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AGRIC. 
LIBRARY 




THE 

AMERICAN POULTRY YARD; 

COMPRISING THE 

ORIGIN, HISTORY, AND DESCRIPTION 

OF THE DIFFERENT BREEDS 

OF 

DOMESTIC POULTRY; 

WITH 

. 

COMPLETE DIRECTIONS FOR THEIR BREEDING, CROSSING, REARING 
FATTENING, AND PREPARATION FOR MARKET; INCLUDING SPE- 
CIFIC DIRECTIONS FOR CAPONISING FOWLS, AND FOR 
THE TREATMENT OF THE PRINCIPAL DISEASES TO 
WHICH THEY ARE SUBJECT; DRAWN FROM 
AUTHENTIC SOURCES AND PER- 
SONAL OBSERVATION; 

ILLUSTRATED WITH NUMEROUS ENGRAVINGS. 

B Y D . J . B R O W N E .:--, ; " 

AUTHOR OF THE SYLVA AMERICANA. 



WITH 



AN APPENDtl, 

EMBRACING THE COMPARATIVE MERITS OF DIFFERENT 
BREEDS OF FOWLS, 

BY SAMUEL ALLEN. 



NEW YORK : 

PUBLISHED BY C. M. SAXT^DN. 
1850. 



SF- 

*T"5 



AGRIC. 
LiBBAWT 



MAIN LIBRARY AGRIC. DEFT. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1849, by 

EPHRAIM BLANCHARD, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern 
District of New York. 






ADVERTISEMENT. 



THE "American Poultry Yard" being now completed, the publisher has thought 
proper to offer- a few preliminary remarks on its design and the manner in which it 
has been got up. 

Actuated by the most liberal motives, he has, in the first place, endeavored to keep 
pace with the improvements of the age, in obtaining the best information on the sub- 
ject, that could be procured, suited to the general reader, and answering, at the same 
time, the pin-poses of practice and economy. 

Mr. Browne, the ostensible author of this work, was bred and brought up a practical 
farmer, and was favorably known as editor of " The Naturalist," a monthly periodical, 
published in Boston some twenty years ago, and more recently as a civil engineer on 
our public works, and as the writer of a treatise on American trees. He is an enthu- 
siastic devotee to the natural and exact sciences, particularly to agriculture and rural 
economy, having travelled and resided for a considerable time in various parts of 
North and South America, the West Indies, Europe, and Western Africa, with the 
express object of practically investigating the agriculture and natural features of those 
countries. From his intimate knowledge of the history and habits of our domestic 
animals, having devoted, probably, more attention to the subject, as a whole, by read- 
ing and observation, than any other individual in the country, the task of preparing 
this work was assigned to him. 

Mr. Allen, who has very generously looked over the proof sheets, and favored the 
public witli a valuable Apppendix, is well known as the father and co-laborer of the 
editors of the " American Agriculturist," and as an experienced and successful breeder 
of stock, as well as of the choicer varieties of domestic fowls. 

The publisher, therefore confidently presents the "American Poultry Yard" to 
tho public with the full belief that it combines the utmost economy and utility, united, 
at the same time, with elegance and the facility of obtaining the desired end. 

C. M. SAXTON. 



NEW YORK, January 2, 1850. 



M118063 



PREFACE. 



THE scope and intention of the present treatise, perhaps, is sufficiently declared in 
the title page. Therefore, to waste the reader's time by further details would be as 
Impertinent as unnecessary. The hasty manner in which these pages have been com- 
piled, the want of a more intimate knowledge of the history and pedigree of the vari- 
ous breeds of our domestic birds, of which but few records are to be found, together 
with the limited nature of the work itself, are the only apologies the author has to 
offer for any errors and deficiencies with which he doubtless may be charged. With- 
out great aid from those who have written before him, the volume, though not 
large, never could have appeared ; yet, most of the current books on poultry are but 
compilations of matter, valuable only to those practically acquainted with the sub- 
ject, and many of them unsuited to our economy as well as to our climate, and full 
of errors and confusion, that would be obvious to the attentive reader, even though 
he never had seen a fowl in his life. 

In order to write a perfect work on poultry, two important desiderata would bo 
required for its attainment ; one or the other of them would be indispensable the 
first, a complete set of full-sized colored figures of every variety, giving both the 
male and female, the egg, and the newly-hatched chick, with accurate and technical 
descriptions of their plumage and their characteristic properties ; the second, a col- 
lection of stuffed specimens of the representatives of every breed for comparison and 
reference. The first of these might be accomplished by a person, or an association of 
persons of fortune, by procuring a complete collection of all the varieties whose 
characters are decidedly distinct, both of this country and from abroad, and breeding 
them in-and-in for a series of years, as well as by judicious crossing with one an- 
other. An enterprise of this kind, conducted with proper intelligence and experi- 
ence, however trivial it may appear in the eyes of many, would be worth millions to 
the country, and prove a boon to mankind. 

In order that he may not be accused of the reproach of " strutting in borrowed 
plumes," the author has the candor to confess that he has made a free use of the 
labors of Pliny, Columella, Cuba, Aldrovandi, Mascall, Reaumur, Moubray, Par- 
inentier, Flourens, W. B. Dickson, J. J. Nolan, W. C. L. Mai-tin, and the Ilev. Edmund 
S. Dixon, particularly of those of the four gentlemen last named, without giving 
them, in numerous instances, such credit as the punctilious critic would seem t > 
demand. Be this as it may, the author has endeavored not to deviate from estab- 
lished custom, except in caaes where he deemed it expedient to change the language, 
in part, for the sake of brevity, elucidation, or Americanising' the subject, or adapting 
it to our climate, economy, and social condition. Much of the matter, however, and 
beveral of the illustrations, he claims to be original. With this avowal, he will de- 
clare no more than his full trust in a candid consideration of whatever merit hia 
book may deserve. D. J. B. 

Jfno York, December 26tA, 1849. 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL 



ORIGIN AND HISTORY. 



fowls were prepared for me, and also onco 

in ten days, store of all sorts of wine." 

HOLT WRIT. 



THE COMMON FOWL, as well as the pea fowl, are of 
Indian > origin, and we learn nothing respecting them 
till within a comparatively recent epoch. It will natu- 
rally be asked, What is the earliest date of poultry- 
keeping ? Nobody knows. It is thought by some to 
be coeval with the keeping of sheep by Abel, and the 
tilling of the ground by Cain a supposition which 
cannot be far from probability, if there is any founda- 
tion for the legend that G-omer, the eldest son of 
Japhet, took a surname from the cock. Indeed, it 
would be to him that Western Europe stands indebted 
for a stock of fowls from the ark itself. For, it is 
supposed by the erudite, and shown by at least probable 
arguments, that the descendants of Gromer settled in 
the northern parts of Asia Minor, and then spread into 
the Cimmerian Bosphorus and the adjacent regions, 
and that from them the numerous tribes of the Grauls, 
Germans, Celts, and Cimbrians descended. It is true 
that there is no mention of fowls by name in the Old 
Testament, except a doubtful allusion in the Vulgate 



BOMESTIC FOWL. 



translation of the book of Proverbs, (xxx. 31,) which 
is lost in the authorised version. There is another 
equally disputable passage in Ecclesiastes, xii. 4. 
" And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the 
sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at 
the voice of the bird, (that is, at cock-crowing,) and all 
the daughters of music shall be brought low." A still 
less certain evidence occurs in the book of Job, xxxviii. 
36. " Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts ? or 
who hath given understanding to the heart ?" 

The apparent omission of the name of the domestic, 
fowl from the Old Testament may possibly have arisen 
from this cause, namely, that tending them would be 
the occupation of women, whose domestic employments 
are less prominently brought forward by oriental 
writers than the active enterprises of men ; and, also, 
that the birds specially named there are the unclean 
birds, which are to be avoided, whereas those which 
may be eaten are classed in a lump as " clean." See 
Leviticus, xi. 13, and Deuteronomy, xiv. 11. 

That the fowl was domesticated and extensively 
spread at a very remote period, is very evident; but 
it does not seem clear whether it was possessed by the 
Israelites before the consolidation of the nation under 
Solomon, when commerce began to flourish, and the 
arts of life to be strenuously cultivated. After the 
Babylonish captivity, we cannot doubt that the fowl 
was among the domestic animals of Palestine, and it 
is to this bird, most probably, that Nehemiah, (B.C. 
445,) alludes, when in his rebuke he says, " Now that 
which was prepared for me daily was one ox, and six 
choice sheep, also fowls were prepared for me, and also 
once in ten days, store of all sorts of wine" (v. 18). 
Antecedently to this period, the fowl was abundant in 
Persia. Thus Peisthetserus relates why the cock is 
called the " Persian bird," and how it reigned over 
that country before Darius and Megabazus (B.C. 521). 
Not only do the classic poets and historians speak of 
'he high antiquity of the fowl, but medals and coins 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 7 

proclaim the same, and bear its figure stamped upon 
them. Nor is its delineation - absent on other relics of 
remote periods. In Camparini's " Etruscan Tombs," 
we see several persons reclined on a sort of couch, 
taking wine and bread after the burial of some friend. 
Under one of the tables a cock and hen are depicted, 
and under another a cat is seen insidiously creeping 
towards them. Figures of the domestic fowl are carved 
in relief on the marbles lately brought into England 
from Lycia, in Asia Minor, by Sir C. Fellows, and 
their outlines are represented to be remarkable for 
accuracy. 

Among the Greeks and Romans the fowl figured in 
the public shows. It was dedicated to Apollo, to 
Mercury, to ^Esculapius, and to Mars ; and its courage 
and watchfulness were well appreciated. The Rhodian 
fowls, and those of Delos, Chalcis, Media, and Persia, 
were celebrated for their superiority in fight, and for 
the excellence and delicacy of their flesh. Cock-fight- 
ing, as might be expected, was a diversion in conson- 
ance with the tastes of the Romans, and they were as 
much devoted to it as the Malays of the present day, 
who will stake all upon the issue of the battle. To 
the rearing of these birds for the table, the greatest 
attention was paid by the luxurious. They had their 
gallinaria, and were accustomed to cram their fowls 
with meal, and keep them in the dark that they might 
the more readily fatten ; nor were the capon, (gallus 
spado,) and the poularde, (gallina spadonia,) unknown, 

Herodotus does not mention the fowl as among the 
domestic birds of Egypt, though he speaks of the goose, 
the vulpanser, or chenalopex, the duck, the quail, 
small birds, and two sorts of ibis ; neither does it occur 
on any of the ancient monuments of that country. 

Aristotle, who wrote about 350 years before Christ, 
speaks of them as familiarly as a natural historian 
of the present day would. It is unnecessary more than 
to allude to the beautiful comparisons taken from them 
in the New Testament. The Roman authors of tho 



8 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

commencement of the Christian era record that they 
were classed into such a number of distinct varieties 
as could only have been the result of long cultivation. 
Whether we suppose that different breeds were col- 
lected and imported from different native stations, or 
assume that the differences of those breeds were the 
artificial result of domestication, whichever case we 
take, domestic fowls must have been held in familiar 
esteem for many, many ages before we have any clear 
record of them. Either supposition attaches to them 
a highly interesting and quite mysterious degree of 
antiquity. 

When the Romans, under Julius Caesar, invaded the 
shores of Britain, they found both the fowl and the 
goose in a state of domestication ; but these, as well 
as the hare, were forbidden as food. " They deemed it 
not lawful to eat the hare, the fowl, and the goose ; 
nevertheless, they bred these animals for the sake of 
fancy and pleasure.' 7 Through what channel, it may 
be asked, did the fowl reach this ultima Thule? 

At the time of the discovery of the American continent 
by Europeans, the domestic fowl was not found in any 
part of it, neither was it found on any of the Atlantic 
Isles, although the Canaries, the supposed Fortunate 
Islands of the ancfents, were inhabited by a half-civil- 
ized people, who held in subjugation sheep, goats, 
hogs, and dogs. 

Dr. Kidd, in his " Bridgewater Treatise," doubts 
whether the camel ever existed in a wild and inde- 
pendent state. But others do not go quite so far as 
that in scepticism in the case of fowls, but still believe 
that those, who, at this epoch, hunt for cocks and hens 
of the same species as our tame ones, either on the 
continent of Asia, or throughout the whole inhabited 
vast Indian Archipelago, will have undertaken but a 
fruitless search. For certain writers have been at 
great pains, for some years past, with but little suc- 
cess, except in their own conceit, to pitch upon the 
wild origin of our domestic fowls. The first decided 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 9 

attempts to do this, appear to have been made by Son- 
nerat, and to have been followed up by succeeding 
French writers, whose errors are glaring, and in whose 
praise little can be said. Reaumur, whose writings are 
really philosophical and valuable, devoted his inquiries 
to more practical objects, but Sonnerat was merely a 
blind leader of the blind, if there is justice in the 
criticism of Mr. Swainson, who pronounces that " Son- 
nerat's works, although often cited by the French 
authors, are very poor ; the descriptions vague, and 
the figures, particularly of the birds, below mediocrity." 
Buffon, who did not die till 1788, had therefore an 
opportunity of adopting Sonnerat's jungle fowl as the 
parent of cocks and hens, and his vivid imagination 
made him very likely to have adopted so apparently 
clear an account, ready telegraphed for his reception. 
But instead of that, he speaks hesitatingly and doubt- 
fully of the derivation of our domestic fowls from wild 
cocks, and seems to despair of indicating their origin. 
He says, "Amidst the immense number of different 
breeds of the gallinaceous tribe, how shall we deter- 
mine the original stock ? So many circumstances have 
operated, so many accidents have concurred ; the 
attention, and even the whim of man have so much 
multiplied the varieties, that it appears extremely dif- 
ficult to trace them to their source." 

A difficulty, which speaks volumes, is, that those 
birds which have been pointed out as the most pro- 
bable ancestors of the domestic fowl, do not appear to 
be more tameable than the partridge, the American 
grouse, or the golden pheasant ; moreover, so remark- 
able an appendage as the horny expansion of the feather 
stem, as seen in Sonnerat's cqpk, would, according to 
what is generally supposed to take place, be increased 
rather than diminished and obliterated by domestica- 
tion ; and even if got rid of by any course of breeding 
for a few generations, would be sure, ultimately, to 
reappear. 

Still, our own cocks and hens must have had some 
1* 



10 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

progenitors, and if an opinion may be offered, it is 
this : that the wild race, that which once ranged 
the primeval Woods and jungles, unsubdued />y man, 
is now extinct, for ever gone, with the Dodos and the 
Deinornithes. Such an idea quite agrees with what 
we now see going on in the world. At no very distant 
period, the turkey will be in exactly the same position 
in which we are supposing our cocks and hens to be 
now placed. The race will continue to survive, only 
from having submitted itself to the dominion of man. 
Wild turkeys are becoming every year more and more 
scarce with us, and as population increases, and pene- 
trates deeper into the wilds, till the whole face of the 
country is overspread, occupied, and cultivated, this 
bird must share the fate of the bustard in England ; 
and where shall we find it then, except under the 
same circumstances as we now see our domestic 
fowls ? How long existing literature will endure it is 
impossible to say ; but should it be swept away by 
any social convulsion, our descendants, two thousand 
years hence, will have as much difficulty in determin- 
ing the origin of the turkey, as we have in deciding 
upon that of the cocks and hens. 

Man has the power of trampling under foot, and sweep- 
ing every living thing before him in his progress ; but in 
some cases, at least, he is likely, for his own sake, to res- 
cue the most valuable part of the spoil from destruction, 
if it will only submit to be rescued, and not refuse to ac- 
cept a continued existence on such conditions. A family 
of savages would soon consume and destroy a whole 
province of wild cocks and hens, if it were ever so well 
stocked ; but civilised man can see his interest in their 
preservation, and it is lucky for fowls that their des- 
tiny threw them in contact with the Caucasian race 
instead of Australian aborigines. But the increase of 
knowledge and humanity may even yet do something 
to extend a merciful and forbearing conduct toward 
existing animals. 

But the common hen has one peculiar habit, which 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 11 

would alone ensure the destruction of her progeny in 
an unprotected state, in spite of all her fruitfulness 
and her great maternal virtues. Her delight at having 
laid an egg, expressed by loud cackling, which is joined 
in by all her companions that are at hand, would, by 
itself, be sufficient to prevent much increase of her 
young. How the squaws and their picaninnies would 
chuckle to have wild birds abounding around them, 
that not only produced an excellent egg every day, but 
told them where to find it ! 

The habit which so large a bird as the fowl has 
of retiring to roost by daylight, too, and compos- 
ing itself to repose before it is hidden and protec- 
ted by the shades of night, would also be a cer- 
tain source of danger in a wild state. The craving 
hunter who wanted a meal, need not fatigue himself 
by a search during the noontide heats. He would 
have but to bear the pangs of appetite till evening 
approached, and then stealing with no great caution 
under the outstretched branches, he would find a ready 
prey distinctly apparent between himself and the ruddy 
glare of sunset. No wild race could survive a few 
years of such facile, such tempting capture. Those 
who would reply by saying that when cocks and hens 
were wild they had not fallen into the imprudent 
fashion of roosting before dark, and cackling when 
they dropped an egg, beg the question which we are 
not disposed to grant them, unless they can positively 
establish their claim. 

The common cock, (Gallus gallinaceus,) would at 
first sight appear to have received one or two remark- 
able changes of form subsequent to its having been 
saved from annihilation by becoming dependent on the 
care of man, if we can believe domestication to be 
capable of producing such changes. The crest of 
feathers on the head is an extraordinary metamorphosis 
to have occurred from an original fleshy comb. There 
is no instance, that I arn aware, of any wild-crested 
breed. Aristotle makes such a pointed and so clear a 



12 TiiK DOMESTIC FOWL. 

distinction between the feathered crests of birds in 
general, and the combs of cocks, as to lead to a strong 
suspicion that he was unacquainted with fowls with 
topknots ; which he could hardly have avoided seeing 
m the course of his unequalled opportunities for 
research, had they existed in his day. " Certain birds," 
says he,' "have. a crest; in some consisting of actual 
feathers; but that of cocks alone is peculiar, being 
neither flesh, nor yet very different from flesh in its 
nature." Neither can there be found a passage in the 
classical authors which implies that the cocks and 
hens of their day bore a feathered topknot. Cirrus is 
the Latin word used by Pliny to^ denote the tuft of 
feathers on the head of certain ducks, (fuligulse,) and 
also properly adopted by Aldrovandi to express the top- 
knot of Polish fowls. The earliest notice of crested 
fowls that I am aware of, occurs in Aldrovandi, where 
he says, " Our common country hen, all white, and 
with a crest like that of a lark," a very useful com- 
parison that will serve to distinguish such-like from 
the Polish fowls ; the other, what he calls the Paduan, 
evidently a variety of the Polish or Poland. 

If birds with such peculiarities were unknown to the 
ancients, it will be asked through what agency they 
have made their appearance in our days. Are they 
new races, the result of judicious combination and 
nurture, or of mere chance ? Not conceiving that they 
are anything " new under the sun," although long un- 
known to us, I answer, at once, No. The mercantile 
enterprize and trading voyages of the English, Dutch, 
Spaniards, and Portuguese, are quite sufficient to 
explain their arrival, without having recource to a new 
creation. The lately-introduced Cochin-China fowl, 
about which there is no mystery, is a case in point. 
But it is not strange nor unlikely that gentlemen who 
have succeeded in obtaining some exotic rarity, should 
choose to conceal the source and the channel by which 
it came into their hands, nor even take credit for hav- 
ing themselves raised and generated a breed which 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 13 

excites the curiosity and admiration of their neighbors. 
There are several varieties that are extinct, or not to 
be obtained in England, as the Duke of Leeds' fowl, 
and the white Poland fowl with a black topknot. 
Attempts have been made to reproduce them, both 
by the most promising systems of crossing, and by 
acting on the imagination of breeding fowls, after 
the manner of Jacob's experiments with Laban's 
flocks ; all in vain. We can easily understand how 
certain points in any race can be confirmed and made 
more conspicuous by selection and breeding in-and-in, 
but we are at a loss to know how to go to work to 
produce something quite original and new. If these 
lost varieties do re-appear, and they are both worth the 
trouble they may give, it will probably be by a fresh 
importation from their original Indian home. 

The addition of a fifth toe to the foot, as in the 
Dorking variety, is more likely than the crest to have 
supervened in the course of time. This appendage is 
said not to be mentioned by any earlier writer than 
Columella, since whose time, to the present day, a 
fifth toe has been the well-known and distinctive cha- 
racter of a certain breed. 

A Cochin-China cock in the possession of Rev. 
E. S. Dixon, of Norwich, England, has the outer toe 
of each foot furnished with two distinct claws, which 
we may take to be the earliest indication of a fifth toe. 
His chickens inherit the same peculiarity. A corres- 
pondent of the same gentleman, says, " I had a cock 
of the golden Polish variety that lost two of his claws 
by accident, and in their place two smaller joints grew 
from the end of each toe, both provided with little 
claws. This became hereditary, for next season there 
were two chicks hatched, both having the aforesaid pecu- 
liarity." Analogous instances may be seen in museums, 
of lizards with two tails ; the original single one hav- 
ing been lost by accident, two grew in its place. 

Could we analyse the migrations of our own species 
from clime to clime : could we trace the progress of 



14 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

the human swarms which in the obscurity of time 
have successively advanced from various points, spread- 
ing as they have proceeded, sometimes mingling with 
other nations, sometimes driving the older occupants of 
the land before them ; could we develop the history of 
man, the relationship of race to race, and point out 
their original seats and starting places, then might we 
be able to throw a clearer light on the history of our 
domestic animals ; but I will now maintain unhesi- 
tatingly, that it was not man nor his domestication, 
nor any inherent tendency in the creatures themselves, 
that gave feathered crests to the Poland fowl, dwarfed 
the Bantam, expanded the Dorking, enlarged the Malay 
and Cochin- China fowl, inspired courage to the game- 
cock, nor made the hen, next to woman, the most 
exemplary of mothers ; unless we believe it was man 
who arranged the strata in the ribs of the earth, and 
prescribed to the sea its everchanging boundaries. 
Man is powerful to have dominion ; G-od alone is potent 
to create His Providence to overrule. Not by man, 
nor chance, nor by generative force of an idol called 
Nature, have the things which we see, and the diver- 
sities in our living fellow creatures, been brought about. 
No ; most thankfully, no ! Then would matters have 
been far less harmoniously, far less benignantly 
arranged. It is our greatest consolation to feel assured 
that all the physical changes which this earth has 
undergone, and every renovation of its inhabitants, 
has been from the beginning foreordained by that All- 
wise and All-powerful Being, in whose presence the 
best and greatest of us would be crushed into nothing- 
ness, did we not, to our comfort, believe that He is not 
the Creator merely, but the Father and Protector of 
every animated creature. " These wait all upon Thee, 
that Thou mayest give them meat in due season. When 
Thou givest it them, they gather it, and when Thou 
openest thy hand, they are filled with good. When 
Thou hidest Thy face, they are troubled. When Thou 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 15 

takest away their breath they die, and are turned again 
to their dust." Dixon. 



GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION. 

IN a wild state, the species of the genus gallus are 
at present restricted to India, Malaya, Sumatra, Java, 
and perhaps other islands of the neighboring groups, as 
well as those scattered over the vast Pacific. How far 
to the west, in remote ages, some of these species may 
have spread, we know not ; some may have been dis- 
tributed from India through Persia, even to Mingrelia 
and Georgia, anciently Colchis, whence the Greeks 
derived the pheasant, which they found on the banks 
of the Phasis. 

Oliver de Serres, on his return from a first voyage to 
Guiana, in 1795, published a note on the subject of 
the wild cock and hen of that country, which he had 
every reason to believe were indigenous. " In travel- 
ling over the gloomy and inextricable forests of Gui- 
ana," says he, " when the dawn of day began to 
appear, amidst the immense woods of lofty trees, which 
fall under the stroke of time only, I had often heard a 
crowing similar to that of our cocks, but only weaker. 
The considerable distance which separated me from 
every inhabited place, could not allow one to think this 
crowing was produced by domesticated birds ; and the 
natives of those parts, who were in company with me, 
assured me it was the voice of wild cocks. Every one 
of the colony of Cayenne, who have gone very far up 
the country, give the same account of the fact. Some 
have met with a few of these wild fowls, and I have 
seen one myself. They have the same forms, the 
fleshy comb on the head, the gait of our fowls, only 
they are smaller, being hardly larger than the common 
pigeon ; their plumage is brown, or rufous." 

In a domestic state, next to the dog, the fowl has 
been the most constant attendant upon man in his 



16 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

migrations and his occupation of strange lands. The 
carniverous diet of the dog is one main cause of this 
pre-eminence. But search where you will, except in 
the very highest latitudes, you will find in New Zea- 
land, Australia, the American continents, the West 
Indies, and in islands innumerable, fowls sharing in 
the possession and settlement obtained by man. As 
we approach the poles, difficulties arise in the way of 
their further companionship. In Greenland, they are 
occasionally kept only as curiosities and rarities. And 
Sir Wm. Hooker tells us that poultry of all kinds is 
quite unknown to the Icelanders, except that a few are 
now and then conveyed to the country by the Danes, 
who are obliged at the same time to bring with them 
a sufficient supply of necessary food, ihat is, grain, for 
their support, of which the island furnishes none. 
Fowls, however, would get on very well with a fish 
and meat diet with grass and vegetables, assisted by 
a little imported corn, were there sufficient induce- 
ment to make the inhabitants take pains about their 
maintenance. 

But the most mysterious, though not the most 
ungenial localities in which fowls have hitherto been 
found are the islands scattered over the vast Pacific 
Ocean. How they got there is as great or a greater 
puzzle than to divine the origin of their human popula- 
tion. The earliest discoverers found the people to be 
possessed of pigs, dogs, and fowls, all domesticated for 
the sake of being eaten. 

The domestic fowl was found in the Sandwich 
Islands by their first discoverer, although seldom used 
by the natives as an article of food ; and, according to 
tradition, it has existed there as long as the people, 
and it is supposed they came there with the first colo- 
nists by whom these islands were settled, or that they 
were created by Taarva, at the same time that their 
men were supposed to have been made. 

This account would assign an unfathomable anti- 
quity to the domestication of fowls, confirmed bv the 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 17 

following legend : Among the many traditionary 
accounts of the origin of the island and its inhabitants, 
was one, that in former times, when there was nothing 
but sea, an immense bird settled on the water and 
laid an egg, which soon bursting, produced Hawaii. 
Shortly after this, a man and woman, with a hog and 
a dog, arid a pair of fowls, arrived in a canoe from the 
Society Islands, took up their abode in the eastern 
shores, and were the progenitors of the present inha- 
bitants. 

Captain Cook found fowls on islands that had never 
before been visited by civilized man, and the very wide 
range over which they are distributed, precludes the 
supposition of their having been introduced by Tasman 
or any of the other early voyagers. " There is only 
one tame species of birds, properly speaking," says his 
journalist, " in the tropical isles of the South Sea, 
namely, the common cock and hen. They are numer- 
ous at Easter Island, where they are the only domes- 
tic animals ; they are likewise in great plenty in the 
Society Isles and Friendly Isles, at which last place 
they are of a prodigious size ; they are also not uncom- 
mon at the Marquesas, Hebrides, and New Caledonia ; 
but the low isles, and those of the temperate zone, are 
quite destitute of them." 

The pigs of that quarter have been affirmed to differ 
specifically from our own domestic breeds less has 
been said about the poultry. It appears that there are 
different varieties in the different islands, some of very 
large size. Our great commercial intercourse with the 
Pacific makes that the quarter from whence our impor- 
tations of fowls are frequently drawn, either as curious 
specimens, or for the sake of improving our stock ; but 
it would certainly be interesting, and might prove use- 
ful, could we obtain a few new sorts, such as the 
Friendly-Island breed, from the less frequented spots 
in the South Seas. Our missionaries in the Sandwich 
Islands, Tahiti, and other places, might surely send us 
a few cocks and hens in return for the substantial 



18 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

benefits the inhabitants of those islands have derived 
from us. And should this little book ever penetrate so 
far into the other hemisphere, let it persuade the 
Sandwich Islanders to preserve, by domestication, and 
by transmission to this country, a stock of their most 
interesting, pretty, and unique little geese, before the 
race is quite swept out of existence. 



CLASSIFICATION. 

THE correct mode of classifying domestic fowls, 
doubtless would be to arrange them with the wild 
ones, in natural order and sequence ; but in the pre- 
sent state of our knowledge, this is impossible, except 
by a comparatively unsatisfactory, rough approxima- 
tion. A half century hence, when the Indian Archi- 
pelago and the islands of the Pacific shall have been 
more fully explored, such a thing, perhaps, may be 
successfully attempted. 

It is evident, that, if our common fowls are believed 
to be merely altered forms of one or two wild races, 
under the influence of altered food and climate, they 
must be arranged on different principles to what they 
would be if we allow them to take rank as original 
and independent varieties or species. In the one case, 
we have to search out the wild bird nearest resembling 
any one domestic breed, and form our series from that 
as a beginning, as well as we can ; in the other, we 
have to become well acquainted with all the wild and 
all the domestic species of gallus, and then arrange 
them in groups or in a continuous line, according to 
their resemblances and relationships, without any refer- 
e'nce to the circumstance of their domestication or their 
untameability. The former plan can be carried out 
by a little theory and bold guess work ; the latter 
requires industry, accurate observation, and opportu- 
nities which few individuals, if any, have at present 
at command. In the meanwhile, I will attempt some- 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 19 

thing like an artificial arrangement, which may afford 
a temporary assistance to the fancier, till a more scien- 
tific scheme is worked out by wiser heads than my 
own. Let us first proceed, then, to enumerate the 
principal species known to exist in a wild state, from 
which it is any way probable our domestic races 
were derived. 




THE JAVANESE JUNGLE FOWL. 

SYNONYMES. Gallus bankiva, of Temminck ; Jlyam-utan, or Brooga, 
of the Malays ; Javan Cock, of Latham ; Bankiva Fowl, Javanese Jungle 
Fowl, Bankiva Jungle Fowl, of the English and Anglo-Americans. 

This beautiful bird is found wild in Java, and L 
about equal in size to an ordinary Bantam the black- 
breasted, red varieties of which, with a dark steel-blue 
band across the wings, it closely resembles. The space 
round the eyes and the throat are bare, the comb is 
much developed and deeply serrated along the upper 
ridge, the wattles are rather large. Long, clear, bril- 
liant, golden orange hackles, (plumes,) cover the neck 
and rump. The upper part of the back, over which 
the hackles of the neck are continued, is bluish-black. 
The middle and lesser wing coverts are of a rich deep 






20 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

chestnut, with the webs of the feathers disunited ; 
greater coverts, steel-blue ; secondaries, also steel-blue, 
with a border of chestnut. The quills are brownish- 
black, edged with pale reddish-yellow. Tail black, 
glossed with changeable green and blue. Breast and 
under parts black. Contour very graceful, and every 
action animated and lively. 

"With regard to the Bankiva jungle fowl, it cannot 
be doubted that it is the main source, if not the only 
one, of our Bantam breeds. The very term "Bantam" 
is sufficient to establish the fact. Bantam is the name 
of a town and district in the northwest of Java, belong- 
ing at present to the Dutch. The town is now fallen 
into decay, but was formerly a place of great import- 
ance, and still boasts of a governor, whose residence is 
at Sirang, or Ceram, a thriving town some miles 
inland. The Portuguese, who visited Java, in 1511, 
carried on a great trade from Bantam with Hindoostan 
and China, chiefly in pepper. In 1595, the Dutch 
established themselves at Bantam, and in 1602, the 
English erected a factory in the same place, which was 
the first possession of the English in the East Indies. 
Of the subsequent predominance of the power of the 
Dutch, who built the town of Batavia, not far distant 
from Bantam, this is not the place to speak. From 
this statement, however, it is evident that the beauti- 
ful Bankiva jungle fowls, reclaimed by the natives, 
and sold to the British, at Bantam, while their factory 
was established there, were imported into England 
under the very natural appellation of Bantam fowls. 
Their elegance and diminutive size rendered them 
favorites, and in due time the name, belonging exclu- 
sively to these birds, came to be conferred on all small 
or dwarf fowls indiscriminately, whether of this pure 
breed or otherwise. The domestic Bantam stock, as 
every one knows, breeds freely with ordinary fowls, 
the mixed offspring being intermediate in size between 
their parents ; and that the Bankiva jungle fowl will 
breed with our domestic Bantam race, and with other 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 21 

races, the progeny being fertile, as has been fully 
proved. Such birds are common in the gardens of the 
London Zoological Society, and so closely do the 
offspring of the Bankiva jungle cock and a brown domes- 
tic Bantam hen resemble the wild, or original breed, 
that on more than one occasion have the best of judges 
been in doubt ; nor is this to be wondered at as on 
both sides was the lineage the same. 




SONNERAT'S JUNGLE FOWL. 

SYWONYMES. Gallus sonncratti, of Temminck ; Rahn Komrah, of the 
Mahrattas ; Cog sauvage, of Sonnerat ; Jungle Cock, of the British 
Sportsmen in India ; Sonnerat's Jungle Fowl, Stanley's Jungle Fowl, of 
the English and Anglo-Americans. 

The size of the male of this species is intermediate 
between that of the Bantam and game cock ; but 
the general contour is peculiarly light and graceful, 
and vigor and alertness are displayed in every action. 
The comb is large, with a sub-serrated ridge, that is, 
the ridge is but slightly dentated, in comparison with 
the comb of the Bankiva. The wattles are large and 
double. The hackles of the neck, the wing coverts on 
the shoulders, and the tail coverts are dark-greyish, 
with bright golden orange shafts, dilating in the centre 



22 THE DOMESTIC FOWL 

and towards the tip into a flat, horny, and very glossy 
plate. In some of these feathers, the shaft takes an 
elliptical or oar- like shape, in others it puts on the 
appearance of a long inverted cone, from the centre of 
the base of which a battledore-like process arises. The 
effect produced by this expansion of the shafts is at 
once singular and exquisitely beautiful. The feathers 
of the middle of the back, breast, belly, and thighs, 
are of a deep rich grey, with paler shafts and edges. 
The tail is of a deep, rich, refulgent green, but the 
feathers which immediately succeed the hackles of the 
lower part of the back, and lie against the sides of the 
tail, are rich purple with a pale-yellow edge ; those 
next in succession are golden-green, with grey edges, 
and all are glossed with brilliant metallic reflections ; 
bill, legs, and toes yellowish. When seen in a bright 
sunlight, the plumage of this elegant bird glitters like 
gold, and presents a most rich appearance. 

The female is generally described as destitute of 
those expanded ornaments to the hackles and wing 
coverts, which are so conspicuous in the male. She is 
less than the cock by about a third, without comb or 
wattles, but a trace of nakedness round the eye. 
Plumage without the horny structure which distin- 
guishes that of the male. Upper parts uniform brown ; 
neck feathers with dark edges ; those of the back and 
wing coverts with a pale streak along the shaft ; and 
those of the wings, tail coverts, and tail, waved and 
mottled with darker pencillings ; throat and front of the 
neck white ; feathers of the rest of the lower parts 
greyish white, edged with dark-brown ; legs bluish- 
grey. 

Under the term " Sonnerat's jungle fowl," two 
species of jungle fowl appear to have been confounded 
together at least, by most naturalists although there 
can be no doubt of their real distinctness. Colonel 
Sykes, speaking in reference to the Gallus sonneratii^ 
says: "Very abundant in the woods of the Western 
Grhauts, where there are either two species, or two 






THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 23 

'very strongly marked varieties. In the valleys, at 
2,000 feet above the sea, Sonnerat's species is found 
slender, standing high on the legs, and with the yellow 
cartilaginous spots on the feathers even in the female. 
In the belts of wood on the sides of the mountains, at 
4,000 feet above the sea, there is a short-legged variety. 
The male has a great deal of red in his plumage, which 
Sonnerat's has not ; the female is of a reddish-brown 
color, and is without cartilaginous spots at all." 

Sonnerat's jungle fowl, the jungle cock of the 
British, is noted for its prowess and resolution, inso- 
much that it is anxiously sought after by the cock 
fighters in Hindoostan, who rely on it for victory when 
pitted against larger game cocks. It does not appear, 
however, that the Mussulman cock fighters breed this 
bird in its purity ; they seek after the wild birds, 
which soon become tame. 

In general habits and manners, the jungle fowl 
resemble their domestic relatives ; the cock proudly 
leads his train of females, and vigilantly watches over 
their safety. On being suddenly disturbed the troop 
scatters in all directions, seeking safety under covert 
of the dense brushwood. In spots where they are 
numerous, the challenging of the cocks to each other 
may be heard on every side around, and yet such is 
their cunning, and keenness of sight, that ihe sports- 
man, unless he is well acquainted with their habits, 
is often disappointed in his attempts to get a fair shot. 

Sonnerat and many other naturalists have contended, 
that, to this species alone are our breeds of domestic 
fowls to be traced. Most probable, notwithstanding 
the peculiarity of the plumage, and the circumstance 
of the throat of the female being covered with feathers, 
instead of being naked and wattled, it has intermingled 
with other breeds, or contributed to improve them 
and among them may be enumerated the high-spirited 
game fowls kept for fighting by the Mussulmans of 
India, and which have been long celebrated ; but it 
cannot be admitted that Sonnerat's jungle fowl is the 



24 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

sole origin of the domestic race. The Bankiva 
and the great Malay present stronger claims to our 
notice, nor can we doubt they contribute the ground- 
work of some of our most remarkable varieties. 
Those writers, who, by a pleasant legerdemain, so 
easily transform one of the wild Indian cocks into a 
barn-door fowl who put the jungle cock, the Bankiva 
cock, or the gigantic jago bird under a bushel, hocus 
pocus a little, lift up the cover, and then exhibit a 
veritable chanticleer write as if they had only to 
catch a wild bird in the woods, turn it into the yard 
for three or four weeks, and make it straightway 
become as tame as a spaniel. On such a notion com- 
ment is now supererogatory. 

There are several other species of jungle fowl, to 
which I shall here only briefly allude, as they are 
not likely to have contributed to the establishment of 
the domestic race. One of these is the " bronzed 
cock" of Sumatra, (Gallus cenus^) a fine species, remark- 
able for a large comb, smooth along the ridge. The 
neck is not covered with true hackles. Another is the 
"Ayam-alas jungle fowl or fork-tailed cock of Java 
(Gallus fur catus). This species has no true hackles 
on the neck, and the throat is adorned with a single 
large wattle only, springing from a central line. An 
intermediate form between the genera phasianus and 
gallus, is presented by the fire-backed pheasant of 
Sumatra (Euplocamus Ignitus). It is a very splen- 
did bird, and might perhaps be domesticated. 

So much, then, for the remote history of the domes- 
tic fowl, as far as obscure hints, notices, or delineations 
enable us to decipher it ; and it has been shown to 
what wild species its origin is, in all probability, to be 
attributed. It is evidently the oldest, and perhaps the 
most important of man's acquisitions from among the 
feathered tribes, its flesh and its eggs being in all coun- 
tries regarded partly as delicacies always acceptable, 
and partly as staple articles of food, at once nutritious 
and digestible. That a bird which has passed in a 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 25 

domestic state generation after generation for several 
thousand years, in one country or another, should have 
branched out into many varieties, will not be surpris- 
ing perhaps rather it is surprising that it has not 
undergone more changes. The varieties, however, are 
sufficiently numerous, every country having some pecu- 
liar to itself, and every breeder founding crosses accord- 
ing to his own fancy to say nothing of those resulting 
from accidental intermixture in Europe and in our 
own country. It is to the principal of these varie- 
ties only, in their 

VALUE IN AN ECONOMICAL POINT OF VIEW, 

that I shall pay any further attention ; nor from the 
limits of this little treatise, shall I be able to dwell at 
much length upon them at that. 

In the size of our domestic fowls ; in the color and 
quality of their skin and plumage ; in the form of the 
tail, or its utter absence ; in the form of the comb ; 
in the presence or absence of a plume or crest on the 
head ; in the number of the toes ; in disposition ; and 
in the qualities of the hens as layers or sitters, differ- 
ences more or less striking are universally to be found. 
Yet, amidst all these modifications, the characters of 
the genus are rigidly preserved. 

Let us take, then, the serrated upright fleshy comb, 
to be the typical distinction of the cock a feature 
which Aristotle has pointedly indicated, as well as 
Columella and others of more modern date. The sickle 
feathers of the tail are perhaps equally characteristic 
of the genus, but they differ little in the respective 
varieties. Neither mark nor distinction has, it is true, 
any functional office in the organization of the animal ; 
but it would be difficult to find one which had. In the 
Spanish fowl, the comb is more developed than in any 
other breed ; we will therefore take that bird as our 
type, and suggest, with diffidence, the following pro 
tempore arrangement : 
2 



26 THE DOMESTIC FOWL 




Q 

THE SPANISH FOWL. 



SYICOHTMIS. Gattut gallinaceus, of Naturalists ; Gallo andaluz, of the 
Spaniards ; Minorcas, in North Devon, in England ; Portugal Fowl, 
Spanish Fowl, Black Spanish Fowl, of the English and Anglo-Americans. 

This is a noble race of fowls, possessing many 
great merits ; of spirited and animated appearance, of 
considerable size, excellent for the table, both in white- 
ness of flesh and skin, and also in flavor, being juicy 
and tender, and laying exceedingly large eggs, in con- 
siderable numbers. Amongst birds of its own breed, 
it is not deficient in courage ; though it yields without 
showing much fight to those which have a dash of 
game blood in their veins. It should be a general favorite 
in all large cities, for the additional advantage that no 
soil of smoke or dirt is apparent on its plumage. 

The thorough-bred birds of the fancy should be 
entirely black, as far as feathers are concerned, and 
when in high condition display a greenish metallic 
lustre. The combs of both cock and hen are exceed- 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. &1 

ingly large, of a vivid and most brilliant scarlet, that of 
the hen drooping over on one side. Their most singular 
feature is a large white patch, or ear lobe, on the 
cheek, of a fleshy substance, similar to the wattles, 
which are small in the hens, but large and very con- 
spicuous in the cocks. This marked contrast of black, 
bright-red, and white, makes the head of the Spanish 
cock as handsome as that of any other variety ; and 
in the genuine breed, the whole form is equally good ; 
but the scraggy, long-legged, mis-shapen mongrels 
are often met with enough to throw discredit on the 
whole race. Some birds are occasionly produced 
handsomely streaked with red on the hackles and 
back. This is no proof of bad breeding, if other points 
are right. 

Spanish hens are also of large size and good figure, 
and are celebrated as good layers, producing very large, 
quite white eggs, of a peculiar shape, being very thick 
at both ends, and yet tapering off a little at each. 
They are by no means good mothers of families, even 
when they do sit, which they will not often condescend 
to do, proving very careless, and frequently trampling 
half their brood underfoot. But the inconveniences of 
this habit are easily obviated by causing the eggs to 
be hatched by some more motherly hen. 

It has been noticed that this variety of fowl fre- 
quently loses nearly all the feathers on the body, 
besides the usual quantity on the neck, wings, and 
tail ; and if they moult late, and the weather is severe, 
they feel it much. Nothing else can reasonably be 
expected to take place with an " everlasting layer." 
It often happens to the Gruinea fowl ; and the reason 
of it is plain. If the system of a bird is exhausted by 
the unremitting production of eggs, it cannot contain 
within itself the wherewithal to supply the growth of 
feathers. The stream that will fill but one channel 
cannot be made to keep two at high-water mark ; and 
therefore, Mr. Leonard Barber, an English author, 
justly observes : " With regard to an anxiety about 



m 



28 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

their constant laying, in my opinion nature ought not 
to be forced, as it requires a rest." But some people 
think it cannot be right if their hens do not lay every 
day. 

It is doubtful whether they would readily become 
acclimatized in the northern part of the United States, 
for continued frost, at any time, much injures their 
combs ; frequently causing mortification in the end, 
which has terminated in death. A warm poultry 
house, high feeding, and care that the birds do not 
remain too long exposed to severe weather, are the 
best means of preventing this disfigurement. 

The chicks are large, as would be expected from 
such eggs, entirely shining black, except a pinafore of 
white on the breast, and a slight sprinkling under the 
chin, with sometimes also a little white round the beak 
and eyes ; legs and feet black. They do not get perfectly 
feathered till they are three fourths grown ; and, there- 
fore, to have these birds come to perfection, it is pre- 
ferable to have them hatched early in spring, so that 
they may get well covered with plumage before the 
cold autumnal rain&. 

The black, however, is not the only valuable race 
of Spanish fowls, although certain London dealers, 
who have no right to offer an opinion, if they do not 
choose to give information on the subject, presume to 
affirm that there can be no such breed as " speckled 
Spanish," it being characteristic of that breed to be 
perfectly black. Still there are some breeds, in Spain, 
closely allied to these, which are of a blue, grey, or a 
slaty color. Their growth is so rapid, and their even- 
tual size so large, that they are remarkably slow in 
obtaining their feathers. Although well covered with 
down when first hatched, they look almost naked when 
half-grown, and should, therefore, be hatched as early 
in the spring as possible. 

The cross between the pheasant-Malay and the 
Spanish produces a particularly handsome fowl, and 
probably very much resembling the old Hispanic type.. 






THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 




THE DORKING FOWL.* 

SYNONTMES. GaUus pentadactylus (?), Temminck ; Le Coq et la Poule 
d cinq doigts (?), of Buffon ; Das Funfzehiger Huhn (?), of Bechstein ; 
Dorkings, Speckled Dorkings, of the English and Anglo-Americans. 

For those who wish to stock their poultry yards 
with fowls of most desirable shape and size, clothed in 
rich and variegated plumage, and, not expecting per- 
fection, are willing to overlook one or two other points, 
the Dorkings are the breed, above all others to be 
selected. They are larger-bodied, and of better pro- 
portions, according to their size, than any other variety 
1 have yet seen, their bodies being rather long, plump, 
and well-fleshed ; and the breeder, as well as the 
housewife, generally beholds with delight their short 
legs, full, broad breasts, little waste in offal, and the 

* So called from Dorking, a town in Surrey, England, which brought them 
into modern repute. 






30 TIIK DOMESTIC FOWL. 

large quantity of good profitable flesh, the flavor and 
appearance of which is inferior to none. 

The cocks are magnificent. The most gorgeous 
hues are frequently lavished upon ihem, which their 
large size and peculiarly square-built form display to 
great advantage. The original Dorkings are said to 
have been white, but such are now seldom to be seen. 
During all my rambles, in various parts of the country, 
only on one or two occasions did I meet with pure- 
white birds. In all, however, as far as my knowledge 
extended, when pure-blooded, more or less white pre- 
vailed ; but the cloudings, and markings of the plumage 
were unlimited. Many were marked with bands, or 
bars, of ashy-grey, running into each other at their 
paler margins. Some had the hackles of the neck 
white, with a tinge of yellow, and the body of a darker 
or brownish-red, intermixed irregularly with white ; 
while others were beautifully variegated with white, 
black, green, and brown, or were nearly uniform in 
their shades from a light-cream color to almost black. 

Both the cocks and the hens are usually short- 
legged, thickly-feathered, having fine, delicate heads, 
with single, double, or large, flat rose-like combs, 
which, when they are in high health, adds very much 
to their appearance, particularly if seen in the bright 
rays of the sun. Their legs are invariably white, or 
flesh-colored, each often armed with one or more toe-like 
claws ; and, instead of four toes to each foot, a fifth 
one protrudes from the same root as the heel toe in 
the common varieties, which is generally regarded as 
a distinguishing mark of the breed. 

The weight of the Dorkings, at maturity, varies 
from five to eight pounds, and full-grown capons have 
been known to weigh ten or twelve. Their eggs are 
usually of a clear white, but sometimes of an ashy- 
grey color, rather large in size, very much rounded 
at both ends, and of an excellent flavor. The hens 
are not " everlasting layers," although they produce 
eggs in reasonable abundance, but at due or convenient 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 31 

intervals they manifest a desire to sit, in which they 
often most strenuously persevere. In this respect, 
they are steady and good mothers when the little ones 
appear. They are better adapted than any other fowl, 
except the great Malay, to hatch superabundant tur 
key's eggs. Their size and bulk enable them to afford 
warmth and shelter to the turkey poults for a long 
time. For the same reason, spare goose eggs may 
safely be entrusted to their motherly care. Their 
young, in this country, have thus far proved very 
hardy and easy to rear. The chicks are generally 
brownish-yellow, with a broad, brown stripe down the 
middle of the back, and a narrow one on each side. 

Although pure-bred Dorkings are still deservedly in 
high repute, a cross is generally regarded more profit- 
able than the true breed. A showy, energetic game 
cock, with Dorking hens, produces chickens, in size 
and beauty little inferior to their maternal parentage, 
and more robust. This race has the peculiarity in hav- 
ing a supernumerary toe on each foot, and, as has 
already been said, often one or more toe-like protrusions 
above their heels resembling claws. These charac- 
teristics almost always disappear with the first or 
second cross ; and as they are points that can well be 
spared without any disadvantage, it is now a common 
practice, in England, thus to breed them off. The 
first cross produces a fine bird, which is large, though 
less prolific ; but if the mongrel progeny be crossed 
with each other, they soon dwindle to nothing. There- 
fore, one has no further guarantee of the cross breed 
being good further than the first result. 

The Dorking breed, more or less crossed, or at least 
a race nearly allied to them, is to be found in Sussex, 
England, the bodies of which are more elongated than 
in the Dorkings, and many of them have five toes. 
They are represented as very fine, and worthy of a 
trial in the United States. The " Old Sussex," or 
Kent variety, is closely related to these, if not abso- 
lutely identical. 



32 .' *;.- THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

It is a question how the variety known in England 
under the name of " speckled Dorkings," was iirst 
produced. Some maintain that the pure- white Dork- 
ings are the original breed with five toes, and that the 
speckled Dorking is a recent and improved cross, by 
which the size was much increased, between the ori- 
ginal white breed and the Malay, or some other large 
fowl. From this opinion, I must entirely dissent, on 
the ground of strong, though not absolutely conclusive, 
evidence to the contrary. It seems to me that Colu- 
mella's favorite sort of hen could not differ much from 
the speckled Dorkings, as they at present exist. He 
says : " Let them be of a reddish or dark plumage, 
and with black wings. * * * * * Let the 
breeding hens, therefore, be of a choice color, a robust 
body, square-built, full-breasted, with large heads, with 
upright and bright-red combs. * * * * * Those 
are believed to be the best bred which have five toes." 
Except that there is no mention of speckles, (and he 
never describes minute markings,) the whole descrip- 
tion almost exactly tallies with our birds of the present 
day. Pliny's account, also, agrees with this : " Supe- 
riority of breed in hens is denoted by an upright comb, 
sometimes double, black wings, ruddy visage, and an 
odd number of toes." It appears that Columella had 
the white sort, but he rejected them ; for he advises : 
" Let the white ones be avoided, for they are generally 
both tender and less vivacious, and also are not found 
to be prolific," faults which are still attributed to them 
by some. I cannot, therefore, avoid believing, that, from 
the robust dark-colored, five-toed fowl, white indivi- 
duals have been from time to time produced and propa- 
gated, exactly as we see in other species of gallinaceous 
birds that have long been in domestication pea fowls, 
turkeys, and Guinea fowls, for instance. I think, 
also, that there is no instance of any white species of 
cocks and hens having been found wild ; which is some 
argument that dark and gaudy colors are the hues 
originally characteristic of the genus. 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 33 

The first Dorkings brought into the United States, 
were introduced in about the year 1840. by L. F. Allen, 
of Black Rock, New York, and Dr. Eben Wight, of 
Boston, Massachusetts, both of whom continue to breed 
them in their utmost purity. Other importations have 
since been made by Mr. Rotch, of Butternuts, and 
Messrs. Chadwick and Beach, of the city of New York. 




THE COCHIN-CHINA FOWL. 

SYNONYMES Gallus giganteus (var. ?), of Temminck ; Cochin-China 
Fowl, Ostrich Fowl, of the English and Aiiglo- Americans. 

Whether the breed now under consideration did 
really come from Cochin-China or not, is probably 
known only to the party who imported them, if to him. 
But from whatever oriental region derived, it is a valu- 
able variety for some purposes, and the only fear is, 
that statements of its merits have been set forth so 
2* 



34 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

highly exaggerated, that they must lead to disappoint- 
ment, and cause the breed to be as much undeservedly 
underrated, as it had been before foolishly extolled. 
The size and weight ascribed to them, too, are enor- 
mous. To give an idea of their height and magnitude, 
they have been styled the " ostrich fowl." This is an 
old, but very bad system of giving names, to affix that 
of some other animal, indicating certain supposed 
qualities ; for such appellations are apt to induce 
notions of relationship, or hybridity, which are not easily 
removed from the minds of the many. 

The Cochin- China cock has a large, upright, single, 
deeply-indented comb, very much resembling that of 
the black Spanish, and when in high condition of quite 
as brilliant a scarlet; like him, also, he has a very 
large, white ear lobe on each cheek. The wattles are 
large, wide, and pendant. The legs are of a pale-flesh 
color. The feathers on the breast and sides are of a 
bright chestnut-brown, large and well denned, giving 
a scaly or imbricated appearance to those parts. In 
some birds, there is a horse-shoe marking on the breast, 
caused by a darker shade, and which increases, and 
perhaps comes, with age. The hackle of the neck is 
of a light yellowish-brown ; the lower feathers being 
tipped with dark-brown, so as to give a spotted appear- 
ance to the neck. The tail feathers are black, and 
darkly iridescent ; back, scarlet-orange ; back hackle, 
yellow-orange. It is, in short, altogether a flame- 
colored bird. Both sexes are lower in the leg than 
either the black Spanish or the Malay, and they are 
remarkably full feathered. 

It has incorrectly been asserted, that "the disposition 
of the feathers on the back of the cock's neck is reversed, 
these being turned upwards; the wing is jointed, so 
that the posterior half can, at pleasure, be doubled up, 
and brought forward between the anterior half and the 
body ;" the only foundation for which absurdity, is, 
that in some of the half-grown cockerels, certain 
feathers, the wing coverts, curl forwards : but the 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 35 

curling disappears with the complete growth of the 
plumage. 

The hen approaches in her build more nearly to the 
Dorking than any other, except that the tail is very 
small, and proportionately depressed, being more hori- 
zontal, I think, than in any other fowl. Her comb is 
moderate-sized, almost small ; she has also a small 
white ear lobe. Her coloring is flat, being composed 
of various shades of very light- brown, with light -yel- 
low on the neck. Her appearance is quiet, and only 
attracts attention by its extreme neatness, cleanness, 
and compactness. Her legs and thighs are thick and 
stout. The tail short, thin, and not the usual length. 




COCHIN-CHINA HEN. 

It was stated in the London Agricultural Gazette, 
of the 30th of September, 1848, the male birds of these 
fowls weighed from 12 to 151bs., live weight, and the 
hens from 9 to lOlbs. ! This, certainly, is very extra- 
ordinary, if the account is not fabulous ; for, out of a 
large number of cocks and hens, of various breeds, and 
among them the Cochin-China, varying from five 
months to four years old. not one of the former exceeded 



36 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

the weight of 7^1bs., nor the latter that of 6 Jibs. It 
is possible, nevertheless, that capons of this, or some 
allied variety, might arrive at double these weights. 

The average weight of the eggs of the Cochin-China 
fowl is about 2oz. each. They are smooth, of an ova], 
nearly equally rounded at each end, and usually of a 
rich buff color, but sometimes white. The newly- 
hatched chicks appear very large in proportion to the 
size of the eggs. They have light flesh-colored bills, 
feet, and legs, and are thickly covered with down, of 
the hue vulgarly called " carrotty." They are not 
less thrifty than other chickens, and feather somewhat 
more uniformly than either the black Spanish or the 
Malay. A peculiarity in the cockerels is, that they 
do not show even the rudiments of their tail feathers 
till they are nearly full grown. They increase so 
rapidly in other directions, that there is no material to 
spare for the production of these decorative appendages. 
The pullets are less backward in shooting their tails, 
and this distinction alone is sufficient to denote the 
respective sexes at a very early age. The cockerels are 
also later than others in commencing to crow. 

The merits of this breed are such, that they have 
been highly recommended to persons residing "in the 
country, from the fact, that the hens are capital layers, 
and from the large and rapid growth of the chicks ; 
but, in my humble judgment, this nor any other breed 
of excessively large fowls are not the most desirable 
for general use. 

The Cochin-China fowl is said to have been pre- 
sented to her Majesty, Queen Yictoria, of England, 
from the East Indies, and, by her liberality, imparted 
to such persons in her dominions as were likely pro- 
perly to appreciate them. 

In the United States, there are numerous individuals 
\vho possess large fowls bearing the name of " Cochin- 
China," which have been crossed with the Dorking and 
other large breeds ; but such a course is believed to 
be of doubtful utility. 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 37 




THE KULM, OR GREAT MALAY FOWL. 

SYNONYMES. Gallus giganteuS, of Temminck ; Grand Coq des Malaiet, 
of the French ; Kulm Ha/m, Malaischer Hahn, of the Germans ; Kulm 
Fowl, Malay Fowl Great Malay Fowl, Chittagong Fowl, of the English 
and Anglo-Americans. 

This breed is in high repute with many writers, as 
a supposed connecting link between the wild and the 
tame races of fowls. Indeed, something very like them 
is still to be found in the East ; and it would be useful 
to know, as a certain test, whether the kulm cock be 
indocile, like the pheasant, or tameable, like the fowl. 
Their flesh is condemned by common prejudice, as 
coarse, stringy, oily, and ill-flavored. The pure breed 
is undoubtedly game ; but, as far as size is con- 
cerned, has little to recommend it. The hens, how- 
ever, are excellent layers, and the eggs remarkable 
for their delicacy. 

The kulm fowl is kept in a domestic state, not only 
in India, Java, and Sumatra, but in the Malay penin- 



38 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

sula, and in Cochin- China. It has long been known 
in England, although it is only within the last few 
years that much attention has been directed towards 
it in this country. 

The cock, in his natural attitude, often considerably 
exceeds two feet in height, from the ground to the 
crown of the head. The comb extends backwards in 
a line with the eyes ; it is low, thick, destitute of ser- 
rations, and has the appearance as if its ridge had been 
cut off. The wattles hanging from under the mandible 
are small, and the throat is bare. The neck is long, 
and covered with hackles of a pale golden-reddish 
color, which extend to the upper part of the back. The 
middle of the back and the lesser wing coverts are of 
a deep chestnut, and the webs of the feathers are dis- 
united ; the greater wing coverts are glossy-green ; 
the secondaries and quill feathers are of a pale reddish- 
yellow on their outer webs. The hackles of the rump 
are long and drooping, and are of a pale reddish-yel- 
low. The tail feathers are of a glossy-green. The 
under parts generally are of a glossy greenish-black, 
with high reflections, each feather being of a deep- 
chestnut at the base, producing somewhat a mottled 
appearance, especially if the plumage be a little 
deranged. The body is stout, and the legs are long. 
but very robust. In proportion to the size of the body, 
and length of the neck and limbs, the head seems 
small, and is far from being pleasing in appearance, 
the curtailment of the comb and wattles seeming the 
result of injury or malformation. The gait is heavy 
and destitute of alertness, and the bird often reposes 
resting on his shanks, their whole length being applied 
to the ground. The attitude is uncouth, and gives the 
idea of the bird being oppressed with its own weight. 
It is very probable that this gigantic fowl is less dis- 
posed to mount the trees and roost on the branches 
than most others of the genus ; and this strange atti- 
tude may be the ordinary mode of taking repose. 

The voice of the cock, instead of being a clear ring- 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 39 

ing tone, heartily delivered, is short, hoarse, and monot- 
onous, more like a croak than a crow. 

The hen is considerably less in size than the cock, 
awkward in figure, and often ill-tempered and harsh 
to other birds. The comb is very small, but the face 
is much covered with a red skin. The bill, legs, and 
feet are yellow ; the head, neck, back, tail, and quills 
are of a rich brown ; the lower parts of the thighs of a 
lighter hue ; the neck long ; the stature and carriage 
lofty ; and the head small in proportion to the size of 
the bird. 

The eggs are of a good size, and of a rich buff or 
brown color, which are much prized by the numerous 
epicures who believe that this hue indicates richness 
of flavor a fact which has not yet been made sensible 
to my own palate. The chicks are at first very strong, 
with yellow legs, and are thickly covered with Alight- 
brown down ; but, by the time they are one third 
grown, the increase of their bodies has so far outstripped 
that of their feathers, that they are half naked about 
the back and shoulders, and extremely susceptible of 
wet and cold. 

The hens are sometimes employed to hatch the eggs 
of turkeys, a task for which they are well adapted, in 
every respect but one ; that is, they will follow their 
natural instinct in turning off their chicks at the usual 
lirne, instead of retaining the charge of them as long 
as the mother turkey would. Groslings would suffer 
less from such untimely desertion. 

With regard to the kulm fowl, the jago fowl, (im- 
properly called the " St. Jago fowl," from the suppo- 
sition that they came from an island of that name, one 
of the Cape Verds,) and the Cochin- China fowl, may 
be looked upon as so many domestic off-sets, not 
uncrossed with others, of the Gallus giganteus, of 
Temminck. And here, let it be remarked, that in the 
jago fowl, so famous for height and weight, the comb, 
both of the cock and hen, is large and often double, 
added to which there is sometimes a crest of feathers. 



40 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

Domestication always produces some modifications of 
structure in animals, and more especially in organs of 
minor importance, as in the length of the tail and ears, 
and in the development of various appendages. That 
the comb of the jago fowl should be large, and often 
double, is not surprising. Most of our ordinary breeds 
have a rose crown, yet this development is never found 
in any wild species. It is the result of domestication, 
and occurs in a part most liable, as mi^ht be antici- 
pated, to change. 



THE PHEASANT-MALAY FOWL. 

SYNONYMES. Gullvs giganteus (var. ?), Temminck ; Pheasant-Malay 
Fowl, Pheasant Fowl. Pheasant Breed, of the English Poulterers. 

This variety may claim the sad pre-eminence of 
having given occasion to more disputes than any bird 
of its tribe, always excepting the game cock. It is 
highly valued by many English farmers, not on account 
of its intrinsic merits, which are considerable, but 
because they believe it to be a cross between the 
pheasant and the common fowl, than which nothing 
can be more erroneous. The pullets and cockerels are 
represented as excellent for the table, and when brought 
to market meet with a ready sale, less because they 
are really fine birds, than because the seller assures 
his customers, in perfect sincerity, that they are half- 
bred pheasants ; and the buyer readily pays his money 
down, thinking that he has got a nice fowl, and a taste 
of pheasant into the bargain something like the Paddy 
who was delighted, at breakfast, on finding that he 
was " ateing a little hen" when he had only paid for 
an egg. 

Let it be clearly and distinctly known, then, that 
the "pheasant breed" of the English poultry fancier 
is no more a mule between the common hen and the 
cock pheasant, than the Cochin-China, or ostrich fowl, is 
ahalf-bred ostrich. Yet. hybrid birds produced between 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 41 

the pheasant and common fowl are of frequent occur- 
rence. The London Zoological Society have possessed 
several, which were for a time kept together, but 
showed no signs of breeding ; they are considered, like 
other hybrids, to be unproductive among themselves, 
all being half-bred ; but when paired with the true 
pheasant or the fowl, the case is different. The society 
has had exhibited at the evening meetings two instances 
of success in this sort of second cross. The first was 
in 1831 ; the second instance in 1836. Two cases 
only, and those in the second cross, ascertained during 
all the time that the society has had extraordinary 
means at command, are exceptions so rare, as to con- 
firm the rule that such mules are barren, and incapable 
of founding a family, and becoming the ancestors of a 
distinct race. A correspondent in the London Agri- 
cultural Gazette, a most successful breeder of theni, 
also admits, that, after many trials of these paired 
hybrids, he had " never brought up but two to be 
a' most hens," and that they took the megrims 
(staggers,) and died. 

And yet, an evidently sincere writer in the publica- 
tion last referred to, declares : " From what I have 
seen of the plumage of birds casually produced at the 
wood side, (from crossing with pheasants,) I believe a 
judicious and scientific selection would lead to the 
production of very fine varieties, and that, among 
others, the dark pheasant-plumed breed, both of Ban- 
tams and common poultry, would reward the patient 
inquirer." 

The pheasant-Malays are described as large, well- 
flavored, good sitters, good layers, good mothers, and 
in many points an ornamental and desirable stock. 
The eggs vary in size, some very large, in summer, 
smooth but not polished, sometimes tinged with light- 
buff, balloon-shaped, and without the zone of irregu- 
larity. Six eggs of these hens weigh very nearly 12 
ounces. 

This breed is very graphically described by a late 



42 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

English writer, nearly in the following words . " The 
cock is a large-sized bird, of a dark-red color, with a 
small comb ; but the beauty of the breed is with the 
hens, which are of a pheasant-color in all parts of the 
body, with a velvety-black neck. The shape of both 
male and female is good. The neck is long and high- 
crested, giving them an appearance quite superior to 
other fowls in that particular. The color of the hens 
varies from the warmth of the plumage of the cock 
pheasant to the colder hue of the hen pheasant, but as 
I have always bred from the high-colored birds, I now 
have the better color generally predominating. The 
legs are white, and also the skin. They are excellent 
birds on table, both as to quality, shape, and size. 
They have no resemblance to the Malay, except that 
the cocks are rather high on the legs, the hens being 
the reverse. The combs of the hens are very small. 
The hens never have a foul feather, but I have never 
seen a cock which does not show some small mark 
of white on one of his tail feathers. You will observe 
in the hens of the pheasant-Malay that the two longest 
tail feathers are somewhat curved, which, when the 
bird is full grown, and in full feather, materially 
improve the appearance. They do not arrive at their 
full size until the second season. They lay well, but 
late. Their eggs are very small in proportion to the 
size of the birds. I should say that their weight was, 
on the average, above that of the black Spanish, while 
their eggs are a third smaller. * * * * * The 
hens have scarcely any comb. The cocks always have 
a comb extending but a very little way backward, but 
standing up so high as always to fall a little over on 
one side. I have never seen any variation as to the 
combs nor the color of the neck and tail feathers, either 
of males or females, which indicates them to be a real 
variety. The only variation I have observed is in the 
body color of the hens, and this is not in the marking, 
but merely in the ground color. * * * * * The 
eggs are quite small, but of excellent flavor, neither 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 



43 



very white nor brown ; the shape varies considerably. 
The chicks are of a yellowish color, with sometimes 
two brown stripes down the back and a few specks 
about the head, but more usually without either. 
They have, however, invariably the hinder part of the 
back of an intenser or browner yellow, almost amount- 
ing to a warm fawn-color. # # * # * My male 
birds have a very peculiar feathering on the neck the 
neck feathers being very long and full, dark-red, and 
black at the tips, but the under part of a downy white. 
The consequence is, an appearance of mixed dark-red 
and white about the neck, which is the more peculiar 
from its being so particularly at variance with the 
glossy-black neck feathering of the female. The 
feathering of the back and wings is rather scanty, and 
the tail is not very full. The bird has a good, erect 
carriage. * * * * * The chickens of this breed 
are very small at first, and but scantily supplied with 
down. As they begin to grow, they have a very naked 
appearance from the slow development of their feathers, 
and this renders % them very susceptible of cold. At 
six weeks old, they are not above half the size of Dork- 
ings of the same age, but after two months, they grow 
very fast, and the pullets feather well and show indi- 
cations of their permanent color. The cocks are ragged 
in appearance until five months old, after which they 
get their permanent plumage, and grow fast. As a 
sort of profitable growth, I cannot recommend them, but 
the ornamental figure and color of the hens, I think, 
is beyond question. The flesh, at table, is extremely 
good and white; and they lay abundantly, though 
late. I have a strong suspicion, from various pecu- 
liarities, that they are of comparatively recent intro- 
duction into this country, from a much warmer 
climate. * * * * * Baker, of London and 
Chelsea, (one of the best fancy dealers,) told me that 
they were a breed from Calcutta. They are certainly 
tender, and are apt to die in tho moulting." 



