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Full text of "The Plymouth Rock standard and breed book; a complete description of all varieties of Plymouth Rocks, with the text in full from the latest (1915) revised edition of the American standard of perfection as it relates to all varieties of Plymouth Rocks. Also, with treatises on breeding, rearing, feeding, housing, conditioning for exhibitions, exhibiting--etc."

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American PoumwAssoewnoN 



Class ^ 2 

Book A-.rti .31... 












INV. '60. 


The public is expressly forbidden, on penalty of the law, 
to reproduce, duplicate, copy, seek to imitate or to make any 
improper use of any of the illustrations contained in this 
book, all of which arc the exclusive property of The American 
Poultry Association, and protected by copyright in the United 
States, England and Canada. Permission to make quotations 
from the text of this book is granted, provided such quota- 
tions are disconnected, few in number, and are used solely 
for the dissemination of knowledge ; but these quotations must 
not be used to an extent nor in a manner that will injure the 
sale of this work, nor may they be used for advertising pur- 
poses, as in circulars, catalogues, etc. 

Notice is hereby given that any infringement of the copy- 
right on the contents of this book will result in immediate 


Copyright , United States, England and Canada, 1919, 

All Rights Reserved. 




HE organization of the American Poultry Association 

was effected at Buffalo, New York, February, 1873, by 

delegates from different state and county associations, 
prominent breeders, fanciers, and other interested persons 
from different sections of the United States and Canada. Mr. 
VV. H. Churchman of Wilmington, Delaware, was the first 
president and Mr. J. M. Wade of Philadelphia, the first secre- 

At that time the fundamental object of this organization 
was to standardize the different varieties of domestic and 
ornamental fowls, and to that end, a complete Standard of 
Excellence for all varieties then recognized, was formulated 
and adopted which was recommended as the guide for judging 
at all poultry exhibitions. The American Poultry Association 
has since broadened its scope. Its annual conventions have 
visited nearly all of our large industrial centers. 

The first edition of the Standard was issued in February, 
1874. It has been followed by several revised editions, but 
the work of the first Standard makers was so thorough, accu- 
rate and far-seeing that but few changes, and these of minor 
importance, have been necessary. Many new breeds and 
varieties, nearly all of later origin, have been admitted. After 
a few editions, the title "Standard of Excellence" was changed 
to read "Standard of Perfection" as one, theoretically at least, 
more in accord with its prescribed ideals. 

Until 1905, all editions contained text descriptions only, 
and no attempt was made to delineate ideal fowls. The 1905 
edition contains this innovation. The illustrations were line 
drawings by the best known poultry artists of that time. 
These were received with approval, in sufficient measure so 
that the plan of presenting outline illustrations of many of 
the leading varieties were continued. The type of illustrations 



was, however, changed to half-tone illustrations of retouched 
and idealized photographs of living specimens. These ap- 
peared in the 1910 edition after having been approved by the 
Thirty-fifth Annual Convention. 

It has been the general policy of the American Poultry 
Association to revise the Standard of Perfection every five 
years, this work being most carefully done by Revision Com- 
mittees chosen to represent as far as possible the interests of 
all sections of the country and of the different breed classifica- 

The last Revision Committee was appointed at the Thirty- 
sixth Annual Meeting at Denver, Colorado, 1911, and the pres- 
ent or 1915 edition of the Standard of Perfection includes the 
changes and additions made by this Committee with such 
further changes or amendments as were voted by the Associa- 
tion at its Thirty-eighth and Thirty-ninth Annual Meetings in 
1913 and 1914. 

The 1915 Standard is the basis for the present work, "The 
Plymouth Rock Standard and Breed Book," every detail apply- 
ing to this breed in the main Standard being reproduced ver- 
batim in this work. 





FOR a number of years there has been a growing demand 
among poultry breeders for the publication by the Ameri- 
can Poultry Association of what are popularly known as 
Separate Breed Standards — a series of books each one contain- 
ing the official Standard description of a single breed, and in 
addition, reliable and authoritative information in regard to 
the actual breeding of such fowls. 

This work the Association has now undertaken and this 
Plymouth Rock Breed Standard, the first of the series, will 
be followed promptly by the Wyandotte Breed Standard. It 
is the intention that additional numbers of the series shall 
follow as rapidly as is practicable. 

The first step taken by the American Poultry Association 
toward the construction and publication of Breed Books, re- 
ferred to at that time and even yet, as Breed Standards, was 
the adoption at the Thirty-second Annual Meeting, Buffalo, 
August 15, 1910, of a resolution presented by Grant M. Curtis. 

The presentation and adoption of this resolution was the 
outcome of a demand more or less general on the part of the 
breeders for separate "Breed Standards," each of which would 
describe completely one breed only, in addition to the com- 
plete work, the "American Standard of Perfection," which 
gives a description of best shape and color type of all breeds 
and varieties recognized by the American Poultry Association, 
as well as illustrations of both the ideal male and female of any 
of the leading varieties ; also, rules by which all breeds and 
varieties are judged at the poultry exhibitions of the United 
States and Canada, and graphic illustrations of the ideal comb, 
feather markings and the most common defects of standard 
fowls in shape, color, and markings. 

By the terms of the resolution, the scope of the work was 
much more comprehensive than the breeders in general had 



expected, and yet, by subsequent action of the Association, 
the scope of this work was to be still greatly enlarged. In 
another section will be noticed the method of ascertaining by 
eminently fair means the relative popularity in the United 
States and Canada of the different Standard breeds of poultry. 

The report of the Secretary-Treasurer at the Thirty-third 
Annual Meeting of the Association in August of 1908, showed 
that, according to the certified reports of the Secretaries of 
Poultry Associations, holding shows between October 31st, 
1907, and March 1st, 1908, in the United States and Canada, 
the Plymouth Rocks led all other breeds in number of birds 

At the Thirty-sixth Annual Meeting at Denver, August 
6-9, 1911, a resolution was passed, providing for a Plymouth 
Rock Breed Standard, as the first in the series, and creating a 
committee to edit and publish the same. 

The Committee appointed, consisting of D. M. Green, S. A. 
Noftzger, W. C. Denney, U. R. Fishel and A. C. Smith as Chair- 
man, representing, as actual breeders, five of the six Plym- 
outh Rock varieties. As yet, the scope of the work had not 
extended beyond that outlined earlier in this article, the idea 
being to give besides the descriptions, illustrations, definitions, 
graphic sketches, instructions to judges, etc., as found in the 
Standard of Perfection, a more complete history of each vari- 
ety, a more complete and clearer description of the shape and 
plumage, the common defects of each, and colored illustrations 
of the best natural feathers that could be secured. 

The committee as above named, presented a report with 
complete manuscript but with no new illustrations to the 
Thirty-seventh Annual Convention at Nashville. Tennessee, 
1912, but because the time to elapse before the next revision 
was held to be too short to warrant the expense of a work of 
this kind, the Association voted to withhold publication until 
after the next (1915) general revision of the Standard of Per- 

At the Thirty-eighth Annual Meeting at Atlantic City, 
August, 1913, this committee sat in conference with the 
leading breeders of Plymouth Rock varieties and others inter- 
ested and as the result of these conferences, the committee 
made a report which outlined a breed standard embodying 
several new features, such as articles on single and double 
matings, articles especially adapted to the needs of beginners 
on mating the different varieties, illustrations showing the 


relative proportions of the different sections, and the various 
markings found in the plumage of the different varieties. 

The Thirty-eighth and Thirty-ninth Annual Meetings 
merely ratiiied'the action of the Thirty-seventh in expressing a 
determination to publish Breed Standards after the publication 
of the 1915 Revision of the Standard of Perfection, which was 
not effected until the Fortieth Annual Meeting at San Fran- 
cisco, November, 1915. 

By the action of the Association at this meeting, the Breed 
Standards were put into the hands of the Standing Standard 
Committee, and by the terms of the same resolution, this com- 
mittee was empowered to employ artists, clerks, editors, etc., 
to proceed with the work, the expense of which was to be met 
by an appropriation by the Association of $2,000. 

A Breed Standard Committee was appointed at the San 
Francisco meeting, consisting of 

Grant M. Curtis 

E. E. Richards 

Arthur C. Smith 

W. S. Russell 

W. R. Graham 

This Committee held a meeting at San Francisco immediately 
after the adjournment of the Convention and another was 
held later at Buffalo, Xew York. 

This meeting, in April. 1916, was attended by Messrs. Cur- 
tis and Smith for the committee, the late Secretary Campbell 
representing Pres. Richards. Artists Sewell and Schilling, and 
a few members of the Association who were called for consul- 
tation. At this meeting the text and illustrations for the breed 
Standards were outlined in detail and a complete table of con- 
tents adopted, work upon which immediately began. Many of 
these illustrations were exhibited at the Forty-first Annual 
Meeting at Cleveland. Ohio. The meeting received the report 
of the committee and an appropriation to complete this work 
and publish 3,000 copies was voted by the Association. 

Later, the personnel of this committee was somewhat 
changed by the resignations of Messrs. Curtis and Graham and 
the appointments of Messrs. H. A. Xourse and T. F. McGrew. 




THAT the reader may get a eorrect understanding- of the 
scope and purposes of both the American Standard of 
Perfection and the separate Breed Standards, a few 
explanatory statements will be made at this point. First, the 
separate Breed Standards are designed to supplement the 
Standard of Perfection and not to supplant it. Again, the 
Standard of Perfection is a fully illustrated, well printed, and 
neatly bound volume of 368 pages, that gives a complete 
though necessarily somewhat concise description of all breeds 
and varieties recognized by the American Poultry Association 
as Standard-bred poultry, as well as illustrations of both the 
ideal male and female of most of the leading varieties ; also, 
rules by which all breeds and varieties are judged at the poul- 
try exhibitions of the United States and Canada, and graphic 
illustrations of ideal combs, feather markings, and the most 
serious defects of standard-bred fowls in shape, color, and 
markings. It is the poultry breeder's official guide, and is 
almost indispensable to all who are directly interested in the 
breeding of what is commonly known as "pure-bred fowls." 

For the separate Breed Standard, it has been argued that 
the average breeder who keeps only a single breed or variety 
is not as much interested in the description of the many other 
breeds found in this Standard. In practical application, he 
wants and greatly needs more than this, that is, reliable, prac- 
tical instruction in how to mate and care for fowls of the par- 
ticular breeds in which he is interested, in order that he may 
be able to produce as large a proportion as possible of speci- 
mens that shall approach closely to the ideals described and 
presented in the Standard of Perfection. 

The present volume, as the first of the Separate Breed 
Standards represents a conscientious effort on the part of the 
committee to render this service to the breeders of Plymouth 
Rocks. This book contains everything that appears in the 
Standard of Perfection that relates directly to Plymouth 
Rocks. In addition it gives full detailed information on the 
breeding, exhibiting, rearing and marketing of such fowls. 

( )bviously, it is impossible for this committee to formulate 
definite rules, the application of which may be expected to 



bring about the production of the highest exhibition qualities 
in Plymouth Rocks in every instance. The time may probably 
never come when hard and fast rules for all phases of breeding 
problems can be well laid down, but there is a vast difference 
between an attempt to achieve this seemingly impossible 
accomplishment and the policy of complete silence on the 
many problems that confront the breeder, especially the begin- 
ner, who, heretofore, has had no authentic source of informa- 
tion on the practical problems involved in the breeding of 
Standard fowls. 

And we believe that most breeders, certainly most of those 
who are inexperienced, will welcome reliable information de- 
signed to solve the many difficult problems associated with 
this task; will appreciate having in complete and connected 
form a plain statement of the fundamental principles involved 
in this work, and will welcome reliable guidance in working 
out the details of the special problems that confront them. 
(H. T. J.) 


The x^ssociation is indebted to Messrs. Homer T. Jack- 
son for several articles in Part I, M. L. Chapman for the 
article on conditioning W nite Birds, to T. F. McGrew for 
the treatises on White and Silver-Penciled Plymouth Rocks, 
to H. A. Xourse for the treatise on Practical Poultry Keeping, 
and to T. E. Quisenbury and AW R. Graham for articles on 
Utility Features of Plymouth Rocks. Their initials are ap- 
pended to the articles written. All articles not so appended 
were written by the Editor. 



PART ONE : Fundamentals of the Plymouth Rock Fowl. 
Page 11. 

PART TWO: Successive Stages of Development in Do- 
mestic Fowls. Page 40. 

PART THREE: Standard-Bred Plymouth Rocks. Page 61. 

PART FOUR: Plymouth Rocks For and In the Show 
Room. Page 337. 

PART FIVE: Practical Poultry Keeping. Page 387. 

PART SIX: Utility Features of the Plymouth Rock 

Fowl. Page 414. 





Nomenclature and Glossary of Technical Terms. Page 12. 
CHAPTER L Glossary of Technical Terms. 


The Score Card and Instructions for Judging. Page 26. 

CHAPTER I. Instructions for Judging Plymouth Rocks. 

CHAPTER II. General Disqualifications for Plymouth 

CHAPTER III. Rules for Cutting for Defects of Plymouth 


An Explanation of Standard Measurements and Color Terms. 
Page 34. 

CHAPTER I. Standard Measurements. 
CHAPTER II. Color Terms. 



Figure 1 

Diagram of Male 




Front of Hackle 

20 Primary-coverts 


Body Feathers 




21 Hack 






22 Saddle 







2'.i Saddle feathers 


."1 Hocks 




2 1 Sickles 


32 Shanks 





25 Smaller sickles 


33 Spurs 




Wing-coverts, wing-bar 

2(i Tail-coverts 


34 Feet 




Secondaries, wing -bay 

27-27 Main Tail feathers 


35-35 Toes 




Primaries, flights 

27A Under Tail-coverts 


36 Toe Nails 




Figure 2 

Diagram of Female 





20 Tail-coverts 





27 Main Tail Feathers 





27A Under Tail-coverts 





28 Body Feathers 




Secondaries, wing-bay 

29 Fluff 




Primaries, flights 

30 Thigh 





31 Hoch 





32 Shank 




Sweep of Back 

33 Spur 





34 Foot 


Front of Neck 



35-35 Toes 





36-36 Toe Nails 






(See fig- 


Barring. — Bars or stripes extending across a feather at right 
angles to its length, or nearly so. (See figures 3 and 4.) 
Bay. — A rich brown-red ; red with a brown tinge, similar to 
reddish chestnut. (Bay shows more red than mahogany. 
See mahogany.) 

Beak. — The projecting mouth parts of chick- 
ens and turkeys, consisting of upper and 
lower mandibles. (See figures 1 and 2.) 
Black. — Absence of spectral color. The oppo- 
site or negative of white. 
Blade, — The rear part of a single comb, back 
of the last well-defined point, usually ex- 
tending beyond the crown of the head, 
smooth and free from serrations 
ure 5.) 

Bluish. — Pure blue does not 
appear in the feathers of 
fowls. The color termed 
blue or bluish by poultry- 
men is produced by a 
mixture of black and 
white with the addition 
of a small percentage of 

red pigment. 

Brassiness. — Having the color of brass ; yel- 
lowish. A serious defect in all varieties 
of Plymouth Rocks. 

Breast. — As applied to fowls, this term is 
generally understood to mean that part 
which surrounds the fore part or keel 
bone. (See figures 1 and 2.) 

Breed. — A race of fowls, the members of 
which maintain distinctive shape charac- 
teristics that they possess in common. 
Breed is a broader term than variety. 
Breed includes varieties, as, for example, 
the Barred, White and Buff varieties of Figure 4. 

. , -r-,, . , -p, 11 i Barred Feather. Ideal 

the Plymouth Rock breed. (Male.) 

Figure 3. 
Barred Feather 
Ideal. (Female.) 




Breeder. — A broad, general term that designates the poultry 
raiser who produces fowls for any special purpose, with the 
object of improving their value, or in conformity with an 
agreed standard of excellence. 

Breeding In-and-in. — (See "inbreeding.") 

Brown. — A color formed by 
mingling red, yellow and 

Burr". — Standard buff color is a 

lustrous, orange yellow ; 

sometimes described as a 

soft, brownish yellow. 
Cape. — The short feathers on 

the back underneath the 

hackle, collectively shaped 

like a cape. (See figures 1 

and 2.) 

Carriage. — The attitude, bear- 
ing or style of a bird. 

Chick. — The young of the do- 
mestic fowl, properly ap- 
plied until the sex can be 
distinguished ; sometimes 
used to designate specimens 
less than a year old. 

Chicken. — Specifically, the young of the domestic fowl prior 
to the development of adult plumage ; also used as a gen- 
eral term to designate all domestic fowls except turkeys, 
ducks and geese. 

Class. — A group of fowls consisting of one or more breeds 
having a common place of origin or possessing certain spe- 
cial characteristics in common. 

Cock. — A male fowl one year old and over. 

Cockerel. — A male fowl less than one year old. 

Comb. — The fleshy protuberance growing on top of a fowl's 
head. All varieties of Plymouth Rocks have single combs. 
(See figure 5.) 

Condition. — The state of a fowl in regard to health, cleanli- 
ness and order of plumage. 

Coverts. — (See tail, flight and wing-coverts.) (See figures 1 
and 2.) 

Creaminess. — Having the color of cream ; light yellow. 

Figure 5. 
Ideal Comb for Plym- 
outh Rock Male — Any 
and All Varieties. 




Figure 6. 
Duck Foot (A Defect). 

Crop. — The enlargement of the gullet in which a fowl's food 
is accumulated before it passes to the gizzard. 

Cushion. — The mass of feathers at the rear of back of a fowl, 
partly covering- the tail. (See figure 2.) 

Disqualification. — A deformity or serious defect that renders a 
fowl unworthy to win a prize. 

Disqualified.— Applied to a fowl that is un- 
worthy to win a prize. 

Domestic Fowl. — \n individual of the genus 
gallus domesticus. 

Down. — The first hairy covering of chicks; 
also, the tufts of hair-like 
sometimes are found on the 
shanks, toes, feet or webs of 
feet of fowls. 

(NOTE.— If the quill and 
web are discernible to the 
eye, it is a "feather.") 

Duck-Footed. — The hind toe car- 
ried forward. (See figure 6.) 
Ear-Lobe. — The fold of bare skin just below the ear. (See 
figures 1 and 2.) 

Edging. — A narrow border of white or light 
color along the side or around the end of a 
darker colored feather. 
Excrescence. — A disfiguring, abnormal or su- 
perfluous outgrowth. 
Face. — The bare skin on the head of a fowl around 
and below the eyes. (See figures 1, 2 and 5.) 
Faking. — Removing, or attempting to remove, 
foreign color from the face or ear-lobes when 
it is a disqualification ; removing one or more 
side sprigs ; trimming a comb in any man- 
ner ; artificial coloring or bleaching of any 
feather or feathers; splicing feathers; injur- 
ing the plumage of any fowl entered by an- 
other exhibitor ; plugging up holes in legs of 
smooth-legged varieties where feathers or 
stubs disqualify ; staining of legs ; in fact, 
any self-evident attempt on the part of an 
exhibitor to deceive the judge and thus ob- 
tain an unfair advantage in competition. 



Figure 8. 
"Frosting" on the 
Otherwise Black 
Breast of a Male. 

Fancier. — A breeder of poultry who seeks to produce chickens, 
turkeys, ducks or geese in conformity with an ideal or 
prescribed standard of excellence. 

Feather. — A growth formed of a discernible 
quill or shaft and a vane (called "web") 
upon each side of it. (See figures 7 and 
11.) (NOTE.— When quill is not dis- 
cernible to the eye, it is down.) 
Flights. — The primary feathers of the wing, 
used in flying but out of sight, or nearly 
so, when wing is folded. (See figures 1 
and 2.) 

Flight Coverts. — The short, moderately stiff 
feathers, located at the base of the wing 
primaries or flight feathers, and partly 
covering their quills. (See figures 1 and 2.) 
Fluff. — The soft feathers about thighs and 
posterior part of fowl ; also the soft 
downy part of a feather. (See figures 1 
and 2.) 

Foreign Color. — Any color on a feather 
that differs from the color prescribed 
for such feather as a part of the plum- 
age of a Standard-bred fowl. 
Fowl. — A term gener- 
ally used to denote 
the common, do- 
mestic cock or hen. 
Frosting. — A white 
or light colored 
marginal edging 
or tracing on feath- 
ers of laced or pen- 
c i 1 e d varieties. 
(This type of lac- 
ing (see figure 8) in 
the breast of a male, 
red in the case of the 
Partridge Plymouth 
Rock or silver white 
in the Silver-Pencil- 
ed Plymouth Rock, 

Striped Neck (Hackle; 
Feather, Male (Ideal). 

Figure 10. 
Striped Neck Feath- 
er, Female (Ideal). 



may denote that the specimen belongs to a line bred for 
production of exhibition females.) 
Gray. — A color formed by blending white and black, frequent- 
ly with a dash of red or other primary colors. In common 
usage, black modified by white to form a dull whitish tint. 


Figure 11 


A, Quill or shaft at the root of feather. (See technical terms.) 

B, Tip or point. (Extreme outer end.) 

C, C. Fluff and undercolor. (See technical terms.) 

D, D. Web and surface color. (See technical terms.) 

E, E. Fringe (or border). 

The fringe is that portion of a feather at the extremities of the web and tip 
where the fibers are not joined by barbules. In self or solid colors, this border or 
edge is more glossy than the web. In parti-colors the color changes usually at the 
junction of the central web and the border as in hackle of a Columbian Plymouth 


Figure 12. 
Mealy (Defective) 

Hackle.— The neck plumage of males, formed of the hackle 
feathers. (See figures 1 and 9.) 

Hackle Feathers. — The long, narrow feathers 
growing on the necks of the males. (See 
figures 1 and 9. ) 

Hangers. — A term sometimes applied to the 
smaller sickles and tail-coverts of males. 
(See figure 1.) 

Head. — The part of a fowl composed of skull 
and face, to which the comb. beak, wattles 
and ear-lobes are attached. (See figure 1.) 

Hen-Feathered. — A male bird that resembles a 
hen, owing to the absence of sickles, pointed 
hackle feathers, etc., is said to be "hen- 

Hock.- — (See "knee-joint" ; also, figure 1.) 

Horn-Color. — Dark, bluish gray under an en- 
ameled surface. 

Inbreeding. — The breeding of very closely related individuals, 
as sire and offspring, dam and offspring, or brother and 
sister. The closest form of line breeding. 

Iridescent. — Exhibiting colors like those of a 

rainbow ; a prismatic play of color. 
Keel. — The median ridge on the breastbone of 

Knee-joint. — In fowls, the joint between the 
thigh and shank is called the knee-joint. 
(See figures 1 and 2.) 
Knock-Kneed. — A deformity in which the legs 
come too near together at the knee-joints, 
and are bent outward, laterally, below the 
knees. (See plates 15 and 16. figures 1 and 
1. pages 131 and 132.) 
Leg. — Includes thigh and shank. 

1 and 2.) 
Line-Breeding. — Breeding from 

female of the same strain or line of descent. 
Lopped-Comb. — A comb falling over to one 
side. To disqualify for a lopped single 
comb (See "General Disqualifications), 
some portion must fall below the horizontal plane where 
the comb begins to lop. (See plate 7, figure 1. page 117.) 

(See figures 

Lale and 

Figure 13. 
Mossy (Defective) 



Luster. — The special brightness of plumage that gives bril- 
liancy to the surface color of the fowl or section. 
Mahogany. — A brownish-red. (See Bay.) 

Mealy. — Having the appearance of being sprinkled with meal. 
Applied to buff or red varieties where the ground color 
is stippled with a lighter color. (See "Stipple," also fig- 
ure 12.) 

Mossy. — Irregular, dark penciling appearing in feathers and 
destroying the desirable contrast of color. (See figure 13.) 

Mottled. — Marked on the surface with spots of 
different colors or shades of color. 

Nostrils. — Opening beginning at base of beak 
and extending into the head. 

Obtuse Angle. — An angle greater than a right 
angle, i. e., one containing more than ninety 
degrees. (See figure 25.) 

Parti-Colored. — A term applied to feathers or 
fowls having two or more colors. 

Pen. — (Exhibition) A male and four females of 
the same variety. 

Penciling. — Small markings or stripes on a 
feather. They may run straight across, as in 
the Penciled Hamburgs, in which case they 
frequently are called "bars," or may follow 
the outline of the feather, taking a crescentic 
form, as in Silver Penciled and Partridge Plymouth Rocks. 
(See figure 14. ) 

Peppered — Peppering. — Sprinkled with gray or black. (See 

Pinion Feathers. — The feathers attached to the joint of the 

wing that is most remote from the body. 
Plumage. — The feathers of a fowl. 

Poultry. — Domesticated fowls reared for exhibition, or for 
their eggs, flesh, or feathers. Poultry includes chickens, 
turkeys, geese and ducks. 

Primaries. — (See "Flights.") 

Profile. — A direct side view of a fowl. Applied to live speci- 
mens and to illustrations. 

Pullet. — A female fowl less than a year old. 

Pure-Bred. — Technically, a fowl whose breeding is "pure" 
with respect to certain characters. In general use, the term 
often is inaccurately used when "Standard-bred" is meant. 

Figure 14. 
Penciling, Cres- 
centic Form 


;tem of a feather. 

Red covers a wide 

Purple. — A color produced by a combination of red and blue; 
includes all shades produced by this combination, such as 
lilac, violet, etc. 
Quill. — The hollow,, horny, basal part or 

(See "Shaft"; also, figure 7.) 
Red. — The spectral color opposite to blue. 

range of hues and shades. 
Rump. — The rear part of the back of a fowl. 
Saddle. — The rear part of the back of a male bird, extending to 
the tail and covered by the saddle feathers. ( See figure 1.) 

Saddle Hackle. — The long, narrow, pointed 
feathers growing from a male bird's sad- 
dle and drooping at the sides. (See fig- 
ure 1.) 

Scaly Leg. — One with incrustations or de- 
posits upon and beneath the scales. 
Secondaries. — The long quill feathers that 
grow on the second joint or fore-arm of a 
fowl's wing, visible when the wing is 
folded. With the primaries, they consti- 
tute the main feathers of the wing. (See 
figures 1 and 2.) 
Section. — A distinct part or portion of a 
fowl's body ; especially one of the parts 
or portions considered in judging fowls. 
Self-Color — Solid-Color. — A uniform color 
unmixed with any other. 
Serrated. — Xotched along the edge like a saw. 
Serration. — A Y-shaped notch between the points of a single 

Shaft. — The stem of a feather, especially the part filled with 

pith, which bares the barbs. ( See figure 7.) Properly the 

part to which the vane is attached, but 

sometimes applied to the entire stem, 

including quill. 
Shafting. — The shaft of the plume portion 

of a feather, being lighter or darker in 

color than the web of the feather. (See 

figures 7 and 15.) 
Shank. — The lower scaly portion of a fowl's Figure 16. 

leg, exclusive of the feet and toes. (See One Form of Side 

r 1 j i \ Sprigs (A Disqualihea- 

figures l and 2.) tion). 

Figure 15. 
One Form of Shaft- 
ing (A Defect). 



Figure 17. 
Slipped Wing and Twisted 
Feather (Defects). 

Sickles. — The long, curved feath- 
ers of the male bird's tail, prop- 
erly applied to the top pair 
only, but sometimes used in re- 
ferring to the prominent tail- 
coverts, which are also called 
smaller sickles. (See figure 1.) 
Side Sprig. — A well- defined, point- 
ed growth on the side of a sin- 
gle comb. (See figure 16; also, 
plate 7, figure 5, page 117.) 
Single Comb. — A comb consisting of a single thin, fleshy, ser- 
rated formation, rising from the beak and 
extending backward over the crown of the 
head and in males, beyond the head. (See 
figure 5.) 

Slate. — Gray, of medium or dark shades. 

Slipped Wing. — A wing of a fowl not closely 
folded and held up in proper position ; a de- 
fect resulting from injury or from weakness 
of muscles of wing. (See figure 17.) 

Smaller Sickles. — See "Sickles." 

Splashed Feather. — A feather with colors scat- 
tered and irregularly intermixed. (See fig- 
ure 18.) 

Split Comb. — A single comb which is divided per- 
pendicularly and the two parts overlap. (See 
figure 19.) 

Spur. — A horn-like protuberance growing from the inner side 
of the shank of a fowl. It may be knob- 
like or pointed, according to the age 
and the sex of the fowl. (See figure 1.) 
Squirrel Tail. — A fowl's tail, any portion of 
which projects forward, beyond a per- 
pendicular line drawn through the junc- 
ture of tail and back. (See figure 20.) 
Standard-Bred. — Fowls bred to conform to 
the requirements of the American 
Standard of Perfection. 
Figure 19. Stern. — The lower or under part of the 

Split Comb. Showing . r r 1 

the Tendency of the posterior SeCtlOll Of a fOWl. 

Blade to Divide Perpen- 0 . , \r i ,• 1 

dicuiarly (Disquaiifica- Stipple. — \ erb, to execute on stipple, 1. e.. 

tion) . 

Figure 18. 
Splashed (De- 



to draw, paint or engrave 
by means of dots instead 
of lines. Noun, the ef- 
fect obtained in color 
work by the use of dots 
instead of strokes or 
lines. (See figure 21.) 

Strain. — A family of any va- 
riety of fowls bred in line 
by descent by one breed- 
er, or successor, during a 
number of years, that has 
acquired individual char- 
acteristics which distin- 
guish it more or less from 
specimens of other 
strains of the same variety. 

Stripe. — A line or band of 

tion i 


Figure 20. 

Tail. (A Disqualifica- 
n Plymouth Rocks). 

regular or irregular in 
color of feather. (See 

torm, that differs from the body 
figures 9 and 10.) 
Striped Feather. — A feather, the surface of which contains a 
line or lines of color, regular or irregular in form, differing 
from the body color. When more than one stripe is present 
the feather is said to be laced, or barred, or pencilled. 
Stub. — A short feather or portion of a feather, when found 
between or under scales of shanks or toes. 

Surface Color. — The color of that portion of the 
plumage of a fowl that is visible when the 
feathers are in their natural position. 
Symmetry. — Perfection of proportion ; the har- 
mony of all parts or sections of a fowl, viewed 
as a whole, with regard to the Standard type 
of the breed it represents. 
Tail-Coverts. — The curved feathers in front of 

and at the sides of the tail. (See figure 1.) 
Tail Feathers. — Main ; the straight and stiff 
feathers of the tail that are contained inside 
the sickles and tail-coverts ; the top pair are 
sometimes slightly curved, but generally are 
straight. (See figures 1 and 2.) 
Thigh. — That part of the leg above the shank. 
(See figures 1 and 2.) 



Thumb-Mark. —A disfiguring depression which sometimes ap- 
pears in the sides of a single comb. (See plate 7, figure 3, 
. Page 117.) 

Ticking. — Small specks of color on feathers, that differ from 
the ground or body color. 

Tipped. — A term applied to a feather the web end of which 
differs in color from the color of the body or main portion 
of the feather. 

Trio. — One male and two females of the same variety. 

Twisted Comb. — An irregularly shaped comb falling or curv- 
ing from side to side, being distorted from the normal per- 
pendicular position. (See plate 7, figure 2, page 117.) 

Twisted Feather. — Feather with quill or shaft twisted. (See 
ure 17.) 

Typical. — Expressing a characteristic in color or form, repre- 
sentative of a breed or variety; for example, typical shape, 
meaning the form peculiar to a breed. 

Undercolor. — The color of the downy portion of the plumage, 
not visible when the plumage of the fowl is in natural 
position. (See figures 7 and 11.) 

Variety. — A sub-division of a breed (See definition of "breed") 
used to distinguish fowls having the Standard shape of 
the breed to which they belong, but differing in color of 
plumage, shape of comb, etc., from other groups of the 
same breed. The general difference between the terms 
"breed" and "variety" is well brought out in the statement 
popular among breeders and fanciers: "Shape makes the 
breed ; color, the variety." 

Wattles. — The pendant growth at the sides and base of beak. 

Web. — Web of Feather : The flat portion of a feather, made 
up of a series of barbs on either side of the shaft. (See 
figure 7.) Web of Feet: The flat skin between the toes. 
Web of Wings : The triangular skin between the shoulder 
and forearm of wing. 

White. — A composition of all colors ; the opposite of black. 
Enamel White : White with glossy surface. Silvery White : 
A metallic, lustrous white, without trace of yellow. 

Wing-Bar. — The stripe or bar of color extending across the 
middle of the wing, formed by the color or markings of the 
wing-coverts. (See figure 1.) 

Wing-Bay. — The triangular section of the wing, below the 
wing-bar, formed by the exposed portion of the secondaries 
when the wing is folded. (See figures 1 and 2.) 



Wing-Bow. — The upper or shoulder part of the wing. (See 

figures 1 and 2.) 
Wing-Coverts. — The small, close feathers clothing the bend 
of the wing and covering the roots of the secondary feath- 
ers. (See figures 1 and 2.) 

Wing-Frcnt. — The front edge of the wing 
at the shoulder. This section of the 
wing is sometimes called "wing-butt." 
The term wing-front is recommended, 
thus avoiding confusion. (See figures 
1 and 2.) 

Wing-Point. — The ends of the primaries, 
sometimes erroneously called "wing- 
butts." (See figures 1 and 2.) 
Wry Tail. — Tail of a fowl turned to one 
side, permanently so. (See figure 22.) 
Yellcw. — The spectral color between 
green and orange, similar to gold ; as 
applied to fowls' legs, beaks, etc., a 
rich, lemon-yellow is meant. 

(A Disqualification.) 




MERIT. — The merit of specimens shall be determined by 
a careful examination of all sections in the "Scale of 
Points," beginning with symmetry and continuing 
through the list, deducting from the full value of each section 
of a perfect specimen, for such defects as are found in the spec- 
imen. Judges must familiarize themselves with the scale of 
points of each breed they are to pass upon to intelligently 
award prizes. And it must be understood that no more and no 
less value can be placed on any section than is provided for in 
the "Scale of Points." And it shall be further understood that 
this system must be applied whether judged by score-card or 
comparison. The minimum cut for any section shall be one- 
fourth of one point. 

Weight. — All specimens shall be judged according to their 
Standard weights, provided, however, that the disqualifying 
weight for chicks shall not apply until December first of 
each year. Deduct two points per pound for amount lacking 
from Standard weights, and in that proportion for any frac- 
tional part of a pound, using one-fourth pound as a minimum, 
the specimen to have the benefit of any fraction less than 
one-fourth pound. 

When adult specimens are equal in score and are above 
or below Standard weight, the one nearest weight shall be 
awarded the prize, except when one specimen is cut for 
weight, and the others are not, in which case the specimen 
that is Standard weight or above shall be awarded the prize. 
In the case of chicks of immature specimens having an equal 
score, when cut for lack of weight, the one of less weight 
shall be awarded the prize ; but when each of such specimens 
is of Standard weight, or over, the one nearest weight shall 
be awarded the prize. 

(CAUTION — The weight clause must not be understood 
to mean that a small but over-fat specimen is within the spirit 

This chapter is taken from the Standard of Perfection, and is 
quoted verbatim, except for changes made necessary by the omission 
of such instructions as in no way apply to the judging of Plymouth 


of the meaning of the Standard ; the size must be propor- 
tionate to the weight, preserving the ideal shape and type 
of the Standard specimen.) 

Reweighing. — The judge may. at his option, demand the 
reweighing of the specimens in competition, in all cases where 
Standard weights apply. 

Wing Division. — In discount- 
ing the color of wings, the sec- 
tion shall be divided into three 
separate parts, allowing two 
points for fronts, wing-bow and 
bar ; two for primaries and pri- 
mary-coverts ; two for secon- 
daries and no greater value can 
be placed on any one of these 
parts. (See figure 24.) 

Scores Entitling Specimens 
to Prizes. — To receive a first 
prize the specimen must score 
ninety points or more, except 
cocks of all parti-colored va- 
rieties, which may be awarded 
first prize, provided they score 
eighty-eight points or more. For 
each receding prize drop one 
point. A pen to win first prize 
must score one hundred and 
eighty points or more, unless it 
contains a cock of a parti-col- 
ored variety, in which case one hundred and seventy-eight 
points or more may win first prize ; but first prize shall not 
be given on a pen if the 
male in the pen scores 
less than eighty-eight 
points. No prize shall 
be awarded an exhibi- 
tion pen if any specimen 
in the pen scores less 
than eighty-five points. 

Sweepstake Prizes. — 

In competition for 

sweepstake prizes, when Figure 25. 

Diagram Showing Degrees from Horizontal. 

Figure 24. 
Showing Divisions of Wing. 
1 Flights or Primaries 2 Secondaries 
3 i-ronts, wing-bows and bar. 



solid-colored specimens compete with parti-colored specimens, 
white specimens shall be handicapped two points each, black 
specimens one and one-half points each, buff specimens one 
point each; after such reduction, the specimen having the 
highest score, or the specimens having the highest average 
or combined score shall be awarded the prize. 

Old and Young Specimens. — All other points being equal, 
where prizes are offered on old and young specimens com- 
peting together, the former shall be awarded the prizes. 

Faking. — Faking of any description shall debar from com- 
petition specimens so treated. (See Glossary for what is 
meant by "Faking.") 

Creaminess or Brassiness. — In White Plymouth Rocks the 
presence of brassiness on surface, or creaminess of quills or 
undercolor is a serious defect and is to be discounted accord- 

Bleaching by means of chemicals is such a harmful prac- 
tice that where it is proved by other evidence than the con- 
dition of the specimen, or specimens, such bleached specimen 
shall be considered faked and disqualified. 

Score of Exhibition Pen. — To ascertain the score of an ex- 
hibition pen, add the scores of the females together and di- 
vide the sum by the number of females in the pen ; to the 
quotient thus obtained, add the score of the male and this 
sum shall be the score of the exhibition pen. 

Dated Score Cards. — All score cards made out by judges 
applying the Standard are to be dated with ink, indelible pen- 
cil or stamp on the date the specimens are judged. 

Defective Score Card. — It shall be considered irregular for 
a judge to sign a score card unless the weight is considered, 
regardless of the season. 

Private Scoring. — Private scoring of specimens is not ad- 
visable and members of this Association are directed not to 
lend their support to the practice as a selling method. Judges 
are ordered to weigh each specimen and apply the proper cut 
and to make proper cuts for the condition of the specimen 
at the time the fowl is scored. 

Ties. — In case of ties between two or more specimens that 
cannot be broken by any of the previous rules, the specimen 
receiving the smallest total sum of cuts for shape shall be 
awarded the prize. In case of ties on exhibition pens, when 
the tying pens contain either all old or all young specimens, 


the adult pen shall win ; when the tying pens are both adult 
or both young, the pen containing the highest scoring male 
shall win ; when one of the tying pens contains females of 
mixed ages, the pen containing the highest scoring male shall 
win ; when one of the pens contains all hens or all pullets, 
while the other contains females of mixed ages, the pen having 
all the females either adult or young shall win ; when the tie 
cannot be broken by any of the above rules, the pen contain- 
ing the lowest total of shape cuts in the five main shape sec- 
tions shall win. 


Typical Shape. — In awarding prizes by comparison, judges 
must consider carefully each and every section of the speci- 
men, according to the Scale of Points and not allow color 
alone, or any one or two sections to influence their decisions. 
The vital importance of typical shape is to be borne constant- 
ly in mind, at the same time giving due consideration to color 
in all sections, including undercolor. 

Handling. — All specimens in competition must be handled 
and examined by the judge, except those that show decided 
inferiority as seen in coops. 

Disqualifying Weights. — Specimens falling below disqual- 
ifying weights after December first of each year must be de- 
barred from competition. 

Standard Size. — In determining size, the judge shall de- 
cide by comparing the specimens in competition with due re- 
gard to weight in all breeds and varieties. When a bird fails 
to attain, or in case it exceeds, the size proportionate with the 
type or shape, it must be discounted quite severely. 

Color Defects. — A few. very small, grayish specks in white 
fowls shall not debar a specimen that is otherwise superior in 
color from winning over one less typical in shape and sound 
in color ; provided, however, that the gray specks do not ap- 
pear prominently in the primary, secondary or main tail 

Scaly Legs. — A fowl whose legs and toes are so deformed 
by what is called "Scaly Legs" as to hide or to appear to have 
destroyed the color, shall not be awarded a first prize. 

Note. — Under the comparison system, judges must deduct 
the full valuation of the cuts in all sections where a specified 
cut is made under the heading of "Cutting for Defects." 





If, in applying the Standard of Perfection, judges find any 
of the defects described below, they shall disquality the speci- 
men and state on the proper card or blank the nature of the 
disqualification : 

Specimens unworthy of a score or lacking in breed charac- 

Any feather or feathers, stubs or down on shanks, feet or 
toes ; or unmistakable indications of feathers, stubs or down 
having been plucked from same. 

Plucked hocks. 

Web feet. 

More or less than four toes on either foot. 

Legs or toes of color foreign to the breed. 

A wing showing clipped flights or secondaries or both. 

Deformed beaks. (See figure 5, plate 7, page 117.) 

Decidedly wry tails. 

Crooked backs. 

Lopped combs. 

Combs foreign to the breed. Split combs. (See figure 19.) 

A comb which merely turns over a trifle from the natural, 
upright position is not to disqualify. 

Side sprig or sprigs. (See figure 16.) 

Entire absence of main tail feathers. 

Decidedly squirrel tail. (See figure 20.) 

Positive enamel white in ear-lobes or unmistakable evi- 
dence of an attempt to remove such defect. 

Any appearance of crest or beard. 

A specimen falling more than two pounds below Standard 

Faking in any manner shall disqualify the specimen. 

Under all disqualifying clauses, the specimen shall have 
the benefit of the doubt. 

Note. — Red pigment on sides or back of shanks is not to 
be considered a defect. 




These cuts should not be confused with nor take prece- 
dence over the valuation given each section in the Scale of 
Points of all varieties. 

Judges, in applying the score card, are to discount for the 

more common defects, as follows : 

Frosted combs y* 

Too many or too few point on single combs, each. y 

Thumb mark on comb, not less than 1 

Rear of comb turning round y 2 to 1 

Coarse texture of comb y 2 to 1 

Gray or white in any except disqualifying sections 

of plumage of Partridge Plymouth Rocks... yf 

Coarse texture of wattles y 2 to 1 

For missing feather or part of feather in primaries 
or secondaries, where foreign color disquali- 
fies 1 to 3 

Where feather is broken, but not detached, in pri- 
maries or secondaries, where foreign color 

disqualifies y> 

For broken or missing feather or feathers in pri- 
maries or secondaries of buff or parti-colored 
varieties, where foreign color does not dis- 
qualify y> to l 

Absence of sickles, where foreign color disquali- 
fies, for each sickle 1 to \y 2 

Absence of sickles, where foreign color does not 
disqualify, for each sickle 1 

Absence of one or more main tail feathers in 
varieties subject to color disqualifications, 
each 1 

Absence of one or more main tail feathers, when 

not a disqualification, each y 2 

For twisted feather or feathers, in wing or tail 

of any variety 1 to 2 

Brassiness in all varieties, in each section where 

found 1 to 2 

Creaminess of plumage or quill in White Plymouth 

Rocks, in each section where found. % to iy 2 

Purple barring in plumage of any variety, in each 

section where found y 2 to 2 



Irregular barring in Barred Plymouth Rocks, in 

each section where found y> to \ l / 2 

Light colored shafting in Buff Plymouth Rocks, in 

each section where found / 2 to l/ 2 

Gray specks in any part of plumage of White 

Plymouth Rocks, in each section where found. l / 2 to 2 

Mealiness in plumage of Buff Plymouth Rocks, in 

each section where found 1 to \y 2 

Irregular or deficient penciling in Silver Penciled 
and Partridge Plymouth Rocks, in each sec- 
tion where found l / 2 to \ l / 2 

Black or white in Buff Plymouth Rocks, in each 
section where found, cut from one-half point 
to the color limit of the sections. 

