News of Seasonal Produce Offerings, Auctions, Events, Agritourism and Farmers in Casey County, Kentucky ~ and the Old Order Mennonite & Amish Communities ~ located in the scenic Knobs Region and agricultural heart of Kentucky.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Farm Attic: Part 2 on Chicken Farming

Cover art is often a selling point of older magazines
but I also like farm-related magazines for their content.
Yesterday I received a magazine I had ordered––mainly for the cover, but also for the content. The Farmer's Wife eventually merged with The Farm Journal but for several decades it was its own magazine. It was specifically 'A Magazine for Farm Women' with fictional stories, recipes, columns and useful advice for home and farm. You can still find these magazines, on occasion, in good condition (eBay, for one) and I got this one for less than I'd pay for a new magazine. I want to frame the cover, above, and keep the contents (or frame the magazine and photocopy inside first).

So in browsing the contents I was pleased and delighted to find––especially after yesterday's first installment of 'Farm Attic,' with the photo of Mammy Wells with her chickens, c. 1924––a column in this July 1926 issue of The Farmer's Wife called 'The Farm Woman's Poultry Business.' Here is an excerpt:
Who is interested in raising or breeding poultry? First the farmer's wife, for she knows the value of the fresh egg, the spring fry, the Thanksgiving turkey, the Christmas goose. Her family must be supplied with the very best. Next comes the housewife with the backyard flock. Then the teacher, the banker, the preacher, the club boys and girls, and lastly the men and women who make their entire living from the rightly named 'commercial flock'––they keep no birds that can not pay their way. Sentiment is eliminated... Some day we may have an over-production but when that time comes if each individual in the United States eats three and one-half chickens a year, the entire supply will be wiped out.

Of all agricultural products in the United States, in 1923 only four (dairy products, corn, cotton and hogs) were of greater value than poultry [which is listed as a value of $1,050,000,000 dollars in 1926!]...We have never known the time when there wasn't some sort of poultry in the barnyard or the back yard and because it is so common most of us have taken it for granted and do not know its history or its economic value.

~ From the column, 'The Farm Woman's Poultry Business,' conducted by Clara M. Sutter, The Farmer's Wife, July 1926, pp. 366-367.  
Written on the back of this photo: 'Brooder house and Grandma Bannie's
chickens across the drive near the corner of road.' c. 1940

Here is a related photo from the history of our own farm. We're just over the Casey County line in Pulaski County, a mile or so as the crow flies from Mintonville, and we can see Green River Knob from our own knob (so we can at least see Casey County). The house on the left still exists and was updated in the 1990s by the former owner. It is now our farm cottage. And, among other things, we keep chickens, too.

1 comment:

  1. People these days don't know what a brooder house is. My grandmother's still stands behind my house next to her old chicken house. I remember Mammy having small chicks in the brooder house and there was a wood-burning stove in there to keep them warm. It's a wonder she didn't burn the brooder house down but it still stands after about 116 years. The termites and rot have taken their toll of both structures and the old privy, however.