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Conflagration at Park Colliery,…


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grand Organ Recital at the…

IOur _Poultry Column. I


I Our Poultry Column. The oldest fowl of which we have any record is the Old English Game, and though these can be traced back for at least a thou- sand years, there is no doubt but that the birds mentioned in earlier days had this blood in their veins, which was handed down into what w% know as the Old English. With the law stopping all sorts of cock fighting, it would hardly be expected that the true type should be kept going, and yet we have some strains in the country which can trace their origin back to the best fighting blood of by- gone ages. While to-day horse racing is such a national sport, there was a time when cock fighting could have been said to occupy this place. Of course, on such being the case, birds were bred which possessed all the qualities for a combat, the chief thing being the ability to stand a lot of koocking over and yet come up again looking as if nothing had happened. In the old strains the pedigrees were kept as carefully as we now keep them of all high-class stock. Blood will tell, and it was always the ambition to put into each strain some blood from the most noted in the country. But this has gone by, and we now find the Old English being used as an exhi- bition fowl, and also for crossing to produce good laying and table fowls. The Old English look best on a free range like a park, or in a large field with plenty of room; but still, they can be bred by anyone having some fair sized grass runs who will get to know their peculiarities. There is a vast difference between the Orpington airtl the Game, for one seems larger than it looks. Few birds pluck out so well as an Old Eng- lish cockerel. while for quality there is no- thing finer than a pullet which has been well fed. Of course, neither are so big as the Orpington or the Sussex, but there is con- siderably less offal, both in waste and bone. Weight for weight they are the most economical fowls of the lot, owing to the less waste and the less weight of food consumed. The breed is very hardy, and they can be kept on almost any soil, providing it is a roomy house, perfectly dry and well venti- lated. These birds will roost outside at night, unless care is taken to see they are all shut in, and then the fox may come along and soon play havoc with the lot. The chickens are very easy to rear, and being a sitting breed, they will hatch their own eggs of necessity. It must not be expected that I they will cover as many eggs as a bigger fowl, and then they have not so much feather: but when once started sitting, they will guard the nest against all sorts of vermin. The hens have been known to kill rats to protect their young, while they often kill mice which come near their nest. Although the cock has a fiery eye, and perhaps looks vicious, it is very seldom that one will be found like this. As a rule, they can be handled in the run I or on the bench if only they have been kindly treated at home. Of course, if once they see another cock handy, they want to fight; but that is much the same with all other 1 cocks, and not peculiar to Old English Game. Although there are many colours in this variety, the most general are Spangleds and Black Reds. The former, as the name I denotes, is a mixed colour, much like the Black Red, but each feather has a white tipping at the end. This makes them very pretty and attractive at any show, and when in flocks on the grass they look fine. Where the cockerels have been brought up together they live very happily, but should they be parted, there cannot be any re-union, for they will soon kill the stranger. The cocks can be used for crossing to produce table fowls, and they greatly add to the quality of the meat and improve the shape of the breast. For this purpose, however, a big bird should be used, and not one of the smaller fighting sort. The Black Red is a brilliant co lour, because the black breast shews up the red of the wing and back. Although most of them have a white leg, birds are frequently seen with yellow legs, and some of the Black Reds have yellow legs; but these are mostly found in the old type of fighting cocks.


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