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badger dog; there being nothing of the hound about him, as some people imagine to be the case. Some difference of opinion, however, exists between German and English admirers of the variety, as the former prefer flatter-headed dogs and shorter-eared ones than do the breeders on this side, and also like to see black noses on the red-coloured specimens, whereas in this country light-coloured ones are preferred. The great peculiarities with the Dachshund, however, are his long body and very short twisted legs, the latter being so contorted in some animals that the dogs can scarcely walk. The Dachshund also possesses a long, intelligent-looking head, long pendulous ears, and a remarkably powerful set of teeth. In colour he may be either black and tan, red, blue mottled, or black tan and white, the latter shade being very rarely met with in this country.


**The blocks used to illustrate the above article are from drawings supplied by the courtesy of Spratts' Patent, Limited, London.


THE object of the present article is to direct
attention to the relative merits of the different
breeds of poultry which are desirable to keep
from a housekeeper's point of view. Poultry
may be regarded as valuable either for the pro-
duction of eggs or chickens for the table, or for
both purposes combined. The question is often
asked, Which is the most profitable variety of
fowl to keep? It is one which admits of no
more satisfactory answer than would be one as
to the best breed of horse. If eggs are the
main desiderata, no breeds of fowl will compete
with those which originally came from countries
bordering on the Mediterranean, and which have
consequently received the names of Spanish,
Minorca, Leghorn, Andalusian, &c. All these
have a general resemblance. They are charac-
terised by a considerable length of leg, which is
always unfeathered, long necks and single, flat,
deeply toothed combs, which are upright in the
cocks and folded in the hens. They have also
white fleshy lobes below the ears, which in
some of the breeds have been developed to what
may be called a monstrous extent. These birds
are all non-sitters, the best layers having been
selected for so long a time that the breed has
at last lost all tendency to incubate, and their
eggs have to be hatched by hens of other

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their place as profitable fowls has been taken by the breed known as

MINORCAS, a much more compact, fleshy, productive, and useful fowl, that has been long cultivated by the farmers in the west of England as a prolific egg producer. Minorcas differ from the Spanish also in not having the face white,

but of the natural red colour, and in the ear lobe being restricted to a moderate size. Farmyard Minorcas, as distinguished from those that are bred in confined spaces for show, are not to be excelled as egg producers. They are nearly equalled in value by what are termed

LEGHORNS, a white breed of the same type which lay a great number of eggs, not, how

ever, as large as those of the Minorca. For show purposes Leghorns have recently been mongrelised by crossing them with game so as to obtain brown Leghorns, and with Cochins to produce a buff variety. Neither of these breeds, however, furnishes very satisfactory table fowl. They are good to eat for home consumption, but the small amount of meat upon the breast does not render them of any value for the market.

Where the production of chicken for the table is of more importance than the production of eggs, other breeds may be preferred.

DORKINGS have long held in this country high pre-eminence as table fowl, and their crosses with other breeds may be regarded as yielding the best fowls which come to the London markets. They have, however, certain drawbacks. They are generally regarded as being as hardy as many of the other varieties, and unless they are bred for show purposes



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it will be found more useful to introduce a Dorking cock into an ordinary poultry-yard than to rear the large pure-bred birds. At the present time it is found that the best results may be obtained by crossing the Dorking with either the old English fighting GAME or with a very distinct breed which is termed the INDIAN GAME. Both the English and the Indian Game are characterised by exceedingly plump breasts. There is much more flesh upon them than upon the breasts of other varieties, and crossed with the Dorking they afford our very finest table fowl. The disadvantages, however, of the Indian Game and its crosses is that they are all of them scanty layers. Endeavours have been made to obviate this by crossing the Indian Game with the large black Asiatic variety known as the

LANGSHAN, the most recently introduced fowl from the far east of Asia, and one which for all practical purposes is far superior to the Cochin or the Brahma. The Langshan is a black fowl with close glossy feathering, and, unlike the Cochin or Brahma, with scarcely any useless feathers on the legs. Practically considered it is a much more valuable fowl than either. Feathers consist of dry animal matter, which has to be produced out of the food of the bird. To make a pound of dry feather requires more nourishment than to produce four pounds of flesh, and consequently all the extra feather that is produced every year by a bird is, as far as useful properties are concerned, a wasteful employment of food. Langshans, unlike the Mediterranean breeds, are sitters, hatching their own eggs, and for sitting varieties are exceedingly good layers. They are large and useful for the table and for what may be termed household fowl, but as market fowls they cannot


compete with the best breeds. It has been found, however, that by crossing them with the Indian Game much more satisfactory birds for the table may be produced than if they are kept pure.

The ORPINGTON is a mongrel breed that differs but little from the Langshan in its useful properties.

COCHINS and BRAHMAS.These are not to be recommended. The vast amount of feather that they carry can only be produced by a corresponding consumption of food. They have been bred so long as fancy fowls that they have lost altogether their great fertility and the power of egg production that they formerly possessed. Several new fancy breeds have been developed since the introduction of these Asiatic varieties. One of the latest is a breed termed

WYANDOTTE, which has been derived from the Brahma, hut has been crossed with other varieties so as to produce a plumage in which each feather is banded or margined with black, like a mourning envelope. To produce such a variety as this every care is taken to breed from the birds showing the best markings, and the result is that fertility or table properties have been Wyandotte. neglected, and the Wyandotte

that wins at a show is not that which is the most useful fowl, but the one with the best margined or laced feathers.

The PLYMOUTH ROCK.- Another breed which is not quite as much in fashion as it was a few years ago was also introduced from America under the name of the Plymouth Rock. In the United States a different variety of table fowl is in general demand from that which is

Plymouth Rock

produced in England. The chief market fowls are what are termed broilers, that is to say, young fowls or well- grown chickens which, after being plucked and drawn, are split down the back, flattened out, and broiled, so that a cooked fowl can be placed on the table within a few minutes after it is ordered. For this mode of cooking, the yellow skin, which is regarded with disfavour in England, is rather appreciated, and hence Plymouth Rocks were greatly in favour in the States. In England they have been found a good hardy fowl for the household. They lay fairly well, incubate their own eggs, and are hardy, but they are not first-class table fowl, being deficient in plumpness, and have a coarse yellow skin, derived from the Cochin. This is not likely to be got rid of, whilst exhibition birds are required to have brilliant yellow legs. The Plymouth Rock is a cuckoo-coloured fowl, which as a fancy bird is bred for the correctness of the transverse markings on the feathers.


In cases where eggs are required for the household, and at the same time chickens are in demand for the table, the system of mixed breeding may be followed with advantage. Minorca hens and pullets may be kept as egg producers, and with them an Indian Game or an oldfashioned short legged English Game cock may be run. If the eggs of the Minorcas are hatched, some sitting hens being kept for that purpose, very fair table fowl will be produced, the plumpness of chest being derived from the male progenitor. Of course such a method of proceeding necessitates the hatching of some sittings of Minorca eggs every year, when the cockerels may be eaten as chicken and the hens kept for laying purposes. If the cross-bred birds are kept they will be found in almost all cases to be sitters, and consequently not to be as prolific egg producers as the Minorcas from which they were derived. Supposing again the possession of a mixed mongrel breed of fowls which it is desired to improve. This may be done in various ways. If table fowl are the chief desiderata, the introduction of a Dorking cockerel, or an Indian Game, or an oldfashioned English Game cockerel will be found to effect a very great improvement in the character of the chicken, but in order that this should be effectual all the other cockerels should be got rid of. It not unfrequently happens that in endeavouring to improve the stock of poultry in a domestic yard some useless pet fowl is retained. This is fatal to any improvement whatever in the stock. In an ordinary flock of fowls one male bird is quite sufficient for the fertilization of the eggs.

I may now take into consideration the different circumstances under which fowls are kept in small confined runs. This plan is not advantageous, but at the same time is followed by many who are unable to give them a free range. These small runs are usually exceedingly overcrowded, the ground becomes tainted and the birds neces



Sarily diseased. The larger the space that can be given to them, and the fewer that can be kept in a confined run, the better for the health of the fowls, and the more fertile will they be found. No attempt whatever should be made to rear chickens under such conditions. If the birds manage to struggle into maturity they are certain to be weakly bred, are generally diseased, and under all circumstances cannot be expected to be good layers. To make the best of fowls in a confined run the proper plan to adopt is to buy a number of well-bred healthy pullets, bred in a free range, at the end of the year. These, if well fed and of some nonsitting variety, such as Minorcas or Leghorns, may be depended on for laying fairly well during the whole of the next year, when the better plan would be to sell them as mature hens and buy another set of chickens. If the confined run is near a house it will not be found necessary, if eggs only are required, to keep a cock with the hens. They will lay quite as well without, and the annoyance of the crowing is avoided. Fowls in a small run are almost always over-fed. They are given the meat scraps of the house, and become unduly fat internally, when they invariably cease to lay. If the hens are overcrowded the ground becomes tainted, and the hens lose health. From the absence of insect food they begin to peck each others feathers as they begin to grow, and are charged with blood, and when this habit is once acquired it is impossible to correct it, the only chance being to give the hens a free range.


The miserable conditions under which fowls are often kept in suburban gardens in of a few yards square can hardly be regarded as a satisfactory or profitable arrangement. Fowls, if possible, should always have their full liberty, when they provide themselves with a very large proportion of their own food. If they are turned into an orchard they do immense benefit by devouring the injurious insects which mostly pass the winter as grubs in the soil, and at the same time they manure the ground and are found to aid greatly in the pro

Silver Spangled Hamburghs.

duction of the fruit. Much may be said with regard to the arrangements of the houses in which fowls are kept. These are rarely of an advantageous character. In the state of nature, fowls are in the habit of roosting high up in the trees, from which they descend by flying down in a very oblique course, alighting some considerable distance from the tree in which they roost. They still retain the instinct which leads

them always to go to the highest perches. Per sons noticing this usually place the perches one above the other, in an incline going to the back of the house. This is in every sense an injurious practice. The fowls ascend from perch to perch, and then fight for their place on the topmost one, knocking one another down, when the birds fall perpendicularly; as there is no room for them to fly down, they strike violently on the floor of the hen-house, producing diseased and bumble feet and lameness, and not unfre quently break the point of the breast-bone. To prevent this, in well-constructed poultry-houses the perches are always


White Polish.

put on the same level, and care is taken that there are no beams above, on to which the fowls could fly, as when they have to descend in a confined space they cannot fly down, and come with violence on to

the ground, causing the injuries above alluded to. The nesting places in which fowls lay should never be a series of boxes or pigeon-holes adjacent one to the other. These become filled with fleas and poultry lice. The nest boxes should be on the moist ground, as the eggs hatch much more freely when they are cold and moist below than when they are in a verminhaunted, dry nest box. It is well known by all poultry keepers that when a hen "steals" a nest under a hedge and, lays her full complement of eggs before sitting she usually produces onc chicken for every egg, a much larger average than could be obtained when she is allowed to sit in a poultry-house, the reason being that the eggs are hatched under natural circumstances. They are on the moist ground, colder below than they are above, where they come in contact with the warm skin of the breast of the hen, they are in pure air, wetted by every rainstorm and exposed to the alterations of temperature caused by the variations of the weather. Notwithstanding, every egg produces a strong, healthy, and vigorous chick.

With regard to the management of the chicks when hatched, great mistakes are constantly made. They should be allowed to remain under the hen for twenty-four hours, and when removed should be placed on clean, fresh, untainted ground, fed with canary-seed, bread and milk squeezed dry, and, if the hen can be allowed at liberty to scratch for them and obtain them worms and insects, they require no other food. The hard-boiled egg usually given is a wasteful method of procedure, inasmuch as the yolk only is eaten and the white is left to dry in horny fragments in the sun. If the hen cannot be allowed a free range, animal food should be provided by beating up an egg with a wine-glass of milk, and set the whole by stirring over the fire or placing in the oven into a custard, which is much relished by the little chickens, and on which they thrive amazingly. In this way the whole of the egg is eaten, in addition to the valuable nutritive qualities of the milk. Fresh oatmeal, which is better than barley meal, may be given, but small wheat, dari, and, in the first instance, canary-seed are of great advantage, as the husks supply the materials required for the formation of the bone and flesh of the growing birds.




DUCKS. Aylesbury.-There are many varieties of domestic ducks, but probably of them all the Aylesbury is the best known, as it is to be found in large numbers all over the kingdom, as well as in other countries. In plumage it is perfectly white, the slightest discoloured feather denoting impurity of breed, and being regarded as a disqualification in the show pen. The bill of birds of this variety is of a pale pink colour, and the nearer it is to the delicate tinge of a lady's finger nail the better they are looked upon, whilst their legs are bright orange. They are certainly the most easily acclimatised of all the Duck varieties, often thriving in most unsuitable places, and they are very hardy, mature rapidly, and grow to a great size. The only difference between drakes and ducks is that the former are rather larger than the latter and have a curled feather in the tail, by which the sex is easily known. The size of these birds at twelve months is seven pounds for the drake and six for the duck, but, of

and distinct blue, with a white edge on each side. The flights are grey and brown, and the legs a rich orange. The duck has a brown head, with two distinct shaded lines on each side. The breast is brown, pencilled over with dark brown, and the wings have a ribbon mark like that of the drake. The size of these birds is about six to eight pounds. Different birds suit different places, and there are some breeders who prefer the Rouen to the Aylesbury, but we must confess that we do not. That they grow to a greater size

Aylesbury Ducks.

course, by special feeding, which is used for exhibition birds and those wanted for the table, these weights can be exceeded to a considerable extent. Young ducklings generallyweigh about four pounds at seven or eight weeks old, which is the usual age for killing, for when they are older their adult feathers begin to form, and they are neither so plump nor so presentable on the table. It is not very difficult to distinguish this breed, as the pure-bred Aylesbury is perfectly white, is of a boat shape, with short legs and a long, fine neck, and any deviation from these denotes impurity. We often see so-called Aylesburys with a partially erect body, or yellowish bill, or canarycoloured plumage, any or all of which denote Pekin blood, with which many of our birds are crossed nowadays. We do not object to this cross, and it is doubtless very advantageous at times, but we prefer to do it ourselves, and not have others sell us as pure-bred stock those that have been so adulterated. Unfortunately there is too much of this kind of thing.

Rouen.-This variety of duck is very handsome in appearance, and is like the wild duck in plumage, but domestication has resulted in its losing the more graceful shape of the latter, and it is thicker and heavier in build, but it has the decided advantage of being more easily fattened. The drake has a clear yellow bill, with a slight greenish tinge, and in shape long and broad. The head is rich green, glossed with purple, and this extends down the neck, where there is a ring of pure white. The breast is a rich, deep, claret brown, and the under parts are a delicate French grey. The back is a rich greenish black, and the curls in the tail dark green. The wings are greyish brown, and have a ribbon mark across them, which is a bright

we do not doubt, but they take a considerably longer time about it, and on this account cannot be bred so profitably for table purposes. A Rouen duckling at eight weeks is not equal to an Aylesbury at six weeks. They are, however, equally hardy, as prolific layers, though their eggs are not quite so large, are as easilyreared, and have one decided advantage, namely, that their plumage being dark they do not show dirt so soon, and consequently suit some places where the white-feathered birds would always appear dirty.

Pekin.-New varieties of all kinds of animals are often hailed with eagerness, and this was the case with the one under notice, but it has somewhat disappointed the expectations of those who first introduced it, and, after a period of favour, is not so largely kept as it once was. It was imported from China in the first place, as the name implies, and we believe the first introduced to western civilisation was in 1873, when some birds were sent from China to Connecticut, in the United States. American breeders are always on the look out for novelties, and the breed soon began to be talked about. Very shortly afterwards

a few were brought to England, and soon became popular, their apparent great size and peculiar carriage, as well as hardiness and capital laying powers, making them at once sought after. But, as we have already stated, the result has not been equal to the expectations, for they are larger in frame than in flesh, and have an abundant plumage which gives them the appearance of greater bulk than they actually possess. They do not mature quite so rapidly as some other breeds, and their flesh is not of the same rich and delicate flavour as that of the Aylesburys especially, and also of the Rouen. On the other hand, they are very heavy layers of large, well-flavoured eggs. The eggs are, as a rule, very fertile indeed, and the ducklings most easy to rear, and for these reasons, as might be expected, they have been crossed with the Aylesbury very largely, in order to overcome the injury done by in-breeding in some strains. On the water the Pekin duck looks very graceful, and as there is not the same trouble to secure the delicate colour of bill as with the Aylesbury, it is very suitable for keeping on lakes and ponds. For commercial purposes we recommend that i be crossed with the Aylesbury, as this gives


the progeny rapid growth, great size, and such a combination of qualities that makes it most suitable for ordinary purposes. This cross. is easily fattened and has fine flesh, two most important matters to those who wish to obtain a rapid return for their money.

