Poultry Research

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.

Glands Stimulated

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

Published in Technology

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.

Published in Technology

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.

Published in Technology

Cross breeding makes possible the output of a high grade chick that will prove profitable to its owner, yet cannot come into future competition, as a breeder, with pure or standard bred birds.

(From the address delivered at the regular monthly meeting of the Vancouver Poultry and Pet Stock Association)

In speaking on cross breeding I realize I am tackling a big and a wide subject and one to which there are many angles. After a brief review I shall confine myself to two phases of it – its value to the commercial egg producer – its effect on the breeder.

Cross breeding, or the mating together of two distinct breeds, has been practiced for many years with most domestic animals and birds. Man desires certain qualities in the stock he keeps and uses every known method to obtain what he wants. Where it has been evident that a certain cross results in the offspring being especially suitable for certain environments selective breeding has taken place amongst the half breeds and a new breed is evolved. Such an illustration took place in New Zealand many years ago. Sheep from Kent, Eng., known as Romney Marsh, were imported into New Zealand, where at that time the only sheep was the Merino, a wool sheep, living on the hills of the sough Island of that country. The only marketable product from the Merino was wool.

The idea was expressed to cross these two breeds, for the Romney Marsh is a big sheep, grown on the rich low lying marsh land of Kent and not at all suitable for grazing on hills. The result of the cross was an animal of medium size, good meat qualities and good wool. These crosses were re-bred, and after much selection and culling, animals were produced that would breed true to type. There were named Corriedales, after the name of the farm on which they were originated. This breed was the foundation of the world famous Canterbury lamb trade. Millions of tons of this meat has been shipped to Europe, principally Great Britain, resulting in great development and wealth for New Zealand.

Again using sheep as an illustration, it is the practice in the south of England today to cross the Romney Marsh ewes with Southdown rams, the one being large and the other, the Southdown, probably the most compact and meaty sheep in existence. No attempt is made to go beyond the first cross, the combination of size and compactness of the two pure breeds resulting in an animal ideal for the lamb and mutton trade and one that can be grazed profitably over the hills and in the marshes of the south country.

In poultry, as with animals, cross breeding has been responsible for new breeds, which have more nearly conformed to the requirements of poultrymen in certain locations. Without going into details of the make-up of different breeds I can mention some that have been evolved to suit the climate or trade requirements in different parts of the world. In the States we have the Rocks and Reds and Wyandottes, all general purpose breeds and all yellow skinned, which are most favored in that country. In England we have the Dorking and the Sussex and the Orpingtons, all white skinned breeds, and originally produced for good table qualities in the south of England where in the olden days fattening poultry was an art.

Man takes nature in the raw and fashions it to his will and so it will continue. The Cornish Game, without a doubt the finest table bird in the world, is uneconomical to keep in commercial sized flocks because of the lack of laying power and somewhat slow growth. The breed is not discarded, however, for its chief use is in being crossed with other breeds, using the Game male with other more productive breeds of hens, and table birds are produced in numbers, of truly wonderful quality and quick growth.

Cross breeding for egg production on a large scale is comparatively recent innovation although it has been practiced with intelligence for many years in a small way. My first experience was on a small farm in England where a neighbor of ours kept between 200 and 300 birds. He bred pure Black Minorcas and every two years he would buy Buff Orpington cockerels and run them with his whole flock. The following fall he would have a flock of yearling Minorcas and a flock of cross bred pullets. These birds were on free range and running together although housed separately. The next spring he would buy Black Minorca males and hatch only from the white eggs so that his flock that year would be all Minorca pullets and yearling cross bred hens. The year following he would buy Buff Orpington males again and this plan was kept up indefinitely, always setting the white eggs he would breed cross-breds from his pullets and pure breds from his hens. This man was known for miles around for his high production in the winter and for his large eggs.

Since that time cross breeding has assumed considerable economic importance in England amongst those in the business primarily for eggs. It has been found that it is imperative to have males from high record hens and it is necessary to have high producing hens as well. In crossing healthy stock increased vigor is always apparent, and the good and the bad qualities tend to be intensified. Thus if one mates up two strains that are predominately broody there is sure to be trouble in this direction. Two strains of very high production with the added strength from the cross give very high egg averages.

If breeding for egg production were a mere matter of mating high producer to high producer to get still higher production there would be no need of crossing to maintain vigor.  Such is not the case, however. Breeding for egg production entails a constant never ending battle against deterioration of vigor. Were the breeding left in the hands of responsible breeders all might be well. Unfortunately it is not so. Mass production of chicks by artificial incubation in mammoth machines has taken the matter almost out of the hands of the real breeder. Couple this with the mistakes made in rearing that lowers the vitality and small wonder is it that we have sickness. Most of my audience tonight are keeping poultry as a hobby. Your flocks are small, you can select with extreme care and in most cases you do not overly stress high production.

