I have a collection of poultry books and pamphlets from the early 1900’s. The material looks charming and dated, yet the advice is good -or better- than what is found in books and on-line today. The Lay or Bust Yearbook, put out by the feed company of the same name is a case in point.
Their market is the “back lot poultry keeper.”
My favorite bit of advice from this brochure is, “don’t go into the poultry business if you do not like hens.” Can you see Perdue saying that to their contract farmers? But, it makes great sense if you keep 50 hens in your backyard. The more you enjoy being with the flock, the more you’ll interact with them, and be aware of their health and needs. A small flock is right there when you walk out the door. The girls will cluck to you. You’ll see them out your kitchen window. They will be as much a part of the your life as the family dog.
Chickens were often vital to a household’s income. Back in 1917, a dozen eggs in Boston sold from one neighbor to another, went for 75¢. In today’s dollars, that’s $12.32. Makes the $4.00/doz. carton of organic eggs at your local farmers’ market look like a bargain, doesn’t it?