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Her Own Experience in Her Own 
Poultry- Yard. 









omu-i/^ I. (O^mt^y. 


(by permission) 





Introduction . . . . . 


Houses and Yards 


Food ...... 

. 35 

General Treatment 


Hatching . . . . . 

. 59 

Chickens ..... 


Exhibition . . . . . 

. 75 

Diseases ..... 


Fattening . . . . . 

. 97 

Breeds ..... 


Dorking . . . . . 

. 102 

Gkey Dorking .... 


Silver Gkey DoRiaxG 

. 105 

White Dorking .... 


Brahma Pootka . . . . 

. 108 

Malays ..... 


Game ...... 

. 118 

Scotch Grey .... 


Spanish . . . . . 


Go Laighs, or Scotch Dumi'irs . 


Cochin . . . . . 

. Ml 

White Cochin .... 


Partridge, &c. . . . . 

. ib. 

Silkies ..... 



Breeds — continued 
Bantam . 
Hamburghs . 
French Breeds . 

Cr£ve CffiUR 

La Fleche 


Tdrkets . 

Wild American Turkey 

Chinese Geese 
Embden Geese 
My Own Expeeience 




Chickens and Ducklings .... 221 

Diseases in Chickens ... 230 

Young Stock ...... 234 

Summer Ma.nagement . ' . . . 237 

Preserving and Sale of Egg.s . . . 241 

Exhibition ...... 245 

Autumn Management ..... 252 

Feeding ...... 258 

French Poultry ..... 263 

Houses ...... 267 


Game ..... 


Silver Spangled Hamburgh 

PAGE 48 

Buff Cochin .... 


Grey Dorking 

. 104 

Brahma Pootra .... 


Spanish .... 

. 136 

Golden Polish .... 


Golden Pencilled Hamburgh 

. 160 

WUd American Turkey 


Rouen Drake 

. 180 



Ground Plan of Poultry-House 

. 26 

Poultry-Houses . . . . . 


Perch ...... 

. 30 

Sitting-House . . . . . 



. 64 

Eggs in Basket . . . . ■ 


Weighing Apparatus .... 

. 78 

Diagram of a Fowl — Points for Exhibition 


Iron Hopper . . . . • 

. 183 

Inchmartine Cottage and Poultry- Yards . 


Laurel House ..... 

. 193 

Moveable Yard-House .... 


Moveable Glass Yard-House . 

. 195 

Coop with Wire Range 


Coop for Hens or Tiirkeys 

. 198 

Wire Hen'Coop . . . . ■ 


Hamper for Packing Eggs 

. 203 

Willow Sitting-House .... 


The Henwife's Owti Basket 

. 220 



I PEEL that, in issuing this seventh edition of 
" The Henwife," some acknowledgment is more 
than due to those who have so kindly expressed 
themselves as pleased, and also benefited by the 
study of it. I thank them from my heart for 
their warm approval and encouragement. When, 
at the urgent request of friends, I consented to 
publish my notes and experience of poultry life, I 
little dreamt of the wide circulation they were 
to receive. With much fear and trembling I 
awaited the verdict of the public, and rejoiced 


indeed that it was favourable. Success cannot 
be foreseen or determined, but when it has been 
fairly and honestly striven for, and the utmost 
has been done to obtain it, it is gratifying. 

The pages I now send forth will, I hope, meet 
with approval. I have explained away some 
difficulties, and corrected mistakes ; also added 
new chapters. The descriptions of the new 
foreign breeds will doubtless be acceptable, as 
these are rapidly making their way into public 
favour, and suj^erior specimens may now be seen 
in almost every poultry-yard. The principal 
exhibitions encourage their introduction by grant- 
ing separate classes and prizes to them, just as 
in France the " Jardin d'Acclimatation," at its 
annual concours, gives medals to our Dorkings, 
game, and other home breeds. The advantages 
of public competition are understood, and as the 
love of poultry rearing is extending every day, 
and they are found to be, even on farms, pro- 
fitable stock, I hope to see them objects of in- 


terest to most colonial and continental agricul- 

The antiquated idea that fowls on a farm did 
mischief to crops is now exploded. If the grain 
is deeply deposited (as it should be), they cannot, 
by scratching, get access to it ; besides, they 
greatly prefer worms and insects, and may thus be 
considered good friends to the farmer. Poultry 
will more than repay any little outlay expended 
upon them ; they will always command a mar- 
ket ; and when we see the immense quantity of 
eggs that are imported into our large towns, we 
ought to consider if our own farms could not 
supply our own wants. If it pays to rear poul- 
try for market in France, it must surely f)ay at 
home. It is computed that a million of eggs 
are consumed daily in London and its suburbs, 
and the proportion of these contributed by home 
farms is very small. This is not as it should be. 

I shall now take leave of my readers, in wish- 
ing them as much enjoyment in their poultry- 


yards as I have ever found in mine. With them 
are associated, in my mind, the happiest hours 
of my life. And although for a time I have 
deserted them, I still am, and must ever remain 
in heart, 



"How now. Dame Partlet, the hen?" 


I HAVE been often asked to publish a work on 
Poultry, and have complied, because I think I 
have no right to withhold any unit I may 
possess, from the sum of human knowledge. 
I also, naturally, desire to afford satisfaction to 
my friends; whUe any who are the reverse (if 
such there be) must admit that I fulfil for them 
the wish of the Patriarch of Uz : " that mine 
enemy had written a book." 


I think I am entitled, without egregious 
vanity, to deem my experience worthy of some 
claim to attention, as, during the last four 
years, I have gained upwards of 460 prizes, 
in Scotland and England, and personally super- 
intended the management of forty separate yards, 
in which have annually been hatched more than 
1000 chickens. 

I began to breed poultry for amusement only, 
then for exhibition, and lastly, was glad to take 
the trouble to make it pay, and do not like my 
poultry yard less, because it is not a loss. 

All honour to the numerous writers on the 
subject. I pretend not to rival them. The field 
(like the world) is wide enough for all. A few 
portions of this work must necessarily treat of 
the same subjects as their's, although a good deal 
that is new, I trust, will be found, I am not 
a plagiarist. I desire to copy no one. I make 
no pretence to be scientific, but only very prac- 


tical, and to tell wliat my experience has been ; 
and this is just what this little book is: viz., 
What I did, and how I did it. 

It is impossible to imagine any occupation 
more suited to a lady, living in the country, 
than that of poultry rearing. If she has any 
superfluous affection to bestow, let it be on her 
chicken-kind, and it will be returned cent per 

The poultry yard supplies one of the most 
delicate descriptions of food with which man 
has provided himself. He accepts it from 
Nature's munificent hand as a great boon ; but 
he is not contented to keep it as he gets it : he 
improves upon the gift. Whoever desires to 
realise the measure of success he has attained in 
this, has simply to walk into next Birmingham 
show-room, and compare what he sees there^ 
with what he remembers in the old barn 


Indeed, a modern prize-bird almost merits the 
character which a Parisian waiter gave of a 
melon, when asked to pronounce whether it was 
a fruit or a vegetable. " Gentlemen," said he, 
'' a melon is neither; it is a work of art." 

The cost of poultry keeping is much overrated. 
To rear for the market only, would even give a 
profit. Exhibition is, doubtless, expensive ; but 
in some measure it pays itself, and the necessary 
outlay is much reduced by sales of eggs and 
fowls at high prices, when a reputation has been 
once established; and any intending exhibitor 
may take my word for it, that she (though per- 
haps of moderate means) may, without extra- 
vagance, snatch her harmless victories, invest 
herself with the blue riband of the poultry yard, 
and win her bloodless Solferinos. 

In these pages wiU be found figures as to the 
"Balance Sheet." I am aware that these can 
be made to prove anything. I can say, how- 


ever, with a clear conscience, that mine are in- 
tended to be honest. 

I have not shrunk from giving them, any 
more than from expressing my own opinions 
on all points. I take this opportunity, how- 
ever, to thank those eminent breeders who 
have kindly furnished me with their experience, 
and whose letters, in my opinion, so much en- 
hance the value of this book. 

I have striven not to be dogmatical, and in 
a matter in which " much may be said on 
both sides," I wished to give all arguments 
fair play. To have done otherwise, would 
have been to forfeit the confidence of the reader, 
as well as to make a very daring infringe- 
ment on the prerogative of the " Editor of The 

All success, then, to the poultry yard ! 

Are you a lover of nature? Come with me, 
and view with delighted gaze her chosen dyes. 


Are you a utilitarian? Eejoice in sucti an 
increase of the people's food. 

Are you a philanthropist? Be grateful that 
yours has been the privilege to afford a possible 
pleasure to the poor man, to whom so many are 
impossible. Such we often find fond of poultry 
— no mean judges of it, and frequently success- 
ful in exhibition, A poor man's pleasure in 
victory is at least as great as that of his richer 
brother. Let him, then, have the field whereon 
to fight for it. Encourage village poultry 
shows, not only by your patronage, but also 
by your presence. A taste for such may save 
many from dissipation, and much evil ; no man 
can win poultry honours and haunt the tap- 
room too. 

For myself, I can truly say that, during the 
time I have reared poultry, I have ever found 
the pursuit to be " a labour of love," and (like 
virtue) "its own reward." I feel that, though 


more tangible benefits had not fallen to my lot,. 
I can still look back on the hours spent among 
ray feathered pets with afifectionate gratitude. 

|0Mses nub ^uh. 

It is impossible to give special rules for poultry 
houses and yards, to suit all tastes and require- 
ments, without knowing the facility the ground 
possesses for such. 

My endeavour is to lay before the reader a 
few simple plans which may guide the intending 
poultry keeper, and be the means of insuring the 
comfort and well-being of the flock. 

I do not consider any one soil necessary for 
success in rearing poultry. Some think a chalk 
or gravel soil essential for Dorkings; but I 
have proved the fallacy of this opinion, by 
bringing up, during three years, many hundreds 
of these soi-disant delicate birds on the strong 
blue clay of the Carse of Gowrie — doubtless, 


thoroughly drained, that system being well 
understood and universally practised by the 
farmers of the district. 

A coating of gravel and sand once a-year is all 
that is requisite to secure the necessary dryness 
in the runs. 

The houses and yards should have a south or 
south-west exposure, and (if possible) open into a 
grass park, to which the fowls can have daily 

The houses may be biult of stone and lime 
or brick; but I prefer wooden erections, as less 
close, and affording a freer circulation of air. 
The roof, however, in every case must be per- 
fectly waterproof, a pane of glass inserted in each 
door to admit light, and a few holes pierced to 
promote ventilation. Light, air, and sunshine are 
indispensable to the health of fowls — the floor of 
clay or gravel, well-beaten down, so as to be per- 
fectly hard and dry. For a cock and six hens, 
the house should not be less than from twelve 
to sixteen feet in height, and eight feet square ; 
the yards the width of the house, and fifteen feet 
lung, enclosed by posts and wire fencing (two- 


inch mesli), eight feet high, boarded up two feet 
from the ground between the yards, to prevent 
the cocks fighting through the wire. This is the 
most dangerous of all warfare, as the birds injure 
themselves in the meshes, and (Dorkings espe- 
cially) are apt to tear their combs and toes in them. 

In each yard there should be a water-vessel, and 
a small, low lean-to shed, under which is the dust- 
bath — viz., a box, filled with dry ashes, or sand 
and lime rubbish. This shed also serves for shelter 
from rain and sun. It should be placed against 
the front of the hen-house, sloping to the front. 
A trap, a foot and a half square, must be cut iu 
the fencing round each yard, to admit of the fowls 
being let out to the grass park, and each house 
should open into its own yard, for the convenience 
of cleaning out, catching the fowls, &c. 

It is of advantage to poultry houses to be en 
suite, communicating with each other by doors, 
to allow them to be cleaned from end to end 
without the necessity of passing through the 
yards ; and there must be a trap from the house 
into the yard for the egress and ingress of the 
fowls at pleasure. I would recommend that all 



these traps be made with sliding panels which 
close, to prevent the fowls having access to the 
houses while the process of cleaning out is going 
on, and at all times it is requisite to have the 
means of shutting out the fowls from house or 
yard, as may be wished. The doors which con- 
nect house with house should be made to fasten 
on either side, to guard against the possibility of 
the different varieties meeting, when the keeper's 
attention may be engaged in performing any 
necessary duties in the house, such as arranging 
straw in the nests, collecting eggs, &c., (fig. 2). 

HS- 1. 









Ground Plan of Poultry Uouses. 



To secure the safety of eggs, (which, in estab- 
lishments of mark, are apt to excite the cupidity 
of the covetous), each external door should be 
provided with a lock and key. Inferior manages 
are, of course, not so liable to this drawback; 
but I would say to all poultry keepers, Guard 
your fowls during night ; they are, perhaps, more 
easily "conveyed" than any other species of 
domestic animals. "Experto crede." 

During the winter months close all the traps 
from sunset to sunrise. My Scotch experience, 
at least, has shown me the advantage of this 
precaution; and past seasons have proved the 
climate of England to be quite as severe as that 
north of the Tweed. 

For this daily routine you must have con- 
fidence in your poultry attendants, and feel 
assured that the birds are admitted to their 
yards at an early hour in the morning. The 
only admissible furniture in a poultry house is 
a moveable perch, not higher than two feet from 
the ground, made in the form of trestles, of 
split larch, the bark left on, and uppermost, 
(fig. 3). If the perch is high, heavy birds are 


Kg. a 


very apt to be lamed in descending. The house 
being small, they drop perpendicularly from the 
roost, and so injure their feet ; hence the bumble 
foot of the Dorking. A small or smooth cylin- 
drical perch is not desirable. The fowls can- 
not take a firm hold of it; and it is certain 
to cause crooked breast-bones, a most grave 
defect. For the use of the hens, a few nests on 
the ground, divided from each other by strips of 
wood, are necessary ; but these are understood to 
be merely for the benefit of laying fowls, a 
sitting-house being indispensable in even a 
moderate establishment Where only one variety 
of fowl is kept, a very simple style of arrange- 
ment is required. A span-roofed house, covered 
with felt, or tarpauling coated with tar, a door to 
lock, moveable perch, a few nests, and trap, will 


answer all needful purposes; this is supposing 
the fowls to have complete liberty; if shut up 
during any part of the day, they must have a 
yard such as I have already described. WTiere 
many kinds of poultry are desiderated, a much 
more extended system becomes imperative. 
Houses to suit their different peculiarities must 
be erected, in order to do justice to them all, 
and guarantee success in eacL 

Take, for example, the classes of Brahma 
Pootra and Cochins. These require no perch, 
preferring the floor of the house to any more 
elevated position ; but this must be well littered 
down with straw, as in a stable, and as regularly 
removed. A broad board covered with straw is 
sometimes substituted for a perch ; this must be 
a little elevated from the ground. I find, how- 
ever, that if there are nests, there the Cochins 
will roost, in spite of all attempts to make them 
do otherwise. A wire fence three feet high is 
quite sufficient to restrain these birds within 
bounds; they never attempt to fly over the divi- 
sions, or poach on their neighbour's grounds. If 
a tree can be enclosed in a poultry run, it forms 



a very agreeable object, and affords shelter to the 
fowls. On a warm sunny day they will always be 
found under the protecting shade of its branches, 
and half-buried in the holes they have scraped 
out, in which to roll and dust themselves. 

I will now describe a sitting-house, which may 
be made on a greater or lesser scale, (fig. 4). 

Fig. 4. 




Indeed, where a great number of fowls is kept, 
more than one will be necessary. The interior 
should be fitted up with a row of nests ; in fact, 
a broad wooden shelf, divided into compartments 
a foot and a half square, covered over with a roof 
sloping to the front. The additional height at 
the back gives better ventilation to the sitting 
hens; and this has more to do with their health 
and comfort, and consequent good hatching, than 
most are aware of Generally speaking, sitting 
places are too close and confined, showing a 
marked difference, indeed, to those selected by 
the hens themselves if allowed freedom of choice. 
A sitting-house being a necessary evil in a 
poultry establishment, let us make it as comfort- 
able as possible to the poor hen during her 
retrdite. Each nest must have a folding flap in 
front, to secure the hen from any intrusion on 
the part of her neighboiu-s, and to confine her if 
at all inclined to vagrancy. The flaps should be 
numbered, and a few air-holes pierced in each ; 
the lower panels of the nests be made to slide 
out and in, as after each occupancy it is advisable 
to have them washed. The sitting-house yard 


differs in no respect from that described for non- 
incubating fowls ; it must have a similar dust- 
bath and water-vessel. A flue (as seen in the 
woodcut) is desirable where chickens are wished 
during the winter months, to be used only in 
very cold weather, when the frost might be ex- 
pected to injure the eggs. 

Having now described the House of the hen, 
I shall proceed to its Food. 



Never stint poultry in the variety or quality 
of their food ; good food is a positive economy. 
The best and heaviest corn is the cheapest, if we 
except the small or tail-wheat, which, fortunately, 
is richer in flesh-forming properties than the 
full-grown and more marketable grain. 
' I do not propose to write a lecture on 
chemistry ; for this read Liebig ; but we ought 
to make ourselves intimately acquainted with 
the different substances required for the for- 
mation and reparation of the system. The best 
food is that which gives the most of what Nature 
demands for the formation of muscle, bone, and 

Fine bran, or middlings, (also termed sharps), 
is richer in two of these important ingredients 

36 FOOD. 

than any other one kind of food, but being 
deficient in gluten, is not warmth-giving, and is 
better when combined with the whole grain, 
which, when bruised, or hashed, Cas it is some- 
times provincially called), forms the most whole- 
some and nutritious food. 

Barley is more used than any other grain. It 
is cheaper, but unless in the form of meal, should 
not be the only grain in the poultry-yard. Fowls 
do not fatten ujDon it. 

Oats, also, are inferior in nutriment, unless in 
the form of meal. 

Indian corn is a good and economical food, too 
fattening, however, to be given without judgment. 
It can be bought at most sea-ports at a reason- 
able price, and fowls are very fond of it. I find 
light wheat, or tailings, the best grain for daily 
use, and next to that, barley. 

Tlie subjoined table may interest my readers. 
I take it from a very useful publication, " The 
Poultry Diary, by an Essex Amateur : " — 


tc « 



•s 1 




1 'i '^-^ 

fe ^ 



Evert 100 lbs. of 


a § 










Oats contain 











10 1 






12 : 70 
18 ; 53 

Middlings (fine bran) 








Indian Corn 


A trace 








A trace 




Beans and Peas 







Rice forms a very agreeable change of diet; it 
can be procured, a little damaged, for a small 
price, and is cooling and alterative, -when pro- 
perly prepared. The following is the method : 
Boil for half-an-hour, and then let it stand in 
the water till cold, when it will be found to have 
swelled amazingly, and the mass so firm as to 
admit of being taken out in lumps, and easily 
broken up. 

Buck-wheat and hemp-seed are greedily de- 
voured by poultiy, and no grains are more 

38 FOOD. 

likely to produce eggs, early, and in abundance. 
During moult, give hemp-seed freely ; it strength- 
ens greatly. 

Groats also form an item in the food of these 
omnivorous creatures, but are not to be consi- 
dered ordinary feeding. They should be reserved 
for the basket of the lady manager. 

Linseed steeped is occasionally given (chiefly 
to birds destined for exhibition), to increase 
the secretion of oil, and give lustre to their 

The best sort of soft food is composed as fol- 
lows:— Mis equal quantities of thirds (sharps) 
with Indian, oat, or barley-meal, into a paste 
with water. This should be worked up into 
balls, which, if of proper consistency, break when 
thrown on the ground, and are thus equally 
.divided among the fowls; the size of the balls 
secures accuracy as regards quantity. 

Another advantage also is, that, if a lady per- 
sonally distributes the food, these balls are more 
agreeable to manipulate than the 'porridgy mass 
generally seen, and which fowls by no means 
relish : soft food should always be friable. 



The potato is the only cooked vegetable ad- 
missible, and is very conducive to the health and 
growth of poultry. When mashed and sprinkled 
with meal, it is a pleasant variety in the poultry 
bill of fare. Time was when we were wont to 
indulge our favourites freely in its use, but, alas ! 
that is matter of history now. The high price 
almost prohibits it to poultry, and I fear to 
many, too, who once depended mainly upon this 
fickle root for their support.* 

I do not approve of any feeding dish. Poultry 
prefer to pick their food off the ground, and the 
gravel and sand swallowed along with it are ne- 
cessary for digestion. Chopped cabbage, lettuce, 
spinage, or other green vegetables, should be 
given daily ; calcined oyster-shells are also to be 
used. Fowls are very fond of them, and they 
tend to produce perfect eggs. They are prepared 
by burning them in the fire until quite brittle, 
when they can be easily broken by the hand. 

The first meal, consisting of grain, should be 
given at six a.m. in summer, and at daylight in 

* This was writteu during the prevalence of the potato 
disease, therefore — although potatoes still command good 
prices — they are quite within the reach of all. 

40 FOOD. 

whiter. That at mid-day should be the soft food 
balls already mentioned; and the last, grain 
again, that the fowls may have, during the night, 
the benefit of the warmth it imparts. 

In cold weather, feed liberally on toast soaked 
in ale. Fowls are by no means abstainers, but 
heartily enjoy their beer, nay, even wine, when 
suffering from debility. Cooked animal food is 
to be given daily during winter, taking the place 
of the insect life, which is absent. 

When the genial softness of spring again 
reigns over the scene, and the sleeping earth 
wakes once more, we may trust a good deal 
to the supply afforded by nature. The fowls, 
during their daily grass run, will pick up much 
themselves, for which we endeavour to make our 
own superfluity a substitute. 

We ought to consider ourselves deeply in- 
debted to poultry for the saving from waste of 
broken victuals, scraps of fish, &c., crumbs and 
larger fragments of bread, which last are too fre- 
quently collected, and appear again at table in 
the very objectionable form of puddings, and 
other unprincipled disguises, where a stern eco- 



nomy reigns, at the expense of all " reason, faith, 
and conscience." 

Had I the honour of being a correspondent of 
a sporting periodical, I would, of course, here 
quote, " Revenons d nos moutons." Being, how- 
ever, only a simple " Henwife," I may, perhaps, 
be allowed the more humble expression of " Let 
me revert to my subject;" and tliis brings me 
to drinking-vessels for poultry. 

Those I approve of, are the common tile 
flower-pot saucers. They do not hold much, so 
that the water is ever fresh, if frequently replen- 
ished, as they ought to be. This is a great 
desideratum, especially in summer. Fowls 
relish fresh cool water, as may be seen by the 
eagerness with which they fly to the vessels 
when refilled. These must always be kept clean, 
and occasionally scrubbed with sand, to remove 
the green slime which collects, and is so produc- 
tive of roup, gapes, and other diseases. In 
winter, care must be taken to empty them at 
nightfall, otherwise ice would form and cause 
breakage. In moulting time a little citrate of 
iron mixed in the water is beneficial ; about a 

42 FOOD. 

teaspoonful to a common -sized water-can is 

I am happy, in concluding my own experi- 
ences in poultry feeding, to be able to men- 
tion very favourably the food manufactured by 
Messrs Chamberlain & Co. Having now used 
it for some time, I can vouch for its excel- 
lence. My fowls are very fond of it, and thrive 
admirably upon it. I give it, mixed with minced 
boiled liver, and pounded pimento sprinkled over 
all. This, however, is to be considered quite a 
" bon bon," and used in limited quantities. 
Sometimes, I give the food plain, following their 
own directions for use, and have found the result 
very satisfactory. 


Enteral Creatmtnt. 

The best guide is Nature, and we should always 
follow her as closely as possible in the treatment 
of our stock Fowls are almost grazing animals, 
and pick up grass, or any green food, in quan- 
tities. If, therefore, you cannot give them com- 
plete liberty, (and this is impossible where large 
numbers and several varieties are kept), you 
should, at all events, allow them a daily run in a 
grass park One hour's liberty is sufficient to 
keep them in health, and their enjoyment of 
this boon is so great, that, even were there no 
other reason, that should be sufficient induce- 
ment for you to give them their little bit of 
happiness, even at the expense of trouble to 

It is astonishing how soon fowls accommodate 



themselves to the regulations of the establish- 
ment. A day or two suffice to make them 
acquiesce in all our wishes, and enable them to 
recognise, without apparent difficulty, their re- 
spective yards. Fowls seem to understand the 
value of their hour's play, and lose no time, (the 
trap once opened), in availing themselves of it; 
they rush to the grass, and never cease picking 
it, until driven home. Great care must be taken 
that one set is put in before another is let 
out; this demands hourly attention, as, by one 
moment's carelessness in allowing breeds to mix, 
hopes, for a whole season, may be destroyed. 
If there are several yards of the same breed, 
these, to save time, may be allowed to enjoy each 
other's society during their run, but never let 
out different varieties together. One single 
mesalliance will ruin the purity of the breed 
for the whole hatch of eggs, and even a second 
hatch. At no season of the year should hens 
be allowed to associate with the male bird of a 
different variety, and if superemment excellence 
is desired, not even with an inferior one of the 


While the fowls are enjoying their grass run, 
their yards may be dug over ; twice a-week is 
not too often for this operation. Occasionally a 
little of the soil pared oflF, and fresh sand strewed 
in its place. At all times perfect cleanliness, 
in yards and houses, should greet the eye 
of the lady visitor — it is the grand requisite. 
At the risk of appearing didactic, I must insist 
upon this sine qua, non in a poultry establish- 
ment, (great or small), be it that of the " laird," 
or that of his "tenant." I do not say with 
some writers, "If the floor of the fowl house can 
be cleansed every morning, so much the better;" 
but I say, " It fniust be done," and scrupulously 
so, too. If the floor is as hard as it ought to be, 
a birch broom is the best implement that can be 
used for this purpose. 

The supply of water must be copious and of 
the purest description, and the dust-bath always 
provided with ashes for the use of the fowls. 
They love to roll themselves in this, scattering 
the contents over their feathers, to the effectual 
discomfort and dislodgement of all parasites. A 
heap of lime rubbish, or old mortar, should be 


placed in a corner of each yard — poultry are 
fond of it, and it is conducive to their health. 
Once a-year, the interior of the houses and nests 
should be limewashed, and the floor saturated 
with the same mixture; this keeps aR perfectly 
pure and free from taint. 

It is good, during warm weather, occasion- 
ally to sprinkle water over the perch, and 
in its vicinity, scattering a little sulphur over 
the wetted parts. This ought to, and in a 
great measure does, prevent the appearance 
of any obnoxious animalculse, which, too 
often, in even well-regulated establishments, 
make their way good, to the torment of the 
occupants and their attendants. Depend upon 
it, the more we attend to the comfort of our 
domestic animals, the more they will repay our 

To realise excellence, demands the most un- 
flagging zeal and energy on the part of the 
mistress and her servants. Every day must have 
its apportioned work, carried out systematically, 
with honest vigour, in cold or heat, in rain or 
sunshine. Poultry must not be capriciously 



dealt with — a feast one day, a famine the next. 
Superiority cannot thus be obtained. Where a 
hearty goodwill is shown by those appointed to 
tend your flock, and a kind interest is taken by 
them in its welfare, you have the surest founda- 
tion for success. There may sometimes be a 
little difficulty in eflecting reforms in manage- 
ment. Old prejudices and opinions, too deeply 
rooted to be easily eradicated, may be encoun- 
tered; but, if the lady fancier devotes some part 
of her leisure time to general supervision and 
direction, she will soon find that her presence 
acts like a charm upon even the most obdurate 
and old-fashioned bigot, who must, perforce, ac- 
knowledge the superiority of the new, over the 
ancien regime, as proved by the higher condi- 
tion, greater weight, and increased beauty of the 

In cold or damp weather give nourishing food, 
and plenty of it; while in moult, the birds 
can scarcely be too highly fed. Amateurs, who 
themselves look after the wants of their stock, 
can best judge of their requirements, and will 


prefer making their own arrangements regarding 
a dietary table. 

