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Online History Journal

Wed, May 01, 2013

Santa Cruz Egg Laying Contest: 1918-1931

By Jill Ramar

This article is part of the MAH's Online History Journal, a collection of original research on local history. Dive deep into Santa Cruz County history in this ever-growing forum and start curating your own.

No matter how poetic our sentiments may be, in sober truth we will have to acknowledge that poultry is more essential to the welfare and well being of mankind than poetry.
—Josephine Clifford McCrackin

Introduction

Santa Cruz County was once known for its poultry. Due to local pride and enthusiasm for this industry, and to demonstrate the superiority of the poultry found in Santa Cruz, local poultrymen organized an egg laying contest in 1918. The contest was a great success and continued for thirteen years, from 1918 through 1931.

So, what was an egg laying contest? It was a contest to determine whose hens laid the most eggs in a given amount of time. Each poultryman was assigned a pen (or enclosure) at the contest site. Here he placed his ten best hens and/or pullets, whose eggs would be counted daily. (A pullet is a young hen less than a year old and, thus, in her first
year of laying eggs.)

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