Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. FRIDAY, MAY 19, 1905. EGG LAYING COMPETITION.
The egg-laying competition at present in progress at Lincoln College is the first of its kind that has yet been held in the colony. By instituting this competition the Utility Poultry Club has shown that it is worthy of its name, and by the time the competition close 3, which will happen in about a twelvemonth from now, the results that will have been accumulated are bound to prove of the highest possible value to poultry farrneis. The poultry industry is still in its infancy in this colony, and if it is pursued on systematic lines, there is every reason to believe that it will turn out to be one of tho colony's mo3t valuable assets. The object of the present competition is to improve the egg-laying standard of the hens of the colony, by discovering which breeds return the greatest number of eggs in a year. The hena are to be all fed in the same way, a dietary having? been prepared by the Director of Lincoln College on scientific lines., The competition has attracted entries from thirty-eight competitors, the various breeds.represented being Black and Buff Orpingtons, and Silver Wyondottes, seven pens each; White and Brown Leghorns, four pens eaoh; White Wyandottes, tkree pens ; Anconas, Minorcas, Partridge Wyandottes, Buff Leghorns, Black Langshansj and White Plymouth Rocks, one pen each. Poultry enthusiasts are confident that when the results are finally tabulated next May, they will cause astonishment amongst those who are sceptical as to the payable possibilities of poultry raising. What enthusiasts are attempting to prove by instituting this competition is that poultry farmingl, if properly conducted, is a business in which there is a Eure and certain profit. It has been pointed out that Britain/ imports every year between six and seven million pounds' worth of poultry andegga. Even so small a country as Denmark exports in a year to Britain and elsewhere poultry and egg 3 equal in value to all the wool exported from New Zealand in a year. This ia a clear indication of what possibilities there are in the poultry industry, and if it is encouraged, it ought to provide profitable employment for a very great number of people in this colony. If the industry i 3 taken up enthusiastically by a sufficient number of farmers, the Government may be depended on to do their best to foster the trade with British markets, and the poultry and egga exported in a year from New Zealand would in a few years represent a substantial addition to the wealth of the farming community. The object of the competition now being held at Lincoln College is, of course, purely to discover the best egg-producing varieties of fowls/, their qualities as table birds being put on one side for the present. All eggs under l^ozs in weight are rejected, and it is in connection with this that an important point has been brought up. In the present competition, of course, the weight of the eggs produced by each pen will be taken into account in deciding which are the best. But in connection with the system on which eggs are sold in New Zealand it is pointed out that the practice of selling by numbers instead of by weight, as is the custom in America, is intrinsically a mistaken qne. Eggs, it is well known, vary considerably in weight, and a dozen laid by one breed of hens are very often much heavier than a dozen laid by another breed. This ia a very important consideration for the housewife, who, if she has only the lighter eggs on hand, may require to use half as many again as she would need if she had a supply of the heavier eggs. If it was the custom to sell eggs by weight or by bulk, this confusion would be obviated, Moreover, it would be fairer to the owners of poultry. For obviously where a hen produces eggs that are heavier than the average weight she is likely to produce a smaller number of eggs than are produced by a hen that lays the lighter weight eggs, and since eggs are sold by number only, the result is that' a poultry farmer often does not secure for his eggs their real value as compared with other and lighter eggs. The point is one that the Utility Poultry Society might very well devote attention to, and it is probable that if the Christchurch Society and other kindred bodies throughout the colony set themselves to the task, they could bring abont the introduction of tbe change to which we have alluded. It is said that if a return wa* made up of the number of egga consumed in the colony in a year, it would surprise most people, and though a change to a system of selling eggs by weight or bulk would not make any difference to the public who purchase them, it would result in a fairer distribution of the profits among those whose fowls produce them.