Home Veterinary Remedies, as Recommended by 19th and 20th Century Vets and Animal Doctors!
Courtesy of www.VeterinaryAdviceAndInformation.com


The Peoples Horse, Cattle, Sheep and Swine book


The Farmers Practical Guide


and please share with your online friends.

POULTRY.                                                                271


Barn-yard Fowls..................... 271

American Breeds..................274


Cochin-Chinas or Shanghais........ 275

Dorkings.......................... 271

French Fowls...................... 272

Game.............................. 277

Hamburgs......................... 273

Leghorns.......................... 274

Modifications due to Breeding......271

Native Country of Barn­yard Fowls 271
Spanish Fowls.....................273

Ducks................................ 284

Aylesbury......................... 284

Ducks :

Black Cayuga.....................  284

Common White....................  284

Muscovy.......... ................  285

Rouen............................  284

Varieties for the Farm, Best.......  284

Word of Caution, a................  285

Geese................................  285

Canada...........................  285

Chinese............................  285

Embden or White..................  285

Gray or Toulouse..................  285

Management, General..............  285

Keeping and Rearing Poultry........  279

Keeping and Rearing Poultry:


Diseases of Poultry................284

Feeding............................ 281

Hatching.......................... 282


Hens for raising Eggs.............. 283

Laying............................. 281

Purity of Breed....................283


Black-Bronzed..................... 286


English............................ 286

Hints, a few........................286

The word Poultry—derived from the French I
poule, hen—is a collective name for domestic
fowl bred or fed for human food and for the
eggs and feathers. In a more recent sense, how­
ever, the term is specially applied to


to a description of the commoner breeds of which
we shall mainly confine ourselves in this article.

Native Country of Barn­yard Fowls.The originals
of the various species of barn­yard fowls were
first found in thickets and other openings of for­
ests, but not in the dense forest itself. The Son-
nerat fowl, a native of the Ghautes, separating
Malabar from Coromandel, is a variety having
a close resemblance to our common barn­yard
fowl. Wild fowls much like our old barn­yard
fowls were found by Damphier, previous to the
discovery of Sonnerat, in the islands of the In­
dian Archipelago. Hence it may be confidently
asserted that our fowls with long flowing tails
are natives of India.

Modifications due to Breeding.The wild species
of Southern Asia and of the Malay Peninsula and
Chittagong were, there can be little doubt, influ­
ential in modifying the large Asiatic breeds of
the present time; and our bantams very likely
spring from the Bankiva jungle-fowl, although
judicious breeding and careful selection have pro­
duced bantams of nearly all the breeds of barn­
yard fowls, including the Games. We may clas­
sify our fowls, then, into the common or mixed
breeds, Asiatic fowls, European and American
varieties, and bantams. We will describe some
of the popular breeds, beginning with the

Dorkings. These are preeminently English
fowls, and general favorites, especially with lady
fanciers, not only for the great beauty of all the
varieties, but even more perhaps for their un­
rivaled qualities as table-birds—a point in which
ladies may be easily supposed to feel a peculiar

The varieties of Dorkings usually recognized

are the Gray or Colored, Silver Gray and White.
The White are believed to be the original breed,
from which the colored varieties were produced
by crossing with the old Sussex or some other
large colored fowl. That such was the case is
almost proved by the fact that only a few years
ago nothing was more uncertain than the ap­
pearance of the fifth toe in colored chickens,
even of the best strains. Such uncertainty in

any important point is always an indication of
mixed blood ; and that it was so in this case is
shown by the result of long and careful breeding,
which has now rendered the fifth toe permanent,
and finally established the variety.

In no breed are size, form and weight so much
regarded in judging the merits of a pen. The
body should be deep and full, the breast being
protuberant and plump, especially in the cock,
whose breast, as viewed sideways, ought to form
a right angle with the lower part of his body.
Both back and breast must be broad, the latter
showing no approach to hollowness, and the en­
tire general make full and plump, but neat and



compact. Hence a good bird should weigh I
more than it appears to do. It is difficult to
give a standard, but we consider that a cock
which weighed less than 10 lbs., or a hen under
8½ lbs., would stand a poor chance at a first-class
show; and cocks have been shown weighing over
14 lbs. This refers to the colored variety. White
Dorkings have degenerated, and are somewhat

The legs must be white, with perhaps a slight
rosy tinge; and it is imperative that each foot ex­
hibits behind the well-known double toe, per­
fectly developed, but not running into monstrosi­
ties of any kind, as it is rather prone to do. An
excessively large toe, or a triple toe, or the fifth
toe being some distance above the ordinary
one, or the cock‘s spurs turning outward in­
stead of inward, would be glaring faults in a
show pen.

The comb may, in colored birds, be either sin­
gle or double, but all in one pen must match.
The single comb of a cock should be large and
perfectly erect. White Dorkings should have
double or rose combs, broad in front at the beak,
and ending in a raised point behind, with no hol­
low in the center.

In the Gray variety the color is not material,
so long as the two hens in the pen match. The
cock's breast may be either black or mottled
with white; the hackle, back and saddle are
usually white, more or less striped with black ;
and the wing often nearly white, with a well-de­
fined black bar across.

In the Silver Gray Dorking, however, color is
imperative. This variety, there is not the slight­
est doubt, was at first a chance offshoot from
the preceding, but has been perpetuated by care­
ful breeding. Colored birds will occasionally
throw silver-gray chickens, and such are some­
times exhibited as “ bred " Silver Grays; but it is
needless to add that disappointment is sure to
ensue, unless the strain has been kept pure for
many generations. The Silver Gray color is as
follows: Cock's breast a pure and perfect black;
tail and larger coverts also black, with metallic
reflections; head, hackle, back and saddle fea­
thers pure silvery white ; and the wing-bow also
white, showing up well a sharply-marked and
brilliant bar of black across the middle. A sin­
gle white feather in the tail would be fatal.
Hen's breast salmon-red, shading into gray at
the thighs; head and neck silvery white, striped
with black; back silver gray,” the white of the
quill showing as a white streak down the center
of each feather; wings also gray, with no shade
of red; tail dark gray, passing into black in the
inside. The general appearance of both birds
should be extremely clean and aristocratic.

The white birds should be what their name

implies—a clear, pure and perfect white. There
is generally in the cock more or less tendency to
straw or cream color on the back and wings, and
this should by no means disqualify a really first-
class bird in all other points on account of it;
but it is decidedly a fault.

White Dorkings are usually much smaller than
the colored, which fact is believed to have hin­
dered the popularity of this truly exquisite va­

The Dorking is not, however, a good layer, ex­
cept when very young; and in winter is even de­
cidedly bad in this respect. The chickens are
also of very delicate constitution when bred in
confinement, and a few weeks of cold wet weather
will sometimes carry off nearly a whole brood ;
they ought not, therefore, to be hatched before
May. But it is only right to say that when al­
lowed unlimited range the breed appears hardy,
and as easy to rear as any other, if not hatched
too soon.

French Fowls.The varieties of French breeds
best known in the United States are the Hou-
dans, the Crèvecœurs, La Flèche and the Breda.

Houdans.This fowl resembles the Dorking in
many respects, and Dorking blood has evidently
assisted in its formation. Houdans have the

Houdan Cock.

size, deep compact body, short legs and fifth toe
of the Dorking, but with less offal and smaller
bones. The plumage varies considerably, but is
most usually white, with large black spangles.
The head should be surmounted by a good Polish
crest of black and white feathers. The wattles
are pendent and well developed, and the comb is
the most peculiar in formation of all the French
breeds, resembling, as has been said, the two
leaves of a book opened, with a long strawberry
in the center; in the hen it should be very small

POULTRY.                                                               273

and rudimentary. Imported Houdans frequently
want the fifth toe, evidently derived from the
Dorking. The chickens feather very rapidly and
early, but are nevertheless exceedingly hardy, per­
haps more so than any except Cochins or Brah-
mas, and are therefore easily reared with little
loss. They are emphatically the fowl for a far­
mer, and will yield an ample profit on good feed­
ing, both in eggs and flesh.

Almost their only drawback is their refusal to
incubate. Many, however, will consider this an
advantage. The bird will bear a moderate
amount of confinement well, but in this respect
is not quite equal to

The Crèvecœur,—This breed is the one most
preferred in France for the quantity and quality
of its flesh. The full-grown cock will not un-
frequently weigh 10 pounds, but 7½ to 8 pounds
is a good average. In form the Crève is very
full and compact, and the legs are exceedingly
short, especially in the hens, which appear al­
most as if creeping about on the ground. In
accordance with this conformation, their motions
are very quiet and deliberate, and they appear
the most contented in confinement of any fowls
we know. The comb is in the form of two well-
developed horns, surmounted by a large black
crest giving the bird a very “diabolical” appear­
ance. Wattles full, and, like the comb, a very
dark red. The throat is also furnished with
ample whiskers and beard. Plumage mostly
black, but in the largest and finest birds not un-
frequently mixed with gold or straw on the
hackle and saddle. The merits of the Crève
consist in its edible qualities, early maturity, the
facility with which it can be both kept and
reared in confinement, and the fine large size of
its eggs. The hen is, however, only a moderate
layer, and the eggs are often sterile.

