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Title: The Book of the Hamburgs - A Brief Treatise upon the Mating, Rearing and Management - of the Different Varieties of Hamburgs
Author: Baum, L. Frank (Lyman Frank)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                            Transcriber Note

 ● Obvious typos and punctuation errors corrected.
 ● Inconsistencies in hyphenation retained.
 ● Description of illustrations without captions has been added.
 ● Italics are indicated by underscores surrounding the _italic text_.
 ● Small capitals have been converted to ALL CAPS.


[Illustration: Hamburgs]



                         Book of the Hamburgs,

                            A BRIEF TREATISE

                                UPON THE


                                 OF THE


                           BY L. FRANK BAUM.

                            HARTFORD, CONN.:
                       H. H. STODDARD, PUBLISHER.


          Copyright, 1886, by H. H. STODDARD, Hartford, Conn.


                       The Book of the Hamburgs.

Long before what we now call “fancy fowls” were known or recognized (in
fact, long before the memory of any person now living), Hamburgs were
kept and bred to feather among the peasants of Yorkshire and Lancashire
in England, and by them exhibited at the small town and county fairs in
their neighborhood. Of course they were then known under different
names, the Blacks being called “Black Pheasant Fowls” and the Spangled
varieties “Lancashire Mooneys” and “Yorkshire Pheasants”; while such a
variety as the Penciled Hamburgs were either wholly unknown or else were
so little thought of that they have left no record of their origin, if,
indeed, they are natives of England at all.

                             EARLY HISTORY.

Mr. Wright, who has traced these fowls back still further, inclines to
the belief that at some period whereof we have no knowledge the Penciled
varieties formed a part of the Hamburg family, although our earliest
positive knowledge traces them to direct importations from Holland,
where they were brought in great numbers, and were originally known
under the names of “Dutch Everyday Layers” or “Dutch Everlasting

As such a thing as a black or spangled variety of this fowl was utterly
unknown in Holland, it is presumable that at some period the penciled
varieties were exported to Holland and there bred and cherished, while
they were allowed to run out or sink into insignificance in England. We
cling to this belief so tenaciously on account of the wonderful
similitude which marks the characteristics of the Hamburg family, in
spite of the fact that one branch came from Holland and the other is
emphatically English. These two branches, namely, the Penciled and the
Spangles and Blacks, resemble no other varieties of fowls in the
slightest degree, while their common characteristics are the absence of
the incubating instinct, clean, slender legs, neat rose combs, small,
round and white ear-lobes, and the light, but sweeping and graceful,
lines of form which are wholly their own and unapproachable by any other
breed of fowls, no matter how fine their symmetry. If this were not
enough to stamp them with certainty of having one origin, we mark the
fact that spangled chickens are frequently _penciled_ in their first
feathers; while, as they mature, the black spangles or moons are often
surmounted by a light tip beyond them, thus again approaching the
penciled character, while conversely it will be found that if penciled
birds be bred too dark the last bar has a strong tendency to become _too
wide_, thus approaching a _spangled_ character.

If we consider the utter want of interest with which poultry was
regarded in the earlier days, and the fact that no traditions of any
account relating to fowls have been handed down, we may be justified in
believing that these facts prove our conjectures in regard to the
original identity of these varieties to be correct. From whence their
common progenitor came, we can have no idea, but that they did have one
we strongly believe. It may have been that they came from the Blacks, as
that variety is thought to be the oldest, and a cross might have
resulted in the broken color, or possibly these Blacks having a number
of white feathers may have been bred together until a distinctly-marked
plumage had been obtained.

Bearing in mind, however, that Aldrovandus speaks of a fowl which
strongly resembles the penciled variety as _Gallina Turcica_, it is
possible that the Penciled was the original variety, and, as the name
suggests, of Eastern origin.

These conjectures and hypotheses are perplexing and unsatisfactory, and
are really of no practical value, being only of use in affording another
instance of the fascinating problems which constantly present themselves
to the poultry fancier of a philosophical and inquiring turn of mind.
This much appears to be certain: that of all our many varieties of fancy
fowls the Hamburg is by odds the oldest; indeed, Mr. Wingfield claims
that old records show that fowls with all the Hamburg characteristics
were bred in the yards of monasteries as early as the fourteenth

At the great Birmingham show the authorities there, recognizing the
general resemblance between the Penciled, Spangled and Black varieties,
and the inconvenience of their numerous and varied appellations, grouped
them together under the general name of HAMBURGS, by which they have
been known since, fanciers accepting with alacrity a name which was at
once convenient in classing the breeds and which brought the separated
members of what was no doubt a distinct family together, as it is most
certain they belong and should be arranged.

Many breeders who have no knowledge of the deliberations at Birmingham
have been puzzled to guess why the name Hamburg should have been chosen
to designate a family which was mainly English, but these “fathers of
the fraternity” had too much business to transact to allow them to
inquire very carefully into the early history of this fowl. The Rev. E.
S. Dixon proposed “that as the penciled varieties were then imported by
the Levant merchants from the port of Hamburg they should all take the
general name of Hamburgs,” and, indeed, this term is as euphonious and
convenient as any other could be.

                      CHARACTERISTICS OF HAMBURGS.

In usefulness and beauty the Hamburgs stand very prominently amongst
that numerous collection of fowls which our broad nomenclature
denominates “fancy poultry.” The plumage of every variety, either
Penciled or Spangled, Silver, Golden or Black, is at once beautiful and
striking, attracting the attention of strangers to the poultry yard or
exhibition room when all other breeds have failed to interest them, and
drawing from them involuntary tributes of admiration. And if they are so
much admired by cold and superficial observers, surely the Hamburg
fancier may be pardoned for his unbounded enthusiasm for his favorites
when every season and nearly every day unfolds new beauties in his birds
and renders them more fascinating and delightful to his eye. The
exquisite symmetry, the novel and shapely rose combs, the snowy and
delicate ear-lobes, the tapering blue legs and graceful carriage give
them an aristocratic and “dressed up” appearance and render them the
most beautiful of our domestic fowls.

The Hamburg fancier has plenty of scope in which to indulge his taste,
the different colors and markings affording an ample variety from which
to choose, while the general characteristics are the same.

“Hamburgs,” says Mr. Beldon in Lewis Wright’s poultry book, “are without
doubt the most beautiful breed of poultry we possess, as well as the
most useful, all varieties being alike elegant and beautiful. The
dweller in the country will generally prefer the Silver, while the
citizen will take the Golden or Black; but all of them, in their
matchless variety of marking and color, will delight the eye with the
utmost degree which is perhaps possible of beauty in fowls. Their
marvelous beauty, however, would not recommend the Hamburgs to the
practical breeder so much as their wonderful egg-producing qualities,
which it has been claimed surpass those of any other breed. The
wonderful stories told of Hamburg productiveness, while often more
amusing than reliable, serve to show that in any hands, in any climate
and under the most adverse circumstances they have proved very
profitable to their owners, while with ordinary care they are the best
of layers.”

The average Hamburg pullet will begin laying at four or five months of
age, and will lay from 150 to 200 eggs the first year under favorable
circumstances. The second and third years hens will average from 175 to
225 eggs when properly cared for, and from the third year their
productiveness gradually declines, although one reliable breeder asserts
that he once owned a Black Hamburg hen which at five years of age laid
220 eggs in ten months. A great deal depends upon the strain of birds
and the care they receive, as if productive traits are cherished and
carefully bred for, the number of eggs may be greatly increased, while
neglect to properly cultivate this quality by careless and incompetent
breeders will result in a marked decrease in productiveness.

The absence of the incubating instinct has much to do with the
productiveness for which Hamburgs are noted, as no time is lost in
sitting or brooding the chicks. Some breeders claim that Hamburgs
_never_ attempt to sit. This is incorrect. We have known cases, although
we acknowledge they are rare, where Hamburg hens have hatched and reared
goodly broods of chickens, in every case proving themselves steady
sitters and excellent mothers; nor was there a particle of tainted blood
in their veins, these being merely cases where that wonderful instinct
which is common to nearly all fowls will “crop out” occasionally in
_every_ variety of non-sitting fowls. It is _not_ necessarily due to a
former cross, but may be occasioned by “reversion” to which we attribute
everything that we do not understand in nature’s domain.

This non-sitting instinct is of double value to the Hamburgs, as they do
not lose half their feathers during incubation, but maintain their sleek
appearance through the entire season, and when they do moult they moult
easily and rapidly, seldom or never being left for a time denuded of
feathers, as are most other breeds, but the new feathers making their
appearance as the old ones drop out, so that they are never an eyesore
to their owners. Indeed, they seem to change their coats so easily that
it is no rare thing for hens to lay as steadily during this ordinarily
trying process as at any other time. They should, however, have an extra
allowance of feed at this time, and a little tincture of iron in their
drinking water or a few rusty nails placed in the drinking pans will
strengthen and tone up their systems.

To do their best, Hamburgs should have free range. Mr. Beldon, though
greatly overdrawing their need for this luxury, attaches so much
importance to it that he says: “They are of little use penned up, in
which state they pine and mope for liberty; that bright cheerfulness
which is common to them disappears, and from being the happiest they
become the most wretched of birds.”

Though Mr. Beldon may have found this the case, our own experience has
been that no small breeds of fowls will stand the tedium of a long and
severe winter in close quarters better than the Hamburgs. In fact, all
you need is to _keep them busy_, and they will seem happy and contented.
Still, the larger the grass run they have in summer the greater their
productiveness and the better they will do. They are very small eaters,
and when at liberty are excellent foragers, being up at break of day and
away rummaging the fields and pastures in search of food. Their quick
eye at once espies their prey, and “woe to the poor worm that happens on
that particular morning to have got up a little too early.” Every corner
is searched with indefatigable zeal, and by the time the man gets around
in the morning to feed them they have made a good breakfast and are
ready for the business of the day. Perfect liberty or a large grass run
are valuable adjuncts to health and egg production. Give it them if you
possibly can.

