페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

trough can then be filled and the roof drawn back into place without lifting it. This arrangement is the best thus far found, for saving food from waste and keeping it in good condition. When dry mash is used in it there may be considerable waste by the finer parts being blown away. When used for that purpose it is necessary to put it in a sheltered place out of the high winds.

In separate compartments of the troughs, they are given cracked corn, wheat, oats, dry meal mixture, grit, dry cracked bone, oyster shell and charcoal. The dry meal mixture is of the same composition as that fed to the laying hens, described on page 125. The troughs are located about the field in sufficient numbers to fully accommodate all of the birds.

The results of this method of feeding are satisfactory. The labor of feeding is far less than that required by any other method followed. The birds do not hang around the troughs and over-eat, but help themselves, a little at a time, and range off, hunting, or playing and coming back again, when so inclined, to the food supply at the troughs. There is no rushing, or crowding about the attendant, as is usual at feeding time, where large numbers are kept together.

For the last 7 years we have gotten the first eggs when the pullets were from 4 months and 10 days, to 4 months and 20 days old. There is some danger of the pullets getting developed too early, and commencing laying too soon for best results, under this system of feeding. In order to prevent such conditions, the houses should not be located too close to each other, or to the feed troughs, and a large range should be given them so they may be induced to work, which they will do, if given the opportunity early after their removal to the fields. Should the birds show too great precocity, and that they are liable to commence laying in August, the supply of cracked corn in the feeding trough is reduced, or taken away altogether, which causes them to eat the wheat, oats and dry meal instead, and they continue to grow and develop without getting too fat and ripe.

During the last days of October it is our practice to move the pullets into the laying house.

66

COST OF PULLETS RAISED FOR LAYERS. Last season 2,000 pullets were raised for layers and the following materials were used in producing each one: 28 pounds of grain, meal and scrap, costing.. 44.5 cents. 34 cracked bone

1.5 1/2

.25 214 Mica Crystal Grit..

1.25 12 charcoal

.5 1/2 pints of oil...

2.5 2 eggs

oyster shell

.

4.0

54.5 cents.

Before they were moved into winter quarters, many of them were laying in the brooder houses, and the eggs from them at that time had sold for a hundred dollars.

FEEDING THE HENS. For many years warm mashes made from mixtures of different meals, sometimes with the addition of cooked vegetables, were given to the hens every morning during the winter season and in warm weather mashes of similar composition but mixed with cold water were fed. The hiens seemed to like mashes made in this way better than anything except corn, and if fed anywhere near enough to satisfy their appetites, they would load themselves with food and then sit down in idleness durng the early part of the day. They were not willing to scratch in the floor litter for the wheat, oats and cracked corn that had been buried there for them.

The losses of hens from what appeared to be the system of feeding, caused the change of the time of feeding the mash, from morning until near night, and giving the cracked corn, wheat and oats, in the litter, in the morning and near noon.

These changes resulted in the better health and productiveness of the birds, but the crowding for the mash at feedng time and the hurried filling of their crops to repletion even near bed time, did not argue for the best.

Several different plans of feeding were compared by testing them for a year and finally the moist mash was abandoned altogether. The present system of feeding has been practiced here for two years and is regarded as the best method thus far used. The dry meal mixture is composed of the same materials, in the same proportion as the moist mash was, but the method of feeding it is different. It is kept within reach of the birds at all times, but they never stuff themselves with it, either because they do not fear an exhaustion of the supply by their competing mates, or else it does not taste so good to them as to cause them to eat of it to repletion. Yet they appear to eat enough of it. It is rich in the materials from which hens make eggs. Hens that lay many eggs must be generously nourished. In the changes in feeding made here, it was not the quantity or composition of the ration that was altered, but the feeding habits of the birds.

It is not proven that our present system for feeding is the only correct one. Some other methods may be better, but at the present time it is giving excellent satisfaction with Plymouth Rocks.

DRY FOODS ONLY.

Early in the morning for each 100 hens, 4 quarts of screened cracked corn are scattered in the litter, which is 6 or 8 inches deep on the floor. This is not mixed into the litter, for the straw is dry and light and enough of the grain is hidden so the birds commence scratching for it almost immediately. At 10 o'clock they are fed in the same way, 2 quarts of wheat and 2 quarts of oats. This is all of the regular feeding that is done.

