Fishponds On Farms
Fishponds On Farms The propagation of fish on farms in artificially constructed ponds or in natural ponds of limited area is perfectly feasible; and with Proper management of such ponds will afford a convenient and economical food supply that will justify the expense of their construction or preparation and maintenance.
The propagation of fish on farms in artificially constructed ponds or in natural ponds of limited area is perfectly feasible; and with Proper management of such ponds will afford a convenient and economical food supply that will justify the expense of their construction or preparation and
This information has reference exclusively to the rearing of the spiny-rayed or warm-water fishes, which are especially adapted to culture in ponds, and which can only be propagated through natural reproduction.
Data regarding the Trouts and other species of the Salmonids which can be propagated artificially are contained in other publications of the Bureau of Fisheries.’
Federal and State Government have in the past decade done much to improve the conditions of rural life by the development of public resources, the advancement of social intercourse, the dissemination of agricultural knowledge, and demonstrations of a better domestic practice. Up to the present time, however, little attention has been given to fish culture as an adjunct to farming.
VALUE OF FISH AS FOOD.
Mental and physical efficiency, in the last analysis, are dependent upon the character of the food supply, and fish may well constitute a needed ingredient which is usually missing from the farm dietary.
The requirement of variety in food is unquestioned, if indeterminate, and the palatability of fish to the average person, in conjunction with its value in protein content, makes it a pleasing and beneficial addition to the daily regimen.
The chemically complex substance known as protein is an essential constituent of food, the most important tissues of the body, other than the skeleton, being principally composed of it.
Most human beings derive their needed protein from the flesh of animals, and in all civilized communities the greater part of it is supplied by meat and poultry.
In the United States the main dependence in the past has been on meat—beef, mutton, and pork—which, owing to the large areas available for grazing and the low price of corn, could be raised in quantities great in proportion to the population.
These criteria no longer prevail, and shortage of the meat supply, resulting in soaring prices, is now a general condition. As A substitute for meat fish offers many advantages. Pound for pound it contains as much protein as meat, and in some cases more. It therefore affords the same class and grade of food material as beef, mutton, and pork.
Unfortunately, those actively engaged in farm work rarely could fish in neighboring lakes and streams, and more distant excursions, involving several days’ absence from home, are usually beyond consideration. The need is apparent, therefore, for a readily accessible supply of fresh fish that may be drawn upon when desired—a source as dependable as the smokehouse or the poultry yard.
The Bureau aims specially to influence the utilization of the natural and favorable water areas existing on countless farms which at the present time are being put to no use, many of them constituting unsightly waste spaces that detract from the value of the land.
The presence of springs, lakes, flowing wells, or adjacent streams are all leading incentives to a fishery project, and suitable sites for the construction of ponds, especially if at present unremunerative, should make their use to such a purpose desirable to the thrifty husbandman after a full comprehension of their possibilities in a fish-cultural way.
Ponds intended primarily for the cultivation of fish may be conveniently located for the watering of stock, or the overflow there- from may be utilized for the irrigation of land.
In many sections of the United States artificial ponds on farms are an absolute necessity to serve one or both these latter purposes, and by a merely nominal expenditure such water areas may be advantageously utilized for the growing of fish without interfering in any way with the original uses for which they were intended.
At the outset the main object of the amateur farmer fish-culturist should be the production of a food supply for home consumption.
There are no authentic published records as to the financial returns that may be expected from the pursuit of pond fish culture on a commercial basis.
Many theories have been advanced on this point, but, as in other undertakings of importance, the efficiency necessary in order to profitably conduct such a business can only be gained by repeated efforts and actual experience.
Furthermore, in order to arrive at an estimate of any value one would have to take into consideration such important factors as the topographical features of the site, the character and quantity of the water supply available, the extent of the enterprise, and the location of the plant with reference to market and transportation facilities.
Taking all these facts into consideration, one can readily see the futility of attempting to forecast in a general treatise the financial returns that may be expected from any given pond area devoted to commercial fish culture.
All this, however, detracts in no way from the argument favoring the construction of ponds with the view to providing a food supply for private use. The feasibility of pond fish culture on this basis has been fully demonstrated, and ample quantities of fish for home use are today being propagated in established ponds on farms, proving the value of such an undertaking for that purpose alone.
After gaining the required experience and knowledge of the subject as a result of conducting work for several years on a limited scale, the farmer will be professionally qualified to judge as to the practicability of extending his operations, and can then, if he so chooses, increase his facilities with the view of raising fish for the market.
Frequent inquiries are received by the Bureau of Fisheries regarding the use of natural ponds, lakes, and streams for the raising of fish. With respect to such water areas, it may be stated that if drainage is provided for, the pond bed cleared of debris, the site protected against the inflow of surface water—if, in short, complete control is affected, natural water areas will possess many advantages over artificial constructions. There is an objection, however, to any body of water not under complete control.
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