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here the object of the fisherman is the spermaceti whale, which produces not only a much more valuable oil than the preceding, but also the peculiar substance called spermaceti.
No part of nature exhibits a more beautiful variety, than the feathered tribes. Did our limits permit, it would be pleasant to ourselves, and not without interest, we trust, to our readers, to describe, at some length, these tenants of the air; but, as utility rather than amusement is the object of our work, we must content ourselves with noticing chiefly that part of the feathered creation which contributes to the comfort of man, with a notice of a limited number belonging to other class
Birds of the more useful description are of the poultry kind, in which class are ranked all those which have white flesh, and bodies bu!ky, when compared with the size of their head and limbs. These are the common cock, the peacock, the turkey, the Guinea hen, the pheasant and the partridge.
The COCK is allowed originally to have been a native of Persia, imported into Europe many centuries ago. Few animals of the flying species exhibit so many varieties as the cock; there being scarcely two birds of this description that resemble each other in plumage and shape. Some species are without the tail, and others destitute of a rump. Instead of feathers, which usually belong to this fowl, a species is found in Japan, which is covered with hair. In the island Tinian, and several others in the Indian Ocean, the plumage of the cock is black and yellow, and his comb and wattles are of the latter color and purple combined.
No animal in the world has greater courage than the common domestic cock, when opposed to one of his own species; and in every part of the world, where refinement and polished manners have not entirely taken place, cock fighting is a principal diversion. In several parts of Europe, this vulgar amusement is still common, and is not unfrequent in some of the southern states of our own country. The following story is authentically related of a gentleman, some years since in England, who was passionately fond of this species of gaming. He possessed a favorite cock, on which he had won many profitable match
The last bet he laid on this cock, he lost; which so enraged him, that he had the bird tied to a spit, and roasted alive, before a large fire. The screams of the miserable animal were so affecting, that some gentlemen, who were present, attempted to interfere, which so increased the gentleman's anger that he seized a poker, and with the most furious vehemence declared, that he would kill the first man who should interpose; but in the midst of his passionate asseverations, he fell down
dead upon the spot—a solemn warning to all, who violate the common and obvious principles of humanity.
The HEN. If well fed and allowed to roam in a farm-yard, a good hen will deposit, in the course of twelve months above 200 eggs ; but if left entirely to herself, she seldom lays more than fifteen eggs in the same nest without attempting to hatch them; but, if eggs only be desired, they should be removed, one only being left, and she will continue to lay for a long time. When the hen begins to sit, nothing can exceed her perseverence and patience; she continues for some days immoveable, and when forced away by the importunities of hunger, she quickly returns. While the hen sits, she carefully turns her eggs, till at ler.gth, in about three weeks, the young brood begin to give signs of a desire to burst their confinement. When all are produced, she then leads them forth to provide for themselves. Her affection and pride seem then to alter her very nature, and correct her imperfections. No longer voracious and cowardly, she abstains from all food that her young can swallow, and flies boldly at every creature that she thinks is likely to do them mischief.
The proper heat for hatching a hen's egg according to some, is 104° of Fahrenheit; according to others 96°; to which degree the surface of the body of the hen will raise the thermometer, when she sits upon her eggs. In those birds who do not sit constantly, but trust chiefly to the heat of the sun, as the crane, heron, ostrich, &c. &c., the temperature of the eggs is probably below 104 degrees.
The full period of the hen in this country, is known to be 21 days. In warmer climates, it is said to be a day or two less. The following table was compiled by Count Morozzo, in a litter from him to Lacepede, to show the periods of incubation, compared with those of the life of certain birds.
Name of the Bird. Period of Incuba. ¡Duration of Life.
labout 200 years. Parrot,
40 Goose, 30
80 or more. Eagle,
not known. Duck,
26 to 27
25 to 28 Pheasant,
20 to 25
18 to 20 Crow,
|100 or more. Nightingale,
19 to 20
17 to 18 Hen,
19 to 21
12 to 15 Pigeon,
17 to 18
16 to 17 Canary,
13 to 14
13 to 14 Goldfinch,
13 to 14
18 to 20 Artificial means have been adopted, in different parts of the world, to catch chickens from the eggs, without the assistance of the hen. In Egypt, the method adopted is to place the eggs in stoves, erected for their reception, and to supply them with such a degree of heat, as is
POULTRY. necessary to call them into life.
By this means, it is said that tens of thousands of chickens are annually hatched in the above country. .
Reaumur, the celebrated naturalist, instituted a series of experiments, to reduce the art of hatching chickens, to fixed principles. According to him, the degree of heat necessary to accomplish the object, is 96 of Fahrenheit. He also invented a kind of hollow.covers, or low boxes, without bottoms, and lined with fur, which he called artificial parents. These were designed to shelter the chickens when hatched, and to afford them protection similar to that of the wings of the hen.
Hens which do not lay in the winter, should have access to slacked lime, pounded bones, oyster shells, or other matter, which contains lime, or some of its compounds, because something of the kind is necessary to form the shell of their eggs. This is not necessary for those hens which are fed on wheat, as that grain contains phosphate of lime, the substance of which egg-shells are composed.
It is obviously an important point to ascertain the most economical method of keeping and fattening poultry: Boiled potatoes, as food for poultry, is both excellent and economical. Some writers recommend a proportion of beets, ripe and sweet pumpkins, and squashes, to be mixed with the potatoes ; others recommend a small portion of bran, or Indian inea).
To fatten chickens expeditiously, the Domestic Encyclopedia recommends, to take a quantity of ground rice, and an equal quantity of common flour; mix sufficient for present rise with milk and a little coarse sugar; stir the whole well over the fire, till it makes a thick paste; and feed the chickens in the day time only, by putting as much of it as they can eat, but no more, into the troughs belonging to the coops. It must be eaten while warm; and if they have also beer to drink, they will soon grow very fat. A mixture of oat-meal and treacle, combined till it crumbles, is said to form a food for chickens, of which they are so fond, and with which they thrive so rapidly, that at the end of two months, they become as large as the generality of fullgrown fowls, fed in the common way. But no common fowl is to be compared with a capon thus fed.
A writer in the New England Farmer recommends to confine fowls in a large airy enclosure, and feed them on bruken Indian corn, Indian meal, or mush with raw potatoes, cut into small pieces, not larger than a filbert ; placing within their reach a quantity of charcoal, broken into small pieces, which he says they will greedily eat, and thereby promote a rapid digestion of their food. By this method, they will fatten in one half the usual time, and with much less expense.
The French, who are great egg eaters, take unusual pains to obtain fresh laid eggs in winter. For this purpose, they keep their hens in a dry warm place, it being well known that exposure to wet weather, especially cold, wet weather,diminishes their propensity to lay. Stimulating food is given them, such as barley wheat, boiled, and given warm," and also curds, buckwheat, parsley, and other herbs, chopped fine, oats and wheat, and occasionally hemp-seed, and the seed of nettles. White cabbages, chopped up, are excellent in winter for all sorts of poultry.
The ailments of fowls are numerous; but they would seldom be seens if the proper care were taken. If well fed, and kept perfectly clean,
fowls will seldom be sick; and in respect to age, they should never be kept more than two or three years, since beyond this period, they are of little value as layers.
With ordinary management, however, fowls will sometimes be troubled with diseases, among the most fatal of which is the disorder called gapes; a disease which, in New England, we believe, generally goes by the name of pip.
In chickens, the gapes is said to arise from a worm, and some say a collection of worms in the wind-pipe ; according to others, it is a thick viscous matter, which lines the windpipe. Mr. Mowbray informs us, that the pip is a white scale, growing on the tip of the tongue, which must be torn off, and the part rubbed with salt. Whatever be the nature of the disease, it usually destroys a large proportion of all the chickens that are hatched. Various prescriptions have been suggested, for its cure.
Some advise to mix soft soap with meal dough; others, to make a decoction of red pepper, with which to wet up mush, to be given to the chickens. : Others recommend, in respect to full grown fowls, which are afflicted with this disease, to pull the feathers from the tail.
The TURKEY, it is thought, belonged originally to North America ; but is now common throughout Europe. It was formerly found wild, in the forests of Canada and the United States ; and flocks are, to this day, occasionally seen. The wild Turkey is generally larger than the domesticated.
