Homesteading and Survivalism

Living a simple life

Tag: poultry

Starting with guineas

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Buying guineas was a little more difficult than I had expected.

With chickens you just down to the local feed and fertilizer in the early spring and buy the chicks you want, or place an order with various websites that sell chicks online.

With guineas you get on a waiting list at the local feed store, or get on a waiting list with a company that sells guineas online. My wife and I were on a waiting list at Ideal Poultry for between 2 – 3 months before we received our order of a dozen pearl guineas.

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Feeding Poultry

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Experiments have demonstrated that what may be called the gastric juice in fowls has not sufficient power to dissolve their food, without the aid of the grinding action of the gizzard. Before the food is prepared for digestion, therefore, the grains must be subjected to a triturating process; and such as are not sufficiently bruised in this manner, before passing into the gizzard, are there reduced to the proper state, by its natural action.

Chickens eating table scrapsThe action of the gizzard is, in this respect, mechanical; this organ serving as a mill to grind the food to pieces, and then, by means of its powerful muscles, pressing it gradually into the intestines, in the form of pulp. The power of this organ is said to be sufficient to pulverize hollow globules of glass in a very short time, and solid masses of the same substance in a few weeks.

The rapidity of this process seems to be proportionate, generally, to the size of the bird. A chicken, for example, breaks up such substances as are received into its stomach less readily than the capon; while a goose performs the same operation sooner than either. Needles, and even lancets, given to turkeys, have been broken in pieces and voided, without any apparent injury to the stomach. The reason, undoubtedly, is, that the larger species of birds have thicker and more powerful organs of digestion.

It has long been the general opinion that, from some deficiency in the digestive apparatus, fowls are obliged to resort to the use of stones and gravel, in order to enable them to dispose of the food which they consume. Some have supposed that the use of these stones is to sheath the gizzard, in order to fit it to break into smaller fragments the hard, angular substances which might be swallowed; they have also been considered to have a medicinal effect; others have imagined that they acted as absorbents for undue quantities of acids in the stomach, or as stimulants to digestion; while it has even been gravely asserted that they contribute directly to nutrition.

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POULTRY STOCK, BREEDING, AND CROSSING

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The following article was taken from:

Poultry: A Practical Guide to the Choice, Breeding, Rearing, and Management of all Descriptions of Fowls, Turkeys, Guinea-fowls, Ducks, and Geese, for Profit and Exhibition.

Author: Hugh Piper

Publication Date: 1872

Keep only good, healthy, vigorous, well-bred fowls, whether you keep them to produce eggs or chickens, or both. The ill-bred mongrel fowls which are so commonly kept, are the most voracious, and consume larger quantities of food, without turning it to any account; while well-bred fowls eat less, and quickly convert that into fat, flesh, and eggs.

“Large, well-bred fowls,” says Mr. Edwards, “do not consume more food than ravenous, mongrel breeds. It is the same with fowls as with other stock. I have at this moment two store pigs, one highly bred, the other a rough, ill-bred animal. They have, since they left their mothers, been fed together and upon the same food. The former, I am confident (from observation), ate considerably less than the latter, which was particularly ravenous. The former pig, however, is in excellent condition, kind, and in a measure fat; whereas the latter looks hard, starved, and thin, and I am sure she will require one-third more food to make bacon of.”

For the amateur who is content with eggs and chickens, and does not long for prize cups, excellent birds possessing nearly all the best characteristics of their breeds, but rendered imperfect by a few blemishes, may be purchased at a small cost, and will be as good layers or chicken-producers, and answer his purpose as well as the most expensive that can be bought.

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