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Farm Poultry


Our geese, ducks, turkeys, and domestic hens are all descendants of wild

fowls, and are more or less similar to them in appearance.

The earliest recorded uses of fowls were for food, for fighting, and for

sacrifice. To-day the domestic fowl has four well-defined

uses--egg-production, meat-production, feather-production, and


Barred Plymouth Rocks, male and female; Whi
e Wyandottes, female and


Hens of course produce most of our eggs. Some duck eggs are sold for

table use. Goose and duck body-feathers bring good prices. As

pest-destroyers turkeys and chickens are most useful. They eat large

numbers of bugs and worms that are harmful to crops. A little proper

attention would very largely increase the already handsome sum derived

from our fowls. They need dry, warm, well-lighted, and tidily kept

houses. They must have, if we want the best returns, an abundant supply

of pure water and a variety of nutritious foods. In cold, rainy, or

snowy weather they should have a sheltered yard, and in good weather

should be allowed a range wide enough to give them exercise. Their

bodies and their nests must be protected from every form of vermin.

For eggs, the Leghorn varieties are popular. Some hens of this breed

have been known to lay more than two hundred eggs in a year. Specially

cared-for flocks have averaged eleven or even twelve dozen eggs a year.

Farm flocks of ordinary breeds average less than eight dozen. Other

excellent egg breeds are the Spanish, Andalusian, and Minorca.

The principal so-called meat breeds are the Brahma, Cochin, and

Langshan. These are very large, but rather slow-growing fowls, and are

not noted as layers. They are far less popular in America, even as

meat-producers, than the general-purpose breeds.

The Plymouth Rock, Wyandotte, Rhode Island Red, and Orpington are the

leading general-purpose breeds. They are favorites because they are at

once good-sized, good layers, tame, and good mothers. The chicks of

these breeds are hardy and thrifty. In addition to these breeds, there

are many so-called fancy breeds that are prized for their looks rather

than for their value. Among these are the Hamburg, Polish, Sultan,

Silkie, and the many Bantam breeds.

The leading duck breeds are the Pekin, Aylesbury, Indian Runner,

Muscovy, Rouen, and Cayuga. The principal varieties of geese are the

Toulouse, Emden, Chinese, and African.

Among the best breeds of turkeys are the Bronze, White Holland,

Narragansett, Bourbon, Slate, and Buff.

Geese, ducks, and turkeys are not so generally raised as hens, but there

is a constant demand at good prices for these fowls.

The varieties of the domestic hen are as follows:

I. _Egg Breeds_

1. Leghorn.

2. Minorca.

3. Spanish.

4. Blue Andalusian.

5. Anconas.

II. _Meat Breeds_

1. Brahma.

2. Cochin.

3. Langshan.

4. Dorking.

5. Cornish.

III. _General-Purpose Breeds_

1. Plymouth Rock.

2. Wyandotte.

3. Rhode Island Red.

4. Orpington.

IV. _Fancy Breeds_

1. Polish.

2. Game.

3. Sultan.

4. Bantam.

As the price of both eggs and fowls is steadily advancing, a great many

people are now raising fowls by means of an incubator for hatching, and

a brooder as a substitute for the mother hen.

The use of the incubator is extending each year and is now almost

universal where any considerable number of chicks are to be hatched.

Doubtless it will continue to be used wherever poultry-production is

engaged in on a large scale.

The brooder is employed to take care of the chickens as soon as they

leave the incubator.