History of the Egg laying trials
It is no longer good enough to rely on people buying birds because a book written thirty years ago says that the breed was a prolific layer or a good table bird. Too many of the lines in this country do not now resemble that description and leads to great disappointment and disillusionment. It is time to start collecting information from all those good poultry folk who do record their birds and encourage others to do the sameIt is probable that some of the best birds are in home; hobby; backyard flocks - and these lines are vital to help restore the utility flocks to robust health. The sale of the occasional pure breed male or some fertile eggs can only help the poultry keeping budget as well as being part of a national enthusiasm.
The simplest form of record is to jot down every day how many eggs are collected - then on a wet winter weekend the figures can be tallied up and you can see what you have.
In the 1960's there were very scientific trials done around the country in the chicken world- the Daily Mail sponsored Milford centre; and others sponsored by feed companies.As far as I understand things there were several sorts of trials -
1: all caged
2:12 bird houses that were split down the middle to create 2 6 bird houses each with a separate run; each had the feed measured daily; and each bird was identified and trap nested so each egg that each bird laid was recorded.
3:24 chicks were reared on site all details were recorded - growth rates etc and 12 were selected to go into the laying trials.
Dual purpose birds were also included with weight gains measured.
The trials were either over a certain number of days or a 12 month laying period. The trials started once the birds had got to 5% production.
This is obviously not going to be repeated in this day and age - there are no facilities that are going to set this up nor sponsors with the pennies to finance it.If anyone has more documentation on this I would love to be able to include it in the site for others who are interested
So an idea is to set up a much more low key but hopefully helpful system that any poultry and waterfowl keeper can join however many or few birds they keep.
A record sheet will be filled in with as much detail as possible - obviously few people will be able to / or want to trap nest but even numbers of eggs per breed daily gives an idea. If one has a mixed group of say Rhode Islands; welsumers and Leghorns then it will be pretty easy to distinguish the numbers of eggs from each breed by egg colour.
Participants can include as much or as little information as they wish or are able
Records will be collated on a computer database (run by one of our number with big computer system) but in reports keepers only identified with a number code. If we can it would be good to make the database so that it can be read by microsoft access or the results in microsoft excell - or lotus / works so people can have their results at home
Records suggested so far: - go to records page
It would be good to include as many poultry keepers as possible - from breed clubs; national associations; local smallholders clubs; through the various magazines; and internet groups.What we also desperately need are designs for trap nests - I know a gentleman who has developed his own automatic version with electronic chips and computer technology - but the price puts it outwith economic use ;~). If anyone reading this has a working design we would all be grateful if it could be jotted down and sent to me (address at the bottom of the page) - so it can be shared with others.
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This site is being created and maintained by
Jill Bowis of Kintaline Poultry and Waterfowl Centre, Benderloch, OBAN Argyll PA37 1QS Scotland
for the utility poultry breeders everywhere
Any useful information you have for the site is gratefully received