Slate undercolor in Buff Plymouth Rocks, in each 

section where found J / 2 to \]/ 2 

Color of eyes not as described for the different 

varieties ^2 to \y 2 

If eye is destroyed, leaving only the socket \y 2 

If eye shows permanent injury, but retains its 

form y 2 to 1 

If tail in any specimen shows not to exceed three- 
fourths development 1 

If tail in any speci- 
men shows not 
to exceed 
one-half devel- 
opment 2 

If tail in any speci- 
men shows not 
to exceed 
one-fourth de- 
velopment .... 3 

Crooked breast 

bone y 2 to 2 

Crooked toes, each )/ 2 to 1 

In Barred Ply- 
mouth Rocks, 
for black feath- 
er or feathers, 
in each section 
where found . . ] j to 1 ] / 2 

*To shape limit tTo color limit. 

Figure 26. 
Tail Carried at an An- 
gle of 45 Degrees. 


(Names of Association, here) 

(Date; month, days and year show is held, here) 

Official Score Card of the American Poultry Association 
Exhibitor — - - — — — - - 

Variety - .........:..Sex 

Entry No Ban d No Weight. 

| Shape 



Wattles and Ear-Lobes 

Back ...... 


Legs and Toes 

*Crest and Beard... 

t Shortness of Feather 

Total Cuts Score. 

- - - — , Judge 


♦Applies to Crested Breeds. tApplies to Games and Game Bantams. 

Score cards may be obtained from the Secretary of the 
American Poultry Association. 




THE term "Standard Measurements" refers to the rela- 
tive size of the different parts of a fowl and not to any 
definite mathematical statement of length, width or cir- 
cumference, as no such definite standards have ever been es- 
tablished. This may be done some time, but for the present 
the breeders' sole guide in determining the correct measure- 
ment of sections must be the eye, trained to observe correct 
proportions between the different body parts. These propor- 
tions are established by the American Standard of Perfection, 
and the inexperienced beginner and the expert judge alike 
must form their estimate of the degree to which a given sec- 
tion of any individual fowl corresponds to the ideal by a care- 
ful study of such sections in comparison with Standard ideal 
illustrations and Standard descriptions of that breed and sex. 

The person who is accustomed to thinking of animal meas- 
urements as being determined by the use of tape, ruler or 
calipers may find it a little difficult to accustom himself to 
regarding the soft, pliable surface of a fowl's plumage as 
forming the final outline of practically all its parts. For the 
purpose of judging, however, such outlines are as distinct 
and final as solid flesh, assuming, of course, that the plumage 
is in its natural orderly arrangement. 

It should be clearly understood that the use of the terms 
"broad," "long," "moderately long," "short," etc., does not 
in any case involve comparison with other breeds of fowls. 
In all instances, they refer to comparisons between the dif- 
ferent sections of the bird under consideration, and with the 
Standard illustration of the ideal bird of the same breed 
and sex. 

For example, the head of the Standard Plymouth Rock 
male is described as ''moderately large." This does not mean 
that it is "moderately large" as compared with the head of a 
Leghorn, on the one hand, or a Brahma on the other, but it 



means "moderately large" when compared with other sections 
of the same bird. The Standard could have specified a small, 
delicate, finely cut head for the Plymouth Rock male, or one 
that would be distinctly large. What it actually has done, 
however, is call for a head of "moderate size"— moderate 
when compared with other parts or sections of the bird. The 
vStandard goes farther and exactly illustrates the correct pro- 
portion in the cuts on page • and following pages, so that 

the breeder may have at hand an exact "pattern" for com- 

The head of any individual Plymouth Rock male, there- 
fore, approximates correct size just in proportion as it con- 
forms to the development indicated. And the same principle 
applies to all other parts or sections of Standard-bred fowls. 

Twelve full page illustrations show ideal profiles of males 
and females of all the different varieties of Plymouth Rocks 
and elsewhere in the book will be found illustrations showing 
the proportions of such other parts as cannot be exactly shown 
in the profiles. The beginner who makes a careful study of 
these illustrations will at no time have to go outside of this 
book to determine what is meant by any term relating to pro- 
portion. (H. T. J.) 



Poultrymen generally have found it quite difficult to agree 
upon exact shades of color for different breeds and varieties 
of fowls and more or less confusion has always existed on 
this point. One reason for this is the great variety of possible 
shades in all colors. The Standard Dictionary, for example, 
recognizes over one hundred and sixty kinds of "red" and 
over one hundred kinds of "black," with a similar range in 
other colors. The situation is further complicated by the 
fact that no exact definitions of color terms exist that enable 
one to determine with any certainty the precise shade of 
color specified in any given instance. Neither has it been 
found practicable to produce a color chart that can be used 
with any degree of certainty. It is undoubtedly true, in the 
case of all colors, that the true and exact shades can be 
learned only by observation. 



In the Glossary, on pages 14 to 26, and in matter de- 
scriptive of the different varieties of Plymouth Rocks, colors 
have been defined as accurately as can be done in a few 
words and it is hoped that the reader will, from these de- 
scriptions, be able to form a fairly accurate idea of the colors 
called for in these varieties. In addition to these brief defini- 
tions, however, the following explanations of color terms ap- 
plied to Plymouth Rocks doubtless will prove helpful to many. 

Reddish-Bay. — This color is called for in the eyes of all 
Plymouth Rocks and, as a rule, is a distinct red, but with a 
brownish tinge. Bay in fowls' eyes varies from light to dark, 
but the ideal is medium in shade. 

Black. — Two distinct blacks are called for in Plymouth 
Rocks. In Barred Rocks, the barring "stops short of positive 
black." This black should be without greenish sheen. 

In all other varieties of Plymouth Rocks, black means 
either a greenish-black, that is, a solid black with a greenish 
sheen, or a dull, intense black. 

Green. — Green does not exist as a positive color in the 
feathers of fowls, but is produced by the structure of the 
feather, the parts of which set somewhat like prisms, thus 
producing an iridescent effect which in black feathers of a 
certain character gives a brilliant green sheen. Under some 
conditions this sheen gives a purplish effect, which is highly 
objectionable in Plymouth Rocks. 

Brown. — Brown and mahogany should be considered to- 
gether to get a clear understanding of these closely related 
colors. Brown is composed of red, yellow and black, giving 
a color darker and more somber than bay and, in fowls, shows 
little red. Mahogany also is formed of red, yellow and black, 
but describes a color verging on chestnut, though lighter in 
tone, i. e., containing a little more red and yellow. Mahogany 
closely approximates the color of chestnuts when first taken 
from the burr and is lighter and redder than the color of 
chestnuts as ordinarily sold in market. 

Bluish. — There is no blue in the feathers of fowls. The 
color called blue is a mixture of black and white, the bluish 
tinge being a faint iridescence. In Barred Plymouth Rocks 
the ideal bluish tinge is produced mainly by the various modi- 
fied shades of black, grayish-black and grayish-white resulting 
from the modified white and black of the barred feathers and 
from their overlapping. 



Buff. — A yellow-toned brown, that is, a yellow darkened 
with red and black. Different shades of buff are found, rang- 
ing from lemon buff to a distinct reddish-yellow. Bearing in 
mind that yellow is the color of gold, the "rich, golden buff" 
called for by the Standard must be understood to be a golden 

Gray. — This color, as applied to Plymouth Rocks, is used 
chiefly in connection with the appearance of objectionable dark 
markings in feathers that should be clear white or other color. 
Gray is a black reduced with white until it is of a dull, neutral 
shade. Black as a disqualification or defect must be "positive" 
black, that is, unmodified by white. 

Purple. — As applied to the black feathers of fowls usually 
appears in the form of barring, and is commonly supposed to 
be indicative of "too much luster." Both purple and green 
apparently are produced by the reflection of light from pris- 
matic black feathers. The exact reason why some feathers 
show green shades and some purple is not clearly understood. 
It is probable that the purple is due to a reddish element, 
which tends to crop out as a result of poor breeding. 

Red. — This is supposed to be the original color of fowls, 
and in crosses or in careless breeding is liable to appear at any 
time. Fowls of all colors, apparently, carry red as a latent 
color factor. Red in Barred. Y\ nite or Columbian Plymouth 
Rocks is a disqualifying defect. 

White. — Pure white is a dead white, without any other 
shade, though, as a matter of fact, what passes for a pure 
white has a bluish tinge, as a rule. It is common knowledge 
that the "whitest" white fowls are very apt to have some 
feathers with a light flecking of gray where the black pigment, 
which gives the bluish tint, has become too conspicuous. 

Silvery white is pure white with a sheen, as often seen in 
the hackle and saddle feathers of male Silver Penciled Rocks. 

Yellow. — This is the color of beaks, shanks and feet in 
most varieties of Plymouth Rocks, which are clear, rich yel- 
low, closely approaching lemon-yellow. Yellow also is an 
important color in the plumage of fowls, though it never ap- 
pears there as a pure color — being modified in all cases by reds 
and blacks, thus producing burr, bay and brown shades of 
varying degrees of intensity. (H. T. J.) 




All Standard Varieties 

Barred Plymouth Rocks 
White Plymouth Rocks 
Buff Plymouth Rocks 
Silver-Penciled Plymouth Rocks 
Partridge Plymouth Rocks 
Columbian Plymouth Rocks 

Symmetry 4 

Weight 4 

Condition 4 

Comb 8 

Head — Shape 2, Color 2 4 

Beak — Shape 2, Color 2 4 

Eyes — 'Shape 2, Color 2 4 

Wattles and Ear-lobes — Shape 2, Color 2 4 

Neck — Shape 4, Color 6 10 

Wings — Shape 4, Color 6 10 

Back — -Shape 5, Color 5 10 

Tail — Shape 5, Color 5 10 

Breast — Shape 5, Color 5 10 

Body and Fluff — Shape 5, Color 3 8 

Legs and Toes — Shape 3, Color 3 6 



Successive Stages of Development in Domestic Fowls. 


Chapter I — Origin and Development of Domestic Fowls. 

Page 40. 

Breeding of Domestic Fowls. 

Chapter I — General Principles of Breeding Domestic Fowls. 

Page 44. 

Chapter II — Principles of Breeding, from a Poultryman's 
Standpoint. Page 56. 




THE ORIGIN OF FOWLS is a subject in which the orni- 
thologist is much more deeply interested than the practical 
poultryman, the breeder, or even the ardent fancier; and, 
it is a topic that he alone is competent to discuss. The ac- 
counts that we find in the best poultry works vary consider- 
ably. Hence, we say that it is a subject upon which the 
student of ornithology, alone, is qualified to pass judgment. 

The origin of domestic fowls is generally attributed to the 
Gallus bankiva, or ferrugineus, commonly called the Jungle 
Fowl of India, which some claim are still to be seen there. 
Specimens claimed to be such were exhibited at the Madison 
Square .Garden Show, New York, not more than ten or possi- 
bly fifteen years ago. These specimens bore a close resem- 
blance to the illustrations of the Jungle Fowl which we find in 
poultry books published about the middle of the nineteenth 
century. On the other hand, it does not require a great stretch 
of the imagination to see them as the result of a cross between 
a Black-Red Game Bantam and a Brown Leghorn. In fact, 
they looked like a somewhat overgrown specimen of the for- 
mer, while the plumage resembled that of the latter when 
unscientifically bred. 

Variation in Early Types. — Some authorities maintain that 
birds varying in type as widely as do different breeds of our 
domestic fowls, as for instance the (lame Bantam and the 
Brahma, or the Cochin and the Game, could not have been pro- 
duced from one species, and that our present day domestic 
fowls must trace their origin back to at least two sources. 

Edward Brown, in Races of Domestic Poultry, points 
out the fact that naturalists as a rule for a time accepted the 
Darwin theory, that all races of our domestic fowls were de- 
scendants of the Gallus ferrugineus, the Jungle Fowl of India, 
while poultrymen as a rule refuted this and accepted the theory 
first advanced by Lewis Wright, that it was improbable that 



several of our breeds, particularly those we obtained from 
China, were descendants of the Gallus ferrugineus. If so, we 
must go farther back to find the common ancestry. 

W. G. Tegetmeir, who, according to Brown, was associated 
with the great Darwin in his research work, took the view 
that while a large part of our present day domestic fowls could 
trace their ancestry back to the Gallus bankiva, it was more 
than improbable that fowls of certain types, such as the Brah- 
ma and Cochin, could also. These, in his opinion, which he cites 
apparently after years of research and study, must have de- 
scended from a different branch of the genus, either now 
extinct or modified to such an extent that it is classed with 
some other species of the Gallus family. This, of course, 
means that we must go back of the Gallus bankiva to find the 
common ancestry. 

Brown, in the excellent work mentioned heretofore, gives 
the sum and substance of our knowledge at the present time in 
the following paragraph : 

"To sum up, therefore, it may be taken that with the do- 
mestic fowl, as with many other natural forms of life, we can 
go so far back, but no further. The probability is that, as in 
the case of dogs, all the varieties of fowls do not owe their 
origin to any one species, at any rate of those now extant, and 
that we must look to another progenitor than the G. ferru- 
gineus (bankiva) for several of the later introduced races, 
more especially those from China." 

Incentives to Poultry Keeping. — While we have fanciers 
and breeders of Standard fowls among us by the thousands 
that are engaged in this work purely for the pleasure that 
they derive from it, the income therefrom or, more directly, 
the food supply derived is the great incentive to poultry keep- 
ing with a very large majority. Nevertheless, all of the avail- 
able accounts of ancient literature indicate, and the probabil- 
ities are that the love of sport first induced the natives of 
India, in which country fowls were first found, to domesticate 
wild fowls ; and to obtain specimens better endowed physically 
for cock fighting, a sport that has been the natives' leading 
amusement until the present time, they bred fowls after their 
own selection. 

Introduced into Europe. — Starting in India, the keeping of 
fowls with civilization crept westward through Asia and 
Europe into Italy, Spain, France, Belgium and England. Be- 
sides their indebtedness to the fowls that developed from this 



early introduction, the European countries, England especially, 
owe much to the importations during modern times. Many 
of the fowls that were obtained from China early in the nine- 
teenth century were of widely different types from those that 
migrated through Western Asia and Eastern Europe some 
centuries before. 

First Authentic Accounts. — Exact information upon poultry 
topics is exceedingly meager until within the last one hundred 
years or so. Almost nothing of the methods employed in keep- 
ing flocks or of the description of the breeds is found up to the 
early part of the nineteenth century, and it is about the middle 
of this century before anything satisfactory is found upon 
either topic. We are obliged, therefore, to draw most of our 
conclusions concerning the evolution and transition in both, 
partly from the evidence supplied by the accumulative results 
of which we are the eye witnesses, partly from such literature 
of the transitory periods as is available, and somewhat from 
the information given by our veteran associates. 

Types — Geographical. — The English and French have been 
particularly zealous in developing splendid breeds of fowls 
which have a leaning toward a fine meat carcass rather than 
to heavy egg production. The Spaniards, Italians, and Hol- 
landers have paid more attention to egg-producing qualities. 
The Asiatic races produced the largest and most magnificent 
of all fowls, which were also the most pronounced meat types. 

Early American Importations. — Comparatively early in the 
life of the nation, Americans adopted many foreign breeds. 
About the middle of the nineteenth century, especially a little 
later, the large Asiatic breeds found much favor with poultry 
keepers in this country. Their influence upon breeds that orig- 
inated here is incalculable. The late Mark Pitman, a former 
resident of Salem, Massachusetts, once related to the writer 
some interesting facts about these importations. From this 
account it appeared that many of them were not undertaken 
for the purpose of acquiring new blood or new breeds for the 
American poultrymen, but for no higher motives than to pro- 
vide fresh meat from time to time for the shipmaster's table. 
Those fowls that reached America alive owed their survival 
to their lean condition as, unfortunately, the best were 
usually the first choice, and the poorest, because confined on 
shipboard, became eventually so poor that they were unfit for 
the table and survived the entire journey to become the pro- 
genitors of new races or strains. This information enables us 



to understand why so few of the importations became estab- 
lished and why so many failed to perpetuate themselves. 

English Types in America. — English importations have 
been frequent all along since the middle of the nineteenth 
century. The English developed a few breeds that were ex- 
ceedingly popular during the early days of modern American 
poultry keeping. With the advent of purely American breeds, 
however, the popularity of these breeds rapidly declined. The 
English breeds of today most commonly kept here are of later 
origin and partake more of the nature of the American breeds. 

American Types. — -That the people of some nations seemed 
intent upon producing breeds that excelled in egg production, 
while others were equally zealous in their endeavors to pro- 
duce breeds that surpassed in the quality of their flesh, has 
already been pointed out. Americans, however, were never 
content in attempting to excel in but a single quality. It is a 
noteworthy fact that all our American breeds are the result of 
attempts on the part of one or more breeders to make a cross, 
or a series of crosses, that would establish a new breed which 
excelled all those that had preceded it for egg production, for 
quality of flesh, and for quantity of flesh compared to offal. 

A study of the history of the recognized American breeds 
will confirm these statements. Their names alone will estab- 
lish the fact that American endeavor has been extended wholly 
along dual-purpose lines. 




THE advancement, as heretofore related, has been an ac- 
complishment of the "breeder's art," which consists 
of many methods and systems of selection and mating. 
Mating — By Natural Selection. — Prompted by natural in- 
stincts to reproduce and perpetuate the species, fowls, in the 
wild state, themselves choose mates of the opposite sex as they 
will in domestication, if allowed to do so. What attributes or 
caprice influences this selection is as yet undiscovered by the 
closest students of the life and habits of either domesticated 
or wild fowls. Yet, it does seem that the more magnificent 
and lordly males are always surrounded by a flock of admir- 
ing and obedient females. If this is the true situation, it is 
then a wise natural provision, because it means that the strong- 
est, most rugged and vital of the males become the consorts of 
the females to the exclusion of the weaker. The doctrine of 
survival of the fittest, then, has a wide reaching influence ; 
inasmuch as each male consorts with several females compara- 
tively few males are necessary, and only the most select as to 
physical fitness have an influence upon the progeny. 

The inclination of the male to gather about him a half- 
dozen, a dozen, or a score of females is, from an economic 
standpoint, a lasting advantage ; not so much because so few 
males have to be kept, but because it is necessary to permit 
only the males that are best from the breeders' standpoint, 
whether it be for size, egg-producing, lineage or brilliant plu- 
mage, to the breeding yards. 

Artificial Selection. — Promiscuous matings are no longer a 
feature of our well-conducted, modern poultry establishments, 
large or small. 'The intelligent poultryman must supply a 
product that measures up to a certain "standard." Whether 
that "standard" demands a certain number of eggs a year per 
hen, or eggs of a certain color, or size, or weight; a fowl that 
produces a given number of pounds of flesh in a given time, 


or one that develops feathers that grow backwards, is immate- 
rial. Only those males and females that excel in the charac- 
teristics demanded by this particular "standard" are used to 
perpetuate that particular race or kind of fowl, because those, 
and only those that excel in the characteristics demanded, 
will reproduce them in the greatest measure. 

Systems. — In order to reach their goal, whatever that may 
be, breeders of all kinds of poultry, for any and all purposes, 
long ago adopted methods that were sure to prevent their birds 
mating by natural selection and substituted selections of their 
own. This has led to different systems of matings. At first 
these were very simple, but the longer the fowls were studied 
the more exacting standards became ; and the deeper breeding 
problems were probed the more complicated they seemed, so 
in time the system of mating became more or less complex, 
until now, in some cases, the system itself, though simple in 
theory, is such that the application becomes most complicated. 
There are instances, however, when the system of mating, 
though seemingly complicated, is very simple of application. 
In several well known instances, the system that is the sim- 
plest and clearest to understand becomes the most difficult to 
practice successfully, while the one that is more complicated, 
theoretically, is found to be more easily applied and more cei- 
tain of results. 

Single Matings.— In the beginning, whether mating for 
egg production, large size, or certain excellencies in plumage, 
real or imaginary, the breeder selected for his matings the 
specimens of both sexes that nearest approached his ideals. 
This constitutes what is now known as a single mating. That 
is, a single mating is one in which both sexes conform more or 
less closely to a certain ideal or standard ; each sex of the 
progeny of such a mating is also expected to conform more or 
less closely to the requirements of such an ideal or standard. 
Under the American Standard of Perfection, a single mating 
consists of a male and females that conform to a certain degree 
of approximation, at least, to requirements for that breed and 
variety, as described and portrayed in the afore-named Stand- 
ard. As two females alike in all respects have never been pro- 
duced, a strict definition of an ideal single mating would be 
— a mating consisting of a male and females conforming to the 
requirements of the Standard of Perfection, and the ideal re- 
sults from an ideal single mating would be sons like the sire 
and daughters like the dam. In other words, both the parents 



and their progeny would be ideal specimens, judged according 
to the Standard of Perfection. Of course, ideal birds never 
existed and undoubtedly never will. Therefore, a practical 
definition has already been given. 

This system of mating is almost universally practiced in 
the breeding of solid-colored varieties ; and very much in the 
breeding of parti-colored varieties, but not universally so by 
any means. 

Intermediate Matings. — Before the art of breeding had been 
practiced long under the several Standards that preceded the 
one that now governs our breeding operations, it was discov- 
ered that the same hen that produced the best males in the 
parti-colored varieties, did not produce as a rule the best 
females when judged by the accepted Standard. This discov- 
ery led to the practice, after observing results from different 
individuals, of using in many matings females of different 
types of plumage, some from which the best males and others 
from which the best females were expected. This became a 
common practice. Usually a small number, say one, two or 
three females from which the best exhibition males, and four, 
five, six, or more from which the best exhibition females were 
expected, were placed in each mating. It is really a modifica- 
tion of both, the single mating and double mating systems, 
and, because it partakes of the nature of both, may be called 
an Intermediate System. It is in reality an application of 
double mating principles on one side of the mating, the female, 
and thereby an acknowledgement of the necessity of double 
mating. It may be said to have been the first step toward 
the practice of double mating and was in common use long 
before the adoption of the double mating system in its entirety. 
This modification of the single mating system is still practiced 
by those who breed parti-colored varieties, and who are op- 
posed to the system to which allusion has been made, as 
apparently complicated but of easy application in actual prac- 

Double Matings. — The double mating system is known only 
among breeders of standard-bred poultry because it is not 
practiced by breeders of other forms of animal life. It may 
be defined as a system which employs special and separate 
lines of fowls and breeding to produce exhibition males and 
females. That is, under this system, the exhibition male line 
only is used to produce exhibition males or with any expecta- 
tion of doing so. The females of the male line as well as the 


males are expected to produce exhibition males and no exhibi- 
tion females. The same principles hold true for the exhibition 
female line ; both male and females of the exhibition female 
line are expected to produce exhibition females. The males 
are in turn used to breed exhibition females, but the males 
are not expected to be exhibition birds, or to produce exhibition 
males. That is, as already explained, the province of the male 

Though already stated, the fact should be emphasized that 
this system of mating is commonly practiced only by breeders 
of parti-colored fowls. The conclusion can be clearly drawn 
that separate matings to produce standard males and standard 
females are necessary on account of color requirements. Sel- 
dom are separate matings used, or even thought to be neces- 
sary, to produce the requirements for shape of either males or 
females. Such expediencies have been resorted to very infre- 
quently and the practice has passed almost entirely out of use. 
It is generally considered that the standard shape of male and 
female coincides when due allowance has been made for 
natural difference in shape of male and female. In this regard 
the experiences and practices of poultry breeders do not differ 
in any particular from those of breeders of other animals. The 
breeders of forms of animal life in which little attention is paid 
to color, never think of, let alone use, a special or separate 
line of breeding for each sex. 

From the facts as stated, it appears that we must find our 
excuse, if excuse it may be called or if an excuse is necessary, 
which is doubtful — better should we call it a necessity — for 
special or double matings to produce the males and females 
that nearest approach the standard descriptions among parti- 
colored fowls, in the color requirements alone. 

The first question that comes to mind is. why not adopt a 
standard description for males and females of the parti-colored 
fowls that would coincide, making due allowances for the 
natural color differences of the two sexes, as we have in shape? 

The answer to this question is found in others like it. Can 
it be done? When has it been accomplished? If a standard 
could be written in which the color description of both males 
and females of parti-colored fowls would be such that standard- 
colored males and standard-colored females, mated together, 
would produce standard-colored males and standard-colored 
females, would breeders and exhibitors be satisfied with the 
appearance of both sexes? It is conceded that the best males 



to produce exhibition females, of the parti-colored varieties, 
are the sons of the best exhibition females. Therefore, if we 
are to make a standard that will permit the highest attainments 
of color and markings in the females of parti-colored varieties, 
we must describe for their ideal mates, the sons of such fe- 
males. Do the sons of such follow very closely the present 
standard description, and, if not, would an adequate descrip- 
tion of the sons of females of high standard quality, as we find 
them, be acceptable to the breeders of many of the parti-col- 
ored varieties? It must be fully taken into consideration that 
an accurate description of such must be accepted as our 
standard ideal, if we are to have a Standard based upon the 
highest ideals of female plumage. 

On the other hand, if we accept the present Standard for 
exhibition males and we propose to have a Standard that is 
such that both exhibition males and females can be bred from 
a standard (single) mating, the description of exhibition fe- 
males in the (proposed) standard must coincide with the 
description of the females that our best exhibition males pro- 
duce, as the females that produce our best exhibition males 
are always the daughters of our best exhibition males. There- 
fore, one method of making single mating feasible would be to 
adopt the present Standard on males and for the standard 
females describe such females as the best exhibition males pro- 
duce. The adoption of such a standard, one based on the 
present exhibition males and the daughters of exhibition males, 
would mean that the exhibition females as at present described 
in the Standard would disappear from the show room and in all 
probability from the breeding yards as well. 

This might be one way of making successful single matings 
possible ; the other, as already pointed out, might be by accept- 
ing the description of the standard female and adopting in 
place of the present description of the standard male, a descrip- 
tion of such males as the best standard female produces. 

Theoretically, a single or standard mating under these 
conditions should produce standard specimens of both sexes. 
The vital question is not, however, will a standard or single 
mating produce standard chicks of both sexes, BUT — because 
it is the best specimens that we seek to produce for exhibition 
purposes — the question most positively becomes, will the best 
male mated to the best female produce both the best males and 
the best females? That is the vital question, for if the best 
male mated to the best female would produce only the best 


males — then, in order to produce our best females, we need a 
slightly different female with this sire, or we need a little 
different male with the dam. 

If the original pair produces the best females, but not the 
best males, the same fundamental change must be made in the 
mating to produce the best males. A different male with the 
dam, or another and different female must be mated with the 

But when two females that differ in either color or mark- 
ings are used with the same male, one intended to produce the 
females nearest approaching our ideal, and another to produce 
the male nearest the ideal, so radical a departure from the 
principles of single mating is incorporated that an admission 
of the necessity of a special mating to produce the best ideals 
of either sex becomes most pronounced. 

To pursue this line of thought a step further — how often 
would a mating consisting of the best male and the best female 
produce the best males and best females to comply with any 
fixed standard of color or markings in parti-colored fowls? 
How often would such a mating produce either the best males 
or females and how often would it produce neither? Much 
more often by far than not, it will produce neither the best 
males nor the best females, make the Standard read as you 

On the other hand, under the present Standard by using 
special matings for each sex, it is known to be more than pos- 
sible to produce the best males by breeding such to their own 
daughters or daughters of other high quality males. Results 
of this kind have been accomplished for years and are being 
accomplished continually. Like results are being accomplished 
in breeding the best exhibition females by mating such to their 
sons or the sons of other females of high exhibition quality. 

If the Standard is fundamentally wrong because special 
matings for each sex are necessary to meet its requirements, 
the problem for solution is not how may we change the Stand- 
ard to make these special matings unnecessary, but how may 
we make a Standard so that its requirements will not place a 
handicap on standard matings, and a premium upon special 
matings for each sex. The problem has been before us since 
the first Standard was made, and as yet no one has offered 
a solution that seemed theoretically plausible, let alone being 
practically possible. Special matings have been producing 
the best specimens all these years. From either standpoint, 



performance or theory, the argument favors the product of 
special matings for each sex. 

At the present writing, there is unquestionably a strong 
desire on the part of breeders and exhibitors generally to adopt 
standard (or single) matings, even if the Standard has to be 
modified or changed in order to permit the breeding of the best 
specimens of both sexes from one mating. The object is to 
simplify breeding problems for beginners, which, in the esti- 
mation of many, would do much to popularize a variety. But 
as yet no one has suggested a way to accomplish this that 
inspires the confidence of his contemporaries. Changes toward 
this end in standard requirements are accompanied by two 
serious considerations : first, will such changes, as it at first 
appears may tend to solve the difficulty, be acceptable when 
the result, namely, the specimens produced, come to view; 
and, secondly, would such changes or any changes, that have 
yet occurred to anyone, place a premium upon the progeny of 
standard matings by producing better specimens thereby, than 
can be produced by other methods, specifically by what is 
known as double-matings, which really amounts to a special 
mating for each sex? No system of mating can long endure 
after breeders find another way of producing better specimens. 
The final test is the closest conformity to the Standard require- 
ments. Who, then, can compile a standard that will so state 
its requirements that the specimens produced from standard 
(single) matings will excel those produced by any other sys- 
tem that man may devise? The system that does that very 
thing will be most generally practiced by those who breed 
exhibition birds from now till the end of time. 

In-Breeding. — That in-breeding is the surest and quickest 
way, if not the only way, to perpetuate desired characteristics 
is a generally accepted theory. It becomes, then, the funda- 
mental means of establishing certain qualities in a line or a 
strain. The longer the in-breeding of successive generations 
which possess certain distinctive features is continued, the 
more fixed these features become. 

Limit of In-Breeding. — How long in-breeding may be con- 
tinued is an open and unsettled question. Obviously, the 
number of generations that may be inbred depends upon sev- 
eral things, the first of which is the relationship of the parents, 
whether these were unrelated, distantly or closely related. 
Secondly, it depends upon the stamina of the original stock, 
and further, or thirdly, upon how much stamina is maintained 



by selection, for it is possible to select for strength and vigor 
as well as any other quality. In many cases stamina is the 
first and most important consideration for selection. Usually, 
in-breeding, if too long continued, results in loss of vitality, 
which is indicated by increased infertility, slower growth, 
smaller size, delayed feathering in the young, and after a time 
by weak and twisted feathers in adults. These highly unde- 
sirable qualities appear so gradually and increase in intensity 
so slowly in succeeding generations that they often diminish 
the value of many a flock very appreciably before they are 

Out-Crossing. — When such a condition is found to exist 
the only remedy is out-crossing. This consists, of course, of 
introducing the blood of some other line or strain into the 
flock ; an expediency that is accompanied by danger of losing- 
qualities that have been gained by several generations, perhaps, 
of in-breeding. There are, however, several modes of intro- 
ducing new blood, some of which are accompanied by great 
risks, and others that, though somewhat slower in operation, 
are comparatively safe. New blood can be very quickly intro- 
duced by using a male of an unrelated line. The effect, as far 
as restoring vitality in all its phases is concerned, is almost 
magical, and usually, it is fully as efficacious in destroying 
the very characteristics to establish which in-breeding was 
practiced too long. Unless a male from a strain that possesses 
very closely the same attributes that have become so strongly 
established in the first strain can be secured, the introduction 
of new blood through the male, directly, is experimental, to 
say the least, and the results cannot be even approximately 
foretold, because even though the first out-cross produces 
specimens that are satisfactory, the second generation is very 
liable to prove disappointing in breeding prowess. 

It is much safer to proceed slowly and cautiously. One 
safe mode of out-crossing would be as follows : a male of an 
unrelated line (B) may be bred to a few females of the first 
line (A) and the female progeny of this mating (BA) mated 
back to males of the first line (A), and so on for as many 
generations as seem advisable, using the female progeny for 
new blood, until the results are satisfactory, when the progeny 
may be recrossed with the original line, both ways. Occa- 
sionally the results of the first cross will be so pre-eminently 
satisfactory that males from this cross may be used upon the 
original line, but only in case the results are most satisfactory, 



and even then it is better to guard against disappointment by 
also mating males of the original line to the females that are 
one-half new blood, by also maintaining the original line, or by 
both methods of safeguarding the merits of the original line. 

A method commonly practiced, but not commonly enough, 
which is the safest from two standpoints, is to secure each 
year or every second year, a female from another strain, mate 
her with a male of the strain which needs, or may need, an 
infusion of new blood, and mate the female progeny with the 
sire or a male of the same line or same breeding as the sire. 
Both the males and females of this generation will usually 
have acquired the characteristics of the original strain to a 
marked degree and breeders may be thereafter selected by the 
same process as though the blood was of one strain. 

Strain-building. — A breeder often desires to acquire, per- 
haps, a single characteristic, perhaps more than one, in which 
his strain is deficient. In order to do this, he is compelled to 
secure new blood from a strain that is noted for the pre- 
dominance of the required characteristics. This may be 
accomplished in the ways that have already been indicated, 
accompanied by accurate selection for those characteristics. 
If the acquisition of several characteristics is desired, because 
a strain is notably deficient in these respects, the project be- 
comes complicated, and it may be necessary to line-breed from 
the best representatives of one, two, or more strains. 

Line-Breeding. — Among poultrymen line-breeding may 
mean at least one of two things. It may mean, as above, the 
inter-breeding of two or more strains with all the blood tracing 
back to a few specimens, usually of extraordinary merit, or 
predominating in the desired characteristics. The object is to 
amalgamate, eventually, the blood of all the strains employed 
until by perpetuating the desired characteristics, a new strain 
becomes established. 

The term line-breeding is also used to refer to in-breeding, 
as when the sire is bred to his female progeny, the dam to 
her male progeny, or the offspring are bred together, and 
in-breeding among the progeny is continued, so that the blood 
of one or more birds reoccurs often in the ancestry of suc- 
cessive generations. That is, when by in-breeding or by in- 
and-in-breeding, a line is established based upon predominating 
excellencies of one or at the most two birds, the desirable 
qualities of which are thereby very strongly fixed in the prog- 
eny, it is line-breeding with the number of the breeding lines 


that are traceable back to the bird or the pair of birds that laid 
the foundation of the line depending entirely upon the number 
of generations produced and the mode of breeding. 

In-Breeding and Line-Breeding. — The terms "line-breeding" 
and "in-breeding'' are often confused or misunderstood. From 
the foregoing, it will be understood that line-breeding may be 
in-breeding or may not. In case that the line is built upon 
the foundation of the blood of one pair of birds, line-breeding 
is in-breeding. Line-breeding may be practiced without in- 
breeding in its broadest sense by using blood of the same lines 
that is but distantly related. 

In-breeding might be described, strictly, as the breeding of 
related birds, or birds that trace back to a common ancestor, 
but whether that is in effect in-breeding or not, depends en- 
tirely upon the closeness of such relationship. In-breeding in 
the mind of the average poultry breeder consists in mating the 
parent with the progeny, or the progeny of one common parent, 
at least, together. 

■Injudicious In-breeding. — There exists, without a chance 
for denial, a tendency among poultrymen to inbreed as long as 
the desired characteristics are maintained ; and, if the desired 
characteristics are but "hobbies" of the breeder, the pleasure 
of producing these sometimes so blinds his perceptive faculties, 
that he fails to notice defects so grave in character that they 
nullify the excellent qualities to which he has become wedded. 
This fault in such an instance must not, however, be attributed 
to the systems of in-breeding or line-breeding, but to the blind- 
ness of the breeder as to these faults. 

Stud-Matings. — Stud mating or stud breeding is practiced 
sometimes to prevent the male from consorting too much with 
favorites to the neglect of the other females, and sometimes to 
obtain as many chicks as possible from a male of more than 
average quality. The result of this neglect, in the first in- 
stance, is to restrict the number of females actually mated, 
and in the second, is an unnecessarily large proportion of infer- 
tile eggs. Stud-mating assures the impartial distribution of 
the male's powers of reproduction. A larger number of fe- 
males may be fertilized by the same male by following this 
method, which is to allow the male and each female to mate 
only at stated intervals. In order to thus restrict the number 
of services each female shall receive, the males and females are 
kept separate, and at given intervals the females are placed in 
the male's pen or yard, one at a time, and removed either imme- 



diately after mating, or when the next female is brought to 
the male. When trapnesting is praeticed, it is handy to take 
the hen from the trapnest after laying to the pen in which the 
male is kept. 

Resting Males. — Quite another method to increase the per- 
centage of fertility of the eggs by overcoming the neglect of 
some of the females by the male, is to use separate males on 
alternate days. It is reasoned that with two males, fewer 
females would be neglected, as the males would be unlikely 
to select the same favorites. However that idea proves out, 
the common practice of confining each male on alternate days 
certainly affords an opportunity to rest, and eat sufficient food, 
of which opportunity a male, more than probably, does not 
avail himself while running with the females. Males, under 
this system, keep in better condition physically, and conse- 
quently are more able to propagate strong and vigorous off- 

Large Matings. — Infertility of hatching eggs, accountable 
to the favoritism of males, is naturally infrequent in breeding 
flocks so large as to require the presence of several males. In 
this case, the explanation offered in the preceding paragraph 
remains true. 

Individual Disposition. — The disposition of the fowl should 
receive serious consideration. Very often we see such individ- 
uals that when at a distance or unaware of the fact that they 
are under observation or in close proximity to a human being 
or any animal except those of their own genus, pose strikingly 
and show splendid form ; yet when approached, go all to pieces, 
as the expression is, which means that they become so fright- 
ened that they lose all style, and all semblance of correct shape 
disappears. The most kindly overtures and best efforts to 
accustom these individuals to the ways of complete domestica- 
tion are wasted, and only one conclusion is possible, namely, 
that such birds lack the ordinary intelligence even of their 
order of animal life. Such individuals are of little use either 
in the show coop or the breeding pen. In the show coop, be- 
cause they stand unnaturally and awkwardly, and seem per- 
sistently intent upon making an escape, and must consequently 
show in poor form ; and for breeders because dispositions as 
well as any other characteristics are transmittable and more 
than that, it is admitted that the contented, happy hen is the 
hen that lays most frequently, from which it follows that these 
individuals that lack contentedness to the extent of never being 


competent to adjust themselves to their surroundings are poor 
layers as well as poor breeders and show birds. 

From this it may be logically inferred that occasionally a 
bird reverts to its wild ancestry and is incapable of true domes- 

Mendelism*. — Mendelism is a law of inheritance discovered 
by Gregor Johann Mendel in 1868, and rediscovered by De 
Vries, Correns and Tschermak in 1900. It is generally consid- 
ered under three heads : Unit characters, dominance, and 
segregation. The important feature is the latter, that is, the 
segregation of potential factors in the germ cells of crosses and 
their chance combination. 

In animal breeding, absolute purity of all inherited factors 
is difficult to obtain, as the parents even in highly selected 
stock generally differ in their inheritance. Therefore, segre- 
gation and recombination invariably occurs. Hence the neces- 
sity for constant selection toward a desired end. 

If the breeding of fowls involved simply one, two or a very 
few characteristics, the application of Mendelian principles 
would be easily followed and understood, but, as at present 
practiced, this application in the breeding of standard fowls 
with their many requirements in shape, color and markings, be - 
comes a difficult problem. 

However, the application of the Mendel law has had little, 
if any, bearing upon the accomplishments of breeders of stand- 
ard-bred fowls. It is only within a very few years that Men- 
delian principles have been studied in this connection, and at 
the present time only a very few of the more studious and best 
educated fanciers and breeders are making efforts to apply 
these principles. 

However, several of the state educational institutions and 
experiment stations are applying these principles, and closel T 
observing and recording the results. The most important 
application is in connection with the inheritance in fecundity, 
the one feature in breeders that may be accurately stated, pos- 
sibly accurately measured, though even in this case, the influ- 
ence of location, environment and climatical changes from 
season to season, month to month, etc., may, of course, affect 
the results. 

*For a complete treatise of this subject, the reader should consult 
some work on "Genetics." 





Whatever progress has been made in the development of 
different races of fowls, and from the Jungle Fowl to nearly 
one hundred and fifty distinct varieties, all of which have dis- 
tinguishable and distinct marks of beauty, marks as great 
progress as has been accomplished in any branch of animal 
oreeding, has been the result of the application of only a few 
elementary and fundamental principles. 

"Like Begets Like." Upon this principle as a foundation 
has rested the entire structure of standard-bred poultry breed- 
ing. Coupled together with another principle quite as ele- 
mentary and possibly quite as fundamental, namely, that 
defects in one parent may be corrected by selecting for the 
parent of the opposite sex one that excels in the same character 
in which the first was defective, or one that fails in the same 
character as the first, but in the opposite direction, it is re- 
sponsible for the progress made thus far. 

This amounts to the following precepts : When two birds 
of the opposite sex having like characters are mated, the prog- 
eny will be like the parents with respect to these like charac- 
ters ; when the characters are unlike in the parents, these 
characters in the progeny will vary between the extremes ex- 
emplified by the parents, with a tendency for the greater 
number of the progeny to show a mean between these ex- 
tremes. Together these simple rules account for the develop- 
ment of the different breeds, the creation of the new varieties 
of the same breed, and the improvement and development of 
those varieties already established. 

Why Like Begets Like. — ( )f this precept no fundamental 
or scientific explanation can be offered. It is accepted as an 
axiom to a certain extent, though to the full extent it does not, 
perhaps, quite conform to modern theories. It is as funda- 
mentally true in the breeding of all other forms of life as in 
the breeding of poultry. One of the first facts that any student 
of either plant or animal life observes is that every seed pro- 
duces after its kind. The maxim "like begets like," then, is 
in a general way axiomatically proved. In animal breeding, 



the reproducing sex cannot fertilize itself, hence the proof 
of the maxim in its entirety cannot be expected. Breeders of 
poultry go this far, however, when male and female alike in 
certain particulars are mated together, that it is expected that 
the progeny will be like the parents in these particulars. For 
instance, when a male and female both have a comb with five 
points, a majority of the chicks from the pair would be ex- 
pected to have five-pointed combs. What deviation did occur 
would be attributed to the ancestry of one or the other, or 
both, of the parents. Another example, specimens of the 
four-toed variety mated together produce four-toed varieties 
in all cases, while those of the five-toed variety when mated 
together produce five-toed chicks in nearly all cases. The 
same applies when two specimens of the opposite sex with 
reddish-bay eyes are mated together. Deviation would be 
accounted for by those of the ancestors that did not have 
red eyes. 

To Offset Defects. — As an example of the second principle 
in general use by poultry breeders everywhere, that of cor- 
recting a defect by mating with specimens of the opposite sex 
that fail in the opposite direction, a male with a four-point 
comb, one point short of standard requirement, would be mated 
with a female with six points on her comb, and vice versa. 
If one of the mated pair had light eyes, it would be mated to a 
specimen with very dark reddish-bay or even with deep red 
eyes. A specimen of a breed which is required to have five 
toes that has but four would be considered so faulty that it 
would not be used as a breeder; it is a disqualified bird. (See 
page 16 for definition.) It is just as serious a matter when 
the specimen of the four-toed variety has five toes. It is dis- 
carded for the same reason. 

In many cases this principle is modified to the extent of 
mating birds that are faulty in certain respects to the opposite 
sex that are as near perfection as it is possible to obtain. 
Faults may not be corrected as speedily in this way as by the 
other, but the method is more secure in the long run, because 
it is better that the fowls should inherit one excellent feature 
than two faults, even though they be of opposite tendencies. 

Pedigrees. — Broadly speaking, these rules for mating have 
been very largely depended upon by breeders of standard- 
bred poultry, whether for exhibition or commercial purposes. 
In practice, the pedigrees for many generations are also usually 
kept to help the breeder in applying these precepts, especially 


of the male side, as that is much mure easily recorded than the 
female side, though when a line of heavy egg-producers are 
sought, the record of the dam becomes paramount and is 
invariably kept as it is, or should be, in the female line when 
double matings are used to produce exhibition specimens. 
Pedigrees are of great assistance, especially if the character- 
istics of each generation can be kept in mind, because the more 
generations in which a certain character appears the more 
hxed this character becomes, whether it is meritorious or 

Word descriptions, feathers and photographs of each sire 
and dam are the most common means of keeping the individ- 
uality of each generation in mind, some depending upon one 
or two ways, while others use all three. However it is done, 
it is essential, not only to know the pedigree for several gen- 
erations, but it is equally essential to have an accurate recol- 
lection of each sire and dam for a number of generations, as 
it is the only way to know how the line is producing for this 
or for that desired quality. 

