' ".' c'-7
By F. W. RISHER
FLORIDA STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
NATHAN MAYO, Commissioner
Revision of bul. no 34
POULTRY RAISING IN FLORIDA
I N T R O D U C T IO N
FLORIDA AS A POULTRY STATE
SOME of the economic and natural advantages necessary
in developing a great poultry industry found in Florida
are a mild, even climate, free from great extremes of
heat and cold, plenty of green feed, lots of sunshine, and a
good market, coupled with many trained poultrymen. It is
rather difficult to tell which point is most important, for it
may be like the old adage, "There is more in the man than in
the land." No doubt the poultry industry in Florida was slow
in developing, because the mass of its farmers were not live-
stock or poultry-minded, but rather vegetables or citrus
fruits were first in their thoughts and received most atten-
tion. This is changing, and many have come to see the value
of poultry in our farm economy, either as a commercial enter-
prise or as a side-line on the fruit, vegetable or general farm.
Climatically, the situation in Florida cannot be excelled,
for there is no extreme heat in summer (very few days is the
temperature recorded above 90 degrees) and only a few days
during the mid-winter months is there a temperature as law
as freezing. This gives the advantage of low housing costs
and very little money need be spent for fuel used for heating
purposes. This mild, even climate allows the up and going
poultrymen to bring their hens into full production in the
fall and winter, and take advantage of the higher prices that
A bountiful supply of green feed can be grown every
month of the year and is very beneficial in the developing of
a profitable industry. There is no place where there is more
sunshine or daylight in which poultry can live and develop
outdoors, especially in the winter months, than is found in
Florida; with an abundance of rainfall, well distributed, it
is possible to have green feed every month in the year out-
doors. The hen, it is generally agreed, does best when
allowed access to sunlight and green feed.
The commercial poultryman, the farm-flock producer and
the back-yard poultry raiser, as well as the poultry fancier,
find poultry-keeping enjoyable and profitable. The poultry-
man who is attracted to Florida finds that the knowledge of
poultry raising in other sections can be used to good advan-
tage, but must study the methods and technique that is
applicable here. Because of the difference in climate, rainfall
4 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
and soil, not all of the methods used elsewhere are applicable.
However, by a little study, and by observing the methods of
successful poultrymen, the beginner can soon adapt himself
to conditions, and develop a paying business.
VALUE OF THE POULTRY INDUSTRY OF FLORIDA
This industry is of interest to every person in the State
from the viewpoint of a producer or that of a consumer.
There is no branch of agriculture so nearly practiced on
every Florida farm as is poultry-keeping, for some kind of
poultry is kept on eighty-five out of every one hundred farms.
It is interesting to note that the United States Census of
1935 reported that some kind of poultry was found on 50,457
of the 72,857 farms of the State.
The 1929 United States Census of Agriculture attributes
the poultry farmers of Florida with producing 3,421,394 head
of poultry, valued at $3,463,629. They also produce a little
more than 14,500,000 dozen eggs, valued at $4,831,699; or
to make it more vivid, this would supply every person in the
State with approximately one hundred and twenty eggs per
annum. The total value of the poultry and eggs produced in
Pu Ir l
Poultry Flock in Orange Grove. Courtesy County Agent, Tavares, Florida
POULTRY RAISING IN FLORIDA
Florida per annum was approximately $8,000,000; only our
citrus, green vegetables and dairy products ranked above
poultry as a source of revenue, and this places poultry in
fourth rank as an agricultural enterprise in the State. A
review of some census figures reveal how the poultry enter-
prise is keeping step with other Florida progress. In the year
1919, Florida poultry flocks produced 61/ million dozen eggs;
this had increased to more than 141 million dozen in 1929,
even in spite of the ill effects of the boom days. The Agri-
cultural Census taken in 1932 by the Florida Department of
Agriculture showed that 20 million dozen eggs were produced
in 1932. In the period from 1919 to 1932, it is interesting to
note that the number of chickens raised on the farms of Flor-
ida increased almost 50%, while the number of eggs produced
increased approximately 300%. The quality of the bulk of
the eggs produced in Florida that now enter trade channels
are as good as those produced anywhere in the country.
There is still room for more poultry, as it is estimated by
the best authorities that 40% to 45% of the eggs consumed,
in Florida are imported, and nearly 50% of the poultry meat
consumed is imported.
CHOOSING A LOCATION
Once a person is sure that he wants to engage in this indus-
try and that he has the proper inclination, the next step is
to select a location. Many considerations enter here: soil,
shade, crops and runs, proximity to old poultry farms, mar-
kets, etc. The soil should be high enough that the pens and
runs will not become quagmires during a rainy season. The
poultry house should be located on a southern or southeast-
ern slope facing south, and located so the land in front and
rear can be used for grazing lots. A sandy, reasonably porous
soil is generally more suitable than heavy or clayey soils.
The land should be such that green feed can be grown at least
with fair success. Trees to provide shade, which is desirable
for the health and comfort of the fowls during much of the
year. If one intends giving the birds range and not confining
them continuously, fairly open pasture or hammocks are
important. Because of danger of disease, it is not advisable
to locate a new poultry farm near an old one as long as there
is any question as to the presence of disease on it.
An important consideration in this connection is nearness
to markets. This applies to the things the poultryman must
buy as well as to the things he will sell. Naturally, the cen-
ters of population provide him with both. Jacksonville,
Miami, Tampa, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Lakeland, the Palm
6 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Beaches and many other centers, from the standpoint of
markets, are all inviting locations. Some of these cities pro-
vide constant, year-around demands for poultry and poultry
products, which may give them an advantage over others.
Moreover, the more typical tourist centers may make up for
their short season of demand by better prices during this
short season. However, it remains true that in this age of
rapid transportation, prices for such produce remain more or
less equal in markets as close together as those.
TYPES OF HOUSES
The types of houses that are being used in the majority of
instances are shed-roof or even-span and semi-monitor; the
other types are found on some farms. The house should be
deep-18 to 20 feet-to provide for roost space and a feed
space while hens are confined. The deep houses are more
economical and provide better ventilation. A good roof is
most important, because of the heavy rainfall. A house 18
feet by 32 feet will provide space for 225 to 250 hens, and
most poultrymen say that they can be built for 50c per bird
capacity, or $125.00 for the 250-hen size. In constructing a
poultry house, it is essential to make the front high to allow
sunlight for it is a good disinfectant. In deep houses, light
can be had under the dropping boards by having windows in
the back of the house.
The poultry-house should provide ample space to prevent
over-crowding. Florida poultrymen allow two to four-square
feet of floor space per bird, depending on the breed.
In providing floors, these essential features should be pro-
vided: (1) dryness, (2) smooth, hard-surface that can be
easily cleaned, (3) proof against rats and mice, (4) economy
of construction. The three types used are (1) cement or
concrete, (2) wood, (3) dirt.
Dropping boards should be constructed of tongue and
groove lumber. The boards should be laid from front to rear
to facilitate cleaning. Arrange the boards horizontally and
parallel with the floor. Locate the boards about 21/, or 3 feet
from the ground and let extend from 9 to 12 inches beyond
the front and back roosts.
