|Home -> Pacific Rural Press -> 2nd 1000 Questions Answered in California Agriculture -> Part VIII. Poultry Keeping|
|Part VIII. Poultry Keeping
My neighbors across a line and across a highway object to my hens trespassing on their property. What is the legal solution of the difficulty? Must I do all the fencing? If I choose to do nothing, what legal redress have they?
You have no right to pasture your poultry on other people's property. It may be a benefit to them and they may allow it, but, if they have objected, you are notified to take care of your stock and you have no redress if they should take the shotgun. In the larger animals the aggrieved person has to catch and impound the stock, according to the laws of procedure, but we imagine no laws require an aggrieved owner to catch trespassing hens. If you do nothing you will probably have some dead birds thrown over your fence, and you might also be sued for damages.
Marking Hens and Chicks.
I have two strains of Plymouth Rocks, and I wish to keep the hens from one strain and the roosters from the other. How can I keep them apart? Is there any system of tagging which I can use to put on the little chicks until the time comes to segregate them?
The best way is to buy a Pettit poultry punch, price 25 cents, at any poultry supply house. Punch a hole in the web of the foot of each chick; one in web of right foot, and the other in the left foot. This is better than bands, for the chick's leg outgrows the band. Keep an eye on the holes and keep dirt out; for sometimes they close up. You can mark at least five generations of chicks with that 25-cent punch. For instance, the first batch would not be punched at all, the second bunch on the inside of the left foot, the third bunch on the inside of the right foot and so on. If bands are used, first put on a small band which will be large enough for three or four weeks. After they have outgrown this size a larger should be put on which will not have to be again replaced unless lost.
Chicks Die in the Shell.
My eggs are nearly all fertile, but the chicks die in the shell. I find when using the eggs that the shell will peel away from the inner skin because of the toughness of the latter.
The trouble is dryness. Try making the nest on the ground with a covering of straw or hay to lay the eggs on. If the ground itself is dry, moisten all around with plenty of water. The moisture from the surrounding earth will penetrate to the nest, but if it does not you need not be afraid to take the eggs out of the nest and pour warm water on the ground, then put the hay or straw back again and replace the eggs. The shells are too hard and tough. They need artificial moisture under hens just as with incubators, only not so much.
Handling Runt Chickens.
I have two-month chicks and four-fifths of the whole flock are as small as one month old. They simply stop growing while the rest are nice big chickens.
The most probable cause is overcrowding in quarters at night. Remove the small ones to a pen and yard by themselves and feed them well, they will catch up, but if you leave them with the others they will not grow at all but will eventually sicken and die. Get them separated as soon as possible and they will pay for the trouble.
Leghorn Standard Weights.
What are standard weights for White Leghorns; also how much should a White Leghorn weigh at one month, two months, and three months?
The standard weights for Leghorns are: Cock, 5 pounds; hen, 4 pounds; cockerel, 4 pounds, and pullet, 3 pounds. There are no standard weights for young chicks and growing fowls, but the following are approximate: Chick one month old, 5 ounces; two months, 11 ounces, and three months, 24 ounces. These weights are subject to great varieties for several reasons. Some strains of Leghorns will grow more rapidly than others; the weight will be influenced by the quantity and nature of the feed, and a number of other factors might affect the weight of the chick at the various ages.
Air and Exercise for Chicks.
I have a flock of 250 chickens in an 8x8 house, and I keep the temperature at about 85 degrees. When they are a week to over two weeks old they don't eat, and get down and are too weak to get up again.
Fresh air and mother earth are what those chicks need. Get them out on the ground and induce them to run and scratch. If you can't get them to exercise any other way, boil a piece of liver tender, then cut it in very small shreds and throw down a few at a time until you get them interested. Keep your house warm so that when the chicks need to get warm they can do so, but get them out on the ground and in fresh air.
Leg Colors in Small Chicks.
What is the true color of legs of white Minorca chicks a week old? I received a shipment of chicks supposed to be white Minorcas and legs are bright yellow.
The legs and down of all chicks vary. No one can judge what any chick is by these signs. The color of legs changes gradually up to maturity. Sometimes Orpington chicks come with yellow legs, but they always turn out a light pink or pinkish white, and that is the true color of the adult white Minorca. Wait, they will turn out all right in time if they are pure bred.
How Far Are Trap Nests Useful?
While visiting a number of poultry farms I was surprised to learn that very few breeders who formerly used trap nests continued with them, for more than a few reasons. The general opinion seemed to be that the trap-nested hen of high egg-producing ability could not be relied upon to produce pullets of great egg-producing capacity; and in numerous instances all their pullet progeny proved to be inferior layers.
The poultry breeders referred to were not thorough in their work of trap-nesting or were lacking in certain knowledge that was essential to their success. The following brief remarks may start our enquirer in the right direction. Pullets do not become heavy layers simply because their mothers were great egg producers; therefore, the trap nest does little more than prove that the hen that has laid a large number of eggs has the capacity to digest large amounts of egg-making food and that she has a good circulation which insures vigor. She is able to transmit these qualifications for heavy egg production to her young of both sexes if mated to a male whose ancestors have possessed the same qualifications. On the other hand, if the male is from a mother who was able to produce only a limited number of eggs, he will, in nearly all cases, influence the laying capacity of his pullets that come from his mating with a heavy laying hen, causing them to be poor layers while their brother cockerels are almost sure to inherit their mother's qualifications for producing many eggs, to be transmitted by them to their daughters of the next generation.
Poultry Yard Shelters.
I wish to plant some fast-growing trees or shrubbery to act as a windbreak around my chicken yards. The ground is light sandy soil.
For an evergreen shelter, closing in near the ground, as is presumably desirable for fowls, nothing is better than the Monterey cypress. Small plants, set four feet apart, will close in the first year. As a lighter shelter with some edibility in the leaves, we prefer the "tree malva," (lavatera) which is grown easily from the seeds. The plant is very common in all valley and coast regions.
Build Separate Chicken Houses.
How shall I get chicken lice out of a combination chicken house and stable for horse? Horse is in danger of the lice and therefore keep him in yard in summer, but must have a stable in winter.
Tear your chicken house down from the barn and rebuild it by itself, then spray it once a week with any of the commercial disinfectants on the market. It is very inadvisable to have a chicken house in connection with a building, for any other purpose.
Chicken House Capacity.
We have built eight by sixteen poultry houses with dropping boards, so that the whole floor can be used as a scratching shed. How many chickens should each of these houses accommodate?
Such houses will accommodate sixty Leghorns, and with the yards certainly should give good results. Do not use long houses, that is, joining several of these houses together. That plan used to be done, but it is about obsolete now. Have your houses open front and keep them single, that is the only way to keep poultry houses clean in this climate.
Creosote Stain or Whitewash.
Is creosote stain used for inside and outside of poultry buildings, and will you please publish formula for same? Is it superior to whitewash?
Creosote stain is superior to whitewash in some ways. It kills mites and prevents them from breeding if sprayed about twice a year. Whitewash also kills mites, but after it has been on the walls a few days, it is entirely harmless to mites and other insects; the creosote stain keeps its qualities much longer. It is used both inside and outside and also on the roof. Crude oil and crude carbolic acid form the base, one quart of the crude carbolic to one five-gallon can of the crude oil. After they are mixed, stir in enough "prince metallic" to thicken to the consistency of cream, if to be put on with a brush, but if to be sprayed it must be thin enough to work in the pump. You will have to use some judgment in that. Some people prefer to spray because it is quicker, and others prefer a brush because it is more economical. Spraying uses about three times the quantity as when put on with a brush.
