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New York State Egg Laying Contest


By Melissa Aziz

We all know about the many farm animals that used to reside here at Farmingdale State College. But did you know that the New York State Egg Laying Contest was also held here annually? The first Contest was in 1920, here at the State Institute of Applied Agriculture.   It attracted “the attention of the poultry world, because it is the first one to undertake to accumulate data on breeding records in connection with the egg-laying contest” (Long Island Agriculturist, Oct. 1920, p. 1).   This first year also included a day of events such as demonstrations, lectures, sightseeing and athletics, and it was hoped that “many Long Island poultry fanciers, as well as many Long Island farmers who are interested, will take this occasion to visit the contest, bringing along the family lunch basket” (Long Island Agriculturist, Oct. 1920, p. 1).

Over the years, farmers from all over entered their chickens in the contest over the years, including birds from New Jersey, California, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Oregon.

(All were Eggcited for the contest!)

There were three catastrophes that happened during the history of the contest.

  1. October 1929 when laryngotrachitis struck the flock and took a high mortality rate
  2. November 1932, a hurricane hit the campus and destroyed one of the houses
  3. October 27, 1945, a fire broke out and wiped out half of the new plant

The winners for the first year were Single Comb White Leghorns, owned by Mr. F. J. Loveland of New City, N. Y. These hens laid 3,739 eggs. Second place was tied, by the birds of Mr. George Phillips of North Haven, Conn., and Mr. H. F. Hendrickson of Bridgehampton, L. I.

Egg Laying Contest

New York State Egg Laying Contest

All were Eggcited for the contest!)

Egg Scale

Egg Scale

This photo shows the measuring tools for the eggs.

Placeholder Image


Pullets, which are young hens, were entered by poultry farmers, and every egg laid was weighed for 51 weeks.  At the end of the contest, the Egg Production Record Per Pullet was calculated from all entries.

The first year of the New York State Egg Laying Contest, the total number of eggs laid during the entire year was 139,477, or an average of 152.11 eggs per bird.

Egg Laying Test Pens

Egg Laying Test Pens

This picture shows the original Egg Laying Test Pens in 1923. The total for the year was 3,684 eggs.

(There was an Eggstrodinary number of eggs!)

Poultry Laying Test Pens

Poultry Laying Test Pens

This is another picture of the poultry-laying test pens in 1924, Hicks Hall on the left, and Hooper Hall and Mott House in the distance.  The pens are where Horton Hall is today.

Egg Laying Hens

The Contestants

This photo shows the contestants for the egg-laying contest.