Roost poles must be provided. Place on the same level, so
as to prevent the birds from crowding each other toward the
POULTRY RAISING IN FLORIDA 7
A Breeding Pen of Good Type Leghorn Hens and Roosters
One Type of House Found in Florida. Easy to Build and Cost Very Low
8 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
higher ends of the poles or toward the higher poles or
perches. For roosts, select 2-by-2-inch pieces, lumber or
straight poles. Rough or sharp corners or points should be
smoothed down. Place roosts about 6 inches above the drop-
ping board and support either by wires from the roof or by a
frame resting on the dropping boards. Allow from 8 to 10
linear inches per bird for roosting space. With the roosts
from 12 to 16 inches apart, this provides ample space. Wire
stretched below the roosts and above the dropping board col-
lects any eggs that may be laid and keeps the hens out of the
droppings, which promote cleanliness and health.
Locate nests convenient for both caretaker and hens. On
side walls or under dropping boards are usual places for nests.
Provide plenty of them-one for every four to eight hens.
For Leghorns and other light breeds, a 12-by-12-inch nest is
about the proper size. The heavier breeds need 12-by-14-inch
nests. Both sizes should be about 15 inches high, with a
front board 3 or 4 inches high.
The bottom of a nest should be of either wood or wire.
When single tiers of nests are used, half-inch mesh hardware
cloth (fine wire) may be used for the bottom. This permits
freer circulation of air and allows droppings and trash to
A sloping roof keeps hens from roosting on top of nests.
Hinged jump-boards in front may be closed to keep hens out
of the nests at night. Many poultrymen use orange boxes
and egg crates for nests.
The individual hen battery made its appearance in Florida
about 1931, and so far, those in operation are giving good
results. Each bird is confined to an individual unit, where
she receives food and water, and lives and lays the year-
round. The batteries are arranged in rows, one deck above
the other. In this way, a small house can accommodate a
large number of hens. The individual cells are constructed of
wire with wire floor, under which is the removable dropping
board on an endless belt for carrying off the droppings. Con-
venience and sanitation is as nearly perfect as can be devised.
BREEDS OF POULTRY
Other most important points for the beginner to bear in
mind are breed and blood. The old axiom that "Blood will
tell" is true, as true in the poultry world as elsewhere. The
beginner should first determine which type of chicken he
POULTRY RAISING IN FLORIDA 9
4 *: '..
I -i< ~ .. "
A! A Id-4 ._i W ,
-, - -- .... -.- t'.
Flock of Leghorn Hens-Feeding Outdoors in Central Florida
10 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
desires to raise-whether egg or meat-and then which par-
ticular breed within that type appeals to him most.
Beyond being poultry-minded, he must be Leghorn-minded
or Rhode Island Red-minded or Barred Rock-minded. Deter-
mine what you want to breed, then go after the best blood in
that particular line.
In Florida, most all breeds of poultry do well, but the most
popular are Single Comb White Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds,
Barred Plymouth Rocks and White Wyandottes. For the
beginner, the best practice is to select one breed, though some
prefer two. One can usually do better with only one breed.
The Single Comb White Leghorn is universally favored on
commercial egg farms where the main source of revenue is
from the sale of eggs. Leghorns come into production earlier
than heavier breeds and are more profitable as egg producers.
The disadvantage of Leghorns is that the broilers are not
looked on with favor on the market and the price is dis-
The Mediterranean breeds-Minorcas, Anconas and Cam-
pines-have the same general characteristics as the White
Leghorns, but are not so popular in Florida.
Dual purpose breeds of the American class, which include
Rhode Island Reds, Barred Plymouth Rocks and White
Wyandottes, are more suited for general farming conditions.
These birds are good producers of eggs and meat, and make
MAKING A START
It is customary and perhaps most practical to begin with
young chicks in the spring, producing broilers for the spring
market and eggs for the late fall and winter trade. Get
started early. Early-hatched chicks grow better, fewer die,
and the broilers bring more money because they are sold
earlier on a higher market. Then, the pullets mature in
time to lay high-priced fall and winter eggs.
To make sure of having pullets mature early enough to do
best as egg producers, it is preferable that no chicks be
started after April 15th, certainly not later than May 1st.
Heavy breeds, Rhode Island Reds for instance, should be
hatched in February and March; light breeds, such as White
Leghorns, should be hatched in late February, through
March and the first half of April.
Chicks to be brooded together should be hatched or secured
at the same time, because chicks of different ages never do
well together. Starting all at the same time reduces labor and
gets the more tedious part of the brooding over with at one
POULTRY RAISING IN FLORIDA
There are a number of ways to get a poultry flock started.
These are by (1) using hatching eggs, (2) buying baby
chicks, (3) buying from 10-to-12-week-old pullets, (4) using
STARTING WITH HATCHING EGGS
Hatching eggs can generally be purchased very reasonably.
Be sure to secure eggs from high-producing birds, even
though they cost more. If one is experienced and can suc-
cessfully operate an incubator, this method will be most
economical. Another method would be to have a hatchery
man incubate the eggs. The eggs should be hatched during
February, March and April for pullets.
STARTING WITH BABY CHICKS
At least a week before the arrival of the baby chicks, the
brooder house should be scrubbed and disinfected and the
brooder tested to see that it burns, then there will be less
likelihood of getting the chicks chilled by having a burner
refuse to work. Baby chicks of the Leghorn breed should be
purchased in March and April, while the heavy breed chicks
should be purchased a little earlier. Baby chicks should be
purchased from a hatchery man who does breeding and has
a high-producing flock, or from one who gets his eggs from
poultrymen who are practicing breeding.
STARTING WITH PULLETS
Still another way to get started is to purchase partially-
grown pullets. For the person who has had no experience in
incubation or brooding, this plan may be most desirable.
Pullets are generally purchased in summer, so that they will
come into production early in the fall.
STARTING WITH BREEDING STOCK
Breeding one's own stock is usually the most expensive,
but it is desirable if the producer is planning to go into the
But no matter how the start is made, whether by hatching
eggs, buying baby chicks, buying young pullets, or breeding
one's own, remember the best is none too good. Investigate
what you buy, and be sure you get high quality. The right
start is important if success is expected. This can not be
Pullets that lay during fall and winter, when prices of eggs
are highest, are most profitable. To produce winter eggs,
12 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
pullets must be hatched in early spring. Generally speaking,
February, March and April are best.
Breeders of the Mediterranean class, such as Leghorns,
will come into production in from five to six months.
The breeds of the American class, such as Rhode Island
Red, Plymouth Rock, and Wyandotte, will commence laying
in from six to seven months.
Breeds of the Asiatic class, such as Brahmas and Cochins,
will come into production in about nine months.
SELECTING EGGS FOR HATCHING
Care should be exercised in selecting eggs for hatching.
They should be uniform in color, size and shape. They should
weigh about 2 ounces each or 24 ounces to the dozen. They
also should have strong shells. Abnormally large or small
eggs should be discarded. Use only clean eggs and do not hold
too long. The best results are usually obtained if eggs are
incubated during the week they are laid. Hatching eggs
can be kept in cases, but should be turned daily. They
should be kept in a cool, moist room until placed in the incu-
bator, for the germ begins developing slowly at about 70
GROW HEALTHY CHICKS
The Extension Division of the University of Florida
makes the following recommendations-because success in
the poultry business is largely dependent on the production
of clean, healthy chicks:
1. Hatch early.
2. Clean eggs and chicks.
3. Clean brooder houses.
4. Clean land.
5. Balanced rations.
6. Separation of cockerels from pullets.
Hatch early to secure early layers, as prices of eggs are
highest in October, November and December, and broiler
prices are highest in early spring.
CLEAN EGGS AND CHICKS
Eggs or chicks should be of real high quality. Purchase
eggs or chicks from flocks free of disease. These eggs or
chicks should come from hens that are bred for standard and
egg qualities. Buy as near home as possible, and insist on
quality. Poor quality means high mortality.
POULTRY RAISING IN FLORIDA 13
Record Hen, National Egg-Laying Contest, Chipley, Florida. Produced 317 Eggs.
Points 343. Owner, E. P. Witt, South Jacksonville, Florida
All-Time Record Heavy Breed Hen, Rhode Island Red, National Contest. Produced
311 Eggs. 304 Points. Owned by J. A. Dinkins, Bonifay, Florida
14 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
CLEAN BROODER HOUSES
A clean brooder house is indispensable. Always clean the
portable brooder house before it is moved to clean land. Re-
move all the movable equipment and brush ceiling and walls
of the house. Scrub the lower parts of the walls and floors
with a brush or broom, and a pail of water to which concen-
trated lye has been added (one pound of lye to forty gallons
of water). Next, spray the interior of the house with a good
coal tar disinfectant. Clean and disinfect all equipment.
Land is generally considered clean for the purpose of rais-
ing chicks when no chicks have been allowed to run on it for a
period of at least one year, and when no poultry manure has
been spread upon it for that length of time. A two or three-
year rotation is even .more desirable. If clean land is not
available, raise chicks in confinement. Battery brooders and
brooder houses with wire floors inside and outside are now
being used more and more. The chicks are allowed to run on
hardware cloth for a period of three to ten weeks.
For normal growth and development of baby chicks, proper
feeding of a balanced ration is necessary. A balanced ration
usually includes mash, scratch, greens, grit, shell, charcoal
and water. Milk is a very valuable asset to a chick ration.
SEPARATION OF PULLETS FROM COCKERELS
Since the normal development of pullets is of paramount
importance, they should not be crowded, therefore the cock-
erel should be removed to separate pens.
The average mortality in 1930 was 141/4%, but on farms
where the above program was adopted the average was only
91/%. When chick mortality was 8% the matured birds laid
an average of 168 eggs, and hen mortality was only 9%; but
in the case of where chick mortality was 35%, hen mortality
was 13% and egg production was 140 eggs per year. The
profit per bird, where chick mortality was 8%, was 80c
greater than where the mortality was high.
POULTRY RAISING IN FLORIDA 15
There are several types of brooder houses, depending on
the heating system used. Most generally used, though, is a
wooden house with wood or concrete floors. Oil brooders are
most common, though a good many home-made brooders are
found on the general farms. A house 10 by 12 feet will take
care of 250 to 300 chicks. Most brooder houses have sun
porches constructed out of wire; this gives the chicks a
chance to take a sun bath in good weather.
Incubation: There are two types of incubation; natural
and artificial. Natural hatching with hens is practiced gen-
erally when only a few chicks are to be raised.
In natural incubation, one of the first considerations is that
the setting hen be in good physical condition. She should be
healthy and free of parasites. It is a good practice to treat
the hen for lice before putting her on the eggs.
Make the nest in a secluded, dry, well-ventilated place,
away from the rest of the birds. If a box or barrel is used, it
is advisable to put a few inches of sand in the bottom. This
helps to hold moisture. In case the hen is to be put on the
ground, dig out a shallow hole, then use hay, straw, excelsior,
etc., and arrange so that the eggs will not roll out, spread too
far apart or pile up on top of each other.
Generally, from twelve to eighteen eggs are put under the
hen, depending on her size. Remove the hen to the new quar-
ters at night. For the hen's convenience and comfort, provide
near at hand fresh, clean water, scratch feed and some green
feed. Some mash may also be put in a trough within her
Candle the eggs on the seventh day. Remove all infertile
eggs and all eggs with dead germs. Candling is done by
holding the egg in the dark over a hole through which a light
is shining. This enables one to determine the condition of
the contents of the eggs.
It is well to set two or three hens at a time, so that in case
of a poor hatch, all the chicks may be put with one hen.
Watch out for lice and mites during hatching. If discov-
ered, treat promptly to get rid of them.
Artificial Incubation. The trend is more and more toward
hatching eggs artificially. There are many types of incu-
bators on the market, most of them satisfactory. When a
great many chicks are to be raised, the incubator is most
16 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
By using an incubator, chicks can be hatched at any time.
Purchase a good machine and follow directions as recom-
mended by the manufacturer.
Place the incubator in a well-ventilated room, one in which
the temperature can be controlled. In many cases it is more
desirable and actually more economical to have eggs hatched
at a hatchery.
FEEDS AND FEEDING
The food eaten by a chicken is used to replace worn down
tissues, to provide materials for growth and storing of fat
and other tissues and to reproduce its kind. A bird's complex,
composition, as well as of its egg, suggests the nature of feed
it needs. Its body consists of water, minerals, proteins, car-
bohydrates, fats and various other organic substances. The
egg is made up of albumen and yolk. Albumen contains over
87% of water and nearly 11% of protein. Yolk is more com-
plex than albumen and contains about 50% of water and
about 49.5% of solids-egg oil, 16.1%, protein, 33.3%, fats,
1.1%, minerals, and other substances. It is also rich in vita-
mins A, B, D, G. Egg-shell consists largely of calcium. The
feed required by chickens must contain those substances in
varying quantities and proportions, according to the age of
the particular bird and the purpose for which it is fed.
In the development of body tissue and in the production of
eggs, the relative value of the feed needed by chickens de-
pends somewhat on its composition and digestibility. Prac-
tically all staple grains and green plants used in poultry feed-
ing have an abundance of carbohydrates and fats, all contain
some minerals, most of them are deficient in protein, and
many are deficient in vitamins. The staple grains-corn,
wheat, barley, oats-contain about 10% or 12% of protein,
but they are low in ash content. The so-called concentrated
feeds-meat scrap, fish meal and gluten meal-are naturally
rich in protein but poor in carbohydrates. Because chickens
need relatively large quantities of various minerals, such
feed as oyster shell, ground limestone and raw bone meal are
of particular value as they are rich in minerals. Various
poultry feeds differ so much in composition that some varia-
tion is necessary, if chickens are to have a proper balance of
the various elements required.
