Coops should be high enough to permit the poultry to stand easily upright without bending their legs and with space enough between slats to pass their heads through. The coops should be strong but light; heavy wood can be dispensed with if long nails are used. They should not be so large as to be awkward and cumbrous to handle. Where large coops are used they should have partitions, so that when the coop is accidentally tilted the whole weight of poultry will not be thrown upon those at the side and end. The poultry should have plenty of room. Crowding too many into a coop causes loss by suffocation. Only one kind or size of poultry should be sent in a coop.
All poultry reaching market the following day after shipment should be fed only lightly before being placed in the coop, so as to avoid any infringement of the law regarding food in the crops of poultry. Western and southern poultry is generally shipped in carloads accompanied by a man to feed and water the fowls. The first day or two after the car starts the fowls should be fed lightly; after they have become accustomed to their new quarters the quantity of food may be increased with good results. Overfeeding on the start makes the fowls dumpish and sick, from which they do not recover on the journey. The rule of New York is to let the coops go with the poultry free. Where the patent wire cars are used either new or second-hand coops are furnished at the shipper's expense. The principal market days are from Monday to Thursday inclusive. There is seldom much trade on Friday or Saturday.
Shipments of live poultry are seldom made during cold weather. They do not pay well then because they compete with dressed fowls. April to October is the usual season. Live poultry should pay as well as dressed, especially if the shipper has little or no skill in dressing.
Marking and Shipping
For the best results the cover of every package should be plainly and neatly marked with the gross weight and tare, or number of dozens, pairs, or pieces of and the kind of contents, whether broilers, roasters, ducks, etc. The name, initials, or shipping mark of the shipper and the address of the firm to which the packages are sent should also appear. Where large lines of goods are shipped, simpler marks may be used by agreement. The shipper should always get receipts from the transportation company, and send immediately full advices by mail, with correct invoice of shipment. When poultry and game are forwarded by express, put a letter of advice in one of the packages, and mark plainly on the outside, "Bill," advising by mail also. Nothing is so vexatious to a commission house as the receipt of consignments not properly marked and advised. Every shipper who designs to make a business of forwarding good articles should have a brand or mark of his own. Thus he may establish a reputation for his goods. Perishable articles should be shipped so as to arrive not later than Friday morning.
None but very neat packages, as light as is consistent with carrying the contents perfectly, should be used. In a lot of goods all the packages should be of uniform size, shape and style. In shipping articles that require air, ventilation must be provided. When articles are sold by the package only standard size should be employed.
The great end to aim at is to have the poultry reach market in perfect order -- firm, bright and sound -- and that it may present as handsome appearance as possible. There is almost always abundance of stock of inferior quality and unattractive appearance, the value of which would have been greatly increased by more care and attention to details in preparing for shipment. Shippers who get their goods to market in uniformly fine order, and whose study of all the details of killing, dressing and packing result in uniformly fine quality, soon acquire a reputation for their goods among buyers. This is of great value to shipper and buyer.
An ordinance in force in New York prohibits the sale of all turkeys and chickens the crops of which are not free from food. This law makes it imperative that poultry should be kept from solid food long enough before killing to insure the crops being empty. It is best to keep from food 12 to 24 hours before killing, but during this time the poultry should have plenty of water. In case any fowl should be found to have food in the crop after killing this food should be removed by making a clean-cut incision in the back of the neck and the contents worked out under the skin. Never try to force the food out through the mouth, as this is likely to cause discoloration.
There are two methods of dressing -- dry picking and scalding. As a general rule the chickens, fowls and turkeys that command the highest prices are dry picked. But by no means do all dry-picked lots sell higher than scalded. Lean poultry always looks much thinner when dry picked than when scalded and plumped, and thin poultry commands more when scalded than when dry picked. For this reason chickens and turkeys should be dry picked only when very fat and of fine quality. Ducks and geese should always be scalded.
The method of packing poultry for shipment depends upon the weather and the purpose of the shipper. Stock intended to be frozen for future use is always packed dry. That intended for immediate shipment and use may be packed dry or in ice, but should be packed dry only after settled cold weather.
Selection of Stock for Market
For market no poultry should be killed which is not of reasonably good size and in good condition. Small, thin, framy turkeys, such as are often received very early in the season, are always a drug in the market and are unprofitable. Even in September, none which weighs less than 7 pounds should be dressed, and later 8 pounds should be the bottom limit. Spring chickens should never be killed before they attain a weight of at least 1 pound. This size is profitably salable only very early in the season; as soon as supplies become at all liberal, 1-1/2 pounds. This weight should be the bottom limit.
