Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Search for…
Prev Entry
Next Entry
Poultry and Poultry-Farming
Resource Toolbox
Additional Links

"(see 22.213). - During 1900-20 there were many changes and developments in the poultry industry, as carried on in Great Britain. New breeds were evolved or imported, while some of the older breeds have diminished in popularity and, except for small numbers kept by persistent breeders, have almost died out. Far more striking, however, has been the rapid evolution of the present-day utility breeds, the extension of public " laying trials " and the development of extensive commercial egg farms and breeding farms, accompanied by new mass methods of hatching, rearing, feeding and housing. The agriculturist has shown slowly increasing interest in poultry-keeping as a business branch of farm operations, and there has been a notable expansion of poultry-keeping by residents in urban and suburban areas. The view so strongly held for many years by the majority of people - who thought about the matter at all - that poultry-keeping was not a practicable commercial proposition except as a small side-line, and in circumstances where waste food for the birds was available at little or no cost, has been very much modified, for the reason that poultry-keepers, who have derived the main portion of their livelihood over a period of years from one or more branches of the industry, have so obviously increased in numbers. In addition numerous authentic instances of profitable results obtained from poultry-keeping as a subsidiary occupation have been made public. Hence in recent years increasing numbers of people have turned their attention to poultry-keeping, and in several instances the capital involved in well-known poultry farms amounts to several thousands of pounds. So far successful British poultry farming comprises one or more of the following branches: - Breeding laying strains of poultry; the production of exhibition stock; the sale of day-old chicks, eggs for hatching and stock birds; the production of eggs and poultry for consumption. The production of table poultry is in practically every case a subsidiary branch, and was particularly so during the war owing to the scarcity of feeding-stuffs.

It is not possible to form any reliable estimate of the value of the poultry-stock-breeding industry in the United Kingdom, as no complete figures are available. Every experienced observer knows, however, that the increase in the demand for and supply of eggs for hatching, day-old chicks, and pure-bred stock birds, has been very considerable during the past few years. Nor can any reliable estimate be made of the growth of table poultry and egg production, since there are insufficient data upon which to base an estimate. It is possible, however, to make a rough estimate of the total annual value of table poultry and egg production.

In 1908, in connexion with the Census of Production Act of 1906, the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries published a poultry census for Great Britain showing that the number of poultry kept by occupiers of agricultural holdings exceeding one ac. in extent was 36,728,000. In its report, however, the Board draws special attention to the limitation of the scope of the returns to holdings exceeding one ac., and points out " that poultry are very largely kept by cottagers and persons who do not come within the definition of agricultural holdings, while a further very large poultry population would no doubt be enumerated if the returns were extended to the towns." In addition to obtaining this census, each occupier was asked to state the number of home-bred poultry of each description sold during the preceding twelve months, and special schedules were issued to all occupiers returning not less than 50 fowls or io ducks, geese or turkeys, asking for the number of males and females, respectively, hatched before 1908, the number of eggs produced, sold for consumption, or sold or used for hatching, and the number of young and adult birds sold. As a result the report states that there were 151 million adult hens on farms in Great Britain in 1908, that the average annual egg yield per hen was 72, and that the total value of the output of eggs and poultr y was calculated to be about £5,000,000. The report, however, emphasizes the fact that this sum " takes no account of poultry kept by cottagers, residents in towns and others not within the scope of the Agricultural Returns. The aggregate production thus excluded must be very large, though again it may be assumed that the greater part of it is consumed by the poultry-keepers themselves." Since 1908 no poultry census figures for Great Britain are available, but interesting deductions may be made regarding British production by examining the returns published for the years 1908 and 1918 by the Irish Department of Agriculture regarding the Irish poultry industry. The Irish returns refer to all agricultural holdings including labourers' cottages built under rural housing schemes and are thus more comprehensive than those for Great Britain, though like the British returns they apparently take no account of town poultry-keepers. The number of such poultry-keepers in Ireland, however, would be insignificant as compared with the number in Great Britain. The total number of poultry in Ireland in 1908 is given as 24,031,095. The report estimates the average annual egg yield of Irish hens as 100, and calculates the total value of Irish poultry production in 1908 at £5,290,000. Of this amount £3,526,000 was stated to represent the value of the exports, £1,764,000 the value of the home consumption.