Among the many practices in poultry raising, probably the
variation in rations is the greatest, be it for growing chicks,
market poultry, laying hens, or breeding stock. Although
many farmers and commercial poultrymen use widely differ-
ent rations for the different classes of stock, there are cer-
POULTRY RAISING IN FLORIDA 17
tain fundamentals in feeding which must be followed in
order to get best results.
Regularity is a most important requisite in satisfactory
feeding. Growing chicks and market poultry, as well as
laying and breeding stock, must be fed regularly, or satis-
factory results cannot be obtained.
Palatability and freshness of the ration is another requi-
site, and this means providing variation, both as to grain
and bulky food. While variety is desirable, both the scratch
and the mash rations may be rather simple, using principally
the grains most readily obtainable.
The effect of feed upon the product gives occasion for
study. Yellow corn, for instance, produces yolk darker in
color than does white corn. Certain feeds give flavor to eggs,
as onions and geranium leaves. If broilers or roasters are fed
cod-liver oil up to killing time, the poultry has a distinctly
FEEDING CHICKS AND YOUNG STOCK
Baby Chicks: In the early life of the baby chick, no better
feed can be given than milk, poultry specialists recom-
mend it in place of water. Whole milk, skim milk, but-
termilk, provide both food and drink for two or three days.
Where milk is not available, finely chopped, hard-boiled eggs
can be substituted, one egg being enough for 30 baby chicks.
After this, feed every three hours all the chicks will eat in ten
minutes of a mixture of rolled oats and corn grits. Also, in
the early days of the young chick, finely ground mash may be
fed. As the chicks get larger, add whole wheat to the oats
and grits. By the time they are ten days old, they should
have a growing mash always within reach. A good growing
mash can be made by mixing together three parts of the
mash that is fed to laying hens and one part of wheat bran.
CHICK MASH FOR FIRST THREE WEEKS
Recommended by U. S. D. A. Bulletin 1541
Yellow Corn Meal .................. 40 Parts by Weight
Bran .............................. 15 Parts by W eight
Middlings or Ground Wheat.......... 10 Parts by Weight
Meat or Fish Meal (53.9% Protein) .... 10 Parts by Weight
Rolled Oats ....................... 10 Parts by Weight
Dried Milk (34.6% Protein) .......... 10 Parts by Weight
Alfalfa Meal ...................... 2 Parts by Weight
Ground Limestone .................. 2 Parts by Weight
Salt .............................. 1 Part by W eight
Total (Protein 18.6%) ............. 100 Parts
18 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
When chicks do not have much access to sunlight, add one
to two pints of a tested brand of cod-liver oil to the mash.
Mix only a small quantity at a time.
When chicks are three weeks old, fine scratch feed can be
added to the ration. This may be composed of equal parts of
fine cracked corn and fine cracked wheat. Feed only a little
scratch at first and increase the size of the feed gradually;
by the time the chicks are ten weeks old they can be given
half a ration of scratch and half mash. If all mash method
is fed, use the above mash until chicks are five to six weeks
old, then the following all-mash ration:
GROWING ALL-MASH No. 1
Yellow Corn Meal................... 50 Parts by Weight
Middlings or Ground Wheat.......... 18 Parts by Weight
Bran ............................ 15 Parts by Weight
Meat or Fish Meal.................. 8 Parts by Weight
Dried Milk ........................ 3 Parts by Weight
Ground Limestone.................. 3 Parts by Weight
Alfalfa Meal ...................... 2 Parts by Weight
Salt .............................. 1 Part by Weight
Total (Protein 15.7%) ............. 100 Parts
In addition, milk should be given to the chicks to drink, as
it will hasten growth and development.
Provide plenty of hopper space for chicks for dry mash or
wet mash feeding. Many prefer dry mash feeding or pellets,
as it is less trouble and can be kept before the chicks all the
time. Most poultrymen try to have at least one square foot
of hopper space for 40 to 50 chicks the first four weeks, then
one square foot hopper space for 25 birds until the large size
mash hoppers can be used.
Water dishes should be placed on wire frames as soon as
chicks are large enough to make their way up on the frames.
Use one-half gallon water fountain for each 50 chicks.
(From Farmer Bulletin 1541, U. S. D. A.)
FEEDING AND CARING FOR GROWING
Though the chick period is fraught with a multitude of
dangers, if proper care is observed, the owner finds his young
birds growing up into chickens before he hardly realizes it.
He should be separating cockerels from pullets as soon as sex
can be determined. As the former more frequently are
POULTRY RAISING IN FLORIDA 19
FEED CONSUMPTION (INCLUDING MILK SOLIDS)
AND WEIGHT OF BIRDS BY WEEKS (***)
WHITE LEGHORNS RHODE ISLAND REDS
WEEK Feed Per Weight Per Feed Per Weight Per
100 Birds 100 Birds 100 Birds 100 Birds
Lbs. Lbs. Lbs. Lbs.
0 8.00 8.00
1 9.00 11.00 10.00 11.00
2 28.00 18.00 29.00 16.00
3 57.00 26.00 56.00 26.00
4 94.00 38.00 95.00 36.00
5 142.00 50.00 148.00 53.00
6 196.00 69.00 218.00 73.00
7 271.00 90.00 296.00 96.00
8 351.00 109.00** 394.00 122.00
9 441.00 122.00 495.00 152.00
10 540.00 141.00 602.00 180.00
11 645.00 156.00 715.00 201.00
12 753.00 180.00 839.00 229.00*
13 864.00 193.00 962.00 239.00
14 974.00 206.00 1083.00 256.00
15 1093.00 220.00 1214.00 276.00
16 1211.00 236.00 1358.00 290.00
17 1354.00 249.00 1517.00 313.00
18 1493.00 263.00 1682.00 326.00
19 1638.00 272.00 1838.00 343.00
20 1791.00 290.00 2012.00 368.00
21 1939.00 305.00 2189.00 385.00
22 2083.00 312.00 2368.00 403.00
23 2229.00 322.00 2541.00 416.00
24 2384.00 328.00 2724.00 429.00
*** This data based on experiments conducted at the Connecticut Experiment Station.
** Leghorn cockerels removed at end of eighth week.
Rhode Island Red cockerels removed at end of eighth week.
grown as broilers, their treatment is different from that of
pullets being prepared to produce eggs.
Having separated the pullets, they should be placed in their
permanent laying quarters two or three weeks before the lay-
ing of the first egg, put on a laying ration, and allowed to
settle down to prepare for a long and profitable laying period.
Because of climatic conditions in Florida, laying quarters are
not so limited as in northern states. Pullets here should have
some range. In searching for part of their food, they secure
needed exercise. But care should be exercised that this range
is not too extensive and that it is sufficiently removed from
any disturbances which might unnecessarily excite the pul-
lets. They should be so fed and cared for that they will grow
and fatten. This is the period for them to take on flesh and
develop big and strong bones. Soon they will be laying, and
the good layer certainly needs a reservoir of fat and tissue
to call upon.
A suitable and adequate range for pullets should be:
1. Not seriously contaminated with diseases and parasites.
2. Maintained exclusively for growing pullets. Keep out
20 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
3. Capable of providing an abundance of green feed.
4. Large enough that the birds will get plenty of exercise
5. Adequate shelter, as protection against hot sunshine
and heavy rain.
