Even though we are not settled for sure on the place we want to end up, we have decided to go ahead and start the Living History Farming process where we are. This first step includes chickens! I have recently been reading a book, that I will highlight more in a future post, by Jacob Biggle. Jacob Biggle wrote several farming books in the 1890s, one of which was called "The Biggle Poultry Book : A concise and Practical Treatise on the Management of Farm Poultry".
I was recently reading about feeding the chickens. Here is what Mr. Biggle has to say :
"On every egg farm there should be a large boiler or steam cooker for cooking vegetables and making compounds of meat, ground grain and vegetables. A good morning ration may be made of equal parts of corn meal, fine middlings, bran, ground oats and ground meat. This should be stirred into a pot of cooked vegetables while boiling hot until the mass is as stiff as can be manipulated by a pair of strong arms. Seasoned with salt and cayenne pepper. Potatoes, beets, carrots, turnips, onions or any vegetable clean and free from decay will be acceptable. Cut clover hay may be substituted for vegetables for an occasional meal. The above contains a variety of food elements such as compose the egg, bone and muscle of the hen, the fat-forming elements not being prominent. For the noon meal, wheat is the best single grain. It may be mixed with good oats and scattered in chaff or leaves on the feeding floor. The night feed should be a light one, consisting of whole corn."
According to Biggle the most successful persons in the business raise a considerable portion of the food that the hens eat, also adding that if cows are kept on the farm, skim milk is given to the hens.
I'm really enjoying his insight into 1890s chicken keeping.