In 1918 the Irish returns give the total number of poultry in Ireland as 24,424,230, and state that the value of the exports of eggs and poultry was £18,352,578. No figures are given regarding the value of the home consumption, but in view of the value given in this connexion in 1908 it may be fairly assumed that £4,000,000 represents a reasonable estimate. Thus a total production value of £22,352,578 is arrived at for the Irish poultry industry in 1918. Now it is difficult to believe that the average yield of hens in Great Britain is less than that of their sisters in Ireland, and it is certain that the average price realized by British producers for their eggs and poultry have been greater than those obtained by Irish producers. Hence, if the incomplete British census for 1908 be taken, and even if it be assumed that there was no increase in the numbers in British poultry between 1908 and 1918, the total value of the produce from the 36,728,000 poultry in Great Britain would amount to approximately £33,000,000 for 1918, if calculated on the same unit production value as the Irish figures. But unit production value is almost certainly higher in Britain, if only on account of higher prices, and the total of £33,000,000 takes no account of the value of the produce of the large numbers of poultry kept in Great Britain by dwellers in urban and suburban districts. What this value may be can only be estimated, but it is practically certain to be well over £4,000,000 annually. A final estimate of £37,000,000 is thus arrived at as the value of British egg and poultry production in 1918, and if to this figure be added the corresponding one for Ireland a total of roughly £60,000,000 is obtained for the United Kingdom.

It is interesting in comparison to note that, according to an answer given by Sir R. Sanders for the Minister of Agriculture in the House of Commons on Feb. 24 1921, the estimated value of the total wheat crop of the United Kingdom in 1920 was £31,000,000. Also in a recent Report on the Trade in Imports and Exports at the Irish ports it was stated that the value of the Irish eggs, poultry and feathers exported was in one year greater by about £13,000,000 than the store cattle trade and nearly equal in value to the export in fat cattle.

There is a further important aspect of the effect of the demand for table eggs and poultry in the United Kingdom in the national finances, viz. the large sums paid annually to foreign countries for supplies to supplement the insufficient home production. Tables i and 2 show the annual quantities and values of these imports for the years 1913, 1919 and 1920: the increasing appreciation shown by poultry-keepers of the commercial importance of high egg yield, and the consequent demand for stock, specially selected and bred for this quality. A great stimulus was given to this development by the introduction of public laying competitions, the object of which was to test the eggproducing capacities of various breeders' birds and also to gain information regarding the relative fecundity of existing strains and breeds. The introduction of these laying competitions in England was due to the enterprise shown by the Northern Utility Poultry Society of Burley, Lancashire, and the Utility Poultry Club (now the National Utility Poultry Society), and at first [[Table I]].-Imports of Eggs, in Shell, into the United Kingdom. Table 2.-Comparative Imports of Poultry in Cwt. The figures in Tables i and 2 show that in 1920, as compared with 1913, the total value of imported eggs and poultry had increased from £10,545,142 to £12,396,968, whilst the total quantity had decreased in the case of eggs from 21,579,950 great hundreds to 7,070,266 great hundreds; and in the case of dead poultry from 278,465 cwt. to 94,4 6 4 cwt. Thus, reckoning that the eggs averaged 14 lb. per 120, the imports in 1920 were less by 90,685 tons than in 1913, whilst the imports of dead poultry were less by 9,200 tons. It appears, therefore, that the total annual value of the eggs and poultry consumed in the United Kingdom had in 1920 reached the following approximate huge sum: Total. £71,749,546 From the foregoing it would seem that the opportunities for increasing the production of eggs and poultry in the United Kingdom were in 1921 greater than ever. Russia, the largest supplier in prewar days, had practically ceased her exports, whilst Italy and the countries formerly included in Austria-Hungary would probably take some years to recover their former exporting capabilities. Much must depend, however, upon the capacity of the British people to adopt efficient methods of cheaper production. There is little doubt that the majority of British consumers would prefer to eat fresh British eggs and poultry rather than those of foreign origin, preserved or otherwise, provided the price of the home article is not too high. It is largely a matter of cost of production and methods of marketing.

