs – the blast being applied by an oil burning torch or fire-gun, which generates a tremendous heat, and penetrates every nook and corner, where germs lurk awaiting their opportunity to spread disease and destruction, especially during the usually damp and cool brooding season.
The new owner can be under way with his fire-gun, almost as quickly as the old timer, because the starting and use of the torch is simplicity itself. Operating on the same principle as the ordinary plumber’s blow torch, the gun is lighted and put to work in five minutes time.
There is no trick to the use of the fire-gun. It is simply moved slowly over the surface to be disinfected. It is astonishing how long the flame can be held on the same spot without causing even a discoloration or charring on the floor or woodwork. It is not necessary to blacken or char to obtain perfect sanitation. In fact, carefully treated houses show only a slight trace of coloring on the floor, and an occasional spot on the wall where the gun may have been held too long. On cement floors the same effective results are obtained.
For speedy disinfecting and low cost, torching cannot be beaten. It takes but 10 minutes, and five cents worth of kerosene to thoroughly torch over or disinfect a 12 ft. by 12 ft. house. First remove all straw, litter and like material. Then brush down and scrape the house out to clean. If a hose is available use it. The house is then ready for the fire-gun. The floor and lower side walls should be torched over twice, and once over the remainder of the side walls and ceiling. There is relatively no smoke, no danger of fire and the house is dry and warm ready for immediate use.
As a precaution, in buildings where woodwork and boards are old and decayed, it is advisable to have a few pails of water handy for an emergency, because decayed wood catches fire very easily.
Special attention should be given the threshold and corridors. Much infection arises by this route, and they should be gone over as regularly as the floors and walls of the house. Concrete platforms and yards should be burned out once a week to kill roundworm eggs.
Equipment used should also be burned over after each cleaning. Dropping board scrapers, hose, shovels, metal feed troughs, water fountains, often sources of infection, should also be burned over or torched.
There is no place where a fire-gun or oil torch is more useful, than in disinfecting battery brooders. In a number of plants where coccidiosis was experienced in battery brooders, the oil torch has replaced all other disinfectants, and in every instance coccidiosis has become a thing of the past. Wire bottoms can be easily slipped out of most batteries, and should be torched or burned over. It pays to do this every week or two transferring the chicks to another compartment in the meantime, or to a holding crate. In some instances it is possible to slip in a clean wire grid, removing the dirty one without disturbing the chicks.
In addition many poultrymen have devised special uses for their oil torches, the most important being the burning of weeds, foul grass, tangled vines and hedges, etc. The weeds are burned green on the stalk, just as they stand with positive killing effect. Other valuable uses are drying damp floors, cellars, wet sand, etc. In winter time for thawing our frozen pipes and leaders – melting ice and snow. Warming concrete materials so that a concrete job can be successfully finished after freezing weather sets in. Farm machinery repairs find an oil torch saves many trips to and from coke forge by heating iron for bending, brazing, loosening tight couplings, expanding for shrink fits, starting tractor engines in cold weather, etc.
The opening years of the twentieth century have witnessed a tremendous advance in the science of nutrition, due in large measure to the discovery of vitamins and their role in the normal life processes. In the field of poultry nutrition, probably the most important event of period has been the discovery that the feeding of cod liver oil would make possible the rearing of chicks in confinement – a contribution which immediately opened up unlimited possibilities, both to the poultry keeper and tot the student of nutrition. Following close on this discovery came the development of the “all-mash” system of feeding, which is now adopted as standard practice, not only for chicks but in many cases for growing pullets and for laying hens. By means of all-mash feeding the poultry keeper can cut his labor costs, improve sanitation, and control feed consumption, while the research worker is enabled to conduct more careful studies with chicks under laboratory conditions.
With the introduction of satisfactory methods of rearing chicks indoors, there has come about a marked change in general feeding management, which threatens to revolutionize the entire poultry industry. Commercial plants are now raising their chicks in large units, closely confined in electrically heated brooders, built like apartment hotels – a system which involves a minimum of floor space, a minimum of labor and better control over the factors which contribute to the welfare of the flock. Many poultry plants also are expanding upwards instead of outwards, and laying-houses may tower to six stories in height, the birds being confined without access to yards throughout their whole life. A still further development of the confinement system of management is to be found in the new method of housing adult birds in “laying batteries” where hundreds may be cared for in a relatively small space, each hen being confined in an individual cage. Trap-nests are done away with, cleaning becomes automatic, and each bird can be observed and her record checked, with the utmost ease and accuracy. Results of such methods show that with good sanitation, careful management and a satisfactory ration, egg production goes up, mortality goes down, vigor and health are maintained and feed costs are reduced.
In the days when poultry keeping was entirely a farmyard proposition, when feeding was based principally on tradition and expediency, and when a touching faith in nature was the keynote of the system, such things as free range, open air, exercise and dust baths were considered the all-important essentials. Some of these, of course, are still highly valuable assets, provided they are not accompanied by soil contamination and other danger, but for modern commercial “egg factories” they prove to be cumbersome, expensive and risky, and are thus being replaced largely by the various artificial substitutes which science has devised. “Natural methods” served admirably for small flocks which were not exposed to the strain of heavy production and the hazards of contagious disease and parasites, but for commercial flocks of today, which must make a profit in the face of strong competition and low prices, factory methods have to be adopted and business principles applied, so as to maintain efficiency and cut production costs.