Ranges should be rotated from year to year, if possible.
This helps to keep down diseases and insect pests. The old
maxim, "Cleanliness is Godliness," certainly is true in the
poultry business. It pays, too. Droppings or litter from
brooders or laying houses, or other places, may bring on no
end of trouble. Contaminated ground around the ranges or
roosting shelters, and feeding and drinking equipment, is
hazardous. Some danger from pests is lessened if the birds
are allowed to roost in range shelters during the summer.
This is stressed, as it is good practice to put pullets on the
clean range lots where there is no soil or other contamina-
tion and where they can have plenty of room to exercise.
Ground around feeders and water troughs is often the
worst on the pullet range. Here droppings accumulate, and,
as there is always some feed on the ground close to the feed-
ers, the chickens eat large quantities of filthy soil in their
attempt to secure this feed. Likewise, around the drinking
trough there may be filthy puddles of water, from which the
birds drink, rather than from clean drinking receptacles. Or,
if the soil around the trough is only slightly moist, as is
usually the case, the birds will eat this wet filth. Moving the
feeding and drinking equipment every few days goes far
toward avoiding these dangers.
Naturally, what has been said above with reference to
caring for pullets, applies to the care that should be given to
all birds, especially laying hens.
FEEDING FOR EGG PRODUCTION
When fed a balanced ration, hens of good breeding will
produce a dozen eggs with a feed consumption of six pounds
or less, while it will take thirteen to twenty pounds of an
unbalanced ration to produce a dozen eggs. Tests show that
a hen can produce only about eighty eggs per year when fed
only corn or other grain as a ration. The grains contain an
excess of fat-producing elements and a deficient amount of
A balanced poultry ration should contain 18% to 20% pro-
tein, and it should be from both the vegetable and animal
source. Though grains contain some protein, it is not con-
POULTRY RAISING IN FLORIDA
centrated enough, therefore the animal form, like meat
scrap, fish scrap or milk, must be used as a supplement.
On many general farms and dairy farms, skim milk is the
most logical source of protein as well as one of the very best.
Four gallons of skim milk or buttermilk for each 100 birds
will give them all the protein they will need. Where milk is
not available, meat scrap or fish meal is the next best source
Lime is necessary for the keeping up of the frame work of
the hen's body and to supply the calcium necessary to form
the egg shell. Roughly, 10% of the weight of the egg is lime.
Oyster shell, finely ground, is one of the best sources for
Florida poultrymen and should be kept in open hoppers be-
fore the hens at all times. Common salt will supply the
sodium and the chloride the hen needs and can be added at
rate of one-half pound to 100 pounds of mash.
Vitamin "A" is the growth-promoting vitamin and is sup-
plied by green feed, yellow corn and cod-liver oil. Vitamin
"D" provides bone development and strong muscles, and is
supplied by green feed, sunlight or cod-liver oil.
LAYING RATION WITH MILK
When the farm has all the milk the chickens will drink,
the following ration can be used:
100 lbs. Corn Meal (Yellow) 3 lbs. Corn
100 lbs. Ground Oats 1 lb. Wheat
100 lbs. Wheat Bran
100 lbs. Wheat Shorts
ALL-MASH LAYING RATION
No Grain to Be Fed
Yellow Corn Meal..........................
Shorts (W heat) ............................
Oats, Fine Ground .........................
Meat Scrap (55%) .........................
Alfalfa Leaf Meal (Dehydrated) .............
Corn Gluten Feed ..........................
Butterm ilk ...............................
Linseed M eal .............................
Steamed Bone Meal.........................
22 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Charcoal ............................... 10 Pounds
Salt .................................... 5 Pounds
Oyster Shell .............................. 15 Pounds
Cod-liver oil must be added to the above if the hens do not
have plenty of sunshine.
EGG CONTEST FEED
The following feed mixtures are used at the National Egg-
Laying Contest at Chipley, Florida, with marked success;
therefore, this would indicate they are adapted to the condi-
tions found in Florida:
Laying Mash Winter Scratch Feed
100 lbs. Wheat Bran 100 lbs. Cracked Yellow Corn
100 lbs. Middlings 100 lbs. Wheat
100 lbs. Yellow Corn Meal
100 lbs. Ground White Oats
100 lbs. Meat Scrap Summer Scratch Feed
25 lbs. Alfalfa Leaf and 100 lbs. Cracked Yellow Corn
Blossom Meal 200 lbs. Wheat
7 lbs. Ground Oyster Shells
3 lbs. Salt
3 lbs. Sulphur
The birds are given access to the yard nearly every day in
the year. The lots are so arranged that the one back of the
house can be growing green feed while the hens are grazing
on the one in front of the laying house. The lots are planted
to rye during the winter months to furnish green feed and to
stock peas in the summer for green feed. Clippings from the
lawn are fed when the hens must be confined or the yards do
not afford grazing. Also greens, such as rape, collards and
lettuce, are grown in the garden and run through a feed
chopper and fed the chickens when needed.
Yellow Corn Meal.................
Ground Wheat .................. .
Corn Gluten Meal.................
Dried Buttermilk .................
M eat Meal .......................
Rice Bran .......................
Oyster Shells .....................
Alfalfa Leaf Meal.................
Y east ...........................
35 Parts by Weight
20 Parts by Weight
9 Parts by Weight
9 Parts by Weight
9 Parts by Weight
10 Parts by Weight
3 Parts by Weight
21/2 Parts by Weight
2 Parts by Weight
1/2 Parts by Weight
POULTRY RAISING IN FLORIDA 23
SUGGESTED FATTENING RATION
Corn Meal ................................ 6 Pounds
Rolled Oats ................................ 3 Pounds
Middlings ................................. 1 Pound
PERFECT FEEDING METHOD
To show that best practices, even though they may "ap-
proach the perfect," do pay, let us quote a few paragraphs
from the final report of Florida third egg-laying contest, as
reported by the Agricultural Extension Division, University
of Florida. These give not only methods but also something
Mesh, 3 to the Inch. Courtesy of the Bureau of Agricultural
Economics, U. S. D. A.
24 DPRMN O GIUTR
Note: A Firm White Retains Its Firmness When Placed on a Wire Mesh. Courtesy
of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, U. S. D. A.
"DAILY METHOD OF FEEDING AND CARE"
"About six o'clock in the morning the birds are given a
feeding of soaked oats. In bad weather, this is fed in a
trough inside the house, otherwise it is fed on the ground.
Then each water vessel is washed and fresh water is put in
all pens. All birds in the nests early in the morning are
given a chance to get off, as it is found that a number of them
go in to warm themselves or to roost, especially when they
first arrive or while molting.
"The next round is made about eight o'clock to gather eggs.
This operation consists of removing each hen from the trap-
nest, looking at her number, weighing the egg, and giving the
hen credit. In the height of the laying season, two men are
kept busy at this job until three or four in the afternoon.
