Skip to main content

Full text of "Talks and walks about the poultry yards"

See other formats







ie^x^ioiei so oiEivrTs. 



W SM)<K,ffifc 

9 II 







Copyrighted by G. P. Burn ham. 1878. 




Is a Monthly Magazine, devoted to the interests of Fowl-raisers entirely. 
It is the largest and most successful monthly of its kind ever published 
in the world — and now enjoys a greater circulation than* has ever yet 
been reached by any such publication. 12 superb Ghromos are issued 
with this paper, annually. As an advertising medium for poultrymen, 
it has no equal, and no rival, in America. Price, $1.25 per annum. 
75 cents additional, pays for the 12 elegant Ghromos. Every one con- 
cerned in fowl-raising should subscribe for and carefully study its 
instructive, well-filled, and readable pages, from month to month — 
and thus inform themselves (as they can in no other way) what is 
transpiring among the fraternity, and how they may keep and rear good 
poultry-stock to profit. 



Is a well conducted Weekly paper, under the same management and 
proprietorship, the columns of which are occupied with full directions 
how to raise and care for domestic fowls, upon the most approved 
practical methods. Both these publications are edited by H. H. Stoddard,, 
of Hartford, Conn., and each issue of both are finely illustrated with 
original drawings of fowl-houses, different varieties of poultry, imple- 
ments, and accessories to the runs and yards of fowl-keepers, etc., while 
the contents of one are entirely different from those of the other ; no 
part of the matter being used, except in the paper for which it is 
expressly prepared. Price of the Weekly, SI. 50 a year. For both 
Monthly and Weekly, to same address, $2.00 only is charged. Address 


Editor "Poultry Wokld " and "American Poultry Yard," 

Hartford, Conn. 

2 <D "7-! 




are sent out from my 
yards except such as 
I use myself; care- 
fully packed, but no 
warranty given as 
to Hatching. 


of either variety, 
shipped as early in the 
season as the,)' can be 
sent by Express with- 
out chilling. 




Jtjp-I semi from my yards such fowls, or 
eggs for hutching, only as 1 breed myself, or 
set eggs from. I do not sell "cheap" stock — 
since it does not pay me either to raise or offer 
it to my patrons. I desire in every instance 
to give my customer his money's value, as 
nearly as I know how this should justly and 
honorably he done. 

I select, mate, and handle my stock, per- 
sonally. I have no " lowest price," and can- 
not fill orders for common or cheap fowls, of 
any kind. 

5jy Samples of my breeding birds, young and old, in 1878, 
at two State Shows where I won numerous valuable prizes, 
with strong competition, weie scored by eight different- judges, 
at 99f points, 98J, 96i, 95*, 94J, 93, 92, 91 i, 90£, and 90. 

At Portland, Me., my best young Light Brahmas received 
the highest special premium awarded at that Show, 


offered by the. Editor of the " Hartford Poultry World." 
My duplicate "Queen's Cage" of Eight Light Brahmas, were 
there awarded the MaineState Society's grand Special premium, 
for excellence — and I also took several other leading prizes at 
that Show in February, and at Hartford in January ; 1st, 2d, 
3d and 4th on " Pea Comb Partridge Cochins," others on 
" Dark Brahmas," and others on " Light Brahma " fowls and 
chicks ; very clearly demonstrating what is the character of the 
stock I now have — after breeding Asiatics for 30 years. 

Effg'S for Incubation, of either breed, are $5 a 
setting, of thirteen. Orders booked in rotation, as 
received. I respectfully ask my customers to under- 
stand that I use my best efforts for their benefit — but 
I cannot guarantee the hatching of eggs. 


jgp- I am able, to furnish this season, for 
breeding or for Exhibition in 1879, trios of the 
finest and most perfectly bred birds, hatched 
from my r-RKMiUM BREEDING stock last 
>ear, of the above named varieties, that I 
have ever produced. These chickens, mated 
for Breeding, or for the Shows, are no™ ready 
for delivery. Illustrated Circulf ■» 

Fowls, and new 50 cent Poultry T 
on receipt of 3 cent stamp. > 

GEO. P. '" 













o. bon U" 

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1878, 


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 



The papers forming the contents of the following treatise, were written 
originally for the columns of " The Poultry World/' Hartford, Conn. 
The different articles were illustrated by the publisher of that popular monthly 
magazine — Mr. I. Porter, the special artist for that journal, having furnished 
the drawings for the most part, expressly for this series of communications. 

The author considers this little volume quite equal to the previous Jive 
treatises he published in 1876 and '77, upon matters connected with the history 
and management of Domestic Poultry ; and he has now added this as Part 
six to the popular fifty -cent series, all of which have been so kindly received 
by the American fraternity of Fowl-raisers and Fanciers, in every part of the 

The style of this book is novel — the opinions of several experts in poultry 
culture, in conjunction with that of the author, forming the dialogue running 
through these pages — which renders the work entertaining ; while a goodly 
amount of instruction and many valuable hints are thus afforded, in a way that 
is more generally pleasing than ordinary, in this sort of publication. 

The good traits, general characteristics, and "standard" qualities of different 
varieties of modern improved breeds of fowls are herein portrayed. Numerous 
suggestions are embodied in this treatise from practical men, who understand 
how to raise prime birds. A share of the work is given to hints that are valu- 
able to young beginners, and some fresh information may be gleaned also by 
older breeders, who will carefully peruse what is now written. 

The author takes this opportunity to thank his numerous friends and corres- 
pondents who have so liberally patronized his five previous little works, of this 
series ; and trusts that his present record of " Talks and Walks about the 
Poultry yards " will meet the approbation of those who may continue to favor 
him with their orders. Geo. P. Burnham. 

Cottage Street, Melrose, 1878. 




Chapter I— Plymouth Rocks. 

"It's a right crispy morn in', neighbor 
Burnham," exclaimed a well-known vis- 
itor, cheerily, as he entered my cosy office 
a few days since, rubbing his hands 

And I turned from my desk to welcome 
my old friend, a retired sea-captain, who 
frequently calls upon and entertains me 
with his present home experience, and that 
of former days in foreign climes. 

In his later years of retirement, Captain 
R. has enjoyed his quiet leisure upon a 
little farm not far away from my Melrose 
residence, where he has bred some excel- 
lent live stock, in a moderate way, among 
which he rather prides himself on his good 

"A merry Christmas, Captain," I re- 

"And a happy New Year to you, neigh- 
bor Burnham," he rejoined, in his custom- 
ary cordial manner. Then drawing from 
his ample pea-coat pocket a fresh copy of 
The Poultry Would, he sat down in the 
great easy chair before the cheerful fire, 
and added — 

"I see, by our favorite poultry paper, 
that I took from the post-office last night, 
neighbor B., that you're goin'.to give us a 
series of ' Talks and Walks about the Poul- 
try Yards," in the next volume." 

And the old gentleman read the editor's 
announcement of this undertaking, in the 
December issue, aloud. 

"That's a good idea, neighbor B.," he 
continued. "That'll take, if you do your 
right best, for you know how to do it." 

"Thank you, Captain," I answered. 


"I will try to make these papers enter- 
taining, and, so far as I am able to do so, 
I shall endeavor also to make them both 
instructive and readable." 

"Your loug experience in this sort o' 
thing, and your readiness with the pen 
on matters pertaining to poultry-raising, 
ought to qualifv you for this pleasant 

"But I want your help, Captain," I 
said. "You are an old stager in this 
business, and are well posted." 

"Ah, well — I don't know 'bout that. I 
know some things — " 

"Yes, and you raise good fowls, too." 

"Well, I try to." 

"And you have succeeded." 

"What can I do for you, neighbor B? 
I can't write nothing, you know," he quiet- 
ly replied. 

"Tell me about the old times, when 
you went up and down the great seas, you 
know. And I can embody in this series 
of papers a good many valuable hints, 
gathered from your experience abroad and 
at home, that will materially assist me in 
making these articles pleasant reading for 
the patrons of The Poultry World." 

" Well— I will, to be sure." 

Then pausing a moment, he asked, 
"what are you going to begin on? I've 
just come from friend Bush's place. He's 
got a right good show o' young fowl stock, 
this winter, and the best on 'em are the 
new breed we read so much about, o' late 
— the Plymouth Rocks. Suppose we have 
a little 'talk' about this variety?" 

"The very thing I had determined on, 

"It's a good kind o' bird, is this Plym- 
outh Rock, " continued the Captain. ' ' I've 
been a watching and experimenting with 
'em for three or four years. And I've 
come to the conclusion that Mr. Felch, 
when he spoke so well of 'em in his ad- 
dress before the Agricultural Society in 
Natick, a year or more ago, told the truth 
about 'em. They are the ' comin' fowl,' 
and they are the 'farmers' fowl,' in my 
opinion, for real, practical utility." 

"I agree with you, Captain. And I 
agree with our friend Felch on this sub- 
ject, as you do; though I don't agree with 
him upon some other points he advocates." 

"For instance, about sp'ilin' our hens, 
by lettin' 'em get crossed with a strange 
cock?" remarked the Captain, with a 

"Exactly — yes. On that subject, wc 

are diametrically, but good naturedly, op- 
posed in opinion." 

"Well, I read your ' Facts against Spec- 
ulations ' in The Poultry World, and I 
must say I think you have the best o' the 
argument, every time. And I have read 
Mr, Felch's '-Manual'' too, as well as your 
1 Secrets in Fowl-Breeding/ " 

"Let's not discuss that topic further, 
now, Captain," I suggested. "We were 
speaking of the Plymouth Bock fowls. 
Here — what do you think of this, for a 
drawing of a P. Rock rock? " I asked 
him, presenting a copy of the engraving 
of the fine bird that stands at the head of 
this chapter. 

"That's a good pictur', neighbor Burn- 
ham. If the bars on the neck-hackle had 
been a leetle more distinct, it would have 
suited me better, for a portrait, though." 

"Very likely. But I call that very 
good for a representative Plymouth Rock 

" So it is. And the outlines are excel- 

"When we can breed cock birds of this 
now popular variety uniformly as perfect 
as this representation is, we shall have at- 
tained pretty nearly the thing, Captain, for 
Plymouth Rocks." 

"You are right. But I notice that this 
breed presents a singular characteristic in 
the colors of the two sexes. While the 
pullets come, almost without an exception, 
so far as I have met with 'em, quite dark 
in plumage, so the cocks come almost as 
universally of the extreme light Dominique 
hue, in feather." 

"Yes. And this is accounted for, when 
we remember that this is a composite 
American foAvl ; a cross, originally, of the 
light Dominique cock upon Black Java 

"Yes, I know. This is the Spaulding 
and Upham theory, regarding the Connec- 
ticut stock of Plymouth Rocks." 

"And of the Drake strain, as well." 

" True. But there is another branch of 
this family — the old Essex county (Mass.) 
strain — bred for some years by Pitman, 
Pierce and Ives, of Salem and Danvers, 
and Beverly." 

"That proved never so perfect a variety 
(or cross) as the others." 

"For why?" 

"Because, comparatively, but little care 
in breeding it was exercised by the origi- 
nators of that stock ; and it ran out, in a 
few years — 'throwing back,' from in' 

breeding, to the Dominique, or the Cochin, 
of which it was largely made up." 

" But, in addition to the difficulty in 
breeding the Plymouth Rocks uniformly 
to color, I notice that all the fanciers have 
to contend with the continually occurring 
dark legs, too," continued the Captain; 
" which hurts the sale of these birds, 
amazingly, when you come to market 'em, 
as dead poultry." 

"This is an objection, I admit. But 
all Plymouth Rocks do not show the 
bronzed leg, by any means, Captain." 

"No. But all the different sfrvmis show 
this blemisli, more or less ; though I have 
seen many fine flocks, this year and last, 
and have bred them myself, a majority of 
which were very clear, bright, yellow- 

"This is what we want, I know, for 

"Aye. And this is about the first thing 
that's looked at, unless dead chickens 
offered for sale in market are otherwise 
specially presentable, you know." 

"True, and the Standard of Excellence 
makes the clean yellow leg a qualification 
in the show pen, for Plymouth Rocks, dis- 

"But we don't get it ! " 

"No. Not without exceptions." 

"As to size,'' 1 continued the Captain, "I 
don't know but I agree with Mr. Felch 
again, on that p'int, in the Plymouth Rocks. 
You see, neighbor Burnham, when you 
come to talk about 'table-fowl' to the 
gentleman who eats poultry for a love of 
it, he tells you what I want, is, a good 
meaty well-balanced chicken, for broiler 
or roaster, that has come up from the 
shell to slaughtering time, quickly; and 
one that is neither a gob o' fat from fast 
feeding or stuffin', nor a mere mess of 
sinews and strings, over bone as big as a 
hen-roost, from lack "of care and good 
nourishment when it's growin'." 

"Exactly. And inasmuch as this varie- 
ty is, as you say, very rapidly coming into 
popularity among the farmers all over 
the country, who raise poultry not for 
"fancy" purposes, as a rule, but for sale 
in market — it is necessary, if we would 
keep up the good reputation of the breed, 
that we should establish the bright yellow 
shank upon this stock, permanently, and 
make it a specific characteristic, uniform- 

"Ah, there comes the rub, neighbor 
Burnham," returned the Captain, dubi- 

ously. "You see, the Black Java fowl 
carries the dark leg, inevitably. The 
crossing of the gray Dominique upon this 
strong-blooded breed of hens was a lucky 
stroke, by the originators. . At first, the 
legs came yellowish, and the feathering 
formed by this union proved very comely; 
while the size of the 'Plymouth Rock' 
thus produced turned out to be the 'happy 
medium' between the moderate sized 
Dominiques and the stalwart Asiatics." 

"The Java — you mean, Captain? 

"Yes, the 'Java' — in this instance. 
But the Java is a genuine Asiatic. Not 
a Chinese bird, but a Southern Asiatic. I 
have seen them in myriads 'upon their 
native heath,' neighbor Burnham," con- 
tinued the Captain, warming up. 

"I know it, Captain. You have often 
spoken to me about this breed, of which 
we have very few good original samples 
in this country. Now, tell us what the 
'Black Java' is, please. My own im- 
pressions are that we generally know very 
little about this fowl; which through its 
combination with the 'Dominique' in the 
formation of modern 'Plymouth Rocks,' 
plays so important a part in what is 
claimed by many breeders to be not only 
'the coming fowl,' but positively one of 
the best American fowls, for general every- 
day uses, that has ever been introduced 
among us." 

"Well," observed Captain R., "I mind 
me of the time — now thirty years agone — 
when I sailed the barque 'Roarner,' for an 
old Boston firm, from that port to and 
from the East Indies, and when upon every 
return voyage from Malacca, Java and 
Singapore, I brought home these very 
fowls, for years successively." 

"And what was their general color, 
size and character, Captain, in those 

"Just what they are now." - 

''Black birds?" 

"Almost uniformly black, or very dark 
feathered. They acquired the title 'Black 
Javas' from the fact that like the 'Black 
Spanish,' or 'Leghorn,' from the Mediter- 
ranean, these were almost universally of a 
sooty hue in plumage." 

"And their size — ?" 

"Was quite large. They are not so tall 
and lank a framed fowl as the 'Malay,' or 
what we then knew quite as commonly as 
the 'Singapore,' but are shaped more 
like our ' Gray Dorkings ' ; standing high- 
er on the leg, but having a heavy compact 


body, "with plumage close and rather 
coarse, as compared with that of the 
Chinese varieties." 

"And how were they esteemed for table 

"Well, I can't say that I ever found 
them greatly admired in this respect, 
when bred among themselves, in this 
country. But for crossing our native 
barn-yard fowls, they were found quite 
valuable. But this was before the 'hen 
fever ' raged much in America, and long 
before we had any papers printed that 
discussed the merits of domestic poultry, 
to any extent." 

"But they were the same variety we now 
know in this country as the 'Java' fowl?" 

"Precisely. The earliest importations 
came from the Island of Java. But sub- 
sequently from Malacca, from Singapore, 
from Mauritius, Sumatra, Bankok, Bor- 
neo, or other islands in the East Indian 
Archipelago, these very birds are now and 
always have been readily obtained, for 
half a rupee each, by officers of our ves- 
sels that visit and trade at those ports. 
Scores of them are taken on board ship 
for the cabin mess, on the return voyage. 
And what are not eaten by the officers, en 
voyage home, are delivered to the ship- 
owners or consignees, on arrival here, and 
so they get indifferently distributed 
among our farmers or poultry men." 

"And these were dark-legged, as well 
as black-plumed?" 

"Always. I have seen thousands, and 
brought scores of them into port. But I 
never saw a yellow-legged native Black 
Java, in my life." 

"Then it is not strange in the Plymouth 
Bock cross (with even so strong a blooded 
variety as is the yellow-limbed Dominique), 
that we cannot always avoid the discolor- 
ation of 

"Not at all. 
at first." 

"But the bronze-hued leg can be bred 
off, altogether?" 

"In time, perhaps — yes. In breeding 
them, if we select the cleanest yellow- 
legged Plymouth Rocks of both sexes 
that we have, or can obtain, and follow 
up this course a few years, no doubt this 
desirable object may he reached eventu- 
ally. But we havn't attained this, yet, 
neighbor B." 

"I know it." 

"And as to breeding for plumage," 
continued the Captain, "I will tell you 

the legs?" 

And this is what I said, 

what I have met with, in my experiments. 
If you occasionally get a darkish cock- 
bird among your chicks, and breed him 
the next year to your average dark pullets, 
or hens, their progeny will come largely 
splashed with Mack feathers, and the legs 
will be darker than ever. The 'Domi- 
nique ' hue will almost disappear in the 
barred feathers, and the old Black Java 
will 'stick out 'all over the most of the 
chicks. Breed these together the next 
year, and you will get the olack Java 
again, almost without exception, to all 
outward appearance." 

"And these are just what we do not 
want, for the Plymouth Rocks!" 

"I know it. So I say again you must 
select for breeding in succession only the 
clear yellow-legged chicks of both sexes." 

"But does not this course tend to make 
the progeny for the most part lighter col- 
ored in plumage, both of cocks and hens, 
from year to year? " 

"Yes. And therefore we must discrim- 
inate. The blood of the Dominique 
fowl is very strong. We see that in the 
continuation, season after season, of the 
nicely barred feathering of these Plym- 
outh Rocks, whatever may be the exact 
cast of their individual plumage, or the 
precise color of their shanks. So, while 
we aim to reproduce the golden colored 
limb, we must not forget that the average 
medium shade of plumage must, at the 
same time, be retained, or kept steady — 
or one of the chief characteristics of the 
P. Rocks (its popular color) is lost, or seri- 
ously impaired." 

"How is the size affected, in this sort 
of mating? " 

" Well, it is not increased. Mr. Felch 
argues very plausibly, I think, on this 
p'int again, when he says, in substance, 
that most cultivator's of P. Rocks aim to 
make this fowl too big. We don't want 
a mammoth bird, in this variety. We 
want — not a Brahma, a Cochin, or a Java 
— but a good, fairly-proportioned, plump, 
meaty, solid, medium-sized bird; larger 
than the old Dominique, but less than 
the old Java. These are more economi- 
cal to feed, to raise, to fatten, or to 
breed — and these are what farmers need, 

"Another irregularity crops out not in- 
frequently, "continued Captain R., "which 
is a more serious blemish than the discol- 
oration of the leg. This is the occasional 
imperfect feathering upon the shank." 


" Yes. But this is peculiar only to the 
Massachusetts strains, I think. And it is 
accounted for. That variety was made 
up of Black Cochins with the Dominique 
— so it is claimed — instead of crossing the 
latter with the Black Java." 

"I know it. And with many of our 
Plymouth Rocks, this is the source whence 
we get the Cochin size and shape, as well 
as the sparsely feathered leg, so often." 

"You are right, Captain." 

"Entirely, I think. You remember 
the Standard of the American Poultry 
Association requires the plumage of the 
Plymouth Rocks to he ' bluish-gray, each 
feather delicately, but distinctly penciled 
across with dark bars.' " 


"This same authority demands that the 
plumage of the Dominiques shall be a 
light slaty-blue, eacli feather distinctly 
penciled across with dark bars, etc." 

"And in other respects — ? " 

"Well, a feathered leg, or legs of any 
other color than yellow; splashes of white 
or black in body-feathering, wry or squir- 
rel tails, reddish or brassy feathers, etc., 
are each and all disqualifications in the 
show-pen. And these restrictions apply 
equally to both the Dominique and the 
Plymouth Rock varieties." 

At this point, our little party receiv- 
ed an accession, in the person of one of 
our village doctors — an educated man, 
who takes an unusual interest in the 
cultivation of the old-style Dominique 

"Ah, Doctor! come in," I exclaimed. 
"You are just in the nick of time. We 
were talking of the good qualities of the 
Dominiques and the Plymouth Rock birds. 
You can assist us, and you will enjoy the 
discussion, I know." 

"Good morning, gentlemen," respond- 
ed the Doctor, courteously. "Yes, I like 
to talk about my valued favorites, when- 
ever I have leisure. To this fine variety, 
which I aim to breed in their purity, and 
up to Standard in quality, you are in- 
debted, in the first instance, for your 

beautiful 'Plymouth Rock' plumage, you 

"Well, Doctor — the Captain and myself 
have had a very pleasant chat this morn- 
ing, upon this subject. I am preparing a 
series of papers for the next volume of 
The Poultry World — " 

"Under the capital title of ' Talks and 
Walks about the Poultry -Yards.'' Yes — I 
saw the announcement in the December 
number; and it struck me as a very good 
thing," remarked the Doctor. 

"Well — I shall make it agreeable read- 
ing for you." 

"No doubt of it." 

"But, I shall ask you to assist me in 
this little enterprise, Doctor." 

"With great pleasure. I will give you 
some hints within my experience." 

"Thanks. What with Captain R.'s 
extensive knowledge about good poultry, 
your practical ideas, the experience of the 
Major, whose shining face I see approach- 
ing the door at this moment, my own ran- 
dom thoughts, and the advice and coun- 
sel of our neighbors Edmonds, Weymouth, 
Kimball, Mansfield, etc., I shall contrive 
to make this series of 'Talks and Walks'' 
not only interesting, but of some value, I 
hope, to the fowl-breeding fraternity, dur- 
ing the issue of The Poultry World for 
the coming year." 

"You have made the Plymouth Rocks 
the subject of your first paper, then? " 
asked the Doctor. 

"Yes. The Captain and I thought this 
excellent variety a good one to begin 

"Well. In the next number, let us 
talk about the American Dominiques.'''' 

"So we will, Doctor. I have a nice 
illustration of this breed, got up by Por- 
ter, recently. And as the limits for each 
of these papers are now already reached, 
in this opening chapter, we will halt 
here; and at our leisure we will prepare 
the second paper of the series, for Febru- 
ary — to be devoted to a consideration of 
the merits of the American Dominique 
fowl, the Leghorns, etc." 




" I remember well, " observed the Doc- 
tor, "the character and origin accorded 
to the American Dominique fowl, some 
thirty years ago, by what was at that early 
period considered very good authority — 
to wit: Dr. John C. Bennett, then residing 
in and enjoying a lucrative medical prac- 
tice at Plymouth, Mass., where lie had, 
also, an extensive hennery, on which he 
prided himself." 

"And was not this Dr. Bennett the 
originator of the 'Plymouth Rock' fowl?" 
asked the Major. 

"By name, yes," replied the Doctor. 
"But the first 'Plymouth Rocks' were 
quite a different fowl from the modern 
Plymouth Rocks. Our neighbor Burn- 
ham, here, exhibited the first dozen birds 
of this variety ever shown in the world ; 
and credit for this w;is duly accorded him 
in the official report of the pioneer poul- 
try association in America (in 1849). They 
were exhibited that year at the Public 
Garden, in Boston." 

"I recollect that original American 
fowl-show well," exclaimed the Captain. 
"And a very good one it was, too." 

"Dr. Bennett wrote to the Massachu- 
setts Ploughman, Boston, in 1849, as fol- 
lows," said the Doctor, "regarding the 
original Plymouth Rocks : " 'I have given 
this name to a very extra breed of fowls 
which I have produced by crossing a 
Cochin China cockerel upon a hen that 
was a cross betw r een a fawn-colored Dork- 
ing, a Malay and a Wild India bird.' 
Thus the Plymouth Rock is, in reality, 
one-half Cochin China, one-fourth fawn- 
colored Dorking, one-eighth Malay and 
one-eighth Wild India." 

