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IPROFITABLE POULTRY CULTURE. BY RALPH R ALLEN, Lecturer to the Herts County Council Editor of Monthly Hints on Poultry, &c. (All rights reserved.) I A SUCCESSFUL BREEDING SEASON. (Continued.) [Readers are particularly requested to note that this series of articles commenced with the first issue in January. In order to obtain their full value, the earlier articles should be read in conjunction with the current one.] I THE STRENGTH OF THE HAREM. I maintain that it is impossible to lay down a bard and fast rule as to the strength of the harem. So many conflicting con- ditions must be taken into consideration: A cockerel enjoying free range will fertilise the eggs of many more bens than if confined to a small run. The season of the year has great influence, and the same fertility cannot be expected in December as in April. Male birds of heavy breeds require a smaller harem than those of the sprightly Mediter- ranean type. Then the natural disposition of the male bird himself is a factor which overthrows any mathematical formula. The age of the bird has its effect, and if it is possible to form any actual deduction from all these conditions, temporary variations in cock's health would immediately discount it. A hard and fast rule cannot be given, but in my opinion it is safer to slightly under- estimate the male bird's power, as we are desirous of enjoying a successful breeding season. It is interesting at this stage to note that the male bird almost entirely confines his attentions to the hens that are laying, and this fact should be borne in mind when you hear wild stories of enormous harems and all eggs fertile. Possibly no more than one- third were laying at any given period. Mr J H Sutcliffe in his admirable book Artificial Incubation and its Laws gives the following approximately rough guide, as so very much depends upon the stamina of the stock. The table assumes that the stock is fully matured and in good con- dition." CONFINED. AT LIBERTY. .?j .a? j ,5'i j' .s'? j =- =- =- = ";°8 oá1 ;08I""C &i ¡:: .:3 .:3i 00 1 x m 00 HF.AVY BREEDS.. 3 to 61" to 8 5 to 617 t.o12 MEDIUM 4 to 7 5toM 7 to 12 10 to 20 LIGHT 5 to 8 7 to 12 8 to 15 10?24 Careful observation, and regular tests as regards fertility are essential, adding to or deducting from the harem as necessity arises occasionally it will be obligatory to change the male bird should infertility occur in such cases, do not delay, the successful breeding season is of brief duration, and during the period every day is of vital importance. I PERIOD FROM MATING TO FERTILITY Again I deprecate a mathematical formula experiments have demonstrated that an egg has been fertile laid on the third day after mating. This, ItpweVer, is quite exceptional, and for practical purposes it is advisable to allow quite a week to elapse before setting the eggs. I PERIOD OF MALE BIRD'S INFLUENCE AFTER REMOVAL. Another vexed question, and in my opinion varying according to circumstances connected with each individual case. A period of ten days is the greatest limit I have personally known of a fertile egg after the last coition, though cases of fertility have been quoted up to eight and ten weeks. These instances, however, are very rare, and the statements have been in more or less vague terms and lacking detail. I should never set eggs that were laid more than seven days after the removal of the cock do not misunderstand me, I am not denying fertility can exist beyond that duration of time, but I believe the percentage of fertile eggs would be so small, a better profit could be made by sell- ing or eating them. [Any enquiries concerning poultry- keeping addressed to our expert, Ralph R Allen, Savvbridgeworth, 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.]



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