POULTRY RAISING IN FLORIDA
"At eleven o'clock a moist mash is given all birds. This
consists of about equal parts of semi-solid buttermilk and the
contest laying mash and is fed at the rate of about three
pounds of each to 100 hens. Some hens consume much more
of this than others, generally according to their condition
and rate of lay.
"In the middle of the afternoon, fresh water is again given
the birds and all hoppers are looked after and re-filled where
needed. The only feeding of scratch is given about an hour
before sundown and is governed by the appetites of the birds.
Effort is made to have the birds go to roost with full crops.
"All houses are cleaned twice a week. This includes drop-
ping boards, table, run boards in front of nests and top of
feed storage cans."
SUMMER RANGE AND SHELTER
Many poultrymen prefer to have open ranges and build a
shelter for protection against rain and sun. In this way the
range can be plowed and receive the direct benefit of the sun
rays, which is not possible if there are many trees. These
shelters are built light so they can be moved to new ground.
They are about 8 feet by 10 feet, with wire on four sides,
perches and wire floor (one-inch poultry wire).
Mesh Apparatus for Testing Egg White. Specimen Firm White
26 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
HOUSING THE PULLETS
When the pullets are fully mature and begin to show signs
of wanting to lay, they should be removed from the range
and put into permanent laying quarters. It is always best
to get pullets into the permanent winter laying quarters
several weeks before they begin to lay, and they should not
be moved after beginning to lay, as any such disturbance
causes a falling-off in egg production, or even causes a false
molt. The range around the laying house for pullets should
be clean and not one that was occupied by old hens. The
laying house should be cleaned and disinfected before the
pullets are placed in it, much after the style already de-
scribed for the brooder house.
GREEN FEED FOR POULTRY
Agronomy, horticulture and poultry specialists of the Florida College of Agriculture have worked out a green-feed chart for poultry in Florida. It follows:
Amount of Seed
When to Plant
Days to Harvest
Distance Apart Between
Rows and in Rows
Copenhagen Market 50 Days
CABBAGE Early Flat Dutch 1 Pound September-March (90 Days to Head) 21 Feet-3 Feet by 2 Feet
CHINESE Paoting (Wong Bok Type) 40-50 Days
CABBAGE Peking (Pe Tsai Type) 6-8 Ounces September-March 80-90 Days to Head 2 Feet-3 Feet by 2 Feet
COLLARDS True Georgia Whitehead 1% Pound Any Season 50 Days 2/2 Feet by 2 Feet
Imperial Long Standing
KALE Dwarf German 8 Pounds August-April 40-45 Days 18 Inches by 6 Inches
Southern Giant Curled Fall (Sept.-Oct.)
MUSTARD Chinese Broad Leaved 5-6 Pounds Spring (Feb.-Apr.) 35-40 Days 18 Inches
RAPE Dwarf Essex 8-20 Pounds September-January 40-45 Days 2 Feet
Purple Top Fall (Sept.-Dec.)
TURNIPS White Egg 2 Pounds Spring (Feb.-Apr.) Tops in 6-8 Weeks 2 Feet
COWPEAS Whippoorwill %-1 Bushel March-September 60 Days 2 Feet Drilled
OATS Rust Proof 2-4 Bushels Oct.-Nov.-Dec. 6 Weeks Broadcast
RYE Georgia 3-6 Pecks Oct.-Nov.-Dec. 6 Weeks Broadcast
GRASS Giant Plant Roots Any Season April-November
CORN Any Variety 1-2 Bushels March-September 6-8 Weeks Broadcast
MILLET Pearl 10-20 Pounds March-September 6 Weeks See Remarks
Plant roots or
legin to iut
When 18 ins. High
REMARKS: Where soil is naturally fertile, it may not be necessary to fertilize, although it probably would pay. On light sandy soil it is suggested
that from about 1,000 to 1,500 pounds of high-grade fertilizer, containing 5 percent. of ammonia or chicken manure to which is added acid phosphate and
muriate of potash, be used. Rape must have rich, moist soil; it may be sown in with oats and rye. Millet for poultry pasture should be broadcast; if
to be cut, plant in rows 3 or 4 feet apart and drill seed in the rows. Napier Grass should be set (plants) 2 feet apart in 4-foot rows.
28 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
U. S. Bulletin 1727, May, 1934
January... .Keep hens that complete their annual molt this
month. Band, as good layers, pullets with
well-bleached beaks and shanks.
February.. .Select hatching eggs and baby chicks with great
care. Continue to band pullets that have
thoroughly bleached beaks and shanks.
March..... Market non-laying hens and pullets that have
yellow beaks and shanks. Break up broody
hens and leg-band them for marketing later,
unless it is necessary to use them for incu-
April...... Continue to market hens and pullets with yellow
beaks and shanks, if not laying. Market
broody hens that wear a leg-band indicating
May....... Market old breeders not valuable enough to keep
for another year. Watch for early molters;
they are usually low producers. Remember
that market prices for fowls are usually
better at this time than later.
June....... Market early molters, thereby reducing feed
costs. Try to maintain a 50% production
during the summer months. Begin annual
selection this month.
July....... Continue marketing molters. Early molters
are usually slow molters. Market slow-grow-
August.... Keep hens that are still laying this month.
Market those which are well into the molt.
Remove weak and unthrifty pullets from the
September. .Band, as persistent producers, hens that molt
late this month or that have laid throughout
the month. Band, as good producers, all
pullets that begin laying this month.
October.... Continue to band hens that begin to molt during
this month and those that are still laying.
Continue to select and band the early matur-
POULTRY RAISING IN FLORIDA
SELECTION CALENDAR (Continued)
November.. Make up breeding pens comprising hens that
matured early, laid at a good rate, were non-
broody, and showed persistent production.
Early hatched pullets that began laying this
month will be fair producers. Late-hatched
pullets that come into laying this month will
be good producers.
December. Band, as good layers, pullets that now have
bleached beaks and show some bleaching in
shanks. Early-hatched pullets that begin
to lay late this month will be poor layers.
Hens that molt this month are persistent
layers and may be kept for another year.
Any Month. Remove all birds showing weakness or disease.
Characteristics Identifying Layers and Non-Layers
Lateral Processes ...........
Condition in a
Large, bright red, smooth, Dull, dry, shriveled, secaly
Bright red Yellow tint
Enlarged, smooth, moist Shrunken, puckered, dry
Thin, pliable, spread apart Blunt, rigid, close together
Expanded, soft, pliable Contracted, hard, fleshy
Prominent, pliable Hard to find, stiff
Soft, loose Thick, underlaid with fat
Characteristics Indicating Whether Previous Production
Was Continuous or Brief
Eye Ring and Ear Lobe.....
Molting .................. .
Condition Associated With
Continuous Laying Brief Laying
White, rather flattened
Yellow tint or flesh color
Tinted with yellow
Tinted with yellow
Not much worn
30 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
SELECTION CHART (Continued)
Characteristics of a High-Laying Strain
Time of Maturity......... Laying begins at about 6 months
of age in the case of Leghorns
and at about 7 months in the
case of Rhode Island Reds,
Plymouth Rocks, and similar
Rate of Production........ Average of 180 or more eggs a
Broodiness .............. Birds are seldom broody.