Spring ducks should be kept back until almost full grown. Commission houses receive full-grown spring ducks from the great duck farms very early in the season, and these bring high prices. Western packers, seeing the high quotations for these, often send very small, young ducks about the weight of broiling chickens. Such are unsalable at any reasonable price. Spring ducks are never used to broil, always to roast, and there is no call whatever for stock weighing less than 3 pounds.
Killing and Dressing
Immediately after killing, the feathers must be carefully and very cleanly removed, taking especial pains to avoid tearing the skin. When dry-picked poultry is to be packed dry for cold-weather shipment it should be hung up head down in a cold place (but not cold enough to freeze), and left until thoroughly cold and dry. Any animal heat left in the body when packed, and any moisture on the skin, is sure to cause bad condition in a short time. When the dry-picked poultry is to be packed in ice for warm-weather shipment it should be thrown into water of natural temperature and left there for 15 to 20 minutes, then removed to ice water, where it should remain eight to ten hours, when it will be ready to pack.
For scalding, the water should be just at the boiling point, but not actually boiling. The birds held by legs and head should be immersed and lifted in the water three or four times. Immediately after scalding chickens and turkeys remove the feathers, pin-feathers and all, very cleanly and without breaking the skin. After scalding wrap ducks and geese immediately in a cloth for about two minutes; then the down will roll off with the feathers.
Frame of shipping coop. Coop complete. Frame and floor of light material. Sides of strong canvas. Size to accommodate fowls comfortably without stooping.
All scalded poultry should be "plumped" after picking by dipping for about two seconds in very hot water -- just under the boiling point -- and then thrown into cool water of the natural temperature, where it should remain for 15 or 20 minutes. When the scalded poultry is to be packed dry for cold-weather shipment it should be taken from the first cold plumping water and hung up by the feet until thoroughly cold and dry; it will then be ready to pack. But when it is intended to pack in ice for warm-weather shipment, the poultry should be transferred from the first cold bath to another of colder but not ice-cold water and remain there for half an hour to an hour, after which it should be placed in ice water and left for eight to ten hours, when it will be ready to pack.
Barrels and cases holding about 200 pounds are commonly used; the latter are the best for turkeys and geese. If any packing is used it should be only clean, dry and hand-threshed wheat or rye straw. A layer of straw should be placed in the bottom of the package, then alternate layers of poultry and straw, stowing very snugly, backs up and legs out straight, filling so full that the cover will draw down firmly upon the contents. Some successful shippers use no packing, filling the packages solidly full of poultry, but using waxed or parchment paper around the sides, bottom and top of the case or barrel and between the layers of poultry. If this method is adopted the utmost care should be taken to have every fowl perfectly dry before packing. The use of straw packing is generally preferred and is considered safe, unless goods are destined for storage. All blood remaining about the mouth and head should be removed with a damp cloth.
For shipment in ice only poultry or sugar barrels should be used; if the latter, they should be thoroughly washed with hot water to remove all traces of sugar. A layer of cracked ice is placed in the bottom of the barrel and alternate layers of poultry and ice until the package is nearly full. Over the top layer of poultry a layer of cracked ice is also placed, then a piece of burlap and again a layer of cracked ice, topped off with a large chunk of solid ice, fastened in place with a piece of burlap secured under the top hoop. The poultry breasts are down and backs up, with legs out straight toward the center of the barrel, making a ring of fowls side by side around the staves, backs sloping inward so that the next layer of ice will work in between the poultry and the staves. The middle of the layer may be filled in with the fowls at will.
Poultry frozen during the winter for later use should always be dry picked. Only the very choicest goods should be selected for this purpose, and extraordinary care must be taken that the stock be thoroughly cold and dry when packed. The treatment varies according to circumstances of weather, etc. Probably the best results are obtained when the stock can be frozen by natural outdoor temperature. But in seasons and localities where this is impossible the freezer may be used successfully. Only cases of planed, well-seasoned lumber should be used. For old tom turkeys the size in popular use is 36 by 22 by 18 inches, and for young toms 36 by 22 by 15 inches; these should be of inch lumber. For chickens, ducks and geese the size is 30 by 20 by about 10 inches, or deep enough to allow for two layers, made of 5/8-inch lumber. Two layers of poultry should be packed in each case. The poultry is stowed snugly and closely so as to present as regular and handsome appearance as possible. Turkeys should be packed backs up and legs out straight. Chickens and ducks and geese should have the breasts down on the bottom layer and up on the top layer. Old toms should be packed separately, never with young toms and hens. Old fowls and young chickens should never be packed together. Each should be packed separately.