44 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 




THE GAME FOWL. 

SYWONYMES. Gallus gallinaceus (var.?), of Naturalists ; Coq anglais, of 
Buffon ; Gallo peleador, of the Spaniards ; Game Fowl, Game Cock, 
Fighting Cork, of the English and Anglo-Americans. 

It is not within the range of the present little treatise 
to hunt up the distinctions of the sporting fancy, par- 
ticularly cock-fighting, which, it is hoped, will soon 
become obsolete ; yet an allusion to those distinctions 
might excite the curiosity of the naturalist. It is the 
temperament which gives the bird its value in the eye 
of the sportsman ; its physical qualities deserve the 
notice of the ornithologist. But even now, many of 
the handsomest game cocks to be seen, are already 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 45 

trimmed, (in the comb at least,) in case they should 
be wanted in a hurry for a private spar. 

The game cock approaches nearer to the Malay and 
pheasant-Malay than to any other variety of fowl. As 
I have made the Spanish fowl, on account of his 
well-developed single comb, the type of the genus, so, 




THE ENGLISH GAME COCK. 

in any circular arrangement of the genus itself, I 
should make the game fowl the centre from which the 
rest, in one way or another, diverge. There are the 
white-legged, the yellow-legged, and the leaden or 
black-legged game fowl, all of which vary in the color 
of their plumage. No other breed runs off into so 
many varieties, which still are all " true game fowls." 
The catalogue of sorts is a long one ; and many 
of them have been preserved in various noble and 
gentle families, in Europe, distinct. At present, the 
Earl of Derby possesses a breed which has been in 
possession of that noble family for many generations, 
and which is sedulously preserved from base alloy. It 



46 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

is a black-breasted red, with a purple band across the 
wing, and, though superior in size to the Bankiva 
iungle fowl, it closely resembles that bird in plumage 
and in elegance of contour. 

The exterior qualifications of a male bird of this 
variety, is described by an anonymous writer in the 
following words : " In the choice of the game or 
fighting cock, four things are to be principally con- 
sidered ; these are shape, color, courage, and the sharp- 
ness of the heel. As to the shape, such a one should 
be chosen as is neither too small nor too large ; the 
very large ones are always clumsy and unwieldy, and 
the small ones are slow and tedious in fighting, and 
are generally too weak to stand a very tight battle ; 
another disadvantage to these extremes, is, that they 
are very difficult to be matched ; the middle size ought 
therefore to be preferred, as he is generally the most 
nimble and active with his strength, and the matching 
him is easy. The head ought to be small, the eyes 
large and brisk, and the beak strong and hooked at the 
setting on ; its color ought also to answer to that of 
the principal or general color of the feathers, whether 
they be yellow, reddish, or grey. The beam of his leg 
ought to be very strong, and, according to his plumage, 
either blue, grey, or yellow ; and the spurs ought to 
be rough, long, and sharp, a little bending and point- 
ing inward. The three colors esteemed in the game 
cock are grey, yellow, and red, with a black breast. 
The perfection of a cock is not, however, tied down to 
these colors absolutely, for experience has shown that 
there are cocks of other colors which have proved 
excellent ones, but these are, in general, the best. The 
pied cock sometimes turns out good, but the white and 
dun are seldom of any value. If the neck of a cock 
be invested with a circle of scarlet complexion, it is a 
sign that he is strong and vigorous, and has great 
courage ; but if it be pale and wan, it denotes him to 
be defective in these material particulars," 

The game cock is by no means the aggressive san- 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 47 

guinary tyrant that he is commonly represented to be. 
He will submit to no insult nor intrusion within his 
own domain ; but neither does he offer any unprovoked 
assault. If his antagonist flee, he is satisfied, and 
ioes not pursue him in order to perpetrate any bloody 
revenge. Other poultry that are killed by game cocks 
generally draw down the punishment upon themselves, 
by their own impudent and continued aggression. The 
bird, too, is as enduring of pain, as he is bold in combat. 

But though I wish to clear the game breed from 
the charge of blood-thirsty cruelty, I cannot hold 
them out as patterns of gentleness and forbearance. 
" Might with them, makes right." None but the 
brave, however well they may deserve, or how much- 
soever they may long for, are likely to enjoy any favor 
from the present class of rusty-fusty colored beauties. 
" Quiet people," says a late writer, "unless they have 
studied phrenology, or kept game fowls, have little 
idea how close a connexion there is said to be between 
love and murder. But the ladies have long found it 
out; there is no sweetheart like a soldier. A con- 
stantly pacific male is despicable in their eyes. ' Eh ! 
si je veux qu'il me batte !' * If 1 choose my husband 
to beat me, what business is that of yours ? A pretty 
state of things, when a woman may not permit her 
own husband to beat her !' So wrote the great 
Moliere, in the high-heeled, periwigged reign of Louis 
XIY. But civilised and uncivilised nature is alike. 
The southern she savage, when her brute lifts his 
waddy, to give her a tap on the head that would fell 
an English ox, bows thankfully to receive the caress 
on her indurated noddle, and triumphs that the com- 
pliment was not bestowed upon either of the other 
squaws." 

The game hens, as well as the cocks, also vary in 
color, and some breeders think the darkest to be of the 
purest blood ; a deep-brown hen, with dark legs and 
small leaden comb, is thought to be the model bird ; 
but in most, if not all game hens, the tail will be found 



48 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

to be large, vertical, fan-like, and well carried over 
the back a distinction which continues to be very 
apparent in the first cross with any other breed. The 
flesh, even of the yellow-legged, yellow-skinned breeds, 
is justly, in high repute ; their eggs, also, are much 
prized for the table, but my own palate is not suffi- 
ciently discriminating to detect their particular supe- 
riority to the eggs of other hens. They are compara- 
tively small, contain a somewhat larger proportion of 
yolk, are generally tapering, unequally elliptic, and 
mostly, though not always, tinged with buff. 

Another general merit of the hens, is their excel- 
lence as incubators and nurses ; a virtue in them which 
is no new discovery. " Florentius," says Aldrovandi, 
" is the authority, that in the Alexandria which faces 
jiEgypt, certain hens, from which the fighting cocks 
are produced, are called Monositae, (that is, one-mealers, 
or such as eat only once a day,) and that these will 
go on sitting for the second or third time, in conse- 
quence of their chicks being smuggled away as soon 
as hatched and brought up elsewhere. It thus happens 
that a single hen may hatch forty, and even sixty or 
more, at one sitting." When they are at length per- 
mitted to receive their reward in the shape of a brood 
of chicks, nothing can exceed their admirable conduct. 
The very young hens, with their first clutch, are apt 
to be over-anxious, and not at all forbearing to other 
fowls that come in their way ; but that is a fault on 
the right side, and if the feathers of intruders are now 
and then made to fly abroad, they must grow again. 
The delicate proportions of the game hen adapt her to 
take charge of even the most fragile gallinaceous 
birds ; Awhile her courage and determination render 
her equal to the most robust. Every breeder or experi- 
menter should have a nursery of game hens. 

" The nest for the hen," says the same anonymous 
writer, referred to above, " should be made of sweet 
and clean straw, and should be placed in some warm 
corner, out of the way of disturbance from any other 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 49 

fowl, for this sort of interruption provokes this quar- 
relsome bird in such a manner as to endanger the eggs. 
That she may never have occasion to leave the eggs 
so long as to cool them, it will be proper to lay all 
sorts of food that she is likely to approve of before her, 
and to put clean water every day not only for her to 
drink but to wash and trim herself in ; some ashes, 
sand, and gravel should also be sifted on the ground 
near the nest. The chickens are hatched in about 
three weeks, and the nest is to be carefully watched 
about this time, for there are always some of the 
chickens hatched before the others ; these should be 
taken away as soon as out of the shell, and laid before 
the fire, or in some warm place in wool, and as soon 
as the rest are hatched these should be given back to 
the hen. They are not to be suffered to go abroad for 
the first fortnight, and the room they are kept in must 
be boarded, all other floors being too cold and too moist. 
At about a month old, the chickens may be turned 
out into a walk of some fresh grass, that they may 
feed at liberty and eat worms and other insects ; but 
there must be no puddle of water near the place, for 
they are apt to get into such, and it occasions them a 
number of diseases. 

"As soon as the comb and wattles appear on the 
cocks, they must be cut away, and the sore place 
anointed with fresh butter till it is well (the cock 
fighter only will act in this cruel manner, the fancier 
will not thus disfigure his birds). The chickens may 
be all suffered to run together till they begin to peck 
one another, then the cocks are to be separated ; each 
must have his particular walk, and the more freed 
from disturbance this is the better. The place of feed- 
ing them must either be a boarded floor, or a very soft 
and dry piece of ground. If the place be hard, as a 
stony pavement, or a plastered floor, the taking up 
their food will injure and blunt their beaks, so that 
they will never be able to hold fast afterwards. Any 
white corn is good for the young game cook in his 
3 



50 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

walks ; and so is a white bread toast steeped in ale. 
There should never be allowed more than three hens 
to one game cock in his walk ; and care is to be taken 
also as to his roosting-place, that the perch be not too 
small in the gripe, and be so placed that he may sit 
upon it without straddling. Gfame cocks are brought 
to the greatest state of their strength and activity in 
about ten days, but they will, scarcely remain twenty- 
four hours in this condition ; nay, some have been 
known to change for the worse in twelve hours." 

Many of the foregoing directions bear rather upon 
the rearing of the game cock for the purpose of fight- 
ing, than for ordinary utility ; but others are of general 
import. 

It is not only for its pugnacious qualities that the 
game fowl is to be noticed it yields to no breed, nay, 
perhaps is superior to most in the whiteness and sapid- 
ity of its flesh ; the hens are excellent layers, and the 
eggs, though of moderate size only, are remarkable 
for the delicacy of their flavor, as has already been 
stated. 

Of all the breeds, the game fowl is considered the 
most beautiful, whether we look to contour or to color- 
ing ; the cock carries himself proudly and yet grace- 
fully, his port and bearing proclaim his fiery spirit, his 
undaunted mettle, which endures even to his last 
breath, for while prostrate and mortally wounded he 
will answer the insulting crow of his victorious rival, 
and make a last effort to revenge himself before the 
spark of life is extinct. No wonder that the gallant 
cock should have been chosen as the emblem of courage. 

Poultry fanciers, who keep only a small number of 
fowls, may manage to rear a young brood of this 
variety by precautions which the farmer cannot put 
into practice. The principal objection to them, in 
these respects, is their impatience of confinement 
to a yard or coop ; and from their lightness on the 
wing, it is difficult to prevent them from flying out at 
will. 



. 

THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 51 

THE GOLDEN AND SILVER HAMBURGH FOWL. 

SYNONYMES. Gallus gallinaceus (var.?), of Ray ; Gallina turcica (?), of 
Aldrovandi ; Coral Grey, Bolton Grey, Bolton Bay, of Lancashire ; Pen- 
cilled Dutch Fowl (?), Turkish Fowl (?), of Dickson ; Chittiprats, Chete- 
prats (?), at Keighley, in Yorkshire, England; Golden Hamburgh, Sil- 
ver Hamburgh, of Dixon ; Creoles, of Wiltshire and other parts of the 
South of England. 

It is no easy task to reconcile the synonymes of this 
breed. Aldrovandi, in describing a Turkish cock and 
two Turkish hens, says : " The cock, whose likeness 
we now give, is called the Turkish cock. His whole 
body was, in a manner, inclined to white. Still the 
wing feathers were partly black, the belly also was 
black ; the tail consisted of feathers that were partly 
green, partly black, some also half green, some half 
black. His whole body was exquisitely adorned with 
lines that were sometimes golden and sometimes sil- 
ver, and it is wonderful what a beautiful effect this 
produced. His legs and feet were tinged with blue. 
The hen, which in like manner is called Turkish, was 
all white, sprinkled over with black spots ; the feet 
tinged with blue ; the wattles were short, when com- 
pared with those of the male. The next hen would 
seem the same, except that her; neck was yellowish, 
and she had a sharp point on the top of her head, 
her feet altogether blue, and an immaculate tail, 
* * * * * i have observed another hen of this 
kind, whose feet were entirely blue, spotted in the 
same manner as the foregoing with black and white, 
but behind its fleshy crest it had another of white 
feathers like a lark, and that part of the neck and 
shoulders which in the other is black, in this changing 
from ash color to dirty yellow." 

The figures given in Aldrovandi's large wood cuts 
are evidently the golden Hamburgh ; the hens, one 
golden, arid one silver. The very peculiar form of the 
combj so recognisable at the present time, is clearly 



52 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

marked in these old characters. The fleshy rose comb 
of the golden Hamburgh terminating in a sharp point 
behind, like the corner of a cocked hat turning upwards, 
and which is seen in no other variety of fowl, is well 
described. 

A writer in the London Agricultural Grazette, of 
October 14th, 1848, in speaking of this breed, says : 
" The silver (Hamburgh) fowls are worthy of notice, 
both on account of their beauty and productiveness ; 
they are small -bodied, have short blue legs, a very 
pretty head, with a full comb, and a remarkably short 
bill, rounded, and shaped somewhat like a sparrow's ; 
their color white, with very regular black dots or 
moons on their wings and tail. They lay well ; mine 
commenced early in February, and are laying now 
(Oct. 3) ; they do not show any inclination to sit, but 
in a hatch their eggs are very productive. I have had 
fourteen chicks out of fifteen eggs. It is necessary to 
keep a game hen or two, to perpetuate the breed (by 
hatching the eggs, which they will not do for them- 
selves.) I find rice, at 12s. to 14s. per cwt., soaked all 
night in water, and then rolled in Indian meal, a very 
economical and fattening food, occasionally mixed 
with a little barley. My hens would have commenced 
laying earlier in the season, if their roosting place had 
been warmer." 

Moubray, to whom the merits, at least, of origi- 
nality and practical knowledge ought to be conceded, 
appears to have been acquainted only with the Eng- 
lish stock of this breed. He says of the Coral, or 
Bolton Greys, " This variety, apparently the crack 
breed of their vicinity, but entirely unknown in the 
metropolis, is described by the Rev. Mr. Ashworth, 
Vicar of Tamworth, as follows: ' Small- sized, short 
in the leg, and plump in the make. The color of the 
genuine kind, invariably pure white in the whole 
lappel of the neck ; the body white, thickly spotted 
with bright black, sometimes running into a grizzle, 
with one or more black bars at the extremity of the 






THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 53 

tail ; they are chiefly esteemed as very constant 
layers, though their color would mark them for good 
table fowl.' Certain other breeds, (in Lancashire,) are 
described, but they do not appear to possess any title 
to distinction." In his eighth edition, a colored figure 
is given, which quite corresponds with the silver 
Hamburghs. "Why they are called " corals," it is diffi- 
cult to say, unless it be on account of their red comb ; 
which, however, is not redder than that of other fowls. 

" Bolton bays" is another provincial name for the 
" golden Hamburghs, "as "Bolton greys" is for the "sil- 
ver." In order to fix more clearly the nomenclature, 
by the comparison of individual specimens of different 
localities, Rev. E. S. Dixon, of Norwich, England, 
purchased in Hungerford Market, some birds that had 
been imported from Holland ; another specimen from 
Herring, on the New Road, and was supplied with a 
pair of " bays," and also of " greys," from Bolton, in 
Lancashire ; likewise, with a " Creole" hen from Wilt- 
shire. The result of the comparison, and of the una- 
nimous opinion of the London poulterers, was, that the 
two varieties of Hamburghs, the " golden" and " sil- 
ver," are of the same breed. 

The "Bolton bay," from Lancashire, says Mr. 
Dixon, "differed most in her markings from the nor- 
mal type, which we will suppose represented by Al- 
drovandi's Turkish hen ; but all the main points were 
correct, and for this difference I had been prepared. 
The bay hen I received was marked very like a golden 
Poland, (the crest, of course, being quite absent,) but 
that the ground of the plumage was of a much richer 
and browner hue. Those persons, therefore, who wish 
to procure golden Hamburgh fowls, from Lancashire, 
should state to their agents whether they desire them 
to be of barred or marginated markings. The Bolton 
fowls average, in Liverpool, 3s. each, which is cheap for 
those who wish to obtain a stock of this very distinct 
variety. All the birds that I received were very good 
specimens. The male golden Hamburgh is a particu- 



54 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

larly beautiful creature ; nothing but a full-sized colored 
drawing can give an adequate idea of the extremely 
rich coloring and brilliant lustre of his plumage. It has 
been mentioned in the previous note that the males of 
the Bolton greys differ somewhat in the quantity of black 
or dark grey which they wear; the hens also very 
slightly, some having a tendency to linear markings of 
black and grey, and others to spots of the same colors, 
but the difference is hardly more than would be seen 
amongst a brood of chickens reared from the same pair 
of fowls. The Creole from the south of England was a 
very well-bred specimen, having the peculiar comb, 
pointed behind, described and figured by Aldrovandi. 

" The Bolton-bay cock, from Lancashire, has a large 
very double comb pointed behind upwards, flat on the 
lop, but covered with small upright points ; the wattles 
are large, and there is a small white ear patch. The 
bill is short and lead-colored ; feet and legs also lead- 
colored. Irides orange-brown. The hackle is composed 
of a mixture of brown, black, yellow, and green ; back 
the same, only darker. Tail, black glossed with green, 
and having grey down at the base of the feathers. 
Quills of the wings, chestnut ; wing coverts, metallic 
black ; breast and under part of the body, black." 

The golden and silver Hamburgh, when pure bred, 
are commonly looked upon as "everlasting layers," but 
no strictly universal rule that will apply without fail to 
every case, can be laid down for fowls any more than 
for quadrupeds or men. The term " everlasting" re- 
ceives its name from the circumstance that the hens, if 
properly fed, and kept in a warm situation protected 
against the cold, will continue to lay throughout the whole 
of the year, or. nearly so, and thus afford an unfailing 
supply of eggs. In general, fowls after laying for a cer- 
tain length of time become " broody" they cease to 
lay, and evince an uncontrollable desire, an instinctive 
propensity to devote themselves to the task of incuba- 
tion. They are impelled by the law of nature, which 
urges them to this essential mode of continuing their 
race ; but in the present breed, in which the season of 



, \ 

THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 55 

laying is preternaturally lengthened out, or is almok 
continuous from spring to spring, this natural desire is\ 
greatly weakened, or indeed altogether subdued. The \ 
hen betrays but little anxiety to incubate, and continues \ 
to lay eggs as if for no other purpose than to repay her 
keeper. Hence, to obtain a brood of this stock, (and it 
should be kept in its purity,) the eggs must be put under 
a good sitter, of any common breed, a few of which may 
be kept for the express purpose, and thus the fancier may 
replenish his stock. It is not often that pure everlasting 
fowls are to be seen, and this renders it the more de- 
sirable that those who possess breeds should sedulously 
preserve them from admixture ; a cross will spoil the 
hens as "everlasting layers/' without rendering them 
enduring, patient sitters. 



THE CUCKOO FOWL. 

SYNONYMES. Gallus gallinaceus (var.?), of Ray ; Cuckoo Fowl, of the 
Norfolk Farmyards, England ; Barn-Door Fowl, of the English and 
Anglo-Americans. 

This variety, there is good reason to believe is old 
and distinct, though it is generally looked upon as a 
mere "barn-door fowl ;" that is, the accidental result of 
promiscuous crossing. But there are several forms 
among the " bai n-door fowls," so called, that are seen to 
be repeated generation after generation, the counter- 
parts of which are to be met with scattered here and 
there over this country as well as Europe. So constant 
a repetition of corresponding features would seem to de- 
clare, that there are several unnoticed and undistin- 
guished varieties of fowl, which deserve to be regarded 
and treated as we do other distinct sorts. 

The objection to the adoption of this view and 
mode of practice is, that it would inconveniently multi- 
ply the number of species, and give additional trouble to 
naturalists and poultry fanciers. But the multiplicity 
of Nature's works always has been infinite, in reference 
to man's power of understanding them. The only won- 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

;r, if we reflect, is, that he has had the courage to 
grapple with them at all. The subject is certainly de- 
serving of consideration, and may be the means of 
affording important service to natural history. Dr. 
Bechstein, of Germany, seems to have been not far from 
suspecting that several distinct varieties might be de- 
tected amongst the ordinary fowls of the farmyard. It 
might answer the purpose of the dealer to rear a pure 
stock of some of the .handsomest and most useful of 
these, and send them forth with appropriate names, de- 
termined by competent persons, fixing the appellation of 
the variety. 

The " cuckoo fowl," it may be supposed, was so called 
from its barred plumage, resembling the breast of the 
cuckoo. The prevailing color is a slaty blue, undulated 
and softly shaded with white all over the body, forming 
bands of various widths. The comb is very small ; irides, 
bright orange; feet and legs, light flesh color. The 
hens are of a good size, the cocks are large, approach- 
ing the heaviest breeds in weight. The chickens, at 
two or three months old, exhibit the barred plumage 
even more perfectly than the full-grown birds. The 
eggs average about two ounces each, are white and of 
porcelain smoothness. The newly-hatched chicks are 
grey, much resembling those of the silver Polands, ex- 
cept in the color of the feet and legs. This breed sup- 
plies an unfailing troop of good layers, good sitters, good 
mothers, and good feeders, and. is well worth promotion 
in the poultry yard. 



THE LARK-CRESTED FOWL. 

SYNONTMES. GaUus gallinaceus (var.?) of Ray ; Copplecrowns, in 
Norfolk, England; Lark- Crested Fowl, ot the English and Anglo- 
Americans. 

Here again, as with the cuckoo fowl, is a breed, 
which, until of late, has been treated with undeserved 
regard. They have, no doubt, been looked upon by 
many as ill-bred Polands, but the shape of the crest, as 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 57 

well as the proportions of the bird are different. Aldro- 
vandi perceived the distinction. He calls the one " our 
farmyard hen, known to everybody, entirely -white and 
crested like a lark ;" the other is his Paduan fowl. The 
first, of whatever color, is of a peculiar taper form in- 
clining forwards, as Aldrovandi's old-fashioned wood- 
cut well represents, with a moderate, depressed, back- 
ward-directed crest, and deficient in the neatness of the 
legs and feet so conspicuous in the Polands ; the latter 
are of more upright carriage and a more squarely-built 
frame. Set the two side by side, and their discrepancy 
will be apparent. 

Lark-crested fowls are of various colors ; pure snow- 
white, brown with yellow hackles, and black. How far 
these sorts require to be subdivided, has not yet been 
investigated. The first of these are perhaps of a more 
brilliant white than is seen in any other domesticated 
gallinaceous bird, and the color is much more dazzling 
than that of the white Guinea fowl, or the white pea 
fowl. This white variety is in great esteem with many 
farmers' wives, in England, who will keep it to the en- 
tire exclusion of any other sort. , They are represented 
to have a remarkably neat and lively appearance when 
rambling about a homestead, and look very clean and 
attractive when dressed for market. An old bird, 
cleverly trussed, will be apparently as delicate and 
transparent in the skin and flesh as an ordinary chicken. 
The feathers are also more saleable than those from 
darker-colored fowls. By some, this breed is thought to 
be more tender than other kinds, yet they are con- 
sidered, on every account, preferable to the white Dork- 
ings. 

In the cocks, a single upright comb sometimes almost 
entirely takes the place of the crest. The hens, too, 
vary in their degree of crestedness, some not having 
above half a dozen feathers in their head dress. If they 
were not of average merit as to their laying and sitting 
qualifications, they would not retain the favor they do 
with the thrifty housewives by whom they are chiefly 
reared. 

3* 



58 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 




THE SPANGLED HAMBURGH FOWL. 

SYNONYMES. Gallus gigant eus (var. ?), of Temminck ; Spangled Ham- 
burgh Fowl, Golden Spangled Hamburgh, Silver Spangled Hamburgh 
Fowl, of the English and Anglo-Americans. 

The spafigled Hamburghs may be comprised under 
two varieties, (" golden" and " silver/') the distinctive 
characteristics being slight, and depending nearly alto- 
gether upon color. In the " spangled Poland fowl," of 
pure strain, there is no comb ; but the spangled Ham- 
burgh has a small one, rising up into two, and sometimes 
more, conical eminences, or horns, behind which is a 
full pendent topknot. Under the insertion of the lower 
mandible, or that portion of the neck corresponding to 
the chin in man, is a full, dark-colored tuft, somewhat 
resembling a beard. 

The wattles of the cock are small, and under the 
throat as just observed, is a full, dark-colored tuft of 
feathers. His general color is golden or orange-yellow, 
each feather having a glossy, dark-brown or black tip, 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 59 

(not white,) particularly remarkable on the hackles and 
wing coverts, and also on the darker feathers of the 
breast. The thighs are of a dark-brown, or blackish 
shade, and the legs and feet are of a bluish-grey. 




THE SPANGLED HAMBURGH HEN. 

The hen is yellow or orange-brown, with the feathers 
margined with black, after the manner of those of the 
cock. Birds thus colored are called " golden spangled/' 

In the " silver-spangled" variety, the only perceptible 
difference is, that the ground color is a silvery white, 
with perhaps a tinge of straw-yellow, every feather be- 
ing margined with a semi-lunar mark of glossy black. 
In other words, when the fowls are at rest, the feathers 
present the appearance of regular semi-circular spots or 
spangles. Hence the name of " spangled Hamburghs," 
the varieties being called " golden" or " silver," accord- 
ing to the prevailing color, being bright-yellow or silvery 
white. 

Both varieties are extremely beautiful, having full, 
plump bodies, a tender skin, and but little offal; and 
the hens lay freely an abundance of good-sized eggs. 

These fowls gained the prize at a late show of the 
Royal Agricultural Improvement Society of Ireland. 



60 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 




THE POLAND, OR POLISH FOWL. 

STNONYMES. Gallus giganteus (var. ?), of Temminck, Paduan Fowl, of 
Aldrovandi ; Copplecrowns, in Norfolk, England r Polish fbwl, Polan. 
den, Slack Polish Fowl, Golden Polands, Silver Polands, White Polish 
Fowl, Spangled Polish Fowl, Poland Topknots, of the English and An- 
glo-Americans. 

Certain fowls, with topknots, are called by the names 
indicated above. Whence the cognomen of " Polands" 
was derived, it is difficult to trace. Those who doubt 
the likelihood of any new breed of poultry coming from 
Poland, are inclined to think the word a corruption of 
some term derived from the poll, or head ; the word 
" polled," which we now apply to cattle without horns, 
would be more suitable to fowls with topknots. Or, it 
might possibly be given in allusion to the plica polonica, 
or Polish disease, in which the hair in the human subject 
grows into an immense matted mass. Whether the 
climate of Northern Europe has any tendency to de- 
velop the growth of crests, " muffs," &c., (as in what are 
called Siberian fowls, or muffed Dorkings,) on the heads 






THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 61 

of fowls, in a similar way in which that of Angora is 
said to soften and lengthen the Hair of various animals, 
from the fur of cats and goats, to the hair and beard of 
men ; and whether, poultry being unknown to the Teu- 
tonic tribes before their conquest by the Romans, the 
growth of a topknot or a muff be the result of an intro- 
duction to trans-alpine influences, is a speculation which 
we have no present means of pursuing. 

There is DO evidence that any breed of fowls with 
topknots was known to the ancients; but we first meet 
with them in the middle ages. Aldrovandi, quoted by 
Willoughby, in his " Ornithology" gives us many kinds, 
or rather rarities, of hens, among which was one white 
and " copped," but this is believed to be the lark-crested 
barn-door fowl of the present day. Aldrovandi also 
gives two large spirited figures, each occupying the 
whole of his folio page, which he calls the Paduan fowls, 
but in which we recognize what would now be called 
Polands. His description reads as follows : 

" There exist cocks for the most part larger than our 
own, which the common people call Paduan, even as 
such hens are larger than our own hens. We exhibit 
the likeness of the male and the female. The male was 
most beautiful to behold highly decorated with five 
colors, namely, black, white, green, red, and ochre. For 
the whole body was black. The neck was covered with 
very white feathers. But the wings and the back con- 
sisted partly of black, and partly of green. The tail 
likewise was of the same color, but the roots of the 
feathers were whitish. Some of the quill feathers, 
(remigibus,) were white above. Its head was adorned 
with a very handsome crest ; but the roots of the crest 
were white. A red spot encircled the eyes. The comb 
was very small; the bill and feet yellowish. But in the 
whole hen, there was not the least white, except that 
white skin, which is usual about the openings of the ears, 
but she was altogether black, shining with green. The 
feet were light-yellow ; the comb very small, and scarcely 
of a red color." 

A difficulty about such varieties recorded so long ago 



62 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

is the doubt whether the cock and hen were really of the 
same breed. 

The Paduan fowl has been continually mentioned as 
something distinct and primitive, by those who have 
quoted Aldrovandi, but let us for the present discard the 
term, and sweep the birds into the class of Polands. 
Whether they were really first brought from Poland it 
is difficult to know; but the fact is quite possible. 
Fowls brought alive from India to Europe, by the over- 
land journey, would suffer less than such as were sent 
by sea round the Cape of Good Hope. At the end of 
each day's journey, they could be let loose immediately, 
that the spot for the night bivouac was fixed upon ; they 
would soon learn to return at dusk to their travelling hen 
house, and would be well refreshed against the next 
day's fatigue. In Russia, the finest teas are received 
overland from the East ; nor is it improbable that a few 
fowls may have been carried as far as the neighboring 
country of Poland, after having accompanied some 
wealthy merchant, as live stock to be eaten by the way 
in case of sickness, or short commons. But whether 
correct or not, it would be difficult now to alter their 
nomenclature. Moubray says, "Perhaps the genuine 
sort, (of Polish,) has always five claws ;" and he pro- 
ceeds to derive the famous Dorking breed from them, 
with the reservation, however, that such a speculation 
may be groundless, which it decidedly is. For the fifth 
toe vanishes from the Dorkings at a very early stage of 
crossing with any other breed. 

The Black Polish Fowls are of a uniform black, both 
cock and hen, glossed with metallic green. The head 
is ornamented with a handsome crest of white feathers 
springing from a fleshy prtuberance, and fronted more 
or less deeply with black. The comb is merely two or 
three spikes, and the wattles are rather small. Both 
male and female are the same in color, except that the 
cock has frequently narrow stripes of white in the wav- 
ing feathers of the tail ; a sign, it is said, of true breed- 
ing. The hens also have two or three feathers on each 
side of the tail, tinged in the tip with white. They 







THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 63 

do not lay quite so early in the spring as some varieties, 
especially after a hard winter ; but they are exceedingly 
good layers, continuing a long time without wanting to 
sit, and laying rather large, very white sub-ovate eggs. 
They will sit, however, at length, and prove of very 
diverse dispositions ; some being excellent sitters and 
nurses, others heedless and spiteful. The chicks, when 
first hatched, are dull, black, with white breasts, and 
white down on the front of the head. They do not 
always grow and get out of harm's way so quickly as 
some other sorts, but are not particularly tender. 

In rearing a brood of these fowls, one may observe 
some of the hens with crests round and symmetrical as 
a ball, and others in which the feathers turn all ways, 
and fall loosely over the eyes ; and in the cocks, also, 
some have the crest falling gracefully over the back of 
the head, and others have the feathers turning about 
and standing on end ; these are to be rejected, the chief 
beauty of the sort depending on such little particulars. 
One hen, noticed by Mr. Dixon, laid just a hundred 
eggs, many of them on consecutive days, before want- 
ing to incubate ; after rearing a brood successfully, she 
laid twenty-five eggs before moulting in autumn. 

The Black-topped White Polish are now, it seems, 
run out in England, if, indeed, there is any evidence of 
their having ever existed there. Buffon mentions them 
as if extant in France in his time. These and the 
" Shackbags" are probably recoverable only by importa- 
tion from Asia. 

The Golden Polands are sometimes called "gold 
spangled," but surely not correctly, because, although 
the bird has spots, those markings are not universal, but 
many of the finest specimens have the feathers merely 
fringed with a darker color, and the cocks, much more 
frequently than the hens, exhibit a spotted or spangled 
appearance. Many of them are disfigured by a muff 
or beard; but no such birds should be allowed the 
entree to the poultry yard, but be dispatched at once to 
the fatting coop. 

The golden Polands, when well bred, are exceedingly 



64 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

handsome; the cock having golden hackles, and gold 
and brown feathers on the back ; breast and wings 
richly spotted with ochre and dark-brown ; tail darker ; 
large golden and brown crest, falling back over the 
neck ; but little comb and wattles. The hen is richly 
laced with dark-brown or black on an ochre ground ; 
dark-spotted crest ; legs light- blue, very cleanly made, 
and displaying a small web between the toes, almost as 
proportionally large as that in some of the aquatic birds 
called " waders." They are good layers, and produce 
fair-sized eggs. Many of them make excellent mothers, 
although you cannot always get them to sit early in the 
season. The chicks are rather clumsy-looking little 
animals, of a dingy brown, with some dashes of ochre 
about the head, breast, and wings. They are sometimes 
a little apt to die in the first week of their existence, but 
afterwards get tolerably hardy, although liable to make 
a stand-still when about half grown. 

It has been observed as a peculiarity in the temper of 
this breed, that if you catch one of them, or if one 
is attacked by any animal, the rest, whether cocks 
or hens, will instantly attack the aggressor with fury, 
and endeavor to rescue their unfortunate companion. 

The Silver Polands are similar to the preceding in 
shape and markings, except that white, black, and grey, 
are exchanged for ochre or yellow, and various shades 
of brown. They are even more delicate in their con- 
stitution, more liable to remain fixed at a certain point 
of their growth, and still more require and will repay 
extra care and accommodation. Their topknots are not, 
perhaps, in general, so large ; but they retain the same 
neat, bluish legs and slightly-webbed feet. It is curious 
that a bird which is quite incapable of swimming should 
have webs on its feet, while the gallinule, which swims 
and dives well, has none. 

The hens of the silver Polands are much more orna- 
mental than the cocks ; though even they are sure to 
attract notice. They may certainly be ranked among 
the choicest of fowls, whether we consider their beauty 
or their rarity. They lay moderate-sized, French-white 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 65 

eggs, much pointed at one end, in tolerable abundance, 
and when they sit, acquit themselves respectably. 

The new-hatched chicks are very pretty ; grey, with 
black eyes, light, lead-colored legs, and a swelling of 
down on the crown of the head, indicative of the future 
topknot, which is exactlv the color of a powdered wig, 
and indeed gives the chick the appearance of wearing 
one. They are easily enough reared for the first six 
weeks or two months, the critical time with them being 
the interval between that age and their reaching their 
fifth or sixth month. At a very early age, they acquire 
their peculiar distinctive features, and are then the most 
elegant little miniature fowls it is possible to imagine. 
The distinction of sex is not very manifest till they are 
nearly full grown, the first observable indication being in 
the tail. That of the pullet is carried uprightly, as it 
ought to be, but in the cockerel it remains depressed, 
awaiting the growth of the sickle feathers. It is re- 
markable that the golden Polish cock brings as true 
silver chicks, and those stronger, with the silver Polish 
hen, as the silver Polish cock would. 

The silver Polands have all the habits of their golden 
companions; the main difference being the silvery 
ground instead of the golden. The silver variety will 
sometimes even make its appearance if you breed merely 
the golden sort, exactly as the black Polish produce now 
and then some pure white chicks that make very elegant 
birds. An attempt has been made in England to ob- 
tain the black topknotted, white, Polish from these, by 
acting on the imagination of the parents. The experi- 
ment failed, though similar schemes have been said to 
succeed with animals ; it proved, however, one 'thing 
namely, that it will not do to breed from the white Polish 
as a separate breed. Being albinos, the chicks come 
very weakly, and few survive. On the other hand, trust 
to chance for an occasional white one among the black, 
and you may get a fine bird. 

There is a singular variety of the Polish, which has 
the entire plumage of a uniform slaty dun color. Other 
curious combinations of color are probably to be found 



66 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

here and there in the hands of careful breeders. One 
has been lately raised in England, in which the golden 
plumage has been crowned by a large globe-shaped white 
crest of dense feathers ; how long this will continue 
permanent, remains to be tested. There was also a 
breed called after Lord Erdley, which obtained a prize 
at one of the poultry shows in the Surry Zoological 
Gardens. 

The Polish fowls are chiefly suited for keeping in a 
small way, and in a clean and grassy place. They are 
certainly not so fit for the yard of the farmer, becoming 
blinded and miserable with dirt. It is a main point to 
procure them genuine ; for there is no breed of fowls 
more disfigured by rnongrelism than this. The Polish 
will, without any cross-breeding, occasionally produce 
white stock that are very pretty, and equally good for 
laying, &c. It is singular, however, that if you attempt 
to make a separate breed of them, they become puny 
and weak. It is better for those who wish for them to 
depend upon chance, as every brood almost of the 
black produces one white chick strong and lively as the 
rest. 

The Polish fowls are excellent for the table, the flesh 
being white, tender, and juicy ; but they are quite un- 
suitable for being reared in any numbers, or for general 
purposes ; they are capricious in their growth, frequent- 
ly remaining " stuck," for a whole month, without get- 
ting bigger, and this, too, when about a quarter or half 
grown, the time^of their life when they are most liable 
to disease. As aviary birds, they are unrivalled among 
fowls. Their plumage often requires a close inspection 
to appreciate its elaborate beauty ; and the confinement 
and petting seem not uncongenial to their health. It is 
recommended that persons whose accommodations for 
poultry is very limited, select some pretty family of 
Polanders, and keep them on the aviary system ; when 
it will be found that their plumage improves in beauty 
with almost every moult. 

Polish fowls are also currently reported as " everlast- 
ing layers," which further fits them for keeping in small 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 



67 



enclosures ; but, as in the Hamburghs, individual ex- 
ceptions are often met with, however truly the habit 
may be ascribed to the race. 




THE BANTAM FOWL. 

SYNONYMES. Gcllus bankiva (var. ?), of Temminck ; Cog de Bantam, 
of Buffon ; Bantamischcr Hahn, of the Germans ; Bantam Fowl, of tho 
English and Anglo- Americans. 

Our little friends, the Bantams, as their name clearly 
implies, came from Bantam, a town and kingdom in the 
island of Java, famous for its trade in pepper. Since 
their introduction into Europe, this breed has ramified 
into many varieties, none of which are destitute of 
elegance, and some remarkable for beauty. All are, or 
ought to be, of small size, but lively and vigorous, ex- 
hibiting in their movements both stateliness and grace. 

The Yellow or Nankin Bantams are about the most 
useful of their tribe, and not the least ornamental. The 
hens are mainly tinted with a ginger-yellow, and have 
dull-blue legs and feet, and small comb. There is a sub- 
variety, in which they are more brown, after the fashion 
of some game hens. The cocks are decked in red, 
orange, and scarlet, mostly with the false speculum, or 
iridescent wing coverts, altogether of a flashy appearance ; 
and, indeed, when good specimens of their kind, they are 
really beautiful little birds. Their eggs are large in 
proportion to the size of the layer, very rounded and full 
at both ends, and of excellent flavor. The hens are ex- 



68 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

cellent mothers, particularly for such delicate things as 
Guinea fowls. 

The Sebright Bantam has very much thrown the 
preceding into the shade. Their beauty is of a differ- 
ent class, but it is questionable whether their merits are 
greater. Here we have delicate pencilling in the shape 
of brilliant coloring. How and whence they first ap- 
peared in England is a mystery and likely to remain so. 
Sir J. S. Sebright has the credit of having "originated" 
the breed, a reputation believed to be as well deserved 
as that he "originated" the creation of the feathered 
race in general. Those in his confidence were accus- 
tomed to report that he would travel, " or send," as far 
as two or three hundred miles to obtain a choice bird, 




SEBRIGHT BANTAMS. 

which was doubtless true ; but had they added many 
thousands of miles to the two or three hundred in the 
" sending" part of the story, they would, we believe, 
have been still nearer to the truth. That Sir John 
treated his birds, when procured, with jealous care and 
skilful nature will be readily granted. But while breed- 
ers continue to be so anxious, not merely to conceal 
their system of management, (in the earliest stages at 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 69 

least,) but even to mislead inquirers, those who cultivate 
natural history for its own sake, will not be justified in 
arriving at hasty conclusions from such information. 

" We are at once struck with surprise at the impu- 
dence of the Sebright Bantams. Oh ! the consequential 
little atom ! That such a contemptible minikin as that 
should have the assurance to parade his insignificant 
person in the presence of great ladies, the female mem- 
bers of families of weight and substance, before the 
Misses, and still worse, the Mistresses Dorking, Cochin- 
China, and Malay, to presume to show marked attention, 
nay even, I declare ! to . Well, there is no know- 
ing to what lengths impudence will go, so long as Ban- 
tams survive extermination. 

" Here is a little whipper-snapper ! Pretty, certainly, 
and smart, but shamefully forward in his ways. His 
coat is of a rich, brownish-yellow ; almost every feather 
is edged with a border of a darker hue, approaching to 
black. His neat, slim legs are of a light, dull-lead color; 
his ample tail is carried well over his back. His de- 
pendent wings nearly touch the ground. He is as up- 
right as the stifFest drill serjeant, or more so, for he 
appears now and then as if he would fall backwards, 
like a horse that over-rears himself. His full, rose comb 
and deep-depending wattles are plump and red; but 
their disproportionate size affords a most unfortunate 
hold for the beak of his adversary ; but he cares not for 
that ; a little glory is worth a good deal of pecking and 
pinching, and it is not a slight punishment, nor a merely 
occasional infliction of it that will make him give in. 
The great hens, too, that look down upon him, and over 
him, think proper to do battle with him on a first intro- 
duction, though they afterwards find out that they might 
as well have received him in a more feminine style." 
Dixon. 

The plumage of the hens is similar to that of the 
cocks. They are very good layers, most excellent sit- 
ters, assiduous and affectionate mothers, but most mur- 
derous step-mothers ; that is, if you attempt to change, 
or add to, the number of the brood they have hatched 






70 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

themselves, they will welcome the little strangers by 
making raw head and bloody bones of them, before you 
can return from fetching a pan of water to set before 
the coop. Their own chickens are dark-brown when 
first hatched, with no particular marks about them 
whilst young. This is the variety figured by Moubray 
as the " Bantam or pheasant fowls." 

The Black Bantam is a most beautiful example of a 
great soul in a little body. It is most pugnacious of its 
whole tribe. It will drive to a respectful distance great 
dunghill cocks five times its weight. It is more jealous, 
irascible, and domineering, in proportion to its size, than 
the thorough-bred game cock himself. Its combative- 
ness, too, is manifested at a very early period. Other 
chickens will fight in sport, by the time they are half 
grown, but these set to work in good earnest. 

The black Bantam, in his appearance, is a pleasing 
little fellow. He should have a full rose comb, clean 
and sinewy legs, glossy plumage with almost metallic 
lustre, of a different tint to the glancing green of the 
Spanish fowl, arched and flowing tail, waggish, impu- 
dent eye, self-satisfied air and gait. 

The hens are of a duller jetty black, less knowing in 
their manner, and, in every way, of inferior capacity. 
They have great credit for fulfilling their maternal 
duties well ; but they are found to be less affectionate 
and careful than other Bantams. They are great stay- 
ers at home, prowling very little about, and therefore are 
desirable in many situations, such as suburban villas 
that are surrounded by captious neighbors. They will 
remain contented with the range of a moderate stable 
yard, and the least bit of shrubbery ; and will do much 
good by the consumption of numerous insects. They 
are reputed good layers during winter ; but that will de- 
pend on the liberality with which they are fed. Cooks 
say that their eggs, though small, are " very rich," which 
means, perhaps, that they contain a greater proportion 
of yolk than those of larger fowls. Guinea fowls' eggs 
are prized for the same quality ; and any one may, at 
breakfast, observe how much less a proportion of white 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 71 

there is in them, than in those of the turkey. Black 
Bantam's eggs are smooth, tinged with buff, decidedly 
long-oval in most individuals, and with a zone of irregu- 
larity towards the smaller end in some. 

The new-hatched chicks are covered with black 
down, which occasionally has a greyish cast under the 
belly ; bill, eyes, feet and legs black. The female 
chicks are not bigger than the queen of the black and 
yellow humble bees, and their slender, little legs appear 
fitter to belong to an insect than a chicken. 

When brought up by their own mother, a spent 
cucumber frame covered with a net, is a good place to 
keep them the first month. The hottest and finest part 
of the season should be selected for them to pass their 
chickenhood in. When full grown and plumed, they are 
not more tender than other poultry, though they are 
better suited for confinement in yards. 

Those who keep any other variety of domestic fowl, 
and are desirous of having plenty of chickens as well as 
eggs, had better not permit a black Bantam cock to 
enter upon their premises. 

The White Bantam very much resembles the one pre- 
ceding in every respect except color ; the rose comb may 
perhaps in some specimens be a little more exuberant. 
But they are not much to be coveted. The white of 
their plumage is not brilliant, and is sure to be un-neat 
in the places where they are usually kept. Were they 
really guilty of the savage, objectless, and unnatural 
ferocity that is attributed to them, they would all de- 
serve to have their necks wrung ; but the tale wants 
confirmation. 

Creepers, so called from the shortness of their legs, 
and Jumpers, from their halting gait, are rather to be 
considered as accidental deformities collected from un- 
healthy families of Bantams, than as constituting any 
distinct variety. A sufficient proof of which is, that 
many of them are scarcely able to propagate their kind. 
Some of these are the very smallest of their genus, being 
not larger than pigeons, and not so tall. They are now 
much out of fashion, and are rarely seen. They were 






72 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

well known, however, to the middle-age curiosity col- 
lectors. Aldrovandi, in discoursing on them, says: 
"But the hens which Longolius calls pigmy, and ren- 
ders into German ' Kriel,' those, as I have just said, 
exist here and there, creep along the ground by limping 
rather than walking." Again, he says : " Although we 
declared that we would not give another figure of com- 
mon hens, we have thought right, on account of their 
rarity to exhibit one of the pigmy or dwarf sort, which 
we have said that many people unadvisedly consider as 
the Hadrian hen, (of classical authors,) although it be- 
longs to the same kind. But this hen was all black ex- 
cept the larger feathers of the wings, which were whitish 
at the tips ; she had likewise white spots all round about 
her neck emulating the full moon, and lastly, a round 
spot of an ochrey color encircled her eyes. Her head 
was topknotted. The wattles and comb, which was 
very small, were of a rather intense red ; the feet were 
bright yellow ; the claws small, exceedingly white." 

Aldrovandi also gives a rich collection of three-footed, 
four-footed, double-headed, and double-bodied fowls, that 
occurred to him in the course of his laborious researches. 

MONGRELS AND BARN-DOOR FOWLS. 

IT is now generally conceded, and the best judges 
agree, that there is no such variety as the " barn-door 
fowl," unless we appropriate that name to some one 
variety which has hitherto been scarcely distinguished 
with precision ; and that the collections usually known 
under the name, are merely a rabble of mongrels, in 
which the results of accidental or injudicious crosses 
have become apparent in all kinds of ways. 

From observation and strict inquiry, it is now 
regarded as an established principle, that the most 
careful breeding will only fix, and make prominent, cer- 
tain peculiar features, or points, which are observed in 
certain families of the same aboriginal species, or sub- 
species ; and that the whole world might be challenged 
to bring evidence that any permanent intermediate 
variety of quadruped or bird, generated by the crossing 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 73 

of any two wild species, that would continue to re- 
produce offspring, like itself, and not finally revert back 
to one or other original type. 

As to the great question of the " immutability of 
species," so closely allied to the investigation of the 
different varieties of poultry, as far as the limited 
researches of physiologists and naturalists have gone 
and they have been confined almost entirely to birds 
under the control or influence of man I have been 
led to the conclusion that sub-species, and even varie- 
ties, are much more permanent, independent, and 
ancient, than is currently believed at the present day. 
My conviction is, that the diversities which we see 
even in the most nearly-allied races of birds, are not 
produced by any transmuting influence of time, vari- 
ation or increase of food, change of climate, (except in 
some instances in their feathers,) nor by hybridization ;* 
but that each distinct variety, however nearly resem- 
bling any other, has been produced by a Creative 
Power. Moreover, facts would seem to prove that 
hybrids, possessed of the power of reproduction, are 
even then saved from being barren only by their pro- 
geny more or less rapidly reverting to the type of one 
parent or the other ; so that no intermediate race is 
founded. Things sooner or later go on as they went 
before, or they cease to go on at all. This is the case 
with our domestic animals generally ; and is well 
known to breeders as one of the most inflexible diffi- 

* The prevalence of bright colors in the animals of polar and cold regions is 
well known, and is ascribed to the influence of climate ; the arctic fox, the 
polar bear, and the American snow bird, are striking instances. The same 
character is remarkable in some species which are more darkly colored in 
warmer situations. A similar fact is also observable in those birds and animals 
which change their color in the same country, at the winter season, to white- 
or grey, as the ermine, {Mustela ermina,) and weasel, (M. nivalis,) the varying 
hare, squirrel, reindeer, the white game bird of Lapland, (Tetrao lagopus,) and 
the American snow bunting (Emberiza nivulis.) In cold regions, too. the fur 
and feathers are thicker, and more copious, so as to form a much more effectual 
defence against the climate than the coarser and rarer textures which are 
seen in warm countries. 

Difference of food might be naturairy expected to produce considerable cor- 
responding modifications in the color, form, and size of animals. For instance, 
oxen become very large and fat when reared for many generations on rich soils, 
but are distinguished by shortness of the legs ; while, on drier situations, their 
whole bulk is less, and the limbs more muscular and strong. Some singing birds, 
too, chiefly of the lark and finch kinds, are known to become gradually black 
if they are fed on hemp seed alone. 

4 



74 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

culties they have to contend with, technically called by 
them " crying back." Thus it is that half the mongrels 
that one sees among our domestic fowls are only 
transition forms, passing back to the type of one or 
other progenitor. 

The mongrels and barn-door fowls are so numerous 
and so variously mixed, that it is impossible to give 
even a catalogue of all the intermediate shades of 
character among them. I shall, therefore, only notice 
those which have some pretensions to distinctness of 
character, and have been propagated either for orna- 
ment or profit. Their names and chief characteristics, 
are as follows : 

The Jago Fowl, (see vignette,) also erroneously 
called the " Paduan" and the "great St. Jago fowl," is 
the offspring of an absurd quotation from Marsden's 
"History of Sumatra," which has run the rounds of 
most compilations on the domestic fowl. Jago, the 
native Sumatran or Malay word for a particular breed, 
has been mistaken for St. Jago, the name of one of the 
Cape Verd Islands. Marsden was, doubtless, well 
acquainted with his subject, as will appear from his 
own words : " There are in Sumatra the domestic hen, 
(ayam,) some with black bones, and some of the sort 
we call Freezland or Negro fowls ; hen of the woods 
(ayam baroogo) ; the Jago breed of fowls, which 
abound in the southern end of Sumatra, and western 
of Java, are remarkably large ; 1 have seen a cock 
peck off a common dining-table ; when fatigued, they 
sit down on the first joint of the leg, and are then 
taller than the common fowls. It is strange if the 
same country, Bantam, produces likewise the diminu- 
tive breed that goes by that name." 

This fowl, which was formerly in very high repute, 
in England, is said to have been as large and as finely- 
flavored as a turkey ; but now, it is rarely to be met 
with, if at all. It was probably nothing more than a 
cross between the Cochin-China, and some other large 
eastern fowl, which, at present, has nearly or quite 
" cried back." There are numerous other races or 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 75 

varieties bearing this and other names found in different 
parts of Europe and this country, one of the most 
interesting of which is called the "Spanish fowl" (see 
vignette). The body and tail feathers are of a rich 
black, with occasionally a little white on the breast. The 
deportment of the cock is grave and stately, and his 
eyes are encircled with a ring of brownish feathers, 
from which rises a black tuft that covers the ears. 
Behind the comb, there are other similar feathers, as 
well as beneath the wattles. The legs and feet are of 
a leaden color, except the soles of the feet, which are 
yellowish. 

The famous "shack-backs," "shack-bags," or "Duke 
of Leeds' fowl," in vogue in England some years ago, 
were supposed to have been a cross between the jago 
and Dorking fowls. 

The Shanghae Co chin- China Fowl. This breed is 
said to have been carried from the eastern part of 
Cochin-China to the city of Shanghae ; thence to Liver- 
pool, in England, whence they were conveyed to Bos- 
ton, in Massachusetts, by Captain Forbes, in 1848. 

In general shape and appearance, these fowls re- 
semble the true Cochin-Chinas, of which they are doubt- 
less a cross, though they have a greater depth of quarter, 
less depth of breast, and are lighter in their color. 
Their legs invariably are large and heavily feathered. 
The general plumage is of a bright-yellow, or gold color, 
variegated with dark-brown or red. Their eggs, also, 
are of a lighter mahogany color than those of their con- 
geners, the Cochin-Chinas, but are equally large and 
as good in flavor. It is stated in the Massachusetts 
Ploughman, that Mr. Phillips, of Marshfield, had a 
pullet of this breed, which laid 120 eggs in one hun- 
dred and twenty-five days ; then stopped six days ; re- 
commenced, and laid 16 eggs more; ceased laying four 
days, and then continued to lay again. 

The chickens are said to be quite uniform in size, 
healthy, hardy, of rapid growth, early maturity, tender- 
fleshed, and of excellent flavor. In their present form 



76 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

and character, they are well adapted for caporiizing, by 
which means they, undoubtedly, would attain an extra- 
ordinary large size. 

The Plymouth Rock Fowl This is the name of a 
mongrel breed of some notoriety, lately produced by 
Dr. J. C. Bennett, of Plymouth, Massachusetts, which 
he describes in the Boston Cultivator, (of Aug. 25, 
1849,) in the following words : 

" I have given this name to a very extra breed of 
fowls, which I produced by crossing a cockerel [?] of 
Baylies' importation of Cochiri-China, with a hen, a 
cross between the fawn -colored Dorking, the great 
Malay, and the wild India. Her weight is six pounds 
and seven ounces. The Plymouth Rock fowl, then, is 
in reality, one half Cochin-China, one fourth fawn- 
colored Dorking, one eighth great Malay, and one eighth 
wild India having five primitive bloods, Shanghae, 
Malay, game, Turkish, and India, traceable by referring 
to the history of those breeds and their crosses respec- 
tively. There are several of this breed, (the Plymouth 
Rock,) in Plymouth, from my original stock, belonging 
to Messrs. Perkins, Drew, Harlow, and myself, that are 
now a little over one year old ; the cockerels [?] mea- 
sure from thirty-two to thirty-five inches high, and 
weight about ten pounds, and the pullets from six and a 
half to seven pounds each, forming, in my opinion, the 
best cross that has ever been produced. 

" The pullets commenced laying when five months 
old, proving themselves very superior layers. Their 
eggs are of medium size, rich, and reddish-yellow in 
color. Their plumage is rich and variegated ; the 
cockerels, usually red or speckled, and the pullets 
darkish-brown. They are very fine fleshed, and easily 
fit for the table. Their legs are very large, and usu- 
ally blue or green, but occasionally yellow or white, 
generally having five toes upon each foot. Some have 
their legs feathered, but this is not usual. They have 
large and single combs and wattles, largo dewlaps, [?] 
rather short tails, and small wings, in proportion to 
their bodies. They are domestic, and not so destruo- 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 77 

tive to gardens as smaller fowls. There is the same 
uniformity in size and general appearance, at the same 
age of the chickens, as in those of the pure bloods or 
primary races. 

" The demand for this breed has exceeded all others 
during this season, and they have been sent into most 
of the New-England States and "Western New York. 
And all, who may hereafter purchase from persons who 
have been supplied by myself, or either of the gentle- 
men above-named, may rely on the fowls being genu- 
ine and of pure blood. I never sell to the same in- 
dividual a cockerel and pullet of the same paren- 
tage, so they need not fear that the breed will be deteri- 
orated by * close' breeding ; nor do I sell at any price, 
for breeders, any but those of the very first quality. 
This is the only way in which breeds can be retained 
in their purity and excellence." 

How far the above doctrine corresponds with the 
principles advocated in this humble little treatise, the 
candid and intelligent reader can judge, But, should 
these fowls be " bred in the line ;" that is, uncrossed 
with any other race, before the lapse of many years, 
their progeny will revert to the type of one or other 
of the original parents, or they will cease to breed 
of themselves at all. They are undoubtedly a valu- 
able fowl for some purposes, and if judiciously crossed, 
alternately, year after year, with pure-bred Dorkings, 
game fowls, and the great Malays, their value and 
utility would probably be maintained or enhanced. 

The Jersey-Blue Fowl. This is another large 
mongrel of a bluish cast, probably made up of crosses 
of the great Malay, jago, Javanese, or other cognate 
breeds, and some of our native varieties. Their legs 
are long, their thighs large, and their flesh less savory 
than that of the Dorking, the Bucks-County or the 
Dominique fowl ; neither are they particularly remark- 
able for hardiness nor for laying. 

They are produced in considerable abundance in 



78 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

New Jersey, and usually are found in the Philadelphia 
and New- York markets. 

The Ostrich Fowl. This variety is said to have 
originatqd in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, and hence 
is sometimes called the " Bucks-County breed." The 
color of the cock, as described by Mr. Bement, is a 
dark blue-black, with the ends of his feathers tipped 
with white ; wings tinged with a bright yellow, or gold 
color ; hackles dark, glossy blue ; rose or double comb, 
and wattles large ; bold, lively carriage, and a stately 
walk. 

The hens do not differ much from the cock in color, 
and are similar in form, being deep, short, plump, and 
thick-set in body ; legs short, of a dark color and 
medium size ; they have high, single, serrated combs, 
generally falling over on one side ; wattles large. 
They are esteemed good layers, their eggs weighing 
4:1 ounces ; and for a large breed, they are good sitters 
as well as good mothers ; the eggs large and nutritious ; 
the flesh, unlike that of the Malay, white, firm, ten- 
der, and fine-flavored.* 1 

The Booby Fowl. This is a large breed, doubtless 
of Asiatic origin, procured by Dr. R. Kitridge, of Ports- 
mouth, New Hampshire, from Montgomery county, 
Pennsylvania. Their color is a black ground, spotted 
all over with white ; the legs, black, and general shape 
like that of a turkey. The cocks, when full grown, 
are represented to weigh 9 or 10 Ibs., and the hens 7 
or 8 Ibs. They are said to be prolific layers, and not 
inclined to sit like the common varieties'; sometimes 
laying forty or fifty eggs before they become broody. 
Some of their eggs weigh over 3J, ounces each, and 
measure three inches in circumference. 

The Bucks-County Fowl. Here is another mongrel 
monstrosity, first brought into notice in Bucks county, 
Pennsylvania, and has little to recommend it except 
great size, and a few large, well-flavored eggs. The 

* American Poulterer's Companion, p. 172. 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 79 

hens are enormous eaters, poor layers, and miserable 
sitters, seldom laying more than ten or twelve at a 
litter. They are only profitable to breed from, should 
the race not run out, for making capons which are 
sometimes sold in the Philadelphia market for $5 to 
f 10 per pair. 

In corroboration of the above opinion, I insert the 
following extract from the American Agriculturist, 
written by L. F. Allen, of Black Rock, a practical 
farmer, and late President of the New- York State 
Agricultural Society : 

" The Bucks- County breed has received some celeb- 
rity in the neighborhood of Philadelphia as a valuable 
variety of fowl, principally on account of its enormous 
size. I have seen many specimens of this fowl, paid 
some attention to its habits, and learned from those 
who have tried them their principal merits. It is a 
large bird, weighing, at maturity, 8 and even 10 Ibs., 
rather thinly feathered, of various colors from grey to 
black, and frequently speckled, black, and white. They 
are coarse in their legs, tall and bony, and have evi- 
dently a cross of the Malay in their composition. 
They are but moderate layers ; their eggs are very 
large and good. They are bad sitters, frequently 
breaking their eggs, on account of their great weight 
and size, by crushing them ; they are not hardy, and 
on the whole, will not compare with the common dung- 
hill fowl for ordinary uses. They do not breed equally 
in size and appearance, showing them, evidently, to be 
a cross from other breeds ; but from what they are 
derived, other than the Malay, it is difficult to say. 
A gentleman of my acquaintance, who is very curious 
as well as nice in the selection of his fowls, tried them 
effectually for his poultry yard, and they disappointed 
him. He then crossed them with the game breed, and 
has succeeded finely, the cross being reduced in size, 
fuller feathered, hardier, and better layers, with an 
excellent carcass, and finer flesh. As a fancy fowl, or 
to make up a variety, they are very well, but they can 



80 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

never become of great utility, except to cross with the 
common or the game fowl, to the farmer." 

The Dominique, or Dominica Fowl. This is the 
name of a beautiful variety, very common, at present, 
in the New- York markets, and is highly esteemed for 
its laying and breeding qualities, as well as for the 
excellent flavor of its flesh and eggs. Both the males 
and the females are of a medium size, rather long- 
bodied, having yellow legs and fee.t, single or double 
combs, and with or without copplecrowns. Their 
general plumage is of a light-grey color, each feather 
barred crosswise by bands of a darker shade, which 
gives them a beautiful pheasant-like appearance, as 
they are paraded in the farmyard, or confined in a crate. 
The hackles on the necks and backs of the cocks are 
often variegated with gold yellow, or reddish-brown. 

The Blue Dun Fowl. This breed, at present in 
vogue in Dorsetshire, England, is under the average 
size, and rather slenderly made, of a soft and pleasing 
bluish-dun color, the neck being darker, with high, 
single, deeply-serrated combs. The cock is of the 
same color as the hen, but has in addition some hand- 
some dark stripes in the long feathers of the tail, and 
sometimes a few golden, and even scarlet marks on 
the wings, which, by the contrast, give the bird a very 
exotic look. 

The blue duns are represented as exceedingly fa- 
miliar, impudent, and pugnacious ; so much so, that 
it is suspected, also from their shape, they have a dash 
of game blood in their veins. 

The. hens are good layers, wanting to sit after pro- 
ducing a moderate number of eggs, and proving atten- 
tive and careful rearers of their own chickens, but 
rather savage to those of other hens. The eggs are 
small and short, tapering slightly at one end, and are 
perfectly white. 

The hackles of the cock are always in great re- 
quest, in England, for making artificial flies for fishing. 

If kept perfectly unmixed with any other fowl, one 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 81 

will seldom obtain more than half the number of the 
proper u blue duns," the rest being either black or 
white. The chickens on the latter color, however, are 
afterwards sprinkled with dun feathers. Perhaps the 
original sort may have been either black or white, as 
it is known that animals will, after many cross-breed- 
ings, "cry back." 

ANOMALOUS FOWLS. 

ANOMALIES have been called "finger points that point 
the way to unsuspected truths." Hence the strange 
irregularities which we often meet with in our do- 
mestic fowls better deserve the attention of naturalists 
than any favor of poultry keepers. They may safely 
be pronounced worthless as a stock, and have a more 
appropriate place in the menagerie or museum than 
in the poultry yard or lawn. Just as well might the 
farmer propagate " Manx cats," well known for the 
peculiarity of having no tails, the " woolly horses," 
(caballos chinos,) of Mexico, or the " wingless birds" 
of New Zealand, as " frizzled," " rumpless," or 
" negro" fowls. 

Among the monstrosities of the domestic fowl, 
which are particularly curious, and worthy of the atten- 
tion of the student of nature, may be mentioned the 
"rumkin," or tailless cock, (Gallus ecaudatus,) believed. 
at present to be found wild in the island of Ceylon ; and 
the " silky" and " negro" fowls, with white silky plu- 
mage, and with skin, combs, and bones which are black. 

RANGE AND DOMESTIC AOCOMODATION OF FOWLS. 

WHATEVER number or breed of fowls one may have 
selected for keeping, provision must be made for their 
comfort and safety. Those attached to houses in the 
country, lead, in many respects, a happy life. They 
have good air and plenty of room, and generally with 
no lack of food. They wander about the farmyard, 
the orchard, and the lawn, visit the adjacent gardens 



82 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

and fields, travel over the pastures, through the high- 
ways or lanes, troop around the barn, and enjoy total 
freedom. To the advantage of pure air, they usually 
have that of pure water, and the opportunity of vary- 
ing their diet by picking up insects and their larvae ; 
and a store of pebbles, gravel, old mortar, and other 
calcareous matter, which they require, is always at 
their command. So far, they lead a comfortable and 
natural life; but how are they housed at night? In 
many instances, in a proper and well-built poultry 
house, with perches judiciously arranged, with boxes 
lined with straw for the laying and sitting hens ; but 
often in places utterly unfitted for them. For instance, 
numerous flocks of hens will be lodged under the roof 
of some large, open shed, above the cattle, wagons, or 
carts, which receive an abundance of their droppings ; 
others take shelter in the barns, stables, cider mill, pig 
pen, out-houses, &c., while not a few may be found 
roosting on the branches of some favorite tree. This 
want of order cannot be too strongly condemned, as 
hens, having no proper laying places, select such situ- 
ations as chance may offer them, not unfrequently in 
obscure places of concealment, so that their eggs are 
devoured by vermin or are lost. 

Those who intend to rear fowls, should have a dis- 
tinct yard, with a warm aspect, well fenced, secure 
from vermin and thieves, sufficiently inclined to be 
always dry, and supplied with gravel, old mortar, (not 
quick lime,) or chalk, soot, brick dust, and with sand or 
ashes for the fowls to bask or roll in. If possible, a 
stream of running water should pass through the yard; 
but if this cannot be done, a trough filled with "fresh 
water every morning may be substituted. A want of 
water, of which all kinds of poultry are fond, produces 
constipation of the bowels and inflammatory diseases. 
A contiguous field or pasture, however, whenever it 
can be had, would, in all cases, be preferred. 