Persistence of Production.. Hens are laying well in August
and September toward the end
of the first laying year or after
it is completed.
Culling should begin with the eggs and end at the block.
It is, properly, a continuous process. It is foolish to spend
time, money and energy with birds that will not and can not
produce a reasonable profit.
It is necessary, if we are to cull successfully, that the flock
be properly managed. Good hens appear as culls if they have
not received proper rations and care. But be sure your own
methods are correct before you accuse your hens of being
slackers and non-producers.
As a rule, culling of the laying flock is done during summer
and early fall, from July to November, when greater accu-
racy is possible. It is well to examine the flock once a month,
especially from early summer until fall. By culling at dif-
ferent times, the poultryman is able to reduce his production
costs with each culling.
It is necessary in culling, to catch, handle and examine
each bird. Catching hooks, made of stiff wire, may be used
to advantage in picking up hens. It is most important to
handle the flock and individual birds without causing too
There are a number of characteristics to consider carefully
in culling. Weigh all of the following points and decide
whether or not the bird is fit for another year. It is not
sufficient to consider only one or two of these points.
POULTRY RAISING IN FLORIDA 31
The following comparisons have been worked out by poultry experts and may be
relied upon as a safe guide in culling:
Good Producer Has Character Poor Producer Has
Broad, short Head Long, narrow, crow-shaped
Bleached, short Beak Long, yellow
Bright, prominent Eye Dull, sunken
Bleached Ear-lobe, eye-ring Yellow
Lean, smooth Face Coarse, wrinkled
Large, bright Comb Small, shrunken, covered
with white scales
Full, broad Breast Shallow, narrow
Broad, long Back Narrow, tapering
Fine, pliable, expanded Abdomen Small, coarse, thick
Thin, velvety. Skin Thick, coarse
Thin, flexible, well-spread Pelvic bones Thick, hard, close together
Bleached, lean, flat, fine- Shanks Fat, round, coarse-scaled,
Late, rapid Molt Early, slow
Moist, large, dilated Vent Dry, small, hard
The most accurate method of learning the egg production
of the individual hen is by using trapnests. This will furnish
a daily record of performance for each bird. Many commer-
cial poultrymen trap a pen each year in order to select high
producers and those that lay eggs of desirable size, the right
shell texture and good quality. Trapnesting is absolutely
necessary on the breeding farm where pedigree stock is
raised. It involves more equipment and labor than can be
expanded on the commercial flock, but a breeding pen can be
maintained, especially if the poultryman has a turn for this
32 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
kind of work. The advent of the laying battery, where each
hen is kept in an individual pen, gives a record of each hen in
the flock. This phase of egg production is so new and such a
radical change from the old methods that it is hard to tell
yet what effect this system will have on the vitality of hens
CHARACTERISTICS THAT DENOTE
Of course, the most important factor to consider in culling
is vigor and health; without these there can be very little
hope of good production. The birds should be large and
strong and active and have type. Those that show lack of
vigor or are under-size, should be removed from the flock
and sold for meat.
HEAD AND ADJUNCTS
The general appearance of the head is a good indication of
productiveness. The head of the producer is broad and fairly
short, with a well-curved beak. The face is clean-cut. The
poor producer's head is long, narrow, crow-shaped, and has a
long beak. Eyes in a good producer are full, round, promi-
nent and bright, while in the non-producer, eyes are sunken
Comb and wattles of the producer are well developed and of
fine texture, but in the poor producer, these parts are unde-
veloped and coarse. Condition of comb and wattles indicates
condition of the bird. The laying bird will have a comb bright
red in color, full and velvety to the touch; the non-layers'
comb and wattles are pale, shrunken and scaly.
BODY TYPE OR CONFORMATION
To secure heavy egg production, it is important that the
bird have good body capacity for the consumption of large
quantities of feed and for manufacture of eggs. The heavy
producer has a long broad back which extends well to the
rear and has depth from back to keel. This depth should
extend well to the rear. Breast is full and deep.
The poor layer is narrow across the back and tapers toward
the rear, has a short keel and lacks depth in the abdominal
region. Breast is shallow and narrow. Spread of pelvic bones
and distance between pelvic bones and keel are indications of
quality. This spread varies with laying conditions of the bird.
The greater the spread or the deeper the abdomen, the better.
POULTRY RAISING IN FLORIDA 33
The quality factors generally considered indicative of good
producers are a soft and pliable abdomen, fine velvety skin.
The poor producer has a hard, stiff abdomen, and the skin is
hard and coarse. The shanks of the good layer are refined, flat
and fine-scaled, while those of the poor producer are larger
and flat and round, with coarse scales. The pelvic bones in
the good producer are soft and flexible and wide apart, while
in the poorproducer they are stiff and hard and close together.
The vent of the heavy producer is distended, moist and much
of the yellow pigment has been bleached out, and in the lower
producer the vent is smaller, drawn, dry and yellow.
The presence or absence of yellow in the bird's body is a
characteristic which assists the poultryman in learning about
the productiveness of the individual. In all yellow-skinned
varieties, before the birds start to lay they show yellow color
in beak, skin and shanks. This color comes from feed. If the
feed is yellow corn and plenty of green stuff, the yellow is more
pronounced than if white corn and little green feed are used.
In a non-laying pullet, yellow color is found in the vent, eye-
ring, ear-lobe (in white ear-lobed breeds), beak and shanks.
As the bird commences to lay and manufacture egg yolk, she
absorbs the yellow pigment, which leaves the body first in
the vent. With continued laying, it leaves eye-ring, ear-lobe
and then beak. Color leaves the base of the beak first, and,
fading, extends from the base to the tip. The lower mandible
bleaches out more rapidly than the upper. It takes about four
or six weeks of laying for the beak to bleach. Finally, with
continued laying, the yellow color leaves the shanks; bleach-
ing begins on the scales on the front of the shanks first and
then on the scales on the rear. It takes from four to six
months for the shanks to bleach out.
The rate of losing this yellow color varies with different
birds. Generally, the thicker the skin the longer the time
required for complete fading. Larger birds usually bleach
more slowly than smaller birds. As soon as the hen stops
laying, the color returns in the same order, but faster than it
disappeared; namely, vent, eye-ring, ear-lobe, beak, shanks.
When a hen stops laying, she usually goes into a molt,
which means a shedding or partial shedding of feathers. A
partial molt may occur at any season, but the body molt
34 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
usually occurs in summer and fall. Early (and slow) molters
are generally poor producers, while late (and quick) molters
are best producers. The early molter loses much more time
than the late molter and naturally is less profitable. Hens of
different ages may or may not molt at the same season; it is
more a matter of condition and laying instincts. An individ-
ual probably molts at approximately the same season each
year, beginning at about the same time but molting for a
longer period each succeeding year.
The molting of the primary wing feathers is of interest in
detecting vacation periods. The primary wing feathers are
separated from the secondary feathers by an axial feather.
