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97. Digestive Tract of a Fowl... 98. Farm Poultry Colony House.. 99. Free Range for Growing Chickens. 100. Interior of a Modern Poultry House. 101. Dry-mash Hoppers in Use. 102. The Value of Green Feed in Poultry Feeding. 103. Grain-sprouting Rack.... 104. Scattering Grain in the Litter.. 105. Two-compartment Fattening Crate..

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PRODUCTIVE FEEDING

OF FARM ANIMALS

INTRODUCTION PRODUCTIVE feeding of farm animals is only one of the factors on which successful animal husbandry depends; others are: Keeping the right kind of stock; giving it the necessary care and attention and maintaining the animals in a healthy condition. Each of these factors is of fundamental importance to the stockman. If one is not given due attention, the results secured will not be satisfactory, no matter how favorable the conditions with which the animais may be surrounded in other respects.

A clear understanding of the main principles underlying the nutrition of farm animals has never been more important to the stock farmer than at the present time, with prevailing high prices for feed and labor. In order to secure profitable returns, the farmer must be able to adapt these principles to the special conditions that surround him; these are likely to vary in different years, both as to prices and products. Modern industries supply immense quantities of by-products that serve as feed for farm stock, such as flour- and pil-mill feeds, starch and sugar-factory feeds, brewery and distillery feeds, and others. These differ much in nutritive values as well as in cost. Since better results may be obtained in feeding stock a combination of different feeds than from only one or two, it is important not only to understand the principles of stock feeding, but to become familiar with the different available feeding stuffs, their main characteristics and nutritive properties, as well as their relative values under changing market conditions. Only in this way can the stock farmer secure the best and most economical returns from his feeding operations and make stock raising pay; provided the other factors have received proper attention: Keeping animals adapted for the purpose in view, and giving them the care which they require in order to do well.

Animal husbandry is one of the most remunerative branches of agriculture when rightly conducted, and it makes permanent agriculture possible. The stock farmer is a manufacturer, converting the raw materials raised on the farm into valuable human food products. Generally speaking, the animal products sold contain only small amounts of fertility, and the stock farmer can, therefore, secure good crops from his land for an indefinite period with a relatively small outlay for fertilizers. He does not, like many grain farmers, rob the farm of its fertility until it will no longer produce paying crops, making it necessary to change the system of farming or to move on to some other section where the same method of selling the fertility of the land can be repeated. Stock farming can be pursued on the same land with excellent results from generation to generation, and for centuries, as is shown by conditions in the agricultural regions of the Old World.

The livestock farmer utilizes his own labor and that of his family throughout the year, and not only during the growing season. Stock raising in general leads to thrift and develops some of the best qualities in man. His children grow up with young stock and learn to enjoy and love them, and thus in turn acquire one of the fundamentals for successful animal husbandry, an appreciation of good stock and love of animals. Without these qualities, a farmer is not likely to give his stock the watchful care that they require for best results.

There are various reasons why animal husbandry will continue to be one of the best paying branches of agriculture in America. One is, that our population is increasing considerably faster than is the number of farm animals. This holds true of all classes of livestock, except horses; there has, in reality, been an actual decrease in the number of cattle, sheep, and swine in this country since the beginning of the present century, while our population increased over twenty per cent from 1900 to 1910.

Another reason why stock raising will prove a profitable business in the future is the fact that it is not likely to be overcrowded. Stock raising calls for a larger investment than grain farming, and many farmers do not have or cannot secure the necessary capital to engage in animal husbandry; this is especially true of the large and increasing class of tenant farmers in many of the States. Furthermore, it takes from nearly a year to three or four years, according to the system of stock raising adopted, before the investment will yield any revenue. Like people in other walks of life, many farmers lack the necessary business ability and foresight to plan ahead for such a period. If cattle, e.g., are low and produce little or no revenue one year, it is easy to get discouraged, and many cannot see that such a period is just the time when one should plan for cattle raising, since a shortage of cattle with resulting high prices is certain to follow a period of low prices.

The preceding considerations suggest the reasons for the belief held by those familiar with the situation, that the prospects for the livestock industry in this country are very bright. In spite of the high cost of feed and labor and the rise in land values during the last decade, the industry will furnish excellent opportunities for farmers that give their stock good care. But the changed conditions call for a higher type of farming and stock raising than that followed by the majority of farmers of earlier times.

Only improved stock, bred for the specific purpose in view, can give the results that must be reached to make stock raising profitable on high-priced land, and systems of feeding and management must be adopted that will secure such returns at a minimum cost. To be successful, the stock raiser must be a student and a business man, in addition to a farmer. He should secure all the technical knowledge relating to his profession that he can, and understand the leading principles of the livestock industry, so that he may be prepared to grapple successfully with the problems that confront the stockman.

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