As a rule Hamburgs are a healthy breed, being little subject to the
common ailments of poultry. One of our correspondents writes: “They are
remarkably hardy, often enduring hardships that to other breeds mean
disease and death with successful fortitude. I have had young Hamburg
chicks pecked by the mother of a rival flock and virtually ‘scalped’ in
her insane jealousy, the skin being torn from the head down the entire
back, and yet the youngster would trot around as lively as though
nothing had happened, and not only get well but flourish. Sometimes the
feathers would grow out upon the ‘skinned’ place, and sometimes it would
always retain a smooth appearance. I have now a hen, which we consider
one of our best breeders, without a vestige of feathering upon her
entire back, owing to a like accident in her youth. The chicks are very
easily reared. Of course they must have proper care, as they cannot rear
themselves; but with a moderate degree of attention no trouble will be
found in raising them to maturity.

“Taken as a whole we consider the Hamburgs as hardly excelled by any
other fowl for the farmer, fancier or poulterer. On a good homestead
they will keep themselves, and if well attended to will pay better than
any other farm stock in proportion to the investment. In fine, I feel
perfectly safe in an assertion that in no one breed will be found so
much beauty and usefulness, and so many excellent qualities, as in the
several varieties of the Hamburg family, while in the one item of egg
production they stand to-day where they did hundreds of years ago,
unrivaled by any domestic fowl.”

This is a statement of one who is full of enthusiasm, but it may be
noted that only a superior breed of fowls would excite so much
commendation in a breeder who has been familiar with them from his

                            BLACK HAMBURGS.

Although there is no certainty that this is the oldest variety of fowls,
still, as it has a pedigree of nearly 200 years, it is presumable that
it was the oldest variety of the Hamburg family. Mr. Beldon considers
the claims of the Spangles and Blacks to be about equal as regards age,
and rather favors the former. However, a passage in an old book
published in London in 1702 by Thomas Sutlief, entitled “A trip to the
North of England,” has induced us to believe that the Blacks were the
oldest breed. It says: “One of my pleasant reminiscences of this county
(Lancaster) is the pleasure with which I regarded their pretty fowl, the
Black Pheasants, as they call them, and which furnished me many a
delicious fresh egg for my breakfast.... The stout peasants regard them
with much favor, and point with pride to their white ears and flat

It would seem from this that not only were they the favorite fowls, but
that they then possessed in a great measure their present
characteristics. If the spangled birds were then known they surely could
not have fallen under the observation of this writer, who would have
been sure to have noted them from their striking appearance.


[Illustration: BLACK HAMBURGS.]


Be that as it may, Black Hamburgs are known to have been bred in
Lancashire long before the poultry-showing era, and were called by the
peasants Black Pheasants. They had the rose comb, but it was much larger
than in our present birds, and not nearly so well formed. They also had
the white ear-lobe, despite the claims of many breeders that this
desirable point came from a cross with the Spanish. There is no doubt
that many Blacks have Spanish blood in them, and some prominent English
breeders openly acknowledge its existence in their strains. But we have
birds to-day that have never known a particle of Spanish blood in their
composition, which possess superior qualities over those with the
Spanish cross, and which have the white ear-lobe in all its beauty and

In a recent letter Mr. Beldon says: “The Black Hamburgs I remember
perfectly well when I first began the poultry fancy some twenty-seven
years ago, but they were not commonly bred at that time. They were a
large bird, with rather coarse combs. Since then the Spanish cross has
been used to produce them; in fact, I have known them to be bred from a
Black Spanish and Spangled Hamburg, and by careful selection brought to
much perfection, with better black plumage, bright red faces and pure
white ear-lobes.”

Black Pheasants did not formerly possess the exquisite symmetry which is
so marked in our present birds, being coarse and short-legged, while the
most attention was paid to that resplendent greenish sheen which forms
their chief attraction and renders them to-day the most beautiful of
black fowls.

There have been many and clever expedients devised to show that the
Black Hamburgs came from crossing. Mr. Seebay says: “I have been told by
reliable persons that Black Pheasants have been shown for prizes, such
as copper kettles, etc., more than a hundred years before my time. The
true Silver-Spangled is almost black in one stage of its chicken
plumage, and as I have known them produce chickens almost black, and as
the shape of the Spangles and Blacks is exactly the same, I had always
thought one sprung from the other.” This theory is the most plausible
one we know of, and is also endorsed by Mr. Sergeantson. The most absurd
assertion is that they are the result of a cross between the
Golden-Spangled Hamburgs and the Spanish, which is easily refuted by our
positive knowledge of their great age. There is no doubt but that some
Black Hamburgs (so-called) have been made from this cross, as Mr. Beldon
says; but the unfortunate breeder who gets any of these fowls into his
yards, will soon discover from a plentiful sprinkling of single combs in
his chicks and a general want of fixed characteristics, that he has been
imposed upon. It is not of great importance to know exactly how they did
originate, as from a practical point of view it is enough to know that
they are now a firmly established breed of great beauty and undoubted

The Black Hamburgs lay the largest eggs of any variety of this breed,
while in numbers they fully equal the Spangled and Penciled. They are
therefore much sought after by those who wish to obtain eggs for the
market as well as for the table, and are perhaps the most popular
variety of Hamburgs.

_Plumage._—This is the most important point in the Black Hamburg, though
it has been much neglected by American breeders. It should be
exceedingly soft, the feathers having a feeling as of satin to the hand,
and a deep but distinct and beautiful gloss or tinge. Much weight should
be given to this in both sexes, although it can be cultivated to a
greater extent in the female than in the male. This green gloss should
not appear on the end of the feathers only, but throughout the entire
plumage—_the greener and richer the color the better_. To be seen to
advantage this beautiful gloss should be viewed in a strong light or
when the sun is upon the bird. You then see that sheen in which they
surpass all other black fowls. The color required is the green black;
the purple, bluish or raven black so often seen is very undesirable, and
should be avoided. These colors are so distinct that there is no
liability to mistake the true shade. Some strains are of a deep blue
green, almost a steel blue; these have green tails. Other strains are of
a lighter green; these have bronze green tails. The purer the green and
the less admixture of any other tinge the better. Never breed from birds
which seem to be penciled with bluish purple. It is often caused by a
late and protracted moult, and may appear in birds which as chicks had
the green tinge in all its perfection; but more often it is hereditary.
Lancashire fanciers called this mazarine, and it appeared principally on
backs of hens or flights of cocks. As we have mentioned, this glossy
tinge is not so uniform on the male as the female birds, and this is
seemingly in direct opposition to the usual decrees of Nature, which
seems to have ordained that the male part of creation be more brilliant
than the opposite gender. We are pleased to observe, however, a marked
improvement in the plumage of cocks of late years, and hope to see the
time when the male bird will show this characteristic as fully as the


[Illustration: BLACK HAMBURGS.]


In Black Hamburg cocks the breast, back, shoulders and tail should be a
rich green, the wing-coverts exceedingly brilliant and the outer web of
the secondaries (_i. e._, the whole of the lower part of the closed
wing) almost as bright; the lesser tail-coverts are also very rich in

Tegetmeier speaks of _spangling_ being visible in Black Hamburgs when
seen in the sunlight. The birds he examined must have been decidedly
poor ones, or perhaps it was his misfortune to see those birds
_compounded_ of Golden-Spangled Hamburgs and Spanish which we have
spoken of. Such cross-bred birds will show the iridescent green spangle
Mr. Tegetmeier has spoken of, but which we have never been able to
discern on good birds of a pure strain.

Occasionally rich red or orange colored feathers will crop out in Black
Hamburg cockerels—very seldom in pullets. These red feathers come from
what we suppose was pheasant blood at some remote period introduced into
these birds, or perhaps a part of their original make-up, and do not by
any means prove the existence of impure blood. It is the result of our
strenuous efforts to keep up and improve the greenish luster, and
invariably comes from highly colored birds. These birds are sometimes of
great use to breeders, and enable us to obtain finely colored birds by
mating them with dead-black pullets.

But while we may tolerate an occasional showing of red feathers (which
only appear in the hackle, as in the Golden Pheasant), we must be very
severe on birds showing those of another color—namely, _white_ feathers.
There seems to be a natural tendency to show the white feathers in all
black fowls, and this evil has been so stubborn to eradicate that Mr.
Felch, at a meeting of the American Poultry Association, offered a
resolution to allow white tips to appear in exhibition birds. The many
evils which would thus arise from lowering our ideal _Standard_ for this
magnificent variety were so obvious that the members of that Association
promptly rejected the resolution at a later meeting in Cleveland, Ohio.
We know not whether most to blame the futile efforts of Mr. Felch to
accommodate the variety to the wants of a few incompetent breeders, or
to applaud the wisdom of our brethren of the A. P. A. in “squelching”
such innovations. They surely have the thanks of all honest breeders of
Black Hamburgs, which can be bred _black_ as well as any other variety
of black fowls, if we only have patience and honestly strive to
eradicate this serious fault, which, if allowed, would work to the
disadvantage of all.

_Comb._—There is no style of comb so difficult to breed to perfection as
the rose comb, and the excellent combs shown on Black and Spangled
Hamburgs at our recent shows prove how much can be accomplished by
judicious breeding. To our eye it is beautiful and elegant, and forms
one of the chief attractions of the Hamburg. It should be a deep, rich
red; not so large as to overhang the eyes or beak; square in front;
fitting close and straight on the head; not inclining to one side; not
hollow in the center—on the contrary, we prefer a slight rise in the
center, although an even comb throughout is better. It should be uniform
on each side; the top covered with small points, and terminating in a
spike behind, which inclines upward very slightly. The absence of this
spike is a grave defect, which if a natural blemish disqualifies a bird
by the _American Standard of Excellence_, as does likewise a comb so
large as to obstruct the sight.