Therefore you are able to get along without the grief that visits the man raising poultry by the thousand. The average poultryman in the business for a living has not always been a poultryman. He is usually from some other trade or profession and jumps into poultry farming with only a vague idea of what he is up against. Also he is mostly short of capital and tries to get along with less housing space and equipment than is necessary. He may buy a thousand chicks and the fun (or grief) begins.  Overheating, chilling, overfeeding, overcrowding, sweating, are only some of the troubles that loom up. Everything that goes wrong lessens the chance of the chick becoming a good specimen and yet many of these birds are used for breeding work. The poultryman is tampering with life that by selective breeding has become highly strung and susceptible to ill treatment.

I tell you it would be far better for the industry were we to give these people something more able to stand abuse and something that they cannot use for future breeding. What can we give them? The answer that fills the bill entirely is a “cross-bred”.

Recent talks with breeders leave no doubt in one’s mind that the cross-bred is being thought about and it will not be long until the advantages of the first-cross are generally realized. At present the egg producer on this continent is not demanding a cross-bred, because he knows little of them. Suppose he did demand this very thing, how would it affect the breeder? Would it ruin his sales of high class pedigree stock? Would it spoil his sales of flock mating hatching eggs and chicks?

The very mention of cross breeding has been considered heresy on the part of poultrymen in this country. The poultry inspectors shun the subject. For a time the various promoters of poultry in Canada and the States talked “more and more” production but now the tune has changed to “economical” production. The advent of scientific cross breeding will not hurt the genuine breeder. Rather it will give him greater control of the breeding work again, which, the last several years has gone too much into the hands of the hatcheryman. This is no knock on hatcheries. They form an essential part of the program of distribution. But, with a few exceptions, where the hatchery operates a breeding farm as well, this class of business is not raising the standards of quality with the product they are offering the public and by the cheap prices they tempt the poultryman with.

Let me illustrate how the genuine breeder can benefit by selling and popularizing the use of cross breds for commercial purposes. Mr. A is a breeder of pedigreed poultry. His flock mating consists of trapnested hens and their full sisters, rigorously culled. He sells a thousand chicks from this mating to Mr. B (a commercial egg farmer). The next year, or at the latest the year after, Mr. B mates up his flock, rarely with pedigreed males, and sells eggs at a little over market price (5 cents to 7 cents per dozen premium) to a hatchery. He then buys chicks from the hatchery and many hundreds of chicks are sold from this mating. These come into direct competition with Mr. A’s flock mating chicks. They are standard bred and in all likelihood will be called Mr. A’s strain.

They are sold at a low price and Mr. A is left with the alternative of shutting down on his hatching operations or cutting his price.

Now, supposing Mr. B knew of the advantages of buying cross bred chicks; knew that they were hardier, easier to raise and better able to stand up to a certain amount of abuse; knew that the cockerels made good broilers and the hens good table birds; and that he came to Mr. A, who had been advertising a first cross of light and heavy breeds, using males from very high record trapnested hens with a flock of high production hens. Mr. A would sell him the chicks which would give every satisfaction, and would stand up to the more or less forcing conditions that our present economic system necessitates, and do this for a considerably longer time than the highly strung, sensitive pure bred. Mr. B could concentrate his energies entirely on egg production instead of turning himself into a so-called breeder for two or three months each year. Not one of these birds that Mr. A has sold could ever come into competition with him as a breeder. He would be turning out a more suitable product for the commercial man and at the same time safeguarding his own interests.

If the hatcheryman wants to get into the cross bred business there again the breeder will be benefited because it is absolutely essential that the male birds come from high record stock, and who can supply these but the pedigree breeder? All off type males, that are otherwise good, can be used for crossing, which means that the best only will be kept for the improvement of the standard breeds. It has been argued recently that the same vigor can be procured by mating up pure breds of totally different bloodlines but in the next breath stated that it is almost impossible to avoid inbreeding by buying from the well-known breeders in Canada and the States because their strains have been so intermixed. Crossbreeding avoids every possibility of this nature.

The egg farmer does not and probably will not ever care a rap for type, color of plumage, stubs, sidesprigs or this and that that the breeder has to study in the mating of his pure bred stock. That there will always be those who desire good looks as well as usefulness cannot be doubted. It would be a sorry day were we to lose sight of the beautiful. The breeder can cater to the two classes of buyers, giving each exactly what is wanted and satisfying both – but not with the same bird.

