Front Cover

Title: Florida poultry production
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00025085/00001
 Material Information
Title: Florida poultry production
Alternate Title: Bulletin 38 ; Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Sanborn, N. W.
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: June, 1923
Copyright Date: 1923
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Bibliographic ID: UF00025085
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aab7666 - LTQF
amt6443 - LTUF
47285755 - OCLC
002570136 - AlephBibNum


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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
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        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
Full Text

June, 1923

(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)




Fig. 1.-Poultry houses on the farm of the College of Agriculture, Uni-
versity of Florida

Bulletins will be sent free upon application to the Agricultural Extension
Division, Gainesville, Florida

Bulletin 38


P. K. YONGE, Chairman, Pensacola
J. B. SUTTON, Tampa
JOHN C. COOPER, JR., Jacksonville
W. L. WEAVER, Perry
J. T. DIAMOND, Secretary, Tallahassee


A. A. MURPHREE, A.M., LL.D., President of the University
WILMON NEWELL, D.Sc., Director
A. P. SPENCER, M.S., Vice-Director and County Agent Leader


E. W. JENKINS, B.Ped., District Agent
H. G. CLAYTON, M.S.A., District Agent
S. W. HIATT, District Agent
R. W. BLACKLOCK, A.B., Boys' Club Agent
JOHN M. SCOTT, B.S., Animal Industrialist
N. W. SANBORN, M.D., Poultry Husbandman
HAMLIN L. BROWN, M.S., Dairy Specialist
ED L. AYERS, B.S., Entomologist and Plant Pathologist


SARAH W. PARTRIDGE, State Home Demonstration Agent
HARRIETTE B. LAYTON, Assistant State Home Demonstration
AGNES I. WEBSTER, B.S., District Agent
ELLEN LENOIR, B.A., District Agent
MAY MORSE, R.N., Extension Home Dairy Agent
MINNIE M. FLOYD, B.S., Extension Farm Poultry Agent
MADGE HORN, Assistant Clothing Agent

Florida's conditions are favorable to successful poultry keep-
ing. It escapes severe winters and hot summers. Lying between
the Atlantic on the east and the Gulf of Mexico on the west, it
maintains so even a temperature that poultry keeping is not at
all difficult.
The length of the day in Florida tends to large egg production.
Daylight here is longer in winter than in northern states, which
means eggs are produced when prices are highest. It has shorter
days and longer nights in summer than have northern states,
which means that the night temperature is kept down to such a
degree that summer egg production is encouraged and chicks
grow faster. Sunstroke is unknown in Florida poultry flocks.
The absence of freezing weather makes possible the growing
of green, succulent feeds all the year. Bright green pastures
can be had for the laying stock thruout the year.
Daily outside exercise all the year, which gives access to bugs
and worms, grass and seed, increases the fertility of eggs for
hatching, producing strong vigorous chicks.
There are many breeds and varieties of chickens. The smaller,
more active birds perhaps are better suited to farm conditions.
The medium or larger breeds fit well into conditions where the
stock must be more closely confined.
So far as egg production is concerned, size or weight does not
make the difference it used to. One can find egg-bred strains of
nearly every popular breed, big or little, that, rightly fed and
cared for, will return satisfactory profits from eggs. One may
take the breed and variety preferred and make of it what he or
she desires.
The most popular breeds and varieties found in the state are:
Single Combed White Leghorn, Barred Plymouth Rock, Single
Combed Rhode Island Red and Wyandotte, including all the vari-
ous colors of these breeds.
It is seldom necessary now to send outside the state for good
foundation stock. Forerunners of the industry have done this
already and are now in a position to supply stock ready accli-
mated to Florida conditions. The beginner should make sure
that his new stock is young and vigorous; every bird should be
full of vigor and life. A bird that is over 18 months of age

Florida Cooperative Extension

should be. bought only on the strength of a good reputation.
A start can also be made
by buying and hatching eggs
or by buying day-old chicks,
or even the purchasing of
nearly matured stock.

Where few chicks are
o hatched, the hen still is used
Sto incubate the eggs. She
Should be kept free of lice,
particularly while setting.
A thoro dusting with a reli-
able dusting powder a week
before setting, when the hen
is set, and two weeks later,
should allow the chicks to
Fig. 2.-A Florida-raised Leghorn, a hatch out free of lice. The
winner of blue ribbons at state fairs. nest box should be clean,
free of insect pests, and put in a sanitary house where the hen is
to stay on the eggs the entire 21 days of incubation.
Where a hundred or more chicks are to be hatched, the arti-
ficial method of hatching or incubation is advised. The standard
incubator, heated with hot air or hot water, or by electricity, is
generally satisfactory. It is clean, free of insects, requires less
attention than the hens to incubate the same number of eggs,
and is always ready when wanted. The incubator should be lo-
cated where the temperature varies little from noon to midnight,
protected from the warmth of noonday and the coolness of early
morning. The moisture problem is not serious in Florida, the
air carrying at most times
abundant dampness.
Hatches at the poultry
plant of the College of Agri-
culture have seldom run be-
low 50 percent of the eggs set,
and most of them have run
well up around 90 percent of
the fertile eggs. There are
Fig. 3.-A recommended type of incu- machines here that have
bator cellar been run for 15 hatches dur-