"All which," observed Mr. Burnham, 
"in the light of to-day, appears to me to 
be a very absurd conglomeration! " 

" It w T ill be seen from this early account 
of the origin of the old Plymouth Rocks," 
continued the Doctor, "that they were 
quite unlike the later so-named variety. 
But they soon run out. And the modern 
fowl being composed of but two breeds — 
both of which are decidedly strong in 
blood, and distinct in color and character- 
istics, give us a much more promising 
cross; which, through prudent and skill- 
ful selection and mating of the progeny, 

1 1 

insure us far better satisfaction, contin- 

"But the history and utility of the Domi- 
nique and Leghorn fowls are what we were 
to discuss, to-day," observed the Major. 

"Yes. And as you have had a goodly 
experience, Doctor, with the former 
breed," suggested Captain R., "suppose 
you tell us all about this old favorite." 

"We have quoted what Dr. John C. 
Bennett wrote, over thirty years ago," re- 
joined the Doctor, "about the Plymouth 
Rocks. Now, in 1849-'50, this same au- 
thority spoke of the Dominiques, thus: 
and his opinion was quoted in the agri- 
cultural papers and the poultry books, 
very largely afterward. Dr. B. said, 'I 
know of no fowls which have stood the 
test of mixing, without deteriorating, bet- 
ter than have the Dominiques. They are 
said to have come from the Island of Do- 
minica — but I doubt this. I should in- 
cline to the opinion that they took their 
name from being 'tenants at will' from 
some feudal sovereignty. Why it is that 
such perfect bloods should have escaped 
description by modern poultry writers, I 
am unable to divine. True, they are 
smallish. This is the worst thing that can 
be said of the Dominiques. 'They were 
introduced by the French, and are not a 
Dutch (or Holland) fowl, as some sup- 
pose.' Thus writes Dr. Bennett. But the 
first I ever heard of the Dominiques — un- 
der this name — was the account given by 
Mr. Devereux, formerly Treasurer of the 
original 'New England Poultry Society.' 
He spoke of them as having been brought 
into Massachusetts, now forty years ago, 
by Capt. Perley, whose birds were bred in 
Essex county, where this fine old standard 
variety have been cultivated largely for 
nearly half a century. The venerable 
Samuel Allen wrote of them, almost forty 
years ago : ' The Dominiques are a breed 
that are becoming more and more in favor. 
They are universally pronounced hardy, 
good layers, careful nurses, and as afford- 
ing excellent eggs and flesh for the table. 
And, besides this, their beautiful uniform 
appearance, when in full plumage, is quite 
an acquisition to farm-yard, lawn, or run.' 
And Mr. Allen was right," concluded the 
Doctor, with emphasis. "They do not 
change in color, in fine appearance, in 
good average size, as layers, as mothers, 
or as breeders. And we have had the 
Dominiques around us, now, fully half a 

"But they are not a large fowl? " 

" No. Yet they come even in size, and 
always average about the same thing, put; 
them where you may, or breed them as 
you will — anywhere in this country, at 
least. Mr. Pierce, of Danvers, Mr. Dever- 
eux, of Salem, Mr. Pitman, of Beverly, 
tell us that, taken all-in-all, they are one 
of the very best breeds of fowls we have, 
and none alter so little from in-and-in 
breeding as do these." 

"The Dominiques deservedly enjoy a 
good reputation," remarked the Major. 
"They are of a handsome, hardy Color; 
they lay bountifully ; their meat is excel- 
lent for broiler, fry, or roast; their legs 
are free from feathers and always come 
yellow as gold, if purely bred; in market, 
they are never a drug, as dead poultry, 
they are so presentable when fattened and 
well dressed ; and, on the whole, they 
may be said, truthfully, to rank among 
our test American domestic fowls, for 
ordinary utility, as well as beauty." 

"Yes," added the Doctor. "They are 
my choice, above all others. And while, 
as the Major states correctly, this breed 
has maintained all the above characteris- 
tics, noticeably, from generation to gen- 
eration, during so many years, they have 
been improved in quality in the past two 
decades, through the extra care that judi- 
cious breeders have given to this variety, 
in cultivation." 

"As how?" 

"Well, we produce Dominiques nowa- 
days, Major, that average larger in propor- 
tions than formerly. We have worked 
out the full rose-comb upon them, with 
good success, where at first they came 
more than three-quarters with the single 
comb. The limbs of thoroughbred Domi- 
niques are now almost universally light 
yellow, or pale orange colored. And 
the plumage in a well-cultivated flock is 
remarkably even, clearly 'barred,' and 
of clear steel blue in the darker mark- 

"This is what the Standard calls for." 

"Aye. And when you can give us 
these 'points' as accurately upon the 
Plymouth Rocks as we Dominique fanciers 
produce them upon our stock, year after 
year, you will have achieved a triumph ; 
because you do get size in this cross (which 
the Java affords), and which, in the Domi- 
nique, alone, we cannot attain." 

"Still, the rage is for the Plymouth 
Rocks, Doctor!" 


"I know it. I am content with the 
Dominiques, nevertheless." 

" Well. This is as it should be. If we 
all preferred one breed of poultry," asked 
the Captain, ' ' what would become of the 
* fancy,' pray? " 

" You may have your Dominiques, Doc- 
tor," chimed in the Major. "As you 
breed them, they are a beautiful fowl, 
and, in the hands that cultivate fowls as 
you do, they cannot but prove highly sat- 
isfactory. The Captain may have his 
Plymouth Rocks, too. Neighbor Burn- 
harmcan enjoy his fine Brahmas and Pea- 
comb Partridge Cochins. But give me 
Leghorns — Brown, White or Black — and 
I will count you out more eggs in twelve 
months, from the same number of this 
popular variety, than you can begin to 
produce from either or any of those which 
you gentlemen breed so carefully, so suc- 
cessfully, and so admiringly." 

" So you can, Major," responded Cap- 
tain R. "You can get a greater number 
of eggs from the 'Leghorns,' as we all 
know. But, pound for pound, the Brah- 
mas and Cochins will beat you — and give 
you odds — if they are properly fed and 
looked after." 

"I don't know that, Captain." 

"No. Because you are wedded to the 
Leghorns, and do not know what others 
know of the good laying qualities of the 
larger varieties, Major." 

" Well, I never knew any favorite breed 
that were not pronounced by the cultiva- 
tor of it to be ' wonderful layers, very 
hardy, good mothers, easily reared, nice 
table food,' and all that. But I will tell 
you, now, what / know about the Leg- 
horns — if you please." 

"Yes. You are posted upon those va- 
rieties, I know. But, to begin with," in- 
sisted the Doctor, argumentatively, "they 
are as restless as weasels, they will fly like 
eagles, and can scratch like devils — if they 
are not closely penned up in a cage!" 

"Well now, Doctor — hold on a bit. 
And let me say a few words about my 

"Yes. Excuse me, Major. Go on," 
said the Doctor, blandly. 

"The Leghorn fowl is really a most 
valuable acquisition to the stock of Amer- 
ican poultry. Give them their liberty, in 
a good wide range, and their 'scratching' 
propensity (which, I admit, they are espe- 
cially addicted to, for they are great fora- 
gers) will do no harm. They are a small 

breed — granted. But, ah! what layers 
they have proved, to be sure. We have 
not had this nice little fowl a great many 
years in America, you know." 

"No? I thought it was quite an old- 
style bird among us." 

"And there is where you err, Doctor. 
Considerably less than twenty years ago, 
the first fowls of this variety were recog- 
nized in this country." 

"Why, I have known the White Leg- 
horns as far back, almost, as I can remem- 
ber! " exclaimed both the Doctor and Cap- 
tain R., at once. 

"As ' Leghorns' 1 ?" asked the Major, 
with a smile. "I think not, gentlemen.- 
Come ! Turn over the leaves in your memo- 
ries, now. And if you can, just tell us in 
what work upon poultry, or in what secu- 
lar or agricultural paper published in 
America or England, you can find, say 
fifteen years ago, any mention whatever 
made of "Leghorn'' fowls?" 

The Doctor hesitated. 

"Now, then. Let me enlighten you a 


"Twenty-five years ago, there were ex- 
hibited at an early show in Birmingham, 
England, a pen of 'White Spanish' 1 fowls, 
so-called, that were considered a curiosity. 
A writer of that period observed, in re- 
gard to this fowl, that, ' although it very 
closely resembled, save in color, what is 
known as the Black Spanish, the white 
cheek and ear-lobes were much smaller on 
this white fowl. And, as this peculiarity 
constitutes the great beauty of the Span- 
ish family, but little approbation could 
be accorded to this variety, as belonging 
to the Spanish race.' This occurred in 

" Well, and what of that? " 

" Simply this. That pen of white birds 
were not 'Spanish,' anymore than were 
the Brown, or the Dominique varieties — 
possessing all the characteristics they did 
— which came to be known and recognized 
but a few years afterward in this country 
(and rightly) as the Leghorns — White, 
Brown, Dominique and Black." 

"Why did the English breeders call 
them 'White Spanish,' then?" 

"Because they came into England, as 
they did into America, from the Mediter- 
ranean — whence come the so-called Span- 

"Yes," said the Captain. "All through 
the country bordering that vast sea, and 


upon all its islands, domestic fowls abound 
— like our barn-door varieties — of all col- 
ors. These are the native breeds of that 
region. Most of these birds reach us in 
vessels coming direct from Leghorn — a 
port on the west coast of Italy. Hence 
the name given them." 

" And those birds exhibited in England, 
in 1852, were White Leghorns then, Ma- 
jor? " asked the Doctor. 

"Exactly. And not 'White Spanish.' 
This, evidently, was a misnomer — because 
there are no such fowls known in Spain. 
Knd.all these white ear-lobed fowls, wheth- 
er Brown, Dominique, Black or White, 
are now familiarly known to come only 
from Italy, or other Mediterranean ports 
in the vicinity of Leghorn." 

"And what then?"" 

"Only this, Doctor," continued the 
Major. "I have told you whence the 
Leghorns are derived, and now let me add 
that we have had them here, in this coun- 
try, not more than twelve or fifteen years, 
during which time we have proved them 
remarkable layers, non-sitters, easy keep- 
ers, and highly valuable as table poultry. 
While, at the same time, they reproduce 
their like in color, form and characteris- 
tics — when well bred — with wondrous uni- 
formity, and continually." 

"But, are there no Black Spanish fowls, 
do you contend? " 

"Of course, there is a variety called the 
'Black Spanish,' Doctor. But, what I 
argue now, is, that there are no White, 
Brown, or Dominique Spanish. So, when 
we are talking of these colors, when we 
know that all these different plum aged 
birds are, in every other respect, identi- 
cal, and that from the first we have im- 
ported them (both into England and 
America) direct from Leghorn (Liverno), 
Italy, and from nowhere else, we see the 
entire propriety of naming them 'Leg- 
horns.' " 

"But we have Black Leghorns, too." 

"O, yes — fine ones. They come from 
the same ports. And they very closely 
resemble what we have long known as the 
Black Spanish, here." 

"Are they not the same thing, in your 
judgment?" queried the Doctor. 

"This is a mooted question, Doctor. 
The ' White-faced Black Spanish ' birds 
are different from the white ear-lobed 
Black Leghorn only in this particular fea- 
ture, so far as I could ever discover." 

" And is not this extreme 'white face' 

the result of peculiar cultivation, proba- 

"That maybe, and this is what I be- 
lieve it to be. I remember well the time 
when the larger the white cheek and face, 
the better were the ' Black Spanish ' es- 
teemed by those who bred this variety; 
and who deemed this feature a sine qua 
non toward perfection in this fowl. But, 
so far as we know, to-day, this very ' Black 
Spanish ' fowl came, originally (not from 
Spain, at all), but from the old Spanish 
ports in the Mediterranean. All our Leg- 
horns, from black to white, came from the 
Mediterranean. And why should not this 
variety be a Black Leghorn, properly speak- 
ing, rather than a Black Spanish? " 

"I think your theory quite plausible, 

"As to this extreme white face or 
cheek, it is purely a point attainable in 
excess by cultivation. I have seen hun- 
dreds of these so-called Black Spanish 
birds, that had no larger a white ear-lobe 
and cheek than I have frequently met with 
upon the Black Leghorn cocks. These 
were considered inferior samples for 
White-faced Black Spanish. But they 
would pass in the exhibition room for 
very superior white ear-lobed Black Leg- 

"What is the advantage of this pecu- 
liarity in the Spanish? " enquired Captain 
R. "I have observed this characteristic 
in our show-rooms, and have often won- 
dered what it was good for? " 

"That question can best be answered 
by the fanciers of the White-faced Black 
Spanish breed," responded the Major. 

" Is it an ornament? " 

"It is a peculiarity of the fowl." 

"What fowl?" 

"The Black Spanish, Captain." 

"Well, I have seen thousands of these 
coal-black birds in Leghorn, Sicily, the 
Minorca Islands, and at other ports in the 
Mediterranean — but I never saw this sort 
of face upon them until I visited the New 
England fowl-show rooms, a few years 

"Why could not this enlarged white 
cheek be bred upon the white ear-lobed 
Black Leghorns, if it were desirable? " 
asked the Doctor. 

"Undoubtedly it could be. But, cui 
lono ? What is the good? " 


4 ' I think the only result that would fol- 
low would be that we should have another 


new variety to record, or recognize, name- 
ly: the 4 White-faced Black Leghorn^" 
concluded the Major. 

"If we could get a little more size in 
this variety," observed Captain R., "the 
Leghorn, of any color, would be vastly 
improved. For dead poultry, these are 
very indifferent. As layers, we must all 
give them the palm, so far as numbers of 
eggs are produced in a year, by this now 
popular breed." 

"How many eggs, annually, will these 
Leghorns give us? " asked Mr. Burnham, 

"A good many more than will your 
Brahmas and Cochins," retorted the Ma- 
jor, promptly. 

"That does not answer my question, 
Major," responded Mr. B. "How many, 
now, will they lay in a year? " 

"A good many." 

"A hundred and fifty?" 

"Yes — more." 

"A hundred and seventy?" 

"More, sir." 

"Two hundred?" 

"Yes, and over that." 

"Two hundred and twenty?" 

"I have known them to do even better 
than that!" 

"Two hundred and fifty, Major." 

"Well — hens of this variety have been 
known to lay two hundred and sixty eggs 
in a twelvemonth? " 

"Known, by whom?" 

"The owner and breeder of them." 


"In Massachusetts." 

"Are you sure of this, Major?" 

4 ' I have it from the man himself, who 
bred the fowls." 

" I don't believe this story." 

"Who said you did?" 

"I don't think you believe it! " 

"Well, they are mighty good layers, 
neighbor Burnham. And I tell you again, 
I know this fact." 

"So they are, Major. But just think 
of it! Two hundred and sixty eggs in a 
year, from a single hen ! " 

"It is not impossible, is it? " 

"It is exceedingly improbable, Major." 

"In your estimation, very likely — be- 
cause you swear by the heavy-bottomed 
Cochins and Brahmas, that don't lay half 
this number in a year. But — " 

"Wait a bit, Major. When do these 
wonderful layers moult?" 

"When theii time comes for moulting." 

4 ' Of course ! Don't be hard on me now, 
Major. But say, when do they shed their 
feathers? " 

"In due season." 

" How long are they about it? " 

"I don't know. Two months, per- 

"They don't lay during this process; 
that is, much, I suppose?" 

"No. Very little. But all the rest of 
the year, they — " 

"In mid-winter? " 

"Well, perhaps during December and 
January, or in November and December, 
they don't lay a great deal, usually." 

"Precisely. That is what I wished to 
call your attention to, in my calculation." 

"What calculation?" 

"What the probable number of eggs 
your favorites will lay in a twelvemonth. 
You allow two months for moulting and 
two months in the extreme cold weather, 
when they don't lay at all. Now — does 
this breed lay more than one egg in a day, 
when they are about it? " 

"No! It is claimed only that the Coch- 
ins and Brahmas lay two eggs a day, and 
frequently three — so far as I have heard 
of this extraordinary performance," re- 
plied the Major, sarcastically. 

"Ah, well.. Now — do the Leghorns lay 
every day, on the average, Major, when 
they lay?" 

"No! Who said they did?" 

" How frequently? " 

"Well — five or six eggs a week." 

"That is doing splendidly, Major! Let 
us say they lay six eggs in a week, every 
week, in eight months of each year. And 
give them the other four months to moult 
in, and pass the two cold months of win- 
ter. What is the result? " 

"I don't know." 

"And I do, Major!" 

"Well, what is it?" 

"Thirty-five weeks of steady laying — 
allowing six eggs per week, every week — 
would give you two hundred and ten eggs, 
from a single hen, in a year." 

''Well, that is good laying." 

" So it is! But you never saw ten Leg- 
horns, in a flock of one hundred, that 
would average this." 

"Perhaps not. Still, they are prime 
layers — " 

" I know they are, my good fellow ; but 
let us talk sensibly, in this series of pa- 
pers, Major. And let us try and state 
what we have to say (for I shall write it 


all out for the public eye), just about as it 
is. The hens that lay two hundred and 
sixty eggs a year, or two hundred and 
twenty, or two hundred, and follow it up, 
are very scarce, I assure you; no matter 
what breed we assume can perform these 

"I don't know but you are correct, Mr. 
Burnham," said the Major, thoughtfully. 
"No fowls can lay all the time, of course. 
They must have time, annually, for the 
shedding of their feathers (during which 
natural process they lay but indifferently, 
or not at all), and few fowls that lay 
through the enrly spring, summer and 
fall, are able to lay much in winter time, 
I know." 

"No. You are right now, Major." 

" "Well. The Leghorns are the best lay- 
ers on earth," insisted the Major, bravely; 
"and don't you forget it! " 

"Of numbers of small eggs, they are, 
Major," responded Mr. Burnham. 

"Now, what next?" inquired the Cap- 
tain, at this juncture. u We have dis- 
cussed the P. Rocks, the Dominiqucs, the 
Leghorns and the Black Spanish." 

"At a future convenient day, gentle- 
men," said Mr. B., "call and see me 
again. Our next meeting shall be devoted 
to considering the uses, the beauties, and 
the character of the Crested Fowls — the 
Polands, the Houdans, etc. 

And these latter varieties, finely illus- 
trated, will form the subject of our paper 
in The Poultry World for March. 


There are no sorts of domestic fowls so 
prone to feather-eating as are those describ- 
ed in the foregoing chapter. The " Loomis 
Poultry Bit" (to prevent and cure this 
offensive habit effectually) is a capital 
little invention. And as this article may 


be had for a few cents each, we advise all 
who are troubled with feather-eating 
among their flocks to send to the "Poultry 
World " office for this admirable contri- 
vance, and rid themselves of this annoy- 
ance in the hen-house, 




"The class of modern crested fowls, 1 ' 
remarked the Doctor, when we met a few 
days subsequently to closing the discus- 
sion detailed in the February issue of The 
Poultry World, "are sufficiently vari- 
ous, and distinct in features, to merit more 
than ordinary consideration." 

"That is so,'' added the Major. "I 
have my own preferences among poultry — 
as I have many times stated. Yet the 
Gold and Silver-Spangled Polish are a 
beautiful variety, and the jet black-bodied, 
white tuffed Polish are among the pretti- 
est of the race." 

"They are a very stylish, comely fowl," 
I admitted. "And when these varieties 
are bred up to the point of perfection that 
many American fanciers contrive to bring 
them, they are superior, in some respects, 
to the other small sized fowls." 

"Generally speaking," chimed in the 
Captain, "the 'topknot ' fowls are fair lay- 
ers, while they are not largely inclined to 
sit ; and so you are saved a deal of trouble 
with these varieties, as compared with the 
Cochins or Brahmas, in the breeding sea- 

" They lay well, they are peaceably in- 
clined, their meat is excellent when dress- 
ed for table use, and they have thousands 
of admirers, who prefer these varieties to 
any others." 

"The Houdans belong to this class, I 
think," suggested the Doctor." 

"Yes. That is to say, the Houdans are 
a crested fowl. But these are a French 
bird, and possess characteristics altogether 
peculiar to themselves, aside from the open 
'topknot' that surmounts their heads." 

"Their color is different, also." 

"Yes. The clean -bred Houdan is clear 
black and white in its plumage — which is 
splashed or mottled, irregularly, all over 
the body, the head and bushy tuft in- 

"And they are a larger fowl, too?" 
queried the Major. 

"Yes. They lay a much larger egg, 
usually, than do any of the Polish." 

"But not so many in numbers," Cap- 

"Well. The fanciers of the French 
fowls claim that they are among the best 


layers known, take them the year through, 
quite equaling the Black Spanish ; which 
latter, by the way, are said to be such 
wonderful layers, when well fed and kept 
in their purity." 

"And how about their flesh, for the 
table, Major?" 

"Oh, it is excellent! The Frenchman 
is an epicure, you know. And the Hou- 
dan is a French fowl. In Paris, no poulets 
rank so high in the esteem of the good 
livers in that famous ' high-feeding ' me- 
tropolis as do these and their neighbors, 
the La Fleche and the Crevecceurs." 

" Some years ago," remarked the Doc- 
tor, " I became infatuated (in my earlier 
chicken - raising experience) with the 
Black Polish. After breeding these a few 
years, and with more than average suc- 
cess, I met, at a poultry show, with a few 
beautiful specimens of the Golden Polish, 
of which I obtained a few. And subse- 
quently, I had a pen of fine Silver-Span- 
gled birds, which pleased me, vastly, for 
a time." 

"But you tired of them? " 

" Well. I found that the young chicks 
were delicate, and rather difficult to raise. 
I could not, for a time, imagine why it 
was, after getting the little ones out of the 
shell and fairly upon their feet, that so 
many of them died off; apparently from 
no local or positive disease ! " 

"And what was the cause of this un- 
usual fatality among them? " enquired the 

"I looked for this, in vain," responded 
the Doctor. 

"You probably did not look for the evil 
in the right place." 

"At first, no— -I didn't. But after I 
had buried some hundred or more young 
chicks, the second season I bred them I 
discovered where the trouble was hidden, 
and to this single cause I attribute my 
own heavy losses, among the Polish and 
Houdans, as well, which I have hatched 
out and reared up to six or eight weeks 
old ; when they have been found dead, five, 
ten, or twenty in a flock, sometimes, week 
after week, in my own clean, well-kept 

"And what was it, Doctor? " 

* ' Lice, gentlemen ! " 


"Yes. And not upon their little bodies, 
mind you. But in their immature crests. 
Here the parasites find a favorite lodg- 
ment. The heads of the young chicks be- 

come infested with them, at this particu- 
lar spot, where they multiply in legions; 
and, filling the ears of the comparatively 
helpless birds, they actually eat their way 
into their nostrils and brain, and thus des- 
troy thousands of younglings, the owners 
of which have no idea what it is that 
causes this common fatality among their 
infant poultry-stock." 

" Surely this evil can be avoided?" 

"Not easily, let me tell you." 

"And why not?" 

"Because, as I have said, the little soft 
tuft is a most inviting and capital place 
for these diminutive pests to thrive in. 
And the tops of the heads of the chicks 
are tender, you observe." 

"But lice can be killed, of course, 
there, as elsewhere? " 

' ' True, it can be done, to a certain ex- 
tent. But the better way (as I have ascer- 
tained), is to prevent the accumulation of 
the vermin upon this precise spot." 

"Exactly, Doctor." 

' * But most breeders neglect or omit this 
precaution, until it is too late." 

"That is their misfortune, then." 

"Not at all. It is their fault! I repeat 
it, Major, nine-tenths of all the losses 
among the Crested chicks (when from six 
weeks to three months old) are attribut- 
able to this lice nuisance, and to this 

"And you have determined it, satisfac- 
torily? " 

"Yes — to my heavy cost. But not un- 
til after I had lost, first and last, over 
three hundred chickens under ten weeks 
of age." 

"And then?" 

"I began to apply a remedy." 

"I should say, iu your case, it was quite 
time you did," 

"Yes, indeed! But having satisfied 
myself beyond a doubt that this was the 
difficulty, I went about the work of reme- 
dying the evil, systematically; and had 
the satisfaction of proving to my own 
mind that the absence of vermin upon both 
hens and chicks, from the day the latter 
were hatched, gave me about seventy-five 
per cent more living, healthy chickens, at 
four months old, than I could raise with 
my utmost care, in any season, for three 
or four years previously." 

"That was conclusive." 

" Yes. And so I say that I desire it set 
down, clearly, in the records of our pres- 
ent discussion — for the benefit of the cul- 


tivators of Crested fowls — that if they will 
studiously guard against the presence of 
.ice upon their young chicks, and espe- 
cially if they will keep the downy tufts 
upon their heads clear of these insidious 
parasites, they may raise their favorite 
birds much more bountifully, and far 
more easily, than they can by the usual 
negligent course adopted by breeders (and 
especially by novices) who cultivate this 
particular species." 

