What is a New Hampshire?
By F.B. Beeson
By F.B. Beeson
What is a New Hampshire? Everybody is asking this question. It is very simply answered.
A New Hampshire is a bird of straight R.I. Red blood but the result of years of selection for a perfect combination of a heavy producer of brown eggs and a good meat bird.
That does not seem to make sense at first inasmuch as all the popular heavy breeds are claimed to be ideal in these respects. The man who markets birds knows differently though, but it fell to the New Hampshire poultrymen to do something about it.
Visiting the first Western poultryman to really take this breed up in earnest I spent an hour with Shannon Bros. of Cloverdale recently. It was the first time I had seen their New Hampshires and I must say I was greatly impressed with what I saw.
Less Daylight Under Them
This is what I saw: A flock of laying pullets of a fairly even but not by any means perfect shade of light Red. They all had large heads but not coarse and I could not help but think back to what Jesse Throssell said about turkeys: “A big head and large wattles is an indication of vigor.” Well, the combs and wattles of these birds were not overly big but their heads were deep and wide – strikingly so. There was not nearly so much daylight under them as in most R.I. Res and they were well rounded in front and not the brick shape looked for in Reds. The picture above is of a pullet and she’ll weigh seven pounds if she weighs an ounce. I saw their eggs and liked the size of them. They were brown but not really dark like the Barnevelder. The male bird with this pen was a fine active fellow, a light red in color, broad chested but not so low on his legs as were the females.
Tom Shannon was my guide and next we went to a brooder house and saw about 400 chicks a month old. Very even growth characterized them and Mr. Shannon pointed out the quick feathering, especially on their backs. I pointed out a few not so well feathered but I do believe a good 85 percent were exceptionally good in this respect. Next we went and saw a flock of babies and after that to a flock just six weeks and two days old. Prepare for a shock, you heavy breed men! THESE CHICKS WERE THE LARGEST, BEST FEATHERED CHICKENS FOR THEIR AGE I HAVE EVER SEEN! And by a long way! Thick, sturdy short legs, rounded bodies and such feathering!! The old camera came out again and a couple of snaps were taken of a young cockerel, which show his general development and his back feathering.
No fooling. These chaps have got something good. They claim these birds are always ready for market and I believe them.
Tom claims it is nothing but the right selection. Several years ago they proved it could be done with the White Rock but later discarded them and brought in some genuine New Hampshire stock from New Hampshire. Since then they have made several more importations and have also bought selected young cockerels from R.I. Red breeders, nearly all of which had to be discarded before breeding time as not being the right type for their needs.
12 Year Progress
When Prof. Graham of Guelph was out in B.C. some 12 or more years ago, says Tom Shannon, he told of what the late Prof. “Reddy” Richardson was doing in New Hampshire to perfect a real dual-purpose bird. At that time he was insisting on every young cockerel having a good-sized tail at eight weeks. They have gone far during the ensuing years when birds like I saw can be produced. In this flock 406 were put in at a day old and now there are 402.
How They Are Fed
I knew darned well that it couldn’t be all the feed and I knew it wasn’t free range because these chicks have never been outside of their brooder house. However, I asked my guide what hey were fed and here it is: Dry mash to eat and water to drink! The mash is mixed on the farm and consists of 100 Bran, 100 Cornmeal, 100 Wheatmeal, 100 Oat groats, 25 Alfalfa leaves and blossoms, 25 pilchard meal, 25 beef scrap, 25 milk powder, 10 oyster shell flour, 5 pilchard oil. This is fed for three weeks, after which ground oats is substituted for groats. After the cockerels are removed the pullets are started on grain and go on range.
Now, in spite of what you might have read there is nothing unsightly about these New Hampshires. True, they are not of one even shade of color but I’ll bet a dollar to the hole in a doughnut they will be looked upon with favor by a great man commercial poultrymen.