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half-black. His whole body was exquisitely adorned with lines that were sometimes golden and sometimes silver, and it is wonderful what a beautiful effect this produced. His legs and feet were tinged with blue. The Hen, which in like manner is called Turkish, was all white, sprinkled over with black spots; the feet tinged with blue : the wattles were short, when compared with those of the male. The next Hen would seem the same, except that her neck was yellowish, and she had a sharp point on the top of her head, her feet altogether blue, and an immaculate tail. “I have observed another Hen of this kind, whose feet were entirely blue, spotted in the same manner as the foregoing with black and white, but behind its fleshy crest it had another of white feathers like a Lark, and that part of the neck and shoulders which in the other is black, in this changing from ash colour to dirty yellow.” It is a pity the description is not more precise. It is not clear whether the gold and silver lines are intended to be in the same or different birds. The reader can himself judge of the correctness of my translation. But Aldrovandi's large wood-cuts remove all doubt as to the variety intended. The figures given are evidently the Golden Hamburgh ; the Hens, one Golden, and one Silver. The very peculiar form of the comb, so recognisable at the present time, is clearly marked in these old wood-cuts. The fleshy rose comb of the Golden Hamburgh terminating in a sharp point behind, like the corner of a cocked-hat turning upwards, and which is seen in no other variety of Fowl, is well described by “apicem in vertice gerit.” The smaller and occasionally more semicircular comb of the Silver Hamburgh Hens is also well delineated in the Turkish Hen. Bolton Bays is another provincial term for the Golden Hamburghs, as Bolton Greys is for the Silver. In order clearly to fix the nomenclature, by the comparison of individual specimens of different localities, I purchased, in Hungerford Market, some birds that had been im
ported from Holland, another specimen of Herring on the New Road, and lately have been kindly supplied with a pair of Bays, and also of Greys, from Bolton, in Lancashire, and also with a Creole Hen from Wiltshire. The result of the comparison, and of the unanimous opinion of the London Poulterers, is, that the two varieties of Hamburgh, the Golden and Silver, include all these synonyms. The Bolton Bay from Lancashire differed most in her markings from the normal type, which we will suppose represented by Aldrovandi's Turkish Hen: but all the main points were correct, and for this difference I had been prepared. “When you receive your Boltons be sure that you do not draw any conclusions from their colour alone, for that is extremely varied. Many are quite as handsomely marked as the Spangled Poland, or the Pheasant-Malay.” The Bay Hen I received was marked very like a Golden Poland, (the crest, of course, being quite absent,) but that the ground of the plumage was of much richer and browner hue. Those persons, therefore, who wish to procure Golden Hamburgh Fowls from Lancashire, should state to their agents whether they desire them to be of barred or marginated markings. The Bolton Fowls average in Liverpool 38. each, which is cheap for those who wish to obtain a stock of this very distinct variety. All the birds that I received were very good specimens. The male Golden Hamburgh is a particularly beautiful creature; nothing but a full-sized coloured drawing can give an adequate idea of the extremely rich colouring and brilliant lustre of his plumage. It has been mentioned in the previous note that the males of the Bolton Greys differ somewhat in the quantity of black or dark grey which they wear: the Hens also vary slightly, some having a tendency to linear markings of black and grey, and others to spots of the same colours, but the difference is hardly more than would be seen amongst a brood of chickens reared from the same pair of Fowls. The Creole from the south of England was a very well-bred specimen,
having the peculiar comb, pointed behind, described and figured by Aldrovandi. The Bolton Bay Cock, from Lancashire, has a large very double comb pointed behind upwards, flat on the top, but covered with small upright points; the wattles are large, and there is a small white ear patch. The bill is short and lead-coloured; feet and legs also lead-coloured. Irides orange-brown. The hackle is composed of a mixture of brown, black, yellow, and green; back the same, only darker. Tail, black glossed with green, and having grey down at the base of the feathers. Quills of the wings, chesnut; wing coverts, metallic black; breast and under part of the body, black. The Hamburghs are commonly set down as everlasting layers. But no strictly universal rule, that will apply without fail to every case, can be laid down for Fowls any more than for men. Here, however, is decided evidence. “I have sufficient experience of the Bolton Fowls myself to enable me to say that they are everlasting layers when pure bred. My father had some very handsome Fowls, a cross between them and a large Poland Hen that was slightly inclined to sit. I can recommend this cross to the notice of those who wish for a larger breed than the Bolton. By retaining those with the largest top-knots a variety with large top-knots could soon be obtained. (Yes, but could it be retained 1) Some of the Grey Bolton Cocks have black tails and breasts, and others have the breasts mottled black and white: when these also have cream-coloured hackles, I think them very handsome. As to the occasional variation in the comb, I incline to the opinion that Hens more frequently come single-combed than Cocks, in breeds like the Hamburgh and the Malay.”—J. S. W.
THE CUCKOO FOWL.
WE here give, by the name by which it is usually designated in the Norfolk farm-yards, a variety which there is good reason to believe to be something old and distinct, though they are generally looked upon as mere barn-door Fowls; i.e., the mere accidental result of promiscuous crossing. But there are several forms among the barn-door Fowls so called, that are seen to be repeated generation after generation, the counterparts of which are to be met with scattered here and there over the country. So constant a repetition of corresponding features would seem to declare, that there are several unnoticed and undistinguished varieties of Fowl, which deserve to be regarded and treated as we do other distinct sorts. The objection to the adoption of this view and mode of practice is, that it would inconveniently multiply the number of species, and give additional trouble to naturalists and poultry-fanciers. But the multiplicity of Nature's works always has been infinite, in reference to man's power of understanding them. The only wonder, if we reflect is, that he has had the courage to grapple with them at all. At any rate, the investigation of a few families of Cocks and Hens, is a less laborious work than the arrangement of a “Systema Naturae,” or the writing of a “Kosmos.” The subject is certainly deserving of consideration, and may be the means of affording important service to natural history. Dr. Bechstein seems to have been not far from suspecting that several distinct varieties might be detected amongst the ordinary Fowls of the farm-yard. It might answer the purpose of the dealer to rear a pure stock of some of the handsomest and most useful of these, and send them forth with appropriate names, determined by competent persons, fixing the appellation of the variety.
The Cuckoo Fowl, it may be supposed, was so called from its barred plumage, resembling the breast of the Cuckoo. The prevailing colour is a slaty blue, undulated and softly shaded with white all over the body, forming bands of various width. The comb is very small; irides, bright orange; feet and legs, light flesh colour. The Hens are of a good size, the Cocks are large, approaching the heaviest breeds in weight. The chickens, at two or three months old, exhibit the barred plumage even more perfectly than the full-grown birds. The eggs average about two ounces each, are white, and of porcelain smoothness. The newly-hatched chicks are grey, much resembling those of the Silver Polands, except in the colour of the feet and legs. This breed supplies an unfailing troop of good layers, good sitters, good mothers, and good feeders, and is well worth promotion in the poultryyard.