Cold-storage Poultry and Eggs
When stock is frozen in natural outdoor temperature the cases may be filled at once when the thermometer is below zero, but if above zero only one layer should be frozen at a time. No packing material whatever should be used and the packer should be sure to protect from wind while freezing. When frozen solid the stock should be put away and kept where it will not thaw out, preferably in cold storage. When the poultry is to be frozen artificially the cases may be filled full and placed at once in the freezer. In this case it is well to construct the cases so that a slat in the sides of the box may be removed and left off until the stock is frozen solid. The quicker the freezing the better. In the freezer the cases should be separated by slats to permit free circulation of air around them. Some packers get excellent results by freezing poultry separately and packing after. Some of the very finest frozen poultry is handled in this way at nearby points, and is not packed at all until ready for market, when it is packed in straw and shipped for immediate sale before warm weather. But for large lots which have to be placed in storage again upon arrival in market, it is best to pack in cases before freezing.
While the principle of cold storage is correct, its abuse is responsible for much unfair discrimination against cold-storage eggs. Let it be granted that the cold-storage people are not in business for fun or to see how long eggs can be kept and still pass as eggs. They wish to make a profit. If eggs are not good when removed from storage these people must lose money because they can't make sales. Experience has taught them that eggs can be kept in practically the same condition as when received, but storage does not improve the quality of eggs improperly handled before reaching the warehouse.
Details of latch.
Much of the trouble arises in the bad methods of handling before the eggs reach the warehouse. This largely occurs where eggs are held for a raise of prices. Wherever this is done, under ordinary cellar storage conditions, whether on the farm or in the country store, there is always deterioration. If this common storage and rehandling were eliminated, and were eggs put in cold storage with less delay after being laid, farmers would be able to command higher prices, because losses would be less serious, and the disfavor in which storage eggs are held would be largely reduced. It is to his interest, therefore, that the farmer devise plans for getting eggs to the nearest cold-storage warehouse, unless it is possible to develop a satisfactory local market for fresh eggs.
In cold-storage warehouses poultry is kept continuously at a temperature considerably below zero, even as low as 10 below. At such a temperature no changes occur, and the birds remain sweet and wholesome indefinitely. The meat of such fowls, if properly handled after removal from cold storage, will be found unimpaired in flavor and indistinguishable from that of freshly killed birds.
Latch for door or gate. Oak handle, 8x2x1 inches; latch, 5x1x3/8 inches; catch, 8x2x3/4 inches. One-inch hole in door for handle 3 inches from edge of door. Hole 3/4-inch in handle for latch. Assemble parts and peg together.
Egg Marketing Methods
Selling eggs is one of the handiest ways to get a cash or trade return for farm produce, and wherever farmers can increase the efficiency of the machinery which produces and handles eggs, they will put hard cash into their pockets. In Kansas, which may be taken as one of the typical egg-producing states, the methods in vogue are generally bad. In order to determine how improvements could be made, A. G. Phillips sent a long list of questions to more than 70 egg handlers for comments. They represented an estimated annual output of over 900,000 cases of eggs. Thirty-three of these men purchased by the method called "case count" the year round. Forty do not. By case count is meant that eggs are counted just as they are received. During hot weather, that is between July and September, the usual plan is to buy "loss off;" though some buy in this way from May until December. The term "loss off" means that inferior and cracked eggs are not paid for. When eggs are bought in the loss-off way, a difference of 1 to 5 cents in price is made, the average being about 2 cents.
During the hottest month 58 buyers purchased 100,000 cases or more. During that month the usual run of "rots" is from 10 to 20 per cent, though some buyers who have a superior trade report 5 per cent, and others who have an inferior trade, 75 per cent loss, due to spoiled eggs. During the period when buyers purchase in the case-count way, 57 buyers reported a loss of from one to three dozen to the case, and only seven men reported a smaller loss. The average is at least two dozen to a case for the year round.
Hen gate. Hinged gate hung to open in to the poultry yard and to swing shut when hen enters.