A fowl house should be dry, well roofed, and fronting 
the east or south ; and if practicable, in a cold climate, 
it should be provided with a stove, or some other means 



' 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 83 

for heating, warmth being very conducive to health 
and laying, though extreme heat has the contrary effect. 
The dormitory, or roost, should be well ventilated by 
means of two lattice windows, at opposite ends of the 
building; and it would be desirable to have one or 
more apertures through the roof for the escape of foul 
air. The sitting apartment, also, should be well ven- 
tilated by means of a large lattice window, in the side 
of the house, and holes through the ceiling or roof If 
kept moderately dark, it will contribute to the quietude 
of the hens, and thus favor the process of incubation. 
The silting room should be provided with boxes or 
troughs, well supplied with fresh water and proper food 
for the hens, during the hatching period, from which 
they can partake at all times, at will. The laying 
room, in winter, should have similar boxes or troughs, 
containing old mortar, broken oyster shells, soot, brick 
dust, gravel, and ashes, as well as a liberal supply of 
proper drink and food. The perches, or roosting poles, 
should be so arranged that one row of fowls should not 
rest directly above another. They should be so con- 
structed as to enable the fowls to ascend and descend 
by means of ladders, or steps, without making much 
use of their wings ; for, heavy fowls fly up to their 
roosts with difficulty, and often injure themselves by 
descending, as they alight heavily upon the ground. 

The following cut represents a hen house, in per- 
spective, 20 feet long, 12 feet wide, 7 feet high to the 
eaves, with a roof having a 7-foot pitch, a chimney 
top, a ventilator on the peak, twelve feet in length and 
one foot or more in height, and openings in the gable 
ends for the admission of fresh air. In the easterly 
end, there are two doors, one leading into the laying 
apartment and loft, and the other into the hatching 
room. In the same end there is also a wooden shutter, 
or blind, which may be opened, whenever necessary, to 
let air or light into the roost. In the back, or northerly 
side, there is a large lattice window, three feet above 
the floor or ground, 4 by 12 feet, for the purpose of 
affording fresh air to the sitting hens. In the front, or 



84 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

southerly side, there is a large glazed window, 4 by 12 
feet, and another in the southerly side ef the roof, of a 
corresponding size, designed to admit the light and heat 
of the sun, in cold weather, to stimulate the laying 
hens. In the southerly side, there are also two small 
apertures three feet above the floor or ground, for the 
ingress and egress of the fowls. These openings may 
be provided with sliding shutters, as well as with " light- 
ing boards," inside and out, and may be guarded by 




PERSPECTIVE VIEW OF A HEN HOUSE. 

sheets of tin, nailed on below them, to prevent the 
intrusion of rats, weasels, or skunks. 

The building may be constructed of wood or other 
materials, and in such style, or order of architecture, as 
may suit one's taste, only preserving the internal ar- 
rangements and s proportions, in reference to breadth 
and height. As a general rule, as regards the length of 
the building, each hen, irrespective of the cocks, may 
be allowed a foot. 






THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 



85 



In the ground plan, L denotes the laying apartment ; 
H, the hatching room, each 6 by 20 feet ; n, n, fyc., 
nest boxes for laying, 14 by 14 inches, and 10 inches 
deep ; o, o, fyc., nest boxes for the sitting hens, of the 

I 



_JL_ 


UETLTDDLr U~ ' 


} JJJUI ^UGL C " nn 







L 

1 













GROUND PLAN. 



same size ; /, a ladder, or steps, leading into the loft ; 
and 5, a stove for warming the apartment, if desirable, 
when the weather is cold. 




TRANSVERSE SECTION. 



The transverse, or cross section, shows the building, 
from the bottom to the top, with the internal arrange- 



86 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

ments. L, denotes the laying apartment, and H, the 
hatching room, divided in the middle by a partition ; n, 
the nest boxes, resting on tables, three feet above the 
floor or ground ; b, b, boxes, or troughs, containing 
water, grain, brick dust, sand, ground oyster shells, or 
other materials for the convenience of the fowls ; d, an 
aperture, or door, three feet above the ground or floor, 
for the ingress and egress of the fowls ; a, a lattice 
window, three feet above the floor or ground, for the 
admission of fresh air to the sitting hens ; R, the roost- 
ing place, or loft, shut off from the laying and sitting 
apartments by the ceilings, c, c; h, a hole, or opening, 
in the ceiling, for the escape of the air below into the 
loft ; v, the ventilator at the peak of the roof; p, the 
roosting pole, or perch ; t, a trough, or box, for retain- 
ing the droppings, or dung. 




RUSTIC POULTRY HOUSE. 

A very cheap and economical plan for a rustic 
poultry house is described at p. 320, vol. viii. of the 
American Agriculturist, in the following words : 
" This kind of work can easily be made by any person 
accustomed to the use of the saw and axe. All that is 
required is a little taste, having your plan well digest- 
ed before commencing, so as to require no alterations. 

" For the construction of a piece of rustic work like 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 87 



the above figure, after selecting the situation, join 
four pieces of saplings in an oblong shape for the sills ; 
confine them to the ground ; erect at the middle of 
each of the two ends a forked post, of suitable height, 
in order to make the sides quite steep ; join these with 
a ridge pole ; rough-board it from the apex downward 
by the sills to the ground; then cover it with bark, 
roughly cut in pieces a foot square, laid on and con- 
fined in the same manner as ordinary shingles ; fix the 
back end in the same way ; and the front can be lat- 
ticed with little poles with the bark on, arranged 
diamond fashion as shown in the sketch a part to be 
made with hinges for a door." 

Something after this style, placed on the bank of a 
lake or small stream, and half covered with climbing 
plants, would make a very pretty home for aquatic 
fowls. 

The size of the building may vary according to the 
wants or taste of the owner. Towards the apex of the 
interior, rough roosting poles should run parallel with 
the sides of the house, so arranged that one -set of 
fowls shall not perch directly above the others. 
Troughs or boxes should be placed under the poles, in 
order to catch the manure ; and ladders, or steps, 
should be provided for the fowls to ascend and descend 
from their roost. Laying and sitting boxes may be 
placed at either side of the building, under the roofing 
on or just above the ground. They should be about 
14 inches square, 10 inches deep, and concealed 
by bundles of corn stalks, wheat or rye straw, faggots, 
or pine boughs. The sitting boxes should be partly 
filled with wood ashes, pulverized charcoal, or soot. 
These are slow conductors of heat or cold, and when 
once warm, they will impart a proper temperature to 
the eggs during the absence of the hen. They will 
also ward off lice and other small vermin, as well as 
contribute to her health. Directly above the ashes, 
&c., should be the nest. It may be made of finely- 



88 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

chopped hay or straw, dried grass, or the leaves of 
trees. 

Where the fowls have the range of an orchard, or a 
wide, dry, sandy pasture, or field, and are able to pro- 
cure clean water, a good poultry house is all that is 
essential, though even then an enclosure, or yard, is 
desirable for the safety and better management of the 
young broods. It should be open and airy, its soil dry, 
and sheltered from cold, wintry winds. A simple shed, 
moreover, should be erected in some suitable spot, in 
order to afford a screen to the fowls from the hot rays 
of the mid-day sun in summer, and from heavy rain 
storms and showers. Should there be no access to a 
pasture, orchard, or field, it is desirable that a portion 
of the yard should be laid down with turf; and the 
larger the yard, the better the accommodation. 

Cleanliness, both in the poultry house and in the 
yard, is indispensable. Hence, all rubbish should be 
frequently swept out ot both apartments, and the 
whole interior of the building white-washed, at least 
once a year. This, with as free a circulation as pos- 
sible, and a proper space for the fowls to run in, is 
necessary to insure success ; as in narrow and confined 
situations they never do so well. A sickly fowl ought 
to be separated immediately from the rest of the flock, 
and removed to some proper place, where it can 
remain in seclusion, not only because the disease may 
be contagious, but for the sake of safety and quietude 
of the fowl itself. Meagre, pining fowls are frequently 
objects of dislike, not only to the cock, which is apt to 
maltreat them, but even to the hens, that evir^e their 
hostility and rancor to such a degree, that, sometimes, 
they actually destroy their more unfortunate com- 
panions. 

Every poultry house, as before observed, should be pro- 
vided with nest boxes, filled with hay or straw, &c. If the 
plan be adopted, as recommended above, sliding boxes, 
or drawers, n, o, may be constructed twenty-eight 
inches long, fourteen inches wide, and ten inches deep, 
partitioned in the middle, so as to leave tvro compart- 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 89 

ments in each, fourteen inches square. On a level 
with the tables, each of which is designed to be two 
feet wide, and extending three feet above the ground, 
let there be cut through the partition between the lay- 
ing and sitting apartments, an aperture the whole 
length of the rooms, ten inches high, or sufficiently 
large to receive these nest boxes, or drawers, so that 
one half of each will be in the laying room, and the 
other half in the sitting apartment, leaving a space 
nine or ten inches wide on each table for the hens to 
alight upon, and deliberately enter their nests, without 
breaking their eggs. When a- hen is disposed to sit, 
the eggs may be put under her, and one or two nights 
after, the ends of the nest box may be shifted, so that 
she will be in the sitting room, where she may remain 
in perfect quietude till she hatches her brood. It is 
not at all required to have as many -nests as hens, as 
one might suppose, because they have not all occasion 
to occupy them at the same time ; besides, they are so 
far from having a repugnance to lay in a common 
receptacle, that the sight of an egg stimulates them to 
lay. It is true, nevertheless, that the most secluded and 
darkened nests are those which the hens prefer, particu- 
larly when they are inclined to sit. T herefore, it would 
be advisable to set up around and between the sitting 
boxes, small bundles of corn stalks, faggots, or straw. 

SELECTION OP THE COCK. 

" THE courage of the cock," says a modern writer 
on Ornamental Poultry, " is emblematic ; his gallantry 
admirable ; his sense of discipline and subordination 
most exemplary. See how a good game cock, of two 
or three years' experience, will, in five minutes, restore 
order in an uproarious poultry yard. He does not use 
harsh means of coercion, when mild will suit the pur- 
pose. A look, a gesture, a deep, chuckling growl gives 
the hint that the turbulence is no longer to be per- 
mitted ; and if these are not effectual, severe punishment 
is fearlessly administered. Nor is he aggressive to birds 
of other species. He allows the turkey to strut before 



90 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

his numerous dames, and the Guinea fowl to court his 
single mate, uninterrupted ; but if the one presumes 
upon his superior weight, and the other on his cowardly 
tiltings from behind, he soon makes them smart for their 
rash presumption. His politeness to females is as 
marked as were Lord Chesterfield's attentions to old 
ladies, and much more unaffected. Nor does he merely 
act the agreeable dangler ; when occasion requires, he 
is also the brave defender." 

Much has been said relative to the selection of the 
cock ; but all, in the end, come to one point. What- 
ever be the breed to which he belongs, he should ex- 
hibit the distinctive characters of that breed in full 
perfection. He should be bold, lively, clean made, 
with close, glossy plumage, a high head, short bill, and 
a bright eye ; the color of his comb and wattles of a 
rich, shining vermilion ; his crow should be clear, loud, 
shrill, and long-drawn ; his breast, broad and fleshy ; 
his thighs, muscular, firm, and covered with feathers ; 
his insteps and ankle joints, stout ; his claws and spurs, 
strong, pointed, and slightly hooked; and lastly, he 
should carry himself with a proud, yet graceful air, and 
should be in perfect health. 

Some cocks, especially when they are getting past 
their prime, say at the age of five or six years, are 
unsocial, vicious, and tyrannical. Instead of scraping 
up delicacies for the hens, and collecting them around 
him by a clucking note of invitation, the surly bird 
attacks them without provocation, tears their combs, 
and otherwise injures them. Let such a despot be 
dethroned from his proud eminence as soon as possible. 
On the other hand, a young cock, in his prime, will 
sometimes take a hatred to some particular hen, and 
treat her with marked antipathy, although he will con- 
duct himself towards the rest of his coterie with a 
grace becoming to a gallant cavalier. The entire life 
of the domestic cock, however, shows that he is a most 
excellent family man, placing his whole care and study 
in providing all necessaries for his household. For this 
bird devotes whatever energy he has, the live-long day, 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 91 

to the good of his dependents, and is solicitous about 
nothing else than self. 

CHOICE OF HENS. 

THE hen is deservedly the acknowledged pattern of 
maternal love. When her passion of philoprogenitive- 
ness is disappointed by the failure or separation of her 
own brood, she will either go on sitting, till her natural 
powers fail, or she will violently kidnap the young of 
another fowl, and insist upon adopting them. But all 
hens are not alike. They have their little whims and 
fancies, likes and dislikes, as capricious and unaccount- 
able as those of other females. Some are gentle in 
their manners and disposition, others sanguinary ; some 
are lazy, others energetic almost to insanity. Some, by 
their very nature, are so mild and familiar, and so fond 
of the society of man, that they can scarcely be kept 
out of his dwelling ; others seem to say, " Thank you, 
but I'd rather be left to myself." 

The good qualities of hens, whether intended for lay- 
ing or for breeding, are of no less importance to be 
attended to, than those of the cock. To gratify the 
curious reader, and show what the ancients thought of 
the points of a hen, we give a quaint passage from old 
Leonard Mascall. Following Columella and Stephanus, 
he says, " The signes of a good henne are these : to be 
of a tawnye colour, or of a russet, which are counted 
the cheefest colours, and those hennes nexte which 
hath the pens of their winges blackishe, not all blacke, 
but parte. As for the gray and the white hens, they are 
nothing so profitable. The henne with a tuit of feathers 
on her head is reasonable good ; and the low featherde 
henne also. Their heads oughte not to be great and 
their tails ought to be in a meane, and her brest 
large, and her body deepe and long, for the greatest 
nennes of body, are not the aptest hennes to lay, nor 
yet for that purpose so naturale. As for those hennes 
which have hinder clawes, they will commonly breake 
their egges in sitting thereon, and they sit riot so surely 
as others, and will ofttimes eat their egges. As for 
those hennes which doe call or crowe lyke the cocke, 



92 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

or doth creke and scrape to help the same, ye shall 
pluck off the greatest fethers of her wings and give 
her millet-wheat to eat." To this I will add, they 
should be of middling size, of robust constitution, with 
bright eyes, pendent combs, yellow or bluish legs and 
feet, and not over three or four years old. As regards the 
color of hens, except for appearance' sake, it is quite 
immaterial, unless we discard white on the ground that 
they are less hardy, and are in an abnormal state. 

PAIRING. 

WITH good management, peace, and plenty, just 
before they are full-grown, the combs of both the young 
cocks and pullets will be observed to become of a more 
brilliant red ; the former will crow more lustily ; and 
the pullets will grow animated, restless, and full of busy 
importance, as if a new idea had lately broke in upon 
their minds. By-and-by, they will commence prating 
and cackling, and in a few days the delighted pullet will 
lay her first egg. And when, time after time, this first 
instalment is followed by similar deposits, she thinks 
herself, and is thought by her amateur owner, a perfect 
paragon. Such are the pleasures of productiveness. 

RELATIVE NUMBER OF HENS TO BE ALLOTTED 
TO EACH COOK. 

IN order to keep fowls with advantage, attention must 
be paid to the relative number of cocks arid hens com- 
posing the flock. On this point, there is some differ- 
ence of opinion. M. Pafmentier considers that one 
cock is sufficient for twenty hens, which, in France, 
perhaps, may be the case, but not in the cold and vari- 
able climate of many parts of the United States. 
Indeed, it has been found by experience, that if a cock 
be placed over a numerous flock of hens, the chickens 
produced are feeble, and the breed soon degenerates, or 
runs out. The old breeders of game fowls allowed only 
three hens to one cock; and where renovation of a 
breed is required, this proportion, it is thought, should 
not be exceeded. 

As a general rule, from eight to twelve hens may be 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 93 

assigned to one cock, but no more ; nor, indeed, even 
so many, if the fowls are kept in a confined yard, where 
the depressing influence of captivity will be more or 
less experienced. In a cold or humid climate, perhaps, 
this number is the best ; but in a warm, dry climate, or 
where the fowls are healthy and have a free range, a 
greater number may safely be allowed. 

When there are two or more cocks of the same age, 
a little management will be required to prevent them 
from fighting, which it will be almost impossible to 
avoid ; but one cock may be brought up under another, 
each, in turn, gaining the ascendency over the male 
portion of the successive broods. For instance, a 
stock of fowls, intended to be increased, may consist of 
twelve hens, with a single cock at the head. Out of 
the young chickens hatched, a certain number will be 
selected for keeping. Among these should be the most 
promising and beautiful of the young cocks. When 
this new comer is a twelvemonth old, his progenitor 
will have arrived at the age of two years. In like 
manner, the number may again be added to, till the 
stock is sufficiently numerous. When the old cock is 
past his fourth year, however, it will be advisable, gene- 
rally speaking, to get rid of him ; as he then becomes 
lazy, violent in temper, and excessively jealous. Should 
it be deemed necessary to procure a new cock, a 
young bird should be selected, and introduced to the 
hens at the period of moulting, when his older rival 
will take but little notice of him, and ultimately become 
reconciled to him by the time that the laying season 
commences ; and, during the interim, he will ingratiate 
himself with a certain number of the hens, which will 
appreciate his marked politeness, and acknowledge him 
as their brave defender. 

Where numerous fowls are kept, it has generally 
been observed that each cock has his own female train, 
which follow him, and is always at his call ; and that 
they are divided into coteries, or groups, and have each 
their favorite places of resort ; but should a strange 
cock make a sudden appearance on the premises, he 
will have many a hard fight before he can establish 









94 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

himself, either in the character of a conqueror, or a 
defeated champion. 

ON THE LAYING- PROPENSITIES OF HENS. 

THE act of laying is not voluntary on the part of a 
hen, but is dependent upon her age, constitution, and 
diet. If she be young, healthy, and well-fed, lay she 
must ; if she be aged and half-starved, lay she cannot. 
All that is left to her own choice is, where she shall 
deposit her egg, and she is sometimes so completely 
taken by surprise, as not to have her own way even at 
that. The poultry keeper, therefore, has only to decide 
which is the more convenient that his hens should lay 
here and there, as it may happen, about his premises, or 
in certain determinate places, indicated to the hens by 
nest eggs. Yet it is quite a mistake to suppose that the 
presence of a nest egg causes a hen to sit earlier than 
she otherwise would. The sight of twenty nest eggs 
will not bring on the hatching fever ; and when it does 
come, the hen will take to the empty nest, if there be 
nothing else for her to incubate. Any one, whose hens 
have from accident been deprived of a male companion, 
cannot be ignorant of the fact, that they have not done 
so well till the loss has been supplied. During the 
interregnum matters get all wrong. The poor deserted 
creatures wander about dispirited, like soldiers without 
a general. It belongs to their very nature to be con- 
trolled and marshalled by one of the stronger sex, who 
is a kind, though a strict master, and a considerate 
though stern disciplinarian. 

QUALITIES AND SEX OF EGGS. 

To every hen belongs an individual peculiarity in 
the form, color, and size of the egg she lays, which 
never changes during her whole lifetime, so long as she 
remains in health, and which is as well known to those 
who are in the habit of taking her produce, as the 
handwriting of their nearest acquaintance. Some hens 
lay smooth cream -colored eggs, others rough, chalky, 
granulated ones. Then, there is the buff, the snow- 
white, the spherical, the oval, the pear-shaped, and the 
emphatically egg-shaped egg. A farmer's wife who 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 95 

interests herself in the matter, will tell you with pre- 
cision, in looking over her stores, " this egg was laid by 
such a hen/' a favorite perhaps ; " this one by such 
another ;" and it would be possible that she should go 
on so throughout the whole flock of poultry. Of course, 
the greater the number kept, the greater becomes the 
difficulty in learning the precise marks of each. If 
four dozen eggs, laid by no more than four different 
hens, were put at random on a table, the chances are 
that it would be as easy to sort them as the four suits 
in a pack of cards. 

It has been copied and re-copied from quarto to 
octavo, through duodecimo and pamphlet, that " small, 
round eggs produce female, and long pointed ones male 
chicks." Now I assert that the hen which lays one 
round egg, will continue to lay all her eggs round ; and 
the hen that lays one, oblong, will lay all oblong. Con- 
sequently, one hen would be the unceasing mother of 
cocks, another must remain the perpetual producer of 
pullets ; which is absurd, as daily experience proves. 
Every poultry maid knows that when a hen steals a 
nest, and hatches her own eggs only, the brood she 
brings home contains a fair proportion of either sex. 

There is nothing so instructive as a "case," whether 
in law, physic, or poultry-raising. Here is an experi- 
ment in point. An old lady, whose fowls were all 
white, gave Mr. Dixon, of England, a small globular 
egg, as round as a ball, which was added to a clutch of 
speckled Dorkings. The result was, the due number of 
Dorkings, and one white cockerel, which he kept till it 
began to crow. It ought to have been a pullet, accord- 
ing to the old stereotyped rule. 

Another supposed test is the position of the air bag 
at the blunt end of the- shell. We are told that " if it 
be a little on one side, it will produce a hen ; if this 
vacuity be exactly in the centre, it will produce a 
cock." But. take a basket of eggs, examine them as 
directed, by holding them between your eye and a 
candle, and you will find very few indeed in which you 
can say that the air bubble is exactly concentric with 
the axis of the egg. A cock ought thus to be, like 



96 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

Ovid's black swan, a rare bird. But in many broods, 
the cockerels bear a proportion of at least one third, 
sometimes two thirds ; especially in those hatched dur- 
ing winter or in unfavorable seasons ; the immediate 
cause being, doubtless, that the eggs producing the 
robuster sex possess a stronger vitality; the more re- 
mote cause being the same wise law of Providence, 
through which, in the human race, more males are 
born into the world than females, to meet the wear and 
tear of war, labor, and accident. 

In short, the " bubble theory" is properly described 
by its name ; and, it is believed, there is no known 
means of determining beforehand the sex of fowls, ex- 
cept, perhaps, that cocks may be more likely to issue 
from large eggs, and hens from small ones. Know- 
ing, however, that the eggs of each hen may be recog- 
nised, we have thus the means of propagating from 
those parents the race of which we deem most desirable 
to continue. 

Horace, Columella, and Pliny had the same notions 
respecting the shape of eggs as are current now, but 
they applied them to eating, rather than hatching pur- 
poses. The long eggs were better-tasted, according to 
them, because they contained cocks. Those which are 
laid round, according to Pliny, produce a female ; the 
rest, a male. 

Again, Doctor Philip Francis quaintly says, after 
Horace 

" Long be your eggs, far sweeter than the round, 
Cock eggs they are, more nourishing and sound.'* 

The popular notion now is, that eggs with buff and 
brownish shells have a higher flavor, and are more 
nutritious, than those which the shells are white. Be 
this as it may, the finest'are those having small, bright- 
orange yolks, like those of the Bantam and game breeds ; 
but large eggs, like those of the Polands and Spanish 
fowls, often have pale yolks, with but little flavor. 
Aristotle's opinion is exactly the reverse of that of the 
Romans. He says that " long and sharp eggs are 
females, but that those that are spherical, and have a 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 97 

convexity close to the sharp end are males." One rule 
is just as good as the other ; that is, good for nothing. 
When any one will produce a brood consisting entirely 
of pullets hatched from eggs selected with that view, 
then, and not till then, will it be admitted that there 
exist practical criteria of judging beforehand of the sex 
of an egg. t 

PRESERVATION OP EG-G-S FOR COOKERY. 

" PRESERVED eggs," says Gobbet, " are things to run 
from not after." Perhaps so, perhaps not, as the case 
may be. At any rate, many articles of cookery, which 
cannot be made without eggs, are not things to run 
from ; and, therefore, preserved eggs must be had, unless 
you choose to disappoint the little folks of their Christ- 
mas plum pudding, and the ladies of their " egg-nog." 
A large proportion of the eggs brought to market dur- 
ing winter, are certainly displeasing enough, quite 
uneatable as eggs, but only not offensive to the smell. 
They are saved from putrefaction by immersion in lime 
water, to which salt is added by some housewives. 
When wanted, they are fished out of the tub, wiped, and 
sometimes rubbed with a little sand to give a fresh-looking 
roughness to the shell. Cooks say they answer their 
purpose ; but it is assuredly worth while to try for 
something better. 

The three following are cheap and easy modes of pre- 
serving eggs for culinary use : , 

Recipe, No. 1. Pack the eggs to be preserved in an 
upright water-tight cask, with their small ends down- 
wards. Take eight quarts of unslaked lime, one half 
pound of common salt, two ounces of cream tartar ; 
mix in water so as to bear up an egg with its top just 
above the surface ; pour the mixture into the cask con- 
taining the eggs, and they will keep sound and good 
for two years. 

Recipe, No. 2. Pack the eggs to be preserved in an 
upright earthen vessel or tub, with their small ends 
downwards. Procure, melt, and strain a quantity of 
cheap tallow or lard, and pour, while warm, not hot, 



98 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

over the eggs in the jar till they are completely covered. 
When all is cold and firm, set the vessel in a cool, dry 
place, till required for use. After the eggs are taken 
out, the grease need not be wasted, as it will serve for 
making soap, or many other household purposes. 

Recipe, No. 3. Pack the eggs to be preserved in 
common salt, with the small ends downwards, and they 
will keep tolerably good for eight or nine months. 

It has been stated by Reaumur, who is a high au- 
thority, that clear or unfertile eggs will keep good longer 
than those that would be productive ; but it is doubtful 
whether the difference is so great as to make it worth 
while keeping the hens in a melancholy widowhood on 
this account. 

PRESERVATION OF EGGS FOR HATCHING. 

EGGS for hatching should be as fresh as possible ; if 
laid the very same day, so much the better. This is 
not always possible when a particular stock is re- 
quired to be increased ; but if a numerous and healthy 
brood is all that is wanted, the most recent eggs should 
be selected. Some books tell us that eggs to be hatched 
should not be more than a fortnight, others say not 
more than a month old. It is difficult to fix the exact 
term during which the vitality of an egg remains un- 
distinguished ; it undoubtedly varies from the very 
first, according to the vigor of the parents of the in- 
closed germ, and fades away gradually till the final 
moment of non-existence. But long before that mo- 
ment, the principle of life becomes so feeble, as to be 
almost unavailable for practical purposes. The chicks 
in stale eggs have not sufficient strength to extricate 
themselves from the shell ; if assisted, the yolk is 
found to be only partially absorbed into the abdomen, 
or not at all ; they are too faint to stand, the muscles 
of the neck are unable to lift their heads, much less 
to peck ; and although they may sometimes be saved 
by extreme care, their usual fate is to be trampled to 
death by their mother, if they do not expire almost as 
soon as they begin to draw their breath. Thick- 



THE I DOMESTIC FOWL. 99 

shelled eggs, like those of geese, Guinea fowl, &c., 
will retain life longer than thin-shelled ones, as those 
of hens and ducks. 

In the meanwhile, air should be excluded from the 
eggs as much as possible ; it is best to set them on 
end, and not to suffer them to lie and roll on the side. 
Dry sand or hard- wood sawdust, (not pine, on account 
of the turpentine,) is the best packing. But when 
choice eggs are expected, it is more prudent to have 
a hen waiting for them than to let them wait for her. 
A good sitter may be amused for two or three, weeks 
with a few. addled eggs, and so be ready to take charge 
of those of value immediately upon their arrival. 

Eggs sent any distance to be hatched, should be 
tightly inclosed in a cork or wooden box, and arranged 
so as neither to touch each other, nor the sides of the 
box. Mr. Cantelo, in his little pamphlet, has recom- 
mended oats as a packing, and no doubt they form an 
excellent vehicle, taking little time to pack, filling all 
interstices, and moreover being useful at the journey's 
end. The eggs should be shaken as little as possible, 
for fear of rupturing the ligaments by which the yolk 
is suspended in the centre of the egg, and mixing the 
true strata of albumen surrounding it and letting the 
yolk loose. Nor should they be suffered to come in 
contact with any greasy substance that would close 
the pores of the shell, so as to exclude the air from the 
chick. 

THE STRUCTURE OF EGGS. 

UPON opening, after death, the body of a laying hen, 
a cluster of eggs, or rather the rudiments of eggs, may 
be observed, from twenty to a hundred or more, from 
the size of a pin's head to that of a boy's marble, 
according to the different stages of their growth. This 
batch of rudimental eggs, or egg cluster, is termed by 
anatomists the ovarium^ and the rudimental eggs 
themselves are called ova. 

It is necessary to observe here, that a rudimental egg, 
or ovum, has no shell nor white, which are acquired in 



100 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

an after stage of its progress, but consists wholly of 
yolk, on whose surface the germ of the future chick 
lies ; both the yolk and the germ being wrapped 
round with a very thin membrane. 




EGG CLUSTER, OR OVARIUM. 

When the rudimental egg, still attached to the ova- 
rium, becomes larger and larger, and arrives at a cer- 
tain size, either its own weight, or some other efficient 
cause, detaches it from the cluster, and makes it fall 
into a sort of funnel, leading to a pipe which anato- 
mists term the oviduct. 

Here the yolk of the rudimental egg, hitherto im- 
perfectly formed, puts on its mature appearance of a 
thick yellow fluid, while the rudimental chick or em- 
bryo, lying on the surface, at the point opposite 
that by which it had been attached to the ovarium, is 
white, and somewhat paste like. 

The white, or albumen, of the egg now becomes 
diffused around the yolk, being secreted from the 
blood vessels of the egg pipe, or oviduct, in the form of 
a thin, glairy fluid ; and it is prevented from mixing 
with the yolk and the embryo chick, by the thin 
membrane which surrounded them before they were 
detached from the egg cluster, while it is strength- 
ened by a second and stronger membrane, formed 
around the first, immediately after falling into the 



THE DOMESTIC -EOWin 10 T 

oviduct. It is proper to mention, also, that this second 
membrane, enveloping the yolk and the germ of the 
chick, is thickest at the two ends, having what may 
be called bulgings, termed chalazes by anatomists ; 
these bulgings of the second membrane pass quite 
through the white at the ends, and being thus as it 
were embedded in the white, they keep the inclosed 
yolk and germ somewhat in a fixed position, prevent- 
ing them from rolling about within the egg when it is 
moved. The white of the egg being thus formed, a 
third membrane, or rather a double membrane, much 
stronger than either of the first two, is formed around 
it, becoming attached to the bulgings, or chalazes, oi 
the second membrane, and tending still more to keep 
all the parts in their relative positions. 

During the progress of these several formations, the 
egg gradually advances about half way along the ovi- 
duct. It is still, however, destitute of the shell, which 
begins to be formed by a process similar to the forma- 
tion of the shell of a snail, as soon as the outer layer 
of the third membrane has been completed. When 
the shell is fully formed, the egg continues to advance 
along the oviduct, till the hen goes to her nest and 
lays it. 

Reckoning, then, from the shell inwards, there are 
six different envelopes, one of which only could be de- 
tected before the descent of the egg into the oviduct : 

1. The shell. 2. The external layer of the mem- 
brane lining the shell. 3. The internal layer of the 
same lining. 4. The white, composed of a thinner 
liquid on the outside, and a thicker and more yellow- 
ish liquid on the inside. 5. The bulgings, or chala- 
ziferous membrane. 6. The proper membrane. 

One important part of the egg is the air bag, or 
folliculus aeris, of anatomists, placed at the larger 
end, between the shell and its lining membranes. Ac- 
cording to Dr. Paris, it is about the size of the eye of 
a small bird in new-laid eggs, but is increased as much, 
as ten times in the process of hatching. 



102 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

This air bag is of such great importance to the de- 
velopment of the chick, probably by supplying it with 
a limited atmosphere of oxygen, that if the blunt end 
of an egg be pierced with the point of the smallest 
needle the egg cannot be hatched, but perishes. 

From the air bag being thus placed at the blunt end 
of the egg, important signs may be taken to distin- 
guish the freshness of an egg ; for, as the air in the cell 
will not abstract heat from without, like a more solid 
substance, it is a usual practice to apply the tonguo 
to the blunt end of an egg, and if it feels rather warm, 
it is stale, but if cold, it is fresh. This, however, is 
a much more uncertain test than the comparative size 
of the small circle seen by the transmitted light of a 
candle or otherwise, a small circle being a proof of 
freshness, and a large one of staleness. 

The shell of an egg, chemically speaking, consists 
chiefly of carbonate of lime, similar to chalk, with a 
small quantity of phosphate of lime and animal mucus. 
When burnt, the animal matter and the carbonic acid 
gas of the carbonate of lime are separated, the first 
being reduced to ashes or animal charcoal, while the 
second is dissipated, leaving the decarbonised lime 
mixed with a little phosphate of lime. 

The white of the egg, (albumen,) is without taste or 
smell, of a viscid, glairy consistence, readily dissolving 
in water, coagulable by acids, by spirits of wine, and by 
a temperature of 165 F. If it has once been coagulat- 
ed, it is no longer soluble either in cold or hot water, 
and acquires a slight insipid taste. Experiments show 
that it is composed of 80 parts of water, 15^ parts of 
albumen, and 4J parts of mucus, besides giving traces 
of soda, benzoic acid, and sulphuretted hydrogen gas. 

The yolk has an insipid, bland, oily taste, and when 
agitated with water, forms a milky emulsion. If it be 
long boiled, it becomes a granular, friable solid, yield- 
ing upon expression a yellow, insipid, fixed oil. It 
consists, chemically, of water, oil, albumen, and gela- 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 103 

tine. In proportion to the quantity of albumen, the 
egg boils hard. 

The white of the egg is found to be a very feeble 
conductor of heat, retarding its escape and prevent- 
ing its entrance to the yolk ; a contrivance of Provi- 
dential Wisdom, noi only to prevent speedy fermenta- 
tion and corruption, out as Dr. Paris remarks, to avert 
the fatal chills which might occur in hatching, when 
the mother hen leaves her eggs from time to time in 
search of food. Eels, tench, and other fish, which can 
live long out of water, secrete a similar viscid sub- 
stance on the surface of their bodies, furnished to them, 
no doubt, for a similar purpose. 

BREEDING. 

THE breeding of the common fowl, with a view to 
improvement, like that of our domestic quadrupeds, 
may be said to be founded on nature's established 
law, that "like begets like." This, however, is only 
true in part, for there is a constant tendency to change, 
arising frfcm a variety of causes ; such as living in a 
different climate, or on a different kind of food. The 
management to which they are subject has, also, its 
influence. While these may be looked upon as the 
chief causes in operation, that produce this change, 
they are the means, at the same time, in connection 
with other causes, which are used to effect an im- 
provement. 

In order to perpetuate or improve an animal, there 
are two modes advocated and pursued by practical 
breeders. One is commonly called the " in-and-in sys- 
tem," and the other that of " crossing." As a general 
rule, the first-named system has a tendency, after a 
time, to deteriorate the breed, unless the utmost care 
is observed in selecting such animals as 'will be likely 
to unite in the offspring the qualities sought. From 
their progeny, again, must be selected only such ani- 
mals as more completely exhibit those qualities, 



104 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

and so on from generation to generation, until the de- 
sired points are fully developed, 

The importance of continuing this process for a 
number of successive generations is obvious, from the 
fact, that peculiar traits of character often disappear 
in the first, and reappear again in the second or third 
generation. A desirable property may be found in the 
parent, and inherited by only a part of the offspring, 
and the requisite point can only be uniformly de- 
veloped by a careful selection through several consecu- 
tive generations. By this process, it is apparent that 
this system must be adopted ; yet, at the same time, 
it is desirable to avoid too close alliances. Hence, it 
is considered better to breed more distant members of 
the same family together than those that are more 
nearly related. Thus in " breeding in the line," with 
a view of perpetuating a particular race of fowls, the 
Dorkings, for instance, the best birds of that breed 
should be selected, both males and females, and allow 
them to propagate in their utmost purity from one 
generation to another, changing from one family of 
Dorkings to another, as often as circumstances or ne- 
cessity may require. 

The system of " crossing" is founded on a principle 
just as secure, as regards care in selection, as that 
adopted in breeding in-and-in. For, it is well known 
that certain diseases are hereditary, none of which can 
be changed nor got rid of except by crossing. This 
system, therefore, requires great care in selection, as 
well as in management. 

A fact respecting fowls, that has not been sufficiently 
regarded, but which goes far to prove their high an- 
tiquity, is the permanent character of the different 
varieties. Before attending much to the subject, some 
people fancy that crossings and intermixtures may be 
infinitely multiplied and continued, restricted only by 
the algebric law of permutation and combination ; and 
such is the current opinion among many who are ac- 
customed to see the diverse colors and appearance of 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 105 

fowls promiscuously bred in a farmyard. But the ob- 
servant breeder knows that such is not the case. 
Nothing is more difficult than to establish a permanent 
intermediate race even between nearly-allied varieties. 
In a few generations, the character reverts to that of 
one or other of the parents ; the peculiarities of an old 
type reappear, and the new cross, on which the fancier 
was beginning to glorify himself, vanishes. The more 
heterogeneous are the parents, the more sudden is the 
return to old established characters. The hybrid 
progeny are either utterly barren, or their young ex- 
hibit the likeness of their grandfather or grandmother, 
not of their actual parents. 

As a general rule, domestic animals of all kinds, 
which have been produced by crossing, are the most 
profitable both for meat and milk. But in all cases, 
where a cross is attempted, with the object of improv- 
ing a breed, be sure to have pure blood on one side. 
In raising fowls, then, for laying, for the fatting coop, 
or for the market, a convenient number of hens, either 
pure bred or mongrels, may be obtained, which pos- 
sess such properties as may be desirable, as regards 
size, shape, color of the skin, tenderness of the flesh, 
size and flavor of the eggs, hardiness, aptitude to lay, 
sit, and rear their young, together with a requisite 
number of pure-blooded cocks of such a breed as is 
known from experience to be fixed in its character, 
and whose progeny have proved profitable to the owner. 
Allow these to run promiscuously together, and breed 
from year to year, for four or five seasons, killing off, 
or separating all the chickens as fast as they arrive at 
maturity. In the meantime, however, should any 
of the hens be lost from accident or disease, their places 
may he filled with others of a similar breed, or with 
the pullets of the first, or at farthest of the second 
cross. Should the cocks die before they arrive at the age 
of five years, or become quarrelsome in their disposition, 
or disabled in any way, they should be killed, and 
others of pure blood and of the same breed, placed in 
5* 



106 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

their stead. At the end of five years, the whole may 
be killed, or otherwise disposed of, when you may 
commence anew, with fresh young fowls. 

In breeding " in-and-in" for the purpose of perpetu- 
ating any particular variety, the utmost care must be 
observed in selecting healthy birds, cocks as well as 
hens, of pure blood on both sides, and if possible, of 
distantly-related families, which have been kept sepa- 
rate from all other breeds from their infancy. By 
this means, the purity of a race may be maintained. 

INCUBATION. 

As in case of other birds, nature designs that every 
hen shall sit upon her own eggs, and hatch her own 
progeny ; but the domestic fowl is in an artificial state, 
and deviations from the laws of nature are, therefore, to 
be expected. A wild hen will lay no more eggs than 
she can conveniently cover, and her periods for laying 
and for incubation will be fixed and regular. On the 
contrary, domestic hens lay many more eggs than they 
can cover. Some lay every day, or every other day, 
for nine months out of the twelve, and never or rarely 
evince a desire to incubate ; while others manifest this 
desire, some at one period, and others at another period. 
Among a flock of hens, these diversities will show them- 
selves, and advantage may be taken of them with benefit 
to their owner. 

A hen prompted by instinct to the task of incubation, 
asks only for eggs suited to her size, be they those of her 
own production or not, (those even of a duck will be 
accepted,) a nest, and undisturbed solitude. At this 
juncture, she utters an instinctive cluck, ruffles her 
feathers, wanders about, searches obscure corners and 
recesses, and is evidently ill at ease. She is feverishly 
hot, impatient, and anxiously restless. In high-fed hens 
this instinctive desire comes on sooner than in such as 
are not supplied with food in abundance, and it may be 
induced by stimulating diet, a little raw liver or fresh 
meat, chopped small, potatoes mashed warm, with milk 
and Indian meal. Some farmers recommend a fomenta- 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 107 

tion of vinegar in which pepper has been steeped, to be 
applied to the under parts, as a means of inducing this 
desire ; and others even advise that some of the feathers 
of the abdomen be plucked off, and the skin stung with 
nettles ! Such means may induce fever, and a desire to 
cool the inflamed skin by applying it to cool substances, 
but not a genuine natural impulse to fulfil the great law 
of nature. Let them never be put into practice. They 
are barbarous and contemptible. By high feeding, some 
hens, especially of the Dorking breed, which, as sitters, 
take the pre-eminence over all other breeds, may be in- 
duced to sit in October, especially if they have moulted 
early. Advantage may be taken of this circumstance 
at the South, and chickens may be obtained fit for the 
table by Christmas not, however, without great care 
and trouble. The incubation must take place, and the 
chickens be reared and fed, in a warm room, if neces- 
sary, kept at an equal temperature. Generally speak 
ing, spring chickens are more desirable, which should be 
hatched in January, so as to be ready for the market in 
the latter part of March, and through the months of 
April, May, and June. They require great care, but 
they return an ample profit. 

The most usual time in which hens manifest a desire 
to incubate, extends from March to May or June, and 
at this season chickens may be reared without any ex- 
traordinary precautions. 

When the determination to sit becomes fixed, there 
is no need to indulge the first faint indications immedi- 
ately let her have the nest she has selected well cleaned 
and filled with fresh straw. The number of eggs to be 
given to her will depend upon the season, and upon their 
and her own size. The wisest plan is not to be too 
greedy. The number of chickens hatched is often in 
inverse proportion to the number of eggs sat. I have 
known only three to be obtained from eighteen. Hens 
will, in general, well cover from eleven to thirteen 
ergs laid by themselves. A Bantam may be trusted 
with about half a dozen eggs of a large breed, such as 
the Spanish. A hen of the largest size, as a Dorking, 
will successfully hatch, at the most, five goose eggs. 



108 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

But if a hen is really determined to sit, it is useless, as 
well as cruel, to attempt to divert her from her object 
The means usually prescribed are such as no humane 
person would willingly put in practice. If the season is 
too early to give a hope of rearing gallinaceous birds, 
the eggs of ducks or geese may generally be had ; and 
the young may be brought up with a little pains-taking, 
as well as by their natural parent. And if it be required 
to retain the services of a hen for expected valuable 
eggs, she may be beguiled, for a week or ten days with 
four or five old addled ones, till the choicer sort arrive. 

Three weeks is the period of incubation of the com- 
mon hen. Sometimes, however, when she does not sit 
close for the first day or two, or in early spring, it will 
be some hours longer ; more frequently in our southern 
climate, when the hen is assiduous and the weather 
hot, the time will be a trifle shorter. But in cases of 
artificial incubation, where the eggs are uniformly kept 
at a temperature of from 101 to 102 F., the period is 
sometimes hastened forty-eight hours. The range of 
temperature, within which the eggs will hatch, varies 
from 95 to 106 F. Towards the close of incubation, 
the process may be suspended for one or two hours, or 
even for a longer period, according to the degree of 
extraneous heat which the eggs may derive from their 
situation, without fatal consequences to the embryo 
chick. 

The growth of the chick in the egg has been so fully 
and so well described by many writers, from Aristotle 
down to Reaumur, that I need merely refer the reader to 
them. The observations of the latter, particularly, have 
appeared in almost every compilation that has been pub- 
lished on the subject ; and I think it much better taste 
for common inquirers to betake themselves to such 
sources of information, illustrated as they are by good 
engravings, than to desire that a set of half-hatched 
eggs should be broken to gratify their curiosity. A 
shattered and imperfectly -formed chick, struggling in 
vain in the fluid that ought to perfect its frame, till it 
sinks in a gradual and convulsive death, is a horrible 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 



109 



spectacle, though on a small scale. To gratify the curi- 
ous reader, I present below three cuts illustrat- 
ing the first, middle, and last stages of incubation. 




FIRST STAGE OF INCUBATION. 




MIDDLE STAGE OF INCUBATION. 




CHICK JUST BEFORE HATCHING. 

Shortly before the time of hatching arrives, the 
chickens may be heard to chirp and tap against the 
walls of their shell. Soon a slight fracture is perceived 
towards the upper end, caused by force from within. 



110 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

The fracture is continued around the top of the egg, 
which then opens like a lid, and the little bird struggles 
into daylight. The tapping which is heard, and which 
opens the prison doors, is caused by the bill of the in- 
cluded chick ; the mother has nothing to do with its 
liberation, beyond casting the empty shells out of the 
nest. At the tip of the bill of every new-hatched chick, 
on the upper surface, a whitish scale will be observed, 
about the size of a pin's head, but much harder than the 
bill itself. Had the beak been tipped with iron to force 
the shell open, it would not have been a stronger proof 
of Creative Design than is this minute speck, which acts 
as so necessary an instrument. In a few days after 
birth, when it is no longer wanted, this scale disappears ; 
not by falling off, which would be a waste of valuable 
material, but by being- absorbed and becoming service- 
able in strengthening the bony structure, minute as the 
portion of earthy substance is. And yet some people 
direct, that as soon as the chick is hatched, this scale 
should be forced off with the finger nail, because it is in- 
jurious ! 

All chicks do not get out so easily, but may require 
a little assistance. The difficulty is, to know when to 
give it. They often succeed in making the first breach, 
but appear unable to batter down their dungeon walls 
any further. A rash attempt to help them by break- 
ing the shell, particularly in a downward direction 
towards the smaller end, is often followed by a loss of 
blood, which can ill be spared. It is better to wait 
awhile and not interfere with any of them, till it is 
apparent that a part of the brood has been hatched 
some time, say twelve hours, and that the rest cannot 
succeed in making their appearance. After such wise 
delay, it will generally be found that the whole fluid 
contents of the egg, yolk and all, are taken up into 
the body of the chick, and that weakness alone has 
prevented its forcing itself out. The causes of such 
weakness" are various ; sometimes insufficient warmth, 
from, the hen having sat on too many eggs ; sometimes 
the original feebleness of the vital spark included in 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. Ill 

the egg, but most frequently staleness of the eggs em- 
ployed for incubation. The chances of rearing such 
chicks are small, but if they get over the first twenty- 
four hours they may be considered as safe. But all 
the old wives' nostrums to recover them are to be dis- 
carded ; the merest drop of ale may be a useful stimu- 
lant, but an intoxicated chick is as liable to sprawl 
about and have the breath trodden out of its body as a 
fainting one. Pepper corns, gin, rue, and fifty other 
ways of doctoring, are to be banished afar. 

The only thing to be done, is to take the chicks 
from the hen till she is nestled at night, keeping them 
in the meanwhile as snug and warm as possible. 
If a clever, kind, gentle-handed little girl could get a 
crumb of bread down their throats, it would do no 
harm. Animal heat will be their greatest restorative. 
At night, let them be quietly slipped under their 
mother ; the next morning they will be either as brisk 
as the rest, or as " flat as pancakes." 

Now I am on the subject of hatching, I may as well 
refer to the perplexity to which poultry keepers are 
sometimes subjected, when hens will sit, at seasons of 
the year at which there is little chance of bringing up 
chickens. Some advise the hens to be soaked in a pail 
of water, cold from the pump ; but if they have a mind 
to kill her, it is more cruel to do so by giving her 
fever and inflammation of the lungs, than by simply 
knocking her on the head. A less objectionable rem- 
edy, is the following : " I have known one or two 
doses of jalap relieve them entirely from a desire to sit ; 
and in my opinion it is far better than the cold-water 
cure. I have known English Jfowls lay in three weeks 
afterwards."* But why not let the poor creatures obey 
their natural propensity ? Or, surely, some neighbor 
would gladly exchange a laying hen for one that 
wanted to sit. Others, borrowing an ancient piece 
of barbarism, recommend a large feather to be thrust 
through the nostrils ; that she may rush here and 

Dixon. 




112 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

there in terror, and give up all thoughts of sitting. 
The wisest way is to guide, instead of thwarting the 
impulses of nature. Let your good hen indulge the 
instinct implanted in her by a Wiser Being than you ; 
give her a sitting of duck's eggs, and unless the winter 
or spring be extraordinarily severe, you must be a 
bungler if you do not rear them by the aid of bread 
crumbs, Indian meal, and a kitchen fire. 

ARTIFICIAL INCUBATION. 

THE process of bringing the vitalised embryo of the 
egg through all its stages of development until the 
chick makes its exit from the shell, by the judicious 
administration and management of artificial heat, has 
long been practised in China and Egypt, nor have ex- 
periments both in our own country and France been 
unsuccessful ; but whether the plan will ever become 
general, so that a .supply of apparatus-hatched chick- 
ens may be in constant readiness to meet the public 
demand, is very questionable. Our changeable climate 
is not favorable for the process on a large scale ; the 
least change of temperature is fatal ; for it is indispens- 
able that an equable temperature of from 95 to 
106 F. be maintained. At a higher or a lower tem- 
perature the development of the embryo cannot be per- 
fected. Hence, although in Egypt, which enjoys a 
favorable atmospheric state for the accomplishment of 
the experiment, success in our climate is far from 
certain. 

Let us be content, then, with our poultry yards and 
their feathered inmates as they are, and be grateful to 
Providence for the fowls of the air, which are peculiarly 
the pensioners upon our bounty. 

The apparatus, latterly employed for this purpose, 
has been described 'under the names of eccaleobion, 
(literally the invoker of life,) polotokian, and hydro- 
incubator. The former was an ingenious contrivance, 
for hatching chickens by means of heated air. It pre- 
sented the appearance of an oblong box, nina fet in 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 113 

length, three feet in breadth, and three feet in height. 
It had no connexion with the walls against which it 
was placed, nor the table on which it stood ; its regu- 
lating power was within. According to Mr. Bucknell, 
the English inventor and proprietor of this machine, 
which some years ago excited great attention, the 
eccaleobion possessed a perfect and absolute command 
over temperature from 300 F. to that of cold water, 
so that any substance submitted to its influence was 
uniformly acted upon over its whole surface at any 
required intermediate degree within the above range, 
and such heat maintained unaltered without trouble 
or difficulty for any length of time. Hence, by means 
of this absolute and complete command over the tem- 
perature obtained by this machine, the impregnated 
egg of any bird, not stale, placed within its influence 
at the proper degree of warmth, at the expiration of its 
natural time, was elicited into life without the possi- 
bility of a failure, which is sometimes the case with 
eggs subjected to the caprice of their natural parent. 
During the public exhibition of this instrument thirty 
or forty thousand chickens, perhaps more, were stated 
to have been brought into existence by a single ma- 
chine, which was constructed to contain two thousand 
eggs at a given time. These chickens, with proper 
attention and under suitable treatment, were said to 
grow as healthy and strong as those under a parent's 
care. Of course, artificial mothers, warmth, a dry soil, 
and proper buildings would be needed. What might 
not be expected from a multiplication of these ma- 
chines, or their formation on a larger scale ! 

The polotokian, also, was a similar contrivance for 
hatching, by means of heated air, established in 1843, 
on an extensive scale, by Mr. E. Bayer, of Brooklyn, 
New York. He succeeded admirably well, as far as 
the producing of chickens was concerned, in the process 
of hatching, not losing over 20 to 25 per cent, of the 
eggs. The most congenial temperature at which the 
eggs were exposed, during the process, he found to be 



114 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

from 101 to 102 F. When uniformly kept in that 
degree of warmth, the period of incubation was gen- 
erally hastened two days. The chickens arrived at 
maturity six weeks earlier than those hatched the 
natural way, but were more susceptible to the climate. 
Notwithstanding, they were sweeter, better-flavored, 
and more tender in their flesh, and commanded a higher 
price in market than other fowls, the business proved 
unprofitable, and was abandoned with disgust. Several 
other establishments were commenced about the same 
time, on Long Island and elsewhere, on the same plan, 
which terminated with similar results. 

Mr. Cantelo, a year or two since, established in or 
near London, what he termed a "model poultry farm." 
In this institution, numbers of chickens, Gruinea fowls, 
and ducks, have been raised by artificial heat most 
ingeniously applied by "top contact," so as to produce 
the same effect on the vitalised germ as the heat of 
the incubating hen. This heat has been proved by 
Mr. Cantelo to be as high as 106 F. The eggs were 
in fact hatched under artificial incubators, which allow 
the inferior portion of the egg to remain cool until 
warmed by the inward circulation of the blood, as oc- 
curs in natural incubation, but not when eggs are 
placed in ovens or heated apartments. " The differ- 
ence," says Mr. Cantelo, "between top-contact heat 
and that received from radiation as applied to hatching 
is" this : by radiation, or oven heat, the eggs will be 
hours in arriving at the desired temperature, not only 
when first put to hatch, but at any time afterwards 
when they may have been allowed to get cool. The 
eggs, of course, will heat alike over their whole surface, 
and consequently evaporate equally from every part. 
On the contrary, heat applied in top contact penetrates 
almost instantly and revivifies the germ, and although 
a much higher temperature is used in this case in 
imitation of nature ; that is 106 instead of 98, 
still, inasmuch as but a small surface is heated, the 
loss of moisture is much less than by a radiating heat. 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 115 

The fowl leaves her nest every day in search of food 
for twenty or thirty minutes ; this must be imitated 
also, as the temporary loss of heat has the effect of 
causing the contents of the egg to diminish in bulk, 
and the vacuum is formed by a fresh supply, (of air,) 
drawn in for the nourishment of the germ. The eggs 
must be moved three times a-day, morning, noon, and 
night, which prevents the adhesion of any part of the 
fluid to % the shell, and gives the small blood vessels 
better opportunity to spread around the surface of the 
egg. This is effected by nature ; when the fowl leaves 
her nest or returns to it, she naturally disturbs the 
eggs, and also from any change she may make in her 
position while upon her nest." 

Mr. Cantelo thus describes the hydro-incubator: 
" The form, or method considered by the inventor, as 
best calculated for the application of top-contact heat 
to eggs during incubation is that of a current of warm 
water flowing over an impermeable or water-proof cloth, 
beneath which the eggs are placed. This is effected 
on a large scale by pumps, and in a small apparatus 
by the law of gravitation causing the warm particles 
to rise, and those that have become partially cooled to 
fall. A tank of water is kept continually at a tem- 
perature of 109 F., from the surface of which it will 
naturally flow over the water-proof cloth, a return pipe 
being so placed as to connect the outer end of the 
cloth with the bottom of the tank. The eggs are 
placed in drawers having open work or perforated bot- 
toms, and they are laid on a piece of thin woollen 
cloth. The drawers are placed beneath the incubator, 
and raised so that the eggs come in contact with the 
water-proof cloth, but so as to allow a space between 
the sides of the drawers and the incubating cloth. 
These sides being lower than the top of the eggs, space 
is afforded for the air to circulate around them, as it 
rises through the bottom and passes out over the edges 
of the drawers." 

Within two or three years past, an apparatus has 



116 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

been exhibited, from time to time, in the city of New 
York, called the American egg-hatching machine. 
It is stated that it has been "examined by a large 
number of practical and scientific men, who have 
strongly attested to its usefulness and general adop- 
tion." 




AMERICAN EGG-HATCHING MACHINE. 
/ 

This machine is constructed of tin, or other materi- 
als, with the brooding chamber surrounded by water, 
warmed to a suitable temperature, by means of a 
spirit lamp, which, it is said, may constantly be kept 
burning for less than ten cents a day ! The whole 
apparatus does not exceed two and a half feet in length 
and depth, and is stated to be capable of hatching 
from 200 to 600 chickens at a time, with a loss of 
not more than two per cent., if the eggs are perfect, 
and if proper attention is paid to the temperature of 
the machine ! But here let us drop the subject. In 
my humble opinion, all these ingenious imitations of, 
and interferences with, nature, though they may 
flourish for a day, (and flourish they cannot bo said 
to do,) will pass away as things that were. 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 117 



NURSING- THE YOUNG- BROODS. 

LET us now suppose that the chick has opened the 
door of its egg. Feeble trembler, on the verge of an 
unknown state of existence, what are its sensations ! 
Had it but reason, how applicable to it would be Buf- 
fon's eloquent description of man, springing up at the 
bidding of his Creator into life and light, at once en- 
raptured, perplexed, and bewildered. But the chick 
is guided by instinct alone ; it has nothing to learn, 
no ideas to be conceived through the medium of the 
senses, and yet it is interesting to watch it at this 
juncture. It is free; the first thing it does, while yet 
on the threshold of the egg, is to draw its head from 
under its wing, and to direct it forwards, the neck 
trembling beneath the weight which it has now for the 
first time to sustain. With its neck stretched forwards, 
and scarcely able to raise itself on its legs, it rests for 
a few minutes, till its strength is recruited ; the fresh 
air revives it, it raises itself up, it lifts its head, it 
turns its neck from side to side, and begins to feel its 
innate powers. Its downy plumage, the precursor of 
feathers, being wet with the fluid of the egg, lies close 
to the skin, in stripes down the body and on the wings; 
besides, it is not yet fairly free from the sheath in 
which every plumelet is enclosed. As it dries, every 
tuft expands, or opens, like a feathery flower ; the 
little membranous sheaths split and fall off ; and the 
chick rises in its nest, clothed with a downy garment 
of exquisite delicacy ! 

An experienced poultry maid, in giving directions to 
her young successor, may be supposed to discourse as 
follows : "Do not meddle with the eggs nor the nest ; 
the hen knows better than you, and if they require 
turning, when, and in what position to place them. 
She will seldom forsake them, or leave them long 
enough to be addled, which is caused by the change 
from heat to cold. Watch patiently and quietly. On 
the eighteenth or nineteenth day, if you put your ear 



118 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

to the egg, you will hear the chick making a gentle 
piping noise, and at this time the yolk, which has al- 
ready begun to be taken up into the body, is now in a 
state of rapid absorption, being destined to supply the 
chick with nourishment, even after its exit from the 
shell. You will very seldom have occasion to assist 
chickens in emerging from the shell, and the chances 
are, that you will injure them, if you attempt it. Act 
cautiously, but believe that nature does the business 
best. Some chickens get out in an hour, others in two 
or three, and it may happen that some may be a day, 
or a day and a night at work, by starts. For twenty 
four hours, you should leave them to themselves ; if 
they are not strong enough to break through their 
shellwork wall, they will not be stout enough to live ; 
and this is the reason why, even with the gentlest 
assistance, they very seldom do live, supposing they 
have not left the egg by their own efforts. It some- 
times happens that the feathers are glued to the lining 
of the shell, which prevents the bird from clearing 
itself of it. In this case, be very gentle with your 
fingers, when you draw the feathers from the lining 
of the shell. You should go to work as if you were 
removing a blister from your own skin, that is to say, 
with the greatest tenderness. Be rather tardy than 
premature ; ' let patience have her perfect work.' Re- 
member that, if the chickens leave the shell before they 
have taken in, or drunk up all the yolk, which must 
serve them for food during the ensuing twenty-four 
hours after they see the light, they will pine away, 
and die in a few days. Beware, then, of being pre- 
mature in any efforts, however well intended, to extri- 
cate a feeble chick ; nevertheless, be watchful, and 
ready for every emergency." 

So far we may say an experienced poultry maid 
would give her directions. But now comes another 
point to be considered. The chickens are all hatched 
under favorable circumstances ; there is no mishap, 
one after another extricates itself what is the treat- 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 119 

ment to be pursued? Many persons, as the chickens 
leave the eggs, remove them one by one, and place 
them in a basket, covered up with flannel, and keep 
them in a warm place, returning them to the hen 
when the last has made its appearance. This is not 
generally necessary ; it is unnatural, and may fret the 
hen, who delights in her young brood, whose piping 
notes, while the chicks were yet in the egg, she has 
listened to with complacency. The shells, however, 
should be cleared from the nest, but unless circum- 
stances render it necessary, the young chickens may 
be allowed to remain. But suppose that the weather 
is piercingly cold, and that the hen is restle&s, then let 
the chickens have warmth and every attention. Those 
hatched during the winter, or colder spring months, 
require comfortable housing, the hen being with them, 
and the less that interference be made between the 
hen and her chicks, the better; they troop around her; 
she protects them, gathers them under her wings, and 
watches over them with the most earnest solicitude. 

Some persons, especially in France, train capons to 
act as nurses to their broods of chickens which are 
reared ; and some have recourse to artificial mothers, 
or boxes lined with a soft and warm material for the 
protection of the tfrood. 

That capons can be taught or trained to hatch a 
clutch of eggs, and attend to the young, was known 
to the ancients ; and indeed there are cases on record 
of the cock having laid aside his lordly air, and devoted 
himself with exemplary patience to the work of incu- 
bation ; in other cases, he has taken the place of the 
hen in watching over the chickens when accident has 
deprived them of her care. 

Baptista Porta, in his strange work on Natural 
Magic, gives instructions as to the mode of taming 
and training capons for the task of nursing. "In the 
first place, the bird must be made so familiar as to 
take food from the hand ; this primary step being ac- 
complished, on the evening, when his services are re- 



120 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

quired, the feathers must be plucked from off his 
breast, and the bare skin be irritated by rubbing it 
with nettles. The chickens must then be put to him ; 
they will naturally huddle under him, and by rubbing 
with their little downy heads allay the irritation caused 
by the nettles. This process being repeated for two or 
three nights, he will gradually conceive an affection 
for the chickens, and attend to them like a hen. The 
writer suggests that this attachment may be based on 
the principle of mutual distress producing mutual 
sympathy, and that the querulous chirp .of the chick- 
ens may make the capon, while in pain himself, de- 
sirous of allaying their misery. A capon once accus- 
tomed to this office will not abandon it, but when one 
brood is grown up sufficiently, another newly-hatched 
brood may be substituted in their place, and so on in 
succession, the last chickens being as carefully attend- 
ed to as were the first." 

With respect to artificial mothers, they are undoubt- 
edly useful when there is no natural parent nor trained 
capon to protect and warm the chickens ; and many 
persons are great advocates for them. These mothers 
are nothing more than wooden trays, or boxes, so con- 
trived as to impart the necessary heat to the young 
chickens, after exclusion from the egg, till they are 
sufficiently strong and grown to need no further assist- 
ance. When chickens are hatched by artificial means, 
as by the eccaleobion, or in an oven, these protectors 
are essential ; for, without some substitute for the 
parent, the chicks would perish. They are described 
as being framed of a board ten inches broad and fifteen 
inches long, resting on two legs in front, four inches in 
height, and on two props behind, two inches in height. 
The board must be perforated with many small gimlet 
holes for the escape of the heated air, and lined with 
lambskin, dressed with the wool on ; the woolly side 
is to come in contact with the chickens. Over three 
of these mothers, a wicker basket is to be placed for 
the protection of the chickens, four feet long, two feet 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 121 

broad, and fourteen inches high, with a lid open, a 
wooden sliding bottom to draw out for cleaning, and a 
long, narrow trough along the front, resting on two 
very low stools, for holding their food. Perches are to 
be fixed in the basket for the more advanced to roost 
on. A flannel curtain is to be placed in front and at 
both ends of the mothers, for the chickens to run 
under, which they soon learn to push outwards and 
inwards. These mothers, with the wicker baskets 
over them, are to be placed against a hot wall at the 
back of the kitchen fire, or in any other warm situa 
tion, where the heat shall not exceed 80 F. 

When the chickens are a week old, they are to be 
carried with a mother to a grass plot, for feeding, and 
to be kept warm by a tin tube filled with some hot 
water, which will continue sufficiently warm for about 
three hours, when the water is to be renewed. To- 
wards evening, the mothers are to be again placed 
against the hot wall, and thus continued, from day to 
day, until the chicks are strong enough to take care 
of themselves. 

CHICKEN COOPS. 

THE simplest, and perhaps the most common method 
employed for confining the hen after hatching her 
young brood, is to lay a flour barrel on its bilge, 
knocking out one head, and driving a few small stakes 
into the ground directly in front. This makes a very 
comfortable shelter for the hen, protecting her and her 
chicks from the sun, wind, and rain, and allows the 
latter to range about the garden or yard, where they 
are enabled to pick up seeds, insects, worms, &c., and 
thereby obtain a large share of their living. 

This plan is objected to by many, in this countiy, 
on the ground that the chickens are more exposed to 
the depredations of hawks, minks, rats, &c., than they 
would be if protected by their watchful mother by 
their side. But, as it is necessary in all cases to have 
the coop near the garden or house, not only on account 
6 



122 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 



of the safety of the young brood, but for the conveni- 
ence of feeding them, as well as for the security of the 
flowers and plants, it would be preferable to confine 
the hen in a coop like that shown in the following cut, 
and give liberty only to the chicks. 




COOP WITH FEEDING BOX ATTACHED. 

Those who can well afford it, and 
wish to display more taste in this 
delightful branch of rural economy, 
might build coops in a 'Gothic or 
Chinese style, similar to that of the 
adjoining cut. The size may vary 
from that of a few feet square to a 
height sufficient to admit a man. 





MARQUEE OR TENT-SHAPED COOPS. 

Another kind, lately used by Mr. C. N. Bement, 
author of the "American Poulterers' Companion," 
answering a very good purpose, is the marquee coop, 
denoted by the above fi^we. It is made by nailing 






THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 123 

short pieces of boards together, in such a way as to 
form two legs of a triangle, the ground answering for 
the other side. These coops should be at least two 
feet in height, with one end boarded up tight, and the 
other secured by nailing strips of boards, or laths, in 
the form of a grate, leaving sufficient space between 
them for the free passage of the chicks, without afford- 
ing liberty to the hen. In front, there should be a 
broad piece of board, as long as the coop is wide, on 
which to feed the chickens and hen. This board may 
be secured to the coop with leather or other hinges, so 
as to admit of being raised up and closing the coop, 
towards evening, which will not only answer the pur- 
pose of guarding the young brood against rats and 
other enemies during the night, but will prevent them 
from wandering about the next morning on the dew 
and wet grass before it is dry. 

The coops should not be located too near each other, 
as the chickens of different broods are apt to become 
mixed, or wander to the wrong hen, where they will 
be repulsed and even killed. Fifty or sixty feet apart 
will be a sufficient distance, in general, to secure 
safety to the young broods from injury by other fowls. 

At the expiration of five or six weeks, the hen may 
be released from her coop, every morning, when the 
weather is fair, as soon as the grass is dry, and be 
made to return again in the evening, if she does not 
come of her own accord, and there be confined during 
the night. By the end of two or three weeks more, 
she may have her entire liberty with her brool, and 
range at pleasure about the yard. 

As the chicks, at first, will hardly be on an equal 
footing with their older companions, in regard to the 
distribution of their food, a "feeding coop" may be 
provided for them by driving small stakes, or laths, 
into the ground, inclosing a space of two or three yards 
in diameter, at such distances apart as will admit their 
entrance, but prevent the ingress of the larger fowls. 



124 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 



The top of the inclosure must be covered with boards, 
or otherwise, only having an opening with a lid, suffi- 
ciently large to drop through their food. 

FOOD OF THE CHICKS PREVIOUS TO WEANING. 