Good Perches for Fowls.
Are flat perches, four to six inches wide, as good as round perches?
Perches four to six inches wide are not nearly so comfortable as those two inches wide. The very best perch is Oregon pine 2x2 and the edges trimmed, making it nearly round. A hen can then grasp the perch because its feet naturally form a curve when she goes to roost. A perch so wide as six inches might be a place to sit on, but a hen would never feel quite safe because she could not grasp it to hold herself.
Skim Milk for Fowls.
What is the value of skim milk as a poultry feed and best method of feeding?
After providing for average non-assimilation and deducting the amount necessary for the maintenance of the hen, one hundred pounds of skim milk has an egg producing value of 55 whites and 18.5 yolks when fed in a properly balanced ration; these values total 73.5 egg maker units. Good meat scrap supplies 1010.5 units and dried ground green bone 536 units, therefore a good commercial meat scrap, that does not carry an excessive amount of bone, is worth about fourteen times as much in feed value as skim milk; on the basis of $3.50 as the price of the meat, the skim milk would be worth 25 cents per hundred pounds. It may be placed before the fowls so they can drink it, but best results usually follow feeding in a mixture of other food stuff; unless quite sweet it is well to make it into cottage cheese and dispose of the whey as waste. Several who have added the whey to the feed report bad results.
Comb-Crusts From Over-Feeding.
I have two yards of hens. One has the run of a eucalyptus grove, the other has a peach orchard; both have alfalfa. They are fed egg food, rolled barley, and gyp corn, have sprouted grain in cultivated ground; have been feeding horse meat or mixing mash with the juice; have also fed a good many gophers chopped up raw. Yard one is all right; yard two has a disease of the comb and wattles, which first appears like blisters and a dry crust forms. They do not appear to be very sick; none have died; why should the clean yard with all clean, healthy birds have it and none of the other yards?
Your birds have too rich a diet; the comb is not diseased, but is just an outlet. The reason it appears to affect this yard and not the others is that they are strong enough to throw the refuse off through the comb and skin. The others are keeping it inside, and if you do not stop some of the meat and raw gophers you will have liver trouble with the other yards, while this yard will be exempt. In the first place, the egg food is rich enough of itself; then you add probably an equal quantity of nitrogenous food, and the fowls cannot use so much. Give the hens a good cathartic, such as epsom salts.
Possible Ill in Rolled Barley.
I am losing hens which look well and are sick only a few hours. When they die they are wet around the vent. I feed mostly rolled barley.
It may be that the rolled barley has set up an irritation in the crop or intestines, which runs a quick course. Rolled barley should be soaked a few hours to take the sting out of the beards. Complaints are always numerous when a good deal of dry rolled barley is fed and there have been many losses.
Bran and Cottonseed Meal.
In what way is bran good for chickens? Is cottonseed meal good for them?
Bran is good for chickens because it is rich in protein and mineral. Young chicks fed partly on bran rarely have leg weakness or any such trouble. Feeding bran to hens helps make shell besides playing a great part in the egg proper. The value of cottonseed meal for poultry is doubtful. It is very hard to digest and requires more energy than heavy laying hens can spare. Flaxseed meal is better than cottonseed meal. Another thing against it is that it is constipating.
Formula for Home-Made Mash.
Please give a formula for a home-made mash.
For a small flock mix the following: Bran, 50 pounds; shorts, 25 pounds; cornmeal, 20 pounds; rolled barley, 10 pounds; beef scrap, 10 pounds; charcoal, 2 pounds; salt, half pound; alfalfa, 25 pounds. Mix all together as well as possible and feed either dry or moist.
Home-Mixed Chick Feed.
Please give us a balanced ration for chicks two months old and up.
One gallon of cracked wheat; one gallon cracked or whole Gyp corn; half pint millet seed; half pint hemp seed; one quart of oat groats or pearl barley, and two pounds beef scrap. This makes a little finer feed than the average; the millet can be left out for chicks two months old and if small wheat can be obtained it would do as well as cracked wheat. Of course the chicks should have some mash besides. For this, good heavy bran and ground oats and Gyp corn with a little bone meal and beef scrap added will make a good growing ration. Bone should be about five pounds to the hundred and beef scrap about ten pounds to the hundred of other feed.
Molting After Shutting Up.
My hens had run of large alfalfa field, but are now confined to large, well-shaded yards, and in spite of increased feed the egg yield has dropped and the hens are beginning to molt. Am told that shutting hens up at this time of year is unnatural, and that hens will molt again this fall.
The shutting up at any time of year is unnatural, and there is no difference in time. The molt is most likely the result of a combination of causes, one of them being the change from bugs to bloodmeal. The hens will molt again, but not likely in the fall; it will be most likely to occur about late December or January and if they molt thoroughly now the other will only be a partial molt. The best thing you can do is to feed them well. Give plenty of green feed and get them through the molt as quickly as possible. Then you will have eggs just about the time they are worth collecting and keep them at it as long as possible.
Oily Food Causes Late Molting.
Why are my chickens molting in the winter? They commenced early in the fall and looked fine as though they were over it, but have not laid as well as they should.
They have continued molting or have completed one molt and gone into the second, because of too much oily or fatty food. Soybean meal, linseed oil cake, cocoa cake meal, whole or ground flaxseed in oversupply will cause this trouble. It is possible to cause them to lose their feathers and rebuild new ones continuously through the whole year if enough vegetable oil is supplied. Animal fat acts in the same way, but in smaller degree.
Sunflowers for Eggs.
What is the value of sunflower seeds as food for chickens, in special regard to eggs. Can they be fed whole or must they be crushed?
Sunflower seeds are a valuable addition to a ration, but as they contain a great deal of fibre, they have a low digestibility. They are much too concentrated to be fed as a daily ration. Their chief use is in the molt; and then should be fed very sparingly. Fowls will eat them whole just as well as crushed, but they are too rich to feed heavily.
Feeding Broilers for Market.
Will you give me a good formula to feed broilers for market?
If you can get sour milk or buttermilk, mix all your mash feed with it, as the broilers will fatten quicker and be a much better color. If you have cheap potatoes, cook them, then mash, adding corn meal or ground oats and shorts with a little salt. Potatoes make a cheap fattening diet but need thorough cooking. Mix one part ground oats with one part fine shorts or low grade flour and one part bran. Mix the whole with sour milk or buttermilk and feed what they will eat up while fresh. In feeding all milk mixtures this rule must be followed, because if the food lies around and gets sour, the chickens will not eat it or if they do it will cause bowel trouble. The second week leave out the bran and feed just ground wheat or oats and flour, the third week add a tablespoonful of tallow to the mash for every bird fed, this is as long as they can be crowded with this fattening) diet so don't commence feeding this until your broilers have reached the required size.
Dried Milk-Curd for Poultry.
I have more skim-milk than I can use to advantage. I am curdling it, then draw off the whey and dry the curd in the sun. Will the curd make good chicken feed, and what is its feeding value compared with good beef scraps or fish meal? Is there any feeding value to speak of in the whey drawn off?