Of the more than 70 buyers 69 say that they could afford to pay a higher price if they did not have to allow for these losses, and not one of them says he could not afford to pay a higher price. The advance in price ranges from 1 to 5 cents and averages 2 cents. Sixty-eight men say that the usual run of eggs they buy is of only fair quality, and 37 report that the cause of spoiled eggs is due to the farmers not giving the eggs proper care. Thirty-three say that both farmers and storekeepers are to blame because they hold for higher prices.
Twenty-three buyers declare that they could afford to buy loss off the year round, but 40 claim they could not. The ayes say that it would be justice to all, that they would get a better grade of eggs and the farmers would get more money. The nays say that competition prevents, that the eggs are good enough in winter, that they have no market for seconds, that the farmers are dissatisfied and that hot weather prevents. Sixty-three buyers say that if a farmer or a community of farmers would follow instructions as to the kind of eggs best to sell and would ship only first-class eggs, they could afford to pay a premium upon the eggs above the regular price. Only five buyers claim that they could not. The price ranges from 1 to 5 cents, with an average of 2 cents.
How to Improve Egg Marketing
Buyers offer many suggestions as to the way farmers should handle eggs for market. Farmers should be less intentionally careless; they should not wash the eggs; they should keep eggs not strictly fresh at home; they should market their eggs frequently; should learn the difference in price that could be obtained for good eggs over bad ones; carefulness in details should be practiced; the nests should be kept clean; the eggs kept in a dry place and covered when being brought to town; the cocks should be disposed of at the end of the breeding season; the eggs should be gathered frequently, and be graded; and that farmers should recognize that when they trade eggs with the merchant, they are doing so almost always at a loss.
From the foregoing answers it is evident that there is considerable loss of money to farmers each year. One year, to use Mr. Phillips' figures, when the output was 146,381,180 dozens of eggs marketed, an average loss of two dozen rots to the case would mean a total loss of 9,758,745 dozen eggs. These were irretrievable losses, partly on account of carelessness. This number does not include eggs classed as seconds. There is not the least doubt that 50 per cent of the rotten eggs could be eliminated, and if this were done, taking eggs at 16 cents a dozen, a fair average price for the year, the farmers of Kansas would have saved nearly $780,700; the complete elimination of bad eggs would increase the income by over $1,500,000. If the second-class eggs could be sold as first-class, a very considerable additional sum could also be saved. No one viewing these figures can fail to see the advantage of taking the trouble to adopt better methods.
It is hardy reasonable to expect anyone to improve his business conditions unless he can realize a financial benefit therefrom. Everyone likes to produce the best of anything. But if he can make more by selling an inferior grade, it is natural and reasonable that he should do so. In the matter of handling eggs, however, improvements mean more profit and should, therefore, be made. Three ways are open whereby poultry raisers may market eggs: First, by selling to the buyer who either ships without grading or candles and disposes of the stock according to quality. By this method a producer is able to take advantage of the intense competition generally present among local buyers that raises general prices until some merchant complains that prices are too high to leave any profit after the eggs have been candled.
Will It Pay to Improve
Number one eggs which farmers bring every week should command more than older eggs. At present they do not, and the tendency is to let the care of the eggs slide. The average increase would be 1-l/2 to 2 cents a dozen. If the average Kansas hen produces 100 eggs in a year, the farmer who keeps 200 hens would thus gather 20,000 eggs yearly. If one-fourth of these were consumed at home, 15,000 or 1,250 dozen, would still be salable. A premium of 2 cents a dozen on this lot would mean $25. Whether this amount would be worth the slight trouble taken to secure it is, of course, a matter for each individual to decide for himself.
The way to get the buyer to pay a premium is a question to be decided. If the storekeeper will not do it he should lose the trade and the farmer should ship to a nearby large buyer who will be willing, even glad, to get this trade, and he will treat his customers in the best possible way so as to hold it. Such a buyer will probably quote market prices only until he is satisfied that the quality is as represented. Then he can be made to pay the desired premium. There is no reason why several farmers in a community should not ship eggs together in lots of 15 dozen or more and work up a business large enough to make a buyer want to hold their trade.