"And what is the better remedy for 
this pest, Doctor? Having determined the 
prime cause of the evil, tell us how you 
succeeded in obviating the difficulty, or in 
relieving the chicks subsequently from the 
murderous attacks of these parasites?" 

"When I first found out where the trou- 
ble was located, it was too late to apply 
my remedy, to any great extent. I saved 
a few chickens that were seriously debili- 
tated ; but most of the flocks I had died 
on my hands." 

"And then?" 

"At a later date, I got out nearly a 
hundred more — " 

"Of the Crested chicks? " 

"Yes. Houdans and Polish. Soon 
after they were hatched I sifted carbolic 
powder upon their downy bodies, and, 
mixing a little lard and kerosene together, 
in equal parts, I put a drop or two upon 
the top of their heads, and another under 
each wing-joint, on their sides." 

"This is a powerful application, isn't 

"I know it. But I used very little of 
this pungent mixture, at a time. Three 
days afterwards, I rubbed through the 
hen's feathers a small quantity of flour of 
sulphur. But this I did carefully; for an 
excessive quantity would be worse than 
none. If too much be used, the sulphur 
falls upon the heads of the chicks, and 
fills their eyes. This creates soreness, and 
it will often blind the younglings. They 
cannot see to take up their food, and so 
starve to death." 

"And this is as bad as the assaults of 

"So it is, if not applied judiciously. 
You must remember that young chickens 
are delicate, of any breed — at first. So 
we must measure our remedials for their 
little ills in accordance with their physical 
strength. A little sulphur, or a little kero- 
sene applied to their heads and under their 
wings, will destroy both lice and nits, in 
half an hour — clean. Then, follow up 

with carbolic powder once a week there- 
after, upon both hen and chicks, for a 
month, and you may raise nine-tenths of 
the young Crested birds; where, through 
neglect of this trivial work, you will lose 
three-fourth, of them, nine times in ten ! 
This has been my unfortunate experi- 

"There are other varieties of Polish 
fowls," I suggested — "which have more 
recently become popular in certain quar- 
ters — as the White-Crested, and the three 
'Bearded' or 'Muffed' varieties. All 
these are Standard fowls, and some of 
them have been bred down to exquisite 

"For example, the clear White stock of 
Mr. Sperry, of Hartford, and the superior 
Golden and Silver Polish of Messrs, 
White, Rand, and others. 

"You are right, Doctcr." 

"Now, whence comes the name of these 
Crested fowls? And why do we all call 
them 'Poland,' or 'Polish?'" asked the 
Major, at this point in our discussion. 

"It would be difficult to answer this 
question, " responded Mr. Burnham. " My 
own opinion is that this is, and always has 
been, a wmnomer. Inasmuch as these 
birds do not hail from Poland, at all!" 

"Where did they originate, then?" 

"Their actual origin is unknown, gen- 
tlemen. Away back as far as the time 
when the famous Italian Aldrovanus wrote 
(three centuries ago), that early poultry 
author gives us detailed accounts of what 
he called 'Crested,' 'Top-Knot,' and 
' Tufted ' fowls. These included the 
White, with the lark-crest; the Dwarf 
(Pumilio), of different coiors ; the ' Friz- 
zled,' the ' Woolly,' the TurHsh (or Sul- 
tan), the Padua?i, etc." 

"But how come these fowls to be called 
'Polish,' in our day, if they are the same 
varieties? " queried the Major. 

"I think you will find," replied Captain 
R., "that Mowbray writes of them, fifty 
years ago ; and in his work he describes 
them as Polands. This is the first written 
authority we have, in respect of name. 
And the birds figured in his book were 
thought to be an 'English innovation' of 
a then recent date." 

"That is true, Captain. But it was not 
then given to these fowls from the fact 
that they hailed from Poland, at all." 

"What then?" 

"He explains, in substance, that the 
round upright cresP these birds wear is 


their leading distinct feature — and that 
the head, or poll, was their chief peculiar- 
ity. So he alludes to them as the breed 
with the remarkable head, or poll. Hence, 
pollish fowl; which was subsequently 
shortened to polish, and then capitalized 
'Polish,' not unnaturally. At all events, 
they never came from the country of Po- 
land, any more than did our beautiful 
Light B rah mas hail 'from the Valley of 
the Brahmapootra River, which empties 
into the Bay of Bengal ! ' " 

"And, besides this," observed the Doc- 
tor, "you will find that Mr. Tegetmeier 
states with some force that, presuming 
this derivation to be correct, or eason- 
able, the superiority of the now accepted 
title of 'Polish,' over that of 'Polands,' 
is very apparent, without taking into con- 
sideration the totally ungrammatical char- 
acter of the latter (not uncommon) title." 

"They are, generally, non-sitters," ad- 
ded the Doctor. "They are a nervous, 
fidgetty fowl, in their runs, usually — and 
the heavy flowing bunch of feathers that 
adorn the heads of the male birds, pre- 
vents him from seeing clearly what is going 
on around him. So with the full-bred 
hens. They are easily frightened, from 
the fact that they cannot always see 
distinctly. And strange sounds worry 

"They are good mothers?" 

' ' No. They will lay litter after litter of 
small eggs, and never show signs of brood- 
iness," responded the Doctor. "This is 
esteemed a good quality, Major. For how 
easy it is, if you would increase your stock 
of Polish birds, to set their eggs under 
common hens, for hatching — and so keep 
the layers at their more profitable work of 
supplying you with eggs, through the sea- 

"True. And they are a hardy fowl?" 

"Oh, very. And prolific, as well as 
easily bred. They aremoderate eaters, and 
may be reared in close quarters, as readily 
as any variety I have ever known, if you 
will keep them free from vermin." 

"As to their plumage and general styl- 
ish appearance," continued the Major, "I 
am sure they are both beautiful and stately. 
Upon a smooth green lawn, or in a bright 
clean graveled run, there are very few (if 
any) birds in a flock that are prettier than 
are the Polish — whether Black, Golden, or 
Silver plumed." 

"Mr. Hewitt, of England, considers the 
Polish fowls as highly ornamental, and he 

declares very earnestly in favor of their 
usefulness, also. They are 'interminable 
layers,' so he avers. And for years these 
have been his favorites." 

"They must be bred upon a dry soil, 
however," said the Doctor. "In my ex- 
perience with them, I have found that 
they were sensitive, in this respect; and 
that a cold wet locality is not the thing 
for the successful breeding of these varie- 
ties, I am well assured." 

"When diseased," I remarked, "they 
are exceedingly difficult to cure. A Po- 
lish (or Crested) fowl of any sort, with the 
roup, is a hard kind of case to manage 
toward restoration. And very few of this 
variety are worth the trouble it entails to 
try to cure them, if they once get seriously 
ill. Still, they are not so liable to disease, 
as are many other sorts — since the ample 
head-covering of feathers and the heavy 
beard that many of them are furnished 
with, afford them a protection from at- 
tacks of cold, that most other varieties of 
poultry do not naturally possess." 

"But you must not expose these birds 
to bad weather," resumed the Doctor, 
"nor will they stand under a sudden storm 
of rain, or sleet. The head-feathers, in 
such cases, become saturated with wet and 
they will hold a great quantity of water. 
This gives them a cold in the eyes and 
nostrils. And when once they get thus 
affected, you cannot reach the poll to 
bathe the head, as you can upon the 
smooth-polled birds." 

"You have alluded to the timid charac- 
ter of the Polish fowls, Mr. Burnham," re- 
marked the Captain. 

"Yes; they are very easily frightened," 
I said. 

" So much so, that many times it lias 
occurred that persons have injudiciously 
grasped their skittish birds, in the runs, 
taking them up from the ground* suddenly, 
perhaps harshly, and had the little crea- 
tures die in their hands — from paralytic 
fright. I have known this to happen, 
more than once." 

"As to breeding these 'top-knot' birds 
nicely — say for the show-pen." added the 
Doctor, "I will tell you what I have found 
to be a very good plan, in their cultiva- 

" Of all the varieties. Doctor? " 

"Of any variety. The principle is the 
same. A cock with a first-class well de- 
veloped crest, when mated to indifferently 
crested hens, will always give you finer 


crested chickens than can be got out of a 
poorly crested cock bred to good tufted 

"This we can appreciate, Doctor." 

"And why? Because we all agree, to- 
day, as do all authorities in past days, that 
the well-formed, full, stately crest is this 
fowl's prominent characteristic. And it 
is a noticeable fact in my experience that 
the sire must possess this feature, as near 
to perfection as it is possible to reach it, 
in breeding, in order to reproduce upon 
the progeny the average fine showy crest, 
which all fanciers of these varieties so 
earnestly covet and admire." 

"And as to hatching their eggs, Doc- 
tor. How have you managed that?" 

"The eggs should be set under smallish 
hens," replied the Doctor. "The heavy 
fowls, like the Cochins or Brahmas, won't 
answer for this purpose." 

"But the Asiatics, surely, are excellent 
mothers, Doctor? " 

"So they are. But not for these small, 
thin-shelled Polish eggs. When the chicks 
are first hatched they are diminutive, weak, 
puny little things, comparatively. And 
the big-footed, clumsy Cochins wall easily 
crush the chicks in the nest. I have lost 
scores of young birds from this kind of 

management. The Asiatics are good sit- 
ters, and to their own kind they are good 
nurses and mothers. But they are too 
heavy and over-clumsy for the Polish eggs. 
Use smaller fowls — say barn-yard hens, 
Dominiques, Games, and the like, for in- 
cubating purposes. This is my most suc- 
cessful practice." 

"And now, gentlemen — we have reached 
our limit again, for the present paper. 
Next month will be April. Most fowl- 
breeders give their attention to hatching 
their spring chickens, in that month." 

"Yes. And I have found," said the 
Major, "that no better month than April 
occurs, when this business may be well 
done. Although we have the advice of 
many 'old breeders,' like our friends 
Burnham, Felch, and others, to the effect 
that 'the earlier in the year, after Febru- 
ary, that we can get out the chicks — the 
better, the finer, the larger, the more 
profitable they will prove/ for succeeding 
fall and winter uses." 

"Well. In our next issue we will dis- 
cuss this question, at length. And so give 
the readers of The Poultry World our 
experience as to the best methods ice are 
acquainted with for the successful hatch- 
ing of chickens." 



Our old friend, W. S. "Weymouth, of 
Melrose — who in the past seven or eight 
years has bred many of the finest Light 
Brahma fowls produced in Massachusetts 
— joined us to-day. The Major, Captain 
R., our village Doctor, and Colonel S., 
of Essex County were also present. 

"You do well, neighbor Burnham," 
began the Captain, "to discuss, in April, 
the seasonable topic of chicken-hatching. 
The readers of The Poultry World are 
all interested in this subject. And as this 
month is the time when most of us set our 
hens, in this cold New England climate, 
your suggestions in this regard will be 
timely, and valuable to amateurs and be- 
ginners, especially." 

"I have found," responded Mr. Burn- 
ham, "that hens set from the middle of 
March to the last of April, annually, give 
us the largest average numbers of healthy 
chicks to the hatching, in ordinary sea- 

"But you commence much earlier than 
this to set your eggs, do you not? " enquired 
the Colonel. "I notice some chicks in 
your coops here, Mr. B., that must be six 
weeks old, now, at the least." 

"Yes, I have two broods now well ad- 
vanced, as you will observe, that were 
hatched in January. Last year, I got out 
nearly fifty Light Brahma chicks before 
the 10th of February. Of thirty-eight of 
these, at a week old divided up among 
five good hens, subsequently to that date — 
I contrived to raise to maturity only seven 
birds. And among these seven, three were 
winners at the late Hartford and Portland 

"What became of the rest?" 

"Most of them shared the fate attrib- 
uted by the poet, to other favorite 'little 

ones.' You remember the sentence l the 
good die young! ' The early spring of 1877 
was memorably cold and cheerless, and 
they mostly dropped away before April, 
from lack of sun and warmth during the 
dreary cloudy period we experienced that 
season. " 

"But you tiy it again, I see?" 
"Yes — every year I start a few early 
broods. These are the fowls (among the 
Brahmas and Cochins) which in the suc- 
ceeding fall and winter make the birds for 
our shows — if we are successful in rearing 
them, you know." 

" But it is a difficult thing to do." 
"You are right, Colonel. Still, if the 
fancier has the proper facilities, and takes 
extra good care of mothers and younglings, 
the chicks that see the light in January 
and February make the largest and finest 
specimens (of the Asiatics) that we can 

"And how is this done?" 
"Well — it is impossible to raise chicks 
in our frigid northern climate, even if we 
hatch them thus early, unless they are cul- 
tivated under glass, or in an artificially 
warmed house, during the colder spring 
and late winter months." 

"And does this process pay ! " 
"As a rule — no. Some of our leading 
old breeders succeed in getting out and 
carrying through to the milder weeks of 
spring, a few dozen chicks. Then by 
especial care in feeding, these — or a por- 
tion of them — may be saved. When, this 
is accomplished, they usually prove the 
most desirable for sales subsequently at 
good prices ; or, as I have said, for exhi- 
bition at nine or ten months old ; provided 
always that they come from prime stock." 
"But for general purposes," asked the 


Major, "you think, Mr. B., that March 
and April are the better months when 
chicks should be hatched?" 

"Decidedly, Major. And I am also 
convinced that May hatched chickens are 
on the whole more likely to turn out well, 
in the succeeding fall and winter, than will 
these 'earlier birds' we have spoken of, 
except under specially advantageous cir- 

"Still, you have a few very handsome 
well-grown chicks here," said the Captain. 

" So they are, but remember how they 
have been brought to this point. They 
were hatched in a glazed house. At night 
regularly, since January 10th, an air-tight 
stove has been used to heat the atmosphere 
of the house evenly up to 70°. Grass is 
growing luxuriantly, you notice, all over 
the floor of this house. 1 There are sixteen 
chickens, cared for by two good large Ply- 
mouth Rock hens; and the eggs they were 
set upon were from my choicest old Light 
Brahma fowls. They ought to be good 

"As they certainly are, so far," replied 
the Colonel. 

"In this way, gentlemen, a few birds 
may be raised, to advantage. But when 
we come to talk about hatching and rear- 
ing hundreds or thousands of chicks, in 
this cold season, it would cost far more 
than it would all come to, to attempt to 
do it in this way. Such a man as Mr. 
Baker, of Cresskill-on-the-Hudson, with 
his grand facilities of artificially heated, 
enormous houses, his incubators, and his 
admirably conducted method, can do this 
to profit — on a huge scale. But the lesser 
breeders must conduct their work 'in the 
natural way,' to succeed — and hatch out 
their hundreds of chicks, or broods, at a 
time of the year when the mother-hens can 
care for them, mostly, in the open air." 

' ' Now then, friend Burnham, " remarked 
the Colonel, u please give us your ideas as 
to how this business of successfully hatch- 
ing and raising chickens may best be ac- 
complished. I have taken the hen fever 
you know but recently. Here are the 
Captain, the Doctor, the Major, Mr. Wey- 
mouth and yourself, all 'old hands' at it. 
What we new beginners want to know is, 
how you do this thing? For few men in 
this country have succeeded in the busi- 
ness so fortunately as you have, as all of 
us are aware." 

''My neighbor Weymouth here can tell 
you how he breeds young chickens advan- 

tageously," responded Mr. B. "And 
since he is one of us here to-day, I shall 
ask him to give you light upon your query, 
Colonel — for the benefit of yo*urself, and 
the readers of 'Talks and Walks.' What 
he doesn't know about the best practical 
methods of setting, hatching and raising 
fowls, is worth very little, I promise you, 
to anybody." 

"I haven't bred a Light Brahma chicken 
for nearly two years," said Mr. W., modest- 
ly. " Still, I think I know how this thing 
may be done." 

"Tell us how you did it when you were 
engaged in this pursuit, for several years, 
with Mr. Burnham," said the Doctor. 

"Well — it is not a difficult thing to do. 
There is no secret about it, that I ever 
knew of. My habit was to start the hens 
at sitting as early in the season as I dared 
to. That is after the middle of February 
to March first — when the last snows were 

"Chickens that can be brought out of 
the shell by the first to the middle of March 
— and from that time down to the first 
of April — ordinarily do as well as any. 
They will, when youngest, need a few 
weeks of extra care. But the warm days 
that" come along in April and May helps 
them up. And if the hens are well feather- 
ed (like the Cochins or old Brahmas) they 
will usually take good care of their broods, 
in the rougher or colder weather, if their 
shelter-coops be comfortably constructed, 
so that at night and on stormy days they 
may be exempt from the harsh winds and 

" Hens 1 eggs — in preference to those of. 
pullets, when they can be had — are the best 
to set. Stronger and larger chicks come 
from the former. Your hens should be 
placed in their sitting nest always in the 
evening, when first set. Thus they be- 
come better wonted to their duty, and will 
continue the work of incubation steadier, 
usually, afterwards. 

"I have found," continued Mr. W., 
"that eleven good sized eggs each, are 
enough for the first or earlier sitters. I 
begin in early March. I set half a dozen 
or a dozen hens at one time. When the 
broods come off, say on the same day, or 
within a few hours of each other — some 
hens bringing out five or six, and others 
doing better, perhaps — I divide the entire 
hatchings among my three or four or more 
best brooders, giving to each hen ten or a 
dozen of the chicks. There is no trouble 


about this distribution, if it be done while 
the chicks are but a day or two old. 

"My first feeding is of dry material — 
chopped hard boiled eggs mixed with bread 
crumbs. This for a week. Then scalded 
wheat and corn meal, for a week. Then 
cooked potatoes and meal (always dry 
rather than soggy wet). After the third 
week, I give the chicks boiled meat, chop- 
ped fine, mixed with their meals— a little 
daily — alternated with 'green food,' such 
as cut cabbage leaves, or crushed turnips, 
until the new grass starts. Ground bone 
is very good in their feed. This helps to 
make bone and muscle, both. 

"They must have a run, if possible, 
where they can exercise (outside their 
coops), and pick up the little insects, 
worrnH, grubs, etc., that come out of the 
softening earth at spring-time. The hen 
may be confined, but the chicks should 
have their liberty from the outset, if possi- 
ble—to enjoy the sunlight and fresh air, 
at least during the warm portion of the 
day. Cats, rats and other poultry enemies 
must be provided against. And above all, 
both mother and chicks must be kept free 
from lice, constantly. 

"When my chicks are a month old, I 
give them all the cracked corn and broken 
wheat they can eat, at night before sunset. 
I find the earlier daily feeding is better for 
their growth and thrift if it be given often 
and composed of cooked meal and vege- 
tables. This, with a supply of chopped 
new grass, or thin sods thrown into the runs 
(if they are confined to close limits), will 
keep them in good condition. Chandlers' 
scraps are too greasy for young birds. 
This will scour them. Corn meal mixed 
in cold water, will do the same thing. 
Whole wheat, even, should be fed sparing- 
ly, as this has a loosening tendency, when 
over-fed to younglings. 

"They need very little water, at first. 
This should be placed in shallow pans, and 
be always fresh. When they are six weeks 
old, a little cayenne pepper or a few drops 
of the tincture of iron, is excellent as a 
tonic. Let them and the hen-mothers 
have a box of fine clean dry gravel to roll 
in (not ashes alone), and mix with this a 
pound or two of flour of sulphur and car- 
bolic powder. Thus vermin is kept at a 
distance. After they are two months old, 
I have very little trouble in raising my 
chickens — and rarely have any sick ones, 
under my mode of treatment. 

"As I said at first," concluded Mr. 

Weymouth, "I do not consider this fowl- 
raising much of an 'art,' as some do. 
Perhaps I have had better average good 
luck than most breeders have. But I do 
all that I do upon system. I never neglect 
my stock. I do not deputize others to 
care for them, when I can do this myself. 
But I never found that I could succeed 
with them as I wished, if I did not adopt 
a regular method in their culture, and ad- 
here to my plan all the time. Domestic 
fowls cannot take care of themselves — par 
ticularly when they are shut up in clo 

' ' They must have care, good feed, cle 
water, variety in their food, green stu^, 
bones, dry gravel, ample ventilation of 
their houses, etc., and they should be kept 
free from the attacks of parasites in their 
nests, upon their roosts, and especially 
on their bodies. This is the way I do it, 
gentlemen. But here comes our neighbor 
Edmonds — who breeds the 'Pea-comb 
Partridge Cochins' so finely. He can tell 
you how he does it, if you desire, and I 
am sure that few of us know how this rais- 
ing of right good chickens is accomplished 
better than he does." 

"Thank you, neighbor Weymouth," 
said Mr. E., as he entered my office, at 
this moment. "I overheard the closing re- 
marks of your little speech, and I think you 
have told the story quite as well as lean." 

"These 'Pea-comb Partridge Cochins' 
you have grown to such perfection, Mr. 
Edmonds," observed the Doctor, "are 
coming to be quite popular, I hear." 

"I have cultivated this variety about 
seven years," said Mr. E., "and I have 
found them remarkable birds, in many re- 
spects. They breed with closer uniformity 
as to color and markings in plumage, cer- 
tainly, than any parti-colored bird I ever 
knew. As to the comb, I can breed upon 
a hundred of this new variety more pea- 
combs that are accurate in shape, by twen- 
ty-five per cent, than I can produce upon 
either the Light or the Dark Brahmas — do 
my best." 

"And my experience, in this respect," 
added Mr. Burnham, "I confess is identi- 
cal with that of Mr. Edmonds." 

"Their qualities for egg-laying in winter 
time, are unsurpassable," continued Mr. 
Edmonds. "Early hatched pullets begin 
to lay in November, as regularly as the 
fall comes round. And all winter long 
they continue to lay, plentifully, as I have 
never before known any breed to do." 


" And how do you find your chickens of 
this variety, as to hardiness and general 
thrift, when young? " enquired the Colonel. 

"No class of young stock, that I have 
ever handled, seem to be so well adapted 
to the rigors of our New England climate," 
responded Mr. E. "I assure you that I 
suffer but the most insignificant losses 
among these chicks, from year to year. 
They are exceedingly hardy, always thrifty, 
grow rapidly, mature early, and have 
given me great satisfaction in the rearing, 
now, for over seven years." 

14 And you breed only these? " 

" No. I have found the Pea-comb Part- 
ridge Cochins so reliable, they come sea- 
son after season almost so precisely alike 
in size, plumage and shape, that I am 
quite content to give my sole attention to 
this variety, as a specialty." 

"As to my habit in cultivating them, 
I adopt the general plan of Mr. Wey- 
mouth in hatching chickens, and we feed 
our stock pretty much alike. I know of 
no better mode, and I manage to rear a 
good many fine birds, annually." 

"Well, we all of us have more or less 
sick fowls in our runs — both young and 
old — from time to time. Now our friend 
Burnham has written largely upon ' chick- 
en diseases.'' Perhaps he will tell us, 
briefly, what he does for his young stock, 
when they show weakness in their limbs, 
in infancy — when they droop, and snip, 
and fall away in flesh and condition — 
when they grow blind in the eyes — and 
get soreheaded and miserable — or sudden- 
ly show indications that they are about 
* played out,' and are ready to die?" sug- 
gested the Colonel. 

"You have now laid out a world of 
questioning, my dear Colonel, " replied Mr. 
B., "to be answered in a breath." 

"Not at all. You have this subject 
quite at your fingers' ends." 

" Only in so far as my own experience 
goes," I answered. "It would be impos- 
sible, in the limited space allotted to these 
monthly papers, to reply satisfactorily to 
your extended queries, Colonel. Still, I 
will say here that my first 'curative' for 
all the above-mentioned ills in the fowl 
runs, is 'prevention. It is much easier to 
avoid than to cure diseases, in either fowls 
or chicks." 

"Very likely." 

" This is a secret in fowl-breeding which 
few of us learn, except through long prac- 
tice. I have, nowadays, very little trouble 

on this score. Last year (1877), for exam- 
ple, I did not lose a single bird from all 
my broods hatched out after March 10th, 
except three that were suddenly killed 
outright, by accident. During the entire 
season, I had no sick chickens." 

"You were fortunate, indeed! " 

' ' Yes — and no. I took care of my stock, 
as they should be cared for. I did not 
cram the younglings with wet, sour, un- 
cooked food: this will knock the legs 
from under them, as surely as they are so 
fed. I did not permit them to droop, and 
snip, and grow thin in flesh, because, upon 
the exhibition of any such symptoms, I 
instantly took them in hand, and restored 
them to good condition with very simple 
tonics, or palliatives. I had no 'blind- 
ness among them, inasmuch as I never 
allow them to be exposed, when young 
and delicate, to cold raw winds, bad rain 
storms, or rough weather— for a single hour. 
With these precautions, that occasion very 
little trouble to the poultry-keeper who 
understands his business, and attends to 
it, young chicks do not droop, or often 
get 'played out,' Colonel." 