Well cured meat scraps and fish meal are dried down until they contain only about ten per cent of water. Seventy-five pounds of milk dried down to the consistency of beef scrap, containing ten per cent of water, would weigh about eight pounds. Its feeding value would be just about the same as eight pounds of beef scrap, varying somewhat one way or the other, according to the other foodstuffs fed in connection with it. To illustrate: The 75 pounds of milk dried down to eight pounds, containing ten per cent water, would be worth, at 3 1/2 cents per pound, 28 cents, while eight pounds of beef scraps at 3 1/2 cents per pound, would be worth 26 cents. Fish meal at three and one-fifth cents would he worth only a trifle less. Draining the whey and drying the curd in the sun is all right, but it is believed that it is dangerous to feed the whey to poultry.
Green Winter Feed.
What is there in the line of greens suitable for poultry that can be grown without irrigation?
Rape planted in fall or winter will send roots down and keep green sometime into the next summer. The soil must be moist and fine when it is broadcasted, to give the seed a chance to germinate. Giant kale planted in the fall in moist soil will persist till spring when alfalfa or green corn is large enough to feed as fodder. Fall sown rye or other grain will give green winter feeding.
Soft Shells and Egg-Bound Hens.
What are the causes of soft shelled eggs and egg-bound hens and what are remedies?
The cause of egg-bound cases is internal fat. Soft shell eggs are nearly always caused by the same conditions, but not quite all. Sometimes a fright will cause hens to drop soft eggs, or a lack of lime in the system. In that case the remedy is to supply more lime in the way of old plaster, oyster shell, or bone. When the trouble is caused by too fatty condition, the remedy is to lessen their feed. Get some straw or other litter and feed all grain in the litter, make the hens exercise more for it, also feed less mash.
Feeding Little Chicks.
In raising chicks from an incubator I have been feeding chick feed and boiled eggs. They are two weeks old and seem strong, but for the past few days they have been dying. They become droopy and die very quickly.
First cut out the eggs. It is strange that people will stuff little chicks with such concentrated food and expect them to live. Chop up a head of lettuce and an onion or two, just as fine as you can, so they will eat it, and mix with a little bran and rolled oats. Feed them this two or three times a day and the chick food the balance. Your chicks are dying for lack of something to eat. Eggs are not natural food for little chicks and while they can be fed to good advantage, mixed with other things, too much egg constipates the little fellows and does more harm than good. Give chicks grit, ground oyster shell and charcoal and get them interested in green feed, then they will soon quit dying.
Why should chicks hatched in incubator be crippled in the knee joint, often the bone is sticking through the flesh, while the ones hatched under hens seldom are?
The most common cause of the crippled condition of newly hatched chicks is overheating of the incubator during the hatching period. If this crippled condition develops in the brooder shortly after hatching, instead of in the incubator, it is due to overheated condition of the brooder floor. If the chicks are two or three weeks old before the trouble occurs it is due to lack of bonemaking material in the food.
Raising Ninety Per Cent of Chicks.
How can I raise ninety to ninety-five per cent of the chicks I hatch?
How to raise ninety to ninety-five per cent of chicks is not answerable unless a person knew the stock the chicks came from and the man behind them. The most vital things in chick raising are first to see that they are not fed too soon after hatching, then fed right at regular times; kept free from colds, clean and comfortable, and have green food. I have raised 100 per cent of chicks by hand, but could never trust hens to do quite so well.
Breaking Hens of Egg-Eating
Why do hens eat eggs, and what is the cure for it?
Hens eat eggs because they get the taste by eating fresh egg shells thrown to them or by accidentally breaking eggs in the nest. Once we effectually broke our hens from this practice. A hole was broken in one end of each of a few eggs and plenty of red cayenne pepper was inserted. These pepper eggs were laid in the nests of the egg-eating hens and it was not long afterward that we saw certain hens going about the yard with mouths wide open trying to cool off.
Bad Odor and Taste of Eggs.
Why do some of our eggs smell and taste bad. Is it a fault of any breed?
The fault probably lies either in the feed or in the individual hen. Sometimes, a hen is found that retains an egg so long before laying that decomposition sets in. If you happened to breed from that particular hen, you would of course get more than one in your flock and this is the most likely supposition. Look well to your feed and if you are not feeding anything that is likely to cause the trouble get a trap-nest or two and find the culprits. Some beef scrap and fish meal give bad flavors, so if you are feeding that, change the brand and see if it makes a difference.
Watery and Running Eggs.
Why do my hens lay watery eggs? When I put the eggs in the frying pan they spread all over the pan instead of standing up. The first I noticed was last fall; they got all right during the winter, but now are watery again. When they are boiled hard the yolk has a green tinge all around the outside where it fits into the white.
The indications are that they have too much sloppy feed and not enough good dry grain. Nothing makes firmer eggs than a good hard grain diet. If the green feed is of a very watery nature and not enough grain to offset it, the eggs will be watery. Again, if the nests are in a warm, moist place, that might have a tendency to make the eggs run; somewhat like eggs that have been a few days in the incubator. It is impossible to be too careful in handling eggs, or in feeding for them; for the food a hen eats makes all the difference in the quality of the eggs produced. Give the hens a tonic and feed them more grain until they get over this failing. The following tonic has given very good satisfaction. It need not be continued for more than two or three weeks. Probably you will notice a difference in just one week: Tincture of red cinchona, one fluid ounce; tincture of chloride of iron, one fluid drachm; tincture of nux vomica, four fluid drachms; glycerine and water to make four ounces. Give one teaspoonful in one quart of water, allowing no other drink. This tonic can also be used for indigestion, but hens do not like it; so care must be taken to keep other water away or they will not drink that containing the tonic.
Mottled Shelled Eggs.
Why do my hens lay a mottled shelled egg and what is a remedy?
This is a characteristic of some breeds, but is sometimes caused by either scattering scratch feeds in straw or by making them hustle should be increased and the carbohydrates decreased and the hens should be made to exercise more. This latter may be accomplished by either scattering scratch feeds in straw or by making them hustle harder for their feed in open fields.
I have a hen with a wry toil, and as she is all I got from a setting of costly eggs I sent east for, hate to lose her. Do you think she would breed that kind of chicks?
It is too bad a defect to take any risk-with. Better lose her than raise a lot affected with the same defect. Sometimes wry tails are caused by cramped quarters or rubbing against something continually. If it is from these causes then it would not be so much of a risk, but if it is a natural wry tail certainly do not breed from her.
For Sitting Hens Which Are Quitters.
Several days after setting my hens they leave their nests, their combs turn black, and they have a greenish dysentery; are healthy before I set them; they have a separate pen or house; are fed wheat; have clean water, dust bath, and plenty of ventilation in the house. Have lost about five hens and their settings of eggs in the last week.
Have you examined the nests for mites? Do this at once, for they drive hundreds of hens off their nests by sucking their blood; then of course the comb turns dark and finally black and the hen dies. Open, up the feathers and see if you can find them; also see if the eggs are specked as if flies had been on them; if so, you have found the cause. The remedy is to disinfect the house at once. Put some tobacco stems in the nests and clean off the hens with a dip made of creolin and water just warm. If there are no mites, your hens have indigestion. In this case, parch in the oven all the wheat you feed to them. Do not burn, but just bake slowly until it smells so nice you want to eat it yourself. Give them all of this parched wheat and rolled oats they will eat, and put half a teaspoonful of tincture of nux vomica in a quart of water; divide that among all your setting hens. Some hens are so feverish over setting that they neglect to get off the nest to eat and drink until the digestion is impaired; then it is too late unless the hen has very good vitality. Go around early in the morning and lift off all setting hens that have not been off. In this way get them started right and then they get off regularly. Hens have no judgment - at least they don't use it when broody, so we have to show them what is best.
