Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Squab Farm Started

This story is from the Ypsilanti Daily Press of Tuesday, August 10, 1905.

Ypsilanti is soon to have a new industry which bids fair to be a profitable and interesting one as well. It is a squab farm which has just been started at 107 Grove Street, on the former Hinkley property. This place, which contains about four acres, was recently purchased by Mr. A. H. Raymond, of Detroit, formerly of Philiadelphia, and prearations made to conduct a squab farm on a large scale. Already 300 squabs have been received and a good size flying pen is on the property so that work has begun in earnest. Later, as occasion demands, the pens will be added to and a large number of birds will be raised. Mrs. Raymond said this morning to a Daily Press reporter that so far the care of the birds seemed like a nuisance, although she was not yet ready to admit that she was tired of her job.

Mr. and Mrs. Raymond with their little daughter moved to Ypsilanti two weeks ago and purchased the property in question. Two days ago the birds, 150 pairs of them, arrived from Boston and were installed in their new home. The second story of a two story barn on the place has been fitted with nests for the birds and out of it opens the flying pen which is quit as high as the barn and covers considerable ground. Here are arranged ladders and perches and the birds enjoy the freedom.

The chief care of the birds is in feeding, which has to be done once each day. A mixture of red wheat and cracked corn is used and once in a while millet. Pails of water are kept in the house and the feed is put in a box with tiny openings for the birds to get the inviting grain.

"When we are settled," said Mrs. Raymond, this morning, "wewill have an automatic feeder, which will be less work than the present plan. With this we can place a lot of the grain in the pan and only so much of it will come into the box as the birds wat at a time. It will be much easier to care for the birds in this way."

The birds which Mrs. Raymond has are all thoroughbred homers and are of the finest stock. With these 300 birds they expect to raise not only a good marketable lot of birds, but to increase their present supply. A squab is marketable when it is four weeks old. Sometimes, when they grow quickly they are large enough to kill when when two or three weeks old. They are then killed and are easily markable at $2.50 per dozen. The average increase of the birds is about seven pairs per year.

While the birds are marketable at four weeks old they do not begin to breed until six months old, so the wise grower, as is the present case, startes with old birds, rather than younger ones, making the squabs pay the original cost of the investment.

Ypsilanti has several squab farms on a small scale, but one which promises to be so pretentious as this one, which is still, however, in the experimental stage.


At 11:42 AM, Blogger Teaspout said...

I am wondering, the location you reference seems that it could be the current site of Kluck's. If so, how ironic that a squab chicken farm is now occupied by a place with such a name.

At 7:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The term "squabs" was often used for immature passenger pigeons, which were a delicacy in the mid-19th century and widely hunted in Michigan. It is possible that these farms were raising captive passenger pigeons, though by 1905 most pps had been wiped from the face of the earth. They were mostly gone from Michigan, though occasional sightings continued in the first decade of the 20th century. Maybe they got a shipment of pps from a flock remnant in New England, shipped through Boston. More likely is that they were raising domestic pigeons. --ypsidixit

At 7:26 AM, Anonymous James said...

Dear Teaspout,

I do not think the Squab farm was were Kluck's is now, because a church was on that site until the 1920's. I do wonder where the farm was.

At 7:29 AM, Anonymous James said...

I was hoping someone would tell me what a Squab was, as I had never heard the term before. I doubt it was a passenger pigeon, but one can hope, perhaps dream, that those wonderful birds are still around, hiding someplace near Ypsilanti. A bird thought to be lost forever was recently found. I know it is at best unlikely that a passenger pigon or two slipped out of the farm and settled inthe near by woods; but still, I can dream.

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At 10:29 AM, Anonymous sprngrboy said...

The article says that the birds are thoroughbred homers? Why on earth wouldn't they raise Kings or some other utility breed? Homer squabs are too small. Utility breeds produce squabs of one to two pounds with more meat at up to $6.50 a lb. Raising homers for meat doesn't make sense!

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