Science has recently given us the key to a great problem and we now know – thanks to the work of Prof. R.C. Punnett, of Cambridge University – that by mating certain breeds together the sex of chicks at hatching time can be easily distinguished. This is known as sex-linkage. Thus, a further use for the cross bred has been found and today it is possible for a breeder to offer his customers day old pullets or day old cockerels from his sex-linked crosses.

To summarize, cross breeding makes possible the output of a high grade chick that will prove profitable to its owner, yet cannot come into future competition, as a breeder, with pure or standard bred birds.

Published in Key Developments

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.

Published in Technology

Valuable research work that has been going on at the University of British Columba for the last several season, was reviewed at a meeting of the Vancouver Poultry Association in April by Dr. V.S Asmundson, who gave a most instructive talk to the members on “Nutrition”.  On this page we present some of the conclusions that have been arrived at.  Every poultryman will be interest in this subject for upon his ability to feed properly will largely depend his success in maintaining his flock at the highest point of health and profit – Editor.

Growth and development play a very important part in agriculture.  It is only necessary to refer to broiler production to indicate the important relation between growth and profits in the poultry industry.  Since it is necessary to grow a new crop of pullets every year all poultry producers are vitally interested in growing the young stock economically.

It may be worthwhile to refer briefly to the inheritance of rate of growth.  The various breeds differ in rate of growth, and these differences are inherited.  There are also variations in the rate of growth of birds of the same breeds and these differences have likewise, been demonstrated to be inherited.  Rate of growth can, therefore be increased by breeding only from the more rapidly growing birds.

Both cattlemen and poultrymen, in order to meet market demands, have found it necessary to breed and feed for rapid and ever more rapid growth.  They want their stock to reach the market or maturity in as short a time as possible.  Years ago, breeders and feeders took more time and were content with a slower development, thus the problems that confront us today in many cases did not exist formerly.

Failure to provide adequate room and correct heat is the cause of much of the retarded development in feathering and body growth.

Chickens must be supplied with all the necessary nutrients; especially is this important when chickens are raised in confinement and are, therefore, unable to supplement deficiencies in their ration by selecting foods containing vital minerals that are available to them when on a good rangd.

Experiments with fishmeal

Experiment were started in 1928 to determine the value for growth of different B.C. fish meals.  In the first experiment, Lot 1 was fed a ration containing 76.6 cornmeal, 2.9 bone meal, 2 oyster shell, 1 salt, 2 cod liver oil and 15.5 pilchard meal.  At eight weeks the chicks had attained an average weight of only .7 lb.  In this case it will be noted that corn was the only cereal included in the ration.  In a later lot (Lot 2) fed fro the same length of time on a ration containing approximately the same percentage of pilchard meal but made up of 50 lbs. cornmeal, 10 lbs. wheat bran, 10 lbs. middlings, 10 lbs. pulverized oats, 3 lbs. oyster shell, 1 lb. salt, 1 lb. fish oil and 15 lbs. pilchard meal, the chicks grew better. Their average weight at eight weeks varied from 1.2 to 1.5 lbs.  This demonstrates that the rate at which chicks grow depends not only on the animal protein feeds such as fish meal, meat meal or mil, but also on the feeds with which they are mixed (grains and their by-products, minerals, etc.). It is desirable to use a variety of grains or grain products.

In order to compare different fishmeal and dried skim mild, each was fed in such amount as to supply the ration with 10 per cent of protein from the particular supplement used.  The amount (in 100 lbs. of the rations) and kind of supplement feed was as follows:

19 lbs. salmon meal (55 per cent protein); 15 lbs. pilchard meal (65 per cent protein); 19.4 lbs. halibut meal (54 per cent protein); 27.2 lbs. dried skim milk (35 per cent protein).  The basal to which, these animal protein feeds were added was the same as given above (50 lbs. cornmeal, 10 lbs. wheat bran, 10 lbs. wheat middlings, 10 lbs. pulverized oats, 3 lbs. oyster shell, 1 lb. salt and 1 per cent cod liver oil).

In some of the earlier experiments 3 lbs. of bone meal was fed instead of the 3 lbs. of bone meal was fed instead of the 3 lbs. of oyster shell.  A considerable number of the chicks fed bone meal developed enlarged hocks or “slipped tendons.”  After oyster shell was substituted fro bone meal very few cases of slipped tendons were observed.

Two experiments were carried out at the University using the fishmeals and milk in the proportions stated above.  In the first experiment the results were as follows:

Halibut, average weight of chicks at 8 weeks, 1.32 lbs.; Salmon, average weight of chicks at 8 weeks, 1.42 lbs.; Pilchard, average weight of chicks at 8 weeks, 1.46 lbs.; Milk, average weight of chicks at 8 weeks, 1.49 lbs.  Similar results were obtained in the second experiment.