As to the food of the young brood, let them have any- 
thing which is not absolutely poisonous. Sloppy matters 
are better avoided till the little things are old enough to 
eat a few grains of good wheat, of the best sample, which 
will then not be thrown away upon them. Meat and 
insect diet are almost necessary ; but raw vegetables 
chopped small, or Indian -meal dough, containing no salt, 
so grateful to young turkeys, are caviare to chickens. 
But whatever be the bill of fare, the meals must be given 
at short intervals ; as much as they can swallow, as often 
as they can eat. The reader will please to remember 
that when he came into the world, all that was expected 
of him was to grow and be good-natured. He had not 
to provide his long clothes out of his mother's milk, nor 
to elaborate pinafores from a basin of soaked biscuit ; 
but for poor little chickens, the only known baby-linen 
warehouse is situated in their own stomachs. And with 
all their industry, they are only half-clad, till flesh and 
blood stop growing for a while, and allow down and 
feathers to overtake them. 

The period at which they are left to shift for them- 
selves depends upon the disposition of the hen. Some 
will continue their attentions to their chicks till they are 
nearly full-grown, others will cast them off much earlier. 
In the latter case, it may be as well to keep an eye upon 
them, lor a few days, till they have established themselves 
as ino pendent members of the gallinaceous community. 
For c. .ickens, in this half-grown state, are at the most 
critical period of their lives. They are now much more 
liable to disease than when they were apparently tender 
little weaklings crowded under their mother's wings. 
It is just before arriving at this point of growth, that 
artificially-hatched chickens are so sure to fail, whether 
hot air, hot water, or sheepskin, be the substitute for the 
mother's care. 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 125 



FATTENING-, 

LET it now be assumed that the fowls have got their 
full growth, or nearly so, as the cocks at least increase 
somewhat in size till their third year. The breeder, at 
this period, will have to determine which birds he retains 
for stock, and which are to enjoy a less extended exist- 
ence. On the process of fatting fowls, little that is new 
can be offered, and tastes differ so exceedingly, that 
almost every family has its own particular mode. 
Some think a young fowl killed by dislocation of the 
neck, not by bleeding, and without any fatting, hung up 
in the feathers a few days in the larder, like game, the 
greatest luxury; others like them to be brought by con- 
finement and select diet, to the greatest point of delicacy 
and insipidity. For this purpose, rice may often be ob- 
tained at a cheap rate. It should be boiled, not enough 
to lose its granular form, in milk ; meat broth used in- 
stead of milk is nourishing and fattening, but diminishes 
the whiteness of the flesh and the delicacy of the flavor. 
If fowls were brought to eat uncooked rice, it might 
prove unwholesome by swelling in the craw. Cram- 
ming is quite unnecessary; cleanliness in all cases, most 
expedient. If any coarse or rank food is used, such as 
tainted meat, greaves, rancid fat, or fish scraps, it will be 
apt to impart a corresponding taint to the flesh. The 
purer the diet, the more delicate will be the flavor. Rice, 
boiled as above directed, barley meal and milk, or boiled 
potatoes mashed with Indian meal, are all excellent arti- 
cles for the purpose, and easily obtained. The locality 
and the cost price must often determine the matters 
employed, care being only taken to avoid all that is 
likely to prove hereafter offensive to the palate. For 
it is an old notion, confirmed by modern experience, that 
even laying hens should not be allowed to eat unsavory 
nor strong-tasted substances, lest their eggs become 
tainted with the flavor. 

" Let bitter herbs be avoided, particularly wormwood ; 
for hens that have eaten it lay extremely bitter eggs. 
Some aver that the eggs from hens that have eaten im- 



126 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

pure food, are mostly putrid and even poisonous, and if 
they have fed filthily, excrementitious. They should 
also abstain from lupines, (which are bitter,) for the 
same reason, and also because they produce small swell- 
ings under the eyes, as Crescen'tiensis observed ; and 
Palladius tells us, that unless these swellings are gently 
opened with the needle and the core extracted, they 
blind the fowls."* It is certain that a peculiar flavor is 
perceptible in the eggs of those hens that have fed much 
about dung heaps, or on grasshoppers. 

A well-fatted fowl is undoubtedly a more economical 
dish than a lean one. But Pliny tells us, with an ex- 
pression of disapprobation, that the people of Delos were 
the first inventors of the luxury. He mentions the 
sumptuary laws, that in old Roman times were passed 
to restrain such indulgencies, and how they were evaded. 
This seems, in him, to be very like affectation ; for liv- 
ing, as he did, in the best society of a most voluptuous 
and self-indulgent age, he must often, in the character 
of an accessory after the fact, have been guilty of the 
misdemeanor of fatting fowls. 

Willoughby is a much more sensible fellow: "No 
better flesh in the world," says he, "than that of a 
year-old pullet well fed, or a fat capon ; nothing inferior 
to, not to say better than, that of a pheasant or partridge. 
Some there are that think, and we also incline to their 
opinion, that the flesh of those hens is most sweet and 
delicate which are fed at the barn door, running about 
and exercising themselves in getting their food, by 
scraping with their feet. And that the flesh of those is 
less pleasant and wholesome, that are shut up in coops 
and crammed. Some are so curious that they think 
those limbs most wholesome which are most exercised, 
and, therefore, in wild fowl, they prefer the wings, in 
tame, the legs." 

The old Dutch mode of fatting, as described by Aldro- 
vandi, is by no means a bad one : 

" Cardan is the authority, that if you mingle fat lizard, 
(shred fat?) saltpetre, and cummin, with wheat flour, 
and feed hens on this food, they will get so fat, and the 

* Aldrorandi. 






THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 127 

people who eat them will grow so stout, as to burst. 
John Jacob Wecker records that he learnt the following 
secret of fatting hens from a certain Hollander : ' In the 
kitchen,' he says, 'make to yourself a box, divided into 
many little boxes, each one with its own opening, through 
which the hens can thrust their heads out of doors, and 
take their food. Therefore, in these little boxes, let 
youthful hens, or pullets, be incarcerated, one in each ; 
let food be offered every hour, drink being interdicted 
for the time. But let the food be wheat moderately 
boiled. The little boxes ought to be pervious below, 
that the excrements may pass through, and be diligently 
removed every day. But the hens ought not to be sh'ut 
up beyond two weeks ; lest they should die from too 
much fatness. I am told, also, that among some people, 
they get gloriously fat, and quickly, if beer is offered 
them for drink, instead of water; also, that if they are 
fed on brewer's grains, they lay more, as well as larger 
eggs." 

A correspondent of the London Agricultural Gazette 
thus describes the method which he successfully prac- 
tised for many years in India : " The fowl house, or 
rather feeding house, for only fattening fowls were per- 
mitted to be in it, was kept as cool as possible, (in Ben- 
gal, remember,) and almost dark. Each fowl had a 
separate pen ; they were fed once, and only once a day, 
with rice, boiled as rice ought to be for Christmas; not 
to a mash ; but so that grain from grain shouM separate. 
The quantity to each fowl was about two ounces (before 
boiling). For the first three days, to each was given 
about a tea-spoonful of 'ghoor,' a coarse sugar about 
half as much again of treacle would be an equivalent. 
This commencing with sugar was held to be very im- 
portant ; it cleansed the birds and disposed them to fat- 
ten ; no water was given ; neither was any chalk nor 
gravel, both being unknown in the country. In about 
three weeks, the fowls were generally fat. I never, in 
England, have seen finer than those I have killed within 
that time, not even at Mr. Davis's, of Leadenhall Mar- 
ket. . If they did not fatten in three weeks, we supposed 



128 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

that they did not mean to fatten, but this was of rare 
occurrence, and proceeded, no doubt, from some ailment 
beyond my powsr of discovering ; but, fat or otherwise, 
they were never tough. To boil the rice in buttermilk 
is by far preferable to boiling it in water; let the fowls 
be as young as you can, if of full growth. Many people 
run away with an impression that fowls fed on rice will 
go blind ; it is dirt and sourness that cause it. How 
often do we see a trough loaded with meal food, suffi- 
cient for two or three days, placed before the unhappy 
prisoner in the pen, who cannot escape from it, nor seek 
other and sweeter food ! When the fowls have done 
feeding, the trough should be removed.* cleaned, and ex- 
posed to the air until the next day's feeding time. At 
my factory, in India, the troughs were every afternoon 
thrown into a pond; there they remained until next 
morning, when, after an hour or two's sunning, they 
were returned to the coops ; no blindness was known 
there." 



EXPERIMENTS WITH BOILED GRAINS IN FATTENING- 
FOWLS. 

IT is the custom of poultry keepers, in France, to cook 
the grain given to fowls which they intend to fatten, 
boiling it in water till it is soft enough to be easily 
bruised between the fingers, the boiling causing it to 
swell till the farina splits the enveloping membrane, and 
this they term bursting. Although it is the popular 
opinion that burst grain is better than when it is dry, 
for fattening poultry, this opinion has probably not been 
established on accurate experiments. Be this as it may, 
it is of no less importance to ascertain whether there is 
any difference of expense in feeding poultry on dry or 
on burst grain ; that is, whether, under similar circum- 
stances, fowls eat more or less of one than of the other. 

In order to ascertain this, M. Reaumur ordered four 
pint measures of each of the six common sorts of grain 
to be boiled till they were well burst, and he found that 
the increase of bulk in each sort was the following : 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 129 

Pint 
measures. 

Four pints of oats, after being boiled to bursting, filled 7 

Four pints of barley, after being boiled to bursting, filled. ... 10 
Four pints of buckwheat, after being boiled to bursting, filled 14 
Four pints of maize, after being boiled to bursting, filled above 15 
Four pints of wheat, after being boiled to bursting, filled a 

little more than 10 

Four pints of rye, after being boiled to bursting, filled nearly 15 

Rice swells considerably more by boiling than any 
of these six sorts, but it is rarely given to poultry, ex- 
cept for fattening, under the notion that it tends to 
wniten the flesh. 

For the purpose of ascertaining whether the boiling 
altered the preference of fowls for any of the particular 
sorts, experiments, varied in every possible way, simi- 
lar to those detailed above, were made by M. Reau- 
mur. The fowls were furnished with two, three, four, 
five, and six different sorts, sometimes all the compart- 
ments of the feeding box being filled with burst grain, 
each different from the other, and sometimes each sort 
of grain filled two of the compartments, one of them 
having nothing but boiled, and another nothing but 
dry grain. All that could be collected from these re- 
peated experiments was, that the greater number of 
fowls prefer boiled grain to raw, though there are 
many of them which show a preference to the dry 
grain, on certain days, and no permanency could be dis- 
covered in the preference shown for any sort of "burst 
grain. Some fowls, for instance, which one day pre- 
ferred boiled wheat, would on other days make choice 
of buckwheat, maize, oats, or barley, and sometimes, 
though more seldom, even of rye ; but rye, either 
boiled or raw, is the least favorite sort of grain. It 
follows as an important conclusion from such experi- 
ments, that we may make choice of the sort of grain 
which happens to be cheapest, without much, if any, 
disadvantage ; always excepting rye, when other sorts 
are to be had on reasonable terms. 

Other experiments were required to show whether 
there is any economy, or the contrary, in feed ing poul- 
6* 



130 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

try with boiled grain, and this was readily ascertained 
from knowing, first, how much dry grain sufficed one 
or more fowls, and then boiling the same quantity, and 
trying how much of that would in like manner be suf- 
ficient. The experiments made with the different sorts 
of grain were as follows : 

Rye, although so very considerably increased in bulk 
by boiling, so far from being more sufficing, becomes 
less so, as fowls will eat rather more of it when it is 
boiled than when it is dry. Seven hens and a ccck 
consumed only three fourths of a pint measure of dry 
rye in one day, but ate in the same time three pint 
measures of the boiled grain ; consequently, as three 
pint measures of boiled rye are equivalent to four fifths 
of dry, it would cost one twentieth more to feed fowls 
with boiled than with dry rye, four fifths being one 
twentieth more than three fourths. 

Oats, although increased in bulk by boiling, nearly 
one half, are not, any more than rye, rendered more 
sufficing ; for the fowls, which, in two days, would have 
eaten four pint measures of dry oats, consumed in the 
same time seven pint measures of the boiled grain ; 
consequently it is no saving to boil the oats. 

Moubray says, " oats are apt to produce the scour, 
and chickens become tired of them ; but that oats are 
recommended by many for promoting laying, and in 
Kent, Sussex, and Surrey, for fattening." 

Buckwheat, is increased in bulk by boiling still more 
than oats, as four pint measures, when well boiled, 
swell to fourteen ; yet is there small benefit obtained 
by boiling buckwheat ; for the fowls consume the four- 
teen pint measures of the boiled grain nearly in the 
same time which four pints of the dry would have 
sufficed them. Moubray says, also, that buckwheat is 
an unsubstantial food. 

Maize, or Indian Corn, is, on the other hand, more 
profitable when boiled than when given raw ; for the 
fowls which would have got through a pint and a 
quarter of the dry maize, consumed only three pint 



THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 131 

measures of the boiled grain, which are not equivalent 
to one of the dry. It was for two days only that they 
were able to eat in a single day three pint measures 
of the boiled maize ; for after that, they either lost 
their appetite, or came to dislike it, as they could not 
get through more than two pint measures of the boiled 
maize. Even calculating that they were to consume 
three pint measures a day of the boiled grain, there 
would be a saving of more than one fifth, and if they 
were satisfied with two pint measures, the profit would 
be much more considerable ; for this would not be 
equivalent to two thirds of a pint measure of the dry 
grain. The saving, in this case, would be one third 
and one fifth ; that is eight fifteenths, or more than one 
half. 

Barley is also much more economical when given 
boiled than dry ; for fowls, which would have eaten 
two pint measures of dry barley a-day, ate but three 
pint measures daily of the boiled grain. Therefore, 
as ten pint measures of boiled barley are produced 
from four pint measures of dry, three pints of the 
boiled are equivalent to no more than one and a fifth 
of a pint of the dry ; consequently, the experience in 
dry barley is to that of boiled as five to three, showing 
a saving of two fifths, by giving boiled instead of dry 
barley. 

Wheat is shown by the preceding table to increase in 
bulk by boiling about the same as barley ; but exper- 
iments prove that the saving to be obtained by feeding 
fowls with boiled wheat, is not nearly so much as 
might thence have been anticipated ; for the same 
fowls which consumed three pint measures of boiled 
barley in one day, ate three pint measures of boiled 
wheat. Three pints of boiled wheat, however, are not 
equivalent to two pints of dry wheat, as in the case of 
the barley, but only one pint and a half of dry wheat, 
which was found to be the quantity consumed in one 
day by the same fowls. Now as a pint of boiled wheat 
is equivalent to no more than two fifths of a pint of 



132 THE DOMESTIC FOWL. 

the dry grain, the three pints consumed a day are 
equivalent only to one and a fifth of a pint of dry 
wheat. Consequently, the proportion of what they 
consumed of dry wheat was, to what they ate of boiled, 
as five to four ; hence there is a saving of one fifth by 
feeding with boiled wheat, as there is of two fifths, by 
feeding with boiled barley. 

These interesting experiments prove most clearly, 
that, in every case, when the price of maize, barley or 
wheat, renders it eligible to feed poultry therewith, 
there is considerable economy in never giving the grain 
dry, but well boiled. The expense of fuel, though it 
must be taken into the account, must be small in 
comparison with the advantage, particularly in fami- 
lies where large lires are constantly kept up, as a very 
trifling addition of fuel will be required to burst the 
grains. It may be well to repeat that there is no sav- 
ing, but loss in fuel and trouble, by boiling oats, buck- 
wheat, or rye. 

KILLING AND PREPARATION FOR MARKET. 

WHEN fowls are in readiness to kill, some people dis- 
patch them simply by wringing their necks, plucking off 
the feathers, and sending them to market with the intes- 
tines in. This is a slovenly practice, doing great injury 
to the flesh, as it partakes of the flavor of the excrements, 
when suffered long to remain undressed, and is otherwise 
impaired from the stagnant blood. 

The most approved mode of fitting fowls for market, 
is to kill them by cutting off* their heads, on a block of 
wood, at a single blow, with a hatchet or an axe, which 
will deprive them at once of life, and drain their flesh of 
blood. Then, the feathers and pin feathers should be 
immediately plucked off, the intestines removed, the 
blood washed out with cold water, and carefully hung 
up in a cool, dry room, until ready to convey to market, 
or otherwise to be used. 



THE TURKEY. 



ORIGIN AND HISTORY. 

" There is no poor animal so beset with 

ignorant and destructive empicism, on its first 
introduction into life, as the turkey." 

ANON. 

IF we call to mind the many and valuable acquisi- 
tions, from both the animal and vegetable kingdom, 
which have been made subservient to the use of man, 
within comparatively a very recent period, it is not too 
much to believe that others, of nearly, or quite equal, 
value, still remain to reward the labor and pains of a 
persevering search. There is the whole of Central 
Africa, Central Australia, a great part of China and 
Northern India, and innumerable half-explored or un- 
explored islands, all waiting to be ransacked for our 
benefit. And without depending on those distant re- 
gions, we know not yet what we may yet find in the 
unexplored tracts of Oregon, the Rocky Mountains, 
or other American wilds. 

Amongst the living tributaries to the luxury of 
man, the turkey is an instance of the results yet to be 
expected from the exploring spirit of our day. It is 
the most recent, and, except the hen, the most valua- 
ble of our domesticated birds. We may, indeed, call 
it comparatively a new acquisition ; for what, after 
all, is a period of three hundred years, compared with 



134 THE TURKEY. 

the time during which man has had dominion over 
the earth and its brute inhabitants ? The obscurity 
which hangs over the domestication of this bird, and 
which there is little chance of clearing away, except 
by industrious ferreting amongst old family records 
and memorandum books, shows that those who carried 
it to the Old World, whence we obtained our stock, 
doubtless, had no idea of the value of what they were 
transporting ; but probably regarded it like any other 
remarkable production of nature a macaw or a tor- 
tois. The young would be distributed among friends 
with the same feeling that golden pheasants and such 
like are with us ; these again would thrive and in- 
crease, and the nation would suddenly find itself in 
the possession of a race, not of pleasing pets, but of a 
valuable, prolific, and hardy stock of poultry. 

That we cannot fix the precise time, nor learn any 
of the circumstances which relate to the introduction 
of the turkey into Europe, may cause some astonish- 
ment, when we reflect that it must have occurred at 
some period after the conquest of America, and not 
probably till after a considerable lapse of years, and 
the establishment of the Spaniards in Mexico. Cortes, 
in 1519, landed at the place where Yera Cruz now 
stands, but it was not until after two years of labori- 
ous warfare that the Spanish power became in the 
ascendant, and opened the way for Spanish emigration 
to Mexico. There is, however, reason to believe that 
previously to the Spanish conquest, the turkey was in 
a domesticated condition, both in Mexico and in the 
adjacent islands ; for Oviedo, who embarked for the 
"West Indies, in 1514, and resided as governor of the 
fprt and harbor of St. Domingo, in the island of Hayti, 
then called Hispaniola, published among other works, 
(some very voluminous,) one entitled Tradado de la 
Historia Natural de las Indias, which was published 
at Toledo, in 1526. In this work, he describes the 
turkey as a kind of peacock, (pavo,) abounding in New 
Spain, whence numbers had been transported to the 



THE TURKEY. 135 

islands and the Spanish Main, and were domesticated 
in the houses of the Christian inhabitants. It must 
be observed that he calls the whole of that part of 
America "las Indias," (the Indies,) and also u las 
Indias occidentales," (the West Indies,) a name still ap- 
plied to certain islands; hence, probably, the term "coq 
d'Inde," originally arose, a term, however, which, if it 
did thus originate, seemed to have conveyed a general 
idea of this species being the native of Asiatic India ; 
and under this impression, that it was a bird known to 
the Greeks and Romans, a bird, as the fable states, 
into which the sisters of Meleagre were transformed, 
while weeping for the loss of their brother, it obtained, 
among the learned, the title of " Meleagris." 

Belon was one of the first who considered the turkey 
to be the Meleagris of the ancients, and this is the 
more extraordinary as he was a scholar of eminence, 
and the passages in which the Meleagris is mentioned, 
sufficiently prove that it could not have been a turkey. 
Aldrovandi, Gresner, and others followed in the wake of 
Belon. Linnaeus, though unfortunately he retains the 
name "Meleagris," stamping the error thereby with 
the weight of his authority, well knew -that the turkey 
was a native of the New World, for he places its hab- 
itat " in America Septentrionali ;" he was also per- 
fectly aware that it was the parent stock of the 
domesticated breed; for he gives brief, but excellent 
directions for the care of the young, and expressly 
mentions their favorite food " the young relish the 
onion and the nettle, and must be taken heed of 
against hunger and rain." It is generally known that 
curd, the green part of onions chopped small, and 
nettles, are among the kinds of food for turkey 
chicks, whose very existence depends upon regular 
feeding and protection from rain. 

The English name, " Turkey," it is somewhat diffi- 
cult to account for, except on the supposition that it 
was generally believed to come from that country ; 
perhaps, however, it was given because the bird was 



136 THE TURKEY. 

a stranger, in the same way as we apply the term 
" Goth" to men rude and barbarous in their habits, or 
the term " Turk," to persons of a savage and tyranical 
disposition ; words often become perverted from their 
original signification and merge into nicknames ex- 
pressive of supposed qualities or conditions of things. 
About the time when this bird appears first to have 
been known in England, the Turkish power was held 
in dread in Europe. The sultan, Suliman, the Great, 
reigned from 1520 to 1566 ; his fleet was then the 
first in the world, and the scourge of the Mediterra- 
nean ; his ships ravaged the coasts of Italy and Spain, 
and his armies laid waste the territories of Hungary 
and some adjacent parts of Germany, and the dread of 
the Turks was universal over Europe. It might have 
been that the outlandish aspect of this bird, its deep gut- 
teral notes, its haughty carriage, and irascible disposi- 
tion, led to the imposition of the name. But, whatever 
gave rise to this appellation, certain it is that the pres- 
ent species was the subject of much confusion and 
doubt among the earlier modern ornithologists, whose 
learned discussions tended to perplex rather than clear 
up any points of difficulty. John Walcott, a writer 
on British birds, in 1789, says, " The turkey was first 
brought to England about the year 1521," but he 
gives no authority. It is certain that in the reign of 
Henry VIII. the turkey was pretty general in Eng- 
land. Yarrell, in his " British Fishes," quotes an old 
couplet which runs thus : 

" Turkeys, carps, hops, pickerell, and beer, 
Came into England all in one year.'' 

" The old couplet," adds he, "is certainly errone- 
ous ; pike, or pickerell, were the subjects of legal reg- 
ulations in the time of Edward the First. Carp are 
mentioned in the Boke of St. Allbans, printed in 
1469. Turkeys and hops were unknown till 1524, 
previous to which wormwood and other bitter plants 
were used to preserve boer ; and the parliament, in 



THE TURKEY. 137 

1528, petitioned against hops as a wicked weed. Beer 
was licensed for exportation by Henr^ the Seventh, in 
1492, and an excise on bear existed as early as 1284. 
also in the reign of Edward the First." 

About the year 1524, then, it would appear, the tur- 
key was introduced into England, but whether from 
Spain, or direct from America, we have no means of 
knowing. Neither can we exactly discover at what 
period France and Germany received it, but most 
probably at about the same time as England. Every- 
where its intrinsic value would make it acceptable, 
and cause it to be treated with the most careful 
attention. 

The dispersion of the turkey is not, however, so com- 
plete as that of the common fowl. In India, Col. Sykes 
informs us that it is reared in great numbers by the 
Portuguese, and that it is met with only in a domestic 
state. "We cannot learn that it is reared in China, 
where the fowl and duck abound, nor does it appear 
to have a place among the domestic birds of Persia, 
though in Kitto's account of Palestine, both the turkey 
and the peacock are mentioned. There is a story told 
in a work called the " Sketches of Persia," which runs 
to the following effect : When two English gentlemen, 
who were on their way to the city of Shiraz, arrived at 
the town of Kazeroon, they heard so strange an ac- 
count of two remarkable creatures that were to be 
seen at a village fifteen miles distant, that they deter- 
mined to go and see them. " They are very like birds," 
said their informants, " for they have feathers and two 
legs ; but then, their head is bare and has a fleshy look, 
and one of them has a long black beard upon his 
breast ; but the chief point on which they dwelt, was 
the strangeness of their voice, unlike that of any other 
bird they have ever heard or seen. An old man, who 
had gone all the way from Kazeroon to see them, said 
that the sound was very much like that of the Arabic 
language, but added, that though he had listened to them 
with the greatest attention, he had not been able to 



138 THE TURKEY. 

understand a word they said. As it was very unpleas- 
ant weather, and the roads were exceedingly bad, the 
Englishmen were much fatigued by the time they got 
to the village in which the strange creatures were. 
The people of the village took them to the house where 
the animals were kept, the door was opened, and out 
marched a turkey cock and hen ! The former seemed 
to rejoice much in his release from his confinement, 
and began to gobble his Arabic with great vehemency. 
Though vexed at having taken a tedious journey for 
nothing, yet the travellers could not help laughing 
at the denouement. The people were, however, ex- 
ceedingly surprised, when informed that these strange 
creatures were very common in India and England. 
It seemed that the birds had escaped from a vessel 
which had been wrecked in the Grulf of Persia, and 
had gradually made their way to the place where they 
then were. 

Although, as before observed, the exact time and 
eircumstances, under which the turkey was introduced 
into the various countries of Europe, are in some ob- 
scurity, still the wild original of the domestic stock is 
not only well known, but still abounds in some of the 
wooded districts of America remote from civilization. 

Two species only are known to naturalists, namely, 
the common wild turkey, (Meleagris gallopavo,) of 
North America, tlie origin of our domestic stock, and 
the Honduras turkey, (M. ocellata,} a bird, which, in 
the metallic splendor and varying tints of its plumage, 
outrivals the peacock, if not every other tenant of the 
air. But, except, perhaps, in some of the dense un- 
trodden woods of Yucatan and of Central America, 
from Cape Honduras to the tenth degree of north lati- 
tude, this bird might be sought for in vain. Of its pecu- 
liar h abits and manners nothing is positively known. 
"We may suppose, however, that it resembles, to a great 
degree, the common wild turkey of the north. Could 
it be domesticated in our Southern States, what a 
splendid acquisition should we have to our poultry 
yards and lawns ! 



THE TURKEY. 139 




THE WILD TURKEY. 

As the common wild turkey is confessedly the origin 
of all our domestic varieties, a description of it, as it 
exists in a state of nature, cannot but prove interesting. 
Bartram, the prince of Canino, (Charles Lucien Bona- 
parte,) Audubon, and others, have given graphic 
pictures of its habits, founded on actual observation, ot 
flocks in their native woods, upon which authorities 
most of the following description is founded : 

The male wild turkey, when full grown, is nearly 
four feet in length, and more than five in extent ot 
wing. The irides are dark-brown. The head, (which 
is very small in proportion to the body,) and half ot 
the neck are covered by a naked bluish skin continued 
over the upper half of the neck and uneven with 
warty elevations, changeable red on the upper portion, 
and whitish below, interspersed with a few scattered 
black hairs. The flaccid and membranous naked skin, 
also changeable on the lower part of the neck, extends 
downwards into large wattles. A wrinkled conical 
fleshy protuberance, capable of elongation and with a 
pencil of hairs at the tip, takes its rise from the base 
of the bill, where the latter joins the front. When 
this excrescence is elongated under excitement, it cov- 



140 THE TURKEY. 

ers the bill and depends several inches below it. A 
tuft of long rigid black hair springs from the lower 
part of the neck at its junction with the breast, shoot- 
ing out from among the plumage to the length of nine 
inches. The base of the feathers of the body, which 
are long and truncated, consists of a light fuliginous 
down ; this part of the feather is succeeded by a dusky 
portion, which is again followed by a broad shining 
metallic band, varying from copper color or bronze to 
violet or purple, according to the play of the light, and 
the tip is a broad velvety band ; but this last is absent 
in the feathers of the neck and breast. The general 
plumage presents a glancing metallic lustre, which is, 
however, least glossy on the lower part of the back 
and tail coverts. The wings are concave and rounded, 
not extending much if at all beyond the base of the 
tail. Quills twenty -eight ; primaries blackish banded 
with white, secondaries whitish, banded with blackish, 
tinged towards the back particularly with brownish- 
yellow. Tail fifteen inches in length at least, rounded 
at the extremity ; the feathers eighteen, broad and 
capable of expansion and elevation into a fan shape. 
The general color of these feathers is brown mottled 
with black, crossed by numerous narrow, undulating 
lines of the same. There is a broad black band near 
the tip, then a short mottled portion, and lastly, a 
broad dingy yellowish band. The bird stands rather 
high on its robust red legs, the scales of which have 
blackish margins, and the blunt spurs are about an 
inch long; the claws are dusky. Bill reddish, but 
horn-colored at the tip. 

The female, at the age of about four or five years, 
attains her full size and coloring. At this age hens 
have the pectoral fascicle of hair developed to the ex- 
tent of four or five inches, which, according to Mr. 
Audubon, they exhibit a little in the second year if not 
barren. But this fascicle is much thinner than that of 
the male. Barren hens do not obtain this distinction 
until a very advanced age, and, being preferable for the 



THE TURKEY. 141 

table, the hunters single them from the flock, and kill 
them in preference to the others. The female wild 
turkey is more frequently furnished wit the hairy tuft 
than the tame one, and this appendage is gained ear- 
lier in life. The great number of young hens without 
it, has, no doubt, given rise to the incorrect assertion 
of a few writers that the female is always destitute of 
it. The irides are similar in color to those of the male. 
Bill and spurless legs less stout. Head and neck with 
less of naked skin, being partially covered with dirty- 
grey feathers. Those on the back of the neck have 
brownish tips, and so produce a longitudinal band there ; 
the short caruncle on the front is incapabable of elon- 
gation. Prevailing hue of plumage, dusky-grey, each 
feather having a metallic band duller than in the male, 
then a blackish band, and lastly a greyish fringe. The 
blackish band, is almost obliterated on the neck feath- 
ers and under surface. The whole plumage is more 
sombre than that of the male ; there is less white on 
the primaries, and there are no bands on the seconda- 
ries. The color of the tail is much as it is in the male. 
Length not exceeding three feet and a quarter. 

The young of both sexes resemble each other so 
closely, before the naked membrane acquires its tinge 
of red, as to be scarcely distinguishable. The females, 
however, when a few days old, are somewhat larger 
than the males, and have a weaker piping note. The 
males then begin to stand higher on their legs, which 
are stronger than those of the females, and soon ex- 
hibit the rudiments of spurs. On the approach of the 
first winter, the young males show a rudiment of beard, 
or fascicle of hairs, on the breast, consisting of a mere 
tubercle, and attempt to strut and gobble. The sec- 
ond year, the hairy tuft is about three inches long ; in 
the third, the turkey attains its full stature, though it 
certainly increases in size and beauty for several years 
longer. The concealed portion of the plumage on the 
anterior portion of the back is sprinkled with pale fer- 



142 THE TURKEY. 

ruginous down, which disappears as the bird advances 
in age. 

The weight of the hen averages about 9 Ibs., but 
the males far exceed the females, and differ consider- 
ably in bulk and weight. " From the accounts," says 
Bonaparte, " which I have received from various parts of 
the Union, 15 or 20 Ibs. may be considered a fair state- 
ment of their medium weight ; but birds of 30 Ibs. are 
not very rare, and I have ascertained the existence of 
some weighing 40 Ibs." Mr. Audubon saw one in the 
Louisville Market that weighed 36 Ibs. The pectoral 
appendage of this bird measured more than a foot in 
length. 

The wild turkey is a noble bird, far exceeding its do- 
mestic relative both in size and beauty. Crosses, 
however, in this country, often take place between the 
wild and tame race, and are highly valued, both for 
external qualities and for the table. Indeed, in dis- 
tricts where this bird is common, such crosses are very 
frequent, the wild male driving away its domestic rival, 
and usurping the sultanship of the seraglio. 

Eggs of the wild turkey have been frequently taken 
from their nests, and hatched under the tame hen. 
The young preserve a portion of their uncivilized na- 
ture, and exhibit some knowledge of the difference 
between themselves and their fostermother, roosting 
apart from the tame ones, and in other respects show- 
ing the force of hereditary disposition. 

The domesticated young reared from the eggs of the 
wild turkey are often employed as decoy birds to those 
in a state of nature. Mr. William Bloom, of Clear- 
field, Pennsylvania, caught five of six wild turkeys 
when quite chickens, and succeeded in rearing them. 
Although sufficiently tame to feed with his other tur- 
keys, and generally associate with them, yet they al- 
ways retained some of the original propensities, roosting 
by themselves, and higher than the tame birds, gen- 
erally on the top of some tree or of the house. They 
were also more readily alarmed. On the approach of 



THE TURKEY. 143 

a dog, they would fly off and and seek safety in the 
nearest woods. On an occasion of this kind, one of 
them flew across the Susquehanna, and the owner was 
apprehensive of loosing it. In order to recover it, he sent 
a boy with a tame turkey, which was released at the 
place where the fugitive had alighted. This plan was 
successful. They soon joined company, and the tame 
bird induced his companion to return home. Mr. 
Bloom remarked that the wild turkey will thrive more, 
and keep in better condition than the tame, on the 
same quantity of food. 

The wild turkey is irregularly migratory, as well as 
irregularly gregarious. Whenever the forest fruits, 
(or mast,) of"one portion of the country greatly exceeds 
that of another, thither are the turkeys insensibly led. 
By gradually meeting in their haunts, with more fruit, 
the nearer they advance towards the place in which it 
is most plentiful. Thus, in an irregular manner, flock 
follows flock, until some districts are deserted, while 
others are crowded with an influx of arrivals. "About 
the beginning of October," says Audubon, " when 
scarcely any of the seeds and fruits have fallen from 
the trees, these birds assemble in flocks, and gradually 
move towards the rich bottom lands of the Ohio and 
Mississippi. The males, or, as they are more com- 
monly called, the ' gobblers,' associate in parties of 
from ten to a hundred, and search for food apart from 
the females, while the latter are seen either advancing 
singly, each with its brood of young, then about two 
thirds grown, or in union with other families, forming 
parties often amounting to seventy or eighty individ- 
uals, all intent on shunning the old cocks, which, 
when the young birds have attained this size, will 
fight with and often destroy them by repeated blows 
on the head. Old and young, however, all move in 
the same course, and on foot, unless their progress be 
interrupted by a river, or the hunter's dog force them 
to take wing. 

" When they come upon a river, they betake them- 



144 THE TURKEY. 

selves to the highest eminences, and there often remain 
a whole day, and sometimes two, as if for the purpose 
of consultation. During this time, the males are heard 
gobbling, calling, and making much ado, and are seen 
strutting about, as if to raise their courage to a pitch 
befitting the emergency. Even the females and young 
assume something of the same pompous demeanor, 
spread out their tails, and run round each other, pur- 
ring loudly, and performing extravagant leaps. At 
length, when the weather appears settled, and all 
around is quiet, the whole party mounts to the tops of 
the highest trees, whence at a signal, consisting of a 
single cluck, given by a leader, the flock takes flight 
for the opposite shore. The old and fat birds easily 
get over, even should the river be a mile in breadth, 
but the younger and less robust frequently fall into 
the water not to be drowned, however, as might be 
imagined ; they bring their wings close to their body, 
spread out their tail as a support, stretch forward their 
neck, and striking out their legs with great vigor, 
proceed rapidly towards the shore ; on approaching 
which, should they find it too steep for landing, they 
cease their exertions for a few moments, float down 
the stream until they come to an accessible part, and, 
by a violent effort, generally extricate themselves from 
the water. It is remarkable that, after immediately 
crossing a large stream, they ramble about for some 
time, as if bewildered. In this state they fall an easy 
prey to the hunter. 

" "When the turkeys arrive in parts where the mast 
is abundant, they separate into smaller flocks, com- 
posed of birds of all ages and both sexes, promiscuously 
mingled, and devour all before them. This happens 
about the middle of November. So gentle do they 
sometimes become after these long journeys, that they 
have been seen to approach the farm houses, associate 
with the domestic fowls, and enter the stables and 
corn cribs in quest of food. In this way, roaming 



THE TURKEY. 145 

about the forests, and feeding chiefly on mast, they 
pass the autumn and part of the winter." 

The season of courtship begins about ihe middle of 
February. The females now separate from the males, 
whom they endeavor to shun, but by whom they are 
perseveringly followed. 

At this time, the males begin to gobble strenuously, 
and strut about, making that peculiar whirling jar 
with their wings, striking the quill feathers smartly 
on the ground, which all must have observed in the 
domestic bird. They utter a succession of puffs from 
the lungs. They spread out and erect the tail, and 
draw back the head, while the loose skin of the neck 
swells and assumes the color of scarlet. Thus they 
make advances to the females, who roost apart, utter- 
ing occasional call notes, to which every male within 
hearing londly responds, several hastening to the spot 
whence the call proceeds, eager to pay their homage. 
Thus it happens that the males frequently meet each 
other, in which case desperate conflicts ensue, ending 
often in bloodshed, and often in the loss of life, the 
weaker falling under the blows inflicted on his head 
by his stronger rival. In the combat, they use beak, 
wings, and spurs, striking and pulling each other, 
the feathers being ruffled, the tail partly raised, and 
the wings held drooping, ready for a blow. ' 

Old females, when addressed by the male, strut 
about almost as proudly as he does, and more than 
half way meet his ardent advances ; but females un- 
der a year old are not to be won so easily. The solici- 
tations of the male, under these circumstances, are 
more pressing and* more energetic, till at length he 
ingratiates himself in her favor. Thus they are mated 
for the season, though the male, being polygamous, 
does not confine himself to one female, but solicits the 
kindness of as many as he chances to meet. The 
seraglio follow their favorite sultan, roosting at night 
near him, if not on the same tree. This unitedness 
lasts, however, only for a short time ; for, as soon as 



146 THE TURKEY. 

they begin to lay, they gradually leave his company, 
and indeed sedulously avoid him, except for a few 
hours during the day, and make their nests in some 
concealed spot, among logs, brushwood, and intertan- 
gled foliage, in order that they may escape not only 
the eye of the crow, which is a great devourer of the 
eggs' of the turkey, who, if he were to find them, 
would, from jealousy, infallibly break them all. At 
last, the males find themselves altogether deserted. 
Their mutual rivalskip ceases ; they meet each other 
in peace, and cease to utter threats of mutual defiance ^ 
they seek retired situations in order to rest and recruit 
their energies ; for, at this juncture, like worn-out rakes, 
they are utterly exhausted, and have lost flesh and 
activity. When recovered and improved in condition, 
they draw together again, and commence their wan- 
derings in united parties. 

It is generally about the middle of April that the 
female begins to select a site, and arrange her rude 
nest, which consists simply of withered leaves, in 
some depression on the ground amidst dense brush- 
wood, or in such an obscure place as the locality 
affords. The eggs, like those of the domestic bird, 
are of large size, and of a dull or cream white, minutely 
freckled or dotted with reddish-brown ; their average 
number varies from ten to fifteen. While the gradual 
addition of egg to egg is going on, the hen displays 
surprising instinctive caution. On leaving her charge > 
she is careful to cover the whole with dry leaves, so 
artfully disposed as to render it difficult even for one 
who has watched her movements to find the nest, and 
on returning to it, she varies her rout, scarcely ever 
returning to it twice by the same course. Hence it is 
mostly by accident that the nest of the hen is discov- 
ered. It not unfrequently happens that several hens 
associate together and form a common nest, probably 
for mutual aid and assistance, and rear their broods 
together. Mr. Audubon says that he once found three 
hens sitting on forty-two eggs. In such cases, one of 



THK TURKEY. 147 

the females at least is ever on guard, no raven nor crow 
then daring to invade it. While in the act of incuba- 
tion, the hen is not readily driven from her nest by 
the appearance of danger. A person walking care- 
lessly along, as if taking no particular notice, may 
pass a nest within five or six paces, the female crouch- 
ing low to avoid observation ; but, as Mr. Audubon 
has ascertained, if a person make his approach in a 
stealthily searching manner, she will quit it while he 
is yet thirty yards distant, and assuming a stately 
gait will move away, uttering every now and then a 
clucking note, probably hoping by this means to 
draw off the intruder and baffle his search. We learn 
from the same writer that the hen seldom or never 
abandons her nest if it has been discovered by man, 
but that if a snake or any other animal has sucked 
any of the eggs she leaves it altogether. Under such 
circumstances, or when the eggs have been removed, 
she seeks the male, and recommences the preparation 
of another nest ; but as a rule, she lays only a single 
batch of eggs during the season. When the egg's are 
on the eve of hatching, the female will not leave her 
nest under any circumstances while life remains ; she 
will even allow an enclosure to be made around her, 
and thus be as it were imprisoned, rather than seek 
her own safety by flight. Mr. Audubon says, " I once 
witnessed the hatching of a brood of turkeys, which I 
watched for the purpose of securing them, together 
with the parent. I concealed myself on the ground 
within a very few feet, and saw her raise herself half 
the length of her legs, look anxiously upon the eggs, 
cluck with a sound peculiar to the mother on such 
occasions, carefully remove each half-empty shell, and 
with her bill caress and dry the young birds that 
already stood tottering and attempting to make their 
way out of the nest. I have seen them all emerge 
from the shell, and in a few moments after, tumble, 
roll, and push each other forward with astonishing and 
inscrutable instinct." 



148 THE TURKEY. 

Before leaving the nest with her young brood, the 
female shakes herself, adjusts her plumage, and ap- 
pears roused to the exigencies of the occasion ; she 
glances upwards and around her, in the apprenension 
of enemies, and as she moves cautiously along, keeps 
her brood close about her ; her first excursion is gen- 
erally to a little distance only from the nest, to which 
she returns with her brood to pass the first night. 
Subsequently, they wander to a greater distance, the 
hen leading her charge over dry undulating grounds, 
as if aware of the danger of damp and humid spots. 
"Wet, indeed, is fatal to young turkeys while covered 
only with down; hence in very rainy seasons, the 
broods become greatly thinned, for the young, if once 
completely wetted, seldom recover; their vital ener- 
gies sink under the abstraction of caloric during evap- 
oration. 

At the age of a fortnight, the young birds begin to 
use their wings ; hitherto they have rested on the 
ground, but now they begin to roost on the low 
branches of some large tree, crowding close to each 
side of the mother, and sheltered beneath her broad 
wings. They now wander about more freely, visiting 
the glades and open lands bordering the woods in 
search of wild strawberries and other fruit, grasshop- 
pers, the larvae of ants and other insects, and roll 
themselves in the sand and dust in order to clear their 
growing feathers of loose scales and parasitic vermin ; 
deserted ants' nests are favorite dusting places. 

By the month of August, the young birds have ac- 
quired considerable growth, and use their wings and 
legs with great vigor and readiness, so that they are 
able to escape the sudden attack of foxes, lynxes, and 
other beasts of prey, by rising quickly from the ground, 
and mounting the tallest branches of trees. The 
young cocks now begin to show their distinctive char- 
acteristics, and even to utter an imperfect gobble, 
while the young hens pur and leap. Several broods 
now flock together, and S3 continue united, till after 



THE TURKEY, 149 

the October migration, and through the winter, when 
they leave the females, the middle of February bring- 
ing a recurrence of the same scenes already described. 
The young hens, in their turn, are to become parents, 
and the young cocks will fight for the mastery. 

When, during the winter, a sharp frost succeeds a 
heavy fall of snow, so as to form a hard crust on its 
surface, turkeys will sometimes remain on their roosts 
for three or four days or longer, declining to search for 
food, unless indeed when farms and barns are within 
a short distance ; they then direct their course to the 
stacks of corn, and enter the barns and stables in quest 
of grain. During melting snow-falls, turkeys will 
travel very great distances, and at such extraordinary 
speed that no hunter can keep up with them. They 
have then a dangling, straggling way of running, 
which, awkward as it may seem, enables them to out- 
strip any other animal. " I have often," says Audu- 
bon, " when on a good horse, been obliged to abandon 
the attempt to put them up, after following them for 
several hours. This habit of continued running in 
rainy or very damp weather of any kind is not peculiar 
to the wild turkey, but is common to all gallinaceous 
birds. In America, the different species of grouse ex- 
hibit the same tendency." 

G-EOG-RAFHICAL DISTRIBUTION. 

THE natural habitat of the wild turkey extends from 
the north-western territory of the United States to the 
isthmus of Panama, south of which it is rarely 
found, notwithstanding the statements of authors who 
have mistaken the curassow for it. In Canada and 
the now densely-peopled parts of the United States, 
wild turkeys were formerly more abundant than at 
present, but, like the Indian and the buffalo, they 
have been compelled to yield to the destructive inge- 
nuity of the white settlers, often wantonly exercised, 
and seek refuge in the remotest parts of the interior. 
Although they relinquish their native soil with slow, 



150 THE TURKEY. 

reluctant steps, yet such is the rapidity with which 
settlements are extended and condensed over the sur- 
face of this country, that we may anticipate a day at 
no distant period, when the hunter will seek the wild 
turkey in vain. 

The wooded parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennes- 
see, and Alabama, the unsettled portions of the states 
of Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois, 
the vast expanse of territory north-west of these states, 
on the Mississippi and Missouri, as far as the forests 
extend, are more supplied than any other parts of the 
Union with this valuable game, which forms an im- 
portant part of the subsistence of the hunter and trav- 
eller in the wilderness. It is not probable that the 
range of this bird extends to, or beyond, the Rocky 
Mountains. The Mandan Indians, who, a few years 
ago, visited the city of Washington, considered the 
turkey one of the greatest curiosities they had seen, 
and prepared a skin of one to carry home for exhibi- 
tion. 

In some parts of Florida, Gfeorgia, and the Caroli- 
nas, the wild turkey is still common, but less so in 
the western parts of Pennsylvania and Virginia. Some, 
also, are said to exist in the mountainous districts of 
Sussex county, New Jersey. In New England and 
Lower Canada, they were formerly very abundant, 
but as their places of resort became settled and thickly 
peopled, they retired and sought refuge in the remotest 
recesses of the interior, until they entirely disappeared. 

Thus far has our sketch applied to the general his- 
tory and description of the wild turkey ; and as the 
tame variety resembles its unreclaimed progenitor, 
in most of its marked peculiarities, namely, its ramb- 
ling habits, its manner of roosting, the antipathy of 
the males to the eggs, often to the young, in the 
secrecy in which the female prefers to incubate, and 
in the tenderness of her young, I will next consider 
the turkey in a domesticated state. 



THE TURKEY. 



151 




THE DOMESTIC TURKEY. 

SYNONVMES. Meleagris gallopavo, of Naturalists ; Coq d'Inde, Din- 
don, of the French ; Pavo, of the Spaniards ; Truthahn, Calcuttischer 
Hahn, of the Germans ; Turkey, Turkey Cock, of the English and 
Anglo-Americans. 

The domestic turkey can scarcely be said to be di- 
vided, like the common fowl, into distinct breeds; 
although there is considerable variation in color, as well 
as in size, bat no Bantam, or dwarf race exists, unless 
we except the small, delicate-fleshed turkeys of Hemp- 



152 THE TURKEY. 

stead Plains, near New York, which often weigh, when 
dressed, not more than 4 or 5 Ibs. The finest and 
strongest birds are those of a bronzed black, resemb- 
ling, as closely as possible, the original stock. Theso 
are not only reared the most easily, but are generally 
the largest, and fatten the most rapidly. Some turkeys 
are of a coppery tint, some of a delicate fawn-color, 
while others are parti-colored, grey, and white, and 
some few of a pure snow-white. All of the latter are 
regarded as inferior to the black, their color indicating 
something like degeneracy of constitution, if not 
actual disease. A variety is said to exist in the avi- 
ary of Madame Backer, at the Hague, with a topknot 
springing from the crown of the head, resembling that 
of the plumed Poland fowls. 

To describe the domestic turkey is superfluous ; the 
voice of the male ; the changing colors of the skin of 
the head and neck ; his proud strut, with expanded 
tail and lowered wings, jarring on the ground ; his 
irascibility, which is readily excited by red or scarlet 
colors, are points with which all who dwell in the 
country are conversant. 

RANGE AND DOMESTIC ACCOMMODATION. 

THE adult turkey, it is well known, is extremely 
hardy, and bears the rigors of our coldest winters 
with impunity even in the open air ; for, during the 
severest weather, flocks, will frequently roost at 
night upon the roof of a barn, or the branches of tall 
trees, preferring such an accommodation to an indoor 
roost. The impatience of restraint and restlessness of 
the turkey, render it unfit company for fowls in their 
dormitory ; in fact, the fowl house is altogether an 
improper place for these large birds, which require 
open sheds and high perches, and altogether as much 
freedom as is consistent with their safety. 

Although, turkeys will roost even during the winter 
months on trees, it is by no means recommended that 
this should be allowed, as the feet of these birds are 



THE TURKEY 153 

apt to become frostbitten from such exposure to the 
air on the sudden decline of the temperature far be- 
low the freezing point. It must be remembered that the 
domestic turkey, hardy as it is when adult, is not equal 
in point of endurance to its wild relative breed in the 
woods and inured to the elements. 

^Turkeys are fond ol wandering about pastures, 
hedgerows, and the borders of fields ; they love to visit 
turnip fields, where, besides the leaves of the turnips, 
which they relish, they find insects, snails, slugs, &c., 
which they greedily devour. In the morning, they 
should have a good supply of grain, and after their re- 
turn from their peregrinations another feed ; by this 
plan, not only will the due return home of the flock be 
insured, but the birds will be kept in good store con- 
dition, and ready at any time to be put upon fattening 
diet. Never let them be in poor condition this is an 
axiom in the treatment of all poultry it is difficult, 
and takes a long time, to bring a bird into proper con- 
dition, which has been previously poorly fed or half 
starved. 

CHOICE OF THE TURKEY COOK. 

THE turkey cock should be vigorous, broad in the 
breast, clean in the legs, with ample wings, and a well- 
developed tail plumage ; his eyes should be bright, and 
the carunculated skin of the neck full, and rapid in its 
changes of color. Though capable of assuming his le- 
gitimate rank among the hens, when a year old, he is 
not in perfection, (notwithstanding the contrary opinion 
of some,) until he has attained his third year, and is 
entering upon his fourth ; and he continues in his prime 
for three or four succeeding years. Thus, for two, 
three, or four years, or longer, may all the young cocks 
be devoted to the poulterer, one perhaps of particular 
beauty being preserved within that space of time for 
the ornament of the farm yard. 

The turkey cocks which are kept for breeding, 
rather than for the table, "ought not" says Mascall. 
7* 



154 THE TURKEY. 

" to be passing a yere, or two yeres old three yeres is 
the most, and too much for, being olde, they are so 
heavy in treading, they wyll commonlye hurt the 
hennes, in broosing their backes, and treading off their 
feathers off their backes. And, also, it is not good to 
keep two cockes in treading time ; for one will hinder 
the other, so that your hennes' egges come to small 
profite in setting." 

" Your turkie cock," says Markham, "should be a 
bird, large, stout, proud, and majesticall, for, when he 
walketh dejected, he is never good." According to 
M. Parmentier, both the cock and hen ought to have 
short legs, a full shape, and great vivacity and energy 
in all their actions. For breeding, it is peculiarly 
necessary that both should be well formed, and in 
healthy condition. 

Turkey cocks are pugnacious and vindictive, and 
often ill-treat the hens. I have known them to at- 
tack children, and have witnessed combats between 
them and the game cock, in which the latter was 
more oppressed by the weight of his antagonist than 
by gladiatorial skill I have, in fact, seen the bulky 
hero worsted ; he cannot use his spurs with the ad- 
dress exhibited by the game cock, which, moreover, 
fights with method. 

SELECTION OF THE HEN. 

THE hen turkey should be dark-colored, like the 
cock those with white feathers appearing amidst the 
black plumage should be rejected ; her figure should 
be plump, and her actions lively and animated. The 
hen breeds when a year old, or rather in the spring 
succeeding that in which she herself left the egg ; but 
she is not in her prime until the age of two or three 
years, and will continue for two or three years more in 
full constitutional vigor. But whether the breeder 
prefers to keep a store stock for several years, or 
a yearly or biennial change, will depend on his 
views and the general practice of ihe neighborhood 



THE TURKEY. 155 

around him. It is re.commended to keep a first-rate 
cook for three or four years, or even longer, although 
one might change his store flock of hens, and, indeed, 
if these produced first-rate chickens, he should be in no 
hurry to substitute younger birds in their place. Of 
course, the stock, whatever its prescribed number 
may be, should be kept up, deficiencies by death and 
accidents being duly supplied. 

NUMBER OF HENS TO BE ALLOTTED TO EACH COOK. 

IT would appear that an almost unlimited number 
of hens may be allowed to a single male in fact the 
caresses of the male only once or twice are required for 
the fecundation of all the eggs which she will lay dur- 
ing the current season ; but. in order to make assur- 
ance doubly sure, the number of hens under one lord 
may be limited to fifteen or twenty ; that is, if it is 
desirable that so many should be kept. 

The number of hens, however, which should be put 
with one cock is disputed amongst several authorities, 
as we have seen to be the case with the common fowl. 
M. Parmentier says, that, when one has a certain 
number of turkeys, it is indispensable to have a pro- 
portional number of cocks ; and is of opinion that one 
cock will be sufficient for twelve females ; and in this 
number he cannot be far wrong, if once treading is, as 
he seems to think, proved by experiment, efficient to 
fecundate all the eggs of one laying. So satisfied, in- 
deed, is he of this fact, that he thinks the cock may be 
dispensed with and sold, after the hen begins to lay. 

Lawrence, on the other hand, advises six hens to a 
cock ; though he thinks more may do no harm ; and 
mentions it, as a common practice with breeders, to 
keep a cock for the use of any neighbors who may 
have so few hens as to render it too expensive to keep 
one. 

LAYING. 

ABOUT the middle of March, generally speaking, the 
female commences laying ; she indicates this coming 



156 THE TURKEY. 

event by a peculiar cry, by strutting about with an 
air of self-satisfaction, and often by prying into out-of- 
the-way places, evidently in quest of a secret spot of 
incubation for her instinctive dread of the male is 
not removed by domestication, nor has the male lost 
his antipathy to the eggs. She should now be closely 
watched, and some management is required to induce 
her to lay in the nest assigned her. The nest should 
be prepared of straw and dried leaves ; it should be se- 
cluded, and to excite her to adopt it, an egg, or a piece 
of chalk cut into the form of an egg, should be placed 
in it. When her uneasiness to lay is evident, and 
symptoms prove that she is ready, she should be con- 
fined in the shed, barn, or place in which her nest, (in 
a large wicker basket,) is prepared, and let out as soon 
as it is deposited. It is generally in the morning that 
the turkey hen lays, and mostly every other day ; 
though some lay daily, until the number amounts to 
from fifteen to twenty. As the eggs are laid, it is as 
well to remove them, (leaving the decoy egg or piece 
of chalk,) until the number is complete, as they are 
liable to be broken, or sucked by rats, weasles, minks, 
or skunks. They may then be restored to her for in- 
cubation. 

Some persons are in the habit of giving turkeys 
stimulating focrd at the laying period, in order to pro- 
mote their fecundity, particularly oats and hemp seed ; 
but this is quite superfluous, and may even, perhaps, 
be injurious, by tending to produce "clear" or in- 
fertile eggs. By proper food and shelter, during win- 
ter, indeed, turkeys may be brought to pair and lay 
earlier than they otherwise would do ; but, though this 
might have the advantage of procuring an earlier 
brood, it must render it more difficult, on account of 
the cold weather, in spring, to rear it with success. 

The habit of laying in the morning may be usefully 
taken advantage of, where several turkey hens are 
kept. Their nests may be examined, individually 
before they go out, and keep back those which 



TJIE TURKEY. 157 

are about to lay, till they have done so. This will 
effectually prevent the loss of a single egg, by lay- 
ing in a secret nest in the hedges, or woods. When 
they roost in the open air, as is most natural to them, 
and sometimes practised for the sake of convenience, 
and to render the birds healthy, it is nearly impossible 
to prevent the loss of some eggs. 

During _the whole time of laying, the cock must be 
carefully kept apart from the hen, at least in the 
morning, when she is laying ; otherwise, if he find her 
on the nest, he will ill-treat her, drive her away, and 
break her eggs. 



EGGS. 



THE eggs of the turkey are larger and more length- 
ened than those of the common domestic fowl, of dull 
cream color, and speckled with reddish dots. They 
ought to be taken up as soon as laid, lest the hen 2 which 
is heavy and awkward in her motions, should break 
them on returning to lay, and also to keep them from 
being sucked by rats or skunks. They may be kept 
in a basket, either with or without dry bran or straw, 
hung up in a cool, dry, dark place, till the hen leaves 
off laying, when none of them will be too old to set for 
hatching, though, when much older, it may be doubt- 
ful whether they will hatch at all. 

It is recommended, by some, to keep each hen's 
eggs distinct, that they may be put under those 
which laid them ; but this appears to be an unnecessary 
trouble, as a hen turkey will not only successfully 
hatch the eggs of her own species, wherever they may 
be procured, but also those of geese, ducks, and com- 
mon fowls. 

It does not appear from Audubon's account, that 
the wild turkey has usually more than one brood in 
the year, unless her eggs have been carried off or de- 
stroyed ; and Buffon says the tame turkey lays only 
once a year. The latter is wrong in this ; for, under 
favorable circumstances, when well housed, fed, and 



158 THE TURKEY. 

taken care of, the hen turkey will lay a second time 
towards the end of summer, sometimes sooner and 
sometimes later. 

In the second laying, there are rarely more than a 
dozen eggs; and in order to have the brood from 
these successful, more than ordinary care will be 
requisite. 

When a second laying is expected, the sooner one 
hen is turned away from her brood, and the brood 
mixed with that of another, hatched about the same 
time, the better chance there is of rearing it; as the 
hen, which is so turned away, will lay again in a fort- 
night or three weeks, and thus hatch a second time be- 
fore the month of July is out. Even under these cir- 
cumstances, the chance of rearing the young ones is 
very uncertain, as they are hardly strong enough to 
meet the cold nights in the autumn, when they often 
become what is called " club-footed," and die. 



INCUBATION, 

THE turkey hen is a steady sitter, and in this re- 
spect resembles the wild bird nothing will induce her 
to leave the nest ; indeed, she often requires to be re- 
moved to her food, so overpowering is her instinctive 
affection ; she must be freely supplied with water 
within her reach ; should she lay any eggs after she has 
commenced incubation ; these should be removed it 
is proper, therefore, to mark those which were given to 
her to sit upon. The hen should now on no account, 
be rashly disturbed ; no one except the person to whom 
she is accustomed, and from whom she receives her 
food, should be allowed to go near her, and the eggs, 
unless circumstances imperatively require it, should not 
be meddled with. 

On about the thirty-first day, the chicks leave the 
eggs. Now, in a state of nature, the wild hen always 
manages far better than she would do if interfered 
with by man, were his interference possible, and so we 
believe will the domestic turkey hen, if her nest be placed 



THE TURKEY. 159 

(and it might in a certain degree,) as it is in nature ; 
this we know, that turkeys which have laid their eggs 
in out-of-the-way places, and have been allowed to in- 
cubate there, have brought their troop of downy young- 
lings into the farm yard with evident pleasure and 
satisfaction no extra attention having been paid to 
them. It is usual, however, in Europe and the northern 
parts of the United States, to remove the young chicks, 
one by one, as they make their exit, and place them in 
a basket of warm flannel, tow, or feathers, until all are 
out, and then restore them to the hen ; this is done 
as a precautionary measure, lest any accident should 
happen to them. 

In a state of nature, the turkey only rears one brood 
during the season, unless her eggs have been destroyed 
or removed, nor will the domestic hen incubate twice, 
if allowed to rear her own brood; some, however, which 
like, as the common phrase is, " to work a free horse 
to death," recommend that the turkey be induced to 
hatch a second time in the season. This is effected 
by taking her young brood from her as soon as pos- 
sible, and mixing it with another brood of the same 
age, as nearly as may be ; her cares being no longer 
required for her young, and her instincts unsatisfied ; 
she seeks the company of the male, and in about three 
weeks, again commences laying, until the number of 
eggs is complete, when she re-engages in the task of 
incubation. But I object to this practice in toto. It 
is cruel, and it taxes the system ; she has already sat 
patiently for thirty days, that is four weeks and two 
days, and surely that is quite enough. Besides, the 
brood thus hatched will be late in the season, and late 
broods of turkeys cannot be reared without very great 
care ; they cannot stand the chilly mornings of autumn 
nor the frosty nights ; their limbs become swollen and 
rheumatic, and they die one after another, few sur- 
viving, and these few never become fine, healthy 
bird from which the breeder would select his stock. 
Let nature alone. Should a hen lay after hatching her 
clutch of eggs, and should she, (which is very unlike- 



160 



THE TURKEY. 



ly,) indicate a desire for incubation, it is better to pre- 
vent her, and use the eggs for household purposes. 

TREATMENT OF THE YOUNG- BROOD. 

THE treatment of the chicks next demands considera- 
tion. Some books tell you to plunge them in cold water, 
to strengthen them ; those that survive will certainly be 
hardy birds. Others say, "make them swallow a whole 
pepper corn," which is as if we were to cram a New- 
town pippin down the throat of a new-born babe. Oth- 
ers, again, say, "give them a little, ale, beer, or wine." 
We know, unhappily, that some mothers are wicked 
enough to give their infants gin, and we know the con- 
sequences. Not a few advise that they be taken away, 
and kept in a basket by the fire-side wrapped in flannel, 
for eight or ten hours. Why take them away from her ? 
She has undergone no loss, no pain, nor labor ; she wants 
no rest, having had too much of that already. All she 
requires is the permission to indulge undisturbed the 
natural exercise of her owe affectionate instinct. 

We have seen that even the wild chicks are delicate, 
and unable to endure wet. We may say the same with 
regard to young grouse and partridges, the flocks of 
which are much thinned by a wet season. But if the 
wild chicks are tender, much more so are those of the 
domestic strain. As in the case of young fowls, the 
turkey chicks do not require food for several hours. It 
is -useless to cram them, as some do, fearing lest they 
should starve ; and, besides, the beak is as yet so tender 
that it runs a chance of being injured by the process. 
When the chicks feel an inclination for food, nature di- 
rects them how to pick it up. There is no occasion for 
alarm if, for thirty hours, they content themselves with 
the warmth of their parent, and enjoy her care. Yet 
some food must be provided for them, and this should be, 
of course, suited to their nature and appetite. Here, 
too, let the simplicity of nature be a guide. I say this 
because some have recommended spices, wine, and even 
bathing in cold water. 

Give them nothing ; do nothing to them ; let them be 
in the nest under the shelter of their mother's wings at 






THE TURKEY. 161 

least eight or ten hours; if hatched in the afternoon, till 
the following morning. Then place her on the grass, in 
the sun, under a roomy coop. If the weather be fine, 
she may be stationed where you choose, by a long piece 
of flannel list tied round one leg, and fastened to a stake 
or a >stone. But the boarded coop saves her ever- 
watchful anxiety from the dread of enemies above and be- 
hind the crow, the raven, the hawk, the rat, the weasel ; 
arid also protects herself she will protect her ) r oung 
from the sudden showers of summer. Offer at first a 
few crumbs of bread ; the little ones, for some hours, 
will be in no hurry to eat; but when they do begin, 
supply them constantly and abundantly with chopped 
egg, shreds of meat and fat, curd, boiled rice, mixed with 
cress, lettuce, and the green of onions. Melted mutton 
suet poured over barley or Indian-meal dough, and cut 
up when cold ; also, bullock's liver boiled and minced, 
are excellent things. Barley or Indian meal, mixed 
thick and stiff with water or milk, nettle tops, leeks, and 
many other things, might be added to the list; but it is 
probable that a few of these may now and then be re- 
fused by some fanciful little rogues. Little turkeys do 
not like their food to be minced much smaller than they 
can swallow it; indolently preferring to make a meal at 
three or four mouthfuls to troubling themselves with the 
incessant pecking and scratching in which chickens so 
much delight. But at any rate, the quantity consumed 
costs but little; the attention to supply it is everything. 

The young of the turkey afford a remarkable instance 
of hereditary and transmitted habits. From having 
been. tended for many generations with so much care, 
they appear naturally to expect it almost as soon as they 
are released from the shell. We are told that young 
pointers, the descendants of well-educated dogs, will 
point at the scent of game without any previous 
training; and so turkey chicks seem to wait for the at- 
tention of man before they can have any experience of 
the value or nature of those attentions. Food which 
they would refuse from a platter, they will peck greed- 
ily from the palm of a hand ; a crumb which would be 
disdained, if seen accidentally on the ground, will be 



162 THE TURKEY. 

relished from the tip of a finger. The proverb that "The 
master's eye fattens the horse," is applicable to them, 
not in a metaphorical, but in a literal sense ; for they 
certainly take their food with a better appetite if their 
keeper stays to distribute it, and see them eat it, than if 
he merely "set it down and left them to help themselves. 

I believe this to be the case with more domesticated 
animals than we are aware of, and appears natural 
enough if we remember how much more we enjoy a meal 
in the society of those we love and respect, than if we 
partook of it in indifferent or disagreeable company. 

However, there can be no doubt that young turkeys, 
pampered and spoiled for about three hundred genera- 
tions, have at length acquired an innate disposition to 
rely on the care of man. When the early voyagers 
discovered new islands, the birds upon them were quite 
tame, and easily killed by sticks and stones, being fear- 
less of man ; but they soon learned to know their enemy, 
and this newly-acquired sagacity was possessed by their 
offspring,, which had never seen a man. Wild and 
domesticated turkeys are, in fact, from the same original 
type; it is only necessary to compare them, when 
hatched together under a hen, to be convinced of the 
principle of hereditary transmission of habits the wild 
young ones instantly fly from man, the tame ones are 
indifferent to his presence. Young of rabbits, wild and 
tame, show this contrast more strongly than any crea- 
tures with which I am acquainted. 

The turkeys, then, are hatched, and we are rearing 
them. Abundant food for the mother and her young, 
constant attention to their wants, are the grand desid- 
erata. An open glade, in a grove, with long grass and 
shrubs here and there, is the best possible location. A 
great deal is said about clear and fresh water for tur- 
keys ; but I have observed that if left to their own choice, 
they will be as content and healthy with the rinsings 
of the scullery, or the muddiest pool, as with the purest 
spring. The long grass will afford them cover from 
birds of prey; the hen will herself drive off four-footed 
enemies with great courage. Insects, too, will abound 
in such a situation. When the little creatures are three 



THE TURKEY. 163 

or four days old, they will watch each fly that alights 
on a neighboring flower, fix it with mesmeric intensity, 
and by slow approach often succeed in their final rush. 
But in the best position you can station them, forget 
them not for one hour in the day. If you do, the little 
turkeys will for a time loudly yelp, 

" O then remember me," 

in notes less melodious than those of aprima donna, 
and then they will be sulky and silent. When you 
at length bring their delayed meal, some will eat, 
some will not. Those that will not, can only be saved 
by a method at all other times unjustifiable; namely, by 
cramming; but it must be done most gently. The soft 
crumb of bread rolled into miniature sausages should be 
introduced till their crops are full. For drink, many 
would give wine. I advise milk. The bird wants 
material, not stimulant. It has been actually wire- 
drawn. It has grown all the hours you have neglected 
it, without anything to grow from. Like a young plant 
in the fine spring season, it will and must grow ; but it 
has no roots in the fertile earth to obtain incessant 
nourishment. The roots which supply its growth are in 
its stomach, which it is your office to replenish. " Pre- 
vention is better than cure." Such a case ought never 
to occur in a well-cared-for poultry pard. 