How to Distinguish a Guinea Cock.
How can we tell the male from the female guinea fowl, at any age - say one year old. They look so much alike; nobody seems to be able to tell which is which.
C. S. Valentine, author of "The Beginner in Poultry," says:
"Males are distinguished from, females chiefly by their cry. The males are slightly larger than the females; the voice is more strident, and where the young are being fed, the male's careful auxiliary protection of the female and her little ones distinguishes him. One may make unnumbered efforts to head off the male from his family, but he always will appear between his charges and the threatening peril, to insure protection."
The Chances With Duck Eggs.
Is it true that duck eggs bring a better price than hen eggs?
The truth of the statement is doubtful; unless you make a market you will not get as much for them. Bakers and confectioners like duck eggs to use in their business, but when we consider that bakers and restaurants are in the habit of using cold storage eggs and Chinese eggs, it does not look very promising for a bigger price for duck eggs from that source. The profit from ducks is made, not from the eggs, but from the green ducks sold for table purposes, or in keeping stock breeders and selling eggs for hatching. In a rainy locality, during the winter and early spring months you would have to keep a good bed of straw for nests or the eggs would get almost too dirty for sale as food. Duck eggs, like hen eggs, absorb any bad odor that may be near them, and a duck is not cleanly in its habits unless you force it to be so.
Laying Feed for Ducks.
What is the proper feed for ducks to make them lay; also what quantity for fourteen ducks? Have been feeding barley and bran, and barley alone. They have a free range of grass and running water.
The proper feed for ducks is a balanced mash and a little hard grain at night. They will not do their best unless they have it. Barley alone is a very poor ration; barley and bran is but little better. The mash should include the following ingredients and what you do not have or cannot get handy of course you will have to do without or substitute something else. Bran, two parts; middlings, one part; coarse ground corn-meal, one part; beef scrap, two parts; bone meal, half a part; ground barley, two parts. Mix this all together by measure and you have a mash that can't be beaten for laying ducks. A little corn, wheat or oats, or even barley, for the night meal will last them longer. Ducks that have range will regulate their grit and water themselves, but they will lay more eggs if some form of shell material is kept handy. Do not feed a bit more than they will clean up at one time. When you have gauged the quantity once, you will know how much to mix for the next time. It is a mistake to try to stint ducks to just so much; they want "heap bellyful," and if you don't give it to them they won't give you the eggs.
Ducks Died After Pipping.
My duck eggs pipped on the twenty-fourth day and died in the shell. After the eggs began to pip, how long before they should be out?
The heat has been too high. The ducklings should not have pipped until the 26th day at least and the 27th would have been better. Run the incubator at 101 the first week, 102 the second and third, and gradually bring it up to 103. If it runs up to 104 during the third, and it will not hurt, but do not allow this during the first week of incubation. After they pip, if the heat has been right, all should be out in twelve hours, but sometimes ducklings have to be helped out, if the shell has not been rotted with moisture.
Milk for Ducks.
Can I raise ducks on sour milk and have them do as well as if fed beef scraps?
It will depend on how the milk affects the bowels. If the ducks do not scour, milk will do as well as beefscrap and make more bone. The chemical difference between sour milk and buttermilk is little. Watch your ducks to see if the milk affects their bowels too much, and if it does, keep away a few days or add more middlings and less bran; one of these things is just about as high in price as the other, so it is just as cheap to feed middlings as bran.
The Quack-less Duck.
I have heard of a duck which does not quack. What is it?
The exhibit of Muscovy or quack-less ducks at the Exposition poultry show attracted much attention. In villages and towns, where the noise of other ducks would be annoying to the neighborhood, the Muscovy is the one.
Fall Ducks and Geese.
Is it possible to purchase day-old ducks or geese in the early fall and can they be successfully raised at that season?
It is possible to produce duck and goose eggs that are fit for hatching in the early fall, but only a very few breeders understand how to do so; besides, at that season of the year the demand for day-old ducklings and goslings is so limited it is practically impossible to find any one prepared to supply them. If hatched from good fertile eggs ducks and geese may be raised in California at any season of the year, but abundant shade is absolutely necessary in hot weather.
Goslings Need Digestible Feed.
What is the proper feed and care for goslings?
The feed for goslings for ten days or two weeks should be something easy to digest and not very much of it at one time. Bread soaked in milk, and the extra milk squeezed out, a little rolled oats, chopped lettuce, and a little milk curd are all good, not forgetting to add a little coarse sand to the feed, or in the absence of sand a little fine chick grit. Give warm water with the chill taken off, to drink at the same time food is served. They need none at any other time, unless weather is hot. Keep moderately warm at night, but a dry bed of straw is really the best, with a cover of some kind; and last, but not least, provide shade for the day time. A dry bed and shade are the most important things to remember in the care of goslings, for one hour in a hot sun will cause nice little goslings to fade away before your eyes.
Selling Goose Feathers.
I have some A1 goose feathers which I should like to sell, but can find no market for them.
The Sunset Feather Co. and the Crescent Feather Co., of this city, buy feathers. The former company pays 27 cents per pound for goose feathers which must, at that price, be white, clean, dry, and unmixed with hen feathers, which sell at 4 cents but are worth a good bit less than nothing when mixed with goose feathers. If you have a large quantity, you will save freight by compressing them.
Ganders or Geese?
How can I distinguish the sex of Toulouse geese?
It is very difficult. Put a suspected gander on one side of a tight board fence and the geese on the other. The gander's voice as he talks to the geese is a louder, coarser, honkier sound, while the geese are more musically voiced. Observing their copulation is a sure way to distinguish - if the gander doesn't get mixed with the geese before you catch him.
Proper Coloring of Toulouse Geese.
Which is the Toulouse goose, the big grey one with the black tip on the bill, or the one with the orange blossom tip?
The bill of the pure-bred Toulouse goose should be orange yellow to meet the requirements of the poultry judge. Black spots on the bill are usually caused by bruises, when young, but so long as the birds come up to the standard in other ways, the black spots should not be any detriment in the breeding of pure-bred young stock.
Need Tom for Each Clutch of Eggs.
After all my turkey hens had gone to setting on their first clutch of eggs my Tom died. Will the second clutch be fertile.
It is generally supposed that a turkey hen needs the attention of the male once for the season; certainly once will fertilize one clutch of eggs, but when the hens sit a month on the nest, then perhaps some time with the poults, it is almost like a new season and it is better not to risk it because in the end the gobbler would cost no more than the loss of the eggs in case they should prove infertile.
Maturity in Turkeys.
Are the first eggs of turkey hens any good for setting? How old are the turkeys before they start to lay?
Turkey hens should be over a year old before their eggs are used for setting. Having complied with this, the first eggs are all right and they usually come in time to hatch for the Thanksgiving market.
Exposure and Turkeys.
My little turkeys get weak in the back and legs; sit on their knees with their feet off the ground. It comes on very quickly. They have a good appetite but always die.