Uniformity. — Uniformity is also desired, not only in each 
breeding pen, but in the ancestry as well. The more the 
chicks resemble the parents and the parents resemble their 
parents, the greater is the proportion of exhibition birds to be 
found in the hocks year after year, provided, of course, that the 
early ancestry was such. The desire on the part of breeders 
has been to produce uniformity in their flocks, and to do so, 
they have often bred from single pairs of birds, though the 
same results may be accomplished by keeping a record of both 
sire and dam, even though more than one female is allowed 
with the male; the offspring are then full brothers and sisters, 
or half-brothers and sisters, and can be recorded as such. 
By this method of mating closely related individuals, but few 
generations are required to establish most uniform flocks, the 
quality of which is, however, determined largely by the quality 
of the parent stock and the breeder's knowledge of this par- 
ticular line of birds, and his skill in properly weighing the 
power of transmission of each individual. 

Prepotency. — The power, which it is admitted some birds 
possess and some do not, to transmit their own characteristics 
to their offspring is called prepotency. In reality, it may be 
said to be the difference in the ability or power to transmit 
that exists between the parents. We sometimes hear of an 
application differing slightly from the above, because there is 


occasionally an individual that is so very prepotent that one 
or more of its prominent characteristics are distinguishable in 
the progeny for several generations. In such instances, the 
individual that originally possessed and first transmitted this 
characteristic is often spoken of as being very prepotent. 

The most generally accepted theory of explanation has been 
that by constantly selecting and breeding specimens with cer- 
tain characteristics, these characteristics become fixed in the 
progeny, and after a certain number of generations, more or 
less, the aforementioned characteristics are transmitted in a 
remarkable degree by certain individuals. 

The qualities transmitted vary. That is, a bird may be pre- 
potent in certain characters and fail to transmit others. One 
bird might transmit its constitutional vigor, or the shape of 
comb only, while some birds impress their characteristics so 
generally and perfectly upon their offspring that we note a 
general resemblance to the parent of the same sex. It is not 
uncommon for an individual of wonderful constitution and 
vigor to throw several offspring bearing a striking resemblance 
to the parent in a single season. 

The Value of Prepotency. — The value of prepotency can 
hardly be overestimated. When that quality is possessed by 
a female of high eggproducing capacity, its worth increases 
with each generation, according to the egg-producing capacity, 
and as the number of the descendants in the flocks increase. 

Male One-Half the Flock. — And then, if the foregoing is 
true, how important an asset prepotency must be in any male 
which, because he exercises his share of influence upon each 
and every female with which he mates, is obviously one-half 
the flock. If the male is of unusual merit, or especially if he 
possesses more merit than the average of the females asso- 
ciated with him. and if through his ability to transmit his own 
characteristics he exercises such an influence upon the progeny 
that he becomes more than one-half of the flock, we can readily 
see the advantage of prepotency in such males. 

Sex Control of Characters. — Breeders generally prize pre- 
potency in a male. Ample explanation has been offered by 
pointing out how the male is one-half the flock. There is, too. 
the growing belief that the male is responsible for certain 
qualities, but opinions as to just which ones differ materially. 
Some think the male has most influence upon color and head 
points, while the female controls the shape of body, etc. But 



it must be admitted that no tangible proof of these various 
opinions can be secured. 

Constitutional Vigor. — That constitutional vigor is a vital 
factor in all branches of poultry husbandry will undoubtedly 
have been inferred from several of the foregoing passages. 
The necessity of that quality described by such terms as health, 
vigor, stamina, hardiness, ruggedness and several more, per- 
haps, is so generally understood and recognized that it requires 
little more than passing notice here. 

It is also thoroughly understood that this quality is just as 
vitally essential in the yards of the most exclusive fancier, who 
rears but a few choice birds each season, as on the farm of the 
commercial breeder who raises his flock for the number of eggs 
it produces or the number of pounds of flesh ; the first cannot 
perpetuate his flock to reincarnate the ideals of his dreams, 
the second cannot produce the eggs or the pounds of flesh 
without fowls of rugged constitutions, which must prevail 
in the stock. To maintain health in a flock and to hatch chicks 
that inherit a strong vital force, weak birds must not be 
admitted to the breeding yards. That is, to maintain constitu- 
tional vigor in your flock, select as breeders those birds that 
possess that essential quality. 

The strongest constitutions may be undermined by injudi- 
cious feeding, by undue exposures, poor sanitation and poor 
management generally. These are topics taken up in a later 
chapter in this work. 



Chapter I: 

Chapter II: 
Chapter III 
Chapter IV: 
Chapter V: 

Chapter I: 
Chapter II: 
Chapter III 

Chapter I: 
Chapter II: 
Chapter III 

Chapter I: 
Chapter II: 
Chapter III: 
Chapter IV: 

General Description of Plymouth Rocks — All Va- 

Origin and Early Development. 

Standard Requirements for Shape of all Varieties. 
Common Defects of Plymouth Rock Shape. 
Mating to Over Come Defects in Shape. 

Barred Plymouth Rock Plumage. 
Matings to Produce Exhibition Males. 
Matings to Produce Exhibition Females. 

Origin and Early Development. 
White Plymouth Rock Plumage. 
Mating White Plymouth Rocks. 

Origin and Early Development. 
Buff Plymouth Rock Plumage. 
Mating for Buff Color. 


Chapter I: 
Chapter II: 
Chapter III: 
Chapter IV: 
Chapter V: 

Chapter I: 
Chapter II: 
Chapter III 

Chapter I: 
Chapter II: 
Chapter III: 

Origin and Early Development. 
Description of Silver-Penciled Plymouth Rocks. 
Silver-Penciled Plymouth Rock Plumage. 
Mating Silver-Penciled Plymouth Rocks. 
Plumage Defects and How to Overcome Them. 

Origin and Early Development. 
Partridge Plymouth Rock Plumage. 
Mating Partridge Plymouth Rocks. 

Origin and Early Development. 
Columbian Plymouth Rock Plumage. 
Mating Columbian Plymouth Rocks. 




PLYMOUTH ROCKS are classified as "general purpose 
fowls." The pioneer variety, the Barred Plymouth Rock, 
then called Plymouth Rock, was first exhibited in 1869 
at Worcester, Mass. They are a composite of several different 
blood lines, the first and most prominent of which were the 
Black Cochin and Dominique. 

In size the Plymouth Rock is intermediate between the 
Asiatic and Mediterranean breeds, the most typical and useful 
specimens being those which are nearest to Standard weights. 

The six varieties are identical, except in color. The color 
of the Barred variety is exceedingly difficult to describe ; in 
fact, the true and exact shades can be learned only by ob- 
servation ; the colors should be modified black and white in all 
sections, each feather crossed by regular, narrow, parallel, 
sharply defined, dark bars that stop short of positive black ; 
the overlapping of the feathers producing a bluish tinge 
when viewed under certain light reflections. 

The White variety — plumage pure white, as the name 
indicates — should be free from creaminess and brassiness. 
The combination of pure white plumage with bright red comb, 
face, wattles and ear-lobes, and yellow legs and beak is both 
desirable and obtainable. 

The color of plumage of the Buff variety should be a rich 
golden-buff, free from shafting or mealy appearance, while ex- 
tremes of light and dark shades should be avoided, and a har- 
monious blending of buff in all sections is most desired. 

The contrast of black with white in males and with steel- 
gray in females will attract many to the Silver Penciled 
variety. The exquisite penciling with the rich plumage and 
mahogany surface of the Partridge female and the brilliant 
red and greenish-black plumage of the male, give the breeders 
of this variety an opportunity of testing their skill in mating 
that is equaled in but few varieties of Standard fowls. The 
Columbians with their white breasts, backs and wing bows 
sharply contrasting with the black markings of necks and 
tails, present also an attractive color scheme. 





A popularity among- the masses of poultry keepers that is 
as wonderful as it is universal places the Plymouth Rock fore- 
most, and makes it preeminent as a breed in the poultry world. 
A popularity — questioned by none and admitted by all — is 
not the result of a mere freak of public fancy. Growing stead- 
ily in favor as these fowls have for over fifty years, this popu- 
larity cannot be said to be the outcome of the prearranged 
plans or systematic efforts of any man or body of men. It has 
its foundation on merit, but it is not solely because these 
fowls are money makers in the several phases of commercial 
traffic that they enjoy the highest favors with all classes of 
poultrymen. Because the structure was well planned, and the 
improvements well considered and judicious, these fowls are 
today profitable as egg-producers, as broilers, as roasters, as 
the all-purpose fowls, and for those who succeed in producing 
the best type and plumage, as fancy fowls. To these qualities 
must be added their rugged constitutions, mild dispositions 
and their adaptability to confinement and domestication. 

As fancy fowls their popularity is no doubt due to the 
peculiarly regular and systematic markings or the pure colors 
of their plumage, intensified by the difficulty in producing 
the same to any degree approximating perfection. Failing to 
accomplish this the breeder has always the market qualities 
to rely upon. 

All these things and more have contributed to the popu- 
larity of the Plymouth Rocks, but acknowledged facts do not 
interest us. Our interest seeks to discover the foundation o + " 
these qualities, so fortunately combined ; what combinations of 
blood, what conditions, what circumstances contributed to the 
development of a fowl suited to all. The explanation is best 
given in the history of its ancestry. We shall see as we trace 
the development of this fowl, the source of its rugged con- 
stitution, the reason for the good laying qualities, and ac- 
count, we hope, in a measure at least, for the approaching 
perfection of plumage. 

The first real interest in pure-bred fowls in America, of 
which we have any account, appeared in Xew England about 
the middle of the last century. At that time all pure-bred 
fowls were either of Asiatic or European origin. 



The Popularity of the Asiatic Fowls. — The former, on ac- 
count of their size, which in comparison with that of the com- 
mon farm yard fowls of those days or in comparison with that 
of fowls of European blood, appeared gigantic, and their mag- 
nificent appearance, were extremely popular. At times this 
popularity was even sensational and it may be said that fowls 
of Asiatic blood were relied upon to supply the sensational 
features for the early poultry shows — the first at Boston in 
1849, the several subsequent shows in the same city, as well as 
the one held in Barnum's Museum in 1854. For years these 
Asiatic fowls were the most sought and brought the highest 
prices ; but even at that they did not afford general satisfaction. 

This Popularity Wanes. — They were large but it required 
a greater length of time to grow a large fowl to maturity than 
a small one. It required too long a time to grow these ex- 
tremely large specimens. They did not lay as well for most 
poultry keepers as the smaller birds. Mediterranean breeds 
had been imported from Italy, Spain and England and these 
were acknowledged the superior of all others as "egg-ma- 
chines." Compared with the Asiatic or even most of the 
mongrel stock, these were very small and fell materially short 
of the weight desired of a good market fowl. 

A General Purpose Fowl Demanded. — The failures of these 
different classes of fowls to meet both requirements became 
more and more apparent as time elapsed, and the more ap- 
parent the failures became the stronger became the desire to 
find or create a fowl that, while it could be depended upon for 
a liberal production of eggs, would also meet the demands of 
a superior table fowl. Many attempts were made before 
success was achieved. Some dated back prior to the middle 
of the century. Of these we have the best account of one by a 
Dr. Bennett of Plymouth, Massachusetts, of which we find a 
very good description in The Poultry Book (1850) of which 
the same Dr. Bennett was the author. 


"1 have given this name to a very extra breed of fowls 
which I produced by crossing a cockerel of Baylies' importa- 
tion of Cochin China with a hen, a cross between the fawn- 
colored Dorking, the Great Malay and the Wild Indian ; having 
five primitive bloods, Shanghae, Malay, Game, Turkish and 
Indian traceable by referring to the history of those breeds 
and their crosses respectively. There are several of this breed 


in Plymouth, from my original stock, belonging to Messrs. 
John H. Harlow, Samuel Shaw and myself, that are now a 
little over one year old ; the cockerels measure from thirty- 
two to thirty-five inches high and weigh about ten pounds, and 
the pullets from six and a half to seven pounds each ; forming 
in my opinion, the best cross that has ever been produced. 

"The pullets commenced laying when five months old. 
proving themselves very superior layers. Their eggs are of 
a medium size, rich and reddish-yellow in color. Their plum- 
age is rich and variegated ; the cocks, usually red or speckled, 
and the pullets darkish brown. They are very fine fleshed 
and early fit for the table. Their legs are very large and 
usually blue or green, but occasionally yellow or white, gen- 
erally having five toes upon each foot. Some have their legs 


One ol the earliest pictures published of the American Plymouth Rock, appearing 
in Rural ]Sew Yorker, 1872, and in Stoddard's Poultry World, 1873. [Observe darker 
plumage of the neck feathers and coarseness of barring in the larger feathers, combs 
irregular and serrations very numerous, tail feathers of the male are represented as 
being blown by the wind.] 



feathered but this is not usual. They have large and single 
combs and wattles, large cheeks, rather short tails and small 
wings in proportion to their bodies." 

From the following paragraph it seems that Mr. G. P. Burn- 
ham secured some of the fowls from the Doctor, which is quite 
likely, as it appears from the writings of Mr. Burnham that 
he and the Doctor, as he alludes to him, were very friendly. 
In a letter to the Massachusetts Ploughman, Mr. Burnham 
describes them as follows : 

"The cock here represented weighs nine pounds and a 
quarter, and the two pullets thirteen pounds. The stock came 
from Dr. Bennett and I am daily more and more pleased with 
this fine species. I have the 'Plymouth Rocks' at all ages now 
— from a few days up to about eight months old ; and my speci- 


Halftone reproduction of a colored lithograph of Plymouth Rocks by Porter in 
Stoddard's Poultry World, 1879. This shape was popular during the 80's and was 
copied to represent birds of that period. It shows a substantial and rugged type. 
This pair represent a larger, heavier type, with color of plumage and shape of combs 
considerably improved over those of the pair published in Poultry World, 1873. 



mens embrace five or six different broods. The color of all of 
them is peculiarly uniform and I am satisfied that the variety 
(or breed) is now well established. The body plumage on the 
pullets is a rich deep brown, speckled with golden-tipt feath- 
ers ; the under down is black (or a deep blue-black), and the 
tail is brown, black and gold. 

"The legs of the pullets are very dark colored, and one half 
of them or more, are five toed ; but some of them do not come 
so. The comb is single, and the wattles thin and small. The 
head and neck are well formed, the legs are shorter than the 
average of fowls, and the hens are not only deep and broad- 
chested, but the bodies are proportionately very long, as you 
will observe in the drawing. 

"The roosters are noble birds — among the finest I have ever 
met with. The plumage of the roosters is dark red hackles on 
neck and rump ; the legs are bright yellow, slightly feathered ; 
the body, dark red and green relieved with stray feathers of a 
golden tint ; and the under portion of the body and breast is 
a rich, deep, glossy blue-black — partaking of the plumage of 
the Wild Indian fowl, the original cross. The tail-plumes on 
the above crower are not grown out as yet, of course, nor 
does he yet show any spur ; but he is pictured exactly as he is 
at this time, after his first moult. When he is in full plumage 
the tail feathers are heavy and give the male bird not only a 
much larger proportionate appearance, but very greatly im- 
prove his form." 

Mr. John Giles of Providence, R. I., a prominent poultry 
fancier and importer of those times writes : "The 'Rocks' are a 
splendid bird, and if their table Qualities prove to be good, 
will make a valuable breed of fowls." Again in the same let- 
ter he says : "On more close examination of the 'Rock' chick. 
T am more confirmed that they must prove an invaluable 
breed. Could you not cross so as to have one distinct color 
of lee and plumage?" 

Other descriptions and testimonials follow. These fowls 
are commended for their laying qualities as well as for their 
uniformity of appearance. 

Did the First Plymouth Rock Become Extinct? — Neither 
from these descriptions nor from the accompanying illustra- 
tions could one agree with the deductions of Harrison Weir, 
the noted English artist and author, in his work, "The Poultry 
Book," London 1811, though the logic is very plausible at a 



"Now it is both curious and very extraordinary, to say the 
least of it, that Mr. Spaulding should adopt for his breed the 
cognomen of that of Dr. Bennett's and Mr. G. P. Burnham's 
new variety, and which, according to the portraits in Bennett's 
book, so much resemble in shape the New Plymouth Rock ; 
and further, it is not so clear that those of Dr. Bennett had 
really disappeared, for in the last paragraph in 'the Doctor's' 
book regarding them, Mr. John Giles distinctly states that : 
'I shall endeavor hereafter to produce them with uniform 
plumage, preferring the dark colour, dark legs and four toes 
only.' To me the name thus given to a new breed, being one 
belonging to another, is very unsatisfactory, nor does the after 
variations of the Barred Plymouth Rock, borne out in the 
progeny, accord with this asserted origin ; nor is it likely but 
that the name had some notoriety, or why adopted if it was 
so indifferent as to have become extinct?" 

One could hardy imagine that a possibility of developing a 
fowl of the type and plumage of the modern Plymouth Rocks 
from the crosses named by Dr. Bennett exists. Upon this 
question Mr. Weir seems the only exponent of this theory of 
the origin for the Plymouth Rock of the present day. All 
writers during the intermediate period, even the Doctor's 
friend Burnham, seem to repudiate such a theory. 

Mr F. H. Ayer in his pamphlet (1878), after describing the 
Bennett Plymouth Rocks goes on to state : "The modern Plym- 
outh Rock is quite a different fowl from the one we have just 
described and was produced from different stock though, as 
is too well known to need comment, it is a cross-bred." 

Stoddard in The Plymouth Rocks (1880) writes: "What- 
ever their excellencies, the incipient breed ran out completely, 
or ran into anything or everything by admixture with adverse 
breeds, and for years no Plymouth Rocks existed. Then came 
another fowl of entirely new blood and finding the name 
ready-made but the fowl it used to represent extinct, accepted 
it as the title best suited to its solid merits. At this point the 
old line Rocks disappear; henceforth the title 'Plymouth Rock' 
means the fowl of today." 

Exactly the same views are taken by Corbin in 1879, Bishop 
in 1880, Wallace in 1888 and many others. The periodicals of 
that time, however, show that the new breed was quite widely 
distributed and received its full share of publicity. Though 
they failed to establish themselves and lacked uniformity and 
a positive pattern in plumage, such was the call for a fowl 



that combined prolific egg producing and good market qual- 
ities that until they proved themselves, as Stoddard says they 
were, incipient fowls, they were eagerly sought. 

Efforts to Establish a General Purpose Fowl Continue. — 

Then for some time no Plymouth Rocks existed. But we 
have reason to believe that efforts to establish a fowl of the 
general purpose type continued. It was not a difficult matter, 
however, to combine opposite types and decidedly dissimilar 
patterns, but it proved to be a very difficult problem to breed 
the desired qualities together and make the breeding hold any 
definite type or color pattern. No blood seemed to amalgamate 
with that of the Asiatic which was invariably the basis of these 
crosses. At last, however, blood sufficiently strong to hold 
its own with the heretofore dominant Asiatic blood was mixed 
with it. The result was most gratifying. Strange to say, this 
new blood, that is new in the sense of being untried, was the 
fowl of native development, of unknown origin and commonly 
kept on the farms and in the back yards of New England. 


By common consent the cross that originated the Plymouth 
Rock was made on the yards of Joseph Spaulding of Putnam, 
Connecticut. A few of the progeny of the first cross were sold 
to D. A. Upham of Wilsonville of the same State who, after 
breeding them but a few seasons, perhaps no more than two, 
was the first to present them to the public. Plymouth Rocks 
as exhibition fowls made their first appearance at Worcester, 
Massachusetts in March, 1869. The above facts are not se- 
riously disputed, if disputed at all, nor have they been to the 
writer's recollection, which extends back to the early 80's. 

It would hardly seem that a more competent or trustworthy 
source of information as to the origin of this new race would be 
found than the same Mr. Upham who first brought them to 
the public's attention and but a few years after the original 
cross to establish them was made. 

Mr. Upham's Account. — Mr. Upham tells this story in the 
Poultry World (1876), only seven years after he first exhibited 
Plymouth Rocks and but ten or eleven years after the original 
Spaulding cross was made. This account, as related at that 
time, we are glad to reprint. 

"Nearly ten years ago we bred, named and introduced the 
first fowls and chicks of this variety ever shown to the public, 



and they were produced first by a cross between a common 
hawk-colored (so-called) single comb Dunghill cock, with 
pure black Cochin hens, not Java hens (which invariably have 
smooth legs, entirely free from feathers). From this cross a 
large majority of the progeny were cockerels, very large and 
fine symmetrical birds, many of them of the same plumage as 
their sire, some with legs heavily feathered, a few with legs 
entirely free from feathers. 

"The pullets, a large percentage, were black, legs heavily 
feathered, a few were very handsomely marked, black and 
white, with legs entirely free from feathers, others' legs slight- 
ly feathered. 

"In the Fall of 1866 my attention was called to these chicks 
by a friend, and we started to see them, and found them in the 
yards of one. Mr. Spaulding, who then lived in Putnam, Conn. 
Mr. Spaulding bred fowls for market purposes only, and was 
noted for producing the very best early and late chicks of any 
farmer around, always obtaining higher prices than his neigh- 
bors for his choice poultry. We selected and purchased a 
cockerel and two pullets, which had clean, yellow legs and of 
the desired plumage we wished to produce, and bred them. 
About one half of their chicks were of the desired plumage. I 
then selected the best pullets and bred them to a cock of my 
own raising, of the same plumage, a descendant from stock 
which originated from eggs purchased of G. P. Burnham, about 
twenty-five years ago, said to be Brahma Pootras, or what 
some fanciers called Gray Chittagongs in those days — which 
were very large noble fowls ; but with me this variety was 
crossed with Cochins and English Gray Dorkings, but the 
cockerels always retained the original steel-gray plumage. 

"The second cross from this strain produced very satisfac- 
tory results. Most of their chicks were of the desired color in 
both sexes ; very few black, and most of them with legs free 
from feathers, and bright yellow in color. From this cross I 
have selected and bred from the very best specimens, and by 
judicious mating have, for the past three years, succeeded in 
breeding them as true to feather and points, and a greater num- 
ber of fine exhibition birds from a clutch of eggs, than from 
any other variety we ever bred. They are now very large, 
fine in shape, and very handsome plumaged birds. They fledge 
quite young, grow rapidly, mature earlier than any other fowl 
of their size, are very hardy and easy to rear, and tor early 
marketing there is no breed to be compared with them ; are 


fully equal to the Brahmas as Winter and superior as Sum- 
mer layers, not frequent sitters, excellent mothers, great for- 
agers and are truly the farmer's fowl. Matured weights, on 
an average, from twenty-five to thirty pounds the trio. Extra 
fine specimens have been known to reach thirty-two pounds. 

"This, in short, is the true origin and general characteris- 
tics of the genuine Plymouth Rocks of today." 

Vital Points in the Upham Account. — We gather from this 
extract several facts of which we are glad to have knowledge. 
First, it sets the date very close to the one generally accepted 
by interested fanciers and breeders. "Nearly ten years ago 
we bred, named and introduced the first fowls and chicks of 

this variety ever shown to the public " Writing this 

in 1872 would make these statements coincide with other re- 
liable data on this point. Note in this connection the state- 
ment beginning — "In the Fall of 1866." This — then — 
is the date and the Fall is the season when Mr. Upham pro- 
duced his foundation stock. It is certain that he did nothing 
in the line of breeding or rearing during 1866 because of the 
lateness of the season. "We selected and purchased . 
and bred them." This accounts for the season of 1867, but 
Mr. Upham states further: "We then selected the best pul- 
lets and bred them to a cock of my own raising " 

"The second cross from this strain produced satisfactory re- 
sults " If it was at this point that Mr. Upham 

selected the specimen for the first public appearance of the 
Plymouth Rock, and it is certainly not unreasonable to pre- 
sume that it was, because to quote his own language, "most 
of their chicks were of the desired color in both sexes ; very 
few black, and most of them with legs free from feathers, and 
bright yellow in color," and birds that bear such a description 
would seem to be fair show specimens, especially during the 
formative stage in a breed. March, 1869, as the date of the first 
appearance, coincides with the facts as stated in the abstract, 
as chicks shown as early as March, 1869, must have been 
reared in 1868, which coincides chronologically with the above 
statements. AVe must not overlook the statement which, on 
account of the controversy it has occasioned, is the most per- 
tinent, vital and hence the most interesting of all the facts 
presented, that they were produced first by a cross between 
a large common hawk-colored (so-called) single comb Dunghill 
cock, with pure black Cochin hens, not Java hens (which in- 
variably have smooth legs, entirely free from feathers), as 



this statement involves the point of a controversy that was 
kept alive for years, and though the fire of debate smoulders, 
it rekindles occasionally and burns freely for the time being. 

The Ramsdell Account. — The other side of the controversy 
rested upon the statement made in an article by H. S. Rams- 
dell of Connecticut, published in the Poultry and Pet Stock 
Bulletin of March, 1873, in which is found the following: 

"Our modern Plymouth Rock fowl is in no way whatever 
connected with the Plymouth Rock produced by Dr. Bennett 
some twenty-five years since, from a cross with the Asiatic 
fowls. None of these bloods enter into the composition of the 
present stock. They are a different bird altogether, and were 
produced on the farm of the late Joseph Spaulding of Putnam, 
Conn., which is situated about one mile from my own. I 
was intimately acquainted w r ith the Mr. S. — while he lived, 
and I was thus given an opportunity of knowing the facts of 
which I speak. 

"Some thirty years since, John Giles Esq. (well known to 
the poultry world) introduced a fowl into this vicinity called 
the Black Java ; its plumage was black and glossy, its size large 
(Mr. G — said the pullets had sometimes reached eleven 
pounds), they were an unusually hardy bird, with a dark, 
slate-colored smooth leg, and the bottom of the foot yellow. 
They proved good layers and of extra quality for the table ; 
not coarse like most of the large-sized birds, but fine and 
juicy. I sold a few of these birds to a Mr. Thayer, of Pomfret, 
of whom Mr. George Clark of Woodstock, Conn., purchased 
some — he supposed the same. Mr. Clark passing Mr. Spauld- 
ing's yard one day, noticed his fine flock of Dominiques and 
proposed bringing a few of his Javas to cross with them, to 
increase the size. Mr. S — accepted the offer and when the 
chickens were grown rejected the black ones, and those with 
double comb, reserving to breed from only the single-comb 
birds which retained the Dominique color or near it. They 
were usually darker of plumage than the Dominique, the legs 
sometimes resembled the Java — dark with yellow feet — but 
were mostly yellow, or yellow with a slight streak of dark on 
the front of the leg, which with the feet are free from feathers. 
We received some eggs of this cross from Mr. S — as a present, 
and purchased some fowls of him. Of the first produce, one 
hen weighed over eight pounds, and another reached nine 
pounds and three quarters. We soon had a fine flock of them. 
The fowls were spread around the neighborhood and were 



much sought after, but had, as yet, no name. A gentleman 
asked me what I called them. Not knowing that any of the 
Bennetts were now in existence — I had not seen any of them 
for years — 1 said, "Plymouth Rocks." The name passed from 
one to another and they were soon generally known by that 
name. Our opinion of the fowl is that when bred pure, as 
it came from the hands of Mr. Spaulding, it has few equals 
and no superiors. True, they will now and then throw a 
black chick, resembling those we had twenty-five or thirty 
years since, but we find they grow fewer each year and doubt- 
less will soon disappear altogether." 

This article coincides in names and circumstances with 
Mr. Upham's verbal account given the writer in the Summer 
of 1890, except that Mr. Upham insisted that the black Asiatic 
was a Black Cochin and not a Black Java. Both agree that a 
Java Avas a large, black, smooth legged fowl, while it is well 
known that a Cochin is and always was a feather legged fowl. 

Views of the Early Writers.— F. H. Ayer in THE PLY- 
MOUTH ROCK, a pamphlet published in 1878, takes the 
Ramsdell view of the Java-Cochin controversy in the follow- 
ing language : 

" 'Who shall decide when doctors disagree ?' Whatever the 
merits of the Upham-Ramsdell controversy may be, the ques- 
tion of the rival claimants has long since settled in the minds 
of all breeders, and a review of their statements is unneces- 
sary. The Plymouth Rock is a cross of Dominique and Java 
blood, and this fact is of more im/portance in breeding than 
the name of the first breeder." 

F. H. Corbin, in a pamphlet entitled PLYMOUTH 
ROCKS, 1879, also accepts the Ramsdell view, or is inclined 
to. He writes : 

"The Upham-Ramsdell controversy was conducted with 
both A'igor and bitterness. The conceded ability of these 
gentlemen, together with their readiness of pen, only magnified 
the contest, diffused a knowledge of the question among the 
poultry fraternity and caused others to take up the pen. both 
as principals and advocates. After a time it began to be un- 
certain whether any such breed ever existed, and, if there was 
any, where or from whence it sprang. 

"Another question intensified the controversy. While all 
were agreed as to the Plymouth Rock being a "cross" breed, 
scarcely any two were agreed as to what the cross was. The 
Black Java, Cochin, Dominique, Dunghill, Gray Chittagongs 
and English Gray Dorkings were all named as entering into 



the cross. This disputation itself showed that the fanciers 
considered the Plymouth Rock well worthy of attention, and 
also that it was advancing with rapid strides to the first place 
in the estimation of breeders generally. 

"As before intimated, there were several different sus- 
pected origins to this breed, and some two or three, perhaps, 
worthy of mention. The most reliable one, however, in the 
estimation of breeders of the present day, was the cross of a 
single combed Dominique cock with Black Java hens. This 
may not be admitted by all, but it has the best authority, and 
is now generally acquiesced in." 

H. H. Stoddard, in the pamphlet on the same subject writ- 
ten at about the same time, 1880, under the heading of 
"Dominique ^nd Java," writes as follows : 

"It is now universally admitted that the Plymouth Rock 
is the resultant of the process of breeding the old fashioned 
Dominique — the native American fowl — on Black Java hens, a 
sort now nearly or quite unknown in this country ; but who 
originated this cross is a matter of dispute which will probably 
always remain in statu quo. It is enough for the breeders 
to know that the union of the hawk-color and the black was 
effected, and few will care for purposeless search beyond 
Drake and Ramsdell or Upham. We are all looking forward and 
not backward, and were the entire past of this breed — save the 
knowledge of what the cross was — blotted out, breeders would 
be no way troubled to manage their stock as successfully as 
ever. Still, the history of the breed contains much of interest 
and we will give briefly the history of Plymouth Rocks — 
ancient and modern — before going into the discussion of ques- 
tions more immediately affecting their treatment in the 

Joseph Wallace, a little later, 1888, in "Barred and White 
Plymouth Rocks," accepts the view of the others, of a 
Dominique and Java as the first cross. 

As to the statement of Ayer, who seems to think that there 
are several claimants for the honor of making the first cross 
and that Upham is one of them, the writer is in a position to 
assure all readers that Upham did not in his later years, if he 
ever did, claim to have made the original cross, but accords 
that honor to Spaulding upon the suggestion of another. 

Corbin rather evades a discussion but comes to a con- 
clusion without presenting argument or facts. The same 
may be said of all the others, except perhaps Stoddard, who 


qualifies by saying that the Java involved is not the Java of 
the present day, which would appear to be true, inasmuch 
as there was at that time no such thing as a Standard Java, 
which we did not have until 1883. The fact is Plymouth Rocks 
antedated Javas in the Standard. 

The argument most often advanced in favor of the Java 
theory is that the Black Cochin was unknown in America or 
at the best was so very scarce that it would not have been used 
in all probability or possibility. A writer, himself a student 
of Cochins and Asiatics particularly, makes the following 
statement in the May 15, 1901, issue of the Farm Poultry, 
published for many years in Boston : 

"Black Cochins were so very scarce from the start that the 
few in existence w r ere bred with Whites and Buffs to increase, 
improve and invigorate them. Their original quality was not 
the equal of the others. This cross-breeding injured their color 
so much that for many years they were almost discarded. If 
the English, w T ho were so directly in business communication 
with China, could not obtain Black Cochins, how could it be 
possible for Mr. Giles to import them? At the same time, 
what were known then as as Black Javas are mentioned con- 
tinually, and they were, without doubt, what would be called 
an Asiatic fowl, largely Malay. 

"Without any word from us we feel that the records fully 
prove that the Dominique fowl has at all times in America 
been known as such (the other names applied here have 
been erroneously used) ; that the facts show that the Spauld- 
ing or original Plymouth Rock came as the result of crossing 
these American Dominiques with what is known as Black 

The scarcity or non-existence of Black Cochin seems to be 
the actual basis of the Java theory, though we find inference 
that Mrs. Spaulding was originally responsible for its cir- 

In regard to the references to the Upham-Ramsdell con- 
troversy and their rival claims to priority, the particulars of 
which none of them state. The writer can not find that such a 
controversy exists or ever has. Neither did Mr. Upham in his 
conversation with the writer bring up the question of whether 
he or Ramsdell was the first to purchase of Spaulding. There 
is the possibility, of course, that Ramsdell purchased first and 
another possibility that Upham in that case might have pro- 
cured his stock of Ramsdell. He says, however, in his first 



account, heretofore presented, and in all his subsequent 
accounts, that he purchased of Spaulding, which should mean 
of Spaulding direct. We have no printed or written state- 
ment to the contrary as far as the author is aware. 

The only incident known to the writer that seems to in- 
dicate that Mr. Ramsdell did breed Plymouth Rocks before 
Upham happened on the occasion of a visit by the writer to 
a poultry show in Worcester, Mass., where he found the ex- 
hibitors present in a mild state of excitement over a visit of 
an old minister who came to this show and was introduced 
by Mr. Upham as the first breeder of Plymouth Rocks. These 
exhibitors all expressed their regrets that I should not have 
been there the day before, so as to meet the clergyman so 
distinguished. No name was given, but later inquiry elicited 
the fact that it could hardly have been other than the Rev. 
H. S. Ramsdell. The exact date of this show can not be given, 
but it must have been in the early eighties or about fifteen 
years after the Plymouth Rocks for the first time made their 
public appearance in the same place. 

Black Cochins in England. — As to the existence and sup- 
ply of Black Cochins in England, we shall have to rely upon 
the English poultry literature of that period and for some 
time before : 

Martin Doyle in 1857 writes of Black Cochins as being 
rare and of an instance of two black sports from a pair of 
light Buffs. This states definitely that Black Cochins were 
not unknown six or eight years before it is claimed they were 
originally used as a foundation for the new Plymouth Rocks. 

Richardson's book, "Domestic Fowl and Ornamental Poul- 
try," gives some interesting points regarding the China fowls. 
On page 70 we find the statement that : "The terms Cochiu 
China and Shanghae may be used synonomously." On page 
72: "To divide them (Cochin China and Shanghae) into 
classes is decidedly a mistake, as no sufficient marks exist to 
establish them as distinct varieties." On page 74, Richardson 
quotes Mr. Trotter's prize essay of the Royal Agricultural 
Society in 1851 as follows : "The most esteemed color of these 
fowls is ginger; but as there are pure bred birds of almost all 
colors, including black and white, I am in favor of selecting 
them as much by their shapes as by their color. 

"Shape, size, gait and weight may be assured as permanent 
characteristics — not so, feathers. No only do white and black 
Bantams, Cuckoo Dorkings and game fowls sport in feathers, 



but the more uniform breeds, the Black Polanders, the 
Minorcas, and even the Spanish take a white speck, spot and 
even feathers, when the fit is on them ; so with the Shanghaes. 
The breeder may start in the Spring with buffs, cinnanlons 
or partridge colored parents and their progeny in November 
will display all the colors of the rainbow, except, to be sure, 
the blue. Nay, they may put on the affirmative of due propor- 
tions of the whole as white, or the negative as black speci- 
mens." So strong is the writer, who Richardson styles as an 
acute and experienced amateur on this point, that he goes on, 
on page 87, to say that this tendency to sport may be checked 
but never, he believes, subdued. 

From these statements, made as far back as 1851, we can 
readily see what an opporunity anyone had to produce in the 
interval between about what they chose in color of Cochins. 

Page 74, after quoting Mr. Trotter, the prize essay from 
Royal Agricultural Society in 1851, Richardson, referring to 
that essay, comments upon the statements of the same as 
follows : 

"They are valuable, coming from a gentleman who has 
carried off prizes for best Cochins, Dorkings, etc., at the 
Northumberland and Durham Society Shows." 

In a work on fowls published in London, England, 1860, 
John Baily mentions these different kinds of Cochin-Chinas, 
Buff, Lemon, Cinnamon, Grouse, Partridge, White and Black. 
This corroborates the authors cited and others and, to reiterate 
it would seem, if they had Black Cochins (or Shanghaes) 
in England as early as 1851, that without question Black Coch- 
ins existed in England and elsewhere long before the now 
famous Spaulding cross was made, and if they were known 
in that country as early as 1851, it is strongly probable that 
they were bred in this country long before Spaulding created 
the Plymouth Rock, because there was so much in common 
between the poultry breeders of the two countries and English 
importations of all new varieties were the fad of those times. 

Black Cochins in America. — But we are not compelled to 
rely on the fact that Black Cochins existed in England, as we 
have direct evidence that they were frequently met with in 
our earliest American exhibitions. We submit letters from 
Mr. C. P. Nettleton, who, at the time of writing, was a well 
known breeder of Light Brahmas. The letters read as follows : 



Shelton, Conn., Sept. 18, 1901. 

Editors, Farm Poultry. 

Dear Sirs: Yours in reference to Black Cochins at Philadelphia, 
1868, come to hand. Black Cochins were exhibited at that time by 
Mr. John Clapp of Philadelphia, A. M. Halstead, Rye, N. Y., Mr. 
Gilbert, Pennsylvania. Yours, 

(Signed) C. P. NETTLETON. 
Shelton, Conn., Sept. 18, 1901. 

Editors, Farm Poultry. 

Dear Sirs: Let me tell you about Black Cochins as I knew about 
them long ago. 

I first bought some, as I called them, Black Cochins, in 1868. 
They were commonly called by most people Black Javas, had feathered 
legs, but scant feathering, hardly a bird having any feathers on the 
middle toe. I worked at them for five or six years to get the feathers 
on the middle toe. About this time P. Williams took them up, and 
P. Williams and myself were the most prominent exhibitors for some 
time of Black Cochins. Where Mr. Williams got his from at first 
I never knew. 

Most all parties who spoke of these black birds, as long ago as 
1868, called them Black Javas. Some of these kind of fowls were 
shown at the New York show held in Barnum's Museum long before 
that time (1868). 

Perhaps Mr. Williams can tell you something about them. My 
memory don't serve me as I wish it did. 

Will send you a copy of that Plymouth Rock item soon. 

Yours truly, 

(Signed) C. P. NETTLETON. 

The show at Barnum's Museum which Mr. Nettleton re- 
ferred to was held during February, 1854. According to this. 
Black Cochins were found in America in ample season to 
become one of the foundations of Plymouth Rocks. 

We copy the following paragraph from "The China Fowl" 
by G. P. Burnham as further proof of their presence in Amer- 
ica at an even earlier date : 

"The Black Shanghae is less common among us than any 
other variety. In 1850, at the time we obtained through Wm. 
T. Porter from Shanghae our second lot of Light Gray birds, 
we found an excellent trio (cock and two hens) of the Black 
variety which, with the five Light Grays then obtained, and 
a splendid trio of Dark Brown birds, we took to Melrose to 
breed. The Black ones bred true to the originals and were 
of the best color (for their dusky metallic hue) that we ever 
saw. We did not fancy them greatly, however, and bred them 
only one or two seasons. We give portraits of the Black birds 


here ; and it will be seen that, excepting the change of color 
again, they represent the same formed fowl from beak to toes — 
the true Shanghae, though ebony-hued." 

Bement. in the 1863 edition of the American Poulterers' 
Companion, gives a variety of Shanghaes (afterwards called 
Cochins)., Buff. Yellow, Cinnamon. White, Gray, Black and 
Partridge colored. Here is a mention of Black Cochins in an 
American work at a date prior to the first cross ; and in an- 
other but a few years after that event in the Hand Book 
of Poultry, published by Pettingill, Bates & Co., X. Y.. that 
mentions nine varieties of Cochins. Buff. Lemon, Silver, Silver 
Cinnamon. Cinnamon. Partridge, Grouse. Grav. White and 

More evidence along this line is available, but enough has 
been cited to conclusively prove that Black Cochins were bred 
in America long enough before the event of the Plymouth 
Rock to permit of their use in the original cross. 

Were Cochins and Javas the Same Fowl? — Just why there 
has been so much misunderstanding about this ancestry and 
why the Java has been so often cited as a parent of the first 
American breed seems strange indeed, but Mr. Nettleton 
drops a salient hint in his letter : "They were called by most 
people Black Javas. had feathered legs," etc. From this state- 
ment we may clearly deduce the fact that the terms Black 
Cochin and Black Java were interchangeable at that period, 
and of this fact it is possible to find much more evidence. 

The Premium Lists of the Nashua, X. H.. and Philadel- 
phia, Pa., shows for the year 1871 contain the following lines 
in their classification of breeds to which prizes would be 


This classification in this form can have but one inter- 
pretation, namely : That the two names stood for the same 
fowl ; that they were so considered, and further, that the term 
Java was considered to have been incorrectly applied by the 
best authorities of the day is brought out by the fact that 
the term "Java'' was dropped by the first standard makers 
and the term "Cochin" used. Black Cochins are described in 
the first standard and in every standard that has followed 
it. down to the present time, but Javas were not admitted 
and described until the 1883 edition was published. 

Mr. I. K. Felch has called attention to this bit of history 
several times. One of his articles appeared in the Poultry 



Monthly, December, 1891, in which he makes the following 
statements concerning- the relation of Cochins, Javas and 
Shanghaes in general : 

"In 1852 the first heavy black fowls of an Asiatic type ap- 
peared in Massachusetts as Black Javas. The females were 
black ; some of the males were wholly black, others had ma- 
hogany streaked necks with red mahogany round spots on the 
wing coverts. The Cochin Chinas, or Shanghae — they were 
called by both names — came to us in buff, grouse color, black- 
reds, the black now and then appearing. From the first trio 
I owned, a male, then called Black-Red, identical with Part- 
ridge Cochin male of today, a buff colored pullet, and hen 
buff in ground color, minutely pencilled with dark brown, 
came black chicks, as well as some the color of Partridge, 
Buff, and White Cochins, which bred true to color. The first 
Black Cochins were a dull black. When the first American 
standard was made, all these Shanghaes were christened 
Cochins and the Black put in the list ; this ignored the Black 
Javas and forced them into the Cochin class. Many breeders 
were striving to breed them to smooth shanks, and birds were 
becoming more plentiful with the smooth shank. The action 
of the fanciers was somewhat censured for thus ignoring a 
breed which some claimed were older residents of the country 
than the Cochin. But the act pressed all the Black Asiatic 
blood into the class; the result was that for a while, although 
the Blacks were less pure in Cochin type, they were the most 
prolific in that they laid more and larger egg's." 

From the above it appears that Black Javas were Black 
Cochins, according to the 'Standard of Excellence,' at least. 
It would further be a fair inference that two sorts of Black 
Asiatics were being developed, one with heavy leg feathering 
and another with less and with much lighter bodies. That 
those who favored no leg feathering did not perfect their 
ideals is apparent from the foregoing. 

Several of the citations previously quoted agree upon the 
number of different varieties of Shanghaes or Cochins, also 
upon the character of each of these varieties, showing thereby 
that a distinct breed with many different varieties — in con- 
formity with the modern understanding of the terms "breed" 
and "variety" and our conception of the distinction between 
the two terms — existed in those days. On the other hand we 
hear of only one variety of Java in those days, the Black. 
Even the Mottled is not mentioned. Otherwise than through 


faulty nomenclature, the Java of the early period here- 
in alluded to leads a very doubtful existence. No definite nor 
authentic information for a Black Java that was distinct from 
the Black Cochin of the period between 1850 and 1870 can be 
found. Coupled with this fact,, the absence of a Java in our 
first standard becomes significant, particularly as the first of 
these works was published but a decade or so after the orig- 
inal cross that produced the Plymouth Rock was made and 
so few years after this particular Java was supposed to have 

Well and truly did Stoddard (1880) write: "On Black 
Java hens, a sort now nearly or quite unknown in this coun- 
try;" and this plain admission that the dam of a great race 
of fowls, then rapidly becoming 'if not already more com- 
monly kept than any other race, was nearly if not quite un- 
known in this country, only eleven years after the race made 
its first public appearance and no more than fifteen probably 
after its creation. AVhat could have become of it in the very 
few years intervening is beyond conception unless, as Mr. 
Felch has suggested, it was classed as a Cochin by our best 
standard makers, and if men of their breadth of intelligence, 
their long experience and reputation in the poultry world, 
classed them as Cochins, Cochins in reality without doubt 
they were, for men of the calibre of our first standard makers 
could not be mistaken upon a question of breed characteris- 
tics — certainly not all of them, and with the characteristics 
involved, those of a breed as commonly kept and understood 
as the Cochin. 