The time when the turkey hen may be allowed full 
liberty with her brood, depends so much on season, 
situation, &c., that it must be left to the exercise of the 
keeper's judgment. Some, whose opinion is worthy of 
attention, think that if the young are thriving, the 
sooner the old ones are out with them the better, after 
the first ten days or so. A safer rule may be fixed at 
the season called "shooting the red," a "disease," as 
some compilers are pleased to term it; being about as 
much a disease as when the eldest son of the turkey's 
master and mistress shoots his beard. When young 
turkeys approach the size of a partridge, or before, the 
granular fleshy excrescences on the head and neck begin 
to appear ; soon after, the whole plumage, particularly 
the tail feathers, start into rapid growth, and the " dis- 



164 TTJK TVRKKV. 

ease" is only to be counteracted by liberal nourishment. 
If let loose at this time, they will obtain much by foraging, 
and still be thankful for all you choose to give them. 
Caraway seeds, as a tonic, are a great secret with some 
professional people. They will doubtless be beneficial, if 
added to plenty of barley or Indian meal, boiled potatoes, 
chopped vegetables, and refuse meat. And now is the 
time that turkeys begin to be troublesome and voracious. 
What can you expect else from a creature that is to 
grow from the size of a robin to 12 or 15 Ibs. in eight or 
nine months? They will jump into the potato ground, 
scratch the ridges on one side, eat every grub, wire worm, 
or beetle that they find, and every half-grown potato. 
From thence they will proceed to the ruta-bagas ; before 
the bulbs are formed, they will strip the green from the 
leaves, thereby checking the future growth of the 
root. At a subsequent period, they will do the same to 
the white turnips, and here and there take a piece out 
of the turnip itself. They are seldom large enough 
before harvest to make so much havoc among the 
standing grain, as cocks, hens, and Guinea fowls, or they 
have not yet acquired the taste for it ; but when the 
Indian corn begins to ripen in August or September, and 
the young wheat comes up in October and November they 
will exhibit their graminivorous propensities, to the great 
disadvantage of the farmer. The farmer's wife sees them 
not, says nothing, but at Christmas boasts of the large 
amount of her turkey money. One great merit in old 
birds, (besides their ornamental value, which is our 
special recommendation,) is, that in situations where 
nuts, acorns, and mast are to be had, they will lead off 
their orood to these, and comparatively, (that is all,) 
abstain from ravaging other crops. It is, therefore, not 
fair for a small occupier to be overstocked with turkeys, 
(as is too often the case, and with other things also,) and 
then let them loose, like so many harpies, to devastate 
and plunder their neighbors' fields. 

FATTENING. 

ON the first of October, it will be time to begin to 
think of fattening some of the earliest broods, in order 



THE TURKEY. 165 

to supply public houses, and such families as require 
turkeys early in the season; but they are like every 
other immature production, inferior in quality. To 
eat turkey poults is a wasteful piece of luxury ; those 
who order them are occasionally deceived by a small 
hen of the previous year. In the Italian markets, hen 
turkeys sell for a cent a pound more than the cocks ; and 
there are turkey butchers of whom you may buy the 
half or a quarter of a bird. A hen will be five or six 
weeks in fatting ; a large stag,* two months, or longer, 
in reaching his full weight. The best diet is barley 
or Indian meal, mixed with water, given in troughs, 
that have a flat board over them, to keep dirt from 
falling in. A turnip with the leaves attached, or a 
hearted cabbage, may now and then be thrown down 
to amuse them. Some use plain oats, but barley or 
Indian meal is preferable, acting more quickly. 

Cramming is unnecessary, though it may hasten the 
progress. In some forests, where there are immense 
quantities of mast, turkeys will get perfectly fat upon 
them ; but this, although no doubt profitable to the 
" gude wife," is by no means pleasant to every palate 
after the bird has been on the spit. Beech mast, how- 
ever, in small quantities, and as the substratum of 
fatting, rather improves the flavor than otherwise. 
Acorns, which they will often swallow whole, do not 
come amiss. When they have arrived at the desired 
degree of fatness, those which are not wanted for im- 
mediate use must have no more food given them than 
is just sufficient to keep them, in that state ; otherwise 
the flesh will become red and inflamed, and of course 
less palatable and wholesome. But with the very best 
management, after having attained their acme of fat- 
tening, they will frequently descend again, and that so 
quickly, and without apparent cause, as to become 
quite thin. Cock birds play this game oftener than 
hens. The turkey differs from the rest of our poultry 
in being fit for the table after its youth is past. Many 

* When a cock turkey arrives at the age of two yeart , he is called a " stag." 



166 THE TURKEY. 

of the large birds that are brought to market are Dot 
less than eighteen months old ; some double that age. 
Nor are they the worse for it, provided the lady of the 
house be informed of the circumstance, and so enabled 
to leave a due interim between the killing and the 
cooking. 

Almost every district or country, however, has a pe- 
culiar mode of fattening turkeys, and everywhere it 
depends on local resources. In one place, it is acorns, 
hickory nuts, beech mast, or chestnuts, sometimes 
boiled, and mixed with Indian or barley meal ; others 
prefer to feed them, every morning, a month previous 
to killing, with boiled potatoes mashed with the meal 
of buckwheat, barley, Indian corn, or beans, according 
to their cheapness or abundance, made into a paste, of 
which the turkeys are allowed to eat as much as they 
please. Every evening, the remains of the paste is 
removed, and thrown away ; the trough, or vessel, in 
which it was kept, is thoroughly cleaned for the next 
morning ; because, if the weather be warm, the paste 
is liable to become sour, and endanger their health. 
For eight days previous to slaughtering time, the tur- 
keys are allowed, in the evening before going to roost, 
a small quantity of barley or Indian-meal dough, 
which, in the course of that period, will render them 
exceedingly plump, delicious, and fat. 

It has been asserted, in fact proved, by a late trial 
made on the farm of Mr. R. L. Colt, of Paterson, New 
Jersey, that turkeys fatten faster, and with less ex- 
pense, by caponising them, which, also, produces 
better and sweeter flesh. But how far this will prove 
profitable, future experiments will show. 



THE GUINEA FOWL. 



ORIGIN AND HISTORY. 

The Africana, which most people call a Numidica, is like a 
Meleagris, except that it bears on its head a red helmet 
and comb, both of which are blue in the Meleagris. 

COLUMELLA. 

THE Guinea fowl, in its natural habitat that is in 
a state of nature appears to be exclusively confined 
to the burning wastes of Central Africa, although it is 
found wild on the islands of Ascension, Hayti, Cuba, 
and Jamaica, where they sometimes do much injury to 
crops and are shot as game. In Africa, it frequents 
the open glades and borders of forests, the banks of 
rivers, and other localities where grain, seeds, berries, 
insects, &c., offer an abundant supply of food. It is 
gregarious in its habits, associating in considerable 
flocks, which wander about during the day, and col- 
lect together on the approach of evening. They roost 
in clusters on the branches of trees, or large bushes, 
ever and anon uttering their harsh grating cry, till 
they settle fairly for the night. 

The Gruinea fowl does not trust much to its wings 
as a means of escape from danger ; indeed, it is not 
without some difficulty that these birds can be forced 
to take to flight, and then they wing their way only 
to a short distance, when they alight, and trust 
to their svviftnesss of foot. They run with very 
great celerity, are shy and wary, and seek refuge 



168 



THE GUINEA FOWL. 



amongst the dense underwood, threading the mazes of 
their covert with wonderful address. The female in- 
cubates in some concealed spot on the ground ; for the 
male, as in the case of the turkey, will break the eggs 
if he discovers them. This habit, unnatural as it may 
be deemed, appears to be very common among galli- 
naceous birds. The domestic cock, however, evidently 
shares in the triumph of the hen, when she has laid 
her eggs, and answers her peculiar note or cackle of 

joy- 
it cannot be for a moment doubted that the ancient 
Greeks and Romans were well acquainted with two or 
three species of the Gruinea fowl, the descriptions of 
which hardly answer to those of the present day ; con- 
sequently it is not easy to trace out its history. In 
fact, strange as it may seem, that a bird noticed by 
Aristotle, Clytus, Pliny, Yarro, and Columella, should 
not ages since have pervaded Europe ; it is not until 
after the introduction of the turkey from America, 
that the Gruinea fowl became naturalised in Western 
Europe. Must we not, then, pardon Belon and Aldro- 
vandi for considering the turkey as the Meleagris, 
seeing, if our suspicions be correct, that they did not 
know the Gruinea fowl ? In short, from ancient times, 
through the middle ages, and to a comparatively re- 
cent period, we lose all trace of this bird, and what 
is more, it appears that the modern Europeans re- 
ceived it not from Africa, its native country, but from 
the Western World, to which, with negroes torn from 
their homes in Gruinea and condemned to slavery, it 
was transported also. This bird is, indeed, so common 
in several of the West-India Islands, that some have 
thought it to be indigenous there ; but this is a mis- 
take. In fact, in an old work, (Observ. sur les Gout, 
de PAsie,) we are informed that, in the year 1508, 
or about that time, great numbers of these birds were 
carried into America by the vessels which traded in 
slaves ; but that the Spaniards, instead of attempting 



THE GUINEA FOWL. 169 

to tame them, or render them domestic, turned them 
at large into the wild savannas, where they have in- 
creased in such prodigious numbers, that they may 
well appear to be indigenous. 

Though extensively spread, the Guinea fowl is not 
even now a very common bird. It is kept in India, 
but, according to Colonel Sykes, is to be seen only in 
a domestic state, and is bred almost exclusively by 
European gentlemen. It thrives, he adds, as well as 
in its native country. 

In England, the Gruinea fowl is less generally kept 
than the turkey, nor is it abundant in France. In 
the colder latitudes of Europe, this bird is very rare, 
and is, in fact, seldom, if ever, to be seen in Sweden, 
Norway, or Northern Russia. It is not noticed by 
Linnseus in his " Fauna Suecica," though he was well 
acquainted with the species. In various parts of 
North America, it is found, and thrives well. 

If, then, in modern days, Western Europe received 
the G-uinea fowl from America, or the adjacent islands, 
how happens it that, living as it did in the vivaria of 
the Romans, it should not have spread itself over Eu- 
rope, and been common in England, from early times? 
We are assured that it has been so. Mr. H. D. Rich- 
ardson says, " it would be difficult to determine the 
precise period at which the Gruinea fowl was first 
brought into Grreat Britain ; its introduction must, at 
all events, have taken place at a remote date, for we 
are informed, in Kennet's " Parochial Antiquities," 
that it was known in England as early as the year 
1277." If this be the case, how happens it that we 
see no notice taken of it among such birds as peions, 
or peacocks, cranes, bustards, and other birds, which 
figured in the feasts of our British ancestors, nor even 
at a later time, than the turkey graced the board? 
Again, had the Gruinea fowl been common, would Be- 
lon and Aldrovandi have ever regarded the turkey as 
the Meleagris? 

S 



170 THE GUINEA FOWL. 




THE GUINEA HEN. 

STNONYMES. Numida mcleagris, of Naturalists; Pintade, of the 
French; Pintado,, of the Spaniards; Perlhuhn, of the Germans; Comc- 
Sack, in Norfold. England ; Guinea Hen, Guinea Fowl, of the English and 
Anglo-Americans. 

The plumage of this bird is singularly beautiful, 
being spangled over with an infinity of white spots on 
a black ground, shaded with grey and brown. The 
spots vary from the size of a pea to extreme minute- 
ness. Rarely, the black and white change places, 
causing the bird to appear as if covered with a net- 
work of lace. A white variety is not uncommon, but 
is less hardy, and it is doubtful how long either this, 
or the former one, would remain permanent ; probably 
but for few generations. Pied birds, blotched with 
patches of white, are frequent, but are not compara- 
ble, in point of beauty, with those of the original wild 
color. The head and face are remarkable. The scar- 
let wattles, naked skin, distinct mark of the eye brow, 
bright, glancing eyes, and comical, quick expression, 
make, at a front view, a perfect miniature of a clown, 
dressed and painted for the circus or pantomime. 

DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE COCK AND HEN. 

IT is not every one who knows a cock from a hen 
of this species. An unerring rule is, that the hen 



THE GUINEA FOWL. 171 

alone uses the call note " come back," " come back," 
accenting the second syllable strongly, from which 
they are often called " come backs." The cock has 
only the harsh, shrill cry of alarm, which, however, is 
also common to the female. 

PAIRING. 

THERE is one circumstance, in regard to the habits 
of the Guinea cock, which may not generally be 
known ; that is, he is monogamous, or having one 
wife only, pairing with his mate, like a partridge, or 
pigeon, and remaining faithful to her, (perhaps with 
one or two trifling peccadilloes,) so long as they con- 
tinue to live together. It is generally supposed that 
he, like the common cock, is pleased with a plurality 
of wives ; and the supposition is acted on with bad 
practical effect. In the case where a Guinea cock 
and two hens are kept, (a usual number,) it will be 
found, on close observation, that though the three keep 
together so as to form one " pack," according to their 
original instinct, yet that the cock and one hen will 
be unkind and stingy to the other unfortunate female, 
keep her at a certain distance, merely suffering her 
society, and making her feel that she is with them 
only on sufferance. The neglected hen will lay eggs, 
in appearance, like those of the other, but not so many, 
probably, in the same nest. If they are to be eaten, 
all well and good ; but if a brood is wanted and the 
eggs of the despised one chance to be taken for the 
purpose of hatching, the result is disappointment and 
addled eggs. If the produce of the favorite, or rather 
the lawful wife, are selected, at the end of the month, 
you have so many strong chicks ; if a mixture of eggs 
come to hand, the hatch is in proportion Therefore, 
let all those who wish to succeed with Guinea fowls, 
match their birds as strictly as the couples in a 
country dance. The best way to commence keeping 
them is, to procure a sitting of eggs from some friend, 
on whom you can depend, for their freshness : and 



172 THE GUINEA FOWL. 

also, if possible, from a place where only a single 
pair is kept. 

Their amours are conducted with the most strict 
decorum and privacy. The cock, however, is properly 
polite and attentive to his own hen, in public, walking 
very close by her side, so as to touch her wings with 
his own, offering her tit-bits, now and then a worm, 
or a grain of corn ; he has also a habit of running 
very quick for a few steps, and then walking affectedly 
on tiptoe, with a mincing air, like the dandy in a 
Christmas pantomime, setting up his back and in- 
creasing his apparent height. These latter symptoms 
are less evident in youth, when it is necessary to make 
the selection, and the call note will be found the safest 
guide. He attends his own hen to the nest, waits for 
her close at hand, till she has made her contribution 
to the treasury already there ; and will occasionally 
betray the situation of the secret hoard, by his extreme 
solicitude in announcing the approach of intruders. 

LAYING. 

OF all known birds, this, perhaps, is the most pro- 
lific of eggs. Week after week and month after 
month see little or no intermission of the daily deposit. 
Even the process of moulting is sometimes insufficient 
to draw off the nutriment the creature takes to make 
feathers instead of eggs. As the body of a good cow 
is a distillery for converting all sorts of herbage into 
milk, and nothing else, or as little else as possible, so 
the body of the Gruinea hen is a most admirable machine 
for producing eggs out of insects, vegetables, garbage, 
or grain. 

Eggs of the Guinea fowl are occasionally produced 
covered with wrinkles, as if the shell had shrunk in 
the process of hardening. These sometimes are con- 
fined to one end, (the smaller,) and sometimes extend 
over the whole surface. They are evidently the re- 
sult of weakness or over-exertion of the egg organs, 
appearing in young and healthy birds onl y at the close 



THE GUINEA FOWL. 173 

of their long-laying season ; in old and weak ones, 
showing themselves in the first-laid eggs, and increas- 
ing in depth and extent as the season advances. The 
same thing is less frequently seen among turkeys that 
are about to cease laying. Such eggs are quite good 
for the table, but should not be taken for the purpose 
of hatching. They appear to contain a less portion of 
yolk than the perfect egg. 

INCUBATION. 

FROM their great aptitude for laying, which is a 
natural property, and not an artificially-encouraged 
habit, as before observed, and also from the very little 
disposition they show to sit, it is believed, that these 
birds, in their native country, do not sit at all on their 
eggs, but leave them to be hatched by the sun, like 
ostriches, to which they bear a close affinity. It is 
certain that the sands of tropical Africa are more than 
hot enough to hatch them, and that the young birds 
are unusually vivacious and independent, if they have 
but a supply of proper food, which they would find in 
the myriads of insects engendered there. 

They are in season from the middle of December 
till May ; and their period of incubation lasts at least 
twenty-six days. 

A Bantam hen is the best mother, being lighter, and 
less likely to injure the eggs by treading on them than a 
full-sized fowl. She will well cover nine eggs, and 
incubation will last about a month. The young are ex- 
cessively pretty. When first hatched, they are so strong 
and active as to appear not to require the attention re- 
ally necessary to rear them. Almost as soon as they 
are dry, from the moisture of the egg, they will peck 
each other's toes, as if supposing them to be worms, 
will scramble with each other for a crumb of bread, 
and will domineer over any little Bantam, or chicken, 
that may perhaps have been brought off in the same 
clutch with themselves. No one, who did not know, 
would guess, from their appearance, of what species 



174 THE GUINEA FOWL. 

of bird they were the offspring. Their orange-red bills 
and legs, and the dark, zebra-like stripes, with which 
they are regularly marked, from head to tail, bear no 
traces of the speckled plumage of their parents. 

FEEDING AND MANAGEMENT. 

HARD-BOILED egg, chopped fine, small worms, mag- 
gots, bread crumbs, chopped meat, or suet, whatever, 
in short, is most nutritious, is their most appropriate 
food. This need not be offered to them in large quan- 
tities, as it would only be devoured by the mother 
Bantam, as soon as she saw that her little ones had 
for the time satisfied their appetites ; but it should be 
frequently administered to them in small supplies. 
Feeding three, four, or five times a day, is not nearly 
often enongh ; every half hour, during daylight, they 
should be tempted to fill their little craws, which are 
soon emptied again by an extraordinary power and 
quickness of digestion. The newly-hatched Guinea 
fowl is a tiny creature, a mere infinitesimal of the 
full-grown bird ; its growth is consequently very rapid, 
arid requires incessant supplies. A check once re- 
ceived can never be recovered. In such cases, they 
do not mope and pine, for a day or two, like young 
turkeys under similar circumstances, and then die ; 
but in half an hour after, being in apparent health, 
they fall on their backs, give a convulsive kick or two, 
and fall victims to starvation. The demands of na- 
ture for the growth of bone, muscle, and particularly 
of feather, are so great, that no subsequent, abundant 
supply of food can make up for a fast of a couple of 
hours. The feathers still go on, grow ! grow !! grow !!! 
in geometrical progression, and drain the sources 
of vitality still faster than they can be supplied, till 
the bird faints and expires from want of fullness. 

This constant supply of suitable food, it is believed, 
is the great secret in rearing the more delicate birds, 
turkeys, Guinea fowls, pheasants, &c., never to suffer 
the growth of the chick, (which goes on whether it 



THE GUINEA FOWL. 175 

has food in its stomach or not.) to produce exhaustion 
of the vital powers, for want of the necessary aliment. 
Young turkeys, as soon as they once feel languid, 
from this cause, efuse their food when it is at last 
offered to them, (just like a man whose appetite is 
gone, in consequence of having waited too long for his 
dinner,) never would eat more, were it not forced 
down their throats, by which operation they may 
frequently be recovered ; but the little Gruinea fowls 
give no notice of this faintness, till they are past all 
cure ; and the struggle of a few minutes shows that 
they have, indeed, outgrown their strength, or rather 
that the material for producing strength, has not been 
supplied to them in a degree commensurate with their 
growth. 

A dry, sunny corner in the garden will be the best 
place to coop them with their Bantam mother. As 
they increase in strength, they will do no harm, but 
a great deal of good, by devouring worms, grubs cat- 
erpillars, maggots, and all sorts of insects. By the 
time their bodies are little bigger than those of spar- 
rows, they will be able to fly with some degree of 
strength ; and it is very pleasing to see them essay 
the use of their wings at the call of their fostermoth- 
er, or the approach of their feeder. It is one out of 
millions of instances of the Provident Wisdom of the 
Almighty Great , that the wing and tail feathers of 
young gallinaceous birds, with which they require to 
be furnished, at the earliest possible time, as a means 
of escape from their numerous enemies, exhibit the 
most rapid growth of any part of their frame. Other 
additions to their complete stature are successively 
and less immediately developed. The wings of a 
chicken are soon fledged enough to be of great assist- 
ance to it ; the spurs, comb, and ornamental plumage 
do not appear till quite a subsequent period. 

When the young Gruinea fowls are about the size of 
quails, or perhaps a little larger, their mother Bantam, 
(which we suppose to be a tame, quiet, matronly crea- 



176 THE GUINEA FOWL. 

ture,) may be suffered to range loose in the orchard 
and fields and no longer be permitted to enter the gar- 
den, lest her family should acquire a habit of visiting 
it at a time when their presence would be less wel- 
come than formerly. They must still, however, re- 
ceive a bountiful and frequent supply of food ; they 
are not to be considered safe till the horn on their heads 
is fairly grown. Indian meal, as a great treat, cooked 
potatoes, boiled rice, anything in short, that is eatable, 
may be thrown down to them. They will pick the 
bones left after dinner with great satisfaction, and no 
doubt, benefit to themselves. The tamer they can be 
made, the less troublesome will those birds be which 
you retain for stock ; the more kindly they are treated, 
the more they are petted and pampered, the fatter and 
better-conditioned will the others become, which you 
design for your own table, or as presents to your 
friends, and the better price will you get, if you send 
them to market. 

At a certain period, they will have got beyond the 
management of their good little Bantam mother, and 
will cast off her authority. They will form what has 
appropriately been called a "pack ;" prowling about 
in a body, after insects, and seeds, or grazing together, 
(for they eat a great deal of grass,) still in a pack; 
fiercely driving away any intruder on their society, 
and all giving tongue, in one chorus, at the approach 
of any danger. When fully grown, they weigh from 
3 to 4 Ibs. 

Birds, thus reared on the spot where they are meant 
to be kept, are sure to thrive better, and give less 
trouble than those procured from a distance ; they 
sometimes, will not remain in their new home, but 
wander about in search of their old haunts till they 
either find them, or are themselves lost, destroyed, 01 
stolen. 

It is of no use to shut up these fowls to fatten, un- 
less, they have previously been made particularly 
tame, as they would sulk, pine, and die, before they 



THE GUINEA FOWL. 177 

became reconciled to confinement, in spite of its extra 
diet. The only plan, therefore, is to keep them in 
high condition during the winter, by liberal hand-feed^ 
ing. The best practice is not to kill them with the 
knife, like other poultry, but to dislocate their necks, 
leaving the blood in them to remedy the dryness ot 
their flesh, which is the great fault an epicure would 
find with them. They should also remain in the lar- 
der as long as possible before being cooked. It was 
formerly the fashion for farmers' wives and daughters 
to make tippets and muffs of the smaller feathers, 
which much resemble chinchilli fur in appearance, 
and were both elegant and useful. 

This bird is no great favorite with poultry keepers, 
in general, but is one of those unfortunate beings, 
which, from having been occasionally guilty of now 
and then a trifling fault, has acquired a much worse 
reputation than it really deserves. Notwithstanding 
this, it is useful, ornamental, and interesting during 
life, and a desirable addition to the table, if properly 
dressed, when dead. 



THE PEA FOWL, 



ORIGIN AND HISTORY. 

The peacock view, still exquisitely fair, 
When clouds forsake, or when invest the air -, 
His gems now brightened by a noon-tide ray ; 
He proudly waves his feathers to the day, 
A strut majestically slow assumes, 
And glories in the beauty of his plumes. 

PARAPHRASE OF THE BOOK or JOB. 

THE common pea fowl has probably been tamed and 
domesticated ever since there have existed human 
eyes to admire it. It is said to have been brought 
from the barbarians into Greece ; and being for a long 
time rare, it was then exhibited for money to the ad- 
mirers of beauty in a similar manner as menagerie 
birds are with us, at the present day. At Athens, 
both men and women were admitted to examine it 
every new moon, and profit was made by the show ; 
and, as Antyphon says in his speech against Crasistra- 
tus, the male and female were valued at 1,000 
drachmae, or about $150 the pair. 

The remarkable point in this account is, that the 
creature was not gratuitously exhibited, like the tri- 
umphal spoils of conquered nations, but was made a 
wild-beast show, for a consideration, and as a matter 
of gain. It would be interesting to know the price of 
admission, what sort of u brass band" performed before 
the doors, and whether -the pictorial representations, 



THE PEA FOWL. 179 

hung outside, at all outrivalled the brilliant display of 
Barnum's Museum, in Broadway. 

So charming is the perfect combination of grace and 
splendor diplayed by these most lovely creatures, so 
excellent is their flesh, so hardy are they in their 
adult state, that were it not for certain inconveniences 
attendant upon keeping them, and also, perhaps, for 
the indifference with which everything not rare is apt 
to be regarded by us, they would be sought after as 
never- tiring objects wherewith to gratify the sense of 
sight. Who does not remember the thrill of delight 
with which, in childhood, he first gazed upon their 
brilliant gorgeousness ? Peacocks and gold fill our 
youthful imaginations as fit elements of the magnifi- 
cence of Solomon ; and no fable more fitly chose its 
decorations than that which attached these feathered 
gems, in association with the many-colored Iris, to the 
train of the imperial Juno, who adorned its tail with 
the hundred eyes of Argus eyes which the poet calls 
"star-like gems." Even the hen of the pea fowl, 
though sober in her coloring, is harmoniously shaded, 
and every movement is coincident with the line of 
beauty. 

But the most extraordinary peacock in the world, 
altogether unique, and likely to remain so, whose va- 
lue reduces that of the Athenian birds to a mere 
nothing, and which is only to be approached in this 
respect by the goose which lays golden eggs, if we 
could find her, is kept at Windsor Castle, and long 
may her Majesty, Queen Victoria, continue in posses- 
sion of it. Not being larger than an ordinary hen, it 
consumes but little food ; and does no mischief in the 
gardens, but rarely permitted to go abroad. It would 
be cheap at .30,000 ; for, independent of its worth as 
a trophy, and the strange history attached to it, its 
tail is made up of diamonds, and the rest of its body 
is composed of other costly materials, of which gold is 
the least precious ! It is a specimen of ornamental 
poultry, and not unsuitable, perhaps, to the monarch 



180 THE PEA FOWL. 

of Great Britain ; but if I may presume to guess at 
the tastes of the royal owner, more pleasure is derived 
from the sight of her living models than from the in- 
animate splendors of this glittering toy, although it 
does so far 

Outshine the wealth of Ormus and of Ind, 
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand 
Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold. 

MILTON. 

That the peacock should, in all times, have been 
admired for its singular beauty is not surprising. 
"When it moves along in state with its wings lowered 
to the ground and its tail spread, the rays of the sun 
glancing upon its gorgeous plumes, iridiscent with 
metallic effulgence, the eye of every beholder is ar- 
rested, and all gaze with admiration on the glorious 
spectacle. When we talk of the peacock spreading its 
tail, we use popular language. The gem-adorned 
plumes, with their loose silken barbs, are not the tail, 
but the tail coverts. The tail is beneath these, and 
hidden by them, and consists of rather short, stiff 
rust-colored feathers, which serve as a support to the 
train. 

I would here willingly give an account of the habits 
and manners of the wild pea fowls in the jungles of 
India, parallel to that of the wild turkey of the Ameri- 
can forests, but no Wilson, no Audubon, no Bonaparte, 
has written their history, and, for myself, I have never 
seen one in its native woods. I might, indeed, tran- 
scribe much respecting pea-fowl shooting from the 
works of various writers, sportsmen in India ; but from 
all this we gain no positive information. The reader 
must, therefore, pardon me for the meagre history of 
the wild bird. However, what it is in captivity in our 
country, thftt it is in the forests of India, domestication 
having littVe influenced its nature. 

There can be little doubt that the splendor of this 
bird first attracted the notice of the ancients, yet in 
luxurious R,orne, its beauty was not its safeguard : on 



THE PEA FOWL. 181 

the contrary, it was slaughtered in very wantonness, 
for the sake of a few parts only deemed worthy of 
being introduced as small items in the dishes of royal 
lunatics or noble madmen. The sneer of Martial must, 
in his day, have been biting ; he saw the peacock in its 
glory, and then beheld it murdered for the sake of its 
brains. "Well might he say 

" Oft as the bird his gem-started plumes displays 
In admiration dost them stop to gaze, 
And canst thou then, hard-hearted, take its life, 
And coollj 7 give it to your hireling's knife." 

Of the favorite dishes of the Emperor Yitellius, called 
the buckler of Minerva, was prepared with the livers 
of a choice fish, the scarus, (Scarus creticus,) the 
tongues of flamingos, and the brains of peacocks. The 
bird figured also in the feasts of Hortensius and other 
sensualists. 

GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION. 

THE pea fowl is extensively spread in a wild state, 
in India and the Indian Islands. It is abundant in the 
dense woods of the Grhauts, and is readily domestica- 
ted, many of the Hindoo temples in the Dukhun, as 
Colonel Sykes informs us, having considerable flocks 
of them. On comparing specimens of the wild bird 
with the domesticated pea fowl of our country, he- 
found no difference in any respect. " Irides intense 
red-brown," or rather, he should say, blood-red. 

The wild pea fowl associates in numbers, and where 
a favorite feeding ground invites them, hundreds some- 
times collect together, but they are very wary, and run 
with extreme velocity. 

Colonel Williamson, in his account of peacock shoot- 
ing, states that he has seen them in astonishing num- 
bers about the passes in the jungletery district 
Whole woods were covered with their beautiful plu- 
mage, to which the rising sun imparted additional 
brilliancy ; he states that small patches scattered 
about, cultivated with mustard which was then in 
bloom, induced the birds to collect there for the sake 






182 THE PEA FOWL. 

of feeding on the plant, and he speaks of the beauty 
of the scene as enchanting, and so indeed it must have 
been ; for he adds, " I speak within bounds when I 
assert that there could not be less than twelve or 
fifteen hundred pea fowls of various sizes within sight 
of the spot where I stood for near an hour." 

The common peacock was, till lately supposed to be 
the only species of its genus ; but both preserved and 
living specimens of the Aldrovandine pea fowl, which, 
for a long while, was supposed fabulous, have been 
recently introduced into England. But there is also a 
third sort, which, on account of the confusion of 
synonymes, has not received from naturalists the atten- 
tion it deserves. The difficulty has been increased by 
the conversion of "Japan" into "japanned" by some 
writers. Japonensis, or Japonicus, are not, however, 
synonymous with Javanensis nor Javanicus ; Java 
and Japan are countries separated by many hundreds 
of miles of distance, even by many degrees of lati- 
tude and longitude. Yet Sir W. Jardine, in the " Na- 
turalist's Library" gives the Pavo Javanensis as the 
same as the Japan peacock. His figure represents the 
Java bird, as also does that in Griffith's edition of 
Cuvier's " Animal Kingdom," although the title 
" Japan Peacock" is added to it. It is possible that 
both species may be indigenous in one or both of these 
respective countries, in which case, the specific names 
are not wrong, but only confused. 

The Japan peacock is somewhat less in size than 
the common, the white patches of naked skin on the 
cheeks are smaller, the wings are blue-black, edged with 
metallic-green instead of being mottled like tortoise 
shell, the imbricated feathers on the back are smaller 
and less conspicuous, and the whole coloring of the 
bird is of a darker tone. The hen, on the contrary, 
is much lighter than the common sort, with a tendency 
to spangled, perhaps even ocellated, plumage all over 
her body, and she has scarcely any glistening feathers 
on the neck ; her size is also inferior, and her propor- 
tions more slender. 



THE PEA FOWL. 



183 




THE PEACOCK. 



SYNONYMES. Pavo cristatus, of Naturalists ; Mohr, of the MahrattM ; 
Paon, of the French ; Pavnn, Pavo real, of the Spaniards ; Pfau, 
Pfauhahn, of the Germans ; Peacock, of the English and Anglo- Ameri- 



The pea fowl is too weJ known to require a detailed 
description. There are two varieties of this species, 
the "pied" and the "white." The first has irregular 
patches of white about it, like the pied Gruinea fowl, 
the remainder of the plumage resembling the original 
sort. The white have the ocellated spots on the tail 
faintly visible. These last are tender, and are much 
prized by those who prefer rarity to real beauty. They 
are occasionally produced by birds of the common kind, 
'in cases where no intercourse with other white birds 
can have taken place. In one instance, in the same 



184 THE PEA FOWL. 

brood, whose parents were both of the usual colors, 
there were two of the common sort, one white cock, 
and one white hen. 

As might be expected of a bird that has been reared 
in captivity for several thousand years, the pea fowl 
has been rendered very tame, and capable of consider- 
able attachment to man in almost every country in 
the globe. By regular feeding, it has easily been made 
to take its place as a liveried attendant at the front 
door, in order to show himself, and await with great 
punctuality, for his meals. Indeed, so charming is 
the perfect combination of grace and splendor, displayed 
by these most lovely creatures, so excellent is their 
flesh, so hardy are they in their adult state, that, were 
it not for certain inconveniences, attendant upon keep- 
ing them, and also, perhaps, for the indifference with 
which everything not rare is apt to be regarded by us, 
they would be sought after as never-tiring objects 
wherewith to gratify the sense of sight. " Thus does 
curiosity, in minds essentially vulgar, predominate 
over the lasting sense of beauty ; and the glories of the 
visible heavens, no less than the splendors of the pea- 
cock, are passed with indifference by unreflecting 
millions, because both are every-day sights." 

The natural disposition of the peacock is selfish and 
gluttenous, and it is only by pampering this weakness 
that he can be persuaded into obedience and attach- 
ment. He is vain, and at the same time ungallant. 
He is far from manifesting the politeness and attention 
which the common cock shows towards his mates. 
The peacock will greedily snatch from the mouth of 
his hens those tit-bits and delicate ^morsels which the 
cock would either share with his favorites, or yield to 
them entirely. The peahen, in return, cares less for 
her lord and master, and is more independent of him, 
when once her amorous inclinations have been in- 
dulged. She then regards the display of his tail, his 
puffings and strutting?, and all the rattling of his 



THE PEA FOWL. 185 

quills, with the coolest indifference. Nor does he seem 
to care much about her admiration, or to make all 
this exhibition of his attractions to secure her notice, 
but is content, if he can get some astonished hen, or 
silly bewildered duck, up a corner, to wonder what all 
this fuss is about. Like other vain coxcombs, he ex- 
pects the lady to make the first advances. Although 
occasionally cruel, the peacock is shy of fighting, par- 
ticularly when in full plumage ; nor do these birds so 
frequently engage with each other as with those of a 
different species, such as drakes, cocks, &c. One, out 
of feather, was seen to keep up a three-hour struggle 
with a musk drake ; had it been in full plumage, it 
would not have shown fight at all. 

Another objection to them, is their alleged wanton 
destructiveness towards the young of other poultry, a 
propensity respecting which, the accounts are very 
contradictory. It is believed, however, that the pea- 
cock becomes more cruel as he advances in life, al- 
though they often vary in their dispositions. A writer 
on this point says, " I have known them to kill from 
twelve to twenty ducklings, say from a week to a 
fortnight old, during one day ; but if they come across 
a brood of young chicks or ducklings, a few days old, 
they would destroy the whole of them." And yet, in 
the face of all this condemnatory evidence, we now 
and then see a favorite bird, with neck of lapis lazuli, 
back of emerald, wings of tortoise shell, and tail out- 
shining the rainbow, in some old-fashioned farm yard, 
the pet of his mistress, who is, perhaps, the most suc- 
cessful poultry woman in the neighborhood, and whose 
stock shows no sign of any murderous thinning. The 
peahen, which, when she has eggs or young, seems 
really a more guilty party, is not, in general, even 
suspected. So true is it that " one man may steal a 
horse, while another must not look over a hedge." 

Nervous and fastidious persons object to their cry, 
or call, which, indeed, is not melodious ; and a strip 
of woollen cloth is sometimes hung round their necks 



186 THE PEA. FOWL. 

in the fashion of a collar, to silence them ; the appen- 
dage, however, is anything but an ornament, and the 
effect is not permanent. But it must be regarded ds 
an unhealthy symptom, when any natural or rural 
sound is displeasing to the ear. The bleating of sheep, 
the pattering of rain, the hum of bees, the pealing 
thunder, the laughter of children, the breezy rustling 
of a grove, the lashing of wintry waves, and the sigh- 
ing of summer winds, have all been felt by listeners in 
their happiest moods to be most musical, to have an 
effect more touching than any music ; and should, 
therefore, be welcome, instead of distasteful, to the 
healthy sense. And even the screams of pea fowl, 
ringing' from a distance on a summer's evening, will 
suggest an abundance of images and recollections 
that cannot fail to interest any but the most dull and 
unimaginative minds. 

RANGE AND DOMESTIC ACCOMMODATION. 

THE causes which disincline many persons from in- 
dulging themselves with the daily spectacle of this in- 
approachable model of beauty, are, in the first place, 
the depredations that it commits upon gardens. For 
this, there is no help. The dislike which these birds 
have to enter a fowl house, and their decided determi- 
nation to roost on trees, or lofty buildings, prevents 
our exercising a control which should restrain them 
from mischief till an eye can be kept upon their move- 
ments. At the first dawn, or at the most unsuspected 
moments, they will steal off to the work of plunder. 
A mansion, therefore, the fruit and vegetable garden 
of which is at a distance, is almost the only place 
where they can be kept without daily vexation. The 
injury they do to flowers is comparatively trifling; 
though, like the Gruinea fowl, they are great eaters of 
buds, cutting them out from the axils of the leaves as 
cleanly as a surgeon's dissecting knife would do. 
They must also have a dusting hole, which is large and 
unsightly ; but this can be provided for them in some 



TFE PEA FOWL. 187 

out-of-the-way nook ; and by feeding and encourage- 
ment, they will soon be brought to dispose themselves 
into a tableaux vivant, at whatever point of view the 
tasteful eye may deem desirable. No one with a very 
limited range should attempt to keep them at all. 
But where they can be kept, they should be collected 
in considerable numbers, that their dazzling effect may 
be as impressive as possible. It should be understood, 
however, that no vineyard be at hand The greenness 
and sourness of the grapes, which caused the fox to 
refrain, would be but a weak argument with them. 

Old birds, received at a distance, are difficult to 
settle in a new home. Housing they do not like, and 
will scarcely bear. Most liberal feeding is the best 
bond of attachment, but even with that, they will un- 
expectedly be off, and will, perhaps, be stopped on the 
high road, like other suspicious vagrants. It is recom- 
mended to procure a sitting of eggs, place them under 
a hen turkey, and have the pleasure of watching their 
whole progress, literally ab ovo. Those who are im- 
patient to have a full-grown stock, should still select 
birds not more than three years old. 

LAYING-, BROODING-, AND SUBSEQUENT TREATMENT. 

IN general, the peahen makes her nest on the bare 
ground, amongst nettles, or rank weeds ; sometimes 
she chooses the shelter of a young fir. The egg very 
much resembles that of the ostrich in miniature, being 
smooth, but indented all over with little dimples, as if 
pricked with a large pin. It is somewhat bigger than 
a turkey's egg, bulging considerably at the larger 
end, of a dull, yellowish- white, and occasionally, but 
not always, spotted, or rather freckled, with a few 
small reddish-brown marks. The newly-hatched 
chicks are streaked on the head and neck with alter- 
nate stripes of dingy-yellow and pale-brown ; the legs 
are of a dusky-yellowish tinge. 

The probable term of life of the pea fowl is eighteen 
or twenty years ; and the young* poults may be eaten 



188 THE PEA FOWL. 

at nine months old. The female does not lay till her 
third summer ; but she then seems to have an in- 
stinctive fear of her mate, manifested by the secrecy 
with which she selects the place for her nest ; nor, if 
the eggs are disturbed, will she go there again. She 
lays from four or five to seven. If these are taken, she 
will frequently lay a second time, in the course of the 
summer, which plan is recommended to those who 
are anxious to increase their stock. She sits from 
twenty-seven to twenty-nine days. A common hen 
will hatch and rear the young ; but the same objec- 
tion lies against her performing that office, except in 
very fine, long summers, for the pea fowl, as for tur- 
keys ; namely, that the poults require to be brooded 
longer than the hen is able conveniently to do. A tur- 
key will prove a much better foster mother in every 
respect. The peahen should, of course, be permitted 
to take charge of one set of eggs. Even without such 
assistance she will be tolerably successful. 

The chicks are engaging little things, most elegant 
in appearance, very tame and confident. They may 
be made to sit upon the hand to peck flies from the 
window. The same Wise Provision is evinced by 
them, as in the Guinea fowl, but still in a greater 
degree. The demands of nature for the growth of 
bone, muscle, and particularly of feathers, are so great, 
that no subsequent abundant supply of food can make 
up for a fast of a couple of hours. The feathers still 
go on, grow ! grow ! ! grow ! ! ! in geometrical pro- 
gression, and drain the sources of vitality still faster 
than they can be supplied, till the young birds faint 
and expire from want of fullness. 

Their native jungle, in India, tall dense, sometimes 
impervious, swarming with reptiles, quadrupeds, and 
even insect enemies, would be a most dangerous habi- 
tation for a little tender thing, that can but run and 
merely squat. Accordingly, they escape from the egg 
with their quill feathers very highly developed. In 
three days, they will fly up and perch upon anything 



THE PEA FOWL. 189 

~ 

a yard in height ; in a fortnight, they will roost on 
trees, or the tops of sheds ; and in a month or six 
weeks, you would see them on the ridge of the barn, 
if there are any intermediate low stables, or other 
building, that would help them to mount from one to 
to the other. 

If fatted, the pea fowls should be shut up together 
with any turkeys they may have been in the habit of 
associating with, and fed exactly the same. If con- 
fined alone, they pine. They are, however, an excel- 
lent viand at a much more advanced age, and without 
any more fatting, provided they have been well fed, 
and killed at a proper season ; that is, when they are 
not renewing their plumage, and are in the larder 
hung up a sufficient time before cooking. A disregard 
to these points has probably led to their being so little 
appreciated as a dainty dish. Pork, in the dog days, 
and illegal oysters, might, in a similar manner, give a 
bad repute to other good things, did we not manage them 
better. When dressed for table, they should be larded 
over the breast, covered with paper, roasted by a gentle 
fire, and served with brown gravy, exactly like par- 
tridges or pheasants. When moulting, extra diet and 
varieties of food, including hemp seed and animal sub- 
stances, are most desirable. 






THE TAME DUCK. 



ORIGIN AND HISTORY, 

It would be curious to know when this species was first domesti- 
cated ; but, reader, the solution of such a question is a task on which I 
shall not venture. 

AUDUBON. 

IN regard to the origin of the ordinary farmyard 
duck, but one leading opinion seems to have prevailed 
in all the compilations from Aldrovandi down to Au- 
dubon, that it is nothing more than the tame descend- 
ant of the common wild duck, (Anas boschas,) of 
Europe, or the old English mallard. It is a pity to 
disturb so plausible and general a belief ; but an at- 
tempt to approximate to the solution of Audubon's 
problem "when this species was first domesticated," 
has raised some doubts upon the subject, which it is 
of no use to suppress. One thing, however, is very 
certain the wild breed and the tame will freely inter- 
mix, and the progeny partake rather more decidedly 
of the habits and manners of the former, than of the 
latter. 

There are, indeed, many points, irrespective of the 
varied colors in our domestic breeds, in which the 
tame and wild ducks differ. For instance, the tame 
duck is polygamous, but the wild species mates. 
Again, the feet of the wild duck are black while those 
of the tame birds are flesh-colored or red. 



THE TAME DUCK. 191 




THE WILD DUCK. 

As to its history, one thing, I think, may be demon- 
strated, that is, that the date of its first appearance in 
domestication on the European continent is not very 
remote, however high may be its antiquity in India 
and China. In pursuing this sort of inquiries, which 
are daily becoming more interesting and more impor- 
tant in their conclusions, one regrets that untranslated 
works on natural history or farming, (if such there be,) 
in the oriental languages, are sealed records to almost 
every one who has the leisure to make use of their 
contents. It is extremely probable that great light 
might be thrown on the origin and history of our do- 
mesticated animals by a careful inspection of such 
works. As it is, we are left to obtain our evidence 
from imperfect and more recent traces, with the ex- 
ception of geology. 

If the swan and the pelican were forbidden to the 
Israelites, and their carcasses to be held in abomination, 
(see Leviticus, xi. 18,) the duck would probably be 
included in the list of unclean birds ; or, rather, we 
may, without violence, suppose that the Hebrew words 
translated " swan" and "pelican," are used generi- 



192 THE TAME DUCK. 

cally for all web-footed fowls. But, as Scott says 
" here the critics find abundance of work." 

I have already alluded to the artificial incubation 
of the eggs of fowls in Egypt; the sarns thing occur* 
with ducks' eggs in China. The rearing of ducks as 
well as pigs there is a matter of considerable im- 
portance. Thousands of ducks are hatched by artificial 
warmth, the eggs being laid in boxes of sand, which 
are placed on a brick hearth, a proper temperature 
being maintained around them, until the ducklings 
emerge from their shells. The ducklings, it is said, 
are at first fed with cray fish and crabs boiled and cut 
small, and afterwards mixed with boiled rice. In 
about a fortnight, they are able to shift for themselves ; 
they are then provided with an old stepmother, who 
leads them where they are to find provender, being 
first put on board a " sampan," or boat which is destined 
for their habitation, and from which the whole flock, 
300 or 400 in number, go out to feed and return at 
command. This method is used nine months out of 
the twelve ; for, in the colder months, it does not suc- 
ceed, and is so far from a novelty that it may be seen 
everywhere, more especially about the time of cutting 
the rice, when the masters of the duck boats row up 
and down the rivers, according to the opportunity of 
procuring food, which, during that season, is found in 
plenty at the ebb of the tide on the rice plantations 
which are overflowed at high water. It is curious to 
see how the ducks obey their master ; for, some thou- 
sands belonging to different boats, will feed upon the 
same spot, and on a signal given, follow the leader to 
their respective crafts, without a stranger being found 
among them. The communication between the bank 
and the boat, is by means of a narrow plank ; and 
it is stated by a gentleman long resident in the Ce- 
lestial Empire that the first duck which gains the 
boat is ordinarily rewarded with a handful of rice, 
but that the last undergoes a smart chastisement. Of 
this discipline, the birds become, from its repetition, 



THE TAME PUCK 193 

soon aware, hence each strives to be foremost ; one un- 
fortunate must of course be the last, and undergo its 
punishment. 

Among the ancient Egyptians, ducks were in great 
request, and Herodotus informs us that they were 
eaten salted, without any other preparation. 

" G-oose and duck painting, seems to have been a 
favorite subject among the Egyptians. In Rosellini's 
plates, (No. iv. M. C.,) there is a picture from a tomb 
at Thebes, which represents a continuous subject ; it 
lies in one compartment, and is read from right to left. 
On the extreme right, four men are pulling a long rope 
attached to a net, in which a num ber of birds, appa- 
rently ducks, are caught upon a lake or some water; 
a fifth man, a little in advance of the four, has also 
hold of the rope, and seems to be giving a signal to the 
rest, while a man hid among some plants, (papyri ?) 
appears to be giving a signal and recommending care 
and silence. Further on the left, are two men carry- 
ing the ducks on their shoulders, and a little further, 
a man putting them into earthern vessels, formed like 
Roman amphorce, after the feathers have been plucked 
and the legs cut off, the heads of the ducks were kept 
on, and in this state they seemed to have been put 
into the amphorce, probably containing salt or pickle. 
In the extreme left of the picture, two men are seated, 
one of whom seems as if he were rubbing something 
into a duck ; one hand is closed as it would be if it 
were full of salt, and with the other he is raising one 
of the wings, apparently for the purpose of rubbing in 
the salt. The other figure appears to us to be pluck- 
ing the feathers off the neck of a duck ; but Rosellini 
describes him as sprinkling a handful of salt upon it. 
These two seated figures are placed near a frame work, 
formed by two upright poles and a third placed across. 
From this cross poll, the geese, which are plucked and 
ready for the amphorse, are suspended by the neck. 
This painting, according to Rosellini, is on the tomb 
of a royal scribe called Titi, who exorcised his art in 
9 



104 



THE TAME DUCK. 



the reigns of Thutmes IV. and of Ameno II., in the 
beginning of the eighteenth century before the Chris- 
tian era, and hence, if Rosellini's interpretation of the 
inscriptions is right, the picture is 3,600 years old." 

In other delineations of the same work, ponds 
in gardens, with tame ducks, geese, and fishes, sur- 
rounded by fruit trees, are presented. It is somewhat 
remarkable, that, esteemed as the duck was by the an- 
cient Egyptians, neither this bird in a tame state, nor 
the goose, though wild fowls are abundant, is to be seen 
as of extraordinary occurrence in the villages ; the same 
observation applies to Syria, and also to Persia and 
"Western Asia in general. These aquatic birds are 
rarely eaten by the Moslems ; and, as there is every 
reason to believe, were rejected by the ancient He- 
brews. The wild duck abounds in Syria and other 
parts of Western Asia, where marshes and lakes afford 
it a congenial habitation. Wild fowls swarm also on 
the lake t)f Tiberias. 

It may be shown, however from negative evidence, 
that the Romans at the time of our Saviour, and sub- 
sequently, were not acquainted with the domesticated 
duck. I can find no passage plainly declaring that 
they were, but many implying that they were not. 

Columella, after having given directions for the 
rearing of geese, which, with one or two laughable 
exceptions, are more sensible and practical than are to 
be found in modern works, proceeds to offer instruc- 
tions for making the nessotrophion, or duckery. He 
speaks of it as a matter of curiosity rather than profit ; 
" for ducks, teal, mallard, phalerides," says he, " and 
such like birds, are fed in confinement." Then it is 
to be surrounded with a wall fifteen feet high, and 
roofed with netting, in order "that the domestic birds 
may have no power of flying out, nor eagles and 
hawks of flying in." His mcde of increasing his stock 
shows that ducks had not at that time become natu- 
ralised as prolific inmates of the Roman poultry yards. 
*-* When any one is desirou of establishing a duckery," 



THE TAME DUCK. 195 

continues he, "it is a /ery old mode to collect the 
eggs of the above-mentioned birds, (such as teal, mal- 
lard, &c.,) and to place them under common hens; 
for the young thus hatched and reared, cast off their 
wild tempers, and undoubtedly breed, when confined 
in menageries. For if it is your plan to place fresh- 
caught birds that are accustomed to a free mode ot 
life in captivity, they will be but slow breeders in a 
state of bondage." 

Cicero also speaks of hatching ducks' eggs under 
hens, (De Natura Deorum, II.,) but there is nothing 
in the passage from which to infer that those ducks 
were domesticated, but rather the contrary ; as he re- 
marks how soon they abandon their foster mother and 
shift for themselves. 

Pliny describes the flight of ducks, as rising imme- 
diately from the water into the higher regions of the 
atmosphere ; a performance that would make our duck 
keepers uneasy. The very little mention that he 
makes of ducks at all, shows that he did not habitually 
see them in domestication. 

" Suppose it, however, to be proved," says Dixon, 
"that the tame duck is a comparative novelty in the 
West, it by no means follows that it is so on the Asi- 
atic continent and islands, nor, as a corollary, that it 
is a tamed descendant of our mallard. If the skele- 
tons of one and the other were placed side by side, it 
would require, not a skillful comparative anatomist, 
but only an observant sportsman, or even an ordinary 
cook, to point out which was which.* Nor has suffi- 
cient weight been attached to the circumstance of one 
bird being polygamous, and the other monogamous." 
When I come to speak of the domestic goose, it will 
be seen how little such a difference is likely to be the 
result of domestication. Let us not forget, too, that 
the domestication of wild races is an art that demands 
quiet, peace, patience, and superabundance, not merely 

* " You need not be at a loss to know a wild duck. The claws in the wUd 
species are black COL. HAWKER 



196 

for its successful issue, but for its being exercised at 
all, and was little likely to be much practised by any 
European nation, in the interva* between the fall of 
the Roman Empire and the present day, with a crea- 
ture that required a course of generations to reclaim 
it. I am inclined, therefore, to consider the race of 
farmyard ducks as an importation, through whatever 
channel, from the East, and to point out the discovery 
of the passage of the Cape of Good Hope, (1493,) as 
the approximate date. The early voyagers speak of 
finding them in the East Indies exactly similar to 
ours ; and the transmission of a few pairs would be a 
much easier task than to subdue the shyness and 
wildness of the wild mallard, and induce an alteration 
in its bony structure. 

The mallard, though not gone, is fast diminishing 
as a permanent inhabitant of England ; the tame duok, 
so much larger and heavier, if its descendant, can 
hardly be called a degenerate one. The mallard is 
very widely diffused over the continental part both of 
the Old and the New World, and therefore its supposed 
adaptation to domestic life is as likely to have occur- 
red in Asia as in Europe. Its dislike to salt water 
has made it less cosmopolitan among the islands. 
Dampier, in his "Voyages," repeatedly mentions that in 
the East Indies, "the tame fowls are ducks and dung- 
hill fowls, both in great plenty ; he does not describe 
the ducks, except as " the same with ours." He was 
doubtless correct in believing them to be the same ; 
although we know that the old travellers, and many 
of the modern emigrants, are not very precise in their 
zoology, and indeed might sometimes be excusably 
puzzled. For instance, when Captain Wallis, soon 
after he had discovered Otaheite, saw animals lying 
on the shore with their fore feet growing behind their 
heads, rising every now and then, and running a little 
way in an erect posture ; he was naturally incited 
with curiosity to inspect them more closely ; and after- 
wards found that they were dogs with their fore legs 



THE TAME DUCK, 197 

tied behind them, brought down by the natives as a 
peace-offering and a festival dish. 

One of the most valid arguments in favor of the de- 
rivation of the tame duck from the mallard, is to be 
found in the readiness with which the former returns 
to a wild or a half-wild state. In Norfolk, England, 
there is a breed called "marsh ducks," more from 
their habits and place of birth than from any peculiar- 
ity of race. They are mostly of plumage generally 
similar to the mallard, though an ornithologist would 
immediately distinguish them ; their size and the 
firmness of their bones are intermediate between the 
wild bird and the common farmyard duck. They are 
turned out on the marshes to forage for themselves ; 
indeed, it would be next to impossible to keep them 
at home ; and of the number which are annually lost 
to their masters, it would seem likely that quite as 
many assume an independent condition, as are killed 
by birds, beasts, or men, of prey ; but still they do 
not appear to be ever found actually and entirely wild. 

CHOICE OF VARIETIES. 

THE variety, at present, most in request, is the 
" dark-colored Rouen, or Rhone duck," originally from 
France, but common both in England and in this 
country. The " English," or " Aylesbury" white va- 
riety, though handsome and strong, is inferior in fla- 
vor, the flesh being too light-colored and " chickeny," 
as it is termed. Great numbers of these fowls, how- 
ever, are fattened in Buckinghamshire, England, for 
the London markets, where, in consequence of their 
large size, they command high prices. There is 
also the " crested," or " topknot duck," a beautiful 
ornamental tame variety, which breeds early, lays 
freely, and hatches well. They occur pure white, 
black, or mixed with black and white. Then there is 
the " musk" or " Muscovy" duck, which, from its 
large size, and peculiar habits, demands a more ex- 
tended notice. 



198 THE TAME DUCK 







THE MUSK DUCK. 

S Jlnas moschata, of Linnaeus ; Jlnas sylves 
of Ray ; Cane musquee, of the French ; bisamduftend Ente, of the Ger- 
mans ; Pata real, Pata grunde, Pata almisclada, of the Spaniards ; 
Musk Duck, Muscovy Duck, of the English and Anglo-Americans. 

The musk duck, so termed from the strong scent of 
musk which its skin exhales, is undoubtedly the type 
of a genus very distinct from that of the common kind. 
In this species, the feathers are large, lax, and powdery, 
the cheeks, are extensively naked, and the base of the 
bill is carunculated. This duck greatly exceeds the 
ordinary kind in size, and the male is far larger than 
the female. The general color is glossy blue-black, 
varied more or less with white, the head is crested, 
and a scarlet fleshy space surrounds the eye, contin- 
ued from scarlet caruncles at the base of the beak. 
Tail destitute of the curled feathers so conspicuous in 
the tail of the common drake. In a wild state, the 
drake is of a brownish-black, with a broad white patch 
on the wings, the female being smaller and more ob- 
scurely colored. But in a state of domestication, it 
exhibits every variety of color, like the common duck. 

The tropical regions of South America are the na- 
tive country of the musk duck, which may account 
for its dislike to a cold bath in our northern climate. 
Its frizzled crest is analogous to that of some curas- 
sows, natives of the same continent. It is fond of 
warmth, passing the night, at the north, not in the open 
air, but in the fowl house with the cock and hens ; 



THE TAME DUCK. 199 

and selecting by day, the most sunny corner to bask 
and doze in. 

" Can a duck swim ?" is a pert question sometimes 
asked with, little expectation of an answer in the neg- 
ative. Here, however, is a duck, which, if it can 
swim, performs that action in such a clumsy way as 
hardly to deserve the name of swimming. Those who 
expect that its singular appearance would render it a 
curious, if not an elegant companion, among our more 
attractive ducks will be disappointed ; for it will nev- 
er go near the water, if it can help it, but will prefer 
the farm yard, the precincts of the kitchen, or even 
the piggery itself, to the clearest stream that ever 
flowed. In fact, it hates water, except some dirty 
puddle to drink and drabble in. When thrown into a 
pond, it gets out again as fast as it can. It does, in- 
deed, sometimes seem to enjoy an occasional bath, 
and so does a sparrow or a Canary bird. Its very 
short leg does not appear to be mechanically adapted 
for the purpose of swimming. It waddles on the sur- 
face of a pond as much as it does on dry land ; it is 
evidently out of its place in either situation. Its pro- 
per mode of locomotion is through the air ; its congenial 
haunts are among the branches of trees. 

The female of the musk duck has considerable pow- 
ers of flight, and is easy and self-possessed in the use 
of its wings. It is fond of perching on the tops of 
barns, walls, &c. Its feet appear by their form to be 
more adapted to such purposes than those of most 
other ducks. If allowed to spend the night in the 
hen house, the female will generally go to roost by 
the side of the hens, but the drake is too heavy to mount 
thither with ease. His claws are sharp and long ; and 
he approaches the tribe of " scratchers," (rasores, ) 
in an un-scientific sense, being almost as dangerous to 
handle incautiously as an ill-tempered cat ; and will 
occasionally adopt a still more offensive and scarcely 
describable means of annoyance. He manifests little 
affection to his femab partner, and none towards her 



200 THE TAME DUCK 

offspring. The possession of three or four mates suits 
him and them, better than to be confined to the com- 
pany of a single one. He bullies other fowls, some- 
times by pulling their feathers, but more frequently 
by following them close, and repeatedly thrusting his 
face in their way, with an offensive and satyr-like ex- 
pression of countenance ; or salaciously pursuing 
them, whether male or female, until he has accom- 
plished .his purpose, or at least has made an attempt. 

The musk duck, though a voracious feeder, is easily 
fattened, a prolific breeder, and consequently, may be 
profitably reared. The male pairs readily with the 
common tame duck, producing, by the cross, a hybrid, 
or mongrel, which is incapable of "breeding in a line." 
The female, however, will pair with the common drake 
and produce a good sort. The hybrid generally has a 
deep-green plumage, and is destitute of the red car- 
uncled membrane on the cheeks, as well as of the 
musky odor of the gland on the rump. 

Her eggs are scarcely distinguishable from those of 
the common duck ; they are well flavored. The time 
of incubation is five weeks ; but in all birds that I 
have observed, the duration of that period varies so 
much according to circumstances, that a mean of 
many observations must be taken to arrive at a correct 
standard. The time required by the hybrid eggs be- 
tween this and the common duck, is intermediate 
between the respective periods. 

The newly-hatched young resemble those of the 
common tame duck ; they are covered with down, the 
shades of which indicate the color of the future feath- 
ers ; and they do not for some time show any appear- 
ance of the tuberculated face. They are delicate, and 
require some care while young, but are quite hardy 
when full grown. Their food should be anything that 
is nutritious, both plenty and a variety of it. 

The musk duck is excellent eating, if killed just be- 
fore it is fully fledged ; but it is longer in becoming fit 



THE TAME DUCK, 201 

for the table than the common duck. The flesh is 
at first high-flavored and tender, but an old bird would 
be rank, and the toughest of tough meats. It is 
strange that a dish should now be so much out of 
fashion as scarcely ever to be seen or tasted, which, 
under the name of Gruinea duck, graced every feast 
in England a hundred and fifty years ago, and added 
dignity to every table at which it was produced. 

RANGE AND DOMESTIC ACCOMMODATION OF THE COMMON 
TAME DUCK. 

IT is not in all situations that common ducks can 
be kept with advantage ; they require water much 
more, even, than the goose ; they are no grazers, yet 
they are hearty feeders, and excellent " snappers-up 
of unconsidered trifles;" nothing comes amiss to them 
green vegetables, especially when boiled, the rejecta- 
menta of the kitchen, meal of all sorts made into a 
paste, grains, bread, oatcake, animal substances, 
worms, slugs, and crushed snails, insects and their 
larvae, are all accepted with eagerness. Their appe- 
tite is not fastidious ; in fact, to parody the line of a 
song, " they eat all that is luscious, eat all that they 
can," and seem to be determined to reward their own- 
er by keeping themselves in first-rate condition if the 
chance of so doing is afforded them. They never need 
cramming -give them enough, and they will cram 
themselves ; yet they have their requirements, and 
ways of their own. which must be conceded. Con- 
finement will not do for them ; a paddock, a pasture, 
an orchard, a green lane, and a pond ; a farm yard, 
with barns, and water, a common, smooth and level, 
with a sheet of water, and nice ditches, abounding in 
the season with tadpoles and the larvae of aquatic in- 
sects, are the localities in 'which the duck delights, 
and in such are they kept at little expense. They trav- 
erse the green sward in Indian file, (an instinctive 
habit,) and thus return at evening to their dormitory, 



202 THE TAME DUCK. 

or emerge from it to the edge of the pond, cr sheet of 
water, over which they scatter themselves ; thus also, 
they come to the call of their feeder. 

Ducks should always have a lodging-place of their 
own, they should be separate from fowls, and never 
housed beneath their perches ; yet where fowls are 
kept, a little contrivance will suffice to make their 
berth, even in a fowl house, tolerably comfortable. In 
winter, a thin bedding of straw, rushes, or fern leaves 
should be placed on the floor of their dormitory, and 
frequently changed. 

As respects the accommodation of the tame duck, 
Mascall says, " Yee must make a ponde of two feeie 
deepe, so long and wyde as the place will serve, and 
that the water there may run full continuallye to the 
brimme thereof, that the bankes may not be marde, 
and also made with plaister, and cimmond, (cement ?) 
in the bottom, and all about the sydes paved with 
smooth stone, that no weedes do grow therein, but 
that the fowle may have clear water still run thorow. 
And in the midst yee shall make a mount of earth, 
and thereon sowe beannes of Egypt, and such other 
green herbes as commonly comes in water, to cover 
and hyde those fowle therein ; for some of them loves 
to be hid in tuftes of grasse, roses, (rushes ?) sedge, 
and such ; notwithstanding, yee muste not cover their 
holes, for the water must be once in the day without 
weedes." 

Where there is much extent of water or shrubbery, 
within the range of ducks, they are liable to lay and 
sit abroad, unless they are constantly looked after, and 
driven home at night, and provided with proper shelter 
or pens. These may be made of rough boards, or of 
rustic work, thatched with straw, as denoted in the 
following cut. They may also be made after the mode 
of the poultry house, at p. 86. 



THE TAME DUCK. 203 




DUCK POND AND HOUSES. 

The internal arrangement of these houses may vary, 
according to the means and taste of the proprietor, only 
providing the ducks with nests or nest boxes, in order 
that they may lay and incubate undisturbed, and 
affording proper protection for the young. 

PAIRING AND LAYING. 

ONE drake, according to M. Parmentier, is sufficient 
for eight or ten ducks, while Columella limits the 
number of ducks to six ; and others to four or five. 
They begin to lay towards the end of February, and 
sometimes earlier, but so far from producing the lim- 
ited number of about sixteen eggs, some will lay as 
many as fifty, and even nearly double that number. 
They do not, usually continue to lay, however, later 
than May or June, unless they are very well fed the 
great secret for rendering them prolific, provided they 
do not become too fat. 

At the laying season, ducks require to be closely 
looked after, inasmuch as they are not so easily brought 
to lay in the nests prepared for them as common fowls ; 
but will stray away to hedges and other by-places to 
lay, and will even sometimes drop their eggs in the 
water. When they succeed in laying oat their num- 



204 THE TAME DUCK. 

ber of eggs without their nest being discovered, they 
will hatch them, and not make their appearance till 
they bring their young family home to the yard, ex- 
cept in raw, cold weather. As ducks usually lay either 
at night, or very early in the morning, it is a good 
way to secure their eggs, to confine them during the 
period when they must lay, a circumstance easily as- 
certained by feeling the vent. 

It will accordingly be requisite at the approach of 
the laying season, in spring, to give them food in a 
particular place three or four times a-day, to prevent 
them from wandering, and when once they can be 
got to lay in a nest prepared for them, they will prob- 
ably continue to do so, without laying elsewhere. 

The eggs of the duck are readily known from those 
of the common fowl by their bluish color and larger 
size, the shell being smoother, not so thick, and with 
much fewer pores. When boiled, the white is never 
curdy like that of a new-laid hen's egg, but transpa- 
rent and glassy, while the yolk is much darker in 
color. The flavor is by no means so delicate. For 
omelets, however, as well as for puddings and pastry, 
duck eggs are much better than hens' eggs, .giving a 
finer color and flavor, and requiring less butter. 

INCUBATION. 

