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make an effort to show the people from whom he buys how these different grades are determined. Whenever this quality method of buying has been pursued the quality and quantity of eggs produced has rapidly improved and increased.
In poultry also different kinds and weights bring different prices. As a rule mature fowls weighing over 4 pounds are worth more a pound dressed than birds under this weight. Therefore, some dealers pay from 2 to 4 cents more a pound for large than for small fowls. This varies with the market, as in the case of eggs, but enables the producer to receive a fair difference in price and the dealer to make a profit on both grades.
It is only fair to the producer that if a produce dealer sells eggs and poultry on a graded basis he should buy on that basis also. Furthermore, it means that the dealer can make a profit on all of the stock he buys instead of on only the best.
While buying poultry and eggs on a graded quality basis increases the desire on the part of the producer to supply more and better poultry and eggs, it does not, in itself, teach him how to do so. Thus, having shown the producer that better poultry and eggs mean more money, the produce buyer will find it profitable to do what he can to help the farmer to secure aid and knowledge in the production of better stock. Fortunately there are now many ways in which this aid and instruction may be given.
From time to time the produce dealer may hold candling demonstrations for the benefit of his buyers, the storekeepers, and farmers. He should be able to show the difference between fresh eggs, stale eggs, heated eggs, blood rings, mixed rots, black rots, and mold spots before the candle, and then break the eggs to show the quality of their contents. The causes of deterioration are then explained. These demonstrations may be held on stated days, when farmers come to town, or in connection with county fairs, farmers' institutes, poultry shows, and country schools. If a buyer goes from farm to farm, he may explain the different grades by candling the eggs before leaving the farm. Plate XXXIII shows such a buyer candling eggs at the farmer's gate and showing the difference between a fresh egg and an egg that has developed a blood ring because it was fertile. and kept in a warm place for several days. His "candle" is made from a pasteboard egg case flat, rolled into a tube, through which he
looks at the egg to determine the quality by the sunlight transmitted through it.
HELPFUL HINTS TO FARMERS.
Several produce dealers have distributed among their customers printed pamphlets containing brief items on the selection of breeding stock, incubation, raising of chickens, feeding of laying hens, construction of poultry houses, gathering and care of eggs, prevention of diseases, extermination of vermin, etc. One man, interested in turkeys especially, reprinted a Government bulletin on the raising of turkeys and distributed it to all of the turkey raisers in his section. These pamphlets usually bear the name of the firm and serve as an advertisement as well as aid in the production of better poultry. The material for these sheets or booklets is obtained from poultry publications of the United States Department of Agriculture, bulletins of the various State agricultural colleges, poultry journals, and the experiences of successful poultry raisers.
COUNTY FAIRS AND POULTRY SHOWS.
One of the best opportunities whereby the produce dealer may improve the quality of poultry and eggs in his vicinity is the offering of prizes and arranging of demonstrations at the county fairs and poultry shows. As most fair directors are anxious to have as much money as possible for prizes, the produce dealer may encourage the production of those breeds of poultry which he deems best by offering special prizes for specimens bred in his locality and for the best dozen white or brown eggs. One firm in Iowa, desirous of large fowls for sale in eastern markets, offered at local shows prizes of $5 each for the best pullet pens, consisting of one cockerel and four pullets of the most popular variety of Plymouth Rocks, Wyandottes, Rhode Island Reds, and Orpingtons. In five years the production of pure-bred birds of these breeds increased enormously, and the farmers were able to pack a much better grade of poultry than their competitors, for which they secured higher prices. Other firms also, by offering prizes on eggs, have increased the quantity of pure-bred poultry kept and the number of eggs produced.
Fairs and shows offer opportunities for the produce dealer to ar range displays of the different grades of eggs showing the variations in value, good and poor breeding stock, desirable types of poultry, foodstuffs for poultry, models of poultry houses and appliances, charts, demonstrations in the grading of eggs, and many other similar exhibits.
DISTRIBUTION OF BREEDING STOCK AND EGGS FOR HATCHING.
As the domestic fowl reaches maturity in one year and has great powers of reproduction, the quality of the flock may be rapidly improved by the introduction of pure-bred stock. This has been most generally done in the past by the distribution of pure-bred males by the dealer to the farmer, who mates them with his best hens. It should be stipulated that all scrub males are to be eliminated from the flock, the pure bred only being used for breeding.
Although the flock will be lifted above the scrub variety by this method, it will not consist of anything above grades. An entire substitution of pure blood for scrubs can be accomplished only by hatching eggs from pure-bred stock. Pure-bred breeding pens, consisting of females and one male, cost more than the average dealer can afford for general distribution. It will, however, pay him to furnish a few farmers with such flocks, on the condition that the stock shall be kept pure and the eggs laid during the breeding season be available for wide distribution at approximately market prices. If the dealer furnishes the farmer with one or more settings from a pure-bred flock, with the understanding that the chickens are to be raised in increasing numbers from this pure-bred stock, at the end of three years the flock should consist entirely of pure-bred fowls.
Since fowls which have been given by dealers to farmers have not been appreciated and have brought disappointing results, it has been found best to sell them for a cash price, or exchange them for an equal amount of common poultry. The eggs should be furnished in the same way, a satisfactory basis of exchange used in the country breeding stations in Ireland being to furnish a dozen hatching eggs for a dozen ordinary fresh eggs plus a shilling, approximately 25 cents in American money.
Such an improvement in the quality of his flock enables the farmer to obtain higher prices for his poultry, because of its larger size or increased egg production. The dealer profits by the greater amount and better quality of poultry and eggs handled by him.
The produce dealer should be one of the first to take an interest in the rapidly rising tide of agricultural education now flooding the country and see that poultry receives its share of attention. There is no better way of improving the methods of handling poultry and eggs on the farm than by interesting the children in the country schools, since they are often the caretakers of the poultry. Fowls are an especially good subject for use in agricultural teaching. because they are more generally raised on the farms of this country than any other kind of live stock. They are also cheap, easily kept.