Again, it does not need much accommodation or a large amount of capital to commence in the day-old chicken business. All that is essential to success is a spare room or cellar, well ventilated, but free from draughts, and a firm table on which to stand the incubator.
The maximum outlay lies in the securing of a good, reliable machine. This should cost about £4. A more elaborate machine is quite unnecessary; it may cost double that amount, but it is no more efficient in operation than the cheaper article. Low-priced machines, however, advertised by people who have no reputation in the incubator trade should be avoided carefully. On the average, half an hour a day is all the attention which a machine requires.
From ten to twenty minutes should be spent in airing and turning the eggs each morning, and from five to ten minutes in attending to eggs and trimming the lamp each evening. Egg-testing on the seventh day will occupy the operator an extra ten minutes only, as egg-testing can proceed while the eggs are airing.
When the chickens hatch out, they will simply need transferring from the incubator drawer to the drying chamber; and when thoroughly dry it will be necessary, if they have to travel to customers at a distance, to pack them in a travelling-box. This consists of a box sufficiently large and deep to accommodate comfortably one dozen chickens. A bedding of soft hay is laid in the bottom of the:>ox, and on this the chickens are placed.
Travelling-box for the chicks
Then a piece of flannel, or other fabric of a soft nature, is tacked to the upper edges of the box in such a manner as to allow the material to rest loosely upon the backs of the inmates. The lid is then fixed in position, and secured by means of a couple of fine screws, a label plainly indicating the nature of the contents being affixed. The best way to send is by a fast passenger train, and the buyer should be notified beforehand of the time of departure, so that the train may be met on its arrival. It is also as well to advise the buyer to be prepared for the reception of the chicks by having a reliable broody hen or a foster mother in readiness and to feed the little mites, when thoroughly warmed, with a little biscuit meal soaked in warm milk.
The chickens cost nothing in the way of food from the time they emerge from the shells until they reach their destination, as nature provides the newly-hatched chicken with sufficient nourishment to sustain it for forty-eight hours; and during that time it will, if properly packed, travel a considerable distance in safety. The whole secret of dealing successfully with chickens intended for transit lies in getting them thoroughly dry, and packing and putting them on rail as quickly as possible.