' ' Thanks for so much good advice. But 
I tell you, friend Burnham, that there are 
hundreds of young fanciers who were thus 
troubled, last year, and who thought they 
took the very best care of their young 

" So it happens every year, more or less, 
I am aware, Colonel. These novices think 
they do all that is necessary to be done for 
the health and thrift of their birds. But 
they frequently do too much. They over- 
do it. They over-feed, they pamper and 
cloy their fowls. They stuff them to re- 
pletion one day, and starve them the next. 
They buy a bag of corn and throw it to 
their flocks in heaps, until it is gone. 
They give no variety of feed, and they get 
sick of seeing the same thing thrown be- 
fore them, day after day. They have no 
system in their work, and the birds suffer 
in consequence. Their owners allow filth, 
and vermin, and miasma to accumulate in 
or around their houses, nests and roosts — 
and sore heads, pip, blindness, weak 
limbs, roup and death results. We must 
reform all this, Colonel. We are reform- 
ing this, and improving upon such care- 
lessness in fowl-breeding, constantly. And 
when the advice so often repeated in the 
columns of The Poultry World conies 
to be appreciated — when we all believe the 
fact that there is but one way to have in 


our runs and about our fowl-houses, poul- 
try-stock that is healthy, thrifty and profit- 
able to the keeper — and that that one mode 
is the right way, in its management — we 
shall be wiser in chicken lore than we now 
are, and we shall be better advised than 
some of us at present seem to be, as to how 
this simple but agreeable work may be 
successfully carried on." 

"That is so," murmured Captain R., 
approvingly. "And now what are we to 
talk about in next mouth's issue? " 

"At the late State shows in New Eng- 
land," replied Mr. Burnham, "there were 
exhibited some of the newly invented In- 

cubators that are just at this time engaging 
the attention of poulterers, who are desi- 
rous of hatching chickens more rapidly 
than we have been in the habit of doing, 
in the 'old way.' As this subject is apro- 
pos to the season, and as I am asked to say 
something — from various sources — about 
these inventions, we will have a talk for 
next month about Artificial Chicken 
Hatching. And this will interest most 
of our readers, I think — at a time of 
the year when, given the chickens 
hatched, the weather will permit them 
to be easier raised, than in our colder 

A Multitude Fresh, from the Incubator. 



"There's money in the invention of a 
right good practiced Incubator," observed 
Captain R., when we met to discuss the 
merits of this novel machine for multiply- 
ing "chickens by thousands," through 
the use of modern egg-hatching apparatus, 
which several of our American mechanics 
and scientists have introduced to the pub- 
lic of late years, in one shape or another. 

"And yet I do not learn," remarked the 
Doctor, "that any one of the inventors of 
this artificial process of producing chicks 
in this manner has yet grown rich by 
means of his invention." 

"No," rejoined Mr. Burnham. "But 
up to date, among the originators of the 
different machines presented to the Amer- 
ican public, which claim to be suited to 
the purpose desired, it does not appear 
that any one of them has yet been per- 
fected — to answer the full expectations or 
anticipations either of sellers or buyers." 

"I notice, friend Burnham," said the 
Major, "that you have rather inclined to 
set your face against the practicability of 
this process, both in your books and writ- 
ings on artificial egg-hatching." 

"Well, what I have said or written, 
Major, has been done conscientiously. 
Years ago, I tested the 'cccaleobeon,' 
that was invented by a Massachusetts me- 
chanic, and which several other poulterers 

thoroughly tried at that time without re- 
sults — except in so far that experiments 
made with this machine proved utterly 
unsatisfactory, and occasioned both losses 
and chagrin to the parties who attempted 
to utilize the invention." 

"What was this ' eccaleobeon '?" 
" A very simple affair, Colonel," rejoin- 
ed Mr. B. "The whole machine was con- 
structed of blocked tin. The form was 
cylindrical, and there was an inside and 
outside upright casing, or vessel; both 
shaped alike — one being about an inch 
smaller in diameter than the other. This 
last mentioned vessel was set inside of the 
other, upon three knobs raised at the bot- 
tom of the larger casing, about two inches 
— -so that there was an open space all 
around and beneath the inside vessel, to 
be filled to the top with common sperm 
oil, when the machine was 'set' for 
hatching. The eggs were deposited upon 
perforated round tin shelves fitting the in- 
side case, one above the other, from bottom 
to top, at a distance of three inches apart. 
And about two hundred eggs could be 
thus used at a 'setting.' A common three- 
tubed oil lamp was placed under the ma- 
chine, upon a table, the oil was heated by 
this means— and thus the 'incubating' 
process commenced, and was continued 
for three weeks, night and day." 



" With what results?" 

""Well. In my case, Colonel," said Mr. 

, " the success was altogether indifferent. 

I tried it (as I believed) very faithfully, 
four different times. But I was green at 
the business! The first experiment was a 
dead failure. The second time I boiled ten 
dozen good eggs so hard that the fowls in 
my runs couldn't eat them when we took 
them from the machine. My third effort 
was more satisfactory; because out of 156 
eggs used, I got out 17 weakly but live 
chicks, that died within three days of 
their birth. And the fourth attempt 
yielded me from a similar number about 
two dozen poor young birds." 

"Then the thing was really feasible, 
after all?" 

"But it was utterly impracticable." 

"You didn't stick to it long enough, 

"Long enough to satisfy me that it was 
a losing game, Colonel! There were three 
important ifs which presented themselves 
to my mind in the course of these experi- 
ments, to-wit: If I kept the heated oil 
too cool, the eggs were shortly addled; if 
it were too hot, the eggs were boiled ; if I 
did the best I could do, and everything 
went right for three weeks from the outset, 
I could obtain, in puny chicks, only about 
eight per cent, of the number of eggs I 
used. So I gave up eccaleobeon chicken- 
hatching, and concluded that the inventor 
was right, when he declared (after I re- 
cited to him my ill-luck) that I 'might be 
able to raise very good Cochin and Brahma 
chicks in the ordinary way, but I didn't 
know how to do this with his machine!' " 

"Your experience with this early or 
primitive invention was certainly amus- 
ing," said the Doctor. 

"To whom?" I inquired. "It may 
seem a joke to you, gentlemen, but to me 
I assure you it was a serious matter." 

"Well. This is the occasion of your 
prejudice against incubators, generally, 

"By no means — except so far as that 
result went. But I have cited this fact in 
support of my frequently-uttered convic- 
tion that the fault lies not so much in the 
modern machines invented for incubating 
purposes, but rather that the average poul- 
try-man does not understand how they shoidd 
be managed. Hence their repeated fail- 
ares with incubators." 

"But there are machines more recently 
»ut forth that the proprietors claim are 

pronounced a success, even in unskilled 

"Very true, Doctor. And having 
frankly stated my own experience in this 
direction, suppose we now refer to some 
of these later and as you say vastly im- 
proved inventions." 

" The 'principle of artificial egg-hatching 
is an ancient one," continued Mr. Burnham. 
"For centuries, the hatching of eggs by 
fire-heat has been successfully carried on 
in China, in Syria, in Egypt, and in other 
countries. But incubators are a modern 
affair. Chickens have been hatched out, 
experimentally, in hot-beds or tanks of 
manure. Monsieur de Reaumeur did this, 
a hundred and fifty years ago. "Within a 
few years a Mr. Corbett has accomplished 
this same thing in this country, I am in- 
formed. And some of his patrons have 
also succeeded in thus hatching chicks; 
but not to any extent, probably. This 
last-mentioned process certainly cannot be 
an agreeable method, and is not a gener- 
ally practical mode, I believe, at all." 

"Yet you do not doubt that chickens 
may be hatched in incubators advantage- 
ously, at the present time?" 

"Oh, no. I am aware that this has 
been done, and quite successfully, in cer- 
tain quarters, under the supervision of 
those who knew how their machines should 
properly be controlled and managed. 
"What I argue, is, that all the incubators 
that have latterly been introduced among 
us, are in some way too complicated and 
too difficult to be run by ordinary hands." 

"But are there not exceptions even to 
this objection among our American in- 
ventions for the purpose?" queried the 

""We shall come to that point shortly, 
Doctor," responded Mr. Burnham. "You 
must observe that, individually, J have no 
possible interest in — for, or against — any 
man's machine. I should be gratified to 
see the inventive genius of our American 
designers encouraged, and crowned with 
complete success, in tlrs direction. But 
I am slow to believe that as yet we have 
hit upon exactly the thing we require for 
general utility and every day practical 

"Well — we have come pretty near to 
this, I think," persisted the Doctor. 

"Granted — my good Doctor. You are 
an educated man. You can take an Ax- 
ford, a Halsted, a Samuels, a Higgins. a 
Cantello, a Baker, a Graves, a Weston, oi 


other advanced modern incubator, and in 
your hands it will turn out chickens ' alive 
and kicking' probably, by hundreds or 
thousands, very readily. But what I con- 
tend for in the matter, is, that we must 
have the machine to do this work success- 
fully, profitably, easily and regularly, 
that any man or woman of ordinary ca- 
pacity can use — as they can a lawn-mower, 
a sewing machine, a thresher, a reaper or 
other common patented agricultural or 
farming implement. When this sort of 
incubator is produced, that shall cost but 
a moderate price, and work every time in 
wi-scientific hands to advantage and satis- 
faction, it will be exactly what we want ; 
and the fortunate inventor of it may tri- 
umphantly exclaim, 'Eureka! i" have 
found it /' " 

"I admit the force of your reasoning, 
friend Burnham," responded the Doctor. 
" But I notice that in your recent book on 
* liaising Fowls and Eggs in Quantity for 
Market,' you think that the artificial hatch- 
ing establishment of Mr. Baker, at Cress- 
kill, is pre-eminently a success. And he 
uses the modern style of incubators, 

"You are right again, Doctor. Mr. 
Baker hatches out and raises in his im- 
mense steam-heated establishment, suc- 
cessfully, tens of thousands of chickens, 
annually. But, as the brother Jerome 
once said of Bonaparte, the elder, 'There is 
but one Napoleon !' so I say ' there is in 
this business but one Wm. C. Baker.' He 
has spent ten years experimenting, and 
seventy-five thousand good dollars in cash 
to create the wonderful artificial chicken- 
raising establishment he carries on, upon 
the Hudson River. Will he ever have a 
rival in this country, think you?" 

4 ' Probably not. But " 

"Then we cannot include Mr. B. in our 
estimates regarding the comparative merits 
of American incubator inventors. He 
stands quite alone, in his sphere." 

"Well. We have the 'lesser lights,' 
whom you have already mentioned. Now, 
since you have unquestionably made your- 
self acquainted more or less with these 
inventions, generally, whose — if either, or 
any — is in your judgment the better or 
more promising incubating machine we 
have at present in this country, for general 

"Now you come directly to the mooted 
point, Doctor. The latest improvements 
that several of these incubator originators 

have made upon their machines, makes 
yours rather a difficult question to answer, 
clearly. But I can reply, without preju- 
dice, so far as my own individual opinion 
goes. And first let me quote what Mr. 
Halsted wrote me (in 1871) about his own 
incubator. Mr. H. said very frankly, at 
that time — 'I can myself, with care and 
attention, hatch 75 out of 100 eggs, in my 
incubator. But I will not warrant that any 
other person can hatch a single one — with 
mine, or in any other incubator; since one 
day's wmmanagement, while in process, 
proves fatal. The difficulty is that 'di- 
rections' cannot be followed by the inex- 
perienced. * * * While, therefore, 
I frankly state that— alone, and by itself 
— the incubator is a failure, still as an aid, 
I deem it invaluable in completing what 
the hens begin ; as thus: allow your hen to 
sit upon eggs ten days, say; then remove 
these to the incubator, and set a fresh 
clutch under her. She will set three or 
four weeks. You can finish Tier icorJc in 
the incubator. Your chicks will come out 
strong, healthy, free from vermin, and 
none are trodden to death by careless 
mothers, etc. * * * But whoever 
attempts to use the incubator, from the 
outset, must first inform himself thorough- 
ly, by patient study and care, as to the 
details of its rightful management — to 
make it a success.' 

"This is the candidly-expressed opinion 
of a manufacturer of one of the leading 
incubators of the day. And this is my 
opinion of incubators, generally," said 
Mr. Burnham. "What has always been the 
bar to success with them, is this one diffi- 
culty: they cannot be properly managed 
by inexperienced or unscientific hands." 

"But have not there been made many 
improvements in these machines since 
1871?" inquired Captain R. 

"O yes — of course there have." 

"And even upon this very invention 
you have just referred to." 

"Yes — both by the original inventor, 
and by several others, who have put out 
new (or later) machines. But all are con- 
structed upon the same general principle," 
returned Mr. Burnham. "That is, the 
heat is artificially applied to the inner 
boxes, or trays of the incubator, which 
are filled with eggs. And this heat is 
kept up (must be so kept up) to 100° or 
103°, Fahreuheit. This must be continu- 
ous and regular, night and day, for three 
weeks — wdien more or less of the eggs will 


hatch, if they be fertile. If the heat falls 
to 90° or 80 Q (or less) for a single night — 
the eggs are ruined. If the manager does 
not know how to keep np this steady heat, 
or neglects to attend to this important 
matter, the result is disappointment — he 
cannot say why. So that, as I have said, 
the modern incubator is a difficult thing 
to handle properly, as a rule, in the hands 
of the average poultryman, who is not a 

' k Yet most of the inventors of these 
American incubators claim that their ma- 
chines can be managed by a child a dozen 
years old," said the Colonel. 

"Very well. I do not dispute your 
assertion, Colonel, nor do I deny that this 
claim may be substantiated. But I say I 
do not think anybody's machine for hatch- 
ing eggs is really so very simple, notwith- 
standing these assertions ; inasmuch as so 
far as my own observation and experience 
goes, they are generally by far too compli- 
cated for general practical uses, in any 
hands save those of their inventors." 

''I comprehend you, friend B.," ob- 
served the Colonel. "And now let us 
note some of these machines, and learn, 
if we can, where the better or the best 
ones may be obtained. 

"The Axford," continued the Colonel, 
"is certainly a popular incubator, at least 
in the West. And if the assertions of its 
originators, and the commendation of sev- 
eral who have worked it can be accepted, 
it has, for the time it has been upon the 
market proved a very satisfactory ma- 

"Then we have Weston's, the Maryland 
inventor's. This, for a time, promised to 
be highly successful, even in inexperienced 
hands, if I am correctly informed. How 
it has latterly proved, I do not know., 
But it began with a very goodly reputa- 
tion — and I was predisposed to believe 
that this was an average success. 

"The Graves machine did very well, in 
certain quarters, for a while. This has 
gone out of the market now, I believe — 
Mr. Samuels of Waltham having purchased 
all the best 'improvements' belonging to 
that incubator — which he has applied, in 
part, to his own lately constructed ' Eclipse ' 

"There is the Higgins, or ' Moll Pitcher ' 
machine, also. This is worked by the 
proprietor at Lynn, Mass., and he manages 
I heard to turn out a great many chickens, 
himself, every year. I am not aware that 

he offers duplicate machines for sale, how- 

"The invention of E. A. Samuels of 
Waltham, in my judgment," said Mr. 
Burnhain, "is the best thing of its kind 
that has yet been introduced into the 
American market. It is certainly more 
simple in construction than any of its 
predecessors; and it is very easily managed 
by any person possessing sufficient intelli- 
gence to wind up an eight-day clock, or 
run an ordinary sewing machine. This 
'Eclipse' incubator (as Mr. S. calls his) 
will, I do not doubt, prove popular; and 
having seen it in successful operation, in 
the hands of four or five different persons 
of both sexes, I am inclined to believe 
with its very latest improvements, its thor- 
oughly automatic character in working, 
and its plainly practicable arrangements — 
that any one can hatch chickens with it, 
who is able to care for it attentively, when 
they possess it. 

"The Automatic incubator of the Day 
Brothers of Baltimore has a good reputa- 
tion, and is indorsed by several who have 
used this machine with greater or less 
success. It is claimed for this incubator 
that it stands the test quite as well as any 
invention yet tried in America ; and sales 
of this have resulted satisfactorily to pur- 
chasers, so far as we have heard from it. 
This is said to both 'hatch and rear the 
chicks,' and is not so intricate in construc- 
tion as are some of the later models." 

"There are other machines in the mar- 
ket besides those now referred to," rejoin- 
ed the Major, "are there not?" 

"A few, yes," replied Mr. B. "But 
we have mentioned the principal ones. 
Now I wish to refer to one more important 
matter in this connection, before we ad- 
journ. ^And this will include all we have 
space to say in this series of Poultry 
World papers, upon this topic. ' We have 
spoken of the incubating process, the 
machines, and the average chances in 
hatching large broods or numbers of 
chicks, through this means. Now, when 
they are hatched, what shall we do with 
the tender little ones, so as to raise them 
successfully, for broilers, breeders, roast- 
ers, or whatever the fancier, who is fortu- 
nate in getting the birds out of the shell, 
may desire?" 

''This is a point of the greatest impor- 
tance, of course," rejoined the Colonel. 
"For, what is the good of hatching a 
thousand chicks, if we can't raise them !" 


This is E. A. Samuels' Machine, (of 
Waltham, Mass.) In this invention, the 
heat, radiated from a tank which is so 
contrived that there is a uniform circula- 
tion of hot water through it, is applied 
to the top of the eggs ; these are placed 
in drawers, the bottoms of which consist 
of wire-netting ; and beneath the drawers 
is a series of ventilating-pipes, which 
conduct to the bottom of the eggs a full 
supply of cool, damp air. This system 
of ventilating the eggs is entirely new. 
The management of this Incubator is 
easy, it works reliably, and as it is now 
made — with latest improvements — it is 

the best on the market, without doubt. 
And below is a drawing of the " Artifi- 
cial Mother" invented by Mr. Samuels, 
which is a grand contrivance for eco- 
nomically brooding the chicks, when 
hatched. Both these machines should 
go together. The recent additional in- 
vention by Mr. S. of an exceedingly 
sensitive "pyrometer," which is attached 
to each of his incubators, (and which is 
used only upon the " Eclipse " machine), 
has been found to serve as the nicest 
"regulator" of the heat that has yet 
been discovered, as applied to the modern 
American Incubator. 


Duekwing Games. 



"I had the pleasure of visiting my old 
friend S. N. Thompson, of Southboro', 
Mass., not long ago," said Mr. Burnham, 
when our little party met once more, upon 
a fine 'May morning' last month. 

"Thompson?" remarked the Major, "I 
know him well. Seven years ago he sent 
a neighbor of mine the finest dozen of 
breeding Light Brahmas that I remember 
ever to have seen, outside of your yards, 
neighbor Burnham." 

"He has in the past ten years turned 
out a great many fine flocks of both Light 
and Dark Brahmas." rejoined Mr. B. 
"But among the several varieties he breeds 
upon his extensive and well-managed poul- 
try farm at Southboro', including the 
Brown and White Leghorns, the Domi- 
niques, the Plymouth Rocks, and one or 
two other standard kinds. I noticed some 
fine Games and Game Bantams there, 
which pleased me much. And this re- 
minds me that these varieties fin accord- 
ance with last month's promise) are to 
form the theme of the present month's 

"Yes, I remember. And you have laid 
out a good deal of work for this one issue," 
suggested Captain R., "for there are so 
many kinds of Game fowl, and such a va- 
riety of the beautiful Bantams, that we 
must make our present chapter of record a 
lengthy one, indeed, to do justice to all sorts 
of these two popular and varied classes." 

"I understand you," said Mr. B. "We 
cannot go into long details upon any par- 
ticular breed, in these papers. But we 
will do our best to make the records just, 
and as clear and reliable as possible, with- 
out entering too largely (in these commu- 
nications) into the minor history of the 
stock we have in America. 

"It is a matter well known to travelers 
and to those who may be residents in the 
low latitudes of Europe, that Game fowls 
— in some form — are immense favorites 
among the aristocracy, as well as among 
the commoners, almost everywhere. 
While, all over the United States, from 
north to extreme south, this valiant breed 
of fowls are cultivated most extensively 
among us, in all directions." 


The cut at the head of this chapter rep- 
resents the Duckwing Game fowls very 
accurately. The style of these birds is 
not unlike that of the imported specimens 
of this race in late years brought over 
from England. The Black-breasted Reds, 
the Ginger Reds and the Brown-breasted 
Reds are all of similar fashion, build and 
general proportions, varying only in their 
respective different colors, as above desig- 

"And these are bred as you have hint- 
ed," remarked the Doctor, "very exten- 
sively, both in Great Britain and in this 
country, for pit, for spit and for the show 

1 ' But largely for exhibition purposes, " 
responded the Major. "Few of these 
fowls find their way among professional 
cockers, inasmuch as these latter gentry 
entertain a strong prejudice against what 
they term 'these dandy birds' which have 
not fulfilled their expectations (as a rule) 
when placed in the pit, it is claimed." 

"At the same time," observed Mr. 
Burnham, "you will find that many lead- 
ing breeders of these modern gallant- 
looking fowls insist that all this is merely 
prejudice on the part of those w T ho choose 
this fowl for its fighting qualities. And 
most of our American breeders of Games 
declare that their favorite strains are not 
only 'thoroughbred,' but that they will 
prove 'game to the death,' when pitted in 
the ring." 

"I have known the Game fowl well, for 
many years," remarked Captain R., "and 
although I agree that these later samples 
we have had from England are bred more 
closely 'to feather' than they were in the 
days when I knew the foreign varieties at 
their best, yet it is a fact that this nicer 
cultivation of these birds has taken the 
fight out of them in no small degree." 

"But they will stand steel like the rest, 
of course?" suggested the Colonel. "The 
blood is there, and the more exquisite 
the fashioning of the race, the better they 
should prove — upon general principles, I 

"That is the theory, I know," respond- 
ed the Doctor. "But it is averred by 
those who have tried these fierce-looking 
fowls in the cock-pits, agiiinst those that 
have been produced by experts in rearing 
other varieties — known previously as Tar- 
tars, Derbys, Strychnines, Irish Shawls, 
Heathwoods, Dusty Millers, Slashers, 
Georgians, Mealies, Duns, and many 

others — that the newer varieties are no 
match for them, generally speaking, when 
they come to confront their favorites in 
the arena, weight for weight." 

"There are, no doubt, great numbers 
of the Games bred in America for pit 
uses, " said Mr. B. ' ' But where one is cul- 
tivated for this purpose only, /hundreds 
are raised annually, in every State in the 
Union, for consumption, for exhibition, 
or for their beautiful appearance in the 
fowl runs. 

"We must not lose sight of the facts, 
too, that as mothers and as protectors of 
their young, no hen is so good a bird as 
is the Game. For the table no fowl meat 
surpasses this in quality. As layers the 
hens yield a goodly quantity of very rich 
though small-sized eggs. And as feeders, 
they are but very small consumers of grain, 
as compared with the larger varieties we 
have among us." 

"And you might add," remarked the 
Colonel, "that as show birds no class 
named in your Standard is so attractive 
to the mass of attendants upon your yearly 
poultry exhibitions as are these elegantly- 
plumed, high-spirited, valiant representa- 
tives of the domestic feathered tribe." 

"A cross of the Game cock upon any 
variety of hens we cultivate in this coun- 
try," continued Mr. Burnham, "and I may 
add especially upon the Asiatics, if we 
desire the product for family uses merely, 
cannot well be excelled. A full-bred 
Game cock among a flock of ordinary 
barn-yard fowls will wondrously improve 
the progeny of such common stock." 

"Yet they are a difficult sort to raise,"' 
suggested the Major. "The chickens are 
usually hardy and tough enough naturally, 
but they are so predisposed to pugnacity 
that it is hard to prevent them from pecking 
each other to death, first or last; and from 
the very shell they will quarrel incessantly, 
if kept in limited quarters, or permitted 
to come in contact with each other." 

"This is an objection to breeding them 
in large numbers together, I am aware," 
responded Mr. B. "But, under proper 
management, all this difficulty can be 
overcome. Ordinarily, it is true these 
spunky little creatures 'had rather fight 
than eat,' I know. But if they are dis- 
creetly fed, and can have (as they ought 
to have) convenient range, rather than to 
be housed up in close quarters, they will 
do very well, in moderate-sized flocks, up 
to five or six months old." 


"Who among our breeders to-day have 
the best and most reliable stock?" asked 
the Colonel. " For one. I confess that I 
am partial to the Games; and I would like 
to know where I should apply to get the 
Simon-pure article." 