These experiment showed that chicks can be grown as rapidly on fish meals as they can be grown on dried skim milk.  The next series of experiments was, therefore, planned to determine whether a combination of fishmeal (salmon) and dried skim milk would give as good or better results (in rate of growth) than could be obtained by feeding these supplements singly.  Three protein levels were compared.  In one the supplements (salmon or salmon and milk) provide 10 per cent protein, in the others, 7-1/2 and 5 per cent respectively.  The milk and salmon supplied an equal amount of protein in the rations containing both.  Since the milk contains a lower percentage of protein than salmon this meant that more milk than fishmeal was fed. The results of these experiments were as follows.  The chicks on the 10 per cent protein level (from supplements) made better gains on the salmon and milk than on salmon only.  The chicks that received 7-1/2 per cent protein from the combined supplements grew more rapidly than those fed salmon only but did not grow quite so fast as the corresponding groups on the 10 per cent level.  There was no difference on the lowest protein level (5 per cent from supplements) between the chicks, which were fed salmon as compared with those, which were fed salmon and dried skim milk.

In these experiments there was no difference between the weights at eight weeks of chicks receiving 10 or 7-1/2 per cent protein from salmon alone. The chicks fed salmon and milk to provide 10 per cent protein (from these supplements) grew more rapidly than those on the 7-1/2 per cent level but the difference was not great.  The chicks on the lowest protein rations grew more slowly, in every case, than the checks on the higher protein levels, and there was no difference between those feed salmon only as compared with toe fed salmon and milk.

Since the proportion of milk fed in the experiments just described was rather high, the next step was to test the effect of various proportions of fish meal and dried skim milk on the growth of chicks to eight weeks of age.  These experiments indicate that rations containing 5 per cent of dried skim milk and 10 per cent of a high-grade fishmeal will give just as rapid growth as rations containing more milk.  The results vary slightly according to the kind and quality of fish meal used.

Variation in Fish Meals

There are some variations in the quality of different fish meals even if they are made from the same kind or species of fish.  Some work done on fish meals at the Dominion Fisheries Experimental station of the Biological Board at Prince Rupert shows that putrefaction destroys some of the essential amino-acids.  Meals made from such putrid fish are not toxic but are probably lower in feeding value than meals made from fresh fish. Putrid fish is, of course, generally made into fertilizer and not into meal.

As an example of the variation in fish meals, two trials with pilchard fish meal may be mentioned.  Four meals were compared.  All four meals proved satisfactory as measured by rate of growth, yet one of these meals was definitely superior to at least one of the other meals while the other two appeared to be intermediate.  The best meal was lowest, the poorest meal highest, in fat content.  Slight variations in the protein and mineral content apparently had no influence, in this case, on the rate of growth.  These experiments indicate that the best pilchard meals are those with the lowest fat content.  They emphasize the importance of buying meals of good quality.  This should not be difficult since there is not plenty of high-grade fish meal on the market.

The work with fish meals has opened up a number of problems of interest alike to the feeder and the manufacturer of fish meal.  Of particular importance is the variation in the quality of fish meals and the reasons for such variations.

Fish oils for chicks

In any discussion of chick rations the question of the relative merits of different fish oils should be considered.  Cod liver oil has been used for many years as a source of vitamin A and D, particularly the latter.  This oil varies in vitamin potency depending on where the fish are caught and the season or time of year.  The main fishing banks are off Newfoundland, Norway and Iceland.  In general the Newfoundland oil is richer in vitamin D but this is not always true.

In recent years other oils have been tested with the object of using them in poultry rations.  The oil made from pilchard, or sardine as this fish is called in California, has been found satisfactory for poultry feeding.  In the test at the University of British Columbia cleared and uncleared B.C. pilchard oil, California sardine oil and cod liver oil all gave equally good results when fed at a level of 1 per cent.  The chicks that were not fed oil developed rickets at less than four weeks of age.  These oils were not tested for vitamin A but work done elsewhere shows that pilchard oil contains this vitamin.  It should be emphasized that fish oils are purchased for their vitamin D content rather than their vitamin A.  Vitamin A can be obtained more cheaply from other sources such as alfalfa leaves and blossoms.  Yellow corn also contains this vitamin.  As is well known, sunlight is the cheapest source of vitamin D.  Birds confined indoors should be fed fish oils as a substitute for sunlight but, since these oils vary in vitamin potency, only tested oils should be purchase for poultry feeding.

Published in Research

The all mash method of feeding for egg production is dealt with by D.C. Kennard and R.M. Bethke, of the Ohio Experimental Station.  The extension of this new method of feeding has been rapid but there are factors of importance in connection with it which should not be overlooked by poultrymen.

