Click here to return to the main site entry page
Click here to return to the previous page

Mercury and Herald Friday February 19th 1937, transcribed by Susan Manton

Mr. A. Bailey
Oakdene, Court Estate, Rushden

Poultry Farming for the Smallholder
Rushden Man’s Success with White Wyandottes
Profitable Pullets

The appeal of poultry keeping is to be seen in every county and not least in Northamptonshire. There are rich men, farmers, smallholders, backyarders, all of whom with varying amount of success manage their own particular breed and study their particular problems.

This week, writes the Agricultural Representative of the “Mercury & Herald” and I had the pleasure of visiting the poultry farm of Mr. A. Bailey, of Oakdene, Court Estate, Rushden. Mr. Bailey is a smallholder and with his son works about 5¾ acres.

The density of poultry populations varies according to the quality of the land. On heavy land the average is about 150 to the acre and on light well drained land it can go up to 250, so that whichever type of land Mr. Bailey possesses he is well within these limits for his two flocks – White Wyandottes and Buff Rocks – total altogether under 1,000 head.

Mr. Bailey has had a practical knowledge of poultry since boyhood, but it is only some 12 years since he embarked upon poultry-keeping on a large and intensive scale. Using a Glecvum 150 oil incubator, Mr. Bailey secures excellent results and at a day old the chicks pass into the brooder-house where is fitted five two-tier Belis brooders heater by the Putnam stoves. The system is on the lines of a battery brooder and the chicks are fed on a dry mash ad lib, and water also ad lib.

The next stage – at three weeks old – is perhaps a little out of the ordinary for poultry keepers, although it shows how well adaptation can count on any farm. Some two years ago Mr. Bailey was a feeder of pigs, for which he had porket stage, but tiring of pigs he sold them and then struck the idea of converting three of the sties into a kind of intermediary station between the brooder-house and the night ark. Covering the sty door with windolite and also putting in lights in the side of the wall with the same material, it was found that the young chicks did exceedingly well, and after three weeks in the sty they were sufficiently hardened off to go out into the open in the ark. The chicks looked particularly happy in their new homes. The floor was covered with bean cavings which is changed every three or four days according to the number of chicks which are houses. There 110 in the sties when I looked in. they were feeding from a dry mash hopper and there was plenty of water.

The sties are heated by the ordinary Putnam stove, over which was fixed a hover of Mr. Bailey’s own making. At six or seven weeks old the chicks proceed to the ark and later – at 15 or 16 weeks – they are selected and placed in their laying pens.

The majority of the eggs are sold to the local grocers’ wholesale prices obtaining whilst the buyers do the collecting. Most of the balance is purchased by one man who is the possessor of a hatchery.

As already indicated Mr. Bailey has a pen this season at the County Trials. They stand third at the end of the fourth month in the heavy section, the pullets record being as follows:-

Total Points

At the end of the third month Mr. Bailey’s pen won the monthly ribbon, one of his birds laying 23 supers, three firsts in the 28 days. It was the same bird which was denied the month previous by second grade eggs.

Mr. Bailey has also a very useful flock of Buff Rocks some 150 in number. They were established on the dam’s side by sitting of eggs from the Misses Harrison-Bell and mated with cockerels from Messrs. Harrison and Son of Bradden, whose birds have already been reviewed in the “Mercury and Herald”

The holding stands some 6oo feet above the sea level and Mr. Bailey is correct in saying “We have every wind that blows here.” Yet there is bill of health which would be the envy of many poultry keepers, despite the wind and the rain.

One pen was practically under water when I looked round the farm. There were 48 Wyandottes in the pen and Mr. Bailey’s son had just collected 36 eggs from the laying house.

Click here to return to the main index of features
Click here to return to the Court Estate index
Click here to e-mail us