"I cannot answer your query," replied 
Mr. B., "in this place. You observe, 
Colonel, that there are so many adepts in 
Game breeding, and opinions as to the 
quality and character of this stock, on the 
part of American fanciers, are so various 
and so conflicting, that it would not be 
easy for any one to decide this point." 

"Still, as I understand that you write 
about, but do not breed this variety, Mr. 
Buruham," confined the Colonel, "there 
certainly can be no impropriety in your 
giving us this information, if you possess 

" Possibly not, Colonel. But as I said 
just now, there are so many fanciers who 
breed good Game fowls, of one sort or 
another, that it would savor of partiality 
if I praised the stock of any particular 

"You are acquainted with A. D. 
Warren's Game stock, at Worcester, I 

"O yes — very well." 
"You have seen Mr. Lincoln's?" 
"Yes, frequently." 

"And that of Dr. Betts, Dr. Trask, 
Col. Hudson — Mr. Bestor's, Neil Thomp- 
son's, E. R. Spaulding's, H. D. Warner's, 
Gray's, E. T. Bailey's, McQuillin's, Al- 
len's, Twells', Webb's,—" 

"Yes, Colonel. And those of fifty 
others you and I could name." 

"And where do you recommend me to 
go, to procure the best of their kind?" 

"Personally, I have no choice, Colonel. 
Some of these fanciers have cultivated 
Games much longer than have others. 
Some have one strain, or variety — some 
another. 'In the advertising columns of 
The Poultry World and those of The 
American Poultry Yard may be found the 
cards of scores of good men who breed 
this class of fowls, and some among; them 
to great perfection, through long practical 
experience. So — for a choice of Game 
fowls — first deciding in your own mind 
what you want (or rather for what uses 
you desire this variety), I refer you to the 
advertisements of those who cultivate 
them; with the suggestion simply that 
there are enough of them to be had, 
among the superior thoroughbred stock- 

we have at the present time, in various 
parts of the country." 

"The successful hatching and rearing 
of Game fowls," continued Mr. B., "is 
not essentially a different process in detail 
from that requisite in the raising of any 
sort of domestic poultry. The known 
pugnacious disposition of the male chicks 
can be easily managed, with care, and the 
natural hardiness of this variety is largely 
in their favor, under all ordinary usage." 

"Yet different fanciers have ideas pecu- 
liarly their own in regard to handling, 
mating and breeding this stock," said 
Captain R. "I met with my first experi- 
ence among Game birds in the East Indies 
— forty years ago, almost." 

"And what variety were you first ac- 
quainted with, Captain?" asked the Colo- 

"The Malays," responded Captain R. 
"Upon the Island of Java these strong- 
limbed birds are fought by the inhabitants 
in every village and hamlet on the coast. 
And they are bred largely for this pur- 
pose, there." 

"The Malays?'''' queried the Major. 
"Yes, Major," continued the Captain. 
"And if you will examine the form, the 
carriage, the action, the increased size, 
and the general contour of some of the 
later imported birds that come into this 
country now from Great Britain, you will 
find, in many of the larger strains, that 
there is a strong dash of Malay blood in 
these stalwart samples, undoubtedly." 
"A cross — then?" 

"All good Game fowls are the result of 
crossing, Major." 

"But the original Game birds — so far as 
we know — are claimed to descend from 
English and Irish breeding," remarked 
the Doctor. 

"I understand that," responded the 
Captain. "But the Derby Games; and the 
now more commonly called Black-breasted 
and Brown-breasted Reds, are a made-up 
fowl. That is, they come from the early 
Knowlsley Park stock (which lias been 
bred there for a hundred years, or more). 
But this strain was created upon this old 
'Earl of Derby' estate, in skillful hands, 
by crossing the English native Games 
with fresh East India blood, of some 

"These Derbys, when purely bred, are 
a small variety, comparatively, I think?" 
asked the Colonel. 

"So they are. A fighting Derby cock 


that weighs over four and a half pounds 
is ruled out of the.pit, in England. While 
in this country, we find them to average 
six pounds, and over; and in the ring, 
they are pitted here weight against weight, 
more commonly." 

"To mate and breed Game fowls," said 
Mr. Burnham, ''for popular results as to 
color and marking, is not unlike the mode 
to be observed in cultivating any specific 
variety of good poultry. We read that 
'like produces like.' This maxim does 
not always prove strictly correct, however ; 
inasmuch as many a like produces wn-like 
progeny, in fowl breeding. But if the 
better-known class of stock be obtained 
at the outset, the results, as a rule, will 
prove generally satisfactory. 

"Upon choosing such stock as you 
fancy, then, it is important that the cock 
and hens you are about to breed shall be 
rightly mated, first, as to color. The 
Black-reds, the Brown-reds, the Silver or 
Golden Duckwings, or the Ginger-reds, 
for instance, are now the five leading 
varieties, most popular and best known in 
this country. Either of these breeds are 
distinct, and all have their admirers. 

"Dr. John C. Bennett received from 
Calcutta, several years ago, a Java Game 
iien, which proved a very strong strain of 
fighting stock, in his hands. He gave to 
this variety (which he crossed with his 
imported Sumatra Games) the name of 
'Wild Indian Mountain Game.' And I 
notice that inquiries are made, to-day, for 
this 'Wild Indian' breed, every now and 
then ! I can only say, in answer to such 
queries, that this particular strain of blood 
(like the original 'Plymouth Rocks ' of 
Dr. Bennett) run out more than twenty 
years ago." 

"But the crossing of the Black-reds 
upon the Duckwings mars the plumage in 
the succession, and an apparent 'mongrel' 
results; while the clean-bred Black-red, 
or the Duckwing, is by itself a beautiful 

"Old cockers care very little about this 
matter of color," suggests the Captain. 

"Very true! But nothing is gained to 
the fancier by this cross," continues Mr. 
Burnham. "He loses the brilliant clean 
red, black and golden feather of the one, 
and blurs the silver, brown and 3 r ellow of 
the other, in the product." 

"But he gets no 'mongrel' out of two 
such thoroughbreds,'' insists the Doctor. 

"As to fighting quality, no" replies Mr. 

B. "But, cui oono? What good comes 
of the mixture?" 

"I do not know," says the Doctor. 
"But this I know: it is a very common 
thing among professional Game breeders 
to make this cross." 

"Granted. But if the fancier desires 
to reproduce the same stock of birds that 
he purchases to breed, he must not mix 
these variously-colored Gaines. The blood 
of either sort is so strong that both will 
show in the chickens bred from a cross, 
most unmistakably. And neither the 
clean Black-red, or the clear Duckwing 
can afterwards be obtained from the pro- 
geny of such a cross." 

"Well. Given the clean-bred birds of 
either variety," asks the Colonel, "how 
are they bred to best advantage?" 

"As easily as any variety we have," re- 
plies Mr. Burnham. "Out of your pro- 
duct take the finest, best-plumed, strong- 
est and boldest birds you can find, for 
stags. Select for pullets those that most 
closely resemble the mother-liens. If your 
sire is an exceptionally fine bird, take the 
young ones from the brood that nearest 
resemble him — because (in this breed, es- 
pecially) the old cock's superior character- 
istics are valuable, and the sire plays a 
very important part in the production of 
the progeny. When you come to selecting — 
do not fear to cull your flock. A few 
prime birds are far more valuable, for any 
purpose, than many indifferent ones. The 
culls will serve for excellent table meat. 
But a poor Game fowl is a most unprofit- 
able biped to have about your runs, after 
he gets old enough to show what he has 
come to!" 

"How many hens should be bred to 
one cock?" inquires the Major. 

"Half a dozen, if you look for cock 
birds. Ten or twelve, if you care only for 
a majority of pullets. But there is no exact 
rule to govern this. As in other breeds, old 
birds are better than young ones, for 
breeders. They will give you stronger 
chicks, ordinarily. But you cannot ob- 
tain of the young males all such as will 
please you — do what you may, or cultivate 
whatever strain of Game stock you may 
chance upon, to begin with." 

"The Game hen is a rarely good moth- 
er," continues Mr. B. "There are none 
better, in the whole race of poultry ; none 
that will take such jealous care of her 
young brood; none that will tackle cat, 
rat, dog or other vermin so valiantly, and 


oftentimes so successfully. She will for- 
age for her young as will no other domes- 
tic fowl. And at any time of the year, 
except when moulting, the Game is in 
order to kill for table use, if they are given 
a fair chance in the runs." 

"Is this infusion of Malay blood among 
Game breeding stock desirable?" inquired 
the Colonel. 

"No," says Mr. B. "Except to in- 
crease the size of the lesser varieties, and 
to introduce fresh foreign blood. It is 
very charily done in England; and few 
leading breeders there will admit that they 
do this at all. Still, it is very clear that 
this is done ; inasmuch as the Black-breast- 
ed Reds are not grown, ordinarily, to ex- 
ceed 4*^ to 5 pounds weight for cocks. 
And no other known variety (except the 
Malay) will give the additional size we so 
often meet with, the greater length of leg, 
and at the same time preserve the true 
colors of the Black-reds." 

"And you think the crossing of the va- 
rieties you have mentioned — say the Black- 
-reds upon Duck wings — is not advisable?" 
suggested the Doctor. 

" For why?" asked Mr. B. "I know this 
is done, largely, among cockers. Through 
this method the various mottles, duns, 
mealies, grays and splashed birds are ob- 
tained. And as those who breed Game 
cocks for the pit only, do not, as you say, 
care about the color of the birds raised — so 
that they prove dead game— it is perhaps 
of little consequence to them. But my 
idea is, that if you fancy Black-reds, you 
should breed this variety, by itself. If 
you like the Duckwings best, breed that 
sort, clean. But never cross two distinct 
varieties, when either is of itself good 
enough; provided you have what is really 
first-class original stock. There is no 
reason why this should be done among 
fanciers with the Games any more than 
with the Light and Dark Brahmas, for 
example. And surely no one who knows 
anything of the two latter-mentioned 
kinds, would ever think that he could im- 
prove either breed by crossing these, I 
apprehend? The principle, I claim, is 

"Young Game chicks should be fed half 
a dozen times in a day, after leaving the 
shells, upon hardboiled eggs, mixed with 
bread crumbs and finely-cracked wheat. 
If steeped in milk, all the better, at first. 
Thus for a week. Then give them boiled 
rice and vegetables mixed, and let them 

have a grass run, if possible, outside the 
coop, where the hen for the time being is 
best confined. If this grass-patch is not 
availed of, they must have chopped cab- 
bage, bruised raw onions, lettuce, etc., for 
'green' food. 

"Furnish them with insect food, or 
finely-chopped liver in place of this. 
"When four or five weeks old give barley, 
wheat-sweepings, crushed corn and ground 
oats. Two or three times a week let them 
have coarse crushed bone, and occasionally 
chandlers' scraps. 

"Confine them at night, and be careful 
that they be kept out of the rain, or from 
waddling about among the wet grass early 
in the morning, before the dew dries off. 
Preserve them free from lice, at all times. 
At six weeks old set the hen at liberty, 
and let them forage for a part of their 
living. The spirited Game mother will 
take good care of her brood, and thus the 
chicks may be reared— strong, healthy and 
thrifty — as a general rule." 

"And the Bantams?" asked the Major. 
"We were to say something of these pretty 
birds this month." 

" Yes. There are a good many varieties 
of this class, Major, and most of them are 
worthy of cultivation, as pets. The Jap- 
anese, the Sebnghts, the Gold and Silver- 
laced, the Africans (or black Spanish), the 
White, the Nankins, etc. But the Black- 
red and Duckwing Bantams — 'diamond 
editions' of the full-sized Game fowl, are 
just now the most prominent, the most 
attractive, and most desirable birds we 
have in America." 

"Some of these sprightly, high-stepping 
pigmies are very beautiful birds," re- 
marked the Colonel. ' ' At the fowl shows, 
for a few years past, they have attracted a 
great deal of attention." 

"And deservedly, too," continues Mr. 
Burnham. "I think we may refer to those 
contributed to the public exhibitions in 
New England, for the last two years, as 
among the choicest specimens of this 
diminutive but exquisitely-plumed tribe 
that have ever been shown in the United 

"And they are very popular." 

"Yes. Until within a few year3 the 
Golden and Silver-laced Sebrights have 
carried away the palm, par excellence, among 
the Bantam race. Now the rage is for the 
tiny Game Bantams." 

"They average much smaller than the 
others, I think?" 


"Somewhat, yes. The Standard gives 
the minimum weight of the Sebright cock 
at 26 ounces, and hen 24 ounces. The 
Game Bantams must not exceed 22 ounces 
for cock, or 20 ounces for hens. And 
they often fall below these weights. The 
plumage of either of the latter is required 
to be that of the Game fowls — of the same 
variety — throughout." 

"But these little creatures are said to be 
quite difficult to breed, I believe," ob- 
served the Doctor. 

"Not at all! Anyone who can breed 
other fowls, successfully, finds no difficulty 
with these. True it is that there are those 
who excel in cultivating Game Bant;ims. 
They make a specialty of this variety. 
And some of them have brought this tiling 
down to a fine point." 

"E. R. Spaulding, of Jaffray, K H. ; 
G. S. Merritt, Hartford, Conn.; O. W. 
Volger, and G. W. Chidsey, of Elmira, 
N. Y., for examples," suggested the Doc- 

"Exactly. You arc right, Doctor. 
The finest bred Black-red and Duck wing 
Game Bantams I ever saw, and which cer- 
tainly fully deserved the high encomiums 
passed upon them at the last grand show 
in Portland, Me., were those exhibited by 
the two fanciers you first mention — Mr. 
Spaulding taking the lead in the prize-list 
for some exquisitely formed and pigmy 
samples of both varieties." 

"And these are now bred smaller and 
finer, year by year." 

"Well — it is aimed to produce the most 
diminutive perfect birds that are attain- 
able, in these varieties, as the Standard 
for weight credits the Game Bantams for 
% a point on each ounce a bird may draw 
less than 22 for cock and 20 for lien: or, 
20 ounces for cockerels and 18 ounces for 
pullets. It is not an uncommon thing to 
meet Avith mature hens weighing even less 
than 16 ounces." 

" That is very small !" 

"Yet they are perfection itself in sym- 
metry, plumage and style." 

" How is this done?" 

"Mostly through delaying the hatching 
of these varieties until fall, or late in the 
summer. The cold weather sets in before 

they get feathered, and the subsequent 
winter runts them, in growth." 

"All the little Bantams are not so 

"No. Mr. Spaulding in forms me, "said 
Mr. Burnham, "that this is not his method 
at all. He hatches them in the spring, 
and by a judicious mode of feeding — that 
is, a moderate diet, and learning them to 
forage for their living in part, when in- 
sects are plentiful in summer — he keeps 
the size down, selecting always the small- 
est and most perfect birds he raises for 
his breeders, in succession." 

"As to their general care and culture," 
concludes Mr. B., "this does not differ 
materially from the requirements detailed 
for Games. The chickens of the Bantams 
are not more quarrelsome than are any 
ordinary fowls. And it is very little 
trouble to grow a brood or two of these 
tiny birds, as they need but limited space 
for their accommodation, and the amount 
of food that fifteen or twenty of them 
consume annually is very trifling, as to its 

"At four to five months old, both the 
Gnmes and the Game Bantams may be 
dubbed; and this process will improve the 
appearance of the head, vastly. The oper- 
ation is a simple one — this trimming of the 
comb and wattles — and maybe performed 
in a couple of minutes, with a sharp pair 
of shears. The wounds will bleed but 
slightly, and the birds take no notice of 
it. Sometimes it is necessary, for a few 
days, to set the stags aside from their hens 
w y hile the wounds are fresh, lest they peck 
at the blood and keep the heads and gills 
of the crowers sore. 

"But we must close the discussion for 
this month, gentlemen — here. We have 
already over-reached our limits." 

"And next month ?" 

"As this is the season best adapted to 
the purpose, and as numerous correspond- 
ents have requested it, in our next month's 
paper we will have something to offer that 
will interest a great many readers, on the 
subject of Capons, and the Process of Ca- 
ponizing Fowls," responded Mr. Burnham. 
And to this topic our paper for July 
will be specially devoted. 




The above drawing is a good representa- 
tion of a caponized (or castrated) male 
fowl, a year and a half old: The process 
is a simple one, and any nimble-handed 
farmer or poulterer may perform this work 
successfully, with a little study, after hav- 
ing had some practice in the surgical 

When a cock is thus deprived of the 
organs of reproduction, he grows rapidly 
in size, and puts on flesh proportionately. 
The capon, well fed, will reach an im- 
mense weight at a year and a half old — 
frequently rivalling the cock-turkey, at 
same age. 

From the time the operation is perform- 
ed upon him, however, he drops the car- 
riage of his tail, and is no longer a "high- 
stationed" bird — of whatever breed he 
may be. As shown in our drawing, the 
tail is thenceforward carried in a horizon- 
tal or downward position ; and he becomes 

an arrant coward, in the poultry yard — 
the butt alike of hens and breeding cocks. 
But the capon is a rare dish upon the 
table, and these are par excellence the most 
admirable of all domestic fowls, to the 
palate of the epicure, or fton vivant. 

"I have made many a good capon, in 
my time," remarked Mr. Burnham, when 
the friends met for discussion, once more. 

"And you have no doubt slaughtered 
more than you ever succeeded with," re- 
sponded the Doctor, good-humoredly. 

"That is true, Doctor. Yet after a little 
practice I found no difficulty in this work, 
and did not lose one bird in ten that I 
operated upon." 

"You were lucky, friend B. I consider 
this quite an art, myself. And I know 
more about surgery than you do, I 

" So you do, Doctor. And you under- 
stand how to manage this procedure ad- 


tnirably — as we are all aware. Now, will 
you give us your method, for the benefit 
of the readers of 'Talks and Walks,' and 
the patrons of The Poultry World?" 

"O yes — with pleasure." 

"This caponizing is a very common 
thing in the East Indies, and in China," 
observed Captain Tt. U I have seen it 
performed very quickly by Malays, Ma- 
laccas, Chinamen, Sepoys, Borneo negroes, 
and the Javanese. In the latter Island, 
capons are grown to very large propor- 
tions. They .make use of young cocks of 
the Malay and the Black Java tribe for 
this purpose; and some of the yearling 
capons reared there will weigh, dressed^ 
ten to twelve pounds. They are a tender 
though rather dry meat, but are esteemed 
among the better families as the best table 
poultry in the world." 

"It is now some years since I experi- 
mented much in this process," continued 
the Doctor. "But I have felt surprise 
that more capons were not grown in this 
country ; where they are really so desirable 
for the table, and where it may be done 
so well by an intelligent and careful 

"Like other matters requiring skill, 
some knowledge of the anatomy of a 
fowl, and a modicum of patience," said 
Mr. Burnham, "many failures occur 
among our people — of which Ave often 

"And yet it should not be so," con- 
tended the Doctor. "For, although it is 
a nice thing to perform, the art may be 
acquired readily, if, as you observe, the 
operator will exercise due patience, care 
and common-sense in his management." 

"How came you to be initiated into this 
secret, Doctor, and how did you succeed 
with it?" 

"O, many years ago, gentlemen. The 
first time I ever saw the caponizing pro- 
cess performed, it was done at the poultry 
farm of a friend in Dorchester, Mass., and 
the operator was a Chinaman, at that time 
body-attendant of Captain Sturgis, of the 
TJ. S. Navy, commander of the revenue 
cutter stationed in Boston harbor. 

" Chinfu had this art at his f ngers' ends, 
literally. He used no knife in the opera- 
tion, after making the skin-slit between 
the hip bone and two ribs, but, passing 
his immense long hook-like finger-nail 
(which the Chinaman glories in cultivat- 
ing) under the testicles, he deftly removed 
one and then the other, in less time than I 

have tal<en in relating the fact, and in 
better shape than I could do it with for- 
ceps and scalpel." 

"But we Americans do not pride our- 
selves upon the extraordinary length and 
curve of our finger-nails, Doctor." 

"No. And therefore we must make 
use of the proper tools that are manufac- 
tured for the purpose indicated." 

"And what are these?" 

"Very few in number and quite simple 
in construction. I have never seen any 
great improvement upon the instruments 
used by the Chinese for centuries. These 
were but four originally, but in later years 
a filth has been added ; the latter being of 
flat spoon-handle shape, three and a half 
to four inches long, and half an inch in 

"What is this for?" 

"It may be used instead of a common 

teaspoon handle, to push aside or keep the 
intestines out of the way, after the out- 
ward skin incision is made, and while you 
are operating to remove the testicles." 

"Now, please explain this whole method 
of caponizing, Doctor. There are many 
poultrymen who have no idea what it is. 
And when, as you remark, it may be ren- 
dered a source of large profit to the mar- 
ket poulterer, over and above the usual 
plan in disposing of surplus cockerels 
annually, I am sure the readers of this 
magazine will be gratified to learn how 
this may be done." 

"In the first place, then, the cock birds 
intended to be caponized should be not 
over two and a half to four months old. 
Three months, generally speaking, is about 


the right age at which they should be 

"Two persons are better than one to 
perform this operation; one to hold the 
bird — its left side downward — firmly upon 
the table, by limbs and wings, so that he 
will not struggle under the first applica- 
tion of the knife, while the operator makes 
the outward incision, and removes the 
organ of reproduction. The cut on oppo- 
site page shows the bird jn position to be 
experimented upon. 

11 The small circle inclosing i is the spot 
at which the opening slit should be made, 
at a point on a direct line between the 
shoulder and the hip, or upper part of the 

witli a horse-hair loop. But the better 
way is to wring or wrench them off. This 
causes less bleeding, and is quite as expe- 
ditious, when performed adroitly. 

"The two days previous to operating 
upon the young cockerels should be days 
of fasting with them. Thus the intestines 
are not clogged with food, and you are 
less liable to injure them. All that is 
necessary to be done in this proceeding is 
to take away the two testicles, and nothing 
else. When these are removed, the feathers 
y:>u have plucked off may be matted over 
the slit, in the fresh blood, and the fowl 
may be set at liberty. No washing, band- 
aging, or stitching is needed. The wound 
will quickly heal up, and your bird will 
prosper satisfactorily, if you have done 
your work clean and thoroughly. 

"Should you cut too deeply, and the 
victim bleeds to death — as they will, in 
your first trials, often — he is just as good 
for eating or marketing, as if you had cut 
off his head. But you need not lose many, 

thigh. The skin should be drawn back- 
ward smartly before cutting, so that when 
the work is done, it will slip -over the 
wound and resume its natural place. This 
obviates the necessity of stitching up the 

"Before cutting the skin, the feathers 
must be removed, say for two inches square 
space. Then make the straight cut care- 
fully, just midway between the two last 
rib bones — not too deep, lest you wound 
the intestines — but deep enough to part 
the two ribs clearly at this point. Then, 
using the round-pointed hooks (one at 
each side of the opening) to keep the slit 
widened out, proceed to withdraw the 

"The Chinese method of doing this is 
by cutting off the cord, which holds them. 

if you exercise care and patience, and 
learn something about what you are to do, 
before you commence operations. 

"For two days after this, feed very spar- 
ingly. Give them all the water they will 
drink, and only cooked meal and shorts 
for a week. Thus you may begin to 5 make 
a capon' rightfully. 

"When you have the slit fairly open, 
you will discover the parts you wish to 
remove lying snugly together, about an 
inch below the skin, beneath the two ribs 
you have parted. Over these is formed a 
thin inner skin or sack. This must be 
broken into, and the two testicles raised 
up. They may then be twisted out and 
separated from the spermatic chord very 
easily. The fowl is subjected to no pain 
in this operation, and the whole proceed- 
ing need not occupy more than three min- 
utes, ordinarily, in safely completing." 

"Where can these tools be obtained?" 

"I think the set of caponizing imple- 
ments advertised at The Poultry World 
office are very good ones. Those who 


have used these instruments (which cost 
only four dollars complete), inform me 
that they have worked very nicely. This 
set of implements is well made, and they 
consist of a pair of broad-shafted tweezers 
and a pointed hook, as shown in the ac- 
companying cuts, respectively marked 1 
and 2, and a pair of crooked concave for- 
ceps, marked 3. The other two instru- 
ments are a common keen-bladed pocket- 
knife, of any ordinary description (for 
making the first incision in the skin), and 
the steel splint, with a broad flat hook or 
curve at the outer ends, as shown in the 
cut marked figure 4. 

The proprietor sends with them full 
printed instructions for their rightful use ; 
and I do not know that they are manufac- 
tured elsewhere in this country, though 
there are some that are imported at much 
higher cost; but which are no better, in 
the hands either of novice or expert." 