Now that the all method of feeding chicks and growing pullets has become an established practice, say the authors of this treatise, as a result of the success many poultry raisers the country over have realized from its use, poultry keepers are keenly interested in the question of employing this method in feeding for egg production.  Will it prove as successful in the feeding of chicks and growing pullets? From the results of the last two years experiments involving 200 layers at the Ohio Experiment Station, it seems that it will.

As the all-mash feeding is such a radical departure from the customary practice of feeding scratch grain and mash, many poultry keepers may hesitate to change from the traditional practice, even though they may have employed the new method with the young stock.  Nevertheless, the all mash method of feeding for egg production promises to become a general practice.  Our first thought was that it would be necessary to feed a part of the mash moistened during the winter months in order to insure the heavy feed consumption essential for winter production.  During the past year, however, the tests have indicated that moist mash is not necessary, and that the question of moistening the mash may be regarded the same with the all-mash method as with feeding grain and mash.  In other words, some will likely be able to secure a few more winter eggs by moistening a portion of the mash, while others will not find it worth while to do so, especially if consideration is given to the extra time, labor and skill of feeding involved.

More Sanitary

The birds eat clean feed from a feeder; whereas when scratch grain is fed in litter, which is always more or less filth and musty, they pick up some of the contaminated material along with the grain, especially when they are hungry and greedy.  Furthermore, the litter is often damp and as it is difficult to feed just the correct amount of scratch grain, a surplus is sometimes left in the damp litter and becomes contaminated with must or mould before it is finally picked up by the birds.  The litter also may become a favorable harbor for disease or parasitic organism, and the increased consumption of this filthy material due to feeding scratch grain in it offers greater opportunity of birds to become exposed to disease and parasites.  That birds do pick up straw, feathers, and manure when eating grain from litter, especially when hungry, has been proved.

There is no guesswork or confusion about what proportion of scratch grain is to be fed.

Less labor and skill of feeding

That less labor and skill of feeding are required is self-evident.  Time and labor add to the cost of eggs produced.  More attention must be given to economy in this respect, as one of the best methods of increasing the returns is to reduce the cost per dozen eggs.  Comparatively few poultry keepers are naturally skilled feeders, so that a method of feeding, which requires little skill and at the same time yields the results is desirable.  The question of how much scratch grain to fed is a puzzling one for most poultry keepers. The ration is often unbalanced because of feeding scratch grain too liberally.  The all-mash method enables one to feed a definite ration so that all the birds in the flock get a balanced ration.

How and when to change

The same caution should be exercised in changing from scratch grain feeding to the all-mash method as is exercised in making any other radical change of feeding or management.  The best plan, of course, is to start using the new method with the chicks; then there is no change to be made. In the case of hens, the better plan would be to change during April, May or June, or during the winter moulting period, otherwise egg production may be lowered for a while. When it is desired to place ready-to-lay pullets accustomed to the old method of feeding on the all-mash feeding, it may be expected that four to six weeks will be required for them to become fully accustomed to the new method.  Therefore, it would not be advisable to make the change after the pullets have started to lay or just before they are ready to lay, if a delay in production is not desired.  Regardless of the time or age of the birds, the change should be made slowly over a period of at least two weeks, gradually decreasing the scratch grain fed in the litter to the mash.  In this way there is no change in the ration and the grain in the mash more quickly accustoms the birds to the all-mash mixture.

Suitable mash feeders

Ample eating space should be provided. For best results with the all-mash feeding the open box type of mash feeding should be used.  The reel mash feeder is especially well adapted for this purpose.  The feeder should be only 5 inches deep inside.  Three reel mashers or similar type of feeders providing 24 feet of eating space should be supplied each 100 layers. The reel mash feeder has the advantage of furnishing ample, well-lighted feeding space and never clogging as hoppers often do.  The reel keeps the birds out of the box and prevents roosting on it at night.  This with its elevation off the floor keeps the feed clean and, being easily accessible, the birds are naturally induced to eat more mash. In locating the feeders it is well to place them so the end the feeder faces the front of the house, just inside and within two or three feet of the window or open front space to insure an abundance of light.

Method of feeding

The all-mash method is simple.  The mash is kept before the birds all the time.  However, for best results it is desirable to feed daily the amount that will be consumed during the next 24 hours.  As the layers will eat more readily of the fresh mash, the time of feeding should be from 3 to 5 p.m., depending upon the season of the year, so that the birds will go to roost with a well filled crop.  The all-mash feeding lends it self to any of the methods of feeding by means of artificial lights.

