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wild stocks, but we know that it was accomplished, and we see that one animal after another was added to the catalogue of his humble subjects, while, at the same time, empires were in their dawn, cities arose, political power became concentrated in various given localities; the interchange of national productions gave impetus to improvement; and the finer arts of life became developed from the rude germs of their primordial origin. At what precise point of time, or under what peculiar circumstances, our domestic animals respectively yielded to man's great mastery, and submitted to his service, are points buried in oblivion ; nor is it needful that they should be minutely ascertained. We know enough to feel that, in these conquests, of more solid benefit than those of the sword, we are presented with important considerations in the history of our species. And thus are we led to the axiom with which we started, that man began his career, not, as some philosophers tell us,

in the character of a degraded savage, but in that of a benefactor to futurity.

In the present work, we shall confine our observations to those of the feathered race which come under the general name of Domestic Poultry. We shall endeavour to treat the subject in a popular and interesting manner, divesting scientific details of that obscurity which, from the use of technicalities, the general reader too frequently complains is thrown around them.


Domestic poultry may be divided into three distinct groups,—first, the Gallinaceous group, of which the fowl, peacock, turkey, etc., are examples; secondly, the Columbine, or pigeon group, of which our domestic species are limited in number; and thirdly, the Aquatio group, domestic waterfowl, of which the swan, duck, and goose are familiar examples.

In habits, manners, instincts, and structural peculiarities, these three groups differ in very essential particulars.


Though many of the gallinaceous birds perch on trees, yet, in their characteristic habits they are birds of the ground; it is there that they search for their food, which consists of grains, seeds, root, especially those

of a bulbous nature, berries, the tender tops of vegetables, not excluding insects, and their larvæ, worms, and the like. Their limbs are strong and muscular, enabling them to run with ease; the tarsi or legs are covered with strong scales, and, in the males of many species, are armed with a sharp horny spur. The three anterior toes are furnished with strong claws, the hind toe is short, its point only touching the ground, and in some species it is wanting. From the muscularity of the limbs and the strength of the claws, the birds of this group are for the most part capable of scratching up the surface of the ground in quest of grains or insects ; many delight to throw the dust over their plumage, and wallow in the dry gravel or sandy earth. Swampy, humid situations are their aversion, and a continuance of heavy rains renders them dull and disspirited. As might be inferred from the nature of their food, the gallinaceous birds have a stout horny beak, with a tough membrane at the base, in which the nostrils are situated. The form of the body is plump, stout, and broad, with an ample breast. The. powers of flight are very moderate, and in most the wings are short, concave, and

rounded. In some, however, as the grouse tribe, they are pointed; but even in these flight is not performed without considerable exertion, and a rapid vibration of the wings, accompanied by a loud whirring. To those who have“ put up” pheasants or coveys of partridges this almost startling sound is familiar.

In the gallinaceous group there is a great tendency to the development of naked combs and wattles, and various naked fleshy or membranous caruncles about the head; the fowl has a comb, wattles, and a naked space on the sides of the cheeks ; but in the turkey we see the naked carunculated appendages much more extensive.

To the present group of birds one particularity in their internal structure is a strong muscular gizzard, lined with a tough leathery membrane. By the action of the two thick muscular sides of this gizzard on each other, the seeds and grains swallowed, (and previously macerated in the crop, and there softened by a peculiar secretion oozing from glandular pores) are ground up, or triturated, in order that their due digestion may take place. It is a remarkable fact that these birds are in the habit of swallowing

small pebbles, bits of gravel, and similar substances, which it would seem are essential to their health. The definite ,use of these sube stances, which are certainly ground down by the mill-like action of the gizzard, has been a matter of difference among various physiologists, and many experiments, with a view to elucidate the subject, have been undertaken. It was sufficiently proved by Spallanzani that the digestive fluid was incapable of dissolving grains of barley, etc., in their unbruised state, and this he ascertained by filling small hollow and perforated balls and tubes of metal or glass with grain, and causing them to be swallowed by turkeys and other fowls; when examined, after twenty-four and forty-eight hours, the grains were found to be unaffected by the gastric fluid ; but when he filled similar balls and tubes with bruised grains, and caused them to be swallowed, he found, after a lapse of the same number of hours, that they were more or less dissolved by the action of the gastric juice. In other experiments, he found that metallic tubes introduced at the gizzard of common fowls and turkeys, were bruised, crushed, and distorted, and even that sharp.cutting instruments were broken

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