"What breeds, Doctor, do you consider 
the best fowls to make these capons of?" 
asked the Major. 

"In England, the Dorkings and Malays 
have been used for many years — until the 
Cochins and Brahmas w T ere plentiful there. 
In the East, as the Captain tells us, the 
Malays and Java fowls are used. In 
France, the Houdan cocks have been 
tried; but these do not come up to the 
desired size, although their meat is very 
fine. In this country, the 'Bucks County ' 
fowl is used very largely in Pennsylvania, 
and the 'Jersey Blues' in New Jersey. 

"Of late years, however, the Chitta- 
gongs, the Cochins, the Malays and the 
Colored Dorkings have been turned into 
capons, in the Middle States, very gener- 
ously. Any of the larger species of fowl 
will answer. But I doubt if among all 
the varieties I have mentioned there is one 
kind so good as are the Brahmas for capon- 
izing, or one that will average so meaty 
and so large a bird, after castration, at 
.eighteen months old, when properly fed." 

"What is such dead poultry worth, 

"The very highest market price that is 
paid, in the season w T hen they are sent in 
for sale. Thirty to forty cents per pound 
is the average figure. And good fat capons 
are never a drug in the sellers' hands. In 
Philadelphia enormous quantities are sold, 
and in New York or Boston large numbers 
are consumed in a season. Three to four 
dollars is the average cost of a good -si zed 
bird, and as high as five dollars are paid 

for the best and heaviest, at certain times 
in the year." 

"It is strange, then, as you say, Doctor, 
that no more attention is paid to raising 
capons in this country," said Captain R. 

"The business is not understood gener- 
ally," continued the Doctor, "and the 
results of cultivating this desirable poultry 
are not appreciated. There is money in 
it, gentlemen, whenever or wherever it is 
well dene." 

"There has latterly been a good deal of 
inquiry upon this subject," observed Mr. 
Burnham. "And I am quite certain that 
there are scores of our American poultry- 
men who every year have large numbers 
of young surplus cocks among their flocks 
of Cochins and Brahmas which might thus 
be utilized to good advantage, but which 
are nowadays turned into the shambles at 
a merely nominal price, as 'culls.' These 
are the imperfectly-developed cockerels, 
that at three to four months of age show 
some deformity in shape, or lack in color 
or other standard qualities, which are dis- 
posed of to the butcher at a low figure 

"Yet these would make very good ca- 
pons, if treated rightly?" 

"The best in the world, I contend," 
responds Mr. Burnham. "Many of these 
birds have the frame upon which might 
be built an enormous fowl, as to size, in a 
twelvemonth's time, after castration. But 
they come with hollow backs or twisted 
wings, wry tails or heavy lopped combs, 
spotted backs or extreme light neck- 
hackles, and are consequently useless for 
sale as 'fancy' birds, at any age. But 
caponize them, feed them w r ell, and fatten 
them at sixteen to eighteen months old, 
and as table poultry no fowl equals them, 
of any breed with which / have ever yet 
had any acquaintance." 

"Why has not this fact been known 
hitherto?" queries the Major. 

"Because very few of our poultry culti- 
vators have any knowledge of caponiza- 
tion at all, or its advantages. Major. This 
is the general reason. And another is 
found in the fact that most of those who 
would very willingly undertake the thing 
— and believe it to be feasible — fancy that 
it is a very mysterious and risky opeia- 
tion, with great difficulty performed, and 
they fear to make the experiment." 

"I can understand all this. Yet if 
what you and the Doctor have now said 
be true, it is surely an object to some, or 


any, of our cultivators of the larger breeds 
to make the most of it." 

''Very true, Major. And this is why I 
deemed it proper to make this caponiza- 
tion the subject of our present monthly 

"I think, -with our good friend the 
Doctor's timely remarks, combined with 
your own suggestions to-day, you have 
managed to give us all the light needed, 
at least for a beginner at this business." 

"My impression is, that if those who 
feel inclined to undertake this thing will 
supply themselves with the needful set of 
tools referred to — which are quite com- 
plete for the purpose — and make a trial 
upon some of their young male culls this 
summer, they will find that this 'art,' as 
the Doctor is pleased to term it, is just 
what Monsieur de Reaumur describes an- 
other to be : ' So simple, that we no sooner 

become introduced to it, than that we 
shall find it to be no 'art' at all.' For, 
once a man succeeds in performing this 
process of castrating a fowl well, he can 
never forget how he did it; and he will 
rarely make a mistake in repeating the per- 
formance, so long as he is properly careful 
and observant during the operation." 

"I quite agree with you, neighbor Burn- 
ham, in this suggestion," added the Doc- 
tor. "And I hope the readers of The 
Poultry World will avail themselves of 
the hints now given." 

"Next month, gentlemen," said Mr. B., 
"we will have a 'talk' about the Cochin 
tribe — the White, the Buff, the Partridge, 
the 'Pea Combs,' and. the Black varie- 

And this being agreed upon, our little 
party separated — to enjoy their July "va- 

Light Brahma Cock, 18 months old. (Bubnham Stock). 

The above bird is a very good style, good Capons as is this. At eighteen 

for any purpose — but no variety of months old, they will average as many 

fowl we have in this country at present pounds weight (after early castration,) 

grows ordinarily to such large propor- as any breed in the world, and are pe- 

tions, or is so well adapted for making culiarly suited for caponizing purposes. 




The Cochttt Fowl, per se, is so well 
known throughout this country and Eng- 
land, to-day, that a detailed description 
ol this fine variety of domestic poultry is 
hardly necessary. But our " Talks and 
Walks" would be quite incomplete, did 
we not devote a chapter to this splendid 
breed — which embraces the five distinct 
varieties of White, Buff, Partridge, Black 
and Pea-comb Partridge Cochins, recog- 
nized in The American Standard of Excel- 
lence as separate individual kinds, in this 
favorite Class. 

" We are indebted to England, I be- 
lieve," observed the Doctor, "for the 
earliest and best 'improved ' strains we bad 
in this country, of most of the modern 
varieties of Cochins? " 

"Not at all," responded Mr. Burnham, 
promptly, to this suggestion. " The first 
4 Cochins ' that came to America, under 
this name, I imported myself, in 1848-9, 
from the then famous Queen's stock." 

11 But these were the Cochin Chinas, and 
-were quite a different style of bird to those 

we have at the present time in this conn* 

" So they were, Doctor. But they came 
into Massachusetts direct from the royal 
stock, which had a year or two previously 
been presented to Her Majesty by the Brit- 
ish Ambassador in China. And the origi- 
nals came direct from Shanghai." 

"They were smooth-legged fowls, if I 
remember? " 

"Yes. But they were what were then 
called Cochins — or 'Cochin Chinas.' And 
about the same time (say in 1S47) several 
other importations were made by Mission- 
ary Brown, by Rev. Mr. Marsh, by R. B. 
Forbes, by Capt. Cushing, by Cope, by 
Palmer, and again (in two instances) by 
myself — all from Shanghai, China, direct. 
And all these latter birds were feather- 
legged, as we have them to-day." 

" Still, I think that the Englishman had 
several fine strains of these birds in Lon- 
don as early as '47," insisted the Doctor. 

"Well. I know that our importations 
into Pennsylvania and Massachusetts were 


among the earliest that came from China. 
And I know also that I sent to Great Brit- 
ain, from my own imported stock — which 
we then called 'Shanghais,' and not 
Cochins (though they were precisely the 
same bird in color, form, and points that 
we now know as 'Cochins') a good many 
superior specimens, that were highly 
prized there as breeders." 

"Well, I do not think it of much con- 
sequence who first brought the Cochins 
among us," observed the Major. "One 
thing is pretty certain: they have had .a 
wonderful good run of popularity in this 
country; and their introduction among 
the common barn-yard poultry of the 
United States has proved immensely valu- 
able to the fowl-stock we breed, in all 
directions, since 1847, or thereabouts." 

"Yes, indeed it has," said Mr. B. "I 
remember very well the old days — when 
Dr. Bennett, Capt. Williams, Rev. Mr. 
Marsh, Eben Wight, Col. Jacques, Capt. 
Alden, Capt, Forbes, Messrs. Hyde, An- 
drews, Devereux, John Giles, Ad. White, 
Jona. French, Chas. Sampson and myself 
first came into possession of the early 
Cochins (or Shanghais), and how actively 
we competed with each other for the 
supremacy in the show-rooms, in those 

"And were these birds at that early 
period as fine as those of the same varieties 
and colors that we have nowadays? " ask- 
ed the Major. 

"Every whit," responded Mr. Burnham. 
"Indeed, I can call to mind some of those 
bird?, which became quite notable from 
1818 to 1855, that were very superior." 

" But they were not, at that early time, 
bred to any particular 'standard,' if I read 
aright," said the Doctor." 

"No, we had no standard then, in fowl- 
breeding," responded Mr. Burnham. "The 
aim appeared to be to grow or possess the 
biggest kinds of Cochin cocks or hens, 
chiefly — without especial regard to color, 
or other nice points." 

" And all sorts were bred together? " 

"Yes, indiscriminately, for years," re- 
plied Mr. B. 

" Which gave you progeny that proved 
ringed, streaked and speckled — so far as the 
color of their plumage was concerned? " 

"Exactly — for a long time after we first 
commenced to breed this stock," contin- 
ued Mr. Burnham, "We had the White, 
the Buff, the Grays, the Lemon, the Red, 
the Cinnamon, the Drab, the Brown, the 

Bronze, the Partridge, the Grouse and the 
Black birds." 

"And all were imported originals? " 

" Yes. And each clutch or importation 
was clearly and distinctly colored, as I 
have now enumerated them. While, at 
the present day, many of these distinctive 
colors have entirely disappeared ; and we 
have at present only the White, the Buff, 
the Partridge, the Black, the 'Bralunas,' 
and, lastly, the 'Langshans,' as standard 
varieties. But all are Chinese, or China 
fowls ; and none of these breeds have been 
shown to have come among us from any 
other country, originally, that i"have ever 
been able to discover." 

"The blood of these foreign fowls has 
proved potent, indeed, among American 
poultry " — remarked the old Captain. 
"When I first brought home from the 
East Indies the great Malay and Java fowls, 
now forty years ago, there was no excite- 
ment in this country in regard to chicken- 

"The ^mania ' had not then broken out, 
Captain ! " 

"No. We put these young birds on 
ship-board for eating, on the voyages 
homeward from Calcutta and the Indian 
Ocean. Those we had left on arrival, after 
a six or eight months' voyage, had grown 
to be full-sized fowls. We gave them 
away to our American friends, and they 
bred them among their dung-hill fowls; 
but no notice was taken of the fact, that 
I heard of, for years afterward." 

"But these were not the Cochins?" 

"No. They were East India birds. 
Tall, gawky Malay, Javas, and the like." 

"As I recollect them," continued Mr. 
Burnham, "the Marsh, Forbes, Missionary 
Brown and Cushing Shanghais were the 
finest specimens of China fowls I have ever 
seen, then or since. These were clean 
Buff, clean Yellow or Partridge, and clean 
Golden hued.- In England, about this 
same time (1847 or '48), Mr. Sturgeon's 
clerk, in London, bought on the deck of 
a newly arrived Indiaman (from Shanghai) 
a trio of Buff fowls, at a cost of seven or 
eight shillings each, that were very fine. 
This price Mr. Sturgeon considered very 
exorbitant. But he lived to raise from 
that trio the most extraordinary strain of 
Buff Cochins that ever were seen in Eng- 
land — many a single descendant of which 
stock was subsequently sold for tw r enty or 
thirty times the cost of the original three 
birds ! Among these chickens were grown 


the famous hen 'Queen,' which brought 
twenty pounds sterling ($100) at an auc- 
tion sale in Loudon three years afterward, 
and the noted cock 'Jerry,' at same sale, 
which sold for thirty pounds ($150) gold." 

"And many a trio of both the Buffs and 
the Partridge Cochins have siuce then been 
sold in America at equally fabulous fig- 
ures," said the Major. 

"Oh, yes," rejoined Mr. Burnham. "I 
paid Capt. H. H. Williams, of West Rox- 
bury, in the show-tent at the Public Gar- 
den at Boston, in 1852, $100 cash for the 
first prize Buff Cochin cock at that exhibi- 
tion. And in 1853, Mr. John Baily, of 
London, paid me $100 for a trio of Dark 
Brahmas — one pair of which he re-sold at 
the Birmingham, Eng., show, the same 
season, for $500 in gold ! " 

"Ridiculous prices, these!" exclaimed 
the Doctor. " Surely no such value as this 
exists in a domestic fowl? " 

"An article possesses value according 
to what it will command in the market, 
Doctor," returned Mr. Burnham. "I have 
paid these large prices, willingly, for 
prime birds — and I have received such 
prices, oftentimes, when I have parted 
with favorite specimens." 

"But all that doesn't make the birds 
worth the figures you mention." 

"How else can you manage prices?" 
asked Mr. Burnham. "It is simply the 
result of a standard rule in trade ; demand 
and supply." 

"Ah, yes. I understand your theory, 
friend Burnham. But I tell you again, 
that no Cochin, or Brahma, or other fowl 
that ever was raised on God's earth is, in 
my judgment, intrinsically worth the price 
you have mentioned ! " 

"To you? No. To me — ves ! " 

"Well, I fail to see it." 

"Wait a bit, my good Doctor," insisted 
Mr. Burnham. "At the last State show, 
held at Portland in 1878, I paid $50 for a 
good pair of ten months' old Light Brah- 
ma chickens. At the latter show I de- 
clined $100 for my prize pair of year-old 
Light Brali mas. A pair of Golden Polish 
fowls, imported from England, exhibited 
at this same show, cost the owner $100, 
and he was offered (and refused) $150 for 
them. A well-known breeder of Partridge 
Cochins disposed of his first prize cockerel 
at a Rhode Island exhibition, three years 
ago, for $200! I sold a young Light 
Brahma cock to a stranger, after the Port- 
land show (in Melrose) for $60. And I 

had a standing offer of $100 for my '991' 
Light Brahma cockerel (first at Hartford 
in 1878), which I declined for months." 

"i do not wish to purchase any such 
fowls," concluded the Doctor, good-na- 

"No! But others do, Doctor. That is 
what we breed them for — good birds and 
good prices." 

"Well — about the Cochins, of to-day. 
Which, of the present known varieties, do 
you consider the best, for ordinary uses?" 

"I have little choice, Doctor. I admire 
the clean White birds, for their purity of 
color and grand proportions. We are now 
breeding this variety very finely in this 
country. At the late annual leading ex- 
hibitions there were many coops shown 
that were superior, and which did the 
owners credit in the breeding. I do not 
intend to be over-partial in expressing my 
opinion regarding particular strains of 
birds," continued Mr. B., "but I think it 
but just to say here that Mr. W. B. Dalton, 
of Maine, and Mr. W. T. Fenton, of In- 
dianapolis, Ind., have produced, of late, 
some of the finest White Cochins we have 
ever had in America. A few years since, 
Mark Pitman, of Beverly, showed some 
extra stock he bred ; and W. H. Todd, of 
Vermillion, O., has very good birds of this 

"And the Buffs?" 

"We have not so many good Buff Coch- 
ins in America now as in former years." 

"What is the reason for this? " 

"The stock we have now has been too 
long bred in-and-in. We have not im- 
ported a great deal of fresh blood in late 
years, of this color, and what we have on 
hand has degenerated. There are a few 
fanciers who continue to produce the Buff 
Cochins, who breed them very well. But 
as a rule, I think this variety, compara- 
tively, gives less satisfaction, in the suc- 
cession, than do some others." 

"They are a splendid fowl," said the 

"So they are — when clean bred," re- 
plies Mr. Burnham. "There is a Mr. 
Meekum, of Maiden, Mass., who has some 
fine stock that he cultivates very carefully. 
Mr. Williams, of Taunton, has bred choice 
samples, in late years. Mr. Merry, of 
Ilion, N. Y., has exhibited many fine coops 
of these birds; and Mark Pitman, of 
Beverly, has grown some superb specimens 
of Buffs. But the great difficulty, nowa- 
days, with all this stock is to preserve its 


purity of color. The clear buff blanches, 
or turns drab, in the hens, after the first 
moult, mostly. And this mars their 
beauty, seriously." 

"The Partridge Cochins have been im- 
proved, I think, within the last five to 
seven years," continues the Doctor. 

"Yes — largely, in marking and pencil- 
ing, where this excellent stock has been 
judiciously cultivated. The strains of 
Messrs. Brackett, of Boston, Bradley, of 
Conn., Todd, of Ohio, and several others 
who have given careful attention to the 
breeding of this variety, have become 
notable and deservedly popular. The Pea- 
comb Partridge Cochins originated by Mr. 
Edmonds, of Melrose, are being bred very 
nicely for color, now — after an experience 
of eight years with them." 

"And the Black Cochins?" 

"Are not so widely cultivated as are 
the others. They are a grand good fowl, 
nevertheless. Their color is against them, 
in the esteem of many persons — but they 
breed as uniformly as do any of the species, 
in good hands." 

"You named the 'Langshans,' in this 
connection, Mr. B.," said the Major. 
" What do you think of this breed?" 

"I have examined the Langshans upon 
Mr. E. A. Samuel's premises, atWaltham, 
Mass., and I think well of them. They 
are a Chinese fowl — the origiuals being 
imported direct from the district in the 
north of China bearing this name. They 
are more closely allied to the Black Coch- 
in — I fancy — though their extraordinary 
fine plumage is entirely devoid of the 
brassy hue that is so often seen on the 
Black Cochins. Their feathers are of a 
glossy, purplish-black, all over — upon both 

sexes. They are single-combed, as are all 
the others, and so Jar they have given 
promise of being rendered a valuable ac- 
quisition to the 'improved' breeds of both 
England and America." 

"Are they good layers?" 

"All the Chinese fowls we have in 
America are good layers. There is a choice 
among the Cochins, in this respect, I 
think. I have found, of the five or six 
varieties whose character we have dis- 
cussed to-day, that the Partridge colored 
Cochins are the best average layers, and 
that the Pea-comb Partridge fowls are the 
best winter layers we have. Such, at least, 
is my own individual experience." 

"And as to size? " 

"Ah* well — any of these birds — the 
Brahmas or the Cochins, of any color, are 
big enough. The Buffs, perhaps, may run 
the heaviest, take a hundred, together. 
But the Partridge variety breed evenly, 
and are quite large enough for all useful 
purposes," concluded Mr. B. 

"We will all enjoy our summer vaca- 
tion," remarked the Major, at this point, 
" before we meet again? " 

"And then we will discuss the merits of 
the Brahma fowls — say for September pa- 
per," observed Mr. Burnham. 

"Yes," responded the Doctor. "And 
no doubt our friend Burnham will, upon 
this favorite theme and breed of his, 
be able to 'offer a few feeble remarks' 
that will prove entertaining and to the 

"I will try to, gentlemen," said Mr. 
Burnham, modestly. 

And so — next month — we will have a 
"Talk" about the Brahmas, Light and 


Cockerel 99% Score. 

First at Hartford, Conn., 187S. 

Pullet 98% Score. 

First at Hartford, Conn., 1878. 



"The Brahmas, Light and Dark," ob- 
served Mr. Burnham, at the meeting of 
the friends last month, "are now known 
the world over as the most generally popu- 
lar and desirable improved domestic fowls 

"They are certainly very beautiful birds, 
when well bred," admitted the Doctor. 

"And, for all useful purposes," contin- 
ued Mr. Burnham, "these will remain at 
the head of the list, in my judgment, many 
years — without a real rival." 

"You can tell us all about this variety," 
remarked the Colonel, pleasantly. 

"Well, gentlemen, I have bred the 
Brahmas, now, for nearly thirty years. I 
claim to have owned and introduced this 
breed to the public — from the start. And 
the best 'strains' among all the breeders 
oi: the Brahmas who came after me, or 
who have cultivated this stock nicely in 
the past fifteen or twenty years, more or 
less, can be traced back to the Burnham 
stock, directly or indirectly — so far as I 
have ever been able yet to inform myself 
regarding the true history of this magnifi- 
cent variety. 

"Among the breeders of good Light Brah- 
mas, to-day, we have in Melrose several 
careful fanciers who turn out prime stock 
every year. Geo. C. Bucknam (at the 
Highlands), is an old breeder, and has a 
fine strain of the 'Colossus' stock, which 
give heavy birds of good color, but incline 
to the hue that Mr. Felch describes as 
dark-plumed, frequently. J. Kimball of 
Melrose, and W. H. Bush also, have pro- 
duced hundreds of this popular race of 
fowls, in the past five years, some of which 
have proved very superior samples at ma- 
turity. E. H. Moore the well-known pig- 
eon-fancier, has an extensive hennery also 
upon his premises, stocked with a good 
line of leading fowl-varieties, among them 
several pens of first-class Light and Dark 
Brahmas, that he breeds very successfully. 
I mention these parties, specially, because 
they are my neighbors, and because I have 
opportunity to know that their Light Brah- 
ma stock is among the best that is culti- 
vated, within my personal acquaintance. 

"I shall say very little, here, about the 
origin, of the Brahmas. It matters nothing 
whence they came, or when we first had 


them in America. We have them now — 
pprcad broadcast all over the land. And 
there arc hundreds of fanciers who culti- 
vate them — in every State in the Union — 
to acceptance. 

"I have, myself, bred many thousands 
of them, successfully, since 1849 and '50, 
and other good men in New England, in 
the Middle States, in the West, have also 
cultivated them largely, and creditably — 
as everybody knows. 

u I think that none of us can honestlv 
boast, to-day, that Ave have better ' strains ' 
of these birds — one more than another. 
We all have good stock; and each of us 
may be fortunate, one year with another, 
in producing superior samples, as the 
chances go. 

"But there is with this, as with other 
distinct varieties, a certain method or sys- 
tem requisite to be observed in its cultiva- 
tion, to bring about what is popularly 
deemed the best results." 

"Still," suggested the Major, "I think 
that the Light Brahmas, in the hands of 
the novice or the more experienced breed- 
er, will reproduce their like from well- 
bred stock as truthfully, and as success- 
fully, as will any sort of fowl known 
among us." 

"Very true, Major. The blood of this 
fowl is strong, and it is a certain thing 
that amateur or older fanciers can readily 
raise good Light Brahma chickens, under 
ordinary circumstances — almost anywhere. 
This is a parti-colored fowl, however, 
whose plumage is simply white and black. 
But the nice point in breeding it, is, to 
unite these two opposite hues of color in 
just the right proportions, so as to breed 
the white feathers upon both sexes where 
they properly belong, and place the black 
plumage where it will most perfectly adorn 
the bird's body, in conformity to accepted 
'standard' requirements." 

"And who does this?" asked the Colo- 
nel, interestedly. 

"Nobody," responded Mr. Burnham, 
"that I ever knew. Some of us have ap- 
proached this desirable consummation, in 
greater or less degree, from time to time. 
But a perfectly plumed Brahma cock or 
hen is yet to be seen." 

" You have seen them, surely," exclaim- 
ed Captain R. 

"Never," replied Mr. Burnham. "I 
have bred and raised great numbers of 
superior birds, both of the Light and Dark 
Brahmas, in my time. But a perfectly 

marked fowl of either kind — in all its pro- 
portions, penciling, markings, comb, size, 
and symmetry — I never saw." 

"The recent portraits we have of your 
notable prize birds," urged the Doctor, 
"are certainly very fine." 

"O, yes. And these are exceptionally 
good Light Brahmas. At the State show 
in Hartford, Conn., last January, a pair of 
these exhibition samples were scored by 
four judges as high as 99f points for cock- 
erel, and 98f for pullet. But this was ex- 
traordinary scaling; the highest I ever 
knew; coming within a fraction of per- 

"Well, they were superb samples." 
'So they were. But it is not an easy 
thing to breed many such birds as are 
these, in a hundred, I assure you! " 

"Give us an idea of your method in 
breeding them, friend Burnham," said the 
Colonel, "lam sure you cannot furnish 
a chapter in these ' Talks and Walks ' that 
will prove more generally interesting than 
this may be made, if you will oblige us." 

"I have no objection to this, gentle- 
men; but there are other breeders in this 
country who produce very superior Brah- 
mas every year, whose system in cultivat- 
ing this favorite fowl is quite as good as 
is mine ; and who show us every season, 
in the exhibition halls, how w T ell they also 
can do this thing — we must remember." 

"For example," continued Mr. Burn- 
ham, "although I do not agree with Mr. 
I. K. Felch upon some minor points, I take 
pleasure always in crediting him with hav- 
ing in the past ten years accomplished, in his 
way, more than has an3 r other fancier in 
America, toward the absolute improvement 
and fining down of the Light Brahma race 
of poultry, to its present general quality of 
excellence. And his system of selecting and 
mating, for the production of the higher 
class of these birds, in succession, is sub- 
stantially like my own, in general terms." 

"But he is a 'pedigree' breeder, I be- 

" So are we all. This is the true prin- 
ciple, of course. Mr. Felch was one of 
the earliest advocates of this method, in 
the country. It is a good one." 

"But you don't practice it?" said the 
Doctor. , 

"No. I have never taken the pains 
that Mr. Felch has, in this direction. I 
breed (and have bred; too many Light 
Brahmas to follow up this system as it 
should be done, to make it convenient iD 


my breeding. Yet the plan of cultivating 
a given strain of stock from sires and dams 
of repute and proved superiority, is the 
true way to breed good stock of any sort. 
I know what line of ancestry gives me the 
best average run of birds, from year to 
year. These I continue to breed together 
until the progeny shows signs of deteriora- 
tion. I then introduce new male blood, 
of other strains, among my hens — and so 
keep up the general good character of the 
succeeding product. It is quite imma- 
terial to me where these fresh male birds 
come from — or who may chance to breed 
them — so that, to my eye, they are right 
in general form, color and points, for my 

"But is not this a 'mixing' of quality, 
that is hazardous in fine breeding?" asked 
the Major. 

"Not at all. I repeat it, I know what I 
need among my stock. I know what a 
good Brahma fowl is, I think. So it mat- 
ters nothing to me if Mr. Felch, Mr. Wil- 
liams, Mr. Smith, Mr. Comey, Mr. Todd, 
Mr. Bucknam, Mr. Sweet, Mr. Josselyn, 
Mr. Mansfield, Mr. Woodward, Mr. Ball, 
Mr. Bullock, Mr. Dalton, Mr. Hunt, Mr. 
Sanford, Mr. Cornish, Mr. Buzzell, Mr. 
Plaisted, Mr. Flower — or Mr. Anybody- 
else who breeds good stock, shall furnish 
the cocks I seek, from time to time, to 
mate with my chosen Light or Dark Brah- 
ma hens and pullets. The progeny of this 
breeding is of much greater consequence 
to me. If the chickens produced from 
this combination are good ones, I have 
no difficulty in disposing of them — and 
I do not need any 'pedigree' to help their 
sale. — If they prove poor birds, it is my 

"Others have found the pedigree plan 
an advantageous one, nevertheless," insists 
the Doctor. 

"I know it," responds Mr. Burnham. 
"There is no objection whatever to this 
system. But 1 do not trouble myself with 
its details. That is all. I never did this 
— and it is ' too late in the day ' now for 
me to begin anew in my practice." 

"Well, Mr. Felch has a good strain of 
Light Brahmas," observed the Colonel, 
"pedigree or no pedigree." 

"You are right, Colonel. I agree with 
you. So have I." 

"Yes — we know that." 

"So has Mr. Comey, of Quincy. His 
' Duke of York ' strain was one of the most 
notable ever produced, in continuation, in 

this country. And Mr. C. has, from this 
identical bird, and his sons, probably 
raised and sold more winners, of both 
sexes, than ever came out of any one 
known line of fowl ancestry in the world. 
But Mr. Comey is not a ' pedigree ' breeder, 
except as we all are. He prides himself 
upon his ' Duke of York ' strain, however 
— and justly. He was a remarkable bird, 
and hundreds of his descendants have been 
distributed all over the United States — 
from Maine to California — that have given 
great satisfaction in the hands of their 
fortunate possessors." 

"That is true," remarked the Colonel. 
"Where did this famous cock come 

"Out of the old 'Autocrat' stock, bred 
from the 'Phillips' hens." 

"And the Phillips stock was what?" 

"This was the same as those I sent to 
Queen Victoria, in 1852. Mr. Felch, in 
his recently published ''Amateur's Man- 
ual^ page 81, writes that "Mr. Phillips, 
just before his death, stated to Mr. Comey 
that his flock came from the birds sent to 
the Queen by Geo. P. Burnham." He also 
announces that "in 1866 the purest blood 
of Mr. Burnham's strain was found in pos- 
session of Mr. Phillips, and it was then 
known and handled by both Mr. Williams 
and Mr. Comey, as the Phillips stock." 

"But the 'Autocrat' stock, by itself, 
was quite notable," suggests the Colonel. 

" O, yes. He was a very fine specimen. 
Mr. Estes, late editor of the N. Y. Bulletin, 
tells how he bought this famous cock 'in 
Fulton Market, New York — the seller 
avowing that he was imported!' (See 
Fclch's book, page 89.) Now I have not 
the slightest doubt, and never had, that 
this very ' Autocrat ' cock — which pos- 
sessed all the best characteristics and 
peculiar color of my original 'Gray Shang- 
hai' stock, in a remarkable degree — went 
from my Melrose yards, indirectly, to Ful- 
ton Market, New York. For, had it been 
really an ' imported ' bird, Mr. Estes, Mr. 
Williams, and Mr. Comey, who bred this 
stalwart fellow and his descendants so 
successfully, subsequently, would have 
been pretty likely (I think!) to have learned 
something more definite as to whence this 
'Autocrat' was imported, and in what 
ship he came to New York, in the year 
1866," observed Mr. Burnham. 

"At any rate, the old 'Autocrat' was 
bred first upon the Phillips hens, " said the 


"Yes — by Mr. Williams and Mr. 

"And out of this union came the 'Duke 
of York' bird?" 


"The Phillips hens were from your 
stock, Mr. B.?" 

"Yes — and the old 'Autocrat' also, un- 

"Then why does not this afford a full 
1 pedigree' of all this stock, traced back 
to your originals?" 

tv Undoubtedly it docs. At any rate, 
there is no question that the best descend- 
ants in the direct line, bred by Messrs. 
Phillips, Williams, Comey, Estes, and 
Plaisted, namely, these 'Autocrat,' 'Fa- 
vorite,' and 'Duke of York' Light Brah- 
mas, can be accurately traced to the Burn- 
ham blood. In the case of the 'Tees' 
stock (Philadelphia), it is the same. And 
wherever you may have found the better 
strains of Light Brahmas — either in this 
country or in England, within the past 
score of years — you will find, if you care 
to learn their true history, that directly, 
or indirectly, all these so-called different 
'strains' originated from eggs sold by 
me, or from chickens sent from my Mel- 
rose yards. But again I say, all this is of 
no consequence. The facts speak for them- 
selves, and the birds are no better (nor no 
worse) for their origin.'''' 

"Still, we all like to know the truth," 
observed the Doctor, approvingl} r . 

"Yes, that is natural, I am aware," re- 
plied Mr. B. "But, as I have many times 
said, a great deal too much has been writ- 
ten upon this single point, of ' Brahma 
fowl origin,' and it is not surprising to me 
that the poultry fraternity have tired of 
this wearying and valueless controversy. 
As to breeding this stock, judiciously," 
continued Mr. Burnham, "we have much 
to learn, yet. 

"I have already stated that the most 
difficult thing to manage, at the present 
time, in producing accepted 'standard' 
Light Brahmas, is to get good color in the 
plumage. The pea-comb is of course in- 
dispensable, and should be as perfectly 
formed as it is possible to attain. Size 
and proportion in body and limb, will 
nowadays take care of themselves, ordina- 
rilly. Weak, drooping wings, or wry 
tails, must be avoided. Long necks, and 
longer shanks, on the cocks, are a serious 
fault. FuU leg-feathering — devoid of a 
show of vulture-hock — is a desideratum. 

A good length of body, and ample full- 
ness of the breast in both cocks and hens,' 
is very desirable. The larger the pullets 
and hens used, the better. But monster 
cocks do not commonly prove profitable or 
useful, as breeders." 

"Then, as to color?" 

"Yes. Judges differ in their opinions 
as to what this should be, precisely," re- 
marked Mr. Burnham. "For years and 
years, the under color upon the Light 
Brahmas, for instance, has been accepted 
in the show-pen, whether it chanced to be 
dark or light — other things being equal in 
excellence. Within three or four years, 
although the American Standard allows 
this to pass as 'white or bluish white,' 
an authorized judge decides that the com- 
mon darker hue disqualifies ! And so, to win 
under this arbitrary judgment, the under- 
color of Light Brahmas must be white." 

"Yet, I read in Mr. Felch"s late work, 
to which you have just referred us," ob- 
served the Colonel, "that in all the re- 
markable stock you mention as having 
been bred by Messrs. Williams, Comey 
and Estes, out of old 'Autocrat,' k Duke 
of York,' etc., and in subsequent crosses 
of these, 'the dark under-color prevailed.' 
Again, Mr. Felch says ' all the crosses of 
this old bird with the Felch stock resulted 
in dark-plumaged birds.' And 'Colos- 
sus,' another splendid stock-bird out of 
old 'Autocrat' and the Phillips (Burn- 
ham) hens, bred darh under-color upon 
his progeny — as did all the rest — for many 
years in succession." 

"Very true, Colonel. But all this oc- 
curred before the new light was let in 
upon the dimmed vision of us ' old breed- 
ers,' who were deemed superannuated in 
our opinions regarding this nice matter of 
color in the under-plumage of Light Brah- 

"It seems to me, then, that this judg- 
ment is more nice than wise," remarked 
the Doctor. 

'And nineteen-twentieths of all the 
Light Brahma breeders in America agree 
with vou, mv dear Doctor," responded 
Mr. Burnham." "But what of that? The 
official judge in our show-rooms pro- 
nounces his ipse dixit, and down go the 
Light Brahma birds of four-fifths of the 
contributors, publicly 'disqualified for 
dark under-plumage.' And there is no 
appeal from this decision!" 

"But cannot this be avoided in breed- 
ing?" asks the Doctor, dubiously. 


"As a rule — no. This dark under-fluff 
was a fixed characteristic in my original 
stock. It continued to be bred (as Mr. 
Felch avers) through all variations of sires 
and dams that succeeded the Queen's 
stock, the Phillips hens, the Estes cross- 
ings, the Williams, the Comey, and the 
Felch breeding, my own cultivating and 
crossing and recrossing — almost invari- 
ably, for more than twenty years. It was 
'bred in the bone'; and was part and 
parcel of the original conformation of the 
true Light Brahma birds, legitimately." 

"Yet I suppose the dark under-color 
can be bred out of this stock, of course?" 
asked the Colonel. 

" Wherefore? To what purpose?" re- 
turned Mr. Burnham. "What is gained 
by this innovation? Can you inform me? 
It is a part of this Brahma's proper color. 
Natural, original, inherent and uniform, 
in the early stock — always." 

"But isn't the other an improvement?" 

"All changes are not improvements, in 
my estimation, Doctor," insists Mr. Burn- 
ham. "And this, I maintain, is no im- 
provement at all, but simply a crotchet." 

"Well, I am not a Light Brahma breed- 
er," said the Doctor, "and I cannot argue 
the point." 

"It is not a subject for argument, Doc- 
tor. Nature gives this under-color its 
hue. It never was clear white, originally ; 
but was always of the darkish or darker 
grayish cast — so far as all early observa- 
tion went. But, suddenly 'a Daniel 
comes to judgment' among us. A young 
man appears upon the tapis, three or four 
years ago, as umpire at a leading New 
England State show, who declares that, as 
he construes the letter of the Standard, 
this dark under-color doesn't properly be- 
long to exhibition Light Brahmas; and a 
few accidentally white under-fluff birds in 
that exhibition bear off the palm and the 
prizes for super-excellence, under the per- 
emptory decision of v this novice, to the 
dismay and astonishment of scores of ex- 
perienced good breeders of this variety of 
stock, who protest against this fiat in 
terms not to be misunderstood, but with- 
out avail." 

"And the managers of the association 
sustained this judge," replied the Doctor. 

"So they did. And, under all the cir- 
cumstances, perhaps they did just what 
they should have done. But this does not 
change the fact I have presented to you 
to-day. I was not an exhibitor at this 

show. And, personally, I had no interest 
in that judgment, on the occasion referred 
to. But I tell you, Doctor, and gentle- 
men, this decision is erroneous. And 
when Mr. Magrane — the courteous and 
polite, but grossly mistaken judge alluded 
to — has bred and seen and examined as 
many thousand Light Brahma fowls as I 
have, or as I. K. Felch, W. H. Todd, C. 
C. Plaisted, Philander Williams, E. C. 
Comey, Henry S. Ball, B. S. Woodward, 
George C. Bucknam and a hundred other 
American fanciers I could mention, have 
bred and handled in the past quarter of a 
century, he will know more about the true 
characteristics of this variety of bird ; and 
be much more competent to render a cor- 
rect decision as to their rightful compara- 
tive merits in the exhibition-room, than he 
now does — at least in my humble judg- 

"Is Mr. Magrane alone in his views?" 

"I know of no other prominent judge 
who agrees with him," responds Mr. Burn- 
ham. "Mr. Felch is opposed to this new- 
fangled judgment, and contends, as I do, 
that the letter of the Standard gives no 
warrant for such decision." 

"If the clear white under-fluff cannot 
be bred upon these fowls, I do not see why 
it should be attempted — or why birds 
accidentally carrying this color below the 
surface feathering should take precedence, 
in any judge's opinion, over the others^" 
said the Major. 

"Jt is a mere notion — or crotchet; a 
false idea of an enthusiastic but stub- 
bornly prejudiced young man, whose real 
knowledge of the natural 'points' of the 
Light Brahma fowl may be ample, though 
in my judgment it is but superficial, Major. 
Still, you must understand me, now. I 
do not say that this white under-color can- 
not be bred, at all ; but I contend that 
where it As produced, it is the exception 
to the rule. Very few birds can be thus 
bred at best, say not ten in a hundred. 
And the attempt to continue its breeding, 
by selections from any strain of well-bred 
Light Brahma stock now known among 
us, must inevitably be attended with 
bleaching the plumage on the outer 
surface of the progeny of these birds, 
and destroying the black penciling upon 
hackles, wing- tips and tail feathers." 

"There remains much to be talked of 
yet about the Brahmas," said the Doctor. 

"But we can print only so much each 
month, Doctor. And we must not make 


these papers prosy, you know. I intended 
to speak somewhat in detail regarding the 
Dark Brahinas. But these came in the 
first instance (in 1853) from the same 
original parentage." 

"The Bark variety?" 

"Yes. I bred the first of these that 
were ever known — and sent many fine 
specimens to England, from my Melrose 
yards, for years subsequently. Like the 
Light variety, they too have a wondrously 
successful history. And they are bred to- 
day from the English stock (which de- 
scend direct from mine) very largely, both 
in Great Britain and in America. The 
superior stock of Mr. Mansfield, of Wal- 
tham; Mr. Sanford, of Providence; Mr. 
Williams, of Taunton; Mr. Sweet, of Buf- 
falo; Mr. Todd and Mr. Seamans, at the 
West; Mr. Perry, of Wallaston, etc., is 
well known and appreciated, everywhere. 
But we cannot farther consider these birds, 
in our present paper." 

"One word more " 


"Briefly, in your experience, what is 
the better mode toward combining the two 
colors we have spoken of to-day, so as to 
produce the 'happy medium' of color and 
penciling upon the Light Brahma cocks 
and hens?" 

"To reach this result most satisfactor- 
ily," concluded Mr. Burnham, "we must 
know what the stock is that we are exper- 
imenting with ; and whether the white or 
the black feathering preponderates natur- 
ally in the strain from which we select our 
breeding sire and dam. But if we have 
no prior acquaintance with the stock, then 
we should choose a light-hackled cock, to 

mate with dark-hackled liens, as a rule. 
A medium dark -hackled, black-tailed cock, 
bred with dark -necked and dark under- 
fluff hens, will give us a majority of chick- 
ens in the progeny quite too dark for ex- 
hibition birds. These will, in nine cases 
of ten, yield spotted-backed pullets, and 
darker hackled cockerels, whose wings al- 
so will be badly discolored. 

"If, per contra, we mate an extreme 
light-hackled cock to thin, light-hackled 
pullets, we can get the white under-fluff 
upon many of the successors; but the pro- 
geny will show little or no neck penciling, 
and will be quite devoid of black color of 
any distinctness in the plumage, anywhere. 
These are what nobody wants. They are 
useless in succession for breeders, they are 
altogether unsaleable, and would not be 
noticed at all in the show-room by the 

"But if we study the prevailing range 
of the two colors in the strain of stock we 
choose from, and mate our breeding birds 
judiciously — setting the preponderance of 
white in one sex against the average 
strength of black feathering in the other 
sex — we shall be pretty sure to get evenly- 
marked chicks . from this combination, 
generally. And among such broods, we 
shall frequently meet with those whose 
under-color is purely white, or palest 
'blueish w r hite,' as is demanded or ad- 
mitted by the letter of our official Stand- 
ard of Excellence." 

"And next month?" queried the Cap- 

"In October issue we will talk about 
Fow r l-houses, Chicken-coops, etc.," re- 
sponded Mr. B. 


The above drawing represents one of 
Mr. Burnham's economical fowl-houses, 
arranged for two breeding-pens of birds, 
and situated upon his premises in Melrose. 

This building is shed- roofed, of bat- 
tened sheathing, ten feet high in front, 
six feet in rear, thirty-six feet long by 
thirteen wide; divided in the center by a 
wire netting partition, and ventilated at 
top and ends. 

Two yards of twenty by fifty feet are 
fenced outside — one in front and the other 
at the west end — shaded by ample out- 
door grape-vines. The entire cost of this 
house, glazing and painting included, is 
about one hundred dollars; and is large 
enough to accommodate comfortably forty 
adult fowls. 

"The fancier can spend as much or as 
little money as he chooses upon the hen- 
nery," observed the Captain. "I have 
found that very good summer buildings 
can be put up, for the accommodation of 
forty or fifty birds — old and young, that 
have a fair-sized run to exercise in out- 
side — for a very moderate sum of money." 

"Oh, yes," replies Mr. B. "The idea 
that domestic poultry require any orna- 
mental surroundings, or buildings for 
their convenience, is a mistake. In our 
New England climate we need roomy 
houses and tight ones in winter-time, of 
course. But during seven or eight months 
of the year all that is required is well- 
ventilated shelter and accommodations 
that can be easily kept clean, for their 
nesting and roosting-places." 

"In exposed situations," remarked the 
Doctor, "where there is danger from in- 
cursions of night vermin, such as foxes, 
minks, cats, rats, etc., it is well to have 
your buildings so arranged that they 
may be closed up after nightfall. But, as 
a rule, there is no doubt that the flocks 
are better off, two-thirds of the year, if 
they can have the open air to live in — at 
all times." 

" Yes. And to have our poultry enjoy 
this free circulation, it is a good plan to 
have the glazed sashes of the house so 
arranged that these will furnish plenty 
of light and sun-warmth, in the four or 
five excessive cold months, and which may 
be removed in late spring-time, to give 
place to wire or tarred-twine screens (of 
the same dimensions), which may be put 
up handily, for service all through the 
rest of the year." 

"That is a capital plan," remarked the 
Major. "And the cost of all tins is now- 
adays but trivial, comparatively. This 
twine or wire netting is an admirable in- 
vention for dividing partitions, and is 
now largely used, also, for fencing, by 
poultrymen who have learned its econom- 
ical advantages." 

"Is this twine mesh durable?" inquired 
the Colonel. "I should think its expos- 
ure to the weather would cause it to rot 

"Well. I have used it two or three 
years," said Mr. B., "inside and outside 
of my fowl-houses, and I find no difficulty 
with it in that respect. The tarred twine 


netting seems to harden with age, rather 
than incline to decay. And friends of 
mine who have used it four or live years 
continuously, have proved its entire util- 
ity and economy." 

" It is a Yankee invention," said the old 
Captain, "but a good one. This netting 
is manufactured in Eastern Massachusetts ; 
and the twine factories that were origin- 
ally intended to turn out their product for 
fish-nets, seines, etc., now supply large 
quantities of their manufactures — of dif- 
ferent sized netting — for the purposes we 
have just mentioned, to be used by poul- 
try men." 

"I first saw the attention of fowl-raisers 
called to this convenience in The Poul- 

while the chicks are growing — say for two 
or three months after hatching. It can 
be made of any length — four, six or ten 
feet long — as is desired. At one end may 
be placed a covered box (or a barrel turned 
down upon its side), which will afford 
protection to mother and younglings in the 
night, or in bad weather. 

We give also (on page 57), from The 
American Poultry Yard, a cut illustrating 
B. S. Woodward's chicken-coop, a very 
neat and handy arrangement of its kind. 
We can only suggest one improvement 
upon this, and that is its size. We should 
advise that the coops be twice as large as 
these are, upon the floor or bottom of the 
cage. Otherwise, this may be set down 

Coop with. Lath. Covered Run for Hen and Chicks. 

thy World, a year or two ago," said Mr. 
Burn ham. "Since then Mr. Stoddard 
has furnished thousands of yards of net- 
ting to his patrons, all over the country, 
I am informed ; and the demand for this 
article is largely increasing — since it has 
proved so handy, so serviceable and so 
cheap for the uses to which it may be 
appropriated, both inside and outside of 
the fowl buildings — for partitions, for 
fences, for coverings of the runs, where 
high-flying fowls are kept (like the Leg- 
horns, Black Spanish, Dominiques, Ply- 
mouth Rocks, etc.). For myself, I can say 
that I have never found, anything so well 
adapted to its purpose as this is, and surely 
there is nothing that costs so little and 
goes so far, for the expense involved." 

Above is shown a neat and cheap open 
coop for hen and chicks. It is made of 
two-inch framing and laths nailed on at 
the sides, two inches apart. It is light 
and portable, and may be moved about 
the grass-plat handily, from time to time, 

as a neat and useful arrangement, alto- 

"A great deal has been written, and 
more may be said," observed Mr. Burn- 
ham, " in reference to poultry architec- 
ture. But the simpler the hen-house is in 
construction and in its internal arrange- 
ments, the better and the more practical 
it will prove." 

"A good deal of fancy work is dis- 
played upon some houses," replied the 
Captain, "which costs money and serves 
no good purpose." 

"JExcept to gratify the taste of the 
more ambitious or well-to-do poultry fan- 
cier," replies Mr. B. "There is no objec- 
tion to this, at all. If a man has the 
means, and chooses to beautify his premises 
with ornamentation in this direction, that 
is all right. But the average fowl-raiser 
requires but inexpensive buildings for his 
ordinary stock of fowls and chickens. 

"These houses should be substantial, 
if used for summer and winter; if for 


cold weather — when all our birds must for 
four or five months, in the North, be con- 
fined almost altogether within the buildings 
— such houses must be roof and wall tight ; 
and sufficient portions should be glazed, 
upon the south and east sides, to admit 
warmth and light, during the long winters 
we have." 

"But for summer houses," remarked 
the Doctor, "I think your open-air plan 
much the healthiest, friend Burnham." 

"Decidedly it is, Doctor. And I have 
tried all manner of ways for keeping fowls 
and chicks economically and in good con- 
dition, in both cold and hot weather." 

"I know it. And I have proved," 
added the Doctor, "that the common 
lean-to, or shed, open-lathed all round, 
with a battened roof for shelter from the 
hot sun's rays, or the passing shower, was 

closed buildings to winter in. But have 
a care that you do not undertake to house 
too many in one place, under one roof," 
said Mr. Burnham. "Here is where we 
err, again. When the stock is fairly 
matured in the late fall, we too often have 
more in numbers than our housing space 
will properly accommodate, t o carry 
through the winter. And by cramming a 
hundred or two, old and young, into the 
building or buildings where but half this 
number can healthily exist, we shortly find 
disease cropping out among them; and 
then we want to know 'what ails the 
fowls?' all at once!" 

"And what dimensions do you consider 
a fair allowance, under cover, for say a 
flock of fifty birds?" inquired the Colonel, 
who had listened to the discussion thus 
far, to-day. 

Chicken Coop, with Sliding Top in Roof. 


in the summer-time the very best kind of 
a poultry-house in which to lodge the 
fowls and keep them healthy, as well as to 
preserve them comparatively free from 

"This is the out-of-doors roosting- 
plan," observed the Major. 

"Yes. And it is a good one. Fowls 
are thus kept from huddling together, in 
close and fetid quarters, upon lousy roosts. 
Broody hens (in the hot season) thus shut 
out from access to their customary old 
roosts, soon forget their sitting fever. 
Young chickens have the fresh air by day 
and by night through this management, 
and they thrive and come up tough and 
hardy, by being thus continually in the 
clear free atmosphere. My word for it, 
gentlemen, this is the true way to raise 
fowls, successfully. Breed them in the 
open air, until it is too cold for their com- 
fort out of doors." 