The ration  

Generally speaking, the all-mash mixture contains double the amount of grains and one-half the usual amount of protein concentrates, minerals, etc of the mash of the same ration when fed half scratch and half mash.  That is, by adding equal amount of ground or whole grains to the usual mash, all the original mash ingredients become diluted one-half in the final mixture.  Take for example one ingredient, meat scraps.  The amount usually added to the mash fed in connection with scratch grain is 20 per cent; whereas in the all-mash mixture if fed on the same level it would be 10 per cent. The following mixtures have proved effective in extensive test at the Ohio Experiment Station:


Corn, coarse ground – 30
Wheat, coarse ground – 20
Oats, fine ground – 20
Wheat bran – 10
Winter wheat middlings (shorts) – 10
Meat scraps (medium) – 10
Bone meal (chick size) – 2
Salt – ½


Corn, coarse ground – 65
Winter wheat middlings (shorts) or coarse ground wheat – 20
Meat scraps (medium) – 10
Bone meal (chick size) – 4
Salt – 1

In preparation of the mash mixtures, it is desirable to have as large a proportion of the mixture in granular form as possible.  This is accomplished by grinding the corn so the larger particles are about the size of a half kernel of wheat; the use of medium meat scraps; and chick size granulated bone. The birds like the granular mash better than a fine mash and can eat it more readily.

Skim milk or Buttermilk

Liquid, dried or condensed will prove a valuable addition to either of the above rations.  Milk is valuable for its proteins, minerals, and vitamins.  The price of the different forms of milk depends principally upon their content of milk solids.  The solid content of liquid skim milk or buttermilk is usually 7 to 9 per cent; condensed buttermilk, 28 to 30 per cent; dried buttermilk, 90 to 96 per cent.  Liquid skim milk or buttermilk is fed as a drink either in addition to or in the place of water.  Condensed buttermilk may be mixed with water, 1 to 2 pounds per gallon, and given as a drink; or a more convenient method is to spread the buttermilk paste on the wall of the chicken house giving each 100 hens 3 to 6 pounds at noon or about 4 p.m. daily.  The dried buttermilk or skim milk is mixed with the dry mash at the rate of 5 to 10 per cent by weight.  When milk in any form is supplied 5 per cent meat scraps in the mash is sufficient.  If liquid skim milk or buttermilk is given the birds instead of water, and the ration seems to laxative, the bone meal and salt in either formula should be reduced one-half.

Thus far neither of these rations has proved superior to the other.  It seems that about equally satisfactory results may be secured from either.  Both are incomplete as they stand and require supplementing by a good range, legume hay, green feed or cod liver oil.

Necessary Supplements to the Ration

The foregoing rations can not be expected to prove satisfactory unless they are supplemented by an outdoor range which will provide ample succulent green forage or, if the range become depleted it will be necessary to feed an abundance of green feed such as cabbage, Swiss Chard, alfalfa, clover, or rape.  If the birds are confined indoors, it is necessary to feed green feed, alfalfa, clover, or soybean hay, or cod-liver oil, all the year if heavy mortality, low egg production, and poor shell texture of eggs are to be avoided.

Undoubtedly the outdoor range of blue grass and direct sunlight makes the best all-the-year supplement to any ration.  This is particularly true of the farm flock where the number to any ration.  This is particularly true of the farm flock where the number of birds is such that suitable range conditions can be maintained.  But it is often but it is often difficult if not impossible to provide the proper range for large flocks, or limited space may not permit it, and during the winter months the outdoor range cannot always be depended upon.  Under such circumstances it becomes necessary to keep the birds in restricted yards or indoor.  Then the poultry keeper is obliged to give careful attention to the feeding of the supplements described below.

For supplementing the depleted range from July to December, cabbage and Swiss Chard are probably the most satisfactory.  Early cabbage becomes available during July, and the late varieties can be fed well into winter.  Following this the golden tankard mangel wurzels may be used to advantage.

Alfalfa, clover, and soybean hays, in numerous tests conducted by the Ohio Station during the last three years, have proved effective substitutes for succulent green feed for winter feeding.  The second or third cutting of alfalfa or clover is best, as it is the leafy part of the immature plant that carries the valuable properties.  Soybean hay should be cut whent the seeds or beans are just beginning to form.  At this stage there is a rather good yield of hay which carries a large proportion of leafy material rich in protein and vitamins.  All of the hays should be carefully curred so as to preserve the green color and high quality.  This means that they must be cured without getting wet from rain or dew.  In some cases it may be necessary to cure the hay under cover.

Feeding Hay

Hay can be fed in racks, or cut in half-inch lengths and fed from wire netting basket feeders, or it may be tied in a bundle and suspended from the ceiling within easy reach of the birds.  From November to May as good results were secured from laying pullets confined indoors and fed legume hays as from birds having access to an outside range surpassed those kept indoors. Alfalfa and cloverleaf shattering are often available when these hays are being fed other farm animals and can be fed the chickens to good advantage.  No benefit was secured from ordinary alfalfa meal mixed in with mash at the rate of 5 per cent by weight.  Whether the more recent product, alfalfa leaf meal, will prove valuable like the hay remains to be determined.  It is surprising how the hay is relished by the birds and the quantity they will eat.

