1870s book on chicken care

chickenannie

Songster
12 Years
Nov 19, 2007
3,152
35
231
Pennsylvania
My uncle gave me a rare old book on 1800s chicken care, inscribed in 1870, called "The Practical Poultry Keeper". It's fascinating and very detailed. They fed them everything from grains (oats, barley, buckwheat, rice, Indian corn) to beans, peas, milk, potatoes, meat, and ale. I wish I could share it with everyone, but not sure how! The second half of the book is on Show Chickens.
 

McGoo

Songster
12 Years
Sep 19, 2007
1,502
4
196
Mid Hudson River Valley, NY
That sounds really neat. The fact that chickens have been around sooooo long speaks to their knowledge of chickens and what to feed them for many centuries.

I don't have any special book like yours, but I do have old photos of my great grandma feeding the chickens.

Enjoy and if there are funny excerpts, please share them...
 

KsTornado11

Songster
13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
262
2
151
Kansas
Oh I would LOVE that!!! I love to read about how they raised poultry in the Old Days,and love old pictures of barnyards & poultry,etc. Congrats!!
 

chickenannie

Songster
12 Years
Nov 19, 2007
3,152
35
231
Pennsylvania
The book has good info and diagrams for building coops etc., but its hilarious because it's written in that old-timey "proper" language. For example, the first chapter is titled:

"The General Management of Domestic Poultry, with a View to Profit".


It goes on to say how "fowls" should not be kept unless they are given personal attention...because "domestics are rarely to be relied upon in many matters essential to the well-being of the stock." and that for the care of fowl "we could not only point to high-born ladies who do not think it beneath them to attend to their own fowls, but can aver that even the most menial offices can be performed in any properly-constructed fowl-house without so much as soiling the fingers."

such high-minded talk


But there are also great details in the book like this one on diet: "There is yet another most important article of diet, without which it is absolutely impossible to keep fowls in health. We refer to an ample and daily supply of green or fresh vegetable food. It is not perhaps too much to say, that the omission of this is the proximate cause of nearly half the deaths where fowls are kept in confinement."

It says when chicks are very young to make sure to cut grass into very small morsels with a scissors to feed them to keep them healthy.

Apparently ale soaked in stale bread was fed in winter to keep them warm. In early spring, they fed under-done meat or eggs in addition to their regular diet.

And hempseeds while they were moulting.

They don't mention RIR or BO breeds, but say that "Of all mothers, we prefer Cochins or Brahmas. Their abundant fluff and feathering is of inestimable advantage to the young chicks, and their tame and gentle disposition makes them submit to any amount of handling with great domicility.... With regard to Brahmas as mothers, they have a peculiarity we never observed in any other fowl, and have never seen noticed in any work on poultry -- they actually appear to look behind them when moving, lest they should tread upon their little ones."
 

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