Wet, damp ground probably brings on cramps and general debility. Unless you can shelter them until the weather clears, there is little else to be done.
Treatment for Turkey Diseases.
How can I check Turkey cholera?
The most distinguishing symptom is a pale, bloodless comb. No satisfactory remedy has been discovered, but the following has sometimes produced favorable results: One dram - one-eighth of a fluid ounce - of carbolic acid diluted in one quart of water; one dessert spoonful of this to be given to each adult turkey - only one dose. The spread of the disease may be checked by removing the sick birds and thoroughly disinfecting the premises occupied by the flock.
Black head is often mistaken for cholera, but it is easily distinguished because in black head the comb and entire head turns black. It is a germ disease of the liver. It is often more difficult to cure than cholera. A remedy that sometimes proves beneficial is as follows: For each ten-pound weight of fowl give, two or three times daily, twenty grains sulphur, two grains sulphate of iron, two grains quinine. As in cholera, the chief thing is to promptly remove the sick fowls and clean up and thoroughly disinfect the quarters.
It is possible that your turkeys have intestinal catarrh. The most prominent symptoms are loss of appetite, roughness of plumage and indisposition to move. The comb and head are not discolored to such a degree as in cholera or black head. The fowls are more or less troubled with dysentery according to the nature of the feed they have been eating. Remove the sick birds to comfortable quarters and feed small quantities of mashed or cooked food with a little meat scrap. Put a handful of oatmeal in the drinking water or give milk for drink. Give one tablespoonful of olive oil, after which give three times daily, in water or in capsule form, washed down with water, one grain bicarbonate of soda, two grains sub-nitrate of bismuth. If the dysentery continues after the fever has disappeared give on dram of sulphate of iron in one pint of drinking water. A dram is one-sixteenth part of an ounce avoirdupois.
Too Much Sour Food for Turkeys.
My turkeys are six months old and have done finely. Now two of them refuse to eat and droppings were a deep yellow in color; they will not eat but drink considerable. We feed corn morning and night, and they run on grapes and tomatoes all they want and drink sour milk.
Your turkeys have been having too much acid; sour milk, grapes and tomatoes are pretty sour stuff and the mixture has caused indigestion. Not being noticed until they stopped eating, this developed into inflammation. Shut them off from the grapes and tomatoes, and for a few days give ten drops of tincture of nux vomica in each quart of water excluding the milk, merely to get them to drink the medicine, then return to the milk but not to the other acid products.
Too Much Bulky Food for Turkeys.
My turkeys have crops full of food that does not pass out and is very sour. They stand with their wings drooped and refuse to eat, and in about twelve days they die.
Change your feed, for the supposition is that the feed has been too bulky and the turks have lacked exercise. Unless you empty the crop, very little can be done. When you find one with its wings drooped, catch it, then get about a pint of warm water and pour a little at a time down the gullet. Work the water among the food in the crop with your hand, doing it gently so as not to hurt; then hold the bird head down and make it vomit the feed and water. Keep this up until you have the crop empty, then wash it out with baking soda and water, holding the bird so that this water also runs out of the mouth. After the crop is clean, give the bird a tablet of nux vomica and sulphur compound, 1-100 of a grain strength each, morning and night until it digests its feed properly.
Look for Mites in the Morning.
I had one hundred and twenty little turkeys hatch during the last month and now have only twenty left. They have no lice or diarrhoea. When I go out once they are all right and eating; next time I go out to look at them in perhaps ten minutes I find two or three dying.
It is probably either lice or mites that is doing the mischief. Look well into the brooding place very early in the morning and I think you will find some nice little red fellows that have dined off your turks while you slept. To anyone not accustomed to the ways of mites it is not easy to find them until they have taken full possession of a place; hence the need of looking early in the morning. At that time they are full and, of course, lazy. You will find them under boards, in cracks, and about all joints and knots in lumber where chicks and turks are. There is nothing else that could clean up a lot of turks like that and leave no trace of its work. Diarrhoea gives itself away, but not mites or lice; of course you can find the lice, but mites are mighty cunning.
Feed for Young Turks.
I am feeding my young turks hard boiled eggs, onion tops, and curd. As I have more hatching soon, would like to know what to do for them.
Your feed is about all right. A little corn meal mixed with the egg and a little rolled oats would be a good addition. Turks must have something in the cereal line such as bread crumbs, corn meal, and rolled oats. These are all easy to digest, yet nourishing.
Yellow Droppings From Young Turks.
What shall I do for yellow droppings from young turks, and how shall I feed them?
What not to feed little turks until at least two weeks old is: All or any kind of grain; they cannot digest it. Very likely you have done so and your poults are suffering from indigestion. If so you will find a few drops tincture of nux vomica in the drinking water one of the best tonics for the indigestion. Say ten drops to a good quart of water the first two days, then reduce it to five drops. Give until turks show good, healthy droppings. If you have fed right, with soft feed as stated above, then give Carter's little liver pills, one to a bird at night, but for indigestion caused by incorrect feeding I prefer the nux vomica. The only way to cure a turkey poult and have it back in the flock well in a few hours, is to catch it in the first stages before the trouble materializes into a serious case. This means to watch the droppings every morning and catch the sick poult.
Pendulous Crop in Turkeys.
What can you tell about the cause and cure for hanging crop in turkeys, which is a very distressing affair to look at, at least?
The name for the trouble is "pendulous crop." It is more or less prevalent all through the San Joaquin valley, possibly beyond, and has received some attention from poultry experts. It is not a disease, but is a mechanical affair which may not interfere with the health of the bird until it becomes mechanically impossible for the crop to discharge its proper function. It is believed to be caused by repeated distension of the crop owing to previous overfeeding, or to distension by the gas resulting from slow and defective digestion produced by overfeeding. The condition requires no treatment for fowls intended for the market, as it will not interfere with their health for a moderate period of time. Birds which are of extra value for breeding purposes or otherwise can be treated in this way. First - Preventive treatment: feeding of foods easily digested and in moderate quantities. Second - Local treatment: bathe in cold water in which one tablespoonful of vinegar and one teaspoonful of salt has been added to each pint. In extreme cases a bandage strong enough to lift the wall of the crop, but not sufficiently tight to interfere with the necessary movements of the muscular coat. The trouble may be due to bringing a wild bird so quickly to a course of high living. If the turkey has to fly a few miles to a damp spot for feeding, he probably does not gorge himself so frequently as he might when surrounded by broad acres of alfalfa.
Round Poultry Worms.
Give me remedy for worms in my young pullets. Also what is the cause?
Premises once infested with the common round worm of chickens are almost impossible to clean up, due to the fact that the eggs have been scattered almost everywhere and to the fact that these eggs retain their vitality for a long, indefinite period. The common worm mentioned is the Ascaris Inflexa, which can be killed and expelled from the intestine with five 10-grain doses of Areca nut mixed in the food. However, the birds will immediately reinfect themselves if the yards and houses are not cleaned up and disinfected at the same time. To kill the eggs in the manure it should be treated with unslaked lime. The drinking fountains must be so built that the birds cannot contaminate the water with their feet. One of the best methods is to move the birds after they have received the Areca nut to fresh soil and to crop the old yards for one year to insure the destruction of the eggs.
Wood Ashes for Worms.
How much wood ashes would you give to a hundred hens in the mash for worms?