Co-operative Poultry Associations
Co-operative poultry associations could easily be managed where hens are numerous enough to make a profit for all concerned. The following suggestions will be of benefit to such prospective associations. A number of farmers who are interested enough to stick together should form an association and should maintain their compact whether they lose a little or not. It is characteristic of buyers to try to break up such organizations by various tricks, and farmers are too prone to condemn organization hastily; that is, before they have given it a thorough trial. After they have passed over the first rough water and are living up to their agreements, keeping their grades well, they can make money if properly managed. They should be organized under a simple constitution, which shall give the name, object, membership dues, officers and their duties, meetings and rules. Under the rules should be given the grades of eggs and of poultry and the proper way to handle, mark and market. The co-operative system can be made highly successful, even in small communities.
Another way that farmers can market eggs to advantage is to sell at retail or at a slight premium to a hotel or a restaurant, where large quantities are in demand and yet where high quality is sought to cater to an exacting table. A farmer who keeps 300 White Leghorns says that this method of supplying one good restaurant netted him a clear profit of over $1 a hen during a year.
The third method is to sell to a private trade by peddling to small customers and selling at a premium. The best instance I know is that of R. P. Ellis, who does business in Brooklyn, N. Y. Mr. Ellis has not only worked up a considerable trade, but has been obliged to associate several farmers with himself in order to supply the increasing demand for his output. His method is based on the general principle that the nearer the producer can get to the actual consumer the higher he can sell, because he can eliminate most of the middlemen. Besides this, the sooner the egg can be placed on the consumer's table after being laid and the more pleasing its appearance, the better will be the price.
A controlling factor in all marketing is the distance the consumer is from the source of supply. In large cities where eggs are purchased from grocers after being handled by wholesalers, commission men, shippers and country gatherers the prices which really fresh eggs bring are considerably higher than in the small towns.
It stands to reason that if the purchaser can raise chickens in the country and can grow much of the food they need and then sell his eggs in the large city direct to the consumer he will get the maximum profit. Because of the co-operative arrangement Mr. Ellis has made with farmers associated with him, all clear about $2.50 a hen annually, whereas $1 a hen is the general estimated income on most egg farms. The rules under which their operations are made may be summarized as follows:
Eggs must be spotlessly clean and of uniform size and color. This means that all the laying stock must be pure bred, of the same breed, for in no other way can uniformity be secured. For this purpose the White Leghorn stands pre-eminent.
The representative or salesman must be patient and courteous with the skeptical, and willing to submit produce to a comparative test, confident of the outcome. The price is never cut to secure a customer. It is well to have a scale of prices printed on the inside of the cover of the egg box, stating what will be charged each month of the year. The salesman is always politely indifferent to the current prices on eggs, and tactfully makes people feel that the eggs he sells are in a class by themselves. They really are a superior article. The producer believes in himself and in his product. Faith is the essence of all salesmanship.
The eggs are boxed and delivered in a style and manner befitting the pre-eminence claimed for them. Broken-down wagons and worn-out horses do not inspire the public with an abiding faith in the progressiveness of any concern. Much as some may despise it, appearance counts for a great deal in modern business advertising, especially in large cities, where an individual cannot expect to be widely known.
Cross-section of poultry house. Main feature watering system managed by float valve at left. Slight fall toward overflow at right. Flush plug drains system in cold weather.
Honesty Essential to Success
It is necessary to be honest and not to be tempted to abuse the people's confidence. Customers are always given what they pay for, and their orders, great or small, are accorded marked personal attention. There is too little courtesy on the part of tradespeople; hence it is the salesman's cue to be different. Should he, therefore, run short of eggs, he never substitutes. Grocers do that. Mr. Ellis has a neatly printed postal notice in which he courteously regrets that the hens are not doing quite as well just now, and that he cannot fill the regular order when due, but that on such and such a date he will deliver. He leaves blanks on the cards to be filled in with dates. This pleases customers, who may be relying on getting eggs and impresses them that such eggs are not always obtainable, and hence most desirable. There is a lot in this.
It is equally necessary to be square with the associate farms. Only mutual interest can keep them together. The success of one means benefit to all, and the failure of one works an injury to all. Those who handle the selling should not seek to "hog" the profit a good private trade yields. Pass most of it along where it belongs, to the producer!
