Farmers Bulletin 141: Poultry Raising on the Farm

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Farmers' Bulletin 141: Poultry Raising on the Farm was a USDA Farmers' Bulletin published in 1901. It was written by D. E. Salmon, D.V.M.[1]

Table of Contents

The Table of Contents is as follows:

  • Introductory: p. 5
    • Importance of high-grade product: p. 5
    • Possibility of increased consumption: p. 5
    • Increase of product: p. 6
  • The kind of fowls to keep: p. 6
  • Improvement of breeds: p. 7
  • Care of fowls: p. 7
  • Popular varieties: p. 8
    • Egg production: p. 8
    • Weights: p. 8
    • Selection of stock for breeding: p. 8
  • Poultry houses: p. 9
    • Preferable conditions: p. 10
    • Unused buildings: p. 10
    • Inexpensive structures: p. 10
    • Fittings: p. 11
      • Roosts: p. 11
      • Nests: p. 11
      • Floor: p. 11
      • Good plans: p. 12
    • Space to be allowed: p. 12
    • Veintillation: p. 12
  • Poultry coops: p. 13
  • Feed troughs and drinking fountains: p. 13
  • Ranging of fowls: p. 14
  • Colonies: p. 14
  • Poultry in combination with specialties in farming: p. 14
    • Advantages of fruit farms: p. 14
    • Poultry and the market garden: p. 15
    • Opportunities afforded by the dairy: p. 16


The pamphlet begins by urging farmers not to neglect poultry or view it as insignificant. It connects this need to the nation's food supply and exports: "In order to secure a larger consumption of poultry products per capita in the United States, it is of prime importance that there should always be an abundant supply of strictly fresh eggs and of the best grades of table poultry. This condition is also a necessary factor in the development of the export trade."


In "The Kind of Fowls to Keep," the brochure focuses on chickens, noting that "The kind of chickens to be kept upon a farm depends almost as much upon the kind of man who manages them as upon any other condition." In this sentence, it also identifies the person caring for the chickens as a man. After mentioning that "the common, mongrel barnyard fowls" are "hardy, vigorous, and yield a fair return" and can withstand neglect, it begins urging farmers to improve their flock. It provides a brief paragraph on how to breed for desirable traits among one's flock. The following section covers "standard breeds," noting that they require more care than "the common fowls." It cautions, therefore, that "The standard breeds... may not always give satisfaction, if their characteristics and requirements are not understood. If, however, the highest returns are expected which care and skillful management can obtain, then a breed of fowls should be adopted which has been breed for generations with this object in view."

Under Popular Varieties, the brochure notes the most popular breeds are Plymouth Rocks and Wyandottes, characterizing them as "of medium size, good as broilers, good as roosters, good egg producers; the hens are good sitters and good mothers." It defines them as "general-purpose fowls." Then it notes that Plymouth Rocks may be Barred, Buff, and White, whereas Wyandottes may be White, Buff, Silver, Golden, Black, and Partridge, stating that "there is a sufficient range of color to meet almost any taste."

Breeds recommended for egg production are the Mediterranean breeds, particularly Leghorns, Minorcas, and Spanish. These breeds are "smaller, more active, and greater foragers than the Rocks or Wyandottes, and as layers they are unsurpassed." For a heavier bird as a layer, Asiatic breeds such as Brahmas, Cochins, and Langshans are recommended.

The Rhode Island Red is mentioned as a "promising general-purpose breed, resembling in size and form the Plymouth Rock." However, at that time, "It has been developed by crossing and selection, but has not yet been admitted as a standard breed."

The reader is advised to obtain birds from reputable breeders and to seek birds with desirable production qualities ("early maturity, size, shape, and egg-producing qualities") rather than choosing chickens with "perfection of feathering."

Where to House Your Flock

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  1. USDA Farmers' Bulletins, University of North Texas Digital Library.

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