How to feed poultry for any purpose with profit; a complete and authoritative treatise on feeding all classes of poultry--nutritive values of feeds--formulas to meet every probable requirement and for fowls kept under all conditions--practical rules for feeding, and how to adapt them to individual r online

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A Complete and Authoritative Treatise on Feeding All Classes of Poultry Nutritive

Values of Feeds Formulas to Meet Every Probible Requirement and for Fowls

Kept Under All Conditions Practical Rules for Feeding, and How

to Adapt Them to Individual Requirements A Text Book

for the Beginner A Reference Book for the Expert



PRICE, $ L.25

Copyright by


Quincy, Illinois






General Factors in Poultry Feeding 5

Properties and Composition of Poultry Feeds . 10

Principles, Methods and Systems of Feeding 26

Preparation of Feeds for Poultry .. 37

Feeding Chicks From Hatching to Weaning 44

Feeding Chicks From Weaning to Maturity..... 59

Feeding for Egg Producton 71

Fattening and Finishing Poultry for the Table 85

Feeding Breeding and Exhibition Fowls .'. 90

Feeding Turkeys, Peafowl, Guineas and Pheasants 95

Feeding and Fattening Ducks 98

Feeding and Fattening Geese 103


Growing Feed for Poultry 108

Index . 112



General Factors in Poultry Feeding

Economic Conditions Determine Methods Increased Use of By-Product Feeds Makes Knowledge of the Science of
Feeding Useful to Every Poultry Keeper Nutritive Requirements and Feeding Habits of The Several
Kinds of Poultry Comparison of Digestive Organs of Animals and Birds
Relations of Art and Craft in Poultry Feeding

THE aim of this book is 'to give a working know-
ledge of the whole subject of poultry feeds and
feeding. The conditions of modern life, and the
economic developments in poultry culture, and in other
interests directly or indirectly related to it, make some
acquaintance with the scientific side of the subject essen-
tial. A generation ago, under what we have been accus-
tomed to call natural conditions of life for them, o; r
several kinds of domestic poultry fed themselves, or \ver2
fed, almost entirely upon the
waste products of farms,
and the wastes from the
homes and the barns and
gardens in the less thickly
populated urban districts.
What town poultry keepers
could not supply their flocks
from such sources was made
up by purchase of grain
from nearby farms.

In the last thirty years all
this has been changed The
increasing demand for poul-
try and eggs in cities has
led to a great increase n
the amount of poultry kept
in sections where the farmers
have no surplus stock feed
to sell. At the same time.
the increasing use of pre-
pared cereals for human
food made great supplies of
by-products suitable for
stock feeding. Such by-
products consist of the
coarser, less palatable, and
least nutritious parts of the
grains from which they are
derived; or of the residue
when a particular food ele-
ment is separated from *a
certain grain to give a hu-
man food having peculiarly
desirable properties. T h e
profitable use of such by-
products in stock feeding is
a question of combining
them properly with other
feeds and of being able to
obtain them at least as
cheaply as the feed ele-
ments they contain could be
bought in the cheapest com-
mon whole feed article that
might be used for the stock
to which they are to be fed.

It follows that the intel-
ligent and economical use of


(From a snap-shot by J. H. Robinson, May, 1901)

I. K. Felch, known as "The Father of Poultry Cul-
ture in America", was born in Natick, Mass., January
17, 1834, and died there August 31, 1918. From 1846 until
his death he was actively interested in poultry culture.
The first record of an exhibit of poultry by Mr. Felch,
and his first published statement relating to poultry
are in the report of the Middlesex South Agricultural
Society's Fair at Framingham, Mass., September, 1864,
published in "Massachusetts Agriculture, 1864." At this
fair he exhibited a cock and four hens. Golden Penciled
Hamburgs, which he had imported in 1863, in competi-
tion for the premium awarded for best pen of fowls and
best statement of their performance for six months pre-
ceding- the fair. The part of his statement relating to
their production reads: "The fowls have been for most of
the time enclosed in a yard, three rods long and one rod
wide, and their food has been nothing but corn, with
fresh water and oyster shells, at an expense Of $3.75
for the five fowls for the six months. The four hens
have laid in the six months 472 eggs, and one of the
hens has been sick ten weeks of the time, being an aver-
age of 118 eggs to each hen. But to give each hen her
just merits, we should consider that the sick hen only
laid about half as many eggs as each of the others.
Allowing her to lay 60 eggs would leave 412 to be laid
by the three others being 137 eggs each. One of the
hens has in my judgment laid 150 eggs within the past
six months. From observations we know that she laid
constantly and more than the others."

