I have been reading the auto-biopic, "Egg Farming in California - A Poultry Book," by Charles Weeks. Written in 1922, this book details all the mistakes, and success, Mr Weeks made for himself while pioneerig what we would now call the Permaculture or Confined Range method of chicken rearing. His observations while often prosaic, are certainly of interest to we chicken raisers of today. Following is an excerpt on setting up inte poultry business... "Had I only known just how to choose a location for a poultry ranch at the start, I could have saved more than five years experimenting. I chose ten acres near the foothills, six miles out of Palo Alto. It was a beautiful residence section and fine orchard land for prunes and apricots; but what a mistake I made in this selection as a poultry ranch! - In the first place, I could not get water for irrigation without spending a small fortune, and the cost of lifting this water was too much. - In the second place, while the soil was good for trees, it was worthless for vegetation crops. (forage plants - David) - In the third place, I bought about ten times as much land as I could thoroughly work. These three mistakes have caused the failure of more poultry men than any other cause. I did not then know that if I had chosen a spot lower down nearer the bay that I could have had an abundance of irrigating water and a more fertile soil. I did not then know that I must have these two things in California, indeed anywhere, to make hens pay. So I bought ten acres in the wrong place for poultry, as many another had done. Of course, the land was cheap. But some land is more dear than a gift for poultry raising. The old theory that any cheap land will do for the poultry business is a patent fallacy. I could not make hens pay on this cheap, infertile un-irrigated land. The proof of this is that I have, in after years, made hens pay handsomely on better land costing far more. I went to work on this bare ten acres of land, $1000 in debt and with only $875 cash to develop improvements. Out of these funds I must have incubators, brooder house, a place in which to live and a well for water. Step by step in this story I want to tell of all the mistakes I made, as well as of the good things learned through experience. There is no use in any reader making the same mistakes that I made. Also, you can freely appropriate all the truths discovered through my years of experimenting. If you can begin where I leave off, then you have gained so much time. =============================================================== My first building was designed as a brooder house with a sort of flat above in which to live. In one of these five rooms above I built a 1200-egg incubator after the Cyphers plan. This was mistake number one in brooder house construction. In California, brooder house roofs should be low and receive the direct rays of the sun. Then I cemented the whole floor, which was mistake number two. Cement floors are too cold and expensive for any kind of poultry house. Then a heater system of pipes ran through the middle of the large room, and these pipes were encased in a cement sill over which hover boards projected on either side. The chicks ran under these hovers and could warm themselves against this cement sill - that was theory, at least. In previous experiences I had trouble in chicks crowding to the back side of the brooder and thought by making this cement sill hot enough I could roast them out of the corners. Perhaps this was one of the most foolish brooder heaters ever installed. Cement is a poor conductor of heat and the oil consumed in trying to heat all this bulk of cement was extravagant. =============================================================== It was a crucial moment when I found that I had spent the $875 cash and was down to my last dollar. My future wife was due to arrive March 10th and I was broke. I was a stranger in a strange land, in a very uncomfortable condition. I explained my predicament to the man from whom I had purchased the land and begged a loan of $25 to carry me over the wedding day until I could get work. To make the story short, I got the $25, married the girl and went to work. It is needless to go into detail, telling the many kinds of work I had to do to make ends meet. I thought I never would get that $25 paid back, and I think the man became uneasy himself for it. Mine was the common story of many who buy too much land and have too little capital left to work with. I did not then know that it was possible to make a better living with less work on one acre than I was doing on ten."