A good-sized fire-shovel full of sifted ashes, and if the wood is oak, so much the better. Oak is the best wood for that purpose; some wood ashes have very little value.
Chicken Tape Worms.
I find a flat white worm nearly two inches long in the droppings of my six months chickens.
It is a tapeworm and does not hurt the chickens except by stealing their food. Feed the chickens all the chopped garlic and pumpkin seeds they will eat after letting them fast twenty-four hours. Chopped garlic bulbs clean intestinal worms out quickly except in serious cases, when a vermifuge is necessary. Garlic tops are not so dependable because not so strong, but usually clean out incipient infections if fed once in two weeks or a month. Garlic taints the eggs of some hens more than others and should be fed only for worms. Chopped or ground pumpkin seed are best for tape worms in laying hens.
Moth Balls Only a Help.
Is it true that if I bore holes every eight inches in my chicken roosts and insert moth balls, that the chickens will be kept entirely free of vermin?
This plan will help to prevent the fowls and houses from becoming infested with vermin or to reduce the number, but it will not prove to be a cure-all for this trouble. The moth balls will produce no bad effect on the fowls. In addition to the proposed plan the roosts should be painted with some commercial lice paint or with stove distillate to which has been added about ten per cent of crude carbolic acid or other germicide. Still greater benefit can be obtained by spraying the entire interior of the poultry house.
Ointment for Lice.
Give an ointment for lice and how to use it?
The ointment or salve recommended is mercurial ointment, U. S. strength. Mix the ointment with equal weight good tallow or lard and rub a piece the size of a pea below the vent; rub well into the skin,
not merely on the feathers. This ointment will drive lice away and kill them, but it is not good to use on stock that are being used for breeders as it may cause infertile eggs. On all other stock it is all right.
Fits Due to Lice.
I have a hen that acts as though she had fits. She tumbles around four or five times and draws her toes together as if in pain. She can not pick her corn off the ground but if I put it in a box she will eat it.
Give the sick hen a little warm mash in which you mix a tablespoonful of Epsom salts. Use lice powder on her, and find out if she has head lice. Probably lice and worms cause the hen's condition. Louse powder may be bought at any poultry feed store in one-pound cans and if you have but a few chickens, that will be the best way to purchase, as it soon loses its strength. To apply, turn the hen on her back and hold the legs apart, dust well along the abdomen and under the wings; then turn the hen on her breast and dust tail and back well up in the head, neck and all around. Make a good job of it, and put the hen in a coop for a short time so she won't shake all the powder out of her feathers.
I have chickens a few weeks old with very few feathers. What is the cause of it? My neighbors say it is feather lice.
It is natural for the larger breeds of fowls to be more or less scantily feathered at certain periods of chickhood, but the lack of feathers might be, to a certain extent, due to feather lice. If these are present they may be readily detected by examining the chicks. They are usually found on the larger feathers of the wings and tail. Any good insect powder or very fine flowers of sulphur rubbed into the plumage will destroy them.
Cleaning Out Poultry Ticks.
How can I get rid of poultry ticks?
To clean the houses and ground of ticks requires a good strong disinfectant and the will to use it. Kreso Dip No. 1, used strong will do the work. Or take one quart of crude carbolic acid to three gallons of crude oil, and spray every crack and crevice of the buildings, under the sills and in the ground around them, if you have to turn the buildings over to do it. Then dip the hens in a solution of Kreso Dip No. 1 and warm water, or take Creolin and use a tablespoonful to the gallon and dip the hens over head, see that the feathers are well soaked, then set them out in the sun to dry. Grease the ends of the perches and underneath with tallow and beeswax to prevent the ticks from crawling onto the hens again if any survive. A soft grafting wax with plenty of tallow is fine, but it must be soft or they can crawl over it,
Trapping Seed Ticks.
My chickens have those black chicken ticks that bury their heads into the flesh.
This tick is one of the most difficult pests to destroy, and will live through conditions that would be fatal to almost any other species of insect. Spray the house both inside and outside, repeating six to ten. times with an interval of three days between each spraying. The following sprays may be used: Whitewash containing carbolic acid; distillate mixed with carbolic acid or creosote; crude petroleum; boiling water, strong kerosene emulsion, etc. Before spraying the house, the fowls should be moved and placed in boxes or coops where the seed ticks can drop off as they become gorged, which occurs in about eight or ten days. Coops arranged with a wire net bottom through which the ticks can fall into a pan containing kerosene or strong spray material would trap most of them as they drop from the fowls. After two weeks in these temporary quarters, it is usually safe to return the fowls to their original quarters.
Common Fleas on Chickens.
How can one light the little fleas that live on chickens' heads and throats? Our chickens range and do splendidly with the exception of those hatched in the late summer or fail. These become infested with fleas that live on chickens' heads and the use of antiseptic salve on their heads has to be repeated every few days and that is hard on the baby chick as well as a great deal of work. There are none of the fleas in the chicken house.
The samples you sent seem to be just ordinary fleas and not what is usually known as chicken fleas. The only way to prevent them from attacking the chickens and to gain permanent relief is to first destroy their breeding places and then treat the chickens with insect powder or the ointment you mentioned. These hopping fleas prefer to breed in dusty cracks and corners of buildings, but when forced to do so they will breed in the open in the dust or sand. For the houses, clean out dust as much as possible and spray with distillate and carbolic acid or naphthalene flakes dissolved in cheap kerosene. For the yards, spray with water and hoe or thoroughly stir the dust or sand while spraying. We have never found anything that was superior to water and hoeing for killing them in the open.
My fowls seem unable to pick up their food, stand about with a peculiar look in their eyes, and at times attempt to run backward. I had them in small runs provided with litter for scratching and in addition to the grain and mash, fed them until lately with garden greens. When the green stuff ran low, I turned them out to hunt what greens they could find in a small creek bed that is near the poultry yards.
Your fowls have been eating the deadly night-shade - Atropia Belladonna - a small plant with reddish, bell-shaped flowers, and shining black berries; it grows in just such places as you describe. The flowers somewhat resemble the bloom of potato plants.
The trouble may be avoided by either searching out and destroying the plants or by serving the fowls a proper supply of wholesome green stuff. The fowls eat the poisonous plant only when other greens are scarce. In the vicinity of San Francisco, Oakland, and the adjacent foothills, the poultry keepers have frequent unpleasant experiences with this plant.
Blindness of Sitting Hen.
One of our hens set for about two weeks and then went blind. She is free from lice and was setting in a cool place free from draughts. Her eyes are as clear as ever.
Your hen's blindness is due to nervous trouble which is sometimes caused by change in blood pressure from long changes in attitude. Give her nourishing food and wash the eyes and head daily with a saturated boric acid solution. As to whether she recovers will depend on how badly the nerves have been damaged and this will take time.
Fowls Die of Catarrh.
My half-grown chickens have a watery discharge at the mouth and one or both eyes seem closed; the chicken gets very thin, and dies in about ten days. Is it called roup, and what is the cause of my trouble? How can I cure them?
The symptoms indicate that these fowls are suffering from catarrh which is caused by dampness, draughts caused by cracks in roosting house, unventilated houses causing sweating at night and chill through exposure to cold, rain, or fog when leaving house in the morning, or vermin. Fowls that have been underfed or supplied with a too starchy ration are most liable to contract this ailment. It so nearly resembles roup that it is usually mistaken for that disease. For treatment, bathe or dip the head of the fowls twice daily in a solution of one-half ounce boric acid in a pint of tepid water; and give coarse, moist mash seasoned with ground ginger. A rich sticky mash should be avoided. A disinfection of the house will also help greatly even though it may be clean and free from vermin.