Never feed in haste, but watch the peculiari- 
ties of taste in your flock, and minister to them. 
One fowl may starve, while the others revel in 
luxury. As with children, their likes and dis- 
likes must be studied, and no one kind of food 
forced upon them, to their disgust, and conse- 
quent loss of condition and beauty. 

Where young stock, for early market, or 
summer exhibition, is desired, the breeding 
yards should be made up not later than Novem- 

If fowls are properly fed, and attended to, eggs 
for setting will be plentiful in December. 

Well-formed, healthy, spirited birds should 
alone be selected to breed from, and a certain 
vivacity of temperament, and proud mien, are 
essential characteristics of the Lord of the 
Harem. His sultanas, of whatever variety, 
should be good types of their respective classes. 
Polygamy is allowable, but only to the extent of 
six wives, and this number may, with advantage, 
be reduced to four. The male bird, if of tlie 

:r spangled hambtjr^r 


previous season, should be mated with hens two 
years old, and vice versd. 

The strongest chickens are to be obtained from 
old hens, with a cockerel. Broods, however, from 
these will be deficient in pullets ; such, at least, 
has been my experience. 

Avoid breeding from fowls related to each 
other. It is a baneful system, and results in 
small, delicate offspring, which easily falls a prey 
to roup, leg weakness, and all the ills that 
chickenhood is heir to. 

The cost of poultry keep may be considerably 
lessened by the proceeds of an annual sale by auc- 
tion, early in the year, before the breeding season, 
and also by the disposal of shigle birds or matched 
pens for exhibition at high prices. If the owner 
is known as a prize-winner, the fowls will pro- 
bably average L. 1 apiece at the sale, and are, con- 
sequently, too valuable ior the stock-can, which, 
otherwise, must be the destination of all that 
have passed chickenhood, and yet are unlikely to 
prove prize-takers, or desirable to breed from. 

Aspic de vollaile, and even cock's combs, when 
judiciously combined with oysters, truffles, &c^ 



are charming additions to the cuisine, but it is 
not every henwife, who, like Cleopatra, can 
afford to dissolve her jewels. 

Large sums have probably been required for 
the purchase of the parent birds, and we value 
their descendants accordingly. A good founda- 
tion was laid, regardless of cost, and the progeny 
must not be sacrificed. 

You may reduce your expenses by selling 
eggs for setting, at a remunerative price. No 
one should be ashamed to own what he is not 
ashamed to do; therefore, boldly announce your 
superfluous eggs for sale, at such a price as you 
think the public will pay for them. 

Beware of sending such eggs to market. 
Every one would be set, and you might find 
yourself beaten by your own stock, very likely 
in your own local show, and at small cost to the 

Early chickens may be hatched and sold to 
Edinburgh and London dealers, who will gladly 
give L.2 per dozen, ay, and more, for well-grown, 
straight-breasted white-legged chickens, mode- 
rately fat. Poultry rearers must not suppose 



such sums are given for any hut early, well- 
grown, fat chickens. 

Leadenhall prices are said to be exaggerated, 
but residents in the Metropolis, during the 
season, know to their cost what they are, and I 
can verify them by my own books. 

Deem not, however, that all birds sold as 
spring chickens, are so in reality. Many are the 
produce of the previous autumn, stunted in 
growth by the hardships of winter. These the 
verdant housekeeper buys, and her master's 
guests eat them, asking no questions. 

The chickens which realise such high prices are 
hatched early in Januaiy, and reared with the 
greatest care, and attention to feeding. 

Poultry keeping (though essentially a home 
pleasure) need not be limited to home. Indeed, 
it becomes a necessity/ to dispose, in one way or 
other, of your superfluous stock. If you breed 
for exhibition, you cannot too strictly limit 
your numbers. Out of 100 chickens, you may 
not be able to match more than two pens for 
Birmingham, and must therefore leave yourself 
ample room for choice. This will give an abun- 


dance to your establishment, and for the poul- 
terer. Chickens and eggs should be plentiful all 
the year round ; where poultry are kept on a large 
scale, the purchase of either should be unknown. 
By keeping pallets of those breeds that lay early, 
you command a supply of eggs for daily use all 
winter, and often have an overplus for market at 
its dearest season. I shall elsewhere detail the 
method I have found most effectual, for preserv- 
ing eggs for kitchen use, during the scarce season ; 
in summer, they are plentiful and cheap, and, as 
I said before, too good for market. 

I think I have now given all necessary instruc- 
tions for the treatment of poultry kept on a 
somewhat extended scale. Amateurs, who have 
limited accommodation, should keep only a few 
first-rate fowls, say a Dorking cock and two 
hens, two Cochin and two Brahma Pootra hens. 
These latter lay all winter, sit soon, and bring 
out Dorking chickens much earlier than the 
Dorking hens themselves, which are tardy 

The Cochin and Brahma eggs, being dark in 
colour, are easUy distinguished from those of the 


Dorkings. I would advise the Cocliin eggs to 
be used in the household, and a few of the 
Brahmas to be set. A cross between it and the 
Dorking makes a large if somewhat coarse bird 
for the table. 

The pure Dorking chickens can be sold, at 
good prices, to other fanciers. To the hreeder 
they are useless, and are, perhaps, too valuable 
to be killed. The original stock will last two 
years, at the end of which I would recommend 
that the male bird be replaced by a younger one, 
of a diflerent strain, and then your own pullets 
will come into use. A few choice birds can be 
kept, in this way, at very small cost ; only one 
house is required, and that of moderate dimen- 
sions. If the fowls are to be confined during 
any part of the day, they must have a yard 
similar to that already described. If they have 
absolute freedom, they find many means of suste- 
tenance for themselves in the open fields or sur- 
rounding shrubberies, and will be, in a great 
measure, independent of the provision commis- 
sariat. It is impossible to lay down exact rules 
as to feeding ; experience is the safest guide. 


Poultry, if penned up, with only an occa- 
sional run, live in complete dependance on 
the food given, which must always be regu- 
lated by circumstances. It must be borne in 
mind that high feeding is conducive to lay- 
ing, and the eggs will always pay for the 
grain consumed, if the yearly average price is 

I have thus attempted to show that it is pos- 
sible to keep poultry, even as an amusement, 
without loss. It pays best either on a very large 
or very small scale. In the latter case it must 
be viewed only as a "fancy," and if the expense 
can be covered by the sale of extra stock, it is all 
that can be expected or desired. On a larger 
scale, the pursuit resolves itself into a system. 
The market must be studied for the purchase 
of grain, and for the sale of your produce. To 
show a good balance-sheet, your household must 
be supplied during the dearest as well as the 
cheapest seasons of the year. Your spring 
chickens must come from your own yards; your 
eggs, at two shillings a-dozen, from your own 
laying-houses. Thus you live in plenty — nay. 


in extravagance, had you to purchase all you 
supply yourself with — and you enjoy the bless- 
ing of independence. 

To the farmer (and I hope to number many 
among my readers), I would give the following 
advice : — In spring, purchase a Houdan cock and 
six hens, also six Brahma hens. Set every egg. 
From these keep all the pullets, and kill or sell 
the cockerels. In autumn, the yard will be fully 
stocked with fine young hens, which will lay 
freely all winter. If eggs alone is the object, 
the original male bird may remain, with the 
addition of a cockerel when twenty pullets are 
kept ; but if pure bred chickens are wished, then 
I advise that the adult Houdans should be boarded 
out. A cottager, for a remuneration, will gladly 
take charge of them, and rear as many chickens 
as desired for carrying on the system. In this 
way, your original stock will supply your yard for 
several seasons. From thirty Brahma and Houdan 
pullets you will have above ten dozen eggs per 
week all winter ; and the cross produces the finest 
possible chickens for market, but not to breed from. 
Pure Brahmas and Houdans alone must be kept 


for that purpose : I have always found the 
second cross worthless. As Brahmas do not so 
constantly show a desire to incubate, their period 
of laying being much more extended than that 
of Cochins, a few of these hens, (not the leggy, 
tucked-up looking things, so often called such, 
but short-legged, compact, well-feathered birds), 
may with advantage be kept, to act as mothers; 
they sit early, and are capital nurses. Farm 
yards are seldom stocked with profitable poultry; 
in them, too often, is the pernicious adherence to 
the system of breeding in and in seen, in its 
worst aspect; the result is certain degeneracy. 
Farmers look upon poultry as a trifling and un- 
important item in the farm stock, only to be kept 
as layers of eggs during summer, and are quite 
satisfied if their chickens bring a fair market 
price. But why not rear fowls that will weigh 
eight instead of four pounds? and at the same 
cost of feeding. Surely, such weights will com- 
mand higher prices than merely those of the 
market, which is often supplied with birds, 
scarcely worthy of the name of fowls. Creatures 
of every conceivable form and colour, with long 


black legs, narrow breasts, and twisted breast- 
bones, certainly possessing a superabundance of 
tail, but tliat adornment goes for little in the 
cook's eye. These miserable results are by no 
means the consequence of want of food ; a farm 
yard is the paradise of poultry, and nowhere can 
they live in greater comfort or plenty. It is just 
because the birds want frame, on which to jjut 
flesh and fat ; bone is deficient ; and all the lap's 
full of oats, barley, and wheat, which the far- 
mer's wife may filch for them from the gude- 
man's barn, are wasted on a worthless crew. 
Let the fiirmer test the merits of my advice by 
his own practical experience, and I am not afraid 
of an adverse opinion. Poultry ought to pay 
him, if anybody; they have the advantage of the 
gleanings of the stack-yard, and at times are 
almost independent of any extra feeding. Should 
the farmer be an exhibitor, he must, of course, 
submit to some expense in carrying out his 
hobby. High feeding must then be the rule. 
Exhibition fowls require more than ordinary 
care and trouble. Money may have been in- 
vested in the purchase of prize pens, at enhanced 


prices, but he may look for his return in the con- 
stant pleasure they afford him, and in being the 
envied winner of a " silver cup." 



As "hatching" is often attended with great 
disappointments, my readers may like to know 
some of their causes, and the best means of 
guarding against them. 

The weather is often unjustly blamed; it 
ought not to have the influence so many hen- 
wives ascribe to it. You can, and should, always 
defend your poor sitters from its attacks. If 
my plan of "sitting-house" is adopted, you can 
expel John Frost by means of the flue, and, by 
damping the eggs regularly, set at nought the 
sharp drying wind, however penetrating. 

The mischances in hatching should really be 
few. If you set a hen under unnatural circum- 
stances, you must make it up to her by extra 
kindness, and endeavour to render the cloister- 


like life she necessarily leads, as little irksome 
as possible. 

The house and yard must be tenanted by 
sitters alone, and kept scrupulously clean, the 
dust-bath full, and a daily supply of garden pro- 
duce, fresh water, and as much grain, and soft 
food, as the hen can eat, supplied during the 
half-hour allowed her for exercise. 

The birds should be taken off their nests 
simultaneously, and put into the yard, the atten- 
dant, (meanwhile), examining the eggs to see if 
any are broken. If any such there be, they must 
be removed, and the remaining eggs, when soiled, 
wiped v\^ith a damp cloth. The eggs in each nest 
should then be sprinkled with water, either by 
the hand or with a small flat brush, which 
answers the purpose admirably, as it does not 
distribute the water too freely. The floor of the 
house must be swept every doy, and, in warm 
weather, have a little flour of sulphur scattered 
over it. 

Hens usually return, quietly, and of their own 
accord, to their nests. If refractory, however, 
they must be lifted on, the panels closed, and 


the inmates left in peace, till the return of 
another day calls for a similar routine of duty 
and pleasure. So on, until the 21st day, when 
the hen is released from her prison-house, and 
walks forth the proud and devoted mother of a 
brood of chickens. 

The necessity of damping eggs was not at all 
understood by the old school, and yet it must 
be done, if success in hatching is desired. Many 
complaints are made of eggs not hatching though 
there have been birds in each. This is entirely 
caused by the neglect of this precaution. Unless 
moistened, the inner membrane of the egg be- 
comes so hard and dry, that the poor little chick 
cannot break through, and so perishes miserably. 
Before dying, its cry, (like that of the starling of 
Sterne), probably has been, "I can't get out, I 
can't get out." Has slavery a more bitter 
draught than this? 

When a hen steals her nest in a hedge or 
clump of evergreens, she sits on the damp 
ground. She goes in search of food early in the 
day before the dew is off the grass, and returns 
to her nest with saturated feathers. To this fact 


is to be attributed the comparatively successful 
hatching of the eggs of wild birds. To follow 
this as closely as possible, put a thick fresh-cut 
turf in the nest you are about to prepare for the 
reception of the sitting hen. Sprinkle a little 
sulphur over this, and spread over it straw in 
summer, hay in winter. I shall suppose that you 
have eggs ready for setting. They should be 
thirteen in number, or at most fifteen, if set dur- 
ing warm weather; in winter, nine eggs are 
sufficient for the very largest hen. 

Before hazarding your (it may be) valuable 
eggs, be certain that the hen is really broody. 
You may give her one or two worthless eggs as 
a trial, or, if you are anxious not to lose time, 
divide your setting between two or more hens, 
and if one proves truant at the end of a few 
days, give all to another. 

By setting several hens at the same time, 
you have the great advantage of being able 
to put all the chickens, as soon as they are 
hatched, under one, and of adding new comers 
to her flock. Eggs sometimes hatch irregularly, 
and unless some such system were established, 



the earliest hatched chicken would die of starva- 
tion before the whole were brought out. 

I strongly deprecate the custom of removing 
chickens from the nest, and keeping them in 
baskets, before the fire ; there is no warmth so 
suited for them as that of the hen's body. 

After removing the empty shells from the 
nest, leave the Kttle creatures with their mother, 
undisturbed for twelve hours. When that time 
has elapsed, you may offer them food and water. 

If the egg has been chipped for some hours, 
and the chick does not make its appearance, a 
slight assistance may be given, by enlarging the 
fracture with scissors, cutting up towards the 
large end of the egg, never down, or the loss of 
blood may prove fatal. When the chicken, at 
last, makes its way out, do not interfere with it, 
or attempt to feed it. Animal heat alone can 
restore it ; if it survives the night, it may be 
considered safe. Weakness has caused the delay, 
and this has probably arisen from insuflScient 
warmth ; the hen may have had too many eggs 
to sit upon, or they may have been stale when 
set. If the chickens come out in the mominsf 



they may be taken from the nest in the evening, 
put on the ground, offered water, and a few 
crumbs of stale bread. Feed the hen well at the 
same time, and then restore them to their nest 
for the night Next morning, remove them 

Fig. 5. 


carefully to a coop which, in summer, is best 
placed on grass, in winter, on dry dusty soU. 
In selecting eggs for setting, choose the fresh- 



est, of moderate size, well-shaped, and liavinii the 
air-vessel distinctly marked either in the centre 
of the top of the egg, or slightly to the side, as 
shown in the woodcut, (fig. 5.) 

By holding the egg between the eye and a 
lighted taper, in a darkened room, this air-vessel 
will be distinctly visible. Some assert that the 
sex of the chickens can be ascertained by the 

Flc. 6. 

Kggs in Basket. 

position of the air- vessel If on the top, you will 
have a cockerel; if on the side, a pullet; but this 
is a mere fable, and I have proved it to be so. 

Eggs intended to be set should be carefully 
collected and handled, and (to prevent them 
rolling about) placed, pointed end downwards. 


in bran ; the date and description having been 
marked in pencil on each, (fig. 6.) 

One glance then suffices for selection, and the 
eggs are in nowise shaken. See that your hen 
be well fed, and has water, before putting her on 
the nest ; if hungry, she will be restless. 

If you get sitting hens from a distance, they 
should be carried in a basket, covered over with 
a cloth, never with the head downwards, as is too 
often seen, at the risk of suffocation, and the 
certain dissipation of their maternal dreams. 

Brahmas and Cochins are excellent sitters, 
and have no objection to enter into your views of 
a fitting domicile for them, during their retrdite; 
but Dorkings occasionally rebel, and refuse to 
sit, unless in their own way. You must be very 
gentle with them, and try, by kindness, to induce 
them to take to the nest selected. You cannot 
allow one hen to sit where others can have 
access to her nest. If you really have no room 
for her elsewhere, put a wire coop over her in her 
usual house, with something hung round it, to 
keep her secluded from every eye. Want of ac- 
commodation may compel you to do this; but, if 


possible, avoid it ; a great objection being, that 
what is out of sight, is often out of mind, and 
the poor sitter may not be taken off her nest with 
the same regularity as the hens in the sitting- 

If you have a large bevy of brooding hens, it 
is advisable to number each nest, and register it 
in your diary, along with the date of setting and 
description of eggs ; when hatched, the number 
of chickens should also be entered. Some hens 
are reluctant to give up sitting, and will hatch a 
second brood, with manifest pleasure, but it is 
cruel to overtax their strength and patience ; more 
or less, they are sure to suffer. If altogether re- 
strained from sitting, however, a hen suffers much 
in moulting, and is restless and excited for the 
rest of the season. Pullets are less to be trusted, 
as sitters, than more mature hens, and (being 
rather erratic in their dispositions) are not very 
careful mothers. Artificial incubators are now 
extensively used, and where there is a command 
of gas they are easily managed, I, however, pre- 
fer the natural mother, as should some prove 
ftiithless, others will be found to take their place. 


The necessity of quiet, gentle handling, both 
of the hens and broods, must be urged upon 
the person in charge of the sitting-house. Be 
watchful, and ready to assist the well-meant 
efforts of the mother, whose instincts are not 
always sufficient for the performance of her 
duties in a civilized and highly artificial condi- 



On the day following that on which the chicken 
is emancipated from the shell, the proper food for 
the little stranger becomes a matter for considera- 

The most approved regimen — at least, the one 
I adopt — is grated bread, yolk of hard-boiled eggs, 
and oatmeal, made into a crumbly mass with 
water, for the first week ; and afterwards, in addi- 
tion, groats, hemp-seed, and any small grain. 

Wheat-tailings are excellent food, more nutri- 
tious than any other. Feed often, giving little at 
a time, the first meal at daybreak, and every 
hour after that, till they are safely housed for the 
night. The water-vessels should be replenished 
at the same time ; these should be shallow. A 
good plan is to invert a small flower-pot saucer 


in a larger ; this leaves a narrow circle of water, 
in which the chicken cannot become immersed. 
Onion tops and leeks chopped small, are much 
relished by all young stock, as also cress, lettuce, 
and cabbage. 

If the weather is damp and cold, add a little 
pounded pimento to the food, give meat occasion- 
ally, fresh curd and hard-boiled eggs, yolk and 
white, mashed with shell, in the proportion of 
one egg to four chickens every day. 

Spare not your food; the young chicken has 
everything to make, and the mother being neces- 
sarily much confined to her coop, it is entirely 
dependent on extraneous aid. 

At times the hens may be allowed free 
range, but never in the early morning, or until 
the ground is thoroughly dry; the coops should 
be changed to fresh ground every day, from sun- 
shine to shade, and from shade to 'Sunshine, as 

The young broods become objects of intense 
interest, and a great deal of time may be spent 
among them ; they are creatures to love, and that 
love us. 


How eager we are that they should all thrive ! 
We examine their points anxiously, and can 
almost, in their early infancy, pronounce upon 
the future prize-winners. From that moment 
hey are marked birds, and receive special 
attention; all the tidbits fall to their share, 
and if there is a better coop, or a choicer spot of 
ground than another, it is theirs. 

I often wish poor children were fed, and their 
comforts as well attended to, as those of our 
embryo Birmingham and Crystal Palace competi- 

]May should find us surrounded with well- 
grown chickens ; it is the halcyon time of 
poultry. The weather is, or ought to be, warm, 
but whether or no, the chickens are growing 
apace, and for winter exhibition there is no doubt 
March and April birds are preferable to their 
earlier-hatched companions, which, however, you 
must have, for August showing, and early market. 

Chickens suffer much from bad feathering, which 
may be caused by the coldness of the season, or 
delicacy of constitution. In either case, high 
feeding is the cure. Bread soaked in ale should 


be daily given, with crushed bones and oyster 

Many writers add vermin as another chicken 
disease, but I cannot allow it in my category. It 
should be unknown in a well-appointed poultry 

As I before observed, a little sulphur dusted into 
the feathers of the hen mother occasionally, and 
daily access afforded to ashes and dry soil, will 
banish effectually all such intruders ; let the hen 
out, and she will perform her toilet scrupulously. 

The chicken's progress (like that of the Pil- 
grim) is beset with many dangers and difficulties. 
Eoup, gapes, leg weakness — all are Sloughs of 
Despond ; it is not an easy matter to rear 
many chickens. Every poultry breeder can 
probably remember when he, or she, fancied 
it must be quite an A B matter, because 
every cottager had one brood at least. Happy 
ignorance! The one brood was the secret: 
our's being legion, the ground has become 
tainted, the chickens overcrowded, and disease 

The remedy for all this I touch upon elsewhere, 


but must here impress on my readers the necessity 
of the flock being scattered. 

Young stock cannot thrive if crowded. ' Think 
over the room you have for it, when the chick- 
ens approach adolescence. A good plan is to 
have a number of small houses erected in the 
woods and shrubberies, and in each of these 
establish a sufficient number of chickens, of one 
sex, old enough to forage for themselves. 

These detachments being drafted off, your 
coops will be ready for a fresh supply of young 
broods, and so on all the year round ; in winter 
the coops must be under shelter, and covered 
up with matting at night-fall the chickens, 
getting their last meal by candle-light, a])out 
eight o'clock. 

Pullets continue to grow until they begin to 
lay. I therefore advise their being kept by 
themselves, (if a great size is desired), till they 
are required to be matched in pens for exhi- 

Cockerels will not fight, if the female sex is 
absent, and unable to incite and witness their 
gallantry, and prowess in the lists : — 


"Love of ladies, splintering of lances; 
Bright eyes behold your deeds." 

But as adolescence ceases with the year, (so the 
poultry parliament has enacted), they must then 
be separated from their brother knights, and dis- 
posed of as may be thought advisable. 

As soon as the chickens are taken from their 
mothers, and established in their own colonies, 
their feeding should be the same as that of adult 
.fowls, the plumage of which they ought to assume 
at the ase of six months. 



To obtain a correct estimate of the real value of 
your jjoultry, you must exhibit them from time 
to time, at good shows, where the leading breeders 
compete, and by prizes (if you get any), and com- 
parison, determine their true merit. 

Comparisons may be odious, but they are quite 
indispensable ; in no other way can this know- 
ledge be obtained. No one, who has not tried it, 
can imagine how poor may be the appearance of 
a home prodigy, when brought side by side with 
the produce of other yards. Alas ! what we fondly 
thought a " swan," dwindles down to a very com- 
monplace, under-sized " goose," by the fiat of the 
judge, while we, unwillingly, admit its justice. 

The spirit of emulation, implanted for wise 
purposes in our nature, is afforded, in these ex- 
hibitions, a field for action, and public advantage 
is the result. 


If successful, you contribute fresh recruits to 
the army of poultry champions ; if the reverse, 
you probably purchase a better strain of blood, 
and retire, for a time, into obscurity, with the 
somewhat equivocal consolation that 

" All partial evil" ts " universal good," 

determined that, on a future occasion, you will 
not play the philanthropist on such unsatisfac- 
tory terms. Philanthropy is, doubtless, a good 
thing, but it is more self-pleasing when practised 
through success than defeat. 

Yes, the cold shade of the show-room has dis- 
pelled many a bright aspiration. 

" So, when the beams of sober reason play, 
Lo, fancy's fairy frost-work melts away ! " 

Still, there is nothing like perseverance and 

For attaining victory, I venture to give the no- 
vice a few hints, the results of my own perils and 
struggles in the troubled waters of exhibition. 
The pilot who has " weathered the storm" can best 
conduct a stranger bark into its wished-for haven. 

I will presume that the chickens have been 
selected from infancy for exhibition, fed accord- 


ingly, and marked. This is best done by sewing 
small stripes of different-coloured silks loosely 
round their legs, which you can verify by your 
poultry diary, in which everything of importance 
should be entered. I recommend the cockerels 
and pullets to be kept apart until a month before 
the show, during which time they must receive 
extra feeding and care. 

Nothing is too good for exhibition birds ; give 
them daily exercise and an abundance of food. 

Linseed is calculated to give lustre to the 
plumage, and toast, soaked in ale, sprightliness, 
courage, and strength. 

High feeding is unquestionably the grand secret 
of bringing chickens up to the great weights now 
required in first-prize poultry. 

There should always be a few spare birds in 
reserve to fill up a pen in case of accidents, and 
such often beat their selected companions, under 
high feeding, and eventually take their places at 
the exhibition. 

Feather and points being equal, lueight must 
be the criterion. It is astonishing what the 
steelyard discloses ; birds, to all appearance the 



heaviest, are "found wanting when weighed in 
the balance." 

No eye can be trusted to judge of weight. 
Seeming size is nothing — it may be all feather 
— so the birds must go to scale, and the breeder 
will often be very much surprised at the result. 

Fig. r. 


The fairest weighing apparatus is the one I 
commonly use, (fig. 7.) 


The weight of the basket being ascertained, 
must be deducted from the total, and, if possible, 
weigh your birds before their meal, as geese and 
turkeys will easily put on 1^ lb., in a pen of three. 

All other birds should give way to those 
selected to do battle, in the show-room, for the 
honour of the yard. They must receive exclu- 
sive attention, and their supposed inferiors bide 
their time, ready to supply vacancies, which they 
are often called upon to do. 

There is nothing so certain as disappointment ; 
I, in common with every exhibitor, have met 
with it. i\Iy experience, however, has proved to 
me, that full confidence may be placed in the 
general justice of judges' decisions. They have 
an arduous and most invidious duty to perform 
— arduous, because so extended — invidious, be- 
cause suspicions are often alleged by the losing 
parties. Such are, frequently, very virulent, and 
entertain a life-long grudge ; and may even say 
to him in his last moments, (with Eichard's 
ghostly visitors), " Let me sit heavy on thy soul 
to-morrow ; you passed me by at Birmingham ! " 

I believe poultry judges act honourably and 


scientifically. I unhesitatingly leave my poultry 
to their verdict, and do not complain (if 1 think 
they have fulfilled their duty in accordance with 
such principles), though not awarded first or 
second honours. Theirs is a position I do not 
envy : all thanks to those who, so kindly, fill it. 
There being, however, no rule without an excep- 
tion, I must confess to more than one altercation 
with some who, I thought, had not studied the 
points of exhibition fowls, as distinctly laid down. 
I particularly allude to the decision of the ruling 
judge, English, at a recent show in the west of 
Scotland, (where there were separate classes for 
Grey and Silver-grey Dorkings, as at Birming- 
ham, Liverpool, and other leading shows), founded 
on the notion that the classes were synonymous, 
or (as he expressed it), "a distinction without 
a difference." I can imagine one diffident in ex- 
2')ressing an opinion, though competent to form 
one ; but no such scruple troubled this worthy* — 

" Thus fools rush in where angels fear to tread." 

* A poultry club has now been established, by whose autho- 
rity a book of "rules for judging" has been issued. The 
club also appoints judges from its members, who are bound 
to adhere to the rules laid down, and it is to be hoped we 
shall bear fewer complaints of bad judging. 