THE tame duck is not naturally disposed to incubate, 
but in order to induce her to do so, towards the end of 
laying, two or three other eggs may be left in each 
nest, taking care every morning to take away the 
oldest laid, that they may not be spoiled. From eight 
to ten eggs may be given, according to the size of the 
duck, and her ability to cover them, taking particular 
care not to sprinkle them with cold water, as some 
authors wrongly advise. This precaution, at the best, 
is superfluous, if it be not hurtful. The duck requires 
some care when she sits ; for as she cannot go to her 
food, attention must be paid to place it before her ; 
and she will *> content w'th it, whatever he its qual- 



THE TAME DUCK. 205 

ity ; it has even been remarked, that when ducks are 
too well fed, they will not sit well. The period of in- 
cubation is about thirty days, which is somewhat lon- 
ger than that of the wild species. 

The first broods of the season are usually the best, 
because the- heat of summer helps much to strengthen 
the ducklings ; the cold always preventing the later 
broods from getting strong. 

The duck is apt to let her eggs get cold, when she 
hatches. Yet Reaumur says, he had one of the com- 
mon species, which only left the nest once a day, 
towards eight or nine in the morning ; and before leav- 
ing it, covered the eggs over with a layer of straw, 
which she drew from the body of the nest, to screen 
them from the impression of the air. This layer, 
above an inch thick, secured the eggs so well, that 
it was impossible to guess that they were there. But, 
every duck is far from giving the same proofs of so 
much foresight for the preservation of the warmth of 
the eggs, as this one was, and it often happens that 
they let them cool. The ducklings are no sooner ex- 
cluded, than the mother takes them to the water, 
where they dabble and eat at the very first, and many 
of them perish, if the weather is cold. 

AU these reasons often induce poultry keepers to 
have ducks' eggs hatched by hens or turkey hens ; 
and being more assiduous than ducks, these borrowed 
mothers take an affection for the young, to watch 
over, which requires great attention ; because, as these 
are unable to accompany them on the water, for which 
they show the greatest propensity as soon as they are 
excluded, they follow the mother hen on dry land, and 
get a little hardy before they are allowed to take to 
the water without any guide. Yet, they can do with- 
out a mother as soon as they are excluded from the 
shell. 

REARING- AND FEEDING THE YOUNG-. 

THE best mode of rearing ducklings depends very 
much upon the situation in which they are hatched. 



203 



THE TAMK DFCK. 



For the first month, the confinement of their mother, 
under a coop is better than too much liberty. All 
kinds of sopped food, buckwheat flour, Indian or 
barley meal and water mixed thin, worms, &c., suit 
them. No people are more successful than cottagers, 
who keep them for the first period of their existence 
in pens two or three yards square, cramming them 
night and morning with dried pellets of flour and 
water, or egg and flour, till they are judged old enough 
to be turned out with their mother to forage on the 
common or the village pond. 

"When ducklings have been hatched under a com- 
mon hen, or a turkey hen, they are not generally 
allowed to go to the water till they become a little 
hardy, by remaining on land ; but the moment they 
see water, they naturally plunge into it, to the great 
alarm of their foster mother, which cannot follow them ; 
a circumstance which has been remarked by the earli- 
est writers, and is finely depicted by M. Rosset in his 
" Poeme de 1' Agriculture." 

It is necessary, to prevent accidents, to take care 
that such ducklings come regularly home every eve- 
ning ; but precautions must be taken before they are 
permitted to mingle with the old ducks, lest the latter 
ill-treat and kill them, though ducks are by no means 
so pugnacious and jealous of new-comers as common 
fowls uniformly are. 

FATTENING. 

ACCORDING to Grervase Markham, pulse, or any kind 
of grain, will fatten ducks or ducklings in a fortnight ; 
but if he had tried this, he would have found that his 
receipt was not always successful. 

Lawrence says that butchers' offal is excellent for 
fattening ducks, as it does not give the flesh the rank, 
disagreeable flavor which it always imparts to pork. 
Acorns, on the contrary, while they are good for fat- 
tening, injure the flavor of the flesh, and barley in 



THE TAME DUCK. 207 

any form is apt to render the flesh insjpid, and woolly, 
or, as it is termed, " chickeny." 

As the duck is both a voracious feeder and fond of 
liberty, it will fatten very well when allowed to roam 
about, provided it has abundance of food ; but it ex- 
pedites the process of fattening, to have recourse to 
coops, quiet, and darkness. 

In Lower Normandy, where great numbers of ducks 
are reared and fattened, the poulterer prepares a paste 
with the flour of buckwheat, made into gobbets, with 
which they are crammed thrice a-day, for eight or ten 
days, when, though not full fat, they are sufficiently 
marketable to bring a remunerating price. 

In Languedoc, when ducks have been rendered tol- 
erably fat by being at large, they are cooped up by 
eights or tens in a dark place, whence thpy are taken 
out morning and evening to be crammed. This is 
done by a girl, who crosses their wings on her knees, 
opens their bill with her left hand, while with her 
right she stuffs them with boiled maize. Many ducks 
are suffocated by the operation, and killed outright, 
but their flesh is not the worse for the table, provided 
that they be immediately bled. It requires a fortnight 
to complete the process, which increases the size of 
their liver enormously, and oppresses their breathing 
in a distressing manner. The sign of their being suf- 
ficiently fat is, when the tail opens like a fan, from the 
fat pressing on the roots of the feathers. 



THE DOMESTIC GOOSE. 



ORIGIN AND HISTORY. 



A team of twenty geese, a snow-white train ! 
Fed near the limpid lake with golden grain, 
Amuse my pensive hours. 

POPE. 



THE domestication of the common goose, like that 
of the domestic fowl, hides itself, as we pursue it, in 
the remotest depths, and obscurest mists of ancient his- 
tory. It has already been hinted that, by the Hebrews, 
as by many modern naturalists, it would probably be 
classed generically with the swan, and so be included 
in their list of unclean birds. Among the Greeks and 
Romans, it seems to have been the only really domesti- 
cated water fowl they possessed ; and appears to have 
held exactly the same place in their esteem, that it still 
retains with us, after the lapse of two or three thous- 
and years ! Indeed, a modern writer may escape great 
part of the trouble of composing the natural history of 
the domestic goose, if he will only collect the materials 
that are scattered amongst ancient authors. A very 
early notice of them occurs in Homer. Penelope, re- 
lating her dream, says, " I have twenty geese at 
home, that eat wheat out of water, and I am delighted 
to look at them." 

The alarm given at the approach of the army of the 



THE DOMESTIC GOOSE. 209 

Gran Is by the geese kept in the capitol of Rome, oc- 
curred so long back as A. u. c. 365, or 388 years before 
Christ. The passage is worth extracting 

" Thus they were employed at Veii, whilst, in the 
mean time, the citadel and capi^ol in Rome were in 
utmost danger. The Grauls either perceived the track 
of a human foot, where the messenger from Yeii had 
passed, or, from their own observation, had remarked 
the easy ascent at the rock of Carmentis ; on a moon- 
light night, therefore, having first sent forward a per- 
son unarmed to make trial of the way, handing their 
arms to those before them ; when any difficulty oc- 
curred, supporting and supported in turns, and draw- 
ing each other up according as the ground required, 
they climbed to the summit in such silence, that they 
not only escaped the notice of the guards, but did not 
even alarm the dogs, animals particularly watchful 
with regard to any noise at night. They were not un- 
perceived, however, by some geese, which being sacred 
to Juno, the people had spared, even in the present great 
scarcity of food ; a circumstance to which they owed 
their preservation ; for the cackling of these creatures, 
and the clapping of their wings, Marcus Manlius was 
roused from sleep, a man of distinguished character 
in war, who had been consul the third year before ; and 
snatching up his arms, and at the same time calling to 
the rest to do the same, he hastened to the spot, where, 
while some ran about in confusion, he, by a stroke 
with the boss of his shield, tumbled down a Graul who 
had already got footing on the summit ; and this man's 
weight, as he fell, throwing down those who were 
next, he slew several others, who, in their consterna- 
tion, threw away their arms and caught hold of the 
rocks, to which they clung. By this time, many of the 
garrison had assembled at the place, who, by throwing 
javelins and stones, beat down the enemy, so that the 
whole band, unable to keep either their hold or foot- 
ing, were hurled down the precipice in promiscuous 



210 THE DOMESTIC GOOSE. 

Lucretius, referring to this event, attributes the 
vigilance of the geese to their fine sense of smell: 
" The white goose, the preserver of the citadel of the 
descendants of Romulus, perceives at a great distance 
the odor of the human race." - 

Virgil, alluding to the same occurrence, ascribes the 
preservation of the capitol to a " silver goose." Both 
these poets, therefore, inform us that the domestic 
goose of their days differed as much from the grey-lag 
or _the white- fronted, as it does at present, a circum- 
stance which the reader is requested to bear in mind. 

Pliny, about four hundred years later, remarks : 
" The goose is carefully watchful ; witness the de- 
fence of the capitol, when the silence of the dogs would 
have betrayed everything. * * * # * It is possible, 
also, that they may have some discernment of wisdom. 
Thus one is said to have stuck perpetually to the phi- 
losopher Lacydis, never leaving him, either in public, 
in the baths, by night, nor by day. Our folks are wiser, 
who are aware of the goodness of their liver. In those 
that are crammed, it increases to a great size ; when 
taken out, it is laid to swell in milk mixed with honey. 
And it is not without cause that it is a matter of de- 
bate who was the first to discover such a dainty, 
whether Scipio Metellus, of consular dignity, or M. 
Seius, a Roman knight at the same epoch. But, 
(what is certain,) Messalinus Cotta, the son of Messala, 
the orator, discovered the method of cooking the web 
of their feet, and fricasseeing them in small dishes 
along with cock's combs. I am ready heartily to at- 
tribute the merit to the kitchen of either. It is won- 
derful that this bird should travel on foot from the 
Morini, (in the north of France,) to Rome. Those 
which are tired are carried to the front ; so that the 
rest push them on by a natural crowding. * * * * * 
In some places they are plucked twice a year." 

It is very natural to inquire whence so remarkable 
and valuable a bird was originally obtained ; but the 
conclusion generally arrived at appears to be inconsist 



THE DOMESTIC GOOSE. 211 

ent, not merely with truth, but even with probability ; 
namely, that it results from the crossing and intermix- 
ture of several wild species. None of these ancient 
accounts indicate any such fact ; but on the contrary, 
declare that the domestic goose was in the earliest 
ages, (dating with respect to man,) exactly what it is 
now. The very same arguments that are used to 
show that the domesticated goose is a combination of 
the "grey-legged," (Anser palustris,) "white-front- 
ed," or "laughing goose," (A. albifrons^) and "bean 
goose," (A. fcrus,) would equally prove that the Anglo- 
Saxon race of men is derived from a mixture of the 
Red Indian, the Yellow Chinese, and the tawny Moor. 

But the supposition that all our domesticated crea- 
tures must necessarily have an existing wild original, 
is a mere assumption ; and it has misled, and is likely 
to mislead, investigators, as far from the truth as did 
the old notion about fossil organic remains, that they 
were Lithoschemata, as Aldrovandi has it, sketches 
in stone, abortive efforts of Nature, imperfect embryos, 
instead of fragmentary ruins of a former state of 
things. Some naturalists seem already to have had 
misgivings that such a theory respecting domestic 
animals is not tenable. According to popular opinion, 
the domestic goose is usually considered as having been 
derived from the "grey-legged goose," but such a cir- 
cumstance is rendered highly improbable from the 
well-known fact that the common gander, after attain- 
ing a certain age is invariably (?) white ! 

The origin of the domestic goose is indeed unknown 
if we look to man, or his influence, to have originated 
so valuable and peculiar a species ; but not unknown 
if we believe it to have been created by the same Al- 
mighty Power who animated the Mammoth, the Plesi- 
Osaurus, the Dinornis, and the Dodo. For let us grant 
that the grey-legged goose is the most probable exist- 
ing parent to the domestic sort. Now, even that is 
becoming a rare bird ; and the more scarce a creature 
is in a wild state, the scarcer it is likely still to be- 



212 THE DOMESTIC .GOOSE. 

come. Suppose the grey-legged goose extinct ; by no 
means an impossibility. Then those who must have a 
wild original from which to derive all our domestic 
animals would be compelled to fall back on some other 
species still less probable. It is surely a simpler 
theory to suppose that creatures that were cotemporary 
with the mammoth, have, like it, disappeared from the 
earth in their wild state, but have survived as depen- 
dents on man, than to engage in attempts at reconcil- 
ing incongruities and discrepancies, which, after all, 
cannot satisfy the mind, but leave it in as doubtful 
a state as ever. 

Still less is the " white-fronted," the ancestor of the 
domestic goose. Entirely white specimens of the 
Anas albifrons are indeed occasionally hatched in con- 
finement, and the common goose may now and then 
exhibit traces of an admixture or dash of blood with 
it, as it certainly does occasionally, of a cross with the 
China goose (A. cygnoides) ; but these are mere im- 
purities which wear out, and the race returns to the 
well-known domestic type. And it will be allowed by 
most persons who have possessed a variety of these 
birds, and who have watched and tended them day by 
day, that the domestic goose is sufficiently separated 
from the grey-legged by the color of its feet and legs ; 
from the white-fronted, by the extreme difference of its 
voice, manner, time of incubation, color of the eyes, 
greater thickness of neck, convexity of profile, and 
many other particulars that are more easily perceived 
than described. 

It might be urged, as a further essential difference, 
that the ' domestic goose is polygamous, whereas all 
wild geese that we are acquainted with are monoga- 
mous. It is true that wild geese, in captivity, will 
couple with the females of other species, but that takes 
place by their utterly neglecting their own mate for 
the time, not by entertaining two or more mistresses 
at once. It will be replied, that habits of polyamy are 
the effects of domestication ; but what proof have we 



THE DOMESTIC GOOSE. 213 

of such an assertion ? Domestication has not yet in- 
duced the pigeon nor the Guinea fowl to consort with 
more than one partner, and the swan, called " domes- 
tic," by some writers, remains obstinately and even 
fiercely faithful in its attachments. 




THE DOMESTIC GOOSE. 

SYNOHTTMEB. Jlnser palustris (?.,) of Naturalists ; Oie commune, of the 
French ; Gemeine Oans, of the Germans ; Ansa do?nestica, of the Span- 
iards ; Goose, Common Goose, of the English and Anglo-Americans. 

Of the domestic goose there really is but one variety, 
individuals of which are found varying from entirely 
white plumage, through different degrees of patched- 
ness with grey, to entirely grey coloring. The gan- 
ders are generally, not invariably white. Such are 
sometimes called " Embden geese," from a town of 
Hanover, of that name, famous also for groats. High 
feeding, care, and moderate warmth, will induce a 
habit of prolificacy, which becomes, in some measure, 
hereditary. The season of the year at which the 
young are hatched, influences their future size and 
development. After allowing for these causes of diver- 
sity, it will be found that the domestic goose consti- 
tutes only one species or permanent variety. 



214 THE DOMESTIC GOOSE. 



RANGE AND DOMESTIC ACCOMMODATION. 

WITH respect to the range and domestic accom^ia- 
tion of geese, they require a dormitory apart from oth<s.r 
fowls similar to the one shown at p. 2Q3 for the tame 
duck, or the rustic poultry house at p. 86, and a green 
pasture, or common, with a convenient pond or stream 
of water attached. 

Mascall, following Columella, directs as most proper 
for geese to " have a large court, close paled or walled, 
of nyne foot hye, that no vermin may enter, and all 
about within the same to make alleys and galleries, 
with partitions and chambers for one alone to sleep in 
and over the same, to set your house for them, made 
strong with stone or brick four foote square, plaste 
about your courte, and to eche house a close door for 
them to come in and out to lay, and also to shut them 
in when ye shall have cause. Then, if there be not a 
ponde or river nye unto them, and to the house yee 
must then make one, else to seeke their water farre 
off, which is not good, for geese that sitte must have 
water to bathe them when they rise from their neast, 
or else, as some say, their egges will. not prosper If 
there be no water, must make a ponde, clay it in the 
bottom for the water to remain ; and make it some- 
what deep, that they may plunge therein ; for a say- 
ing is, a goose will not live withoute bathing and 
washing her often, no more than a beast without pas- 
ture." 

"All men," says Markham, "must understand, 
that, except he have either pond or streame, he can 
never keepe geese well." Yet if we are to trust M. 
Parmentier, the vicinity of rivers and ponds is not ab- 
solutely necessary to the most successful rearing of 
geese ; for in districts destitute of these advantages, a 
small reservoir, where they can bathe, will be quite 
sufficient. 

In France, geese are put up in thirties in the same 
lodge, with roqfe and partitions tD separate them, never 



THE DOMESTIC GOOSE. 215 

allowing more than eight under one roof. All damp 
must be avoided, for geese at all times are fond of a 
clean, dry place to sleep in, however much they may 
like to swirn in water. It is not a good method to 
keep geese with other poultry ; for when confined in 
the poultry yard, they become very pugnacious, and 
will very much harrass the hens and turkeys. 

Columella advises to pasture geese in marshy or 
moist ground, and to sow for them vetches or tares, 
mellilot, clover, and fenugreek, but more particularly 
chiccory, and lettuce, of which, he says, they are very 
fond. 

" Grrasse, says Markham, u they must necessarily 
have, and the worst, and that which is the most use- 
lesse, is the best, as that which is moorish and unsa- 
voury for cattell." 

In allowing geese to range at large, it is requisite to 
be aware that they are very destructive to all garden 
and farm crops, as well as to young trees, and must, 
therefore, be carefully excluded from orchards and 
cultivated fields. It is usual to prevent them getting, 
through the gaps in fences, by hanging a stick or 
" yoke" across their breasts. 

If we traverse a pasture or common, on which geese 
are kept, we find the flocks of the respective owners 
keeping together, and if by chance they mingle on the 
pond or sheet of water, they separate towards evening 
and retire, each flock to its own domicile. On exten- 
sive commons where many thousands of geese are 
kept, this rule is scarcely ever broken ; the flocks of 
young geese brought up together, as their parents were 
before them, form a united band, and thus distinct 
groups herd together, bound by the ties of habit. 

PAIRING-. 

IT was ascertained bv M. St. Grenis, of France, that 
geese will pair like pigeons and partridges ; and in the 
course of his experiments, he remarked, that, if the 
number of the ganders exceed that of the geese by 



216 THE DOMESTIC GOOSE. 

two, and even by three, including the common father, 
no disturbance nor disputes occur, the pairing taking 
place without any noise, and no doubt by mutual 
choice. Besides the common father, he left two of the 
young ganders unprovided with female companions ; 
but the couples which had paired, kept constantly to- 
gether, and the three single ganders did not, during 
temporary separations of the males and females, offer 
to approach the latter. He also remarked, that gan- 
ders are more commonly white than the females. 

Those who breed geese, generally assign one gander 
to four or five females. M. Parmentier recommends 
the gander, to be selected, of a large size, of 'a fine 
white, with a lively eye, and an active gait ; while the 
breeding goose, he says, ought to be brown, ash-grey, 
or party-colored, and to have a broad foot. The grey 
geese are supposed to produce the finest goslings, 
while the party-colored ones produce better feathers, 
and are not so apt to stray from home. 

"Whatever care may be taken in selecting grey geese, 
with white ganders, Stephanus assures us, that a black 
sort will frequently be produced, which he says, "are 
skant so fruitful as the other, nor so good to house ; 
wherefore, nourish as few blacke geese as ye may, for 
their flesh is not so good, being much dryer." And 
again : " They are better to be all white than grey, 
or mixtewith two colors, and the blacke color is worste 
of all, and of leaste goodnesse." 

LAYING-. 

WHEN well fed, in a mild climate, geese will lay 
twice or three times a year, from five to twelve eggs 
each time, and some more, that is, when they are left 
to their own way ; but if the eggs be carefully re- 
moved as soon as laid, a goose may be made, by abun- 
dant feeding, to lay from twenty to fifty eggs without 
intermitting. They begin to lay early in the spring, 
usually in March, and it may be known when an indi- 
vidual is about to lay, by her carrying about straws to 



THE DOMESTIC GOOSE. 217 

form her nest with ; but, sometimes, she will only 
throw them about. 

When this is observed, the geese should be watched, 
lest they lay in some by-place, and the eggs be lost. 
" Wherefore," says -Mascall, " towarde night, ye must 
take them up, and feele how many be ready to lay, 
which ye shall perceive if shee be nye laying, yee shall 
feele the end of her egge harde at her vent. Then 
shutte her up, and put her alone in a neast till she have 
layd, so she will seeke that place agayne to lay." 

It is an essential precaution, M. Parmentier says, as 
soon as it is perceived that geese want to lay, to coop 
them up under their roof, where nests made of straw 
have been previously prepared. If they can once be 
induced to lay in this nest, they will continue to do so 
till their number of eggs is completed. 

In order to have early goslings, geese should be 
brought to lay early by keeping them in a warm, clean 
place, and feeding them on stimulant food. 

INCUBATION. 

WHEN a goose is observed to keep her nest longer 
than usual, after laying an egg, it is a pretty sure in- 
dication that she is desirous of sitting. The nest for 
hatching should be made of clean straw, lined with 
hay, and from fourteen to eighteen eggs will be as 
many as a large goose can conveniently cover. Dur- 
ing the period of incubation, the gander is very atten- 
tive to his favorite, sits by her, and is vigilant and 
daring in her defence. 

The goose sits about one month, and requires to 
have food and water placed near her, that she may not 
be so long absent as to allow the eggs to cool, which 
might cause her to abandon her task. It is the prac- 
tice of some to put vinegar in the water, and of 
others to lift them off the nests to make them drink, 
but neither of these is necessary. 

It is an economical way of getting a great number 
of goslings, to employ turkey hens to hatch. The 
10 



THE DOMESTIC GOOSE. 

common fowl has been equally praised for filling this 
important function ; but the eggs of the goose being 
very large, and their shell very hard, a hen is not bulky 
enough to hatch more than eight or ten, even if we 
employ the Cochin-China, or great Malay. The tur- 
key hen, therefore, deserves to be preferred, because 
she can hatch twelve or fifteen. This function of the 
goose being thus filled by another, she is not kept from 
laying, and yields eggs in great abundance. 

Tn the environs of Toulouse, in France, where many 
hybrid geese are reared, increasing with the common 
duck and the large musk duck, they give the eggs to 
the common fowl to hatch ; and to these are added 
two or three of the large-sized goose eggs. The hy- 
brid bird from this crossing conducts the goslings in a 
superior manner, and always walks at their head. 

CARE OF THE GOSLINGS. 

LIKE turkey chickens, goslings are a month in hatch- 
ing, and must be taken from under the mother, lest, if 
feeling the young ones under her, she might perhaps 
leave the rest of the tardy brood still unhatched. After 
having separated them from her, they may be kept in 
flat pens, or baskets, covered with a cloth, and lined 
with wool ; and when the whole brood is come forth, 
the first hatched may be returned to the mother. 

On the first day after the goslings are hatched, they 
may be let out, if the weather be warm, care being 
taken not to let them be exposed to the unshaded heat 
of the sun, which might kill them. The food given 
is prepared with some barley or Indian meal, coarsely 
ground, bran, and raspings of bread, which are still 
better, if soaked and boiled in milk, or lettuce .leaves, 
and crusts of bread boiled in milk. 

Afterwards, advantage must be taken of a fine warm 
sun to turn them out for a few hours ; but cold and 
rain being very hurtful to them, they must in bad 
weather be cooped up, and prevented from mixing with 
the larger ones, unless they have strength enough to 



THE DOMESTIC GOOSE. 21 9 

defend themselves against any hostile attack, to which 
new-comers are usually exposed. To such goslings as 
are a little strong, bran or Indian-meal dough may be 
given twice a-day, morning and evening, continuing 
to give them this food till the wings begin to cross on 
the back, and after tjais, green food, which they are 
particularly fond of, may be mixed with it, such as 
lettuce, beet leaves, and the like. 

FATTENING. 

LIKE other fowls, geese may be brought by proper 
management to a great degree of fatness ; but the 
period at which they are at the fattest must be chosen 
to kill them, otherwise they will rapidly become lean 
again, and many of them would die. 

(reese may be fattened at two different periods of 
their lives, in the young state, when they are termed 
" green geese," and after they have attained their full 
growth. The methods at each period are very nearly 
the same. 

The writer of the article on poultry, in Baxter's 
" Library of Agriculture," recommends steamed po- 
tatoes, with a gallon of buckwheat or ground oats to 
the bushel, mashed up with the potatoes, and given 
warm. This, it is said, will render geese, cooped in a 
dark, quiet, cool place, fat enough in three weeks. 

M. Parmentier gives very copious details of the 
French methods of fattening. The whole process, he 
says, consists in plucking the feathers from under the 
belly ; in giving them abundance of food and drink, 
and in cooping them up more closely than is practised 
with common fowls, cleanliness and quiet being, above 
all, indispensable. The best time is in the month of 
November, or when the cold weather begins to set in; 
if it is longer delayed, the paring season approaches, 
and prevents them from becoming fat. 

When there are not many geese to fatten, they are 
put into a cask with holes bored in it, through which 
they may thrust their heads to feed ; and being 1 natur- 



220 THE DOMESTIC GOOSE. 

ally voracious, the love of food is greater than the love 
of liberty, and they fatten rapidly. The food consists 
of a paste, made of buckwheat, barley or Indian meal, 
with milk and boiled potatoes. 

In Poland, a similar method is practised, the goose 
being put in an earthen pot without a bottom, and of 
a size not to allow the bird to move. Similar food 
as that just mentioned is given in abundance, and the 
pot is so placed that the dung may not remain in it. 
The process is completed in a fortnight, and the geese 
are sometimes so increased in size, that the pots have 
to be broken to get them out. 

When the great number of geese to be fattened ren- 
ders the preceding plan inconvenient and too expensive, 
they may be taken from the pasture, and cooped up 
twelve together, in narrow pens, so low that they can 
neither stand upright, nor move hi any direction. 
They should be kept scrupulously clean by often re- 
newing the litter of the pens. A few feathers may be 
previously plucked out from the rump and from under 
the wings. A quantity of cracked Indian corn, suf- 
ficient for once feeding, may be boiled and put into a 
feeding trough, with clean water in a separate vessel, 
from which they may be permitted to eat whenever 
they feel inclined. At the commencement, they eat 
a great deal constantly, but in about three weeks, their 
appetite falls off. As soon as 1his is perceived, they 
maybe crammed, at first twice a-day, and towards the 
end of the process, thrice a-day. For this purpose, a 
tin funnel is used, with a pipe five inches and a half in 
length, and less than an inch in diameter, with the 
end sloped off like the mouth piece of a flageolet, and 
rounded at the edge, to prevent it scratching the throat 
when it is introduced. A small, round bag is adjusted 
to the pipe, through which grain is introduced into the 
crop. The operator sits squat on the ground, holds 
the goose with one hand, introduces the pipe of the 
funnel into the mouth with the other, and presses in 
the food till the crop is filled. "Water is at the same 



THE DOMESTIC GOOSE. 221 

time given to the geese to drink, and must always be 
left near them, as the cramming renders them very 
thirsty. A woman who is dexterous will cram ten 
geese in an hour. In less than a month, a goose may, 
in this way, be fattened to an enormous bulk. 

In Belgium, a lean goose is confined in a small coop 
made of fir, narrow enough to prevent it from turning, 
while there is a place behind for passing the dung, and 
another in front to let out the head. Water is supplied 
in a trough in front, having some bits of charcoal in it 
to sweeten it. A bushel of maize is considered enough 
of food for a month. It is soaked in water the day 
before it is used ; and the goose is crammed morning 
and evening, while it is allowed, during the day, to eat 
and drink as much as it chooses. About the twenty- 
second day, a quantity of poppy oil is mixed with the 
maize. In a month, it is seized with difficulty of 
breathing, and a lump of fat under each wing indicates 
that it is time to kill it, lest it should bechoaked with 
fat, and die. 

By this process, the liver of the goose is increased so 
much, that it will weigh from one to two pounds, and 
will besides yield about three ounces of fat, which 
is much employed in French cookery for dressing 
legumes, &c. 

Among six geese, the fatteners commonly succeed 
with no more than four, and these generally the young- 
est. The Romans, who were fond of enlarged goose 
livers, were very careful to keep them quiet and in the 
dark. In some places on the continent, they nailed 
their feet to a board, burnt out their eyes with a hot 
iron, and kept them before a large fire, allowing them, 
however, as much water as they chose to drink ; but 
these barbarous practices are now seldom resorted to. 

M. Yiele, of France, found, by experiment, that 
geese fattened without cramming, cannot be brought 
to weigh above 12 or 13 Ibs., while by cramming, they 
can be made to weigh at least a third more. 



THE CHINA GOOSE. 



STNONYMES. Anser cygnoides. Anas cygnoides, Cygnus sinensis, of 
Naturalists , L'oie de G-uinee, of Buffon ; Oie de Chine, of the French ; 
Chinesische Gans, Gans von Guinea, of the Germans ; Ganso de China, 
G-inso de Guinea, Ganso de cisne, of the Spaniards ; China Goose, Hong- 
Kong Goose, Swan Goose, Chinese Swan, Guinea Goose, Spanish GOOA, 
African Goose, and a host of other names, of the English and Anglo- 
Americans 

THERE is a venerable joke told about a Spanish Don 
who knocked at a cottage door to ask a night's lodging: 
" Who's there ? what do you want ?" demanded the 
inmates. " Don Juan Jose Maria Antonio Pedro Alonzo 
Carlos Geronimo, &c., &c., &c., wants to sleep here 
to-night." " Get along with you," was the reply, " how 
should we find room here for so many fellows." It will 
be seen by the list of names at the head of this article, 
that the China goose is in the same position as the 
Spanish Don. 

Confusion, therefore, and perplexity are the certain 
lot of whosoever attempts to trace this bird in our books 
of natural history. Its place of birth has excluded it 
from all monographs or limited ornithologies. In very 
few systematic works is it mentioned at all, which is re- 
markable of a bird so striking in its appearance, which 
there is every reason to believe must have been domes- 
ticated for a long period. The uncertainty that has 
existed as to its correct name and really native country 
may be one cause of this. Like the Jews, or the Gipsies, 
it has not been allowed to claim a place among the 



THE CHINA GOOSE. 223 

natives of any one region ; and like many others fur- 
nished with a variety of aliases, it ends by being alto- 
gether excluded from society. 

The old writers call it the Guinea goose, for the 
excellent reason, as Willughby hints, that in his time it 
was the fashion to apply the epithet " Guinea" to every- 
thing of foreign and uncertain origin. Thus, what at 
this day is erroneously called the "Muscovy duck," was 
then called the " Guinea duck." Not long back, it was 
common to refer every strange or new object to a 
French source. " Spanish goose" is another title, pro- 
bably as appropriate as Guinea goose. Bewick has 




THE CHINA GOOSE. 



given an admiral wood cut of this bird, but he has evi- 
dently selected the gander, which is taller and more erect 
than the female, though to both may be applied Wil- 
lughby's description, " a stately bird, walking with its 
head and neck decently erected." Bewick calls it the 
" swan goose." The tubercle at the base of the bill, the 
unusual length of neck, and its graceful carriage in the 
water, give it some claim to relationship with the aris- 
tocracy of lake and river. Cuvier goes further, calls it 
at once Cygnus sinensis, (Chinese swan,) and says that 



224 THE CHINA GOOSE. 

this and the Canada goose cannot be separated from the 
true swans. A goose, however, it decidedly is, as is 
clear from its terrestrial habits, its powerful bill, its 
thorny tongue, and its diet of grass. 

There is something in the aspect of this creature, the 
dark-brown stripe down its neck, its small bright eye, its 
harsh voice, its ceremonious strut, and its affectation oi 
seldom being in a hurry, which seem to say that it came 
from China. It would perfectly harmonise in a picture 
of Chinese still life ; or in a Chinese garden, with artifi- 
cially-arranged rocks, dwarf trees, crooked trellises, and 
zigzag pathways ; or, in a more extended landscape, it 
would group well on a broad river, beside a boat filled 
with shaven fishermen, with their trained cormorants 
and pig-tailed children. If it does come from China, it 
has no doubt been domesticated for many hundred years, 
perhaps as long as the peacock or common fowl. An 
evident proof of this is the large number of eggs they 
may be made to lay by an increased supply of nourish- 
ing food. This is very different from the disposition to 
"lay everlastingly," as seen in the Guinea fowl, and some 
varieties of the domestic hen the black Spanish, for 
instance, because the China goose does, in the end, feel 
a strong desire to incubate as soon as her protracted 
laying is done, whereas entire exemption from the 
hatching fever is the great merit of the '' everlasting 
layers." If liberally furnished with oats, boiled rice, &c., 
the China goose will, in the spring, lay from twenty to 
thirty eggs before she begins to sit, and again in the 
autumn, after her moult, from ten to fifteen more. It is 
not, as in the Guinea fowl, a spontaneous flow of eggs, 
for which the ordinary diet of the creature is sufficient, 
but is as much dependent on feeding as the fatness to 
which a bullock is brought. A goose belonging to Mr. 
Dixon, which he supplied with as much oats as she 
could eat, besides grass, potatoes, and cabbages, laid 
eggs larger than ordinary ; one of them, with a double 
yolk, weighed 7\ oz., or nearly half a pound. Double- 
yolked eggs are very rare, except among birds that have 
been long domesticated. 

Another proof is their deficient power of flight coin- 



THE CHINA GOOSE. 225 

pared with the rest of their congeners, owing to the 
larger proportionate size of their bodies. The common 
domestic goose flies much more strongly than her sister 
from China. Indeed, of all geese, these are the worst 
flyers. There is no occasion to pinion them. While 
the Canada goose thinks little of a journey from the 
north pole, or thereabouts, to Carolina ; while the 
Egyptian goose pays an occasional visit from Africa to 
Great Britain, while the merry little laughing goose, if 
tamed and allowed the use of its wings, is almost as 
much at ease in the air as a pigeon, the China goose, to 
get out of the way of a frisky spaniel can hardly manage 
to flutter across a lawn. 

Said the tame goose to the wild one, " On such a day, 
I shall fly away." The wild goose replied to the tame 
one, " On such a day, I shall fly away, too, if it be the 
will of Allah." At the appointed time, the wild goose 
performed her annual migration ; the tame one remained, 
and cannot fly to this day. If China, instead of Egypt, 
had given rise to the above fable, we should believe that 
the Anas cygnoides was the vain-boastful bird. 

The prevailing color of the plumage of the China 
goose is a brown, which has aptly been compared to the 
color of wheat. The different shades are very har- 
moniously blended, and are well relieved by the black 
tuberculated bill, and the pure white of the abdomen. 
Their movements on the water are graceful and swan- 
like. It is delightful to see them on a fine day in spring 
lashing the water, diving, rolling over through mere fun, 
and playing all sorts of antics. Slight variations occur 
in the color of the feet and legs, some having them of a 
dull-orange, others black; a delicate fringe of minute 
white feathers is occasionally seen at the base of the bill. 
These peculiarities are hereditarily transmitted, but do 
not amount to more than mere varieties. 

The male is almost as much disproportionately larger 
than the female as the musk drake is in comparison with 
his mate. He is much inclined to libertine wanderings, 
without, however, neglecting to pay proper attention at 
home. If there is any other gander on the same pre- 
mises, they are sure to disagree ; one of the two had 
10* 



226 



THE CHINA GOOSE. 



better be got rid of. Both male and female are, perhaps, 
the most noisy of all geese ; at night, the least footfall or 
motion in their neighborhood is sufficient to call forth 
their clanging and resonant trumpetings. This, to a lone 
country house, is an advantage and a protection. Any 
fowl stealer would be stunned with their din before he 
captured them alive, and the family must be deaf indeed 
that could sleep on through the alarm thus given. But 
by day it becomes a nuisance to the majority of hearers, 
and has caused them to be relinquished by many ama- 
teurs. One is inclined to address them asO'Connell did 
the uproarious fellow who was interrupting his speech, 
"I wish you had a hot potato in your mouth." 



BREEDING AND REARING. 

THE eggs of the China goose are somewhat less than 
those of the domestic kind, of a short oval, with a smooth 
thick shell, white, but slightly tinged with yellow at the 
smaller end. The goslings, when first hatched, are usu- 
ally very strong. They are of a dirty-green, like the 
color produced by mixing Indian ink and yellow ochre, 
with darker patches here and there. The legs and feet 
are lead color, but afterwards change to a dull-red. If 
there is anything like good pasturage for them, they 
requir no further attention than what their parents will 
afford them. After a time, a little grain will strengthen 
and forward them. If well fed, they come to maturity 
very rapidly. In between three and four months from the 
time of their leaving the shell, they will be full-grown 
and ready for the spit. They do not bear being shut up 
to fatten so well as common geese, and therefore those 
destined for the table are the better for profuse hand- 
feeding. Their flesh is well-flavored, short and tender ; 
their eggs are excellent for cooking purposes. Hybrids 
between them and the common goose are prolific ; the 
second and third cross is much prized by some English 
farmers, particularly for their ganders ; and in many 
flocks, the blood of the China goose may often be traced 
by the more erect gait of the birds, accompanied by a 
faint stripe down the back .of the neck. With the 



THE CHINA GOOSE. 227 

laughing, or white-fronted goose, they also breed 
freely. 

The large number of eggs laid by these birds has led 
some persons to imagine that, like Guinea fowls, they 
were inexhaustible, so that, when at last the goose did 
make her nest in earnest, (which may be known by her 
mixing her own down with the straw,) no eggs had been 
reserved for the poor thing to sit upon. The best plan 
is to date the eggs with a pencil as they are laid, and 
consume only those which are more than three weeks 
old. They are usually very late with their broods, but 
will rear them well enough if they are allowed to take 
their own time, and do it after their own manner. Their 
period of incubation is five weeks. They are steady 
sitters when they once begin in earnest, and exemplary 
parents. The goose, on leaving her -nest to feed, covers 
her eggs carefully. Any difficulty in rearing them 
results from want of proper management. If, for in- 
stance, when the bird does at length sit, she is insuffi- 
ciently supplied with eggs, or with those which have 
been kept too long ; or if she be permitted to be dis- 
turbed by dogs, &c. ; if she be suffered to steal a nest, 
and sit on more than see can cover things will go 
wrong. The great number of eggs laid may perhaps 
cause an uncertainty that each one is properly fecun- 
dated. 



THE WHITE, CHINA GOOSE. 



" Man as he extends his dominion over earth and ocean, is gener- 
ally a Destroyer, occasionally an Enslaver, and so far a Protector ; 
hence, sometimes, even a Selecter and Improver, but never a 
Creator. 



" EVERY like is not the same," is a principle that is 
beginning more and more to influence the reasonings 
of zoologists, and to effect their conclusions with re- 
spect to wild animals. But, according to the prevailing 
opinion with domestic ones, a diametrically opposite 
axiom would seem to hold ; as the latter are described 
and catalogued apparently on the rule that " Things 
may be unlike, and yet the same." The various kinds 
of domestic fowls are supposed to be " varieties" by 
which, it is presumed, is meant transmutable, or at 
least, transmuted forms of one, or at most, two or 
three wild originals ; and the history of the common 
domestic goose is quietly settled by considering it as 
the result of a fusion of ti.ree or four different species 
melted and mixed into one. Believe it ! those who 
may, and classify it with the marvellous story of the 
" bernicle goose originating from a worm engendered 
in the sea from rotten wood !" 

But, before finally determining to fix the appellation 
of species, or variety, to any particular race of animals, 
it will be necessary first to settle the question of what 
is meant by the terms Genus, Species, and Variety. 
They are all understood to denote certain degrees of 



THE WHITE, CHINA GOOSE. 229 

difference, that are made use of to assist in classifica- 
tion ; but the precise lines of demarcation of each are 
extremely difficult to define. It is generally assumed 
that individuals of different genera will refuse to breed 
together ; that the mules between different species are 
sterile ; and that varieties are merely accidental, and 
recent instances of a slight alteration in the external 
character of species, which do not affect their contin- 
uance as a race, and, perhaps, disappear altogether 
after a time. But in opposition to this, hybrids have 
been produced between the Egyptian goose and the 
penguin duck, also between the common fowl and the 
Guinea fowl, the siskin and the Canary bird ; prolific 
mules are constantly occurring between all sorts of 
species of geese ; and it is well and practically known, 
that though varieties breed freely with each other, 
nothing is so difficult as to establish a cross that shall 
be a perfect amalgamation of two distinct varieties. 
Even individual -peculiarities are reproduced in the 
course of generations. For, some breeders of great 
experience firmly maintain that white pea fowls are 
not a mere accidental variety of the common kind, but 
a distinct sort ; asserting that the cases, in which 
white birds are produced from colored parents, are only 
a breaking out of mixed blood, the " crying back, 1 in 
fact, to a cross some generations past. The white 
pea fowls are certainly of inferior size, and in their pro- 
portions bear more resemblance to the Japan breed 
than to the true Pavo cristatus. 

In truth, species and varieties differ only in degree. 
If we admit that the latter are merely recent changes 
of organization, we cannot refuse to allow that the 
former are so likewise ; and thence proceeding back- 
wards, we must apply the same view to genera and 
classes, till we arrive at last at the theory of the de- 
velopment of all animated beings from Monads, as 
advocated by Lamarck, and more recently by the au- 
thor of the i{ Vestiges of Creation," This is one mode 
of explaining the diversity of Nature ; the other is by 



230 THE WHITE, CHINA GOOSE. 

supposing that animals were originally created as we 
now see them, and that any apparent gaps in the chain 
or network are caused by the extinction of certain 
races, not by the uprising of new forms into existence, 
since the creation of man, at least. Besides, we have 
records of modern exterminations successively going 
on, from the Christian era to the present day. No 
undisputed record, however, is to be found of the sud- 
den emergency into life of a new tribe of creatures. 
Foreign introductions there have been, but nothing 
more, that there is any affirmative evidence to prove. I 
am conscious that I may be contradicted by such in- 
stances as the New-Leicester sheep, and the very re- 
markable rabbits that are now kept in a state of 
domestication ; but Mr. Bakewell is asserted to have 
studiously concealed and destroyed every trace of the 
means by which he established his breed," and the 
secrets of the " rabbit fancy" are as likely to be made 
available to the elucidation of natural history, as are 
the Eleusinian Mysteries. But so long as our com- 
mercial relations continue as widely extended as they 
are at present, the sudden and unexplained appear- 
ance of any living novelty in Europe or in this country, 
is by no means of necessity its first appearance on any 
stage. It may be as old as the hills not a sudden 
drop from the clouds in these latter days, nor recently 
compounded, like Frankenstein's monster, from the 
members of defunct creatures, not yet electrified into 
life in a pickle jar, like Mr. Cross' mites.^ Milton's 
noble lines, though true at the Creation, are no longer 
applicable 

" Meanwhile, the tepid caves, and Jens, and shores, 

Bursting with kindly rupture, forth disclosed 

Their callow young ; but feathered soon and fledge, 

They summed their pens ; and, soaring the air sublime, 

With clang despised the ground. * * And straight the earth, 

Opening her fertile womb, teemed at a birth 

Numerous living creatures, perfect forms 

Limbed and full-grown ; out o.f the ground up rose, 

As from his lair, the wild beast where he wons 

In forest wild, in thicket, brake, or den." 

If such views be correct, it will follow that those 
who are searching for the wild originals of many of 



THE WHITE, CHINA GOOSE. 231 

our domestic animals, are altogether pursuing a wrong 
scent. They might just as well search for the wild 
original of the Mammoth or the Dodo. It is an as- 
sumption, unsupported by any proof, to fix upon the 
wild creature that nearest resembles any given tame 
one, and say, " Here is the wild original ; the dif- 
ferences which we see, have been produced by time 
and domestication ;" or, if there is nothing wild com- 
ing within a moderate approach to it, to say, as of 
the common goose, "it is a combination of three or 
four other species." This is surely not philosophical v 
reasoning ; it is a begging of the question which would 
not be admitted in the exact sciences. What a daring 
leap at a conclusion it is, to get from the Asiatic ar- 
gali, the American argali, or the Corsican mouflon, 
any or all of them, to the sheep, at a single vault ! 
Such ratiocination is like the knight's move on the 
chess board, hither and thither, but never straight 
forward. Nor has the wide gulf between cocks and 
hens and the jungle fowls been as yet bridged over by 
any isthmus to me visible. The principle here sought 
to be indicated as a guide for future research is, that 
existing varieties and species which cannot be exactly 
identified in a wild state, are, in all probability, the 
remains of extinct races, the fragments of a ruin, and 
not newly-raised " seedlings," the modern sports and 
freaks of Nature. 

And now to the white, China goose, about whose 
lineage, the reader, it is hoped, by this time, is inter- 
ested. It was brought into notice, a few years since, 
by Mr. Alfred Whitaker, of Beckington, in Somerset, 
England, who speaks of it in the following words : 
" The white, China goose is of a spotless, pure white 
more swan-like than the brown variety, with a bright 
orange-colored bill, and a large orange-colored knob at 
its base. It is a particularly beautiful bird, either in 
or out of the water, its neck being long, slender, and 
gracefully arched when swimming. It breeds three 
or four times in a season, but I was not successfnl 



232 THE WHITE, CHINA GOOSE. 

with them, owing, as I fancied, to my having no wa- 
ter for them, except a rapid running stream. A quiet 
lake, I believe to be more to their taste, and more con- 
ducive to the fecundity of the eggs. I believe my 
birds are still in the neighborhood, as I lent them to a 
farmer to try his luck with them. The egg is quite 
small for the size of the bird, being not more than half 
the size of that of the common goose. This bird de- 
serves to rank in the first class of ornamental poultry, 
and would be very prolific under favorable circumstan- 
ces. You will see both varieties of brown and white, 
China geese on the water in St. James's Park. My 
geese were from imported parents, and were hatched 
on board ship from China." 

These geese, it is stated, formerly existed in the 
aviaries of the London Zoological Society, and were 
there considered in the light of a variety of the Anser 
cygnoides ; but the head keeper of that establishment 
speaks most decidedly of his experience of the perma- 
nence, not only of this variety, but also of that of the 
dark-legged sorts of the brown kind, thus indicating 
three races, which, I repeat, would be considered as 
species were they now discovered for the first time. 

Mr. Dixon, in speaking of these birds, says, " They 
are larger than the brown, China geese, apparently 
more terrestrial in their habits ; the knob on the head 
is not only of greater proportions, but of a different 
shape. If they were only what is commonly meant 
by a variety of the dark sort, it is a question whether 
the bill would not retain its original jetty black, 
whatever change occurred to the feet and legs, instead 
of assuming a brilliant orange hue. If the bird were 
an albino, the bill would be flesh-colored, and the eyes 
would be pink, not blue." 

Mr. Knight, of Frome, England, in whose possession 
they had been for three years, states that he has been 
unable to obtain any young from the eggs of the goose, 
but if he supplies her with eggs of the common goose, 
she invariably hatches and rears the goslings. Separ- 



THE WHITE, CHINA GOOSE. 233 

ate trials of each of the pair with the common goose 
and gander have been made by him unsuccessfully, 
although the white, China goose lays four times in the 
year. Another gentleman, who also had a pair of the 
same lot, from China, says, "I had one good brood 
from the young pair which I kept, but since that, they 
have bred so badly that I have parted with the females 
and kept a male bird, and now get very good broods. 
My friends, to whom I have given young birds from 
my pair, also complain. The geese sit remarkably 
well, never showing themselves out of the nest by day, 
but whether they may leave the nests too long in the 
cold of the night, I cannot tell. The time of incuba- 
tion I consider to be about four weeks and three days. 
The young birds of the crossed breed, in appearance, 
follow the mother, the common English goose, but 
they do remarkably well." 



THE AMERICAN WILD GOOSE. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 

Every portion of it, (the young of the wild goose bred in the 
inland districts, and procured in September.) is useful to Man ; 
for besides the value of the flesh, as an article of food, the fea- 
thers, the quills, and the fat, are held in request. 

AUDUBON. 



THE history of the " Canada" or " wild goose," as it 
is usually called, both in a state of nature and in cap- 
tivity, has been so well and so fully delineated by the 
ablest ornithologists of Europe, as well as of this country, 
that for me to attempt giving complete details respecting 
it, would be either to restate the same facts in less ap- 
propriate language, perhaps, or to draw too liberally 
from the stores of those who have written before me ; 
yet, this bird is by far too important, in every respect, to 
be entirely omitted in the present series ; and there are a 
few points respecting it which ought to be brought into 
more prominent notice. Most writers on poultry call 
it a variety of the common goose. But it is no more a 
variety of goose than the swan is a variety of goose. 
Cuvier seems to doubt whether it is a goose at all, and 
says that it cannot be properly separated from the true 
swans. Audubon kept some three years, and though 
the old birds refused to breed in confinement, their 

Smng, which he had captured together with them, did. 
e states their period of incubation to be twenty-eight 



THE AMERICAN WILL GOOSE. 235 

days, 'which is a shorter time than one would have 
imagined. That circumstance alone, if correct, marks 
a wide distinction. At a future time, probably, our 
scientific naturalists will deem it advisable to institute 
several new genera, for the reception of various water 
fowls, that are now huddled into one or two ; particu- 
larly if they allow the diet and habits of the birds, as 
well as their external form, to influence the rules of 
classification. 

In a state of nature, the Canada goose eats worms 
and soft insects, as well as grass and aquatic plants, 
which the typical, or geese proper, never do. In a 
domestic or confined state, they do not breed till they 
are at least two years old, and so far approach the swan, 
like which, also, the male appears to be fit for reproduc- 
tion earlier than the female. But Audubon says, " That 
this tardiness is not the case in the wild state, I feel 
pretty confident; for I have observed, having broods of 
their own, many individuals, which, by their size, the 
dullness of their plumage, and such other marks as are 
known to the practised ornithologist, I judged to be not 
more than fifteen or sixteen months old. I have, there- 
fore, thought that in this, as in many other species, a long 
series of years is necessary for counteracting the original 
wild and free nature which has been given them ; and 
indeed, it seems probable that our attempts to domesti- 
cate many species of wild fowls, which would prove 
useful to mankind, have often been abandoned in despair, 
when a few years more of constant care might have 
produced the desired effect." 

The Canada goose, in spite of its original migratory 
habits, which it appears in almost every case to forget in 
a reclaimed state, shows much more disposition for true 
domestication than the swan, and may be maintained 
in perfect health with very limited opportunities of 
bathing. 

The manner in which these birds are usually kept in 
Europe and this country, is neither consistent with their 
natural habits, nor calculated to develope their useful- 
ness and merit. They are mostly retained as orna- 
ments to large parks or inclosures, where there is an 



236 THE AMERICAN WILD GOOSE. 

extensive range of grass and water ; so far all is as it 
should be. But they are there generally associated with 
other species of geese and water fowls, all being of a 
sociable disposition, and forming one heterogeneous 
flock. In the breeding season, they neither can agree 
among themselves to differ seriously, nor yet live 
together in peace ; the consequence is, that they inter- 
rupt each other's love-making, keep up a constant 
bickering, without coming to the decisive quarrels and 
battles that would set all right ; and in the end. we have 
birds without mates, eggs unfertilised, and now and then 
a few monstrous hybrids, which, however much some 
curious persons may prize them, are as ugly as they are un- 
natural, and by no means recompense by their rarity for 
the absence of two or three broods of healthy legitimate 
goslings. Many writers speak highly of the half-bred 
Canada goose. They are very large, it is true, and may 
merit approbation on the table ; but with whatever other 
species the cross is made, they are hideously dis- 
pleasing. 

The facility with which the Canada goose, captured 
wild, is tamed, while yet it retains a "trick of the old 
nature," is well exemplified in a story related by Wilson, 
on the authority of a correspondent for whose veracity 
he avouches ; which story, he observes, is paralleled by 
others of the same import. " Mr. Platt, a respectable 
farmer on Long Island, being out shooting in one of the 
bays, which, in that part of the country, abound with 
water fowl, wounded a wild goose. Being wing-tipped 
and unable to fly, he caught it and brought it home 
alive. It proved to be a female, and turning it into his 
yard with a flock of tame geese, it soon became quite 
tame and familiar, and in a little time its wounded wing 
entirely healed. In the following spring, when the wild 
geese migrated to the northward, a flock passed over Mr. 
Platt's barn yard, and just at that moment, their leader 
happening to sound his bugle note, our goose, in whom 
its new habits and enjoyments had not quite extinguished 
the love of liberty, remembering the well-known sound, 
spread its wings, moved in the air, joined the travellers, 
and soon disappeared. In the succeeding autumn, the 



THE AMERICAN WILD GOOSE. 

wild geese, as was usual, returned from the northward 
in great numbers to pass the winter in our bays and 
rivers. Mr. Platt happened to be standing in his yard 
when a flock passed directly over his barn. At that 
instant, he observed three geese detach themselves from 
the rest, and, after wheeling round several times, alight 
in the middle of the yard. Imagine his surprise and 
pleasure, when, by certain well-rernembered signs, he 
recognised in one of the three his long-lost fugitive. It 
was she indeed ! She had travelled many hundred miles 
to the lakes, had there hatched and reared her offspring, 
and had now returned with her little family to share 
vith them the sweets of civilized life !" 




THE AMERICAN WILD GOOSE. 

SYNONYMES. Jinser canadensis, of Naturalists ; Oie du Canada, of the 
French ; Canadische Gans, of the Germans ; Ansa de Canada, *.1nsa sil- 
vestre americana, of the Spaniards ; Wild Goose. Canada Goose, of the 
English and Anglo-Americans. 

The Canada goose is a beautiful species. The head, 
two thirds of the neck, the greater quills, the rump, and 
tail, are pitch-black ; the back and wings broccoli-brown 
edged with wood-brown ; the base of the neck anteriorly, 
and the under plumage generally, brownish-grey ; a few 
white feathers are scattered about the eye, and a white 
cravat, of a kidney shape, forms a conspicuous mark on 
the throat ; upper and under tail coverts, pure white ; bill 
and feet black. 



238 THE AMERICAN WILD GOOSE. 



GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION. 

THE American wild geese, in a state of nature, make 
their semi-annual migrations from the north to the 
south, and vice versa, which are sure signals of the 
approach of winter, or a returning spring. The tracts 
of their vast migratory journeys are not confined to the 
sea coast nor its vicinity, for in their aerial voyages to 
and from the north, these birds pass over the interior on 
both sides of the mountains, as far west at least as the 
Osage River. " I have never," says Wilson, " yet visited 
any quarter of the country where the inhabitants are 
not familiarly acquainted with the regular passing and 
repassing of the wild geese." It is an opinion with 
many that they visit the lakes to breed. Most, however, 
it would appear, wing their way much farther north- 
ward ; for, from the Canadian lakes, they migrate to still 
higher latitudes on the setting in of spring. Hearne 
saw them in large flocks within the arctic circle, push- 
ing their way still northward. Captain Phipps observed 
them on the coast of Spitzbergen in latitude 80 27' N. 
Audubon found them breeding on the coast of Labrador, 
and states that the eggs, six or seven in number, of a 
greenish white, are deposited in a roughly-made nest. 
Bonaparte states that they breed everywhere through- 
out the Hudson's Bay Territory, and have been observed 
in the middle of July on the Coppermine River, not 
far from its debouchure, accompanied by their newly- 
hatched young. 

The destruction of the Canada geese during their 
migrations is enormous ; the autumnal flight lasts from 
the middle of August to the middle of November. Those 
which are taken in this season, when the frosts begin, 
are preserved in their feathers, and left to be frozen for 
the fresh provisions of the winter stock. The feathers 
constitute an article of commerce, and are sent to 
England. The vernal flight of these geese lasts from 
the middle of April until the middle of May. Their 
arrival in the fur countries, from the south, is impatiently 
expected ; it is the harbinger of spring, and the month is 
named by the Indians the " goose moon." 



THE AMERICAN WILD GOOSE. 239 

About three weeks after their first appearance, the 
Canada geese disperse in pairs throughout the country, 
between the 50th and 67th parallels, to breed, retiring at 
the same time from the shores of Hudson's Bay. They 
are seldom or never seen on the coasts of the Arctic 
Sea. In July, after the young birds are hatched, the 
parents moult, and vast numbers are killed in the rivers 
and lakes, when, (from the loss of their quill feathers,) 
they are unable to fly. When chased by a canoe, and 
obliged to dive frequently, they soon become fatigued, 
and make for the shore with the intention of hiding 
themselves, but as they are not fleet they fall an easy 
prey to their pursuers. In the autumn, they again 
assemble in flocks on the shores of Hudson's Bay, for 
three weeks or a month previous to their departure 
southwards. 

The flight of this species is laborious and heavy, and 
generally in single file, or in the form of two sides of a 
triangle, the leader, some old gander, being the apical 
bird. From time to time this leader utters his deep 
"honk," which is responded to by the rest of the flock, 
and which may be translated, " What cheer, ho!" "All's 
well !" Very often, however, all is not well, for the line 
is scattered by the withering fire of the gunner ; often, 
too, they meet with dense fogs in which they become 
bewildered, and after wheeling about alight on the 
ground, where the unerring rifleman gives them a 
warm reception. In some districts, the sportsmen take 
with them into the marshes one or two of the domes- 
ticated race, which, by their call note, attract the 
flocks passing over head, and allure them to des- 
truction. 

Wilson says, that, except in calm weather, the flocks 
of Canada geese rarely sleep on the water, generally 
preferring to roost all night in the marshes. When the 
shallow bays are frozen, they seek the mouths of inlets 
near the sea, occasionally visiting the air or breathing 
holes in the ice; but these bays are seldom so com- 
pletely frozen as to prevent their feeding on the bars 
at the entrance 



240 THE AMERICAN WILD GOOSE. 



PAIRING, BREEDING, AND MANAGEMENT. 

IN the month of November, it is recommended that 
every flock of wild geese be reduced to two pairs, (or at 
least three pairs,) in order to guard against accidents to 
one. Such birds should be retained, as differ as much, 
in age, as maybe consistent with their breeding powers ; 
and also, if possible, those should be selected which have 
been observed to entertain a mutual dislike, in order that 
they may fix their nests at a distance from each other. 
They should previously have become attached to their 
keeper, though not to their co-mates, that they may 
suffer him to approach and feed them and their goslings 
liberally, and so bring them into thoroughly good con- 
dition by killing time. 

The stock bird ought to be well supplied with grain 
or Indian corn during winter, when the grass grows little 
or not at all, to promote early laying; but they usually 
have a few kernels of barley or maize thrown down to 
them now and then. No one can blame them, if they 
occasionally stray out of bounds in search of food ; but 
they are then accused of restlessness, shyness, and so on. 
It is no migratory impulse that sets them on the move, 
but over-crowding and under-feeding; in proof of which, 
they will generally return of their own accord. I am 
speaking of birds that have been bred in captivity for 
several generations. Give them room and food enough, 
and they will stay contentedly at home. Curtail their sup- 
plies, and they become like "darkness," in Spoffbth's weil- 
known glee ; " flies away" is ever and again the burden 
of their song. The Canada goose is a very large bird, 
and cannot be expected to live and get fat upon air. If 
a farmer's wife were to treat her turkeys as the Canada 
goslings are usually served, they would at Christmas 
be just as tough, stringy, and uneatable, if indeed they 
survived the pinching regimen so long. The growing 
goslings must sensibly miss the abundance of their native 
breeding places, when confined to these short commons ; 
and it is not just in us, after such neglect and penurious- 
ness on our part, to complain that they neither fat well 
nor reproduce at an early age. 



THE AMERICAN WILD GOOSE. 241 

From each pair of geese, properly looked after, be- 
tween six and nine goslings may fairly be calculated 
upon ; which, killed in the autumn, when really plump, 
would be very acceptable at home, or as presents to 
unprejudiced persons. Managed thus, they would be 
little, or, according to Audubon, not at all inferior to a 
fatted cygnet. And their picturesque effect, as acces- 
saries in landscape gardening, would surely be greater 
in distinct uniformly-tinted groups, moving here and 
there across the scene with a decided object, namely, 
the conducting of their young, than as a motley crowd 
of diversely-colored, variously-shaped creatures, huddled 
together in unmeaning confusion. The woodland park 
should be stocked on different principles to the aviary 
and the menagerie. Thus it is, as a spot of pure white, 
that the swan gives such a sparkling brilliancy to the 
picture ; and the point of deepest shade, (an adjunct of 
no less importance to the painter,) may be made more 
intense and effective by the judicious employment of thfe 
Canada goose. 

When a pair are received from a distance, the best 
way of settling them in their new abode is to confine 
them with hurdies and netting, as near as possible to 
the spot where it is wished they should eventually 
make their nest. Those from the hands of dealers will 
generally be cowed or timidly tame ; but young birds 
fresh taken from their parents, or adult ones that have 
been removed from their old home to a new one, will 
sulk and be shy. For the first few hours, they need 
have nothing to eat, only plenty of water to drink. 
Their keeper should show himself to them, aftd speak to 
them kindly, as often as his leisure will permit ; when he 
guesses that they begin to feel the cravings of hunger, a 
small handful of grain may be thrown down to them, a 
cabbage on two, and half a dozen earth worms. It is, of 
course, supposed that they have been located on the 
grass. It is likely that, at first, they will not eat in the 
presence of a stranger ; they may be left for an hour or 
so when, if they have availed themselves of his absence, 
he may give them a little more from time to time. Pro- 
ceeding thus by kindness, familiarity, and very frequent 
11 



242 THE AMERICAN WILD GOOSE. 

visits, he will soon secure their confidence, and be able 
to form his own judgment when they may be suffered 
to range at large. 

The young are active, self-helping little things. Their 
down is of a dirty-grey, a color very difficult to describe, 
with darker patches here and there like the young of 
the China goose. Their bill, eyes, and legs are black. 
They give no trouble in rearing. The old ones lead 
them to the places where suitable food is to be obtained. 
The keeper, by a liberal supply of grain or Indian corn, 
can bring them forward for the table better than by 
shutting them up to fat ; and before Christmas, the pa- 
rents should be again alone in their domain. They will 
continue to increase in size and beauty for some years, 
and should have been pinioned at the first joint of the, 
wing, reckoning from the tip, in the manner described 
for the swan ; the young that are to be eaten had better 
remain unmutilated. Old birds, killed in the autumn, 
after they have recovered from moulting, and before 
they have begun to think about the breeding time, would 
make excellent meat if cut into small portions, stewed 
slowly five or six hours with savory condiments, and 
made into pies the next day. " 'Tis the soup that makes 
the soldier," say the French. By roasting or broiling 
similar "joints," we lose the large quantity of nutriment 
contained in the bones and cartilages, besides having to 
swallow tough, what we might easily make tender. The 
young, as well as the old, in some parts of this coun- 
try, are salted and boiled ; they would probably please 
most palates better, if cooked and served swan fashion. 
The young male has a frequent disposition to neglect 
his own mate, and give himself up to unlicenced com- 
panionship. Mr. Dixon had one that deserted his 
partner, to her evident grief, and made most furious love 
to one of a flock of tame geese, separating her from the 
rest, not permitting any other water bird to swim near 
her, stretching out his neck stiffly on a level with the 
water, opening his red-lined throat to its utmost extent, 
hissing, grunting, sighing, trumpeting, winking his bright, 
black eyes, tossing his head madly, and all kinds of folly. 
Mr. D. did not choose to permit such conduct ; but as often 



THE AMERICAN WILD GOOSE. 243 

as he killed and roasted the object of his affections, the 
Canadian gander immediately selected another leman, in- 
variably the ugliest of the surviving females. One short, 
squat, rough-feathered, ill-marked goose, with a thick 
bill and a great grey topknot, was his special favorite. 
When the Michaelmas murders had extirpated the 
whole race he so admired, he returned reluctantly and 
coldly to his former love. The best remedy in such a 
case is to divorce them at once, and exchange one out of 
the pair for another bird. 

A similar incident is related in the seventh volume of 
the "American Agriculturist," by Col. Minot Thayer, of 
Braintree, Massachusetts, in the following words : " A 
few years since, a neighbor of mine shot at a flock while 
passing to the south, wounded one in the wing, took him 
alive, and very soon domesticated him. He soon became 
very tame, and went with the other geese. I bought 
him, and kept him three years, and then mated him with 
an old native goose. They had several broods of young 
ones, and the old goose became very feeble ; so much 
so, that she could not sit long enough to hatch out her 
eggs. I accordingly put them under another goose, where 
they did very well. In the fall of the year, I gave her 
away, and mated the wild gander with another. In the 
spring following, about six months after, I heard that the 
old goose had got better, and was in good health. She 
was brought home and put into my poultry yard. The 
wild gander and his new mate were at a distance of 
about eighty rods, in another pasture. As soon as the 
old goose was put into the yard, she made a loud noise, 
which the wild gander heard. He immediately left his 
new mate, and came down to the yard, recognised his 
old mate, entered into close conversation, and appeared 
extremely happy in seeing her again. His other mate 
followed him, and wished to join the party, but he ap- 
peared much offended, treated her with the greatest 
indifference, and drove her from him 



THE COMMON SWAN. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 



Emblem of modest grace, 

Of unaffected dignity and ease, 

Of pure and elegant simplicity. 

EuDOaiA. 



THE swan, beyond all question, is the bird to place, 
as a finishing stroke of art, on thB smooth lake which 
expands before our mansions. It is perfectly needless, 
however delightful, to quote Milton and others, lauding 
the arched neck, the white wings, the oary feet, and 
so on. Its superb beauty is undeniable and acknowl- 
edged ; and, to borrow an apt, though homely meta- 
phor, I do not wish, if it can conveniently be avoided, 
in the present volume, " to thresh straw that has been 
thrice threshed before," to repeat how lovely the swan 
is on the silver lake, "floating double, swan and sha- 
dow ;" for I might thus run, scissors in hand, through 
the whole Corpus Poet arum ; my object being simply 
to point out the chief features in their natural history, 
and the best mode of treating them. 



THE COMMON SWAN. 245 




THE COMMON SWAN. 

SYNONYMES. Cygnus olor, ofNaturalists ; Cygne commun, Cygne muet, 
of the French ; Gemeiner Schwan, Stummer Schwan, of the Germans ; 
Cisne comun, Cisne mudo, of the Spaniards ; Swan, Common Swan, 
Mute Swan. Cob, (adult male,) Pen Bird, (adult female,) Cygnet, 
(young.) of the English and Anglo-Americans. 

Those who wish to make themselves acquainted 
with the habits and dispositions, as well as the mere 
figures and descriptions of animals, should know that 
all living creatures cannot be divided into two distinct 
ranks of wild and tame, but that there is a most per- 
plexing intermediate multitude, neither wild nor yet 
tameable, but usually spoken of as " familiar," or 
"half-domesticated," a term without meaning, dodg- 
ing, like "squatters," on the ofFskirts of human, so- 
ciety, but determined never to enlist in the drilled and 
disciplined ranks, playing the game of " off and on," 
but always ending with the " off." Such, among many 
others, are the partridge, rats and mice, and at a still 
greater distance, it is believed, is the whole genus of 
swans. 



