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PROFITABLE POULTRY CULTURE.f

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PROFITABLE POULTRY CULTURE. f BY RALPH R ALLEN, Lecturer to the Herts County Council; Editor of Monthly Hints on Poultry, &c. (All rights reserved.) SELECTION OF STOCK BIRDS I (Continued). I INBREEDING. I Deterioration of race can in most cases be traced to inbreeding. Inbreeding, generally speaking, is an act of deliberation, ignorance, or apathy on the owner's part, and though I am in sympathy with all departments of the industry I do feel that those interested in exhibition birds have much to answer for under the heading of deliberation, the ignorance and apathy being more due to the utility breeder. Enjoying special facilities regarding post-mortems, seldom a week passes but I have opportunities of studying the disastrous results of inbreeding, tuber- cular disease and a scrofulous and emaciated condition being almost always apparent. BREEDING FROM IMMATURE STOCK. Second only to inbreeding for disastrous results is breeding from immature stock, and it is certainly a reflection on our intelligence that such apparently superfluous notes of warning have to be sounded. In every other branch of farming, special attention is directed to the reproduction of species, no trouble, labour or expense is spared to attain the best results, whilst with poultry in- judicious selection in mating, as I have before remarked, due either to deliberation, apathy or ignorance, is still very prevalent. t PERFECT HEALTH. The first standpoint then in selecting your breeding stock is to secure perfectly healthy birds; the dictum like produces like is perfectly true, and it is impossible to breed healthy chicks from unhealthy stock. The points to be observed at this stage are many, and my candid advice is, if you experience the least doubt as to the general fitness of any bird you are examining, instantly reject it. A straight keel and examination of the throat are details you must not omit during selection. LIKE PRODUCES LIKE. This must be constantly in your mind until your pens are mated. Are you breed- ing for exhibition? then you know the points you wish to reproduce and select accordingly. Is egg-production your object? Then those with a record behind them must be chosen, remembering that egg-production iR not so much a matter of breed as of strain. On the other band, if it is your intention to breed for market, the table properties must he carefully considered, size, quality of flesh and rapidity of growth being con- tributing factors. In selecting stock to embark in the day- old chick industry and settings of eggs, great care must also be exercised, and only such breeds acquired as are in popular demand. I SELECTING THE MALE BIRD. A prevalent idea is that the male bird should cost a small sum more than a hen or pullet: he advised, select the bird that precisely meets your requirements, and acquire him as reasonably as cirouinstances permit; accept no other at any price. The male bird is half the pen, and if an error of judgment ig made the effects will be far reaching. To utility breeders I would mention that it is of equal importance if egg-production is desired that the male bird should be descended from a laying strain as well as the hens. Exempting only the Fancier, for others it is distinctly advantageous to have the male bird unrelated to the females. Let him be well-grown, true to his type, of vigorous aspect, and otherwise meet your needs, then you have satisfactorily arranged half your nftn. [ SELECTING THE FEMALES. I The preceding five paragraphs virtually detail the points to be observed and the snares to be avoided. Keep your definite object well to the foreground, and make judicious selection accordingly, acceptiug only those that are suitable. I THE AGE OF THE BIRDS. I It is generally conceded to be correct to mate pullets to a two-year-old cock and hens to a cockerel, and in my opinion it is a desirable procedure, as it obviates the pro- bability of immature breeding, the evil effects of which I have already strongly denounced. A male bird over three years of age will rarely prove fertile, and it is seldom economy to breed from a hen after her second season. [Any enquiries concerning poultry- keeping addressed to our expert, Ralph R Allen, Sawbridgeworth, Herts., will be answered through these columns free, but those requiring a postal answer direct or sending birds for post-mortem examination must remit a half-crown postal order.] -_u_

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[ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.] BIBLE…