Florida Poultry Production

ing the last two years, and in no case were there less than 60
chicks hatched from each 100 eggs put on the trays. The good
incubator is recommended in preference to the hen, particularly
to those who make poultry raising an important sideline on the
Brooding is not as easy as hatching, especially the artificial
method. Good incubators are common; good brooders are rare.
It takes more careful thought and more investigation to find a
good brooder than a good incubator. The conditions surround-
ing brooder work are less helpful than those of machine hatching.
The hen, when used for brooding, needs a comfortable coop-
clean, dry, free from insects-and she should get an abundant
supply of feed thru her brooding period. The chicks need other
feed than that given the hen, and their house and yard should
be so laid out as to give them a far wider range than the hen
will give them. The hen should not have more chicks than she
can care for properly.
Most commercial brooders are recommended by the manufac-
turers to accommodate too many chicks. While they may take
the advertised number thru the first week, the chicks may over-
crowd the brooder after a few days. A brooder that will hover
100 chicks for the first week is seldom large enough for more
than half that number thru the remaining six or eight weeks
that the chicks need to be hovered.
Brooders are worth their cost in the rearing of good chicks.
They are centers of warmth, open to the few chicks that need
heat at intervals thru the day, and around which the flock may
circle thru the long hours of the night. The brooder should be
run at a temperature that will warm the single chick thru the
day and hot enough at night to drive the bunch of chicks away to
the cool circle near its outer edge of iron or cloth. After dark a
visit to the brooder should show more than half the chicks out-
side around the brooder. If it increases in heat during the night,
the chicks will increase the size of their circle; and, if it becomes
cooler, the chicks will hover closer together. Do not try to econ-
omize on oil; to do so endangers the life of the chicks. It takes
only a few deaths or stunted chicks to equal the value of the oil
that might be saved.
Heated brooders give more pure air to the chicks, than do the
heatless ones and require less work in handling.

Florida Cooperative Extension

A small brooder, a 60-chick-sized one, needs a coop or house
six by six feet. A large one of 300-chick-size needs a house of
at least ten by twelve feet.
Artificial brooding is recommended to give better results than
hen brooding.
The baby chick needs no food given it the first two days. It
still has the big yellow egg yolk, this having been taken into its
abdomen soon before it hatched and now supplying its early food
It is recommended that the first food be milk. Whole milk,
skimmilk, sour milk or buttermilk will provide food and drink
for the first two or three days. This answers for both food and
drink the second and third days, after which water should be
provided in addition to the milk. Where milk is not available,
finely chopped, hard-boiled egg 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. 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 pounds of the mash
that is fed to laying hens, and one pound of coarse wheat bran.
Or, for larger quantities, mix 100 pounds of wheat bran and 300
pounds of ready-mixed mash that is used for laying hens.
The chicks should be out on the ground at a week of age, where
they can get fresh air, abundant sunshine and lots of green, suc-
culent feed. Keep finely ground oyster shell, grit and water
within reach of the chicks.
When the chicks are weaned by the hen, or are beyond the
brooder age, they need even more attention than when younger.

Fig. 4.-On a Marion County poultry farm

Florida Poultry Production

They should be provided with roomy coops or houses, large yards
or wide range, shade of trees or growing crops. They can then
be fed much the same as laying stock, except that the proportion
of scratch feed to laying mash should be greater. Usually equal
weights of scratch feed and mash will take the profitable chicken
up to within a month of the laying age.
Chicks increase in size rapidly after their first month and, un-
less care is taken, will over-crowd houses and runs.
The pullets should be placed in permanent laying quarters two
or three weeks before the laying of the first egg, put on a laying
ration, and then allowed to settle down to a long and-profitable
laying period.
Too many farm flocks are not producing enough eggs to be
profitable. The carelessly handled, underfed hen seldom lays
over eighty eggs in a year.
To be profitable a hen
should lay one hundred or
more eggs annually. There
are flocks of 500 birds or
more in the state that have
averaged over one hundred
sixty (160) eggs in 12
S months. Certain smaller
lots have done even better.
There is at least one farm
that has produced an aver-
age of 170 eggs for each. of
its 1,000 hens.
Fig. 5.-A homemade, easy-to-make dry Average egg production
mash feeder. Costs about 15 cents; can be increased by either
better breeding, better cull-
ing, or better feeding. For best results these three should be
combined. To get more eggs and increase profits, it is neces-
sary to study the problems of the poultry industry, a main one
being: What to feed and how to feed it. The College of Agri-
culture of the University of Florida is using and recommending'
the following general rules: "Adopt dry feeding methods. Feed
both mash and scratch feeds. Make more use of paatuxe .for-
poultry. Feed waste products of garden and truc,pfath to the
hens. Have water near the feed hoppers, convenient tQothe hens