La Flèche.—In appearance this variety resem-
bles the Spanish, from which it is believed to
have been partly derived, but exceeds that breed
in size, the cock often weighing from 8 to even
10 pounds. Both sexes have a large, long body,
standing on long and powerful legs, and always
weighing more than it appears, on account of
the dense and close-fitting plumage. The legs
are slate-color, turning with age to a leaden
gray. The plumage resembles the Spanish,
being a dense black with green reflections. The
look of the head is peculiar, the comb being not
only two-horned, much like the Crèvecœur, near
the top of the head, but also appearing in the
form of two little studs or points just in front
of the nostrils. The wattles are very long and
pendulous, of a brilliant red color, like the comb.
The ear lobes are dead white, like the Spanish,
and exceedingly developed, meeting under the
neck in good specimens. In fact, no breed

could show stronger traces of its Spanish origin.
The appearance of the La Flèche fowl is very
bold and intelligent, and its habits active and
lively. The hen is an excellent layer of very
large white eggs, and does not sit. The flesh is
excellent, and the fine white transparent skin
makes a very favorable appearance on the table,
which is only marred by the dark legs. The
breed is, however, very delicate, and does not
lay well in winter, except in favorable circum­
stances. As an egg-producer it is as nearly as
possible similar to the Spanish, not only in the
size and number of the eggs, but the seasons and
circumstances in which they may be expected.
In juiciness and flavor the flesh approaches nearer
to that of the Game fowl than any other breed.
The cocks suffer much from leg-weakness and
disease of the knee-joint. They require, there­
fore, special care and the moderate use of stimu­

Breda, or Gueldres — This fowl is of exceedingly
well-proportioned shape, with a wide, full, prom­
inent breast. The head carries a small top­knot
and surmounts a rather short, thick neck. The
comb is very peculiar, being hollowed or de­
pressed instead of projecting, which gives to the
head a most singular expression. Cheeks and
ear-lobes red ; wattles ditto, and in the cock very
long and pendulous. The thighs are well fur­
nished and vulture-hocked, and the shanks of
the legs feathered to the toes, though not very
heavily. The plumage varies, black, white and
cuckoo or mottled being most seen. The
cuckoo­ colored are known exclusively by the
name of Gueldres, and the black bear chiefly
the name of Bredas ; but it is much to be desired
that one name should be given to the whole
class, with simply a prefix to denote the color.
The flesh is excellent and tolerably plentiful,
very large cocks weighing as much as 8 or 9
pounds. They are very good layers, and the
eggs are large. Like the other French breeds,
the hens do not sit. The chickens are hardy,
and the breed is decidedly useful.

Spanish Fowls.—Some of the Spanish varieties,
as the Minorca or Red-faced Black, the Ancona,
the Gray or Mottled, and the Andalusian or Blue
Spanish, have long been prized in the United
States for their great laying and non-sitting
qualities, and as good table-birds, but are too
delicate for a northern climate, and do not do
well anywhere when exposed to wet. To the
average farmer they are not a valuable breed.

Hamburgs.--Under the name of Hamburgs are
now collected several varieties of fowls—Black
Hamburg, Gold and Silver Penciled, and Gold and
Silver Spangled—presenting the general charac­
teristics of rather small size; brilliant rose combs,
ending in a spike behind, projecting upward;


blue legs, and beautifully penciled or spangled
plumage. None of the Hamburgs ever show
any disposition to sit unless in a state of great
freedom, but lay nearly every day all through the
year, except during the moulting season, whence
they used to be called " Dutch every­day layers.”
Hamburgs are strongly commended as a profit­
able breed. Each hen will lay from 200 to 250
eggs in a year, which certainly exceeds the pro­
duction of any other fowl; and if they are gen­
erally small, the consumption of food is com­
paratively even more so. Though naturally
loving a wide range, there is no real difficulty in
keeping them in confinement, if cleanliness be
attended to.

The great difficulty in keeping them arises
from their erratic propensities. Small and light,
they fly like birds, and even a 10-foot fence will
not retain them in a small run. They may, it is
true, be kept in a shed ; but if so, the number
must be very limited. Where six Brahmas
would be kept four Hamburgs are quite enough,
and they must be kept, dry and scrupulously
clean. The penciled birds are also, most cer­
tainly, delicate, being very liable to roup if ex­
posed to cold or wet; they should not, therefore,
be hatched before May. The spangled are
hardy, and lay larger eggs than the penciled;
but the latter lay rather the most in number.
For profit, however, we should recommend the
Black Hamburg, on account of the large size of
the eggs ; and this variety is certainly the most
extraordinary egg-producer of all breeds known.

Hamburgs are too small to figure much on
the table. They carry, however, from the small-
ness of the bones, rather more meat than might
be expected, and what there is of it is of first-
rate quality and flavor.

Leghorn Fowls, except in color, are of the Span­
ish type. The White Leghorn is the most pop­
ular, though some fancy the Brown. The former
variety are among the most elegant of farm­yard
fowls. In appearance they closely resemble the
Spanish, except that the plumage is white, with
hackle or neck, and the saddle or rump feathers,
golden-tinged. But whatever their color, the

Standard White Leghorns.

Leghorns all have the good laying qualities of the
Spanish, without their delicacy, and indeed equal
the Hamburgs in every good point.

American Breeds.—There are only three distinc­
tive American breeds that have gained wide cele­
brity—the Dominiques, the Ostrich fowls and the
Plymouth Rocks.

Dominiques are probably one of the oldest va­
rieties, and resemble the cuckoo-colored fowls
known as Scotch Grays, with the exception of
having rose combs and yellow legs. They are
plump and tender on the table, and capital lay­
ers, and might make a valuable cross for the
Cuckoo Dorking. In color they are slaty-blue
of a soft undulating shade on a light ground all
over the body, forming narrow bands, and deli­
cately penciled among the smaller feathers. The
feet and legs should be bright yellow or buff,




and the bill of the same color. The combs of
the cocks vary, some having a single and others
a double comb.

Dominique Fowl.

The Ostrich breed are highly valued in Bucks
County, Penn.—their native region—for their
hardiness, weight, excellent laying qualities and
fine flesh. The hens at maturity will weigh from
7 to 8 pounds, and often lay as many as 40 eggs
before sitting. The cock‘s color is blue-black, the

Ostrich Fowls.

ends of the feathers tipped with white, the wings
a golden or yellow tinge, the hackle a rich dark
blue; the hens are similarly but more soberly
marked. The cock has a double rose-colored
comb and large wattles; the comb of the hen be­
ing single, high and serrated. The legs are short
and the body plump.

Plymouth Rocks are apparently only a cross be­
tween Dominiques and Cochins. They nearly
resemble Cuckoo Cochins in all but having clean
legs. This breed has never become extensively

popular, and can only be recommended to those
who desire a large bird of the Asiatic type without
the accompaniment of leg-feather. In recent years
an Improved Plymouth has appeared which shows
careful and uniform breeding, and is said to grow
fast, fledge early, take on flesh rapidly, and to
combine excellent qualities as an egg-producer
and as a table-bird.

Cochin-Chinas, or Shanghais.—As now brought to
perfection, this breed presents the following char­
acteristics :

The cock ought to weigh not less than 10 or 11
pounds; the hens from 8 to 9 or 10 pounds. The
breast in both sexes should be broad and full.
The neck can hardly be too short in either sex, so
that it does not look clumsy; and the back must
be short from head to tail, and very broad. The
legs to be short and set widely apart, and the
general make to be as full, wide and deep as pos­
sible. The shanks are profusely feathered down
to the toes, and the thighs should be plentifully
furnished with the fine downy feathers denomi­
nated “fluff.” The color of the shanks is yellow,
a tinge of red being rather a recommendation
than otherwise. The head should be neat and
rather small; the comb of moderate size, straight,
erect and evenly serrated. The ear-lobes must
be pure red. The tail of the hen is very small,
and nearly covered by the feathers of the saddle,
which are very plentiful and form a softly rising
cushion on the posterior part of the back ; the
tail of the cock is larger than in the hen, but still
small and not very erect; the wings in both sexes
very small, neatly and closely folded in, and the
general carriage noble and majestic. The prin­
cipal colors now bred are white, buff and par­
tridge. The white and buff are most popular.

The chickens, though they feather slowly, are
hardier than any other breed except Brahmas,
and will thrive where others would perish ; they
grow fast, and may be killed when twelve weeks
old. The fowls will do well in very confined
space, are very tame and easily domesticated, and
seldom quarrel. They cannot fly, and a fence
two feet high will effectually keep them within
bounds. As sitters and mothers the hens are un­
surpassed ; though they are, unless cooped, apt
to leave their chickens and lay again too soon
for very early broods. Lastly, they are prolific
layers, especially in winter when eggs are most

This breed is considered most useful to supply
the family demand for either chickens or eggs,
or to provide sitters for numerous broods ; but it
is little valued as a market fowl unless crossed
with the Dorking or Crèvecœur; neither will
it be found profitable where eggs are the sole
consideration, and the hens cannot be allowed to
I indulge their sitting propensities.



Brahmas.—The following description of Light
has been carefully drawn up under the
supervision of John Pares, Esq., of Postford,
near Guildford, Eng., well known as the most
eminent exhibitor of this variety for many years

“ Light Brahmas are chiefly white in the color
of the plumage; but if the feathers be parted,
the bottom color will often be found of a bluish
gray, showing an important distinction between
them and white Cochins, in which the feathers
are always white down to the skin. The neck-
hackles should be distinctly striped with black
down the center of each feather. That of the
cock is, however, often lighter than in the case
of the hen. The back should be quite white in
both sexes.

“ The wings should appear white when folded,
but the flight-feathers are black.

“ The tail should be black in both sexes. In
the cock it is well developed, and the coverts
show splendid green reflections in the light. It
should stand tolerably upright, and open well
out laterally like a fan.

“ The legs ought to be yellow, and well cov­
ered with white feathers, which may or may not
be very slightly mottled with black: vulture-
hocks are a great defect.

“ The ear-lobes must be pure red, and every
bird should, of course, have a perfect pea-comb.”

The Dark, or Penciled, Brahmas are similar to
the above in comb, form, symmetry, etc., but as
different in color as can well be. The following
description is by an eminent English breeder :

“ The head of a perfect Brahma cock should
be surmounted by a good ‘ pea-comb,’ which re­
sembles three small combs running parallel the
length of the head, the center one slightly the
highest, but all evenly serrated and straight, and
the whole low and set firm on the head. Beak
strong, well curved, and the color of horn. Wat­
tles full; ear-lobes perfectly red, well rounded
and falling below the wattles.

“ His neck should be rather short, but well
curved, with very full hackle, which is silvery
white, striped with black, and ought to flow well
over the back and sides of the breast. At the
head the feathers should be white. Back very
short, wide and flat, rather rising into a dainty,
soft, small tail, carried upright. The back al­
most white. The saddle-feathers white, striped
with black, as in the neck, and the longer they
are the better. The soft rise from the saddle to
the tail, and the side feathers of the tail, to be
pure lustrous green-black, except a few next the
saddle, which may be slightly ticked with white’
the tail-feathers themselves pure black.

“ The breast should either be all black, or
black with each feather slightly and evenly

tipped with white, but on no account splashes of
white ; it should be well carried forward, full and
broad. Wings small, and well tucked up under
the saddle-feathers and thigh-fluff. A good
sharply defined black bar across the wing is very

“ The fluff on the thighs and hinder parts
ought to be black or very dark gray. The lower
part of the thighs should have plenty of delicate
soft feathers, almost black, rounding off about the
joint and hiding it, but on no account running
into vulture-hocks, which are a great eyesore.

“The cock should carry himself upright and
sprightly, and great width and depth are impor­
tant points : a good bird should show great size
and ‘ look big.’

“ The hen's head should be small, with a per­
fect pea-comb as in the cock, but smaller ; and
the beak also resembling his in the decided
curve and color. Wattles quite small and neatly
rounded, the red ears hanging below them.
Neck short, and gradually enlarging from head
to shoulders. Feathers about the head grayish,
verging to white, and the hackle more striped
with black than in the cock.

“ General make of the back, tail, thighs, wings
and breast the same as in the cock, but of course
in proportion.

“ The color of the hen, except the neck and
tail, is the same all over, each feather, even up to
the throat on breast, having a dingy white ground,
very much and closely penciled with dark steel-
gray. The penciling on the throat and breast is
very important, and is one of the first points
looked at in a prize hen.

“ The hen‘s legs are short and thick, not quite
so yellow as the cock's, and profusely feathered
on the outside with feathers the same color as
the body. Her carriage is scarcely so upright as
that of the male bird.”

With regard to the merits of Brahmas, they
must certainly rank very high. In size the dark
variety surpasses every other breed yet known;
the heaviest cock ever recorded, so far as we are
aware, having attained the enormous weight of
eighteen pounds, and thirteen and fourteen being
not uncommon at good shows; though only
good strains reach this weight, and miserable
specimens are often seen which are inferior in
size to Cochins. They also lay nearly every day,
even in the depth of winter, and if pure­bred
scarcely ever sit till they have laid at least thirty
or forty eggs. When they sit more frequently, the
hen will usually be very brown, and is, we believe,
crossed with the Shanghai. As winter layers,
no breed equals them. Brahmas are likewise
very hardy, and grow uncommonly fast, being,
therefore, very early ready for table, in which
particular they are profitable fowls, having plenty



of breast-meat. They bear confinement as well
as Cochins, but are far more sprightly, and
scarcely ever, like them, get out of condition
from over­feeding.

The flesh, however, though better than that of
Cochins, is much inferior, after six months, to
that of the Dorking ; and this is their only real
fault; but a cross with a Crèvecœur or Dorking
cock produces the most splendid table-fowls pos­
sible, carrying almost incredible quantities of
meat of excellent quality. Such a cross is well
worth the attention of the farmer.

On the whole, there is no more profitable fowl
“ all round " than the Brahma ; and a few hens at
least should form part of the stock of every mo­
derate yard.

Game.—No variety of fowl has been so enthu­
siastically cultivated by amateurs as the Game,
and in none perhaps is there so much room for
legitimate difference of opinion. The varieties
are legion ; and to describe every one would be
hopeless, except in a work specially devoted to
the purpose. We shall therefore only give de­
scriptions of the leading breeds, as written by
Trevor Dickens, Esq., of London, one of the
most eminent authorities on all points connected
with the Game fowl.

The Game Cock, as the undisputed king of
all poultry, requires more careful judging in
regard to shape than any other bird. The
Brown-reds have long been most perfect in out­
line ; but the following description will apply to
a perfect bird of any breed:

“ The beak should be strong, curved, long and
sharp; the comb single, small and thin, low in
front, erect and evenly serrated; it is usually
red, but sometimes darkish red. Head long and
sharp, with the face and throat lean and thin.
Ear-lobes small and red, never whitish. Neck
long, strong and well arched ; the hackle short,
hard, close, firm, and broad in the feather;
Back short, and very hard both in flesh and
feather ; broad at shoulders, narrow at tail, and
rounded at the sides. Breast broad and very hard,
but not by any means too lean or too full—the
last would be useless weight; a good hard breast
is most essential, as it is the most vulnerable part
of the bird. The rump should be narrow, neat
and short, the saddle-feathers close, hard and
short. Wings very strong, and of a just medium
length, well rounded to the body, and carried
neither high nor low, but so as to protect the
thighs. Very long-winged birds are usually too
long in the body, and short-winged birds too
broad in the stern. Tail neither long nor short,
but medium length, and carried erect to show
good spirit, but not ‘squirrel-fashion’ over the
back ; it should be ‘ well fanned,’ or spreading,
and the sickle-feathers of a good round full

curve, and standing clearly above the points of
the quill tail-feathers. Very long-tailed birds
are soft and long-bodied, and short-tailed birds
are too short-winged, and often have broad
rumps; thighs short and very muscular, hard
and firm; placed well wide apart, and well
up to the shoulders, in order to give a fine fore­
hand and make the bird stand firm on his legs;
which latter should be sufficiently long, but not
too much so, and placed wide apart as the thighs.
Spurs low down, long, sharp and rather thin;
curved slightly upward, and not turning in too
much. Feet flat, broad, spreading and thin ; the
claws and nails straight, long and strong; the
back claw especially long and flat to the ground,
to give a firm footing. The whole plumage
should be very close, short and hard, with glossy
reflections, and the quills or stems strong and
elastic. Body in hand short and very hard, and
the general carriage upright, quick, fierce and
sharp. The back is best rather curved, provided
it be flat crosswise, and not hump­backed or lop­
sided. Weight for exhibition, 4½ to 5½ lbs.; for
the pit, not over 4½ lbs.

“ The Hen should correspond in form, but of
course in proportion, hardness of flesh and
feather, with shortness of body, being main
points. Good hens generally become spurred,
and such breed the hardest and best cocks. The
proper weight of a hen is from 3 to 3½ pounds.

A short or clumsy head, short or soft neck,
long body, narrow shoulders, long thighs, legs
set close together, loose or soft plumage, and
especially what is known as a ‘ duck-foot,’ are
serious defects. It should be remembered that a
Game fowl is always judged mainly in reference
to its fighting qualities, and anything which in­
terferes with them is a fault in the bird.

“With respect to the varieties of Game, the
sorts which take nearly all the prizes and cups
are the Brown-red, Black-breasted Red, Silver
Duck-wing Grays, and Piles; all which are cup-

“ The Brown-red is essentially dark in blood,
the eyes being a very dark brown, with a comb
and face inclining to a dark gypsy purple, and the
beak dark also. Breast of the cock a red-brown,
shoulders sometimes passing into a rich orange-
red color. Wing-butts of a dusky or dark
smoky brown, and general color a dark red.
Legs dark iron-brown or blackish bronze, with
dark talons. Hackle with dark stripes, and
thighs like the breast. The tail a dark greenish
black, and the wing is often crossed with a glossy
green bar. The general color of the hen is very
dark brown, grained or penciled with lighter
brown ; her neck-hackle a dark golden copper-
red, thickly striped with dark stripes; and her
comb and face darker than in the cock-bird.

278                                                     THE FRIEND OF ALL.

Good hens are usually spurred, and their tail-
feathers show a slight curve.

“The Brown-red, of all the breeds, take the
most cups at the principal shows. They are also
the favorite breed with sportsmen, and are best in
shape of all; but, like all the dark-combed varie­
ties, are not such good layers as those with bright
red combs.

Black-breasted Reds are essentially red-
blooded birds, the plumage being generally a
bright red, rather deeper on the body than in the
hackle. Red eyes are absolutely essential to
good birds, all others being inferior, and infalli­
bly denoting a cross. The cock's wings are
bright red in the upper part and rich red chest­
nut in the lower, with a steel-blue bar across;
breast bluish black, with glossy reflections;
thighs the same ; tail greenish black, the feathers
without much down at the roots. The comb
and wattles of all Black-reds must be bright red,
and the legs are usually willow-color in cup
birds, though any leg will do if the birds are
bright in color and have red eyes. The general
color of the hen is a rich red partridge-brown,
with a red fawn-colored breast, and reddish
golden hackle with dark stripes; the cock‘s
hackle also is striped underneath, but clear
above. Spurred hens are the best, but are not
so frequent as in the preceding variety.

Silver Duck-wing Grays are purer in blood
than the Yellow or Birchen Duck-wings, and are
white-skinned when of pure breed. General

color of the cock a silver gray; hackle striped
with black underneath, but clear above ; back a
clear silver-gray; breast either bluish black or
clear mealy silver-color ; wing crossed with a
steel-blue bar, and the lower part of a creamy
white ; tail greenish glossy black. Hen a silvery
bluish gray, thickly frosted with silver; breast a
pale fawn-color; neck-hackle silvery white,
striped with black. The comb and face in both
sexes are bright red. The legs may be either
white, blue or willow ; but of course the whole
pen must match, and white leg to silver feather­

ing is certainly the most correct match. Willow
is, however, most common in the legs, but least
pure in blood ; the white- or blue-legged birds
being the true-bred Silver Duck-wings. Eyes
should be red in Willow­ and Blue-legged strains,
and yellow in Yellow­ and White-legged strains
in all the Duck-wing Game fowls.

“The Yellow Duck-wings are similar to the
above except in the straw-color or birchen tinge
and the copper-colored saddle. They have
yellow skins and willow or yellow legs. In this
variety the cock‘s breast is always black, the
hen‘s a pale fawn-color, whilst the silver hen
often has a clear mealy or silver breast instead of

“ Red eyes and willow legs are the only correct
colors for prize Duck-wings; bright red eyes
and white legs for prize Piles.

“ The color called Piles consists, in the cock,
of a bright red piled on a white ground, the
hackle being red and white striped ; the back is
chiefly red, and the breast mostly white, but
often with red markings; the tail should be
white, but a few red feathers are not amiss ; black
in the tail, as seen in the Worcestershire Piles,
is, however, very objectionable. The hens are
red-streaked or veined on a white ground, the
breast redder than the cock, and the tail white,
with a few red. feathers occasionally. The red­
dest Piles are the best birds, and prize pens
should be selected with bright red eyes and
white legs.

Whites should have bright red eyes, and
white legs are essential.

Black Game fowls should have black eyes and
bluish-black legs. Have won a few cups.

Dark Grays ought always to have black eyes
and legs. The hens are very dark.

“ The original wild varieties of Game fowls are
three: (1) The Black-breasted Red, with fawn-
breasted partridge hens; (2) Brown-breasted
Reds, with dark legs, and dark brown (not black)
hens; and (3) Red-breasted Ginger Reds with
yellow legs, and the hens a light partridge-color.
These three colors were probably reclaimed at a
very early period, and are still found in India as
wild birds. From them all the other colors were
originally bred; the varieties hatching dark
chickens from the brown or dark reds, and all
others from the other two sorts. These varieties
can be merely named, and are most conveniently
classed thus, according to the color of their
chickens when hatched :

Light Chickens.

1.  Whites.

2.  Files.

3Blue Duns.

4Red Duns.

Striped Chickens.

5Black-br. Reds.

6Red-br. Ginger


7.  Duck-wings.

8.  Yellow Birchens.

9.  Mealy Grays.

Dark Chickens.

10.  Brown Reds.

11.  Dark Grays.

12.  Dark Birchens.

13.  Black.



“ There are also four other varieties not gene-
rally known, called Red Furnaces, Cuckoos, Span­
gles and Polecats, making at least seventeen
well-defined sorts of Game fowls ; but besides
these there are at least twenty-seven named sub-
varieties, or forty-four in all. To describe these
in detail would be useless, and I shall only, there­
fore, add the following general remark :

“ The best criterion of blood in all Game fowls
is the color of the eyes, a point which has been,
strange to say, totally overlooked in every work
on poultry hitherto published. Black eyes show
dark blood, and the hens of such strains lay
white eggs. Red eyes denote red blood, and lay
pinkish eggs. Yellow or daw eyes lay yellowish
eggs. These last are inferior in spirit to the
others. Brown and bay eyes result from cross­
ing different breeds.

“ The only sorts of much use for fighting are
those with black or red eyes, and the three varie­
ties now usually employed are the Brown-
breasted Reds, Dark Grays (which are strongest
and hardiest of all), and Black-breasted Reds,
with white legs and dark red eyes. The sorts
which fight the quickest are, however, the Red
Cheshire Piles, with bright red eyes and white
legs, the Red-breasted Ginger Reds, with bright
red eyes and yellow legs, and Whites, with white
legs and bright red eyes ; but they have not quite
so much strength and power of endurance. The
Black-breasted Reds with willow legs are gene­
rally too slow and soft for the pit, as are the
Blacks also.

“ The best layers are the Black-breasted Reds
with willow legs, the hens being partridge-color;
and Red Cheshire Piles with white legs. The
worst layers are the grays, Dark Grays and Dark
Birchens being worst of all. With the exception
of these, Game fowls lay remarkably well, and in
favorable circumstances will, I believe, surpass
any breed. My willow-legged Black-breasted
Red hens have averaged from 211 to 284 eggs
per annum. To reach this, however, they will
require a good run, but if well attended to are
always good layers. It is worth remarking that
yellow­ and blue-legged birds generally lay best
in all poultry.

“ Game-cock chickens should be shown un-
dubbed; but at their first Christmas they become
' stags,’ and should then have their comb and
wattles taken neatly and closely off with a very
sharp pair of scissors.

“ Different varieties ought not to be crossed,
but kept distinct. In breeding either for stock
or exhibition, nothing is so necessary as to have
a good proportion of cocks. There should be
one to every six hens at least; and as in a large
yard it is impossible, from their pugnacity, to
keep more than one full-grown brood-cock, there

should be a good supply of fine young birds or
‘ stags ‘ kept under him, and breeding with the
hens, when all the eggs will be fecundated, and
the chicks vigorous and healthy. This is the
only way of breeding good stock from a large
yard ; and it is of course preferable, when prac­
ticable, to keep each cock to his own limited
family of hens. Pullets ought never to be bred
from at all, and should be kept away from the
cocks, using their eggs for household purposes.
Good old birds will always breed strong chickens,
and in this breed it scarcely matters how old they
are so long as they remain strong and healthy.
The breeding-pens should be selected with great
care, not from the largest, but from the best-
shaped and strongest birds. The more cock
chicks in a brood the better, as it is always an
evidence of strength and vigor in the strain ;
and the pullets, though fewer, are finer and
handsomer birds invariably.

“ Game eggs should not be hatched before the
21st of March nor after the end of May. This
breed is of warmer blood and stronger constitu­
tion than any other, and the chicks consequently
hatch earlier, often breaking the shell at the end
of the nineteenth day. As soon as they begin
to fight, the cocks should be separated, and, if
possible, put out to ‘ walk ‘ at a farm; the pullets
will rarely injure themselves, and their quarrels
are only amusing.”

On the whole, this breed is pronounced the
very one for a country gentleman who can give
his fowls ample range; and it will in such cir­
cumstances afford a constant and abundant sup­
ply of the most delicious eggs and meat to be
obtained. Their good laying qualities may also
recommend them to the farmer in some locali­
ties. But they cannot be considered a profitable
breed for domestic purposes in general, or to
those whose object in poultry-keeping is to sup­
ply the market with table-birds.

Hen-Houses.—Until proper housing accommo­
dation is provided, the sort of prejudice that ex­
ists with many farmers against poultry, as being
more destructive than profitable, is not likely to
be removed. Of course, when the fowls have a
cold, damp, imperfectly thatched, irregularly
cleaned, ill-lighted habitation, and are otherwise
inadequately attended to, they do become more a
pest than a pleasure or profit, for they stray away,
roosting in the cow­house, the stable, or the
cart-sheds, and thus court the hostility alike of
the farmer, cattleman, and horseman. Eggs, too,
are dropped in nearly every conceivable place

j about the barns, and often not discovered till
either rotten or broken. In this carelessly kept

I state the mischievous propensities of the fowls

280                                                    THE FRIEND OF ALL.

are fully demonstrated. During the day they
cater the most of their food on the grass and
other fields, and about the barns, often doing
mischief. Treated in this manner, eggs are com­
paratively few, and the birds are not so big nor
so valuable in any respect.

That poultry can be kept with profit seems
undoubted, if the animals are properly treated.
One of the primary if not the principal means to
this profitable end, however, is unmistakably
good house-accommodation; and though hen-
houses are rapidly improving, there is still much
to accomplish in this direction.
The results would amply reward any additional
trouble and expense involved by a more speedy
substitution of comfortably erected hen-houses
for the pitiful sheds still existing in some parts,
though happily on the wane. Without clean­
liness and warmth in the hen-house, any amount
of attention otherwise will not realize nearly the
maximum profit. Every poultry-house should
be well cleaned at least once a week, to free it
from vermin, hurtful odors, etc. At farms and
other places where a great stock of poultry is
kept, a proper house, with separate accommoda­
tion for the different varieties, should be pro­
vided. The hen-house should have at least four
compartments and a court­yard. The annexed
figure exhibits the requisite
accommodation: a a, the
court­yard; b b, for ducks
and geese, the apartment for
which is at c, with laying
and hatching nests, d; g,
the roosting-house for hens
and turkeys; e, the hatching-
house; and f, the apartment for laying. Each
compartment should be provided with a shutter-
door, which must be closed every night. If,
through inattention, the hen-house should be­
come tainted, the health of its inmates will be
greatly endangered. A new site should be
chosen, and another house erected, or fumigation
resorted to. Care should be taken in the selec­
tion of the site to have it on a dry, sloping piece
of ground, with a southern exposure, and well
sheltered. Ventilation, light and warmth ought
never to be lost sight of in the construction of
these houses. Into the more modern poultry-
houses steam heating-pipes have been intro­
duced, which admit of the hatching of chickens
early in spring very successfully, and keep the
hens in laying trim over the most of winter. The
enhanced price of eggs in winter, and the advan­
tage of getting chickens early into the market, are
declared by those who have experience to repay
fully the cost of the artificial heating. The roof
should be quite weather-tight, as poultry never
thrive when exposed either to cold draughts or

Fig. i.

moisture. The interior should be at least six
feet high, for the convenience of the person who
cleans the house. The perches should be placed
so that the fowls on the top row may not be im­
mediately above those on the second, and so on;
a hen-ladder must be provided, but this, like the
roosts, should not be too high, as fowls are apt to
injure themselves by flying from lofty perches.
The floors should be strewn with sand or dry
earth, and swept clean every day: those sweep-
ings will be found most useful for the garden.
The door should be kept open in fine weather
for the sake of ventilation; it should also have a
hole at the bottom, with a sliding panel.
The laying-boxes require frequent washing

Fig. 2.—Poultry-Pen.

with hot lime-water inside, to free them from
vermin, which greatly torment the sitting hens.
For the same purpose, poultry should always
have a heap of dry sand or fine ashes laid under
some covered place or shady tree, near the yard,
to dust themselves in, this being their resource
for getting rid of the vermin with which they
are annoyed. The poultry-yard should contain
some lime in a dry mortar state, of which the
fowls eat a little. It is necessary for the for­
mation of the egg-shell. If possible, also, the
yard should include a patch of grassland.

Fig. 2 represents a section of a range of pens
for the exhibition of poultry of the various kinds,



constructed on the principle of showing all the I
animals of the same species under the same
light, and the same conditions generally. The
suit of ground-compartments is adapted for
geese, ducks, turkeys, rabbits; the next stage is
for gallinaceous fowls of the various breeds;
and the upper stage is provided with a perch for
pigeons, and might also be used for dwarf-fowls.
It is a French design.

Feeding.—Most persons are doubtless aware
that fowls swallow food without mastication.
That process is rendered unnecessary by the
provision of a crop, an organ which is somewhat
similar to the first stomach of the cow, and in
which the food from the gullet is macerated, and
partly dissolved by secreted fluids. From the
crop the food passes downward into a second
small cavity, where it is partly acted on by a
digestive juice; and finally it is transferred to
the gizzard, or last stomach, which is furnished
with muscular and cartilaginous linings of very
great strength. In the gizzard the partially
softened food is triturated, and converted into a
thin paste, fit to be received into the chyle-gut,
and finally absorbed into the circulation. Such
is the power of the gizzard in almost all kinds of
poultry, that hollow globes of glass are reduced
in it to fine powder in a few hours. The most
rough and jagged bodies do no injury to the
coats of the gizzard. Spallanzani even intro­
duced a ball of lead, with twelve strong needles
so fixed in it that their points projected a fourth
of an inch from the surface, and the result was
that all the needles, with the exception of one
or two, were ground down in a short time to
the surface of the ball, while those left were re­
duced to mere stumps. To add to the tritu­
rating powers of the gizzard, fowls are gifted
with the faculty of swallowing gravel with their

Fowls, when left to roam at large, pick up all
sorts of seeds, grains, worms, larvæ of insects, or
any other edible substances they can discover,
either on the surface of the ground or by scrap­
ing. They also pick a little grass as a stomachic.
The more that hens can be allowed to run about
to gather their food, provided always their
housing is good and supplementary feeding
judicious, the better for their health and for the
pockets of the owner. It has been demonstrated
that some of the more fashionable breeds will
turn out remunerative even when kept in com­
parative confinement and fed artificially; but
this process requires the strictest attention to
character of the diet, and considerable skill in
the produce of poultry.

Going at large over a farm, the fowls at certain
seasons damage some kinds of crops, and in con­
sequence the number of birds fed in large yards

regularly, in comparative confinement, especially
about the larger farms, is gradually increasing.

In a state of domestication, the hard food of
which fowls seem most fond are peas, barley,
oats, etc.; and besides a proportion of these, they
may be given crumbs of bread, lumps of boiled
potatoes, not too cold, cabbage, turnips chopped
small, etc. They are much pleased to pick a
bone ; the pickings warm them, and excite their
laying propensities. If they can be supplied
with caterpillars, worms or maggots, the same
end will be served. Any species of animal food,
however, should be administered sparingly; and
the staple articles of diet must always be of a
vegetable nature. They should be fed three
times a day. When wanted for the table, the
quantity of food may be increased, and be more
substantial; they should also be kept more with­
in the coop, and as quiet as possible. A fort­
nights feeding in this way will bring a fowl of a
good breed up to a plump condition. The
flavor of the chicken on the table will be en­
riched by feeding for ten days or so with oat and
barley meal, and with a little sweet milk to
drink. To be valuable in the nest, or on the
table, none of those fashionably bred, early
matured fowls should be kept longer than two
years, though many, indeed most, of the old
barn-door birds are kept with advantage longer.

The duties of hen-wife should be discharged
constantly by one and the same person, as the
voice and presence of a stranger scare the fowls,
and disturb the operations of the hen-house.
The profits of the poultry department are very
often considerably lessened by a breach of the
above rule, by intrusting the duties of the hen-
wife to perhaps, in the case of a large growing
family, half a dozen different individuals in one
day, and occasionally to mere urchins.

Laying.—The ordinary productiveness of the
hen is truly astonishing, as it usually lays, in the
course of a year, 200 eggs, provided it has not un­
natural confinement, is well fed, and has a plenti-
ful supply of water. Instances have been known
of hens laying 300 in a year. This is a singular
provision in nature, and it would appear to have
been intended peculiarly for the use of man, as
the hen usually incubates only once in a year, or
at most twice. Few hens are capable of hatching
more than from twelve to fifteen eggs ; so that,
allowing they were all to sit twice a year, and
bring out fifteen at a time, there would still be at
least 170 spare eggs for the use of man. It is
therefore evident that, in situations where hens
have comparative freedom, are well fed, and
otherwise carefully attended, they must prove
very profitable. As the number of eggs which
are annually brought out by a hen bear no pro-
portion to the number which she lays, schemes—



to be subsequently noticed—have been imagined
to hatch all the eggs of a hen, and thus turn her
produce to the greatest advantage ; so that, in
place of twelve or fourteen chickens, upward of
2oo may be raised from the annual produce of a
single fowl.

Hens will lay eggs which have received no im­
pregnation, but from these, as a matter of course,
no hatching can take place; they are equally
good, however, for eating. When the chief ob­
ject is to breed chickens, a cock should be
allowed to walk with ten or twelve hens; but
when eggs are principally required, the number
of hens may be from fifteen to twenty. En­
deavor to procure a cock of a good breed, not
game, and let him be in his prime, which is at
eighteen months to two years old. Cocks will
last two years, after which they lose their live­
liness of colors, and become languid, inactive,
and mere consumers of food. It is fit, therefore,
that younger cocks should then take their place
in the poultry-yard. Crowing hens should be re­
jected, as worthless layers.

If left to themselves, hens produce not more
than two broods a year. Early spring, and, after
a cessation, the end of summer, are the two
seasons in which they begin naturally to lay. In
the depth of winter, under ordinary circum­
stances, hens very rarely lay eggs, though, by
artificial means, as already explained, they can
be made to do so. If the temperature of the
place where they are kept be raised by a stove,
or otherwise, they will produce eggs. The fowls
of the Irish peasantry, and of some of the High­
land Scotch cottars, which are usually kept in
the cabins of the owners, lay often in winter, in
consequence of the warmth of their quarters.
The fecundity of hens varies considerably.
Some lay but once in three days, others every
second day, and others every day. In order to
induce laying, each hen should have its own
nest, or nearly so, made with soft straw or
heather, and furnished with a piece of chalk as
a decoy or nest-egg. The signs which indicate
when a hen is about to lay are well known. She
cackles frequently, walks restlessly about, and
shows a brighter redness in her comb and wat­
tles. After the process of laying is over, she
utters a series of loud and peculiar notes, to
which the other fowls usually respond. Shortly
after the egg is laid, it should be removed, for
the heat of the hen soon corrupts it. When the
eggs are taken away by the poultry-keeper, they
should immediately be laid in a cool and dry
place. If allowed to absorb damp, they soon
spoil; indeed, one drop of water upon the shell
quickly taints the whole egg. When the hens
lay in a secret corner or covert, the keeper may
sometimes discover it by placing a few grains of

salt in the oviduct, which hurries on the process
of laying, and causes the animal to retire to the
spot anew.

Various methods have been tried to prevent
the absorption of air through the shell, and pre­
serve the freshness of the eggs. Some keep
them secluded from the air in bran, rye, or ashes,
which may do very well where the eggs are to be
kept in this way till eaten, but is utterly useless
if quantities of them have to be sent to market.
If the eggs are gently rubbed with fresh butter
when newly laid, they will keep perfectly, and be
as fresh for breakfast three months afterward
as when newly dropped. Mr. Mollison says he
has found the following, with less trouble, to
answer the purpose even better, namely: “ Place
them in a water-tight cask, the small end of the
egg down, and keep the whole always covered
with a strong solution of lime-water.”

Hatching.—When eggs are to be hatched, it is
necessary to pay attention to the choice of pro­
per ones for the purpose. Those too much
pointed at the ends should not be selected. The
eggs must also be fresh ; from the time they are
laid, they should lie aside in a cool place. It is
said to be possible to ascertain, from the appear­
ance of the egg, whether the forthcoming pro­
geny is to be male or female ; but this is doubt­
less a delusion. When eggs are left to be
brought forth by the hen, a certain number are
placed under her in the nest, when she is in the
full inclination to sit. From nine to fourteen
eggs are placed, according to the extent of the
breast and wings; and the time required for
hatching is about twenty-one days. Sometimes
a hen will desert her eggs, a circumstance which
may occasionally be traced to an uncomfortable
condition of the skin, caused by vermin or want
of cleanliness; and this affords a strong reason
for keeping the hen-house clean, and giving the
animals the means of purifying their feathers.
Occasionally the hen is vicious, or, in short, a
bad sitter, and experience in pitching on the
best hatching-hen is the only remedy. Some­
times a hen will break her eggs with her feet;
and in such cases the broken eggs must be re­
moved as soon as observed, otherwise she may
eat them, and from that be tempted to break and
eat the sound ones, and thus spoil the whole.

It has generally been found that hens which
are the best layers are the worst sitters. Those
best adapted have short legs, a broad body, large
wings, well furnished with feathers, their nails
and spurs not too long or sharp. The desire to
sit is made known by a particular sort of cluck­
ing note, and a feverish state ensues, in which
the natural heat of the hen‘s body is very much
increased. The inclination, or, as physiologists
term it, the storge, soon becomes a strong and



ungovernable passion. The hen flutters about,
hangs her wings, bristles up her feathers, searches
everywhere for eggs to sit upon ; and if she finds
any, whether laid by herself or others, she im­
mediately seats herself upon them, and continues
the incubation.

With a proper provision of food at hand,
warmth, quiet and dryness, a good hatching-hen
will give little trouble, and in due time the brood
will come forth; one or two eggs may perhaps
remain unhatched or addled, but their loss is of
little consequence. As soon as the hen hears
the chirp of her young, she has a tendency to
walk off with them, leaving the unhatched eggs to
their fate. It is therefore advisable to watch the
birth of the chicks, and to remove each as soon as
it becomes dry, which may be in a few hours
afterward. By this means the hen will sit to
hatch the whole ; yet she should not be wearied
by too long sitting. If all the eggs are not
hatched at the end of twelve or fifteen hours
after the first chick makes its appearance, in all
probability they are addled, and may be aban­
doned. It is a good arrangement to “ set” two or
more hens at the same time, so that in the event
of only some half-dozen chickens from each
nest, two broods can be taken charge of by one

The chicks must be kept warm the first day or
two. The food given to the young chicks
should be split grits, which they require no
teaching to pick up; afterward, the ordinary
food of the poultry-yard, or what the mother dis­
covers for their use, is sufficient. Some give the
yelks of hard-boiled eggs or curd when a nourish­
ing diet seems advisable. The extreme solicitude
of the hen for her young, or the brood which may
be imposed upon her, is well known. She leads
them about in quest of food, defends them by
violent gesticulations and the weapons which
Nature has given her, calls them around her by
a peculiar low clucking cry, and gathers them
carefully under her wings, to shelter them from
danger, or to keep them warm at night. This
maternal care is bestowed as long as the chickens
require her assistance ; as soon as they can shift
for themselves, the mutual attachment ceases,
and all knowledge of each other is very speedily
lost. The young now go to roost, and the mother
again begins to lay. Young hens, usually called
pullets, begin to lay early in the spring after they
are hatched. As heat is all that is necessary to
develop the chick in the egg, eggs may be
hatched artificially, without the intervention of
the hen. The art has long been practiced in
Egypt, and has since been adopted in many
other quarters, but with indifferent success.

Where Purity of Breed is of importance, as when
fowls are to be exhibited in prize competitions,

great care must be taken to keep the different
kinds perfectly separate; otherwise intermixture
to a certain extent is not undesirable. It is
always, indeed, to be desired that each good kind
be kept pure and in as great perfection as pos­
sible, for improvement of the stock. But even
in a small poultry-house it is desirable to have
different kinds, some being particularly estimable
for their flesh, some for the abundance and
quality of their eggs, some for their disposition
to incubate, etc. For web-footed birds, free
access to water is required ; but some of the
kinds are well enough provided for by a pretty
capacious trough.

Capons.—By removing the reproductive and
oviparous organs from the male and hen chick­
ens respectively, a great change is produced in
them as regards voice and habits, and they can
be made remarkably fat for the table. Fowls
thus operated on are called capons, and can be
trained to watch chickens, hatch eggs, and do
many useful offices of the poultry-yard. Upon
the whole, however, the special benefit derived
from rearing capons does not counterbalance the
trouble which they give, and the danger of the
primary operation ; and the consequence is that
the number of capons is decreasing.

Hens for Raising Eggs.—Hens to supply the
table with eggs should be purchased in the
j spring, and care should be taken to procure
young, healthy birds not over 18 months old.
An old hen may readily be detected by her
horny-looking legs, and her comb and wattles
will look dry, not fresh as in young birds. If
the hens be sound, they will almost immediately
begin to lay, and continue until they molt in
the autumn if they be well taken care of. When­
ever a hen shows a desire to sit she must be pre­
vented. A good plan is to invert a small cask,
of which the head has been removed, upon three
bricks. A hole being bored near the top for
ventilation, this will make a capital pen for a
“ broody” hen, the food and water being placed
just under the rim. A few days’ confinement
will take away all desire to sit from almost any
hens but Cochins, which should not be kept on
that account under the circumstances we are
considering ; and in about a fortnight the fowl,
if not older than we have recommended, will be­
gin to lay again.

Directly these hens stop laying in the autumn,
and before they have lost condition by molting,
they should, unless Hamburgs or Brahmas, be
either killed or sold off, and replaced by pullets
hatched in March or April, which will have
molted early. These again, still supposing
proper food and good housing, will all be pro­
ducing eggs by November at furthest, and con­
tinue more or less. They may then either be



disposed of, and replaced as before, or, as they
will not stop laying very long, the best of them
may be retained till the autumn, when they must
be got rid of. For if fowls be kept for eggs, it is
essential to success that every autumn the stock
be replaced with pullets hatched early in the
spring. By no other means can eggs at this
season be relied upon, and the poultry-keeper
must remember that it is the winter which deter­
mines whether he shall gain or lose by his stock ;
in summer, if only kept moderately clean, hens
will pay for themselves treated almost anyhow.
The only exception to this rule is in the case of
Cochins, Brahmas or Hamburgs, which will lay
through the winter up to their second or even
third year.

The stock to be selected, if a pure strain be
chosen, are Hamburg or Spanish; either, in
favorable circumstances, will give a plentiful
supply of eggs, and give no trouble on the score
of sitting propensities. The Spanish lays five or
six very large eggs a week in spring and summer,
but is not a hardy or free-laying breed for winter,
and must have a warm aspect and perfect shelter
from wind if the supply is to be kept up. Ham-
burgs are tolerably hardy, and are capital winter
layers ; they also produce more eggs in a year
than any other breed, laying almost every day
except when molting, and never wanting to sit;
but the eggs are rather small. More than four
or five Hamburgs should not be put in a shed,
and they must be kept scrupulously clean.

Diseases of Poultry. Among the diseases of
poultry, gapes, is one which very frequently d
mands attention, particularly in young chickens.
Pip or roup is another. Some of the maladies
which cut off great numbers of young chickens,
and still more of turkey-poults, may be in a great
measure prevented by supplying abundance of
nourishing and sufficiently varied food with
water and lime; and by preventing the young
birds, particularly turkeys, from getting among
wet grass.


Ducks on the Farm.Every year ducks are be­
coming more popular, and are receiving more
and more attention, from the fact that, first, they
are more easily reared than any other farm-birds ;
second, their feathers are valuable; third, the
eggs and young ducks find ready sale in the mar­
kets; and fourth, the ducklings are the most
active and indefatigable insect-hunters known.
Market-gardeners who knew their value in this
last respect would raise them if only as insect-
destroyers in the fields.

Best Varieties for the Farm.Where the princi­
pal objects are flesh and feathers, the white
breeds are to be preferred ; but where flesh only

is sought after, the Rouen and the Black Cay-
uga will be found satisfactory. As insect-de-
stroyers, the Rouen ducklings rank highest
among the large breeds, and the young of the
common gray among the smaller. The Mus­
covy breed has really little in its favor but size,
and even in this respect the Rouen, the Cayuga
and the Aylesbury can compete with it, and are
far superior as table-birds.

The Common White Duck is too well known to
need description. It is not unlike the Aylesbury,
except in size. The breed has fallen into disre­
pute since the introduction of the larger breeds,
and is now seldom found pure.

The Aylesbury is the best of all the English
breeds, and one of the most useful species intro­
duced into the United States. They are not as
heavy as the Rouen, but 18 pounds per pair is
not uncommon. They are good layers, the eggs
of pure white and thin in the shell. The Ayles-
bury is prone to fall down behind through the
stretching of the abdominal muscles, and care
should be taken in breeding to avoid such birds.
When ducks are thus disabled they become ster­
ile, and should be killed and dressed for market.

Rouen and Aylesbury Ducks.

Rouen Ducks.The name of this breed would
imply that they originated in the French town
Rouen, but there is no evidence to that effect,
and the term is probably a corruption of Roan
duck. This variety evidently sprang from the
Mallard or Gray duck, which in color and
markings it closely resembles. The eyes, how­
ever, are more deeply sunken, and the ducks
have the disability of the Aylesburys of soon
falling down behind, the abdominal protuberance
being early developed.

Black Cayuga.This variety, of whose origin
nothing is positively known, has been bred
about Cayuga Lake for many years, and is one
of the most celebrated of American breeds.
They rarely rise from the water, and when on
land seldom wander far, being too clumsy. They
are rusty black, with a white band about the
neck and white flecks on the breast; the drakes



generally have more white than the ducks, and
the green tinge on head and neck is much
more pronounced. In breeding select the dark­
est males, since they incline to breed white.
They are prolific in eggs, laying from 80 to 90 in
a season when well fed. The birds are hardy,
and the flesh excellent, dark and high-flavored.
If well fattened, they will weigh at six to eight
months old from 12 to 14 pounds, and 16
pounds is not unusual. Being essentially a
water-duck, they can only be profitably bred
near lakes, ponds and streams.

The Muscovycalled also Musk, or Brazilian
ducks are large and handsome, the drakes fre­
quently weighing 10 pounds and more. The
color is a rich dark blue-black, with a white bar
on each wing and more or less white about the
head and neck. In the drake the feathers in the
back are fine and plumy; the legs and feet are
dark. But, as we said above, they have little to
recommend them but their size, and they are
neither hardy nor good layers. A characteristic
by which they may readily be distinguished is the
red membrane surrounding the eyes and cover­
ing the cheeks.

A Word of Caution.—It should be remembered
in keeping ducks that the wild birds are mono­
gamous, and not more than two or three given
to one drake, if eggs are wanted for sitting. The
duck usually sits well, and always covers her
eggs with loose straw when leaving them, a sup­
ply of which should therefore be left by her.
The usual number laid is fifty or sixty; but
ducks have laid as many as two hundred and
fifty in one year ; and we believe with care this
faculty might be greatly developed, and their
value much increased as producers of eggs. At
present they are mostly kept for table.


The two principal breeds of domesticated
geese are the Gray or Toulouse and the White or
Embden, concerning which we quote from an Eng­
lish authority:

“ We very much prefer the Gray or Toulouse
to the White or Embden, being larger and hand­
somer. We have had a Toulouse gander which
weighed thirty-four pounds, a weight never, we
are sure, attained by the White breed. They are
also better shaped, as a rule, and every way the
more profitable variety. The forehead should be
flat, and the bill a clear orange-red. The plu­
mage is a rich brown, passing into white on the
under parts and tail-coverts.

“ The Embden goose is pure white in every
feather, and the eye should show a peculiar blue
color in the iris in all well-bred birds.

“ We should recommend for market to cross
the Toulouse goose with the White, by which

greater weight is gained than in either variety
pure­bred ; but much will depend upon circum­
stances. White or cross-bred geese require a
pond, but the Toulouse, with a good grass run,
will do well with only a trough of water, and will

require no extra feeding, except for fattening or

The only foreign varieties requiring mention
are the Chinese and the Canada geese, both of
which appear to be really midway between the
geese proper and the swans, which they resemble
in length of neck.

The Chinese goose is of a general brown
color, passing into light gray or white on the
breast, with a dark brown stripe­ down the back
of the neck. The voice is very harsh and peculiar.
This breed is not a good grazer, and is best
reared in the farm­yard.

The Canada goose also is not a good grazer,
and does best near marshy ponds, in which cir­
cumstances they will thrive and be found profi­

General Management.With regard to the gen­
eral management of geese little need be said.
Not more than four or five should be allowed to
one gander, and such a family will require a
house about eight feet square; but to secure fine
stock three geese are better to one male. Each
nest must be about two feet six inches square,
and, as the goose will always lay where she has
deposited her first egg, there must be a nest for
each bird. If they each lay in a separate nest,
the eggs may be left; otherwise they should be
removed daily.

Geese should be set in March or early April,
as it is very difficult to rear the young in hot
weather. The time is thirty to thirty-four days.
The goose sits very steadily, but should be in­
duced to come off daily and take a bath. Be­
sides this she should have in reach a good supply
of food and water, or hunger will compel her,
one by one, to eat all her eggs. The gander is
usually kept away; but this is not very needful,



as he not only has no enmity to the eggs or
goslings, but takes very great interest in the
hatching, often sitting by his mate for hours.