The matter of drivers of delivery wagons should receive careful attention. Mr. Ellis did not take a driver similar to the average grocery delivery boy, but has a uniformed man, or young fellow, equal in intelligence and manner to the best deliveries in the city. It pays. He pays a salary and a commission on all eggs delivered. This nets the deliveryman between $18 and $25 a week. It pays in the end. A discourteous, untidy deliveryman will spoil a good many dollars' worth of advertising in one day. The men who make the maximum pay do it by securing a few new customers each week, and the commission paid them on these is much less than cost of securing a customer by publicity. The business done is strictly cash. His prices run from 40 to 60 cents, averaging 47.8 cents to the consumer. He finds that boxing and delivering, which includes other labor, such as bookkeeping and necessary correspondence, cost 5 cents a dozen. He is spending regularly 5 cents a dozen on advertising, which in greater New York is a very expensive thing. For instance, street car advertising costs $5 a day for 400 cars, or $150 a month, and 400 cars barely represent the number running into one depot. In the advertising expense is included the cost of canvassing the prospective customers who answer advertisements. The proprietor himself attended to this until the business grew beyond him, when he made a careful selection of a representative.
Egg-turning tray. Cloth on rollers passes over bottom of tray. Eggs turn when cloth moves.
There are over 200 cities in the United States with a population exceeding 25,000. In each of these a profitable private egg trade can be established. What Mr. Ellis is accomplishing others can do. The associated farms net between 30 and 50 cents a dozen the year round. They average better than 37 cents a dozen, 3 cents an egg, the year round.
Preservation of Eggs
The following precautions are suggested by G. H. Lamson, Jr., of Connecticut: Keep the whole flock of hens in as perfect a state of health as possible. Give enough shell-forming food to form strong shells of uniform thickness. Make proper nesting places and keep nests clean, so eggs may not be infected while in the nests. Gather the eggs each day and keep them in a cool, dry room or cellar where the sun's rays do not fall directly upon them. Use only clean eggs and place them in the preservative within 24 hours after they are laid. Preserve only April, May and early June eggs.
As to methods of preserving undoubtedly cold storage at a temperature of 34 degrees is the best and practically the only method used commercially. But it is too expensive to be practiced on a small scale. Formerly dry methods such as packing in grain or salt were used, but these are no longer recommended, as the eggs lose much of their moisture by evaporation.
Among the liquid preservatives, water glass has been very generally and successfully used because it is reliable, easily prepared and comparatively cheap. Water glass can be bought at most drug stores for $1 or $1.25 a gallon. A gallon will make 10 gallons of preserving fluid. Eggs have been kept in this mixture for three or four years without developing an unpleasant taste or smell, but when kept any longer the yolk becomes pink and very liquid. The white coagulates in the usual manner in cooking.
To preserve eggs by this method, a cellar should be used where the temperature does not go above 60 degrees. Any clean water-tight receptacle will do; kegs or stone jars are commonly used. Each receptacle should be scalded thoroughly two or three times to make sure that it is perfectly clean. The preserving fluid should be made from water that has been boiled and allowed to cool. This is mixed at the rate of nine parts water to one of water glass, and thoroughly stirred. The quantity needed for each receptacle should be mixed in that receptacle so as to insure the proper strength of solution. When mixed in one and then poured into several others there is a likelihood of getting different strengths.
Fence protects coops at night.
It is desirable to label each crock or keg with the date the eggs are put down. When filled the receptacle should be kept out of the sun's rays and covered with loose boards. Water should be added from time to time to supply the loss by evaporation and to keep the eggs always beneath the surface. The preservative never should be stirred. When desired for use, the June eggs should be taken first, May eggs next, and April eggs last, because their keeping qualities are different. If eggs are to be sold they should be washed.
One man who has practiced preserving on an extensive scale found that the eggs cost 15 cents a dozen to produce as an average. His market price was 18 cents during spring. The margin of 3 cents profit did not appeal to him, so when eggs came down to 18 cents in March he began preserving. He used only the eggs produced by his own flock. By Thanksgiving time when eggs are selling at 50 and 60 cents a dozen in Boston, he sold these eggs as "storage extras" at an average of 32 cents a dozen, some as high as 40 cents. As the eggs were all produced by his own hens, he could guarantee the quality. This is very important.
The cost of storing was about $2 for 200 dozen. Had these eggs been sold in March at 18 cents they would have brought only $36. By preserving they brought $64, or an apparent net gain of $28. There is, however, another way to look at this which is even more startling. As the average cost to make the eggs was 15 cents, at 18 cents there would have been only 3 cents a dozen profit, or only $6 on the 200 dozen. By holding until prices were high he actually made 17 cents a dozen instead of 3 cents, or a total profit of $34.
It would not be advisable to preserve eggs on a large scale at first. There is a good deal to be learned before one can venture upon this business. The family supply will be enough to lay down as an experiment. After a year or two of experience and confidence will be soon enough to start preserving for the market.
