The Hazelhurst Poultry farm is one of the most successful and best equipped in Western North Carolina. It is situated near Cliffside just off State Highway 207 and is owned by Walter H. Haynes, with Hatcher Melton as manager. Modern methods for efficiency and production are at once apparent. Up to date and scientific management result in the raising of healthy chickens that average four and five eggs a week. Death from disease is almost unheard of to these fortunate birds.
The Hazelhurst Poultry Farm is the home of White Leghorn chickens exclusively, as no other fowl is raised there. Experience here has proved that the White Leghorn is much more profitable than any other, such as Barred Plymouth Rocks and Rhode Island Reds. The quantity of feed sufficient for two hundred and fifty Leghorns will only feed two hundred Plymouth Rocks or Rhode Island Reds. Moreover it is found that the Leghorn egg possesses greater fertility than do the others; in fact, from five to ten per cent more hatching quality, and the Leghorn chick gains weight more rapidly than the heavier breeds.
The buildings are of particular interest. There are two especially for laying hens; one is 120 feet long by 20 feet wide with accommodations for five hundred hens; the other is 90 feet long by 20 feet wide and takes care of three hundred hens. A third structure is devoted to breeding purposes. This has a capacity of one thousand hens and is divided into ten sections, each having room for a hundred hens and seven roosters. There are also several small six by ten feet buildings for special mating hens. All the floors are covered with corn shucks and chaff, a very satisfactory practice. Running water is piped to all the buildings, which are separately equipped with feed rooms. The buildings are kept scrupulously clean; this accounts for the absence of disease in the stock.
Every non-productive hen goes to the market. This is no place for loafers. Of course the new stock fills vacancies. The eggs are all hatched in incubators, a method which has been found most efficient as well as convenient. Eighty per cent of the eggs are hatched from the total of 3,200 put in, and the hatching is done in close sequence.
A Balanced Feed.
Every necessity is provided for the growing chicks. There is an acre planted in sunflowers, probably the largest individual sunflower field in Western North Carolina. Also half an acre of alfalfa, which give plenty of natural shade, that is so essential, and green feed in abundance. The chicks are given free range in this and thrive wonderfully. They also get grain and mash to make a balanced diet. Thus, when they reach an age of eight or ten weeks, they weigh from a pound and three fourths to two pounds. From twelve to fifteen hundred of these pullets are kept for winter layers.
The fifteen hundred laying hens produce an average of twelve hundred eggs per day. Of the fertile eggs hatched, from forty to fifty per cent are cocks which are used for breeding and the market. The unfertile eggs are packed in cardboard cartons and sold.
An unusual experiment is being made with pheasants to determine whether they can be domesticated on a small scale. Twenty-seven eggs are being hatched by two pair of breeding pheasants and Bantam hens. The results cannot be determined as yet. It is fairly reasonable, however, to assume that pheasants can be raised on a small scale, though it is doubtful if a large number can be domesticated. The species may be too wild. For the benefit of those who have never seen a pheasant’s egg, it is somewhat smaller than a hen’s egg and more nearly globular in shape. The color is light olive.
It is interesting to note that five hundred gallons of water are consumed daily by the four thousand chickens. It is necessary to use a 1500 gallon standpipe to supply the Hazelhurst Farm and even this must be continually refilled. A pump driven by a gasoline motor is used for this purpose. The fowls also eat 500 pounds of grain and mash and 200 pounds of green feed per day, and these birds do not live as the proverbial church mice. They are of the Tom Barren English strain and deserve the best there is.
Other Products Of The Farm.
Although poultry constitutes a considerable part of the produce of Hazelhurst Farm, the 640 acres of cultivated land are well worthy of attention. This division is in the charge of F.S. Wall. Sixty-five acres are devoted to cotton, sixty-five to corn and one hundred and fifty to oats and peas. In addition there are four tenants who have between fifty and seventy-five acres each. The pasture contains about fifty acres.
A nearby creek is dammed up, forming a lake which is deep enough for swimming as well as to furnish considerable power.
Walter H. Haynes, the owner of Hazelhurst Farms, is one of the best known citizens of this section. Though very modest and of a retiring nature, he always stands ready to aid in any movement for the progress of Rutherford County.
This item was printed in The Sun on June 14, 1928.