_Ear-Lobes._—The ear-lobe is one of the most striking features of the
Black Hamburg, and in connection with the bright red comb and greenish
plumage, form a _tout ensemble_ such as no one can see without admiring.
The ear-lobe on the old Black Hamburgs was smaller than it is nowadays,
although it is noticeable that those birds which have been kept pure
have a smaller and finer ear-lobe than those which were crossed with the
Spanish. As we have before observed, Mr. Beldon (in common with some
other breeders, who all ought to know better) has thought that the white
ear-lobe was only introduced by the Spanish cross, an error which we
have furnished abundant evidence to refute; so that really all that was
gained by this unnecessary cross was a large, pendent ear-lobe, which is
totally at variance with our accepted ideas as to what a Hamburg
ear-lobe should be. It has been allowed by most judges, until quite
recently, to be a little larger in the Blacks than in any other variety
of Hamburgs, but it must be pure white, well rounded, lying smoothly and
close to the face, like a piece of white kid glove, and _the smaller the
better_. A large, pendent ear-lobe, like that of the Spanish and
Leghorns, is certainly a grave blemish; nor should it be wrinkled or
puffy, or at all tinged with red about the edges.

_The Face._—One of our chief difficulties in breeding Hamburgs is the
tendency to white in the face, which should be a deep, rich crimson,
almost scarlet. A white face is a positive disqualification, and a dark
gypsy face much to be avoided. Both these latter defects owe their
origin to the Spanish cross, although white specks in the face will
often appear in pure-bred birds as they advance in age. By careful
breeding, and judiciously selecting those cocks which retain a pure red
face, this may be entirely bred out, while breeding from birds showing
the white face fixes the defect in the progeny, and causes much trouble
to the breeder before it can be eradicated. It is rare to find a two or
three-year-old cock which does not show a patch of white under the eye
or near the ear-lobe; but the graver and more common the fault, the more
pains should be taken to breed it out, and we have no doubt but the time
will soon come when such a thing as a white-specked face in the show
room will be unknown. We trust efforts will be made in this direction.

_Legs and Tail._—The legs should be a _dark_, leaden blue, approaching
black, in young birds, as the tendency is to grow light with age. Light
blue legs in a cockerel or pullet are very objectionable.

The tail in male birds should be long, well curved, and graceful,
flowing rather backward from the rump. A squirrel tail is a grave
fault—a disqualification, in fact—as is also a wry tail or one carried
constantly to one side. Wry tails have various causes, originating
sometimes from accident, but they are often hereditary, and wry-tailed
birds should never be used for breeding. Often the cramped quarters of
an exhibition coop will render a bird temporarily wry-tailed, or rather
induce it for a time to carry it to one side. This will usually
disappear when the bird is given full range, but is quite an unfortunate
circumstance, as a prize bird is often thrown out on this account.

_Symmetry._—This means a great deal in Hamburgs; and as no breed is more
symmetrical or graceful in form, particular pains should be taken to
prevent them from running into a Game or Dorking shape. We have often
seen breeders send birds to the show room which were good in all other
points, but most degenerate in symmetry. We heard a prominent judge say
lately that “symmetry could not be expressed; it was something about
which every man had his own ideas, and applied to birds according to his
judgment.” Each breed has its distinct symmetry of proportions, and it
would be no more absurd to expect a Cochin shape on a Hamburg than it is
to admit a Hamburg to be well proportioned with the slender neck, long
legs, and high station of a Game, or the heavy, square and dumpy
appearance of the Dorking. In fact they must be _real Hamburgs_ in
shape; neck medium length, and carried well over the back; back not very
long or very short; breast full, prominent and wide; wings good size,
the points carried comparatively low; tail ample and well spread out,
and carried rather erect; thighs well rounded and of medium length;
shanks slender, smooth and neat; carriage showing gracefulness and
activity. By no means must they carry the idea of being Black Dorkings,
or Rose-combed Spanish, or worse yet, untrimmed Games. Avoid also narrow
bodies and whip tails.

_Points in Breeding Black Hamburgs._—In mating any variety for breeding,
the faults to which they are most liable should be borne in mind, and
the breeder’s one idea be to breed them out, and so perfect the birds as
much as possible. This in some instances may take years of careful and
painstaking matings; years of disappointment and chagrin may follow, as
we see the defects still cropping out, and realize the failure of all
our carefully-laid plans. But how glorious is the feeling enjoyed by the
fancier when at last skill triumphs, and he beholds in a numerous and
nearly perfected progeny the result of years of toil and study. Then it
is that he hies him joyfully to the show room; then it is that he
triumphs over the breeder who has so long plucked the premiums from
under his nose; and as he returns home, after enjoying his first genuine
success, his thoughts are employed as to the best means of further
improving his birds; and to such men—studious, painstaking and
persevering—we owe that perfection in our domestic fowls which is so
astonishing, considering the short time that has been devoted to their
improvement, and which ought to convince us how pliable and plastic
fancy poultry is in the hands of an intelligent breeder. Do not be
discouraged by failure at first—_keep trying_, and the time must and
will come when your efforts shall be crowned with success.

Black Hamburgs are not a very difficult fowl to breed, when you go about
it understandingly. In selecting breeding stock, we again say, bear in
mind the defects to which they are heir—namely, badly-shaped combs,
white faces, pendent and over-sized ear-lobes, legginess, and white or
red feathers.

At shows color in cocks is not regarded so much as it is in pullets—not
nearly so much as it ought to be. “Although,” says Mr. Sergeantson,
“other things being equal, color will carry the day.” Therefore for
breeding cockerels, choose the best combed birds; good, red faces, free
from white; round, small ear-lobes; free from red or colored feathers in
any part of the plumage, and short legs, broad breast and back. Squirrel
tails result quite often from narrow-bodied birds, and this, besides
being very objectionable, is hereditary, so bear this last requisite
well in mind. We have said nothing about color in this mating, for the
reason that it is not considered of so much consequence in cockerels as
in pullets; but if, with the above requisites, you can find a _male_
bird with good color, you may breed in the progeny this very desirable




Now for pullet breeding (if you are able to have two pens; if not,
choose the above mating), it is absolutely requisite that in addition to
the above qualifications, or as many of them as can be obtained, a
_cock_ be found which has a brilliant luster to his plumage. As we have
intimated, it is very difficult to find a cock with this brilliant
plumage without a touch of red in hackle. If you _can_ obtain him, well
and good; if not, bear in mind the red feathers, but use him, for color
in cock you _must_ have above any other consideration for breeding
pullets. The Rev. Mr. Sergeantson, whom we have before quoted, and who
had greater success than any other English breeder with this variety,
entirely agrees with us in this. He says: “I would much rather choose
for the purpose a red-hackled cock, if good in other respects, than a
dull-colored one. I have often bred beautiful, lustrous pullets from
hens with very little color, when mated with a bright cock; but never
from a dull-colored cock, however lustrous the hens with him might be.”
Moreover, in this pen, choose birds with small or moderately sized
combs, as there is a general tendency in combs of pullets to lop over,
if bred too large.

Do not be discouraged, if you cannot obtain all these points at once;
get as near to it as possible; and every succeeding year will find you
drawing nearer and nearer to that desired goal—_perfection_.

                      THE SILVER-SPANGLED HAMBURG.

This variety is probably as well known and generally bred as any variety
of fancy poultry we have, and its continued popularity is conclusive
proof of the high estimation in which it is held by fanciers throughout
the land. To the counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire the
Silver-Spangled Hamburgs owe their present state of perfection, although
American breeders have done more in twenty years to perfect their combs,
ear-lobes and face than English fanciers have been able to accomplish in
twice that time. The plumage is essentially English, and to English
fanciers is due the credit for perfecting their beautiful markings. In
fact, they were brought to a high standard of excellence in Lancashire
long before the first poultry show; and this standard was clearly
defined and adhered to by fanciers, who were chary about admitting
innovations as to their ideas.

They were originally called Silver Pheasants in Yorkshire, and Silver
Mooneys in Lancashire. These latter, while the most numerous and best
bred, admitted only hen-feathered cocks, and were brought to a high
state of perfection. Mr. Beldon says: “Some of the old Mooneys were
absolute perfection in point of feather; the spangling, so large, round
and rich in color, was really something to be wondered at, and shows a
skill and enthusiasm in breeding which, in the absence of public shows
in those days, has about it something of the marvelous.”

When poultry shows first came into fashion these Mooneys received the
lion’s share of the awards at all the exhibitions, until it came to be
considered utter foolishness to pit any kind of fowl against them, and
they enjoyed their exalted position for several years unmolested. At the
expiration of this time, however, breeders of the Mooneys were thrown
into confusion by the sudden and unanimous decree of the judges that
these “hen-feathered Mooneys” were all humbug, and not “the correct
thing,” inasmuch as so many of these “hen-feathered” cocks proved
unprolific or imperfect that long-tailed birds were secretly used to
keep up the breed. There was so much evident truth in this that the
struggle, though sharp, was of short duration; the judges triumphed, and
the reign of the Silver Mooneys as show birds was over, while the star
of the Silver Pheasants steadily rose, until nothing was recognized but
the full-plumaged cocks, though the hens still lacked the nice spangling
which had rendered the Lancashire birds so much admired, the spangles
being small and indistinct. It may be well to state here that the
Yorkshire birds were the original variety, the excellence in spangling
attained by the Lancashire fanciers being the result of judicious
breeding. The Yorkshire birds had better symmetry, whiter ear-lobes,
smaller combs and clearer tails, and it is from them that our modern
Silver-Spangled Hamburgs are descended. They are fully up to the other
varieties in productiveness, and possess all the good traits of the
breed, while their exceeding beauty renders them remarkably attractive.