One of the most interesting developments in poultry-keeping of recent years has been the growth of stock poultry farms whose main object is the production of pure-bred poultry of heavy laying capacity. This development was no doubt primarily due to competitions were conducted over four winter months, commencing in October. Thus the productive capacity of the birds was tested at the time of the year when eggs are most difficult to obtain, and competing breeders were compelled to hatch their birds early if they wished them to obtain a good place in the trials. The introduction of these competitions marks an important epoch in the history of the poultry industry, as attention was thereby focussed upon the great variation in fecundity of various strains and breeds, whilst the commercial importance of high egg yield was forcibly demonstrated. For the first few years trap-nests were not used, records of the egg yield of each pen of four birds being taken. In 1902, however, trap-nests were introduced and the individual records were taken. In 1912-13 the competitions were extended to twelve-month periods, and a grant in aid of this work was given to the Utility Poultry Society in conjunction with the Harper Adams Agricultural College, Newport, Salop, by the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries. It was no doubt realized by the Board that the educational value of these competitions was very great. Not only was information obtained regarding the relative productivity of different birds, " strains," and breeds, but also regarding size and colour of egg, comparative seasonal production, period of brooding, cost of food per bird and net cost of egg production, value of different systems of housing, feeding, and general management. In fact it is open to question if the full educational value of laying competitions or trials had in 1921 been fully exploited.

The National Utility Society continued to organize trials annually, and after 1916-17 these were carried out for the Society by the Great Eastern Railwa y Co. at Bentley, Ipswich. This Company in conjunction with the Utility Duck Club also arranged in 1921 a laying trial for ducks. The trap-nesting arrangement for these birds is very ingenious as the ducks are enticed into the nests by regularly placing the food in small pens in front of the nests, but inside the traps. Only one duck can obtain admission to each pen or nest, and at too high a cost in other directions and that high resistance to as the birds are plainly marked with distinctive rings very little disease, low chicken mortality, and reasonably sized eggs are also handling is necessary. matters of considerable importance.

Several other public laying trials were being conducted in 1921 in The type of bird bred by the breeder of pedigree layers has various parts of the United Kingdom: at Burnley, Lancashire, by drifted further and further away from the standard set up by the the Northern Poultry Society; at Newport, Salop, by the Harper Adams Agricultural College; at Wye, Kent, by the South Eastern specialist exhibition clubs. So much is this so, that in the case of Agricultural College; at Birmingham by the Midland Fur and several breeds, particularly White Leghorns and White Wyan Table 3 The gross production and general averages, etc., of the National Utility Poultry Society's twelve-month competitions during eight years. The Championship Section was instituted in 1918-19, and each pen consisted of to pullets instead of 5 as in the ordinary section.

Feather Federation; at Trowbridge by the Wiltshire County Council; and in Ireland at Cork by the Irish Department of Agriculture. In the case of the trials at Newport, Wye and Trowbridge, financial assistance to the work is given by the Ministry of Agriculture.

As a brief indication of the results obtained at a few of the laying competitions the accompanying tables are instructive. (Tables 3 and 4 have been compiled by Mr. H. E. Ivatts, late Hon. Sec. of the National Laying Trials.) Up to the 1916-17 competition awards were granted upon the basis of the market value of the eggs laid with a varying discount penalty up to 20% upon eggs weighing less than 2 ounces. Subsequent to 1916-17 the competitive value of a hen's production was determined in accordance with the following rule: " For the purpose of the test the eggs laid by each hen will be assessed and recorded according to their weight as first or second grade eggs. First grade eggs shall he those weighing two ounces or more. Second grade eggs during the first ten weeks shall be those weighing less than 2 ounces but not less than I ounces, and for the subsequent period of the test not less than 14 ounces. Second grade eggs shall be accepted as of equal value to first grade eggs, but not more than 100 eggs shall be credited to the score of any hen in Sections I to 5, and in the case of Section 6 (Championship) 200 eggs." The 1915-16 trials held by the Utility Society have a special interest, as 42 of the competitors' pens were retained for a second year in order to ascertain the yield of these birds for their second year. Table 4 shows the results obtained.

