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The pen of Cochins had on the average for the year 8.47 lb. of dry substance in the food for each pound of eggs laid, while the Leghorns required only 6:33 lb. of food. The best rate of production for any period made by the Cochins was 1 lb. of eggs for every 4:61 lb. of water-free food, and the best for any period made by the Leghorns was 1 lb. of eggs for 3.29 lb. of food. The average cost per pound of eggs laid by the Cochins was 1079 cents, and of those laid by the Leghorns 7.84 cents; the food cost of production being over 376 per cent. greater for the Cochins. Although the egg-yield was somewhat less from the Cochins than from the Leghorns, a greater proportion of the total product was obtained at the season when prices were better, so that the average market value of the product for the year was greater with the Cochins, and the market value per dozen about 114 per cent, higher. The excess of market value of eggs over the cost of food was 18:6 per cent. for the Cochins and 42:4 per cent. for the Leghorns.
For the production of eggs only-considering the cost of growing or the purchase price per fowl for two lots of pullets alike and the same as their market value, when hens, at the end of the year—the smaller fowls would show the greater profit orer the cost of food. But taking into consideration the cost of growing, and the poultry value of the fowls at the end of the year, the relation of profits would be different. The average net cost per Leghorn pullet, grown in the ordinary way, was a little over 14 cents at the beginning of this feeding trial. The cost of eggs for hatching, and of food for sitting, hens made the arerage cost of each chick when hatched 2:15 cents. The average cost of food, including the cost of hatching, to
in number) until the time of separating them was 23.84 cents. The average wholesale market value per cockerel was 24:72 cents. Deducting the market
separating the sexes until Norember 23rd, made the net cost per pullet under the ordinary practical farm conditions 14:3 cents. The cost of food for the year made the average net outlay per hen 97 cents. The market value of eggs added to the poultry value per hen (31 lb. average live weight at 8 cents per pound) amounts to 143-7 cents which exceeds the total cost by 48.2 per cent.
The average cost per Cochin chick when hatched was 3.59 cents. The total cost including hatching, for a pullet and a cockerel, was 46.56 cents, and the average wholesale market value of the cockerel when the exes were separated was 54.24 cents. The average total net cost per pullet, November 23rd, was 12-9 cents. The cost of food for the year made the average net outlay per hen 117.96 cents. The market value of the eggs added to the poultry value per hen (68 lb. average live weight at 8 cents per pound), amounted to 177.4 cents, an excess orer the total cost of 504 per cent. This makes the showing somewhat the more favourable to the larger fowls. In practice the cost of keeping through the few last months, including the molting season, would be sared and the final poultry value of the hens probably greater, for they would be sold earlier in the season.
Summary. 1. Two lots of laying hens, of large and small breeds respectively, having their grain food only dry and whole, ate more food at greater cost per fow! and for the live weight than did two similar lots having about 37 per cent. of their grain ground and moistened.
2. A pen of Leghorns, which had for the year 37 per cent. of their food ground and moistened grain, produced eggs at a greater profit than did an exactly similar pen fed whole grain.
3. Of two like pens of Cochins, the one fed whole grain produced eggs at much less cost than did the pen having ground grain, which result is attributed partly to the exercise assured in feeding whole grain.
4. With the kinds of whole grain ordinarily available it is not possible to feed a largely grain ration having as narrow a nutritive ratio, that is, containing as large a proportion of the nitrogenous food constituents, as is perhaps necessary for best results from laying hens.
5. By using some of the highly nitrogenous by-products with ground grain it is possible to feed a somewhat parrow ration without feeding an excessive amount of meat.
6. With hens fed similar rations, when the hens of smaller breeds give only the same egg-yield as the hens of larger breeds, the eggs are more cheaply produced by the smaller hens, but taking into consideration the cost of raising and the ultimate poultry value of the hens, the profits will be equally or more favourable for the larger hens.
Practical Vegetable and Flower Growing.
DIRECTIONS FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL.
Vegetables. SOMETIMES during the months of March and April heavy rains not infrequently occur, and when this is the case planting and sowing should not be carried on whilst the soil is very wet. However then the work of clearing away of rubbish, weeds and remains of vegetables can be done. Should the weather be fine and the ground be not wet, it would be advisable to dig and prepare as much vacant land as you are likely to need for future supplies.
As there is a great difference in the climates of various parts of the Colony, it will be necessary for each person who grows vegetables to make experiments to test the hardiness of various kinds with respect to his particular locality. For instance, in some of the warmest localities, it is possible to grow tomatoes, and French beans, all the year round, which could not be done in other localities not 20 miles distant.
Everyone who grows vegetables should endeavour to produce the best he possibly can, for they will not occupy any more ground than those of an inferior quality. Of course the production of good vegetables will need attention and care, but this may be made a pleasure instead of a toil if tackled in the proper manner. Above all things carry out one kind of work at a time, and be sure you do it as well as you can.
Vegetables, such as cabbages, cauliflowers, &c., should be kept quite free from weeds, and the ground between the rows should be chipped up with a hoe as often as can be done conveniently, but not whilst the ground is wet, for this would make it into a sort of paste. If the vegetables are not growing as well as might be expected, it is recommended that some liquid manure be given them. This can be made from the droppings of the cow, horse, sheep, or fowls. The sheep manure is strong, and it dissolves better than any other of the above-mentioned manures. It very often contains a vast quantity of seeds of weeds, and for this reason it is as well perhaps to use it in a liquid state, for after mixing and stirring it up well in the water it can be strained without difficulty, and many if not most of the seeds will either be removed, or else settle at the bottom of the vessel containing the liquid. Fowl manure, used fresh, makes an excellent liquid manure. A little experience will soon show what strength may be used with impunity. Do not pour liquid manure orer the leaves of vegetables, for it will quite injure some kinds. It may be as well to mention that in digging or hoeing between vegetables the soil should not be allowed to fall or be sprinkled over the leaves, more particularly if they are wet with rain or dew.