_Plumage._—Of course the spangling in the Silver-Spangled Hamburg is of
primary importance, and should be regarded with the utmost care. As the
spangling differs in the sexes, we shall be obliged to describe them

_Cock._—The neck-hackle should be abundant, descending well over the
shoulders, and in color, silvery-white (any approach to a yellowish
tinge to be carefully avoided), the longer feathers ending in a small
diamond-shaped spangle, and presenting a beautiful rayed appearance
about the shoulders.

The back and saddle should have the same general style of feathers, pure
white in color, except the small spangle near the end as in the
neck-hackle, avoiding any appearance of the yellowish tinge.

The breast feathers should be pure silvery-white, each feather ending
with a well-defined, round, large-sized greenish-black spangle or moon,
showing as little white on the tip as possible, the spangles increasing
in size in proportion as the feather increases in size. The body and
wing-feathers must have a similar moon-shaped spangle. There is a
tendency to indistinct or smutty markings in the tail, which should be
avoided. The moons on the breast-feathers should be just large enough to
give the breast a spangled appearance, by allowing a little of the white
beyond each moon to show. The moons, if too large, give the breast a
mossed or black appearance, which is a defect. The spangles on greater
and lesser wing-coverts form two distinct bars across the wing, which is
very requisite in a well-marked bird. Care should be taken to avoid
clear white feathers in back and saddle, as they are very liable to
appear in light-colored birds.

_Hen._—The neck-hackle should be composed of clear, silvery-white
feathers, each plainly striped near the end with greenish-black. The
back, breast and body should be clear white, each feather distinctly
spangled with a large, round and greenish-black moon, as large as
possible without the spangles running together and giving a mossy or
black appearance in places.

The half-moon spangle should be avoided with much care in all feathers
except the wing-secondaries, where it is allowable in both sexes. The
wing-coverts, greater or lesser, should be clear, silvery-white,
terminating in a large, greenish-black, round spangle, and forming two
parallel bars, distinctly marked, across the wing. It is difficult to
find a perfectly spangled tail without some black or smutty color in the
main body of the feathers; this is not so persistent a defect in the hen
as in the cock, and can be bred out of both, if proper care is taken.
The feathers on the thighs should be as distinct as possible, care being
taken to prevent a mossy or laced appearance.

Nothing can be more beautiful than a finely-spangled Silver Hamburg, and
when a perfect spangling is once attained, it is easily continued in the
progeny. Laced or half-moon feathers are a great eye-sore to the
fancier, and are often very troublesome, although perhaps not more so
than the indistinct markings on the tail, once so common, but which is
now being replaced by clear, well-spangled tails—another evidence of
skillful breeding.

_Other Points._—The comb in Silver-Spangled Hamburgs should resemble
exactly that described in our section on Black Hamburgs. The ear-lobe
should also be the same, but is more easily bred to perfection in the
Spangled than in the Black variety, being naturally rather smaller and
smoother; but, on the other hand, more liable to red edges. There is the
same tendency to white in the face in Silver-Spangled as in Black
Hamburgs, although in a lesser degree, and there surely is no excuse for
its cropping out here, if ordinary care is taken to prevent it.

The carriage of Silver-Spangled Hamburgs is graceful in the extreme and
constitutes one of their chief attractions; indeed, we think they are
among the most stylish birds we have. The legs should be slender, neat
and clean, of medium length, and in color, blue or slaty-blue. We have
already described what constitutes good symmetry in a Hamburg; let it
suffice to say that the Silver-Spangled are essentially _Hamburg_ in
this respect.

The disqualifications to which this variety is liable are absence of the
wing-bars, markings wholly crescent-shaped or of the half-moon
character, solid black breasts, laced feathers, squirrel tails, red
ear-lobes, and the absence of spike in comb, cocks hen-feathered.

The beak should be horn-color, and the eyes a dark hazel. Care should be
taken to avoid a black fluff in either sex, as it is an especial
abomination to the intelligent fancier.

_Points in Breeding Silver-Spangled Hamburgs._—We are obliged to
acknowledge that unless you have a thorough knowledge of the strain you
are breeding from, there is considerable guess-work necessary in
choosing a Silver-Spangled Hamburg cock for breeding; for the reason
that, unlike most fowls, there are frequent cases where a finely-marked
cock will fail to throw a good percentage of well-marked chicks in his
progeny. So, if you fail to procure a good breeder at first, you must
try again. In the first place, select a cock with good comb and
ear-lobes, as much spangling in back and saddle as possible, good
wing-bars, and clear tail; in fact, a good, deep-colored show cock, and
put him to the very best hens you can get.

Care must be taken to avoid any grave faults on either side, such as
smudgy markings, poor ear-lobes, or overhanging, coarse combs. Now see
what you can do with this mating. If you get a fair proportion of
well-marked chicks, stick to this pen as long as they will breed, or the
eggs are fertile, for it is not every lot that breeds well together. If
you find that you are not getting a good proportion of fairly-marked
birds, you must change the cock, procuring one from another strain, and
try your luck with him, persevering until you get what you desire. In
all varieties of fowls there are some strains that will produce better
cockerels than pullets, and _vice versa_, and Hamburgs are no exception
to the general rule. You may, therefore, find it to your advantage to
breed from two different yards, provided you have sufficient room and
the means of procuring the proper birds. If a pen breeds excellent
cockerels but poor pullets, keep that pen for cockerel breeding, as it
is far better to breed good birds of one sex than middling birds of both
sexes, even if you have but one pen. When you have a good pen of
cockerel getters, begin to look about for a yard which will breed fine
pullets. A little patience and perseverance will be amply repaid when at
last you find yourself successful; and when you _do_ get what you want,
stick to it!

Our instructions for mating Silver-Spangled Hamburgs are _in toto_ as
minute as ever have or can be given, for the simple reason, as we have
said, that your first matings (unless you know the strain well) must be
greatly influenced by chance.




We might add that whenever you select a cock for breeding, choose one of
as much health and vigor as you can find possessing the other requisite
points, for we believe that nothing contributes more to distinct
markings in chickens than parents that can give them vigorous
constitutions and hardy characteristics.

                       GOLDEN-SPANGLED HAMBURGS.

About thirty years ago, when poultry shows first came into fashion,
there were two kinds of Golden-Spangled Hamburgs. One was called the
Golden Pheasants, and was a fine, large bird, but as a rule the cocks
were hen-feathered. The spangling was very fine, and the groundwork a
dull bay, but there was a great deal of smut in all their markings. They
were good layers, had white ear-lobes, and moderately good combs. The
other variety were called Golden Mooneys, and in color and markings were
very superior to the Golden Pheasants. Mr. Beldon, in “Wright’s Poultry
Book,” says: “I shall never forget my feelings of pleasure on first
seeing the Golden Mooney hen. She struck me as being something
wonderful. The ground color of the plumage in these fowls is of the very
richest bay, the spangling very bold and clear, and of a green,
satin-looking black; in fact, the plumage was so rich and glossy that
the full beauty of it could not be seen, except in the sunshine, but
when it _was_ seen, it formed a picture never to be forgotten. I am here
speaking of the hen; the cock’s plumage was also of the very richest

The cocks, however, had solid black breasts and their ear-lobes
consisted of little more than a bit of red skin, such as we see upon
Games. By degrees, as hen-feathered cocks and red ear-lobes came to be
considered great blemishes, these two varieties were bred together, and
from them is derived our modern Golden-Spangled Hamburgs. They are a
little larger than the Silver-Spangled; but, while they lay a trifle
larger egg, do not produce quite so many of them. They are very hardy,
and exceedingly attractive in appearance, being the richest colored of
any variety of the Hamburgs, excepting the Black.

_Plumage._—The plumage of the Golden-Spangled Hamburgs differs in many
respects from that of the Silver-Spangled. The ground color is a rich,
deep golden-bay, and should be as even throughout as possible. There is
a tendency to run lighter in color under the breast and body. This is a
serious blemish. The neck-hackle, instead of being spangled, as in the
Silver variety, has a long black stripe running the entire length of the
feather to the extremity of the tip. This stripe should be a glossy,
greenish-black, standing out well defined from the ground color, and not
clouded. The saddle is composed of similar feathers. Both saddle and
hackle should be abundant, the latter flowing well over the shoulders,
especially in the cocks—of course the females have no saddles. The
breast, back and body feathers should be a rich, golden-bay, each
feather ending with a large, distinct, round, black spangle, having a
rich greenish luster. The wing primaries and secondaries in the cock are
bay on the outer web, and black on the inner web, each feather ending
with a black, metallic crescent. On the hen the primaries and
secondaries are a clear golden-bay, each feather ending with a black,
metallic crescent. The wing-bows should be a clear, deep golden-bay,
each feather tipped with a large, round, greenish-black spangle; the
greater and lesser wing-coverts a clear golden-bay, each feather ending
with a large, oblong, greenish-black spangle, forming two distinct bars,
parallel across the wing. The tail should be a rich greenish-black in
both sexes, full and well expanded. In cocks the sickles are well curved
and glossy, and the tail-feathers abundant and of a rich, metallic

One of the most common defects in this variety is feathers tipped beyond
the spangle with a small edging of bay or white; sometimes both appear,
one beyond the other. Although this is to be avoided, it is not a direct
disqualification. We have often seen it appear upon old birds whose
plumage was previously entirely innocent of such markings, and it is
rare, indeed, to find a pair of old exhibition birds entirely without
it, to say nothing of breeding fowls. It makes its appearance chiefly
upon the breast and body, but is also frequently seen in the hackle. We
hope to see the time when this defect shall be wholly eradicated. The
white tips are the most objectionable, but are nearly as common as the
bay edgings to the spangles. The entire plumage should be close and
glossy, and very rich and uniform in color and markings.