Florida Cooperative Extension

and chicks. Protect the water container from soil and filth and
from the heat of direct sunshine. Provide the hens with some
form of lime, such as broken oyster shells, in order that they
may have abundant shell material at times of rapid laying. Grit,
in form of broken crockery or crushed rock, should be provided
for grinding material, as Florida soils are lacking in broken
A Satisfactory Dry Mash is:
Cornmeal .......-......-.................-...........----------.... .. 30 pounds
Wheat shorts .................-...... -......... --.-- ---- -- 40 pounds
Cut alfalfa .------........... --~...--..--.. .--- --.. 10 pounds
Meat scrap ---.. ---.. --...--...--... --......-- ------- --.... 20 pounds
Sulphur -.-------....-. --.------- ---.... -- z pound
Salt .......... ----.. ---..------.....--. ---- - pound
101 pounds
This is to be fed and kept always available in an open hopper, a
hopper so made that waste will be prevented. The scratch feed
is to balance the mash for good egg production.
Where corn, wheat and oats can be had, the following is sug-
Corn ...--.~.~. ............. .--. . ---- 100 pounds
W heat .... -. --- ........... .... - ------ 100 pounds
Heavy oats .....................--... ...- ... -- --- - 50 pounds
Feed this whole grain mixture once a day, usually late in the
afternoon, limiting the amount given.
When the mash hopper is always open (which it should be),
cut down on the scratch grains till only seven pounds of it is
eaten daily to ten pounds of the dry mash. This gives the proper
balance needed to maintain health and get the maximum egg pro-
duction. The cooler the weather the more scratch feed is needed,
and the higher the average daily temperature the more mash is
required. Yet, the constant feeding thruout the year of scratch
feed and dry mash in this ratio of seven to ten has given good
results at the College of Agriculture poultry plant. Unless one
is careful, too much fattening feed (scratch) and too little egg-
producing feed (dry mash) will be given.
Grit, Oyster Shell and Green Feed.-Never forget that grit,
oyster shells and plenty of green, succulent feed increase egg
production when eggs sell for the highest prices as well as thru
the entire year. Then the moderate culling out of the low pro-
ducers, followed by rearing from the eggs of the best layers, will
give increased egg production in following years.
Under this plan of feeding at the College plant a pen of 11

Florida Poultry Production

Rhode Island Red pullets laid an average of 21 eggs in February,
25 eggs in March and nearly 23 eggs in April, and a Buff Wyan-
dotte pullet laid an egg daily from March 29 to April 30.
The accompanying table shows the daily record for the month
of March, 1923, of a number of Rhode Island Red pullets on the
farms of the College of Agriculture, University of Florida. The
first column to the left gives the days of the month. The re-
maining columns give the production of each hen, her number
appearing at the top.
Hen No. 329 308 317 311 37 327 319 315 312 310 316
1 ................ X X ...... X X X X X ..... X X
2 ...................... ...... X X X X X X X X X
3 ................ X X X X X X X X X X X
4 ............... X ...... ..... X X X X ...... ...... ...... X
5 ............... X X X ...... ...... ...... ...... X X X
6 ............... X X. X X X X X X X X X
7 ........... X ...... X X X X X X ...... X X
8 ................ X X ...... X ...... X X ...... X ...... X
9 ...................... X X X X ..... X X X X X
10 ................ X X X X ...... X X X ...... X X
11 ................ X X X X X X ...... X X X ..
12 ................ X X X ...... ...... X X X X X X
13 ......... ..... ..... X ...... X ...... X X X ...... X X
14 .............. X ...... X X X X X X X ...... X
15- ............... X X X X X ...... X X X X X
16 ................ X X X X X X X X ...... X X
17 ................ X X ...... X X X ...... X X X X
18 ...................... X X X ...... X X X X X
19 .-..-........ X X X X X X X X ..... ...... X
20 .................. X .... X X ...... X X X X X X
21 ................ X X X ...... X ...... X X X ......
22 ................ X X ...... X X X X X X X X
23 ................ X X X X X X X X ...... X X
24 ............... X X X X X X ...... X X X X
25 ................ X X X X ...... ...... X X ...... X
26 ................ X X ...... ...... X X X X ...... X
27 ............... X X X X X ... ... X X X X
28 ................ X X X X ...... X X X X X X
29 ................ ..... ....- X ...... X X X X ...... X
30 ................ X X ...... X X X ...... X ......
31 .-.....--...--. X X X X X X X X X X X
Total Eggs 26 25 23 26 22 25 26 28 21 24 28

If there is a time in the life of the hen when the owner is care-
less in his methods, it is from the time she leaves the brooder till
she begins to lay. Too many people have a mistaken idea that
the hens can rustle for themselves at this age. As a matter of
fact, however, there is no time when the poultryman can neglect
his stock.
The chicks have been weaned by the hen, or have weaned them-
selves from the brooder, and are seeking roosts. The cockerels

Florida Cooperative Extension

should be removed from the flock, yarded elsewhere or sold as
broilers or fryers. The growing pullets should be given all the
advantages of house, field and good feed. They are most prom-
ising sources of future profits. They should have a clean house,
one free of mites, ticks and fleas. If the house is new and on a
fresh piece of ground, so much the better. If the house is old, its
condition should be made to approach that of the new house as
nearly as possible. "Beginner's luck," so often heard about, is due
largely to new incubators, new brooders, new houses and uncon-
taminated soil. Under such conditions vermin are absent, the

Fig. 6.-Wyandotte hen, standard-bred and well-fed

soil and house are clean and sanitary and the owner is kept full
of interest and enthusiasm, conditions without which success
can hardly be expected.
Change the Range.-It is better to remove the quarter-grown
pullets to new range rather than to let them remain on the
ground used thru the brooder age. If the brooder coops are large
enough, and yet small enough to be moved, they can be cleaned
and taken several hundred feet to some land that has not been
run over by poultry for six months. Chicks have been known
to do exceptionally well where housed near to and allowed to have
the run of a field of growing corn, peanuts and velvet beans. The
plowing of the field kept all filth on the land cleaned up, the corn