Young turkies are liable to the pip, which often proves speedily fatal. The remedies suggested in respect to chickens, which have this disease, may, perhaps, be found equally beneficial in respect to turkies, A writer remarks, however, that on inspecting the rump feathers, two or three of their quills will be found to contain blood; but on drawing them out, the chick soon recovers, and afterwards requires no other care than common poultry.
The GUINEA HEN, is a bird well known in England, but is a native of Africa and America. The flesh is thought by many to be delicious; it requires great care in being reared in this climate; a good common hen will hatch the eggs much better than the Guinca hen herself, and to common hens in this country should the eggs of the Guinea hen always be entrusted. The Guinea hen does not conform to climate, like many other birds: it lays its eggs on the bare ground, and after the young are hatched, it often neglects them. This bird will lay many eggs; but they are extremely small for the size of the bird"; much less than a pullet's egg.
The GOOSE. This common bird is probably the wild goose domesticated. The latter, it is well known, is a bird of passage, and on the approach of spring, large flocks of them are seen wending their way towards the polar regions. The fortunate sportsman sometimes brings one down from his airy height. If only wounded, he may be tamed, and will readily pair with the common grey goose.
The goose is a valuable, but expensive bird ;-valuable, as it furnishes feathers for our beds; and, in this view, may be regarded as necessary,-expensive, requiring considerable food, during the winter season, but more expensive, from the injury. that it occasions to our meadows and pasture lands.
The method of rearing geese is so well known, and so uniform, that it will be unnecessary to describe it. It may be proper, however, to nos tice a recommendation found in Willich's Encyclopedia ; viz. to break the shell near the beak of the young goslin, about the period of its hatching. This we should deem injudicious and unnecessary. Wild geese can have no assistance of this kind, and we conclude that goslins can, generally speaking, make their way into the world, without the proposed manipulation.
As geese form a principal delicacy at our tables, the most expeditious mode of fattening them, is an object of some importance. Hence, it has been recommended to keep them cooped up in a dark and narrow place, where they are to be fed with ground malt, mixed with milk, or, if inilk be scarce, with barley meal, mashed up with water. Cobbett recommends feeding them with corn, some raw Swedish turnips, carrots, white cabbages, or lettuce.
The Complete Farmer, an English work, says; "if you would fatten geese, you must shut them up when they are about a month old, and they will be fat in about a month more. Be sure to let them have al. ways; in a small rack, some fine hay, which will much hasten their fatting. But for fatting older geese, it is commonly done when they are about six months old, or soon after harvest, when they have been in stubble fields, from which food they will grow tolerably fat. But those · who are desirous of having them very fat, shut them up for a fortnight or three weeks, and feed them with oats, split peas, barley meal, or ground malt mixed with milk. But the best thing to fatten them with, is malt mixed with beer. You must, however, observe, in fattening all sorts of water-fowl, that they usually sit with their bills upon their rumps, where they suck out the greater part of the moisture and fatness, at a small bunch of feathers, which you will find standing upright on their rumps, and always moist, with which they trim their feathers, which renders them more oily and slippery than the feathers of other fowls, and causes the water to slip off them. If, therefore, the upright feathers are cut away close, they will become fat in less time, and with less food than otherwise. If you give them rye, before or about midsummer, it will strengthen them, and keep them in health, that being commonly their sickly time.”
In choosing geese for table, care should be taken that the feet and legs be yellow, which is an indication of the bird being young ; the legs of old geese are red. If recently killed, the legs will be pliable, but if stale, they will generally be found dry and stiff.
A new breed of geese, called Bremen geese, has been introduced into the United States, which is said to be decidedly superior to any heretofore known in this country. They were first imported, we believe, by Mr. James Sisson, of Warren, (R. I.) who received a premium, in October, 1826, from the Rhode Island Society for the Encouragement of Domestic Industry, for the exhibition of some geese of this breed. They are said to possess the following advantages, over any other animals of their kind: they grow to a greater size, may be raised with more facility, are fattened with less grain, and make more delicious food. DUCK. Of the duck there are many varieties ; but they may be