Let not the novice think his, or her, pen a cer- 
tain ''first." There is much to be encountered ; 
size, colour, comb, tail, feet, hackles, all must be 
perfect; and, in addition, a good constitution be 

Be careful lioio you enter your stock for exhi- 
bition. Describe the ages and varieties exactly, 
and see, yourself, that the labels are securely fas- 
tened to their respective hampers. Mistakes con- 
stantly occur in this : be equally watchful that the 
right birds are put in their right places. I have 
seen grey geese placed in the hamper intended for 
white, which most provoking occurrence cast the 
pen. ]Many such incidents take place at every 

On the day previous to exhibition, remove all 
private marks, and wash the feet and bodies of 
white fowls. This is best done with tepid water, 
and white soap, rubbed on flannel, care being 
taken to wash the feathers downwards, so as not 
to break or ruffle them. The fowls should be 
gently dried with soft towels, shut up in their 
houses with an abundance of clean straw, and 
there fed on soft food alone. Hard grain is apt 


to cause fever and inflammation while travellinof, 
and in the exhibition pen ; its use is now discon- 
tinued at all well-conducted shows. 

When the birds return home, they should be 
fed sparingly on bread, soaked in warm ale, — 
liquid is mo;?t hurtful if given in quantity ; admin- 
ister also a teaspoonful of castor oil to each. On 
the following day, allow soft food only it] water, 
— after this they may resume their usual feeding. 

Hampers should always be circular in form, as 
fowls invariably creep into corners and destroy 
their plumage. They must be sufficiently high to 
admit of the birds standing upright, and suj^plied 
with a bed of hay to keep them warm. I consider 
a lining imperative : coarse pink calico, stitched 
round the inside of the basket-work, is what I 
use as the most useful and ornamental material. 

After each trip these linings are taken out, 
washed, and laid aside for future occasions. 

Sometimes padlocks are made available to fasten 
the lids of the hampers, but two pairs of strings, 
one on each side, (of rope), answer the purpose as 
well ; they are easily untied, and, being fixtures 
on the hampers, are always ready for use. 


Some prefer canvas tops to wicker ones, think- 
ing they save the fowls injuring their combs. I 
use the latter, as being more secure, and admit- 
ting of one hamper being placed over the other. 

Geese and ducks require no lining to their ham- 
pers, unless in severe weather, during which their 
comfort is much increased by layers of pulled 
straw, stitched round the inside of their baskets. 
Guard against geese having a chance of reaching 
the direction label ; they invariably eat it, and are 
so mischievously inclined, that they will even nib- 
ble off the rope fastenings, if they can get at them. 

Turkeys suffer more than any other birds in 
apiyearance from cold or wet ; therefore, though 
hardy, they, for our own sake, demand a lined 

Never put strange birds together ; they fight 
with, and disfigure each other. They should be on 
friendly terms for some time previous to exhibition. 

Unless this is attended to, your hamper will be 
the arena of a savage combat ; even hens evince 
such jealous feelings towards a new-comer, that, 
if the cock does not interfere and keep down the 
^meute, his seraglio suffers. 


When the exhibition season closes, choose a 
fine day to have youv hampers washed, dried, 
and put away. They should never be used but 
for exhibition birds ; disease is often spread by 
sick birds being put for a few days into com- 
fortable quarters (such as they afford), and the 
result is, the certain illness of the next occu- 

Dear reader, the day, the eventful day, arrives, 
when your chosen champions must depart for the 
battle-field, and quit their comfortable home. 

Poor things ! most of you have known no 
other, and all may not return to it. Farewell, my 
gallant cockerels ! Farewell, my dainty pullets ! 
" Farewellj" — perchance — " a long farewell, to all 
my '' — beauties. 

Should your experience prove like mine, the 
scene will be something in this wise. 

Through the morning mist the active hen- 
wives may be discerned flitting to and fro like 
mad women. But there is " method in their 
madness." They are giving the Jast meal to 
their charges, and placing each carefully labelled 
hamper in its appointed place. 


As noon approaches, all hands muster, for all 
dearly love the poultry. 

The cart arrives; the horse stands quietly, 
with nose in bag, eating his corn. Anticipated 
triumph, or timid doubt, is in every face : not one 
is listless. How busy they are! No castle of 
indolence here. Hamper after hamper is brought, 
with its living freight, and carefully secured. The 
pile rises like a pyramid : at length the last crowns 
the tier, magnificent in its gay lining, and graceful 
in its limber wicker work. The cordial glass goes 
round, to drink them success, and they move 
slowly away, under a shower of old shoes for luck, 
to the station, where a covered van awaits them. 

As the cart recedes through the apple-trees in 
the orchard, one and all follow it with wistful 
gaze; when it finally disappears behind the in- 
tervening hedge-row, each gives an anxious look 
on his neighbour, and they disperse to their sus- 
pended occupations. 

Great anxiety prevails to hear the sentence of 
the judge. This is known before the fowls return, 
when all are kindly cared for, but the prize-win- 
ners are handled with an almost pious reverence. 


To serve as a guide to the uninitiated in the 
mysteries of poultry points, and their technical 
terms, I give a diagram of a fowl, (fig. 8), with 
a lettered reference. 

Fig 8. 

A . 

B . 
C . 
D . 
E . 
F . 

Neck hackle. 

Saddle hackle. 



Upper wing coverts. 

Lower wing coverts. 

Primary quills. 








"Whatever tends to alleviate the sufferings of 
domestic animals kept for our own gratification, 
it is our duty to study, for we must not allow 
them to pine and die unaided. 

"We ought to know all that is worth knowing, 
and make ourselves elioible for the deoree of 
M.D. (Poultr}'), equal to all emergencies of hen 

Take their diseases in time; your own prompt 
attention to their wants may ward off a serious 
malady, too often resulting in death ; procrastina- 
tion is as pernicious in poultry keeping as in 
anything else. 

There should be attached to every poultry 
establishment, a hospital, viz., a warm, well- 
lighted house, littered do^mi with straw, to which 


the fowl can be removed, on the first symptom 
of illness. 

Sickly fowls are generally ill-used by their 
companions, pecked at, and evidently objects of 
dislike ; therefore a sanatorium is indispen- 

Poultry are subject to many diseases ; the old 
(alderman-like) suffer from gout; moulting, with 
them, is often so severe and protracted that it 
carries them off. 

The young are victims of roup, gapes, leg weak- 
ness, and bad feathering. Eoup is highly infec- 
tious, and a very deadly disease, but if taken in 
time, can be cured. The premonitory symptoms 
are a slight hoarseness and catching in the breath, 
as if from cold. Do not neglect this, but at once 
remove the sufferer to the hospital, and give a 
tablespoonful of castor oil. 

A few hours after, administer one of Baily's 
" roup and condition pills," and take the scale off 
the tongue, which can easily be done by holding 
the bill open with the left hand, and removing the 
excrescence with the thumb-nail of the right. 

Repeat the dose of physic every morning for a 


week, and give soft food only, mixed with ale 
and chopped green vegetables. 

If the disease has made much progi'ess before 
discovery, and rattling in the throat (with dis- 
charge from the eyes and nostrils) has com- 
menced, you must use stronger remedies. 

In addition to the castor oil, which should 
always be given before other medicine, and is 
perfectly safe, the following recipe by an amateur 
wiU be found beneficial : — 

" Take of dried sulphate of iron, in powder, half 
a drachm; capsicum, in powder, one drachm; 
extract of liquorice, a sufficient quantity, to make 
a mass which is to be divided into 30 pills. One 
to be given three times a-day, continued to the 
end of the third, and then followed by the second 
prescription:" which is "Half an ounce of sul- 
phate of iron, and one ounce of cayenne pepper 
in fine powder. Mix carefully a teaspoonful of 
these powders with butter, and divide into ten 
equal parts, one to be given twice a-day," 

Each morning and evening, until the complete 
restoration of the patient to health, wash the eyes, 
and inside of the mouth and nostrils with vine'j'ar. 


This is very cleansing, and a few drops inter- 
nally are useful in removing the mucus which 
collects in the throat. 

The disease runs its course rapidly. If your 
bird is not better in a week, it will be dead. 
Whole yards are often depopulated by the ravages 
of this scourge ; single cases occur which are over- 
looked, and then the disease becomes universal. 

Some think roup merely a neglected cold ; but 
my opinion is, that it attacks the birds at once, 
and is contagious. 

The bill of the first sufiferer has perhaps con- 
taminated the water-dish, and such is the virulence 
of the malady, that it quickly spreads through 
the whole stock, and is indeed the Poultry plague. 

Even when the fowl appears to have recovered, 
it must undergo a long and strict quarantine 
before it is restored to the bosom of its family. 

I do not advise all this care to be bestowed on 
any but valuable fowls ; if the more worthless are 
attacked, the sooner they are put out of pain, 
and hidden from sight, the better, so wretched 
an appearance does a sickly fowl present. 

Gapes, or inflammation of the trachea, is a 


disease peculiar to chickenlioocl, and is occasioned 
by small worms imbedded in the throat. 

They can be removed by introducing a feather, 
stripped to within an inch of the point, into the 
windpipe ; if turned round quickly, the parasites 
will be drawn up with it. It is a difficult opera- 
tion, and often fails in effecting a cure. So, un- 
less in the case of very valuable birds, I do not 
advise the amateur to have recourse to it. If the 
chicken gapes, give it a few drops of castor oil, 
and occasionally a small piece of bread soaked in 
spirit of camphor; feed with boiled milk and 
bread or custard, given by hand until the bird 
recovers its usual appetite. 

I must repeat, however, that a constant supply 
of fresh water, and perfect cleanliness, ensure 
good health : prevention is better than cure. 

Sometimes fowls become crop-bound, when (to 
save the bird) you must make a small incision, 
remove the mass of undigested food, and sew up 
the wound with fine silk thread. Give a table- 
spoonful of castor oil, separate the invalid from its 
companions until the wound is perfectly healed, 
and during this time feed entirely with soft food. 


Hens occasionally drop their eggs on the 
ground, repudiating nests altogether, without 
the slightest regard to les convenances. This 
must be treated medically, and the hen shown 
the impropriety of deviating from the usages 
of society ; it may happen that they lay soft 
eo-D-s, and this also demands treatment. A dose 
of oil, in both cases, should be administered, 
and a change of diet enforced; the hen is too 
fat, and must be brought down in condition. 
Moulting, though a natural process, at times 
assumes the form of disease. The birds look out 
of health, and suffer, even to death, unless 
nourishing food is freely given ; if the weather is 
severe, many old fowls die. It is advisable to 
keep them warm, and feed well on hemp-seed, 
bread and ale, buck-wheat a discretion, and ani- 
mal food. 

Loss of feather (or mange) must not be con- 
founded with moulting; it is a sign of debility 
and pining. Fresh air, good feeding, and free 
range are the best cures; in country poultry 
establishments mange should be almost unknown. 

Fowls, if too closely housed or restricted in 


green food and lime, sometimes attack each other's 
feathers imder the influence of a morbid appetite, 
and eff'ectually destroy the plumage till next 
moult. The remedies I have found best, are a re- 
formation in the economy of their diet, removal 
of the pecked bird to private lodgings, and the 
wounded parts rubbed over ■with sulphur ointment. 

Diarrhoea is caused by the too abundant use of 
relaxing food : boiled rice, with a little chalk and 
cayenne pepper mixed, will check the complaint. 

To all my fowls and chickens I give, from 
time to time, jalap in their food, in the pro- 
portion of a teaspoonful to 20 birds. It sets 
them up wonderfully, and keeps them in health. 
I also give a restorative, recommended by Mr 
Douglas. He is a well-known and successful 
breeder, and I consider his advice very valuable in- 
deed. He has kindly allowed me to publish it : 

" Bitter Eimedy. 

" Half a pound of sulphate of iron, one ounce of diluted 
sulphuric acid, dissolved together; add two gallons of 
water, allowed to stand fourteen days. 

" Dose for chickens : — One teaspoonful to a pint of 
water, twice or thrice a-week. Good also for old birds 
in moult." 



" WoLSELEY Aviaries. 

" Restorative to prevent Eoup and Gapes 

IN Chickens and old Fowls. 

" One pound of sulphate of iron, one ounce of sulphu- 
ric acid, dissolved in a jug with hot water, then let it 
stand twenty-four hours, and add one gallon of spring 
water ; when fit for use, one teaspoonful of the restora- 
tive to a pint of water, given every other day to chickens, 
and once a-week to old fowls, will make roup and gapes 
entirely a stranger to your yards." 

" Pills to Cure Eoup in Poultry and Pheasants. 

" One grain of calomel, one grain of antimony, made 
into a pill ; one to be given every evening ; fowls kept 
dry, and fed on soft food ; when getting better, add a 
teaspoonful of the restorative to the water every day 
until they have quite recovered, which will be in about a 

I hope none of my readers will be so unlucky 
as to have a fowl poisoned ; but if so, I give Mr 
Douglas's method of cure : — 

" How to Tre^vt a Poisoned Fowl. 

" There must be no delay. Give two or three spoon- 
fuls of castor oU, according to the size of the bud. 

" In half-an-hour administer a strong infusion of coffee 
— %Yith a little sugar, but no milk. 

" The strength is one ounce of coffee to a wine glass 


of water, given warm, but uot too hot, and the bird must 
be sheltered from cold. 

" After six hours give one more dose, and the recovery 
will be found perfect. 

John Douglas." 

" WoLSELET Aviaries." 

Leg weakness is generally caused by the size 
and weight of the body being more than the legs 
can bear; it is shown by the bird resting on the 
first joint. Being entirely the result of weak- 
ness, the best treatment is that which gives general 
strength and stamina to the sufferer. 

Citrate of iron must be given dissolved in ale, 
and added to the food, which may be more than 
usually nourishing, but not in greater quantity, 
as over-feeding has occasioned the disease. 

Frequent bathing in cold water is very bene- 
ficial. This is best efi'ected by tying a towel 
round the fowl, and suspending it over a pail 
of water, with the legs only iaimersed, so as not 
to injure the plumage. 

Absence of lime in the poultry yard sometimes 
causes leg weakness, and old age invariably shows 


itself in the "trembling limb." Warmth and 
generous diet are the sole remedies for this. 

Fowls are apt to be afflicted with (dare I 
mention it?j corns. These are caused by injury 
to the foot in descending from high perches. 
Eemoval to a grass run is the best treatment. 
The calosity must first be carefully pared. 

Apoplexy is the result of high feeding; the 
comb becomes black, and the bird falls down in 
a state of stupor. Bleeding from the foot 
sometimes effects a cure, with the aid of medicine, 
and a continuation of low diet. 

It is well to know that fowls are no homceopa- 
thists, and can hardly be overdosed by simple 
physic. However, a smaller quantity has the 
same effect as a larger. 




I HOLD all artificial fattenino; and crammino; of 
fowls to be an iitter abomination, unless at the 
hands of the regular poultry salesman, who buys 
up country birds, and treats them on a system. 

Ill an amateur establishment, poultry should 
always be fat, and fit for table, the difficulty 
being to prevent them becoming too much so. 
It may not be amiss, however, to shut up fowls, 
and especially ducks, for a short time, and restrict 
them in diet to rice and milk or porridge. 

The Brahma, crossed with the Dorking, makes 
certainly the earliest spring chickens : the white 
leg and full straight breast will generally appear. 

The Sussex breed is large, and a cross between 
it and the Dorking will give increased bone to 
the progeny ; but the chickens are not so early 
as those of the above-named cross, and I do not 
think the shape or flesh improved by it. 


Summer and autumn chickens are plentiful 
enough, and in these seasons the pure Dorking 
and French breeds are to be preferred ; but Jan- 
uary Dorkings are scarce, and generally destined 
for early exhibition, so we gladly put up with a 
less delicate, but larger, style of chicken for table 

The Creve Cceur attains a remarkable weight, 
and is the Chapon and Poularde. of the Continent, 
but is late. The Scotch Grey or Chick Merlin 
(the old name of this breed), also supplies a 
really good and desirable table fowl. 

Turkeys, geese, and ducks should always bp in 
good flesh and condition. I\Iy own ctre so, inva- 
riably, and I should be very sorry to condemn 
any of my stock to the miserable confinement of 
a fattening coop, with its too common discom- 
forts — want of air and cleanliness. 

Aquatic birds fatten better when limited to a 
trough, in lieu of a running stream, and this 
seems no deprivation to them; they take their 
bath daily, and it seems all they require, if 
we may judge by tlieir plumpness and good 


The little black East Indian duck is a most 
delicious bird, when fed upon barley meal and 
celery, indeed almost equal to the famed Canvas- 
back of America; this mode of treatment first 
suggested itself to me from a knowledge of the 
habits and food of that bird, which latter con- 
sists of the sea-celery (yalisneria), found in the 
mouth of the Delaware ; they obtain it by diving 
to a great depth, beyond the powers of any other 
species of duck. 

I have always found that fowls can be induced 
to feed as you wish them. Science and observa- 
tion should guide that; Nature, their habits. 

I conclude this short chapter with some 
remarks kindly afforded me by ]\Ir ]\Iuirhcad, 
Queen Street, Edinburgh, Poulterer to Her j\Ia- 
jesty in Scotland: — 

" Capons are of very ancient origin, and arc 
mentioned by authors of the middle ages as hav- 
ing been in use among the Greeks and Eomans, 
and only seen among nations in the highest state 
of civilization. 

" The j&esh of these birds is very delicate, they 
attain great weights, and comnumd high price's 


and a great advantage is, that they never quarrel 
with each other, nor interfere with the breeding 

" They can mix with these with impunity, and 
are available in winter and spring of the following 
year, when cockerels have become too old and 
coarse for the epicure's table. 

" Practical instructions as to the process of 
caponizing can always be obtained from our 

" With regard to cramming, I may say that it 
is wholly unnecessary, provided the fowls have 
abundance of the best food at regular intervals, 
fresh air, and a free run ; in confinement fowls 
may gain fat, but they lose flesh. 

"None but those who have had experience 
can form any idea how hoth qualities can be 
obtained in a natural way. 

" I have seen fowls reared at Inchmartine 
(which had never been shut up, or had food 
forced upon them), equal, if not superior, to the 
finest Surrey fowl, or those fattened by myself 
for the Royal table. 




There is so much beauty in all the different 
breeds of fowls, each possessing so many good 
qualities, that it is quite impossible to state a 
preference for any one in particular. 

Perhaps my individual favourites may be sur- 
mised from a perusal of these pages, though in- 
tended to be impartial 

Every breeder has his, or her, own fancy, doubt- 
less much influenced by the climate of the loca- 
lity, and facilities for rearing different varieties. 

I pretend not to universal poultry knowledge. 
When I had not an intimate acquaintance with 
any breed, I begged the assistance of those well 
qualified to give the desired information, and 
this request has been cordially met. 

102 BREEDS. 


This breed has now attained a size quite mar- 
vellous, and in point of rich colouring, is un- 
rivalled; it is a truly English bird, and follows 
up its resemblance to the character of a Briton 
in its love of liberty. 

The old coarse breed is now unseen in the ex- 
hibition room, and is indeed nearly extinct even 
in market, being rej)laced by more refined but 
equally heavy birds. 

Delicate white flesh (that sine qua non), sym- 
metrical shape, and equal distribution of fat, 
mark the Dorking, as it at present exists, to be 
the bird, j^ar excellence, of our table poultry. 

There are several varieties, but only two dis- 
tinct classes-r-the white and the coloured. 

All Dorkings are delicate until full-feathered, 
when I consider them as hardy as any other 
kind of fowl. 


The chickens must be kept on hard clay or 
gravel soil, never on wooden, stone, or brick 
floors; their coops, in winter, may be boarded, but 
the tenants must have earth to run upon during 
the day, or they will become cramped. 

Over-crowding these chickens is the most pro- 
lific source of disease ; irregular feeding, and ex- 
posure to damp and cold, increase the mortality ; 
there is no such thing as luck in rearing broods; 
too often, want of care and knowledge occasion 

Dorkings are, perhaps, more liable to roup 
than other fowls; it attacks them when three- 
parts grown; they also sometimes suffer from 
slight attacks of cold, and hoarseness. 

Their food should be mixed with ale or beer, 
and a small quantity of cayenne pepper. 

To intending exhibitors, I may now mention 
a few of the points essential to success in Grey 

Neck hackle — full light straw colour, or silvery 

104 BREEDS. 

Saddle hackle — same, and abundant. 

Primary quills — black or grizzled. 

Secondary quills — light grey. 

Upper wing coverts — light grey. 

Lower wing coverts — slightly darker. 

Breast — black, or speckled with white. 

Tail — black, large and sweeping ; a white 
feather will not cast an otherwise perfect bird. 
Side tail feathers abundant and long. (This adds 
much to his beauty). 

Thighs — straight, strong, and black, or spotted. 

Legs and feet — white, and free from feathers. 

Toes — five in number, and quite distinct, the 
fifth pointing upwards, and not a mere branch of 
the fourth. 

Comb — straight and single, though a rose comb 
does not disqualify. 

Wattles — red, long, and pendulous, but firm. 

Ear-lobe — red. 


Kech hackle — light grey, or darker. 
Bach — dark ash, or grizzled grey. 

ft./ * , ' ^ ^w^^^ — 


EaiZJi-JTgll ThnTTift j ; C-Jajck 


Primary quills — black, or a mixture of black 
and brown. 

Secondary quills — dark brown, spotted. 

Upper wing coverts — grey. 

Loiuer wing coverts — grey, and as distinct as 

'Breast — ruddy, or grey, if the cock has a 
spotted breast. 

Tail — dark, inclining to grey. 

Til ighs — mixture of brown and grey. 

Legs and feet — white. 

Comb — falling over on either side. 

Wattles — red and firm. 

Ear-lobes — red. 

The following points are kindly supplied by 
an eminent English judge: — 

" To the best of my recollection the rule laid 
down for judging Silver-grey Dorkings at Liver- 
pool, where they were first admitted as a class, 
was as follows — 

106 BREEDS. 


Breast and tail — pure black, not the slightest 
stain of white allowed. 

Hackle and saddle — pure silver, without one 
spot of straw, red, or black. 


Breast — bright robin colour. 

Body — light grey, the shaft of each feather white. 

Hackle — pure silver. Any tendency to red in 
the plumage of the wing is a great defect. 

" This variety is best known as Lord Hill's 
breed, and has now obtained a class at most of 
the principal shows. 

" In point of weight it cannot compete on equal 
terms with the Grey Dorking, but for colour and 
shape stands unrivalled." 

Walk g0rhnTinf. 

The following opinion, from an extensive and 
successful breeder, may be relied on as perfectly 
correct, and affording a true guide to the ama- 
teur of these lovely birds : — 


" I find the white Dorkings hardy, quite as 
prolific as the coloured; they lay well, and are 
excellent sitters and mothers. 

"Their qualities as table fowls are too well 
known to require any notice from me. They are 
always in request by dealers for that purpose. I 
consider their exhibition points to be as follows: — 

Plumage — pure white in both cock and hen. 

Corah — double rose, bright scarlet, set straight 
on the head, pointed at the back, well serrated, 
and firm. 

Toes — the fifth well-defined. 

Bill and legs — perfectly white. 

Cock — tail, large, with full sweep. 

Ear-lohe — white. 

I\eck and saddle hackles — white, free from all 
yellow tinge, too frequently seen in these birds, 
and always a blemish. 

" T. D. FlNDLAY." 

There are other varieties of Dorkings, such as 
the Blue or Cuckoo, the Speckled, &c., but it is 
unnecessary to give their points, as they are not 
in request, and little known. 

108 BREEDS. 

Ira^ma |po0lra. 

I consider this a most valuable variety, so 
hardy, so beautiful, so excellent, in all the rela- 
tions of poultry life. 

Although it bears a close resemblance in form 
to the Cochin, I maintain it to be a distinct breed. 

Their habits are quite dissimilar, their eggs are 
larger, they roam farther from home, and have 
more sj^irit, and fiery elan. 

I think their expression indicative of good 
temper, and yet they are formidable foes when 
roused, their immense size and weight giving 
them great advantage over their rivals. 

The hens excel as mothers, and layers of fine 
large eggs during winter. Even when snow 
covers the ground, they lay regularly an average 
of five eggs a-week, and, in fact, at all times, 
when not employed in the nursery, or renewing 
their plumage. 

The pullets attain full size at an early age, 
and are in their prime when eight months old. 


Some judges seem to have a predetermination 
to give prizes only to the dark variety, entirely 
overlooking the beautiful light-coloured, which, 
I think, was, certainly, the original breed intro- 
duced into England. This is mere fancy, and I 
affirm them to be distinct varieties. 

They demand separate classes at shows, as 
much as the Buff and Partridge Cochins, Grey 
and Silver-grey Dorkings.* 

Purity of race is claimed for both single and 
pea-combed Brahmas. Precedence is generally 
given to the latter, and I withhold not my con- 
sent, provided it is allied to other good points. 

Comb is not an imperative point in this breed ; 
the single comb resembles that of the Cochin. 

The double or pea-comb is not so easy to 
describe, but I shall try to be as lucid as pos- 
sible ; it is very singular in appearance, thick at 
the base, and is like three combs joined in one, 
the centre one higher than the other, but it must 
be (altogether) a low comb, rounded at the top, 
and the indentations must not be deep. 

* Separate classes are now given for dark and light 
Brahuias, and generally fill well. 


This (rather negative) description will, I hope, 
be understood ; in the hope of obtaining separate 
classes for light and dark pencilled varieties, I 
shall describe the form and feathering of each. 

Dcwk Cock — square build, broad chest, digni- 
fied carriage ; tail, small, and as black as possible ; 
breast, dark, spangled with white ; ear-lobes and 
face, red ; wattles, long ; neck and saddle hackles, 
streaked black and white ; general colour of 
plumage, grey ; thighs, ditto ; feet and legs, yel- 
low, and abundantly feathered. 

The vulture hock controversy is very keen. It 
certainly seems hard that what was only a few 
years ago considered a beauty is now j)ronounced 
so great a defect, that birds possessing it (how- 
ever fine otherwise) are excluded from all chance 
of gaining the jDrize. The result is seen in many 
cases by the almost total absence of leg feather- 
ing, or recourse is had to the reprehensible action 
of pulling out the offending hock feathers. 

Hen — regularly marked all over the back and 
breast ; iving quill feathers and tail, black ; wat- 
tles, short; legs mud feet, yellow, and feathered. 

Light Cock — broad across back, full chest ; 


hackles, full, each feather laced with black ; tail, 
black; breast, grey; thighs, light grey; iving quill 
feather s,h\?LQk\ coverts, white ;/eei and Ze^5, yellow, 
and well-feathered ; wattles, red and pendulous. 

Hen — hackles, white, each feather tipped with 
black ; tail, white, edged with black ; breast, 
white ; body, clear white ; legs, short and fluffy. 
The legs of all Brahnias should be short and wide 
apart. This is a great beauty, and, in both cock 
and hen, the outer toes should be shorter than the 
others, and feathered to the point ; beaks, yellow. 

]\Iiss Watts is too well known in the poultry 
world to require any introduction from me. I 
append her polite communication as to this 
variety : — 

" I think all who keep Brahmas will agree 
with me in giving them a high place among our 
useful poultry. They are large, and put on flesh 
readily ; they are good layers, good sitters, and 
good mothers ; they are also very hardy, apt at 
keeping themselves in good condition, and, under 
the unfavourable circumstances of dirty weather, 
or of living much among houses, they decidedly 
keep up a cleanly, tidy appearance better than any 

112 BREEDS. 

other kind I know. The chickens are hardy and 
easy to rear ; I very seldom lose any, and I have 
noticed that they are more clever in the treatment 
of themselves when they are ill than other fowls ; 
when they get out of order, they will generally 
fast until eating is no longer injurious. I should 
like to know if you have noticed this peculiarity 
in the Brahma* I believe I am prejudiced in 
their favour, but it is from experience of their 
merits perhaps ; so, not exactly prejudiced, but 
convinced. I was among the first to import 
them, rather largely, and after keeping them just 
over seven years, I would not give them up for 
any other variety that I have tried. 

