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Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT

This is a small selection from A Study of Farm Animals, by Charles S. Plumb, published in 1924. Plumb was a professor of animal husbandry in the College of Agriculture at Ohio State University, and published several books on farm animals and judging livestock. This piece covers the categorization and features of chickens as farm stock.

“The types of domestic fowls may be classified into four groups, namely: Egg-laying, meat, general-purpose, and ornamental. For some time poultry students have discussed these types, but more especially three, which from a practical point of view are the only ones of interest to the farmer. These three are the laying, the meat, and the general purpose fowls. Good examples of each of these types are common all  over the country. The breeds are also sometimes divided into two classes, sitters and non-sitters, according to whether or not the hens have the desire to sit on and hatch a nest of eggs.

a-study-of-farm-animals“The egg laying type of fowl, according to Prof. H. R. Lewis, should show a well balanced, deep, nearly rectangular body, well developed in breast and abdomen. Great depth of body is especially desirable, but apparent depth must not be due to loose feathering, which is generally shown by an evidence of loose thigh feathers. Large capacity is essential, if a hen is to lay long and heavily. Such capacity is designated by a body that is deeper at the rear end of the keel than at the front end. The underline should be fairly straight and the back should be comparatively horizontal. Prominent breast development and evidence of a long keel are desirable qualities in a high-producing hen. The general body conformation of a heavy producer conforms very closely to a rectangle with pronounced angles rather than smooth curves. A male shows the same general characteristics as a female except that the abdomen is not so deep. Fowls of this type vary somewhat in size and weight as well as in flesh-producing capacity. The Leghorns are small, the hens weighing around 3 pounds, and do not produce much meat on the body, while the Minorcas are larger, the hens weighing about 6 1/2 pounds, and may carry a good amount of flesh when in best condition. The fowls of this type are of European ancestry and are usually known among poultry specialists as the Mediterranean breeds.

a-study-of-farm-animals-2“The meat type of fowl is said to be comparable to the draft horse, beef cattle, mutton sheep, and the fat hog. It is squarely built, compact, thickly fleshed, wide of back and breast, and heavy of limb. Fowls of this type, when fat, have a carcass thickly covered with meat, and are especially valued for roasting. The hens, as a rule, are of sluggish disposition and are inferior egg producers. The meat type fowls sometimes weight 10 to 12 pounds. They are of Asiatic origin, and are represented by the Brahma, Cochin, and Langshan breeds.
a-study-of-farm-animals-3“The general-purpose type of fowl, as might be supposed, is valued for both egg and meat production. This type is medium in size, has considerable fullness of breast and width of back, and fattens to advantage. In egg production some general-purpose breeds have excellent records. Standards and weights vary, but 7 pounds for the hens and 9 for the cocks are satisfactory. Fowls of the general-purpose type, as a rule, belong to the American breeds, of which the Plymouth Rock, Wyandotte, and Rhode Island Red are the most common examples.”

Click on one of the links below to read more articles on chickens:
CHICKEN ROUP
CHICKEN GUANO

 

 

Spotlight On: Crops & Soil

Prairie Grass A Jewel Among Kernels

Prairie Grass: A Jewel Among Kernels

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Years ago, my brother advised against plowing the patch of prairie on the back forty of our Hubbard, Iowa farm. “Some day,” he predicted, “that prairie will be as valuable as the rest of the 40 acres. We know how to grow corn; but that prairie was seeded by the last glacier.” Left untilled by generations of my family, the troublesome treasure has now become a jewel among a cluster of conventional crops on the farm.

Raised Bed Gardening

Raised Bed Gardening

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from issue:

Raised beds may not be right for everyone, and our way is not the only way. I have seen raised beds made from rows of 5’ diameter kiddy pools, and heard of a fellow who collected junk refrigerators from the dump and lined them up on their backs into a rainbow of colored enameled steel raised beds. Even rows of five-gallon pails filled with plants count as raised beds in my estimation. Do it any way you care to, but do it if it’s right for you.

Walki Biodegradable Mulching Paper

New Biodegradable Mulching Paper

Views of any and all modern farming stir questions for me. The most common wonder for me has been ‘how come we haven’t come up with a something to replace plastic?’ It’s used for cold frames, hotbeds, greenhouses, silage and haylage bagging and it is used for mulch. That’s why when I read of this new Swedish innovation in specialized paper mulching I got the itch to scratch and learn more. What follows is what we know. We’d like to know more. LRM

Making Sorghum Molasses

Making Sorghum Molasses

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Growing sorghum doesn’t take much work, according to Buhrman. You plant it in the spring, work it a couple of times and that’s about all that’s required until late in the growing season. That is when the work begins. Before it is cut, all the stalks have to be “bladed” – the leaves removed from the stalks. It’s then cut, then the tassles are cut off, and the stalks are fed through a crusher. The crusher forces the juices out of the plant. The sorghum juice is then boiled in a vat for four to five hours until nothing is left but the syrup.