The stimulus given by laying trials to the breeding of highly fecund strains of poultry has been enormous. Not only has the spirit of competition set up by the trials urged breeders to devote much time and thought and energy to their breeding operations, but the fact that a win in a public competition is of great value as an advertisement led to the keenest efforts being made by competitors to obtain a high position in the prize list. It is perhaps not too much to say that success in the trials has been in several cases the foundation of many present-day successful stock poultry farms. Ordinary poultry-keepers wishing to buy birds either as a beginning or to improve existing stock apply to a large extent to successful competitors in the laying trials, and a considerable foreign demand at highly remunerative prices is not infrequently the direct result of success in the trials. This is certainly a mark of progress in the eggproducing industry as a whole, in the same way that the increasing demand for pedigree milking stock by the dairy farmer is an indication of progress in the dairying industry. A word of caution, however, may not be misplaced. There may be a danger in focussing attention too strongly on the development-possibly the abnormal development-of one function, or producing weaknesses in the bird in other directions. There is a certain risk of sterility, high mortality in rearing chickens and general lack of constitution in the adult stock. The really skilled breeder will know how to avoid these dangers, but nature is inclined to be severe on attempts to develop abnormal capacity in any one direction. Our knowledge of the laws of heredity is still very incomplete in spite of the considerable amount of empiric knowledge possessed by some of our present-day breeders. No doubt Mendel's discoveries and the investigations made by Bateson, Punnett, Pearl and others may give material assistance to the elucidation of the many problems involved in the inheritance of fecundity, but in the meantime stock breeders and commercial egg farmers would do well to remember that high individual egg yield may possibly be obtained Table 4 Two-Year Egg-Laying Competition at Harper Adams Agricultural College, Newport, Salop, 1915-17. Each pen held 6 birds., Years' Total dottes, the birds which win in laying competitions are of a type distinctly different from exhibition specimens and are indeed given a distinguishing designation such as Utility White Leghorns in contrast to Exhibition White Leghorns. Apparently the heavy layer develops a type of her own and if, as appears probable, the future demand for stock poultry should be increasingly for birds whose useful qualities, whether for egg or flesh production, have been highly developed, it is obviously desirable that British breeders of exhibition and utility poultry should take counsel together and if possible frame their breed standards to meet present-day requirements. Otherwise, confusion is likely to increase with resulting loss of trade both at home and abroad.

The Irish Department of Agriculture have held annual elevenmonth laying trials in Ireland since 1913, and, as the results are published in a form which facilitates comparison, Table 5 is of interest: the open-fronted house is very little used, a span-roofed type with windows low down near the floor being preferred. The amount of run provided for the birds also varies. One well-known poultry farmer maintains 400 layers to the ac. but divides the acre into two portions, and whilst the birds occupy one portion forage crops, such as thousand-headed kale, which the birds later on consume, are grown on the other portion. On another farm the laying-houses are so placed on the farm and the wire fencing so arranged, that the birds can be given access to arable fields, fruit gardens or pasture, as the crops and the season permit.

In methods of feeding, too, there is also wide variation. The dry mash method is practised on certain farms whilst on others the wet mash method is preferred or a combination of the two. On some well-known egg farms large quantities of cooked vegetable food are regularly fed to the layers, whilst on other farms Table 5. - Comparison of Results. Most of the so-called "commercial egg farms," which have become more in evidence of recent years, are stocked with Utility White Leghorns, White Wyandottes, or Rhode Island Reds. The main business of these farms is to produce eggs for consumption though most of them do also a certain amount of trade in supplying eggs for hatching, day-old chicks, and stock birds. One of the largest British commercial egg farmers, however, who maintains a flock of 5,000 layers and rears some 5,000 to 6,000 chickens every year, states that nine-tenths of his produce is sold for direct consumption and that he regards the hatching egg and stock cockerel trade as comparatively unprofitable and troublesome. All hatching and rearing on this particular farm are done with broody hens, no incubators or foster-mothers being used, and this has been the practice for many years. It has proved commercially successful in this particular case, though other egg farmers use mammoth incubators and pipe brooder houses or anthracite stove hovers with apparently successful results. There is little doubt that the capacity for rearing large numbers of chickens with a low percentage of mortality is the crucial test of the commercial egg farmers' skill and management, and much has yet to be learnt regarding the rearing of chickens in large flocks. Considerable differences of opinion exist as to the comparative merits of pipe brooder houses, anthracite stove hovers, brooder houses with small portable oil hovers, outdoor portable brooders, and natural methods. When the pipe brooder system as practised in America was first tried in England many failures were recorded. Since then, however, improvements have been introduced and there is some evidence that the improved form of pipe brooder house may yet become popular in Britain. At least one large breeder has erected a brooder house of this type with a capacity of from 3,000 to 5,000 chickens and excellent results have so far been obtained. The anthracite stove brooder is now in use in considerable numbers, but opinions vary widely as to its efficiency in rearing a high percentage of vigorous well-grown chickens.