_Other Points._—The comb on Golden-Spangled Hamburgs is liable to be
coarse and large, although in finely-bred birds we often find as good
combs as are ever seen upon the other varieties. A tendency to red
edgings in ear-lobes (which should be a pure white) is also to be
avoided. In size this variety surpasses the Silver-Spangled Hamburgs,
but they lose in symmetry usually what they gain in size, consequently
symmetry is a point which should be carefully looked after. There is not
much tendency to white face, which is seldom observed in birds of this
variety. The legs should be of medium length, shanks clean and slender,
and in color leaden-blue. The tail is one of their chief beauties, and
should claim much attention from the breeder, care being taken to guard
against wry or squirrel tails, which are very liable to descend to the

_Points in mating Golden-Spangled Hamburgs._—We do not know of a single
case where any one has given instructions for mating this variety which
are at all clear or definite, or offer the slightest assistance to the
breeder. Even our distinguished English contemporaries give it up in
despair. One of our correspondents writes as follows:

“At a large exhibition several years ago we inquired of a gentleman who
had won nearly all the awards on Golden Spangles—and with excellently
marked birds, too—what his system or mating was by which he procured
such fine birds. With something that resembled a sneer at our remarks,
he said: ‘I let them breed themselves!’ We had then been trying our best
for some time to study the characteristics of the breed, in order to
obtain some clue by which to mate them properly; and this remark,
together with the living proofs of the good results of such
indiscriminate matings before our eyes, we must confess rather staggered
us. We went home and carefully thought it over, and adhering to our
former notions that science would finally triumph, we persevered in our
experimental matings, and had the pleasure two years after of defeating
the same breeder most thoroughly in the show room. His birds were by
this time little more than mongrels—the result of his plan to ‘let them
breed themselves!’”

In breeding this variety there should be two pens—one to breed males,
and one females. In breeding for cockerels, select a large, well-marked
cock, whose ground color is a deep, rich golden-bay throughout, free
from smutty or cloudy markings, with fine, glossy plumage, the spangles
of which possess in a high degree the beautiful metallic, greenish
luster. With him mate pullets of medium color (care being taken not to
have them too light or dark in the ground color), whose spangles are
large and distinct, without running into each other and giving them an
undesirable spotted appearance. These pullets should possess good glossy
plumage, but size is not requisite, nor need they necessarily have
extra-fine combs and ear-lobes, provided the cock possesses these
desirable qualities in a marked degree, for it is from him that these
qualities are inherited, while the pullet furnishes the color and
markings in a greater degree. Especial pains should be taken to choose a
cock with a small, fine comb and pure white ear-lobes, when they can be
found in connection with the requisite points mentioned.

In breeding for pullets choose a dark-colored cockerel, with good
ear-lobes, small comb and good symmetry, and simply mate him with the
very best hens you can find. There is a tendency in hens of this variety
to become a rather dull, light bay in ground color as they grow
aged—these are the very hens to mate with the above-described cockerel.
Care should be taken to procure the very best comb, ear-lobes, and
symmetry you can find.




With these matings you can hardly fail to breed a good proportion of
fine chicks; but, as we have said in connection with the Silver-Spangled
Hamburgs, you may not find a cock at first that will prove a good
breeder. If not, you must keep on trying. In both the varieties of
Spangled Hamburgs the _strain_ has a great deal to do in furnishing good
breeders. “Blood will tell;” and we should call the attention of the
breeder of both these varieties to the necessity of establishing a
strain of his own as soon as possible, whose good qualities he will be
able to know thoroughly, and whose bad ones he will promptly recognize
and endeavor to counterbalance by proper matings.

                       SILVER-PENCILED HAMBURGS.

We have already stated that the Penciled Hamburgs were imported into
England from Holland, where they first attracted the attention of
English fanciers, and although there can be no possible doubt in the
mind of an intelligent observer that they originally possessed, with the
Spangled and Black varieties, a common progenitor, still they possess
several distinctly different characteristics. This is owing, no doubt,
to their being so long bred and undoubtedly perfected in a different
country and by a different class of people. These differences consist
chiefly in a smaller and finer form than the Spangled and Blacks—a
smaller head, a smarter appearance, and perhaps more activity, their
motions being very quick and graceful. That they are great layers of a
small but exquisitely white and finely-flavored egg is proverbial, and
on their first introduction into England this quality procured for them
the title of “Dutch everlasting layers.”


[Illustration: CREOLES.]


The Silver-Penciled Hamburg is a very beautiful bird, and is greatly
admired by every one who can see any beauty at all in a finely-marked
and gracefully formed fowl. Indeed, we believe that they have the most
_finished_ appearance of any fowl, their markings being so fine and
regular that there seems nothing more to be desired to entitle them to
the palm for beauty.

This variety, besides the name which we have given, were also called
“Chittiprats,” and still later, “Bolton Grays,” under which name they
were widely disseminated, and even yet we believe that in some sections
they still retain this appellation, although all other names are very
rapidly giving way to that of Silver-Penciled Hamburgs. “Creole” was a
name also applied to a variety of Silver-Penciled Hamburgs, the markings
of the feathers of which were very similar to those of the standard
Silver-Penciled Hamburgs (see cut). The “Bolton Grays” were simply
Silver-Penciled Hamburgs “run to seed,” the pencilings being mossy or

They are a numerous and attractive class at our poultry exhibitions, and
are gaining ground yearly in popular favor; we have even known instances
where breeders of Silver-Spangled Hamburgs have discarded them in favor
of the Penciled varieties, although we think that the former, in their
way, are fully as beautiful and desirable.

Silver-Penciled Hamburgs, as chicks, are quite tender, but when fully
feathered they are as little liable to disease as any fowl we know of.
They are great foragers, and will almost keep themselves, with good
range, being happy and contented anywhere and shelling out quantities of
eggs under most adverse circumstances.


[Illustration: BOLTON GRAYS.]


_Plumage._—In the male bird the plumage of the head, hackle, back,
saddle, breast and thighs, should be a clear, silvery-white. The
yellowish tinge so often seen upon these feathers is a very grave fault,
and one that will not be tolerated by a good judge. There is often a
tendency to penciled or smutty markings on the under-color of the
back—that is, it can only be seen by raising the top feathers. This is
also a serious defect, and should be avoided. The tail proper is black,
the sickles and tail-coverts being a rich green-black, with a fine and
distinct edging of white.

This is the most difficult point to obtain in the plumage of the entire
bird in any degree of perfection—indeed, a perfectly-marked tail is
seldom seen in a cock. Some birds have marbled tails; others have the
sickles splashed with white, which is equally objectionable, as the only
white which should be in the tail is the clear edging. The wing appears
almost white when closed; but the _inner_ webs of the wing-coverts
should be darkly penciled. A fine black edging should be observed on the
wing-coverts, caused by the ends of the _outer_ webs being also slightly
tipped with black, which gives the appearance of a slight and indistinct
bar on the wing. This point should be distinctly observable, but not too
coarse or heavy. The color of the secondary quills is also important.
They should be white on the outer web, except a narrow strip of black
next the quill, only seen when the wing is opened out, the wing
appearing white when closed. The inner web is black, except a narrow
white or gray edging. The fluff should be slightly penciled or gray. In
the hen the neck-hackle should be pure white, entirely free from any
marking whatever. The remainder of the plumage should be a clear,
silvery-white, each feather distinctly penciled or marked across with
bars of black, as clear and distinct as possible and in particular _as
straight across the feather as possible_. The finer this penciling and
_the more numerous the bars, the better_. This penciling should extend
from the throat to the very tip of the tail. A well-penciled tail is
very desirable, and quite difficult to obtain, as there is a special
tendency in the long feathers to lose the straightness across of the
markings. Tails penciled squarely across to the very tip can be and are
bred, but they are never common. One of the greatest faults to which the
plumage is liable is the irregular and “horse-shoe” style of markings
which we so often see in the breast, and, in fact, nearly every part of
the hen’s plumage. This is a most serious defect, and not less to be
noticed because of its frequency. A very usual fault is a light breast,
or not only light, but covered only with these horse-shoe markings. The
birds best marked on the breast are frequently liable to be spotted on
the hackle, and this latter fault is certainly much to be preferred to a
bad breast. However, the best marking on the breast is never quite equal
to that on other parts of the body.

A very desirable point is to have the rows of penciling on one feather
fall onto the rows on the next, giving the bird a ruled or lined
appearance. A coarsely penciled bird is not to be thought of in these
days—although such birds were formerly the rule—as they have a spotty or
speckled appearance, which is not the correct thing at all. A
finely-penciled wing in hens is almost impossible to find, many of our
best show birds being very bad in this respect, the markings being very
light and indistinct.

The penciling is much better the first year—or in pullets; with age it
becomes cloudy, mossy, or indistinct, so that a well-penciled hen is
quite rare. When they do moult out well the second or third season, they
are especially valuable, and should be retained for breeding as long as
they will breed. All tendency to brownish or chestnut colored feathers
(which sometimes make their appearance, although rarely,) should be
carefully guarded against, and when they do appear the bird should at
once be discarded for breeding purposes.