In the realm of research in poultry nutrition, there have also been dramatic changes since confinement rearing has ben introduced and feeding methods have been simplified. Electrically heated battery brooders make possible the rearing of large numbers of chicks in the laboratory, where heat, light moisture and ventilation are under control; where feed intake can be measured and growth rates recorded; where strictest sanitation can be observed and contagious disease eliminated; and where every pen can be kept under close and continuous observation.
Since these methods of scientific study have been adopted, a great deal of work has been done on the nutritional requirements of poultry in the various stages of their life, in an attempt to solve the many questions which mean so much in the efficient management of a flock. What, for instance, is the best amount of protein to feed at different stages of growth and production? What amounts of mineral should be fed to chicks, to pullets and to layers, in what ratio should they be included and from what sources should they be taken? What are the requirements of the chick and of the hen for the various vitamins, and what feeds supply these in greatest abundance, and with the greatest economy and convenience in feeding? These are similar questions from a large part of the research program in poultry nutrition and the answers as they are found are quickly translated to practical condition, so that reliable feeding standards may eventually be established.
Another phase of the work, which has received a good deal of attention, is the effect of nutrition on the quality of the product, e.g., on the strength of the egg-shell, the colour of the yolk, the consistency of the albumen and the food value of the egg. For instance, the quality as well as the quantity of protein fed to laying hens has been shown to have a definite effect on the amount of protein in the egg, but little or no influence on the chemical composition of the egg proteins. The vitamin content of the feed, however, is definitely reflected in the product, and has a strong influence on the strength and vitality of the embryo. Such foodstuffs as mild, cod liver oil and alfalfa, have been shown to be highly efficient in improving hatchability, and are now recommended as important elements in rations for the breeding flock.
Another feature of recent investigational work in poultry nutrition has been the study of the relation of diet to disease. Many ills, such as various types of leg weakness in chicks, crooked breastbones, some forms of paralysis and some types of respiratory diseases, can now be traced to defects or deficiencies in the ration. Furthermore, it is becoming more and more evident that while active disease does exact a heavy tool of our flocks, the most serious losses are traceable ultimately to low efficiency from malnutrition. Poor nutrition over an extended period may be responsible for retarded growth, and low vitality, and as a consequence, for low production ill-health and low hatchability of the eggs. It may also produce alterations in the chemical composition of the blood and other body fluids, which will lead to a lowering of the defense mechanism against bacterial invasion. Recently there has been submitted some evidence that nutrition may have an effect on immunity, that is, on the power of the antibodies and the white blood cells to combat disease organism. If this should prove to be the case, the composition of thee diet will become an even more important factor in good management that it is conserved today.
Discoveries in the field of nutrition are thus materially affecting the trend of poultry keeping, which is now definitely towards larger flock units, confined to small areas where close control is possible and production costs can be reduced. Emphasis, however, is laid on the importance of sanitation and on complete balance in the ration, to compensate for the natural agencies, which cannot be utilized. The poultry man himself must also advance with the times. He must not only become familiar with the fundamental considerations involved in the practice recommended and keep up-to-date with the newest and best that science has to offer, but he must adopt sound business policies in the management of his enterprise. Only by such means will he be enabled to avoid the pitfalls and embarrassment, which surrounded the industry at the present time, and to maintain the high efficiency which is essential to any profitable undertaking.
A formula for a milk-derivative whey-powder, which is likely to prove of considerable importance in disease resistance and health maintenance among poultry, particularly in the control of coccidiosis among chickens, has been discovered by F.H.Clickner, professor of Nutritional Research of Rutgers University and research chemist of Kraft-Phoenix Cheese Corporation. The provision of mineral salts in correct balance in the diet is as important to the health of poultry as to human beings, Professor Clickner has found in his experiments.
Professor Clickner’s extensive research in poultry feeding began in 1925 when a brood of 1200 baby chicks at the Green Brock Poultry Farm, a New Jersey State certified farm, were started on a mash feed containing 15 per cent of the whey-powder developed in the Kraft laboratories. The entire brood was permitted to run on soil heavily infected with coccidiosis organisms. The result was that 93 per cent of the fowls were raised to the age of 10 weeks – the danger period – without the signs of coccidiosis.
Eliminated in Ten Days
First experiment with the use of the milk-whey remedy fro coccidiosis were conducted by Professor Clickner at the Smith Brothers Farm near Vineland. The maximum time required to arrest and eliminate acute coccidiosis infections was 10 days. These cases were treated with a mash, using 25 to 30 per cent of the whey-powder.
Coccidiosis and leg-weakness, the two chief diseases among poultry, were found to yield with miraculous speed to the use of whey-powder. In all cases under experiment, not only was the disease situation completely controlled by the use of whey-powder, but uniformly superior chicks resulted; chicken with a high degree of pigmentation, yellow shanks and beaks.
The major ingredient of this new compound is milk-lactose or milk-sugar, constituting 75 per cent of the product. Heretofore 50 per cent has been considered the maximum milk-sugar content of milk derivations which could be obtained.
The function of milk-sugar is to produce sufficient lactic-acid in the intestine of the bird to combat the bacteria. After a few days of feeding milk-sugar, sufficient acidity is produced in the ceca of the bird to destroy the parasite of the coccidiosis, Professor Clickner’s report shows.
U.K. study links chicken consumption to increased cancer riskEating chicken puts consumers at a higher risk of a…
Be Air-Aware: The impact of ammoniaOne of the biggest complaints surrounding the poultry barn –…
Researchers use laser to stimulate bird activityElizabeth Bobeck and colleagues at Iowa State University in Ames,…
Study finds many backyard flock owners not following proper hygieneWhile many people now keep chickens or ducks in their…