Robert Plamondon's Poultry Newsletter, March 4, 2005As always, if you're tired of this newsletter, please scroll down to the bottom of the message for easy instructions to make your subscription go away.
Get The Dollar Hen Cheap at Amazon!
Amazon.com is selling one of my reprinted classics at a ridiculously low price: $11.95 instead of $18.95. If you ever thought you might be interested in a classic of practical free-range poultry-keeping, back in the days when men were men and tractors were horses, take as look at
The Dollar Hen. (The link will take you to the Amazon page for the book.)
I'm very fond of The Dollar Hen. Though a 95-year-old book isn't long on techniques you can cut out and paste down without making changes, it inspired many of best ideas I've ever had on the farm. For instance, it talked about the old-style "fireless brooders," which relied solely on the chicks' body heat. This has never been very practical for very young chicks, but the book points out that it's not a bad gimmick for older ones. I tried it as sort of range brooder to keep chicks comfy when they've first left the brooder house. (I wrote it up on my Web page.)
Of course, I used modern materials, namely aluminized bubble insulation, but the basic concept was from the book, and it wasn't an idea I'd heard elsewhere.
The author, Milo Hastings, was an interesting man. He wrote a classic of science fiction, City of Endless Night, in 1919. He wrote a musical in the Thirties. And he also invented the forced-air electric incubator. You see a foretaste of this in The Dollar Hen, since he has a very long chapter on incubation, which tells you an amazing amount of stuff, much of it still very applicable today, especially if you use a still-air incubator.
Anyway, check it out on
Amazon.com. They're offering a really good deal.
Get 'Em Cheaper On eBay
Baby Chick Time
I saw baby chicks in the feed store on Monday! I was surprised, because it was still February, but there they were. I wasn't tempted, though, since we have 100 pullet chicks and 100 broiler chicks in the brooder houses already.
As I describe in my book, Success With Baby Chicks, you can tell males from females in some popular breeds. Not with perfect accuracy, but enough so that you can get a flock of 75%-100% hens out of a batch of straight-run feed-store chicks. One method works with Barred Rocks and Silver Laced Wyandottes; the other works with Rhode Island Reds and New Hampshire Reds. Check it out!
Beware of feed stores that offer free chicks without telling you what they are. Sometimes they're surprisingly generous, and then it turns out that they've given you male White Leghorns, which of course will never lay eggs and will grow up to be scrawny and hardly worth butchering. Free chickens can worth a lot less than you paid for them.
March To-Do List
Inspired by a similar list in Jull's Successful Poultry Management, McGraw-Hill, 1943.
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