Robert Plamondon’s Poultry Newsletter, March 2016
The sun is shining, the brooder houses are full of busy baby chicks, and if the tractor were working, life would be perfect.
News from the Farm
Why, oh why do we have so many geese? When I go onto the main pasture, there are about half a dozen ganders who want to show me who’s boss. It turns out that I’m the boss, but I have to remind them every single time by glaring at them and hissing, then advancing on them until they back off. “Slowly I turned. Step by step. Inch by inch…”
But the most exciting news is that I published three books last month!
- Poultry Production: The Practice and Science of Chickens by Leslie E. Card. I love this book! It’s packed full of reliable information, with graphics to help explain key concepts. It’s from 1961, during the transitional period when our understanding of chickens was already modern, but small farm flocks, free range, and small-scale processing were still important. How detailed is it? It’s the only poultry book I’m aware of that charts the effect of a concrete floor on room temperature at chick height. This book is a must-have for the serious poultrykeeper, whether you have half a dozen chickens or several thousand.
- If You Would Be Happy: Cultivate Your Life Like a Garden by Ruth Stout. Did you kn ow that Ruth Stout wrote a self-help book on happiness? She did! If You Would Be Happy is exactly what you’d expect it to be: quirky funny, wise, entertaining, and helpful. When giving advice, Ruth Stout is less insistent and dogmatic than practically anyone, but she gets her point across.
- Hypnotherapy of War Neuroses: A Clinical Psychologist’s Casebook by John G. Watkins. Yes, I’m publishing hypnotherapy books now. This one has been out of print for decades, and used copies were highly prized, often selling for $200. Watkins, a psychologist, was a Lieutenant in the US Army during WWII, and developed hypnosis techniques to help soldiers with “war neuroses,” often what we’d now call PTSD. Watkins describes the environment of the military hospitals and the techniques he used, then gives a series of detailed case studies.
March is baby chick month, the big start of the poultry season for most of us. The hens start laying up a storm, baby chicks arrive in the mail, and we awaken from the winter’s hibernation and spring into furious activity almost without transition.
Easter is an egg festival because the surge in egg production represents the first fruits of the new season, which introduces a welcome source of fresh food at a time when planting season hasn’t even started yet.
March To-Do List
- Brood chicks. (Time to buy a copy of Success With Baby Chicks if you haven’t already.)
- “Break up” broody hens.
- Plant greens for chickens.
- Begin chick scratch after two weeks. (According to Jull: I provide it at day one.)
- Eat more eggs and poultry at home.
- Hatch baby chicks.
- Use artificial lights. (The traditional time to turn them off is April 1.)
- Remove damp or dirty litter.
Inspired by a similar list in Jull’s Successful Poultry Management, McGraw-Hill, 1943.
These are my top-selling books from last month:
- Gardening Without Work by Ruth Stout.
- Plotto by William Wallace Cook.
- If You Would Be Happy by Ruth Stout.
- Fresh-Air Poultry Houses by Prince T. Woods, M.D.
- Success With Baby Chicks by Robert Plamondon.
All of these are fine books (I publish books I believe in). If you’re like most readers of this newsletter, you’ll enjoy starting with Fresh-Air Poultry Houses and Success With Baby Chicks. These cover the basics of healthy, odor-free, high-quality chicken housing and zero-mortality chick brooding, respectively, and get good reviews.
I started Norton Creek Press in 2003 to bring the “lost secrets of the poultry masters” into print — techniques from the Golden Age of poultrykeeping, which ran from roughly 1900 to 1950. I’ve been adding an eclectic mix of non-poultry books as well. These include everything from my science fiction novel, One Survivor, to the true story of a Victorian lady’s trip up the Nile in the 1870s, A Thousand Miles up the Nile. See my complete list of titles.
Recent Blog Posts
Here are some posts since last time, from my various blogs:
- Build a 200-Chick Brooder in 2 Hours for $20.
- William Wallace Cook’s Plotto Featured on BBC.
- Eleven Ways We Distort Our Thinking.
Adventures in Social Media
And if that’s not enough, you can use social media to stay up to date: