ie^x^ioiei so oiEivrTs.
By GEO. P. BUKNHAM.
AUTHOR OF DISEASES OF POULTRY," " SECRETS IX FOWL BREEDING," THE
"'GAME FOWL," " RAISING FOWLS AM) EGGS FOR MARKET." ETC., ETC.
IFTTTiTry XT iT iTTSTPLATEJJ.
Copyrighted by G. P. Burn ham. 1878.
"THE POULTRY WORLD/'
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.
THE AMERICAN POULTRY YARD,
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
H. H. STODDARD,
Editor "Poultry Wokld " and "American Poultry Yard,"
2 <D "7-!
STANDARD PREMIUM LIGHT BRAHMAS,
PEA COMB PARTRIDGE COCHINS,
are sent out from my
yards except such as
I use myself; care-
fully packed, but no
warranty given as
of either variety,
shipped as early in the
season as the,)' can be
sent by Express with-
FIRST, SECOND, THIRD AND FOURTH AT PORTLAND, ME., 1878. FIBST, THIED, FOURTH AND FIFTH AT HARTFORD, CONN,, 1878.
AND PLYMOUTH ROCKS.
STANDARD LIGHT BRAHMA.
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
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,
ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS IN GOLD
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.
MODERN PLYMOUTH ROCK.
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. '"
TALKS AND WALKS
ABOUT THE POULTRY YARDS.
By GEO. P. BURNHAM.
PRICE FIFTY CENTS*.
[COPYKIOHTKD BY THE AUTHOR, 1878.]
o. bon U"
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1878,
By GEO. P. BURNHAM,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
PREFACE TO PART SIX.
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.
PLYMOUTH ROCK COCK.
TALKS AND WALKS
ABOUT THE POULTRY YARDS.
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-
"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
"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
"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,
"That proved never so perfect a variety
(or cross) as the others."
"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
"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." -
"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
"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
"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-
"Not at all.
"But the bronze-hued leg can be bred
"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,
"I know it."
"And as to breeding for plumage,"
continued the Captain, "I will tell you
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
"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-
"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."
AMERICAN DOMINIQUES AND WHITE LEGHORNS.
" 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
"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,
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,
"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
"I know it. I am content with the
" 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
"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-
"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."
"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
"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-
"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?"
"Yes, and over that."
"Two hundred and twenty?"
"I have known them to do even better
"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."
"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
"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 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
"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,
"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
THE BIT APPLIED.
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,
CRESTED FOWLS— POLISH, HOUDANS, Etc.
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
" 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."
' * 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-
"Yes — to my heavy cost. But not un-
til after I had lost, first and last, over
three hundred chickens under ten weeks
"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
"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."
"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."
"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
"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
"You have alluded to the timid charac-
ter of the Polish fowls, Mr. Burnham," re-
marked the Captain.
"Yes; they are very easily frightened,"
" 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-
"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."
WHITE-CRESTED BLACK POLISH HEN.
ON CHICKEN HATCHING, Etc.
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-
"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
"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
"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,
"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,
"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
"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
" 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.
ARTIFICIAL HATCHING, Etc.
"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,
"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-
" 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,
''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 !"
THE ECLIPSE SELF-REGULATING INCUBATOR.
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
GAMES AND GAME BANTAMS
"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,
"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
"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
"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
"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?"
"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-
"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
"But the original Game birds — so far as
we know — are claimed to descend from
English and Irish breeding," remarked
"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,
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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.
CAPONS AND CAPONIZING.
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
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
"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
"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
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
"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.
ASIATICS— BRAHMAS, COCHINS, Etc.
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
" 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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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.
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.
BRAHMAS— LIGHT AND DARK.
"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-
"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 —
"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
"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
"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
"And who does this?" asked the Colo-
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
'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
"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-
"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
"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
"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
"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
" 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-
"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-
"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
"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
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-
"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."
"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-
"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
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.
TURKEYS, GEESE AND DUCKS.
"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
"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
"Our next month's paper terminates
this series of i Talks and Wallcs\" said
"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
BROWN CHINA, OR HONG KONG GOOSE.
Duplicate of the Cage and Fowls sent to Queen Victoria in 1S52
POULTRY SHOWS AND SHOW BIRDS.
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"And I ."
the record of our
"And I," chimed
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
GEO. P. BURNHAM'S LATEST BOOKS
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DISEASES OF DOMESTIC POULTRY;
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PART THREE. -
THE GAME FOWL;
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