HC Deb 19 March 1918 vol 104 cc802-4

asked the President of the Board of Agriculture if his Department will at once reconsider the Government's policy in regard to poultry-keeping; is he aware that the national food supplies are being seriously jeopardised by the Government's policy; that poultry at all times thrive upon unavoidable waste products; and that, whilst running in fields, waste plot lands, and refuse dumps, they successfully procure their food by scavenging; that hundreds of thousands of practical poultry-keepers in our, country, who should know best, are dismayed by the lack of knowledge or sympathy with this form of food culture by his Department; and that hundreds of thousands are now signing petitions appealing for greater consideration by his Department and for the future good of the food supplies of the country?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of AGRICULTURE (Mr. Prothero)

I would refer the hon. Member to the answers given to the hon. Member for the Montrose Burghs on the 18th February, and to the hon. Member for Hertford on the 6th March. There will be about 50,000 tons of foodstuffs available for distribution through the poultry keepers' societies to selected owners of utility fowls for the purpose of ensuring the preservation of the most useful stocks of poultry in the country. In addition, poultry keepers will be able to obtain priority certificates which will entitle them to an allowance of 1 oz. of chicken food per day for each hen hatched after the 1st January, 1916. As to this an Order will, I understand, shortly be issued by the Ministry of Food. In view of the present difficulty of obtaining, animal feeding stuffs, I hope that owners of poultry will make the best use possible of all supplementary sources of feeding stuffs, and keep and rear as many birds as they can with the limited means at their disposal.


Will they have to produce the birth certificate of the fowls in order to obtain the food?


Can the right hon. Gentleman state the class of feeding-stuffs it is proposed to supply?


It is damaged grain, screenings, and similar products.


Did not the right hon. Gentleman state, on the occasion of a question recently, that he would issue a special paper, which would be obtainable by all poultry-keepers, giving them special information and instructions in connection with this matter; has he issued that paper, and, if not, when is it likely to be out?


It ought to be out at the end of this week.