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Old World Poultry Husbandry of Antiquity

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by centrarchid, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I have been interested in off-grid poultry production for some time. Incubation without using electric incubators is of greatest interest. How did ancients such as Romans produce poultry meat and eggs commercially? Did they have some sort of primitive incubator system or did they employ another breed to provide incubation and brooder services?

    Secondly, in respect to nutritional requirements of their birds, what did they know?

  2. jarcoo0153

    jarcoo0153 Songster

    Mar 13, 2010
    Levelland, Texas
  3. catdaddyfro

    catdaddyfro Crowing

    Sep 16, 2009
    Vernon Parish
    Quote:There's a book in the Parish Library that has some info on ancient hatching methods, I will try to remember to check it out next time and I will post the title of it and some info out of it on here. It talks of the ancient Egytptians hatching tens of thousands of eggs in fire powered furnaces/ incubators, says the custodians/watchers actually lived inside and could tell the temps by thier own body senses by so much as a degree, IDK, makes for some interesting reading though.

    Also if I can ever get a hold of my cousin who is now the Ag. teacher at the local school they used to have some old books there that had the stuff on what they used to feed and all the old timey breeds and good stuff in them. I used them as references way back in 1985 for my senior term paper on (Chickens of all things), of course being young and dumb I (regretably) did'nt keep any of my notes or anything from the paper if I did I cannot locate them, I was just glad to get it over and done with at the time. Im gonna try to catch up to my English/ Lit. teacher and see if by chance she kept my original copy. I would love to post it on the BYC. I remember I had some very interesting facts in it alot of old school stuff as some of the books were published back in the 20's, 30's, and 40's when some of our breeds now-days were just becoming popular and being created also.

    Last edited: Jul 26, 2011
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Thanks so far. It appears increased scale was required for good hatch rates. The ancient systems were of such large scale you could walk around inside of one. Having skilled hatchery managers that could monitor temperatures by exposure of their bodies seems plausible. I can do similar in my fish hatchery although we confirm using fancy thermometers. I recall seeing similar abilities for Romans but Egyptian hatchery operations almost certainly predated Roman efforts. I think scaling down such a system not practical. Will look into solar power coupled to deep-cycle battery to see if such an option can work with existing incubators.

    I have yet to see accounts concerning feeding of chicks. Will likely be voodo but still work.

    Last edited: Jul 26, 2011
  5. aveca

    aveca Songster

    Jun 30, 2009
    Waverly, NY
    there are a lot of good old books out there you can get the kindle app for your computer and the books are free from cornell U and others from the 1800s..one of the books is hubbards poultry secrets, one of the best books ever written on the subject and how they fed back then, you have to remember they didnt have fancy bottled vitamins so they fed cooked beef liver and scrambled eggs for vitamins,and with all of the wormers avail today , no need to feed them terpentine or garlic. but hubbard won maddison garden over birds that were guarenteed to win with his secrets, disreguard some like worming and take what you can use from it..there are a couple other books avail too for free e-readers great stuff
  6. Arielle

    Arielle Crowing

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    Love the inquisative minds on BYC. And the learned ones with answers!

    I don't consider myself one of the latter. So having said that . . . .I know you were looking for incubator info; the large super sized types are recorded as drawings in a number of sources; I wonder if smaller versions were used but were not important enough to be recorded for posterity.The larger ones were like a cave over another cave where the bottom one was where fuel was burned to warm the above ovens (heat rises). Some times the good ole broody is worth her salt.

    I saw a video at the library about solar where a chicken dinner was cooked in an oven dug into the soil and special lenses were placed over the top to amplify the suns rays. SO keep looking and thinking!

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