Methods of housing and feeding hens kept principally for tableegg production vary considerably. The usual practice is to keep the birds in comparatively large flocks of from 150 to 400 and to house them in open-fronted scratching-shed houses, the original type of which was probably introduced from America. These houses are not uniform in type, some being 14 ft. deep with special back ventilation whilst others are built only 9 ft. deep and depend for ventilation entirely on the open front. In Lancashire very little green food is given beyond what the birds gather for themselves on their runs.

From all this it will be gathered that methods are far from being standardized in the poultry industry, and this is indeed.. not a matter for surprise when the recent development of poultrykeeping as a business is considered. Unlike agriculture, which is man's oldest industry and has been for many years investigated both from the scientific and practical aspect by some of the best brains, there has been little scientific or even practical investigation into poultry-keeping methods in the United Kingdom. For the novice therefore, who may well feel doubtful as to the best system to adopt, the soundest procedure is probably to obtain information as to the methods practised on several successsful poultry farms and then to adopt a method which appears to combine the good points of several.

The keeping of poultry in England by urban dwellers, with gardens or even small backyards, and by allotment holders, received a great stimulus during the war, owing to the falling-off in supplies of imported eggs and the necessity for converting all the edible household and garden waste material into human food. It was soon realized that a limited number of laying hens could be maintained under intensive conditions in small backyards and gardens, at comparatively low cost. The necessary labour could be provided within the family, and first-class eggs produced at the point of consumption at much lower outlay than that involved in purchasing inferior shop eggs. Furthermore, eggs so produced were actually on the consumers' premises. Difficulties and expenses of transport did not affect the supplies, provided a limited amount of additional feeding-stuffs could be obtained to supplement the household and garden waste material. This development in urban poultry-keeping would no doubt have proceeded much more rapidly than it actually did had the supply of chickens, pullets, and hens been greater. Unfortunately, however, poultry-breeders were unable to obtain su p plies of feeding-stuffs freely and hence were obliged to restrict their breeding operations. Consequently the demand for laying stock by town dwellers could not in many cases be satisfied, or was met by supplies of old hens which gave disappointing results. In any case urban poultrykeeping has taken a firm hold, so much so that local sanitary authorities and town property owners are showing concern as to possible interference with the amenities of properties in urban areas, and local by-laws and clauses in leases which were more or less ignored in many cases during the war are now being strictly enforced. It is to be hoped that town poultry-keepers will so regard the requirements of hygiene and sanitation in thickly populated areas that no serious cause for complaint with subsequent restrictive action on the part of local authorities may arise, as undoubtedly " backyard " poultry-keeping can give powerful assistance in reducing the necessity for large importations of foreign eggs.

For backyard, allotment and garden poultry-keeping the intensive system of housing is usually adopted, though in some cases where sufficient space is available open or covered runs for the birds may be provided in addition to the house. Under the strictly intensive system the birds are permanently confined to the house which should afford four or five sq. ft. of floor space to each bird. It is essential that the floor of the house be kept dry and some 4 in. to 8 in. of bedding should be provided amongst which grain should be scattered from time to time so as to induce the birds to take necessary exercise by scratching amongst the litter for the grain. The intensive house is usually of a lean-to open-fronted type so designed as to admit as much sunlight as possible on to the floor in the winter months and yet to keep out rain, snow and wind. It may be built of wood,-4-in. tongued and grooved match-boarding is often used, - asbestos sheeting, or even mainly of felt. As a backyard or garden poultry house is often of a more or less permanent nature it is usually more economical in the long run to use sound materials which are likely to need little repairing. A house of this type, which should be high enough to permit of easy cleaning, may be built for six or eight hens in quite a small backyard, and provided it is kept quite clean and no male birds are kept no offence is likely to be caused to neighbours even in a crowded city district. In circumstances such as these, however, it is inadvisable to attempt hatching and rearing, and the egg supply is likely to be more satisfactorily maintained if fresh pullets are purchased at the end of each summer and the hens disposed of which have been kept intensively for about a year, and have temporarily ceased laying and commenced to moult.

If space permit a covered run may be provided adjoining the house, but the floor material, especially if of soil or sand, must be kept scrupulously sweet and clean. The top surface should be raked off and renewed from time to time and occasionally a little disinfectant powder may be sprinkled in the run. Extra accommodation of this sort is, however, not really necessary for laying stock kept under proper intensive conditions for one year only, and most backyard poultry-keepers with limited space at their disposal will find an intensive house constructed on sound lines most suitable for their purpose.

The Sussex poultry-fattening industry, which had become of considerable importance in the three south-eastern counties prior to the war, has become almost extinct owing to the high price, and the difficulty in obtaining supplies, of the Sussex ground oats which were invariably used for cramming the birds. Apart from the fact that it was considered uneconomical in war-time scarcity to use concentrated feeding-stuffs for the production of the highly finished, crammed Surrey fowl, supplies of store chickens were difficult to obtain, feeding-stuffs were very short and' were rationed, and, owing to the shortage of fresh meat, chickens found a ready market in almost any condition. Thus the old Sussex fattening industry gradually died out, though of course chickens continued to be reared as far as conditions would permit and were marketed as a rule without cramming or special fattening.

There have been some indications of a revival of the cramming practice, but Irish supplies of store chickens having been diverted for direct sale in London and elsewhere, and poultryraisers having accustomed themselves to selling their birds for direct consumption without additional fattening, it may be that any general revival of cramming will be long deferred. Much will depend upon the public demand and this will no doubt revive to an increasing extent if supplies of the former high-quality crammed chickens become greater. The practice of trough feeding chickens in fattening coops for a week or so in order to give them a little extra finish is still continued to a certain extent during the late summer, and this practice has much to commend it. Less skill is required than in cramming; it is more economical of feeding-stuffs, and though the chickens cannot be as highly finished as by the crammer, good-quality table birds can be produced which are readily saleable at satisfactory prices.

Like the Sussex cramming industry, the old-established Aylesbury duck-fattening industry, as well as duck-fattening farms outside Buckinghamshire, became practically extinct during the war, but duck farms were bound to reappear as feeding-stuffs became cheaper and more plentiful. In 1921 the tendency appeared to be to keep the lighter breeds of ducks, such as the Indian Runner, the Khaki Campbell, and the Buff Orpington, for egg production rather than for table purposes, and much attention has been drawn to this aspect of duck-keeping owing to the laying competition for ducks conducted by the Great Eastern Railway Co. with the Utility Duck Club.

For many years the poultry industry received little recognition or assistance from the state authorities in the United Kingdom. Considerable changes in this respect, however, have been in evidence during recent years. State aid has been mainly directed to educational activities, and there are now few counties which do not possess an instructor in poultry-keeping, whose duties consist in giving instruction in this subject by means of peripatetic lectures, classes, and visits to poultry-keepers. Most of the agricultural colleges, dairy institutes and farm institutes also provide regular instruction in poultry-keeping to their pupils, and in some instances - such as at the Harper Adams Agricultural College, Shropshire; the Lancashire County Council School at Hutton; the Glasgow and West of Scotland Agricultural College Poultry School at Kilmarnock, etc. - courses of training are provided for students desiring to specialize in poultry-keeping.

