The Double-run System-portable Houses-fencing-fowls on Orchard Land-precautions in

Buying Houses, Sheds, and Fittings If poultry farming is to be carried on suc-cessfully by women it must be on intensive lines-that is to say, the fowls must be kept in small flocks, and confined to limited runs, such as women can manage without unduly taxing their strength.

Where it is intended- to combine poultry keeping with vegetable or flower culture, the birds may with advantage be kept on the double-run system. This method, if adopted where the space at command is limited, may be regarded as one of the most economical combination methods of stocking the land. It will be seen from the accompanying diagram that a plot of land, say, ten yards square is divided into two runs, the poultry-house and scratching-shed being erected at the north end of the right-hand plot. This house and shed together should range in length five yards, the former being six and the latter nine feet long, and should be four feet wide, four feet high at the front, and slope with the roof to three feet high at the back. Such a house will comfortably accommodate twelve fowls, and if ventilated on the American principle-i.e., fitted at its front with a good-sized sliding or hinged frame, covered with stout canvas, the birds, when at roost, will have abundance of fresh air in summer-time, and will be protected from frosts and biting cold winds through the winter.

The scratching-shed attached to the house will be found most useful during inclement seasons when the fowls are cut off from outdoor exercise, and if its floor is thickly littered down with spent leaves, peat moss, or short straw, and the grain given the birds well raked in, healthy exercise will be secured for the stock. The scratching litter, when fouled too much, will form a good top-dressing for fruit trees or vegetable plots.

The plot of land under notice, as will be seen, is divided down the centre into two portions. The fowls occupy one portion; the other is devoted to the cultivation of vegetables or flowers. Roughly speaking, a fifty-yard roll of wire netting will enclose and divide the plot of land, and this should be fixed to stout stakes driven into the ground. These stakes should stand six feet

Ground plan of house and scratching shed with double run. A.

Ground plan of house and scratching-shed with double run. A.

Roosting'house. B. Scratching-shed. C. Entrance for fowls.

D. Attendants' gates. E. Runs out of the soil. Boards should be fixed to them so as to form a fence two feet high all round the plot and down its centre, and above this fence four-feet-wide wire netting should be fixed to the stakes.

The boarded fence which forms the lower part of the enclosure will not only serve to keep cold winds off the fowls, but, in case a border for the cultivation of raspberries, climbing roses, or other tall subjects be formed round the outside of the plot, will prevent the birds from injuring the plants in any way. If, however, the border is dispensed with, the netting forming the enclosure may be six feet wide, and extend from the ground to the tops of the stakes. The former method of fencing, however, offers an opportunity of making use of the wire netting for the training and tying of raspberry canes or other tall-growing fruit or flower-bearing plants.

Vegetable or flower culture is outside the pale of these articles, so that what is most likely to succeed on the plot of land unoccupied by the fowls must be left to the judgment of the cultivator. The object in view should be to get one plot well manured and cleared of injurious insects by the fowls, whilst the adjoining plot is under cultivation, and its plants are absorbing the manure from the soil, and fitting it for future occupation by the fowls.

Another method of running fowls on garden ground is to have portable houses and fencing, and erect these systematically on any available part of the land not under cultivation.

In adopting this method, small portable houses should be employed. A structure five feet long, three feet six inches wide, and four feet high, will shelter eight birds comfortably, and if fitted with handles at each end, or capable of being easily bolted together, it will allow of easy removal from one place to another. In addition to the roosting-house, it is essential that a portable scratching-shed be provided, as, in inclement weather, the birds must have exercise.

To form a fence round the plot of land that is to be stocked with fowls, stakes must be driven into the ground six or eight feet

A combined house and scratching shed, ventilated in front with a hinged frame,

A combined house and scratching-shed, ventilated in front with a hinged frame, and capable of affording abundance of air in the summer and protection during the winter apart, and to these wire netting must be fixed, and a portable gate provided for use by the attendant.

A combined house and scratching shed, ventilated in front with a hinged frame,

A combined house and scratching-shed, ventilated in front with a hinged frame, and capable of affording abundance of air in the summer and protection during the winter apart, and to these wire netting must be fixed, and a portable gate provided for use by the attendant.

After placing the house and scratching-shed on a fresh site, it is necessary to form, by means of the spade, a shallow gutter a little distance from and around the outer walls to prevent rain-water from finding its way to the ground floors. If preferred, one may use a combined house and scratching-shed, but it should be remembered that such a structure, owing to its great weight, is difficult to move about, unless the necessary strength is available.

In housing and penning fowls on the above-mentioned system, the land should be so managed as to allow the laying stock to occupy it as long as possible during the autumn and winter months, especially so if the birds are pullets in lay, or on the point of laying, since to move these suddenly to fresh ground at such a time would greatly retard egg-production.

Important Considerations

Where winter egg-production is the object in view, the laying stock should occupy the land from the beginning of October to the end of March, and there is no reason why they should not do so without handicapping tilling operations, as autumn and winter digging can be done with advantage to the soil and also to the birds, who will follow the spade and obtain in the way of insect food just the elements conducive to the production of winter eggs, whilst their vigorous scratching will aerate the soil, and render it friable.

Stocked on the above system, the land will receive a dressing of manure unequalled in efficacy by many other fertilisers, and as it will practically cost nothing to obtain, and nothing to apply to the soil, it will help considerably in reducing the debit side of working expenses.

Where fowls for egg-production are to be run on orchard land, stocked with standard apple or other tall fruit trees, they may be run in flocks of twenty-five birds, and each flock should have about a quarter of an acre of ground. By knowing the number of fowls that may be run safely on a given area of orchard land, the reader will be able to form an idea, according to the area available, as to what number of birds to turn down.

Where small bush fruits are grown, there is no reason why fowls should not occupy the land during the autumn and winter months without harming the trees in any way. A portable house, scratching-shed, stakes, gate, and wire netting, are all that is necessary to form an ideal run for fowls on a plot of land stocked with dwarf fruit trees, and this plot may be occupied during the autumn and winter months with advantage to the land and also to its occupants.

Whatever kind of land is devoted to the fowls, a plot must be reserved in a clean state for the rearing of chickens until they attain the age of eight weeks, when they will be able to run with the older birds.

Young chickens must be run on clean ground, and this can be allowed them if a good-sized plot is reserved for rearing purposes, and divided into two portions, each portion being used in alternate seasons.

Care should be exercised in buying houses, sheds, and other fittings, for there are many jerry-built structures on the market. The timber forming the walls of the roosting-houses should not be less than three-quarters of an inch thick, and should be fixed to stout framing. Reliable firms are now turning out good, substantial buildings at prices unprecedented in the history of poultry culture, and within the reach of all. Portable Houses In making a choice, one should remember that the structures have to be moved periodically about the land, which necessitates a combination of lightness and strength in their construction. All houses, sheds, and fencing-stakes, or such parts of them as come into contact with the soil, must be well tarred or creosoted to prevent rotting of the timber. Whilst avoiding the use of elaborate structures, the buyer should steer clear of cheap, trashy makeshifts. What should be bought are structures of substantial make, designed on practical lines.

In erecting the houses and sheds, their fronts should be placed towards the south, so that north and east winds and rains may be prevented from reaching their inmates-a thing likely to happen if their fronts are provided with hinged or sliding shutters for ventilating purposes. By placing the buildings with their fronts towards the south, full advantage can be taken of the sun's rays, which, if allowed to enter, will dispel damp and destroy disease germs. To be continued.