"And then !" 

"Of course provide them with good 

"I have many times said that fifty adult 
fowls, in one apartment, are quite as many 
as ever ought to be crowded together. 
Thirty to forty in a room are enough. 
And if kept for breeding purposes, even 
this number should be separated into two 
flocks during the hatching season. 

"In cold winter weather, if the house 
be say fourteen or fifteen feet wide, by 
thirty to forty feet long — fifty birds, in 
two lots of twenty-five each, will do very 
well. If a hundred breeders are kept, 
the floor-room must be doubled in dimen- 
sions, for their convenience; and they 
should be divided into four lots, by wire, 
lath, or twine mesh partitions." 

"And do you think, Mr. Burnham," 
queried the Doctor, "that the house must 
be sixty to eighty feet by fifteen to accom- 
modate a hundred fowls?" 

"In winter-time, when they can go out 
of doors but very little, I consider such 
space quite contracted enough, Doctor, for 
their health. This affords but ten to 


But this is a large hen- 

twelve feet moving space for each bird, 
confined exclusively almost to the house 
for four months, or more." 

"Yes, I see. 

"Not for a hundred good breeding- 
birds, Doctor." 

"Well. The average building of ordi- 
nary poultrymen is generally smaller than 

"True. But they must keep a less 
number of birds, if their space is con- 
tracted. I tell you, in closer quarters, 
fowls will not thrive — even in cold weather 
— and the hens will not lay eggs, do what 
you may as to feeding and care, if they 
are cramped for room to exercise in, and 
are prevented from being able to avoid 
coming into contact with each others' 
bodies, by day or by night, in confine- 

"As to the style of the hen-house," con- 
tinued Mr. B., "I have tried various 
kinds. The oblong square — such as I 
have just now referred to — is ample, as to 
proportions; half as wide as the building 
is long. If fifteen feet wide, say thirty 
feet in length, for fifty birds. 

"This has no reference to the young 
stock that are bred. I am now speaking 
of winter quarters for adult breeding fowls. 
The chicks are kept in their outside 
coops till the cold weather sets in; and 
then all your surplus stock of younglings 
will have to be disposed of — or may have 
been mostly already sold." 

"And these chicken coops are extra?" 

"Of course you will have your small 
coops about the place, each containing its 
score or more of half or two-thirds grown 
birds, up to the latest days of the season. 
They are thus much better off, as long as 
the weather will permit, if they are kept 
in their coops outside of the main build- 

"I agree with you," said the Doctor. 

"This system refers to cases where a 
hundred or two fowls, or more, are annu- 
ally raised on the premises. If a fancier 
breeds only a dozen fowls, and a single 
brood or two of chicks, less room is re- 
quired to accommodate them, at any season 
of the year." 

"Of course." 

"What is of the greatest consequence 
to the interests of poultry breeders in 
general is, to learn how real economy may 
be practised, with a view to proper and 

needful convenience in fowl-raising; that 
is, to learn the better way to realize the 
most out of a given quantity of good fowl 
stock, at the least average expense of keep- 
ing them rightly. And this matter of 
sheltering them is an item worthy of care- 
ful calculation. 

"I have studied this subject earnestly," 
continued Mr. Burnham, "and the past 
five and twenty years' experience has 
taught me that good money may be squan- 
dered in ornamental frippery about the 
fowl-house, of the wasting of which there 
is no sort of necessity. 

"The actual requirements for winter 
are tight-roofed, close-walled, roomy, well- 
ventilated, clean buildings, with earth 
floors, nests and roosts that can be kept 
easily cleansed, and a good share of glaz- 
ing on the east and south sides, for admit- 
ting light and sun warmth. 

"In such a house, or houses, the num- 
ber of fowls to be wintered should not be 
too large for the size of the building. 
Thus they may be kept healthy, and will 
be easily fed and tended. 

"For summer use, the open coops for 
chicks, and the outside roostings-sheds or 
pens for the old fowls, are all-sufficient. 
And such buildings cost but little, where 
lumber is attainable at fair average pri- 

"The fashion of the fowl-house is in no 
sense a material point. In the pages of 
The Poultry Would during the past three 
years a hundred different models are given 
of high-priced and low r -priced buildings, 
any and all of which possess merit, and 
from which designs the most fastidious 
may make his choice. I merely contend 
that there need be no complaint on the 
part of amateurs, or ordinary poultrymen, 
that we 'do not take into consideration 
usually the amount of investment required 
for winter housing of improved poultry' — 
as I see the statement recently made, by 
somebody who had been experimenting 
with a costly house, and found that his 
undertaking did not prove so profitable as 
he had anticipated. 

"We should not fool away money on 
trappings and gewgaws ; but look only to 
the essentials — if we are inclined to be 
economical in the building of our poultry 
quarters," said Mr. B., at last. "And as 
I have shown already, and as this has been 
practically proved by hundreds of other 
breeders, who aim to make this a work of 

57 • 

profit as well as of pleasure, first or last — able and tasteful poultry-house, in these 

the sum of fifty to one hundred dollars for days." 

lumber, glass and twine-netting, with a Our next paper will be devoted to details 

few days' labor by a handy mechanic or of the culture of Turkeys, Geese and Duels; 

farmer, who can use the hammer, axe and an appropriate topic for consideration an- 

saw, will give him a very good, service- nually, in November. 

Woodward's Coop for Hen and Chicks. 



"Thanksgiving is coming!" observed 
the jovial old Captain, as he entered my 
office a few days before November came 
in: "And this is the appropriate time, I 
should say, for us to have a talk about the 
three varieties of poultry that serve to 
adorn the tables of all classes (in New 
England, at least) on the festive day in 
this month set apart by the Governors of 
most of the States of the Union, when the 
people are expected, universally, to 'have 
a social good time.'" 

"Yes, Captain. And you have wit- 
nessed a good many of these pleasant an- 
niversaries — when everybody who can 
contrive to obtain it (and who does not?) 
devours his full ration of roast Turkey, 
Goose or Duck — at the 'Thanksgiving' 

"Aye, neighbor Burnham," responded 
the Captain, "I have passed the three- 
score-an'-ten mile-post; and I remember 
the recurrence of this 'day' fully three 
scores of times in my experience." 

"The Turkey, the Goose and the Duck," 
observed Mr. Burnham, "are among the 
most valuable sorts of poultry that are 
raised, for home consumption. These are 
the largest, and are individually the most 
meaty of all. Comparatively, however, 
in point of numbers, but a small propor- 
tion of these are cultivated in this coun- 
try. And it is a matter of surprise to me 
that so few of these birds are raised among 
our people, when so many might just as 
well be profitably reared and readily sold, 
from fall to spring, or early summer." 

"There is this fact to be considered," 


observed the Major, "in the cultivation 
of these large domestic and water-fowls. 
Turkeys, Geese and Ducks require pecu- 
liar conveniences, ample grounds, plenty 
of range and roomy water-space, if many 
are kept on one place. They are bulky 
in size. Turkeys must have woods and 
pasture-ground to roam in, after they get 
to be ei<?ht or ten weeks old. Geese (in 
any quantity) will not thrive well, except 
they also have ample field-runs and good 
water accommodations. Ducks can be 
reared in small flocks very well without 
this latter convenience; but if bred in 
large flocks they are kept much more pro- 
fitably, and are more easily cared for when 
they have free access to a stream, pond or 
river during the day-time." 

"Your suggestions are quite correct, 
Major," replied Mr. B. "It is true that 
to raise these three kinds of fowl to the 
best advantage in quantities, a good deal 
of land is required; and if it be well 
watered, so much the better. But in 
almost any section of this country, and 
not far away generally from a good market, 
there are hundreds and thousands of acres 
of "poor land," worn-out pastures, wood- 
ed farms, or low marshy grounds, of very 
little use or value in their natural condi- 
tion for other purposes, whereon myriads 
of these birds could be kept to handsome 
profit, if those who own these unculti- 
vated tracts would but turn their attention 
thus to utilizing them. 

"But we have not the space to go into 
details as to the better modes of hatching 
and raising these birds. Given the stock, 
brought forward to maturity in good con- 
dition — at this season of the year — we 
will in this chapter discuss the work of 
fattening and preparing Turkeys, Geese 
and Ducks for market." 

"A friend of mine in I^hode Island," 
said the Captain, "has been a fortunate 
cultivator of Turkeys for several years 
past. Until within some seven or eight 
years he has bred the 'Karraganset ' va- 
riety, and very satisfactorily. Latterly, he 
has introduced upon his old farm the great 
'Bronze' Turkey, which he procured 
first in 1870 from the Western country. 
And he now turns out every season some 
splendid flocks of this cross, individually 
of enormous size, that bring a good price 
in November and December, for Thanks- 
giving and Christinas." 

"What is his method of cultwre, Cap- 

"A very simple one. He has plenty of 
both pasture and woodland for their range 
and comfort. But he feeds w T ell, from the 
time when the young birds 'shoot the 
red' down to killing-day. For four or 
five weeks just before the holidays, his 
plan of final fattening is to increase the 
cooked vegetable and meal allowance, 
adding whole corn at night — as much as 
they will eat. 

"He sets his earliest Turkey eggs under 
hens — giving each fowl but nine eggs. 
Later in the spring he doubles this number 
of eggs, and gives all his broody hen 
Turkeys a season of rest at sitting. He 
feeds his young poults, for two weeks 
after hatching, upon milk-curd, scalded 
wheat bran and hard-boiled eggs, mixed 
with finely-chopped onions or onion tops. 
Of this he gives them all they will eat up 
clean five or six times a day." 

"That is somewhat of a task," sug- 
gested the Colonel, "if your friend 
breeds many clutches, I should say." 

"Well. He makes a business of poul- 
try raising for profit, by marketing it. 
He gives his time and attention to it con- 
stantly, and finds that he can make a very 
good living out of it, for a large family. 
If he did not thus apply himself to the 
work, lie would be better off not to at- 
tempt it 'by wholesale' at all. Good 
Turkeys, Geese or Ducks can be produced, 
to profit, only as can other kinds of poul- 
try, Colonel. They must be well tended 
to make them pay, you know." 

"True — you arc right, Captain." 

' ' After fifteen days old his young poults 
have ground oats and cracked corn, with 
plenty of fresh water, or the surplus milk 
of the old farm, for drink. They are 
kept confined (on the ground) in boarded 
pens until they get strong and well for- 
ward — say six to eight weeks old. Then 
the hens and chicks are allowed to go to 
the woods and fields for forage during the 
day; being shut up at night regularly and 
liberated in the morning, after the dew is 
dried away from the grass, until they are 
three or four months old. Thus he loses 
very few from disease or cramps, and they 
go through the summer prosperously. At 
night a full feed of crushed grain is given 
them; and each morning, when they are 
let out to range, a good breakfast of grain, 
alternated with cooked corn-meal and 
vegetables, keeps them in constant thrift 
while growing. 

"In the fall, say during this month and 


the last, the Turkeys are fattened for 
slaughtering. Thanksgiving and Christ- 
mas-time are the harvest days for the 
Turkey-raiser. And my friend has a good 
supply, every year; which he sells from 
time to time at this season at the best cur- 
rent prices, for quality." 

4 'And his method of fattening?" 

"Is simply an increase of the same 
food he gives them all summer, with what 
they will eat of sound whole corn at the 
evening feed. His birds are mostly in 
good condition to kill at any time after 
they are six months old, you observe, since 
he finds it the better plan to keep them 
always well fed. And so when he is ready 
to put them up for market, he needs but 
fifteen or twenty days extra feeding to 
place them in their best condition for the 

"And the introduction of the Bronze 
gobblers increases the size, you say?" 

"Oh, very largely. Seven to eight 
months old gobblers will draw eighteen 
to twenty pounds each ; and hens of the 
same age twelve pounds or more — on the 
average. I have seen yearling males with- 
in three years that drew thirty pounds on 
the scales; and even heavier birds than 
this have been exhibited at recent shows. 
General Mattocks at Portland, in 1878, 
showed two and three-year-old gobblers 
and hens whose live weights considerably 
exceeded those I have mentioned." 

"The rearing of Geese and Ducks," 
remarked Mr. Burnham, "may be made 
highly profitable, if the proper surround- 
ings and conveniences are at hand. Enor- 
mous quantities of both these aquatic fowl 
are annually required for family consump- 
tion and for sale in our city markets, at 
the hotels, restaurants, etc. 

"The Goose is easily raised, since it is 
a hardy bird, and is little subject to dis- 
ease. It is the longest-lived bird of all 
known varieties of domestic fowl. The 
late Rev. Mr. At wood, of Big Flats, IS". 
Y., sent me the photograph of one of this 
race, just before his death, that was nearly 
seventy years old. And in a late number 
of The Poultry World I saw an account 
given of one that died near Baltimore at 
fifty-three years of age. Either of these 
specimens, however, would probably have 
proved rather a 'tough customer,' had it 
been slaughtered for eating! 

"The goslings hatched in the spring 
annually are those that are commonly fur- 
nished us at the end of the year for the 

table. Where they can enjoy a good pas- 
ture range, and the sheet or stream of 
water they naturally delight in, Geese will 
flourish and grow to good proportions, 
from February or March to December. 

"They should be fully fed from about 
the first of November to Christmas, to 
render them meaty, and to put them in 
the best trim to kill. They need a good 
supply of green food always. They de- 
vour great quantities of coarse grass in 
the swamps and pastures where they roam. 
In addition to this, when being fattened, 
they should have a generous allowance of 
mashed boiled potatoes and bran, twice a 
day, with a variation of boiled corn-meal 
or oatmeal mixed with the vegetables. 

"Geese kept as breeding stock (espe- 
cially the White variety), after their first 
year will yield a pound of valuable feath- 
ers each, if they are plucked just before 
going into moult. These feathers are 
always saleable, and the price obtained for 
this annual yield will go far toward pay- 
ing for their extra feed. 

"Ducks may be similarly treated and 
fed to advantage. Either the Goose or 
the Duck are inordinate gormandizers, it 
is true. They will eat voraciously, and it 
requires some patience to supply their 
wants fully, when corn and grain is high 
priced. But if they have access to the 
pond or running water, they will forage 
largely for their daily sustenance during 
the summer and early fall, ordinarily. 

"In six weeks from the time they are 
taken up to fatten, at last, they will 
nearly double their weight, if given all 
the nourishing food they will devour. 
This will 'pay.' Good plump green 
Geese and well-rounded mongrel Ducks 
will always find a ready sale in market. 
And the larger breeds — such as the Emb- 
den or Bremen, the Hong Kong and the 
Toulouse Goose, or the Pekin, Aylesbury 
and Rouen Duck — make splendid roasters 
for the winter and spring sales. While 
the inferior, skinny, stinted, half-fed birds 
of either species will be found unsaleable 
and undesirable, comparatively. 

"It has long been my opinion, gentle- 
men," concluded Mr. B., "that while we 
fanciers of improved poultry are doing 
our best to produce the higher grades of 
modern fowls, it were well if our farmers 
and others, who have the proper locations 
where Turkeys, Geese and Ducks may be 
reared so handily, should give more atten- 
tion to the cultivation of the latter. 


"There is money in it, if it be properly 
managed. A few hundred dollars can be 
realized every year, and are now so made, 
upon some of the played-out farms to 
which I have alluded. But when so good 
an opportunity is presented to utilize these 
otherwise almost waste places, it would 
seem that if those who hold such terri- 
tory can be made to appreciate the hint 
herein given, they would gladly turn their 
estates to some account by raising upon 
them such really valuable poultry as could 
there be cultivated in numbers, at small 

i 'There are large quantities of these 
fowl produced already in New England, 
every year," suggests the Colonel. 

"Yes, so there are. But there may very 
many more be turned out annually and to 
profit; not only in New England, but 
elsewhere in the Middle States and at the 
West," replied Mr. B. "And where there 
is so certain and so steady a demand for 
this kind of poultry meat — in every city 

in the Union, year after year — it seems 
strange to me that our country people 
(thousands of them, in all sections), who 
might turn their now useless, untillable 
lands to such good purpose, fail to avail 
themselves of their chance to raise upon 
these idle lands such profitable and easily- 
managed stock as are good Turkeys, Geese 
and Ducks." 

"Our next month's paper terminates 
this series of i Talks and Wallcs\" said 
the Doctor. 

"Yes. We have nearly completed what 
we commenced in January, 1878," re- 
sponded Mr. B. 

"And the closing chapter?" 

"Will be devoted to the subject of our 
'■Poultry Shows and Show Birds.'' " 

"This will be opportune." 

"Yes. And as the Exhibitions will be 
approaching in December, 1 think we can- 
not conclude these papers more appropri- 
ately than by then referring to that always 
important subject," 


Duplicate of the Cage and Fowls sent to Queen Victoria in 1S52 



"This is the most interesting season in 
the year, to the cultivator of good poul- 
try," remarked the Captain, as the friends 
gathered together for the last time, in 
1878, on a line November morning, to con- 
clude their monthly " Talks," for the 

"Yes," returned Mr. Burnham, "the 
show season is both interesting and profit- 

able in many ways to fowl growers. If 
we could not have these pleasant annual 
gatherings, at which the fraternity of 
breeders and amateurs could come to- 
gether and 'compare notes, 1 our work 
would be deprived of its most useful and 
entertaining auxiliary in advancing the 
progress of our vocation." 

"True enough, this," exclaimed the 


Doctor. "We couldn't get on very well 
•without our yearly exhibitions. And the 
more we have of these the better for all 

"A glance over what has transpired in 
the past quarter of a century," continued 
Mr. Burnham, " shows us how important 
a part our annual poultry exhibitions have 
occupied in the improvement of the do- 
mestic feathered race in America. From the 
very outset", in 1849 (when our first show 
was held in Boston), clown to the present 
day, these exhibits have mostly grown and 
enlarged, and the advancement in the qual- 
ity of the poultry we breed, of every va- 
riety, is enhanced beyond comparison. 

"And to this plan of bringing into 
public competition yearly the best pro- 
ducts of fanciers and breeders of fowls, 
generally throughout the country, are we 
indebted in very large measure for the 
continuous solid success which has re- 
sulted to so many American poultry men." 
," The management of Poultry Shows to- 
day," added Mr. B., "is a vast improve- 
ment upon the system adopted in the early 
clays of modern fowl history. We now 
meet in the exhibition halls with not only 
immensely superior specimens of prime 
poultry stock, but, as a rule, we see few 
cages filled with ordinary or 'old-fash- 
ioned' fowls. Fanciers have multiplied 
largely, too, in the past thirty years; and 
every man, who makes a show of his birds 
at all, fiuds it necessary — be he an old or 
a younger breeder — to put in his choicest 
samples, if he hopes to win, nowadays." 

"You have had a large experience in 
this direction, Mr. Burnham," suggested 
the Colonel. 

"In former times, yes," replies Mr. B. 
"Of late years, however, I have not found 
it necessary or convenient to contribute 
so frequently as was my custom in the 
earlier days. 

"At the head of this final chapter of 
our 'Talks and Walks' I place a hand- 
some and accurately-drawn picture (from 
life, by Mr. I. Poiter) of the decorated 
'Duplicate Queen's Cage' and contents, 
contributed by me at the last Connecticut 
and Maine State Shows, in January and 
February, 1878. 

"This novelty proved highly attractive 
in both those fine shows, and leading 
prizes were awarded to this contribution 
at both exhibitions." 

"These were your Light B rah mas," 
suggested the Major. 

"Yes. And very fine samples they 
were, too," responded Mr. B. "The 
score given by six or eight judges to these 
birds, as a whole, was a very flattering 
one; and at the Maine State Exhibition 
the Society's speeial complimentary pre- 
mium was accorded to this cage of my 
birds by unanimous vote of the Executive 

"The competition at American poultry 
shows, at the present day," said the Doc- 
tor, "is very sharp. As we grow in years 
and experience in manipulating the sev- 
eral breeds of fowls that are recognized 
in our present Standard of Excellence (a 
little work, by the way, that every fancier 
should possess certainly), w T e become not 
only more practically proficient as breed- 
ers, but we constantly find ourselves more 
earnestly anxious to excel in our pleasant 

"This follows naturally, Doctor," ob- 
served Mr. B. 

"I know it. But it is a noticeable fact 
that of the great numbers of poultry cul- 
tivators who embark in this enterprise, ex- 
perimentally, a very large proportion con- 
tinue in the pursuit. And almost all of us 
make it a prominent feature in our business 
lives — after commencing it — through sheer 
love of the agreeable employment." 

"The work of raising good poultry," 
remarked Mr. Burnham, "is a very pleas- 
ant occupation. As a rule, the pleasure 
of this employment grows upon us. It 
has its drawbacks, at times, I know; and 
what pursuit in life has none! In a gen- 
eral experience of fifty years, I have never 
yet discovered the kind of work that is 
free from its disappointments, its vexa- 
tions and its losses." 

"That is true," replied the Doctor. 
"And you might have added that while 
no other branch of rural pursuits is so 
remunerative, first or last, to the econom- 
ical and judicious manager — proportion- 
ately to its cost and the labor requisite in 
its prosecution — so no kind of occupation 
yields to the lover of the business such 
uniform satisfaction as does this." 

"The shows of 1877 and 1878 were, as 
you have remarked, among the best exhi- 
bitions we have ever yet had in the United 
Stafes," said the Colonel. 

"That is so," replied Mr. Burnham. 
"It was universally acknowledged by the 
public and by contributors, that the two 
last years' leading poultry exhibitions in 
New England were, in all respects, the 


finest as vrell as the most extensive ever 
held among us." 

"And the prospect for the coming sea- 

"Is that we shall be able to beat all 
previous efforts." 

"This is encouraging." 

"Oh, yes. If you Avill take note of 
current passing facts, you will observe how 
steadily and positively we are advancing in 
our humble but important calling. We 
have entirely revolutionized the character 
of American poultry during the past two 
or three decades. And one of the chief 
means or measures that have contributed 
to bring about this flattering condition of 
our business is the well-organized public 
poultry show — either great or small — of 

"During the last two ^ears, a great 
many minor local societies have been 
formed — at the suggestion originally of 
the editor of The Poultry World. And 
these lesser associations have some of them 
already had their town or district exhibi- 
tions, which have proved very interesting 
and valuable to those who inaugurated 
and sustained them. Showing clearly 
that the poultry exhibition system is a good 
thing to encourage everywhere, and that 
without it we cannot expect to continue 
to flourish and grow, any more than we 
can by neglecting constantly to sustain 
our favorite weekly poultry paper and 
monthly magazine." 

"Both of these enterprises are the life 
of the poultry trade, of course," said the 

"And both are worthy of the generous 
and hearty support of the fraternity," re- 
sponded the gallant Major. 

"Without the constant aid and advice 

obtainable weekly and monthly through 
the well-managed columns of The Poul- 
try World and American Poultry Yard — 
and incidentally, but steadily year by 
year, of the advantages derivable from 
holding our poultry shows — the lively 
interest now current in our chosen work 
would quickly retrograde. 

"It therefore behooves the fraternity to 
foster these institutions," concluded Mr. 
B. , " and always to bear in mind that while 
they concede to the able journals rightful 
support, as well as to the annual Shows 
their needed desirable approval, each and 
every poultryman may participate — in 
some way — in the success that follows 
upon sustaining these healthy and pros- 
perous organizations and these deserving 
papers, devoted to our specialty." 

"This is good logic," exclaimed the 

"But we must halt here, gentlemen," 
said Mr. Burnham. "Our Talks and Walks 
our now complete." 

"And very pleasant 'walks and talks' 
they have proved," observed the Major, 

"I have enjoyed 
monthly interviews 
Captain R. 

"And I ." 

the record of our 
exceedingly," said 

"And I," chimed 
the Doctor. 

in the Colonel and 

And here the friends shook hands and 
adjourned, sine die. 

The author thanks his companions for 
their advice and counsel, which has been 
set down in these papers at length ; and our 
serial contribution to The Poultry World 
for the year 1878 is now brought to its 



For Poultrymen— six volumes, at 50 cents each. 




With a Portrait of the Author. 



A Companion Volume to the above 
Frontispiece: Modern Tenants of the American Poultry Yard. 




How to mate, breed, handle, and match them. 



Frontispiece: Double-page Chromo of Fancy fowls. 




« With 40 Engravings of the species. 




Handsomely and fully illustrated. 

"Either Book mailed, postpaid, for 50 cents, by the Author, Melrose, Mas-. , by the 
"Poultry WORLD " Hartford, Conn., and the News Companies at New York and Boston. 


Also, Burnham's New Circulars (1878) and 


With valuable Hints and Receipts for Poultry breeders. Price, 25 cents, postpaid.