Florida Poultry Production

supplied needed shade, and the growing crops made use of the
daily droppings of the chicks. The birds ate many a bug or
worm, helped cultivate the soil by their scratching, and did part
of the work of keeping down the weeds. A better crop was
raised because of the presence of the growing poultry, which
were in turn much benefited by the growing crops. Shade, green
food and bug life are needed in the growing of good pullets.
Hopper Feeding.-Pullets should have food before them at all
times. The hopper method of feeding can well be begun at the
end of the brooder age. Hopper, feeding has become universal.
Some sort of dry mash, protected in the hopper from waste and
weather, should be kept before the pullets all the time, while
the scratch ought to be given by hand once or twice a day.
If the laying formula (page 8) is being used, a splendid
growing mash can be made by adding bran. Add to 300 pounds
of the laying mash 100 pounds of coarse wheat bran. This gives
400 pounds of a good growing mash that, with some whole grain
and good range to feed on, will bring the pullets to maturity as
profitable layers. The hoppers should not be allowed to run out
of feed, nor should the chicks be allowed to eat too much grain.
Usually poultry of the growing age require about equal weights
of mash and scratch feed. Make the pullets eat in this propor-
Grit, Oyster Shell and Charcoal, each in a container to itself,
should be kept before the pullets at all times; let the fowls take
their choice. If necessary to omit one of these, let it be the
The Water Supply is important. It should be clean, cool and
fresh. There is danger from a water supply that becomes stag-
nant, dangerous either from drinking the water itself or from
contact with the surrounding, contaminated ground. Perhaps
the greatest danger to the growing pullet is from the contam-
inated soil.
The flocks should be watched, especially at night, lest they be-
come crowded for roost or house room. They will not mature as
early or become as profitable, if limited in space on perch or floor
or if sheltered in a poorly ventilated building.

A growing season of 12 months makes green succulent feeds
available at all times. While every feed mentioned cannot be

Florida Cooperative Extension

grown in all parts of the state, there are many that are suited to
every county or community. Some of these are grown as pas-
ture for poultry, while others are gathered and thrown into
yards or houses. Some can be dried and fed alone or mixed into
the dry mash in the place of alfalfa. Worthy of consideration
are: For pasture, rye, oats, rape, bermuda, cowpeas, sorghum,
peanuts, beggarweed; for feed, sugar beets, oats, corn, Egyptian
wheat, rice, feterita, peanuts, sweet potatoes, cassava, collards,
cabbage, and other vegetables.
Green feed reduces the cost of feeding, maintains health, stim-
ulates growth and increases egg production.


At times conditions are such that it may be better to buy
poultry feeds than to raise them. It has been demonstrated that
this can be done and still leave a profit sufficiently large to make
the business a paying one, this as much so in Florida as any-
where in America.
Land is still cheap enough that yards big enough to give
abundant green pasturage may be employed. Most of the suc-
cessful poultry farms in Florida follow this plan. One central
Florida farm in particular has such yards of one acre each, and
on each are 200 Leghorn hens, their supply of green feed being
largely the Bermuda grass that covers the yards. This is the
cheapest of green feed. It serves two purposes; namely, using
up the fertilizer that comes from the droppings of the hens, and
supplying feed to the hens. In case there is need of more green
feed thru the three winter months, plow and seed the yards to rye,
oats and rape. This gives abundant winter pasturage, the Ber-
muda grass starting of itself with the coming of spring. This
fact, the ability to grow several crops on the same land during
the year, especially during the winter, is one of the big advan-
tages of Florida as a poultry-raising state.
In spring, summer and fall, the hens and chicks can run on
land that is growing crops of cowpeas, sorghum, runner peanuts
or beggarweed. These are pasture crops, and are advantageous
in that the poultry harvest the crop.
Then many other crops can be raised for poultry. All these
cannot be grown in all parts of the state, but there are crops
suitable for any part of the state, such as sugar beets, rutabagas,
turnips, sweet potatoes, cassava, collards, cabbage, peanuts, corn,

Florida Poultry Production

shallu sorghum, oats, rice and feterita. Hay can be made of
cowpeas, peanuts or beggarweed and substituted for alfalfa in
the dry mash.
Every poultry farm should have a yard, and this yard should
be connected with a house. Even tho hens may range over the
farm most of the year, there are times when they could be con-
fined to advantage. The fences should be high enough to confine
the poultry, and sufficiently secure and close to prevent the escape
of the chickens or the entrance of any of their common enemies.

The poultry housing problem is less serious in this state than
in most other states and Canada. Clear nights, mild tempera-
ture, and frequent rains
during months when heat
is naturally greatest, sup-
ply conditions helpful to
profitable poultry produc-
Poultry n ee d shelter
from wind and rain and
from heat and cold. This
requires at least a tight
roof, one windproof wall
Fig. 7.- A convenient-sized portable and a solid, secure floor.
laying house for the far The perfect hen house has
never been built. There are many that seem perfect for awhile,
only to be changed as use shows their weak points. There is no
one house that will fit conditions in all parts of the state. With
a territory as large as all of New England, with areas varying in
temperature, rainfall and winds, one need not be surprised to
find that the semi-closed house of Escambia County is not suita-
ble for Lee or Dade Counties.
The Object of a Poultry House is to protect the birds against
weather and enemies and to facilitate their handling. The hens
must be guarded against harm of every sort. The house may be
required to prevent their being stolen, to protect them from ca-
tarrhs and roup, to maintain their body heat in winter that egg
production may be maintained, and to shelter them from the
many showers of the year.

Florida Cooperative Extension

The house should be planned to keep the chickens fairly dry
and protected from driving winds, as well as to provide sanitary
conditions. The only drawback of a tight roof is that the num-
ber of fleas is increased, especially where floor conditions favor
such an increase. If the floor is tight, by being made of wood,
concrete or tamped clay, and is kept clean, there should be little
trouble from fleas, even with a closed roof. The cost of con-
struction may determine the type of floor selected as well as the
other parts of the building. However, it should be remembered
that good material gives the best results and is the cheapest in
the long run.

