Some breeders, Mr Cattell included, prefer putting the turkey eggs under fowls, allowing these to hatch them, and then transferring the day-old chicks at night to turkeys which have been broody about fourteen days. The turkeys usually take to the chicks all right, and certainly make the best mothers, as they find the youngsters so much natural food. An advantage of this plan is that as many as twenty-five turkey chicks can be given to one turkey hen to mother, and there is less risk of the eggs being crushed by a fowl than by a turkey, which is often a clumsy although a good sitter.
So, back in 1918 it was recognised practice to use chickens to brood turkey eggs, particularly where the turkey hen is a first-time mother.
Your Chickens magazine also includes adverts for modern chicken feed that includes all the nutrients chickens require to live healthy lives. In 1918 too, chicken keepers were very concerned to keep their chickens well-nourished. Poultry-Keeping provides extensive daily menus, which vary month by month, in order to ensure chickens had a varied diet that incorporated all the ingredients to keep the birds fit, well and laying successfully throughout the year. For example, in September and October the authors recommend that chickens kept in confined earth runs are fed:
SUNDAY, TUESDAY AND THURSDAY—Breakfast, 8 a.m., stout white oats or white Canadian peas. Dinner, 1 p.m., meat scraps and cooked vegetables, such as cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, or carrots, but not potatoes. Also green food each day. Last feed of day, at 5.30 p.m., to be wheat, if oats given at breakfast time; but if peas are given for breakfast, then let the last feed be oats.
MONDAY AND WEDNESDAY—Breakfast, soft food, biscuit and meat meal and fine bran; scald these together and let stand for a few minutes, then add sufficient middlings to make the whole crumbly. If biscuit and meat meal are not procurable, then use equal parts pea meal, ground oats, and fine bran, scalded, and dried off as above, and to this should be added a cup of granulated meat or meat greaves to every four cupfuls of meal, and this meal should be scalded well with boiling water before adding it to the meal and before the latter is scalded. When this is done, there will be no necessity to give cooked animal food at noon. The same applies to biscuit and meat meal. Dinner, green food, such as cabbage leaves or cauliflower leaves, hung up in the run about two feet from the ground. Last feed, oats, wheat, or peas, alternate nights, but do not give mixed.
FRIDAY AND SATURDAY—Soft food as on Monday; but should the weather be cold or wet add a handful or two of maize meal to the biscuit meal and bran before scalding—about half the quantity of the biscuit meal—and this must be allowed a little extra time to swell before adding the thirds or middlings.
It looks as though the early twentieth-century chicken keeper had to be a chef and run a restaurant for his fowls! It is much easier today when you can just open a sack of ready-mixed chicken feed. By the way, middlings are a by-product of the wheat milling industry – the coarse-ground wheat and bran that is left over after making flour – and meat greaves is an edible by-product of rendering animal carcases. Therefore, chicken-keepers in 1918 were feeding their birds the unprocessed leftovers that are today often processed for inclusion in animal feed (which looks and smells a lot nicer than the basic ingredients from which it is made!).