Swell-Head Which Is Not Roup.
Is "swell-head" always roup?
There are cases of swell-head which are not roup. "Swell-head" proper is easily told from roup. The head gets very hot, the eyes swell and close and the whole head feels soft and hot. This is sometimes from the bird being exposed to a draft of air and other causes. A dose of cooling medicine such as epsom salts or sulphur and a little bryonia and aconite in the water will take it away without any bad results. But if it is neglected it will develop into roup.
Roup and Canker.
My chickens' eyes get sore and close; some have canker in the mouth and will not eat.
Your chickens have roup. Canker in the mouth is caused from many things, and is often quite distinct from roup. Fussing with mild remedies is little good. Take a hairpin, open the mouth and draw through the place, bringing all the cheesy matter with the hairpin if possible. Get all of it, even if it makes the mouth bleed, then wash or swab the place with any disinfectant and put all the dry powdered bluestone on that it will hold. Keep the bird in your arms awhile until it has been absorbed, then set it away in a dry, cool pen. You may have to repeat, but it usually effects a cure at two dressings - that is, if it is canker without roup. But when it is accompanied with a roupy smell, it is hardly safe to bother with it, for very few birds amount to much after being so badly affected. (See Part VIII, Vol. I.)
Roup or Chicken Pox.
A swelling appeared under the eyes and above the nose of a gobbler similar to a water blister on a person. This was on a six-months gobbler; now a hen is affected. It does not look like roup to me. The eyes are not closed.
If there is no roup smell, it is chicken pox. If you have had experience with roup, test the trouble by the smell. Feed a little sulphate of iron in the mash in either case and if it is roup, dip the head in a ten per cent solution of creolin and warm water. Do this several times if necessary. If it is chicken pox the lumps will be hard; dip in stronger solution and rub carbolized vaseline over the head. Clean up and scald all drinking vessels and feed troughs and you will stamp it out.
Chicks Droopy With Crop Catarrh.
My chicks stand around and droop as they do with white diarrhoea, except they do not show any other evidence of it but to drop their wings. Their crops are large and soft, and when I press on the crop a slimy, clear fluid runs from the crop.
Catarrh or inflammation of the crop - cause, indigestion from overfeeding, irritating or moldy food, foul seeds, etc. Treatment - In serious cases, empty the crop by holding fowl head down and very gently working out the sour liquid. When crop is empty, give epsom salts or a mixture about six grains subnitrate of bismuth and three grains bicarbonate of soda in a small amount of drinking water for each dozen chicks. Take away all food for about eighteen hours and then feed little and often.
I find a big hen sitting on the roost with her head hanging down. No matter where you put her, she would stay that way, and refused to eat or drink.
The trouble is limber-neck; is the result of the hen eating some poisonous meat or refuse of some sort. Some old rotten carcass, even that of a mouse, or of dead poultry, will cause this. Once a hen is attacked it depends upon whether she is strong enough to throw it off, or is given aid promptly. A good, big dose of olive oil is the very best remedy. Put the hen in a shady place, and leave her until the oil has a chance to carry off the poison or neutralize it. If the hens are strong, and have not eaten much of the decayed stuff, they will, in most cases, get better without treatment. Look well over the premises and find all refuse that is likely to harbor maggots. For no matter how well fed fowls are they will eat more or less of this stuff if they find it. A hen that has had a bad attack of limber-neck is of very little further use. (See also Part VIII, Vol. I.)
Turkey Liver Trouble.
My turkeys, running on alfalfa, become sick for a few days with a diarrhoea, then die. I found its liver was all spotted, and almost ready to decay.
This is a case where the first symptoms have not been noticed and it ran on, ending in death. The real cure for all liver troubles is watchfulness and prevention as far as possible. Give each bird a teaspoonful of castor oil to clear the bowels, then give two or three of Carter's liver pills for a week. The birds should also have good feed, clean, dry grain along with the alfalfa.
Fowls "Going Light."
Some of my fowls get very thin and light all at once and then die suddenly. We fed Kaffir corn till lately, now I give them a bran mash twice a day.
Whenever you have a case of a hen going light all at once and dying, there should be an investigation right then. Your feed is certainly light enough to cause the hens to go light. A bran mash twice a day, or even Kaffir corn, unless the hens had a good grass range, is not sufficient for hens - there must be more of a variety. Both of these feeds are good of themselves, but it is too narrow a diet to preserve health and strength. The symptoms you give point to tuberculosis. Make a post-mortem examination of the next hen that dies and see what condition the lungs are in. It may be just plain poverty that ails your birds, and the remedy would be to clean up all dirty litter and improve the diet by adding some grain and a little beef scrap and barley meal to the bran mash. Also give them one teaspoonful, in a quart of mash moistened but not wet, of the following tonic: Iron sulphate, 1 ounce; calcium phosphate, 8 ounces; fenugreek, 4 ounces; black pepper, 2 ounces; table salt, 1 ounce; ground gentian root, 2 ounces. Mix all the powders together dry, and feed in mash as directed. All fowls that die of anything so suspicious as "going light" should be cremated, not buried. And all droppings should be carried far enough away from the others to insure safety and mixed with the earth. After everything is cleared up, spray the runs with sulphuric acid disinfectant and keep clean.
What shall I do for a pullet that coughs all the time but in other ways seems to be all right, eats well and has red comb?
There may be something in the pullet's throat. I have seen ground bone stick in fowls' throats and stay there until they got so thin they could hardly walk. Better examine it; and if there is any obstruction, take it out with a small pair of pliers. If the windpipe is clear, give a mixture of eucalyptus and olive oil, a few drops several times a day, or any good cough remedy you happen to have. If the trouble was any deeper than the windpipe, the comb would not be red, neither would the pullet eat well. The comb is the health indicator; when that is all right nothing is very serious. We should look for little ailments where they are localized.
What is the cause of a cockerel's comb and face turning white?
This is called "white comb," and is caused by a parasite something like the small parasite in scaly leg. If you notice closely you will find a fine white powdery scurf that is a diminutive scale. Bathe the face and comb with a two per cent solution of Pearson's creolin. Dry, and apply an ointment made of carbolated vaseline and one per cent iodoform. As it is infectious it is desirable to segregate the bird so affected.
Scabby Growths on Head.
A number of chicks one to two months old have had a growth, usually on the eye or in the corner of the mouth. Most of them seem to recover eventually, but of course it delays and stunts them. The growth seems to be like a light colored scab and can be broken off though it seems to go into the eye socket.
The chicks are debilitated; due to the lack of stamina in the parent stock. Give them good feed and if yarded turn them out on grass. Ground oats mixed in the mash will tone them up. Add plenty of succulent green feed. Give a little nux vomica in the drinking water to aid digestion and see that the quarters are kept clean. Carbolated vaseline would be good to put on the scabs. Peroxide also is healing, anything that will heal the sores will help; but the cure rests with improving the blood by good feed.
Rabbits' Livers Spotted.
I have lost rabbits when about a third grown. I feed green feed entirely to them. I dissected one after dying and found white spots an the liver. Would muriatic acid in the drinking water help?