Cayuga.-Of a different description altogether is the Cayuga duck, which is a variety that should be more kept in this country than it is, as it is a most useful fowl for commercial purposes, of capital size and extraordinarily good as layers. Cayugas are very hardy, mature rapidly, fatten well, and their flesh is of high flavour-said to be even better than that of the wild duck. The drakes weign about nine pounds, and the ducks a pound less when matured; and they have one most favourable quality, namely, that they do not wander away from home, but can be left at liberty without fear in this respect. They are very

similar in colour to the East Indian ducks, being of a brilliant black throughout, with lustrous green reflections on the head, neck, and wings; both male and female have a bright purple or claret brown tinge on the back and wings, the secondaries are more black than green, and the drake is more strongly tinted with green than the duck. The drake's


bill is greenish yellow, but not so yellow as that of the Rouen, and it has a clear black bean at the tip. The bill of the duck is black at the base, and tipped with a greenish slate colour; and the colour of the bill, like that of the Rouen, changes at different seasons of the year. The shape of the bill differs from that of any other of the breeds already named, as it does not come straight from the skull, but curves down to the centre and up towards the tip, in dish shape. The legs are of a smoky orange colour, and from the colour of the plumage it is very suitable for ordinary purposes.

Muscovy. This breed was brought from South America, and they are large, good layers, hardy, easily reared, and rich in flesh; but being most pugnacious and tyrannical in their nature, they cannot be recommended for farmyard purposes. No other fow! can exist with them, and it is necessary either to have no other birds about the place, or to confine them to a run of their own, which is not always a convenient matter. Of this variety there are two colours, black and white; the feathers are very profuse and long, and in the dark drake the colour is exceedingly lustrous. The head is ornamented with a fleshy

Black East Indian.-A small ornamental variety, which is also known as the Buenos Ayrean or the Labrador. They are very similar to the Cayuga in shape, colour, and general characteristics, but in size are very much smaller, and are sometimes bred only two pounds in weight.

Mandarin. This must be pronounced one of the most beautiful of all domesticated fowls, especially the drake, and we shall never forget the effect upon us of about a hundred of these lovely birds on one of the lakes at the Jardin d'Acclimatation, in Paris. They are from China, where they are held in the highest estimation,

and are very difficult to obtain. Though wild in that country, they are carefully guarded, and it was with the greatest difficulty that any could be got to bring over here. They are very tame, can. be fed very easily, give scarcely any trouble, do not attempt to fly away, and are consequently most suitable for ornamental purposes, for which reasons they are very popular. We have said that they are beautiful, which anyone who has seen them will testify. To describe the plumage of the drake is scarcely possible, as there is in it nearly every shade of the rainbow, mingled or intermingled together in the most delightful manner, and we should require to give so much detail th: t we cannot afford the space. As nearly every good-sized show contains one or more pens of these birds, they being by no means uncommon, readers can see them there for themselves, and will then realise that we have not overpraised them. They are small in size, but are good layers of small eggs.


Carolina. This variety stands next in order to the Mandarin for beauty of plumage, but cannot compete with its richer coloured brethren, as it is without the lovely wing fans which are so strikingly characteristic of the Mandarin. It is, as might be supposed from its name, from North America, where it is found in very large numbers.

It is a wild bird, and very difficult to breed, on which account it does not recommend itself to all. The Carolina is about the same size as the Mandarin. The bill is red with a patch of yellow round the nostril, and a black bean mark at the tip. The eye is black in the pupil, the iris being red. Its crest is formed of long feathers, which, with the rest of the head, are deep lustrous green; a clear white band, coming from under the throat, runs round to the back of the eye, making a sort of necklace, which, running back, edges the crest with a narrow white fringe. The breast is claret coloured, spotted with white; a broad stripe of white, and a broad one of black, curves over the shoulders, the wings have a very bright metallic ribbon mark of blue and green with a white edging; the side of the body, under the wings, is greenish drab, with finely pencilled black lines. The wings and tail are a blue-black, the coverts of the tail deep claret, tipped with yellow; the belly is white, the legs are yellow, and the feet are provided with powerful claws. In the female the crest is much smaller, and is similar in colour to the general plumage, which is a dark drab. The


Cayuga Ducks.

bunch at the base of the bill, and there is also a red fleshy cere round the eye, the face being of the same substance and bare. The drake is furnished much more profusely than the duck, and the sex is more rapidly distinguished than in any other breed, notwithstanding the entire absence of the usual curl in the tail, as the male is often three or four pounds heavier than the female. These birds are by no means pleasing in appearance, and are not to be recommended for the reasons already given, though they would otherwise be profitable birds to keep, but our readers will probably do well to ignore them.

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