246 THE COMMON SWAN. 

Swans, then, are ferce natures to all intents and 
purposes ; yet, although capricious birds, wild in their 
very nature, like most living creatures, they have some 
attachment to place, yet they are called " tame 
swans," " domestic swans, &c. ; but never were epi- 
thets more inappropriate, unless we agree to say 
" tame hysena," " tame wolf," " tame rat," " domestic 
pheasant," " domestic swallow." They will come to 
their keeper's call, and take food from his hand ; they 
will keep at home, when they are completely prevented 
from ranging out of bounds abroad ; so far are they 
tamed and domesticated, but no further, and never will 
be. To compare the relations which exist between 
them and man, with those by which we retain the 
goose and the common fowl, is about as correct as to 
believe that the same temper and disposition influence 
the faithful dog and the wildest jackal of the wilder- 
ness. I put the case thus strongly, in order that it 
may be understood clearly. The comparisons may be 
a little exaggerated, but they will serve to raise the 
real truth into higher relief. The period of incubation 
is about forty days. 

PAIRING-. 

LIKE most domesticated animals, as before observed, 
swans have some attachment to place. The first, 
therefore, is to settle them, agreeably to their destined 
home. Old birds are less likely to be contented with 
a new abode, unless very distant from their former 
one. Cygnets may be procured every autumn ; if they 
have been put up to fat for some time so much the 
better, as they will the sooner become manageable, 
and content with a small range. The disadvantage of 
having cygnets to begin swan keeping with, is, that 
they are less ornamental till they have attained their 
perfect plumage, and the proper orange color of the 
bill, and that they do not breed till their third year, 
It is not, however, generally Imown that the male is 
capable of increasing his kind a year earlier than the 



THE COMMON SWAN. 247 

female, so that a brood may be obtained from an old 
hen, and a cook bird in his second year. In selecting 
a pair, the great thing is to make sure of having two 
birds of opposite sexes. Two cock birds will not live 
together, and their mutual aversion would soon show 
that all was not right ; but two hens will which is 
the case also with pigeons. 

DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE MALE AND FEMALE. 

IN selecting any water birds whose plumage is alike 
in both sexes, and which cannot, therefore, be distin- 
guished with certainty, the best rule is to see them in 
the water, and take that which swims deepest for the 
female ; and that which floats with greatest buoyancy 
for the. male, remembering that, as a general rule, all 
creatures of the masculine gender have the largest 
lungs in proportion to their size. The neck of the 
cock swan is usually thicker. An experienced eye 
will, besides, detect a certain feminine gentleness and 
modesty in the one, and an alacrity and boldness in 
in the other, which is a tolerably sa fe guide, as well as 
an appropriate and becoming attribute to the creatures 
themselves. 

FEEDING-, MANAGEMENT, ETC. 

SUPPOSING the reader to have obtained two cygnets 
that are not mere friends, but actually husband and 
wife, he will recollect that those reserved for fatting 
are never pinioned, lest it should check their progress, 
and he will request the operation to be performed be- 
fore he has them home, in order that they may have 
the fewest possible disagreeable reminisences, connect- 
ed with the spot where they are to spend their lives. 
The amputation of the part of the wing, which corre- 
sponds to our hand, is quite sufficient to prevent the 
flight of the short- winged species, so far as migration 
is concerned, disfigures them less than the closer prun- 
ing, and still leaves them the means of escape from a 



248 THE COMMON SWAN. 

dog, allows them now and then, in their gambols, to 
fancy they are free, and to enjoy a sort of half-run, 
half-fly, from the lawn into the water. Kindness, 
comfort, and good feeding must be employed to keep 
them at home as .far as possible ; but the loss of the 
last wing will not be enough to prevent their flight. 
It is recommended that the female be pinioned at the 
wrist, the male at the elbow, trusting to their mutual 
attachment to keep the less-maimed bird from desert- 
ing her mate. But however it be done, let it be 
set about in a workmanlike manner ; no chopping 
no hacking no hewing nor butchering. Many cyg- 
nets are annually killed by the clumsy way in which 
their wing is lopped off. They suffer from the shock 
to their nervous system. 

A skillful operator will feel for the joint, divide the 
skin, and turn the bone neatly out of the socket. He 
should be allowed to shed just one drop of blood no 
more. I would be as hard upon him as Portia was 
upon the flesh-cutting Jew 

" This bond doth give thee here .no jot of blood ; 
The words expressly are, a limb of swan , 
Take then thy bond, take thou thy limb of swan ; 
But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed ; 
One drop of cygnine blood, thy clumsiness 
Shall brand the name of ' Bungler' on thy back. 
Therefore, prepare thee to cut off the limb, 
Shed thou no blood ; nor cut thou less, nor more 
But just the very limb ; if thou tak'st more 
Or less, than just the limb, thou shalt bewail 
The consequence." 

If any brook run into and from the pond where 
they are to remain, their escape through that channel 
must be prevented by netting, hurdles, pales, or other 
fencing, which should be continued some distance in- 
land, lest they should walk away, if they cannot swim 
away. This precaution will be found particularly 
necessary if there is any main stream in the immedi- 
ate neighborhood. A feeding trough may be fixed for 
them in the pond, in the part where it is most de- 
sirable that they should be accustomed to display them- 
selves. The trough must be placed in the pond on two 
firm posts, within arm's length of the shore, raised high 



THE COMMON SWAN. 249 

enough from the water to prevent ducks from stealing 
the food contained therein, having a cover which lifts 
up by hinges, and so forms a lid, to keep out rats, and 
open only in front. Many persons, however, feed their 
swans by simply throwing the corn, or grain, into 
shallow water. They will skim the surface for the 
light grains which float, and then submerge their heads 
in search of that which has sunk. But it is cruel to 
locate a pair of swans for the sake of their beauty in a 
new-made piece of water whose banks and bottom are 
as barren and bare as the inside of a hand basin. A 
load or two of water weeds should have been thrown 
in, the previous spring, to propagate themselves and 
afford pasturage. Swan food exists in proportion to 
the shallowness and foulness, not to the extent and 
clearness of the water. " A yard of margin is worth a 
mile of deep stream." 

In confined waters, swans require a liberal supply 
of food, in the autumn, when the weeds run short. It 
should be remembered, that at this season, they have to 
supply themselves with a new suit of clothes, as well 
as to maintain their daily strength. If they have not 
been taught to eat grain, and have not acquired a no- 
tion of grazing, they will perish from starvation. 
Young birds are apt to be fanciful or stupid, and have 
not sense enough to come to the bank and eat grass, 
nor pick up the threshed corn, or grain, which may be 
thrown down to them. Sometimes they may be 
tempted with a lock of un threshed barley or oats, 
thrown, straw and all, into the water, which they will 
instinctively lay hold of and devour. Cygnets, which 
have been previously put up to fatten, will give little 
or no trouble in this respect, besides the advantage of 
being accustomed to the near approach of their feeder. 

The weight of the swan, in the feathers, varies from 
25 to 28 Ibs., and sometimes, though rarely, 30 Ibs. 
They are never better than in the month of October, 
when the gastronomical inquirer, who is as yet unac- 
quainted with their merits, is recommended to give 
11* 



250 THE COMMON SWAN. 






them a fair and impartial trial. They may be had till 
Christmas, after which they are good for nothing. A 
bird weighing 28 Ibs. before Christmas, has been known 
to shrink to 17 or 18 pounds by the end of January, in 
spite of high feeding. Therefore, " make hay while 
the sun shines," Mr. Epicure. As in the spring, the 
snowdrop gives way to the primrose and the violet, so, 
in autumn, the swan yields its place on the board to 
the turkey and the Gruinea fowl. If to-day is lost, to- 
morrow the opportunity will have flown, in higher con- 
cerns than in mere eating and drinking. Now or, 
perhaps, never. 

The " swan feasts," which sometimes have occurred 
in England, that seem to have left the most pleasing 
impressions on the palates of the partakers have been 
solemnised in the course of the month of September. 
As to the mode of dressing, those artists, who are 
skilled in the treatment of venison, will easily cook 
swan, namely, with a meal crust over it to keep the 
gravy in. Instead of stuffing it with sage and onions, 
like goose, (vulgar condiments to vulgar birds,) use 
rump steak chopped fine, and seasoned with Cayenne 
and salt. When browned, and served to an admiring 
circle, let it have rich gravy and currant jelly, the 
latter hot as well as cold, in respectful attendance. 
And is that all ? No ; the best remains behind. The 
hash, next day, is worth riding twenty miles to eat. 
Nay, more ; the giblets make soup before which ox 
tail sinks into insignificance. The mere writing about 
it has made me hungry. 






CAPONISING FOWLS. 



HISTORY. 

To my own taste, their flesh is insipid, flavorless, and fulsome, 
quite inferior to that of other Fowls, as we usually have them ; 
those who are dissatisfied with a fat Pullet, or a plump Cockerel, 
must surely want a little wholesome exercise of mind and body 
to restore a healthy appetite. Fasting, or hard work even, 
might do no harm in such cases. 

DlXOIT. 

THE art of making capons has been practised from 
the earliest antiquity, in Greece, India, and China, for 
the purpose of improving the flesh of birds for the table, 
in tenderness, juiciness, and flavor. But capons, in 
point of fact, are getting out of date, and are taking 
rank with oxen roasted whole, and other barbarisms of 
the middle ages. They are now rarely to be found in 
the London markets ; and when procurable, are very 
expensive, but not unjustly so, when it is to be re- 
membered that two or three chickens may have been 
sacrificed , before ten capons have been nursed into con- 
valescence. That they may be had in considerable abun- 
dance, in China, the south of Europe, and in a few in- 
stances in our own country, is not to be denied ; but 
wherever they may be found, they cannot be classed 
otherwise than in the list of uncalled-for luxuries, of 
unnecessarily unnatural vi 'lids, such as diseased-goose 
liver pies, fish crimped al. re, or even those frightful 
and portentous dishes recalled by Dr. Kitchener, in 



252 



CAPON1SING FOWLS. 



the " Cook's Oracle." One thing, however, may be 
harmlessly resuscitated. As 



: the toad, ugly and venomous, 

Wears yet a preciousl jewel in his head," 



so the capon, which, though ugly, is not half veno- 
mous enough, if we can be made to believe all we 
read, carries a valuable gem in the part that is usually 
antithetically opposed to the head. 




EXTRACTING A CRYSTAL FROM A CAPON 7 S LIVER. 

From a very curious and ancient work on natural 
history, in my possession, entitled " Ortus Sanitatis," 
(the garden of health,) printed and published at Aus- 
burg, in 1485, by Joan. Cuba, a Dutch botanist, 
who travelled through Greece and the East, I give 
above, a fac-simiie of a wood engraving, representing 



CAPONISING FOWLS. 253 

the act of extracting a precious stone from the liver of 
a capon. "The Allectorius," says the author, "is a 
stone like a crystal, or limpid water. It is found in 
the liver of a capon at the age of three years. It is 
never larger than a bean. After this stone is formed 
in the capon, he never drinks." The Ortus Sanitatis 
further informs us that ladies, who wear the jewel 
Allectorius, are sure to be pleasing in the eyes of their 
husbands. 

Aldrovandi tells us that in capons, which were more 
the fashion in his day than they are now, the hackle, 
the tail feathers, and the spurs grew to a much greater 
length than in cocks. 

In England, the art of making capons, it seems, is 
no new thing, as the business of which formerly de- 
volved upon females ; for old Leonard Mascall, in his 
minute directions for the operation, uses the femi- 
nine gender throughout. 

MODE OF MAKING CAPONS AND POULARDES. 

IF young cocks are emasculated, so as to deprive 
them of their natural reproductive feelings, it has a 
wonderful effect on their condition, rendering them 
also more easy to fatten. They are never afterwards 
subject to the natural process of moulting, and lose 
their previous strong shrill voice. They become dull 
and melancholy, are detested by the hens, buffeted 
about by the other cocks, and would soon fall victims 
to their enmity, were they not removed to perform the 
remaining business of their lives, " to eat, drink, 
sleep, and get fat," with all possible expedition. In 
this state, they are called " capons." 

In a similar manner, young pullets may be capon- 
ised, so as to deprive them of their reproductive pow- 
ers, and render them more easy to fatten. When thus 
operated upon, they are usually, though improperly, 
termed "hen capons," but the French word, " pou- 
larde," is much to be preferred. 



254 



CAPON1SING FOWLS. 



In performing the operation, the first thing to be 
considered is the purchase or procurement of the re- 
quisite instruments. Those most approved of by skill- 
ful operators, consist of two five or seven-pound weights 
for confining the fowls ; a scalpel for cutting open the 




SCALPEL. 



thin skin which envelopes the testicles ; a silver retrac- 
tor for stretching open the wound wide enough to ope- 




RETRACTOR. 



rate within ; a pair of spring forceps, denoted by the 
letter a, in the following page, having a sharp, cutting 
edge, resembling that of a chisel, with a bevel half 
an inch in its greatest width, for making the incision, 



CAPONISING FOWLS. 



255 



Scalpel, .... 
Silver Ketractor, 
Spring Forceps, 
Spoon, with hook, 
Double Silver Canula, 



$0.62 i 
1.50 
0.87 
0.75 
1.75 

$5.50 




and securing the thin membrane covering the testicles; 
a spoon-shaped instrument) 
b, with a sharp hook at one 
end, for pushing and remov- 
ing the testicles, adjusting 
the loop, and to assist in 
tearing open the tender cov- 
ering of the testicles ; and at I II 
double silver canula, c, for 
containing the two ends of 
horse hair or fibre, constitut- 
ing the loop. 

The cost of these instru- 
ments in New York, is near- 
ly as follows : 



Those who are not par- 
ticularly nice about the mat- 1 
ter, may use a cheap pen- 1 
knife instead of the scalpel, 
and may obtain the other 
instruments of a cheaper con- 
struction, so that the whole 
will not cost more than half [ 
the sum indicated above. 

The cockerels intended foil 
capons should be of the larg- 
est breeds, as the Dorking, 
the Bucks-County, Cochin-| 
China, or the great Malay. 
They may be operated upon 
at any time after they are a mon th old, though at an 




FORCEPS, SPOON, AND CANULA. 



256 CAPONISIMG FOWL?. 

age of from two to three months is considered prefer- 
able. If possible, it should be done before July, as it 
has been remarked that capons made later than this, 
never prove so fine. 




COCKEREL CONFINED FOR CAPONISING. 

All things being in readiness, the first step to be 
taken is to confine the fowl to a table or board by lay- 
ing him with the left side downward, the wings 
drawn behind the rump, the legs extended backward 
with the upper one furthest drawn out, and the head 
and neck left perfectly free, as denoted in the above 
cut. The feathers are next to be plucked from the 
right side, near the hip joint, on a line with, and be- 
tween, the joint of the shoulder, as at a. The space 
uncovered, may be from an inch to an inch and a half 
in diameter, according to -"he size of the bird. 

After drawing the skin off the part, backward, so 
that, when left to itself when the operation is com- 
pleted, it will cover the wound in the flesh, make an 
incision with the bevel-edged knife, at the end of the 
forceps, between the last two ribs, commencing about 
an inch from the backbone, and extending it obliquely 
downward, from an inch to an inch and a half, just 
cutting deep enough to separate the ribs, taking duo 
care not to wound the intestines. 



CAPONISING FOWLS. 257 

Then, adjust and apply the retractor by means of 
the small thumb screw, and stretch apart the wound 
sufficiently wide to afford room to examine the parts 
to be removed. 

Then, with the scalpel or a sharp penknife, care- 
fully cut open the skin, or membrane, covering the in- 
testines, which, if not sufficiently drawn up, in con- 
sequence of the previous confinement, may be pushed 
forward towards the breast bone, by means of the bowl 
of the spoon-shaped instrument, or, what would an- 
swer equally well, with the handle of a teaspoon. 

As the testicles are exposed to view, they will be 
found to be connected with the back and sides by 
means of a thin membrane, or skin, which passes over 
them. This tender covering must then be seized with 
the forceps, and torn open with the sharp-pointed hook, 
at the small end of the spoon-shaped instrument, after 
which, with the left hand, introduce the bowl of the 
spoon under the lower, or left testicle, which is gen- 
erally a little nearer to the rump than the right one. 

Tiien take the double canula, adjust the hair loop, 
and, with the right hand, pass the loop over the small 
hooked end of the spoon, running it down under the 
bowl of the spoon containing the testicle, so as to bring 
the loop to act upon the part which connects the tes- 
ticle to the back. Then, by drawing the ends of the 
hair loop backward and forward, and at the same time 
pushing the lower end of the tube, or canula, towards 
the rump of the fowl, the cord, or fastening of the tes- 
ticle, is severed. 

A similar process is then to be repeated with the 
uppermost, or right testicle, after which, any remains 
of the testicles, together with the blood at, or around, 
the bottom of the wound, must be scooped out with 
the bowl of the spoon. The reason for cutting out the 
left testicle first, is to prevent the blood, which may 
issue, from covering the one remaining, and rendering 
it more difficult to be seen. 

After the preceding operation is performed, which, 



258 CAPONISING FOWLS. 

if skillfully done, occupies only a few minutes, the 
retractor is taken out, the skin of the fowl drawn 
over the wound, which may be covered with the feath- 
ers that were plucked off at the commencement, and 
the chicken may he released. As soon as it is liber- 
ated, it will eagerly partake of grain or other food, and 
in a few days be restored to health. 

In some fowls, the fore part of the thigh covers the 
two hindmost ribs, in which case, care must be ob- 
served to draw the fleshy part of the thigh well back, 
to prevent it from being cut ; as otherwise, the opera- 
tion to be performed might be liable to lame the fowl, 
or even cause its death. 

For loops, nothing answers better than the fibre of a 
coco-nut husk, which is rough, and readily separates 
the testicles by sawing. The next best substance for 
the purpose, is the hair of a horse's mane or tail. 

The usual method of making poulardes, in France, 
is, to extirpate the egg cluster, or ovaria, in a similar 
manner as the testicles are extracted from the young 
cocks ; but it has been shown by Mr. Yarrell, in the 
" Transactions of the Royal Society," that it is quite 
sufficient merely to cut across the egg tube, or ovi- 
duct, with a sharp knife. Poulardes may otherwise be 
treated in the same manner as the capons. 

Capons are fattened precisely in the same manner 
as other fowls, by keeping them cooped up in a quiet, 
dark place, and oramming, or otherwise feeding them, 
abundantly. 



DISEASES OF POULTRY. 



GENERAL REMARKS. 

ALTHOUGH poultry are no less liable to disorders than 
cattle, or other domestic animals, but very little at- 
tention has been paid to them, owing, no doubt, to the 
small value of individual fowls, compared with sheep 
or horses ; and frequently it is most economical to kill 
them at once. These disorders, however, are far from 
being devoid of interest, not only as sometimes leading 
to correct views of the diseases of other animals, in- 
cluding man himself; but so far as the saving of even 
a few dimes, by curing them when that is possible, or 
of rendering their eggs, or flesh, more wholesome and 
palatable, as well as the humane motive of adding to 
the comfort of the creatures, some attention to the 
subject, more than it usually attracts, is surely de- 
sirable. 

The following notices, though far from complete, 
and, not improbably, requiring correction, in several 
respects, will be found, it is presumed, as full and as 
perfect as anything hitherto published in treatises 
on poultry. But let me at once confess my ignorance 
relative to the treatment of fowls laboring under their 
various maladies. Their ailments have hitherto failed, 
with, perhaps, few exceptions, to attract scientific ob- 



260 DISEASES OP POULTRY. 

servation, and no wonder. Who attends them ? What 
complaint do they make ? And when they die, who, 
acquainted with the symptoms before death, makes 
post-mortem examinations, and then refers those 
symptoms to the morbid appearances which his scal- 
pel has revealed ? To speak the truth, neither are 
their diseases well understood, nor is the treatment of 
them anything but empyrical. 

From reading, observation, and conversation, howev- 
er, with those who prof ess to be practically acquaint- 
ed with the diseases of poultry, my attention has only 
been directed to what may be considered as the prox- 
imate causes of their dissolution under the following 
active, forms, namely : Apoplexy, evinced by inflam- 
mation of the membranes of the brain, or by effusion 
of blood within or upon it ; peritoneal inflammation of 
the mucous membrane of the intestines, or intumes- 
cence of the rump gland) symptomatic of a febrile 
condition. N. B. Do not give salt in any case whatever. 

APOPLEXY. 

THIS is a very frequent disorder among fowls, which 
makes its attack in most instances without the slight- 
est warning. Mr. Flourens, a very distinguished 
physiologist, of Paris, and an author, says there are 
two degrees of apoplexy among fowls, one deep-seated, 
and the other superficial, each having different symp- 
toms. Deep-seated apoplexy is characterised by com- 
plete disorder of movement, while superficial apoplexy 
^is manifested only by deficient muscular energy and 
instability in walking. Deep-seated apoplexy is ac- 
companied by superficial apoplexy ; but, as the latter 
is the precursor of the former, it ought to be carefully 
attended to, in order to prevent its passing to what 
may be termed the second stage, though both stages 
are capable of being cured by a natural process, as an 
individual case proves. 

M. Flourens had brought to him, on the 12th of 



DISEASES OF POULTRY. 261 

April, 1823, a young fowl, whose gait indicated that 
of a tipsy animal, so much, that the peasants called it 
the "tipsy hen." Whether standing, walking, or run- 
ning, it reeled and staggered, advancing always in a 
zigzag manner, frequently turning to the right, when 
it wished to turn to the left, and to the left when it 
wished to turn to the right ; and instead of going for- 
ward, it went backwards, and backwards instead of 
forwards. Its legs also often bent under it, so that it 
fell down ; above all, when it flew high up to perch, 
it could not govern nor regulate its movements, but 
fell and rolled about on the ground a long while, with- 
out being able to get upon its legs or recover its bal- 
ance. These movements so nearly resembled those 
which had been produced by experiment, that M. 
Flourens was impatient to examine the brain. He 
found the bone of the skull to be covered with black 
carious points. On penetrating the dura mater, a 
quantity of clear water ran out, while the cerebellum 
was yellowish, with rust-colored streaks on the surface, 
and in the centre was a mass of purulent coagulated 
matter, as large as a horse bean, contained in a cavity 
perfectly isolated, and having its sides very thin and 
smooth. 

Dr. de Sala brought to M. Flourens, from Madame 
Rousseau, of Pecq, near Paris, a young cock, which 
had died of a disorder that appeared singular. This 
cock could not stand upright for any time without 
reeling on its legs, and it staggered when it attempted 
to walk or run ; its neck always trembled or oscillated, 
particularly when it stretched it or its body ; but when 
its head or beak were supported, the oscillation ceased. 

This is evidently the same disorder which Dr. Bech- 
stein terms epilepsy, and Mr. Clater, the megrims or 
giddiness. The latter says that "Many promising 
chickens are lost in this complaint. Without any kind 
of warning, they fall, roll on their backs, and struggle 
for a minute or two, when they rise stupid and giddy, 
and slowly return to their food. One fit having oo 



2H2 DISEASES OF POULTRY. 

curred, is soon followed by others, each more violent 
than the preceding, until at length, the little animal 
staggers about half unconscious, refusing to eat, rap- 
idly wasting, and soon dies convulsed. In some cases, 
the megrims occur when the fowl is poor and half- 
starved ; but then the food has been improper ; it has 
been watery or disposed to fermentation ; diarrhoea 
has followed, and the fits are the consequence of in- 
testinal irritation. Other young fowls will have oc- 
casional fits, from which they will rapidly recover, and 
appear to be little or nothing the worse. The me- 
grims," he adds, " must be stopped as soon as possible. 
Castor oil and syrup of ginger will be a very good med- 
icine, and be much improved by syrup of white pop- 
pies added to it. The fowl that has once had the 
megrims should be confined for some days, but in a 
tolerably large place, where it may obtain some de- 
gree of exercise." 

This treatment, it may be observed, proceeds upon 
a total ignorance of the seat of the disease, as so well 
proved by M. Flourens. Dr. de Sala adopted the best 
possible method of cure, by applying leeches to the 
nape of the neck. The food should be light and scan- 
ty, and the-.affected fowl should be confined in a rather 
dark coop. 

PIP, OR THRUSH. 

THIS may be regarded as a token of derangement of 
the mucous membrane of the alimentary canal gener- 
ally, and not as a local disease. It is considered va- 
riously by different writers. Dr. Bechstein describes 
it as a catarrhal inflammation producing a thickened 
state of the membrane lining the nostrils and mouth, 
particularly the tongue. M. Buc'hoz, on the other 
hand, thinks it caused by want of water, or by bad 
water, such as the drainings of dunghills, sinks, &c., 
which fowls will drink when they can get no other. 

The symptoms of the " pip," consist in a thickening 



DISEASES OF POULTRY. 263 

of the membrane lining the tongue and palate, which 
causes an obstruction to free inspiration, and makes 
the poor sufferer gasp for breath ; the beak becomes 
yellow at the base ; the tongue dry ; the plumage be- 
comes ruffled, the bird mopes and pines, the appetite 
gradually declines to extinction, and at last it dies, 
completely worn out by fever and starvation. 

A cure may be effected by a low diet ; that is, in 
the case of common fowls, by an allowance of fresh 
vegetable food, as lettuce or parsley chopped and 
mixed with potatoes and a little Indian or oat meal, 
granting at the same time a plentiful supply of pure 
water. Give, also, of castor oil, a tea-spoonful, or 
thereabouts, according to the age and strength of the 
fowl. Do not scrape the tongue, nor use rough modes 
of cleaning it ; but apply a little borax, (sub-borate 
of soda,) dissolved in pure water and tincture of myrrh, 
by means of a camel-hair pencil, two or three times a- 
day. 

When chickens are ill with the pip, Dr. Bechstein 
recommends keeping the fowl in a warm place, and a 
mixture of butter, pepper, garlic, and scraped horse 
radish, to be given to it, without stripping the tongue ; 
and, when the nostrils are obstructed, to pass a small 
feather, dipped in oil, up them. M. Buc'hoz recom- 
mends clean water. 

GAPES, OR INFLAMMATION OF THE WINDPIPE. 

THIS is a disease to which all our domestic gallina- 
ceous birds are subject, and which often occasions 
great mortality among them. Wet, ill-feeding, and, 
ill- ventilated fowl house confinement, or a spot or 
plot of ground tenanted year after year by fowls, with- 
out attention to cleanliness, to renovation of the soil, 
and a proper allowance of gravel, ashes, fresh vegeta- 
bles, &c., are the proximate or remote causes of this, 
as well as many other complaints of our domestic 
fowls. At the same time, let it be borne in mind, 
that the "gapes" is an epidemic disease. 



264 DISEASES OF POULTRY. 

In the first instance, it appears to arise from a 
croupy or catarrhal affection, which is indicated by 
running at the nostrils, watery eyes, alteration of 
voice, and loss of appetite and spirits. If the trachea, 
or windpipe, be examined, it will be found replete with 
narrow worms, about half an inch in length, imbedded 
in slimy mucus. This singular worm consists of a 
long and short body united together ; the long one is 
the female, the short one the male, each, were it not 
that they are permanently united together, being an 
animal distinct and perfect in itself. 

Whether these parasitic worms are the cause or 
consequence of the disease, it is not easy to say , nor 
do we know how they become introduced into the tra- 
chea ; this, however, seems certain, that their removal 
is requisite to give the feathered patient a chance ot 
recovery. This can be done by means of a feather, 
neatly trimmed, which is to be introduced into the 
windpipe and turned round once or twice and then 
drawn out ; it will dislodge the worms and bring back 
many of them adhering to it with the slime. This 
plan requires great dexterity and some knowledge of 
the anatomy of the parts ; a slow unskillful operator 
may kill the already half-suffocated bird, instead of 
curing it. Another mode of destroying these worms, 
is, by putting the birds into a box, and making them 
inhale the fumes of tobacco, thrown into it through 
the stalk of a tobacco pipe. Some recommend the 
forcing of tobacco smoke down the bird's throat, and 
others that the mouth be crammed with snuff. 

Martin, in his " Farmer's Library," recommends 
the application of a grain of calomel, made up with 
bread into a pill, or two or three grains of Plummer's 
pill, (pil. hydr. submur. co., London Pharmacopoeia,) 
after which let flower of sulphur be administered, 
with a little ginger, in pultaceous food composed of 
barley meal. Indian meal will do as well. In the 
meantime let the bird be kept in a dry, warm shed or 
room, apart from the rest of the fowls, as it is believed 



DISEASES OF POULTRY. 265 

that the disease is infectious. Let the mouth and 
beak be washed with a weak solution of chloride of 
lime. 



INFLAMMATION OF THE LUNGS. 

FOWLS, in a state of health, rarely breathe through 
the mouth as we do, but almost always through the 
nostrils, which are comparatively large, and communi- 
cate backward with the top of the windpipe. The 
windpipe itself is composed of stiff rings of cartilage, 
united by strong membranes ; and such is the elasticity 
of these, that the tube is enabled to preserve its cylin- 
drical form, even when it receives considerable pres- 
sure, and thereby affords free ingress and egress to the 
air in breathing. 

When the windpipe descends into the chest, it di- 
vides into numerous branches called the " bronchial 
tubes," which gradually becoming smaller, at length 
terminate in perforations, but neither these branches 
nor the cells are so small in fowls as in other animals. 
It is these branchings of the windpipe, however, which, 
together with numerous blood vessels, make up the 
substance of the lungs, the interstices being filled with 
a fine membrane that serves not only to unite them, 
but likewise to give a uniform appearance to the whole 
mass. The perforations in which the branches of the 
windpipe terminate, lead into large air sacks com- 
municating with all parts of the body, and forming an 
accessary lung. 

With reference to a not uncommon disorder among 
fowls, it is important to mention that the lungs are 
covered with a fine delicate membrane called the 
pleura, on every part of which a watery fluid is secre- 
ted, for. the purpose of preventing a cohesion of the 
parts. 

Inflammation of the lungs, including the bronchial 
tubes, is not uncommon in fowls. Its symptoms are 
quick breathing, often with a rattle, or rale, very 
12 



266 DISEASES OF POULTRY. 

audible, dullness, disorder of plumage, vacancy in the 
eye, and indisposition to stir. Death is not to be pre- 
vented by any remedy we can point out. Human 
patients can explain their feelings, cattle to a certain 
degree indicate them ; but birds give little indications 
by voice or manner leading to what the medical man 
calls a diagnosis. Besides, how are we to bleed a 
bird ? The skin of most birds is very thin, it is un- 
supported by a thick mass of cellular tissue, and 
the vessels which ramify upon it are minute, none 
presenting a fair chance for successful venesection. 
To cut and wound a bird at random for the purpose oi 
obtaining a flow of blood is barbarous. 

OBSTRUCTION OF THE NOSTRILS. 

FOWLS, as already remarked, do not in general breathe 
through the mouth, but through the nostrils, and conse- 
quently, when these through any cause become obstruct- 
ed, the bird may be observed to gape and pant for breath. 
This is the case in the "pip," as before mentioned and 
it is also a very common consequence of the wounds 
received in skirmishing and fighting, the blood from the 
lacerated comb trickling over, and plugging up the nos- 
tril with a hard adherent crust. When this is observed, 
the parts ought to be washed with warm water till the 
crust can be loosened. 

If the obstruction arise from canker or ulceration ot 
the nostril itself, it may, if recent, be rubbed with a little 
honey to defend it from the air; but if of long standing, 
and not seeming likely to heal, it may be touched with 
a red-hot wire, which will produce a scab, and in most 
cases be followed by a speedy cure. This may be con- 
sidered by some a very barbarous remedy ; but the pain 
it produces can only be momentary, and in reality is 
not so severe an operation as cupping. 

In the case of obstructed nostrils from pip or catarrh, 
bathe them with warm milk and water, or anoint with 
sweet oil or fresh butter. 



DISEASES OF POULTRY. 267 



ROTJF, OR INFLUENZA. 

THE term "roup," is in common speaking very indefi- 
nite, being applied to the quite dissimilar disorders of poul- 
try, such as to obstruction in the rump gland, the " pip" 
already described, and to almost every sort of catarrh. 
The word is supposed to be a corruption of " croup," 
which appears to be applicable to the " gapes," or in- 
flammation of the windpipe. It will be most advisable, I 
think, to confine the term to a highly dangerous disorder, 
caused partly, if not altogether, by cold and moisture, 
but usually ascribed to improper feeding, uncleanliness, 
and confinement. 

The symptoms most prominent in the roup, is difficult 
and noisy breathing, beginning with what is termed the 
gapes,, as in the pip. The eyes afterwards become 
much swollen, and the eyelids livid, with decay of sight, 
and even total blindness. There is a considerable dis- 
charge from the nostrils, and even from the mouth, at 
commencement, thin and limpid but afterwards becom- 
ing thick, purulent, and fetid very similar to the glanders 
in horses. As secondary symptoms, the appetite is all 
but lost except for drink, the crop feels hard to the touch, 
and the feathers are staring, ruffled, and without a healthy 
gloss. The fowl sits moping and wasting in corners 
always apparently in great pain. Moubray says, that 
in a hen, which died of roup, the eggs were black. 

The roup affects fowls of all ages, and is either acute 
or chonic, beginning sometimes suddenly, and some- 
times gradually, as the result of neglected colds, or rainy 
weather and damp lodging. Chronic roup has been 
known to affect a fowl for two years. 

When any fowls or other poultry are observed to be 
infected with roup, they ought to be kept warm, and 
have plenty of water and scalded bran, Indian-meal 
dough, or other light food. The most effectual remedy 
is said to be antimonial powder or calomel, in grain 
doses, made into a pill with bread. When it becomes 
chronic, change of food and of air, if convenient, will 
be advisable ; such as confining the diet to earth worms 



268 DISEASES OF POULTRY. 

for a week, and then keeping wholly to grain for another 
week, and again to hot mashed potatoes for a third week. 
Cleanliness is no less indispensable than warmth, and 
it will be convenient to bathe the eyes with warm milk 
and water, or with Labarraque's disinfecting liquid, 
which is a solution of chlorinated lime. 



COLDS, CATARRHS, AND PULMONARY CONSUMPTION, OR 
PHTHISIS. 

HOARSENESS, sneezing, and other symptoms of cold, 
are very common among fowls, which are more suscep- 
tible of cold than might be imagined, when we consider 
their warm clothing of feathers. When it is considered, 
however, that the air taken into their lungs is not, as in 
ourselves, stopped there, but by means of the air cells 
reaches every part of their body, penetrating even into 
the interior of their bones, we may wonder the less at 
their great susceptibility of being affected by changes of 
temperature. It must be considered, also, that fowls 
were originally, natives of a warm climate ; and though 
long residents of higher latitudes they still retain so 
much of their original habits as to influence them in 
this respect. It is besides, a very common thing for in- 
dividuals to be rendered more susceptible of changes of 
temperature than they otherwise would be, by being 
closely confined in coops by dealers in the markets ; 
and hence, when purchased and turned out into the fresh 
air of an open field or of a farm yard, they frequently, 
to use a common phrase, "catch their death's cold" 
within a few days. 

M. Flourens, has investigated the nature of the disor- 
ders produced in fowls, by cold, with great care, and as 
his observations are not only apposite, I shall give them 
pretty fully. M. Flourens did not confine his researches 
to the common domestic fowl, but experimented like- 
wise on ducks, which he found, conformably to general 
experience, no less susceptible of catarrhal disorders 
than fowls, proving that it is not altogether a change of 
climate which causes such susceptibility. 

M. Flourens being in the country in the month of 



DISEASES OF POULTRY. 269 

May, his attention was called to a duckling of a brood 
newly hatched, which was reported to have swallowed 
something that stack in its throat, appearing to be on 
the point of suffocation, continually opening its broad 
bill, and breathing with extreme difficulty. He exam- 
ined the fauces, the windpipe, and the gullet, and found 
nothing; but the struggles of the little creature contin- 
ued to increase, and it finally died in an hour or two. 
On opening it, no foreign substance was found, neither 
in the gullet nor windpipe ; but the lungs were of a 
deep-red, and gorged with blood, showing that its death 
had been caused by acute inflammation of the lungs. 

Another duckling of the same hatch was pointed out 
to M. Flourens, which had been suddenly seized with 
symptoms similar to the preceding ; and while he was 
examining this, a third was struck so suddenly with op- 
pression of the chest, that it stood motionless, gasped for 
breath, had violent palpitation of the heart, left off eat- 
ing and drinking, and died in two or three hours, as did 
the second one. He opened both, and found the same 
inflammatory engorgement of the lungs which he had 
observed in the first. The disorder indeed was evi- 
dently acute inflammation of the lungs. 

The terrace where he found the ducklings thus seized, 
and which was badly situated for rearing poultry, had 
a northern aspect, and the sun scarcely reached it. It 
was consequently cold, and cold alone seemed to be the 
cause of the pulmonary inflammation in the ducklings. 
To try the effect of a warmer exposure, M. Flourens 
caused the remaining ducklings of the hatch, seven in 
number, to be removed to a poultry yard, having a 
southern aspect, and perfectly exposed to the sun. Upon 
carefully warming the little creatures, the inflammation 
disappeared from the chest, and did not return. All 
the seven ducklings lived and grew up to adult age. 

In the beginning of October, 1826, M. Flourens pro- 
cured a brood of twenty-three chickens, about a month 
old. As soon as the cold weather appeared, he placed 
six of these in a suitable place, where he kept up a mild 
temperature during the day, and at night made them 
sleep in baskets warmly covered. None of these six 



270 DISEASES OF POULTRY. 

chickens, among which were four fern-ales and two 
males, were affected with consumption of the lungs; 
but one died of a disorder of the eyes, and another lost 
an eye. 

Of eleven chickens which he kept constantly in the 
poultry yard with a southernly aspect, all, except two, 
a hen and a cock, died before the end of December, of 
consumption of the lungs, having first passed through 
all the stages of this disease. 

Those chickens, which, at the end of October, were 
still lively and gay, lost by little and little their strength 
and vivacity ; they trailed their wings, ruffled up their 
feathers, their flanks fell in, they chirped almost inces- 
santly, their voice changed progressively, becoming first 
hoarse and at length aphonous ; they scarcely ate, they 
grew extremely emaciated, with the skin dry, and as if 
it were glued to the bones ; they endeavored to get in 
doors for shelter, and when they did get in, they were 
observed to approach as near as they could to the fire, 
to sit down even on the cinders and even upon the dogs 
and cats around the hearth. 

On the death of these creatures, M. Flourens found 
their lungs in different stages of inflammation and of sup- 
puration, For the most part, the larynx, all the wind- 
pipe, and its ramifications through the lungs, were filled 
with purulent matter of a greyish color like mud, and of 
a fetid smell. This matter was sprinkled all over, (par- 
sernee,) with a multitude of very minute black points, 
and these when thrown into water, fell to the bottom. 
The lungs at certain points were gorged with blood, and 
their tissue, softened as if putrefied, was of the color of 
wine lees. At other points, particularly the external 
posterior margin, the pulmonary vesicles presented black 
points like those in the purulent matter, and in many 
of these black points he found a very minute substance, 
hard, crepitating, white, and of a bony or horny appear- 
ance. In fine, upon other points, he observed the ves- 
icles corroded, and forming small sacs filled with the 
pus found in the bronchia, the windpipe, and larynx. 

As to the two surviving chickens, they no doubt 
withstood the cold from being covered with feathers 



DISEASES OF POULTRY. 271 

than the others, but they remained dwarfed and feeble. 
There remained six chickens more out of the twenty- 
three on which he had begun his experiments. The 
following is what he did with these : He left them at 
first with the eleven in the poultry yard till they exhib- 
ited symptoms, not to be mistaken, of pulmonary con- 
sumption more or less advanced. He then took them 
to the place kept at a mild temperature, where, after 
marking them with bits of stuff tied to their legs, he 
united them with the six already there. 

Two of these chickens, which would certainly have 
died the same day or the next, if he had left them in the 
poultry yard, after having appeared at first to regain a 
little strength, died, one in about five and the other in 
about nine days. He found their lungs in a complete 
state of suppuration or of inflammation. 

The four other chickens regained by degrees their 
vivacity and vigor, recommenced feeding with a good 
appetite, and appeared completely re-established in 
health, and in April, 1827, when he released them all 
from confinement, they appeared as healthy as those 
which had never been exposed to the cold. 

Among these four cured chickens were three cocks 
which he sacrificed to ascertain both what might be the 
actual state of their lungs and what could have been 
the state through which these organs had passed during 
the evident symptoms of phthisis, which he had previ- 
ously observed them to present symptoms of which 
the most immediate and direct is the purulent mat- 
ter observed to come from the glottis, on drawing 
the tongue out from the mouth and pressing upon the 
larynx or the windpipe. 

M. Flourens opened accordingly the chest of the three 
cocks, and he found in all the three, traces of an old 
change in the lungs, more or less deep, and now healed. 
He preserved the hen, which he intended to lay eggs, 
by means of which he purposed to study the effects 
which reproduction might have on a pulmonary con- 
sumption when cured ; but his return to Paris prevent- 
ed him from putting his design in execution. 



272 DISEASES OF POULTRY. 

From these observation, M. Flourens concludes, with 
respect to the effects of cold upon fowls, it follows, 

1. That in these creatures, cold* exercises a constant 
and determined action upon the lungs. 

2. That this action is more sudden and more serious 
in proportion as the creature is of tender age. 

3. That when cold does not produce a pulmonary 
inflammation, acute and speedily fatal, it produces chronic 
inflammation, which is in fact pulmonary phthisis. 

4. That warmth uniformly prevents the access of pul- 
monary phthisis, and as uniformly suspends its progress 
when this has commenced ; and sometimes even stops 
it entirely, and effects a complete cure. 

5. That this disease, at whatever stage it may have 
arrived, is never contagious. The chickens affected 
with phthisis were not only the whole day with the 
healthy chickens, but roosted at night in the same bas- 
kets, without ever having experienced the slightest in- 
fluence from a communication so intimate and pro- 
longed. 

A long series of observations made upon man has 
unquestionably proved that cold is the most terrible 
scourge in producing chronic inflammations of the lungs ; 
while heat, on the contrary, is the most efficacious rem- 
edy. The experiments above detailed confirm, in a di- 
rect and decisive manner, both the pernicious effects of 
cold and the salutary effects of heat. In showing this 
last evidence, accordingly, both where the source of the 
the evil lies and where is the source of the benefit, the 
results may not be entirely useless to humanity. 

Again, sudden very hot weather produced bad effects 
on all his chickens, and it being impossible to doctor all, 
the most advantageous plan, he judged, and the least 
troublesome, was, to destroy all the sick ones and calcu- 
late only on the strong, exercising judgment in the se- 
lection ; for even when they are cured, they frequently 
remain not only lean but voracious, destroying a great 
quantity of food, and showing no signs of thrift tilf late 
in autumn. When extensively-spreading disorders at- 
tack the chickens of a yard, in this way unless shelter 



DISEASES OF POULTRY. 273 

and housing prove effectual, little else can be recom- 
mended. 

In the cure of these disorders in fowls, as well as in 
man, the most inert and unphilosophical remedies have 
been recommended. Dr. Handel, of Mentz, for ex- 
ample, recommends, for the pulmonary consumption of 
fowls, the juice of the white turnip to be given for drink, 
instead of water, which, of course could have no more 
effect in curing the corroded lungs, gorged with pus 
and studded with black points, in chickens, than balsam 
of hoarhound, pectoral elixir, and all the farrago of stuff 
lauded for consumption in man. M. Flourens was too 
sound a reasoner to dream of trying nostrums on his 
chickens, since temperature alone seems to be the dom- 
inant principle to which all attention ought to be paid. 
After perusing the preceding observations, poultry keep- 
ers need not be recommended to take care that their 
poultry be well sheltered during the colder seasons of 
the year, and if any appearance of cold or inflammation 
be observed, to remove them, at least, for a time to some 
well-sheltered place, or even into some artificial tem- 
perature. 

ASTHMA. 

THIS is a very common disease among fowls, charac- 
terised by their breathing short, opening their beaks of- 
ten and long, as if to gasp for air, with heaving and 
panting at the chest, more particularly when agitated or 
frightened, 

There seems to be two species of the disorder. In 
the first, it frequently happens that, when the action of 
the blood vessels of the lungs has been increased to a 
great degree, and the inflammation produced terminates 
without suppuration or gangrene, phlegm is frequently 
thrown into and plugs up a part of the air cells, which 
prevents them from performing their proper functions,; 
and the fowl, not being able to take in the usual quan- 
tity of air, is obliged to inspire twice in the time which 
before only took up one inspiration, causing a double 
heaving of the chest. The capacity of the lungs being, 



274 DISEASES OF POULTRY. 

of course, diminished, the membrane which lines the 
windpipe is much thickened, and many of the finer 
branches are probably obstructed in a greater or less 
degree. 

In the second variety, by fright, from chasing the 
fowls to catch them, or by seizing them suddenly, or by 
their fighting with each other, a blood vessel is not un- 
frequently ruptured, as is proved by a drop of blood ap- 
pearing at the beak, speedy death being the usual con- 
sequence. If this does not happen, the breathing 
continues difficult and apparently painful, and a com- 
plete cure is rarely effected. The rupture, not of a 
blood vessel, but of one or more of the air cells, occa- 
sions considerable vacuities, which are never completely 
emptied of air on expiration. When this is the case, 
the fowl not being able to expel the air at one expira- 
tion, another immediately takes place, with a short in- 
spiration between, causing the panting and gasping 
already mentioned. 

Confirmed asthma, caused by the bursting of air cells 
or blood vessels, is of course incurable, though it is not 
always fatal fowls so affected often living for several 
years, otherwise in tolerable health. It certainly, how- 
ever, injures the utility of cocks, which are the most 
subject to it from its being brought on by fighting. 

FEVER. 

THE chief symptom in fever in fowls, is increased rap- 
idity of the current of the blood, and this, of course, may 
be occasioned by various causes. One of the most 
common is skirmishing and fighting, by which the crea- 
tures are often greatly agitated, and not unfrequently 
killed outright. This fever is sometimes increased, by 
buffing the combatants about with a handkerchief, to 
induce them to leave off. A more effectual remedy, 
which at the same time will often stop the fever, is to 
plunge them over head in cold water, or throw cold wa- 
ter over them from a garden pot, or even from a bucket. 
If this is done, care must be taken to have them dried 
as soon as possible, by removing them within doors, 
should the weather be damp or cold. 



DISEASES OF POULTRY. 275 

In a case of highly inflammatory fever in a chicken, 
noticed by Mr. Dickson, supposed to have been caused 
by sudden hot weather, in May, so that it burned the 
hand like hot water, a dose of nitre, in milk and water, 
at night, produced so great a change, that the chicken 
was cool and brisk in the morning. The dose was re- 
peated, and brought on a cold fever fit, like ague, which, 
however, changed to an intermittent, and the chicken 
completely recovered. 

THIRST. 

IMMODERATE thirst is a symptom of fever, though it 
may also occur when there is no fever, from a long con- 
tinuance of dry food, and particularly when the crop 
and gizzard have been distended by over-eating. When 
fowls are much persecuted by their companions, which 
is an every-day occurrence in the poultry yard, they 
may accordingly be observed to drink almost insatiably, 
for a day or more at a time, eating very sparingly, and 
sometimes not at all. This appears to operate as a cure 
for the fever into which they have been thrown. 

When immoderate thirst is observed to affect a num- 
ber of fowls at the same time, they ought to have a good 
supply of green or moist food, such as cabbage or let- 
tuce leaves, soaked bread, or boiled potatoes, mashed 
with skimmed milk ; taking particular care that this 
milk be perfectly sweet. 

When the thirst arises from fever caused by fighting, 
the fowl may be soused into a pail of water, in summer ; 
but in winter, this must only be done if there be con- 
venience to let it dry itself near a fire or a stove. 

PAIRING AND HATCHING- FEVER. 

THE most decidedly feverish symptoms, very frequently 
observed in fowls, occur at the period of hatching, when 
the animal heat becomes so much increased, as to be re- 
markable to the touch when the hen is caught. 

Many methods are adopted to stop this fever, when 
it is not desirable that the hen should incubate, but con- 
tinue to lay. It is common, for instance, to turn the 
hen rapidfy round about, to render her giddy, which 
will of course, for a short time, diminish the velocity of 



273 DISEASES OF POULTRY. 

the blood, and consequently abate the fever. Others, 
very improperly plunge the hen several times into cold 
water, or, let water fall on her from a pump, or other- 
wise.' But what is found to be the most effectual, is 
cooping the hen up for a few days and nights, on the 
cold ground, or shutting her out from the nest at night, 
and compelling her to roost in the yard. 

A feverish state also takes place about the time hens be- 
gin to lay, but is of little consequence to fowls otherwise 
healthy, though it will be certain to increase any other 
disorder which may have previously affected them. If 
they appear very hot and restless, they may have plenty 
of green food, Indian-meal dough, scalded bran, or soak- 
ed bread, or in more extreme cases, they may be plunged 
into, or sprinkled with, water to allay the heat. 

VORACIOUS APPETITE, 

FOWLS which are much emaciated, or affected with 
loss of feathers, (not moulting,) often exhibit the most 
voracious and insatiable appetite, while at the same time 
they are very ill-tempered and pugnacious. This most 
probably arises from acidity in the bowels, or some ob- 
struction in the orifices of the veins that open on the 
inner surface of the intestines, preventing the due pas- 
sage of the digested aliment into the blood. 

Before any proper remedy can be prescribed, the 
cause ought to be ascertained ; but as this is not always 
possible, it may be well to try various things at a ven- 
ture. For instance, as acidity may be presumed to be 
the cause in a great number of instances, chalk may be 
mixed up with bread crumbs or mashed potatoes, to 
neutralise the acid. Again, if costiveness is observed, 
which may cause obstruction, mashed carrots or boiled 
cabbages may be given two or three limes, till the 
effect produced be ascertained. 

CROFSICK, INDIGESTION, OR WANT OP APPETITE. 

WHEN the food of fowls is suddenly changed, such as 
from dry to boiled barley, or Indian meal, or to 
mashed potatoes, they may often be observed to feed 
badly, and to lose flesh in a surprisingly short space of 



DISEASES OF POULTRY. 277 

time. It will tend much to prevent this, if care be tak- 
en never to give them the boiled barley or potatoes in a 
cold state, the difference of effect of warm, instead of 
cold food being quite wonderful ; fowls enjoy a hot 
dinner, and dislike a cold one, (dry grain or meat ex- 
cepted,) as much as an alderman would enjoy hot, and 
dislike cold turtle. 

But, although change of diet may often produce such 
temporary fits of indigestion, these are seldom of serious 
consequence, and usually disappear in a day or two. It 
is very different, when an individual fowl is affected 
with indigestion or want of appetite, of some continu- 
ance. In that case, the causes ought to be investigated, 
and remedies given accordingly. A hen of the Spanish 
breed, about five years old, noticed by Mr. Dickson, was 
the particular favorite of a cock, which had been con- 
fined in consequence of his savage behavior to another 
hen. From this time, the favorite pined, kept constantly 
beside the coop of the prisoner, and at length, left off 
feeding almost entirely. When the cock was liberated, 
it was supposed the favorite would recover her spirits 
and appetite ; but though the cock was as gallant to her 
as before, she continued to mope, keep away from the 
rest, and never took to feeding with any appetite, but 
only gathered up a few grains of corn, now and then, in 
a listless manner, as if she cared little about it, and 
finally in a week or two died. It is not improbable, 
however, that if she had had active medicine given her, 
such as pepper or iron rust, mixed with mashed potatoes, 
or had been well purged with mashed carrots or boiled 
cabbage, she might have recovered. 

Moubray mentions a hen which sat about in corners, 
and did not eat, drink, nor evacuate, and yet looked full, 
and not diseased. Her crop being totally obstructed, 
on an incision being made from the bottom upwards, a 
quantity of beans was found, which had vegetated there. 
On the wound being stitched up, it immediately healed, 
and little inconvenience remained. 

Iron rust, (peroxide of iron,) either given in substance 
mixed with soft food, or diffused in water, is one of the 
best tonics for fowls, and ought never to be neglected, 



278 DISEASES or POULTRY. 

when there is any atrophy or loss of flesh observed. It 
ought of course to be combined with good barley, oats, 
Indian meal, or ground malt, and occasionally some good 
ale, milk warm, to drink. The ale has a very great ef- 
fect in improving what may be termed the " condition" of 
fowls. 

COSTIVENESS. 

IT is easy to discover the presence of this disease, by 
the frequent unsuccessful endeavors of the fowl affected 
with it to relieve itself. It may be caused by a contin- 
uance of feeding on dry grain without access to green 
vegetables, without which, or the occasional substitute 
of warm boiled potatoes, this disorder is certain to make 
its appearance. The want of a plentiful supply of good 
water may also occasion costiveness. 

Soaked bread with skimmed milk, if it can be easily 
had and given warm, is one of the best remedies for the 
costiveness of fowls, as it does not purge so much as 
boiled carrots or cabbage, which may be given if the 
soaked bread fail. A good meal of earth worms, or some 
chopped suet, may also be useful. Hot potatoes, mashed 
with dripping or bacon fat, are likewise an excellent 
remedy. 

But should any individual fowl continue costive, not- 
withstanding these means, a little sweet oil may be in- 
troduced into the anus, by way of clyster, a thing that 
will rarely fail to effect, at least, temporary relief; and 
a permanent cure must be sought for by discovering the 
cause 

SCOURING, LOOSENESS, OR DIARRHCEA. 

WHEN fowls are observed to dung more loose than 
natural, in consequence of feeding on green vegetables, 
bad potatoes, or other soft food, it can scarcely be reck- 
oned a disease, and no treatment will be required, un- 
less it continue or increase, rather than go off. But 
when it does amount to a confirmed looseness, it ought 
to be attended to, lest, in the end, it prove fatal, as not 
unfrequently happens when it is neglected. The worst 



DISEASES OF POULTRY. 279 

symptom is the voiding of a white calcareous matter, 
(urate of ammonia,) sometimes streaked with yellow, 
like the yolk of a stale egg, which sticks to the feathers 
round the anus, and being very acrid from the ammo- 
nia it contains, soon causes inflammation, which extends 
rapidly upwards into the bowels. When the disorder 
continues violent for a short time, it rapidly emaciates 
the fowl, as the same disorder does other animals. 

As it is in most, if not all cases, caused by a super- 
abundant acidity, or other irritating matter in the bow- 
els, chalk may be given, mixed with boiled rice and 
milk, either to neutralise any acid that may be present 
or to soften any acrid matter. Some people pull out 
the vent and tail feathers, and then rub the parts with 
fresh butter ; though this is not only a very cruel opera- 
tion, but one very little likely to prove effectual. Dr. 
Handel, of Mentz, in France, in cases of chronic, or 
long-continued looseness, prescribes water in which the 
rust of iron is diffused, mixed with milk, for drink, and 
says, it seldom fails to effect a cure. Great care must 
be taken, however, to have the milk perfectly sweet. 
The sulphate of iron, or what appears still better, alum, 
might perhaps be tried with success, dissolved in water, 
in such proportions as to make it taste a little rough to 
the tongue. 

As looseness may be caused in fowls by an excessive 
discharge of urine from the kidneys, which, if discovered, 
must be attacked by giving dry food, such as whole 
wheat, oats, bran, Indian corn, or buckwheat, and by 
supplying water sparingly. Boiled rice and milk, which 
is strongly diuretic, as well as the rust water, will 
then be improper. 

BLOODY FLUX. 

FOWLS are but rarely affected with this complaint, 
which not unfrequently proves fatal to parrots. Boiled 
rice and milk, and mild ale, warm, with a little chalk or 
magnesia, should be given. Fat broth or sweet milk, 
warm, should be their only drink. 



280 DISEASES OF POULTRY. 



INFLAMMATION AND ULCERATION OF THE EYES. 

ONE of six of the twenty-three chickens which M. 
Flourens shut up, so as to guard them against cold, was 
stated in a preceeding page to have died of a disorder of 
the eyes, and another to have lost an eye. The disor- 
der consisted of small abscesses which were formed on 
the cornea, containing a whitish sort of pus. Some- 
times the inflammation extended to the whole globe of 
the eye, the eyelids swelling to an enormous size, and 
then accumulating under them a coagulable albuminous 
matter, similar to the white of an egg. The cornea subse- 
quently sloughed off, and the eye was consequently emp- 
tied of its humors, and vision was destroyed forever, 
causing in one blindness, and in another death, while in 
a third, the abscess healed spontaneously. 

This disorder of the eyes was no doubt owing to the 
concentrated vapors of the place where the fowls had 
been shut up ; but it is also often produced in a manner 
not less distressing, by cold, and particularly moist cold. 

"During the rains in the winter of 1826 and' 1827," 
says M. Flourens, "the poultry yard which furnished my 
observations was much below the level of the soil, and 
constantly flooded with water. The greater part of 
the hens, and particularly the young ones, were affected 
with abscesses of the cornea, and inflammation of the 
globe of the eye, to the degree that many of them lost 
their eyes. The effect of the humidity and cold did not 
stop here. Along with the abscesses of the cornea, enor- 
mous tumors frequently appeared on the head ; these 
tumors broke, and discharged most copiously a sort of 
sanious pus ; and almost uniformly the fowl fell a victim 
to the disorder. Many fowls were, at the same time, 
seized with acute rheumatism and sciatica.*" 

RHEUMATISM. 

THIS affection is often caused by plunging the fowls 
into cold water, for the hatching fever or for weaning 
them from sitting. The treatment is the same as that 

* Annales des Sciences, Septembre, 1829. 



DISEASES OF POULTRY. 281 

for " consumption," such as warmth and cooling, open- 
ing food. 

GOUT. 

THIS disorder is less common among fowls than il 
would be, were it not that they are seldom allowed to 
live long enough for it to make its appearance, since it 
rarely attacks any except those which are rather old. 
It manifests itself by swelling of the joints, but it is, in 
most cases, not worth while to attempt a remedy. Sul- 
phur, mixed with scalded bran, or soaked bread, may be 
given with advantage. 

OBSTRUCTION OF THE RUMP GLAND. 

IT has already been mentioned, under the head of 
" roup," that this term is sometimes applied improperly 
to obstruction of the rump gland. Even Moubray says, 
"imposthume upon the rump is called roup'' Before 
giving the correct view of this gland, it may be as well 
to state the common and very erroneous notion of it 
from Clater. 

" It is well known," says he, " that there is a little 
tubercle, or projection, on the rump of every bird, and 
which is filled with oily matter. Its use is to smooth 
and give a glossy appearance to the feathers, and more 
particularly to make them water-tight. When rain is 
coming, every bird is diligently employed in squeezing 
out the greasy fluid, and rubbing it over the whole 
surface of his feathery coat, and then the drops of rain 
trickle off without penetrating through, or in the slightest 
degree inconveniencing him." 

In order to prove the inaccuracy of this popular and 
plausible notion, it will scarcely be requisite, as M. 
Reaumur justly remarks, to show how little the quan- 
tity of oil that may be daily supplied by the rump gland 
is, in proportion to the extent of surfaces resulting from 
the assemblage of the numberless feathers with which a 
hen or a duck is covered; nor how long a time would 
be necessary to enable the gland to supply a quantity of 
the oil sufficiently to besmear the surface of only one of 
th<?ae feathers. In order to explode a notion so uni- 



282 DISEASES OF POULTRY. 

versally believed, it is enough to state, that the feathers 
of the variety of fowls called "rumkins," which have 
no rump gland at all, are as much proof against rain as 
those of other fowls. The fact, notwithstanding, is 
correct, that fowls are observed pecking about their 
rumps, and this imposed upon careless observers, who 
did not consider that the point of the beak could never 
press out a quantity of oil sufficient to render itself 
greasy. " So long," says M. Reaumur. " as we shall be 
ignorant why a secretion is made in our ears of^a 
certain waxy matter, though in a very small quantity, 
we shall not think ourselves obliged to give an account 
why a secretion of a certain matter is in a particular 
manner effected in a very small quantity on the rump of 
fowls." 

The rump gland frequently becomes obstructed, and 
in consequence inflames, swells, and of course occasions 
pain and uneasiness, extending, in bad cases, to the 
whole rump. Clater says the remedy is simple ; it is all 
loss of time to foment or apply cooling washes ; the 
tumor must be opened at once, and the collected oil, 
now become purulent and diseased, squeezed out. If 
the wound does not readily heal, a little tincture of aloes 
may be applied. 

Dr. Bechstein, on the other hand, says that when the 
rump gland is thus destroyed, the fowls are certain to 
die the very next moult. 

M. Reaumur thinks it will be most rational treatment 
to clear, if possible, the obstructed outlet or duct of the 
gland, by means of a tent, or roll of lint, introduced into 
the orifice. 

WOUNDS AND ULCERS. 

FROM fighting with each other, from having their feet 
cut with glass or gravel, and not unfrequently from the 
bites of animals, such as minks, rats, and the like, attack- 
ing them at night, serious wounds are sometimes pro- 
duced, which, if neglected, may canker and produce foul 
ulcers not easily healed. 

In all cases of such injuries, the first requisite is clean- 
liness. The wound ought to be cleared of all sand or 



DISEASES OF POULTRY. 283 

dirt, bathed with warm water and milk, and the fowl 
shut up so as to prevent the others abusing it; for they 
are always ready to peck at any wound and increase the 
injury. If it do not readily heal, but go on to ulcera- 
tion, it maybe bathed with alum water or with ointment 
of creosote, which will be almost certain to heal it, even 
should it show fungous or " proud flesh." 

FRACTURES AND DISLOCATIONS. 

WHEN fowls chance to have their legs broken or dis- 
located, unless they are of a very peculiar or valuable 
sort, and wanted for breeding, the best thing is to kill 
them at once. But in such a case as that recorded in 
the old song 

I have a hen with a happity leg, 

Lass gin ye lo'e me tell me noo, 
That every day lays me an egg, 

An' I canna' come ilka-day to woo, 

it may be worth while to preserve a fowl after an acci- 
dent of this kind. The case must be treated according 
to what has already been stated under wounds, and 
more particularly under inflammation, which will be 
certain to ensue, more or less severely, both locally and 
constitutionally. 

PARASITIC VERMIN. 

BIRDS of all kinds, both wild and tame, are liable, from 
some unknown causes, to be attacked, as Herod the 
Jewish tetrarch is said to have been, with a particular 
sort of lice which are generated on them in myriads. In 
some instances, their feathers are so completely covered 
as to hide their natural color, and in many places the 
point of a pin cannot be put down without touching 
some of the vermin. 

In the new edition of Clater, it is said, that " vermin 
are often exceedingly annoying to the poultry, and ma- 
terially prevent their growing and fattening. They are 
usually to be traced to evident neglect in the manage- 
ment of the poultry yard. The fowls are half starved, 
or the place is all over filth, or there is no dry corner 



284 DISEASES OF POULTRY. 

with plenty of dust or ashes in which the birds may roll 
themselves." All this is in direct opposition to expe- 
rience and observation; for the individual fowl infested 
with vermin rarely communicates these to the rest of 
the flock in the same yard, though they be fed and 
lodged alike unless there be a constitutional disposition 
in some of the others to become infected, or chickens 
receiving them from their mothers as soon as they are 
hatched. As well might it be maintained, because indi- 
vidual humble bees and dung beetles are often found 
infested with lice, that it is owing to starvation or con- 
finement, though all the other bees in the same nest, 
and consequently under similar circumstances, as to 
lodging, shall be free. Is it want of cleanliness, or 
confinement, which cairses so many swallows and other 
wild birds to be infested with vermin? 

In trifling cases, when the infection is not very 
obvious to casual inspection, no particular attention will 
be required. In bad cases, the sooner the fowls are 
killed the better, as there is no certain known remedy ; 
for even were every one of the vermin killed, the 
evil state of the constitution would soon attract others 
to breed. 

Mascall says, "they get them in scraping abroad 
among foule strawe, or on dunghills, or when they sit 
in nests not made cleane, or in the hen house by their 
dung lying long there, which corruptes their bodyes 
and breedes lice and fleas." The corrupting of their 
bodies, seems a much more probable cause than any of 
the others. " The remedy," adds he, " ye shall take the 
powder of pepper, mixed with warme water, and there- 
with bathe them ; or take fine powder of stavesacre, 
(staphisagria,) and mixe it with lye, (urine,) and so washe 
them therewith, or to bathe them in soap water, which 
is good to kill lyce, or the fine powder of pryvet mixte 
with vinegar, and so washe them therewith." These 
directions are as good as any in the more modern 
books. 

A correspondent of the London " Agricultural Ga- 
zette," in speaking of this disgusting affliction, says : 
* Some time ago I had a beautiful brood of black 



DISEASES OF POULTRY. 285 

Spanish chickens, and the day after they were hatched, 
I happened to take one in my hand, and was much 
struck by observing on the top of its poll five or six 
large full-grown lice, evidently caught from the mother. 
I then examined the whole brood, and found them all 
similarly affected. Knowing that they would not thrive 
until I had dislodged or destroyed the enemy, the next 
day I attempted to pick them out; but I found that, 
having only been left one night, the whole poll was 
covered with nits, and I could not git rid of them from 
their hanging so tenaciously to the down. I procured 
some white precipitate powder, and, with a small camel- 
hair pencil, powdered them over. On examining them 
the next day, I found the parasites had all disappeared, 
nor could I detect one in their after growth. They 
grew and thrived so remarkably afterwards, that I was 
convinced this was a valuable discovery, and have ever 
since treated all my broods the same, and have never 
lost one from sickness. All hens are affected with these 
parasites, and as they do not dust themselves so fre- 
quently during the time of incubation, they are more 
liable to them. I have ascertained from observation, 
that as soon as the chickens are hatched, these pests 
leave the parent for the young, and if they are not 
destroyed, they weaken the chicken so much, that if any 
complaint comes on, the poor little thing has not 
strength to contend with it. The best time to apply the 
precipitate is when they are two or three days old, and 
at night after they are gone to roost ; but the hen must 
not be touched with it ; as, in pluming her feathers she 
draws them through her beak, and the precipitate being 
a strong poison, would no doubt prove fatal to her. In 
fact, there is no occasion for it ; as I could never detect 
them in her ; they had no doubt left her for the young. 
A very small quantity should be used ; as one penny- 
worth, purchased at a chemist's, is sufficient for several 
broods." 

A slight application of spirit of turpentine and water, 
in trifling cases, answers the same purpose, and is pre- 
ferred by many persons who have a natural dislike to 
the use of poison. 



286 DISEASES OF POULTRY. 

There are some startling facts on the subject of para- 
sitic insects, to be found in the " Monographia Anoplu- 
rorum BrittanniaB," by the late Henry Denny, a work 
which, although with a dog-latin title, that has doubtless 
limited its circulation, is written in such plain and truth- 
ful English, as to make the flesh creep on one's bones. 
It is not easy to enjoy uninterrupted slumber the night 
after reading Mr. Denny's monograph. 

