Egg Production

Charlemagne Bricault, MDV

I sold my eggs to a man who bred White Wyandottes. For a while I was fairly well off until he went out of business. He became a horse doctor in Haverhill. -- Robert Frost, The Christian Science Monitor, March 8, 1963, page 9.

A reference to Charlemagne Bricault quoted in Robert Frost: Farm-Poultryman (1963), page 112

Charlemagne Bricault is a name that appears often within  Robert Frost's agricultural biography. His daughter Lesley even referred to him in her journals as "docter breako" (1969, Notes).

In 1899 Frost was living in Lawrence, Massachusetts after withdrawing from undergraduate studies at Harvard. The main reason for his withdrawal was a stress-induced respiratory condition. After a physician advised him to change his sedentary routine to one which included work in the out-of-doors, Frost decided to pursue his lifelong interest in chickens. (When Frost was a child in San Francisco he raised a few baby chicks in his backyard.)

Frost started his poultry career by consulting a local veterinarian on the best way to proceed. Charlemagne Bricault, MDV had a poultry farm in Metheun, Massachusetts and shared his knowledge of poultry breeding and egg production with Frost. Bricault advertised his farm as concentrating on "Bred-To-Lay" White Wyandotte chickens that produced  "Layers Bred From Layers."

Bricault advised Frost in the best ways to set up a poultry farm, sold him incubator eggs, and helped him to rent his first farm in Metheun. He was also the source of the 300 White Wyandotte chickens that accompanied the Frost family to Derry, New Hampshire. Bricault continued to support Frost's farming career by buying his eggs at a subsidized price (Parini, 1999).

Frost profiled Bricault in the only non-fiction article of the poultry trade publications: "Three Phases of the Poultry Industry" and described his farm as, "One of the pleasantest spots in an unusually attractive town, it is calculated to add materially to the effectiveness of its white feathered population. It is high and dry without being arid. In fact every square foot of it would be available for almost any kind of farming. Not the least of its advantages is its convenience to the cars, leaving no one an excuse for condemning Dr. Bricault’s stock or methods unseen..." (1903, page 481).

Here are some references to Dr. Bricault among the poultry trade materials of Frost's time:

Cyphers Third Annual Catalogue.jpg
Third Annual Catalogue of the Cyphers Incubator Company

Cyphers Incubator Company, Wayland, NY, 1899

"Dr. Bricault is a very enthusiastic and successful poultryman. His earlier life was spent in college and university until he located in Lawrence [Massachusetts] some twelve years ago, since which time he has built up a very good practice in veterinary surgery.

About four years ago he purchased a small farm on the borders of the city, and devoted it exclusively to breeding ‘ Bricault's bred-to-lay White Wyandottes.’  He is working for a brown egg strain that will give him 200 eggs a year, using nothing but standard weight breeders. Dr. Bricault expects to accomplish this within two or three years by the use of an automatic nest box in each pen and keeping a record of every hen on the farm. This season he keeps over 450 pullets, all bred from his best layers of brown eggs.

Bricault Cyphers Profile.jpg

The laying houses are built on the scratching shed plan, and are put up in the best possible manner. The grain room contains all the new up-to-date machines, such as Man's new bone cutter, clover cutter, root cutter, set boilers, grain mills, etc., all power machines being run by an electric motor.

Dr. Bricault gives special attention to fertility of eggs, as he intends hatching a large number of broilers and roasters. He raises his breeders in individual brooder houses, in which he places a small lamp brooder, giving the chicks the range of the farm. He puts vigor first on the list for selection, then egg- laying capacity and weight.

Dr. Bricault mates for higher fertility and feeds for the largest number of eggs. A concentrated morning mash is fed containing cut clover, green bone, etc., vegetables at noon and plenty of good, sound grain at night. Fresh running water and clean quarters add to the health of his birds.

The Doctor is a live, energetic up-to-date breeder, and he is bound to make a good financial success of the business." Page 85

Incubators: Cyphers Brooders, Poultry Houses and Appliances, Poultry Foods, Clover and Alfalfa Products, Insecticides and Remedies. Eleventh Annual Catalogue

Cyphers Incubator Company, 1907

Contains a portrait of Bricault and a testimonial for the "1906-Pattern Standard Cyphers Incubator," page 218

Dr. Bricault's 'New Idea' Poultry House.jpg
Practical Farm Buildings: Plans and Suggestions

Hunter, A. F., 1905

Describes Dr. Charlemagne Bricault's "New-Idea" Poultry House, page 8

Bricault Successful Poultry Keeping.jpg
Successful Poultry Keeping: A Text Book for the Beginner and for All Persons Interested in Better Poultry and More of It. Contains the "Secrets of Success" Both for Pleasure and Profit. New and Valuable Information on All Branches of the Poultry Business

Reliable Poultry Journal Publishing Company, 1907

Contains the article by Bricault, "Good Start for Little Money," page 44

Better Layers and More of Them 1.jpg
Eggs and Egg Farms: Trustworthy Information Regarding the Successful Production of Eggs--The Construction Plans of Poultry Buildings and the Methods of Feeding That Make Egg Farming Most Profitable. Third Edition

Reliable Poultry Journal Publishing Company, 1907

Contains the article by Bricault, "Better Layes and More of Them," pages 51 - 55

The Brooder Chick From Egg to Maturity.jpg
Success With Poultry: A Book on Successful and Profitable Poultry Raising, Containing Valuable Information for Persons Who Think of Engaging in Any Branch of The Poultry Business for Profit

Myers, J. W. Editor, 1914

Includes the article by Bricault, "The Brooder Chick From Egg to Maturity," pages 71-72