New York State Experiments
At the New York experiment station a number of methods that could be used with little expense on a small scale for preserving eggs, and also some modifications of these methods, show that no method of dry packing gives satisfactory results whether the eggs are turned regularly or not. The best results were secured by keeping the eggs immersed in solutions either of lime, lime and salt, water glass, from 10 to 20 per cent solution, or a proprietary solution consisting largely of water glass. On the whole, preference is given to a solution of lime and salt to which a little boracic acid was added of a specific gravity somewhat lower than that of eggs. The common materials can be cheaply obtained in pure condition, and the preserved eggs were easier to clean than those from more costly solutions which gave no better results. Though, of course, no preserved egg could grade with a fresh one, little difference in quality of eggs, as tested by many individuals, could be detected between those preserved in the few efficient solutions.
Clean eggs always sell at higher prices than soiled ones. In order to secure them, eggs should be gathered at least twice a day, and oftener when the ground is muddy. This applies especially to the summer weather. Eggs quickly begin to decompose when the temperature is high and should, therefore, be removed as soon as possible to a cool dark place.
Portable coop and run. Packing case coop and wire fence covered run.
Fertile eggs begin to deteriorate sooner than sterile ones; hence, unless needed for hatching, hens and pullets should be kept by themselves. Fertile eggs, even when fresh laid, may be considered as already started in development. For this reason it is highly desirable that the eggs be gathered frequently, because the warmth of the bodies of several hens on the nest will hasten development of the embryo, and if eggs are allowed to stay in the nest for several hours under such conditions they cannot be considered as strictly fresh.
Until marketed, the clean, fresh eggs, frequently gathered, should be kept in a cool place. Even though this place is clean and cool and it is not dry, the eggs are likely to be injured by mold. If they become damp and then happen to touch colored material they are likely to become stained. The best way of holding is to store the eggs in good egg cases in a cool, dry place above the floor. Prior to marketing, the eggs should be graded. All small, dirty, stained eggs as well as those which have been in the incubator or which are doubtful or rotten should be removed. The small and dirty ones, if fresh, are just as good as the large, clean ones, but they will not sell as well, and if sent to market will injure the price which would be paid for large eggs. Large eggs, among which small ones are mixed, will sell for the price of the small ones and the buyer, after grading, will sell the large ones at advanced prices and the small ones for what he paid, or better. Therefore, small and soiled eggs should be used at home. Never should eggs be washed, because washing injures the keeping qualities. Every egg from a stolen nest, unless its freshness is unquestionable, should either be thrown away or used at home. The man who wishes to build up a trade cannot afford to risk his chances by letting any such eggs go to market. Eggs handled as suggested should be marketed two or three times a week, oftener if convenient. When so many trips cannot be made, it is well to co-operate with some neighbor to go on alternate days. In autumn and spring, eggs should be marketed not less frequently than once a week.
Ready for moving.
Knock down poultry houses. For tenant houses, whose sides, top, floors and roofs bolt together are convenient for moving from farm to farm.
It is bad policy to hold eggs in the hope of advancing prices. Evaporation always takes place and the chances are that the grade and the price will be lower than if the eggs are marketed at once; besides, the man who gets the reputation of marketing frequently will always command the respect of his buyers. In hot weather the cases should always be covered to protect them from the heat.
Water Glass, glassy, colorless compound of sodium (or potassium) silicate, of formula Na2SiO3. It is soluble in water and alcohol and is used commercially as a cement, in concrete, as a wall-coating and fireproofing material, in soap and synthetic detergents, and in petroleum-refining processes. Water-glass solution is also used to preserve eggs and wood.
Water glass or soluble glass,colorless, transparent, glasslike substance available commercially as a powder or as a transparent, viscous solution in water. Chemically it is sodium silicate, potassium silicate, or a mixture of these. It is prepared by fusing sodium or potassium carbonate with sand or by heating sodium or potassium hydroxide with sand under pressure. Water glass is very soluble in water, but the glassy solid dissolves slowly, even in boiling water. Water glass has adhesive properties and is fire resistant. It is used as a detergent; as a cement for glass, pottery, and stoneware; for fireproofing paper, wood, cement, and other substances; for fixing pigments in paintings and cloth printing; and for preserving eggs (it fills the pores in the eggshell, preventing entrance of air).
Next: Chapter XII
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