Fig. 8.-A permanent laying house recommended and used by the Florida
College of Agriculture. Pillars of brick

The roof of the house gets the hardest treatment from the
weather and is the most costly to repair, and, therefore, should
be constructed to last from ten to twenty years.
Very Large Buildings are seldom suitable for poultry; they
cost too much at the beginning and do not give the good results
or smaller houses. Some farms erect permanent buildings on
fixed foundations, while others have done well with smaller,
portable houses that can be moved quickly to new locations. The
College of Agriculture has been trying out several laying houses
and has found them sufficiently practical to recommend their be-
ing given a trial. The poultry raiser who plans to build a poul-

Florida Poultry Production 15

try house of any kind should visit the successful neighboring
poultry farms in order to study the various styles of construc-
Construction.-It is recommended that the back of the poultry
house, between the dropping board and the plate, be built tight.
The space between the dropping board and the sill should be of
five-inch boards, put on "up and down" one inch apart. For
northern Florida the ends of the house should be boarded up
tightly. For central and southern Florida the ends can be more
or less open, using some wire netting where it is suitable. The
front of the poultry house, which is usually toward the south,
southeast, or southwest, should be partly open, depending on the

Fig. 9.-Another permanent laying house recommended and used by the
Florida College of Agriculture. Floor and foundation of cement

climate. The birds are usually most comfortable the year round,
if the front is enclosed with wire netting and boards, the upper
third or half of the front being covered with wire of one- or two-
inch mesh for best ventilation. Below the long strip of wire that
extends across the entire front fill in with five- or six-inch boards
placed an inch apart. If these boards are put on upright, water
will run off quickly without flooding the floor of the house.
Houses may be made of various sizes. The College of Agri-
culture is using some as small as 6 by 6 feet and some as large
as 12 by 16 feet. The small house will handle a village flock of
a dozen layers and on the farm it will house at night as many as
20 of the layer breeds or 16 of the American, or dual purpose,

Florida Cooperative Extension

breeds. The 12 by 16-foot house will shelter 100 hens in one
flock, or, if divided into two pens, it will house two flocks of 40
hens each.
The most convenient house on the college farm is 8 by 16 feet.
It is divided into two pens by a division wall and floor. With the
door open, one large flock can be housed; with the door closed,
two flocks can be sheltered, or the two compartments can be
used for different purposes, as brooding or mating, etc.
These houses described above have roosts and dropping boards
along the rear wall away from the wide-open front. The drop-
ping boards make easier the daily removal of the poultry man-

Fig. 10.-A row of trapnests

ure. The roosts, two or three in number, of 2- by 3-inch stud-
ding, two inches wide on top, their sharp upper edges taken off,
are placed 18 inches apart and six inches above the dropping
boards. The space under the dropping boards can be used for
feed and water dishes, or filled with a row of nests, if it seems
wise to have the nests in the poultry house.
Plan to make the houses of the same size and appearance, keep-
ing them orderly alligned, as uniformity adds much to the gen-
eral looks of a poultry farm.
The painting, when new, of these houses, at least the insides,
with a good wood preservative is advantageous. It adds to their
length of life, and, at the same time, keeps down most small
poultry vermin.

Florida Poultry Production

A month before the pullets begin to lay they ought to be put
into permanent laying houses. Hens do not like changes. They
want the same house, the same roost, and their same places on
the roost. And any change upsets their laying. Therefore, the
pullets should be in their laying house before beginning to lay.
Pullets should be moved with as little excitement as possible.
Break them into their surroundings and habits before they start
laying. Hoppers should be filled, water dishes attended to, nests
provided, and house cleaned, before the pullets are brought to
The advantage of poultry-house lighting lies in the lengthened
working day for the laying hen. She is given more time to eat
and, therefore, digests more feed and produces more eggs. A
day too long is as bad as a day too short. A working day of
about fourteen hours is the most satisfactory for poultry.
There is little need of house lighting in Florida. The working
hours in the winter months here are longer than in northern
states. During December, January and February the Florida
winter day is longer by more than an hour than that of northern
states. When the weather conditions of the North and of this
state are considered, it will be seen that Florida hens get all the
sunshine and light needed for profitable egg production. One
should go slowly in equipping poultry houses for winter lighting.
It is not necessary in this state.

A successful poultryman culls at all times. When he selects
hatching eggs he is culling. The deformed or weak chicks that
he kills as he takes them from the incubator or hen are culls nec-
essary to eliminate. Picking out and removing the undersized
pullet, or the slow grower, is culling. Doubtless two grades will
be made of the pullets that go into permanent quarters; the
promising ones deserve a separate pen from the less promising.
And this is culling.
It is an open question whether or not trapnests can be used in
culling. If they are used at all, and if only for one or two months
of the year, it should be when the pullets begin to lay. It is al-
most certain that the first pullets to lay are to be the most profit-
able ones for the following 12 months. Getting a line on the

Florida Cooperative Extension

actual egg production of the pullets during their first two months
of laying may mean hundreds of dollars extra profit in a few
Some Method of Marking the Laying Pullets is necessary. For
this nothing is better than a supply of colored legbands, the kind
that goes on like a key ring would. Get nearly as many as there
are pullets. They should be of three different colors as blue,
red and white and of the right size to fit the shanks of the
breed of poultry. Put a blue band on all pullets that lay within
three weeks of
the opening of
the laying sea-
son, a red one
on those that be-
gin within the
next three weeks,
and a white one
on those that
S'- begin within the
third three
weeks. Those
that lay later re-
main unbanded.
This divides the
flock into the
best, the better,
the ordinary, and
the slacker class-
es. If it is desir-
ed to increase
the average egg
Fig. 11.-An egg-bred Wyandotte. Her record for production of fu-
the first year was 246 eggs. ture years, the
next year's pullets will be raised from the blue-banded hens as
far as possible.
During the winter of 1921-22 the College of Agriculture se-
lected from a flock of 35 pullets, which were hatched and reared
together, four such blue-banded pullets. And they laid during
their first year of laying an average of 170 eggs. Chicks hatched
from their eggs, While their yearly record was being made, ma-
tured very closely together, and a pen of the less promising ones,
11 in number, averaged over 21 eggs in February and 25 eggs in
March, 1923.