English Opinions as to Origin. — With our own good Amer- 
ican breeders so feverishly excited and possibly prejudiced 
either by their friendship for the men involved or by their 
opinions of the breeds in question, or not in question, it may 
be somewhat refreshing to seek the opinions of those who 
may review the heated question in a cooler atmosphere or at a 
distance and surely with prejudice wholly removed. All these 
men had, when their opinions were expressed, made questions 
of poultry culture the study of rather long lives even then 
and, although each of them lived for years afterwards, they 
were not known to advance any opinion differing in any par- 
ticular from those herein quoted. 

Edward Brown of London, England, whose writings are 
familiar to many poultrymen in America and whose war-time 
lectures have been so well received recently (1918) in this 



country, wrote in 1884, under the name of Stephen Beale, in 
a work entitled "Profitable Poultry Keeping," page 117: 

"This is a variety of New England manufacture, but is 
nevertheless a most useful breed for general purposes and has 
become wonderfully popular within a very short time. The 
fowls are cuckoo in plumage and resemble a Cochin in shape 
more than anything else, as that variety has doubtless had 
much to do in the making of them." 

Harrison Weir, in the second volume of Our Poultrv and 
All About Them, discusses the American Plymouth Rock and 
plainly shows that he is very much inclined to adopt a theory 
that our modern Plymouth Rock is but a perpetuation of the 
breed originated by Dr. Bennett, which all other authorities 
regard as extinct. By so doing he certainly leans most de- 
cidedly to the Cochin side of the controversy, as a quotation 
from this discussion by Mr. Weir reads : 

"The Plymouth Rock fowl, then, is in reality one-half 
Cochin China, one-fourth fawn-colored Dorking, one-eighth 
Great Malay and one-eighth Wild Indian." 

After quoting the vital part of the Ramsdell article in the 
Poultry Monthly, Weir comments rather testily: "Then a new 
cross between the Dominique and some Asiatics and lastly, 
another cross, and that with the so-called Java, of which it is 
said in Kerr's American edition of the Rev. E. S. Dixon's book 
(1860), that no such breed existed in America. * * * So 
much for the Java, but the origin of the Dominique thus re- 
mains unknown." 

Plainly, Mr. Weir does not accept, even reluctantly, the 
Java as a parent of the Plymouth Rock and it seems that he 
may be equally skeptical concerning the Dominique parentage. 
Looking at the Plymouth Rock fowl from all angles and 
weighing all theories in the scales of probability and pos- 
sibility, Mr. Weir again states : 

"* * * but we are told that they are a new invention 
made from a cross between Dominiques and Asiatics, and 
which they have every appearance of." 

The third eminent English authority w r e wish to quote is 
Mr. Lewis Wright. It is particularly agreeable and pleas- 
ing to American writers to find that a fellow countryman and 
contemporary of Mr. Weir contributes the strongest and 
ablest article in refutation of Mr. Weir's theory of the per- 
petuation of the Bennett line of Plymouth Rocks. This able 



and instructive article will be appreciated thoroughly by all 
students of Plymouth Rock history. 

"The variety now known by this name has never been cor- 
rectly described in any work on poultry ; all hitherto pub- 
lished, both in England and America, confounding it with a 
creation of Dr. Bennett's some twenty years ago, and de- 
scribed by him in his well known American work on fowls. 
This description is highly curious and well illustrates our 
opening remarks on some American so-called 'breeds.' I have 
given this name,' he says, 'to a very extra breed of fowls, which 
I produced by crossing a Cochin China cockerel with a hen 
that was herself a cross between the Fawn-colored Dorking, 
the Great Malay and the Wild Indian. Her weight is six 
pounds seven ounces. The Plymouth Rock fowl, then, is 
really one-half Cochin, one-fourth Fawn-colored Dorking, 
one-eighth Great Malay and one-eighth Indian. Their 
plumage is rich and variegated, the cocks usually red and 
speckled, and the pullets darkish brown. They are very fine 
fleshed and early fit for the table. Their legs are large and 
usually blue or green, but occasionally yellow or white, gen- 
erally having five toes upon each foot ; some have the legs 
feathered, but this is not usual.' 

"It is only necessary to read the above description to see 
that this extra breed of fowls, which bred legs yellow, white, 
blue-green, feathered or clean, five-toed or four-toed, could 
not possibly last long. It was too 'extra' for this world, and 
even the inventor could not 'run the machine' long, so com- 
plicated was it in its various parts. This Plymouth Rock, 
then, naturally and inevitably disappeared from simple dis- 
integration of its heterogeneous materials, and though Dr. 
Bennett's old description has been copied by all poultry au- 
thors who have noticed the fowl up to the present date, this 
has arisen simply from ignorance, first of the fowl itself and 
secondly, of the accounts given by its breeders and producers. 
So completely had the old Plymouth Rock disappeared, that 
in the first poultry journal ever published in America, the 
New York Poultry Bulletin, no notice whatever is taken of 
any fowl under that name during the first two years of its 
issue. The description in the American 'Standard of Excel- 
lence,' published in 1871, states the color as dark or light steel- 
grey for cocks, and dark steel-mottled black and white, black 
and white bars well defined across each feather, for the hens. 
This is evidently intended to describe Dominique marking, 



and indeed the editor adds a remark in brackets that he con- 
siders it wrong, and that the plumage should be described 
'same as Dominiques,' but in any case it widely differs from 
Dr. Bennett's, and accordingly, by degrees, a totally different 
account of the origin of the breed begins to appear. The first 
authentic account we were able to obtain came to us in answer 
to a special inquiry in a letter from Mr. W. Simpson, Jr., of 
West Farms, N. Y., dated August 12, 1871. In this letter he 
says of them, Tf bred with care, they will make a fine variety. 
They are an Improved Dominique, being just like them except 
in comb and size ; they have a single comb and are larger, as 
they have a touch of Asiatic in them.' He adds : 'They do 
not breed very straight yet.' In another letter dated April 26, 
1873, enclosing the revised and corrected 'Standard of Ex- 
cellence' for the variety, which will be found at the end, and 
which, after careful study of the bird, we have also followed 
in our own schedule for judging the fowl (no alteration be- 
ing made further than to rearrange the various points in the 
order adopted after full consideration throughout this work), 
the same gentleman adds the following particulars, first prem- 
ising that the 'already printed Standard is very incorrect, 
particularly in color of plumage and tail.' He then pro- 
ceeds as follows : 

" 'After a little careful breeding I think the Plymouth 
Rock will be a grand fowl and second to none for all purposes. 
As yet they do not breed quite true always and their eggs are 
all colors and sizes. They are handsome, good setters, and 
good for table, and I intend myself to stick to them and try 
and get them right. They were produced from single-combed 
Dominiques crossed with Asiatics. Dominique fowls are the 
same in color, and are a useful variety ; but twenty years ago 
when the Shanghaes made their appearance, these took their 
place in the estimation of the public, and the Dominiques 
were much neglected by fanciers, so that they do not breed any 
straighter now than the Plymouth Rocks.' " 

Referring to the article by Rev. H. S. Ramsdell in the Poul- 
try, Pigeon and Pet Stock Bulletin, March, 1873, already 
quoted, Mr. Wright comments: 

"The Black Java fowl referred to in the above extract is 
evidently an Asiatic bird (cither pure or cross-bred), con- 
taining a great deal of the Malay. We have made inquiries of 
other American sources and, while some affirm the Cochin 
cross to have been employed, every correspondent, without 


exception, states that one of the parents was the Dominique 
fowl. Our own strong opinion is that the Dominique and also 
the Asiatic races being very common in America, many cases 
of crossing have occurred, and that thus the same fowl — half 
Asiatic and half Dominique — has probably been produced in 
various quarters, and not in any one alone; but, however this 
may be, the facts of Dr. Bennett's birds being extinct, and that 
the modern fowl was originally a half-bred Dominique, are 
absolutely certain. 

"Only one or two importations of Plymouth Rocks have 
yet reached this country; one of which, sent over by Mr. W. 
Simpson, arrived for the Birmingham Show of November, 
1872, and took honors in the 'Any Variety' class. The variety, 
as now brought to something like perfection, almost precisely 
resembles a Cuckoo Cochin with smooth legs, but has a con- 
siderably larger tail and a very full and prominent breast, 
derived from the Dominique ancestry. The head and comb are 
unmistakably Cochin. As regards the flesh, the Dominique 
seems to predominate, the fowl being juicy and good for the 
table. It is a moderate setter, about equal to average Brahmas 
as regards to frequency of incubation ; grows fast and is a 
capital layer. In all its economic qualities, in fact, it very 
closely resembles the Brahma and even its habits, being an 
active forager; but does not generally stay up nearly so late 
from roost. The color being well adapted for wear, we must 
pronounce the Plymouth Rock a capital fowl, giving all the 
good qualities of the Cochin without its principal drawbacks, 
and likely to suit the many who desire a large, noble-looking 
bird, but whose taste does not incline to the feathered legs 
and fluffy proportions of the Asiatics, and who dread the 
delicacy of the Dorking. 

"In breeding this fowl, as in all others of cuckoo color, 
the chief point is to preserve the pure, bluish-gray and care- 
fully to avoid pure white, black or especially red feathers. 
Some little uncertainty in this respect will be found at first in 
all imported birds, but by care in choosing breeding-stock from 
the progeny, may readily be checked, as no color is easier to 
breed 'true' than this Dominique marking, with a little 
judicious selection. The combs will require the same careful 
breeding and the same precautions against premature show- 
ing, which we have already treated of in Cochins." 

The reader will notice, doubtless, that while Mr. Wright 
gives equal prominence to the Cochin and Java theories of 



origin, he frequently indulges in comparison of the Plymouth 
Rock with the Cochin — always with the Cochin, but not once 
with the Java. Evidently, the early Java is a bird with which 
he is not familiar and, therefore, has no reason for discussing 
it. His only comment on the Java is: "The Black Java fowl 
referred to in the above extract (Ramsdell's Article), is evi- 
dently an Asiatic bird (either pure or cross-bred) containing 
a great deal of Malay." 

Mr. Wright's position upon this is not quite clear to Amer- 
ican poultrymen but the statement justifies the comment that 
the Java is a fowl evidently unknown to him. To quote Mr. 
Wright once more : "We have made inquiries of other Amer- 
ican sources ; and while some affirm the Cochin cross to have 
been employed, every correspondent, without exception, states 
that one of the parents was the Dominique fowl." 

After a mention of the English importations from America, 
note that Mr. Wright describes our American Plymouth 
Rocks in this language : "The variety is now brought 
to something like perfection — almost precisely resembles a 
Cuckoo Cochin with smooth legs. * * * In all its economic 
qualities it closely resembles the Brahma, etc. — a capital fowl, 
giving all the good qualities of the Cochin without its prin- 
cipal drawbacks — the combs will require the same careful 
breeding and the same precautions against premature showing, 
which we have already treated of in Cochins." 

From what does the Plymouth Rock acquire these Cochin 
characteristics if not from the Cochin? If from the Java, must 
not the Java have been a Cochin ? 

Apply, if you please, the fact suggested by Mr. Wright's 
line of reasoning in the sentence : "Our own strong opinion is 
— Plymouth Rocks, Danver Whites and nearly, if not all, 
American breeds also owe much to a Cochin cross." 

We are told by several of the writers of the period which 
followed closely the appearance of the Plymouth Rock, that 
several origins were probable. What do we find the origin 
to be in these instances? The component parts of other 
strains? According to all prescribed accounts, Cochin or 
Brahmas with the Dominique. The Drake strain was the 
best known of those that were developed by crossing year after 
year and we have corroboratory evidence that Drake used 
Dominique or hawk-colored hens and an Asiatic male. His 
own statement which, according to Bishop, was made to Mark 



Pitman and V. C. Gilman, covers this point with an out and 
out plain statement of fact: 

"Being out of health, I engaged in the business of picking 
up fowls about the country for market purposes. Coming 
across a lot of hawk-colored pullets, I was so pleased with 
them that instead of butchering, I bred them to an available 
Asiatic grade." 

Other authorities mention White Cochins and Light Brah- 
mas as the probable source of Asiatic blood in the Drake strain 
because of their presence on the premises. Mr. Felch names 
Dark Brahma. Whether Mr. Felch saw the evidence or drew 
conclusion after observing the result of Drake's crosses, we do 
not know. It would not be strange, of course, if the "avail- 
able Asiatic grade" of Mr. Drake's was the "Dark Brahma" 
of Mr. Felch's — as a grade with Asiatic blood might easily re- 
semble the Dark Brahma. 

We see in the above no sign of a "Java" and this case is 
like all others, so far as we are supplied with accounts. Those 
who attempted to copy the fowls that Upham introduced and 
found popular and profitable to breed, invariably, as far as we 
are acquainted with the facts, used Asiatic of one kind and 
another, but no Java blood, with Dominique. These results 
were, many of them at least, successful. That is, these crosses 
produced a fowl that so closely resembled the color and type 
of the ones that Spaulding, Ramsdell and Upham were pro- 
ducing, that they competed with them for public favor. This 
fact, in itself, is the strongest corroboratory evidence in favor 
of the claim of Cochin parentage. 

Bishop's Opinion and the Reasons for It. — Furthermore, 
the Rev. Mr. Bishop, who evidently gave this question much 
study and who was editor of that Journal at the time Rams- 
dell's article was published in the New York Poultry, Pigeon 
and Pet Stock Bulletin, later in an article published in Farm 
Poultry, year 1901, repudiated the Java claim, writing that 
upon his return (from New York) to his old habitations, he 
became convinced that such claim was not justified by facts. 
In his pamphlet, "Development of the Plymouth Rock," 
Bishop makes the following pertinent remarks : 

"The Drake Strain, i. e., the 'Norfolk,' never had any mix- 
ture of Java blood ;" which statement agrees with the fore- 

Again, we find this statement — "Those who obtained their 
birds from the Spaulding stock direct, never had any Java 



blood. Of these were Mr. Ramsdell, Mr. Corbett, and many 
others. The stock was widely diffused, entirely outside of the 
birds that Mr. Upham manipulated. Spaulding never owned a 
real Java, whatever they may have called a Java . . . ." 

This certainly vitally effects the controversy, if true, and 
it would seem that Reverend Bishop from his location in the 
center of the culture of early Plymouth Rocks and by his 
associations with so many of the early breeders, was in a 
position to become acquainted with the facts, if a writer ever 
was ; furthermore, his experience with fowls, his writings and 
his former position as editor of the Poultry, Pigeon and Pet 
Stock Bulletin, all indicate that he must have possessed the 
attainments to qualify him as an authority whose judgment 
can be absolutely relied upon. 

Bishop goes a step farther and eliminates the "Java" from 
the Gilman and Pitman stock as well as from the Spaulding, 
Ramsdell and Drake. 

The crucial point in the controversy is and always has been 
whether Spaulding used a Black Cochin or a Black Java. 
Bishop evidently bases the opinions just quoted upon the facts 
as he records them in the following quotations from his work : 

"So far as I can determine, whatever fowls the Spauldings 
had in their yards, or whatever they may have called a Java, 
the influence of that so-called or believed to be Java was 
purely imaginary. The Java was a clean legged bird. The 
chicks hatched from Mr. Spaulding's yard were anything but 
that, and those feathered legs came neither from the Javas nor 
the Dominiques. 

"Marcus F. Town of Thompson, Ct., with a ten years' 
knowledge of whatever points the so-called original Plymouth 
Rocks bore with them, writing in 1876, declares : 'The chick- 
ens of my pair' (purchased of Spaulding) 'were many of 
them heavily feathered on legs. Next year with a better mat- 
ing tor color, there were some feather-legged.' 

"W. H. Todd of Ohio sets forth the statement in one of his 
publications that at that time the best would throw some 
feather legged chicks. 

"Indeed, so prevalent was this mark of an Asiatic infusion, 
which could not have been from the Java, that we find Mr. 
C. C. Corbett, who got out the first print of the Plymouth 
Rock (Figure 8) that was ever made, and who went all 
through the question as to their origination, writing to the 
Poultry World in April, 1873, to ask: 'Have you any knowl- 



edge of a stock of Plymouth Rock fowls that do not occa- 
sionally throw feather-legged chicks?' It is surprising that 
Mr. Corbett, getting his birds from the Spaulding stock, 
through Mr. Ramsdell, should have struck so early as this, — ■ 
etc' " 

Mark Pitman's Opinion. — Mark Pitman also told the writer 
verbally that all the trios that Upham showed at Worcester 
in 1869 wore feathers on the shanks, some more and some less. 
This feature, however, might be attributed to the cock bird 
of Burnham's blood which, according to Upham's accounts, 
was bred for one year in Upham's yards. Here, however, we 
find three instances of the Spaulding stock which was not sub- 
jected to that influence, showing a most decided tendency to 
show feathered shanks. This tendency must have been due 
to the influence of the Dominique or the Black Asiatic. This 
fault of feathered shanks certainly should not be charged 
against the Dominique ; therefore, it must be charged against 
the Black Asiatic. That being the case, what breed other 
than a Cochin could the Black Asiatic have been? For, ac- 
cording to all our descriptions, a feathered-legged Black Java 
is just what the first standard makers called it — a Black 

The Modern Java. — The modern Java is of later develop- 
ment and was recognized as a standard breed in 1883. Its 
origin is undoubtedly the same as the Plymouth Rock and has 
been called a Black Plymouth Rock. The book describing 
Plymouth Rocks about 1880 gives the information that black 
females often occur, and we obtain information of the same 
character from Ramsdell's article, Upham and others. Such 
being the case, it is plain that black males could have been 
produced by repeated selection or by crossing with the Span- 
ish or some black variety. 

The points of this Java-Cochin controversy have been pre- 
sented fully because it seems encumbent upon a treatise of 
this nature to present the facts as far as they can be ascer- 
tained and the opinions of those who had the best oppor- 
tunities to observe and gain a knowledge of the facts as nearly 
first-handed as possible and who were the most competent to 
judge. D. A. Upham and Mark Pitman, of all men living in 
1900 and 1901, seemed to be those men, and as their accounts, 
though verbal for the most part but related many miles apart 
and obviously at different times, coinciding in every essential 
detail, practically put the writer's mind at rest on this much 



mooted question. Upham, though well along in years at the 
time, was vigorous physically as well as mentally and most 
positive as to the facts as related. Of the truth of the state- 
ment in this previous sentence, the following letter, which was 
written to the writer January 1, 1900, will prove convincing: 

Wilsonville, Conn., l-l-'OO. 

Friend Smith: 

Replying to your favor received. I received two copies of Farm 

Poultry, one containing your articles and one of Mr. , who 

is way off on his statement. If he is corerct, where did the progeny 
of Mr. Spaulding get their feathered legs if crossed with Black Javas 

as claims. Javas were smooth-legged fowls, no feathers, 

black in color or very dark slate color and bottom of feet VERY 
yellow, and everybody knows that the Barred Plymouth Rocks (or 
ought to know) had more or less feathers on legs for four or five 
years from first cross made by Spaulding, who never bred them only 
for poultry and eggs with all kinds of barnyard fowls. I bought my 
birds the second year that Mr. Spaulding bred them. Bought the 
cock that Spaulding bred as a cockerel and two hens. Those three 
birds were the progeny of Spaulding's single comb old-fashioned 
hawk colored cock bred to two or three black Cochin hens had of 
David Clark of Woodstock, Conn., a fact I know from Spaulding's 
and Clark's sayings to me when I bought my birds, and the hens ALL 
had heavy feathered legs. The trio I bought had feathers on legs. 
Mark Pitman knows it to be a fact as he saw the old trio at Worces- 
ter when I sold to C. Carol Loring, also Gilman of Nashua, N. H., 
knows that they bred feathers on legs more or less for years. 

My birds all bred single combs, both sexes, NOT ONE did I 
ever have come rose comb and for two years my chicks came with 
more or less feathers on legs — some with very few and half or more 
showing feathers to a considerable extent. 


That Mark Pitman approved of the account of the origin 
as written by Bishop will be clearly proved by the following 
self-explanatory letter: 

79 Thurston Street, Somerville, Mass. 

Mr. Smith. 

Dear Sir: Your letter came to me where I have been living for 
nearly seven years. I have been giving away poultry matter for the 
past ten years. 

I think the last I gave to Mr. Atherton, the proprietor of the 
Stock Keeper, printed in Boston. 

Among that was a history of the Plymouth Rock by the Rev. 
M. Bishop, an Episcopal minister living in Connecticut. That his- 
tory was accredited by Mr. Upham and myself, which you can call 
upon Mr. Atherton and get, which will give you the dates asked 


I never crossed the strain since I began breeding them until years 
after I sold Mr. Felch the lot I had remaining. 

That history of Mr. Bishop will be very useful to you, as he 
gave the first history of the Plymouth Rocks. 

The Essex strain, which I had from the beginning, were bred 
in and in four, five or six years — being noted for the time as the Essex 
County Strain, the particulars of which no man can give you as good 
an account as myself, which I will do if you will call upon me. 

Let me suggest to you to take an early train some morning, call 
upon Mr. Atherton, get the book, then take Electric Winter Hill 
car in Boston, which takes you directly to Thurston Street, where I 
shall be happy to see you at any time and give you my remembrance 
of all you wish to know. 

I am at home always as I have been an invalid many months and 
not able to go out, and shall be happy to make your acquaintance. 

Very sincerely, 


June the tenth, nineteen hundred. 
Per X. W. P. 


Fortunately, for the reader, the male parentage is not so 
uncertain. As Lewis Wright states, "All agree that one of 
the parents was the Dominique fowl." All our American ac- 
counts state that the male parent of Spaulding's cross was a 
Dominique. Furthermore, it seems agreed that all who at- 
tempted to create a fowl after the pattern of the Spaulding 
stock, whatever else they used, always used a Dominique 
male. This seems to be universally true, except in the case 
of the Drake crosses. Drake states : "Coming across a lot 
of 'hawk-colored pullets' I was so pleased with them that in- 
stead of butchering I bred them with an available Asiatic 
grade." The term "hawk-colored" used by Mr. Drake was one 
that was in common use among the breeders of Massachusetts 
and Connecticut, for which reason the writer reluctantly ap- 
plies the term "Dominique" which others have been so ready 
to do, because the Dominique of today has a rose-comb, while 
the fowl used in this original cross had, according to all ac- 
counts, a single-comb, though it is related that some of them 
had rose-combs even in those days. The term "Dominiques," 
though, gives the impression of a rose-comb fowl to nearly 
every reader, but let it be understood that the term 
"Dominique" as applied to the male parent in the Spaulding 
cross was a single-comb bird and of an unknown origin. That 
there should be so much disagreement in regard to the char- 
acter of the female and such thorough accord with respect to 



the identity and character of the male parent is certainly 
remarkably singular, to say the least, but the matter is surely 
beyond explanation now unless the following facts offer the 
solution of the riddle. 

Little or nothing is known of the origin of the Dominique 
and in this fact, perhaps, lies the explanation of thorough 
agreement of all our historians on all questions involving that 
race. Some accounts of the early days of these fowls have 
been written and some theories regarding their origin ad- 
vanced, but as to the latter, nothing that professes to be 
tangible has been preserved if, indeed, it ever existed. That 
they must have been very long known is evident, as a fairly 
extended account is printed in Dr. Bennett's Poultry Book, 
1850. This account seems to be the foundation for all those 
published for many years afterward. With this account we 
find illustrations of the birds of George C. Pierce and Stephen 
Osborn, Jr., of Danvers, also a statement of costs of keeping 
and returns for eggs from thirty-eight fowls and the number 
of eggs obtained from them during the months of December, 
1848, and January, February and March, 1849, which shows 
a net profit and labor income of $24.83, which bears out the 
statements often made that "They are first rate layers." "They 
are said to be from the Island of Dominca but I very much 
doubt it !" This statement seems to be accompanied by no 
more proof than appears in the similarity of names. 

The claim of an English writer that Dominiques are the 
result of crossing Scotch Greys with Dorkings is certainly 
within reason. Other writers have noticed the similarity be- 
tween Dorkings and Dominiques. Bement in the American 
Poulterer's Companion, Pages 121 and 122, writes as follows: 


"This well-known variety of our domestic fowl, there is 
good reason to believe, is old and distinct, though it is gen- 
erally looked upon as a mere 'farm-yard fowl'; that is. the 
accidental result of promiscuous crossing; but there are sev- 
eral forms among the farm-yard 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 
this country. wSo constant repetition of corresponding features 
would seem to declare that there are several unnoticed and 
undistinguished varieties of fowls which deserve to be re- 
garded and treated as we do other distinct varieties. 



"The Dominique fowl, well selected and carefully bred, is 
a fine and useful bird. They are distinguished as Dominique 
by their markings and their color, which is generally con- 
sidered an indication of hardiness and fecundity. They are 
by some called 'Hawk-colored fowls,' from their strong re- 
semblance in color to the birds of that name. In England they 
are usually called 'Cuckoo fowls,' from the fancied re- 
semblance of their plumage to the feathers on the cuckoo's 
breast. We seldom see bad hens of this variety, and, take 
them 'all-in-all,' we do not hesitate in pronouncing them one 
of the best and most profitable fowls, being hardy, good lay- 
ers, careful nurses, and affording excellent eggs and first 
quality of flesh. 

"In any close grouping of the breeds of poultry, the 
Dominique fowl might perhaps be safely referred to the 
Dorkings. Some of the slate-colored, barred Dorkings are 
scarcely distinguished from them, except by the fifth toe; 
still there is something very permanent and remarkable in 
the peculiar style of plumage that ought not to be lost sight 
of. It is with difficulty got rid of by crossing. Half-bred 
Spanish and Dorking fowls have quite retained the barred 
and shaded feathers of the one parent, displaying the comb, 
ear-lobe and stature of the other. And this curious and de- 
cided plumage is quite confined to one or two breeds, never 
appearing, that we are aware, in others, such as the Game, 
the Malays, and the Hamburgs ; a circumstance which makes 
us believe it to indicate an ancient descent from some peculiar 
and original parentage. 

"The prevailing and true color of the Dominique fowl is 
a light ground, undulated and softly shaded with a slaty-blue 
all over the body, as indicated in the portrait of the cock, 
forming bands of various widths. In order to be more fully 
and better understood, and to show the peculiar markings of 
the feathers, we procured a feather from one of the hens, 
which is faithfully delineated on the opposite page. The 
comb of the cock is variable, some being single, while others 
are double — most, however, are single ; the iris, bright orange ; 
feet and legs, light flesh color — some, however, are of a bright 
yellow or buff color; bill the same color as the legs. 

"The hens are not large, but plump and full breasted. 
The cocks are somewhat larger than the hens, some approach- 
ing the smaller sized Dorkings in weight. The chickens at 



two or three months old exhibit the barred plumage even 
more perfectly than the full-grown birds." 

In the foregoing, Bement either adopts the English 
writer's viewpoint or from his own observations has come 
to the same conclusions. The similarity to the Dorkings is 
brought to the reader's attention and the possibilities of a 
Spanish-Dorking cross as the possible source of origin is in- 

The Reverend D. D. Bishop, whose work is heretofore sev- 
eral times referred to, and is very thoughtful throughout, 
presents a theory of origin that is not merely possible but 
quite probable. On Pages 5 and 6, we find related a seem- 
ingly natural method of origin, the truth of which is not at all 
unlikely, hence we reprint: 

"That the bird known by the name of Plymouth Rock 
should have made its appearance about that time, 1866 to 
1870, was inevitable. 

"The conditions were favorable. It was at the time of re- 
action from the furore for simply big birds, when farmer folk 
were discussing among themselves the failure of the mam- 
moth Asiatics to fill the bill for both eggs and marketing. 
They consumed both too much time and feed in their growth. 
They failed as foragers for want of activity. They were the 
reverse of precocious in their development. The old-fashioned 
dung-hill was too small. There was equal dissatisfaction 
with both. 

"The first result was the throwing of whatever Asiatic 
came to hand, Shanghaes, Brahmas, Cochins — what not — at 
random into the barnyard flocks, to mix indiscriminately with 
a lot of birds that had suffered that kind of breeding, if that 
could be called breeding, for a generation or more. 

"The next step in the process was that the more thought- 
ful or fanciful began to pick out the colors that suited their 
individual notions. Various farmers had local reputations for 
the excellence of their white hens, or red hens, or whatever 
color they might have chosen. 

"Perhaps the most widely diffused of what might have 
been called a native stock was even then known as 'old- 
fashioned,' 'hawk-colored' fowls. Their dispersion over a 
wide extent of country was brought about by two causes. 
First, their markings were much more distinct and uniform 
than any of the mixed colors, so that by original vital strength 
the color was carried wherever a drop of the blood found its 


way. Secondly, they proved to be hardy, matured rapidly 
and so came quickly to usefulness as broilers, egg" producers 
or for marketing purposes. They were not so much exposed 
to the ravages of hawks, and farmers thought much of that. 
The hawk could not see them so plainly, and the mother hen 
was almost as sharp of eye as her enemy in the air. 

"Another point should not be overlooked, namely, the 
facility which was manifested by this stock to assimilate the 
dash of Asiatic blood so as to make it a genuine infusion. In 
other words, the cross by Asiatics made 'a hit' upon the said 
old-fashioned, hawk-colored birds, so that they reproduced 
themselves, throwing comparatively few reverts, and furnish- 
ing at once the basis upon which to build a breed." 

That the natural course of events following the general 
disappointment in the large Asiatic fowl was to throw them 
into the scrap heap in the nature of the mongrel farm yard 
flock cannot be questioned. There could be no other place 
found for them unless it be the butcher's cart and all Asiatics 
would be no more likely to be thus condemned than all 
mongrels. Many mongrels survived, so did many Asiatics. 

It must be remembered that this was a time when fowls 
were expected to shift for themselves and pick up a living. 
It was before the days of henhouses and discussions as to 
glass fronts, open sheds and southern exposures. A clump of 
trees, a cluster of bushes, or some nook among a group of farm 
buildings was all the shelter furnished. Under such conditions 
the ancestors of Plymouth Rocks learned to thrive. It was a 
game in which the survival of the fittest played the all im- 
portant part and won. These conditions lasting for genera- 
tion after generation, together with the infusions of foreign 
blood that have been from time to time introduced, account 
for the hardy character of this fowl. 

Through some process hawk-colored fowls came into ex- 
istence. How, no one can definitely say, but it is more 
probable that this was a process of reincarnation rather than 
one of mixing two-color types of plumage, creating a third 
and entirely different color type. This line of reasoning fits 
in well with the theory of a foundation of Scotch-Grey blood 
which, as one author, Mr. F. L. Sewell, puts it, "The Scotch- 
Grey fowls of North Britain can perhaps throw some light on 
the origin of the American Dominique. If this very old race 
of 'Cuckoo-colored' chickens are not the ancestors of our early 
Dominiques, we must confess that we have as yet failed to 



discover them. They are the nearest to the type of our old 
Dominique of any European race of fowl." 

Such, then, is the parentage of the two component races 
that were successfully amalgamated to create a third race, 
which proved to be epoch-making - , for by its creation poultry 
culture ceased to be the one-feature possibility that it had 
always been and became at once a full and well-rounded 
enterprise with commercial and economic possibilities. In 
other words, the poultrymen had found their Rosetta stone, 
the poultry business its Fountain of Eternal Youth. 


The reception that these fowls were accorded was startling. 
Entered and exhibited as a novelty at the most they became 
the chief attraction of the show. Other exhibits were little 
more than noticed. The idea of an American fowl appealed 
to the rank and file of American poultrymen. An introduction 
to poultrydom was all that was necessary to establish the posi- 
tion of Plymouth Rocks among American poultrymen. The 
long looked for dual purpose fowl, occupying the middle ground 
between the slowly maturing and heavy Asiatic and early 
maturing but light Mediterraneans, had arrived and the 
warmth of their welcome exceeded in degree the eagerness 
with which a fowl that would excel in egg producing and 
flesh producing qualities had been sought. 

The experts examined them minutely and discussed their 
merits and demerits most profoundly. They prophesied fu- 
tures according to their individual views. That their views 
differed widely would not excite amusement even in this day 
after years of popular approval. They, in part, undoubtedly 
deserved the epitaph bestowed upon them by one noted au- 
thority — who pronounced them d — d mongrels, which appella- 
tion needs but a slight alteration to become "The Great Amer- 
ican Mongrel," by which unique and expressive title they 
soon became known. The opinion implied by the term ap- 
plied at the time by the one expert was not that of all, however. 
Mark Pitman, for many years one of the most experienced 
and appreciative of poultry fanciers, thought so much of 
them that he purchased one of the trios exhibited for his 
patron, C. Carol Loring, of Boston and Dedham, Mass., who, 
like Mr. Pitman, was for a lifetime an ardent admirer of 
beautiful fowls of many breeds and varieties. One, too, was 


sold to Capt. Evans of Manchester, N. H. Mr. Upham sold 
over one hundred settings of eggs during this show. When 
faced by these facts it is apparent that Plymouth Rocks won 
public approval almost instantly. With the poultry inter- 
ested public, it was and henceforth has been a case of love at 
first sight. Mr. Upham was astounded at the price he found 
customers willing to pay for an unheard-of mongrel, as two 
dollars per setting was the price at which he sold the eggs, 
though he was obliged to return much of it because orders 
were more numerous than eggs the following season. 

Mr. Upham could not sell his birds and maintain a 
monopoly at one and the same time. Besides, new strains of 
like or similar fowls might have been created had he not sold. 
No doubt many "original" imitations did materialize as it was. 
In fact, we have more than one clear and authentic account 
of one strain, so created, that obtained considerable prom- 
inence. Several strains soon developed. Beside the Upham, 
there were the Ramsdell, the Drake, the Gilman and the Es- 
sex County, later the Essex. We should not quite yet count 
out the Spaulding strain, for many still procured birds from 
that source. 

The Spaulding Strain. — We know that the Spauldings con- 
tinued breeding these birds for some years because we find 
references of this one or that one having procured their birds 
from them ; as "such a strain is largely of Spaulding' s stock, 
etc." Upham and Bishop tell us that the Spauldings bred 
largely for eggs as a commercial commodity. From the lack 
of information to the contrary it seems probable that they 
continued breeding the progeny of the original cross. They 
had. at the smallest calculations, the intense satisfaction of 
having laid the foundation for a structure that would endure 
as the best of its kind for generations and of having those 
progressive pioneers, Upham and Ramsdell, start with their 
original stock. 

The Upham Strain. — Mr. Upham maintained a supremacy 
of quality in Plymouth Rocks for a number of years. Of this 
strain, Mark Pitman said : "About everything that was good 
in these times came from Upham." Such tribute coming 
from a successful contemporary is as much as need be spoken 
or written of the quality of Mr. Upham's Plymouth Rocks. 
Mr. Upham relates that he had no particular hobby. The 
poultry business was a considerable item in his business trans- 
actions. His aim was to produce a taking fowl. Such a fowl 



must have size and distinct markings. In that stage of de- 
velopment males and females of anything like the same shade 
were rarely, if ever, produced. As Mr. Upham has told us, 
most of the females of the first cross were black and only 
a few were gray, or steel-colored, to use Mr. Upham's term. 
Males that showed color enough to give any character to 
their plumage were almost as scarce. Mr. Upham's par- 
ticular desire was to produce the steel-colored females, as 
most of them seemed to come very dark and even black He, 
like others, soon realized that his task was to produce males 
and females of the same shade of color. Even the breeders 
of the present day have found that only by the most persistent 
and painstaking efforts can this be accomplished, and they 
have also the advantages accruing from the inheritance of 
years of breeding for that particular character. 

Aside from such very fundamental qualities as size, shape, 
health, vigor and the like, this requirement that males and 
females should be of the same shade of color became predom- 
inant very early in the life of the breed and has remained so ; 
and while that fact may have been lost sight of in compara- 
tively recent years, it is merely because of its correspond- 
ingly perfect accomplishment. Failure to comply with this 
demand will at any period before long result in agitation for 
its enforcement. 

"Males and females must match in the show pen" became 
the slogan most often repeated very soon after the breeding 
of Plymouth Rocks became general. Results came slowly at 
first because the breeding of Dominique color was not under- 
stood. To accomplish this most difficult task, breeders 
studied, experimented, and observed. To accomplish this, 
systems then new were discovered, among them, single 
matings, intermediate matings, extreme matings, double and 
special matings. All these systems of matings, except the 
first, were thought out originally and practiced primarily to 
produce both sexes of Plymouth Rocks of the same shade. 
The application of these principles to obtain other objects in 
Plymouth Rocks and to the breeding of other breeds and varie- 
ties came about later. The great, all-absorbing desire to match 
the color in male and female Plymouth Rocks was the in- 
centive which led to their discovery. 

The Ramsdell Strain. — This was one of the earliest strains 
and because of the time of its beginning and the source of 
origin was more nearly contemporary with the Upham strain 


than any of the other early strains. Also, because of its lo- 
cation it was for a time more of a rival. The source of his 
stock was undoubtedly Spaulding, as Mr. Ramsdell writes 
" .... which is situated about a mile from my own. I 
was intimately acquainted with Mr. S Taking that state- 
ment as a fact, it was natural for Mr. Ramsdell or any one that 
was fond of fowls to try out some of this new cross. We find 
no record of Mr. Ramsdell exhibiting very often, but we do see 
accounts of his selling birds, which indicates that he was a 
factor in the development of the breed, but putting the two 
facts together it seems not improbable that he was like Spauld- 
ing particularly interested in the commercial side of poultry 
culture, though on a smaller scale, Mr. Ramsdell being a 

The Drake Strain. — Forced by the circumstance of poor 
health, it Avas necessary for the originator of this strain to 
make his living from his sales of poultry, to sell his creations 
rather than buy the creations of others ; especially, as fashion- 
able novelties in poultry, as in every other product, usually 
command prices which it is to one advantage to receive rather 
than to give. Drake strove to breed and rear specimens that 
could compete successfully for the remunerative business that 
fell to Upham, Ramsdell and Spaulding. The purchase of a 
large number of birds was out of the question ; a few would 
not produce sufficient numbers ; certainly it was not necessary 
to purchase if he could devise a plan of breeding with results 
that were apparently the same. This, we judge from all avail- 
able accounts, he was able to do. Some years ago the writer 
obtained from Mark Pitman an account of his visit to Mr. 
Drake's place. Mr. Pitman said : "We saw no Plvmouth Rocks 
at all ; we did see hawk-colored fowls, White Cochins and Light 
Brahmas. — It was late in the Fall, and as all we saw were old 
fowl, we concluded that the Hawk-colored fowl, crossed with 
Light Brahmas or White Cochin, were the parents of Drake's 
Plymouth Rocks. This view of the question coincides very 
well with that taken by Mr. V. C. Gilman of Nashua. X. H.. 
whose early stock was largely of the Drake strain. Mr. Gil- 
man relates that he became acquainted with Mr. Drake and 
found him an intelligent and honorable gentleman of delicate 
health, but a thorough fancier. He never volunteered infor- 
mation as to how he came into possession of his first stock 
that Mr. Gilman remembered. Mr. Gilman relates further that 
he was told by a neighbor while he was there that Drake 



started his strain with Hawk-colored hens and an Asiatic male 
bird. This statement Mr. Oilman apparently credited, as he 
says : "I know it was a feature in his breeding- to produce 
male birds after the Brahma style." From the foregoing there 
appears little reason to doubt that Mr. Drake did produce 
Plymouth Rocks by crossing- the Hawk-colored fowl, or 
Dominique, reader, if you like, with Lieht Brahmas and 
White Cochins, not exactly as Mr. Spaulding produced his 
strain, but very similarly, as it is still a cross of Hawk-colored 
fowl and Asiatic. From this fact, that his stock gave excellent 
satisfaction, certainly as far as we can learn, it is fair to as- 
sume that it must have progressed beyond the stasre of a first 
cross, otherwise it would have been unreliable in other hands. 
This does not seem to have been the case. Besides Mr. Gil- 
man, William Haywood bred the Drake strain for a number 
of years with good results, and is said to have been a better 
and more careful breeder than the originator of the strain. 
Not many years ago. a number of breeders who remembered 
the Drake stock could be found and some of them had this 
blood in their stock. They describe the Drake birds as very 
large, very dark, and very much inclined to feathers or stubs 
on their shanks and toes. 

Despite his affliction. Mr. Drake was quite successful in 
building- up a strain of Plymouth Rock that was both meri- 
torious and popular. Had he not been entirelv dependent 
upon the poultry business for support, besides being afflicted 
with delicate health, his success would undoubtedly have been 
even more marked. 

The Gilman Strain. — From an early circular, distributed 
bv Mr. Gilman, we quote the following-, which will give a very 
clear idea of the status of Plymouth Rocks at that time: 

"My first purchase of these fowls, Plymouth Rocks, was 
based on fancy alone. I saw them and thev pleased me at 
once, and I bought and bred them beside my Dominiques and 
Ham burgs. 

"As a breed they were com'paratively unknown, although 
Mr. Upham had exhibited specimens at the exhibition of the 
N. F. Poultry Club, at Worcester, a year or two before. 

"I could learn nothing of the pedigree of my first pur- 
chase, whether Drake or Upham or neither, but bv reason of 
their good behavior, they soon became the favorites of my 
poultry yards and I disposed of all others and made them a 



"In 1872 I bought a fine pair of my own selection of Mr. 
Drake, paying him $20.00, a high price' at that time. I reg- 
istered the male bird in the Poultry World Pedigree Record 
as 'Champion,' 854. 

"I also procured a fine, light-colored cockerel of what was 
then known as Ramsdell's strain. I mated these males with 
specimens bred from my first purchase. The result presented 
quite a diversity in form, color and markings. Proper selec- 
tions and matings made speedy improvement, for the breed 
was in a formative state, and like clay in the hands of the 

"Still the shape was not entirely satisfactory. Mr. Drake's 
principle in breeding them, if I interpreted it correctly, was 
to produce hens of Cochin form and cock of Brahma form, 
thus perpetuating a disparity in shape between the sexes, 
which did not commend itself to my judgment. To overcome 
this tendency in his strain, I procured some of the 'Essex Co.' 
strain, which was bred so successfully by Mr. Mark Pitman, 
and by the introduction of this last factor to my already im- 
proved form, I have solved the problem of shape and size of 
the Plymouth Rock to my own satisfaction, and their growing 
popularity, I think, warrants me in believing to the satis- 
faction also of the host of admirers of this very valuable 

The Essex County Strain. — This was originated by Mark 
Pitman of Salem, Mass., who had been for several years 
well known for his interest and achievements in the poultry 
world. The same Mark Pitman, who so quickly recognized 
the possibilities of the new variety that he purchased one of 
the trios and turned it over to C. Carol Loring, heretofore 
mentioned, who was very much interested in poultry and who 
has remained so all his life, took up the breeding of the new 
fowls, the merits of which he was one of the first among ex- 
perienced breeders to acknowledge. From the very beginning 
he began to develop a strain, the individuals of which con- 
formed to certain well-defined ideas of the originator which 
were somewhat advanced for those days. Mr. Pitman did 
not look at the plumage of the Barred Plymouth Rock as a 
unit. In other words, he saw more than a gray fowl or a gray 
chicken. He analyzed the plumage of each feather and studied 
carefully the effects of different shades of both the light and 
dark bars, for he early found that a Plymouth Rock needed 
bars to be attractive. He soon decided that as far as he was 



concerned those birds that showed the greatest contrast 
between the light and dark bars were the most handsome 
birds. Less importance was attached to the "blue" haze, that 
the plumage of many specimens displayed in certain light 
reflections and which so many breeders laid so much stress 
upon and some do even to this day, by Mr. Pitman than to 
clear and well-defined bars, such as sharply contrasting colors 
develop. Though he did not neglect other qualities, as he was 
too keen and too experienced a fancier for that, Mr. Pitman 
probably did make a greater effort to produce attractive 
plumage than any breeder who was contemporary with him. 