When the hen stops laying, she usually drops the inner pri-
mary feather next to the axial feather first. If she remains
in non-laying condition for two or more weeks, the second
primary feather drops, and so on until the entire wing is
molted. It requires about six weeks to grow a new feather.
The poor producer drops one at a time and takes a long time
to complete the molt, perhaps 24 weeks. The good producer
may drop and restore a few feathers and start laying, keep-
ing the old primary feathers another season. In some cases,
she may drop a number at one time. Eight weeks may be
ample time for her to molt, and she may not delay that long.
COMMON POULTRY PARASITES
Parasite is the name given to any little animal or plant liv-
ing on, in, or with other animals or plants at whose expense, it
obtains its food, shelter, or some other advantage. Lice,
mites, and intestinal worms are called parasites because they
obtain their living from staying on or in poultry. Such para-
sites greatly harm poultry and reduce the profit in poultry
keeping. Young chickens will not grow and develop well, and
the hens will not produce many eggs when annoyed by these
The flock should be carefully watched, for these insects
are apt to appear at any time.
Lice: Lice are insects that stay and crawl about on the
body of the chickens. They do not suck the blood, but live on
the scurf of the body and feathers. Their whole life is spent
on the chicken's body. Consequently, any treatment must be
applied to the bird itself in order to kill the insects. By ap-
plying a good lice powder, such as sodium fluoride, several
times during the year, the flock can be kept free from lice.
POULTRY RAISING IN FLORIDA 35
There are three methods for using sodium fluoride-the
pinch method, the dusting method, and the dipping method.
The pinch method is most commonly used. About seven
pinches distributed over the different parts of the body, head,
neck, under wings, on back, breast, and around the tail, soon
rid the bird of all lice. The dipping method is the most eco-
nomical and surest way of ridding a large flock of lice. This
method can be used only on a warm, sunshiny day, when the
wind is not blowing. Put into a tub ten gallons of lukewarm
water in which has been dissolved ten ounces of powdered
sodium fluoride. As the water cools with the dipping, add
water and the required amount of fluoride. Hold the birds
with wings above the back with the left hand and ruffle the
feathers in the liquid with the right. Submerge the head
quickly twice, press water out of feathers, and release the
bird. Do not leave the liquid standing in a galvanized tub as
it will discolor and injure it.
Dusting can be done by using a shaker, but a great deal of
powder is 'lost by this method, unless road dust or flower is
mixed with it.
Whatever the method, care should be taken to treat every
bird in the flock. A single bird overlooked, means a loss of
labor and money as the lice increase and spread rapidly from
one fowl to another.
Head Lice: They are found most often on little chicks on
the head parts. For treatment, use a little grease, free from
salt, to which a little kerosene has been added, or plain vase-
line is very good.
Mites: There are several species of mites. Most of them
are blood-suckers living in the cracks and crevices of the poul-
try houses, coops, or nests. They attack the birds at night or
during the day if the fowls are quiet and still, filling them-
selves with blood and then returning to their hiding places.
Since these little pests live in the houses, nests, and coops
and not on the birds themselves, one must use a good disin-
fectant spray in order to reach the breeding places, and kill
these minute insects. All roosts, loose boards, and nests
should be removed and a disinfectant applied in the form of
a coarse spray, using a suitable pump. Creolin, creosote,
crude petroleum, or any coal tar product makes a good spray.
Pure kerosene or kerosene emulsion and carbolic acid are
very effective. Whatever preparation is used, every part of
the house, nests, roosts, and coops should be thoroughly
sprayed, and the birds kept out until the liquid has soaked
well into the wood.
36 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Scaly Leg: This little mite attacks first the clefts between
the toes and gradually spreads forward and upward until the
whole foot and shank become affected. The continued irrita-
tion by the mite causes formation of a spongy or powdery
substance beneath the scales, which raises them more and
Smear or spray the roosts with a strong disinfectant in
order to destroy the breeding places of the scaly leg mite. The
birds having the trouble should be treated in the following
manner: Wash the legs with soap and water to remove loose
scales. Dry legs and apply kerosene and a little lard or vase-
line. Avoid getting the oil in the feathers at the joint, for it
will likely cause the feathers to fall out and sores to form.
DISEASES OF POULTRY
There are quite a number of diseases of poultry found in
Florida, and since this subject would require a volume in
itself, only brief mention can be made of those most common.
The old adage "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of
cure" is certainly true in the treating of disease in poultry.
A good axe and a chopping block is one remedy that should
be applied to those that show first symptoms. If the chick
program outlined in the front part of this bulletin is adhered
to, and then the birds are given good care and attention and
the houses and grounds are kept clean, there -will be very
little trouble experienced unless disease is brought into the
flock from some outside source.
Diarrhea: Confused by many people as a disease, however,
it is a result of some cause, like getting too hot, too cold,
faulty feeding, or from internal parasites. The remedy is to
diagnose and eliminate the source of the trouble.
Pullorum Disease (White Diarrhea): This disease is caused
by a specific bacteria which is found in the chicken's body.
Eggs from chickens called carriers are infected and the young
chick, when hatched, will be diseased. No remedy is known,
therefore secure chicks and/or eggs from a flock free of this
disease. The adult birds must be blood-tested to find out if
they are free. The state carries on this work by providing a
veterinarian to make the test and accredit the flock.
Coccidiosis: This is the most fatal disease of chickens after
they have reached an age of two weeks. Coccidiosis is caused
by a protozoan organism that gains entrance to the chick's
body through the mouth with food or water. Adult birds
POULTRY RAISING IN FLORIDA
may be carriers and spread the germs everywhere they go.
The grounds may be infected with the disease from some
previous infection. There is no effective treatment, but it
can be prevented by sanitation in the houses and by using a
rotation of grounds. In the young birds' symptoms are
droopy wings and ruffled wing feathers. The birds crowd
together. One of the best treatments for the chicks that
show symptoms of the disease is sour milk, buttermilk or
semi-solid buttermilk given to the chicks to drink, and also
mixed with the mash.
Roup: Roup follows colds and is caused by a virus not as
yet isolated. The first symptom noted is a discharge from
the nasal passage similar to a cold. At first the discharge is
thin and watery, in a few days it becomes thick and gummy
and has a characteristic odor. The nasal passage becomes so
stopped until the chicks have to breathe through the mouth.
The membranes around the eyes become inflamed and swol-
len, the eyelids become glued together with a thick waxy-
All sick birds should be removed from the flock and con-
fined in dry quarters free from drafts. The affected parts
should be bathed in a solution of potassium permanganate;
one teaspoonful to a pint of water is about the right strength.
Chicken Pox: Commonly called sore head; is found on the
unfeathered parts of the head in form of ulcer-like sores.
The flock can be made immune to this disease by vaccination.
The vaccination should be done in early life, before the combs
are very much developed. Apply the vaccine on the leg
about two inches above where the feathers begin. At this
place, pluck five or six feathers and apply the vaccine, with a
camel hair brush, by dipping it into the solution and rubbing
over the place where the feathers were. If the farm is free
of the disease, it should not be introduced by vaccination.
Iodine applied freely on the affected parts is effective. It
should not be allowed to run into the eyes of the fowl.