Cod Liver Oil

Cod liver oil also has proved a very effective substitute for green feed or outdoor range.  Although its use did not improve hatchability, it did increase egg production, produce better shell texture of eggs, and reduce mortality of birds.  When it is desired to use cod liver oil, the crude medicinal oil of light yellow color is added at the rate of two pounds, or a quart, to each rate of two pounds, or a quart, to each 100 pounds of the mash.  It is best to mix the oil with 10 or 15 pounds of the mash or one of its ingredients; then in turn mix this with the remaining 85 or 90 pounds of the mash to be prepared.  This secures a finished mixture which is uniform and free from lumpy material.

Weight of Layers

Does the all-mash method of feeding maintain the body weight of the lavers?  Monthly weight records of pullets taken through out the year beginning November 1, revealed no difference in the weight of birds fed scratch grain and mash equal parts, or those fed the same ration in the form of all mash.  This is according to expectations for the birds feed the all-mash ration consumed the same proportion of grains; the only difference being that the grain was fed coarsely ground in the all-mash method.

The Exercise Theory

Extensive test with 10,000 chicks and 2,500 layers during the last three years by the Ohio Station failed to reveal any benefit from the feeding of scratch grain in litter to either chicks, pullets, or layers.  This is, of course, contrary to the traditional exercise theory; but from the evidence at hand it appears that chicks do not require scratch grain fed in litter either for exercise or for other reasons.  Now that more is know as to what constitutes a complete ration for chickens, it seems that the supposed objects for which scratch grain is fed in litter are attained by proper nutrition.  Undoubtedly exercise is beneficial to chickens; but it is questionable if any benefit is to be derived from feeding scratch grain in litter to induce young White Leghorn chicks or even the layers to take this particular form of exercise in addition to their natural activities.  It is not known as yet whether this method of feeding will prove equally satisfactory with the heavier breeds.

IN view of the uniformly good results secured with layers and its obvious advantages, the all-mash method of feeding for egg production promises soon to become a general practice.  It should be emphasized, however, that the success of the method depends upon the mash mixture, the supplements employed, and the use of a suitable box-type of feeder, such as the reel mash feeder, which affords ample feeding space.  Furthermore, it is difficult to wean the older birds from the habit of eating scratch grain.  To avoid this difficulty it is best to start the chicks on all-mash method of feeding.

A good mash formula for chicks from the commencement of the third week is three parts wheat, one part wheat middling, one part ground oats, one part corn meal, one part buttermilk powder, half a part meat scrap.

Published in Technology

Poultry owners have lately been experiencing a new disease among their poultry; it is observed mostly during the winter months but has occurred in some sections in late summer and early fall, if the weather has been dry and vegetation dry and fibrous. The strange thing about this disease is the fact that while it has the appearance of roup it is different than any other outbreak any of these poultry keepers have experienced. Many of them are at a loss to understand it.

This condition is spoken of as nutritional roup, but by others as nutritional disease, but the more correct term would likely be nutritional opthalmia of poultry; this is a disease due to improper feeding or nutrition; it should be classed with deficiency diseases, for that is what it is. By deficiency diseases we mean those diseases that are the result of the bird not getting all of the nutrients in sufficient amounts from its feed. The usual deficiencies are those of vitamins and minerals or both; it would be difficult if not impossible to tell which is most likely deficient as both of them are found quite closely associated in many of the common feeds used for poultry

Poultry owners will wonder why we have not bothered with this disease. In times past; this is a disease that is the result of greater domestication of our poultry; with improvement in production and housing, close confinement for heavy production and close breeding poultry are removed further from their natural habits, with the result that we have new problems of feeding or nutrition to contend with; this is one of them; problems that confront us now will possibly pass along and others appear to baffle us during the next decade. The poultry keepers’ problems are constantly changing because his methods of handling his poultry are constantly changing and because the habits and work that his poultry do are also changing.

The use of a large number of products of the modern milling practice has brought new problems for the nutrition expert; as still greater improvements are made in milling practices other problems will be solved; when poultry was fed on whole grains and seeds or upon feeds made from them there was not the same class of diseases that we have now. Few if any of these by-products that are so largely used in poultry feeds carry all of the commonly needed nutrients in sufficient amounts to enable one to make a balanced ration with them. The continuous cropping of the soil for many years without the return of ample minerals in the form of fertilizer or lime, or both, has deprived the soil of the usual amount of minerals with the result that the crops produced thereon do not have the usual amount of minerals and when used in poultry feeds result in improper nutrition.