Florida Poultry Production

This system of legbanding the pullets according to the earli-
ness of their laying has been found convenient and useful. How-
ever, the system may be carried further. For instance, put a
white band on the pullets that lay thru August and then moult,
a red band on those that moult after laying thru September, and
a blue band on those that lay thru October.
Assuming that the owner had marked his pullets by this meth-
od at the beginning of their laying period and then used the same
method thru the summer, he now should have birds with two
blue bands, some
with a blue and a
red, and various
other combina-
tions. The bird
with two blues -
early to begin lay-
ing and late to
stop is a heavy
layer, and is de-
serving of her
place in the poul-
try yard. Next
in value to the
hens will be those
carrying a blu e
and a red, or two
reds; then come
those with a red
Fig. 12.-Wyandotte cock, the foundation of a and a white, o r
good flock two whites; and
last and least the unbanded. The hens to keep for another sea-
son's laying and breeding should be selected on the merits indi-
cated by the legbands.
There are many indications of merit, but none are safer to
follow than this plan of determining early and late layers. If
one succeeds in getting only one hen with two blue bands, one's
time will not have been lost; for this one hen, as a mother for
future flocks, is worth much effort and trouble. Such a double-
blue-banded hen is worth breeding for several years, for that
means increased egg production. The College of Agriculture is
using this year one such hen that laid over 200 eggs her first

Florida Cooperative Extension

year. She is now eight years old. A well-bred male or female
may become the foundation of a line of heavy-producing poultry.

The insect pests of poultry in Florida are those that are com-
mon to poultry in other states, with the addition of a tick known
as the "Blue bug."
The Red Mite, the blood sucker of the poultry house, spends its
days in the cracks of the house, in the filth of the floor, or in the
litter of the nests. It comes out at night and crawls along the
roosts, searching for a fowl from which to get its meal of blood.
A few may be found in the early morning on the under side of
the roosts or in the sockets at the ends of the roosts.
The mites should be prevented by painting the inside of the
house, near the roosts and dropping boards, with a coal-tar paint
brushed well into the cracks. This paint not only hinders the
coming of the mites but preserves the wood of the house. Com-
plete extermination requires several applications as the first does
not get deeply enough into the cracks to kill all of the mites.
The roosts should be arranged so as to be easily removed for
cleaning. Keep the house cleaned, the droppings removed, and
change the straw in the nest boxes frequently.
Lice live on the fowls and lay their eggs on the short feathers
below the vent. They irritate the birds by their movements and
thus prevent adequate rest at night.
Lice can be killed by a fine dust that will fill their air tubes.
Hens frequently dust themselves altho roosters seldom do. Any
fine dust sifted into the plumage eliminates most lice, if it comes
in contact with them.
Probably the best way to kill lice is to use mercurial ointment,
commonly known as "blue ointment." Thoroly mix an ounce of
it with two ounces of some petroleum jelly, such as vaseline.
This gives a mixture that will kill not only the lice but also their
eggs. Rub a small amount of this ointment-a piece the size of
a pea-into the short feathers below the vent. Make an oily
patch about the size of a quarter-dollar piece. On these short
feathers can be seen the "nits," or lice eggs. The mercury kills
the nits by contact and the lice, coming to the vent for moisture,
get into the poison and die. A single application of mercurial
ointment should solve the lice problem for several months, and
two applications a year should keep practically all lice off the

