and identified by certain marks, in order that naturalists might be better and more accurately informed on the point.

In commencing to stock a dove-cote, it is always preferable to purchase squeakers, or young ones which have never been flown from the home in which they were reared; as these, being confined, in a short time, well fed, and accustomed gradually to the surrounding country, before they have attained sufficient strength of wing wherewith to lose themselves, will become perfectly domesticated. Indeed, the difficulties of accustoming or keeping old pigeons to a new home, are almost insuperable, and without the greatest vigilance, or cutting the wings often, they will speedily take themselves back to their former abode. The management of the dove-cote requires the greatest possible cleanliness to be observed, as nothing injures pigeons so much as a foul loft, which should therefore be well cleaned out and ventilated every day; also lime-washed very frequently, as apart from the purifying effects produced, the pigeons exhibit an unmistakeable preference for the white colour, which seems peculiarly grateful to their eyes. Fine sand and gravel should every now and then be strewed over the bottom of their loft, with supply of bricklayer's lime-rubbish always at hand, for the quantity they will eat is enormous.

Pigeons are exceedingly fond of bathing in clean water, and every day a pan of fresh water should


be placed in each division, when they will be seen to bathe and cool themselves in it by the hours together. The drinking water is kept cleaner and fresher in one of the iron or earthenware fountain bottles already recommended for the poultry-yard ; but even this reservoir cannot be too frequently washed and re-filled. The ordinary food is generally given in a meat-box, which is formed in the shape of a hopper, covered at the top with a sloping roof, to keep clean the grain, which descends into a square shallow box at the bottom. Some fence this with rails or holes on each side, to keep the grains from being scattered over ; others leave it quite open, that the young pigeons may the more easily find their food. When any small dainty, as hemp, rape, or canary seed is given them, pigeons seem to prefer to search for and peck it from among the sand and gravel, whence it is as well to throw it at the bottom of the cote or loft. The strong scent of cummin, and flavour of coriander seeds, are said to have an alluring effect upon these birds; as also the scent of assafætida, and other powerfully odoriferous drugs; and that the use of such will attach the pigeons to their home. The last article necessary to be described, is the salt-cat, so called from some old fancy of baking a real cat with spices, for the use of pigeons. We have placed in the middle of the loft a dish of the following composition: loam, sand, old mortar, fresh lime, bay


salt, cummin, coriander, caraway-seed, and allspice, moistened into a consistence. The pigeons are frequently pecking at this, and are in a constant state of health-how much of which may be attributed to the use of the cat, we cannot determine; but, certainly, they are extremely fond of it, and, if it has no other merit, it prevents them from pecking the mortar from the roof of the house, to which otherwise they are much inclined. In the attendance at the loft watchful caution is necessary to prevent them from, or separate them when, fighting-an amusement they are much more prone to than might be expected, often their own serious injury, and the destruction of their eggs or young.

[ocr errors]






With regard to the Diseases of poultry, feeling our own incompetency to treat the subject as it should be, we preferred candidly to admit it, rather than add to the nonsense already written upon it. We therefore applied to F. R. Horner, Esq., M. D., (to whom we are indebted for many other valuable hints and suggestions,) for his assistance in elucidating that department: and upon our earnest solicitation, and at considerable sacrifice to his own feelings, that gentleman at length most courteously consented to put his ideas upon paper; and the result has been the production of the following highly valuable and original Essay, in which the whole matter is so scientifically and get popularly treated, that we trust the learned Doctor will feel rewarded for permitting its publication, by the reflection that he has done good service to the cause of science,—as, indeed, it is only thus we can hope to disseminate truth, and disperse accumulated error and ignorant quackery: for it must be obvious, that the subject can only be properly treated by some one of extensive observation and experience, and who is, above all, acquainted with the anatomy and functions of fowls, -and the justice of the preliminary remarks on this head, by Dr. Horner, confirmed as they have been by some extraordinary and interesting experiments, must be at once apparent to the reader.


The treatment of the diseases of poultry has ever been chiefly empirical; and at the present day, nostrums and specifics to cure all their disorders, are continually being set forth. Moubray has observed, with much severity and truth, that “the far greater part of that grave and plausible account of diseases and remedies, which is to be found in our common cattle and poultry books, is a farrago of sheer absurdity; the chief ground of which, it is to be apprehended, is random and ignorant guess-work.” The attempt has, however, been made by some recent writers, to describe the diseases of fowls more scientifically: and doubtless, they have rendered very great service; yet, it must be conceded, that sometimes, in their advocacy of new views and the application of some remedies, their efforts do but teach us how especially watchful we ought to be, that, in treating of the diseases of poultry scientifically, we do not, at the same time, do so irrationally.

The great source of error arises from disregard of the important fact, that there is a vast and intrinsic difference between the constitution of fowls and that of man ;-not only in the structural or anatomical, but also in the functional conditions of the great organs of their bodies, and especially in those of digestion and of respiration, as well as of the skin. Indeed, the function and condition of the skin of fowls, bears no analogy to that of man. In him, it not only exercises most important influence in health, but in disease it oft is the great medium by which medicines effect relief. Hence it follows, that the action of a certain class of medicines on fowls must be negative. Yet we read, that certain drugs are recommended and administered to fowls, which, if there be any truth in the position just advanced, cannot exert upon them that action or effect, which they do on man, when afflicted with similar disease of the same parts.

« VorigeDoorgaan »