We have enumerated the faults to which this breed is liable so minutely,
not because they are greater than those of many other varieties, but
because they require the most skillful breeding to eradicate. As they
are among the most beautiful fowls we have, so are they among the most
difficult to breed to perfection, and they offer a fine field to
intelligent breeders, who like to feel that they owe the perfection of
their birds to their own efforts. Those men who want their birds _made
for them_, so that they will _breed easily themselves_, had better let
them alone, for they should only belong to the intelligent and
hard-working fancier, who will find them very pliable, and who _can_
reap the reward of his industry and perseverance in beholding in time a
fowl that in beauty and utility shall stand unrivaled throughout the

_Other Points._—The comb in Silver-Penciled Hamburgs is the same as that
described in Black Hamburgs, and averages as perfect as in any other
variety. It is usually rather smaller, with more “work” or fine points
on the top than the comb of the Spangled varieties. The ear-lobe should
be pure white, and is usually very good in this respect, it seeming to
be one of their firmly-fixed characteristics. The face has the same
tendency to white as in the other varieties, and this should be avoided
with like caution. In symmetry they are, perhaps, superior to the
Spangled varieties, and are equaled only by the Blacks in this respect,
birds poor in symmetry being pleasingly scarce. They are not quite so
full in the breast as the other varieties we have described, but have an
exceedingly graceful carriage, and are upright and sprightly in
appearance. Their legs are small, slender, and neat in appearance, and
in color, leaden-blue, which should be very dark—approaching black—in
young birds.

_Points in Breeding Silver-Penciled Hamburgs._—One good point in regard
to this variety is that the same birds will breed fine birds of both
sexes, if the stock is chosen with judgment. Some breeders use two sets,
but we do not consider that they are required, and much prefer to breed
from one yard. Of course, as we have said before, there will be, as in
all varieties, some strains or families that produce better birds of one
sex than the other; still, in this case there should be no great
disparity in the quality of the male and female birds. However, as it is
possible to breed very good show cockerels from hens with no quality of
penciling at all, it is very necessary, in making up a yard for
breeding, that the strain of the cock bird should be known to be a
well-penciled one. The hens will speak for themselves. It is very
satisfactory to remark that our most popular judges favor those cock
birds that possess the points most likely to produce good pullets; and
if such a bird comes of a strain known to produce good pullets, of a
penciling similar in character to those of the hens he is to be put
with, it is sufficient. His tail should be black throughout, the sickles
black except the clear white edging; the wing-bars should be
perceptible, but slight, though the wing-coverts which form it must be
darkly penciled on their upper webs. If there be too little color here
the pullets will lack color also; if the bar be too dark, the penciling
will most likely be coarse, heavy and spotty. As such birds as we have
described above are by no means common, and may not be readily procured
by the average breeder, we shall also give matings for breeding from two
yards, which will be necessary if this is the case; although, be it
distinctly understood, the above mating is our choice, and really the
only proper one.

_For Cockerels._—Mate the best show cockerel you can find with hens much
too light in the penciling to be fit for showing—tolerably marked, but
markings not heavy enough—and if they are irregular, it is no great

_For Pullets._—Mate a very dark cock with the very best hens or pullets
you can procure. It will make little difference if the cock’s sickles
are entirely black, and his body spotted in places; if he is only
_dark_, he will throw a fair lot of pullets if the hens be good.

The disadvantage of breeding from these two pens is obvious, as neither
strain thus produced can be relied upon to breed in any other way, and
many of the pullets hatched, even if they do not show the approach to
black spangling already referred to, are apt to have the broad and
coarse markings which we are trying to breed out as rapidly as possible.

A cock from the first mating described, if well marked, will throw very
fine pullets, while he will reproduce his own likeness in the cockerels.




                       GOLDEN-PENCILED HAMBURGS.

In point of markings, the Golden are fully as beautiful as the
Silver-Penciled Hamburgs, while the golden ground-color, which is their
distinguishing feature, while not so popular with the majority of
breeders as the silver, may yet be preferred by some. In point of
productiveness they equal the Silvers, laying a small, white and
finely-flavored egg. The young chicks of both varieties of Penciled
Hamburgs are rather delicate; they should not be hatched before April.
Another reason in favor of late hatching is that if hatched too early
they moult out like old hens at the time they should be laying, and so
lose that sharp and rich penciling that is so desirable in pullets.

_Plumage._—One of the most important points in the plumage of this
variety is the _evenness_ of the ground-color, which should be a rich
golden-color throughout. Some birds, otherwise good, are very faulty in
this respect, the ends of the feathers being a lighter gold than the
other parts. These birds, as the season advances, are apt to get still
more faded and washed-out in appearance; and, indeed, most birds fade in
color from the effects of the sun.

Some hens of a good rich color retain this much better than others,
which is a great point in their favor.

In cocks the same fault is common, appearing in the shape of a lighter
shade on the ends or tips of the feathers, on the breast and underneath
the body; avoid this as far as possible—the more uniform the color, the

The penciling should be exactly the same as in the preceding variety, as
distinct, and yet as fine as possible, and the more bars across the
feather the better—always providing they are straight across, and
clearly defined. The neck-hackle, as in the Silvers, should be clear.
The cock is of a darker tint, being almost chestnut in color; he must
not, however, be too red or too pale, but very rich in color. The proper
tail-feathers are black, the sickles and tail-coverts, or “hangers,” a
rich black, edged with brown or bronze, very narrow, and clearly
defined. The _American Standard of Excellence_ gives the required width
of this edging as about one-sixteenth of an inch.

Clear black sickles are a great fault, and so is a tail bronzed all
over, or with scarcely any black in it, being bronzed all over the
sickles. This last kind of a tail is very showy, and used to be a
favorite with judges who did not understand Hamburgs, but birds
possessing this defect have been proved to produce very poorly penciled

_Other Points._—The comb, ear-lobe, legs and symmetry in the
Golden-Penciled Hamburgs should be exactly the same as those described
in the Silver-Penciled. In symmetry, especially, they are fully their

The points in breeding are exactly similar to those explained in
connection with the preceding variety, and need not be repeated, the
best rule being to breed from the very best birds you can find on both
sides, care being taken to obtain a rich, even ground-color in all

                            WHITE HAMBURGS.

While we undoubtedly owe the White Hamburg to skillful English breeding,
it is a variety bred much more generally in America than it is across
the water, where it is regarded as a mere sub-variety of Hamburgs. The
variety was originally bred in England as an experiment, and was
obtained by selecting the lightest Silver-Spangled Hamburgs, both male
and female, and mating them together, each year selecting the lightest
progeny, until the pure white bird was procured. Thus it will be seen
that in spite of all arguments to the contrary, the White Hamburg is
really a _pure Hamburg_ in every particular. While they were a very
pretty variety, they were looked upon with considerable disfavor by the
English, who discouraged their breeding, and regarded them as an
innovation in the Hamburg family.

It is many years now since they began to be bred in America, and they
are much thought of for their many good characteristics, while they
figure quite prominently at our principal exhibitions. What has served
principally to discourage White Hamburg breeders, is the fact that so
many imitations have been made and thrust upon the public under that
name, that were really mere mongrels. The _only_ true White Hamburgs are
those which come from Silver-Spangled or Silver-Penciled Hamburgs, in
the manner we have described. Those with White Leghorn or White Dorking
crosses are _impositions_, and should be avoided by the fancier, who
will readily know them by their clumsy symmetry, large size and coarse


[Illustration: WHITE HAMBURGS.]


_Characteristics of the Variety._—The White Hamburgs should be pure
white in plumage throughout, with no signs of that undesirable yellowish
tinge so often seen on otherwise good birds. They should be _true
Hamburg_ in symmetry, avoiding the Leghorn or Dorking build, and they
should be (and are) no larger than the other varieties. Size is not a
point to be regarded in Hamburgs; it is their laying qualities we look
to, and this variety, while not quite up to the others in this respect,
is very productive. The comb in White Hamburgs should resemble that
described under the heading of Black Hamburgs. They should have a small,
round, white ear-lobe, by no means pendent, and bright red face;
carriage upright, sprightly and graceful.

_The Leg Controversy._—We have so far said nothing concerning the color
of legs in White Hamburgs, for the reason that there has been a spirited
controversy for many years among breeders as to whether they should be
_blue_ or _white_. It has been a great nuisance to the American Poultry
Association, who have found themselves persuaded, because of specious
arguments on both sides, to change their _Standard_ at least four times
on legs of White Hamburgs. It was originally decided by the _Standard_
committee that a white leg was proper. It was afterward changed from
white to blue, from blue back to white, then again to blue, and in 1879
to white.

Hon. Lewis F. Allen, who is perhaps our largest and most prominent
breeder of the White Hamburg, and who has done as much as any other man
to push the breed, says in a clever letter, which, however, betrays his
chagrin at the vacillating decrees of the _Standard_ committee:

“I have been so disgusted with the doings of the _Standard_ committee on
the points of fowls that I have determined never again to take any part
in its discussions, or show a bird in its exhibitions, although I still
keep and breed the White Hamburg with _white legs and beak_, which marks
truly belong to them, as they did when I first knew them, in 1870.

“I obtained my original birds from a gentleman who bought them in New
York—descendants from imported stock, I was informed. They were then,
and still are, _true_ Hamburgs in style and form, non-sitters, and
nearly constant layers; hardy in temperament, and, in short, very
satisfactory birds. They were successfully shown in several of our
poultry shows in Buffalo, and won prizes, the white legs and beaks being
entirely satisfactory to judges and the society.

“But when the American Poultry Association undertook to make a
_Standard_ of points for the various varieties of fowls, some of the
pretended ‘professionals’ introduced various innovations, and among them
accorded the _blue_ leg and beak to the White Hamburg, which was
adopted. Consequently, at the next show at Buffalo, my birds were ruled
out under the new _blue-leg_ regulation. The _Standard_ committee had a
full meeting during the show, and I went before them and showed the
absurdity of the new rule, and the committee decided to reverse the late
action and return the points of _white_ legs to the White Hamburgs. It
has since, however, been changed several times.”

Mr. Allen seems to have no doubt but that the _white_ leg is entirely
proper, and he shows himself to feel injured by the constant changes
made in the _Standard_; and indeed it has greatly injured the variety,
simply because breeders never could tell how to breed their birds so
that they would not be disqualified at the next season’s shows. That the
point between the two colors is a fine one is proved by the indecision
of the _Standard_ committee.

Through all the changes the Rev. C. W. Bolton has stood as firmly by the
blue legs as Mr. Allen has by the white ones, and his faith in their
propriety has never wavered. Mr. Bolton is one of our most prominent
Hamburg men, and has proved his skill as a breeder in showing some
excellent stock of the several varieties. He writes us:

“I know perfectly well that my White Hamburgs are _pure_ Hamburgs in
every respect. I have bred them myself from the Silver-Penciled
Hamburgs, with _blue_ legs, and all the characteristics of their
predecessors. For ten years I have never had a chick with legs of any
other color than blue, which shows that the _blue_ leg is a firmly fixed
characteristic, and properly belongs there.”

Why should other varieties of Hamburgs have a blue leg and the White
Hamburg a white leg? The blue leg is a distinct Hamburg characteristic.

We believe that when our final and unalterable _Standard_ is made, the
White Hamburgs will be credited with _blue_ legs.

_Points in Breeding._—The rule in mating White Hamburgs should be simply
to procure the birds which possess the finest combs, ear-lobes and face,
pure white plumage and blue legs. Guard against heavy, blocky forms and
coarse combs, and pay less attention to size than to proper symmetry.

                         CARE OF YOUNG CHICKS.

As so few breeders seem to have any clearly-defined ideas as to the
proper mode of caring for newly-hatched or growing chicks, and beginners
are not only wholly at sea in this respect, but have no place to which
they may turn and acquire the information that they have not yet been
able to gain through experience (which is by odds the best teacher, as
we are seldom able to profit by the experience of others), we have
thought best to prepare a few distinct and common-sense instructions,
which we have endeavored to render as full and explicit as possible,
without being so tedious or complicated as to mislead in any way the

To start with, there is one essential point in raising these delicate
little creatures—_care_. Give them plenty of care, and they will
thrive—_proper_ care, we mean. There are three primary things to be
guarded against in caring for very young chickens:

 1. Chilling.
 2. Vermin.
 3. Indigestible food.

For the first week, perhaps, nearly every old hen is faithful to her
little brood, and guards them with that maternal tenderness for which
she has been made the symbol of motherly love. But this care soon
wearies her, and in a few days she begins to neglect them, marching
around in the chill and drenching rains of spring, and dragging her
little brood after her through the damp grass, entirely oblivious of
their sufferings; and one by one they drop off and are left behind,
chilled through, or seized with cramp. Only the most persevering are
able to keep up, until, perhaps seized with a pang of remorse, she
spreads her wings and allows the little ones to find a temporary shelter
beneath her warm feathers. Even the strongest often succumb to
rheumatism and die after this dangerous exposure. This picture is not
overdrawn; it is of common occurrence. A proper coop, therefore, for the
hen and chicks, as soon as they are able to leave the nest is, and
always will be, regarded as a necessity.

Vermin is the second evil to be guarded against. Examine the chicks
carefully when first hatched, and should you find any lice on either
them or the hen, let your first move be to rid them of these pests,
which will else surely prove fatal to the young birds. Procure some
Dalmatian or Persian Insect Powder, and dust them thoroughly with it
until their tormentors are exterminated. And here let us recommend
_cleanliness_ in everything. The tender chicks cannot live in filth,
which breeds disease more rapidly than anything else. Keep your coops
clean, your houses clean, and your runs clean. It is a very important
element of success—indispensable, in fact.

On the _food_ depends in a great measure the growth and health of the
chicks. _Indigestible_ food avoid by all means. By indigestible we mean
sloppy and dirty food, and that which is sour. The best feed at first is
pure, sweet bread and milk, and hard-boiled eggs and bread crumbs mixed
together and crumbled with the fingers. Let them always have access to
plenty of pure water. Any form of grain is good for them as soon as they
will eat it, and after they are a few days old they will thrive on
cracked corn and oatmeal. As they get older whole wheat is an excellent
growing food. Green stuff they should have constantly after they are a
week old, and if it is too early in the season to give them grass, feed
a little lettuce, clipped fine with scissors, at least once a day. At
ten days of age they are ready to thrive on whole wheat as they will on
nothing else. Give them plenty of bone now, and never let your efforts
flag to _keep them growing_. When the chicks are fully feathered the
many dangers which constantly beset the lives of the youngsters are
usually safely passed, and, barring all accidents, it is pretty safe to
suppose that they will now pull through.

Nine out of every ten breeders then breathe a sigh of relief, and settle
down to a quiet summer, or leave home. The tenth breeder is sharper. He
not only stays at home, but he redoubles his attentions to his young
flock. He realizes that _now_ is the time when these future prize
winners demand all the care which he can bestow to _keep them growing_
finely. And he is right. It won’t do to slack up now. They need a
different kind of care. From endeavoring to keep the breath of life in
the little things, he changes his attention to a system of judicious
feeding, calculated to keep them growing rapidly during the propitious
summer weather. Alas, for the chick whom the cold weather catches
half-developed and half-feathered! August, September and October are the
finest growing months in the year, and those chicks which now have a
good start, if properly cared for and judiciously forced, will be the
ones to make a fine showing at the next winter’s exhibitions. In growing
they need plenty of bone meal and oyster shells, and an occasional
supply of fresh meat, if worms are not plentiful. Do not force them too
much, as in Hamburgs it induces the comb to lop and grow to an
undesirable size. Again let us recommend plenty of pure, cool water, and
vegetable food in quantity. Little attentions are never thrown away, but
will be amply repaid in time in a vigorous, large and healthy flock of


Condition means everything in showing Hamburgs, and without it many a
fine bird comes home from a show minus a prize that could easily have
been won had its owner known how to properly fit it for exhibition. By
“fitting it” we do not refer to the unscrupulous tricks resorted to by
unprincipled scoundrels who _mutilate_ and torture their birds to bring
them within the requirements of the _Standard_, but to the legitimate
preparation to which it is not only allowable to subject a bird, but
without which it is really a pity to send a good bird to the show room.
We are not going to recommend any practices which may not be fully known
and approved of by any judge, so that any exhibitor may have no
hesitation in following our instructions. For at least three weeks
before the exhibition all varieties of Hamburgs should be confined in a
darkened coop—not too dark, but with just light enough to enable them to
see to eat. We recommend this for the following reasons:

1. It serves to whiten in an astonishing degree the ear-lobe. We have
often seen a bird which, when placed in the darkened coop, had ear-lobes
discolored by exposure to the weather, come out at the end of three
weeks with pure milky-white ear-lobes _throughout_. During this
confinement the ear-lobes should be washed each day with sweet milk,
applied with a sponge.

2. This confinement is of great value in promoting a rich luster to the
plumage, making each color stand out distinctly, and giving the feathers
that glossy appearance so much desired. This matter of plumage is one of
primary importance. In Black Hamburgs the greenish gloss should be
brought out as much as possible, and in order to do this confinement in
darkened quarters is necessary. After they (the Blacks we are now
referring to) have been confined until about a week previous to the
show, they should be taken from the coop, and their feathers rubbed down
daily with a piece of flannel cloth. Hold the bird firmly on your lap,
and pass the cloth lightly down the back from the neck to the tip of the
tail, and keep up this rubbing steadily for the required time, say
fifteen minutes. You will be surprised to see the magnificent gloss
brought out upon birds that before were even slightly dull in appearance
of plumage. If your birds have the undesirable purple tinge, this will
bring it out more than you would wish, but if they have the _greenish_
sheen, it will make them glisten in a manner to delight your eyes.

The Whites are much improved likewise by this confinement, as it gives
the plumage a clear milky-white color, and it loses under this treatment
the yellowish cast they have acquired by exposure to the weather; only,
if they are bad in this respect, they should be put in their darkened
quarters at least a month previous to the exhibition. With
Golden-Penciled and Spangled Hamburgs this darkened coop is of much
assistance in bringing out the greenish spangles and brightening and
enriching the ground-color; and with these varieties, as with the
Blacks, we would recommend the gentle rubbing with coarse flannel.

Silver-Spangled and Penciled birds gain by their darkened quarters a
clear and distinct appearance in their markings, as it makes the
ground-color a beautiful white, furnishing a desirable background for
the colored feathers.

There is no help for a bad comb or a white face. The best way is never
to allow a bird with these defects to see the inside of a show room.
Birds with a tendency to scaly legs should have them rubbed with
Stoddard’s Poultry Ointment, beginning at least two weeks before the
show. If breeders would only attend to this repulsive appearance of the
legs in time, or whenever it makes its appearance, and treat it as
above, these remarks would be unnecessary. It is an eye-sore in any
bird, but particularly disgusting on the neat, slender legs of the

In fitting birds for show they should have a wholesome variety of food,
wheat and buckwheat being the staples. A little sunflower seed, fed at
judicious intervals for the six weeks previous to the show, has a very
desirable effect in giving them the gloss and finish so desirable, and
which is always observed in prize birds.