" The worst accusation their enemies can ad- 
vance against them is, that no one knows their 
origin ; but this is applicable to them only as it 
is when applied to Dorkings, Spanish, Polands, 
and all the other kinds which have been brought 
to perfection by careful breeding, working on 
good originals. All we have in England are 
descended from fowls imported from the United 
States, and the best account of them is, that a 

* Quite correct. — E. A. 




sailor (rather vague certainly) appeared in an 
American town, (Boston or New York, I forget 
which), with a new kind of fowl for sale, and 
that a pair bought from him were the parents of 
all the Brahmas. Uncertain as this appears, the 
accounts of those who pretend to trace their 
origin as cross-bred fowls is, at least, equally 
so, and I believe we may just act towards the 
Brahmas as we do with regard to Dorkings and 
other good fowls, and be satisfied to possess a 
first-rate useful kind, although we may be unable 
to trace its genealogical tree back to the root. 

" Whatever may be their origin, I find them 
distinct in their characteristics. I have found 
them true to their points, generation after gener- 
ation, in all the years that I have kept them. 
The Pea-comb is very peculiar, and I have never 
had one chicken untrue in this, among all that 
I have bred. Their habits are very unlike the 
Cochins. Although docile, they are much less 
inert ; they lay a larger number of eggs, and sit 
less frequently. Many of my hens only wish to 
sit once a-year ; a few, oftener than that, perhaps 

twice or even three times in rare instances, but 




never at the end of each small batch of eggs, as I 
find (my almost equal favourites) the Cochins do. 

" The division of light and dark Brahmas is a 
fancy of the judges, which any one who keeps 
them can humour with a little care in breeding. 
My idea of their colour is, that it should be black 
and grey, (iron grey, with more or less of a blue 
tinge, and devoid of any hroiun) on a clear, white 
ground, and I do not care whether the white or 
the marking predominates. I beheve breeders 
could bear me out, if they would, when I say 
many fowls which pass muster as Brahmas are 
the result of a cross employed to increase size 
and procure the heavy colour which some of the 
judges affect. 

" It gives me great pleasure to write these few 
remarks on the good qualities of the Brahma, but 
it is not needed, for I find they are making their 
way into very general favour by their useful 

" E. Watts." 

" Marton House, South End. 
Hampstead, London." 






These singular-looking fowls have their ad- 

They are of great size, and beautiful in plum- 
age, and their very rarity makes them always 
interesting objects in an exhibition; the hens 
lay eggs of average size, of a deep buff colour; 
they are acknowledged to be very rich in flavour, 
and for hatching purposes, very few will be found 

As the chickens do not fully get their feathers 
till three-parts grown, they should be hatched 
early, so as to be quite fledged before cool weather 
sets in. 

Their native country is the southern point of 
Asia, and the breed has always been had recourse 
to, in Britain, where size was required, previous 
to the introduction of the Shanghaes. 

The cock is a magnificent bird, standing over 
two and a-half feet in height, of a proud and 

116 BREEDS. 

majestic carriage, and will weigh about eleven 

The colour of the pair first imported was a 
reddish yellow, but there are now many varieties, 
black, white, &c. 

The most esteemed, however, is Black-breasted 
Eed, the exhibition points of which we shall 
notice. I do not think this fowl so useful as 
some others, but it is interesting to the amateur, 
as showing: individual characteristics. 


Comh — small, and not extending the whole 
length of the head. 

Wattles — poor. 

Neck hackle — red, dark or bright, 

Saddle hackle — darker. 

Upper wing coverts — rich maroon. 

Lower wing coverts — green, or a bluish black. 

Breast — black, or spangled with a chestnut 

Tail — black, shaded with green. 

Thighs — same. 

Legs and feet — bright yellow. 

MALAYS. 117 

Ear-lohe — scarlet. 

Eye — red. 

Beak — yellow, sometimes tinged with black. 

Plumage — short and close, and very glossy. 


Weight — about eight and a-half pounds. 

Gomh — hardly any. 

Wattles — none. 

Ear-lohe and face — red. 

Legs and feet — yellow and long. 

Breast — brown, 

TJiighs — same. 

Upper wing coverts — brown. 

Lower iving coverts — same. 


Saddle — same as body — maroon. 

Neck hackle — dark reddish brown. 

The general character of these birds is vindic- 
tive, cruel, and tyrannical. 

If in confined premises, they are in the habit 
of eating away each other's plumage, though this 
is not peculiar to this variety ; and are very quar- 
relsome, so that they sometimes appear at an ex- 
hibition in sorry plight. 

118 BREEDS. 

Although this fowl is so well described by 
Mr Douglas, in the letter which follows, I must 
append a few remarks : — 

The hen is a good layer, sits well, and is care- 
ful of her brood. 

She forages zealously for the chickens, and 
remains with them until they are independent of 
her superintendence. They are easily reared, 
require little food, and (in constitution) are far 
more robust than any other variety. 

The Game fowl continues to breed for many 
years, without showing any symptom of decay, 
and in this, is superior to the Cochin, Brahma, 
or even Dorking. 

If hatched in March, the cockerels must be 
dubbed in August, to fit them for exhibition. 

Why these poor birds are condemned to 
submit to this cruel operation, is a mystery. 

GAME. 119 

unfathomable, I suspect, even by the judges 

Cock-fighting being forbidden by law, the 
cocks should, on principle, be left undubbed, 
as a protest against this brutal amusement. 

The comb of the Game male bird is as beauti- 
fully formed as that of the Dorking; why then 
rob it of this great ornament? 

It is asserted that it is necessary to remove the 
comb to prevent the cocks injuring each other 
fatally in fighting; but this is not true; a 
Dorking will fight for the championship as 
ardently as any Game bird, and yet his comb is 

Cockerels will not quarrel if kept apart from 
hens, until the breeding season, when they 
should be separated, and put on their several 

If pugnaciously inclined, I do not believe that 
the absence of the comb will save the weaker 
opponent from destruction ; therefore, I raise 
my voice for pity, in favour of the beautiful 
Game cock. 

The rules for colour of legs are very undecided. 

120 BREEDS, 

111 my humble opinion, light legs match 
light-coloured birds best, but this is not im- 
perative, and every colour, except black, is ad- 

Mr Douglas's remarks will, doubtless, be 
thought valuable by the Game fancier : — 

" The Game fowl has so long been a favourite 
with the public, and is sv well and deservedly 
known, that I need not detain your readers with 
a lengthened description of its merits. There 
are two classes of admirers of this beautiful bird 
— the one, looking only to those points which are 
likely to be most telling in the pit, the other, 
admiring the bird for its great beauty. To the 
latter class of fanciers I am proud to belong; 
but I refrain from comment upon those whose 
tastes, perchance, may differ from my own. 

" We admire the Game cock for his bold, 
defiant carriage, his perfect symmetry and beauty 
of plumage. We cannot look upon him with 
any other feeling than that of admiration; his 
fearless eye, firm and stately step, and bold 
majestic watchfulness over his harem, seem to 

GA^fE. 121 

convey at once to our mind the idea, * I 'm mon- 
arch of all I survey.' 

" Althoujrh there are many varieties of Game 
fowls, one description will suffice for the whole, 
for the exhibition points are identically the same. 
I will, therefore, begin with the Black-breasted 
Red, believing, as I do, that it is the purest 
feathered Game that is bred; for, breed wliat 
variety we may, we have never found any come 
so true to colour as a brood of Black Reds. 
As more depends upon the Game hen, in the 
production of first-class chickens, than many 
are aware of, we will first describe her points: 
Head, long ; mandible, very strong and firmly set 
in the head ; eyes, very prominent ; neck, long and 
graceful ; shoulders, square ; chest, broad ; jjoints 
of wings almost meeting under the tail; the 
latter adornment must be close and compact, not 
carried too erect or loose over the back; thighs, 
short and muscular; legs, long, and free from 
feather; toes, well spread; feathers, short and 
hard. These are the points of a good Game hen. 
We now come to her mate, the Game cock. 
Some breeders fancy one weight and some 

122 BREEDS. 

anotlier, but I prefer my stock-bird of about 
five or six pounds weight. Choose a bird of 
bold, defiant carriage, of good colour, head long 
and slender, mandible strong, curved, and well set 
in the head; very stout at the base, full breast, 
round body, broad between the shoulders, and 
tapering to the tail. In fact, he must resemble the 
hen in all his points, except in colour. Having 
given the exhibition and breeding points of one 
class of Game fowl, the same qualifications are 
necessary in all other varieties, however nume- 
rous they may be; names and colours we leave 
to the taste of the amateur himself. To give 
a separate description of each of the different 
coloured varieties would be more than your space 
will permit, for their name is legion; but I 
may mention a few of those we are best ac- 
quainted with, viz., Duck wings. Brown-breasted 
Keds, Brassy Wings, White, Black, Piles, Greys, 
Birchin Greys, Weedon Keds, &c., &c., all 
of which have their friends and admirers, and 
must all possess the different points we have 
enumerated, whether they are intended for the 
purposes of amusement and exhibition, or the pit. 

GAME. 123 

" To breed fancy, streaky-breasted, brown-red 
cockerels, mate a streaky-breasted hen to a black- 
red cock; nine times out of ten the cockerels 
will resemble the hen in colour. To breed pul- 
lets to match, the cock must be streaky-breasted, 
and the hen black-breasted red; these will be 
the exhibition Brown-breasted Eeds. 

" The principal points in the Duckwing Game 
cockerel are the clear, vivid wing, black breast 
and tail, and light straw-coloured hackle. To 
obtain these, breed from a light grey-backed and 
winged hen, with silver hackle and salmon breast, 
and a black-breasted red cock ; the hen should not 
have the slightest shade of red on the wing; this 
is fatal 

" To obtain similar pullets, the cock must be 
Duckwing, and the hen Black-Red. 

" Piles (cockerels) are bred from a white cock 
and black-red hen. They "will have the clear 
white feather, light salmon breast, and tinge of 
gold in hackle. The cockerels are the produce 
of a red-spangled cock and white hen, and should 
possess the beautiful white tail, clean hackle, 
and red shoulder. These remarks are the result 

124 BREEDS. 

of an experience of more than twenty years, 
in breeding the different varieties of Game. I 
wish (in common with many other exhibitors) 
there was more uniformity of opinion in judging 
this breed ; only practical breeders should be em- 
ployed ; the mistakes made are truly ludicrous. 
.For exhibition chickens I prefer those hatched 
the last week in March or first In April. At 
that season nine eggs are sufficient for the sitting 
hen ; earlier, only seven. The mother with her 
brood must be cooped under a shed, with a dry 
bottom, composed of three parts road drift and 
chalk, and one part lime rubbish ; this must be 
renewed every season: at the end of nine days 
the coop should be placed on turf, choosing the 
middle of the day for the shift. Until the grass 
is thoroughly dry, keep the chickens confined to 
their coop, feeding them once or twice if neces- 
sary. Give plenty of fresh water, adding a little 
of the 'restorative' (previously mentioned) every 
morning before the coops are opened. When the 
hen leaves the chickens, select the cockerels and 
put them on a walk with an old cock without 
hens or pullets. At six months we put them to 

OAME. 12o 

separate walks, unless a few intended for early 
exhibition, which are put to a walk at once, on 
leaving the hen. Pullets must be treated in the 
same manner. Before sending off birds to exhi- 
bition, feed them on boiled milk and bread ; never 
on hard food. 

"John Douglas." 

•'WoLSELET Aviaries." 

126 BREEDS. 

In Scotland, tMs breed is much valued. It 
is of great antiquity, and still to be found in 
the most remote districts, where other (and 
newer) varieties are unknown. Our poulterers 
consider it is excellent for the table, and it pos- 
sesses the great advantage of white legs and 
skin. The hens lay in due season, and perform 
their maternal duties creditably. For the points 
of this breed, I give the remarks of a friendly 
poultry fancier, and admirer of this fowl : — 

"I have no doubt that this is a distinct 
breed. It throws true chickens, and that is 
sufficient to prove it, although this may be the 
result of cross-breeding at a period more or less 

"In her foreign relations, Scotland has im- 
ported many breeds from Spain, Hamburgh, 
Holland, and France, and, as a matter of course, 


these have impressed the stamp of their features 
on the Scotch Grey. 

" Some assert that it is a mere modification 
of the Dorking, fine specimens of which occur 
of similar colour, which I have heard styled 
the ' Blue Mottle,' and it cannot be denied 
that it is largely imbued with the blood of 

" Such a cross tends to produce a distinct 
and valuable species, while an infusion of 
Spanish, Hamburgh, and Cochin China blood 
interferes with the essential features of the 

" The coch is rather a slim bird, and the 
more closely he resembles the Game, the better. 
He should stand erect, with a proud carriage, 
the thiglis slightly exposed, though less so than 
in the Spanish. 

"The thicker and more widely set his limbs 
are, the more perfect the fowl: they shoidd be 
white, though black spots are not considered 
positive blemishes. 

" The coinh is single, very large, and straight. 
The head should be small, and the e}je bright 

128 BREEDS. 

and quick. Much importance is attached to 
the redness of the ear-lohe. Birds, good in 
other respects, have often a whiteness in it, 
and this is, no doubt, owing to defective breed- 

" Although I myself have never seen a cock 
over two years with the lobe perfectly red, still 
it is a point to be aimed at, and is, I believe, 
quite attainable. 

" The colour of the plumage must be particu- 
larly attended to. 

" The bluish-grey mottled appearance of these 
birds depends upon the pencilling of the feathers 
(otherwise M'hite), by broad grey marks across 
them. Their beauty depends on the strength, 
without blackness, of these markings, especially 
at the feather tips, and the purity of the inter- 
vening white ground. These, together, give a 
mottled aspect like snow flakes, and this is best 
observed in the hens and half-grown chickens. 

" The greatest defect in colour is the indis- 
tinctness and muddling of the grey and the 

" The whiteness of the flight and sickle feathers 


may be a disadvantage, but it is of secondary 
imiDortance. Birds, (otherwise well coloured), 
have sometimes black feathers scattered over the 
surface, and this must be regarded as a defect, 

" Eed and brassy marks across the back is a 
defect that occurs in cockerels, and a yellowness 
of hackle, in hens. 

"Some very handsome cocks have a rich 
brownish transparent greyness of the hackle and 
saddle feathers, which enhances the beauty of 
their plumage, and is not inconsistent with the 
requisite style and colour, but I have seen this 
excessive in some specimens. 

" The hen shows the markings better than the 
cock. Her figure should be long and tapering, 
without the bulk and breadth of the Dorking's 
shoulder, and the comb should be small, and 
nearly erect. 

" The ear-lobes should be red, but this appears 
to be more rare than in the cock. 

" The principal points to be avoided in this 
breed are the bulky body and fifth toe of the 
Dorking, the white ear-lobes and small size of 
the Hamburgh, the drooping comb and whitish 

130 BREEDS. 

cheek of the Spanish, aud the raised hind- 
quarters and feathered legs of the Cochin 

" The great advantage I have observed in the 
Scotch Grey is, that they are very hardy fowls, 
and easily fed. The chickens require less care 
and attention than those of other kinds; these 
are of presentable size at the age of six months, 
and may weigh six pounds. 

" The hens are average layers. Their only 
advantage over the Dorking and Spanish is 
their superior constitutional strength; I have 
seen them thrive, where these (under the same 
management) became affected with roup ; and 
their chickens matured well, while the others 

"I cannot compare, however, the Scottish 
Grey with Dorking or Spanish, the former for 
chickens, the latter for eggs. 

" But for cottagers and others, whose fowls 
may not have the advantage of a roomy and well 
protected yard, they are possessed of valuable 

" There has always existed in Scotland, as 


wide-spread preference for the ' Old Scotch 
breed/ or 'Check Merlins,' the distinctive colour 
of which has obtained for it many synonyms in 
different provinces." 

132 BREEDS. 

The Spanish fowl is much admired, and de- 
servedly so, combining (as it does) so much that 
is beautiful, dignified, and useful; the hens, 
though only of a fair average size, lay immense 
eggs, and are also more precocious, in ttiis respect, 
than any other breed except the Brahma, 

They seldom condescend to sit, and are not 
to be desired as mothers, being careless, and 
flighty ; their eggs should be set under Dorking 
hens, because these go with their chicks longer 
than any others. 

Spanish do not feather till almost three-parts 
grown, and therefore require a steady, domestic 
mother, who wall remain with them till that 
critical period is safely past. 

Though, apparently, spirited, the cock is not 

game to the back-bone. He is, fortunately, easily 
cowed. Probably his motto is — 

" He that fights and runs away 
May live to fight another day." 

He makes the best of unfortunate circum- 
stances, and calmly acquiesces in his fate, say- 
ing in the spirit of his native lord, the majestic 
and philosophic Don, " My son, if thou seest thy 
house on fire, approach, and warm thy hands 
at it." 

The following remarks will be appreciated by 
amateurs of this mdely spread, and popular 
variety, kindly given to me by a well-known 
amateur : — 

"Let the bird have — 1st, a pure luhiteface, 
deep in the lobes, and of good space above the 
eye, and neither too fat above nor below it, 
yet not so skinny-faced as to lose that angular 
oblong shape which imparts such reverence to 
the fowl in question; 2nd, erectness, or all but 
erectness, in comb; 3rd, length in body, and of 
leg; 4!th, long clean neck; 5th, upright carriage; 
6th, plumage metallic green; and, 7th, rrood sise. 
I have stated the points in the order of their 

134 BREEDS. 

value. Nothing can compensate for the want of 
the first point, and the same may now be said of 
the second. Of course, if he be a pretty early 
chicken, he will show much better in autumn 
than an adult bird. " John Ridpath." 

" P.S. — Unless a bird answer very nearly to all 
these marks, he has very little chance of gaining 
honours in a good show. Few breeders have 
more than one such young bird. " J. E." 

Mr Muirhead has kindly given the following 
remarks : — 

"As the name implies, this breed has origi- 
nally been imported from Spain. The best-known 
variety is called White-faced, from that charac- 
teristic feature by which they are distinguished, 
so to it we will give precedence. 

" \st Variety. — White-Faced Black. 


Bill — strong, slightly curved, and dark- 

SPA NTS IT. 13.5 

Eye — large, dark, and flashing, surrounded with 
a naked white skin* extending from the base of 
the comb round the ears and cheeks, meeting like 
a cravat under the throat, and terminating in the 
ear-lobes, which are exceedingly long and pendu- 
lous. If this white face is very large and well 
developed, it proves high breeding; the texture 
of the skin cannot be too fine and smooth, and if 
it is blushed or spotted with red, it is considered 

Comh — single and large, beginning over the 
nostril, and extending backwards, should stand 
very erect, be regularly serrated, fine in the grain, 
and of a rich vermillion colour. 

Wattles — very large, hanging a good way down 
the neck, which is longer in this than in other 

The body should be as deep as possible, the 
shanks and legs being naturally long, and deptli 

* It is the practice of exhibitors of Spanish to shave 
the down of the edges of the white face, thus to enlarge 
it and make it smooth. It is a disgraceful practice, and 
not allowed at Birmingham Show. 



in body from the back to the breast-bone gives a 
better proportion to the shape, which would 
otherwise look scraggy. 

The legs are clean and of dark blue colour. 

Plumage — a brilliant jet black, hackles and 
saddle feathers long. 

Tail — full, rising perpendicularly from the 
back, and the numerous sickle feathers falling 
very gracefully. 

Carriage — bold and majestic; this is of great 
importance in rendering these fowls handsome 
and attractive. 


" White face not nearly so large as that of the 
cock. Comb, large, and hanging over one side; 
it lessens very much during the moulting or non- 
laying season, and is much affected by cold. 
Plumage, perfectly black. This breed is cele- 
brated for being egg-producers, a property which 
renders them very valuable. They surpass all 
other breeds in the size of their eggs, and they 
lay constantly, being non-sitters. They are, 
however, very unfit for table purposes, as they 



i^0 \ ♦*' 



Edjiibargli Ihamai C Jade 




carry very little flesh, and consume a great deal 
of food without ever getting fat. The chickens 
are very delicate to rear; they are long of fledg- 
ing, and of showing their good points. 

2mcZ Variety — White- Faced White. 

"This variety is seldom met with. Good 
specimens would certainly be valued if only for 
their rarity. Description, same as first variety, 
except the white plumage. 

3rd Variety. — Andalusian. 

" Fowls of a bluish -grey colour mixed with 
black, having white faces; white fowls with red 
faces have been shown under this name; so 
called, from having been imported from the 
Spanish province of Andalusia. Unless this 
variety is found to possess superior properties to 
the White-faced Black, as it has not such dis- 
tinctive points, it is doubtful if the fine name 
will bring it into repute. 

138 BREEDS. 

Mh Variety. — Minorca. 

" So called from having been brought from 
that island. This variety is also sometimes 
called Andalusian, as no doubt fowls of this de- 
scription may be found there also. Comb and 
wattles are similar to the first variety, but instead 
of a white, a red skin extends from the throat to 
the ear-lobes, which are of moderate size, and 
red, though, from mixture with the White-faced 
variety, the ear-lobes are very often found white. 
Body rounder, shanks and legs shorter than in 
the first variety. These fowls are hardy, and will 
thrive in a confined place, whereas the White- 
faced require a good run on a dry soil. Spanish 
fowls have been recommended for keeping in 
towns, as the smoke and dirt do not affect their 
plumage. The Minorca, or fomth variety, is 
best adapted for that purpose, and they possess 
capital laying properties. 



^0 S^itrgbs, 0r ^roftlj gumphs. 

This breed is now almost extinct, but as an 
attempt has been made to revive it, we may ex- 
pect to see this Dwarf in Poultry exhibited with 
good chance of favourable notice, and even with 
hopes of a special class. 

They can be bred true to feather, and this 
should be particularly aimed at, to the exclusion 
of the Mongrels so often pointed out as fair 

Shortness of leg alone should not constitute 
their claim to notice. They must have large 
heavy bodies, bright distinctive colouring, and 
other points of excellence. 

They are not merely fancy birds, but valu- 
able as table poultry, layers of large fine eggs, 
and cannot be excelled as sitters and mothers. 

Gamekeepers have a strong partiality for this 
breed, for hatching the eggs of partridges and 

140 BREEDS. 

pheasants, being so quiet in their movements, 
and attentive to their young. 

The exhibition points are as follows : — 
Cock — Tail, full and black; neck and saddle 
hackles, silvery- white ; breast, black or spotted 
with white ; thighs, black, or as nearly so as pos- 
sible; form, squarely built, and broa-d across the 
chest ; legs, very short, not above one inch and 
a-half in length, free from feathers, and white in 
colour; C07nb, rose, double and pointed at the 
back, bright scarlet, as are also the wattles, which 
should be long and pendulous, almost touching 
the ground; ear-lobes, red. 

Hen — Ash-backed, salmon-breasted, silver- 
hackled; in other points similar to the cock. 
The general carriage is heavy, and gait waddling. 
The extreme shortness of leg gives them the 
appearance of swimming on dry land. 

COCHIN. 141 

All persons conversant with poultry matters 
are aware that this gigantic fowl was originally 
imported from China, and has added considerably 
to om: stock of valuable birds. 

Cochins lay regularly, and if not too highly 
fed, are productive of very fine chickens, which I 
consider excellent for the table, if killed young ; 
more than that, I cannot say. 

The hens are most exemplary in their ma- 
ternal duties, and, from their abundance of soft 
and downy feather, are peculiarly adapted for the 
purpose of hatching. This seems their vocation, 
which they accept with the most serene patience 
three or four times a-year. They enjoy the hon- 
ours of maternity ; their love of this task seems 
their idiosyncrasy. For them a mother's life is 
" blessed with those SAveet cares, all other joys so 
far above," and they are often tempted to leave 
their chickens at too early an age to resume them, 
which is a great disadvantage in cold weather. 

142 BREEDS. 

I have found that, if cooped up, the chickens 
having egress between the wires, the hens will both 
lay and tend them ; and as they are chiefly de- 
pendent on her protection during the night, this 
is a more natural, and therefore preferable plan, 
to putting the little things by tnemselves, (even 
with the protection of a glass house), until turned 
out into free ranges. 

This variety is very hardy, and may be 
kept in a smaller space than almost any other ; 
cockerels, however, must have ample range, if 
intended to become superior specimens. It is 
remarkably free from liability to any disease, if 
well provided with green food; this is indis- 

I consider the Cochin a most beautiful bird, 
and capable of comparison with the most grace- 
ful and high-coloui'ed of our poultry; its ex- 
quisite feathering, and lovely tints, from the palest 
buff to deep orange, make this bird peculiarly the 
lady's own. 

All must appreciate its massive huild, small 
head, rich, full hackle, and majestic carriage; true 
types of the high-caste Cochin. 

COCHIN. 143 

It, perhaps, has a larger appetite than most 
fowls, and a good hearty meal must be given; 
but we are repaid in eggs and early chickens. 
These are the principal uses for which we should 
keep it. 

The male bird possesses a quiet and easy tem- 
per, and is peculiarly gifted with the art of calm- 
ing any violent spirit his hens may display. 

Lords of the creation! what an example do 
they set you of patience under much provoca- 

To be perfectly truthful, a cross with the 
Cochin deteriorates the beauty of a?^ other varieties, 
and adds nothing to the value of chickens so 

As an example of this, see the gaunt, long- 
legged, ill-conditioned birds so often the result 
of a Cochin cock having been introduced into a 
poultry yard to improve the breed ! ! 

Since writing the above, I have been gratified 
by receiving a perfect corroboration of my opi- 
nions, both as to this breed and the general treat- 
ment of stock, from Mr Stretch, the eminent 
Cochin fancier. 

144 BREEDS. 

His commuiiication is of much value ; I there- 
fore give it verbatim: — ^ 

" I have often been asked what aged birds are 
the best to breed from. My experience would 
lead me to say, health is of more consequence 
than age ; but I by no means despise birds of the 
previous year. The chickens from pullets' eggs 
are generally smaller than those from the eggs of 
old hens, when first out of the shell ; but after 
the second month, they grow much faster, and 
generally show more constitution. Avoid birds 
with glaring defects, as they are more surely re- 
produced than good points. Moderate-sized birds, 
however, of good shape, often produce as fine 
chickens as the larger-sized birds. 

" This breed has a great disposition to accumu- 
late abdominal fat, and consequently their food 
should not be of too nourisliing a quality. Those 
who give Indian meal or corn (which contain 
about 8 per cent, of oily matter), have frequent 
cases of apoplexy amongst their poultry. Boiled 
potatoes, mixed with a little barley meal or mid- 
dlings, should form at least a portion of their 
daily food. There is another reason why Cochins 

COCHIN. 145 

should not be kept in too higli condition; the 
eggs of such seldom produce chickens, and in a 
short time barrenness ensues. 

"With respect to setting, the place chosen 
should be perfectly free from draughts, and if not 
on the orround, some sifted coal ashes should be 
placed under the straw, A little flour of sulphur 
dusted imder the hen's feathers will prevent the 
accumulation of vermin, thus freeing her from 
one of the greatest annoyances to which sitting 
hens are liable. 

"Although a Cochin hen can cover a large 
number of eggs, I believe more strong chickens 
can be reared from seven eggs than from an in- 
oreased quantity; and I am sure that this num- 
ber of chickens is quite as many us the hen can 
keep sufficiently warm and find food for, to en- 
sure a rapid growth. For the first week, bread 
crumbs and hard-boiled eggs, chopped small, 
should form their food; afterwards groats; and, 
as they increase in size, wheat and slacked oat- 
meal will be found a valuable addition. Green 
food and clean water are essential to health. 

"At three months old the sexes should be 

146 BREEDS. 

separated. The cockerels, to grow fast, should at 
least have soft food twice, and grain once a-day. 
The pullets should have a more sparing diet, as, 
if forced into laying at five or six months old, 
their growth is stopped ; their eggs are small, 
and they lay only a few at a lime. If allowed 
time to develope their full form, they not only 
make much larger birds, but frequently lay thirty 
or forty eggs before showing any disposition to 
sit. This frequent desire to sit is a great an- 
noyance to some parties, and the cause of their 
services often being dispensed with altogether. 
It is, however, easily cured, not by the cruel 
method of ducking the hen in water, but by 
placing her in a pen where there is no nest, and 
feeding her well. The fever will generally leave 
her in about five days, and she will soon recom- 
mence laying. 

** The points aimed at by amateurs who desire 
success at the numerous exhibitions of poultry 
throughout the country, are as follows, viz., per- 
fectly straight fine comhs, the serrations well-de- 
fined ; the body well let down between the legs, 
the shanks of which should be of a yellow colour, 

COCHIN. 117 

short, and well feathered to the end of the toes. 
Only about an inch of the thighs should be 
visible above the hocks, and the upper part well 
surrounded with fluffy feathers. Great breadth 
of body, and large size, indispensable. The cocks 
vary in colour, from a dark red to a lemon colour. 
The clearer they are in colour the better, but a 
good bird in other respects is not to be despised 
for a little mealiness in the wing coverts. Neck 
and saddle hacJde should be of a bright golden 
colour, and copper-coloured tails are preferred to 
black. The latter should be small and compact, 
rising gracefully from the body. The hens vary 
in colour, from a dark yellow to a pale buff. The 
lighter-coloured hens show to most advantage in 
an exhibition pen, and are generally preferred. 
Golden neck hackle, and clear if possible, but a 
slight necklace is by no means fetal. The car- 
riage should be rather drooping forward, rising 
from the back to the extremity of the tail, of 
>vhich only about an inch should be visible be- 
yond the surrounding fluff. 

"T. Stketch." 
Marsh Lane, Bootle, Liverpool. 

148 BREEDS, 

This delicately-beautiful variety demands the 
same requisites in size and shape as the coloured ; 
the plumage alone differs — this must be of a 
brilliant white, without the slightest admixture 
of yellow ; the contrast of the deep scarlet comh, 
wattles, pale yellow hill, legs, and snowy plumage, 
make this bird the champion of its class, if seen 
under a pure sky, and on a clean grass run. 

It is quite a mistake to suppose the white less 
robust than the coloured Cochin; they are vigor- 
ous and hardy ; good layers, sitters, and mothers. 

The Partridge, the Black, and other varieties, 
are almost identical with the Bufi's in general 

The plumage, of course, differs. In the Par- 

COCHIN. 140 

tridge the hackles should be reddish-yellow, free 
from dark stains ; tail and hreasty black. 

The hens have dark pencillings on the hackles, 
and are generally richly coloured. 

The legs are rather of a deeper tint in the 
Yellow, than in the Buff variety, especially in 
the cocks. 

A " white feather " in any of these is as fatal 
to the Cochin, as it is to those that show it, in 
another school. The Black variety is seldom "as 
black as it is painted." 

The cocks too often show the yellow hackle; 
good Blacks are decidedly scarce, in spite of 
Mrs Beecher Stowe. 

There are Cuckoo and Silky Cochins, but of 
these the "Henwife" knows little, and therefore 
must be held excused in not entering into their 
merits ; the more, as she thinks them only a par- 
ticular fancy, and not likely to further the in- 
terests of poultry. 

150 BREEDS. 

These are very pretty, interesting little crea- 
tures, but altogether fancy fowls, utterly useless 
for table or market. 

Their bones and flesh are coal-black, while, 
strange to say, their plumage is snowy-white, soft 
and silky, resembling spun glass. Their eggs, 
though small, are said to be excellent, pinkish- 
white in colour, something like those of the Ban- 
tam, but I confess to a prejudice against the egg 
of a Darkie, not even overcome by its silvery locks. 

The cock is a pattern of fidelity and gentle- 
ness; he assists his partner in the care of her 
family, and even acts as nurse. 

The hen is the best of foster-mothers for Ham- 
burghs and Polish, their soft warm feathering 
tempting these delicate little fastidious beings to 
cotton kindly to them for protection. 

Tlie points of a Silkie Goch are: — Plumage, 
white ; crest, small, low, and set far back on the 


head; comb, dark reddish purple; ear-lobes, 
turquoise blue; wattles, purple; legs, eyes, and 
bealc, jet black ; tail, full, but not with many 
sickle feathers; body, low set, but large, and 
broad in the breast. 

Hen — precisely similar points, except the tail, 
which, in her, consists of a small bunch of 
feathers like marabouts. Her comb also is 
smaller, and crest (or tuft) larger. 

lo2 BREEDS. 

A very elegant and pretty, though somewhat 
foppish and conceited-looking bird. It is not of 
suflScient size to be eligible for market purposes, 
but for private consumption is excellent, the flesh 
being white and tender. 

They are almost everlasting layers, but the 
eggs are, certainly, below average size. They 
rarely sit, and the reputation of good mother, 
cannot, with fairness, be classed among their 

As d, fancy variety, the Polish take high rank, 
and deservedly so, for they thrive under petting, 
and really require greater care than more robust 

A farm-yard would be the death of them ; they 
like a grass run and aviary accommodation, and 
their plumage increases in beauty with the in- 
crease of comfort. 

Edmbur^ TV. 

POLISH. 153 

Their greatest merit is, that, like the Game, 
they continue to improve in feather for several 
years, when other varieties of the same age have 
faded; they are the Perennials in poultry. 

In plumage they are of different colours. 

The Black should be unifonnly of that hue, 
with a greenish sheen; crest, full and globular, 
and as white as possible ; comh, should hardly be 
visible ; it is merely two small fleshy points ; 
wattles, small ; tail, black, ample, and well 
sickled ; legs, lead-coloured. 

The Golden resemble nearly the gold spangled 
Hamburghs, except in having a top knot, which 
should be golden brown. The Silver differ only 
in the colours, which are white and black, instead 
of gold and dark brown. The White Polish is 
very delicate, and are more often obtained by 
chance than by special breeding. Buff and Grey 
Polish have been exhibited, which were very 
handsome and rare ; a peculiarity in this variety 
is that the hen is web-footed. 

154 BREEDS. 

These gems of beauty and most treasured and 
prettiest of pets are, certainly, the most impu- 
dent, as well as diminutive, of our domestic 

They are ridiculously consequential, and seem 
as if they prided themselves on their captivating 
appearance. There are several varieties, all pos- 
sessing the same passionate temper, and, though 
such perfect pigmies, are most pugnacious, which 
clearly proves their Javanese origin. 

They resemble the natives when under the 
influence of bang, that intoxicating herb which 
destroys all sense and reason. 

The hens are very good layers, and many per- 
sons relish their eggs exceedingly; they contain 
a greater proportion of yolk than those of larger 

As mothers. Bantams are unrivalled, fulfilling 


their duties to a wish ; the chickens should not 
be hatched till July or August, as it is an object 
to have them of the smallest possible size, a 
strange deviation from the utilitarian principle. 

For the first few weeks they are decidedly 
delicate ; they seem to feather more quickly than 
most fowls, and in that stage are apt to die off, 
the drain on the system being too severe. 

\Yhen fully feathered, they are quite hardy, 
and may be allowed free range, with the mother, 
in a garden, where they will do much good by 
devouring insects, (for they are industrious 
little labourers), and will not injure flowers or 

They are a pretty fancy, and being miniatures 
themselves, are well suited to miniature poultry 
grounds ; not that they are at all limited to such, 
for they are prized by fanciers who rear all sorts 
and breeds of fowls on the most extended scale. 
They can be kept along with other breeds and 
fowls with impunity. 

There are many varieties of Bantams, exclusive 
of the feather-legged, which, like moustache in 
the pulpit, is a matter, (shall I say fortunately ?) 

156 BREEDS. 

of rare occurrence, though the former may be 
considered more objectionable than the latter, as 
being more unnatural. 

The points of Gold-laced Sebright Bantams 
are : — Plumage, golden brownish-yellow, each 
feather bordered with a lacing of black ; tail, 
without sickle feathers, carried well over the 
back, each feather tipped with black ; comb, rose, 
pointed at the back; wings, drooping to the 
ground ; saddle and nech hacJcles, totally absent ; 
feet and legs, lead-colour and clean; ear-lobes. 

The Gold-laced hen corresponds exactly, in 
plumage, with the cock, but is considerably 
lighter in weight. 

The Silver-laced differ from the above only in 
the ground-feathering, which is silvery instead 
of golden. 

The more nearly the shade approaches to 
white, the more beautiful is the specimen; too 
often a yellowish tinge is visible. 

Both classes are distinguished for their strut- 
ting braggadocio air, and pufFed-out breasts, 
making, as it were, the most of themselves. 


The Black and White Bantams are perhaps the 
smallest of that tribe. One description will suf- 
fice for both, as they differ only in colour, which 
must be stainless in either. Cock — tail, sickled 
and flowincr; con\h, rose; wattles, scarlet; ear- 
lobes, white, and well developed ; legs, deep slate- 
colour. Hen — similar in plumage. In breed- 
ing the White Bantam, white legs and bill are to 
be aimed at; these points greatly enhance the 
beauty of these little favourites. 

Game Bantams resemble the real game in 
form, colour, and high courage (only, in size, on 
a ridiculously reduced scale) ; this gives to the tiny 
breed a degree of interest superior to any other. 

Fanciers can keep these representatives of by- 
gone days, and " fight their battles o'er again," 
in idea, " thrice rout all their foes," and " thrice 
slay the slain." 

Even these innocent little creatures are sub- 
jected to the cruel process of dubbing. It is 
indeed monstrous to rob these pretty fairies of 
any beauty with which nature has adorned 

Game Bantam fanciers ! will you listen to the 

158 BREEDS. 

cry of a " Sister of Mercy," and abolish at once 
this barbarous remnant of antiquity? 

The Duckwing and Black-breasted Red are the 
two most esteemed varieties. The points of the 
former (small size being essential) are: Cock — 
Breast, black; tail, black and sickle-feathered; 
neck and saddle hackles, silvery white ; face, red ; 
head, thin and long; beak, curved. The lower 
wing coverts of the male bird, which is always the 
most marked and brilliant in plumage (giving, 
in fact, the name to the breed), should be marked 
with blue, forming a bar across the wing. 

Hen — Breast, robin colour; body, ash grey ; 
hackle, silvery; legs vary in colour, white are 
much coveted, but very rare. 

Black-breasted Red. 

Cock — Breast, black ; neck and saddle hackles, 
bright orange-red ; back, brown-red ; tail, black. 

He7i — general colour, chestnut-brown; hackle, 
pale buff, edged with black ; breast, deep fawn; 
body and iving coverts, partridge colour. 

Each amateur has his own predilection as to 


the colour of legs and feet. Uniformity, how- 
ever, in a pen, is indispensable. 

There are other varieties of Game Bantams, 
as in their larger progenitors, but it is not pos- 
sible to give the descriptive characteristics of 

These newly -imported birds are of various 
colours, but all have the same form — very short 
leg — well feathered — the tail almost touching the 
back of the head, as in the fan-tailed pigeon. I 
have found them delicate in chickenhood, but 
not so when fuU grown. The buff, wliite, and 
black varieties are all very beautiful. 

160 BREEDS. 

This breed is of elegant form, and graceful in 
its movements. It may be called " everlasting 
layer," because, until in moult, the hen lays 
almost every day; they seldom show a desire 
to sit ; it is the exception, and only indulged in 
(I have found) when the birds had a free woodland 
range, thereby clearly demonstrating the fact, 
that domestication has impaired their sitting 
powers. Originally, (of course), they must have 
hatched their eggs like other fowls. I have found 
both the Pencilled and Spangled varieties good 
mothers. If not interfered with, (like the phea- 
sant, in a fine season), she will rear all her brood, 
but, like her, is quite dependent on weather. If 
confined to a yard, I have never found the Ham- 
burghs sit ; and their range, even if free, must be 
wild, to induce a desire to perpetuate her species. 
They are truly lovely and perfect creatures, 
and, if size of egg is not a desideratum, this breed 






will suit the mere fancier better than any other. 
It is robust in constitution, and has the knack of 
keeping itself in good looks eleven months out of 
the twelve. For the table, what is of it, is good. 
I have found them safe birds to exhibit; for if 
the colour and points are good, condition and size 
are never considered. Mr Brown's description of 
the necessary points is exactly in accordance with 
my own experience : he has kindly permitted me 
to make use of it. 

" The points of ' Silver-spangled Hamburghs ' 
are: a white ground, with clear and distinct 
spangles (in the hens) all over the body; tail, 
white and spangled, or traced on the outer 
margin of the feathers; blue legs; good double 
combs, finely serrated and fii-mly set on the 
head, with an evenly-pointed spike at the back. 
The spangled cock must possess the same points 
as the hen ; with this exception, that his wings 
are not spangled in all varieties of the Ham- 
hurgh. The larger the luliite ear the more valu- 
able the bird, provided it has all the above 

"The points of the 'Golden- spangled' are 


162 BREEDS. 

exactly similar to the Silver, except the ground- 
colour, which is golden. The cochs in this variety- 
differ very. much. Some judges approve most 
of those which have a pure hlach breast — some 
desire them spangled, but this, so-called spangling, 
on the breast of a golden cock is seldom more 
than oblique patches of red, not corresjjonding 
at all with the upper parts of the bird's plumage. 
Seeing the difficulty of getting a pure and well- 
defined spangled breast, I prefer a pure black. 

" In the pencilled varieties, the combs, legs, 
tail, and hackles, are the same as in the spangled 
birds ; but the tail in the hens is very frequently 
pencilled, as well as the body. The cock, in the 
Silver-pencilled variety, is often nearly white, with 
yellowish wing coverts, and a brown or chestnut 
patch on the flight feathers of his wing. The cock, 
in the Golden-pencilled, should be of one uniform 
colour all over his body — no pencilling whatever. 
Tail, copper colour, but many first-class birds have 
a pure black tail. It must be borne in mind that the 
hackles and head of the four varieties I have de- 
scribed should be entirely free from any black 
markings. " D. Beown." 


ifrotl; IrtcJrs* 

"We have received many varieties of 
fowls from France, some of which I can 
from experience recommend. As a rule, 
they are non-sitters — lay large, white, de- 
licately flavoured eggs, and are excellent 
as table fowls — being white in flesh and 
well-shaped. Unlike the Dorking, they 
lay in winter, irrespective of age, and 
adult hens, if highly fed, will lay during 
nine months of the year. I can particu- 
larly call attention to the three following 
varieties : — 

This hobgoblin-looking fowl is really a good 
and useful one. 


Some think its name is derived from the re- 
semblance the comb presents to a split heart ; 
others (with whom I agree) do away with this 
romance, and attribute it to the preponderance 
of the breed in the village of Creve Coeur, in 
Normandy, whence we can distinctly trace its 

I have bred these birds largely, and continue 
to do so, which is a sure proof that I consider 
this variety (so little known) worthy of consider- 
able attention in this country. Parisians are 
quite aware of its merits. 

The breed is scarce, and I have found much 
difficulty in procuring birds, of a different strain, 
to breed from — true to colour. 

The pure-bred Creve is of large size ; the cock 
should weigh nine and a-half pounds, and the 
hen (which is heavy in proportion) about eight 
and a half pounds. 

The pullets come to maturity at an early age, 
and always outweigh the cockerels. 

Creves possess the great advantage of thriving 
in a confined space, are remarkably tame, and of 
great amiability ; but I have found the chickens 


delicate and liable to roup in damp seasons — 
they thrive best on dry light soil, and can scarcely 
have too much sun. 

The points to be aimed are as follows : — 

Cock — jet black body, and tail with the green- 
ish hue of the Spanish. 

Neck and saddle hackles — ^jet black, long and 

Top —must be jet black. 

Ear-lobes — red. 

Wattles — bright scarlet, long, and pendulous. 

Beak — black. 

Legs — black, and free from feathers. 

Coynb — scarlet. In shape a cleft heart, or rather 
like the horns of the fallow-deer. 

He7i — identical in colour with the cock, as 
regards bodi/, legs, and tail. The crest must be 
very full and globular, either black, or black and 
white ; the comb is, of course, much smaller — 
mere spikes. 

The body must be square, breast full, and legs 


fa iVu\t. 

These are very handsome, large, showy birds, 
very lively, and more inclined to wander than 
the Creve Coeurs. When full grown, they are 
also hardier ; but as chickens, even more delicate, 
in wet weather. They should not be hatched 
before May. Their points are : — 


Comb — shaped like horns — quite straight and 
more pointed than that of the Creve Cceur. 

Face — bright red, and nostrils wide and ele- 

Ear-lobe — white. 

Hackles, neck, and saddle — metallic black. 

Plumage — jet black. 

Legs — very dark — almost black — strong, 
straight, and somewhat long, but concealed by 
the full, deep breast — a most important point. 



Comh — small, and spiked. 
Plumage — jet black. 
Legs — short and strong. 
Breast — broad and deep. Size is arrived at 
in this breed. 

This is my favourite variety of all the Conti- 
nental fowls, and I hope to see it widely spread 
throughout our own land. It should be seen in 
every farm-yard, and I can guarantee that the 
earliest chickens sent to market will be from this 
breed. The chickens feather quickly, and are 
altogether more precocious than others, (unless 
the Hamburgh, that pretty, graceful bird, dimi- 
nutive in form, but of rare beauty). I have found 
them quite hardy, and in damp weather much 
more easily reared than Dorkings. In addition 
to their laying powers, as table fowls they are 
excellent — smaller than the Creve Coeur or La 


Fleche, but very white in flesh, plump, and well- 
shaped. Houdaus, in their own country, have 
no particular points of colouring beyond the 
black and white plumage, as free from any tinge 
of yellow as possible. In our exhibitions we are 
more ambitious and exclusive, and I shall en- 
deavour to describe the points of merit aimed 
at by English fanciers and breeders. Size should 
have much influence in the decision of judges. 
Premising tlmt the pens of Houdans will be 
matched in colour of leg, the other points are as 
follows : — 


Breast — black and white, regularly spotted — 
full and deep. 

Thighs — spotted, as short and fleshy as pos- 

I^eck hackles — white and black, streaked — full 
and long. 

Saddle hackles — white, and very long. 

Crest — scanty — streaked black and white. 

Comb — branched, and slightly cupped. 

Wattles — red and long as possible, but firm. 


Tail — white, carried well up, and abundant. 
Legs — as white as possible, or spotted with 

Feet — do., with five claws. 
Carnage — bold and upright. 


Breast — black and white, regularly spotted. 

Body — do. 

Comb — small and spiked, or slightly cupped. 

Beard — full and long. 

Crest — very full and globular, mixed black 
and wLice. 

There is a variety of Houdan very dark in 
colour — the ground almost black, with very little 
white. The tail feathers must in the cock be 
almost black, and the hackles also be of dark 
hue. Either variety breeds true to colour. 

170 BREEDS. 

The evidence seems in favour of our being 
indebted to our transatlantic cousins for this 
gigantic race of Poultry. 

There can be no doubt of the existence now, 
in America, of two distinct classes, the Domestic 
and the Wild, although they must originally have 
centred in one common stock. 

The former is famous for its immense size, the 
latter for its beauty. 

In our own country we have several varieties, 
distinguished by colour only, for they are all 
identical in their habits and general form. 

I shall dilate on the peculiar characteristics of 
each, though I do not think the Turkey is a profit- 
able denizen of the farm-yard. Their chickenhood 
is so delicate, that many do not arrive at maturity, 
even after the greatest care has been bestowed 
upon them, and much food wasted. When suc- 
cessful, and fine birds are reared to grace the 


Christinas board, the price they commaud is not 
at all commensurate with their cost; they are 
defunct debtors. 

To pay, I consider they must be bred in 
numbers, and on a system of exclusive attention ; 
but a single brood reared on a farm, fed up to 
great size and weight, and pampered to their 
heart's content, will, at the period of sale, have 
cost double its price in food. 

I know many who will bear me out in this. 

Does any one, then, ask, " Is this species to be 
tabooed in private establishments?" I say. Most 
certainly not; it cannot be dispensed with, so 
elegant in life, so useful in death: who ever 
heard of a dinner without a Turkey? 

Where attendance is ample, the Turkey may 
be raised with ease, without any important extra 
expense in that respect, though its food must, 
of course, always be a heavy item. 

Adult birds are very hardy, and poults, when 
fully feathered, will have, in a great measure, 
survived their earlier delicacy. 

For breeding purposes, birds of mature age, 
even three or four years, are preferable to those 

172 BREEDS. 

of only one year ; the hens may be unlimited in 

Turkeys select their own laying places, and 
will return to them faithfully, though their eggs 
are removed daily, provided a nest-egg is left to 
mark the spot. 

When broody, the hens may be deposited in 
any corner, as they are persevering sitters, and 
will not desert their eggs wherever placed. 

If the nest, chosen by the hen, is in a sheltered 
and secluded spot, it is as well to return her 
eggs when she gives evidence of a wish to sit. 

I have always found the healthiest birds are 
obtained from this natural treatment. 

Turkeys roam far in search of privacy for 
laying, and steal off most cunningly to the 
selected retreat; they sometimes even defy de- 
tection, and are not seen till they appear with 
their brood, generally a small one, for, if the 
weather ic wet or cold, the chicks die off, as 
do those of our wild birds — partridges and 

Fifteen eggs are sufficient to place under a 
Turkey; they are hatched on the 31st day. 

£din1nirfii Tbtr^^^ C Jacx 


A similar treatment should be adopted with 
the chicks, as with those of the common hen. 
Leave them for twenty -four hours with the 
mother ; then offer them the yolk of hard boiled 
eggs, bread crumbs, curd, minced green food, 
and confine the hen to her coop for a few days, 
and always till the grass is dry. 

She will, when at liberty, lead them into the 
unmown hay, and dry plantations, where they 
will pick up much food, in the shape of seeds 
and insects, but they must also be fed by hand, 
three or four times a day, and at regular intervals. 

Porridge and milk, chopped nettles, onions, 
docks, and cabbage, are aU favourite items in 
their dietary ; some are nourishing, some stimu- 
lating ; they must also have their share of the 
soft balls described in my chapter on food, and 
grain of any or every sort. For some years I 
have made use of Durant & Co.'s* patent meal, 
for mixing with the other food, and I have found 
it very beneficial. The poults eat it greedily, 
and it keeps them in good health and spirits 

* Agent, Mr Daniel Brown, taxidermist, Perth. 

174 BREEDS. 

even in damp weather, which all know is so 
trying to young birds. 

The curd I have mentioned is prepared accord- 
ing to a recipe kindly sent to me by a friend who 
is a great Turkey-breeder, and I have found it 
excellent, both as food and medicine, the astrin- 
gent qualities acting as tonics, and my game- 
keeper has found it a most valuable prepara- 
tion for young pheasants, reared under hens. 
It is made as follows : — Mix one teaspoonful of 
pounded alum, with four quarts of milk slightly 
warmed, separate the whey from the curd, and 
give only the latter in a soft state. 

If judiciously and fully fed, Turkey male poults 
should weigh at least twenty pounds at Christ- 
mas, and that with only their natural feeding. 
Any other I repudiate, along with all those who 
have any experience in this breed. 

The classes of our domestic Turkeys are the 
Norfolk, Cambridge, and White. 

There is also a pretty buff-feathered bird, more 
to be admired, however, for its singularity than 
usefulness ; also a grey variety, sometimes called 
Virginian, small but elegant. 


Last, but not least, comes the Wild Ameri- 
can Turkey of the " forest primeval " — in form, 
slender and erect, of stately proportion, and 
dignity of mien — resembling its native pursuers, 
the chiefs of the prairie. 

It is impossible to conceive any tints more 
glowing than those which light up the plumage 
of this beautiful bird ; they are brilliant in the 
extreme ; a ground of brown, burnished with 
gold, ruby, and green, w'hich, in the sunbeam, 
has quite a dazzling aspect. 

Unless in the peacock, I know not of such 
exquisite hues, and in graceful bearing the Wild 
Turkey stands alone. 

!Many of the so-called wild birds sent to this 
country are hatched from eggs laid in the bush 
by domesticated hens, which, in accordance with 
their habits previously mentioned, often lay at 
great distances from home. 

The really Wild Turkeys are seldom seen in 
Great Britain ; they never breed, if shut up, they 

176 BREEDS. 

are so shy and restless, lose all brightness of 
colour, and pine away. 

Their large woman-like, gentle dark eyes seem 
to reproach their gaoler, and their plaintive cry 
to plead for liberty ; I, for one, never resisted 
the appeal. They wander to incredible distances, 
if allowed free range. 

Hence the difl&culty of keeping the pure breed. 

Their long slender red legs appear made for 
traversing the fallen pines, and their close firm 
plumage for resisting the tangled brushwood. The 
hens will cross with our " domestic Cambridge," 
improve the constitution of that bird, and impart 
some of their native characteristics and beauty. 

Tor exhibition, the Norfolk Turkey must be 
in plumage, jet black (not a hlue black), free from 
any admixture of colour ; legs and feet the same. 

Camhridge may vary from pale grey to dark, 
with a deep metallic tint of brown ; legs, light in 

Good matching is imperative; a dark cock 
must have dark hens, and a light cock light hens. 

This being attended to, size and weight decide 
the victory. 

GEESE. 177 


These domestic Goliahs are generally divided 
into two classes, the White, or Embden, and 
the Grey, or Toulouse, equally advantageous in 
size, and other good qualities. 

The goose lays early, if well fed, and is cer- 
tainly a most profitable denizen of our poidtry 
yard, looking to the immense amount of food she 
contributes to the general use. 

The feathers and do\\Ti, alone, make Geese 
valuable stock, even though we do not follow the 
barbarous practice of plucking the poor creatures 
alive, once a-year, for the sake of them. 

I find the Turkey an excellent mother for 

The Goose wanders too far with them, and 
does not allow them to be familiar with their 
keeper, of whom, indeed, they soon can be quite 
independent, as they feed on grass, and forage 


178 BREEDS. 

well for themselves. Treated thus, however, they 
will never arrive at the size and weight of exhi- 
bition birds, and I therefore recommend a Turkey 
mother, or even a large common hen ; this latter 
will cover three eggs ; a Turkey seven; the period 
of incubation is 30 days. 

Goslings cannot be too highly fed; meal, 
grain, bread, onions, cabbage, &c., all, in abund- 
ance, should be set before them. Eats are their 
natural enemies, and from these they must be 
protected; in addition, a dry bed under cover is 
all they require in the way of night housing. 

Geese are much less hydropathically inclined 
than people fancy, and do not require more than 
a large trough to bathe in; the breeding stock, 
5 in number (1 male and 4 females), should be of 
mature years. 

My ideas as to weights and points correspond 
with those of the unconquered (though I trust 
not the unconquerable) Mr Fowler, our " Magnus 

His experience is : — " Toulouse Geese should be 
tall and erect, with their bodies hanging on the 
ground ; light grey breast and body. 

GEESE. 179 

Back, dark grey; necks, darker grey; wings 
and helly should shade off to white, but there 
should be little actual wliite visible; hills, pale 
flesh-colour, hard and strong ; legs and feet, deep 
orange, approacliing to red. 

"The weight of these birds, by careful feeding 
and management, has become extraordinary; 74 
lbs. for three birds has been attained. The cup 
gander at Birmingham in 1859 weighed 33 lbs., 
and in 1860, 30 lbs.; the three, 71 lbs. The 
weight of geese may be from 20 to 25 lbs. 

"Goslings, at IVIichaelmas, often weigh 20 to 
22 lbs. "J. K FowLEE." 

There are several semi-domesticated varieties of 
Geese. The only one I consider of any utility is 
the Chinese ; it lays a great number of eggs, and 
a cross between it and the Toulouse gives a deli- 
cious bird for the table. Their time of incuba- 
tion is about 35 days. 


The goose resembles the gander in form and 
colour, and both have a dark brown stripe down 
the back of the neck. They are graceful in form, 
but have that greatest of all defects, a discordant 
voice, and, being very loquacious, it is a serious 
evil to be constantly exposed to their whining, 
discontented, harsh cry. On a distant piece of 
water, they look well, as they are peculiarly ele- 
gant in movement ; their colour is brown, shaded 
into white on the breast; hill, tuberculated and 
black; neck, long; feet and legs, black. 

Blossom-white plumage; hills, flesh-colour; 
legs dindifeet, orange. 

These birds attain great weights, and are valu- 
able in the market, on account of the superior 
quality and colour of the down, but, to look well, 
they must have access to a pond, and are there- 
fore alone available to those who possess this 


DUCKS. 181 

There is not a great variety in our domestic 
ducks ; only three distinct exhibition breeds exist, 
viz., the Aylesbury, Rouen, and Buenos Ayres or 
East Indian. 

They are very hardy, sleeping out of doors 
in all weathers, from preference. Of course, as in 
all poultry establishments, there should be a 
duck-house — a mere shed suffices, without door; 
but a yard is indispensable, if they are shut up 
at nightfall. 

Where two or more varieties are kept, they 
must not be allowed to mix at any season; 
therefore separate apartments become necessary. 
Both house and yard should be littered down 
with straw, frequently renewed. 

A duck sits faithfully, but is the worst pos- 
sible mother for her own progeny, as she waddles 

182 BREEDS. 

ofl' with them as soon as hatched to her favourite 
element, generally leaving the half of her family 
immersed, unable to extricate themselves; hence 
the small broods of wild ducks generally seen — 
the delicate ones were, in all likelihood, drowned 
in their infancy. Ducks' eggs are better set 
under a hen, who will rear her foster chicks most 
tenderly; it is even advisable to give a valu- 
able hen duck's eggs to bring out, as she will 
have more liberty with them than with chickens, 
and (not being obliged to cover the young flock), 
will not have her plumage destroyed. 

Ducklings soon become independent of a 
mother's care, and, if protected from rats, can 
be cooped in numbers together, at night. 

Their food should consist at first of meal 
made into a paste, and given frequently; later, 
groats thrown into water. 

I find a square, flat, tin dish, the best vessel 
for this purpose, as also an iron hopper, a cut of 
which is appended, (fig. 8.) It is filled from the 
top, and, being heavy, cannot be upset, or the 
food wasted. 

Ducklings are sometimes afiected by cramp; 



this must be attributed to the absence of dry 
straw, or the presence of too deep water. 

Fig. 8. 

When fully grown, ducks should be fed only 
twice a-day, on soft food and any kind of grain, 
always in water; in their wanderings, they pick 
up a great deal very much to their taste ; they 
begin to lay regularly in February, often at 
Christmas, and continue many months. 

The eggs of the Eouen are large, and of 
a greenish-blue tint; a drake should not be 
allowed more than four females, or many of the 
eggs will prove imfertile. 

The wild drake is monogamous, and there is 
no doubt, to it, our domestic Kouen breed owes 

184 BREEDS. 

its origin, though it now differs from it essen- 

With respect to exhibition points, colour, and 
weights, I can give no information that will 
be so acceptable to my readers as that of Mr 
Fowler, the well-known agriculturist, and the 
most successful breeder of ducks known. 

I subjoin his kind remarks on this variety: — 

" Prebendal Farm, Aylesbury. 

" Rouen Drake should have a yellowish-green 
hill, without splash of black or any colour, ex- 
cept the black bean at the tip; it should be 
long, broad, and rather wider at the tip than the 
base, well set on to the front of the head. Head, 
rich, lustrous, green and purple; distinct white 
ring round the neclc, not quite meeting at the 
back; rich brown or claret breast, reaching low 
down to the water line. Back, dark-green ; body 
beautifully soft grey, almost coming to white 
near the tail ; tail, darkish green, and curls firm 
and black; wings, brownish, with broad ribbon 
mark of purple and white; on no account white 
flight feathers, this defect is fatal; legs, orange. 


or brown and orange ; weight about 8 lbs., some- 
times 9 lbs. ; when heavier, some defect of 
plumage or bill is always found. 

"Rouen Buck — brown pencilling on a greyish 
body; the hack beautifully marked with blackish 
green on light brown base; ribbon mark and 
other colour of wings nearly like the drake; 
towards the tail the feathers should be well 
pencilled, quite to the tip. The head should be 
marked with three dark longitudinal stripes from 
the bill past the eye, and the neck on no account 
should have the least appearance of a white ring ; 
this would be as heretical as a white flight feather 
in the wings. The hill should be broad, long, 
and somewhat flat, brownish orange, with a dark 
blotch on the upper part ; a slate-coloured bill, 
or an absence of orange, is a sure disqualifica- 
tion ; legs, brown and orange. Weight of first- 
class birds, 7 lbs. It should be remarked that 
Rouen drakes change colour in an extraordinary 
manner ; they first resemble the ducks, then 
moult to their true colour, then back to the 
colour of ducks, and the fourth time moult to 
their original beauty. J. K. Fowlek." 

186 BREEDS. 

Ayleshury Ducks. 

The great beauty of this breed consists in its 
snowy plumage; the delicate rose-coloured bill 
must also be admired. To obtain it without 
stain or blemish, free from yellow tinge, is the 
great aim of all Aylesbury breeders. 

A ferruginous soil, as I have experienced, 
affects the colour of the bill very much. Al- 
though correct as to tint, when brought to the 
fatal spot, in a few days the yellow shade makes 
its appearance, and can never be got rid of; 
true, old age produces this colour on any soil. 

The Aylesbury is admirable for its pure white 
downy feathers, and as it lays early, the duck- 
lings are always first in the market. 

The eggs are white, and excellent in flavour. 

Mr Fowler says : — 

"Aylesburys — purest white plumage all over ; 
hills, delicate flesh-colour, long and broad, and set 
on like the bill of a woodcock; any spots of black 
or yellow hue must disqualify ; legs, deep orange ; 
necks, fine and long. 

"Brake and duck quite alike, in form and 

DUCKS. 187 

" A first-rate drake weighs from 9 to 9^ lbs. ; 
ducks have weighed 9 lbs. 

"A good average pen of three, at a show, 
should weigh 23 or 24 lbs.; at Birmingham 
(where four are shown), 32 lbs. is a great 

" It should be noticed that Aylesbury and 
Rouen Ducks, as well as geese, suffer much in 
weight from travelling; quite as much as 1 to 
1 \ lbs. each on a journey of fifty miles ; geese, 
perhaps, even more. 

" East Indian Ducks should be all of a rich 
lustrous greenish black, with a perfect absence of 
white feathers ; dark legs and bills. The bill of 
the drake, dark greenish yellow; a brown breast 
is inadmissible. They should be as light in 
weight as possible ; as little as 2 lbs. each would 
be desirable. 

"J. K Fowler." 

Pj ©felt (B^txmtt 

— ♦ — 

" Richard loves Richard ; that is, I am I." — Shakspeare, 

" Poet of all time," gracing the closing chapter 
of even the struggling " Henwife ;" yes, immortal 
Bard of Avon ! little did you think, when you 
penned these words, that you might have owed 
fame to her page, had not the veneration of your 
posterity forestalled it ! ! 

To carry out my principle of practicality, I 
now treat of "my own experience;" egotist, 
necessarily, I must be, in so doing ; but without 
some measure of self-esteem, we could not be 
conscious of our own identity, and no such being 
could have shown forth as a Patriot, or a suc- 
cessful Poultry Exhibitor. 

I write, however, in no vainglorious spirit ; 
I have been beaten too often to boast ; my wish 
only is to show what amount of success may be 
achieved by a novice, such as I was a few years 
ago, in exhibition, though not in table, Poultry. 

Feeling the utter hopelessness of winning any 
honours with my own stock, I commenced my 


career by purchasing, in " ]\Ierrie England," a 
splendid pen of Dorkings, which carried all 
before it, at my first and second exhibition, in 
Scotland ; so I began well, and though, of course, 
I buy, every year, for change of blood, I now 
breed my own exhibition fowls, — ay, and sell 
to others for that purpose ; and have even been 
beaten by my own birds showTi against me. 

To breed successfully, one must part with the 
good as well as the indifferent, when too nearly 
allied, and, though loath to lose them, go they 
must, either privately or by public sale, which 
latter is always more satisfactory, both to feeling 
and purse ; if good, the birds fetch high prices, 
and there can be no after-reproach ; the public 
fixes its own rate, and relieves you from that 
responsibility, which is no small one. 

It is always extremely difficult to know how 
much an intending purchaser will give ; you fear 
to lose a customer, and also to ask too little ; it is 
inherent in human nature to love a good bargain. 

From year to year, I have added to my hen- 
houses and yards, till I have arrived at the grand 
total of forty-two separate runs ; many of a very 



rude and primitive construction. Some are on 
the plan given in page 29 ; otliers are erected at 
the edge of plantations and shrubberies, as shown 
in annexed cut (fig. 9.) These have no yards, as 

Fig 9, 

the occupants enjoy complete liberty ; there I 
place my choicest breeding pens, free from all 
restraint, thus giving them the best chance of 
retaining health and vigour. 

When the hens become broody, and are re- 




moved to the sitting-houses, chickens take pos- 
session, and remain till the sale in the early year, 
which makes room for their successors. " Wel- 
come the coming, speed the parting guest." 

The 'parent cocks, meanwliile, are shut up in 
the yard-houses with a few hens of any variety, 
in order to keep up a succession of cross-bred 
chickens for the table. 

I have found the advantage of a number of 
small houses with covered-in wire runs, (move- 
able at pleasure to fresh ground), a drawing of 
which I give (fig. 10.) 

I'ig. 10. 

Some of these yards are of glass, laced over 
with wire, the houses in both cases being alike 
detached, but fitting closely to the runs (fig. 11.) 



These "Crystal Palaces" answer admirably for a 
brood of early chickens, protecting them from 
rain, wind, frost, and snow, and affording the ad- 
vantage of their receiving every ray of sunshine 

Fig. 11. 

attainable at the season. In this variable climate 
I never feel confidence in the weather till May is 
out ; before that, it is often damp and chilly. 

The houses are 6 feet high and 4 square ; tlie 
yards only 4 feet high, G long, and 4 wide. The 
roofs are wooden, covered with waterproof felt ; 
ventilation in the houses is secured by small 
holes pierced in the end, and, on fine days (when 
the hen is allowed to sally forth with her family), 
I leave the door open till her return. At aU 
other times it is locked, and the only egress is by 


a trap into the run, the end of which opens like 
a door, and can thus easily be cleaned out. 

The interior of these houses is fitted up with 
a row of nests ; occasionally I set two hens in 
these, and when the broods are hatched, give all 
the chickens to one. Beinor protected from cold, 
they are not too many, the mother feels herself 
at home, and the chickens are comparatively in 
a natural condition ; they even winter very com- 
fortably in these houses and runs. I find them 
very useful for a pen of fowls put up for exhibi- 
tion (in which case a moveable perch is required) ; 
and for chickens deserted by their mother at too 
tender an age, when they demand the greatest 
care ; also for many other exigencies. 

In a sheltered spot, facing south, I have a 
large lean-to glass-house, divided into three com- 
partments, each large enough to contain twenty 
chickens, with a mother hen. This house is 
warmed by a stove, and ventilated by sliding 
boards — this enables me to rear chickens in 
January ; but care must be taken to air the 
buUding well — leaving the doors open in fine 
weather — to let the chickens run out at will 



In summer, all my small houses are placed on 
grass, in winter, on dry earth, against a beech 
hedge, facing the west; twice a- week they are 
moved to fresh ground: if done regularly, and 
in line, the ground has time to freshen during 
each remove. 

When not in use, I have the runs set aside 
so as to leave the pasture perfectly clear; the 
grass springs up luxuriantly, and should be 
mown at intervals. Lime is sprinkled over the 
portion of the park allotted to them, which keeps 
it free from taint. 

Fig. 12. 

Coop, with wire range, (fig. 12), is specially 



useful for the nio-lit-housmo; of ducklino-s and 
goslings; indeed, these tempting morsels easily 
fall a prey to rats, — they seem their favourite 
dainties. Chickens they do not touch, unless 
pressed by hunger, which, perhaps fortunately, 
is impossible, where so much food can be had for 
the taking; yet I have had twenty-seven duck- 
lings and three gosKngs carried off in one night. 

Fin. 13. 

For hens and turkeys which must be confined 
for a part of each day, (and many altogether, if 
they fight with and ill-use stranger chickens), 
coop, fig. 13, is essential. The bars of this should 



be rounded, two inches apart; in the middle a 
flat spar, which, when taken out, permits the 
egress of the hen. 

If wooden floors and shutters are wished, they 
should be made to slide, and more than one for 
each coop will be requisite; (mine are washed, 
and put up to dry every second day) ; hence the 
necessity for duplicates. 

Fig. 14. 

Coop, fig. 14, is a mere frame of wire, which 
is employed to secure a refractory hen, while 
her proper abode is being cleaned, or as a safe- 

200 MY WjV experience. 

guard for the food devoted to the chickens ; 
they have access to it through the wire, and 
they only. 

Goslings and ducklings, alone of all young 
stock, should have food always before them ; they 
eat little at a time, and (for exhibition), require 
to be pushed on and tempted. 

I have no special houses, coops, or troughs for 
Turkeys. They require none; but live in a semi- 
wild state after the first month, during which 
the young poults associate with the chickens 
— the mother being confined in the coop before- 
mentioned, except an hour or two each day. 

Sometimes, when all my little domiciles are full, 
I am obliged, hon gre, mal grh, to let my broods 
wander at large; the strong chickens take no 
harm, and, perhaps, this roving gipsy life makes 
them even less liable to disease. Many deaths, 
however, must occur among the weakly birds; 
doubtless a provision of nature, in order that the 
one may not hamper the other. 

The mother walks off with the utmost sang 
froid, leaving her helpless babes sprawling on 
the ground, uttering piteous little cries for help. 


quite disregarded and neglected; — they are left 
alone to die. 

WTien the time comes to draft off the chickens 
to their adolescent ranges, I carefully select the 
most promising for the superior ones, putting all 
the best of one kind there, and mixing the worst 
indiscriminately together in inferior houses and 
situations; from these the table and market are 

The points of Dorkings, Brahmas, Spanish, &c., 
can be pretty well guessed when the hen leaves 
the brood. 

I put about twenty chickens into each hut, and 
from time to time, take away any that have fallen 
off in looks since their location there, to make 
room for those of a better stamp. I thus weed 
my runs to the best of my judgment, and a little 
experience soon malces it comparatively easy to 
pick out, and do away with, the worst. 

Even with the greatest care, some thrive better 
than others; these are the "lights and shadows" 
of poultry life. How often does a single bird 
represent a brood, if the season proves unfavour- 
able to delicate varieties; such I do not recom- 



mend to be hatched early ; they cost us too much 
in care and affection. 

Slight defects in comb or claw are not fatal to 
the chickens' merits as table fowls; I, therefore, 
feed such as well as the very best, but do not 
crowd my intended prize-winners with them. 

I keep an exact (even fastidious) account of all 
dates and numbers in my Poultry Diary, for cor- 
rectly filling up schedules, arranging my sale 
catalogue, and for my own general satisfaction. 

Each day the number of eggs laid is noted 
down ; the houses are all numbered, and the 
figure of that in which the egg is found, marked 
on it by the collector, who need not know one 
sort of fowl from another. 

/ alone arrange the eggs in their different 
baskets, writing on the shell with pencil the date 
and speciality. 

Chickens, as they are hatched, are entered in 
the Diary, as also the fowls killed for table and 
market, at their respective values. 

Wlien my assistant henwife receives orders for 
settings of eggs, I mark them down in due order, 
that each purchaser may be supplied according to 


the date of application; on the day wished, I 
select the eggs myself, and superintend tlie pack- 
ing of them. 

This is the form of hamper used (fig. 1 5) ; they 
are made by my OAvn gardeners, and answer the 
purpose admirably. 

Fig, 16. 

^IJ ><r\^v^ J f)f»7i i'y^' 

1 wish I could say, all the eggs sent in them 
hatched well, but this I cannot. 

Purchasers, however, should make themselves 
aufait in the treatment of travelled eggs, as the 
sender is often unjustly blamed. 

I have sent eggs to the Bahamas (which hatched 
in the proportion of 8 to ] 8); also to Ireland and 
Shetland; these all did well, while others, not 
carried a mile, failed. 


I buy eggs for setting every year, and have 
had varied fortune; I do not, however, take for 
granted, that the sender is to blame — when I 
am unlucky. Even wild birds' eggs do not hatch 
well in some seasons, and every poultry fancier 
knows that high-bred prize stock is seldom pro- 
lific — the life is too artificiaL 

If even two birds are hatched from a setting 
at L.l, Is., these alone are worth the money; 
honest dealers (and such names as Watts, 
Holmesdale, Fowler, Fitz- William, &c., are ma- 
terial guarantees that they are to be met withj 
find that price too low for eggs from really prize 
stock, and put an almost prohibitory value on 
them, I myself among the number. 

It is nonsense to talk of eggs having been 
doctored ; Quid nuncs may swallow such tales, but 
not the practical fancier or breeder. Our names 
are too valuable to us in the poultry world, and 
our honour is quite as unimpeachable as that of 

When my eggs have hatched badly, I have in 
some cases given a fresh supply, ungrudgingly, 
and, I may say, have also received it. 


My method of packing is to put each egg 
upright (previously wrapped in strong paper) in 
a little nest, as it were, of hay, tightly com- 
pressed ; they are placed as closely as possible in 
the hamper; on the top is a layer of hay, and 
paper over all; with a packing-needle and twine 
the lid is then fastened down. 

Some use wooden boxes, and pack the eggs in 
sawdust or bran ; but I consider the nailing down 
of the lid causes a jar which is apt to frac- 
ture the eggs. I never received a setting, packed 
in this way, which reached me in perfect pre- 

Railway officials, moreover, handle boxes much 
less carefully than the more fragile-looking hamper. 

As soon as eggs for setting are received, they 
should be put under the hen. I have had com- 
plaints of the failure of eggs from my yards, 
which, I have found, were actually allowed 
to lie in their hamper a fortnight unset; 
the wonder is that any hatched at alL Often, too, 
laying hens are allowed access to the sitting hen's 
nest, and eggs are broken in the struggle which 
invariably ensues. 


Hens often lay during incubation, and, if these 
eggs are not removed, the result will be the 
appearance of mongrels in a clutch of a supposed 
distinct breed. 

A little attention would have ensured the non- 
intrusion of such black sheep, and probably the 
better hatching of the travelled eggs, for such 
require abundant warmth, even more than those 
laid at home; a tutored eye at once detects the 
presence of these imbidden guests. 

On the ninth day I examiue the eggs, by the 
aid of a candle, in a darkened room, in the same 
way as advised in my chapter on Hatching. If 
the egg is to prove productive, it wUl aj^pear quite 
dark, except a small clear disc at the top; if 
clear throughout, I remove it as hopeless, and 
have all such boiled hard (to feed the young 
stock), which is a great economy. 

I have found that hens hatch well in small 
separate houses made something in the style of the 
annexed cut (fig. 16); they may be placed in the 
shrubberies, or anjrwhere, if secluded, and the 
door left open, or closed, as circimistances dic- 
tate ; when the sitting-houses are full, these little 



willow-retreats will be found useful and accept- 
able beyond expression, to the intended sitter. 

Vie.. Ifl. 

> • 


Willow Sitting-hou=ft 

Having before advised my readers to preserve 
all supernumerary eggs of summer, I now give 
tliem my own recipe for so doing. 

Once a-week I clear my baskets, selecting only 
perfectly formed eggs; the slightest fracture or 
imperfection in the shell would cause the failure 
of a whole batch. 

I place the eggs carefully in a jar, and pour 
over them lime-water^ which is made by dissolving 


quicklime, in the proportion of two pounds to 
four gallons of water ; this must stand a day, at 
least, till the residue has settled at the bottom of 
the vessel; the clearer portion is then poured 
over the eggs, so as to cover them. 

Should the jar not be fall, fresh eggs are added 
from time to time, and as the lime water rises, 
it is poured into another jar, ready to be filled in 
like manner. Some use salt for preserving eggs ; 
I have tried it, and found it worse than useless. 
It hardens the yolk, and renders the egg uneat- 

Be careful that the eggs are at least an inch 
below the surface of the water; place a plate, or 
lid of wood, over them, to prevent their floating ; 
tie up the jar, and label it, stating the date, and 
number of dozens. 

These eggs are only worth, perhaps, sixpence 
a-dozen at the time, but when you use them 
(which will be in the scarce season, for they keep 
good many months), they will be worth Is. 4d. 
at least. 

For even culinary purposes foreign eggs, — the 
collection of months, — find ready purchasers at 



that price; but, (were preserved eggs more 
in use), we would not be so dependent on our 
gallant allies for a winter pudding; the sun's 
partiality makes us owe the juice of the grape to 
the " Gallic cock," but we have no occasion to be 
indebted to his hens. 

Our own poultry yards should furnish our 
tables; there need be no limit to our supply of 
eggs and poultry, — at present, not, by any means, 
equal to the demand ; for a bountiful and " all- 
the-year-round " stock, I ask only a fair trial of 
my advice. 

Every one has experienced the scarcity of 
poultry in the country; a dire necessity exists 
for reform, — let us have it, and we shall no longer 
be obliged to eat things — called chickens — too 
often to be classed only with Pharaoh's "lean 

AYe have brighter hopes for the future, we will 
no longer give the "pas" to our continental 
dealers; we shall equal them, and then cry, 
Libert^, ^galiU, f rater niU. 

Farmers say that "Poultry rearing is unprofit- 
able, won't pay, that prices are small," &c., — so 


are the chickens, — make them larger, and prices 
TTiust rise. 

The importation of eggs and poultry from 
abroad is enormous; I do grudge to see our 
farmers throw away so great a source of profit. 
All keep poultry on a greater or lesser scale, 
thereby admitting the necessity of such stock, — 
now, if kept at all, let it be of remunerative kinds. 
My maxim is, " Whatever is worth doing, is worth 
doing well," — and I would rather see our agricul- 
tural husbands " hen-pecked '* all their lives, than 
beaten by foreigners. 

Let us give our neighbours useful lessons in 
poultry, as in the management of the farm, and 
they must succumb, in spite of their more genial 

Perhaps my little book may assist in this 
laudable endeavour; a certain degree of know- 
ledge is necessary to organize a system. 

I assure my readers mine is not merely theory; 
they may judge of this by my facts. To back up 
this pretension, figures are requisite, and they are 


" The farm-yard " is patronized by royalty, and 
deaUngs in stock — not despised; many ladies 
take an interest in the "Dairy;" I advise their 
turning their attention to the "Poultry-yard" 
as well, — thereby giving a stimulus to the 
breeders of fine poultry, and certainly benefiting 
their ovm manages by the introduction of such. 

At the risk of even my word being doubted by 
the ignorant, I subjoin the weights of Turkeys, 
Geese, Ducks, Dorkings, Cochins, &c., from my 
own yards. Only those who have real experience 
in modern poultry will credit the weights to 
which they have attained, by judicious breeding 
and feeding. A friend of mine, the other day, 
spoke (with a mixture of surprise and incredulity) 
of a Torkey he knew of, which was said to weigh 
20 lbs. His surprise was considerably increased 
when one was pointed out to him weighing 34 lbs., 
which was strutting about in my yard in all its 
pride, the consequential protector of twenty hens, 
the best of which would rival the weight of the 
cock that caused so much astonishment to the 


I had once a Turkey that weighed 40 lbs., but 

alas! he is no more, though he lives 

in his pos- 


I consider the following good 


weights, where they are an element 

of success. 

which, in many merely fancy varieties. 

is not the 

case — colouring and condition being the deside- 

rata: — 

Turkey Cock, 

. 25 

to 30 lbs. 

„ Hen, . 

. 17 

„ 20 „ 

Toulouse Gander, . 

. 25 

V 30 „ 

Goose, . 

. 20 

» 24 „ 

Grey Dorking Cock, 

. 10 

„ 12 „ 


. 8 

„ 10 „ 

Rouen Drake, 

. . 7 

J, 8| „ 

„ Duck, 

. 6J 

» * » 

Aylesbury Drake, . 

. 8 

>» " }) 

„ Duck, . 

. n 

» 8| „ 

Cochin Cock, 

. 10 


„ Hen, . 

. 8 

>J " « 

Brahma Pootra Cock, 

. 10 

„ 12 „ 

„ „ Hen, 

. 8 

» " )> 

I may mention that a p 

en of two 

goslings I 

sent to Birmingham, in Dec 

.ember, 1860, weighed 


42 lbs., their age being five months. Three Dork- 
ing pullets (six months' old) I sent to the same 
show weighed 23 i lbs. 

My own expenses are, perhaps, greater than are 
required. Poultry is my "hobby," and I ride 
it. My " staff" numbers three, — a man and two 
women; my own valuable services must not be 
lost sight of, — a galaxy of talent — at least we 
think so, and that is the same thing. 

Fortunately there are full lists of our prizes 
and precedents, during past years, to refer to. I 
do not think they will show I have been a laggard 
in the fray; badinage apart, we have been given 
laurels, and gratefully wear them. 

Not the least pleasure of social life is that of 
making friends, and retaining them by the inter- 
change of ideas and experience on a subject of 
common interest. 

Such is the mysterious and cabalistic tie which 
binds poultry-fanciers together, that, without 
even an introduction, they look upon each other 
as friends, and are delighted to acknowledge the 
freemasonry that exists among them. 

From a simple question about poultry has 


arisen a personal friendship, and the kindest pos- 
sible feeling; how pleasant a chat upon poultry 
can be, is only known to the initiated few. 

The cottager seeks for information from his 
wealthier (in poultry) neighbour, and it is for 
him I enjoy the small country shows, if conducted 
on an amiable and friendly footing; they are the 
annual exponents of poultry progress, and a true 
lover of poultry will take defeat in good part, 
provided he feels sure that he has been fairly 
dealt with ; though disappointed, he will bear no 
malice ; but justice there must be, to avoid grumb- 
lings and heart-burnings. 

Now for my " Balance Sheet," — dreadful words 
to not a few! Bear in mind that the profits and 
expenses of exhibition about make an even balance 
in the debit and credit account, and are therefore 
excluded ; if I hxiy at shows, I sell also, and in the 
long-run nothing is lost. I give my regular 
yearly expenses, and returns of private and 
market sales — including the value of poultry- 
yard produce used in my household. 

Had profit been my sole object in poultry- 
rearino-, I could have shown a much larger credit 


account, for I should not, in that ease, have put 
prohibitory prices on my exhibition pens, but 
sold them at a remunerative rate. I have refused 
sLxteen guineas for two favourite goslings, and 
more than once ten for a Dorking cockerel — 
money could not buy them. I have always 
found my prizes pay expenses of exhibition in 
Scotland. It is different when a long journey 
has to be undertaken to London, Liverpool, and 
Birmingham. Fame, however, there acquired, 
sells eggs and stock. 

[Bajai^ce Sheet. 


Poultry on Hand— Bbebdino Stock. 
15th February, 1861. 

14 Geese at Market value 
25 Turkeys at 10s. 

15 Rouen Ducks at 2s. . 
6 Buenos Ayres Ducks at 23. 

55 Dorkings at 2s. 

36 Brahmas at 28. 

15 Buff Cochins at 2s. . 

25 White Cochins at 2s. 

12 CrSve Coeurs at 2s. . 

30 Cross-bred Hens for Setting at 2s. 


12 10 

1 10 


5 10 

3 12 

1 10 

2 10 

1 4 


The manure from the poultry houses, which is very valuable, in fact the 
Receipts, 1860. 

Eggs sold at Market 
Poultry sold at market prices 
Eggs for household, do. 
Poultry for household, do. 
Eggs sold for setting 
Poultry sold for breeding 
Feathers and Down 
I'Dultry sold by public aucticaj 

L.38 18 

able, in fact the 

L.18 8 

12 6 


11 4 

34 5 

36 16 

53 12 


5 11 


148 15 


Balance brought down 
Balance brought down 

Total profits, . 

L.320 18 9 

. L.17 1 

9 16 

L.26 17 


Poultry on Hand— Bbeedino Stock. 

15th Fdmiary, 1860. 

5 Geese at Market value 
10 Turkeys at 10s. 
10 Ducks at 2s. 
36 Dorkings at 2s. 
36 Brahmas at 2s. 
10 Buff Cochins at 2s. . 
10 White Cochins at 2s. 

6 Golden-Pencilled Hamburghs at 28. 
8 Crgve Coeurs at 2s. . 
5 Bantams at Is. 

25 Hens bought in for Setting at 28. 

Balance carried down 

L.2 10 


3 12 
3 12 

2 10 

L.21 17 

17 1 

L.33 18 

richest Guano, I consider quite an equivalent for the straw and hay used. 

EXPENSE.S, 1860. 
Wages . 

Grain and Oatmeal 
Paring Meal (or Thirds) 

Indian Com 
Hemp Seed 

Buckwheat and Linseed 
Eggs for Setting 

Ale and Beer . , 

Bread . . , 


Advertising and Dairy . 
Carpenter- Work and Wire 
Wicker- Work, Setting Coops 
Cutlery . 

Feeding and Drinking Vesselg 
Balance carried down 


115 7 

23 5 

3 2 


31 16 


6 2 


3 8 

6 17 

2 1 

5 10 

5 15 


3 14 


14 3 


7 1 


1 13 




9 16 

L.820 18 9 


I must leave it to the reader to put a price on 
my own personal labour, time, &c.; do not set 
them do^vn at too low a figure. 

All dainty food I distribute with my own 
hands, or give it in charge to one who is 
acquainted with the wants and circimistances of 
my favouiites. 

Even as late as ten o'clock, on a summer night, 
I may be seen, basket in hand, containing 
vinegar, oil, and other " impedimenta," making 
the round of the houses and coops, in which 
some of the occupants require the different 

Should roup unfortunately appear, a regular 
routine of washing is established ; a small basin 
for vinegar, and a sponge, are produced from my 
basket, and every night, and every morning, 
each sufferer is attended to. 

Such care is rewarded by the speedy recovery 
of the patients, and then I gladly lay aside the 
physic for the food, and rejoice the hearts of 
the convalescents with some little additional 

They all know me quite well, and. at the 


usual hour of feeding, will come far on the way to 
meet me ; I am proud to have them about me. 

• • • • 

" He prayeth well that loveth well 
Both man, and bird, and beast ; 

He prayeth best, who loveth best 
All things, both great and small ; 
For the dear God who loveth us, 
He made, and loves them all." 

" No man can tether time or tide," this is 
beyond the energies even of the " Henwife," 
and I must now make my conge, a book not 
being (as were Othello's " bloody thoughts") — 

" Like to the Pontic Sea, 
Whose icy current and compxilsive course 
Ne'er feels retiring ebb, but keeps due on 
To the Propontic and the Hellespont." 

I would not lag " superfluous on the stage : " 
sweet is the sailor's rest when the voyage is over, 
and sweet the Author's dreams when the toil is 

Many, perhaps, have deemed me a fanatic, and 
have, long since, thrown away my book as the 
raving of a monomaniac. 



But all have not the same tastes, and if any 
have been my unwearied companions through the 
pleasant fields of Poultry, I thank them with a 
warm and grateful heart. With such, "parting" 
is, indeed, " sweet sorrow." 

"Parewell, — a word that must be, and has 
been.'* Farewell — kind reader. 

Xhe Henwife's Own Basket. 


^\t pcntoifc^s f atcr ^^nmt 

Since this volume was first published, " The 
Henwife " has contributed many valuable papers 
on the subject of poultry to the Farmer news- 
paper. With the exception of much that was 
nearly a repetition of what is contained in this 
work, these have been rearranged in their pre- 
sent form, and cannot fail to be acceptable to 
all lovers of poultry. They still retain their 
journalistic style, but that can readily be over- 
looked in the useful information they contain. 

C^icluns mxH guchliitgs. 

In the early spring it is quite necessary for all 
good henwives to look forward, and, with all the 
knowledge we possess or can acquire from the 


experience of others, make every needful arrange- 
ment for the future. I gladly, therefore, contri- 
bute my mite in further aiding such endeavours 
with what I may know on the subject. 

Every well-regulated poultry-yard should be 
able early in April to display a sufficient number 
of late-hatclied chickens to supply the table until 
those of this year's hatching are ready for use ; 
and there should also be abundance of eggs for 
the use of the household and for setting. All 
superfluous stock should have been disposed of, 
either by private or public sale, during the month 
of January, and the different yards made up for 
the breeding season — say one cock and six hens 
in each. Already, there should be seen chickens 
of two months old — perhaps future prize-takers 
— if not, at all events birds valuable for table 
use. The work of setting must be proceeded 
with regularly and rapidly. Give only nine eggs 
to the hen ; make the nest on a layer of ashes, 
with hay, under which put a fresh green turf; 
sprinkle the eggs slightly every day with tepid 
water ; keep the hen off the nest a quarter of an 
hour till she feeds, and during that time the 


different nests can be examined, cleaned, &c. 
In case of frost, it is desirable to have a flue in 
the sitting-house, so that a little heat may be 
given at night ; none is necessary during the day, 
nor at all for the laying-houses. The food sup- 
plied gives sufficient warmth. This should 
be of thirds — sometimes called sharps — slaked 
with water, made overnight, and given as early 
as possible in the morning ; at mid-day (for the 
second meal), a little minced liver or cooked 
meat of any kind, hemp-seed, and any green 
food procurable at this season ; at four o'clock, 
for the last meal, give as much grain as they 
will pick up — light wheat or barley is the best, 
and, in addition, a little Indian corn, but this 
last sparingly, as it tends to fatten too much, 
and I need not say that all breeding birds should 
be in stock condition. Very heavy fowls seldom 
either lay or breed well. Setting-hens are not 
plentiful at this time. One is indebted to kind 
neighbours for all their spare setters. It is a 
good plan to place a number of early-hatched 
pullets of all kinds that sit well in a yard with 
any cocks reserved to fill up vacancies by casu- 



alties. These pullets lay soon, and from them 
early sitters are supplied. 

Chickens should hatch on the twenty-first day, 
or a few hours later at furthest. Save removing 
the empty shells, do not interfere with the nest for 
twenty-four hours ; then put the mother and her 
brood into a coop ; feed with oatmeal and paring- 
meal, equal parts, mixed wdth water into a 
crumbling state, or bread soaked in milk and 
squeezed dry ; give the chicks twice daily a little 
water to driiik, but do not leave it beside them. 
Some writers on poultry advise the removal of 
the little scale from the tip of the chickens' bill, 
but this practice is as cruel as it is unnecessary. 
Where it is possible, the mother and her brood 
may with great advantage be placed under a shed 
in their coop for a few days until the chickens 
become strong on the leg, when they can be 
cooped out on dry earth or gravel. Chickens are 
liable to cramp, and although access to grass is 
advantageous, close confinement to it is not so at 
every time. A gravel walk near grass is the best 
possible site for a poultry coop until the chickens 
are old and stronir enough to seek for shelter 


from damp or cokl. They can then be removed 
to less-favoured quarters, and give place to newly- 
liatched broods. Following this practice system- 
atically, numbers may be reared in a small space. 
A little fresh gravel or sand must occasionally be 
strewed over the ground, and it must be swept 
daily. It is useful to leave little heaps of sand 
here and there ?is> play-grounds for the chickens; 
they scrape and half bury themselves in the dust, 
thereby ridding their little bodies of troublesome 
insects. After the third day from hatching, 
chickens may have an increased dietary, such 
as eggs boiled hard, mixed up with the shell ; 
bread soaked in beer ; cooked meat minced ; a 
few grains of hemp-seed, buckwheat, and groats 
— all in addition to their former food. The hen, 
of course, must be plentifully supplied with the 
usual food of the poultry-yard. After the first 
week chickens may be allowed free access to 
water. The best water dishes are made of tin, 
1^ inches deep, the middle filled up, leaving only 
a narrow channel for water ; or what is equally 
good, and more easily obtained, flower-pot saucers 
inverted one into the other. 



All persons conversant with poultry matters 
allow that, in order to secure early-hatched 
chickens, it is a necessity to have Cochin hens to 
act as mothers. Dorkings, &c., may lay during 
winter, but they rarely sit until their usual time, 
which is spring. Cochins, on the contrary, sit 
three or four times a year, and as they are good 
winter layers, if young, they can be depended 
upon to hatch the eggs of all tardy sitters. For 
this purpose alone, therefore, Cochins would be 
valuable additions to our stock ; but I consider 
them besides very beautiful birds. Their soft 
downy feathering, of such exquisite tints of 
yellow and maize, all ladies must admire, and 
the true types of the high-caste Cocliins are of 
handsome, massive build, majestic carriage, large 
size, and (which is but little known) very short 
on the leg. They are hardy, docile, aiid very 
productive ; their eggs are not large, but by no 
means so small as those of the Hamburgs. 
They bear confinement well, and a fence three 
feet high is sufficient to keep them within bounds. 
They require no perch in their houses, preferring 
the floor, which must, however, be littered down 


with straw, as in a stable, and as regularly re- 
newed, for the feathering is so delicate in colour 
and texture that it is easily soiled and ruffled by 
damp. I do not consider Cochins good table 
fowls unless when quite young, and I conse- 
quently advise their being kept principally as 
egg-layers and sitters. Pure-bred birds com- 
mand high prices, and at all our principal shows 
the classes fill well. Each fancier has her or his 
individual taste regarding colour, and, as the 
varieties are numerous, if the points and qualities 
are good, colouring only holds a secondary place. 
White Cochins, from the contrast of the scarlet 
comb, yellow bill, and snowy plumage, are pe- 
culiarly attractive, and they are quite as robust 
as the coloured birds, but they must have a clean 
grass run, and be seen only under a pure sky. 
They are apt to become yellow if exposed much 
to the sun ; so require a shaded yard — if the 
birds are intended for exhibition — the yellow 
tinge being a great disqualification. To 
who have the wish to breed early chickens for 
market, I confidently recommend crossing the 
Cochin hen with a Dorking cock. The chickens 


will feather more quickly than the pure-bred 
Cochins, which are backward in fledging ; and 
although there may be a shade of yellow in the 
skin at that early season, say in March, poul- 
terers cannot be fastidious, and I have known 
them thankful to pay high prices for chickens 
that would be almost worthless later. There is no 
doubt Cochins are very productive when properly 
managed ; and I strongly advise the introduction 
at once of a few hens into all poultry-yards, 
feeling sure they will give satisfaction on trial. 

Chickens hatched in January should have 
assumed the plumage of adult birds by the 
middle of June, and many will have begun to 
lay — thus keeping up the supply of eggs during 
the moulting season. These young fowls will 
sit in the autumn, and a continued succession of 
chickens will thus be secured. Fewer are re- 
quired during winter, as they are only for table 
use. The great bulk of hatching should be 
proceeded with during the six months from 
February to July. 

Ducklings should now be making their appear- 
ance, and, if well fed, will be fit for table use in 


the first week of June, when green peas may be 
confidently looked for as their natural accom- 
paniment. For a fortnight keep the hen cooped 
on grass, giving the ducklings access to a small 
enclosure — temporary, of course, as it must be 
moved daily. Feed with soft food — groats 
thrown into a shallow dish kept always full of 
water, in which may be a fresh turf ; a little 
buckwheat, linseed, and hemp-seed, with crusts 
of bread — all, when well soaked, are greedily 
devoured by ducklings. I prefer a hen to a 
duck mother, as being more easily managed, and 
not requiring a daily bath. Gt)slings can also 
be reared successfully under hens, and the earliest 
eggs (three to each hen) should be set as soon 
as laid, leaving the latest for the goose herself. 
The Toulouse breed lays freely, sometimes thirty 
eggs before showing any inclination to sit. They 
are fond of all green food — cabbage, lettuce, 
spinach, &c., in addition to soft food and grain. 
The goose mother is very exclusive, and is jealous 
of any interference with her young, and though 
careful, and seldom losing any by illness or acci- 
dent, she cannot, owing to her wandering habits 


and naturally frugal fare, build up prize goslings. 
To attain to the enormous weights required, high 
feeding is de rigueur. 

gisea^es hi C Inch cits. 

In spring the weather is generally very trying 
for young chickens. They have then much to 
strive against — and happy those breeders who can 
say they have not suffered in stock from the pre- 
valence of cold winds, showers of rain and sleet, 
with treacherous glimpses of sun, wnich, like 
a false friend, smiles upon us only to leave us in 
the hour of trial and weakness. It is then that 
roup and other diseases will probably appear, 
with the usual fatal results. Much, however, 
may be done, by care and experience, to ward off 
the malady, and I am glad to be able to come 
to the assistance of desponding fellow-henwives, 
and give them a recipe for the benefit of their 
valuable young birds. If roup, though a very 
deadly disease, has made its appearance, it can 
be cured. Put into each drinking vessel a piece 
of camphor, and as it dissolves replace it. If 


the weather is damp, dust a little jiounded pimento 
into the food, in the proportion of one teaspoon- 
ful to twenty-four chickens. For the first week 
do not allow the hen to leave her coop, unless 
you can put her under cover and confine her to 
a wired-in range. Roup generally attacks chick- 
ens when the feathers begin to appear. It will 
probably have owed its origin to the bad weather 
remarked upon ; but breeders must also be care- 
ful that over-crowding has not had a share in 
producing the evil. Take care, therefore, not 
to overstock your ground ; if crowded, chickens 
cannot thrive. In wet weather it is necessary to 
put very young chickens under cover, and it is 
difficult to find space for all to be comfortably 
housed, and yet sufficiently apart. If possible, 
howevet", separate your coops, and on the first 
appearance of disease remove the brood to a 
distance, and make it your special care. Mere 
removal to fresh ground often effects a cure. 
Very young chickens cannot bear much hand- 
ling, and every other means should be tried 
before having recourse to the medicine bottle. 
The symptoms of roup are gasping, hoarse- 


ness, and loss of appetite. If the birds attacked 
are not valuable, I strongly urge their being put 
out of pain and of sight at once, thereby stamp- 
ing-out the disease in our poultry-yards. Put 
only your very best chickens under medicinal 
treatment, and administer to thern the following 
remedies : — A piece of camphor the size of a 
pea, a few drops of castor-oil, and wash the 
nostrils and inside of mouth with vinegar. For 
this purpose, use a small sponge. Vinegar is very 
cleansing, removing the mucus which collects in 
the throat. Take the scale off the tongue ; this 
is done by holding the bill open with the left 
hand, and scraping off the hard point with the 
thumb-nail of the right. This operation can only 
be performed upon strong well-grown chickens. 
The more the tongue bleeds the better. Continue 
the washing with vinegar morning and evening 
until the gushing ceases, and the appetite returns. 
Every morning fill the drinking vessels with 
water, to which has been added the restorative, 
the recipe of which is as follows : — " 1 lb. of 
sulphate of iron and 2 oz. sulphuric acid, dis- 
solved in 1 J gallons of boiling water. When cold 


bottle it, and use in the proportion of one tea- 
spoonful to a pint of water." At all times and 
to all poultry this tonic may be given with ad- 
vantage, particularly in the moulting season, or 
when the birds have been weakened by exhibition. 

Chickens, especially Brahmas, suffer much 
from slow feathering. In cold weather it is very 
trying, and some will sink under it. The cure is 
good housing and high feeding. Bread soaked in 
ale, given once a day, or oftener, if not grudr/ed ; 
crushed bones, curd, eggs ; in fact, everything 
that is conducive to strength and health. 

I have seen (fortunately not often) chickens suf- 
fering from noxious animalculte, which literally 
prey upon the bodies of the poor little things. It 
maybe the mother has been too closely confined, or 
perhaps not allowed daily access to her dust bath, 
or the coop has not been cleansed sufficiently often. 
In any case, it shows bad management, for such 
a disease should be unknown in a well-appointed 
poultry-yard. The cure is simple enough — snuff 
or sulphur dusted into the feathers of the hen 
chickens ; but when the latter have suffered and 
severely from the attacks of their enemies, and 


become ragged in feather, and almost naked, 
the snuff or sulphur should be mixed with lard, 
and rubbed in by the hand. During warm 
weather, the hen-houses, and especially the sitting- 
house, should be kept scrupulously clean. Occa- 
sionally sprinkle a little water over the floors 
and nests, and upon the wetted parts scatter 
sulphur mixed with ashes. The hen-house is so 
frequently visited by the lady or gentleman 
manager and their friends, that cleanliness be- 
comes a sine qua non, and perfect security from 
the inroads of all parasites must be guaranteed. 

When May sets in, our poultry-yards teem 
with daily-increasing life, and we must be very 
busy with the care of our young stock. 

Pick out indifferent early chickens now, and 
kill them as required for the table. There are 
always some with faulty claws or combs, and 
upon such high feeding and special care are 
wasted ; therefore slay and eat all doubtful 
chickens, and hatch more — the greater the 


number to choose from, of course, the better 
the chance of prize-birds. Remove the superior 
chickens to choice situations, separating the 
pullets from the cockerels, as in this way diflFer- 
ent breeds can be kept together at one range. 
From time to time weed out any that are de- 
ficient in points, and fill up their places with 
fresh recruits. The great work of setting is 
nearly over ; but a few pens may still be set for 
the purpose of keeping up a regular supply of 
chickens throughout the year. The henwife's 
time will be fully occupied with the many 
young broods now demanding constant care 
and watchfulness. Geese, ducks, chickens, and 
turkeys will all be abundant. Turkeys should 
be set so as to hatch about the same time, as 
they go together in large flocks ; and being 
generally put as far as possible from the rest of 
the poultry, it would require too much labour to 
look after broods of different ages. Turkey eggs 
hatch on the thirty-first day, and for a week the 
chicks should be treated in a similar manner to 
those of the common hen, but after that they 
require more green food. Chopped onions, 


nettles, docks, and cresses are much relished, 
mixed uj? with meal. A little fresh curd, hard- 
boiled eggs, bread, groats, and buckwheat, are 
also favourite items of their daily diet. Coop 
the hens on grass, and do not, for the first 
fortnight, allow them free range. After that, 
let them out during the day, when fine and the 
ground quite dry. Turkeys are careful, gentle 
mothers, but the chicks are delicate, and in 
damp seasons defy all care. They must have 
shelter from too hot sun, as well as occasional 
showers, for at least two months. When the 
weather is very warm and sunny at this season, 
this is a good time to dispose of adult birds of 
all kinds, thus making room for the young. 
I would advise poultry-rearers to exercise their 
discretion, and allow the mother hens to roam 
at large with her young brood for a few hours 
daily, care being taken that she does not wander 
too far ; but if she seeks the shade and shelter 
of a hedge or plantation, and there takes her 
dust-hath, and scrapes up food for her young, 
the less she is interfered with the better. Place 
water near, and throw down the usual food for 


the chickens; but never allow them to go out 
till the dew is off the ground, or leave them out 
after sunset. 

.^ummtr l^nnitgcmcnt. 

When summer has fairly set in, poultry-keepers 
cannot be too seriously warned against exposing 
their young broods to the full force of the sun. 
Turn the coops so as partially to afford shade ; 
but by far the best plan is to let the mother 
wander at large with her little flock. A few 
branches of evergreens stuck into the groimd 
will afford a very simple and yet efficient shelter. 
Turkeys take refuge in the long grass, and it is 
a good plan to cut strips at regular distances 
throughout, on which place the coops, and the 
poults can roam at large. Shift the coops to 
fresh ground every day, and see that the poor 
imprisoned mothers are well fed, and supplied 
daily with green food, such as cabbage, or what- 
ever is not required as being too coarse for the 
food of the young. The adult fowls that are 
shut up in yards are much to be pitied in warm 
weather ; see, then, that their water dishes are 


frequently refilled, and that they get as much 
green food as possible. In each yard there 
should be a low shed erected, under which they 
can shelter themselves and take their dust bath. 
Moulting has begun, and as this is a drain on 
the constitution of birds closely confined, high 
feeding is necessary. They have good appetites 
during this period, and, if properly attended to, 
and nourishing food freely administered to supply 
the waste, their poor denuded bodies will soon be 
again covered with smooth, firm plumage, which 
is the surest indication of good health in poultry. 
Old mortar or lime rubbish should be scattered 
over the yards, or placed in a heap in a corner. 
Fowls are very fond of it, and it is conducive to 
their health. A little citrate of iron may be 
given, dissolved in ale, and added to the soft food ; 
and at all times give the fowls a few burnt oyster 
shells. In April it is well to lay in a store, and 
burn them when required. This, if properly 
done, calcines the shell, when it can be easily 
broken with the fingers. Hens frequently eat 
their eggs ; if of little value, kill the offender at 
once, for she may infect the others ; but I have 


found that if the laying-house is kept quite dark, 
hens are not so apt to indulge in this evil pro- 
pensity : absence of lime frequently causes it, 
and once the habit is acquired, it is impossible 
to cure it effectually. Many recommend chalk 
nest-eggs, but I have tried them without any 
good result. 

As some of my readers may wish to diminish 
the expense of their poultry-keeping, I suggest 
their sending early chickens to market. If good 
enough — that is, with straight breast bones, 
white legs, are fat and plump, and of fair size 
for birds hatched in January and February — the 
highest prices for such are to be obtained in 
London ; but even in country towns the value 
of early chickens is very fairly estimated, and a 
remunerative price freely given. The importa- 
tions of eggs and poultry from the Continent 
are enormous, and if it pays to breed poultry 
abroad, surely it might be made equally profit- 
able in our own country. Establishments have 
been lately organised to try the effect of rearing 
poultry on a large scale. Time will, I hope, 
enable these philanthropists to show a fair 


balance-sheet, and to encourage others to follow 
their good example. 

If poultry is kept for profit alone, or where 
the superfluous stock is only sold to reduce ex- 
penses, I advise the breeder to confine his fancy 
to the more valuable varieties, as commanding a 
sure market, either for table use or exhibition. 
The expenses of rearing and feeding valuable 
fowls will be all but the same as that of com- 
paratively worthless ones. The same attendance 
will be required, and the only additional outlay 
will be on the extra comfort and -warmth neces- 
sary for early-hatched chickens. This, if pro- 
perly managed, will be very trifling. It is a great 
mistake to build chicken palaces, or to fancy 
that such can ever be constructed on such 
elastic principles as to aSbrd space for the rear- 
ing of poultry and supjDly of eggs, even for a 
moderate establishment, throughout the year. 
On however large a scale the attempt is made, 
chickens confined entirely to such would not 
thrive, and the result would only bring dis- 
appointment. Nowhere can poultry be reared 
better or at less outlay than at a farm-steading 


— aye, and very fair pens for exhibition can be 
picked out from the farm-stock. When eggs for 
market is the object, I would recommend the 
best layers only to be kept, and all young pul- 
lets ; but there may also be a pure unmixed 
breed of Dorkings, Brahmas, Spanish, or any 
kind most fancied, kept as well for exhibition 
and sale, in matched pens. From five to ten 
pounds can be got for such, and this repeated 
several times makes a pretty entry on the credit 
side of the balance-sheet. 

Prtscrbing anir Sale x)f 6ggs. 

When eggs are plentiful, 6|d, or 7d. per 
dozen is their usual market-price in country 
places. Say this lasts during the months of 
May, June, and July ; during that time I would 
advise all those who look forward to the rearing 
of pheasants, turkeys, and young poultry of all 
kinds, to preserve every egg not required for 
household use or for setting. During the three 
following months eggs become much less plentiful, 
as the hens are in moult, and many going with 


broods. These sell at highest market-prices, 
and continue to do so as long as possible ; but 
to the breeders of pure strains of poultry I 
would give this advice : never sell at market at 
all ; the price is not sufficiently remunerative, 
and it is far better to preserve even your most 
valuable eggs, or eat them, than to run the risk 
of their being set and hatched to supplant your 
birds perhaps at your own county exhibition of 
poultry. Sell, of course, at setting price, but no 
other. November, December, and January are 
bad egg months generally with the common run 
of fowls, and setting for spring chickens com- 
mences ; so, except any small or malformed eggs 
(all which should go into the preserving jars), 
there are not many to spare for market, and we 
are very glad to have an abundant supply of 
well-preserved, I may even say fresh^ eggs for 
kitchen use, reserving choice, new-laid eggs for 
the breakfast-table. I have, as a great favour, 
frequently supplied the table of royalty from 
my poultry-yard when all other sources failed in 
Scotland. With a system of poultry manage- 
ment there need never be a dearth ; and I was 


very pleased that I could supply eggs, capons, 
<S:c., really worthy of places on the royal tables. 
February, ]\Iarch, and April are the three busiest 
mouths in the " Henwife's " year. The demands 
for settings pour iu from all quarters, and it is 
sometimes difficult to supply all the applicants 
and our own sitting-house too ; and at this time 
we feel the full benefit of the forethought which 
made us fill jar upon jar of eggs, now called for 
on all hands to feed the young stock. In my 
own establishment thirty dozen are required for 
that purpose alone, and it can be understood 
how impossible such a claim could be met 
unless in the way I have described. I would 
sum up the directions thus : — February, March, 
and April — Set for stock, and sell for setting 
only. May, June, and July — Preserve every 
Qgg. August, September, and October — Sell 
at market, if you do not fear the risk, and con- 
tinue to preserve. November, December, and 
January — Set for spring chickens, or sell. At 
that cold season there is less chance of eggs 
being set. 

To preserve eggs, soak four pounds of quick- 


lime in two gallons of water, stir occasionally 
for two clays, when, after allowing it to settle, 
the clear liquid can be poured off into jars. 
Select the eggs (as fresh as possible) very care- 
fully. The slightest crack or blemish in the 
shell would destroy the whole contents of a jar. 
Put in the eggs gently, and fill up to within 
three inches of the surface with the lime-water. 
Place a lid of wood or a plate upon the eggs to 
keep them down ; tie up the jar, and label it, 
marking the date of preserving, and number of 
dozens. Eggs will soon become scarce, and 
consequently dear, but those preserved as I have 
directed will keep fresh and good for twelve 
months, and may be used in the kitchen with 
perfect confidence. I repeat, however, that 
though the process is simple, like anything else, 
it requires to be effected with care. Where 
valuable poultry is kept, eggs cannot be sent to 
market ; and, indeed, the price is so low at this 
season, there is no inducement to sell, unless for 
hatching, when one or two guineas per dozen 
can be readily commanded. 



Those who are looking forward to summer 
^chicken) exhibitions, should, by the middle of 
May, be selecting matched (as far as possible at 
this early stage) birds, and putting them together 
in free runs. Many, when the time comes, will 
fall short of the necessary qualifications— for it 
is not easy to rear prize-fowls — but though not 
fit for an exhibition-pen, the rejected ones may 
be very good as single birds to sell or breed 
from. The extra feeding and exclusive attention 
they have received will also be well bestowed 
upon them if they are destined to grace the 
boards, and cause them to be appreciated by the 
good housewife when they make their appear- 
ance, " beautiful in death," on the dinner-table. 
It is often a matter of congratulation, that out 
of a flock of early chickens, ducks, geese, or tur- 
keys, some may be given over without a murmur 
or sigh of regret to the tender care of the cordon 
bleu of the kitclien. 

If all has gone well with our early hatchings, 


the spirit of emulation may lead us to wish for 
success in the "exhibition-yard," and already 
many poultry-shows, principally (and wisely at 
this season) for chickens, are announced. It is 
to be presumed that all the pullets and cockerels 
have been living apart, and ail consequently 
growing more rapidly, and with greater perfec- 
tion of plumage, than if kept together. The 
separating system has been strongly advocated. 
Premature laying stops the growth of the pullet ; 
and while it is useful to keep up a supply of 
eggs, it can be done by devoting, say, the badly- 
feathered, and otherwise deficient birds to this 
purpose, and keeping your intended exhibition 
birds in greater seclusion. The chicken runs 
having been carefully weeded from time to time, 
it becomes comparatively easy to select from 
these a pair of pullets and cockerel to form a 
matched pen. These must now be cooped to- 
gether, and receive extra care and feeding. Pro- 
vided you give them daily and abundant exercise, 
you may feed highly ; in fact, it is the grand secret 
of bringing up birds to the seemingly marvellous 
weights now required in prize poultry. Give 


bread soaked in ale, linseed soaked and mixed 
with their soft meal food, cooked meat, crushed 
bones, hemp-seed, custard made with milk and 
eggs — nothing is too good for our intended prize- 
winners; and though our fond hopes may not 
be realised as to seeing our names in the prize- 
list ,we have had a great and constant interest 
afforded us for months. The pleasure of anti- 
cipation is great ; and one disappointment may 
be tempered with the thought that with persever- 
ance and patience we may attain perfection, and 
in time secure the coveted prize, justly withheld 
from us now. Many pens we noticed in the 
prize-list find purchasers at remunerative re- 
turns ; and those who do not put prohibitory 
prices on their birds can generally count upon 
the sales covering their exhibition expenses. 
But even if they did not, it is still necessary to 
exhibit, in order to keep up the standard of their 
poultry-yards. A simple " commendation " at 
a high-class poultry-show is of value, as the 
fame justly acquired there sells both eggs and 



The season of poultry-shows begins in Sep- 
tember. A little advice to those who are about 
to make their d^hut in poultry life may now be 
acceptable from one who has " trod the boards," 
and experienced the anxiety, and frequently dis- 
appointment, which attend the footsteps of the 
exhibitor. I cannot do better than relate my 
own mode of procedure while preparing birds 
for show. About the middle of July I select 
from the free runs of pullets and cockerels a few 
of the best of each kind of fowls, and shut them 
up in the wired-in range of the poultry-yard, 
where they are well fed and have regular ex- 
ercise. Three weeks after, I choose and match 
a cockerel and three pullets of each kind, return- 
ing the rejected ones to their old homes, none the 
worse for their change of abode and extra 
feeding. The selected champions of the poultry- 
yard are then made the objects of peculiar care 
and attention. While at exercise they are 
watched to prevent fighting, which is certain 
destruction to the combs and toes of cocks. 


Their food consists of meal mixed with ale or 
milk, scraps of meat from the table, linseed 
soaked and mixed with rice or meal, hempseed, 
groats, and wheat. Nothing is too good for 
exhibition-birds, the expected winners of first 
prizes and silver cups. Having put up three 
pullets with each cockerel, I have then to select 
from them the best pair, and return one to its 
plantation run. It is not an easy matter to 
match a pen of fowls, though only three in num- 
ber ; there are so many points to be considered ; 
and the matching of combs, hackles, breasts, 
shape, and colour, must be perfect. All other 
points being equal, I determine the final choice 
by weight, and I have just completed my entries 
by weighing my beautiful Kouen ducklings, 
which turn the scale at eighteen pounds. I 
am scrupulously careful in washing the white 
Cochins and light Brahmas, Old birds are 
yellow and shabby at this season, and require to 
be thoroughly cleansed to look at all well. I use 
a brush, white soap, and hot water, taking care 
to brush the feathers straight down, and always 
pouring tepid water over the bird to remove any 


traces of the soap. Immediately after washing, 
and drying with soft towels, put the birds into 
hampers with straw, and keep them under cover 
till quite dry. I always wash the feet of Dork- 
ings carefully before putting them into their 
exhibition-hampers, because the white leg and 
foot are " points " of excellence; and it freshens 
up all birds to have their legs, combs, and faces 
washed and made tidy before leaving home, to be 
admired of hundreds, and to undergo the scrutiny 
of keen, quick-sighted judges. It is often so 
difficult to decide between two cocks of appar- 
ently equal merits, that I always pen them up in 
a row, and select the one that shows himself off 
to the best advantage. A drooping, dull bird is 
seldom successful; sprightliness is a sign of 
health, and boldness of mien indicative of vigour 
and courage, two essentials in male birds. When 
all is ready, with the help of many willing assist- 
ants (for a poultry-show is a great event, and 
speculation is rife upon the merits of the diflfer- 
ent birds), I put my beauties into their hampers, 
and despatch them to their destination. Their 
breakfast preparatory to their journey is entirely 


of meal, with a little sijice (pimento or pepper) 
in it, to give warmth ; and I always send along 
with the birds a bag containing food for at least 
one day. The hampers are best when circular 
in form, as fowls often creep into corners and 
destroy their feathers. They must be sufficiently 
high to enable the birds to stand upright, and in 
each should be a good bedding of hay. I consider 
a lining imperative for all birds hut geese, ducks, 
and turkeys, and even for these, in cold weather, 
a little straw stitched inside the hampers adds 
very much to their comfort. Coarse canvas or 
calico fastened round the basket is what I use, 
and from time to time these linings are taken 
out, washed, and put aside for future occasions. 
The hampers should have wicker-work lids, to 
tie down with strings ; and I always, if possible, 
superintend the putting the birds into their 
hampers, and tying on the labels. Mistakes arc 
of frequent occurrence, and it is almost too much 
for one's temper to have a fine pen of birds dis- 
qualified, from having been placed in a wrong 
hamper. I have known this sad event happen, 
and experienced tho inevitable effect, I ought 



to explain that my reason for giving only soft 
food to exhibition-birds is, that hard grain is apt 
to cause fever and inflammation while travelling, 
and being so closely confined in the pens, the food 
should be of an easily-digested nature. During 
exhibition I strongly deprecate the use of grain. 
Much discomfort is consequent upon the liberal 
supply given on these occasions to poultry ; and 
I have even seen sawdust put in the bottoms of 
the coops, which reprehensible plan is certain 
to cause illness of a very serious nature. 

At the approach of autumn, with it.s chilly 
evenings and mornings, while our young stock is 
stiU abundant, and much of it just hatching out 
of the shell, very careful treatment becomes 
imperative, and it is absolutely necessary that 
there should be an abundance of warmth-givino: 
food. The last meal should be given at five 
o'clock, and the coops shut up soon after, to be 
opened again at six in the morning. Feed often 
and well. Keep the hen entirely confined to the 


coop, and choose sunny spots for the runs. There 
is much less fear now of overcrowding — our 
numbers are fewer ; indeed, only those chickens 
intended for table use or market should now be 
hatched. Turkeys, if not fully fledged, suffer 
severely from cold and damp, and although much 
tempted by the abundance of eggs and evident 
desire of the hen to incubate, I do not advise 
any being set ; far better give the turkey some 
hardy fowl's or duck's eggs to hatch. She will 
cover twenty-one with ease, and have a fair chance 
of rearing her Hock. It is useful now to mix a 
little pepper in the soft food of the chickens — 
powdered pimento does as well, and is cheaper ; 
and Indian corn, both ground and whole, may 
safely be given to all the stock poultry. Young 
turkeys sometimes refuse it, but by degrees they 
begin to relish it, and at last prefer it to all other 
grain. It should also be thrown into the feeding 
vessels appropriated to geese and ducks, mixed 
with oats and other grain. In our variable 
climate the weather is often so exceptionally bad 
that it tries the constitution of even the hardiest 
of our birds. The heavy mists prevent the grass 


from ever being dry, and unless there are covered 
runs for chickens, they have but a poor chance 
of living through a long track of wet weather and 
consequent confinement to coops or outhouses. 
Protection from rain (when the brood is composed 
of valuable chickens worthy of all care) may be 
given at but little cost. Wire netting, yard- 
wide, stretched on frames with a roof of felt or 
tarpaulin, affords perfect shelter; and these runs 
can be easily moved to fresh ground — which 
point is too often neglected, as many others are 
which give extra trouble ; but the neglect of 
this is more fatal to young birds than if they 
were left entirely to the mercy of the elements 
and the instinctive care of the hen, who, how- 
ever, only attends to the comfort of her healthy, 
strong chicks, and walks off with them, perfectly 
indifferent to the cries of her helpless weaklings. 
Under the covered runs a heap of sand or earth 
must be placed, and green food, lettuce, spinach, 
cress, with, of course, a constant supply of fresh 
water, always with a piece of camphor in it. 
Young birds should be fed often, but small quan- 
tities given at one time, and the food bruised ; 



for example, in the morning a little oatmeal and 
water mixed into a crumbly state ; later, green 
food and a few groats ; tlien more meal and a little 
hempseed. In the afternoon, crusts of bread, 
soaked and squeezed dry, and any scraps of meat 
left from table ; and so on till the last meal, 
which must always be of grain — light wheat and 
groats are the best for chickens. Thirds, or 
sharps (sometimes called paring-meal) is very 
good for all poultry, and particularly for young 
growing birds, as it is rich in bone and muscle- 
forming properties, but being deficient in gluten, 
it is not warmth-giving, and is therefore better 
when combined with meal. Full-grown pullets 
will now (end of September) be laying, and some 
will even show symptoms of wishing to sit ; but, 
with Birmingham and other important shows in 
the distance, no fine specimen of poultry should 
be allowed to devote herself to maternal duties. 
These must be left to mongrels, and the picked 
fowls shut out from their nests, which very soon 
cools their ardour, and after a little they begin 
laying again. Dipping in water is often recom- 
mended to reduce hatching- fever, but it is not 


necessary. Nothing answers better than the 
shutting-out system, or confinement to a strange 
yard alone. Turkeys and geese should now be 
put on the stubble, and (except their last meal 
on their return home in the evening) be quite 
independent of any other feeding. We must 
often be indebted to the kindness of our neigh- 
bours for the privilege of pasturing our flocks on 
their fields ; it is one that can be repaid in part 
by the gift of a turkey or goose at Christmas ! 
Even the second broods of turkeys should now 
be large and strong enough to be sent great dis- 
tances from home, water being carried to them. 
In extensive poultry establishments, where a 
regular debit and credit system is enforced, the 
earliest-hatched birds are reserved for exhibition 
and sale at high prices ; so the second hatchings 
are devoted to home consumption, and for that 
purpose are in no respect inferior to their older 
brethren, except in size. 

Eggs may be safely sent to market by mid 
October, few caring to take the trouble of rearing 
chickens through a long, dreary winter; and at 
present prices both poultry and eggs should be 


repaying part of the expense of feeding. All 
inferior birds should be killed off. Grain will 
probably be daily rising in value, and, as insect 
life is scarce, fowls are more dependent upon the 
food given to them. A reduction in the stock, 
therefore, becomes advisable, and good birds can 
readily be sold at fair remunerative prices. 
Where the stock is known as prize-takers, 
matched pens of chickens fetch from £3 to £6 
each ; single birds for breeding, 30s. Turkeys 
(hatched in May) — which should now weigh, 
cocks, seventeen pounds ; hens, twelve pounds — 
are considered cheap at £3 per pair; goslings 
and ducks, ditto. Pens for exhibition must of 
course be reserved, as only by success in the 
show-room can stock command high prices ; and 
it is a pleasant thing to watch the progress of 
birds intended for Birmingham or Manchester, 
where, if a prize is taken, almost fabulous prices 
may be obtained, and a certain sale for eggs in 
spring secured. To breed for market only will 
pay ; but then a great source of interest is lost, 
and all individual tastes must be sacrificed in 
trying to keep the balance on the right side of 


the account. Where exhibition (in moderation), 
home supply, and market are all combined, a 
dail)^, nay hourly, amusement is afforded, and 
profit may still exist ; it will only be a matter of 
time, not of degree, for there are many well- 
known amateurs who gain considerably by their 
prize-poultry. Poultry-rearers must make up 
their minds to one or other j)lan, and adhere 
strictly to it. As a matter of business, and 
solely for profit, the great object is to increase 
the stock as fast as possible. Sell off when ready 
for market — the earlier in the season the better, 
when young poultry is in greatest demand. Feed 
economically, and give the birds entire liberty. 
Keep only young hens of the best kinds for laying 
and crossing, to obtain large chickens. 


It is often asked " How much grain should I 
give daily to my fowls?" This is a question 
not easily answered, so different may be the 
treatment in poultry-yards. Where exhibition 
is the rule, a very high and varied course of 


feeding is necessary — the birds must be forced 
into feather at the proper time at any expense ; 
but where one pure variety of fowl only is kept 
— however numerous the stock — from having 
full liberty during the day, when they pick up 
much food iii farm-yards, fields, &c. (which 
makes them in a great measure independent of 
the provision commissariat), the cost of keep is 
obviously less, and the birds never do better, 
are in greater health, or feather more quickly, 
than when treated thus. But they will not be 
in exhibition condition — they will be merely 
in good buying and breeding order. It is im- 
possible to lay down exact rules as to feeding ; 
some varieties eat more than others. At all 
times feeding well is positive economy. Hens 
lay better and earlier when abundantly fed, and 
the eggs (on a yearly average) will always more 
than repay the extra cost. Now I shall give 
the details of the weekly diet of a cock and 
fourteen hens, set apart for the purpose of arriv- 
ing at the exact expense of their weekly food. 

For a cock and fourteen hens, confined en- 
tirely to their yards, the following description 


and quantity of food, given daily, is abundant — 
2^ pounds paring and whole meal mixed, and 2 
pounds of wheat and Indian corn mixed. In 
the morning open the trap and give the fowls 
access to their yard, feed with one half of the 
soft food, and give fresh water. In the middle 
of the day throw down some lettuce or cabbage 
leaves, and calcined oyster shells broken small ; 
also the remaining half of the soft food. At four 
o'clock give the grain, and again fresh water. 
The birds will retire shortly after this last meal 
to roost, when they must be shut up for the 
night. During the day let the flock out to graze, 
and pick up what they can in the shape of in- 
sects and seeds. At this season there is very 
little to be found, but the exercise is conducive 
to health, and it is astonishing how much grass 
some fowls will eat, especially Brahma-pootras. 
One hour's liberty is sufficient, but the more 
they can have the better will they thrive. Much 
less food would be required if the fowls had 
complete liberty, but the quantities I have 
specified have been proved in my own establish- 
ment to be sufficient for the support of fourteen 


early-hatcbed pullets (some pure Dorking and 
Cochin, others crosses between the Brahma- 
pootra and Dorking), all laying regularly. The 
cock is of the Dorking breed, aged eighteen 
months, and is in full health and vigour. It 
may be thought that one male bird is not suffi- 
cient for so large a flock of hens, but in the par- 
ticular case given, the object being merely the 
produce of eggs, and to ascertain the actual cost 
of the food consumed, the domestic arrange- 
ments are quite satisfactory. The yard should 
be frequently dug over, and the floor of the fowl- 
house swept every day, and sprinkled with ashes 
or sand, and occasionally a Kttle lime. This 
keeps the house perfectly pure and free from 
taint. Cleanliness is indispensable ; and there 
can be no doubt that the more we attend to the 
comforts of domestic animals, the more will they 
repay our care. 

One bird will not eat barley, another rejects 
Indian corn ; so that a mixed diet in that case 
is necessary. No one kind of food can be forced 
upon fowls ; their likes and dislikes must be 
studied. Feed at regular hours, and watch them 


while they eat. It is at that time you can best 
judge of the state of health they are in. 

The fattening of fowls is carried on to a great 
extent in France. In some localities it is the 
staple occupation of the females. In three 
weeks after being penned up, the birds should 
be ready for market ; but they must be in fair 
condition when cooped, and not more than six 
months old. Cockerels do not fatten so well 
as pullets, but if they have been kept apart, the 
young male birds of all the French breeds are 
very superior in flavour and delicacy to the 
Dorking, and must not be despised as table 
fowls. In France the food given is buckwheat 
ground into meal and mixed with milk. Barley 
and oatmeal, and also Indian-corn meal, are 
all good feeding stuifs. Great cleanliness is 
imperative, and to ensure this in the coop there 
should be no bottom, but merely rounded spars ; 
the coop being on legs, is raised above the 
droppings, which must be removed daily, and 
sawdust sprinkled underneath. The chickens 
should be fed twice in the twenty-four hours, 
early and late, the feeding- troughs taken away 


after each meal, waslied and kept sweet, as 
fowls will not thrive if their food is sour and 
dirty. ^Milk may be given as drink ; it is sup- 
posed to whiten the flesh, and certainly it assists 
in the fattening. Kice boiled in milk forms a 
very delicate food, but it is not so fat-forming 
as the meals before mentioned. Suet, molasses, 
&c., are often given to produce fat, but it is of 
too rank a nature to please those who are con- 
noisseurs in poultry. Pure natural food must 
be best, and no other can be recommended. 
The feeding-house must be kept warm and 
quiet, the fowls themselves being quietly and 
carefully treated. In my own establishment 
flattening is never required ; the fowls are fed up 
from tlie shell for exhibition, and therefore are 
always fit (after a fast of twelve hours) for the 
table, the only risk being of their becoming too 
fat for laying purposes and successful breetling. 

Jfunclj IpouItriT. 

I gladly repeat my testimony as to the superior 
qualities of some of the French breeds, especially 


the " Houdan," whether viewed as table or merely 
ornamental poultry. My experience has been 
acquired principally in Scotland ; therefore, if 
any bir-ds thrive in this cold and often damp 
climate, they ought to do even better in more 
favoured quarters. The " Houdan," " La Fleche," 
" Creve Coeur," and " La Bresse" breeds are all 
excellent as table poultry, and all lay large white 
eggs with almost equal regularity, — perhaps the 
*' CrSve Coeur " less frequently than the others, — 
and they are also decidedly the most dependent 
upon a dry soil, good exposure, and comfortable 
housing. The " Houdan " is very hardy, and can 
live anywhere. They eat little, moult with ease, 
and are precocious layers. Pullets hatched in 
May are laying by October, and if their eggs 
were set at once, the produce would bring large 
prices as spring chickens in March. I have it 
much at heart to introduce these " model hens " 
into our farm-yards, and make them, par excel- 
lence, the farm-yard bird. The "Houdans" are 
well known and sufficiently appreciated in France, 
where they rival, and many think excel, the better- 
known " Creve Coeur, " and " La Fleche " breeds. 


I acknowledge the merits of these, but claim a 
higher place for the "Houdans," as a hardier race 
and of faster growth than either of the others. 
They lay large, beautifully-formed white eggs, 
which, like the diminutive Hamburg, seldom fail 
in hatching. I have kept "Houdans" in great 
numbers, and never have had a badly-formed egg 
from them. The chickens grow and feather 
rapidly, and nothing can be better as table 
poultry — added to all which, they are very orna- 
mental. They sometimes show a desire to incu- 
bate, but their forte lies in laying — therefore I 
strongly recommend their being kept as the egg- 
suppliers of the establishment, and am not afraid, 
if once tried, of any adverse opinion. The " La 
Bresse " breed is also hardy and precocious ; but 
I cannot advise any of my readers to set the eggs 
of either " Creve Coeurs " or " La Fleches " till 
April at soonest, and only then if the frost has 
left the ground. A very interesting show of 
poultry was held in Paris in 18G5, not for orna- 
mental fowls, but for fat ones killed and trussed 
for cooking. The " La Bresse " breed caiTied otf 
the " prix dlionneur" closely run by the " Hou- 


dan." Both are remarkable for smallness of 
bone, plumpness, and -whiteness of flesh. The 
latter reminds one of the once famous, but now 
all but extinct, old Scotch breed, the " Chick 
Marlin." In colour they are very similar ; but 
as egg-producers the French breeds must have 
the pas. I hope to see prizes offered at our 
agricultural shows for the best table-poultry of 
any distinct breed — not alive, as we have some- 
times seen, but ready for the spit, and prepared 
artistically. The French pay more attention to 
this than we do. No fowl can make a good 
appearance on the table if badly trussed. 
Seldom do we see this attended to. It is not 
difficult to learn the art, and yet how often are 
chickens that, in able hands, might be made to 
assume a respectable form, presented to us sprawl- 
ing on the dish as if in agony, their poor sharp 
breast bones sticking up to upbraid us for our 
want of attention and "good guiding." In 
France the combs of cocks are considered a 
delicacy, and sold separately ; the giblets, too, are 
always set apart. The French, as a rule, con- 
sume far more poultry than we do ; and even 

HOUSES. 267 

after supplying their own great demand, the 
exportation of it to England forms one of the 
principal sources of wealth. 

Before concluding, it may be necessary to state 
how those who are tempted to take up my hobby 
should proceed in erecting suitable and economi- 
cal habitations for their poultry. The simplest* 
and I think best, house is that made of wood, 
well secured from damp by felt covering on the 
roof. This house may be built against a wall — 
which will reduce the cost considerably — and if 
possible facing south or south-west. There must 
be a door with lock and key, and a trap a foot 
and a half square made with sliding panel for 
the egress and ingress of the fowls at plea- 
sure, and also for shutting them in at night ; a 
few nests provided (either boxes or baskets), and 
a movable perch not higher than two feet from 
the ground. The great advantage of the mov- 
able perch over all others is, that it confines the 
fowls to any desired spot in the house, thereby 


giving less trouble to the person in charge in 
the way of sweeping up, and it can be kept clean 
and fresh very easily by occasional washings of 
lime-water. The trestle form I consider the 
best, and the roosting-board made of rough 
wood, and broad. If small and smooth, the 
fowls cannot take a firm hold, and it is apt to 
cause crooked breast-bones in chickens. A larch 
tree split, and the bark left on, makes an excel- 
lent perch. Fowls cannot thrive without plenty 
of air, but a few holes pierced in the door, at the 
top, will secure sufficient ventilation, and, if de- 
sired, a small pane of glass inserted in roof or 
door will admit light. For a cock and ten hens 
the house should not be less than twelve feet in 
height, and about eight feet square ; the floor 
clay or gravel, beaten down so as to be quite 
hard. This very simple style of arrangement is 
all that is necessary in forming a poultry estab- 
lishment where only one variety of male bird 
is kept, and where the fowls have complete 
liberty ; but if required to be shut up at all, 
they must have a yard, with dust-box, &c., which 
I shall describe with all due regard to economy 


and simplicity. To suit tlie size of ilie poultry- 
bouse, which forms one side of the yard, the 
ground enclosed should not be less than fifteen 
feet long, and the materials used wire-fencing 
stretched on larch posts. If covered over the top 
with netting, five feet high will be sufficient, but 
uncovered, the fencing must be at least eight feet 
in height, and the posts pointed sharp, to pre- 
vent the birds flying to them in their endeavour 
to escape from their prison. The door of the 
poultry-house should open into the yard ; but 
there must also be a dooi- cut in the fencing to 
admit of the fowls being let out to their run, 
and for the convenience of cleaning and digging' 
up the ground. A small lean-to low shed (under 
which the dust-box is placed) affords the fowls 
shelter from sun and rain, and is a favourite 
resort at all times ; it can be placed in a corner 
of the yard. Nothing more, I think, is required 
for the erection of a poultry-house, and arranging 
a yard suited to the wants of the finest varieties 
of poultry. It is a mistake to suppose that any 
out-house, pig-sty, or shed will do for fowls. 
How often do we see them with no other house 

270 HOUSES. 

than the cart-shed ; and although in summer 
the common stock hens may thrive well enough 
in these airy quarters, in winter they must suffer 
severely from frost, and many die from want of 
proper care and protection. Five pounds would 
cover the expense of putting up a house and 
roof such as I have described ; and that sum 
would be more than repaid by the increased num- 
ber of eggs, and the general improvement of the 
birds : besides that, it will enable the proprietor 
to keep a superior class of poultry, which will 
command high prices, and not cost more in food 
than very inferior breeds. 

Where only one pure breed of fowl is kept, 
mixed with other varieties of pullets for laying, 
it is an easy matter to form a suitable habitation 
for them. At a very small cost, a sufficiently 
good, and in every respect fitting poultry-house 
can be erected. By those whom Providence has 
favoured with wealth, there need be no restriction 
to the extent and even elegance of the building ; 
but the very best breeds, and the same numbejf of 
fowls, can be reared as successfully by a person 
of moderate means in a much more humble struc- 

HOUSES. 271 

tuie. A wooden shed, if perfectly waterproof, is 
even more advantageous to the health of poultry 
than a stone and lime house ; it is less close, and 
affords a freer circulation of air. This, and 
scrupulous cleanliness, are essential to the well- 
being of all stock. The fowls having perfect 
liberty only require a sleeping habitation, and 
access to it for laying. By all means have a door 
with lock and key, and a trap for the egress 
and ingress of the fowls. The trap should have 
a sliding panel, which, in winter, can be shut from 
sunset to sunrise. The only inside fittings re- 
quired are a few nests raised off the ground, and 
a movable perch, not more than three feet high. 
This is best made of spiit trees, the bark left on, 
to give the fowls a firm hold. The setting up of 
a poultry establishment is thus not a serious ex- 
pense or troublesome matter ; but in addition to 
the general living abode there should be a sitting- 
house, devoted entirely to the sitting hens. Here 
they will be secure from intrusion, and the greatly- 
inci^eased return from the clutches set will soon 
pay the small outlay expended on the house. 
The saving of time to the poultry manager is also 

272 HOUSES. 

a consideration. The hens are taken off tlieir 
nests simultaneously, well fed, allowed access to 
sand or ashes, and in twenty minutes all should 
be replaced on their eggs, to sit in peace till the 
return of another day calls for a similar routine 
of action. The sitting-house may be fitted up 
with rows of nests, with folding flaps in front, to 
confine a careless, giddy hen if she shows any 
inclination to wander, and on the flap may be 
marked the date of setting, which will be found 
useful where there are many hens sitting at the 
same moment. The rearing of poultry is a very 
pleasant recreation. We know that our gracious 
sovereign. Queen Victoria, stands first on 
the now long and fashionable list of poultry- 
fanciers ; and in humbler quarters we find the 
love of animals deeply implanted in the minds 
of children. To them the care of the hen- 
house forms a useful and instructive lesson — it 
teaches them regularity, tidiness, and persever- 
ance ; and while affording a harmless amuse- 
ment as well, it may be made a self-supporting, 
if not profitable one. It is essentially a 
home pleasure, and whatever tends to increase 

HOUSES. 273 

our interest in, and love of home, must be worth 

" How grateful 'tis to wake 
While raves the midnight storm, and hear the sound 
Of busy grinders at the well-filled rack, 
Or flapping wing and crow of chanticleer, 
Long ere the ling'ring morn." 



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