There should be no need for the use of artificial manures for the form vegetable garden, as enough animal droppings are almost sure to be available. But if it becomes necessary to use the former, great caution should be taken so as not to make liquid manure with them too strony, or apply them in a dry state too thickly. An ounce, or even half an an ounce, to a gallon of water will be found quite strong enough for any vegetable. A great aid to the growing of good vegetables is the mulch. This can be made of horse or cow droppings, half rotten straw, leaves, or grass, either alone, or mixed up together. The use of a mulch, particularly in dry weather, makes a wonderful difference. If it be possible to save the urine from the cows and horses, it would be most desirable to do so, as this, mixed with water, forms the best of liquid manure. If it be used quite fresh, it may be applied much stronger than if it be kept in a vessel and allowed to ferment.
Asparagus. -Some ground should be made ready for planting this excellent vegetable. It need not be planted until towards the spring, but if the ground is dug up roughly and manured some time before, it will become more fit for the plants than if prepared immediately before planting. As the aparagus is a permanent crop, and will last for many years, it would be advisable to take some trouble in digging and manuring the ground; and although its thick fleshy roots are to a great extent surface feeders, and do not descend very deep in search of food, the ground had better be dug 2 feet, or at least 18 inches, deep, and, if the soil is poor, manure may be mixed in at the same time. Coarse bone-meal or broken up bones would be useful in addition to farm-yard manure. There is no necessity to put on a heavy dressing of manure, and if the soil is in “good heart” it may not require any. To provide sufficient asparagus for a fair-sized family, very little space would be required-say, about 15 feet long by 6 feet in width, or eren less, but this must be left to individual judgment and convenience, for even a dozen well-cared for plants will yield a considerable return. A few plants may perhaps be tried at first, and if the vegetable is appreciated and succeeds satisfactorily more can be planted afterwards. If it be convenient, single plants of asparagus may be planted here and there about the garden, both for ornament and use, and if plenty of space be allowed them to grow, it is quite possible that these single plants may produce more shoots than they would planted close together. However it will most likely be found best to adopt the bed system.
This regetable has been in cultivation from very ancient times, and concise and excellent directions for the growing of it are given by the old Roman agriculturist and horticulturist, Columella. And the Roman writer, Pliny, mentions an enormous variety which grew in the sandy district of Ravenna, " three shoots of which weighed a pound."
Beans, Broad.—May be sown largely from time to time during the month. It will attain the greatest perfection on rather stiff soil, but a fair crop can be obtained from almost any soil if it be well manured. Sulphate of ammonia is not a desirable manure to apply. Sow the seed in rows about 3 to 4 feet apart, the seed about 4 inches apart in the rows, and about an inch and a half deep. Johnson's Wonderful and Broad Windsor are both excellent varieties. The dwarf Fan Bean is a good variety, very suitable for small gardens. The rows of this should be about 1 foot apart.
Colony, where frosts cannot attack them.
Beet, Red and Silver.-Thin out well the plants which are coming up, and keep the rows free from weeds. It is not advisable to sow any more seed at present.
Borecole or Kale.—A very small quantity of seed may be sown. This is a vegetable hardly worth the growing, for good cabbages are infinitely superior. But at the same time it may be preferred by some to the cabbage and may be a welcome change. It really belongs to the cabbage family, and is considered a hardy variety and useful for very cold districts in the winter time. The plants will require much the same treatment as the ordinary cabbage, and the better they are taken care of the more satisfactory will be the result.
Brussels Sprouts, which is a sort of cabbage, is one of the best, if not the best, of that class. It will succeed well in cool climates, and may be treated in every respect as the ordinary cabbage. A little seed may be sown, and if any young plants are obtainable they should be planted out about 2 feet apart each way.
Cabbage.-Sow seed as largely as may be thought necessary. Plant out, also, any young cabbages that may be available. They should not be pulled out of the seed bed, but taken up carefully, without breaking more roots
are both good small varieties. The Sugar-loaf is also a good kiod. Every garden should have a few plants of the red cabbage, which comes in very useful for pickling. If not required for that purpose, it may be eaten in the ordinary way. It should be noted that cabbages are greedy feeders, and need rich soil and abundance of manure.
Cauliflower.-Sow a little seed, and plant out from the seed-bed any strong plants that are large enough to handle. This vegetable should be grown largely, fur it is well liked by almost everyone. The ground needs to be well manured, as for cabbage.
Carrot.-Seed may be sown largely. Make the rows about 1 foot apart, and take care not to bury the seed more than half an inch deep. Be careful to weed frequently, for the seed takes a considerable time to come up, and when it does the plants are very fine and tender, and easily destroyed by weeds. Manure had better not be applied, unless it is old and very rotten, as it induces the carrots to become forked and quite spoiled in appearance. Early Shorthorn and Improved Intermediate are good varieties to sow at the present time.
Celery.- Plant out a few seedlings into very well manured ground, if any are available.
Endive.--If plants are available, they may be planted out largely. It is a most useful substitute for lettuce when that cannot be grown. A little seed may be sown.
Leek.-Seed may be sown largely, and any plants from previous sowings that are large enough, say about 6 inches in height, may be planted out. The soil should be heavily manured.
Lettuce.-Sow seed largely, and plant out any young lettuces that are suitable and of sufficient size to handle. The roots should not be broken, if possible, when raising the plants from the seed-bed.
Onion.—This is an important and useful vegetable, and opportunity should be taken now to sow a good quantity of seed. Sandy loam is the most suitable soil for the plant. Well-rotted manure should be applied in quantity,