Florida Poultry Production

birds. It should be remembered that this ointment is poisonous
and should not be used on baby chicks or left where the hens can
eat it.
Fleas can be killed by applying carbolated vaseline to the places
on the chicken where the insects gather. Stop the breeding of fleas
by cleaning up the filth of the house, litter and droppings and old
nest material. Fleas breed and live in dry sand or soil, not in
damp places. Wet down these places, or scatter over them salt
and enough water to dissolve it. The salt absorbs moisture from
the air and thus prevent the soil from becoming dried out. Fleas
even live in the clean sand of the house floor, or in the earth be-
neath the floor of the house. A cement floor helps to prevent
fleas. During dry seasons fleas often get into the sand of the
runs or yards.
The Blue Bug, or poultry bedbug, is a tropical insect that has
been brought to this state within the last 15 years. While not
found in every county, it is harmful enough to warrant atten-
Some people think there are two kinds of blue bugs, but these
two bugs are merely the young and the adult of the blue bug.
The young or small one has three pairs of legs, while the old or
larger has fpur pairs. The young tick stays on the hen sucking
blood for a number of days, when it retires to some dark, pro-
tected crack of the house. In a few days it comes back with a
new skin and an added pair of legs. The adult tick is on the
hen only when sucking blood, retiring to a crack to digest its
food and to lay its eggs.
The tick can be killed by applying boiling water to the house,
or by vigorously applying the treatment recommended for red
mites. If the poultry house is old, tumbling down and filthy, it
would be well to burn it and build a new one.
Remodeling the roosting arrangement should be done by all
means. Set light posts in the ground, like table legs, and put
on cross bars and, on top of them, the roost poles. Have no
connection of roosts with the house walls. So arranged the tick
is discouraged. It has not the sense of the red mite; it does not
seem to know that by crawling down the wall, across the floor
and up the posts it can reach the hens. The ticks gather on the
wall near the roost ends, waiting for the chickens. It is here
that the boiling water should be thrown.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Manson's Eye Worm, when present in the eye socket of the
hen, irritates and closes the eye and leads to its starvation. This
worm is not abundant in the state but dangerous enough to have
attention called to it.
The worm gets into the eye cavity from the garden soil and
lives the remainder of its life there. The eggs are laid, pass
thru the tear duct to the nostril, are swallowed and either
hatched out in the intestines or in the soil where deposited with
the droppings. They make much of their growth in the soil,
entering the fowl's eye as it feeds.
Dr. Raymond Pearl, in his "Diseases of Poultry," advises the
dropping into the eye cavity of a single drop of 5-percent solu-
tion of creolin. Examine the swollen eye of a hen. Using the
small end of a metal legband or wooden toothpick for a scoop,
get into the cavity between lid and eyeball and see if any object
can be seen therein. As many as 45 of these worms have been
removed from a single eye socket. They are fine, root-like
worms, pointed at both ends and looking much like the small in-
testinal worms found in very small chicks. Get rid of all of
these worms, move the poultry to new soil, and rear all young
stock on land that has not been run over by poultry for a num-
ber of years.
Head Catarrhs are generally due to insufficient ventilation of
the poultry house, or to too limited roosting room on the perches.
Some cases of these head colds, especially in three-quarter-grown
pullets, seem to follow improper feeding, or the use of an unbal-
anced ration. It is very contagious and when once in the flock
it is difficult to prevent all the birds' being affected by it.
Sulphur fed daily with the feed helps to control catarrhs. A
single dose of epsom salts often breaks up the disease.
Roup is an aggravated, very severe catarrh. It is probably
caused by a germ. It is far less common in Florida than in
many states, perhaps due to conditions here which permit daily
outdoor exercise and more open houses. Hens that have had
roup seldom continue as profitable layers, and their progeny is
hard to rear, easy to contract roup, and unsatisfactory for any
purpose. The remedy is the same as for catarrh.
Sorehead, as it is known in the South, or chicken pox, as known
in the North, is a disease principally of young chicks, altho adult

Florida Poultry Production

poultry that did not have it as youngsters may have it. Unless
carefully handled, sorehead causes serious chick losses, delays
maturity and lessens the number of eggs laid the year following
its ravages.
Sorehead is a germ disease with a period of incubation, and a
history similar to measles in children. One attack is all that
comes to any chicken. If a hen is exposed to the disease and
does not become ill, it is because she had the disease when
younger. There is a period of from seven to thirteen days after
the chicken is infected before any sores or ulcers appear. This
explains outbreaks following the buying of breeding stock; birds
become infected before shipping and develop sorehead several
days after their arrival.
The source of infection is in the blood of the ill chick, in the
scabs, and in the discharge from the ulcers and the mucous of
nostrils and mouth. These facts should be remembered in at-
tempting to prevent the spread of the disease. Dry, sunny con-
ditions hinder the spread of sorehead; damp, dark conditions
favor it. Sorehead is spread by insects, mites, mosquitoes and
buzzards, tho cases may follow scratches in the mouth or newly
made punch marks in the feet.
Treatment.-There is one approved remedy or preventive, and
it is the daily feeding of flowers of sulphur in the mash. When
sorehead appears, add to the mash 5 percent of sulphur and keep
it before all the chickens. Feed this for five days, omit the sul-
phur for two days, and then repeat, continuing for three weeks.
Epsom salts is sometimes used for sorehead, but its use should
be with care. A clearing out of the bowels is always good treat-
ment for any disease, but the salts should be given early and
seldom more than once. It can be added to the drinking water or
to a moist mash, so that each chicken of from three to five
pounds gets one-fourth teaspoonful or less.
Flowers of sulphur is advised as a precaution. For this 2 or
3 percent is enough to add to the mash. It should be remem-
bered that no treatment is better than taking proper care of
the fowls. Avoid the four D's: dark, damp, dirty, disease-infest-
ed houses.
Sod Disease, as it is known for lack of a better name, attacks
small chicks in late spring before the summer showers begin.
It was unknown ten years ago and has not yet reached most
counties of this state, appearing only in small areas in a few

Florida Cooperative Extension

poultry-raising centers. Its cause is unknown. It breaks out
on the toes and shanks of chicks being reared on grass ground,
usually under trees, vines or bushes, in places that have been
used for poultry for sometime. Out in the open, on plowed fields
and new ground, it apparently never appears.
The toes and shanks of the affected chick are more or less
covered with an inflamed sore, dark in color and hot to the touch.
The surface easily peels off if rubbed. The toes, turned up,
catch in straw and grass and other objects, thus causing the
chicks to totter in trying to move about.