The goslings should be allowed to hatch out
entirely by themselves. When put out, they
should have a fresh turf daily for a few days, and
be fed on boiled oatmeal and rice, with water
from a pond, in a very shallow dish, as they
should not be allowed to swim for a fortnight,
for which time the goose is better kept under a
very large crate. After two weeks they will be
able to shift for themselves, only requiring to be
protected from very heavy rain till fledged, and
to have one or two feeds of grain daily, in ad­
dition to what they pick up.

For fattening they should be penned up half
a dozen together in a dark shed and fed on
barley meal, being let out several hours for a
last bath before being killed, in order to clean
their feathers.


The turkey has been domesticated for nearly
three hundred years, yet still retains some of its
wild habits, doubtless due to the fact that it will
bear confinement less than any of the domestic
land-birds. All varieties of turkeys, whether
wild or domestic, breed together and continue
fertile, proving that they had a common origin.
Nearly every color is represented among them,
black-bronzed and white-mottled being the
original wild color. Some of the sub-species
are the Common turkey; Black-and-white mot­
tled ; Black-bronzed; Mexican; White; Buff;

Common Turkey.

Fawn-colored ; Copper-colored ; Parti­colored.
Of these

The Black-Bronzed—said to have been produced
by a cross of the Wild turkey upon the Common-
turkey hen and improved by subsequent careful
selection and breeding—is the largest, as it is the
best, of the domestic varieties. They are hardy
and of beautiful plumage, and will weigh when.

mature, for average birds, about 30 pounds,
while 40 has sometimes been reached by extra
male birds.

The Common Turkeys are the most profitable to
breed where only dollars and cents are con­
cerned, as they are hardy, of medium size, little
inclined to wander, and mature early. At eight
months old they will weigh when fattened from
10 to 12 pounds, and at maturity 16 and even 18,
In color they are white and black mottled, hav­
ing the head and wattle of the wild turkey.

English Turkeys, so called, are merely a sub-
variety of the common American turkey, but
careful breeding and selection have increased the
size and rendered them quite uniform in color.

A Few Hints are here given to those who desire
to raise turkeys. Turkey-cocks may be used for
breeding at two years of age, and a hen at one
year. The hen who is to sit should be good-
sized, while the cock should have good shape
and strength. The hen will lay an immense
number of eggs. For this reason the first seven
or eight eggs laid may be taken and put under a
common hen ; the turkey-hen will then have as
many as she can well cover. May and June are
the best months for hatching. The hen is very
constant in her sitting, and she must be watched
or she will not leave the nest to get her own
food. She must also be kept quiet. Young
turkeys are hatched in about 26 days, and as a
usual thing they are very stupid about learning
to feed. To help them two hen's eggs are often
hatched with them, being put under the turkey
three days later ; and as the chickens will come
out about the same time as the turkeys, they
will very soon teach them how to eat. The food
is much the same as for chickens; a little
dandelion mixed with boiled eggs is found very
beneficial, as it corrects the tendency to diarrhea
which all young turkeys have. Great care must
be taken of the young birds until they are 9 or
10 weeks old, when they will begin to “put out
the red,” as it is called, or to develop the singular
red excrescences on the neck so characteristic
of the turkey breed. This process will last some
little time, and when completed the birds will be
pretty fully fledged. They are now hardy, but
must not be too suddenly exposed to rain or cold
winds. Take some reasonable care of them for
a while longer, and very soon they will have be­
come the hardiest birds known in the poultry-
yard, braving with impunity the fiercest storms,
and even preferring, if permitted, to roost on
high trees through the depth of winter. In
fact, turkeys will rarely roost in a fowl-house;
and a very high open shed should therefore be

To attain great size, animal food and good
feeding generally must be supplied from the first.




The saving of eggs is the first thing, and
should be carefully attended to. First, handle
with great care, and do not allow them to be
too much shaken up. Secondly, place the eggs
on end, and turn each egg twice a day. Then,
when you have a sufficient number, place them
in the incubator.

The Phenomenon of incubation has two
principal factions controlling it, i. e., warmth
and fresh air. Warmth being the stimulant to
vital action of the germ, and pure air gives the
oxygen necessary to make the chemical changes.

As to the proper lamp, only the safety lamp
must be used. This should be made of an
upper and lower chamber : the upper for the
flame, and the lower for the wick. The mois­
ture pan is now done away with in the modern
incubators, and the machine supplies it itself.

How to Use Incubator.When you have the right
number of eggs in an incubator to suit you, place
the eggs in the egg tray, then light the lamp
and regulate, keeping the temperature at 1020.
When lighting the lamp, turn up but a moderate
flame and heat the incubator first. Then put the
tray in the incubator when your temperature is reg­
ulated. After the second day the eggs must be
turned twice a day. The unfertile eggs and dead
germs should be tested. Always mark doubtful
eggs and test again later.

In testing eggs, the simple method is a round
telescope arrangement, at one end of which you
place the egg and look through this tube, holding
the egg at the further end and next to the light;
then look through the egg at the light; if the egg is
dark, it ought to have a chick, if clear, it is not
fertile and it may be put back with the fresh eggs.

The room in which the incubator stands should
be above ground, dry and well ventilated.

The Chicks.About the twentieth day the chick
has used up the entire nutriment in the shell, and
being vigorous, wants to get out. The shell breaks
first at the large end, being less moist and more
brittle, and the head of the chick is turned there
for air. The beak breaks through the shell on find­
ing more air, and soon gets its freedom.

The chick starts in life with food enough for 36
hours, and should not be fed during that time, but
should be kept dry and warm. To do this, the
brooder is the best, hence we will turn to the

The Brooder.The brooder should be kept at a
heat of from 80 to 90 degrees; though the chick will
run out into the cold, he must have a place to run
into which is warm.

The best thermometer for the brooder is the
chicks themselves ; if it is too hot they will scatter
and sleep near the entrance; if too cold, they will

crowd together; and this crowding together with
low temperature means bowel disease invariably as
a result. Care in this is very necessary. The chick
should for the first month have but little space out­
side the mother, giving it more range as it grows

Do not keep more than fifty chicks in a pen, and
do not put chicks hatched by hen with incubator
chicks, as one lousy chick will soon give vermin to
the whole brood. Clean brooders daily, and if
necessary, paint with kerosene to kill lice.

Feeding.—Chicks, like mature birds, have giz­
zards for grinding their food, and this fact would in­
sure giving them hard food ; but the best possible
food for the first week is hard boiled eggs, chopped
up fine, shells and all, mixed with bread-crumbs.
But first of all, do not over­feed. After the first ten
days, wheat screenings, millet and cracked corn,
Indian pudding, bran mash, oatmeal, and corn meal
scalded with boiling water. A dish of crushed
charcoal and bone meal is good.

Chicks need, too, good fresh water, food rich in
nitrogen for muscle and bone, carbonaceous mat­
ter to make them fat and plump. At an age of two
months, the birds ought to weigh two pounds.

Early Broilers.If early broilers are to be raised,
a large house divided into pens, six or eight feet
wide, with runs outside the same width, and about
twelve feet long, is the best method. Here brood­
ers can be placed, and when the chickens are old
enough these can be removed.

A dirt floor in this house is advisable, as rats are
liable to infest a board-floored house. The chickens
should be kept here until ready for market. But if
kept during the winter, they ought to be allowed to
run or to be kept in coops which can be moved from
place to place. It is a fact that chickens confined
after April do not do as well as though allowed to
run. If confined longer, they drop off and lose

Dont's.—Don't over­feed with too much animal
food; the lack of grit gives crop-bound and bowel

Don't let the water get dirty.
Don't be afraid of green food.
Don‘t hatch late, i.e., in June and July.
Don‘t crowd the quarters, only allow those in a

coop that can roost there.
Don‘t feed warm food in summer.
Don‘t fail to provide shade.

Prize Birds.It is always well to keep fine birds;
they are no more expensive than common ones, and
every farmer should have one or two prize breeds,
and take none else and keep these separate. He
derives a two­fold benefit. He can put them in the
shows and get his premium money, and can thus
have a chance to sell his birds at high prices. Sec­
ondly, he can sell the eggs for sitting purposes, get­
ting thus fancy prices.

But first, if you want to come back to this web site again, just add it to your bookmarks or favorites now! Then you'll find it easy!

Also, please consider sharing our helpful website with your online friends.








Copyright © 2000-present Donald Urquhart. All Rights Reserved. All universal rights reserved. Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners. Use of this Web site constitutes acceptance of our legal disclaimer. | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | About Us