Poultry-breeding centres have been established by the Board of Agriculture in cooperation with local authorities in almost every district in the United Kingdom, for the purpose of distributing good pure-bred utility poultry - usually by the sale of eggs for hatching or day-old chicks to smallholders, cottagers and allotment holders. This scheme has met with much appreciation and success. Table 6 shows the number of distributing stations established in England and Wales and the numbers of eggs and chicks distributed since 1919: Table 6. - Distribution Stations. 1 Includes 24 stations which undertake distribution of ducks' eggs It is significant of the interest now taken by the State in the development of the poultry industry that the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has created a separate Small Livestock Branch, on the staff of which technically qualified officers were appointed. One of the chief duties of the branch is to supervise the poultry educational work of local authorities in respect of which grants in aid are made by the Ministry. It is the duty of the technical head of the branch to advise the Ministry on matters relating to the industry.

Valuable work is done in Britain to assist the poultry industry by poultry societies and clubs, such as the National Utility Poultry Society, the Poultry Club, the Northern Utility Society, the Scientific Poultry Breeders' Association, the Midland Fur and Feather Federation, and many others. These clubs organize lectures, demonstrations, laying competitions and shows, and do a great amount of voluntary work in an advisory capacity. In 1920 a central organization known as the National Poultry Parliament was set up mainly through the efforts of Mr. Edward Brown, F.L.S., who was unanimously appointed the first president. This poultry parliament, which meets once or twice a year to discuss questions relating to the industry, is representative of societies, clubs, educational authorities and institutions and trading organizations. The parliament has appointed a smaller executive body known as the National Poultry Council, and one of the first important steps taken by the council was to set up a national examination board to conduct an examination and to award to successful candidates a national diploma, which is intended to be in the main a standard qualification for persons desiring to obtain appointments as instructors in poultrykeeping. (P. A. F.) ?x O 0. U C b 4-' tft ?

y °' ii o o W 0 ? d ? ut C 0, -0 O  ?

0 o 0 bA ?



a ?.?

cd ?

X .O, ? ?


"C7 w ?.. O t. Q.


o 0 U ? b ? z z0 -._so o > ..

>~ ccs,o 0 v o ., C ?

a >~.4 E "? .?

0 ct ?

bAcn ?o b?

?? t..


0 ?° u,a...

O ? ^.

U ? ?

0.2 =C ? ?

O O C p cd cll ,9 a o ? (/) 0 00 C o C ctj ? y o A a` c) 0, ? u) ?

0 g U ? ,1 rn 0 w w C U O ? U w cs, n cll b,0 ? 7,i O O 0 q o c^  ?

6 3 bra u, ? U bA N ^ ? M ° Ja ? ? ? ' o d ° ?

E? ' ?H?E?

United States Profound changes took place in the American industry between 1900 and 1920. In 190o " breeding-birds " and meat were the principal objects of poultry raising and furnished most of the profit. Eggs at that time were a by-product. Conditions had so changed by 1920 that eggs were the principal money producer and meat and breeding birds were the by-products.

Many factors contributed to this change. There had been a greater increase in the population especially in the cities, than in the number of hens kept. Consequently there was a greater demand for meat and eggs, especially eggs. Cold storage facilities and improved shipping methods had raised the average quality of the product marketed and by more nearly equalizing the supply and price, had increased the demand. The spring flow of eggs after the introduction of storage became profitable, although formerly it often had resulted in loss. The per capita consumption of eggs and poultry flock decreased because of the increase in price. The increase in price affected the consumption of meat more than of eggs because substitution of other meats was possible. Eggs, quickly and easily cooked, digestible, containing concentrated vitamines, clean, imparting their flavour and preserving qualities to cakes and pastries, remained in strong demand even at high prices.

During 1920 the total value of products placed the industry among the few of those connected with farming from which the 1920 return exceeded a thousand million dollars. The 1920 census showed more farmers reporting poultry than any other single crop, even apart from the large quantity of poultry raised in towns and villages not covered by the census reports.

