Sunday, September 30, 2012

Celebrating Papergreat's 600th post with chickens, past and present

Welcome to Papergreat's 600th post!

That's a bundle of posts for a blog with no real agenda or focus, precious few viral hits and faint hopes of ever pulling in big bucks.1

Assuming that I've spent an average of 90 minutes2 carefully researching and writing each of the 600 posts here, I've spent 37.5 whole days of my life crafting Papergreat. So I guess it's not a surprise that I've been oblivious to the whole Honey Boo Boo phenomenon and other pop-culture curiosities of the past two years.

But, hey, I'm still having a blast! And pageviews have been on the rise in China, where I'm not yet on the "Blocked" list. So I plan to keep cheerily plugging away and plowing through ephemera.

There's a bit of a tradition here of celebrating every 200 posts. And chickens have been woven into the past two celebrations.3

So I think I'll hit the poultry hard one more time before retiring the Chicken Meme4 and coming up with a new idea in six months or so, when the 800th post rolls around.

Chickens of the past

Above: This is a portion of an advertisement for Conkeys feed5 from the February 1933 edition of Poultry Tribune. According to the advertising copy: "Conkeys the Original Buttermilk Starting Feed with Y-O contains an abundance of buttermilk, milk albumen, meat meal, etc., scientifically balanced and blended. No mixing — no guesswork. Keeps bowels open and digestive track in healthy condition. Only Conkeys is vitalized with Y-O."

(Y-O appears to have been a powder containing yeast, cod liver oil and vitamin.)

The G.E. Conkey Company was based in Cleveland and had mills in Cleveland, Toledo, Nebraska City and Dallas.

Above: These two advertisements — for products offered by Dr. J.A. Lockwood and Fox Poultry Farm Co. — are from the same issue of Poultry Tribune as the Conkeys advertisement.

Not being a poultry farmer, I was not aware that cannibalism was such a big problem among chickens.6 In fact, it turns out that it's so prevalent that the topic has its own Wikipedia page.

The slogan "Paint the windows — not the Chicks" is probably referring to this concept:
"It is theorized that ... placing red filters over windows or keeping the birds in red light ... prevent[s] the birds from recognizing the blood or raw flesh of other hens and thus diminish[es] cannibalistic behavior."

Above: This final advertisement comes from a different issue of Poultry Tribune — October 1935 (price: 10¢). A pullet is a young hen, and the advertising copy for Park & Pollard ManAmar Feeds urgently asks:
"Do your pullets look better or worse than last year? How many did you lose last year? Many of our eastern universities are reporting an average loss from 30% to 40% during the pullet year. That is far too great — and yet, what is being done about it? We say and we have proved that mineral deficiency is the real cause of these major losses. Supply the vital minerals in the ration and you avoid the loss."

According to this history of Buffalo published in 1927, Park & Pollard was just one of seven manufacturers of livestock feed in the city during that year. The others were Mapl-Flake Mills, Eastern States Co-op Milling Company, Maritime Milling Company, Ralston Purina, The Hecker-H. O. Company and Co-op. G. L. F. Exchange.

Chickens of the present

To cap off the 600th post, here is a gallery of chicken photographs that I took during the recent York Fair. Yes, that's right, I was the creepy guy with the camera, taking pictures of all the cute chicks...

Not all of the chickens looked terribly pleased about being photographed.

1. Negotiations for "Papergreat: The Motion Picture" and "Papergreat: The Broadway Musical" remain stalled. There is, however, a Ukrainian company that is interested in producing Papergreat-themed napkin rings.
2. My wife would argue that time estimate is low. I fear she's right.
3. The 200th post featured Casper, Jerry Richardson, David McCallum and Gatlinburg before concluding with some rock-star chickens, and the 400th post was pretty much wall-to-wall chickens. It's also worth noting that Papergreat delved into the realm of common poultry diseases in Summer 2011.
4. Chicken Meme would be a good name for a band. I think.
5. The G.E. Conkey Company published a book titled "A Handy Book of Reference on Poultry Raising" about a century ago. Reprints of the original text can be purchased through Amazon and other outlets, if you want to check it out.
6. Speaking of cannibalism, Season 3 of "The Walking Dead" starts on October 14. Now all I have to do is catch up on the rest of Season 2. Did they ever find that young girl who was missing?

1 comment:

  1. I'll be the first to sign up for the "Papergreat Napkin-Ring-Of-The-Month Club". I'll collect the entire set and impress my friends and neighbors :) :)