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Women and Poultry

Poultry for Pleasure
Poultry for Profit
Raising chickens

Poultry-keeping was women’s work; women, assisted by their children, tended to the birds’ daily needs, collected eggs, and butchered excess cockerels and hens no longer laying.

Many women were able to make a small income of their own from the sale of extra eggs. The first book published in English on the subject of poultry husbandry, in 1577, was directed towards women interested in turning a profit from their home flocks. The delightful, if unwieldy, title of the English translation is:

A discourse of housebandrie, no lesse profitable then delectable, declaryng how by the housebandrie, or rather housewiferie of hennes, for fiue hundreth Frankes or Frenche poundes (making in Englishe money lv.£i. xi.s. i.d.) once emploied, one maie gaine in the yere, fower thousande and fiue hundreth Frankes (whiche in Englishe money, maketh fiue hundreth poundes) of honest profite: All costes and charges deducted.