Along one side of the room is the feed trough, with slatted front. In it is kept a supply of dry meals mixed together. This dry meal mixture is composed of the following materials, viz. :

200 lbs. good wheat bran,
100 lbs. corn meal,
100 lbs. middlings,
100 lbs. gluten meal or brewers' grain,
100 lbs. linseed meal,

100 lbs. beef scrap. These materials are spread on the floor in layers one above another and shoveled together until thoroughly mixed, then kept in stock, for supplying the trough. The trough is never allowed to remain empty. The dry meal mixture is constantly within reach of all of the birds and they help themselves at will.

Oyster shell, dry cracked bone, grit and charcoal are kept in slatted troughs and are accessible at all times. A moderate

. supply of mangolds and plenty of clean water is furnished. About 5 pounds of clover cut into inch lengths is fed dry, daily to each 100 birds, in winter. When the wheat, oats and cracked corn are given, the birds are always ready and anxious for them and they scratch in the litter for the very last kernel, before going to the trough where an abundance of food is in store.

It is very evident that they like the broken and whole grains better than the mixture of the fine, dry materials; yet they by no means dislike the latter, for they help themselves to it, a mouthful or two at a time, whenever they seem to need it, and never go to bed with empty crops, so far as noted. They apparently do not like it well enough to gorge themselves with it, and sit down, loaf, get over-fat and lay soft-shelled eggs, as is so commonly the case with Plymouth Rocks when they are given warm morning mashes in troughs.

Some of the advantages of this method of feeding are that the mash is put in the troughs at any convenient time, only guarding against an exhaustion of the supply, and the entire avoidance of the mobbing, that always occurs at trough feeding, when that is made the meal of the day, whether it be at morning or evening. There are no tailings to be gathered up or wasted, as is common, when a full meal of mash is given at night. The labor is very much less, enabling a person to care for more birds than when the regular evening meal is given.

The average amounts of the materials eaten by each hen during the last year are about as follows:

Grain and the meal mixture.. 90.0 pounds.
Oyster shell

4.0 pounds.
Dry cracked bone.

2.4 pounds. Grit

2.0 pounds. Charcoal

2.4 pounds. Clover

10.0 pounds. These materials cost about $1.45. The hens averaged laying 144 eggs each.

SUCCULENT FOODS AND CLOVER. Succulent foods are supplied to all birds, each day throughout the year. The double yards allow the birds to gather green grass, young oats, rye or rape for themselves during the growing season, as they are turned from the worn run to the fresh ones, when the supply of green plants is eaten off. If the sod is much broken, or the plants injured so they will not spring up and cover the surface with green again, the vacated yards are cultivated and reseeded heavily.

When buildings are new and the runs are fenced in from land with a good sod on it, the yards may last a year or two without the sod being used up, but unless they are large, it will soon be necessary to cultivate and reseed, if they are depended upon to furnish green food. The yards, 20 by 100 feet, are large enough so that there is room for a single horse to work comfortably in them. It is questionable whether it might not be more economical to construct only single yards for exercise, and feed the hens daily on green food, which could be raised on rich land, handy by. Probably less labor would be required to raise the green food in the fields than ir the yards, but the labor of cutting and carrying it to the birds would be considerable.

For green food during winter and spring mangolds are used. They are liked by the birds and when properly harvested and cared for remain crisp and sound until late spring. They are fed whole, by sticking them on to projecting nails, about a foot and a half above the floor. Care must be exercised in feeding them, as they are laxative when used too freely. On the average about a peck per day to 100 hens, can be safely used. They would eat a much greater quantity if they could get it.

A 4 months' feeding test, extending from January 1 to April 30, 1906, in which mangold wurzels were compared with cut clover, has just been completed. Two lots of hens, each consisting of 100, were kept under similar conditions, both lots being fed as described on page 124, except that one lot had about 17 pounds of mangolds each day and no clover; while the other lot received no mangolds, but were given 5 pounds of clover leaves and heads, gathered from the feeding floor in the cattle barns. Both lots of birds had new beds of

« 이전계속 »