A poultry farm in the city
By F. W. Beeson
By F. W. Beeson
“What in the world do you want to write my place up for?” Such was the remark uttered by Mr. Charles E. Tryon, poultry farmer of Kerrisdale, Vancouver, when I visited him recently. My reply was that I wanted to give our readers an idea of how poultry farming can be successfully conducted on high priced and highly taxed land within the city limits.
I had already written and editorial stating that many poultrymen do not get all they should from their product because they allow too many middlemen to take profits from their products. This particular farm was not in my mind when writing the editorial but it serves to illustrate what can be accomplished by a man who does everything in a businesslike way.
Thirteen years ago Mr. Tryon bought 2-1/2 acres, half of a city block, in what is today one of the finest residential sections of Vancouver. A beautiful residence encircled by clover lawns and apple trees, surrounded on three sides by laying houses, a model brooder house, rearing shelters and ranges, has been built up since that date. Strangely enough, the little farm does not look out of place surrounded as it is by modern residences and flower gardens, but this is only because everything is kept so clean and tidy. Mr. Tryon says he is not proud of the place – though he should be – and intends to move onto more spacious quarters and build a really up-to-date farm, which he will be proud of.
Each year some 1,700 pullets are reared, not on wire floors or batteries, but on the ground. They are housed, on leaving the brooder house, in open sided range shelters, and feed hoppers and water troughs are placed at intervals all over the one acre – divided into two section – that is their range. The land is exceedingly light and porous. Had it not been it is inconceivable that it would still be rearing husky, disease-free pullets, as it does,
A breeding flock of 500 – 600 two year old hens is maintained and every second or third year absolutely unrelated pedigree cockerels are introduced. All the birds are White Leghorns.
The incubators are the small 540-egg type. The brooder house is heated with hot water pipes and has six sections. All the fitting up was done by the owner. The runs outside are of concrete. The cockerel problem has been solved by the advent of chick sexing.
The eggs are all graded and stamped on the farm and sold direct to the consumer and to local stores. The cull hens, I was told – and I winced at memory of my editorial – were all sold alive, but I was relieved to learn that Mr. Tryon considers he would be ahead of the game were he to dress them. He says he has never found the time to handle them that way.
Feed is bought through a local co-operative and, although I forgot to ask, I presume the mashes are home mixed. A low protein chick feed is given from the first feed to maturity, when laying mash is substituted. Green feed forms an essential part of the diet and that is what the clover lawns are used for. Also, Mr. Tryon is a great believer in sprouted grain, providing he can do the sprouting himself. He says it is tricky stuff to handle and if anything goes wrong in the process the birds will be upset. In winter sprouted grain and carrots are fed every day.
“Have you ever had Coccidiosis?”
“Have you ever had chicken pox?”
“Do you have trouble with intestinal worms or paralysis?”
Probably one of the first users of a fire torch for sterilizing, Mr. Tryon is a staunch advocate of this method of disinfection. He brought the first torch made in Vancouver. In fact the North Coast Welding Co. made it especially for him. It has solved his coccidiosis trouble.
Against chicken pox the birds are vaccinated each year.
At the time of my visit several pens were being prepared – hosed thoroughly and later gone over with the fire torch – for the early pullets, several hundred of which were reddening up out of the range.
Some crossbreeding has been attempted this year, using the Black Minorca male with Leghorn hens. He wants to keep to the white egg but finds it extremely difficult to secure production bred Minorcas. I told him about the Ancona-Leghorn cross as described in this issue.
Peat moss is used for litter and Mr. Tryon is keenly interested in seeing some method of processing peat and poultry manure to take the place of the hundreds of tons of sheep manure imported into Vancouver every year from the States.
Facing heavy taxation, the fear of this land stale, makes Mr. Tryon wish he was located further from the centre of the city. It would not be fair to say that what he has accomplished anybody could do. To run a farm of this character successfully for so many years on such limited land has been possible only because he commenced doing so after many years of business experience. This is one farm where there is a place for everything and everything is in its place.