In this undertaking we assume Mr. Pitman was suc- 
cessful because the strain soon became known as one that was 
very strong in color. From which fact we learn that the early 
breeders had not become able to distinguish between color 
and barring or to understand just how it was that the in- 
dividual specimens of the Essex County strain, as it was 
known then, excelled in color. 

Mr. Pitman secured his stock by purchase from two per- 
sons. One was a Mr. Lord, who had secured a trio of Mr. 
Upham through O. M. Ives of Salem. Mr. Lord bred from 
one of the two females only. From Mr. Lord, Mr. Pitman 
secured five pullets and a cockerel. Another pullet was pro- 
cured from Mr. Loring. This was from the two bought of Mr. 
Upham. All the Pitman birds were then of the Upham strain. 
To these birds Mr. Pitman pays the following tribute: "Had 
not the pair which Mr. Lord bred from been so nice, or had 
not the five pullets I secured from him been so excellent, un- 
doubtedly I would not have obtained the uniformity in my 
flock that I did." In making this remark Mr. Pitman clearly 
shows that he understood principles of selection and line 
breeding, so much relied upon at the present time and supposed 
to be a step in advance of the ordinary breeder even of the 
present day. Of the Upham pair which Lord bred from he 
had, years afterward, a keen recollection. The birds he praised 
enthusiastically. The cockerel, in particular, left a picture in 
his mind that age did not fade nor time erase. 

Mr. Pitman had undoubtedly had more experience in breed- 
ing, judging and handling high class fancy poultry than any 
of the breeders of Plymouth Rocks up to that time and long 
afterwards. It is to be regretted that circumstances com- 
pelled him to dispose of his flock, though fortunately it fell 
into the best of hands. It is the writer's recollection that it 


was a contract for lighting, at or during the Philadelphia 
Centennial, that compelled him to sojourn for a year in that 
city. For this reason he felt compelled to dispose of his 
flock which then, in 1876, came into the hands of Mr. I. K. 
Felch, of Natick, Massachusetts, recently deceased, and who 
is often referred to as one of the foremost poultrymen of his 
generation. Soon afterwards they became known simply as 
the Essex strain and by that name they have been known 
ever since. 

The Essex Strain. — This, as stated above, was applied by 
Mr. Felch. The best of the Pitman stock came into the hands 
of Mr. H. B. May of the same town. Probably at first Mr. 
May was simply breeding for or in accordance with some 
business arrangement with Mr. Felch. At some subsequent 
time, just when, the writer cannot say, Mr. May began to breed 
Plymouth Rocks independently and continued for many years 
to be one of the closest students and best judges of the orig- 
inal variety. Without doubt the Essex strain was more sought 
and more extensively bred than any other and especially cer- 
tain is the fact that the May-Essex family was more sought 
than any other family of that popular strain. 

The history of this family, or strain, is interesting because 
of the excellent quality of many of its best representatives, but 
even more so because of the historic crosses involved. It has 
been well known that at some time subsequent to their first 
public appearance, Plymouth Rocks have been crossed with 
Light Brahma, to clear the colors as it were ; thus, not only 
attempting to carry out the idea of Mark Pitman, but also at- 
tempting to improve on the Pitman method of selection and 
line-breeding, from which outcrossing certainly differs widely. 
The results of this cross have been heralded far and wide as 
wonderfully successful, yet Mr. May told the writer in so 
many words, that the cross did not amount to anything; that 
all the progeny after a very few generations found their way 
to market. In short, this attempt resulted as most attempts 
to cross two bloods of widely different temperaments do, in 
so complete a disintegration that little of the good in either 

Mr. May, however, was not any better satisfied with his 
original Plymouth Rocks than before he made this cross. The 
reason for his dissatisfaction was based upon the weak con- 
stitutions of the individuals of this breed in general and their 
weak disease resisting qualities. Dealers in poultry remedies, 





according to Mr. May, were making good livings, if not com- 
fortable fortunes, selling their wares to the breeders of Plym- 
outh Rocks. This state of things Mr. May thought neither 
creditable nor necessary, but the remedy did not at once ap- 
pear. Later, while traveling in Canada, Mr. May caught sight 
of a male that pleased him immensely. His pleasing parts 
were not his plumage, rather to the contrary — that was against 
him — but he displayed life and vigor in every move. It in- 
stantly occurred to Mr. May that this was the identical bird 
to tone up his Plymouth Rocks. Besides evincing strong con- 
stitutional vigor this bird had size and weight, a deep breast 
and yellow legs. These were qualities that are desired in 
Plymouth Rocks. The bird would probably be classed as a 
grade Game or cross-bred Game. This bird was purchased 
and bred. Three years after the cross was made all visible 
defects resulting therefrom had disappeared. The qualities 
that were infused were long bodies and long keel bones, close 
feathering, red eyes and very solid flesh, and these were 
features of the May-Essex strain for years afterwards. 

The Name. — Both Mr. Upham and Mr. Ramsdell claim to 
have named this new fowl. As we have noticed from the 
articles of each, already quoted, whichever deserves the credit 
deserves not so much for originality, as it was undoubtedly 
suggested by the old-time fowl of the same name, created by 
Dr. Bennett. Mr. Upham really gave the bird its name as he 
was the first to show them, and by so doing he exploited the 
name as well as the fowl. Mr. Upham frankly admitted that 
he thought the name a good one and that while he had heard 
the name frequently, he had not seen the fowl, but to dis- 
tinguish between them and the Bennett creation, lest some 
should still be in existence, he exhibited his first trios under 
the name of Improved Plymouth Rocks. 

Very few of us who breed Barred Plymouth Rocks today 
saw the early birds, and probably none of us saw the very 
first trios shown by Mr. Upham. Curiosity is ever alive 
wherein our interest lies, and what would we not give for a 
photograph or for feathers from some of the best early birds? 
As these things are beyond our reach, we cannot do better 
than to substitute mental images made by the words of those 
who saw and reared these birds. The birds shown at Wor- 
cester, two trios of chicks and one of fowls, are naturally the 
ones we think of first. Of course, Mr. Upham says the chicks 
were a much better match for color than the fowls. They 


were about the size of the standard weight specimens now- 

Of the Upham pair that founded the Essex strain, Mark 
Pitman says that the pullet was clear color, beautifully barred, 
and with the exception of being too leggy was a fine all 'round 
specimen. The cockerel was even superior, and for general 
appearance as handsome as he has seen since. He thinks that 
one exactly like him would win some of the shows of today. 

From what could be learned from literature contemporary 
with the early Plymouth Rocks and from the early breeders, 
some of whom have been mentioned, so closely and vitally 
were they connected with the breed's early history, an account 
that gives a fairly comprehensive knowledge of what may be 
called the formative stage of this breed has been given. To 
follow further these different strains and innumerable new 
ones is impossible because of the rapidity with which new 
breeders, new strains, and representative specimens of this 
breed multiplied. From what we have learned, however, we 
are safe in coining to the conclusion that the evolution of the 
Barred Plymouth Rock has had five different stages of de- 

First, acquiring the color and markings of the Hawk- 
colored fowls which were, at the best, but mere suggestions 
of the plumage of our best modern Barred Plymouth Rocks, 
which is in comparison very near to perfection itself in color 
and markings. 

From these early accounts it is clear that the first task 
was to breed what Upham calls the steel-colored pullets. Both 
Upham and Ramsdell agree that black pullets predominated 
among the progeny of the Spaulding cross and the writers 
of a little later period complain of some pullets coming black 
and of too many of the pullets being too dark. Red and 
black feathers, light-colored tails and solid or nearly, solid 
colored flights were other features of the plumage of these 
birds that required time and skill to eliminate. If we consider 
the breed to have begun its career with the original Spaulding 
cross, the first step seems to have been to secure pullets that 
were gray or steel-colored, like the cockerels. Even then, 
the best of the pullets were much darker than the cockerels. 

The second stage was the formative period, during which 
the early breeders were eradicating those evils which seemed 
the greatest, each to his individual opinion. All were clearing 
the color to a certain extent and endeavoring to produce a 



clean bird with distinct bars on the surface. In this particular, 
Mark Pitman, with his Essex County Strain, is admitted to 
have had the lead. Some, like Drake and Ramsdell, sought 
to develop large, rangy fowls, while on the other hand. 
Pitman and Oilman stood out for a moderate size. Oilman 
was at the same time straining every nerve to produce clear 
yellow legs and beaks. 

One of the steps of this stage was to develop a family or 
line of birds that would breed cockerels and pullets of the same 
shade of color. To accomplish this a constant endeavor was 
maintained to breed the cockerels darker and the pullets light- 
er. This step has been described in previous pages, and will be 
more or less often discussed in its various connections. After 
a time, however, males and females that matched tolerably 
well were bred by many persons and accompanying that 
achievement came better and clearer surface color and more 
distinct markings. 

Yet much was left to be desired in these and many other 
directions. Underbarring, referred to at that time as under 
color, was weak, the bars extending but little below the sur- 
face of the plumage and failing by considerable to extend 
throughout the entire length of the feathers. For a time many 
of the females had no more than three dark bars. To develop 
underbarring over the entire length of the feather occupied 
the attention of the best breeders for several years. 

The third period was then one in which improvement along 
the lines indicated in the preceding paragraph proceeded until 
real excellencies were developed to such an extent that the 
best exhibition specimens had in reality become good speci- 
mens, even when measured by our present Standard. Shape 
became more uniform and has steadily grown more so, and 
today, as judged by our best exhibitions, no variety is as 
uniform in this particular as the Barred Plymouth Rock. In 
this period of the Barred Plymouth Rock, undercolor became 
good, surface color clear, bars distinct and brassiness in male 
birds disappeared. All this has been accomplished during the 
first fifteen or twenty years of the breed's existence. When 
these excellencies began to show signs of approaching an 
accomplishment in a degree of approximate satisfaction, 
more attention was paid to the sharp definition and direction 
of the barring than heretofore. Straightening the bars and 
acquiring sharp definition to the edges of bars may be said 


to have been the fourth stage in the development of Barred 
Plymouth Rock plumage. 

The fifth, or present stage, seems to be occupied by an en- 
deavor to maintain all the excellencies of the past and, further, 
to get more bars, or finer barring, as it is called. Even now 
certain specimens have overstepped in this, as it is possible to 
do because fine barring becomes indistinct when too fine. 

The tendency of the modern breeders is toward more reg- 
ular barring. The straight-across-the-feather bar, and as many 
of them as possible, is the ambition of many breeders now- 
adays. The effect is certainly very pretty, but how far shall 
we sacrifice shape, color of legs and beaks for perfection in 
barring, is the question which will shortly come up. It must 
be granted that to obtain fine and regular barring and strong 
undercolor, many have bred the females too dark in surface 
color. This is not decrying straight bars and strong under- 
color. They have their value and efforts must be made to 
acquire these qualities, but it is better to acquire them slowly 
and retain other good features than to produce them in haste 
and lose other virtues. 

After a careful survey of the accomplishments of a little 
over fifty years, breeders of this variety can look at their birds 
and their records with pride. Xot for a moment of that time 
has the breed stood still. Its progress has been one continued 
ascent in public esteem, for improvement has been the watch- 
word, and perfection the motto of those who have had its best 
interest at heart. 

The great endeavor of the breeders of the present is and 
of the breeders of the future will be to maintain an even 
shade of color of the individual specimen, and of both sexes, 
with sharply defined edges and sharply contrasting colors, 
with underbarring extending to the skin and as many bar; 
to the feather as can be produced thereon and still maintain 
the aforementioned qualities. Needless to say that rapid 
growth and large egg yield will be attributes which the breed- 
ers will insist upon more even in the future than in the past ; 
otherwise, the Plymouth Rock would lose its well merited 
popularity ; which Heaven forbid. 

The early histories of the Plymouth Rock and the Barred 
Plymouth Rock are identical, inasmuch as the latter were the 
sole member of the family until 1888, when Ave find the White 
Plymouth Rock a member of the family with official acknowl- 
edgment of its parentage. 






Positive enamel white in ear-lobes. (See general disquali- 


Cock 9y 2 lbs. Hen 7 / 2 lbs. 

Cockerel 8 lbs. Pullet 6 lbs. 

Head. — Moderately large. 

Beak. — Stout, comparatively short, regularly curved. 
Eyes. — Full, prominent. 

Comb. — Single, rather small in proportion to size of speci- 
men ; set firmly on head ; straight, upright ; evenly serrated, 
having five well defined points, those in front and at rear a 
trifle smaller than the other three, giving the comb a semi- 
oval appearance when viewed from the side ; fine in texture ; 
blade not conforming too closely to head. 

Wattles and Ear-Lobes. — Wattles, moderately long, nicely 
rounded at the lower edges, equal in length, fine in texture, 
free from folds or wrinkles. Ear-lobes, oblong, smooth, hang- 
ing about one-third the length of wattles. 

Neck. — Rather long, slightly arched, having abundant 
hackle flowing well over shoulders. 

Wings. — Of medium size, well folded ; fronts, well covered 
by breast feathers and points well covered by saddle feathers. 

Back. — Rather long, broad its entire length, flat at 
shoulders, nearly horizontal from neck to saddle, where there 
is a slight concave sweep to tail ; saddle feathers, rather long, 
abundant, filling well in f^ont of tail. 

Tail. — Of medium length, moderately well spread, carried 
at an angle of forty-five degrees above the horizontal (see illus- 
tration, figures 25 and 26), forming no apparent angle with 
the back; sickles, well curved, covering tops of main tail feath- 
ers, conforming to the general shape of the tail ; smaller sickles 
and tail-coverts, of medium length, nicely curved and suf- 
ficiently abundant to almost hide the stiff feathers of the tail 
when viewed from front or side. 

Breast.- — Broad, full, moderately deep, well rounded. 



Body and Fluff. — Body, rather long, broad, deep, full, 
straight, extending well forward, connecting with breast so 
as to make no break in outline ; fluff, moderately full. 

Legs and Toes. — Thighs, large, of medium length, well 
covered with soft feathers ; shanks of medium length, smooth, 
straight, stout, set well apart; toes, straight, of medium 
length, well spread. 


Head. — Moderately large, broad, medium in length. 
Beak. — Comparatively short, regularly curved. 
Eyes. — Full, prominent. 

Comb. — Single, small, proportional to size of specimen ; 
set firmly on the head ; straight, upright ; evenly serrated, 
having five well defined points, those in front and at rear be- 
ing somewhat smaller and shorter than the other three. 

Wattles and Ear-Lobes.- — Wattles, small, well rounded, 
equal in length, fine in texture. Ear-lobes, oblong in shape, 

Neck. — Medium in length, nicely curved and tapering to 
head, where it is comparatively small ; neck feathers, moder- 
ately full, flowing well over shoulders with no apparent break 
at juncture of neck and back. 

Wings. — Of medium size, well folded; fronts, well cov- 
ered by breast feathers. 

Back. — Rather long, broad its entire length, flat at 
shoulders, rising with a slightly concave incline to tail. 

Tail. — Of medium length, fairly well spread, carried at an 
angle of thirty-five degrees above the horizontal (see illustra- 
tion, figures 26), forming no apparent angle with the back; 
tail-coverts, well developed. 

Breast. — Broad, full, moderately deep, well rounded. 

Body and Fluff. — Body, rather long, moderately deep, full, 
straight from front to rear and extending well forward, con- 
nected with the breast so as to make no break in outline ; fluff, 
full, of medium length. 

Legs and Toes. — Thighs, of medium size and length, well 
covered with soft feathers ; shanks, of medium length, set 
well apart, stout and smooth ; toes, of medium size and length, 
straight, well spread. 





Common Defects. 

The shape description already given of Plymouth Rocks, 
from the American Standard of Perfection, is that of a perfect 
bird, and the further original treatise found in this work is 
merely for the purpose of clarifying and amplifying that found 
in that more general work. Admittedly, however, no speci- 
men, male or female, is perfect, which means that every speci- 
men is defective in some way in nature and degree ; that is, 
two individuals may have defects but of different nature, or 
they may have the same defect but in different degrees. One 
is, then, more defective than another because it has more de- 
fects, or because it has greater defects, as the case may be. 

It is the purpose of this work to point out the more com- 
mon defects, and so explain their nature, that they may be 
readily detected and the seriousness of their nature accurately 
computed ; also, how to mate, according to the practices of 
the most successful breeders of Plymouth Rocks, so that such 
and such defects of the parents may be eliminated in the 


Comb. — The reader is advised to make himself at this 
point familiar with the nomenclature of the comb and head 
points. (See illustrations, plates 5 and 6.) The most notice- 
able feature of the head is the comb. This the high point 
of the head, the top-piece, and, like the hat on a well dressed 
man or woman, creates a good or poor impression accord- 
ing to its own quality. Unless harmonious proportions be- 
tween the comb and the head exist, an unfavorable impres- 
sion is created immediately. For these reasons breeders pay 
more attention to it than to any other adjunct of the head. 
The description in the Standard is clear and is generally un- 
derstood, but often too much importance is attached to the 
clause which requires five points, evenly spaced, with the front 
and rear points a little smaller than the other three, and each 
of the right length to look proportionate to the base, which 
should be firm, smooth, straight, free from folds, wrinkles 
indentures, or thumb marks. 


Carriage of Comb. — It is a matter of first importance that 
the comb should set firmly on the head, as a thin or limber 
comb is apt to droop and if a comb droops too much it be- 
comes a disqualification, which clearly intimates that a droop- 
ing comb is a serious defect. (See illustration, Plate 7, Fig. 
ure 1.) 

Turning to one side at either front or rear is also a defect. 
This is illustrated in Plate 7. Figure 3. Thumb marks or 
wrinkles over the beak are quite serious defects, as the rules 
for cutting the same clearly show. These are shown in the 
same illustrations. (See, also, chapter on Cutting for Defects.) 
These faults usually occur when the blade is too large or too 
heavy. "What are expressively termed "beefy" combs are in- 
clined to this fault. Twisted combs are very unsightly and 
undesirable. An illustration of a twist in the comb of a male 
is seen in Plate 7, Figure 2, and of a female is seen in Plate 
17, Figure 2. 

Size Outline. — If the features are to be considered in the 
order in which they affect the appearance of the bird, size and 
outline must be next discussed. A comb should not be so 
large as to look top heavy or coarse. On the contrary, it 
should not be so small that the male seems effeminate, or that 
the female appears to lack health or vigor. Male heads of 
coarse tendencies will be found illustrated in Plate 7, Figures 
3 and 5. Refined heads are demanded of both sexes in all 
Plymouth Rocks. The outline of all combs should be 
symmetrical ; that is, all parts of the comb, the blade, the base 
and the points should be in proportion to give proper balance 
between all these parts. 

Base. — The base of the comb should be straight, first of all, 
from front to rear, heavy enough to hold the points from 
drooping and the blade from turning to one side or the other ; 
though extremely and unnecessarily heavy bases are not want- 
ed, as should be understood from the Standard description. 
This description precludes thumb-marks, wrinkles and in- 
dentures as mentioned, heretofore. In Plate 7, Figure 4, the 
base is shown too narrow, while in Figure 5 the base is too 
coarse and too heavy. 

Blade. — The width or depth of the blade should be about 
the same as the length of the longest points or a little more 
to give the best setting, and the line formed by the base of the 
serrations or what might be termed the top-line of the blade 
should be nearly horizontal, or conforming a little to the top 



Ideal in Conformation for All Varieties of Plymouth Rocks 




Ideal in Conformation for All Varieties of Plymouth Rocks 



of the skull and at the same time with the outline made by 
the top of the serrations, and thus help to harmonize all the 
parts. The blade may be taken as part of the base, and much 
that has been stated about the latter is true of the former; 
more than that, it must follow the skull somewhat to give the 
appearance of setting on the head gracefully and it should be 
of such length as to balance with the other parts so that the 
comb, all in all, completes its symmetrical outline. Plate 7, 
Figure 5, illustrates a comb in which the base is too high, also 
the blade too deep, the points too many and uneven, and the 
base of the serrations not in symmetrical alignment. 

Points^ — These should be five in number and evenly spaced. 
The front and rear points a little smaller than the other three 
so as to obtain a regular and symmetrical outline. 

Besides even spacing, the right proportion in length of 
points and depth of blade should exist. Of this, the eye is the 
best judge, rather than a mathematical calculation. As a rule, 
the blade should be slightly deeper than the length of the 
points, but sometimes combs that are pronounced good by 
competent judges have points a trifle longer than the depth of 
the blade and other good combs have points that are percep- 
tibly shorter. Of this feature, the first impression given to 
the practiced eye is usually the correct one. Plate 7, Figure 
4, illustrates a comb that has too many and too long points. 
These points are not absolutely erect, which they should be. 

A phenomenon known as the double-point occurs when the 
serration between two points is not as deep as between the 
other points of the same comb. Sometimes the serration re- 
ferred to is very shallow, which gives the appearance of one 
broad point. This defect destroys all balance between the 
serrations and the points, and is a most marked blemish when 
viewed from the side. An illustration of a double-point can 
be seen in Plate 7, Figure 3. 

In order to obtain a thorough understanding of what con- 
stitutes an ideal single comb, one should make a careful study 
of the life size illustration of a perfect Plymouth Rock male 
head, Plate 5, as well as of the six figures on Plate 7. 

Other Head Adjuncts. — Not nearly as much attention is 
paid to defects of the other appurtenances of the head as to 
those of the comb. The shape of the eyes, wattles and lobes 
are clearly defined in the Standard, but unless they are very 
noticeably defective in shape, little cutting is practiced. Wat- 
tles may be of unequal length (see Plate 7, Figure 4), too 




1. 2. 

4. 5. 6. 


1. Lopped comb, usually overgrown, lacks stiffness or firmness 
of tissue. To disqualify (see "General Disqualifications") a single 
comb, some portion must fall below the horizontal plane where comb 
begins its lop. 

2. Twisted comb, an irregular shaped comb, falling or curving 
from side to side, being distorted from the normal perpendicular 

3. Comb, very coarse in texture, with thumb-marks in front over 
nostrils. Third and fourth points grown into a double serration, rear 
serrations partially lopped. Wattles and ear-lobes, coarse, pendulous 
and wrinkled. Face, also wrinkled, causes bad expression. 

Lower Row — 

4. Head, narrow. Comb, serrations too sharp and too much elon- 
gated; blade, too shallow; points inclined to lop. Wattles do not 
match in length (one is shrunken). Ear-lobes too heavy to match 
comb and wattles. 



5. Head, very coarse. Deformed, twisted beak (a disqualifica- 
tion). Comb, crooked in front, irregular, short, blunted serrations. 
Side springs on comb (disqualification). See, "General Disqualifica- 
tions." Wattles and ear-lobes too long, coarse, wrinkled and pendu- 
lous. Face, shows irregular bunches about the eye and at juncture 
of beak. Throat with coarse dewlap. 

6. Head typical of male of weak constitution. Head too long and 
too shallow. Beak, too long. 

long (Figure 5), even too short, misshapen, coarse in texture 
(Figure 5), but even so, unless very noticeably so, deductions 
from the score are not often made. Wattles are most often 
cut for injuries from fighting, freezing, or tearing in one way 
or another. These are not natural defects and should not be 
discounted as heavily as though they were. Such injuries mar 
the good appearance of the bird most seriously. Ear-lobes in 
Plymouth Rocks are good as a rule and seldom cut for shape. 

Skull. — Occasionally the head proper, also the beak, is too 
long and not nearly deep enough, and for these defects are 
cut, but not heavily numerically, because the allotment to 
these sections for shape is very small. (See Plate 7, Figure 6.) 

The following shape sections are important because many 
of these denote practical qualities or the absence of them. 

Neck. — First impressions are very often convincing, espec- 
ially in a large class. One of the most important factors in 
making an impression is style, and style depends much upon 
the length and arch in The neck, for the latter gives the head 
its poise. If lacking in arch, it is usually because the head is 
carried too far forward. Note the position of head in ideal il- 
lustrations, with front of beak falling vertically back of the 
front of the breast. The vertical position of the head relative 
to the front of breast is one of the distinctive breed character- 
istics in the American class. 

Length is important ; if the neck is too short, the bird 
lacks style, and the neck is also probably too thick and has too 
much arch ; if too long, it is probably too slender and lacks 
arch. Too long necks generally accompany birds too long in 
other sections, especially legs. A well-arched, full neck in- 
dicates vitality and is desired. Necks of males should carry 
an abundance of long, flowing hackle feathers. Without 
these, neck and shoulders will show an angle at the junction, 
which should not appear. With long, flowing hackle feath- 
ers extending well over shoulders, neck and back seem to 


merge together, a necessary feature at a vital point in a beau- 
tiful top contour. 

Wings. — The most common fault at the present time in this 
section is deformed feathers. While this deformity usually 
takes the form of twisted feathers, other defects such as these 
are not as unsightly, as the twisted feather or feathers nearly 
always protrudes more or less. Often several feathers are 
twisted as shown by illustration in Plate 8, Figure 2, 

Twisted wings take on several peculiar and abnormal 
forms. Occasionally the end of the flight or secondaries are 
affected, and as in this case the defect is most noticeable. 
Again, the bone of the wing, at or beyond the joint furthest 
from the body is turned in so that the flight feathers face 
wrong side out as illustrated in Figure 4. Another form of 
this defect is seen in Figure 3, in which the secondaries are 
abnormal, turning down at the points and exposing the points 
of flights. Occasionally wings do not fold together properly, 
and remain open by the side. This is what is known as a 
slipped wing. For illustration see Figure 1. This undesirable 
phenomenon, known as the slipped wing, has of recent years 
become common in many strains of pure bred fowls. This 
appears when the flights fold in reverse rather than in the 
natural order; those nearest the body dropping from their 
natural position just inside the secondary farthest from the 
body and appearing outside of the lower secondaries instead 
of inside; thus leaving a space between the folded secondaries 
and the primaries, which gives rise to the name "slipped wing" 
— the primaries have the appearance of having slipped down. 
The name is applied in such a case whether the primaries are 
reversed or not. 

The outside appearance of such a wing is not altogether 
unlike that of what is known as the split-wing. The latter 
is, however, different as the flights, though folded, are not 
coA^ered by the secondaries. This split is caused by the pri- 
maries most adjacent to the secondaries or the secondaries, 
most adjacent to the primaries, taking the wrong direction, 
with the result that the secondaries fail to cover the flights 
when folded. If such a wing is spread or open, a space, some- 
times a wide one, is noted between the flights and secondaries. 
In some lines of blood, the flight feathers, instead of being 
twisted or following the wrong direction, are short and nar- 
row and do not fold properly. (See illustration, Plate 9, 
Figure 5.) 




1. Slipped Primaries. Pri- 
maries habitually slipped out- 
ward from under the second- 

2. Twisted Primaries. Pri- 
maries twisted in spiral for- 

3. Mussed Wing. Persist- 
ently failing to hold the wing 
feathers well folded at the 
sides when they are of for- 
mation that could be neatly 

4. Down-Turned Primar- 
ies. Primaries bent down- 
ward so that they are not 
folded beneath the second- 





5. Split Wing. Wing so 
irregularly formed as to ap- 
pear split through between 
the secondaries and the pri- 

6. Short Wing with Up- 
turned Primaries. Primaries 
bent upward so that they 
will not fold neatly under- 
neath the secondaries. 

7. Drooping 
Shoulders and 
drooping too low 

wing fronts 

8. Drooping Points. Points 
of wings carried too low. 



Large or long wings are not called for by the Standard but 
the wing should be of moderate length, sufficient to reach the 
saddles in the male, and a corresponding position in the female. 
They should be well-tucked up and covered by the saddle or 
back feathers, according to sex. An illustration of these de- 
fects are seen in Figure 6. 

Drooping shoulders indicate a looseness or weakness of 
the shoulder muscles. The unnatural effect presented by this 
defect may be seen in Figure 7. Another and equally unde- 
sirable defect is seen in Figure 8 of the high or too prominent 
shoulder with the large wing feathers held at the wrong angle, 
bringing the points too low. This wing is too large and the 
point is not tucked up or covered as it should be. 

Back. — This section affords an opportunity for sharp dis- 
tinction between the breeds of the American class. Plymouth 
Rocks' backs should be broad and of moderate length. When 
joined to a fully feathered, correctly arched neck, and a well- 
furnished, well-spread tail, carried at the proper angle, the 
back, with these sections, forms a beautiful top contour The 
curves connecting back and neck, and back with tail, are so 
mild and gradual as to be most graceful and finished. To ob- 
tain this pleasing effect, the back must be just as it is de- 
scribed and portrayed in the Standard. Faulty backs, and 
there are many of them, as it is a hard section to breed as it 
should be bred, make obviously faulty birds. The back may 
be too short; this means a short body, and the birds must lack 
true breed type. Shortness of body means lack of weight or 
even a greater variance from true type. Too long backs mean 
too long bodies, and a variance from true type. Such birds 
are apt to be too flat on the sides as well as on the back. They 
lack grace and typical carriage. As Plymouth Rocks they are 
plain and unattractive. Too long backs usually lack the curve 
needed, to finish a good specimen, between the back and tail. 
They are usually too narrow and round from side to side, and 
again are much more apt to be "roached," that is, have a 
tendency to make the back line convex rather than concave. 
Breadth is needed in this section to give the sturdy appear- 
ance characteristic of this breed. 

The four photographs of four Buff Rock males show sev- 
eral common faults as they appear from the top. The first, 
that of the ideal male, the second of a male with too short a 
back, too heavy side fluff: a perceptible angle at juncture of 
back and tail and a pinched tail. The third one, too narrow 






1. Tail plumage too large 
in proportion to back and 

body. Sometimes 
"bushy tail." 


2. Back and body slope 
too much toward rear. Tail 
plumage too much contracted 
and pointed in general form 
of tail, termed "Pinched 

3. Body shows too much 
fluff. Upper portion of tail 
proper feathers are bent or 
missing, causing bunched or 
"Cobby Tail." 

4. Back and tail form too 
nearly a straight back and 
tail line, or a "flat top line." 
Tail lacks in side furnishing. 





5. Back and tail line too 
concave. Tail plumage too 
long and "fan shaped." 

6. Body thin in front, un- 
derneath. Back at shoulders 
slopes too much to rear. 
Cushion and tail extend too 
much to a point or "Pinched 

7. Type is bunchy; cush- 
ion, too pronounced on top, 
not extended well to tail. 
Tail too low, partly due to 
overfat condition. 

8. Excessive fat in body 
draws rear end down too low, 
exhibiting clumsy, unsym- 
metrical appearance. 



in back and body, and the fourth, a crooked back with the 
usually accompanying wry tail. 

For a careful study of back conformations, the reader is 
referred to plates 11 and 12. 

Tail. — This is one of the most ornamental sections of the 
bird. Aside from the head, it is the most striking feature of 
the male. With a beautiful tail, a bird is finished; but, with 
the tail lacking or faulty, the specimen is deficient. 

The tail must be carried at the proper angle or the beauty 
of the top contour is marred or entirely lost. If carried too 
high, the curve between back and tail is destroyed and an 
unsightly angle substituted. If carried too low, style and the 
appearance of life and action are gone. Too long tails destroy 
good balance, because they are out of proportion. They give 
too much length to the bird. The tail should be of such di- 
mensions as to length, lateral spread and vertical spread that 
it balances the head and neck. Pinched tails, or tails that 
do not spread vertically, are very faulty, as a bird that has one 
is never finished or balanced. A good spread between the 
lower or rear pair of feathers, horizontally, is desirable, as 
without it the body and back appear too narrow. A fully 
furnished tail is a rare ornament, therefore highly prized by 

The contour formed by back and tail have so much 
weight when breed type is determined that it is very nearly 
impossible to disassociate these two sections. The close con- 
nection between them is well shown in the series of illus- 
trations on page 124, Plate 11. The four illustrations are of 
male shape. In Figure 1 we see a fairly well proportioned 
back depicted, but the tail is too long, too bushy and too 
large as a whole to be in correct proportion to the body. 

Figure 2 illustrates a body and back that slope too much 
toward the rear. The back is too narrow at junction with 
tail, which is too flat or carried too low and is too pinched 
or contracted vertically, and also horizontally. Body not filled 
or rounded out, front or rear, but 'especially shallow in 
front of thighs. Wing-points carried too low. 

Figure 3. The appearance as a whole is too solid, com- 
pact or blocky. There is too much underfluff and coarse 
plumage on saddle, in tail coverts, and rear underparts of 
body. Tail is carried too low. Wing-points too low. 

Figure 4 shows a common fault, more common, however, 
in some varieties than others, of the straight back and tail 


contour, extending in this case from base of neck to tip of 
tail. The top line, as a consequence, lacks gracefulness, and 
the specimen is thereby given a clumsy, coarse appearance. 

The four illustrations on page 125 are of faults in the 
shape of females. Figure 5 shows too long, shallow and 
narrow body, which is invariably too flat sided. The body 
and back are too narrow and the tail is too long and too 
much spread. Such tails are called fan-shaped, sometimes. 

Figure 6 shows the body carried too erect in front, the 
back sloping too much from base of neck to rear of shoulder. 
Back too narrow throughout, even pinched back of shoulders. 
Tail pinched, which means contracted vertically or both 
vertically and laterally. Body in front of thighs not filled 
and rounded out. 

Figure 7 is a comparable to the male opposite ; too blocky 
and too coarse, too much cushion, tail carried too low. A 
specimen that as a whole lacks gracefulness and finish, due 
partly, however, to being overfat. 

Figure 23 (glossary) shows a tail that has been "faked," by 
plucking, large sickles removed and main tail feathers 
plucked and bent under smaller sickles and coverts. This 
is sometimes done by exhibitors to hide such defects as too 
heavy and bushy tails. 

Breast, — The best liked meat of a fowl is found on the 
breast; therefore, for this reason breasts that carry as much 
meat as possible and still retain symmetrical lines are de- 
sired for all breeds. The descriptive terms, "broad," "deep," 
"full," are comparative, however, and, when used to describe 
Plymouth Rocks, refer to Plymouth Rocks only. Breasts 
are frequently faulty as to shape. Some are too narrow, 
nearly all are not deep enough. Many are not sufficiently 
full to present the "front" most breeders like to see. Few 
breasts are full just in front and above the end of the keel- 
bone. This defect is very noticeable, as it is one of the 
first points of observation, if not the very first, when in the 
show coop. This fault is illustrated in outline by Figures 
1, 2, 3, Plate 11, showing back and tail lines. (See also Body 
and Fluff.) By the above description we are led to expect 
a breast outlined by a series of broad, symmetrical curves 
from side to side, merging into the body on either side with 
no sharp line of distinction between the sides of the breast 
and the sides of the body. The same description holds 
nearly true when applied vertically. In this direction the 



breast should be full and round. The breast should be deep, 
so that it forms a broad, wide curve from top to bottom 
which gradually merges into the line of the body formed 
by the bottom of the keel-bone. Thus, both horizontally 
and vertically, the outline of the breast should make a 
broad, symmetrical curve that merges into the body with- 
out breaks or apparent angles. For ideal conformation in 
these respects see the cuts of ideal Plymouth Rocks. 

Body and Fluff. — Technically, body does not refer to the 
whole carcass, as in common phraseology. It refers in this 
connection merely to the lower part of body extending back 
from the front end of the keel-bone. The fluff is composed of 
the small, soft feathers found between and to the rear of the 
thighs, though the body feathers at rear of the thighs are 
often spoken of as such. 

The body must have depth, breadth and length. De- 
fects in one or all of these three dimensions are common. 
Defects in body shape are found more often in the front 
than in the rear. Shallow breasts are often associated with 
shallow bodies, especially in front of the thigh. Very 
often, too, the body, in front of the thighs is too short. Neither 
must it be too long, for the body must be well balanced. 
Keel-bones that are too short in front of the thighs carry 
breasts that lack in fullness. 

Besides the defects noted in back and tail shape, de- 
fects of breast and body in front of thighs that frequently 
occur are clearly illustrated and should be carefully studied. 
Figure 1, Plate 11, shows a want of fullness in front of thigh 
for some distance because of shallowness of the fore part 
of the body. The corresponding defect in females is seen 
in Figure 5, Plate 12. Figure 2 also shows a break between 
breast and body and between body and thighs; whereas, the 
outlines of these sections should form one continuous line 
and merge into one another. The parallel of this defect in 
females is shown in Figure 6. Figure 3 shows a well 
rounded breast outline, but illustrates the "cut off" appear- 
ance seen in so many specimens imlmediately in front of 
thigh, due to the fact that the body is not dee]) enough at 
that particular point, even though it forms the necessary 
depth at all other points. Figure 6 shows the same defect 
by the same cause, in females. 

Narrow bodies are generally accompanied by narrow backs 
that are often long, flat lengthwise, and what are termed 


"ridgy," that is, too much rounded on the sides. Plate 13 
shows the rear views of a narrowly built and a well built 

Shanks and Toes. — Legs that are set well apart, shanks 
that have plenty of bone, but are not over large and coarse, 



Narrow bodied. Legs too Good development. Wide 

close together, indications of a body and legs set well apart, in- 
weak constitution. dications of a strong constitu- 



are desired, because they indicate strength and vitality. Shanks 
that are rather large and strong are found only with large 
and strong specimens. Breadth in back and body indicates a 
strong constitution, and legs that support a broad body are 
set well apart. The toes on each leg are generally stout, 
straight and comparatively short. Crookedness is the most 
common defect in toes. Sometimes this is accidental, but more 
often it may be regarded as one of the surest signs of inherent 
weakness. When the general appearance of a bird confirms 
this symptom, the akinship of the opposite sex should be care- 
fully considered. 

Shanks that are well set apart are illustrated in Plate 15, 
Figure 3. In the other illustrations several defects besides 
those of legs and toes are noted. Briefly stated, they are poor 
comb ; too long, thin wattles ; narrow body ; shallow breast and 
loosely folded wings. All of which, indications of a weak con- 


1. 2. 

Correctly formed legs, spurs and toes, front (1) and rear view (2). 
From photograph of buff cock, a first winner at Madison Square Gar- 
den, New York. 


stitution, are illustrated in this sketch. This characteristic is 
carried out in the position of legs and toes. The hocks are 
carried too closely together ; a defect that is characterized as 
"knock-kneed," which generally accompanies narrow bodies 
(Figure 1.) The center toe is crooked, a frequent occurrence 
on weak males, and the rear toes turn forward, another sign of 
weak constitution, called "Duck-foot". (See definition in Glos- 
sary.) Contrast these defective sections with the correct sec- 
tions in Figure 3 (ideal). 


1. 2. 3. 


1. Comb crooked in front, serrations only four, thick, irregular; 
shoulders not equal height; wing, twisted flight; narrow body; legs 
turned upward at "hock joints"; spurs turn downward; toes crooked. 

2. Well shaped head points; straight comb: body, legs and toes 
well formed. 

3. Same figure as no 2 posed as square and firm on legs as pos- 
sible and idealized. 




In but a few sections does the shape of the female so radi- 
cally differ from that of the male that it requires a different 
treatise. What follows applies to those sections. 

Comb. — The description of comb for male and female coin- 
cides, except that the comb of the female is much smaller. A 
female comb may easily be too large, and while small combs 
are preferred, they should not be so small as to be difficult to 
observe, and may indicate constitutional or sexual weakness. 
That is, however, readily determined in other ways. 


1. 2. 3. 


1. Comb, loose, falling to one side; neck, not nicely tapered to 
head; wings drooped; breast and body narrow and pinched under- 
neath; knee joints turned inward; crooked toes. 

2. Strong, substantial shoulders, breast and body, with well poised 
neck tapering neatly to excellent head with neat, straight comb. 
Strong, well formed legs and feet well apart. 

3. Same figure as No. 2 idealized. 




Upper Row — 

1. Head rather short and round; comb twisted, an equally serious 
defect in female as well as male; side sprig at rear, small in female, 
but nevertheless a disqualification. Wattles wrinkled and shrunken at 
bottom below wrinkle, so curved outline of wattle is spoiled. Lobe 
heavy, not fitting nicely to face. 

2. Comb very much too high at rear and too straight along the 
top; serrations not nicely formed, only four in number. Wattles and 
ear lobes angular, not nicely rounded, somewhat shrunken. .Throat 
too coarse, not neatly formed. 

3. Comb crooked in front, serrations too long, overgrown. Wat- 
tles too small. Face wrinkled, with too much plumage covering face 
and throat. 

Lower Row — 

4. Comb much too thick at rear for a single comb. [See front 
view on following head (5).] Wattles too small to be typical. 

5. Front view of comb (4), showing rear too thick. 

6. Head of a thin, unhealthy female. 



The chief defects of the combs of females are illustrated as 
follows: Plate 17, Figure 1, twisted comb or overlapping of 
portions of the base. Figure 2, too deep and perhaps too 
thick a base, also too few points. Figure 3, too long and too 
many points, inclined to lean to one side, wrinkled in front. 
Figure 4, too few points, a blade too long, too long a space in 
front of the first serration. Figure 5, front view, same as 
preceding. Figure 6, turning to one side, too thin, indicating 
an aenemic condition. 

Head and Adjuncts.- — These sections differ in size only. 

Neck. — In this section the feathers differ in character and 
form, one of the most noticeable sex differences in most va- 
rieties. In some breeds hen-feathered males are disqualified, 
the presence or absence of long, narrow hackle feathers is one 
of the tests that distinguish between properly feathered and 
hen-feathered males. In shape, the neck is snorter compara- 
tively, and not as heavy and is not as fully arched. 

Back. — Here, also, we find the same difference in the con- 
struction of the male and female feather. The long feathers 
from the saddle or back of a male, called expressively saddle- 
hangers, are not found on females or hen-feathered males. 
(Hen-feathered males occur only in a few breeds, and only 
sufficiently often to be considered.) 

These differences of feather construction between males 
and females creates also a different conformation of back in 
the two sexes. 

The variation, however, is more of degree than kind. The 
concave is not as sharp, as the back lacks the long, ornamental 
saddle feathers and tail coverts of the male, and the concave 
curve is not nearly as short. On this account and because of 
the lower carriage of the tail, the body of the female appears 
longer than that of the male, and the effect is that of a rather 
long, broad, straight back, rising very gradually in a slightly 
depressed incline to the tail. 

Tail. — This section affords opportunity for distinction be- 
tween male and female. The long curving sickles, smaller 
sickles, and tail coverts of the male are of a different character 
from any feathers found on the female. The tail of the female 
is carried at a five degree lower angle than with the male 
and appears even lower because of the difference in character 
of the tail furnishings. 

The tail may possess the same defects as the tail of the 
male, but it should have the same good qualities ; namely, well- 



spread base, of sufficient width vertically to avoid a pinched 
appearance, and should be furnished with an abundance of tail 
coverts of the same general character as the feathers of the 
back, though both broader and longer. 

Slow-Feathering. — Of late years some lines are slow in 
feathering. The reason for the development of this phenomena 
is not known, but some breeders have observed that slow 
feathering has made its appearance coincident with the fine 
barring. It has been observed, too, that fine barring and nar- 
row feathers are intimately associated. The two facts have 
led to the idea that when breeding for fine barring, narrow 
feathers are also bred, and by so doing, unwittingly, feather 
producing tendencies are reduced. 

The effect of slow feathering and of feathers that do not 
grow normally or are of irregular formation upon the shape of 
the fowls and especially upon the shape and appearance of 
such sections as wings and tail is considerable. 

Type vs. Shape. — Usually about the same ideas occur to 
us whether we hear the word "type" or the word "shape". 
However, they may or may not convey the same meaning. 
Shape may be more specific, as when used with reference to 
a part of the bird ; that is, to one section or perhaps to more 
than one ; while type, as generally used, refers to the bird as a 
whole. We have distinctions here, also, as breed types and 
commercial types, that is, types designated according to adapt- 
ability for certain uses ; as egg-types, meat-types, general- or 
dual-purpose types, ornamental types, etc. 

Faulty Types. — We speak of a bird as having faulty shape 
when one or more sections are defective ; of having faulty type 
when one or more sections are defective in such a way as to 
change the typical appearance of the bird from one breed- 
type to another. A Plymouth Rock female by a combination 
of faulty back and leg shape might become more of a Wyan- 
dotte than a Rock, that is, if too short in both sections ; by 
faulty back and body shape, more the character of the Rhode 
Island Red, if too long and flat in back and too shallow in 
body ; a Plymouth Rock that was too broad and deep in body 
and short in legs might assume somewhat of the Cochin type. 
But enough has been related to show the importance of correct 
type in the bird as a whole, and what is necessary to secure 
it — good shape in every section. 




"Shape makes the breed, color the variety." Then, as 
typical Plymouth Rocks are primarily desired from our mat- 
ings, we must look closely and well to the characters required 
to obtain better formed specimens. 

The Importance of Shape. — So often does the impression 
exist that color is of primary and shape of secondary impor- 
tance with the breeder of Standard fowls that a brief discourse 
on the above topic seems advisable. Such an impression is 
erroneous and far from the letter and the spirit of the Stand- 
ard. Shape, in fact, with the more practical breeds, counts 
more than color. 

Why Shape Counts More than Color.— We must ever re- 
call that "shape makes the breed." Without typical shape, 
breed-types are destroyed. A Plymouth Rock is not a typical 
Plymouth Rock merely because it has a single comb, smooth 
legs and the color and markings of one of the Plymouth Rock 
varieties. It must first have Plymouth Rock shape. Shape is 
of first importance because breed comes first and without 
shape there can be neither breed nor variety. Faulty color 
injures the variety only, but faults in shape injure both our 
ideals. A specimen quite faulty in color has no standing with 
the variety of which it is a member, but a specimen that is 
seriously faulty in shape has no standing with the breed which 
it is supposed to represent, and as variety is but a "sub-division 
of the breed," it can have no standing as a representative of 
either a breed or of a variety of that breed. 

Breed characteristics are vastly more important than those 
of the variety ; for breed characteristics represent practical 
qualities upon which the foundation of every branch of the 
poultry industry rests. Deprive it of its economic value as a 
food supply and this industry would assume merely the pro- 
portions and importance of the breeding of pet dogs, pet cats, 
cage birds, and kindred fancies. It is in recjgnition of this 
fact that the American Poultry Association has made breed 
characteristics, which are synonymous with practical qualities, 
authoritatively of more importance than those which apply to 






1. Medium width and length of plumage, compact form, smooth 
surface, as called for in the Standard ideal type. 

2. Extremely narrow plumage, with little underfluff. Extremely 
long plumage flows over form of body but does not add so much to 
roundness and plumpness of appearance. 

3. Broad, fluffy plumage, causing the outlines of the fowl to 
bulge and appear lumpy. 

4. Narrow plumage, with medium amount of fluff, presenting 
somewhat angular outlines of body. 


variety, representing the attractive features only. Breed char- 
acteristics are described completely by one word — shape, 
which embraces all the practical qualities of a fowl. The 
features that distinguish varieties, a difference in color, mark- 
ings, shape of comb, etc., are merely accessories that make 
fowls attractive and likable. The problem of correcting faulty 
shape, because it is a breed problem and equally applicable to 
all varieties of Plymouth Rocks, should then receive our first 
and most serious consideration. 

The Influence of Health on Shape and Color. — Good shaped 
specimens are always healthy. It is useless to expect puny 
birds to be good in shape. Deep bodies, full, round breasts, 
broad backs and stout shanks are not developed by any but 
the most rugged constitutions ; but these are characteristics 
of all good Plymouth Rocks. 

One factor in the production of color has occurred to but 
few, but it, nevertheless, is a most important one because, 
though a bird may have perfect inheritance along color lines, 
it will count for naught if it is without health. By health is 
meant continuous health from birth. A sickness of but a 
week, a day or an hour has its effect. Loss of natural gloss 
and intensity of color are sure to follow. Whether ill health 
utterly destroys the chances of winning depends upon its 
nature and duration. The best birds, both in shape and in 
color, are the ones that besides inheriting good quality, grow 
normally or rapidly from the start, and are always in excel- 
lent health. Health effects shape as well as color. In order 
to grow healthy birds, breed from such and give both old 
and young the best of care. 

To produce good shape especially, parents that are rug- 
gedly healthy are absolutely necessary to succeed. 

An Ideal Mating. — An ideal mating for correct form would 
consist, if it were possible to obtain them, of a male and fe- 
males that were perfect according to our Standard ideals. 
As perfect specimens never exist, ideal matings are not made. 
That being true, a model mating would consist of both male 
and females that nearest approached our ideals ; that is, as 
far as shape is considered, the best mating that it is possible 
for anyone to make is to place with the best male procurable 
the best females that can be obtained. When so mated, a 
large percent of the progeny will be as good as their parents 
average, in some cases better, and in a few instances the 



specimens would be expected to excel both parents in shape 

A few generations of breeding according to this plan, the 
best shaped male mated with the best shaped females, may 
be relied upon absolutely to establish a strain of any variety 
that will excel in shape requirements. 

Other Considerations. — It often seems advisable, and un- 
doubtedly is so, to use in our matings specimens though more 
or less deficient in shape, yet excellent in other requirements, 
as color, markings, head points, etc., and the question then 
becomes how to offset these shape defects. 

Two General Methods. — In a general way there are but 
two methods. One is to offset a defect by mating to a bird 
of the opposite sex that has a defect of such a character as to 
counterbalance the first defect. For example, a male has a 


1. 2. 


1. Symmetrical, with all sections properly proportioned in rela- 
tion to each other. Outlines of graceful sweeps and curves. 

2. Unsymmetrical — sections forming angular junctions with each 
other, causing awkward, ungraceful outlines. — F. L. Sewell. 


comb with but three or four points and is mated to a female 
with six points on her comb. This is a fair illustration of the 
principle of offsetting one defect by another of the opposite 
character. This has been largely practiced by breeders in 
the past and is yet. to a large extent, to remedy defects of 
all kinds, either of color or shape. 

Of late the most advanced idea is to offset all defects by 
mating to birds that are near perfection in the character in 
which one is defective. In that case, a male with a four-point 
comb would be mated to females with five-pointed combs if 
possible. The results may not be as gratifying the first year, 



With male too short and too concave in back with tail carried too 
high, female should be mated with back, saddle and tail showing form 
inclined to look more flat over the top line. While always seeking 
to avoid mating types that possess extreme differences, it will be 
needful to avoid mating together individuals that show similar ex- 
tremes. — F. L. Sewell. 



but later they will be much more so, if the purpose is to estab- 
lish a strain in which a five-point comb is a well established 
feature. If the first principle be applied for the purpose of 
offsetting defects, besides offsetting too few points with too 
many, we would expect to offset too large combs with too 
small, blades that were too short with those too long, blades 
too broad with those too narrow, that followed the head too 
closely with those that were elevated too much, too thin combs 
with too thick, bases that were too narrow with those that 
are too deep, too long points with too short, uneven serration 
with even, bulges in comb with a smooth comb, and vice 

If the second principle was applied, all these defective 
combs would be offset by one as near perfection as it was 



A female that is decidedly coarse, showing too strongly the Cochin 
ancestry as being in evidence by loose plumage, short wings, pro- 
nounced fluff and side cushion, as well as too deep body and rather 
short legs. — F. L. Sewall. 


possible to procure on a living specimen of the opposite sex, 
depending upon a constant application of this principle to ob- 
tain satisfactory results. 

In some of the previous pages an endeavor has been made 
by combining illustration and descriptive text to inform the 
reader in regard to the most common defects of each and every 
section. The problem for the reader, if he be a breeder, as 
may be fairly assumed, is not only to acquire a knowledge of 
the faulty shape in all its different phases, but to become 
acquainted with correct and reliable methods of eliminating 
these faults. To make the subject of mating to correct faulty 
shape as clear as possible, the accompanying sketches should 
be carefully studied and compared with the ideals. 

The subject of corrective mating for faulty shape can be 
so much more easily and quickly understood from the sketches 
presented that extended discourse is both unnecessary and 



Because of excellencies of color or markings, possibly for both 
reasons." it is desirable to use males that are too fine in bone and 
too light bodied. Such males must be mated to rather large, fully 
developed and splendidly formed females. 



undesirable. These sketches are graphic explanations of the 
application of corrective mating- for defective shape in several 
of the most commonly occurring forms. The explanations 
are based, as is stated, upon the principle of corrective mating 
which is an endeavor on the part of the breeder to offset a 
defect of one sex by mating with a fowl of the opposite sex 
that has the opposite tendencies in the same section or has 
most pronounced perfection in that section. 

The Two Extremes. — As an introduction to the subject, 
the artist has contrasted the sketch of the ideal male with 
the sketch of a very unsymmetrical or unshapely specimen. 
One of the two sketches presents the reader the sum of what 
is good or ideal, while the other gives graphically almost 



Very often it happens that females which are large, vigorous 
birds and are very attractive because of excellence in color and mark- 
ings are not well balanced, being too long in front and loo short 
behind the hocks. This sketch represents such a female and por- 
trays the correct conformation of a suitable mate. — F. L. Sewell. 


if not quite a complete conception of all the faults to which 
a fowl is heir, or at least, all the most common ones. Each 
and every fault could, of course, be emphasized or enlarged 
upon, though uselessly, because a specimen that in life carried 
a fractional proportion of these faults, either in number or 
degree, would be useless as a breeder. As a rule, specimens 
that are seriously considered for breeding purposes have no 
more than one or at the most two glaring faults, while this 
sketch represents every glaring fault in each and every 
section from comb to tail and tail to toes. It gives, however, 
a splendid example of what should not be, of the many bad 
features to avoid when selecting a breeding male. 

Perfection in Shape Unattained. — Though it is unneces- 
sary and foolish to use too faulty specimens in the breeding 
pen, it is equally impossible to secure those that are perfect 
in shape, which means that faults of greater or less magnitude 
in breeding birds must be condoned and corrected by skillful 
mating of the sexes. (See illustration, Plate 20.) 

Plates for High Stationed, Short Bodied Males.— The 
artist first presents the problem of mating a male that is too 
high stationed, too short in back and too long and rather 
pinched in tail, that on the whole leans decidedly to the typical 
shape of the Langshan. The sketch next presented shows a 
female with opposite tendencies — a long, rather too flat back 
and tail that is carried at a low angle ; a deep, full body, 
rather short shanks and head too far forward in order to 
counteract the too upright carriage of the male. (See illus- 
tration, Plate 21.) 

Mates for Coarse Females. — The second sketch presents 
the problem of mating a female that is decidedly coarse. As 
we note the full, loose feathering and beefy characteristics, 
the large head, too full and broad neck, closely tucked and 
short winsfs, back slightly cushioned at sides, the very full 
breast and side fluff — all told, her body is too short, broad 
and deep. For her mate a male is selected, that while it 
closely resembles the Standard, is still a little long with a 
well concaved back, a little too shallow and a little too long 
in the body. (See illustration, Plate 22.) 

Mates for Light Bodied Males. — The third problem in 
mating is another that often presents itself ; that of selecting 
for a male that lacks full development in body a female that 
will correct this serious defect. Males that excel so much in 
plumage and head points are often poorly developed or lack 



frame or bone, as the expression is. Such males should be 
mated with females that have bone, that is, size and weight, 
and are splendidly formed in those sections in which the male 
is weak. Light bodied males, or those that are of light frame 
or light in bone, are almost always deficient in breast, short 
and shallow in front of thighs, have too deep a curvature in 
back and carry the tail too high. Compared with the body, 
the tail looks long. We see these tendencies shown in this 
sketch and note easily the full, well-rounded breast, broad, 
full back and short, well-spread tail of the female that is car- 
ried rather low, characters that are sure to have a corrective 



With female predisposed to accumulate abdominal fat too easily, 
it is well to use a male of the opposite temperament — one that is 
active and sprightly. 

With female possessing too much fluff on the plumage, a male 
with plumage inclined to firmness and fineness and narrower in 
feather should help to correct and produce plumage in the offspring 
nearer to Standard. 

Legs too short in the female should be mated to males with legs 
slightly above the average. — F. L. Sewell. 



influence with reference to the faults of this male upon the 
progeny of such a pair. (See illustration, Plate 23.) 

Mates for Short Bodied Females. — The fourth sketch pre- 
sents the problem of selecting the male mate for a female that 
is too short in the rear or behind a line dropped perpendicu- 
larly at the rear of the hock joints. The effect of such con- 
formation is to tip the body forward, that is, to give it, as it 
is often expressed, a "ploughy" carriage. The male is long 
in both back and body with a slight tendency toward too up- 
right carriage. Besides the fault already mentioned, the 
female, as represented, has others of moment; too long a tail 
which is carried too uprightly, a slightly cushioned back which 
is also pinched at the sides and a croppy breast. The male 
with its broad back, very fully covered with saddle hangers 
at the sides and at the same time rather flat on top, is well 
selected to correct what tendency the progeny may have to 
follow the dam in this respect. The breast of the male also 
presents a clean, true outline which should counteract the too 
full line of the female in this section. (See illustration, Plate 

Males for Heavy Bodied Females. — The fifth problem and 
the correct solution of which is particularly important in view 
of the very general tendency among females to take on an 
excess of flesh, particularly in the abdomen after their first 
year, is to select males for these females with shallow bodies 
in rear, or shallow abdomens, but with good breast develop- 
ment and good top lines. Such males have, as a rule, rather 
long shanks and are rather highly posted, which is desirable 
in a male for a mate to a female of the above description. 
(See illustration, Plate 25.) 




RED in any part of plumage ; two or more solid black 
primaries, secondaries or main tail feathers ; shanks 
other than yellow, dark spots not to disqualify. (See 
general and Plymouth Rock disqualifications.) 


Beak. — Yellow. 
Eyes. — Reddish-bay. 

Comb, Face, Wattles and Ear-Lobes. — Bright red. 
Shanks and Toes. — Yellow. 

Plumage. — Grayish-white, each feather crossed by regular, 
narrow, parallel, sharply defined, dark bars that stop short of 
positive black ; free from shafting, brownish tinge or metallic 
sheen ; the light and dark bars to be of equal width, in number 
proportionate to length of feathers, and to extend throughout 
the length of feathers in all sections of the fowl ; each feather 
ending with a narrow, dark tip ; the combination of overlapping 
feathers giving the plumage a bluish appearance and of one 
even shade throughout. 


From the Standard description of plumage for Barred 
Plymouth Rocks, one may discern immediately that it may 
have defects of two general characters ; first, the fundamental 
colors may vary from the ideal ; second, the barring may be 
irregular, but in both characters the defect may have many 
variations. By considering the very well expressed and ac- 
curate description of the Standard, thoughtfully and with a 
strict and broad usage of each and every term employed in 



this description, one should detect every fault known to a 
barred feather. But it is not often that a novice discovers one- 
half, or even one-fourth of them. For this reason, instruction 
along this line is necessary and an enumeration of all the faults 
of both characters that commonly occur is advisable. It is 
natural that we should discuss the colors before the barring, 
because it is the difference or contrast between the two colors 
that is in reality the making of the bars. 

The Ground Color. — This is described as grayish-white 
and we call grayish-white the ground color, not because the 
Standard uses the term "ground color," but because the 
plumage is described as "grayish-white, each feather crossed 
by, etc.," which indicates clearly enough that grayish-white 
is the major or ground color. It must be considered not ab- 
solutely independently but in connection with its relation to 
the "dark bars that stop short of positive black." Grayish- 
white is very near white. The nearer white we get the 
light bar or ground color, the greater the contrast between 
the light and dark bars, that is, when the dark bars retain 
the same intensity; contrast, within certain limits which 
are fittingly governed by the Standard description, is desired 
as it adds much to the attractiveness of the birds. Breeders 
speak admirably of this or that specimen because of "such a 
snappy contrast," and the expression is truly expressive of 
a condition that is a creator of beauty in a Barred Plymouth 

Formerly the Standard description read a bluish-white, but 
this modified the pure white more than the term "grayish" 
and consequently was changed because it did not furnish as 
great a contrast and therefore not as "snappy" barring. 

The Dark Bar. — There is much to notice in the Standard 
maker's selection of the term. It carefully avoids the word 
black, except to say that positive black is what the bar 
must not be. This clause, "stop short of positive black," pro- 
hibits all lustre, sheen, or gloss. For the sake of contrast, how- 
ever, it is desirable to approach if not to attain a positive 
black. One writer has stated this proposition in these words : 
"The whiter the white bar and the darker the dark bar, the 
more beautiful the bird." It is certainly true that the con- 
verse of what was stated about the light bar is true of the 
dark bar, that is, the darker they are the greater the contrast 
between the dark and light bars, provided, of course, that the 
light bars are of the same shade in all cases. Previous Stand- 



ards have described the dark bar as "bars of dark blue that 
stop short of positive black." This was misleading, as there 
was no "blue" to be seen and all that ever existed was the 
product of imagination and not breeding. Blue-black was 
another term used, but the only reason given by anyone for 
the use of the term blue was that it excluded any brown 
shades. This the present Standard does by explicitly stating 
that the dark and light bars as well shall be "free from shaft- 
ing, brownish tinge or metallic sheen." Brown is not a desir- 
able shade in Barred Plymouth Rocks ; in fact, any sugges- 
tion of it is harmful because it mars the appearance which 
the overlapping feathers give the plumage when viewed in 
certain light reflections. Metallic sheen is not sought, as ob- 
viously that affects the bluish appearance as well as the brown- 
ish shades. Of the two, however, the sheen is many, many 
times to be preferred, as it denotes strength of the dark bar 
and as a breeding quality is often a desirable attribute, as 
explained in articles on mating. 

Shafting. — The shaft of the feather is often light where 
it should be dark, for the dark bar should run through the 
shaft. That is, the shaft should be the same color and shade 
as the bar at right angles with it; where the bar is light the 
shaft should be the same shade ; where the bar is dark the 
shaft should match. Sometimes the shafts are noticeable be- 
cause they are lighter than the corresponding bar. Often 
the shaft in the light bar is still lighter than the bar. This 
gives the effect of three colors, whereas only two are called 
for and only two desired. 

Width of Bars. — "The light and dark bars to be of equal 
width." This statement is clear, but it does not designate 
the width. We find the bar further defined by the word "nar- 
row," occuring in the clause, "each feather crossed by reg- 
ular, narrow, parallel, sharply defined dark bars," etc. This 
descriptive adjective is well used, for the tendency for a num- 
ber of years has been to narrow the bars. In fact, that has 
been one of the leading aims of all progressive Barred Plym- 
outh Rock breeders for years past. By requiring narrow 
bars and bars of equal width at the same time, both light 
and dark bars must be narrow. Twenty years ago and pre- 
viously, the light bars were much the wider of the two, but 
the ideal of straight across, narrow barring became more and 
more sought and the width of the light bar was gradually 
reduced until the dark bar actually on many of the winning 


specimens became the stronger or wider, and this is actually 
the condition today on many winning specimens. This fcict 
need not be allowed to lead anyone into the belief that wider 
dark bars are desired, for such is not the case. Finely or 
closely barred birds are, however, most emphatically de- 
manded for the showroom, and without question specimens 
in which the dark bar slightly predominates appear to be much 
more closely barred than those on which the light bar is ?, 
little the broader. For this reason, if one bar or the other is 
to predominate, all breeders and judges as well, without dis- 
sension, prefer that it should be the dark bar. 

Direction of the Bar. — The ideal bar extends straight across 
the feather, that is, at right angles to the shaft. Every bar is 


12 3 4 


Relative width of bars. 1. Broad. 2. Medium. 3. Narrow. 
4. Extremely narrow. 

Note — This group of feathers may lead to the conclusion that 
broad feathers have broad bars and that narrow plumage has narrow 
bars, which may not always prove to be the case. 



1 2 3 4 5 6 


1. Feather from wing-bar of a very dark colored male. Dark 
color very predominant; bars very coarse; dark bars not sharply de- 
fined, inclined to blend into light bars; dark bar at tip is very much 
narrower than other bars of this feather. 

2. Feather from breast of a very light male. Light ashy-gray 
bars very coarse, only two showing plainly across the web or surface; 
tip wide and nearly all of light color but very faintly darkened at tip; 
fluff or undercolor nearly white. 

3. Feather from wing-bar of rather dark female. Bars few, very 
coarse and broad; unusually broad, dark marking at tip; only two 
dark bars and two light bars across web proper; one strong bar 
across where web and fluff join; one faintly colored, gray bar across 

4. Feather from wing-bar of medium colored female. Bright 
contrast between dark and light bars, dark bars running somewhat 
into light bars; dark bar only a spot at tip instead of a well-defined 
bar across the end; light bars too broad toward tip. 

5. Feather from cushion of female, darker than medium. Dark 
bars slightly inclined to be crescentic in web and even more crescentic 
in fluff; barring quite regular from tip to base; bar at tip shows 
slight grayish edging (or frosting). 

6. Feather from neck of medium colored, high quality female. 
Dark and light barring very regular in web, crossing nearly at right 
angle; bar very straight at this point; dark and light bars in web of 
nearly same width; bar at tip quite correct; barring in fluff not quite 
as regular as in preceding feather. 



supposed to take this direction. (See definition of barring in 
glossary.) This makes the bars parallel, with one another. 
Narrow bars of equal width, all parallel, certainly produce 
some very pleasing effects, but owing to the difficulty of pro- 
ducing them, birds that possess them are exceptionally few. 
Variations from the rule take many different forms. In the 
first place it is very difficult to produce bars that run abso- 
lutely straight across the feathers. It has been approximated 
in the plumage of the female and to almost the same degree 
in some sections of the male plumage, but in hackle and 
saddle there remains a very strong tendency to assume a 
V-shaped bar. Breeders have made great effort during recent 
years to straighten out the bars in these sections and not 
without some degree of success, for the bars in these sections 
are certainly much more nearly straight than they were a few 
years ago. That is, the open end of the inverted V is much 
wider than it used to be. In fact, the V has opened to such 
an extent that the effect of the bars in these sections in some 
of the specimens that excel most is that of being nearly 
straight across the feather. That the bars are not absolutely 
straight across is due to the difficulty of breeding bars that 
will be straight in the border of the feathers of these afore- 
named male sections. Bars, even in these sections, are straight 
"enough to be so-called in the center or web of the feather, 
but seem to follow the direction of the barbs of the feather 
in the border. Thus, the construction of the feather in these 
sections seems to be the obstacle to overcome. Bars are much 
more nearly straight in the sections, breast, wing coverts, 
main tail and tail coverts, in which this construction of the 
feather is less pronounced. 

The border or thinly barbed portion of the feather being 
much more narrow in nearly all sections structurally, the 
female plumage resembles the feather of male breast and 
wing coverts rather than those of the hackle and saddle, which 
are quite different. If the bars are ideal, that is, coincide 
with the definition of "barring," the two edges will be parallel 
and will have what some breeders call "square" or "square- 
edged" bars ; that is, bars that meet the edges of the feather 
at right angles, which would not be the case if the bars were 
"curved" or V-shaped instead of straight across. 

Bars are sometimes "notched" or "scalloped," that is, 
while they seem straight at the edges of the feathers they 
do not maintain this direction throughout their entire length 





1 2 3 4 

5 6 7 8 

Upper Row: Male, 1 — Ordinary, 2— Good, 3— Very Good, 4 — Idealized 
Lower Row: Female, 1 — Ordinary, 2 — Good, 3 — Very Good, 
A — Idealized 


but become slightly V-shaped at or near the center. This is, 
of course, not desirable and manifestly does not meet the 
description of the Standard for Barred Plymouth Rock color 
or the definition of "barring." 

Definition. — "Sharply defined" is another adjective applied 
to "bar" in the Standard for Barred Plymouth Rocks. This 
means that the line of separation between the light and dark 
bars shall be sharp and definite. This line of separation should 
be as sharply defined as though drawn with a chisel-edged 
pencil. Too often the definition between the dark and light is 
gradual rather than sharp. Another fault along the same line 
is the extending of fine dark lines into the light bars. When 
this fault is extensive enough so that it becomes noticeable, 
the plumage presents an appearance more speckled than 

Undercolor. — Underbarring is really what undercolor 
means in a Barred Plymouth Rock. Because of the clause 
requiring "bars extending the entire length of the feather," the 
underbarring should be clear and distinct, though the in- 
tensity of the dark underbar is never of the same degree as 
of the surface bar and consequently the same sharp definition 
can not be expected. Yet, the colors should be clear, the 
barring comparatively distinct and free from shafting. The 
regular, narrow, parallel bars should extend to the skin. 

Surface Color. — The surface color should be clear, clean, 
bright and snappy. By this we mean free from foreign color, 
any tinge of brown or yellow, etc. What are known as rusty 
shades occur even in well-bred birds, though such must be 
rather inferior specimens even if well bred. This means that 
brown is mixed with the color of the plumage to a smaller or 
greater extent. This is seen most commonly in the shoulder, 
center of back and wing bows, more often in males than in 
females and is more apt to be present in old than in young 
birds. Sometimes natural fading of the dark bar is responsible 
for its presence but more often it is in the specimen because 
of its inheritance. The edge of the dark bars is where this 
shade shows most plainly. 

Crocky shades are seen and the term refers to a seemingly 
thin veneer of black over the plumage of the bird, as though 
someone with soiled hands had stroked the bird rapidly. 
Needless to state, this mars the appearance of the bird so 
decidedly that an otherwise meritorious specimen becomes 
of doubtful value. Barred Plymouth Rocks, like white fowl, 



1 — Ordinary. 2 — Fair. 3 — Idealized 




1 2 3 

1 — Ordinary. 2 — Very Good. 3 — Idealized 



often show brassiness or creaminess. This is because the 
ground color or light bar is not clear and in this case show 
yellow, giving as a whole the brassy or creamy appearance. 


The breeding of Barred Plymouth Rocks, even of the high- 
est exhibition merit, is not as difficult as is generally thought. 
The breeder who starts with good individual specimens and 
follows a few simple and established laws of mating can be 
assured of success from the beginning. 

It is admitted that the best exhibition specimens are pro- 
duced by the double mating system, which to many seems to 
be hard to understand, but which in practice is simplicity 
itself, or if complicated, is no more so than the single mating 
system, except that we have two systems to deal with instead 
of one. By double mating, we in many ways simplify our 
breeding scheme because we eliminate the problem of bal- 
ancing the influence of the two sexes as to color, which is the 
most difficult one involved in the single or standard mating 
system. The double-mating system is undoubtedly more 
universally used and understood by breeders of Barred Plym- 
outh Rocks than by those of any other variety. The general 
principles of this system have been explained in the preceding 
section and only the special application of these principles to 
Barred Plymouth Rocks remains to be made clear. 

Double matings are necessary to produce standard colored 
specimens of both sexes because in any mating, be it accord- 
ing to the single or double mating systems, the males will 
come several shades lighter than the females, while the Stand- 
ard, by describing both male and female in exactly the same 
words, calls for the different sexes to match in the showroom. 
To accomplish this task very dark matings are used to keep 
the males dark enough to match the females, and compara- 
tively light matings to produce females light enough to match 
the males. 

We have one standard description for shape, so that males 
and females correspond ; that is, males and females of stand- 
ard shape, when mated together, produce standard shape 
specimens of both sexes. That this statement is approximately 
true is proved by the fact that very few breeders make special 
matings to overcome shape differences in the sexes of any 
of the Standard breeds and varieties. Barred Plymouth Rocks 
are no exception to the laws that govern the breeding of other 


varieties of Plymouth Rocks as far as conformation is in- 
volved; therefore, the general treatise upon that topic will 
apply; no special treatise being necessary. Naturally, then, 
this chapter will be expected to omit such a treatise and deal 
with the problems of breeding exact color and correct mark- 

The Chief Difficulty. — It is a well known and universally 
recognized fact among the well informed along these lines 
of endeavor that the Barred Rock males are as a general oc- 
currence lighter in shade of color than the females. 

This phenomenon of light colored males and darker col- 
ored females from the same parents is not thoroughly under- 
stood. Many have sought to explain it by stating that the 
male of the original cross was light and the female black ; 
hence produced light males and darker females. That this ex- 
planation is no explanation at all, everyone at all familiar 
with the laws of breeding recognizes. 

The very first breeders of this variety discovered that the 
males from the same matings were much lighter than the 
females. We have in Mr. Upham's account the statement 
that the first cross of Spaulding's produced females most of 
which were black and that but few were gray, while all the 
males were gray. Mr. Ramsdell makes the same statement. 
Thereby, we learn that from the beginning the females came 
much darker than the males and this tendency was much more 
pronounced in the earliest days than later. It would appear 
that skillful mating has overcome this tendency slowly, grad- 
ually and to a certain extent only, because the existence of 
such a tendency we can not deny even at the present day, 
over fifty years since the origin of the variety ; but still, skillful 
breeding, certainly, must be conceded, because improvement 
in every way, the evidence of which is on either hand in every 
community in the land and nearly every country on the globe, 
yet there must be a strongly dominant influence, naturally 
inherent in this variety, when, after fifty years, an undesirable 
tendency, to eliminate which every effort has been made, will 
show itself even in the slightest degree. The student is 
anxious to understand and demands a plausible theory of ex- 
planation. The breeder questions why, so that he may over- 
come this tendency as fully as possible or more completely 
than his competitor. 

The Generally Accepted Explanation. — A few explana- 
tions of varied character have been offered and the one that 





1 2 3 

1 — Ordinary. 2 — Very Good. 3 — Idealized 





1 2 3 

1 — Ordinary. 2 — Very Good. 3 — Idealized 



is the least sound in both logic and science, strange as it may 
seem — the explanation flimsy as it is, that the tendency of 
the females to become darker with each generation when not 
checked by skillful mating or when unskillfully mated is ex- 
plained by the simple fact that the female of the first cross was 
so very dark, black in fact, and contrawise the males are com- 
paratively light because the male of the first cross was light. 
This explanation (?) is so clear, direct and logical that it 
has been accepted by those of our breeders who demand ex- 
planations before they proceed with their work as so apparent 
as not to require proof. It has then become an axiom in their 
breeding code. Fortunately, it is the fact with which these 
easily satisfied persons dealt and must deal, rather than a 
supposition or a theory. In the minor details of plumage, 
or type characters, the people who accept this superficiality 
do not expect the male progeny to inherit all the qualities 
of the sire nor the female progeny to inherit all the charac- 
teristics of the dam. Instead, we have a case of mixed in- 
heritance, the laws of which are so complicated and mystical 
that they defy comprehension, not to allude to an explanation. 

Bishop's Explanation. — The nearest to an explanation of 
this phenomenon of light males and darker females which 
the writer has seen was offered by the Rev. D. D. Bishop, a 
breeder of both Barred Plymouths and Dominiques, nearly 
forty years ago. Yet that is hardly an explanation because 
the question why still remains unanswered. The fact that 
this phenomenon is characteristic in all Dominique colored 
fowls is, however, well brought out in the following para 
graphs selected from the work referred to at the beginning 
of the paragraph, "The Plymouth Rock." 

"The most important and striking characteristic that pre- 
sents itself to a student of Plymouth Rocks is the peculiar 
difference in the color effect in the two sexes. First, last and 
always the males come lighter than the females. It is a thing 
we must never forget in dealing with this breed. It will beat 
us if we do but we shall never beat that. It is in the birds; 
it is the law of this color that the males will not only be sev- 
eral shades lighter in color, but the width of the bars will be 
about one-third of the light spaces between them. Tt is a 
very light pullet that has the space between the bars equal in 
width to the bars themselves, and from that the spaces grow 
less all the way down to no space at all, or solid color. 


"The Dominique presents the same characteristics — in fact, 
the Plymouth Rock inherits this peculiarity, with its color, 
from the Dominique, and wherever you find the Dominique 
color, in Leghorns or anywhere else, you find the same law 
to govern. The observation of this law will be taken up in 
the chapter on breeding, so that I shall not follow it further 
at this time, but just here I will say that the fact must be 
accepted as a law and not regarded as a mere eccentricity. 
The color difference between the male and the female is really 
much less in the Dominique color than in many others. As 
soon as you get outside of the solid colors — as white and 
black — the utmost diversity is manifested. The tyro refuses 
to credit the statement that the Partridge Cochin cock and 
hen are of the same breed. The Dark Brahma shows as wide 
a difference between sexes, and what could be more unlike 
than the cocks and hens of the various Games and Pheasants, 
all the way to the songbirds as gaily light as the butterflies 

"The law of variation between male and female is Na- 
ture's law. and not an eccentricity confined to this particular 
breed of fowls." 

H. H. Stoddard, for years editor and publisher of the 
Poultry World, of Hartford. Conn., has written so interest- 
ingly on this topic of the difference in male and female color 
that we quote from his work. "The Plymouth Rocks," of 1880: 

"Yet it may be doubted whether Ave ever can produce 
Plymouth Rocks that shall tend, invariably, to produce males 
as dark as the females, and females as light as the males. The 
old Black Java hen has been made too much of a scapegoat. 
There are, no doubt, instances in the animal kingdom where 
traits originally introduced through one sex tend to persist 
in that sex alone. But experiments in mating a Black Cochin 
cock to an average American Dominique hen and rearing the 
products of the cross for three generations have proved that 
the dark pigment still appeared chiefly in the pullets rather 
than in the cockerels. This might have been expected in 
advance, because analogy teaches it. Nearly all our breeds 
whose plumage contains both light and dark feathers, or mark- 
ings, naturally throw males whose color will average lighter 
than that of the females. The hackle and saddle of the cock 
incline to be lighter than the corresponding portions of the 
hen and certain portions of his tail and wings contain rela- 
tively larger patches of white, which make his average color 



lighter than hers. For example, S. P. Hamburgs, S. S. Ham- 
burgs and Colored D'orkings. 

"Again, the Black Java cocks, like the Black Cochin males 
tend toward light or golden saddles and hackles and the Amer- 
ican Dominique males are both lighter than the respective 
females and as the Plymouth Rocks are based on these two 
breeds, will the time ever come when our Plymouth Rocks 
will average of the same color in both sexes?" 

It must be admitted that there appears to be considerable 
truth in these lines of reasoning that both Bishop and Stod- 
dard pursued. Certainly many other examples could be added 
to those given ; yet, it can not be conceded to be a law of 
nature that is applicable to all varieties of our Standard bred 

The Sexes Must Match in Color. — If all this be so, why not 
accept the light males and the dark females? Why adopt ex- 
pediencies to obviate this difficulty which is unnatural to the 
fowl itself? 

In the first place, the American Standard of Perfection 
is the guide for the showroom and the requirements found 
therein gives one description for the color of both sexes. 
This means that males and females, for exhibition, must match 
in color. Then, why have a Standard with such requirements? 
Frankly, for one reason, if no other, the light males and the 
dark females are not admired by the public, the breeders, the 
exhibitors or the judges ; and upon the latter the breeder is 
dependent for his publicity. 

Advantages of Two Matings. — Again, the same female in 
any mating of parti-colored varieties is never the dam of 
both the best cockerel and the best pullet. This fact being true, 
the advantage of a double-mating, or of making two special 
matings, one designed to produce exhibition males and the 
other to produce high-class exhibition females, should be at 
once recognized. 

It lies in the fact that by mating exhibition colored males 
to the daughters of exhibition colored males, males that are 
of exhibition color are produced. Exhibition females are 
produced by just as simple a process. The sons of exhibition 
colored females are mated to exhibition colored females and 
females of exhibition color are thereby produced. This sim- 
plifies very much the task of producing exhibition color be- 
cause we may depend upon the system of mating to accom- 
plish our purpose. The skillful adjustments of balancing the 



influence of the male and of each individual female upon the 
color of the progeny is not nearly as necessary as when the 
single or standard mating is used. Further than that, we 
may rely upon the quality of the males very largely to deter- 
mine the quality of the male progeny. Outside of her ancestry, 
the appearance of the female of the male line as to plumage 
becomes of secondary importance under the double-mating 
system ; exactly so with the male of the exhibition female line. 

These principles and facts must be ever coupled with those 
one step in advance, namely — the higher the quality of the 
parents, the higher that of the offspring ; other things, of 
course, being equal ; the more generations that quality has been 
maintained, the more certain and often it will reproduce itself. 

Special Matings an Old and Established Institution. — 
Double-mating could be and should be called "special mating," 
because this term indicates accurately just what it is designed 
to be and should be. Double-matings are special matings for 
each sex. As such they become old and established institu- 
tions, as long before the term "double-mating" was used, 
special matings to overcome the difficulty of breeding males 
and females of the same shade were employed. Descriptions 
of such matings are found in most, if not all, the works on 
Plymouth Rocks. 

The stage to which thought upon this question had ad- 
vanced at this time (1880) is very well illuminated by Stod- 
dard in the following paragraphs : 

"* * * That the breed will ever arrive at that stage 
where the males will be naturally produced as dark as the 
females we very much doubt and till that time arrives we 
must make the best of things as we find them, and at the same 
time try to bring about that state of things as well as we 
know how. 

"At present and ever since the breed was known the males 
have c run light' and the hens dark. That is, in every yard of 
Plymouth Rocks the fowls are found varying in color, both 
cocks and hens. Among the former a very few are what would 
be called dark, a considerable number medium, and a large 
number light, or very light, so that they may be called light 
as a rule. The hens are in greatly preponderating numbers, 
very dark, a few lighter and a very few what may be called 
light, or about the same as a dark-medium cockerel. 

"These light pullets and dark-medium cockerels match in 
the pen, and from them are selected the exhibition birds. 





1 2 3 

1 — Ordinary. 2 — Very Good. 3 — Idealized 




1 2 3 

1— Ordinary. 2— Very Good. 3— Idealized 



They are desirable, but few ; being few they are in great de- 
mand. Breeders wish to mate their stock in such manner as 
to produce the greatest number of these light-colored pullets. 
Every year in which the lightest colored pullets are used suc- 
cessfully tends to fix a lighter shade on the female side. The 
light-colored cockerel and the black hen draw in opposite 
directions. Can the Plymouth Rocks be so changed by breed- 
ing as to approximate, and finally draw together? Perhaps 
so and perhaps not. It can only be accomplished, if at all, by 
patience and effort in the right direction. It never will be 
done by persistently using a light cock. The change must 
be gradual." 

These paragraphs set forth clearly the work that the 
Barred Plymouth Rock breeders had before them as well as 
supplying a description of the tools with which they had to 
work. Stoddard gives us further information by describing 
the three matings which he considers necessary to accom- 
plish the objects of the Barred Plymouth Rock breeders. 

"It will be advisable for the breeder to make three matings. 
In the first place, all the lightest cockerels and all the darkest 
pullets should be rejected as unfit to breed. Then much at- 
tention should be given to the color of the legs. It is very 
important that a breeding cockerel should have not only legs 
yellow, but very yellow legs. The pullets at first can not be 
found in considerable numbers with pure yellow legs, but 
after culling out all that show glaring imperfections and 
those very light or very dark, take of the remainder those 
pullets that are the darkest and mate them with one of the 
lightest cockerels not near akin. This mating will not produce 
exhibition cockerels, and the majority of the pullets will be 
about the color of the dam — the lightest will be useful. 

"Then take those pullets a few shades lighter than those 
of the first mating and mate them with a medium colored 
cockerel. This mating will produce a good per cent of stand- 
ard chicks, more especially cockerels. 

"Lastly, place the lightest-colored pullets with a dark- 
medium cockerel. In this mating the sexes are nearly of one 
color. Every breeder should make such a mating as this 
every year. We have conversed with many breeders who have 
made this practice without getting black chicks, but just so 
sure as the thing is overdone and you use too dark a cock 
in the breeding pen you will have a lot of pullets as black as 
crows, with green-black legs. The whole season's produce 



may be easily ruined in this way. The matter of extreme 
colors should be discontinued entirely as soon as may be, and 
the breeder should have in view the bringing about of a 
uniformity of color in the sexes." 

The reader will understand from the following paragraphs 
that Stoddard, presumably echoing the voice of the Barred 
Plymouth Rock breeders, advocates a special mating to pro- 
duce exhibition colored cockerels; and a special mating to 
produce exhibition pullets ; yet he does not abandon the idea 
of producing Standard colored chicks of both sexes from one 
mating. This, indeed, seemed to have been the idea for a time. 
Single or standard matings were maintained each year with 
the expectation that by persistently mating together the males 
and the females nearest to standard color, that were produced 
from one mating, standard colored specimens of both sexes 
could be produced from the same mating. For their imme- 
diate requirements, however, breeders indulged in special 
matings for the sex. This general plan was pursued for a 
number of years. The idea of producing the best or nearest 
to standard colored specimens from one mating was not given 
up generally until about the beginning of this century. At 
the present time there are probably those who have not given 
up the idea that this feat may be accomplished, but in face 
of the almost universal use of and quite universal success of 
specimens produced by the double mating system at poultry 
exhibitions all over the land they are surely very quiet about 
their practices. 

Other forms of matings were advocated which from the 
description given we may without hesitation pronounce special 

In Plymouth Rocks (Corbin, 1879), we find five systems 
and from their nature, it surely would seem as though stand- 
ard colored birds would result from some of them. 

"Five different matings have been advocated and prac- 
ticed as follows : 

"No. 1 — A male, light in color, mated to dark females. 

"No. 2 — A male, dark in color, mated to light females. 

"No. 3 — A male, dark in color, mated to dark females. 

"No. 4 — Birds matching in the show-pens. 

"No. 5 — A female, medium in color, mated with a male 
about two points or shades lighter in color. 

"There should be but one mating necessary. That for ex- 
hibition should be precisely the same as that for breeding. 



The trouble and annoyance of being obliged to have two dif- 
ferent styles of mating is obvious to any one, and it utterly 
befogs amateurs. 

"There is no necessity for this. The best mating for breed- 
ing purposes is that of No. 5, and this is or should be the same 
as No. 4. Mating No. 1 is urged by many as the proper one; 
and where a beginner has no really suitable birds, and does 
not feel able to pay the prices demanded for the finest ones, 
he will do very well with fine bred stock mated in this way; 
that is, he will obtain a certain percentage of the progeny 
fitted for a proper mating the next season. 

"But where you have already obtained the desired medium 
by careful breeding, it is worse than useless to again return to 
the extremes and expect more favorable results. Mating No. 2 
is objectionable, and should not be practiced, except as a 
necessity to utilize stock, and even then seldom proves satis- 
factory. Mating No. 3 should never be made use of ; as the 
pullets from such a mating would run from very dark to 
black, while the cockerels would be splashed with black or 
too dark either for the breeding or show-pen. Possibly a 
few cockerels could be obtained fit to be exhibited, but they 
would not be suitable to use as breeders, and their propor- 
tion would be very small. 

"It is impossible also to obtain by this mating any num- 
ber of chicks having the required yellow legs and beaks. 
They will invariably have legs either dark or spotted. This 
is a disqualification in exhibition birds, and, of course, de- 
stroys all but their economic value. 

"If birds exactly alike could always be bred from, or if 
the mingling of like elements always produced the same re- 
sults, there would be but little difficulty in breeding exhi- 
bition birds by the score ; but such is not the fact." 

No. 1, as stated by the author, was excusable when one 
had no better birds and no money to procure them. All will 
agree with him. Females come too dark, males too light; yet 
mate the culls together. One method ; yes, the poorest that 
can be thought of. 

No 2 is an evidently desperate method to secure Stand- 
ard colored specimens of both sex. 

The author condemns, in toto, number three. Yet, by this 
method of mating, the rich and beautiful males of the present 
day are produced and more than that, it was by this method 



Upper Row: Male — Wing-Bow. 1 — Ordinary. 2 — Very Good, 
3 — Idealized; Wing-Bar or Wing-Coverts. A — Ordinary, 5 — Very Good, 
6 — Idealized. 

Lower Row: Female Wing-Bow. 7 — Ordinary, 8 — Very Good, 
9 — Idealized: Wing-Bar or Wing-Coverts, 10 — Ordinary, 11 — Very 
Good, 12 — Idealized. 



— practiced without interruption for years — that they have 
been developed. 