these feeds requires some knowledge of the chemical com-
position of feed stuffs, and of the scientific principles of
feeding. True, the abundance of feeds of this kind has
led manufacturers and dealers to give particular atten-
tion to the production of commercial mixtures of feed in
which these by-products are combined, either with whole
feeds or with other by-products, in such proportions that
the mixture is equal or superior in value to some com-
mon whole feed for which it is offered as a substitute,

or perhaps is a complete ra-
tion for a specific purpose;
but even in using these feeds
the poultry keeper needs to
know something of their
composition and of the prop-
erties and values of the in-
gredients which they contain.
He needs this not so much
for protection against adul-
teration of mixtures by un-
s c r u p u 1 ous manufacturers
and dealers, as for insurance
against the contingency of
being unable to obtain sup-
plies of a feed that he has
been accustomed to us^, and
to enable him to combine to
the best advantage the use
of good commercial mixtures
and feeds obtained from
other sources.

The acquaintance with the
scientific side of the subject
that serves this purpose must
be correct as far as it goes,
but need not go farther than
familiarity with the names
and properties of the nutri-
ent elements in feeds, their
general relations to the nu-
tritive requirements of ani-
malsparticularly poultry
and simple methods of calcu-
lating the values of rations.
These are in reality matters
which under modern condi-
tions are no longer peculiar-
ly scientific but have become
a necessary part of practical
common knowledge of feed-
ing. For that reason it
,seems best in a popular dis-
cussion of the subject to
present the rudiments of the
science of feeding as a part
of the practical statement of
the subject, introducing each
in its appropriate place in

the general discussion.




Here about three or four hundred old birds and from a thousand to twelve hundred chicks had the range of the
orchards, pastures, meadows, and some of the cultivated fields- in all about forty acres and could pick a consider-
able part of their living- at some seasons.

What Poultry Eat

Of poultry in general it may be said that their diet
is more like that of man than the diet of other domestic
animals. The pig is the only one of the larger animals
that is an omnivorous eater, and while the pig will eat meat
of any kind when it can get it, it seems much better able
to subsist on a vegetable diet than most kinds of poultry.
In comparing the natural diets of the most common kinds
of poultry we find at the same time such similarity and
such adaptability in all, that they may be kept on the
same ration, with slight and easily made variations, and
yet such differences and such special adaptabilities that
one kind may thrive on feed upon which another would
be half starved. Their differences in structure and habits
of life also enable them to obtain feed under different
conditions. The likeness of the several common kinds of
poultry in the matter of feeding is of advantage to the
poultry keeper when he wishes to keep two or more
kinds under intensive conditions. Their unlikeness is of
advantage when he wishes to utilize as fully as possible
the waste feeds on a large area of land, or large quan-
tities of particular kinds of waste or cheap feed.

The kinds of poultry to be especially considered in a
general work on poultry feeding are, fowls, turkeys,

ducks, and geese. The guinea, peafowl, and pheasant re-
quire substantially the same feeding as the turkey, and the
swan may be considered a large goose. We can, therefore,
cover the whole subject thoroughly by treating matters
relating to the feeding of fowls, turkeys, ducks, and geese
ftlly, and then making shorter special statements for the
other kinds.

Feeding Habits of Fowls

Fowls are the most domestic of poultry. They will
forage only as far as is really necessary to get feed. They
appear averse to getting so far away from their coop or
from cover where they feel safe, that they cannot reach
it by a quick dash if danger threatens. So they usually
forage over a limited area, working over it thoroughly,
but rarely going far in any direction. The ordinary farm
flock of fowls, with the chickens that are raised each year,
generally take all the poultry feed there is about a farm
house, its outbuildings, and the nearby land. That is why
so many farms in America have only fowls, no turkeys,
ducks, or geese. Fowls are, on the whole, the most use-
ful and profitable kind of poultry; therefore they take
precedence of the others except where particular interest
in one of the others results in either limiting the number
of fowls kept or making special provision for it beyond
the range of the fowls.



Here everything consumed by the birds had to be bought for cash. Only nearness to good markets, good work
and a good product make poultry growing profitable under such conditions.


Fowls eat almost any tender grass and weeds. They
eat all kinds of common grain and most large weed
seeds, but little grass seed or small weed seeds. Even
small chickens are not at all keen for grass and weed
seeds so small that old fowls pass them by. Fowls eat
most kinds of insects and worms that are large enough
to be readily visible, but seem quite indifferent to the
very -small insects that attack vegetation. They do not,
as far as the writer has observed, eat ants, but they are
fond of "ant eggs." They also are fond of nearly all
kinds of fruit and vegetables the only popular article^ of
human food in this line which they do not like being

Feeding Habits of Turkeys

Turkeys are much less domestic by nature than fowls.
Being larger, and requiring more feed, and having also the
same reluctance in consuming small bits of nutriment, tur-

the nearest water and remain there all day. Nor will they
be particular about coming home at night. Their natural
feed is the small animal life they find in the water, and
especially along the margins of ponds and streams. With
this they eat a great deal of coarse and tender green
stuff. They probably get little grain in wild life, yet in
domestication they can stand a heavy diet of ground

Feeding Habits of Geese

Geese, so like ducks in appearance that people who do
not know both well often find it difficult to distinguish
between large ducks and small geese, are the most herbi-
vorous of poultry. They can live entirely on grass and
similar green forage, with such animal feed as they may
get from their range. While they prefer marshy land and
access to the water, they will thrive on any good pasture.
They like grain, and make their greatest growth when


The houses for laying-breeding fowls are in the background at the right. The small houses at : the .left ; are
for breeding ducks. In the middle foreground and center are brooders for young chickens; the colony houses across
the rear are for weaned chicks. Small fruit trees may be seen in all yards.

keys range much more widely than fowls. They have not
the same attachment for home, and when foraging is poor
on their accustomed range they are inclined to wander
away, looking for a better feeding ground. This habit
makes them especially valuable in the destruction of
grasshoppers and other insects which often come in great
numbers and move rapidly over large areas. Insects and
grain, with some tender vegetation, are their principal
diet. They will eat most of the things that fowls eat,
but their wanderlust generally leads them to the big
pasture fields and woods, leaving the products of gardens
and orchards to their less enterprising neighbors.

Feeding Habits of Ducks

Ducks are the most carnivorous of our domestic
birds. They are inclined to be as domestic as fowls
provided the dooryard affords them an opportunity to
dabble in water. Otherwise they will, if at liberty, seek

given a liberal grain ration with unstinted green feed.
They will go long distances to feed, but almost invariably
come home long before nightfall.

The foregoing general statements of the feeding
habits of fowls, turkeys, ducks, and geese show how these
different kinds of poultry are adapted to the utilization
of feeds which generally are not consumed by or not
.available to other kinds of farm live stock, and how,
'while using such wastes, they also do good service in
destroying all kinds of insect pests. In all arrangements
for poultry on farms, therefore, the first thing considered
should be the possible service of poultry in these matters.
This is in most cases limited by the necessity for pro-
tecting the birds from natural enemies. Yet it usually is
possible to do much more in this direction than is com-
monly done, and it makes the problems of feeding poultry
on the farm much easier, and the profits correspondingly
gi eater and more satisfactory.


The Digestive Organs of Poultry

There are some things in the feeding of poultry that
are better understood if one keeps in mind the resemb-
lances, as well as the differences, in the three types of di-
gestive system which are found in our domestic animals
and birds.

