For the utility breeder of poultry, I would recommend the ‘How To Do It’ Poultry Book by ET Brown. Printed in 1927, it is a small hardback containing some 260 pages.
The book covers many aspects of selecting the correct frame, size and conformation of hens to breed for egg or meat production.
It advises clear, evidential ways in which to make the correct choice, and the significant influence of the male for both egg and meat breeding.
Clear instructions are given on the old custom of ‘caponizing’ cockerels (without the use of chemicals) to help fatten for the table. There is also great advice on mixing your own feed for better results.
Although written almost a century ago, much of the content is very relevant to pure breeds of fowl today.
My next two books are both directed specifically with the poultry exhibitor in mind.
‘Poultry Trade Secrets’ by George R Scott is a small hardback book printed in 1929, and contains just over 100 pages.
It lays down some great advice on types of ground suitable for various breeds, and how to make your own feeds to increase size in large fowl breeds, and maintain size in bantam breeds.
It places emphasis on the selection of cock and pullet breeders while in their infant feathers.
Many old and still viable solutions are found within its pages as to treatment of injuries, and cures for diseases in poultry. Copies of this book are hard to come by and I feel it a privilege that I own one which still has its original dust jacket!
Another by George R Scott, printed in 1934, is ‘The Art of Faking Exhibition Poultry’.
A small hardback containing approximately 130 pages, the original copy I own is like brand new, and also has its original dust jacket complete.
This little book covers so much in the showing world. It describes how to colour feed buffs and Rhode Island Reds, from young adolescent birds through to their adult feather growth, to improve and enrich their colour.
It also gives instructions on ways of removing and replacing broken feathers, and the enhancing and colouring of various leg colours, from yellow through to black and horn.
There is excellent advice on the perfect moult and how to successfully remove all old leg scales to produce a show pullet from a matured hen.
The fine art of bleaching white birds to remove ‘sunning’ and discoloured feathers is discussed, as is improving the white lobes, both by size and colour, on breeds such as Minorcas, Rosecombs and Leghorns, as is how to remove side sprigs, double serrations, fishtails and other comb faults without leaving scars.
There is also a chapter on the psychology of faking. Although this book was reprinted in paperback sometime in the early 1990s, much of the content was altered due to the controversary which surrounds the book’s title. I leave it up to the reader to decide… ‘Faking’ or ‘Showmanship’!
George Riley Scott was a very well respected breeder, exhibitor, judge and author on all aspects of poultry between the war years.
He was also secretary of breed clubs, including Rhode Island Red, Orloff, Jersey Giant and many others.
The years between the two world wars were, by a mile, the greatest times for the exhibition of large fowl and I find it of great benefit to have had the information printed and available from these particular times.
If you can find and purchase an original copy I would highly recommend it.
n Should anyone need help in acquiring these books, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
n I can be contacted on Facebook or by phoning 07526 099367.