The causative agent of nutritional disease is one of the vitamins. While vitamins have been discovered for several years we do not know much about them other than where they are found and what they do. The vitamins whose absence from the ration causes this condition is know as vitamin A (fat soluble A); it is found in such feeds as milk, yellow corn, green things, such as cabbage and chard, in egg yolks, in clover and alfalfa, etc. With a carefully balanced ration it is not difficult to supply this vitamin in sufficient amounts. During the winter months when green feed is difficult to obtain or during the late summer or early fall when it is dry and fibrous is when you can expect to have this disease in your flock. Since it is most often found during the winter months it is often mistaken for roup.

Nutritional disease makes its appearance in the flock rather slowly: the birds do not take down with it as rapidly as they do with roup and neither do they show so many signs of having a cold as they do with roup. The eyes swell and there is a white discharge accumulates in the eye, but this can be wiped out rather easily. The discharge from roup is brownish and clings to the eye; it can only be removed with difficulty.

The post-mortem shows the greatest difference between these two diseases. Upon opening the gullet of the bird affected with nutritional disease you will find a large number of small nodules which may be no larger than a millet seed; they are not raw on the surface or covered with a membrane; you will find a brownish membrane covering these patches in roup; the heart may be speckled with white as are also the liver and kidneys in nutritional disease; they look as though they have been sprinkled with flour; you will not find this with roup; the kidneys are greatly enlarged in the bird with nutritional disease; there is a characteristic odor affecting ropy birds that is not present in those that have nutritional disease. The birds with nutritional disease very frequently have a diarrhea in which there is considerable white material; this is not found associated with roup.

The characteristic things about roup are the brownish discharge of the eye which is clinging and cannot be easily removed; the characteristic odor and the patches in the gullet covered by a brownish membrane; also the rapidity with which it travels through the flock and its early association with a cold. It is necessary to differentiate between these two diseases if possible for the line of treatment that would satisfactory for nutritional disease would not be at all suitable for roup. The fact remains however that in instances the both type may be found in the same flock at the same time; this would not be expected very often but it is a possibility.

Both the curative and preventative measures for nutritional disease are one of supplying the proper feeds; with such feeds as yellow corn, middling, milk and green stuff there is little need to worry; if this is not sufficient then other green things such as spinach, if it is available, or clover or alfalfa hay may be used, together with cod liver oil; whole milk should be given when this trouble appears. Medicinal treatment would be of no help for this condition.

The handling of roup is quite another thing. It is a matter of sanitation and hygiene. The building must be cleaned and disinfected at once and should be kept dry; there should be no draughts but as much sunlight as possible. The badly infected birds should be destroyed and burned. For the others, 20 to 30 grains of potassium permanganate should be placed in each gallon of drinking water and this should be placed in crockery or glass containers (this can be purchased at most drug stores in 5 grain tablets); this should be kept before the birds at all times; 1 lb. of epsom salts dissolved in water and mixed with enough feed for 100 hens should be given once or twice each week, as needed. Keep the birds in the sunlight as much as possible. Over crowding is a beginning for roup in many instances.


An egg for hatching is an uncertain proposition, and it is, therefore, of utmost importance that we deal only with people in whom we can place utmost confidence. At the same time, nothing really complicated is involved in the ethics of buying and selling eggs for hatching.

On the seller’s part the eggs sent out should be fresh laid, nicely packed and well fertilized and from the exact mattings represented. In case of poor results from improper handling or chilling of the eggs in transit, the shipper is certainly ding his part when he duplicates the order at half price or replaces free all eggs that test out clear on the tenth day.

The buyer of eggs should not expect every egg to hatch, but should be satisfied with seven or eight chicks from fifteen eggs. In addition to that, he has a right to expect good quality in the majority of the chicks, and that is more important than quantity. Sometimes, it is true; every egg hatches even after being shipped long distances; but if such results were common the price per setting would of necessity have to be raised. The “law of compensation” must necessarily apply. It often occurs that one good chick on maturity is worth more than the price paid for the entire setting of eggs.

These are facts as we see them after considerable experience on both sides of the question. The buyer often feels that he did not get full value for his money, and it is also true that the seller is often imposed upon and blamed for conditions entirely beyond his control. If both parties will just use the Golden Rule everything will usually end quite satisfactorily.



Those who regard the production of eggs for market as a straight and easy road to wealth should remember the fact that the flock of hens which will produce eggs at a profit all the year round must receive careful, constant and skillful attention, early and late, week days and Sundays, for the full 365 days of the year.

Published in Research
Page 22 of 22

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