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RELATIVE POSTAL CHARGES.

.0. SEVEN WEEKS WITHOUT LIGHT.

-------|THE COW-TREE.

.' PITT'S LAST WORDS.

. FORTY-TWO STOREYS HIGH.

. MARRIAGEABLE AGES.

POULTRY KEEPING-

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POULTRY KEEPING- A PROFITABLE HOBBY, I BY 44 UTILITY." DUCK LAYING CONTEST. A duck laying contest is something new, and most poultry-keepers will be'glad to know that the Harper Adams College have arranged to hold one, beginning,, in September, 1918. The trial is to run for a year, and each pen is to consist of six pure-bred birds, hatched not ear!ier than January, 1918. Awards will be made on the number of eggs laid. Birds are to be sent to the College, Newport, Salop, not later than September 17th. Gold, silver, and bronze- medals are to be given as prizes, with first and second class certificates. One of the rules of these trials is that the owner of any pen which does not, lay during the trial SO pc'r cent, of the average number of eggs laid by the first two pens shall have to pay 1 towards expenses, and the owner of any' pen which does not lay 35 per cent, must pay 10s. towards expenses. CLEAN FOOD. l' When some day we get to the root of all the disease that affects man and his domesticated animals we shall find that cleanliness or the lack of it is the foundation from which most irregularities spring. At pic-sent, too often, vague statements are made to account for ill- ness, !iU you may be sure that each disease has its cause, and it should be possible to find it and to avoid the disease. Much disease is due u> food; improper or unsuitable food; impure or adulterated or tainted, or it may even be too much or too little food. All these faults can be remedied, and certainly there is no reason why in even the smallest place un- clean food should be given to fowls. So many people imagine; because a hen will eat grain or any other food from the foulest ground, that this is a natural way of feeding, ]1(i that it does not matter if the food is soiled. These people think—if they think about it it.all!-tliat the hen is a kind of filter which can sort out all the impurities and use only the good food. The hen certainly makes a valiant effort to do all ..that is ex- pected of it. but the amount "of poultry illness and the number of poultry failures are the surest proof that the hen, like everything else, has its limitations. Not only is it bad for the hen 1o eat grain or other food thrown on the ground, but it is verv wasteful, and in these days we cannot afford to be wasteful even of the crumbs. Every poultry-keeper should now make up his mind to take the utmost pains to make sure that every particle of food reaches the hen's crop in the purest possible condition. In the old days of plenty there might be some excuse A FOOD TROUGH. ) for throwing grain on the ground in dry weather, but in wet or muddy weather it is a verv unreasonable thing to do. The grain should either be fed from a trough or hopper or buried in thick but clean litter in the seri4eliing shed. If soft food is thrown on the ground a large part. of it is rendered quite unfit for eating. And a food trough costs next to nothing, Tor it is the easiest contrivance to make at home. All that is required are two pieces of wood, about 4in. wide and. say, 18in. long, nailed to- gether at right angles with two triangular end pieces to enable it to stand upright. Another piece can be added for the handle. More elaborate troughs can be made or bought, but this simple form answers its purpose admirably. When'soft food is fed from a trough it will surprise those who have never tried this plan to see what a great saving may be effected by i t.. It is easv to collect any that remains after the birds have had their meal. Had it been thrown on the ground it would have been im- possible to collect it, and it would have been absolutely wasted, and if the birds did pick it up it would introduce highly poisonous matter into their systems. DRY FOOD MIXTURES. I There are' now in the market so many ex- cellent dry mixtures for chickens that there is no necessity for giving directions for the mix- i*?i:r of foods of this kind, but as some mixtures are far superior to others due care must be tiiken in selecting one which is worth the price. There should be as a foundation a large proportion of finely-cut. well-dried, grains, such as maize, barley, and rye, and with these a variety of small seeds. The latter may include hemp, linseed, canary, millet, and similar seeds, and a small proportion of peas and buckwheat broken small is also bene- ficial. It is a disadvantage to have broken rice in the mixture, because raw rice is most indigestible Purchasers should insist on get- ting a food that is free from dust and musti- ness. It should smell sweet, feel dry, and look brisiit and clear. Chicks will greedily eat a food of this kind. and there will be no waste unless too much of it. is thrown to them at a time. It will be found that they will eat evervthing in the mixture, although they may manifest a preference for one of more of the im-redients. The food should not contain grit, as this can' be added as required or fed separately. ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. S. R."—CASTOR BEAN MEAL.—I have never used this meal myself, but I have heard very discouraging reports about it from many sources; and I heard recently that it has a harmful effect on live stock as well as poultry, in some cases. For my own part, I should not care to use it; and as there are still so many other meals handy, I should suggest (as yolÍ -have to buv) that you buy some of them which have been thoroughly tested and proved aJely effective in egg-production. « g. J."—DUCKS DYING.—There seems to have been a higher mortality among ducklings this year, for everyone seems to have the same tale, of few ducks living out of good hatches. Apart from the ducklings' many enemies— cranfp, cold, and heat are the three things most. likelv to kill off the ducks. They should not be allowed out too early in the morning or too late at night, for if they get chilled they stagger, turn over on their backs, and cannot right themselves again. If they are with a hen, do not allow her too large a run, or she mav take them away, and a storm may kill them all off During very hot weather, too, ducklings die off very quickly. Much the best et plan is to pen the ducklings in, with a good steady hen to mother them. Feed them well, and give plenty of drinking water, but do not allow them to run about all over the place. "T. L."—SHOULD HENS STAY BROODY?— Opinions differ on this Doint. but most autho-

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POULTRY KEEPING-