Fowls (How To Keep). No fowls can possibly thrive well, or bo profitable to the owners, unless" they are plentifully fed, and have a comfortable place to roost in at night, and for a shelter in cold or wet weather. Their room or hen-house may be adjoining to some other out-building. It is best, to have it facing the east or the south, and it must be perfectly weather-tight. It should have a door and windows, and be very well lighted ; the windows may either be latticed with wood or netted with iron wire. In the evening, after the fowls have gone to roost, let the door be locked - seeing that it is opened very early in the morning, unless in bad weather. The hen-house should be frequently cleaned out and occasionally white-washed; for, if kept dirty, the fowls will be infested with vermin. If this should happen, catch every fowl, even to the smallest chicken, and rub their skins and feathers well with lard or dripping; then have their house thoroughly cleaned and whitewashed at once, afterwards fumigating it with burning brimstone. Next throw some sand or fresh earth on the floor. If fowls are scantily supplied with water, or if they have access only to that which is dirty or puddled, they will contract a disorder called the pip, which is a thin white scale that grows on the tip of the tongue, and prevents their feeding Catch them, pull off the scale with your fore-finger nail, and then rub the tongue with salt. When fowls have this, or any other disease, they look drooping, their eyes appear dull, and their combs and gills become pale and flabby. When they are sick feed them with bran that has been mixed to a paste with boiling water.
In wet weather, keep the fowls shut up all day in the hen-house; also when it is very cold, taking care that they are properly supplied with food and water. They should have, in their house, a little manger or feed-ing-trough, which ought never to be empty. If they have plenty of food always by them, they will eat frequently, but only a little at a time, and it is best for them to do so. When their food is given to them scantily and irregularly, they injure themselves by devouring it too fast.
They should have food given to them regularly three times a day. When newly hatched they may have bread soaked in milk. By way of variety, you may give your fowls, occasionally, buck-wheat, bariey, rice, and oats.
If always fed there, they will stay chiefly in their house during the winter, and will in consequence be more healthy, and in every respect more profitable. They must he well supplied with plenty of clean water in large shallow pans of tin or earthenware; also with brick-dust and gravel, to assist their digestion. It is well to place in the centre of their large water-pan a small but heavy one of earthenware, turned bottom upwards, on which the fowls can stand to drink without wetting their feet, which often in winter makes them sick. Recollect always that dirty water gives them diseases. But a little clean brick-dust thrown occasionally in their drinking-pans is good for their digestion.
Their nests should be moveable, that •whenever the hen has done sitting they may he taken away and cleaned out before they are replaced For the nest you may place on the floor (not far from the walls but not against them) old flat baskets; or. deep boxes set up on the side; the open or entrance part turned from the light. Fill them with clean dry straw or hay. Place near the boxes lime for the hens to form their egg-shells, Old rubbish-lime, or plaster from old walls, is very proper for their purpose, if well broken up. If you cannot procure this, mix lime and water to a mortar: let it dry then break it up and put it into the hen-house. See that the sitting hens have plenty of food and water even-day, at the time they come off their nests. If they are not supplied at once, they will go back to their nests without waiting, and Buffer much in consequence.
Their roosts or perches should be so contrived as not to be exactly over each other, and some should be placed low enough for the young fowls to reach without difficulty in flying up to them. Let none of the nest-boxes be placed under the roosts.
The hen-house should frequently be cleaned out, whitewashed, fumigated with sulphur, or by burning boughs; and then strewed with sand.
Wormwood and rue, sown plentifully every spring about the neighbourhood of the hen-house, will tend to keep away vermin; and if strewed about the floor in the vicinity of their nests, it will keep off weasels and other such animals that come to suck eggs.
Bantam fowls are less injurious to a garden than any others, as the feathers about their feet prevent them from scratching up the seeds. If your garden fence has the paling sharp-pointed at the top, the fowls that are outside will find it difficult to get over; as after flying up to the top, they will have no place to rest their feet on while preparing to take their flight downward.