" The author has had to contend with repeated re- 
bukes from his friends for entering upon the illustration 
of a tribe of insects whose very name was sufficient to 
create feelings of disgust. ' Why not take up some more 
interesting or popular department of entomology V has 
been the frequent remark made to him. He considered, 
however, that if he wished to render any service to 
science, he must not consult popular taste or ephemeral 
fashion, but must take a page from that part of the great 
' Book of Nature,' less generally read, and consequently 
less understood and appreciated by the world at large." 

The number and variety of species given is frightful ; 
some of those which infest poultry are, 

" Goniocotes hologaster (Louse of the Domestic Fowl). 

" Goniodes falcicornis (Louse of the Peacock). This 
beautiful (!) parasite is common upon the peacock, and 
may be found, after the death of the bird, congregated 
in numbers about the base of the beak and crown of the 
head. During the year 1827, three or four specimens ot 
Pavo cristatus having passed through my hands, upon 
each of which I observed, for the first time, several ex- 
amples of the large and well-marked parasite of this bird, 
the Goniodes falcicornis, I was induced to examine 
whatever other species of birds, &c. might come in my 
way, to ascertain whether great diversity in size or ap- 
pearance existed between the parasites of different 
species or genera. This I soon found to be so consider- 
able, that I resolved upon forming a collection, and 
ascertaining what was written upon the parasitic 
tribes. 

" Goniodes sty lifer (Louse of the Turkey). Common 
upon the turkey, frequenting the head, neck, and breast ; 
a very beautiful species. The males of this and all the 



DISEASES OF POULTRY. 287 

other species of goniodes use the first and third joints of 
the antennae with great facility, acting the part of a 
finger and thumb. 

" Goniodes dissimilis (Louse of the Domestic Fowl). 
I suspect this species is of rare occurrence. 

" Lipeurus variabilis (Louse of the Domestic Fowl). 
Common on the domestic fowl, preferring the pri- 
mary and secondary feathers of the wings, among the 
webs of which they move with great celerity. 

" Lipeurus polytrapezius (Louse of the Turkey). r 
A common parasite upon the turkey. Their mode of 
progression is rather singular, as well as rapid. They 
slide as it were sideways extremely quick from one side 
of the fibre of a feather to the other, and move equally 
well in a forward or retrograde direction, which, 
together with their flat polished bodies, renders them 
extremely difficult to catch or hold. I have observed 
that where two or more genera infest one bird, they 
have each their favorite localities ; for while the 
Goniodes stylifer will be found on the breast and neck 
of the bird, the Lipeurus polytrapezius will be congre- 
gated in numbers on the webs and shafts of the primary 
wing feathers. 

" Menopon pallidum (Louse of the Domestic Fowl). 
Found in great abundance on poultry, running over 
the hands of those who are plucking fowls, and difficult 
to brush off, from the smoothness of their bodies." 

Those who are desirous of fuller information should 
consult the work itself. 

LOSS OF FEATHERS. 

IT has been observed, that all birds kept in a state of 
confinement, are particularly subject to an extensive 
loss of feathers, rendering them naked and deplorable. 
This is altogether different from moulting, inasmuch 
as the fall of the feathers in the latter is occasioned 
by the new ones, shooting out from the skin, and 
pushing the old ones off, as is the case when young 
animals shed their teeth. In the disordered state in 
question, on the other hand, where the feathers fall, no 
new ones appear, or if they do, they seldom push far 



288 DISEASES OF POULRY. 

above the surface of the skin, but remain as mere stumps 
arrested in their growth. It is a disorder apparently 
similar to that which, in horses, is termed " out of con- 
dition," when the hair becomes shaggy, rough, and star- 
ing, and is constantly coming off. 

As the disorder, termed " loss of feathers," is evidently 
a constitutional, and not a local affection, it would be 
in vain to seek for remedies in external applications, 
though stimulants might perhaps aid the operation of 
internal medicines. Amongst the latter, such as are 
known to act on the skin, particularly sulphur and 
antimony may be tried. Good keep and cleanliness, 
plenty of fresh water, and an open range, will do more 
than any other treatment to restore the loss of feathers. 
Forge water, or water from the gas works, might prob- 
ably be of advantage, given as drink. 

MOULTING. 

ALTHOUGH moulting is a natural and annual occur- 
rence, it rarely passes without more or less disorder, and 
not unfrequently proves fatal, so that fowls require to be 
carefully attended to at the time of their moult. It is 
most dangerous and most frequently fatal to young 
chickens, particularly those of late broods, during the 
occasional cold and rainy weather at the close of au- 
tumn, their being late hatched throwing the time of 
moulting late ; whereas, those that are hatched early in 
spring, moult in the warm days of July and August, and 
on that account are not so apt to suffer. The summer 
moult is for the most part gradual, a few feathers falling 
at a time, and being renewed till the whole plumage 
undergoes a change. In the autumnal moult, on the 
contrary, more of the feathers fall off at once, and as 
the fresh ones do not grow so readily, on account of the 
weather being colder, the fowls are rendered naked, and 
exposed to any accidental bad weather which may occur. 

Dr. Bechstein judiciously remarks, with respect to 
wild birds, that their moulting time always happens 
when their food is most abundant ; and as the loss of 
feathers is likewise attended by a loss of flesh, nature 



DISEASES OF POULTRY. 289 

points out that they ought to have an additional supply 
of food till all danger is over. 

Warmth is no less necessary than abundant and 
nourishing food ; and when the later broods of chickens 
fall off, in their appetite, appear moping and inactive, 
their feathers staring and falling off till their rumps, 
sides, and thighs show the naked skin, they must be 
prevented from getting out in cold mornings too early, 
and not permitted to be abroad after four o'clock in the 
afternoon. M. Chomel, of France, advises, further, to 
put some sugar in their water, and to give them millet 
and hemp seed. 

After the third year, it has been observed, that fowls 
begin to moult later every succeeding year, so that it is 
frequently as late as January before the older fowls come 
into full feather, and the weather being then cold, they 
are not in a laying state till the end of March, or later. 
The time of moulting continues, according to the age 
and health of the fowls, and also with reference to mild 
or cold weather, from six weeks to three months. 

CHANG-E OF COLOR. 

A REMARKABLE peculiarity in the colors of fowls, is, 
that they frequently change in a very surprising man- 
ner, from the time when the chicks cast their down to 
the annual moult of the full-grown birds. This change, 
although it may be regarded as a species of disease, in 
some cases, is, no doubt, the regular process, at least 
after the second and third moults, as the colors, then, 
generally continue much the same. 

In the physiology of birds, there is, perhaps, nothing 
more curious than the laws which influence the colors of 
their feathers. It is asserted, for instance, that, " it is 
by no means a rare occurrence among game fowls, 
* blacks/ 'blues/ and 'reds/ to change their plumage, 
and become spangles and whites." In the "American 
Turf Register and Sporting Magazine," it is stated that, 
in 1807. a case occurred of a milk-white cock, raised by 
Mr. Phillips, of South Hampton. Virginia, the colors of 
which changed the next spring to a red spangle. An- 
other instance occurred with Mr Allen J. Daw, well 
13 



290 DISEASES OF POULTRY. 

known among the agriculturists and sportsmen of the 
south, who bred a game cock, in Madison county, Vir- 
ginia, which, in 1821, was a bluish-grey. In 1822, he 
was still grey. In 1823, he was milk-white, or 
" smock," as the English term it. In 1824, he had 
changed to sky-blue. 

We are told by M. Reaumur, that one of his hens 
which his poultry woman distinguished from the rest 
by a crooked claw, when her coat began to be taken 
notice of, had feathers of a ruddy color mixed with the 
brown so common among dunghill fowls. A year after- 
wards, this hen was observed to become almost black, 
with here and there some large white spots. After the 
second moulting, black was the predominant color on 
every part of the body ; but strange to tell, upon the 
succeeding moult, white was the predominant color, and 
only a few black patches about the size of a dollar 
could be observed. Upon the succeeding moult, all the 
black spots disappeared, and the hen became uniformly 
of a pure white like that of a swan. As she was at this 
time old for a fowl, that is, not less than ten years, it 
might be thought that old age, which whitens the human 
hair, likewise whitens the feathers of certain birds ; but, 
in that case, M. Reaumur says, the transition from the 
ruddy to the white ought not to have been made, as it 
really was, through the black; and he was of opinion, as 
the hen was still vigorous and healthy, that she might 
again change her color, if she lived, to brown or black. 

The same author makes some interesting remarks on a 
cock which he observed with more attention than the 
hen, so as to establish proofs, that the white colors of 
the feathers were not, at least in that instance, caused by 
age. The owner of the cock was struck, the first time 
he moulted, with the singular change in his color ; and 
for five successive moults, there was always a consider- 
able change of color. In his first year, he had some 
ruddy-brown, mixed with white, so common in dunghill 
cocks ; in the second, he was all over ruddy-brown, or 
rather red, without any white; in the third, he became 
uniformly black; in the fourth, uniformly white; and in 
the fifth, when he was presented by the prior of Bury to 



DISEASES OF POULTRY. 291 

M. Reaumur as a curiosity, he had white feathers mixed 
with a good deal of ruddy color and brown, bordering 
upon chestnut, his neck, back, wings, and belly, being 
ruddy ; and even where there were white feathers, they 
were mingled with ruddy ones. During the summer 
vacation, at Paris, M. Reaumur was two months with- 
out seeing the cock; but in this period, he became so 
changed as not to be recognisable, his feathers having 
become all over of the finest white. The following 
year, he had partly white feathers, but the greater por- 
tion was ruddy, or rather of a fair red. Here, then, was 
a transition from white to a light-brown, indicating that 
the whiteness of his feathers was not owing to the 
number of his years. 

It has been remarked by several scientific observers, 
that hen birds of various species, but more particularly 
hen pheasants, put on, under certain circumstances, the 
plumage of the male. Hunter, in his work on " Animal 
Economy," is of opinion that " this change of character 
takes place at an advanced age of the animal's life, and 
does not grow up with it from the beginning." Mr. 
Butler, another English physiologist, expresses a similar 
opinion still more strongly, namely, that " all hen phea- 
sants, as well as common fowls, would assume the 
plumage of the cock, to a certain degree, if they were 
kept to a certain age." Though this, however, to some 
extent may be true, the reasons, or rather the accom- 
panying circumstances and changes of constitution, 
were first pointed out, it is believed, by Mr. Yarrell, 
who seems to have determined that the change of color 
depends on disease, or removal of the ovarium of the 
fowl. Among seven hen pheasants, whose plumage 
more or less resembled that of the male, he found the 
organ in question diseased, with some variation as to 
extent, and the progress of change observable in the 
plumage bore a corresponding analogy. At the com- 
mencement of this internal disease, the plumage does 
not seem to be affected, for " hen pheasants in confine- 
ment, and females of the common fowl in the poultry 
yard, had been known to have ceased producing eggs 
two years before any change was observed in their 



292 DISEASES OF POULTRY. 

plumage. When our domestic hens are castrated, or 
rather, have part of the egg tube cut out, for the purpose 
of fattening, the plumage undergoes a similar alteration, 
so as to render it difficult to distinguish the birds from 
capons. 

This change in the color of the plumage of birds, as 
well as the hair of other animals, is attributed to the 
influence of some peculiar coloring matter of the system. 
That singular description of mammalia and birds, 
usually known under the name of " albinos/' I think, 
with propriety, may be classed among the diseases, as 
their characteristics appear to arise from a deficiency of 
the coloring principle common to the skin, hair or fea- 
thers, and eyes. Thus, the skin generally has the hue 
which its cellular and vascular contexture produces ; the 
hair or feathers is produced to its simple organic ground 
work ; and in the eyes, which are entirely destitute of 
pigmentum, the color of the iris depends on the fine 
vessels which are so numerous in its composition, and 
that of the pupil, or the still greater number of capilli- 
aries which almost entirely form the choroid membrane. 

The albino or leucoethiopic constitution occurs both in 
wild and domestic animals as well as in the human sub- 
ject. It is not only well known in the ferret, mouse, 
rat, monkey, squirrel, hamster, Guinea pig, mole, opos- 
sum, martin, weasel, fox, roe, rhinoceros, elephant, 
badger, beaver, bear, camel, buffalo, blackbird, crow 
and partridge, but in the horse, ass, sheep, pig, cow, dog, 
cat, rabbit, Canary bird, peacock, and the common fowl. 
In the mammalia and birds just enumerated, the nature 
and characters of the deviation seem to be perfectly ana- 
logous to those in the human albino. The pure white- 
ness of their skin and other integuments, and the redness 
of the irides and pu )ils mark the same deficiency of 
coloring matter. 



APPENDIX 



APPENDIX. 



COMPARATIVE MERITS OF DIFFERENT BREEDS 
OF FOWLS. 



HAVING hastily examined the proof sheets of " The 
American Poultry Yard," written by Mr. D. J. Browne, 
which you put into my hands, with a request that I 
should add something from my own experience, I am 
reminded of an anecdote that took place in this city 
some years ago. A gentleman being called upon to 
make the closing speech, at a public meeting, rose and 
said, he was an unfortunate man ; that, since he came 
into the house, he had been robbed of everything he had 
intended to say on the subject under discussion, by the 
speakers who had gone before him ; and that nothing 
was left for him to say which had not already been said. 
The application is obvious in the case before me. 

The breeding of fowls, with many, is more a matter of 
fancy than of the intrinsic value of the different kinds ; 
and the safest way of giving advice on this subject is to 
say, let each individual select that variety which he 
likes best, breed and compare the merits or demerits of 
each until his judgment is well founded upon actual ex- 
perience, holding rigidly to the principle of not crossing 
different breeds for permanent use, but keeping them, if 



296 APPENDIX. 

possible, entirely distinct ; for, in no other way, will the 
test be a fair one. 

But, in respect to the comparative merits of the exist- 
ing varieties of fowls in this country, I have but little to 
say. The Cochin-China, Shanghae, great Malay, jago, 
and other monstrous breeds produced by crossing with 
one another, in my humble opinion, are not the most de- 
sirable kinds for general use ; as their legs are very long 
and large, which are bad points in a fowl ; their flesh 
coarse ; and they are great eaters ; besides, they lay 
comparatively but few eggs, which are very liable to be 
trodden upon and broken at the time of sitting. I have 
bred most of them in their so-called purity, as well as 
many of their crosses, and I am free to say, there is no 
way to make them profitable except, perhaps, by capon- 
ising, and afterwards fattening them for market. 

The Dorking is a fowl, all things considered, much to 
be preferred to all others for profit; but as their good 
qualities have been so minutely described in the able 
treatise before me, as well as in the back volumes of the 
American Agriculturist, it is needless to recapitulate 
them here. Their scarcity, as well as the high prices at 
which they are held by those who breed them in their 
purity, will, for some years, prevent them from coming 
into general use. 

That there is a difference in the number and quality 
of eggs laid by different hens, I believe is conceded by 
all. Of these, the Polands stand first in public estima- 
tion ; but to say or believe, that even these are " ever- 
lasting layers," is a great mistake. They are less in- 
clined to sit, to be sure, and it is on this account that 
they have obtained the reputation of great layers ; and 
for this reason, if I wanted eggs, only, and not chickens, 
1 would keep this variety. 

With most people, an egg is an egg, in the market, as 
in the old adage, " a pint is a pound, feathers or shot ;" 
and the buyer seldom stops to think of the weight, al- 
though there may be three times the difference in the 
bulk of those in the same basket or cask. 'Tis not the 
largest eggs, however, that are the most profitable to the 
buyer, as the flavor differs not only in the different 



APPENTI IX. 297 

breeds, but with the kind of food on which the hens are 
fed and the season of the year in which they are laid. 
Next to the Polands, in point of profit, the eggs of the 
Dorkings may be considered the best, although those of 
the Bantams and other small fowls are richer, better- 
flavored, and larger-yolked in proportion their size. 

The Game Fowl, crossed with the Dorking, for 
the first or second cross, is an excellent bird both in the 
flavor of the flesh and eggs ; but they are objectionable 
on account of their turbulent dispositions when kept 
with other fowls. 

The little Bantams, however, can only be kept with 
any advantage as pets within doors, where the climate 
is severe. If their apartment be kept warm, they will 
lay abundanly during the winter and spring, producing 
delicious eggs, though small In size, at a time when other 
hen's eggs are scarce. 

The Dominique Fowl is another breed becoming 
more and more in favor, as they are universally pro- 
nounced as being hardy, good layers, careful nurses, and 
affording excellent eggs and flesh. Besides, their beauti- 
ful appearance, when in full plumage, is quite an acqui- 
sition to the farm yard or the lawn. 

As to the common Turkey, I have but little to say. 
I prefer the black or dark-colored varieties to all others, 
as they are generally the largest birds, are more hardy, 
and equal to the other kinds as to laying, rearing their 
young, as well as in the flavor of their flesh. Next to 
the black varieties, I prefer the buff-colored, which are 
quite as large, and perhaps as good in most of their other 
qualities ; but last of all, I would select the white, which 
are decidedly less hardy, smaller in size, if they are not 
even inferior in other respects. 

But of all domestic fowls, if not interfered with, the 
Guinea Hen is the greatest layer, the most faithful nurse, 
and the best adapted to get its own living when left to 
herself. These birds are not profitable to keep, how- 
ever, where there are gardens or cultivated fields, aa 
they will often devour or destroy, in a few hours, more 
than their eggs and carcasses are worth. 

The most showy and magnificent bird of the farm 



298 APPENDIX. 

yard is the Peacock, which is of no use, except for admir- 
ing eyes to look upon. I need not describe the brilliancy 
of its plumage, the color of its various dyes, nor the un- 
surpassing elegance of its form. These are familiar to 
all. To use the words of a writer in the second volume 
of the " American Agriculturist," it is " idle and vagrant 
in its habits, mischievious in its propensities, and of little 
utility either in its carcass or its eggs ; it is tolerant 
alone for its gorgeous display of plumage, and the showy 
splendor of its attitudes. I have kept them many years, 
and every year of my observation, only confirms in my 
mind the truth of the ancient proverb applied to the 
bird. ' It has the plumage of an angel, the voice of a 
devil, and the maw of a thief/ They are destructive in 
the garden, vindictive and quarrelsome among other 
poultry, without either merit of bravery, or energy of 
defence. Yet, after all, I like them ; they make a beau- 
tiful show among the poultry, and add to the infinite and 
delightful variety of animated creatures, with which a 
kind Providence has blessed our vision." 

Of the kind of Geese, I think the Bremen, crossed 
with the common China variety, the most profitable. 
They make a splendid bird ; but I would never breed 
their hybrid progeny, if I could avoid it, beyond the first 
cross, except for the table. 

Geese may be kept to advantage where there is a 
pond, or plenty of running water; but without these, the 
rearing of goslings never ought to be attempted, although 
they have been successfully raised without these it 
cost more than it came to. 

I have a few White, China Geese, which, with care- 
ful feeding and protection, lay nearly the whole year 
round. They can only be kept to advantage in a warm 
climate where the eggs could be hatched under a com- 
mon hen. 

The observation on geese will apply with equal force 
to Ducks without a pond or running stream, it is not 
worth while to keep them ; and unless they get some 
portion of their living out of the water, as cockles, 
mussels, weeds, &c., it is doubtful whether they afford 
much if any profit. Besides the common varieties, I 



APPENDIX. 299 

think the Muscovy or Musk Duck may be kept with 
some advantage to cross with them. Their offspring 
grow to a larger size, and when properly fattened, they 
are good for the table. Moreover, these birds, from 
their singular habits and unique appearance, are quite an 
acquisition to the poultry yard or farm. 

It has been said that the Common Swan will not breed 
in this country, in consequence of the variableness of 
our climate. But this is an error, probably founded on 
ignorance of their habits, and the mode of propagation ; 
for they have been successfully bred for a few years 
past by Mr. Roswell L. Colt, of Paterson, New Jersey, 
who has, by the by, a fine pond and every other ac- 
commodation necessary for rearing them. 

Having written to Mr. Colt, a few days since for 
information on this subject, I have just received at this 
moment, the following reply : 

Paterson, December 31st, 1849. 
DEAR SIR, 

You ask me what success 'I have had with my swans. 
I got them from France four years ago last spring. The 
first year, they did not lay. I suppose they were young 
ones. The second year, I had two eggs which did not 
hatch. The third year, I had five eggs, four of them hatch- 
ing out in thirty-nine days. The fourth year, (that is the 
last summer,) I had six eggs, all of which hatched out 
on the third of June, also in thirty-nine days. The 
swan lays an egg every other day, and begins to lay 
here towards the last of April. I have lost two young 
ones ; but on examination could not discover any cause 
for death. 

Swans must have an abundance of clean water to 
swim in. I feed mine with Indian corn, rye, oats, and 
buckwheat, put at the edge of the pond, close to the 
water, as they like to wash down their food as they 
partake of it. When the cygnets are young, I give 
them Indian meal, mixed witrTwater and boiled potatoes, 
broken up. I throw into the water some clover, green 
leaves of Indian corn, lettuce, cabbage, spinach, besides 



300 APPENDIX. 

the corn, oats, &c. They also come out and eat grass 
like geese. In fact, they may be fed as you would a 
favorite goose, and with afresh, clear pond of water, you 
will succeed. 

Truly yours, 

R. L COLT. 
To SAMUEL ALLEN, ESQ., 

There is one feature in the work before me, although 
converse to popular opinion, which I think demands the 
particular attention of those engaged in the breeding and 
rearing of poultry ; that is, the antiquity and perma- 
nence of species and varieties in our domestic fowls. 
We all know of the many attempts that have been made 
to bring the grouse or partridge, the quail, and the 
prairie hen into a permanent state of domesticity with- 
out success. For instance, the beautiful little Prairie 
Hens, exhibited at the Fair of the New- York State 
Agricultural Society, in the autumn of 1848, were pur- 
chased by Mr. Lewis G. Morris, of Mount Fordham, near 
New- York City, with the view of breeding from them, 
but before the return of the next spring they all died. I 
would not discourage others from trying to domesticate 
them ; for even this, like the turkey, may prove another 
" exception of the rule." 

PROFITS OF POULTRY RAISING. 

As regards the money profits derived from poultry 
raising, I have but a few words to say. One principle, 
in fowl-keeping, I think may be laid down as an estab- 
lished truth, which is this: " The more densely poultry 
are congregated, the less profitable will they be ; the 
more thickly they are crowded, the less will they 
thrive." 

Were it in my power to show by figures, a statement 
of great profits, derived from keeping a large number of 
fowls together that would satisfy my own mind, and that 
I could conscientiously recommend as a guide for others 
to follow, I would most gladly avail myself of so agree- 
able a task. But, unfortunately, most of the Debit and 
Credit accounts of poultry profits, we so often see pub- 



APPENDIX. 301 

lished, will not bear the close scrutiny of those who 
have attempted the business on a large scale. I do not 
wish to be understood to say, that such accounts are 
heralded to the world with any improper motive, or in- 
tention to deceive ; but, in general, to use the apt com- 
parison of another, " they are no more to be relied on, 
for practical purposes, than would the ship owner's ac- 
count of the whale fishery, if it made no allowance for 
bad luck the loss of time of the crew, the cost of pro- 
visions, and other outfits worth $30,000; to say 
nothing of wear and tear, and the widows of drowned 
whalemen to assist." Nothing is more likely to mis- 
lead the novice whose experience is insufficient to judge 
of their incompleteness, leaving error out of the question. 

Thus, one writer in the London " Agricultural Ga- 
zette," of Sept. 23, 1848, tells us that, by adopting the 
regimen advised by one good Mrs. Doyley, hens may be 
made to sit four times in the season. Each time they 
sit, they are to hatch two broods, (that is, eight broods 
of three weeks each per annum,) by the withdrawal of 
the first clutch of chickens, and replacing them with 
fresh eggs ! The kidnapped chicks are to be reared by 
an artificial mother. Now, if the hen hatches only ten 
chickens from each set of eggs, which is considered a 
low estimate, this gives eighty chickens per annum from 
each hen ! ! or four hundred in the course of the year, 
for the expense of maintaining five hens, and, it is sup- 
posed, one cock, (though the poor fellow is not men- 
tioned,) or more than one chicken per day ! ! ! But, 
alas ! for such extravagance. Hens are made of flesh, 
blood, bones and feathers not of wood, hot water, 
India rubber, sheepskins, nor iron ; and if their incu- 
bating powers are overtasked, they will invariably suffer 
for it afterwards, which will often take them the whole 
autumn and winter to recover, if they ever recover at 
all. Accounts like the above, which we often see going 
the "rounds" in agricultural papers, it is almost needless 
to say, deserve only to be treated with ridicule and dis- 
respect. 

I clip the following egg-laying story, from the fourth 
volume of the " American Agriculturist," as having oc- 



302 APPENDIX. 

curred on the farm of Mr. Gerard Carpenter, of Pough- 
keepsie, New York. He commenced on the first of 
January, 1844, with sixty-seven hens and three cocks. 
Out of the flock, were sold and lost, by the 1st of May, 
seven hens ; from that time up to the 16th of September, 
he lost two more. The average number of hens re- 
maining, during the year, was estimated at sixty, which 
laid each month as follows : 

Eggs. 

January, . . . . . 191 
February, . . . . 400 

March, 892 

April, 1,037 

May, 1,086 

June, 700 

July, . . . . . 838 
August, ..... 740 
September, . . . 540 

October, 113 

November, . . . . 21 

December, ..... none. 

Total, . , . 6,558 

In addition to this number, it was supposed that full 
300 eggs were used for sitting, got lost, broken, or 
spoiled, which are not reckoned in the account above. 
The food of the hens consisted of as much Indian corn, 
mixed with a few oats, as they could eat ; the grain 
being placed where they could get at it whenever they 
felt inclined. In the winter, they had a little meat. 
They were not confined at all, and had access to lime 
and gravel, while the ground was covered with snow. 

A correspondent, of Rahway, New Jersey, states in 
the fifth volume of the journal last named above, that 
he commenced the year 1845 with a stock of poultry, 
the expenses and profits of which were as follows : 

1845. Dr. 

Jan. 1. To 44 hens, 6 cocks, . at 25cts. . $12.50 

" " 6 turkeys, . . at 62icts. . 3.75 

" " 4 geese, .... at 62iots. . 2.50 



APPENDIX. 



303 



Jan. 30. 
Feb. 25. 
Aug. 14. 

Nov. 14. 
it 

Dec. 31. 



1845. 

Dec. 31. 


u 

n 
u 
u 
u 
u 
II 



' 22 geese, . . . 

" cash for 15 hens, . 

u 6 young ducks, . 

" 5 common ditto, 

" 1 pair Muscovy do. 

" 6 U bushels corn, . 

" Labor in picking geese, 

Total cost, . . 

By 3,660 eggs used or sold, . 
" 26 chickens, " 

3 turkeys, " 
6 ducks, " 
23 geese, " 
35 Ibs geese feathers, 

16 bushels of hen manure, . 

103 fowls on hand, valued at 
" 7 ducks, 
" 4 turkeys, 

4 ereese, " 



Carried up, 


$18.75 


at 50cts. . 


11.00 


at 25cts. . 


3.75 


. . 


1.00 




1.25 


. 


1.13 


at 62icts. . 


38.44 


e, 


0.83 



Total proceeds, 
Deduct cost, . 

Net profits, 



$76.20 

Cr. 

. $40.15 
. 6.25 
. 2.25 
. 2.25 
. 15.67 
. 17.50 
. - 2.00 
. 25.75 
. 2.63 
3.00 
. 3.00 

$120.45 
76.20 

$44.25 



The geese, it is stated, were not the least profitable 
part of the stock. They were the large, white Bremen 
variety, weighing, when dressed, from 10 to 15 Ibs. 
each. They were confined in a lane, which afforded 
them access to the different fields, and in which there is 
a large artificial pond. 

Dr. H. S. Chase, of Woodstock, Vermont, makes the 
following statement on the management and profits of 
poultry ; On the 27th of March, 1848, I purchased 
four hens and one cock, and kept them until the 15th of 
November, when I killed them. During that time, I 
received three hundred and eighty-six eggs as the re- 
sult of their laying. I fed them on grain, I purchased 
seven pecks of corn, and one peck of oats. The ac 
count stands as follows : 



304 APPENDIX. 

386 eggs, average price 1 cent each, . . $3.86 

7 pecks corn, at 181 cents per peck, . $1.31 

1 peck oats, . . . 0.12 1.43 

Net profit of four hens for less than eight 

months, ...... $2.43 

Average number of eggs laid by each 

hen, ninety-six. 

In the "Boston Cultivator," of Dec. 22, 1849, the 
following account of poultry raising is given by Mr. 
Edwin Howard, of Easton, Massachusetts : I com- 
menced the first day of December, 1848, with nineteen 
hens and one rooster, [cock,] which stock I valued at 
twenty dollars, and in the spring I added one more hen. 
They laid, in one year, with what a few of my pullets 
have laid in the fall, eighteen hundred and eighty-one 
eggs, and have raised eighty-two chickens. The amount 
of eggs sold, was twenty-seven dollars, and ninety-seven 
cents ; fowls sold, forty-six dollars and forty-eight cents. 
I have now thirty-two fowls, which I call worth thirty 
dollars. I have reckoned no eggs higher than fifty 
cents a dozen ; those that 1 sent off at one dollar a dozen, 
I deducted fifty cents a dozen for the trouble of packing 
and delivering, on sending off. 

Eggs sold 1,300 $27.97 

Eggs not sold 581 at 15 cents per dozen, . 7.27 
Fowls sold, . . . " . . .46.48 

Value of fowls on hand over last year at this 

time, 10.00 

91.72 
32i bushels of corn and meal, at 75 cents, . 24.37 

Balance in favor of fowls, .... $67.35 

Thus, I might go on with similar accounts almost 
without end, which show clearly that there is profit at- 
tending poultry raising, when undertaken on a moderate 
scale ; but when the business is attempted with a large 
number of barnyard fowls, obtained at a heavy cost, in- 
cluding the purchase of food, accommodations, &c., I 
am free to venture the opinion that, speculations of 



APPENDIX. 305 

the kind will prove profitless in the end. When geese 
can be kept in situations where they have proper for- 
age and water accommodation, undoubtedly money could 
be made on a more extensive scale from the sale of their 
feathers and flesh. An instance is said to have occurred 
within two or three years past, in the western part ol 
Pennsylvania or Virginia, in which a farmer raised 
2,000 geese in a year, from which he obtained a ton of 
feathers, valued at $1,000. Besides their natural pas- 
turage and range of water, they were allowed to feed 
until late in autumn or early winter in a large field of 
standing corn. When sufficiently matured, they were 
slaughtered solely for their feathers, their carcasses being 
burned or thrown away. 

THE EGG- TRADE. 

UNDER the article " Egg Trade/ in the " Supplement " 
to the English " Penny Cyclopaedia," we have the fol- 
lowing estimate given, which will, perhaps, excite some 
little surprise : "In 1835, the value of eggs exported 
from Ireland to Great Britain was 68,687, and at the 
present time may exceed 100,000.* At 4d. per dozen, 
the number of eggs which this sum would purchase 
would be 72,000,000. From France and Belgium, we 
imported 96,000,000 eggs in 1840, on which the duty of 
Id. per dozen produced 34,000. Nine tenths of the 
foreign eggs are from France. The departments nearest 
to England, from the Pas de Calais to La Manche, are 
visited by the dealers, and their purchases often produce 
a scarcity in the country markets. At most of the ports 
of these departments, from Calais to Cherbourg, some 
vessels are employed in the egg trade. The weight of 
80,000,000 eggs, is not far short of 2,500 tons. In the last 
three years, the importation of foreign eggs were as 
follow : 

In 1842, 89,548,747 

1843, . . , 70,415,931 

1844, ..... 67,487,920 

* Mr. M'Culloch says, the price paid by England to Ireland for eggs and 
poultry may be estimated at from 200,000 to 300,000 a year. 



306 



APPENDIX. 



" The consumption of eggs, at Paris, is estimated a 
100,000,000 of eggs a-year." 

Everywhere in. France, it is stated, poultry is abund- 
ant and cheap, and eggs form an important article of 
diet. M. Legrand, a member of the French Statistical 
Society, says " The consumption of eggs in Paris is cal- 
culated at 115 eggs per head, or 101,052,400. The 
consumption in other parts of France may be reckoned 
at double this rate, as in many parts of the country 
dishes composed of eggs and milk are the principal 
items in all the rneals. The consumption of eggs for 
the whole kingdom, including the capital, is estimated at 
7,231,160,000; add to this number those exported, and 
those necessary for reproduction, and it will result that 
7,380,925,000 eggs were laid in France during the year 
1835." 

" The exportations from France, in 1835, were as 
follows : 

To England, . 76,190,120 

" Belgium, .... 60,800 

" United States, . 49,696 

" Switzerland, . . . 49,260 

" Spain, . . . 34,800 

" Other parts of the world, . 306,304 

The total amount of the exportation of that year was 
3,829,284 francs ($76,800). France is essentially a 
fowl-keeping country. The farms, owing to the system 
of subdivision of landed property among the sons of a 
proprietor at his decease are small, and poultry consti- 
tutes a profitable stock upon them, especially as they 
will feed but few cattle. Around every farm house, 
troops of poultry are to be seen. They swarm every- 
where, and the markets of every town are abundantly 
supplied. Much breed does not exist in any of them, 
but in some parts considerable attention is paid to their 
rearing. There is a peculiar variety in the peninsula 
of Caux in great esteem. The fowls of this district are 
fattened, in the envions of Barbezieux, La Fleche, and 
especially Mons, for the tables of the luxurious. 

The following interesting statistical remarks are taken 



APPENDIX. 307 

from a paper in the English "Penny Magazine for 
March, 1837. After premising that, in the year 1837, 
the number of eggs imported from France into England 
amounted to 69,000,000, the writer says, " These eggs 
cannot be obtained from much fewer than 575,000 fowls, 
each producing 120 eggs on an average, all beyond 
this number being required for domestic consumption. 
Assuming the grounds of this calculation to be correct, 
the 55,000,000 eggs which a writer in a newspaper 
printed at Arras states to be the amount supplied to 
England from the Pas de Calais, are the production of 
458,333 fowls, each of which furnishes ten dozen eggs, 
imported at a duty of 106?., being a tax to that amount 
on each fowl. Allowing twelve fowls to each family 
engaged in supplying the demand for eggs, the number 
of families thus interested will be 39,861, representing a 
population of 198,000. In the Pas de Calais, there can 
scarcely be a larger, population than two families out of 
every five who are connected with the egg trade ; and 
if this were ascertained to be the real proportion, the 
population, not directly engaged, would be 457,000, 
which, with the 198,000 above mentioned, would com- 
prise a total population of 665,000, which is the popu- 
lation of the department, the superfices of which being 
2,624 square miles. Over this extent of country must 
those who are engaged in the egg trade keep a vigilant 
eye, penetrating into every hamlet, and visiting the lone 
houses which are scattered in this part of France, per- 
haps more numerously than in any other departments. 
Some arrangements of a peculiar nature are obviously 
required to facilitate the transactions of the wholesale 
dealer, who probably resides at the port whence the eggs 
are shipped. The services of a subordinate class of 
dealers are, doubtless, called into activity ; and as it 
would be a waste of time for each of these to visit every 
week, or at a stated period, every one of the 39,861 
houses whence they draw the quantity required, other 
arrangements of a still more detailed character are 
necessary, in order to bring the article within grasp." 

The British census returns for 1841 present us with 
an ad-valorem estimate of the poultry, (of all sorts,) kept 
in Ireland, the pecuniary value of each fowl beiru? 



308 



APPENDIX. 



reckoned at the small sum of 6d. This census, however, 
is only an approximation to the truth ; for it is stated, on 
good authority, that the country people were not unna- 
turally suspicious of the intentions of the parties em- 
ployed to ascertain the point in question, and apprehend- 
ing that the inquiry was only jhe prelude to some new tax, 
they gave such statements as seemed most advantageous 
to their interests ; hence their returns were below the 
mark numerically, and, consequently, also in a pecuniary 
point of view. The returns were as follows : 

LEINSTER. 

Carlow, . . . . 2,550 

Dublin, . " . . . . 2,859 

Kildare, 3,986 

Kilkenny, . . . . . 6,962 

King's County, .... 5,077 

Longford, . . . . . 3,943 

Louth, . . . . . . 3,385 

Meath, ..... 7,566 

Queen's County, . . . . 5,138 

Westmeath, .... 5,343 

Wexford, 6,389 

Wicklow, 3,045 



CONNAUGHT. 



Galway, 
Leitrim, 
Mayo, . 
Roscommon; 
Sligo, . 



Clare, 
Cork, . 
Kerry, 
Limerick, 
Tipperary, . 
Waterford, 



MUNSTER. 



56,243 

10,753 
4,083 
8,457 
7,814 
4,109 

35,216 

1,031 
23,547 

7,864 

10,687 

4,794 

, 14,907 



62,830 



APPENDIX. 309 

ULSTER. 

Antrim, 3,998 

Armagh, ; 3,829 

Cavan, 6,609 

Donegal, ..... 5,744 

Down, . . . . 6,992 

Fermanagh, .... 4,113 

Londonderry, . . . . 4,027 

Monaghan, .... 5,314 

Tyrone, 7,257 

47,883 

The total sum, according to this estimate, is 202,172. 
Hence the number of poultry returned, amounted to 
8,088,680, reckoning them at Qd. per head ; but, as stated 
above, this number is far below the mark. 

Mr. Richardson, in a little work on " Domestic 
Fowls," published in Dublin, in 1847, says, " I have had 
a statement furnished me. by Mr. P. Howell, secretary 
to the City of Dublin Steam-Packet Company to the 
following effect : The number of boxes of eggs shipped 
by that company's vessels for London, during the year 
1844-5, was 8,874; about the same number was shipped 
by the British and Irish Company, making a total of 
17,148 boxes. Each contained 13,000 eggs, but occa- 
sionally large boxes are used, containing more than four 
times that number. This gives the result of 23,072,400 
eggs as annually shipped for London. To Liverpool, 
were shipped 5,135 boxes, containing 25,566,500 eggs, 
making a total of the shipments from Dublin alone, 
during the years 1844-5, to the two ports of London and 
Liverpool, of 48,639,900, the value of which, at the 
average rate of 5s. Qd. per every 124 eggs, (the return 
made,) gives a sum amounting to about 122,500 as the 
annual value of the eggs shipped from Dublin alone ; 
and, since this return, the export of eggs has enormously 
increased. Assuming the export of Dublin to be equal 
to one fourth of the exports of all Ireland, (a calculation 
reaching much above the mark,) we have very close on 
500,000, or half a million, as the value of this branch 
of commerce to Ireland, snowing also an increase of 



310 APPENDIX. 

fourfold since 1835." The same writer adds, in a note, 
" By the same returns, I have ascertained that the ex- 
port of eggs is now nearly doubled, bordering on a 
million sterling." 

From the small rocky islands off the coast of La- 
brador, considerable traffic is carried on by a class of 
persons called " eggers," who follow principally, or ex- 
clusively, the avocation of procuring the eggs of wild 
birds, with the view of disposing them at some distant 
port. Their great object is to plunder every nest when- 
ever they can find it, no matter where, and at whatever 
risk. They not only gather all the eider down they can 
find ; yet so cruel and inconsiderate are they, that they 
kill every bird that comes in their way. The eggs of 
gulls, guillemots, and ducks are searched for with care ; 
and the puffins, and several other birds, they massacre 
in vast numbers merely for the sake of their feathers. 

The business is generally carried on with small dirty, 
cabinless shallops, of a few tons burthen, manned with 
eight hands, who lie and sleep in the hold at the foot of 
a tottering mast. " Much had been said to me," says 
Mr. Audubon, from whose work the following graphic 
sketch is taken, " respecting these destructive pirates 
before I visited the coast of Labrador, but I could not 
entirely credit all their cruelties until I had actually wit- 
nessed their proceedings, which were such as to inspire 
no small degree of horror. But you shall judge for 
yourself. 

" There rides the filthy thing! The afternoon is half 
over. Her crew have thrown their boat overboard ; they 
enter and seat themselves, each with a rusty gun. One 
of them sculls the skiff towards an island for a century 
past the breeding place of myriads of guillemots, which 
are now to be laid under contribution. At the approach 
of the vile thieves, clouds of birds rise from the rock 
and fill the air around, wheeling and screaming over 
their enemies. Yet thousands remain in an erect 
posture, each covering its single egg, the hope of both 
parents. The reports of several muskets loaded with 
heavy shot are now heard, while several dead and 
wounded birds fell heavily on the rock or into the water. 



APPENDIX. 311 

Instantly all the sitting birds rise and fly off affrighted to 
their companions above, and hover in dismay over their 
assassins, who walk forward exultingly, and with their 
shouts mingling oaths and execrations. Look at them! 
See how they crush the chick within its shell, how they 
trample on every egg in the way, with their huge and 
clumsy boots. Onward they go, and when they leave 
the isle not an egg that they can find is left entire. The 
dead birds they collect and carry to the boat. Now they 
have regained their filthy shallop ; they strip the birds 
by a single jerk of their feathery apparel, while the flesh 
is yet warm, and throw them on some coals, where, in 
a short time, they are broiled. The rum is produced 
when the guillemots are fit for eating, and after stuffing 
themselves with this oily fare, and enjoying the plea- 
sures of beastly intoxication, over they tumble on the 
deck of their crazed craft, where they pass the short 
hours of night in turbid slumber. 

" The sun now rises above the snow-clad summit of 
the eastern mount 

' Sweet is the breath of morn,' 

even in this desolate land. The gay bunting erects his 
white crest, and gives utterance to the joy he feels in 
the presence of his brooding mate. The willow 
grouse on the rock crows his challenge aloud. Each 
floweret, chilled by the night air, expands its pure 
petals ; the gentle breeze shakes from the blades of grass 
the heavy dew drops. On the Guillemot Isles, the birds 
have again settled, and now renew their loves. Startled 
by the light of day, one of the eggers springs on his feet 
and rouses his companions, who stare around them for 
awhile, endeavoring to recollect their senses. Mark 
them, as with clumsy fingers they clear away their 
drowsy eyes ! Slowly they rise on their feet. See how 
the filthy lubbers stretch out their arms and yawn ; you 
shrink back, for verily, ' that throat might frighten a 
shark.' 

" But the master, soon recollecting that so many eggs 
are worth a dollar or a crown, caste his eye towards the 



312 APPENDIX. 

rock, marks the day in his memory, and gives orders to 
depart. The light breeze enables them to reach another 
harbor a few miles distant, one which, like the last, lies 
concealed from the ocean by some other rocky isle. 
Arrived there, they re-act the scene of yesterday, crush- 
ing every egg they can find. For a week, each night 
is passed in drunkenness and brawls, until, having reached 
the last breeding place on the coast, they return, touch 
at every isle in succession, shoot as many birds as they 
need, collect the fresh eggs, and lay in a cargo. At 
every step, each ruffin picks up an egg, so beautiful that 
any man with a feeling heart would pause to consider 
the motive which could induce him to carry it off. But 
nothing of this sort occurs to the egger, who gathers 
and gathers, until he has swept the rock bare. The 
dollars alone chink in his sordid mind, and he assidu- 
ously plies the trade which no man would ply who had 
the talents and industry to procure subsistence by hon- 
orable means. 

" With a bark nearly half-filled with fresh eggs, they 
proceed to the principal rock, that on which they first 
landed. But what is their surprise when they find 
others there helping themselves as industriously as they 
can! In boiling rage, they charge their guns, and ply 
their oars. Landing on the rock, they run up 1o the 
eggers, who, like themselves, are desperadoes. The first 
question is the discharge of musketry, the answer an- 
other. Now man to man, they fight like tigers. One 
is carried to his boat with a fractured skull; another 
limps with a shot in his leg ; and a third feels how many 
of his teeth have been driven through the hole in his 
cheek. At last, however, the quarrel is settled ; the 
booty is to be equally divided ; and now see them all 
drinking together. Oaths and curses, and filthy jokes, 
are all that you hear; but see, stuffed with food and 
reeling with drink, down they drop one by one ; groans 
and execrations from the wounded mingle with the 
snorings of the heavy sleepers. There let the brutes 
lie." 

A similar traffic, though less extensive and more peace- 
able, is carried on among the Keys of Florida, in pro- 



APPENDIX. 313 

curing wild birds' eggs, and selling them at the adjacent 
ports. 

POULTRY STATISTICS. 

To the Report of the " Committee of Supervision" of 
the New-England Convention of Domestic Fowl Breed- 
ers, held in Boston on the 15th of November last, I am 
indebted for the following extract: 

" Until quite recently, the breeding and rearing of 
poultry, in this section of the country, has been con- 
sidered too insignificant an article of stock to require 
any, or very little notice. 

" The rearing of poultry, as will be shown, is certainly 
not the least important article of stock to the farmer; 
and the subject is now beginning to assume an import- 
ance which the committee hope may produce an honor- 
able competition at our fairs for the best stock, that 
stock whichever it may be, that shall give the best fowl 
those giving the greatest amount of meat with the 
least offal and which shall at the same time give the 
largest number of eggs, or return in profit, for the 
amount invested. 

" That the rearing of poultry for market can be made 
profitable, the committee could produce facts from well- 
authenticated sources, which should convince the most 
incredulous ; but they will omit doing so in this report, 
and confine themselves to a few statistical remarks. 

" The article of poultry is readily converted into 
money, and is probably, quite as readily prepared for 
market as any other article of stock produced on the 
farm. The expense of feeding the best stock is no more 
than would be the expense of feeding and rearing the 
poorest dunghill fowl, while the return shows a, heavy 
balance in favor of the large-bodied and fine-meated 
fowl, with little offal. 

" Our convenience to the London markets, by the aid 
of steamers weekly, enables the farmer through the egg 
merchant, to make sale of his surplus eggs in that 
quarter. 

" The amount of sales of poultry at the Quincy 
Market. Boston, for the year 1848, was six hundred and 
14 



314 APPENDIX. 

seventy- four thousand four hundred and twenty three 
dollars; the average sales of one dealer alone amounting 
to twelve hundred dollars per week for the whole year. 
The amount of sales for the whole city of Boston, for 
the same year, (so far as obtained,) was over one mil- 
lion of dollars. 

" The amount of sales of eggs, in and around, the 
Quincy Market, for 1848, was one million one hundred 
and twenty-nine thousand, seven hundred and thirty- five 
dozen, which, at 18 cents per dozen, (the lowest price 
paid III cents, and the highest 30 cents per dozen, as 
proved by the average purchases of one of the largest 
dealer's books,) makes the amount paid for eggs to be 
two hundred and three thousand, three hundred and 
fifty- two dollars and thirty cents. And from informa- 
tion already obtained from other egg merchants, in the 
same city, the whole amount of sales will not fall much, 
if any, short of a million of dollars for 1848. 

" The average consumption of eggs, at three of the 
hotels, was more than two hundred dozen each day, for 
the year 1848. 

" The value of.eggs brought from the Penobscot and 
Kennebec Rivers, during the running season of the 
steamboats, plying between Boston and those two 
rivers, was more than three hundred and fifty thousand 
dollars for that season. 

" In one day, from Cincinnati, Ohio, it is stated in one 
of the public journals, there were shipped 500 barrels, 
containing 47,000 dozen of eggs. One dealer in the egg 
trade, at Philadelphia, sends to the New- York Market, 
daily, nearly one hundred barrels of eggs. It is esti- 
mated, from satisfactory returns, that the city of New 
York alone expends nearly a million and a half of 
dollars per annum, in the purchase of eggs. 

" By reference to the agricultural statistics of the 
United States, published in 1840, it will be seen that the 
value of poultry in the State of New York, was two 
million, three hundred and seventy-three thousand arid 
twenty-nine dollars ; which was more than the value of 
its sheep, the entire value of its neat cattle, and nearly 
five times the value of its horses and mules. 



APPENDIX. 315 

" The, same authority exhibits the total valuation 
of poultry, in various states and territories of the 
Union : 

Maine, $123,171 

New Hampshire, . . 97,862 

Vermont, . 176,437 

Massachusetts, . 540,295 

Rhode Island, .... 61,492 

Connecticut, .... 176,659 

New York, .... 2,373,029 

New Jersey, .... 412,487 

Pennsylvania, .... '1,033,172 

Delaware, .... 47,465 

Maryland, 219,159 

Virginia, .... 752,467 

North Carolina, .... 544,125 

South Carolina, . . . 590,594 

Georgia, 473,158 

Ohio, 734,931 

Kentucky, 536,439 

Tennesee, . . . ' . 581,531 

Louisiana, . , ^ 4 . . . 273,314 

Mississippi, .... 369,481 

Alabama, 829,220 

Missouri, ... * 230,283 

Indiana, 393,228 

Illinois, 335,968 

Michigan, 82,730 

Arkansas, .... 93,549 

Florida, . .;> . . . 61,007 

Wisconsin, * . ,. . 16,167 

Iowa, 17,101 

District of Columbia, . . - ; . 3,092 

Total, .... $12,176,170 

" It is probable that, since 1840, the value of poultry 
has doubled." 

WEIGHT OF POULTRY. 

As the size and weight ascribed to various breeds of 
fowls is often greatly exaggerated, I insert for the benefit 



316 APPENDIX. 

of the curious the following lists from Mr. Dixon's work, 
which will serve as a guide for about an average 
weight of poultry in the United States: 

" Wishing to know what truth there was in the 
unauthentic statement that there were such things 
as cocks weighing 15lbs., and hens lOlbs., I applied to 
Mr. Nolan for further information, and not having re- 
ceived any reply, conclude that he is not in a position 
to supply such birds to his customers a supposition 
which has been confirmed by a private letter from a 
gentleman then staying in the neighborhood of Dublin. 

" But the reader will be better able to judge what 
weights fowls may be reasonably expected to attain, 
after the inspection of the following lists of the live 
weights of various poultry, with which I have been 
obligingly favored. But as the birds are generally out 
of condition, in consequence of their being mostly now 
on the moult, and also from the late wet season, the 
weights are less than they would be under more favor- 
able circumstances. One list gives 



LB9. OZ. 



Black Polish cock, three years old, . .53 

Ditto hen, ditto, . . ..34 

Ditto pullet, 26 

Golden Polish cock, . . . . ..50 

Ditto hen, . . . . . .38 

Another hen, . . . . . . . 3 10 

Golden Polish pullet, 28 

Malay hen, 4 12 

Creole, (silver Hamburgh,) hen, . . .31 
Black nondescript hen, . . . . . 3 10 
Globe-crested Polish hen, . . . .39 
Silver Polish hen, . ..34 

Game cock, ... ... 4 10 

Ditto hen, 30 

Young blue-dun cock, . . . . .36 
Blue-dun hen, . . . > . . 3 

Large dun hybrid hen, . . . v . . 3 8 

" Among these, the Malay hen was moulting, and not 
up to her usual weight by nearly a pound. It will be 
observed that there is a great relative difference between 
the pullets and the grown hens of the Polish breed. All 



APPENDIX. 317 

the Polish increase much in size and beauty the second 
moult." 

Another list kindly furnished by Mr. Alfred Whitaker, 

gives 

LBS. OZ. 

Pheasant-Malay cocks, two years old, (average,) 7 
Ditto cockerel, five months old, . . .70 

Ditto hen, 51 

Ditto pullet, seventeen months old, . . .53 
Ditto, (crossed with Dorking hen,) four years old, 5 8 
Speckled Surrey hen, two years old, . . 5 12 

Spanish hen, . . . . . . .50 

Two Dorking cocks, each, . . . ..70 

Ditto hens, 68 

Ditto, ditto, ... ... 6 12 

Cock turkey, two years and a half old, . . 17 12 
Hen ditto, one year and a half old, . . . 10 

Ditto, ditto, 99 

Musk drake (moulting ) . . . . . 9 12 

Mr. Dixon's own poultry yard gave the following 

weights : 

LBS. OZ. 

Turkey cock, sixteen months old, . . .16 
Ditto hen, three or four year old, . ..86 

White, China gander, six years old, . . . 12 13 

White, China goose, 11 13 

Common China goose, (cynoides,) six years old. 10 10 
Cochin-China cock, about sixteen months old, 

moulting, ... . . . . .65 

Ditto hen, ditto, ditto, 4 6 

Malay cock, ditto, ditto, 6 14 

Ditto hen, ditto, ditto, 4 8 

Pheasant-Malay cock, . . . ..57 

Ditto Malay hen, moulting, . . . .38 

Game cockerel, about five months old, . ..42 
Golden Hamburgh cockerel, just arrived from a 

long journey, about five months old, . .38 
Ditto pullet, ditto, ditto, . 2 4 

Cochin-China cockerel, six months old, . . 4 14 

Another, ditto, . . . 4 13j 

Silver Hamburgh cockerel, after travelling, about 

five months old, . . . . ..31 

Ditto pullet, ditto, ditto, . 2 8 



318 



APPENDIX. 



Black Polish hen, moulting, . .30 

Golden Hamburgh, ditto . . . ..23 
Andalusian cockerel, four months old . 3 8 

Dit^o pullet, ditto, . . . . 2 6\ 

Black Spanish cockerel, ditto, . . .211 

Ditto pullet, ditto, . . ..211 

Silver Polish cockerel, four months and a half old, 2 14] 
Golden Poland pullet, about five months old, . 2 8 
White-crested golden Poland pullet, ditto, . .23 

It will appear from the foregoing, that for a cock, of 
any breed, to reach 7\ Ibs., even live weight, he must be 
an unusually fine bird ; but this has to be doubled before 
we can rival those Cochin-China specimens, in whose 
existence some persons appear to believe. 

SAMUEL ALLEN. 
To C. M. SAXTON. 

NEW YORK, January 2, 1850. 






INDEX. 



PAGES. 

Albinos 65,292 

(Ulectorius 252 

Animals influenced by Food and Climate 73 

White , 292 

Inferiority of ...... 32, 92, 297 



Bankiva Fowl 19 

" Jungle Fowl 19 

Breeding, Remarks on 72, 103, 295 



Caponising Fowls 166, 251 

Capons trained to hatch Eggs 119 

" employed to nurse Chickens 119 

Cob (Male Swan) 245 

Cock, Dunghill, Selection of 89 

" Character of 90 

Javan 19 

Jungle 19, 21 



D 



Diseases of Poultry 25? 

Apoplexy 260 

Appetite, Loss of 276 

" Voracious 276 

Asthma 273 

Bloody Flux 279 

Catarrh 268 

Change of Color of Feathers 289 

Colds 268 

Consumption, Pulmonary 268 

Costiveness 278 

Cropsick 276 

Diarrhcea 278 

Dislocations 283 

Feathers, Loss of 287 

Fever 274 

" Hatching and Pairing.. 275 

Fractures 283 



Diseases of Poultry PAGES. 

Gapes 263 

Gout 281 

Indigestion 276 

Inflammation of the Eyes 280 

Luiigs 265 

" Windpipe . . 263 

Influenza 267 

Lice 283 

Loseness 278 

Moulting 288 

Nostrils, Obstruction of 266 

Parasitic Vermin 283 

Pip, or Thrush 262 

Phthisis 268 

Rheumatism 280 

Roup 267, 281 

Rump Gland, Obstruction of . . 281 

Scouring 278 

Thrush, or Pip 262 

Thirst 275 

Ulcers 282 

Wounds 282 

Duck, Aylesbury 197 

Marsh 197 

Musk, or Muscovy 198, 298 

Rouen, or Rhone 197 

Tame 190,298 

" Choice of varieties of 197 

" Fattening of 206 

" Incubation of 204 

Origin and History of 190 

" Range and Domestic Acco- 

modation of 201 

" Rearing and Feeding of ... 205 
Wild 191 



Eccaleobion described 112 

Egg Cluster 100 

Eggers, Labrador, described 310 

Egg-Hatching Machine, American 116 

Egg Trade 305 

Eggs, necessary Temperature for Hatch- 
ing 112,114 



320 



IWDEX. 



PAGES. 

Eggs, Qualities of 94, 296 

" Preservation of for Cooking 97 

" Hatching 98 

" Recipes for Preserving 97, " 

. Sexes of 95 

" Structure of 99 

Weight of 41, 224 

Everlasting Layers 54 



Fowl, Domestic, Anomalous Varieties of 81 
Antiquity of Varieties 

of 5,14,73 

Artificial Incubation of 112 
" Mothers in 

Rearing of 120 

Bantam 67,297 

Black 70 

Creeper 71 

Jumper 71 

Nankin 67 

Sebright 68 

White 71 

Yellow 67 

Barn-Door 55, 72 

Best Food for 125 

Black Polish 62 

" Topped White 

Polish 63 

Spanish 26 

Blue Dun 80 

Bolton Bay 51 

Grey 51 

Booby 78 

Breeding and Crossing 

of 103 

Buck's-County 78 

Caponising 251 

Chittagong 37 

Cheteprats 51 

Chittiprals 51 

Classification of 25 

Cochin-China 33 

Comparative Merits of . 295 

Cuckoo 55 

Coops for 121, 122 

Copplecrowns 56, 60 

Coral Grey 51 

Creole 51 

Diseases of 259 

Dominica, or Domini- 
que 80,297 

Dorking 29,296 

" known to 

Columella 32 

Duke of Leeds 13, 75 

Experiments in Feed- 
ing of with boiled 

Grain J28 

Fattening of 125 

Food of, compared 128 

found on the Pacific 

Isles 16,17 

Frizzled 81 

Game 44,297 



PACKS. 

Fowl, Domestic, Geographical Distribu- 
tion of 15 

Golden Hamburgh 51 

Poland 60, 63 

" Spangled 58 

Great Malay 37 

Immutability of Species 

of 73, 105 

Incubation of 106 

Influenced by Food and 

Climate 73 

Jago, or St. Jago ... 39,74 

Jersey-Blue 77 

Jungle 19,21 

Kulm 37 

Killing and Preparing 

for Market 132 

Lark-Crested 56 

Lime, Soot, Charcoal, 

&c., for 83,87 

Lost Varieties of 13 

Malay 37 

Minorca 26 

Mongrel 72 

Negro 81 

Nest Boxes for 85 

Nests of, Materials for 

making 87 

not found in the Atlantic 
Isles, when discover- 
ed by the Moderns . . 8 
not mentioned in the 

Old Testament G 

Old Sussex, or Kent . . 31 
Origen and History of . 5 

Ostrich 33, 78 

Paduan 60 

Paring of 92 

Pencilled Dutch 51 

Pheasant 40 

" Breed 40 

" Malay 40 

Plymouth-Rock 76 

Poland, Polander, or 

Polish 60 

Portugal 20 

Range and Domestic 

Accommodation of.. 81 
Rumkin, or Rumpless . 81 
Shack-Back, or Shag- 
Bag 63, 75 

Shanghae Cochin-China 75 

Silky 81 

Silver Hamburgh 51 

" Poland f.O 

" Spangled Ham- 
burgh 58 

Spangled Polish 60 

Spanish 26, 75 

Topknotted, not men- 
tioned by the An- 
cients 12 

Weight of ... 30, 35, 76, 78, 
79, 365 

White Polish GO, 63 

Turkish 51 



INDEX. 



321 



PAGES. 

Fowl, Domestic, Young of, Growth in 

the Egg 108 

" how to feed 

previous to Weaning 121 

Young of, how to nurse 117 

Fowl Houses 84.86 

Fowl, Wild 15, 19, 21, 24 

Bankiva Jungle 19 

Classification of 18 

Geography of 15 

Javanese Jungle 19 

Jungle, Sonnerat's 21 

" Stanley's 21 

South American 15 



Game Cock, English 45 

Game Fowl 44 

Breeding of 48 

Geese, Sandwich-Island 18 

Goose, African 222 

American Wild 234 

Breeding of 240 

" Geographical Distri- 
bution of 238 

" Management of 240 

" " Migration of 238 

" Natural History of ... 234 

' " Pairing of 240 

Bean 211 

Bremen 298 

Canada, described 237 

China 222 

" Breeding of 226 

Domestic 208 

" Fattening of 219 

" Incubation of 217 

Laying of 216 

" Origin and History of. . 208 

" Pairing of 215 

" Range and Domestic 

Accomodation of 214 

Young of, how to treat. 218 

Embden 213 

Grey-legged 211 

Guinea 222 

Hong-Kong 222 

Laughing 211 

Spanish 222 

Swan 222 

White, China 228, 231, 298 

White-Fronted 212 

Wild 237 

GuineaFowl 170,297 

Carried from America to 

Europe 169 

Distinction between the 

Cock and Hen 170 

Eggs of 172 

Feeding and Management 

of 174 

Geographical Distribution 

of 167 

Incubation of 173 



PAGES 

Guinea Fowl, Laying of 172 

Origin and History of 167 

Pairing of 171 



II 



Hen, Domestic, Character of 91 

Choice of : 91 

" Laying Propensities of . 94 

Hens, Relative Number to a Cock 92 

Hybrid between the Pheasant and Do- 
mestic Fowl 41 

Hybrid Geese .... 212, 218, 226, 227, 229, 298 
Hydro-Incubator 114 



Incubation, Period! of 

American Wild Goose 234 

China Goose 227 

Common Goose 217 

Swan 246,229 

Domestic Hen 108, 114 

Guinea Hen 173 

Musk Duck 200 

Pea Hen 188 

Tame Duck 205 

Turkey Hen 158 

White, China Goose 233 

Incubation, Periods of, vary according to 

Circumstances 200 



Javanese J ungle Cock 19 

Jungle Cock 21 

Fowl, Sonnerat's 21 

" Stanley's 21 



K 



KulmFowl 37 



Longevity of Poultry 90, 141. 290 

Lost Varieties of Fowls 13 

Laying Propensities of Fowls 94 



Malay Fowl 37 

Meleagris of the Ancients, What?. . 167, 169 



Nest Boxes for Domestic Fowls . . ... 85 

Nests, Materials for making 87 



INDEX. 



PAGES 

Ostrich Fowl ... 33,78 

Ovarium, or Egg Cluster of Fowls 100 



Pea Fowl 277 

Feeding and Management of. 188 
Geographical Distribution of . 181 

Japan 182 

Laying and Brooding of 187 

Origin and History of 178 

Queen Victoria's 179 

Range and Domestic Accom- 
modation of. 186 

Pen Birds (Female Swans) 245 

Pheasant-Malay Fowl 40 

Fowl . 40 

Breed 40 

Polotokian 113 

Poulardes, how to make 253 

Poultry Raising, Profits of 300 

Statistics 313 

Weight of. 30 35 76 78, 79, 142, 152, 
221, 249, 315 



Queen Victoria's Pea Fowl . . . . 179 



Rumkin, or Rumpless Fowl 81 



S 



Sonnerat's Jungle Fowl 21 

Stanley's " 21 

Swan, Chinese 222 

Common 245, 299 

* Distinction between Sexes 2471 



PA.GSTS. 

Swan, Common, Feeding of 247, 299 

" Management of ... 247, 299 

" Mute 245 

Natural History of .... 244 
" Pairing of 246 



Turkey, Domestic 151, 297 

Caponising of 166 

Choice of the Cock .. 153 

Eggs of 157 

Fattening of 164 

Incubation of 158 

Laying of 155 

Long-Island Dwarf.... 151 
Number of Hens to a 

Cock 155 

Origin and History of 133 
Range and Domestic 

AccommodBtion of. 152 
Selection of the Hen . 154 
Should not roost with 

other Fowls 152 

Topknotted Variety 

of 152 

Story of, in Persia ... 137 

Young of, how to treat 160 

" injured by 

Wet 148 

Weight of 152, 164 

Turkey, Wild, described 139 

Crossed with Domestic 

Breed 142 

Eggs of 146 

Geographical Distribu- 
tion of 149 

Habits of 143 

Honduras 138 

Weight of 142 

iVhen introduced into 
Europe 136 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 

PAGE 8 

American Egg-Hatching Machine 116 

" Wild Goose 237 

Bankiva Jungle Cock On Frontispiece, and 19 

Bantam Cock 67 

" Sebright Cock and Hen 68 

Canula, for Caponising 255 

Chicken Coops 122 

Chick in the Egg 109 

China Goose 223 

Cochin-China Cock 33 

Hen 35 

Cockerel, confined for Caponising 256 

Coops 122 

Domestic Goose 213 

Dorking Cock and Hen 29 

Duck, Musk, or Muscovy . 193 

" Pond and Houses 203 

" Wild 191 

Egg Cluster, or Ovarium 100 

English Game Cock 45 

Extracting Crystal from Capon 252 

Forceps for Caponising 255 

Game Cocks 44, 45 

Goose, Canada 237 

" China 223 

" Domestic 213 

" Wild 237 

Great Malay Cock and Hen 37 

Guinea Hen 170 

Hen Houses 84, 85, 86 

Jago Cock and Hen On Frontispiece 

Javanese Cock On Frontispiece, and 19 

" Jungle Cock On Frontispiece, and 19 

Kulm, or Great Malay Cock and Hen 37 

Malay Cock and Hen 27 

Peacock 183 

Poland, or Poli.-h Topnotted Cock and Hen 60 

Poultry Houses 84, 85, 86, 122, 203 

Retractor, for Caponising 254 

Scalpel .., 254 

Sebright Bantam Cock and Hen 68 

Sonnerat's Jungle Cock 21 

Spanish Cock and Hen On Frontispiece, and 26 

Spangled Hamburgh Cock 58 

Hen 59 

Spoon, for Caponising 255 

Swan, Common, or Mute 245 

Turkey, Domestic 151 

" Wild 131) 



AGEXCY 

FOR THE 

PURCHASE OF ARTICLES 

OF 

Household Economy ; Philosophical, Chemical and Astronomical Apparatus : Mathemati- 
cal, Surgical, Optical, Nautical, Engineering, and Gauging Instruments; Watches, Time- 
Keepers, and Chronometers ; Books, Stationery, Charts, and Maps ; Utensils and Materials 
used in Printing ; Sporting Implements and Materials ; Equipage for the Traveller, Voy- 
ager, &c., &c. 

The undersigned announces to the public that he has made advantageous arrangements 
with respectable houses and manufacturers in this city for the purchase of all the principal 
procurable articles employed in Domestic and Rural Economy, useful and ornamental, 
as well as for the advancement and perfection of the Arts and Sciences. 

All orders for goods, &c., must be addressed, postpaid, and invariably accompanied with 
the money, or a draft at sight, or otherwise acceptable, on some responsible house in Boston, 
Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston, or New York. 

The direction and mode of forwarding the articles must be written out in full, in a clear, 
legible hand, otherwise mistakes and delays will be-liable to occur ; and, whenever practi- 
cable, it is desirable that they may be accompanied by a sample, or drawing, or at least, a 
rude sketch made with the pen. 

All articles will be carefully selected, packed, and shipped, or sent, agreeable to direction. 
Beyond this, they will be subject solely to the risk of the parties by whom they are ordered 
or conveyed. 

Strangers, or others, visiting the city, who prefer to make their own purchases, will be 
directed, free of charge, to the best houses, manufacturers, or their agents, where they may 
examine the articles at their leisure, and select according to their own judgment and taste. 

D. J. BROWNE, 

At the Agricultural Warehouse of A. B. Allen & Co., 
189 Water Street, New York. 



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