Fig. 13.-Sod disease. Note how toes of chick turn up. (Courtesy of Col-
orado Experiment Station)

There is no known cure for sod disease. Perhaps carbolated
vaseline gives as much relief as anything. To stop the spread of
this trouble the chickens should be moved at once to clean, fresh
ground that is slightly damp rather than dry, and sunshiny
rather than shady. If any of the chicks have already caught the
disease, they should be killed and burned at once. Such chicks
seldom live, and those that do are slight in bone, small in size,
late in beginning to lay and seldom become profitable producers.
Scaly Leg is a disgusting appearance of the toes and shanks,
due to the irritation of small mites that burrow into the sore
parts beneath the scales of the legs. The chicks are usually in-
fected when being hovered by the mother hen. Chicks hatched
with machines and raised in a brooder do not have this disease.
The indications of the irritation may not appear for months.

Florida Poultry Production

The scaly-leg mite can be killed by ointments of various ingre-
dients, or by having their air supply shut off, as by dipping the
legs in coal tar. The most common ointment, perhaps, is a mix-
ture of lard, sulphur and kerosene. This ointment should be
rubbed well into the rough parts, well up under the scales. It
should be repeated in ten days, as a single application seldom
kills all the mites.
Feather Pulling and Egg Eating are both due to close confine-
ment, or to the lack of exercise, which often can be laid to the
inefficient management of the owner.
The remedy lies in correcting this condition; give the fowls
open range so they can get plenty of exercise.
Toe Picking in baby chicks, sometimes starts because of hunger.
The toe of a small chick in the sunshine of the brooder floor looks
very much like good eating to the hungry chick, and is treated as
such by an active youngster.
Good feeding, plenty of food and exercise will help to keep
the chicks busy at something more than "toe picking" their own
feet. This habit may be prevented in the brooder by shutting
out direct sunshine as much as is possible. If the habit should be
formed, those chicks should be penned elsewhere and to them-
selves where they can get plenty of exercise and good food.
Bacillary White Diarrhea in Chicks and Blackhead in Turkeys
are not common in Florida. So serious are these diseases and so
hard are they to eradicate when introduced that every effort
should be made to buy non-infected hatching eggs, day old chicks
and adult stock. The purchaser should buy only from those poul-
try farms that can prove their stock to be disease-free. Black-
head once introduced into a farm may mean that turkeys cannot
be hatched and raised there for 25 years. The same thing may
be the case with bacillary white diarrhea, as regards the success-
ful rearing of chickens. It is practically impossible to cure bac-
illary white diarrhea, and, so far as is known, there is no getting
rid of blackhead.
Poisoning and "Limberneck." Food poisoning with poultry
usually is due to spoiled meat or fish, or to mouldy feeds. "Lim-
berneck" is commonly caused by eating decayed flesh, and the
word "limberneck" describes the leading symptom.
Prevention is far better than cure, and the careless giving of
spoiled table scraps is responsible for many a death in the poul-
try yard.

Florida Cooperative Extension

"Brooder Pneumonia," as it is often called, is caused by the
breathing into the air tubes and lungs of the mouldy parts of
spoiled grain or meal. Do not accept as true the statement so
often made "that anything is good enough for hens and chicks."
Sour, spoiled or mouldy feed should be put into the ground as
fertilizer. Unless the table scraps are fit for human consump-
tion, they should not be fed to poultry. Kitchen waste, if in a
spoiling condition, is not fit to feed to hens.
Fowl Cholera is more often written and talked about than seen
in Florida. Most cases reported as "cholera" are nothing but
indigestion caused by improper feeding. Fowl cholera works
rapidly. Watery diarrhea is the leading symptom and few hens
attacked by it live as long as five days.
Treatment is useless and the hens are dead almost before the
trouble can be diagnosed. So-called cholera, upset digestion,
should be prevented by careful feeding and cured by removing
the cause.
Go slowly in starting with poultry. Learn the needs of hens
and chicks by practicing on the few rather than the many. There
is danger of failure, if one begins with too large a plant or with
too many small chicks. Experience is too costly when obtained
by "plunging" in the poultry business.
Most of the successful poultry farms in Florida had small be-
ginnings and grew as experience was gained. Many have been
the failures where the starts were made on too large a scale,
with hundreds of purebred laying hens or with thousands of
baby chicks.
It is well to start in with poultry as a side line and on a
small scale. If it pays and if the keeper likes the work, the bus-
iness can be increased till it becomes the main source of income.
One backyard flock of six hens in Gainesville laid in one year
an average of 189 eggs. A commercial poultry farm of 1,000
hens in Marion County averaged 170 eggs in 1922, 160 eggs in
both 1920 and 1921. A poultry farm in one of the northern
counties of the state sold to one customer last year over $17,000
in eggs. These cases are given as random instances of success
in the poultry industry in this state.
A few hens in the backyard, well cared for, supply a needed
food product for the home. From six to twenty laying hens are
of little trouble and should supply an average family.

Florida Poultry Production

The backyard flock is better off without the constant presence
of the rooster. Being infertile, the eggs keep better, the cost of
keeping the flock is reduced and the noisy crowing is eliminated.
Produce and market high-grade poultry products. There is
enough of the common sort coming to Florida from other states.
The demand for quality eggs and poultry has never been satis-
fied. Put out high-grade eggs and fryers; the market is here if
one will but look for it.
In estimating profits, one should not forget the fertilizer value
of the poultry droppings, nor the benefit of the scratching of the
poultry to the truck or fruit crop.
Have a big home garden, large enough to supply the family
and have a surplus of greens left over as succulent feed for the
The appearance of creameries in certain counties of the state
has helped the farmers there grow better fryers and produce
more high-priced eggs. The best form of animal food for poul-
try is milk. Sell the cream and keep the skimmilk for poultry.
Better pastures and more good cows mean larger profits for
the poultryman.

Fig. 14.-"The End"

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