The horse masticates its feed thoroughly as it takes
it into the mouth; the feed then passes into the stomach,
where digestion takes place, and from this into the small
intestine where it is assimilated.

In the pig the digestive system and the processes are
similar to those in the horse, but mastication is not so
thorough. Pigs cannot digest dry fodders and hard grains
as fully as horses do, although they have strong teeth
and powerful jaws.

In the ruminants cows and sheep there are said to
be four stomachs, though only the last in the series is
properly a stomach. A cow partly masticates her feed as
she eats it. When the feed is swallowed it passes into the

first stomach or
paunch, which is
so connected
with the second
stomach that the
contents shift
back and forth
from one to the
other with a
churning motion.
After a period of
this action the
feed passes into
the third stom-
ach where it
forms into balls,
which are re-
turned to the
mouth for com-
plete mastication.
When swallowed
this time it pass-
es into the fourth
stomach, which
is the true stom-
ach, and from
there to the in-

We are accus-
tomed to say
that birds have
no teeth, but the
beaks and bills of

birds are to all intents and purposes a combination of
incisor and canine teeth. So birds have teeth for biting,
cutting and tearing, but not for mastication. The throat
is very wide in proportion to the size of the creature,
and the gullet capable of great distention. Birds can
swallow feed in much larger pieces in proportion to their
size, than most other animals can.

The feed swallowed by a bird passes into the crop,
which is an enlargement of the gullet. In the land birds,
fowls, turkeys, etc., the crop is globular and quite large.
In ducks, geese, and other aquatic birds, there is no such
distinct development of the crop, but the whole gullet
is capable of great distention, and when the birds are able
to eat greedily of a bulky feed, this distention of the
gullet may be observed the entire length of the neck.


a, Tongue; (upper bill removed); b,
Esophagus; c, Crop; d. Esophagus; e,
True Stomach; f, Gizzard; g, Duode-
num; h, Small Intestine; i, Caeca; k,
Rectum; m, Cloaca; o. Liver; p, Spleen;
r, Gall Bladder; s, Pancreas. Courtesy
of the New Jersey Experiment Station.

From the crop of a bird the feed passes into the
stomach proper, which is a very small organ, and from
that to the gizzard a muscular sac having for its inner
surface a thick, tough, corrugated skin. Here it is re-
duced to a pulp, and in this condition it passes to the in-
testines. According to traditional popular belief the giz-
zard itself is not capable of masticating the feed, and to
assist it in that function the bird swallows bits of
gravel or any hard substance that will give a number of
sharp cutting edges. Full discussion of that matter is
deferred to the appropriate place in the discussion of
feeds, but it may be pointed out here that in birds the
feed is subjected to the strong action of the gastric juice
before going to the gizzard, while in animals which mas-
ticate their feed completely in the mouth, the action of the
gastric juice comes after mastication.

Nutritive Requirements of Poultry

The body of a bird consists of a framework of bone,
to which are attached the muscles that control it; a per-
manent external covering of skin, in which grows a
changeable covering of feathers; and the internal organs
of respiration, circulation, digestion, sensation, and re-
production, which are required to sustain the organism
and the species. Most of the internal organs are essen-
tially enlargements and peculiar developments of the
skin which lines the inside, just as it covers the outside
of ihe body.

Certain facts about the composition of the body are
apparent on ordinary observation. We can see that the
skeleton contains a great deal of lime, and in the body
of a bird that was in normally good condition when killed
we can see more or less fat. We also see that this fat
is in different amounts in different birds, and often in
different places. And observing birds that were known to
be in health, and perhaps producing well when killed,
though not in what we consider prime condition for the
table, we naturally and rightly infer that fat is not an
essential part of the organism as are the bones, muscles,
skin, etc. In extremely fat birds it is easy to see that
the excess of fat may both hinder locomotion and interfere
with the functions of the internal organs.

The mineral matter of the bones and the fat. when
present, are the only parts of the body of a bird in which
we seem to recognize elements of the body in form like
that in which they may be seen elesewhere. The rest of
the structure appears quite unlike the grains and vege-
tables which observation showed us make up so large a
part of the diet of our domestic birds. For information as
to the elements which compose flesh and feathers we
turn to the chemist.