When the time arrives to coop the birds and start them off for the show,
great care should be taken that they are in proper trim. As each bird is
cooped it should be carefully examined to see that there are no symptoms
of disease, or any foul feathers in the plumage. Then take a sponge and
carefully wash the comb, wattles, face and legs with a mixture of equal
parts of sweet oil and alcohol, applying as little as is possible to
procure the desired effect—which is, by the way, a remarkable
brightening of the comb, wattles and face, giving them a rich, healthy
and bright appearance, and imparting to the legs a beautiful gloss,
which brings out their color with good effect.

If these instructions are carefully followed, you will hardly recognize
in the smart, clean-looking bird that graces the exhibition coop, the
soiled and dull appearing fowl you began fitting three weeks before. It
may require a certain amount of time to attend to these details
properly, but will you not feel amply repaid by beholding the prize card
on your coop, and having your brother fanciers comment upon the fine
condition of your birds?

                            HINTS TO JUDGES.

Very few of the leading and popular judges at our exhibitions are
Hamburg _breeders_, and realizing this, it should not be difficult to
imagine the chagrin and disappointment of an _experienced_ breeder of
these varieties when he stands by at a show and sees the judge award the
premiums to birds with many and glaring faults, to his eyes, but which
are never noticed by this oracle of the show room, who makes his figures
with a business-like alacrity, strongly savoring of ignorance to the
close observer, and appears thoroughly satisfied that he is “up to
snuff,” when in reality he has been absurdly unjust in his awards.

There is no breed which needs so careful examination from the judge as
the Hamburg, in each variety, not only on account of the many points to
be considered, but because there is _no_ breed so subject to the
manipulations of unprincipled exhibitors, or where there is more
lynx-eyed vigilance required from the judge to guard him against the
impositions of those pests of the show room—_trimmers_.

The points to which a judge should devote his attention in judging
Hamburgs may be divided into four divisions, namely: 1, head; 2,
plumage; 3, symmetry; 4, condition. Beginning with the first of these,
we find included under this topic—comb, wattles, ear-lobes and face.
There is no point in which Hamburgs are subject to such extensive
manipulation as in the comb, and some of the practices which have been
detected are of the most cruel nature. Cases where needles and pins have
been inserted lengthwise of the comb to keep it from lapping while the
judge is making his rounds, have been of common occurrence, although we
are pleased to note that as more good and small-sized combs are being
bred yearly, this practice seems to be falling into disuse. These
instruments of torture are usually inserted just before the judges
examine the birds, and withdrawn by means of pinchers immediately after
the awards have been made, so that they are really difficult to
discover. Where these needles are left in the comb, the most intense
suffering ensues, and Mr. Hewitt has drawn a most harrowing picture of
the tortures the poor bird is obliged to undergo. He says: “On the
second day, the comb becomes most intolerably inflamed, and I have seen
a fowl in its agony bend the head down, raise its foot, as with the
intention of relieving the comb by scratching it, stop the movement
midway without touching the comb at all, and then tremble like an
aspen-leaf.” When cases of such barbarity are detected, the exhibitor
should be remorselessly drummed out of the exhibition and the
fraternity. A very common fault in combs is a hollow or depression in
the center; and this is usually treated by cutting a wedge-shaped piece
out of the middle, and stitching the outside portions tightly till
joined and healed. Stitches put in for one purpose or other are often
found, and, we regret to add, are employed far oftener than found. Small
irregularities in shape and points are simply shaved off. Such
mutilations are quickly discerned by a practiced eye in the smooth
appearance of the comb when it has been cut, but as frequently this
appearance is due to a past accident, judges should not act hastily upon

Particular attention should be paid to the “work” or fine points of the
comb; the more numerous they are, the better. Hollows in the front of
the comb, above the beak, are common and objectionable, and should be
severely cut. Pullets should have _small_ and well-shaped combs. We
recommend cutting large combs in pullets, as they are almost certain to
fall over with age.

The face is also subject to painting red when it has a tendency to
white, and this is often discovered by the difference in the shade of
the comb and face, although sometimes the similarity of color is so
perfect as to defy detection. When we suspect painting, a gentle rubbing
usually suffices to prove if our suspicions are correct. This white in
the face is a direct disqualification in Black Hamburgs according to the
American _Standard_, but as we seldom find a two or three year old cock
without it, we think the _Standard_ should not thus _disqualify_ old
birds, but “cut severely as a defect.” Cockerels with this white face
should be thrown out without remorse.

Ear-lobes are often painted white, and sometimes quite cleverly, but
this is usually so bungling an operation as to be readily detected, if
you examine it carefully. Ear-lobes should be round and small. Cut
large, irregularly-shaped, and above all, _pendent_ ear-lobes. The
bluish tinge often seen on Hamburg ear-lobes should not be cut except in
cases of comparison. We do not like it, but it is often occasioned by
confinement, and is not a direct blemish. Wattles should be small and
well rounded. We recommend cutting a pendent wattle, such as is proper
to the Leghorn varieties.

Our second division treats of plumage, and here again the trimmer finds
a broad field of labor. White feathers in Blacks are pulled out, but as
these usually appear in the wings, if at all, the absence of flight
feathers should be accepted as proof of the previous existence of white
feathers. If there is any tendency at all to white in this variety, it
will usually be found by holding the bird by the legs head downward,
when the fluff feathers under the tail and between the legs will be
found to possess small white tips. We found the first prize birds at a
recent show distinctly tipped with white here, but the judge had never
noticed it. In the case of the spangled varieties, large quantities of
feathers are often extracted from the breast and back, when they are so
numerous that the black spangles run together.

This trimming out process, which is, of course, done to show the color
between the spangles, is very difficult of detection, and almost
impossible to positively prove. In the penciled varieties the attention
of the trimmer is turned to the tail of the cocks. A finely-penciled
tail is a rarity, and when a fine set of well-marked sickles are
obtained they are sometimes preserved “for future reference” (as it
were), and often figure in several different birds before they are worn
out. As these well-marked sickles often grow on a bird with a poor comb,
the owner usually selects his best marked bird otherwise, extracts the
poor sickles, and inserts the good ones in their place. The fastening
may get loose during the show, and then drop out, exposing the fraud at
once. These false sickles, however, are usually dull in color, lacking
the gloss of healthy feathers, and can be usually detected by a judge
who has his wits about him and is on the alert. Still, they are
sometimes so cleverly doctored as to defy discovery, unless subjected to
such harsh treatment as few judges feel justified in using upon mere
suspicion. A dark, glossy, sharply-edged tail on a cock with very slight
wing-bars should always excite suspicion.

Another frequent practice is dyeing feathers. This is often detected by
the absence of the glossy appearance seen on the remainder of the
plumage. Frequently, however, off-colored feathers will be plucked out,
skillfully colored and glossed, and successfully reinstated in their
places, with little chance of their being discovered. In spangled and
penciled birds, imperfect markings or blotches are often bleached out
with acids, and proper markings given the feathers with grease-paints,
which assimilate with the oily substance in the feather, and render
detection almost impossible. These various frauds make the task of a
conscientious Hamburg judge one of unusual anxiety and responsibility.
We may be blamed for mentioning these vile practices, but we believe
that any evil that may arise from our furnishing hints to the
unscrupulous will be more than counterbalanced by putting judges on
their guard who are much too apt to pass over these points rapidly and

The third division treats of symmetry, and right here let us say that
there is no point in judging Hamburgs so much neglected as this most
important one. We were dismayed to hear a judge, who was examining birds
recently, say: “You are pretty safe to cut a Hamburg one point for
symmetry.” What did he mean? Simply, we suppose, that he knew so little
about this quality that he resolved to cover his ignorance by refusing
to admit any bird to be perfect in this respect. There are too many
judges, alas, who agree with him, because they know not what symmetry
means. We have described the symmetry of Hamburgs under the heading of
the Black variety, and so need not repeat it. Only let us again warn
judges to discriminate between the undesirable _Game_ shape, and the
equally improper _Dorking_ mould in judging these birds. The Hamburg
symmetry is peculiar to the breed, and cannot be mistaken, and as fully
one-half the birds exhibited incline either to the Game or Dorking
symmetry, the distinct difference in shape should be understood by every
judge, and severely cut if not correct.

Our last division refers to condition, and this, also, is of much
importance in judging Hamburgs. It counts from five to ten points in
making up a perfect bird, and we believe there is not one case out of
ten where dark or dusty plumage, discolored comb or soiled legs are cut
by the judge. Unless the bird has decided symptoms of roup, or other
disease, it is simply passed over. A good judge invariably makes the
point of condition a primary one. It means a fresh, well-kept condition
of the comb and head, a fine, glossy plumage, upright and active
appearance, and clean, shining legs.

There is an indescribable difference between a healthy, active,
well-bred bird and one that, although it may be descended from pure
stock, having correct markings and the like, yet lacks vivacity, spirit
and a general air of _aristocracy_. If there be one breed of fowls above
others more worthy of being called the “upper-crust of poultry-dom,” we
are inclined to the opinion the breed under our consideration is that

Now, every man is not fitted to become a good judge of poultry, even if
he go through the regular process, any more than every one can become an
exact musician by undergoing the necessary course of training. There is
an inborn something that distinguishes one person from another and
certain it is that ideas of form, grace and coloring, above the
ordinary, are to be found in the composition of our best judges.

The question is often asked by officers of agricultural and
horticultural fairs, as well as by those of poultry exhibitions, if it
is not possible to have awards made without producing the hard feelings
and unsatisfactory results generally following. And we answer, “No!”—as
long as no more pains are taken in the selection of judges on the score
of their particular fitness for the position they are called upon to
fill. On their efficiency turn the questions of success, harmony, and
the keeping and securing of the public confidence and patronage.

We hope we have not been too severe upon judges in this chapter. A
really good judge will see the force of our arguments, and in the case
of the indifferent ones, we trust _verbum sapientibus omnes est_.

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