Mating number five, by which the excellent females of 
the present day have been produced is also criticized severely 
with the statement, "This is or should be the same as number 
four," a Standard mating which is and always has been a 
most pronounced failure from the beginning in producing 
exhibition birds of either sex. 

One fact that these quotations from the early works does 
bring out clearly is the importance placed upon breeding 
Plymouth Rocks with clear yellow legs. Breeders of the 
present day are fully aware of the fact that color can not be 
bred entirely out of the shanks and toes and still bred in the 
feather in all its intensity and beauty. 

The quotations preceding serve one good purpose, that 
of giving quite an adequate conception of the many and 
varied methods and systems resorted to in order to breed 
males and females that matched in color. One by one they 
prove themselves worthless. All that survive are number 
three and number five, according to Corbett, and these are 
exactly what we are using today, known as the double-mating 
system, one mating to produce exhibition males and one to 
produce exhibition females. 



Matings for this purpose are popularly called cockerel 
matings and consist of cockerel-bred males and females, so- 
called. A cockerel-bred male is an exhibition male, or at least 
one of exhibition or standard color. (In accepting this defini- 
tion or rule the reader must allow two exceptions or modi- 
fications ; first, that the term standard color must have gen- 
eral rather than special application — that is, some range of 
shades must be allowed ; second, males bred from strictly 
cockerel matings would be classed as cockerel-bred. In some 
cases males considerably lighter and in other cases males 
very much darker than Standard are produced from matings 
that are of the cockerel line.) 

A cockerel-bred female is the daughter of an exhibition 
or standard colored male. 



1 2 3 4 5 6 

7 8 9 10 11 

Upper Row: 1 — Bars: Weak at tip and sides; crescent shaped; 
light quill. 2 — Very irregular: bars join at quill: bars turn backward 
at sides like inverted V ( A ). 3 — Barring coarse, smirched badly. 
-I — Two sides of web dissimilar, barring irregular in extreme: light 
bar joins dark bar at quill, mis-matched barring. 5 — Barring extreme- 
ly V shaped. 6 — Barring M shaped toward sides. 

Lower Row: 7 — Barring too coarse; bars too few; undercolor 
lacks barring. 8 — Dark bars wider at sides and joined at edges of 
feather. 9 — Quill white through the dark bars; light and dark bars 
run together. 10 — All but part of bars near tip end, black. 11 — White 
on most all of one side of web. (Much worse fault than black in 
barred plumage.) 




The Cockerel-Bred Males. — These, as stated, are standard 
colored and are sons of standard colored sires and their dams 
are daughters of standard colored males. Males from these 
matings vary in shade of color somewhat. Some will come 
too light to be classed as standard colored, while some will 
be too dark to pass standard requirements. The former, be- 
cause males are inclined to breed too light, are worth little or 
nothing as breeders of exhibition males. 

Too Light Males. — They are too light generally because 
the dark bars are not dark enough or wide enough to create 
the intensity required of standard colored males, or because 
the light bars are too wide which is, however, making about 
the same statement as that the dark bars are not wide enough. 

Too Dark Males. — The over-strong colored male, that is. 
the one that is too dark for a first class exhibition specimen, 
is useful as a breeder, sometimes extremely useful. The male 
may be too strongly colored because of one or more of the 
following faults. The dark bar may be too wide or "heavy," 
as it is called. A dark bar much wider than the light bar is 
frequently seen in cockerel-bred males and is not considered 
a serious fault because of the real need of extra color in breed- 
ing males of the male line. A breeder-exhibitor must bear in 
mind that this is the real purpose of a cockerel-bred male 
which has dark bars of this description, but that such a male 
is not of the very highest exhibition quality. The dark bar 
may be too intensely dark, in which case it has a gloss known 
among breeders as "sheen." Usually this is a lustre of green- 
ish shade. This is not desirable, though when only faintly 
visible in certain sections, counts very little against the speci- 
men possessing it, and may add to its breeding value with 
females of certain descriptions. 

The light bar may be, and very likely is, too narrow as 
measured by Standard requirements. It may also be too dark. 
By that is meant — not a clear, grayish white. Light bars 
may be smoky, that is, mixed with dark pigment, thus creat- 
ing a slaty shade. It may have a brownish tinge which gives 
the specimen a rusty color, especially noticeable if the dark 
bar also has a brownish tinge. 

Every cockerel-bred male that is to be mated or that is 
being considered for a breeder should be examined to deter- 
mine how he deviates from standard color and how much ; 
that is, in which direction — is he too light or is he took dark — 
what makes him so? The correct answer is comparatively 


easy to find if you are observing and patiently studious. When 
the cause of deviation from standard color is determined, it 
must be kept in mind during the mating process, for females 
that have faults of the same character should not be selected 
as mates. 

The Cockerel-Bred Females. — These are. if true to name, 
daughters of exhibition-colored males. They differ from ex- 
hibition-colored females only in color; they are darker- -often 
very much darker. Upon analysis, the dark bar is found to 
be much more intensely dark. Greenish lustre appears occa- 
sionally, which is usually referred to as ''sheen." This is an 
objectionable feature in exhibition females but not necessarily 
so in cockerel-bred females ; for many males, females that 
possess a dark bar of that character are necessary in order to 
breed high class males. 

The dark bar is usually much wider than the light bar. 
usually twice as wide and sometimes as much as three times 
as wide. This feature differs from the requirements for 
exhibition females in this particular, but inasmuch as the light 
bar of the males has a tendency to be too wide, this quality 
is desired in cockerel-breeding females. The dark bar should 
be strong and there should be a sharp definition between the 
dark and the light bars. This line of definition will not be as 
sharp as in the plumage of exhibition-colored females because 
the contrast in color between the two bars is not as sharp. 

The light bar, as it appears in plumage of the cockerel- 
bred female, is not as wide, being, as the reader will conclude 
from the foregoing, only one-half or one-third as wide. Fur- 
thermore, the light bar is not as clear as in the plumage of 
the exhibition female and it is not desired that it be so, for 
the reason stated repeatedly that males are prone to come 
too light. Some cockerel-bred females do show a very clean- 
cut barring, the light bar while narrow, is bright and clean 
and the dark bar, while wide and strong in color, has well 
defined edges and is free from greenish sheen and brownish 
shades. Such females are very pretty and are of the sort that 
are usually exhibited when classes are provided for them. 
As breeders, they are not always a success. That depends 
upon how they are mated. If mated to males that are very 
strong in surface color as well as in underbarring, good re- 
sults should be expected and often will be realized. They 
• would be particularly well mated to males whose plumage 
showed rusty or brownish tinges or slaty light bars. If we 





Sickle — Very Good 
Three Larger Tail Coverts — Very Good 





Sickle — Idealized 
Three Larger Tail Coverts — Ideal (natural) 




1 2 3 4 5 6 7 

8 9 10 11 12 13 

Specimen feathers from 1 — Head. 2 — Neck. 3 — Back. 4 — Saddle. 
5 — Breast. 6 — Wing-bow. 7 — Wing-bar. 8 — -Wing primary. 9 — Wing 
secondary. 10 — Tail proper. 11 — Tail covert. 12, 13 — Rear body, 
often called fluff, showing color of male used to produce high quality 
exhibition Barred Plymouth Rock males. 




1 2 3 4 5 6 7 

8 9 10 11 12 13 

Specimen feathers from 1 — Head. 2 — -Neck. 3 — Back, between 
shoulders. 4 — Cushions. 5 — Breast. 6 — Wing-bow. 7 — Wing-covert. 
8 — Primary. 9 — Secondary. 10— Main tail. 11 — Smaller tail-covert. 
12, 13 — Two from rear body, often called fluff, showing high color 
markings of female used to porduce high quality exhibition Barred 
Plymouth Rock males. 



want to breed males that are rich colored or deep blue in 
general appearance, it is not desirable that the birds of both 
sexes should have absolutely clear, light bars in their plumage, 
but it is advisable that it should be present in one side of the 

Selecting the Male. — Standard colored males are placed 
at the head of all matings intended to produce exhibition males. 
The nearer they are to perfection in form, color and mark- 
ings, the more valuable they are as sires of exhibition males. 
This statement holds with the single exception of shade of 
color. In that particular, a male that has a slight tendency 
towards an overly strong shade, is, in other words, inclined 
to be too dark or has an overly strong, dark bar, should be 
given the preference for females whose dark bar shows little 
or no sheen. A male of the same description should be selected 
for females that have the clean, light bar. As a mate for 
females with plumage of this description, males that have rich 
blue appearance, together with the strong, dark bar, should 
be selected. 

Close attention to the type of barring is necessary. Those 
males that have the straight-across-the-feather bar with little 
tendency to show the V-shaped bar comply with standard 
requirements and are very valuable assets in any breeder's 
yards. The breeding of this type of barring in male plumage 
is one of the ambitions of the Barred Rock breeders that is 
not fully realized as yet. 

The Undercolor. — The underbarring is a feature that 
must be made a matter of moment. The strength of this 
feature is an indication of the breeding strength of the male. 
Underbarring should be strong in all sections. Do not fail to 
examine critically these sections for this characteristic : Neck, 
back its entire length, wing bows, and insist that the bars 
extend to the skin. This should be true also of the breast and 
as nearly true of the long, rear body feathers as possible. The 
straighter and clearer these underbars of a male are, the better 
he is, both as an exhibition specimen and as a breeder. 

The Surface Color. — Evenness of surface color is one of the 
first essentials of a good exhibition male and it is just as essen- 
tial in a breeding male. 

For females that are otherwise very good but are too light 
in the neck, males that are very strong in barring of this sec- 
tion and even in color of all sections are very desirable. For 
females that arc extremely dark, that is, dark to a point where 



they appear "crocky," males that are even in all sections, clear 
in the light bar and free from rusty or brownish dark bars, are 
necessary for good results. If the breeder can go one step 
further and insist upon sharply defined as well as clear bars 
when selecting the male, he will be still more fortunate. When 
mating females of the above description, the back and should- 
ers of the male are the sections to examine especially closely. 

Selecting the Females. — The first thing to consider in se- 
lecting the females to produce exhibition males is their ances- 
try. They should be daughters of high class exhibition males 
and, if possible, the sisters of high class exhibition males. 
Two facts besides their individuality, which are highly indi- 
cative of their quality as producers of desirable males, are : 
First, the length of the line from which they come or 
the number of generations of high class, exhibition males 
which precede them in their ancestry and second, the 
quality of these male ancestors. The value as pro- 
ducers of any cockerel-bred female will depend upon the 
number of generations and the quality of high class male 
ancestors. The value of a female will be indicated most clearly 
by her individuality, that is, to a breeder with experience in 
producing high class males, and by the quality of her own 
brothers. The merits and defects of these own brothers, par- 
ticularly those of her own age, furnish strong clues as to how 
to mate a cockerel-bred female. Furthermore, as it is a recog- 
nized fact that, though several cockerel-bred females may be 
full sisters, they are not identical, the question comes up as 
to which to select. Referring to the above description, it is 
not essential that cockerel-bred females should have clear, 
yellow shanks and toes, as the shanks and toes of the males 
are usually yellow even when those of their dams and sisters 
show considerable dark color. The same is true as to color 
of beaks of cockerel-bred males and females. 

The Wing Section. — The flights of the cockerel-bred fe- 
males need not be as clearly marked as those of an exhibition 
female, because from females with flights that show but sug- 
gestions of marking, that is, that are but indistinctly marked, 
come males with splendidly marked flights. 

The secondaries of cockerel-bred males should not only be 
distinctly barred but the bars in each feather should be so 
placed that when the wing is folded, they will form distinct 
lines across the wing-bay. This is a very pretty feature of a 
Barred Plymouth Rock wing and, as a rule, there is no dif- 


ficulty in breeding it to an approximate state of perfection. 

The markings of the shoulders, wing-fronts and wing-bows 
partake of the nature of those of the back, breast and rear 

The Undercolor. — The underbarring of the cockerel-bred 
female should be very strong, clear and distinct. The light 
bar, of course, will not be as clear as that of the exhibition 
colored female but the dark bar is so much stronger that we 
obtain very distinct underbarring in the best selected cockerel- 
bred females. This, of course, is very desirable because of 
the necessity for underbarring in our exhibition males, which 
it is impossible to secure without strong underbarring on both 
sides of the mating. 

The alternate bars of light and dark should color the shaft 
as well as the fluff of the feather. Very often the dark bars 
particularly stop at the quill. This is an indication of weak 
and irregular barring. The males bred from such females 
will not show the strength and regularity in barring that 
exhibitors desire. 

The Tail. — The larger the feathers, the coarser is the bar- 
ring. Constant observation teaches us that this feature of 
barred plumage is natural. Bars that are comparatively 
narrow, straight, clean and sharply defined are desired just as 
much in this as in any section. A slight amount of greenish 
sheen is not objectionable in either sex, because this section 
is fully as much inclined to weakness in color as any section 
of the male plumage. 



Matings for this purpose are popularly called pullet- 
matings and consist of pullet-bred males and females, so- 
called. A pullet-bred male is a son of an exhibition female, 
or at least, one of exhibition or standard color. (In accept- 
ing this definition or rule, the reader must allow two excep- 
tions or modifications ; first, that the term "standard color" 
must have general rather than special application — that is, 
some range of shades must be allowed ; second, males bred 
from strictly pullet-matings would be classed as pullet-bred. 
In all cases, males considerably lighter than Standard are 
produced from matings that are of the pullet-line.) 



1 2 3 4 5 6 7 

8 9 10 11 12 13 

Specimen feathers from 1— Head. 2— Neck. 3— Back. A — Saddle. 
5— Breast. 6— Wing-bow. 7— Wing-covert. 8— Primary. 9— Sec- 
ondary. 10— Main tail. 11— Lower breast. 12, 13— Rear body, often 
called fluff, showing color markings of male used to produce high qual- 
ity exhibition Barred Plymouth Rock females. 



A pullet-bred male is the son of an exhibition or standard 
colored female. 

The Pullet-Bred Males. — These are lighter than standard 
colored males and are sons of standard colored females. 

Sons of good exhibition females are the diametric oppo- 
sites of daughters of exhibition males. The sons are invariably 
much lighter in surface color than exhibition males ; the light 
bars are broader than the dark, Plate 45, giving the bird a 
much more openly barred appearance than the exhibition 
male presents. 

The legs and beak are usually a much deeper and clearer 
yellow. The underbarring is not as strong and does not often 
extend to the end of the feathers nearest the skin. 

The aim of the breeders with the most advanced ideas is, 
however, to produce exhibition females with light and dark 
bars of even width, but both quite narrow, Plate 46. In doing 
so, the sons of such females have quite naturally become 
more narrowly barred as their dams improved in Standard 
requirements or met these advanced ideas. The result is that 
we have today much more presentable males in our female 
lines than were found some years ago, though they do not 
yet reach the ideals required of an exhibition male. 

Selecting a Male to Produce Exhibition Females.- — If ca- 
pable of producing females which breeders, exhibitors and 
judges desire at the present time, an ideal male for pullet 
matings must possess barring of nearly equal width, evenly 
spaced over a large porition of the feather, be evenly colored 
on the surface and not weak in neck or breast, as they are 
likely to be. They should have well-marked secondaries, as 
these show beautifully on the females if the barring on each 
feather is properly placed, so that they overlap and run 
parallel to one another. 

A good wing-bay will often show these clear, distinct bars. 
The nights of the male should also be distinctly marked, with 
the black markings predominating, but the white should be 
quite clear and the black very strong, stopping short of a 
lustre, however. 

Males whose dams are nearly ideal exhibition specimens, 
when mated to splendid exhibition females, seldom fail to 
produce a fair proportion of exhibition females. Some are, 
however, much better producers than others. There is a 
tendency for the light bars to become cloudy or indistinct 
and the finer the bars become, the greater this tendency. To 



1 2 3 4 5 6 7 

8 9 10 11 12 13 

Specimen feathers from 1 — Head. 2 — Neck. 3 — Back near 
shoulders. A — Back at cushion. 5 — Breast. 6 — Wing-bow. 7 — Wing- 
covert. 8 — Primary. 9— Secondary. 10— Main tail. 11— Smaller tail- 
covert. 12, 13 — Rear-body, often called fluff, showing color mark- 
ings of female used to produce high quality exhibition Barred Ply- 
mouth Rock females. 




Illustrating the progress of Barred Plymouth Rock females dur- 
ing the past twenty years. Four prominent winning females, sep- 
arated by periods of about five years. 


Illustrating the progress of Barred Plymouth Rock males during 
the past twenty years, four prominent winning males, separated by 
periods of about five years beginning with 1898 Boston winner. 



obviate this trouble, be sure that the light bars of particularly 
finely barred males are extremely clear. 

Females to Produce Exhibition Females. — The ideal fe- 
males for the production of exhibition females are ideal ex- 
hibition females ; but in practice the uncertainties in breeding 
are such that this does not always work out. Females that 
are not themselves the very best of exhibition specimens are 
often the dams of very high class, winning specimens. Such 
dams, however, possess many of the attributes of winning 
specimens and, as a rule, require only a little alteration to 
become very attractive fowls. As an instance, females whose 
plumage may be a little coarse in barring, lack an underbar or 
so, whose feathers are improperly tipped, need but to be prop- 
erly mated to produce progeny the equal of any. A finely 
barred male that is, at the same time, the son of an excellent 
female, is probably all that is required for the coarsely barred 
female with the desired contrast in colors, the well-defined 
bars, the strength of underbarring, the wing markings de- 
scribed in the Standard, to produce exhibition females of high 
quality. A female with too strong a dark bar can be easily 
mated to correct that fault and if she is highly meritorious 
otherwise, her progeny should equal the best. So we might 
give instance after instance but after all it is but a matter 
of breeding generation after generation from first class birds, 
and of corrective matings, both these principles must be ap- 
plied and with the skill born of good judgment and constant 
and careful discriminating observation. 




FROM the first. White Plymouth Rocks came as white 
chicks from Barred Plymouth Rock parents. This de- 
parture from the general appearance, expected according 
to the laws of heredity, has been variously explained. 


Atavism. — One claim is that it is due to a phenomenon 
knoAvn as "atavism." This phenomenon consists in the recur- 
rence in a descendant of characters that were possessed by a 
remote ancestor, instead of characters found in an immediate 
or near ancestor. The word is derived from the Latin atavus, 
which originally meant the father of a great-great-grandfather 
but which was later applied to any remote ancestor. This 
tendency of ancestral characters to reappear in offspring, 
either immediately or after laying dormant for several genera- 
tions, is due to a mysterious vital principle known as heredity. 
If the qualities appear after a long dormancy, the heredity is 
atavistic. Atavism implies that the recurring characteristics 
were actually found in a remote ancestor or in several of them ; 
otherwise, their appearance would not be a manifestation of 
heredity, but of an effort without a cause — an "absolute com- 

Possible Influence of Black Fowls. — However, in the at- 
tempts to account for white chicks from Barred Plymouth 
Rocks, other theories have been propounded. It was even 
suggested that they resulted from the influence of Black Java 
or Black Cochin whichever may have been ancestors. This 
theory, however, is in contravention of the well known laws 
of heredity ; unless, indeed, it is a case of atavism from a white 
ancestor far back along the line of descent of the Black Ja\ r as 
or Cochins. 

The Influence of White Fowls. — Another explanation is 
that white fowls known as Birminghams were the determin- 



ing factor, upon the supposition that they had been bred into 
one strain, at least, of Barred Plymouth Rocks. 

Edward Brown's Explanation. — Still another and quite 
reasonable explanation is that offered by Edward Brown in 
"Races of Domestic Poultry," page 153, as follows: 

"This breed is a sport from the Barred variety. It is easily 
seen that a failure of pigments, so far as the black marks are 
concerned, would yield white plumaged fowls, and wherever 
we have the mixed markings, which is sometimes known by 
the term "cuckoo" there will occasionally be specimens which 
either show pure white on the one hand, or are entirely black. 
It is in this way that many of the varieties have been secured, 
and the tendency to variation is very great in every kind of 

D. A. Upham's Statement. — The following facts would sub- 
stantiate Mr. Brown's explanation. As first bred, Plymouth 
Rocks came with the males very light and females very dark in 
color. We have Mr. Upham's statement that most of the 
pullets of the Spaulding cross were black and all the cockerels 
grey, but that he succeeded in finding a certain number of 
grey pullets to go with a grey cockerel he selected. 

Rev. D. D. Bishop in his book, "The Development of the 
Plymouth Rock" calls attention to the light males and darker 
females as "the law of Dominique color" and makes this 
statement : 

"The most important and striking characteristic that pre- 
sents itself to a student of Plymouth Rocks is the peculiar dif- 
ference in the color effect in the two sexes. First, last and 
always the males come lighter than the females. It is a thing 
we must never forget in dealing with this breed. It will 
beat us if we do but we shall never beat that. It is in the 
birds, it is the law of this color that the males will not only 
be several shades lighter in color, but the width of the bars 
will be about one-third of the light spaces between them. It 
is a very light pullet that has the space between the bars equal 
in width to the bars themselves, and from that the spaces grow 
less all the way down to no space at all, or solid color." 

The Editor's Experience and Observations. — Moreover, the 
fact that males from the same matings, even though the mat- 
ings be restricted to pairs, are of much lighter shades than the 
females is known to all those who are in the least familiar with 
the characteristics of Barred Plymouth Rocks. This difference 
was, in the recollection of the writer, much greater in years 



past than at the present time. It is, then, reasonable to sup- 
pose that in their endeavor to get the females lighter, which 
endeavor naturally followed where too dark females were in 
the majority and even black ones sometimes appeared, lighter 
and lighter matings were used. In fact, within the Editor's 
recollection, males nearly white in color were used by breed- 
ers in their efforts to produce exhibition pullets of the desired 
shade. The result was what might have been expected, a few 
white chicks. 

As an instance of such an occurrence, a certain mating of 
Barred Plymouth Rocks made by the Editor in 1895 produced 
five white chicks, four cockerels and one pullet. During the 
season, following the advice of a prominent breeder, the male 
had been changed. No white chicks were produced by the 
first male, a much darker one than the second, which was very 
coarsely barred and very light colored. The year previous, the 
writer saw three white sports in the yards of Mr. D. J. Lam- 
bert, of Rhode Island, well known as a breeder of Barred Ply- 
mouth Rocks exclusively. The same year another prominent 
breeder won first, fourth and fifth on White Plymouth Rock 
cockerels which he said were sports from his Barred Plymouth 
Rock pullet matings. The Editor assisted him in showing 
these birds and that they were found in the same flock or pen 
as the pullet breeding Barred Plymouth Rock males, he can 
attest. Furthermore, these sports were of the same strain as 
the five bred by the Editor. That white sports did occur from 
the lighter or pullet matings was well understood by the breed- 
ers of Barred and White varieties of that period. This much 
can be noted — all species or nearly all have produced an al- 
bino, some frequently, others very rarely. An albino from 
Barred Plymouth Rocks is, for that reason alone, not to be 
considered an improbability, even though a white ancestry is 
not proved. 


The Originator. — The credit for having originated the 
White Plymouth Rocks has been accorded to Mr. Oscar F. 
Frost of Monmouth, Me. This has been, perhaps, because he 
was the first to proclaim their appearance. Directly following 
his admission of their existence, other breeders began to re- 
port their presence in their flocks. One breeder in Indianap- 
olis wrote to me prior to 1876, telling of the hatching of white 
chicks from Barred Plymouth Rocks. I went to see them and 



induced him, quite against his will, to mature and mate the 
white chicks. The greater part of all the white chicks ob- 
tained from the Barred Plymouth Rocks came from the Essex 
or Drake strains, originated through the union of several kinds 
of fowls. 

An Early Account. — From "Barred and White Plymouth 
Rocks" by Joseph Wallace, 1888, we obtain in substance the 
following account of the foregoing occurrence. Mr. Frost re- 
ceived a pair of these White Plymouth Rocks (sports of Barred 
Plymouth Rocks) of a neighbor who was breeding the Essex 
strain of Barred Plymouth Rocks. These he bred the first 
year and according to several accounts he had a poor looking 
lot for some years, but finally succeeded in producing very 
fine flocks of fowls. According to some authorities quoted in 
that work, 1878 is the date that Mr. Frost started to breed 
them, though it is generally thought that white sports from 
Barred Plymouth Rocks had not been an infrequent occur- 
rence. The same author pays this nice tribute to the new 
variety : 

"The mind cannot conceive of a more handsome and ap- 
propriate companion for the Barred Plymouth Rock than the 
White Rock. Often in our boyhood days, while reading the 
stories of Sinbad, the Sailor, in the 'Arabian Nights' Enter- 
tainments,' we pictured to ourselves the size, strength and 
power of flight of that formidable and fortuitous bird, the 
White Roc, that was capable of lifting elephants from the 
plains, that rescued so many travelers, heroes, cast-aways and 
adventurers from the jaws of death, and carried them in its 
huge talons over seas and mountains to other lands, where 
pleasure, wealth and beauty awaited them. Little did we 
think then that the day would come in our time when the 
great White Rock of the western world would carry off thous- 
ands at a time, not in its talons, but in admiration of its grand- 
eur, beauty and usefulness." 

Clamor for Recognition. — Directly following the public an- 
nouncement of the presence of these fowls, there was a per- 
sistent clamor for recognition as the originators of them, and 
for the right to name them. This claim was conceded to the 
person who could prove that he was the first to see and breed 
them. They were variously named White Plymouth Rocks, 
Puritans, Dirigos, and other names for the less important 
strains. The real strife for supremacy came when admission to 
the Standard of Perfection was sought for them. Then began 



their official existence, as told in the records of the proceedings 
of the Indianapolis meeting of the American Poultry Asso- 
ciation, January, 1888. 


The Committee on New Breeds reported to the convention 
Wednesday morning, January 25, 1888, that they would recom- 
mend the admission of the White Wyandottes, White Plym- 
outh Rocks, White Minorcas, White Javas and Dirigos. As 
to the fundamental difference between White Plymouth Rocks 
and Dirigos, George P. Coffin, of Freeport, Maine, writes as 
follows : 

"Replying to your letter of May the 28th, would say the 
first White Plymouth Rocks that I knew of were those bred 
by Mr. Oscar F. Frost, Monmouth, Kennebec County, Maine, 





who is generally considered the originator of the breed. As 
early as 1880 these were called White Plymouth Rocks, as I 
remember of my father having some of them when I was a 
small boy. While I am not positive about the matter, I incline 
to the belief that the Dirigo was the same strain of birds. The 
name, Dirigo, which is the motto on the State seal of Maine, 
would indicate the breed to be of Maine origin. At that time 
the idea of sports had not come to be understood and there 
were many of the breeders who doubted the sport origin of 
the breed. At the same time, as often occurs when a new 
breed is in the making, others besides the originator attempted 
by cross-breeding or in other ways to produce birds with sim- 
ilar characteristics, yet with different or partially different 
blood lines, and then, as sometimes happens, if these birds are 
bred with the originator's stock, it makes it much more dif- 
ficult to trace the breed history." 

Other breeds and varieties were included in that report, a 
little of which should be mentioned here. The presentation of 
five new varieties of white fowls for admission to the Standard 
was a matter of vital importance, and there was considerable 
opposition to the admission of the White Plymouth Rocks, the 
Dirigos, and the White Javas. This was because it was plain 
that there could not be so many kinds, all true to breed char- 
acteristics. Ultimately, White Wyandottes, Golden Wyan- 
dottes, White Plymouth Rocks, Jersey Blues, White and Black 
Minorcas, and Pea-comb Plymouth Rocks were, all of them, 
admitted to the Standard under one resolution. 

Later, a resolution was offered asking for the admission of 
the Dirigos to the Standard, although they were the same as 
the White Plymouth Rocks. A memorial was presented to 
the meeting demanding their admission, and great claims were 
made for their qualities. An argument developed the fact that 
Mr. Ferris had first shown these fowls in Bangor in 1875. 
They were judged and admitted to be the first White Ply- 
mouth Rocks ever shown. They came from the farm of Mr. 
Ferris, this being called Dirigo Farm. Mr. Beal, Mr. Ferris 
and others claimed the credit of originating the fowls and the 
right of naming them. An attempt was made to read the 
memorial. This, however, was denied and the document was 
never admitted to the records of the meeting. I now regret 
that it was not preserved, although at that time I objected to 
its admision to the record. It would doubtless reveal some 
interesting facts concerning the origin of this fowl. 



The objection raised to the admission of all these fowls 
was that they had been shown as three separate breeds, White 
Plymouth Rocks, White Javas and Dirigos, whereas they were 
in reality three separate strains only. About the only differ- 
ence between them was that the White Plymouth Rocks and 
Dirigos had yellow shanks; some of the Javas had shanks of 
willow color like those of the Game Fowls ; still others had 
yellow shanks. By agreement, both the White Plymouth 
Rocks and the White Javas were admitted, the White Javas 
to be disqualified for shanks of any color but yellow. The 
White Plymouth Rocks were required to have yellow shanks. 
These disqualifications supplied a method for and influenced 
a speedy separation between the two. The White Plymouth 
Rocks have improved continually since their admission to the 
Standard, while the White Javas have become obsolete. 

The Result of Recognition. — The admission of so many 
white varieties to the Standard of Perfection was the signal 
for unusual activity among those who bred white-plumaged 
fowls. This influence extended even to turkeys, ducks and 
geese. So much was written about them that many who had 
kept or were keeping other fowls forsook them, and turned to 
the breeding of white-plumaged fowls. The advocates of the 
White Plymouth Rock were so ardent and so apt in present- 
ing the merits of that variety to the public that there was a 
general reaction in favor of them. During the years that fol- 
lowed, many efforts were made in behalf of other varieties, 
but in the melting pot of public opinion, the White Plymouth 
Rock has continued to gain until its true value is recognized 
in every land. 

It is certainly true that there is no one best breed or va- 
riety of fowls ; the best for all is the kind best suited to the 
needs and pleasure of the one who selects them. The real 
quality of any breed or variety has been, and will continue to 
be, built up by the energy and skill of those who breed it. 
Those who have chosen the White Plymouth Rock have 
chosen well. They have succeeded in satisfying their am- 
bition as well as in gaining the favor of the general public. 
However, no one breed or variety ever gains unchallenged 
supremacy, although the White Plymouth Rock has become 
a favorite as a fowl for exhibition, for table purposes, and for 
profitable egg production. (T. F. McG.) 











Red, buff or positive black in any part of plumage; shanks 
other than yellow. (See general and Plymouth Rock dis- 


Beak. — Yellow. 
Eyes. — Reddish-bay. 

Comb, Face, Wattles and Ear-Lobes. — Bright red. 
Shanks and Toes. — Rich yellow. 

Plumage. — Web, fluff and quills of feathers in all sections, 
pure white. 


The Standard of Perfection confines itself to one descrip- 
tion of shape for each breed. All varieties of that breed must 
conform to this description. The most difficult problems in se- 
lecting for exhibition and in judging fowls arise from the 
marked differences in shape among the specimens in the show 
rooms. We do not imagine that there ever has been shown, 
even in the keenest competition, any number of any breed or 
variety, all the males of which conformed to the Standard 
shape description. Nor will such conformity ever be ob- 
tained. The same is true of the females. Therefore, those 
who breed White Plymouth Rocks for exhibition should study 
carefully the description of shape for that variety, in a pre- 
ceding chapter. 

White Plumage. — The plumage of the White Plymouth 
Rock is just what the name implies- — pure-white in every 
section ; possibly no other color that can be as simply and 
briefly treated in text is as difficult to breed. Because the 
skin, beak and legs are yellow, pure white plumage is hard 
to obtain. The yellow pigment necessary to color the skin, 
beak and legs is inclined to distribute itself where it is 
not desired, as well as where it is required. The color prob- 
lem is then to restrict the yellow pigment to those sections 
in which it is required. 


The Standard requires that the web, fluff and quill of 
the feathers in all sections shall be a pure white. Another 
statement to the same effect would be that the surface, under- 
color and quill of all sections should be pure white. 

Defects of White Plumage. — Very often the quills will be 
slightly creamy, even when the web and fluff are pure white. 
Yellow and creamy tinges seem to cling most tenaciously to 
the largest quills and will appear in the quills of the flights 
and secondaries of the wing if they appear in any section of the 
plumage; thus the quills of the primaries may be taken in a 
measure as an index of the color of the bird, relatively as 
between pure white and creamy white; that is, if these quills 
are white the entire plumage is usually pure white. 

Black plumage is apt to come in the whitest fowls. This 
cannot always be aA'oided, nor is a small quantity of black 
considered a breeding defect. What is known as ticking, 
small specks of grey, slate or black, occurs to a certain extent 
in white specimens. 

The Breeders' Problem. — The problem for correctly mating 
for color would then seem to be solved by mating the whitest 
birds together. This problem would then, if color alone were 
to be considered, be very easily and quickly mastered. How- 
ever, because of the requirements in shape, color of legs, eyes, 
comb as well as consideration of size and vigor, which must 
be taken into account, the problem becomes more intricate 
that it at first appears. (T. F. McG.) 



On the above subject we quote the following from U. R. 
Fishel, an experienced and successful breeder of this variety. 

Mating White Plymouth Rocks. — "The greatest pleasure to 
be obtained in breeding fancy poultry is to produce by careful 
mating of your fowls some exceptionally fine specimen or 
specimens. We are never satisfied with the results obtained, 
but each breeding season an effort must be and is made to so 
mate our fowls that we may expect better results from the 
breeding yards. We know one must produce better speci- 
mens each season or fall behind the great army of successful 



"That 'Like produces like,' we do not dispute, but in pro- 
ducing Standard White Plymouth Rocks it is not the fact that 
we want like to produce like, but we want to produce better 
specimens each and every season, that is, specimens nearer 
the standard requirements. 

"With this in view we must mate our breeders, not to pro- 
duce birds of the same general make-up but specimens better 
than those we already have. 

"It is not necessary to use the double mating system to 
produce high grade White Plymouth Rocks. Just as good 
males as females can be reared from the same mating provid- 
ing, of course, that the mating has been made properly. The 
color required in White Plymouth Rocks is a clear white, 
therefore, in selecting your breeders, see that the plumage 
throughout is white." 

Difficulties. — Pure white is quite difficult to maintain in 
the plumage of fowls and birds. It is less difficult to produce 
in some kinds than in others. With the White Plymouth 
Rock it is a difficult problem to produce yellow beak, shanks, 
feet and skin. The less brilliant the color of the skin and 
shanks, the more likely will be a pure white plumage. Any 
variety of white fowls may be selected and bred in line for 
pale lemon beaks, shanks and skin and the color of the plum- 
age will become gradually whiter as the color fades from these 
parts. There is no other combination in the breeding of solid 
colored plumage that is as difficult as producing the rich, yel- 
low colored shanks and skin with the pure white plumage. 

But few can select pure white to a certainty. Few have 
seen it in its purity. The purest white comes from bleaching 
and, as in the manufacture of paper, as soon as it is exposed 
to the air and light, it begins to lose its purity. This is equally 
true of white-plumaged fowls during the molt or the growing 
of new feathers. This impurity is apt to disappear as the 
feathers grow. The plumage shows a stronger yellow tint 
when the feathers are growing than after the bird is fully 
fledged and the feathers have aged. 

Color Relation in Shanks and Skin. — The heredity that 
produces the rich yellow tint in shanks and skin has its in- 
fluence upon the color of the plumage as well. The deeper 
the shade of yellow in these parts, the more likely is the 
plumage to have a creamy tint. To avoid this, one must 
select fowls that have the least color in shanks, skin and 
quills. The yellow pigment that sustains the color of shanks 


and skin disappears gradually from these sections when the 
hen lays eggs. Therefore, when selecting for color, the stage 
of growth in which you find the feathers and the length of 
laying period should be taken into consideration. 

Excel in Conformation. — Breeding White Plymouth Rocks 
differs in no particular from breeding the other varieties of 
Plymouth Rocks as far as conformation is concerned, but it 
is understood that White Plymouth Rocks are of one color 
and should be of a single tone or shade of that color and on 
that account particular attention may be paid to shape char- 
acteristics. The White variety is expected to excel in shape. 
Shape features of importance in which they may be expected 
to excel are : The full, round, deep breast, long and deep body 
and well-proportioned abdomen. The best formation is a body 
that is evenly poised on shanks with about an equal propor- 
tion of breast and body in front, and a like amount of body 
and abdomen in the rear of the shanks. 

In the breeding of fowls of all kinds it must be remembered 
that size, shape, general formation and color, must all of them 
have due consideration. If any one of the first three is lack- 
ing, the fowls do not conform to breed description ; if the 
color is poor, the variety distinction is faulty ; the best qual- 
ity in all of these features is demanded for white fowls. 

Size and Quality. — Hens that conform to the Standard de- 
scription are the best. They should be fully as large as Stand- 
ard requirements suggest, not large by weight through being 
overly fat, but large and well proportioned for the breed. These 
hens must be true Plymouth Rocks in every sense. They 
will answer best if almost entirely free from shape defects. 

Overcoming Defects. — -There may be a possible chance to 
overcome a defect in one section of a hen by having superior 
quality in the same section of her mate, but the continued 
practice of mating good or true quality on both sides will 
bring the best results. 

Selection. — To succeed in the breeding of pure white 
plumage, fowls with this kind of plumage should be selected, 
and, if in addition, they have produced offspring with pure 
white plumage, these are the best selections possible. Care- 
ful attention must be given to both breeding and feeding, as 
well as to the selection year after year for the shade of color 
most desired which in this case is pure white. 

The best way to produce pure white plumage in White 
Plymouth Rocks is to select for breeding such fowls as show 











Standard qualities and especially pure white plumage. No 
fowl of this variety should be used for breeding that has pink- 
ish white shanks, which is a disqualification. Lemon-colored 
shanks are permissible, but there must be enough of the yel- 
low shade in the shanks to prevent the possible loss of a prize 
in consequence of the shanks being called another shade than 
yellow by the judge, which would disqualify the specimen. 

It is quite a problem to breed the pure white so much ad- 
mired in the plumage of White Plymouth Rocks, a clean, 
clear color down to the skin, with the quill of the feathers of 
the same shade of white ; but it is one that is being accom- 
plished by close selection of breeding stock and sound com- 
mon-sense methods of rearing. Beyond selection, good care 
must be accorded both the breeding and the young stock. The 
breeding stock must be kept in the best of condition or in- 
ferior chicks will be produced. Chicks that have not strong 
constitutions are never winning specimens in strong competi- 
tion nor do they make good breeders. 

Breeders of White Plymouth Rocks, almost without ex- 
ception, use the single mating system, even when seeking to 
produce the very highest class of exhibition specimens. 
(T. F. McG.) 


Because foods of an oily nature have a perceptible influ- 
ence on the color of the plumage, only the minimum amount 
required for the growth of the young should be given. These 
include corn, and corn meal, principally among cereals and 
beef scraps among animal food products. Cottonseed and 
linseed meals are food stuffs that should be restricted or 
omitted altogether. Wheat, when available, barley and oats 
are all proper grain foods for adult birds. The wheat by- 
products, bran, shorts and middlings are the best selections 
for ground foods. White corn is also considered much less 
injurious to white plumage than yellow corn. For growing 
chicks, oats or barley must be hulled and cracked. 





HE Buff Plymouth Rocks were admitted to the Stand- 

ard of Perfection in 1892, and were the third of the 

Rock family to be so honored, preceding by fifteen 
years the Silver Penciled, the next variety to follow, which 
was in turn closely followed by the Partridge and Colum- 
bian varieties. We have, then, two groups separated from 
one another by the dates on which they were recognized by 
the American Poultry Association, the older comprising the 
then more plainly garbed varieties. Barred, White and Buff, 
the general effect of each being that of a solid color ; and 
the later group, Silver-Penciled, Partridge and Columbian, 
which display more intricate and striking markings. 

The Origin. — The first Buff Plymouth Rocks were un- 
doubtedly derived from stock that was contemporary with 
the progenitors of Rhode Island Reds, a breed, though then 
unnamed and unauthorized by the American Poultry Asso- 
ciation, that was being developed by certain communities of 
Rhode Island, located not far from Fall River, Massachu- 
setts, where the Buff Plymouth Rock originated and where one 
of the earliest strains was developed. This association by lo- 
cation of the Rhode Island Reds with our American-made buff 
varieties and the natural outcome is noteworthy. 

The First Exhibit. — The credit for first showing Buff Ply- 
mouth Rocks under that name belongs to R. G. Buffington of 
Fall River, Massachusetts, who gave the variety its initiatory 
exhibition experience at Providence, Rhode Island, in 1890. 
At the same time and place Dr. Aldrich, also of Fall River, 
showed fowls of similar breeding and type which he called 
"Golden Buffs." 

Though Golden Buffs and Buff Plymouth Rocks were 
similar in breeding and appearance in every way, Golden Buffs 
failed signally to command public attention. It would be dif- 



ficult to imagine an incident that could better attest the hold 
that the Plymouth Rock breed had on the poultry-keeping 
public at that time, and has had since, than this radically 
practical demonstration. This incident alone enables us to 
understand that this high regard in which the name Plymouth 
Rock has been held probably accounts for the fact that we 
have six varieties instead of one only. Indeed, it may be said 
that the intrinsic worth of a good name and of a popularity 
richly deserved has, perhaps, never been so forcefully pre- 
sented in poultry circles as by this incident at the Providence, 
Rhode Island Show in 1890. 

The Fall River Strain.— According to Mr. Buffington, the 
Fall River strain was created by crossing Rhode Island Reds 
and White Plymouth Rocks, and by the breeding of such 
single comb Rhode Island Reds as were buff or nearly buff in 
color and approached a satisfactory Plymouth Rock type. 

Mr. Daniel Shove of Fall River, who was working along 
much the same lines as Mr. Buffington and Dr. Aldrich, wrote 
of the origin of the Buff Plymouth Rock under date of Oc- 
tober 9, 1917, that, "It was along about the year 1888 that the 
late Wm. Penn Shepard, R. G. Buffington, Dr. N. B. Aldrich 
and the writer first began to go to Westport, Massachusetts, 
and pick up a few of the above birds ; the single combs we 
called Buff Rocks, the rose combs, Buff Wyandottes. The 
writer from 1889 to 1895 kept the Wyandottes (buff), and ex- 
hibited quite a few at Philadelphia in 1893, and at that time 
they were coming very good and the demand for them was 
also good. I had always bought most of the above of a Mr. 
Tripp, of Central Village, Westport, and by the way. this 
was not the Rhode Island Red founder at all ; he was an- 
other man farther over by the same name, as the name Tripp 
at that time was quite common." 

It is probable that many early Buff Plymouth Rocks were 
bred by crossing White Plymouth Rocks with Buff Cochins 
and that true Rock type, together with fairly good color for 
the times, was afterwards developed by careful selection. It 
is very unlikely that all those interested in Buff Rocks would 
let escape the very apparent opportunity to obtain buff color 
by crossing some variety that possessed Plymouth Rock type 
with the Buff Cochin, which is known to be the source of all 
our best buff color. 

The Joslin Strain.— In the decade between 1890 and 1900, 
several strains were prominent. One of these strains was 


developed by the late J. O. Joslin, Tiashoke, New York. Of 
this line, the book The Plymouth Rock (Reliable Poultry Jour- 
nal series) states that it was a fine strain, of good size and 
true Rock type, that the color was quite even on the surface 
and sound underneath, and the tail and flights showed very 
little black peppering or markings. Mr. Joslin claimed that 
his strain had no Cochin, but was largely of Plymouth Rock 
blood. This statement arouses curiosity in two connections, 
namely, what then was the source of buff color, and what was 
the method of crossing or breeding that could create or de- 
velop Buff Plymouth Rocks that were largely of Plymouth 
Rock blood, when only two other varieties, Barred and White, 
then existed, from which it is inconceivable that buff could 
be derived? 

Other strains were developed in the early days of this va- 
riety, two of the most prominent of which, the Nugget strain 
and the Wilson strain, were originated and developed in New 
York state. 