All rabbit raisers agree in feeding dandelion for spotted liver, but this does not mean all dandelion and nothing else, but just enough to act as a tonic. Milk weed and young teazel are also relished and are splendid. if not fed exclusively. If your rabbits are kept in too close confinement without proper room for exercise and without sunlight at least a part of the day, attend to that without delay, as nothing is more conducive to spotted liver. Straw, barley, and a variety of green feed (except cabbage) with plenty of room and sunlight, ought to mend matters. If you have an enclosed field where dogs cannot molest them, turn them loose awhile and note results. A little muriatic acid (one teaspoonful to the gallon of water) once in a month is a good thing, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. - Mrs. B. H. Gilkey, Santa Rosa.
Rabbits Die After Eating Wet Green Feed.
Why do I lose my weanling rabbits? Every morning I find one or two dead, though they were practically well the night before. The trouble seemed to occur after feeding green alfalfa.
We must warn rabbit growers to avoid the use of wet feed. If, as is usually desirable, green feed is given to the rabbits, be sure that they are accustomed to it by gradual introduction of the green feed; and always be sure that no dew or water is on the outside of the grass or alfalfa. The safest way is to wilt your green feed in the sun a little and keep it under cover, but not in large piles, for it might sweat.
Are apples, green corn stalks, and corn on the cob good for rabbits?
All of these things may be fed in small quantities, perhaps without injury, but not as a whole diet.
When about a month old my little rabbits die. Should I wean them before that?
The young are greatly benefited by leaving with the doe until six or eight weeks old. Remove one or two each day, selecting the most vigorous at first. This removal on the installment plan seems to better dry up any milk the doe may be supplying the young. Some breeders claim that the rock salt we get here is not safe but that fine table salt in the feed or in bran made a little damp is much better. The salt in the feed of the doe assists in drying her up when removing the young. Simply leaving these youngsters with their dam could hardly be considered the cause of their death - the trouble should no doubt be charged to something else - Geo. H. Croley.
What are the cause and cure far snuffles in rabbits?
From all I have learned I fear very little can be done for the trouble. Indeed some people regard it as almost like tuberculosis - incurable. My judgment is: remove the cause. Take better care of your stock so as to avoid colds, and if one should display symptoms of catarrhal trouble, use the same remedy which would apply in the human family. Yerba Santa is always safe - make a tea of the leaves and mix with bread and milk or bran mash. But I don't encourage experiments with snuffles as I have never known any one to succeed in curing the trouble. - Mrs. B. H. Gilkey, Santa Rosa.
Slobbers in Rabbits.
What will cure slobbers in rabbits?
Slobbers in rabbits is acute indigestion and will prove fatal if prompt measures are not taken to relieve the condition, cabbage or decayed vegetables being nearly always the cause. Give one teaspoonful of muriatic acid to the gallon of water in granite or crockery drinking vessel. Caution must be used in giving the acid. Always use a glass measure for the acid and if not possessing one, a teaspoonful of water in a common tumbler will show what the approximate quantity of muriatic acid looks like. It is well to give all the flock a drink of this sort once in a while as a preventive measure. - Mrs. B. H. Gilkey, Santa Rosa.
Slobbers or snuffles in rabbits is a difficult disease to cure, but it may be prevented from spreading if given prompt attention. It sometimes attacks a lot of rabbits that are properly fed and cared for in the best manner possible, but it is usually due to damp or drafty quarters and first appears in the form of pneumonia. We have heard it stated that it is due to lack of salt; rabbits should be salted at least once a week. A level teaspoonful of salt mixed with a pint of dry bran; the mixture should then be moistened with water until it is thoroughly damp but not sloppy. A number of years ago C. W. Hansen, the well-known fancier of San Mateo, had much trouble with sickness among his Belgian hares. He stated to us that after making it a daily practice to give them a few poplar tree suckers, he never again had a sick hare. These suckers grew abundantly about the base of the tall poplars; they should be fed fresh, including the leaves. Quickly separate the sick animals from those that show no symptoms of the disease. Clean out and whitewash inside, and outside also if possible, all the hutches on the place, using a strong solution of carbolic acid in the whitewash. Thoroughly wash all drinking vessels and feed troughs with a solution of 20 drops of carbolic acid in one gallon of water. - Geo. H. Croley.
Rabbits Neglect Young.
Three of my does have twice refused to make nests for their young, and have either neglected or eaten them all. Can you tell me the reason? I feed rolled barley, alfalfa hay, and a little green stuff.
Not knowing full particulars as to the treatment you give your rabbits, I cannot absolutely state the cause of your trouble. But this I do know; if a doe is given bedding before the middle of her time, say on the tenth day, she will in all probability prepare her bed about the fifteenth day. Should she do this, never disturb her. Keep her pen clean, leaving the nest intact. When the young are born remove all inferior sized or dead ones. I would advise straw or oat hay or any clean dry stuff free from mildew in place of alfalfa hay. Give water and green stuff, avoiding cabbage and celery or decayed vegetables. Pears and apples are relished, but if given in quantities they are apt to gorge themselves and die suddenly; rolled barley or wheat is all right. Dry alfalfa tends to paunchiness; green alfalfa is fine. - Mrs. B. H. Gilkey, Santa Rosa.
Mice sometimes cause does to neglect the completion of their nests and the lack of preparation for the young influences the doe to devour them.
Bucks and Does.
How many Belgian hare bucks are required for twenty-five does?
The number of bucks required for twenty-five does depends upon the judgment of the owner, and the age before breeding. A buck properly handled should not serve more than one doe a day and then be allowed complete rest for a week or so after breeding about a dozen. One should use discretion in breeding so as to not waste the energy of the male. Two good strong males would be sufficient for your does, provided an accurate record be kept of service and the buck be given plenty of grain. Remember the buck is half of your flock.
Belgian Hare Production.
I am intending to raise some Belgian hares and desire information.
There is a Farmers Bulletin on Rabbit Raising to be obtained free from Bureau of Documents, U. S. Department of Documents, Washington, D. C.
Alfalfa for Rabbits.
Recently ten of my rabbits about three months old have died. They sicken suddenly. In every case the liver was very dark, with white blotches. The stomach is usually full of food, and the intestines full of excreta, except in one or two cases when the lower intestines were empty, but distended with gas. The rabbits seem too thin in flesh. I feed alfalfa, rolled barley and occasionally oats.
If the alfalfa is at fault it must have been because the alfalfa had been fed while there was dew or wet, maybe rain, on it. Then the rabbits have not had variety enough; a little bran, some carrots, or other vegetables would have been much better than just three articles of diet. Turnips and carrots are much relished by rabbits; and as they can be grown the year round in this State, it is poor economy not to raise a few. The trouble evidently was in the bowels and too much green food of any kind is liable to cause bowel trouble.
There is often trouble with alfalfa hay. Oat hay is better. In changing from dry feed to green, however, one must use caution and not give too much. Just a little until they become used to it, as they are apt to overeat and die suddenly. By watching the bowels and not letting them eat too heartily at first, you may in a short time feed freely without danger. Also give good, clean, sweet straw or oat hay, and vegetables, except cabbage.
 - Answers in Part VIII are chiefly by Mrs. Susan Swaysgood, author of "California Poultry Practice" (published at $1.00, postpaid, by Pacific Rural Press) and by George H. Croley, President Federated Poultry Association of California.