Starting Seeds

From Dusty Shelves: A WWII era article from Farming For Security

Purslane, Portahoopies and Plow Planted Peas

Purslane, Portahoopies and Plow Planted Peas

For those not familiar with this tasty, nutritious weed, purslane can be a real challenge to manage in vegetable crops for a number of reasons. The seeds of this weed remain viable for many years in the garden, and generally do not germinate until hot weather — that is, after many of the market garden crops have already been planted. To make matters worse, this succulent plant often reroots after cultivation. Purslane also grows so close to the ground that it is impossible to control by mowing.

Of Peace and Quiet

LittleField Notes: Of Peace and Quiet

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Walk with me for a moment to the edge of the Waterfall Field. We can lean on the gate and let our gaze soak up the mid-summer scene: a perfect blue sky and not a breath of wind. Movement catches your eye, and in the distance you see a threesome hard at work in the hayfield. Two Suffolk horses, heads bobbing, making good time followed by a man comfortably seated on a mowing machine. The waist high grass and clover falls steadily in neat swaths behind the mower. What you can’t help but notice is the quiet.

Cabbage

Cabbage

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from issue:

Cabbage is the most important vegetable commercially of the cole crops, which include cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, kohlrabi, collard, broccoli, and many others. It also ranks as one of the most important of all vegetable crops and is universally cultivated as a garden, truck and general farm crop. The market for cabbage, like that for potatoes, is continuous throughout the year, and this tends to make it one of the staple vegetables.

Mullein Indigenous Friend to All

Mullein: Indigenous Friend to All

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Mullein is a hardy native, soft and sturdy requiring no extra effort to thrive on your part. Whether you care to make your own medicines or not, consider mullein’s value to bees, bumblebees, butterflies, moths, dragonflies, who are needing nectar and nourishment that is toxin free and safe to consume. In this case, all you have to do is… nothing. What could be simpler?

Beating the Beetles – War & Peace in a Houston Garden

Blooming that is, unless the cucumber beetles arrive first.
And arrive they have … “At first I thought they looked like big, yellow lady bugs.” Paul said, “Then I looked…

Syrup From Oregons Big-Leaf Maple

Syrup From Oregon’s Big Leaf Maple

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from issue:

There is a great potential in establishment of a seasonal “sugarbush” industry for small farmers of the northwestern states, particularly western Oregon and Washington. Five syrup producing species of maples are found mainly east of the Rocky Mountains. The Box Elder and the Big-leaf Maple are the only syrup producing maples of the Pacific Northwest. Properly made syrup from these two western maples is indistinguishable from the syrup of maples of the midwestern and northeastern states.

Henpecked Compost and U-Mix Potting Soil

We have hesitated to go public with our potting mix, not because the formula is top secret, but because our greenhouse experience is limited in years and scale. Nevertheless, we would like to offer what we have learned in hopes of showing that something as seemingly insignificant as putting together a potting mix can be integrated into a systems approach to farming.

Cultivating Questions Ridge-Till Revisited

Cultivating Questions: Ridge-Till Revisited

Delay ridge building until early fall so that the cover crop on the ridge does not grow more than 12” tall before winter. The residues from a short cover crop will be much less challenging to cultivate than a tall stand of oats, especially if tangly field peas are mixed in. Waiting for the winterkilled cover crop residues to breakdown as long as possible before ridge-tilling in the spring will also make cultivation much easier until you gain familiarity with the system.

On-Farm Meat Processing

The demand for fresh, local meat products – with no taint of industrial process – is absolutely staggering.

Lost Apples

Lost Apples

The mindboggling agricultural plant and animal diversity, at the beginning of the twentieth century, should have been a treasure trove which mankind worked tirelessy to maintain. Such has not been the case. Alas, much has been lost, perhaps forever. Here are images and information on a handful of apple varieties from a valuable hundred year old text in our library.

Seed Quality from Two Perspectives

Seed Quality from Two Perspectives

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We are approaching this from a seed quality standpoint, not just a seed saving one. Saving seed is fairly simple to do, but the results from planting those seeds can be very mixed; without a basis of understanding of seed quality, people can be disappointed and confused as to why they got the results they did. Both the home gardener and the seed company must understand seed quality to be successful in their respective endeavors.

Fjordworks: Horse Powered Potatoes

Fjordworks: Horse Powered Potatoes

This is the account of how one farm put more horse power into the planting, cultivation, and harvesting of its potato crop. Ever since we began farming on our own in 1994 one of our principle aims has been the conversion of our farm operation to live horse power wherever feasible. This has meant replacing mechanized tools such as tractors and rototillers and figuring out how to reduce human labor as we expanded upon the labor capacity of our work horses.

Small Farmer's Journal

Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT