Well... this was one pain of a book to get through in one day. I will probably re-read it later in an attempt to make a bit more sense out of what I read today. It is a very good “Tech” book on poultry raising from the late 1970's to early 1980's.
One thing that is noticed early on is he refers to the raising of any of these birds as “projects”, which I guess in some small way they really are. This book contains a lot of charts and pictures for everything he talks on one of the first charts is for floor space requirements on page 12. The next page he has a map of the US divided into 4 “zones” to show the differences in building practices for the building you are going to place your “flock” in.
He goes into detail about the correct ventilation for the chicken house as well and from reading it, it seems more like a commercial chicken house as we know them. Again this is still good information to have as if you are good at building (I'm not Silver is) you can figure down to what you need for your personal space.
Another thing he details throughout the book are “management systems”, and that there are three main types of them. Floor, Mesh/slatted floor, or caged; but goes in later and states ranging them too. He goes into an in-depth explanation of all three early in the book then as the book progresses he explains the best types for each type of poultry and what works best for what you are raising that poultry for.
He does go about the best places to buy your chicks from and the biggest thing he points out throughout this book is -BUY THEM AS LOCALLY AS POSSIBLE-. There is less stress when they have not much time in being shipped, or being cold for that matter. The best is to be able to pick them up yourself, if that is possible.
He goes at length many times in the book about cleaning your brooder, now the brooder he refers too is a separate building and explains the proper way of cleaning it more than once in the book one spot caught my attention almost immediately:
“First sweep or wash down cobwebs, dirt and dust, then use a good disinfectant. There are a number of good commercial preparations available. Some of them require that the house stand idle for a period of time and be thoroughly aired before chicks arrive. Failure to observe these precautions may cause the chicks to have severely burned feet and eyes.” Bottom of page 40
Now I'm sorry but that defiantly makes me want to rush out and buy some of that cleaner... apparently they used such ugly cleaners even in the mid 1970's.
Now he goes through each poultry type explaining why you should debeak your birds and gives diagrams of a “properly” done one of different ages, he does this with clipping feathers and making Capons out of chickens. He also gives 2 methods of putting your chickens through a molt, and stating if they haven't by the time they have been laying a year that you really need to do so. He also explains how even with supplementing their calcium the shell thickness deteriorates over the “laying cycle”. Which is one of the big reasons for forcing a molt.
He explains how to tell just by a careful eye how to tell if the hens are producing or not, which it seems is a “bleaching” affect on different parts of the body.
After reading and seeing his description of how to Caponize the cockerels I definably think I'll need to see it done a few times. It looks very complicated and could wind up killing some birds if not done right. Something else I noticed is that while for meat birds he states not to give them roosts he does say to do so for Turkeys, which I am guessing is because it is natural for them. Also while he points out it is not recommended to have more than one “type” (chicken/duck/turkey/etc) on your “farm” in small scale it should be ok. The reason why it is apparently not a good idea is that it seems these different birds don't all carry the same diseases and mixing the bird together on one farm can cause one illness to spread that would not otherwise.
Overall it -is- a good book with lots of info in it. However, right now if I were suffering from insomnia I'd pick it up for another straight through read. I kept having to put it down to process everything I was reading, so it is useful but not an easy read. Also if you like tech manuals this is a poultry book for you!