Table 7 shows that, relatively, poultry-keeping rapidly declined in the east during the decade 1909-19. The west, especially the Pacific Coast states, continued to increase. The decline in the east was due largely to the high price of feed and the difficulty of obtaining it, particularly during 1917 and 1918, and the decrease in farm population and the number of farms. Opposite conditions obtained in the west. While feed was higher it was easily obtainable and relatively cheaper because of the freight congestion. During the decade there was an increase in the number of farms and farmers in the west particularly on the Pacific Coast. The poultry farms in New England that were making a specialty of producing meat were to a large extent put out of business owing to the increased cost of feed and labour without a proportionate increase in the price of meat during 1917 and 1918. The same was true to a lesser extent of the specialized egg farms and farm flocks in New England and the North Atlantic states. These farms had not returned to normal when the 1920 census was taken, but at the close of 1921 a rapid development was under way.

The general depression in the industry from 1916 to 1919 primarily affected those who were obtaining comparatively poor egg production due to faulty methods of management or to poorly selected or poorly bred stock. The poultrymen who obtained high egg yields made greater profits than for the years 1910-1915. This condition drew the attention of poultry-keepers to the necessity of getting a good egg yield and led to systematic breeding and selecting for egg production. Many farms, particularly those in the northwest, have bred their birds to the point where they are getting an average egg production of over 200 eggs per hen from large flocks of birds. From 1 00 to 1915 an increasing number of commercial poultry farms were established primarily to produce eggs. These took the place of the broiler farms, which had been mainly failures. Through these farms and the value of the produce, poultry became a business or industry rather than a side-line for farmers' wives or a hobby for fanciers.

Perhaps the most rapid change that took place in the industry during the period 1910-20 was that in 1910 but few baby chicks were sold, but in 1921 millions were sold to the advantage of the breeder, the hatchery man and the farmer raising the chicks. If the rate of increase of the chick hatcheries for 1918-21 should be maintained until 1930 comparatively few hens then would be used for hatching, and comparatively few hatching eggs would be sold except to the hatcheries.

In 1900 there were few colleges or experiment stations in America teaching poultry raising or experimenting with it. By 1920 all the states were teaching and most of them were doing experimental work. Colleges and experiment stations have been of great assistance to farmers and poultrymen in showing them better methods. Egg-laying contests have shown the value of breeding for high production and of strains rather than breeds so far as egg production is concerned. The first egg-laying contest in America was at Storrs, Conn., under the supervision of the Connecticut Agricultural College in 1911-2. There were more than io contests in the United States and io in Canada in 1921-2. The highest average production in any contest was obtained by the Western Washington Experiment Station at Puyallup, Wash., for the year 1920-21. The 365 birds in the contest averaged 214 eggs per hen. The pen of five single-comb White Leghorns which led the contest and made the American record layed 1,384 eggs or an average of 276.8 eggs per hen.

During 1910-20 ornamental breeds and bantams so decreased that in 1921 few commercial breeds were maintained on a large scale. The chief breeds were White Leghorns, Barred Plymouth Rocks, Rhode Island Reds and White Wyandottes. There were also fairly large numbers of Anconas, Buff and White Orpingtons, Brown Leghorns, White Plymouth Rocks, Buff Wyandottes, Black Minorcas, Black Langshans and Light Brahmas.

Table 8 shows that imports and exports of eggs and egg products greatly increased from 1 9 10 to 1920, the imports more TABLE 8. - U.S. Exports and Imports; Eggs (Shell) and Egg Products, Fiscal Years 1910-20 1910. $ 1,264,043 1915.5,083,825 19,459,187 rapidly than the exports, so that the United States seemed likely to become on balance an importing nation. The exports for 1920 consisted largely of shell eggs and went to Cuba, Canada, Mexico, Panama, England and Scotland. A considerable proportion of the eggs that went to Canada replaced Canadian eggs shipped to England. As Canada has a grading law, its eggs were exported to better advantage. The imports were mostly egg products from the Orient, particularly from China. In 1920 the imports consisted of 1,348,383 dozen of shell eggs, of which over 70% came from the Orient. The egg products amounted to 24,091,098 pounds, of which over 90% came from the Orient. Beginning about 1918 the large packing and egg handling houses began establishing egg-breaking and packing facilities in China and South America, so that in 1921 the imports seemed likely to continue to increase for some years unless tariff changes affected conditions. (0. B. K.)

Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Poultry'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica.​encyclopedias/​eng/​bri/​p/poultry.html. 1910.