Chemistry tells us that flesh, skin, etc. of birds are
made of nitrogenous material to which is given the
general name protein. The chemical analysis of poultry
meat finds in it principally water, protein, and fat. The
substance of all fleshy tissues is formed from protein,
and it is customary to consider the fat found in them as
not an essential part of their structure. This, however, is
a too-narrow view, overlooking the function of the fat,
or oil, in various parts of the body in keeping it in good
order. Even the bones contain fat. Of the chemistry of
feathers we know little, for they have no feed value, and
chemical investigation in this line has so far been almost
entirely devoted to the things that are used to feed either
men or animals. It would appear, " however, that they
contain a considerable proportion of protein.

The analysis of meat does not show the presence of


carbonaceous elements other than fat, except in very
small quantities in the liver. This absence of the starches
and sugars from the dead body does not mean that they
are not highly essential to the nourishment of the living
body. All that it signifies is that they are not stored in
the body in the form in which they are taken into it.
That poultry need such feeds, and in large quantities, is
plain, for they consume them, and generally prefer what
the feeder considers a too-carbonaceous ration to a
more nitrogenous one. The reason for this is apparent
when we consider that what an animal eats not only
builds up and keeps in repair its body, and provides ma-
terial for a product, such as milk or eggs, but must first
keep up the heat of the body and provide the energy re-
quired for every motion and function.

day's rations meet the needs of the birds. But poultry
of all kinds are much like human beings in their tastes and
in their likes and dislikes for particular things.

The common feed elements they require can be pro-
vided in many different combinations. Birds accustomed
to a particular combination are often so reluctant to take
another that they will eat of it only enough to maintain
them, but not enough to give theii best growth or pro-
duction. We cannot say that this is always purely taste
or whim something that they should be forced to over-
come, and will overcome if they can get nothing else.
Birds brought up on a certain diet have their digest've
systems especially adapted to it, perhaps to such an extent
that they are poorly adapted to some other diet which may
be given them. To force them to a diet they apparently do


Scene on Brook View Farm, West Newbury, Mass.

In the requirements for the growth and maintenance
of their bodies, poultry are like animals, but in the re-
quirements for reproduction another element comes in.
For the shells of their eggs they need much more lime
than is contained in any vegetable or flesh feed. This they
evidently obtain in a state of nature by eating small bits
of stone, shell, etc., that will supply it. In domestication,
with egg production extended through much longer sea-
sons, and with birds kept so long on the same areas that
all material of this kind at or near the surface has been
consumed, it becomes necessary to supply shell-making
material libe'rally.

Art and Craft in Poultry Feeding

For reasons which will appear as the subject is de-
veloped in succeeding chapters, the feeding of poultry
could not be reduced to an accurate science, even if all
poultry of the same kind had precisely the same taste
and capacity for digesting and assimilating feed. It
would still be necessary for the feeder to rely upon his
judgment in many circumstances, and to be governed
largely by temperature in his endeavors to make each

not relish is not good policy, unless it is known to be a
good ration, and unless also it is a ration which the poul-
try keeper intends to feed regularly.

From what was said earlier in this chapter the reader
will rightly infer that poultry can be brought to adapt
themselves to almost any diet or system of feeding by
which they obtain enough to eat. But this is true of poul-
try, or of a kind of poultry, only in a general way. Individ-
ual birds vary both in the extent of their adaptability, and
in the direction of adaptability; and the adaptation of a
flock to a diet or a system of feeding unsuited to some of
them is really brought about by the extermination of the
individuals not adapted to it. They do not grow as oth-
ers do. They are more susceptible to disease. So by a

Online LibraryUnknownHow to feed poultry for any purpose with profit; a complete and authoritative treatise on feeding all classes of poultry--nutritive values of feeds--formulas to meet every probable requirement and for fowls kept under all conditions--practical rules for feeding, and how to adapt them to individual r → online text (page 1 of 26)