Re: Poultry Car

Douglas Harding
 

The image of the bare framework is definitely a poultry car. You can see the frame work for holding the cages or coops. And there would not be wood sides, the sides were typically a wire mesh. Each car was equipped with water and feed for the birds. There is typically a roof hatch, I assume for the feed box, above the center section of the car. And the underbelly tank is most likely a water tank. Do you suppose there was a pump or just dip a bucket through a trap door in the floor? The center section also contained a small bunk room with stove for the attendant. A center aisle ran the length of car. Cages were loaded via this aisle and the attendant used it to care for the care birds. The attendants job included caring for the birds, ie feed and water, collecting eggs, cleaning the cages, and disposing of dead birds.

 

Many poultry cars were leased, to individuals or companies, who used the car to collect/purchase poultry as they made their rounds, probably following a pre-determined or assigned route. The birds were then delivered to a central processing facility at the end of the route. In many poultry car photos you can see a name above the center door on the car. Notice the name “Long” on the photo from the Barriger Library. Long could have been the attendant who leased the car from Live Poultry Transit Co. Or Long could be the company who hired the attendant to work the car.

 

Doug  Harding

www.iowacentralrr.org

 

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