The Wilson Strain. — (From the book The Plymouth Rock, 
Reliable Poultry Journal series.) Another strain of Buff Plym- 
outh Rocks was originated by J. S. Wilson, Worcester, New 
York, who writes about the origin and development as fol- 
lows : "I was reading about the new variety of Buff Leg- 
horns in The Fancier's Gazette, London, England, that strong- 
ly suggested the possibility of producing a Buff Plymouth 
Rock fowl, too. I was at once vigilantly looking over the vari- 
ous yards in this vicinity. After many disappointments in my 
searches, I was finally successful in finding in a relative's 
yard a male bird that gave me great joy from seeing so typi- 
cal a Rock. It was the result of a cross between the American 
type of Buff Cochin and a Light Brahma. He was a beautiful, 
even, golden-buff color throughout, except that his tail was 
nearly black. He had clean, yellow legs, small comb, etc.. and 
weighed twelve pounds. I selected from the same yard two 
of the best hens, having an even surface color and the least 
feathering on legs. From these birds, the foundation of this 
popular variety of the Rock family was produced. 

"I raised that year about forty chicks, the result being be- 
yond my most sanguine expectations. I selected two yards 
of very creditable ones from these. I was puzzled over the 
amount of ticking that showed on their hackles, as the parent 
birds were perfectly free from that defect. However, I came 



to the conclusion that it was probably the result of the Light 
Brahma blood they contained asserting itself. 

"The next season brought about a more satisfactory out- 
look and they continued to improve until the World's Fair 
(Chicago, 1893) first prize cock, hen, cockerel, pullet and pen 
were produced. Not any of these birds were ticked and two 
hens were nearly solid buff. Of course, they had their de- 
fects. Some excelled in one section and some in another, no 
one specimen having the much desired whole that was close 
to the ideal. The advancement since their creation reaching 
a point in breeding where not a bird showed any ticking or 
feathers on legs, with a uniform covering of golden buff plum- 
age, is certainly phenomenal in so short a space of time as ten 

The Nugget Strain. — One of the most popular strains fif- 
teen years ago was originated by H. S. Burdick, Rome, New 
York, who named it the "Nugget Strain," a happy choice, as 
specimens of the latter were particularly strong in the golden 


Sketch of early Buff Plymouth 
Rock hen, exhibited at Madison 
Square Garden, New York, 1896, 
by their originator, J. D. Wilson. 
(First Prize Winner.) 

Sketch of early Buff Plymouth 
Rock cockerel, exhibited at Mad- 
ison Square Garden, New York, 
1896, by their originator, J. D. 
Wilson. (First Prize Winner.) 



buff surface color and were also noted for the soundness in 
color of their tail and flight feathers, the latter being free 
from black or white. Many, of the winning specimens of 
today have the old "Nugget" blood flowing in their veins, 
and owe their soundness in- surface and undercolor to this 

By combination of the blood of these different strains and 
selection of the best specimens, Buff Plymouth Rocks that are 
true to both the color and shape descriptions of the variety 
have been and are being produced. 

The foregoing gives a history in brief of the origin and 
early development of Buff Plymouth Rocks. From beyond 
this point it is difficult to follow the development of the dif- 
ferent strains and diversing lines of each in the hands of the 
many who take up the breeding of a popular variety. That 
the blood of these different strains has been mingled repeat- 
edly is an assured fact. The good quality of present day 
Buff Plymouth Rocks may be attributed to the intelligent se- 
lection and crossing of individual specimens from these prom- 
inent early strains. 


First prize Buff Plymouth 
Rock cockerel at Boston, 1903, 
that sold for $300. Probably 
the highest price paid for a Ply- 
mouth Rock up to that time. 

(Cockered bred by Millville 
Poultry Farm, Millville, N. Y., 
M. F. Delano, manager. Sold 
to Mr. Weimer of Pennsylvania, 
who named him "Gold Force." 







Shanks other than yellow. (See general and Plymouth 
Rock disqualifications.) 


Beak. — Yellow. 
Eyes. — Reddish-bay. 

Comb, Face, Wattles and Ear-Lobes. — Bright red. 
Shanks and Toes. — Rich yellow. 

Plumage. — Surface thoughout an even shade of rich golden 
buff, free from shafting or mealy appearance, the head, neck, 
hackle, back, wing-bows and saddle richly glossed ; under- 
color a lighter shade free from foreign color. Different shades 
of buff in two or more sections is a serious defect. A har- 
monious blending of buff in all sections is most desirable. 


Beak.— Yellow. 
Eyes. — Reddish-bay. 

Comb, Face, Wattles and Ear-Lobes. — Bright red. 
Shanks and Toes. — Rich yellow. 

Plumage. — Surface throughout an even shade of rich, gold- 
en buff, free from shafting or mealy appearance, the head and 
neck plumage showing a luster of the same shade as the rest 
of the plumage ; undercolor, a lighter shade, free from foreign 
color. Different shades of buff in two or more sections is a 
serious defect. A harmonious blending of buff in all sections 
is most desirable. 


To fully comprehend the faults of buff color and the dif- 
ficulties of eliminating these faults, an understanding of the 
evolution of buff color in the plumage of domestic fowls 
would be helpful, even if it is not wholly necessary. 

That the bright, clean, uniform and pleasing shade now 
described and required by the Standard for all recognized buff 


varieties was not the result of a decision arrived at or a se- 
lection determined upon quickly, but rather that it was the 
result of a gradual development in the tastes and education 
of those exponents of true beauty as revealed in the buff va- 
rieties, becomes most apparent after a brief perusal of any of 
the authentic descriptions of our first importations or early 
American and English productions of Buff Cochin, which was 
the original buff fowl of all lands, so far as known, and which 
descriptions we take in order that comparisons may be made 
with the present standard description of these varieties ; or, 
more clearly convincing yet is a comparison of these de- 
scriptions of the early importations and native productions 
with living specimens of the truest color types. Judging 
from these comparisons, the almost incredibly wide contrast 
between the two must have developed gradually, and this evo- 
lution is perhaps nowhere better or more clearly indicated- than 
in the successive editions of the American Standard of Ex- 
cellence and its successor, the American Standard of Perfec- 
tion, brief extracts from which will be sufficient, not only to 
make this point clear, but to show the progressi\*e steps by 
which the present popular buff shade was acquired. 

Color requirements in the 1875 edition are placed on each 
section along with the shape requirements for that section, 
and in some instances strangely mingled, and only on a few 
occasions do we find the color requirements of one section 
identical with those of another. "... rich clear buff" — 
"rich, abundant, clear buff hackle" — "rich, clean buff" — "a 
clear, deep buff" — are the color descriptions found of some 
sections for the male, while such sections as wings and fluff 
have no color description for plumage, except that wings are 
required to be "quite free from a mealy appearance." 

All the evidence that we may obtain from the successive 
Standard descriptions indicates that the greatest advance that 
has been made in nearly half a century is most clearly brought 
out by the difference in the descriptions of the color for the 
tail section. In 1875, "a rich, dark chestnut, or bronzy-chest- 
nut mixed with black — dark chestnut preferred" ; needless 
to say there is no admiration expressed for chestnut colored 
tails, to ignore completely those that contain any amount of 
black, in either males or females of any buff variety at the 
present time, when the tail is expected not only to be buff, 
but to be of the same shade as the rest of the plumage. This 
description of color for this section remained practically un- 



changed until the 1898 edition became effective, which fact, 
together with the knowledge that this admixture of black and 
the existence of chestnut shades even at the present time in the 
tails of many specimens (though not the best ones, thanks to 
the skill of the breeders of buff varieties, past and present), 
emphasizes the well known difficulty of producing clear, 
golden-buff tails. 

The color description of the female in this (1875) edition 
shows greater uniformity, being restricted to such expressions 
as "rich buff" — "clear, rich buff" — "clear, pure buff" — "and in 
color, buff". Even then the description required a tail, "in 
color buff" without modification. Evidently, females with 
clear buff tails were not unknown even in those days, and 
judging from the different Standard descriptions of male and 
female, must have more frequently occurred in females than in 

In this connection, it may be well to note that the short 
lived 1874 Edition also required a uniformly clear, deep buff 
throughout, tail included. It may be surprising to learn, now 
when buff necks are the rule, that the 1874 Edition contained 
the following sentence : "A clear, buff hackle preferred, but 
a slight marking on the end of feathers of neck not a dis- 
qualification." This modification was not discontinued until 
1898. _ 

Prior to 1898, a marked difference of opinion as to what 
constituted real "buff" had existed. It was seldom that the 
judges agreed upon the exact shade that was most desirable 
or the most beautiful. The lack of uniformity in the shades 
of the winning specimens when judged by different persons 
was commented upon and deplored by the breeders gener- 
ally. These discussions led to the appointment by the Stan- 
dard Revision Committee for the 1898 Edition, of a special 
sub-committee which, among other duties, was to determine 
just what real buff color was, and then to describe it compre- 
hensibly. As a result of their investigations, we have the 
Standard phraseology, descriptive of buff color as found in 
the 1898 Edition for all buff varieties, five in number, very 
nearly as it is in the present edition. This description was a 
distinct advance in that, first of all, it decided upon "golden- 
buff" as the most desirable shade and the most accurate and 
expressive terminology; second, it demanded "one even shade 
throughout," that is, in all sections, but allowed undercolor 
of a lighter shade, though restricting the force of this clause 


appreciably by further qualifying that "all things being equal, 
the specimen showing the richest undercolor shall receive the 
preference" ; the word "richest" was generally interpreted to 
mean the darkest. This was, however, the beginning of an 
admission that undercolor in buff varieties was naturally and 
would always be lighter than the surface color. In explana- 
tion of this phenomenon, we quote the following extract from 
an article written by the late Ezra Cornell in "The Leghorns" 
as follows : 

"Leghorns have comparatively hard, close fitting feathers. 
In such feathers the coloring matter always concentrates in 
the surface or harder part of the feather; this is according to 
nature, and you can not change it. Look at some of our most 
highly colored wild birds — the Scarlet Tanager, the Oriole, or 
even the Canary, and you will find an under color which 
appears white in comparison to the surface. Take these same 
brilliant feathers and lay them in the sunlight over a darker 
under color and you will deaden the color. The rays of light 
pass through the surface plumage, and on striking the light 
under color are reflected, much intensified, which gives the 
plumage its extreme brilliancy; whereas if the rays of light 
on penetrating the surface were to strike a dark under color, 
they would be absorbed and the surface color deadened. * * * 
That I have just written applies especially to the females ; 
the males have a deeper under color, but it is not so apt to 
be solid. Cockerels are sometimes found with some white in 
under color of hackle, which, as the bird grows older, will 
probably appear on the surface. A male bird should have 
sound under color. This is important, although it makes 
little difference whether it is light or dark. The shade will, 
as a rule, correspond with and depend on the shade of the 
surface color." 

The reader will see no inconsistency here, because the flow- 
ing plumage of the males is not as hard as that of the shorter 
female plumage. 

The description in the 1898 Standard was better than that 
found in the one that preceded it by ten years, in that it de- 
manded a, plumage which required more skill in mating to 
produce, because absolute uniformity of color in all sections 
was required, while chestnut tails in males were still allowed in 
the 1888 Standard, though more uniformity was demanded in 
this edition than in those that in turn preceded it. 



From this form of progression, we perceived that a gen- 
eral tendency toward acquiring uniformity of color in all sec- 
tions existed continuously from the date of the first edition 
until it became a requirement of the 1898 Standard. Then 
too, the term "golden-burl" was more accurate and descriptive 
than "rich, clear, deep buff," and that it, as a descriptive term, 
met popular approval is amply attested by the fact that it has 
continued to be the descriptive color term in all subsequent 
Standards. In the light of the now known general accept- 
ability of this color description, it can be wondered that it 
was not used before in the Standard, since it appears in the 
description of hackle, back, wings, and saddle feathers of 
females in the first or 1874 Edition, and is frequently used 
in descriptions found in the early books, notably Burnham's 
"New Poultry Book", published in 1871, from which we quote 
the two following extracts: "The color of the Buff Cochin is 
more of a golden hue than simply buff. The under shade 
upon the downy or fluffy portions of their plumage is pale, 
but to look at when in their best feather, they are of a rich, 
luminous yellow shade, sometimes aptly called lemon-colored." 
* * * "In the cock of this variety portions of his plumage 
are red, or darker, as the wings, neck, hackles, etc., but the 
yellow color prevails in both." To show how early this de- 
sire to produce specimens even in color of all sections de- 
veloped, we quote still further from the same work. "A very 
desirable recommendation to the Buff Cochin is that the fowl 
be strictly uniform in color to answer the requirements of the 
present aimed for standard." 

Contrast the description of male and female, which is al- 
most identical, found in the Standard of 1898 and the subse- 
quent editions, w T ith the descriptions found of the importations 
from foreign countries a little later than the middle of the nine- 
teenth century, and we can recognize the wonderful skill of 
the American breeders, even had this been their sole ac- 


In years past, a diversity of opinions existed as to what 
constituted a golden buff, and at an earlier period, the same 
diversity of opinion existed as to what shade of buff was most 
desirable. Prior to 1898 Buff Plymouth Rocks had varied 
from cream to very deep shades that were often so deep that 


red and even brown cropped out on the wing-bows and even 
on the back. This variation is not at all surprising now that 
the different sources of ancestry have been related, as an 
equitable adjustment between the white of the White Plym- 
outh Rocks and the red of the Red fowls, contemporary with 
and analagous to the progenitors of our present Rhode Island 
Reds, that Buffington, Aldrich and probably others used for 
the foundation of Buff Plymouth Rocks, was not possible dur- 
ing the early stages of its development. 

This description as first found in the 1898 Standard, and 
the argument upon this shade and description was the result 
of extended research and investigation of certain prominent 
breeders of Buff Cochins. It has met general approval, as 
shown by the fact that the slightest change has never been 

Aside from its beauty, this shade of buff is one that can 
be bred from and reproduced with much more certainty than 
some of the delicate shades that were popular years ago. 
Furthermore, it is a shade that holds from year to year, while 
the light shades in vogue years ago lose color very appre- 
ciably with age. This fact lends aid to establish and main- 
tain the popularity of the rich, golden buff of the last three 


Too Dark or Too Light in Shade of Surface. — The popular- 
ity of all the Buff varieties is largely due to the unique beauty 
of the shade of surface color required by the Standard, which 
is described as a "rich, golden buff." 

A word description of rich, golden buff that can be ac- 
curately understood is almost if not quite unattainable, as 
word descriptions capable of conveying an accurate concep- 
tion of color to the mind without the aid of the eye are abso- 
lutely impossible. But we may state early in this treatise 
what it is not : It is not the cream, nor lemon, nor is it the 
deep buff shade, so common during the early years of the 
variety, which bordered on red in the males' and cinnamon or 
brown in the females' plumage. It can hardly be described 
as a mean between these extremes, yet it approached it. The 
term "golden buff" as used in the Standard is as accurate in 
its suggestion to the eye as any of the color terms that have 
been used. This description clearly suggests that the sur- 



face of both males and females be the same color as un- 
alloyed gold, which is described in our old books on chem- 
istry as a "bright yellow" metal. This is suggestive of the 
true shade of color, yet it is unsafe as a description without 
modification, because there are many shades of bright yel- 
low. The best way, if not the only way, to grasp the idea 
of real golden buff is to see a specimen that some reliable 
authority has pronounced about right in color. The phrase, 
"one even shade of rich, golden buff," explains itself as well 
as words seem adequate, but it must be admitted that to 
fully appreciate the significance of the term "golden buff" and 
to see in your mind just what shade is demanded, it becomes 
necessary to see a specimen of ideal or very nearly ideal 
color, or at least, feathers from such a specimen. While it 
can not be said that judges agree always as to the most de- 
sirable shade of golden buff, it can be said that the best and 
most experienced judges do agree tolerably well. 

Unevenness in Color. — The words of the Standard, "sur- 
face throughout, one even shade of rich, golden buff", when 
given a second thought, aptly present the breeders' problem : 
To produce specimens that are one shade on the surface of 
every feathered section, including the wings when extended 
and the tail feathers when examined, for these sections are 
considered part of the surface — certainly not undercolor. 

Individuals that are even in surface, including wings and 
tail are produced quite often, but while endeavoring to breed 
such specimens, many that are uneven in surface color to a 
greater or lesser degree are produced. These variations in- 
clude too dark, and too light necks ; dark wing bows in males ; 
mealiness in females, more often on the wing bows than in 
other sections ; shaftiness, especially noticeable in females ; 
light colored edging, sometimes referred to as straw edg- 
ing on females ; the shade of top surface darker than the breast 
and fluff, most often in males, besides defects in color of 
wings and tail. 

During the early history of the breed an even colored 
male was very rarely seen. This fact was particularly no- 
ticeable in both the extremely light and extremely dark speci- 
mens. The chief fault in the strongly colored specimens was 
the highly colored wing bows, which were often decidedly 
red instead of buff. This pronounced defect is not seen at 
the present time in males of even ordinary merit. The very 
light buffs, usually more explicitly designated by the term 


"lemon buff" males, have been received with highest favor in 
the show room at times, and in certain localities, but have 
of late years passed into discard in favor of a particular shade 
of buff, expressively described as "golden buff", which once 
seen usually meets with instant approval. The invariable ten- 
dency of lemon buff males is to fade and lose color after the 
first year, or after the first moult; to become too light on the 
back and breast and to breed a large proportion of males 
too light in these sections. Light colored females now known 
by the apt description of "cream" were also popular in certain 
sections of the country, but only for a short time. From a 
breeder's standpoint, these are as undesirable as the lemon 


Buff Plymouth Rock male of the old styled plumage, showing 
most pronouncedly the too dark shoulder and wing bow. In the 
early days of the variety, a most common example of unevenness of 



Mealiness. — This objectionable feature is quite common in 
females, generally in the wing bow or coverts, though it is 
found in other sections of females, and in breast and fluff of 
males. Inasmuch as no specimen that has this defect can 
appear to be even in surface color, this is a most serious de- 
fect and particularly serious because it is very difficult to 
breed out. It consists of rather small specks, spots, or stipples 
of lighter color. It is not always so pronounced that it is no- 
ticeable by casual observation, but it is easily detected upon 
examination of the specimens in the hand. See illustration 
plate 59. Also definition, page 20. 

Shaftiness. — This is another fault that causes uneven color. 
When shafting appears, it is caused by the shafts of the feath- 
ers being lighter or darker than the webs. In most cases 
they are lighter. They are objectionable because with them 
an even surface is impossible. It is more noticeable in the 


A Buff Plymouth Rock female, showing uneven plumage, includ- 
ing the too dark wing bow. 


plumage of females than of males, except in the breast and 
body. See definition, page 21. Also illustration, Plate 60. 

Light Edging. — This fault occurs when the edges which 
are not as dense in structure as the body of the feathers are 
lighter in color. It is found usually in the back sectiuii of 
females, but infrequently in other sections of the females and 
in the breast and body of males. See illustration, plate 60. 

Foreign Color. — Both black and white are found in the tails 
and wings of both sexes. Black is the more common in tails 
and secondaries and white in primaries. Both are decidedly 
objectionable as the rules for cutting for defects plainly show, 
by requiring a cut of from one half a point to the color limit 
of the section. Black in the tail is a most common fault and 
a little at the base is not dealt with severely. The color it- 
self is usually modified, in reality a reddish-brown or brown- 
ish black and generally appears in broken field or in large 
dots or small spots, and sometimes in a few of the main tail 
feathers, but not all. It appears in tails of both sexes. White 
is equally objectionable and to some breeders more so than 
black and indicates weak color. Individuals that show con- 
siderable white in wing or tail are rarely used in breeding, 


Showing (1) shafting in each feather, and (2) light edging. 



though some white might be tolerated, possibly, if the sur- 
face color was even and the undercolor strong. 

Silver-Gray in Tails. — A peculiar color effect is often seen 
in the tails of both sexes of buff varieties. The main tail 
feathers of some individuals are entirely silver-gray in color, 
while those of others show this shade only on one side of 
the quills. Again, it is observed on the rear side of the 
tail feathers while the front will appear buff, or nearly buff. 

Wings. — Black is found in the wing, generally on the up- 
per web of the secondaries, though it is often seen in the 
little feathers that cover the bases of the flights. White ap- 
pears in both flights and secondaries. Poor health some- 
times is accountable for white in plumage of all varieties, 
but it is inadvisable to find such an excuse for placing birds 
with this defect in the breeding yards. Brownish colored 
spots often appear in the flights, a most undesirable character- 

The presence of white is not restricted to the web of the 
feather, as the shaft of the flights very commonly shows white 
at base. The best specimens of the present day show no 
black or white in wings, and but little black and no white in 
tails, while occasionally specimens with wings and tail of as 
good buff color as any part of the plumage are produced. See 
Plate 64 for an illustration of clean, even buff tail feathers. 

Tail Plumage of Darker Shades. — Passing from the pres- 
ence of black, white, or black and white in tail plumage, we 
often find the plumage of this section too dark, though neither 
black nor white are present. The color, though dark, re- 
sembles buff yet it is plainly not buff, but rather more brown 
than the golden shade desired. This shade has been very 
aptly termed chestnut, and we have what are commonly 
termed chesnut-colored tails. Sometimes that applies very 
well to the tail color as a whole but more often as shown 
by illustration, Plate 61, it appears in patches on one or more 
feathers while the remainder of the feather or feathers may be 
buff, as shown in illustration, Plate 63. 

Undercolor. — In buff varieties, undercolor is considered 
largely from the breeder's standpoint and valued according to 
its necessity in breeding the shade and the evenness required 
in surface color. However, undercolor is considered im- 
portant. It is impossible to breed specimens with undercolor 
that is as strong as the surface color. The undercolor should 
be buff, but though buff, it is invariably of a much lighter 


shade than the surface. Some of the specimens which show 
a splendidly even gold surface of buff are very light in under- 
color. This does not prevent such specimens from winning, 
however, though a shaft that is buff to the skin is much de- 


1 2 3 


Half-tone from photograph of smaller sickle (1) and tail covert 
(2), showing the defect of being marked with "chestnut" color. Also 
a tail-covert feather (3) of pure even shade of buff. [See illustration 
of complete tail (page 229), showing same defect.] No. 2 shows the 
defect of very light undercolor. 




After analyzing their ancestry and simply remembering 
that all the early strains were subject to the process of amal- 
gamation sooner or later, and mostly sooner, we can most 
readily account for the prevailing color defects. For every 
breeder, no matter how well satisfied with his strain, very 
soon recognizes the good qualities of others, and as quickly 



Clear, even shade of buff, with exception of darker shade showing 
in front row of feathers on wing bar. 


as he discovers a weakness in his own flock acquires in some 
way the blood of another that possesses the quality in which 
his strain is deficient ; so the blood of all meritorious strains is 
quickly passed around and it is well it is so, because then the 
variety acquires something of uniformity. 

Stock that showed black in tails and wings would naturally 
follow from the same ancestry that developed the Rhode Is- 
land Reds (The Fall River Buff Rocks). Flecking and 
white in the wing and undercolor from Light Brahma. (Wil- 
son strain). The same defect would be expected from stock 
that contained the White Plymouth Rock blood and the 
white blood of both strains would account for light under- 



Half tone from photograph of tail of Buff Plymouth Rock cock 
(winner of first at Madison Square Garden, New York, show), show- 
ing smaller sickle and larger tail covert marked with chestnut color, a 
not uncommon blemish in fine buff colored males. This color is very 
much less defective than gray, black or white, in buff varieties. 






Ideal color, even shade of buff throughout. 

1. Tail proper. 

2. Upper tail proper. 

3. Tail covert. 


color and unevenness of surface. Silver-gray, which ap- 
pears in the tail, would seem to be an admixture of a little 
black with considerable white or, perhaps, some buff, com- 
parable perhaps to the production of blue plumage sometimes, 
sometimes a black and a white mottled plumage by the cross- 
ing of white and black birds. The Buff Cochin is the source 
from which all buff varieties obtained their color and to the 
color defects inherited from other varieties that were not 
buff used in creating the Buff Plymouth Rocks must be added 
the defects of the Buff Cochins, employed in the various 



Buff is classed as one of the solid colors, to produce which 
breeders seldom employ more than one mating. In the earlier 
history of this variety, perhaps fifteen years or more ago, 
double mating was practiced. 

Early System of Mating. — We find in the early treatises 
on breeding buff varieties that advice as to how to double 
mate for buff color conforms closely to our ideas of double 
mating today. Nowadays, little double mating is done to pro- 
duce buff or any solid color. Double mating for buff was ex- 
cusable and perhaps advisable in those days, because of the 
unsettled condition of the buff variety, their composite char- 
acter and short existence, to overcome several glaring faults, 
such as dark neck, dark or red shoulders, black in tails and 
black in wings, wings and tails in which white was prominent, 
a wide difference in color of top and lower sections, and also 
a wide difference in color of males and females. The early 
breeders had to contend with these and other faults and to 
breed them out; and then undercolor was more important in 
the eyes of the judge and breeder than now. Is it any won- 
der that these early breeders adopted the quick method of 
correcting one defect by using its antidote — a defect of op- 
posite character to counteract it, and of trying to correct 
in one sex at a time, as for instance attempting to produce 
sound surface and strong undercolor on the females by breed- 
ing males altogether too strong in color, especially in the 
shoulders and back? Such males were even then useless as 
show birds because of these dark or red sections and the un- 



evenness of the color of their plumage. The early breeders 
did succeed, and admirably, in improving color and this im- 
provement removed the necessity of double mating. 

At present and for some time back, the very best standard 
Buff Plymouth Rocks have been produced by the single mat- 
ing system, which has been described heretofore as the mat- 
ing together of as nearly standard colored specimens of both 
sexes as could be procured. A male of ideal color would 
make the ideal mate of a female of ideal color, in the opinion 
of those breeders who believe in this system, while others on 
account of the tendency of buff to lose color, would prefer that 



Two hackles, two back and two saddle feathers showing a rich, 
even shade of buff throughout surface and undercolor. 


one sex or the other in any mating should be a shade or two 
darker or richer than that which is regarded as ideal or 
standard. Undoubtedly, if standard-colored specimens were 
backed with a sufficiently long ancestry of like characteris- 
tics, standard-colored specimens of both sexes would to- 
gether form ideal matings. 

A Composite Variety. — But as related in a previous chap- 
ter, the Buff Plymouth Rocks, as well as most of our buff 
fowls, are composites of different breeds, varieties and strains, 
obviously of birds of different types and colors. Though type 
is once established, as it is recognized to be in degree, yet 
color remains to be established, and if that, too, is established 
in degree also, both must be maintained and furthermore per- 
fected. The treatise on type has, however, preceded this 
chapter, and we may deal now with color alone, which, from 
its composite origin, inherits faulty tendencies to overcome 
and offset which becomes the special problem of the breeder. 

To Hold Color. — One of the tendencies of buff color is to 
become too light or "faded out" as it is often expressed by 
breeders of buff varieties, a tendency that we readily under- 
stand after a study of the ancestry of the variety. To offset 



Back and breast feathers. Illustrating the breeding value of rich 
buff-colored quill, though undercolor may be very pale buff. 




1 2 3 4 5 


1. Black or brownish black, shading to large portion of buff, 
peppered with dark spots where black and buff meet. 

2. Largely black at base and along the quill, remainder buff. 

3. Buff, with considerable black, shading to gray, with white at 


4. Root of feather white and web next to root white, main portion 
of webb buff, with white at end. 

5. Ideal, clear buff. 



1 2 3 4 5 


1. Black or brownish black, shading to large portion of buff, 
peppered with dark spots where black and buff meet. 

2. Largely black at base and along quill, remainder buff. 

3. Buff with considerable black, shading to gray, with white 
at end. 

4. Root of feather and web next to root white, main portion of 
webb buff, with white at end. 

5. Ideal, clear buff. 




this tendency to lose color, breeders often, as stated, select 
specimens for one sex in the mating that are a little richer 
or stronger in color than that described by the Standard. 
Breeders do not find it advisable, however, to go too far in 
this direction. Faults and tendencies to faults must be cor- 
rected but not over-corrected. The latter is as liable to oc- 
cur as is the former. 

To Maintain Evenness. — Many faults of the progeny in 
color are attributed to too wide a variation in color of the par- 
ents. Specimens of extremes of buff color mated together 
seldom produce a mean. The progeny are mostly extremes 
and seldom are they sound, even colored specimens at that; 
patches of dark and light buff are often found on the same 
specimens. Mealiness and light or dark edgings are attributed 
to the mating of extremes in buff shades. Shaftings in the 
plumage of one or both sexes in the mating is due to weak 
undercolor of the quill. By reading the preceding chapter, 
the undesirability of these characteristics will be clearly under- 

Black in Tails and Wings. — Other expediencies are occa- 
sionally resorted to to hold to the desired shade of color. The 
impression that the strength of color may be preserved by 
breeding males or females that show black in tail and perhaps 
in wings has been a common one. On this point, one writer 1 
takes the view that buff is largely yellow modified slightly by 
red and white, and that black is nowise a component of buff ; 
that in choosing one of two evils, black or white, the latter is to 
be chosen without hesitation. Among the faults caused by 
breeding from specimens that show black are lacing or tick- 
ing in necks, black tails, black in wings, smutty undercolor 
and a muddy surface color, and it will not counteract white 
according to this writer, who further states "you will get 
plenty of red and white without breeding for them", but that 
either red or white are much more readily bred out than black. 
In closing, this breeder gives this advice : "Remember, yellow 
and black will not mix and produce a pleasing color, while 
yellow, red and white will mix and give you that beautiful 
shade called buff." This view has since been taken by other 
writers of experience in breeding buff varieties. 2 

1. W. W. Browning, book, R. P. J., The Wyandotte. 

2. M. F. Delano, The Orpington, R. P. J. A. O. Schilling, A. P. W. for 
January, 1913. 



Some, of course, differ or have differed with this writer, 
and while both opinions are held, it is admitted by all that 
black is difficult to breed out and keep out. As for white in 
wings and tail, the same may be said, though the amount of 
white can be perceptibly reduced from one generation to an- 
other by selection. 

The correct shade and evenness of color are qualities of 
most importance in breeding birds of both sexes. Of the two, 
evenness, if the color is not too far removed from the desired 
shade, is perhaps the most important, because when per- 
sistently selected for generations, this quality will correct such 
faults as mealiness, shaftiness, light edging, and finally will 
influence the color of main tail feathers and the flights and 
secondaries. When selecting specimens for evenness of color, 
all sections should match. Such a specimen is hard to find. 
The neck may be lighter or darker than the other sections, 
and the breast, body and fluff are often lighter than back, 
wing and tail. We desire, first, uniformity in the shade of all 
sections of the specimen, and then, if the specimen be of 
the desired shade, it is desired that the general shade of the 
female should match the breast, body and fluff of the male. 

Black in tail or wings may be bred out in time. The 
breeder should not expect to eliminate any great amount of 
this strong colored pigment in one generation. This is often 
attempted. There is a general impression that black may be 
offset with white. This is, perhaps, true but in a compara- 
tively small number of the progeny of matings in which this 
expediency was resorted to. By mating birds with black in 
plumage to those with white in corresponding sections, blood 
that has a tendency to produce black is mingled with blood 
that has a tendency to produce white, and the result is blood 
that has a strong tendency to produce both black and white 
in the plumage ; black in some, white in some, and both 
black and white in others. 

The breeding out of white involves the same principle. 
It should not be offset in matings by using specimens of the 
opposite sex that have black in the plumage. A safe rule 
and one that produces the most pure buff plumage in the in- 
dividual and the most buff in individuals of number, is to off- 
set either black or white by selecting for the breeding speci- 
mens of each successive generation those in which these 
undesirable colors are not present, or those with as little of 
either as possible. 


1 PLATE 71 2 

3 4 



1, 3. Winners at Chicago (Fanciers' Show). 2. Winner at New 
York (Palace). 4. Winner at New York (Garden). 

1 PLATE 72 2 

3 4 


1, 2, 4. Winners at New York (Garden). 3. Winner at Chicago 
(Fanciers' Show). 




To summarize from the foregoing, the best mating for 
color viewed in the light of the most modern thought would 
be the one that included the best colored specimens, that is, 
those that have the required standard shade of buff, the 
most even from head to hock and tip of tail. This descrip- 
tion implies absolute absence of black, white or any foreign 
color, and of mealiness and shaftiness as well. 

This is practically the method of mating that the best 
breeders employ at the present time, but it is subject to one 
modification, which some breeders use to protect themselves 
against loss of color. To hold to the rich, golden shade and 
to prevent a relapse to lemon, cream and other undesirable 
shades formerly common, breeders use matings in which the 
male is one or perhaps two slight shades richer than what is 
generally considered "rich, golden buff." Sometimes the 
strength of color is maintained by the matings first described 
with standard buff males and females for the greater num- 
ber, and a lesser number of females that are a shade or possibly 
two shades richer than standard buff. For evenness of color 
and other requisites, such females must be fully as desirable 
as standard specimens. 

Specimens that approach the cinnamon shades or those 
that are muddy or brown to the slightest degree are not tol- 
erated in the matings by any recognized breeder of the high- 
est class. 

Undercolor is secondary . to surface color in buff varieties, 
and while quite perceptibly lighter than the latter, some 
strength is demanded in all specimens that are selected for 
breeding birds. The quill particularly is required to be buff 
to the skin and as near in shade to the surface color as it is 
possible to select, other things being equal. By breeding 
from such specimens, shaftiness is eliminated or reduced to 
the minimum. 

These methods of breeding are comparable with the prin- 
ciple of single or standard matings and it is from such that 
the best Buff Plymouth Rocks of today are produced. 




HE first Silver-Penciled Plmouth Rocks came from the 

Cornell line of penciled fowls. While that gentleman 

was developing a Silver-Penciled Wyandotte, both Mr. 
Cornell and Mr. Shey, who had charge of Valleyview Farm at 
Ithaca, New York, sent to Elmwood Farm single comb speci- 
mens from their flocks. These were mated by George B. Ran- 
dolph, the owner of Elmwood Farm, with some single-comb 
specimens of the same strain that he had hatched and reared 
at Elmwood. 

It was in the year of 1894 that Mr. Ezra Cornell of 
Ithaca, N. Y., became interested with Mr. George H. Brack- 
enbury of Auburn, N. Y., in producing a Silver-Penciled Wy- 
andotte. Mr. Brackenbury had, prior to this, made a cross 
of a Golden-Penciled (Partridge) Wyandotte male with a 
Dark Brahma hen. Mr. Cornell selected a Silver-Laced 
"Wyandotte male, which he mated with a Silver-Penciled Ham- 
burg female. He also mated a Dark Brahma hen of the New- 
ton Adams strain with this Silver-Laced Wyandotte male. 
Some of the pullets from both of these hens were mated to 
the Silver-Laced Wyandotte male and other pullets from the 
same hens and to some of the progeny produced by Mr. 
Brackenbury from his mating of the Golden-Penciled male 
with the Dark Brahma female. 

Then Mr. Cornell gave some of the progeny from these 
matings to Elmwood Farm, Weston, N. J., from which was 
bred the Silver-Penciled Wyandotte female illustrated by Mr. 
Sewell in the American Poultry Journal and in the Reliable 
Poultry Journal of January, 1902. This female shows plainly 
the Brahma shape. Some of the pullets from the same lot of 
fowls had single combs. Mr. Cornell and later Mr. Wyckoff 
through Dennis Shey, sent a single-comb male and two single- 
comb females from their flock to Elmwood Farm. These, 



with eight or ten others, were turned out at free range on the 
farm and for three years were bred under these conditions. 
The poorest of those produced each year were culled out and 
sold to market, until finally there were ten or twelve females 
and one male that were good enough in shape to be called 
Plymouth Rocks. The females were beautifully penciled and 
had backs and tails that were typical of the Plymouth Rocks. 
This flock and their offspring were sold to James Forsyth of 
Owego, N. Y., and by him to Mr. F. E. Corey of Ossining, 
New York. 

Another strain of Silver-Penciled Plymouth Rocks was 
made by the mingling of Dark Brahmas, Silver-Grey Dork- 
ings and Mottled Javas. It was asserted at this time that 
this was the only true strain of Penciled Plymouth Rocks, 
but just why anyone should claim that a mixture of this kind 
had or could produce true Plymouth Rock is far from clear. 
The claim is made ridiculous by the fact that the strain created 
in this way used some of the original Elmwood stock in its 
make-up, as many of the Penciled Plymouth Rocks from Elm- 
wood Farm went to breeders of the Brahma-Dorking-Java 

The best of all the Silver-Penciled Plymouth Rocks can be 
traced to the Dark Brahma females supplied by Newton 
Adams. Many of the best females of this variety now have 
very much the same shape as the Brahma female ancestors. 
The hens used were rich in color, beautifully penciled and fair- 
ly close feathered. Indeed, as compared with the Light 
Brahmas of today they were closely feathered. The question 
of egg production and the size of the egg produced has been 
used as proof for or against the quality of the fowls. The 
originals of this variety that were sold from Elmwood Farm 
to James Forsyth were of good size ; they had fairly good 
Plymouth Rock shape ; they had good color and markings ; 
they were prolific layers ; and their eggs averaged more than 
two ounces each. (T. F. McG.) 





Shanks and toes other than yellow or dusky yellow. (See 
general and Plymouth Rock disqualifications.) 

Head. — Plumage, silvery white. 
Beak. — Yellow or dusky yellow. 
Eyes. — Reddish-bay. 

Comb, Face, Wattles and Ear-Lobes. — Bright red. 

Neck. — Hackle, web of feather, solid, lustrous greenish- 
black, with a narrow edging of silvery white, uniform in 
width, extending around point of feather ; shafts, black ; plum- 
age in front of hackle, black. 

Wings. — Bows, silvery white ; coverts, lustrous greenish- 
black, forming a well defined bar of this color across wings 
when folded ; primaries, black except a narrow edging of white 
on lower edge of lower webs ; secondaries, black, except lower 
half of lower webs which should be white, except near end of 
feathers at which points the white terminates abruptly leav- 
ing end of feathers black. 

Back. — Silvery white, free from brown; saddle, silvery 
white, with a black stripe in each feather, tapering to a point 
near its lower extremity. 

Tail. — Black; sickles and coverts, lustrous greenish-black; 
smaller coverts, lustrous greenish-black edged with white. 

Breast — Black. 

Body and Fluff. — Body, black; fluff, black slightly tinged 
with gray. 

Legs and Toes. — Thighs, black ; shanks and toes, yellow or 
dusky yellow. 

Under-Color of All Sections. — Slate. 

Head. — Plumage, silvery gray. 
Beak. — Yellow or dusky yellow. 
Eyes — Reddish-bay. 










Comb, Face, Wattles and Ear-Lobes. — Bright red. 

Neck. — Silvery white; center portion of feathers, black 
slightly penciled with gray ; feathers in front of neck, same 
as breast. 

Wings. — Shoulders, bows and coverts, gray with distinct 
dark pencilings, outlines of which conform to shape of feath- 
ers ; primaries, black with narrow edge of gray penciling on 
lower webs ; secondaries, upper webs, black, lower webs, gray 
with distinct dark pencilings extending around outer edge of 

Back. — Gray, with distinct dark pencilings, outlines of 
which conform to shape of feather ; feathers, free from white 

Tail. — Black, except the two top feathers, which are pen- 
ciled on upper edge ; coverts, gray, with distinct dark pen- 
cilings, outlines of which conform to shape of feather. 

Breast. — Gray, with distinct dark pencilings, outlines of 
which conform to shape of feather. 

Body and Fluff. — Body, gray, with distinct dark pencil- 
ings, reaching well down on thighs ; fluff, gray, penciled with 
a darker shade. 

Legs and Toes. — Thighs, gray, with distinct pencilings ; 
shanks and toes, yellow or dusky yellow. 

Under-Color of All Sections. — Slate. 

Note. — Each feather in back, breast, body, wing-bows and 
thighs to have three or more distinct pencilings. 



The Silver-Penciled Plymouth Rock should have the same 
size, shape and body proportions as other Plymouth Rocks, 
and the same color and markings as the Dark Brahma. 

The combination of silvery white and black in the male 
and silvery white, gray and black in the female is pleasant 
to the eye. When of fine quality there is no other fowl more 
beautiful when at her best and when shown in perfect con- 



12 3 4 

Male: 1. Primary. 2. Secondary. 
Female: 3. Primary. 4. Secondary. 


The silvery white top color of the male forms a covering 
for the black in breast and underbody color. The lower edge 
line of the silvery white extends to the point of the breast 
and follows the fold of the wing-bow back to the extreme point 



of the wing which, when properly folded, is hidden beneath 
the lower line of the saddle plumage and the plumage of the 
upper part of the abdomen. This top color should be clear 
silvery white, that is, striped in hackle and in saddle with 
lustrous black. The wording of the Standard is : "Head plum- 
age, silvery white ; hackle, solid lustrous greenish-black with 
a narrow edge of silvery white, uniform in width, extending 
around point of feather; plumage in front of the hackle, 1 lack; 
shank and toe, yellow or dusky yellow." 

Hackle. — In plainer language, this means that the hackle 
feathers and the saddle feathers of the male shall have a 
black stripe extending almost to the point of the feather; 
this black should be completely surrounded with silvery white. 
"Plumage in front of hackle, black," means that if you part 
the hackle in the center below the beak, you will find that 
the black feathers of the breast extend up to the throat; thus 
the plumage in front of the hackle is black. 

Wings. — The bows of the wings are silvery white, The 
wing-coverts are lustrous, greenish-black, forming a well- 
defined bar of black across the folded wing. The primaries of 
the wing are black with a narrow edge of white on the lower 
edge of the lower web of the feather. The secondaries of 
the wing are black, excepting the lower half, which should be 
white. The ends of these feathers are black. See illustration, 
Plate 75. 

Back and Saddle. — The back, from beneath the hackle and 
almost to the end of the saddle, is silvery white. The striped 
feathers of the saddle extend up and over the sickle feathers, 
the silvery white plumage of the back merging into these 
striped feathers. 

Tail. — The main tail feathers are black, and the sickles and 
tail-coverts are black emblazoned with a lustrous greenish 
sheen. This sheen must have a greenish-black and not a 
purplish shade, which is most undesirable. 

Breast. — The breast, the body, the underbody plumage 
about the thighs and the fluff are black; the latter may be 
slightly tinged with gray. 

Undercolor. — Undercolor in all sections should be slate. 
The same shade of undercolor is desirable in the females for 

Toes. — Shanks and toes are yellow or dusky yellow. 



The best quality of female must have an even shade of 
gray throughout. Each feather of back, wing-bow and coverts, 
tail-coverts, breast and body, should be penciled with a darker 
shade, which is described as dark penciling; it should not be 
black, because this destroys the even shade of gray so desir- 
able in the plumage of the female of this variety. The Stan- 
dard requires gray, with distinct dark pencilings, outlines of 
which conform to shape of feather; the feathers should be 
free from white shafting. This would indicate that the female 
should be of a gray shade, penciled with a darker shade deep 
enough in color to show the outlines distinctly, and these out- 
lines must conform to the shape of the feather. The breast 
of the female, while usually somewhat lighter in shade just 
below the throat, should deepen into the same shade of color 
down under the body and between the thighs. While the 
fluff is gray penciled with a darker shade in some specimens, 
the shade is with most specimens lighter than in the body 

The penciling of the feathers of the breast and body, the 
wing-bows, and the thighs should have at least three distinct 
rows. Some of the feathers on some specimens have even 
more than this. For illustrations, see Plates 76, 77, 78. 

The Neck. — The neck plumage should be silvery white; 
the center portion of each feather black, slightly penciled with 
gray; the feathers in front of the neck like those on the breast. 
The black centers of the neck feathers should be almost as 
large as the feather and edged with silvery white. The neck 
plumage of the finest females are frequently penciled almost 
as distinctly as are the feathers of the back. See illustration, 
Plate 80, page 257. 

Wings. — Besides the shoulders, bows and coverts, the 
color and markings of which conform with those of breast and 
back and have already been described, the primaries and sec- 
ondaries should be considered when commendable, primaries 
are black with a narrow but distinct single line of gray on 
the edge of the lower web. A correctly marked female flight 
feather is shown in Plate 79. The outer web of each of the 
longer secondaries should be penciled with gray in lines which 
run parallel with the lower or outer edge of the feather. The 
shorter ones or those nearest the body should be penciled on 
that portion of the feather that is exposed to view when held 






in its natural position or, in other words, on the surface. 
Plate 79 shows an illustration of one of the longer secondaries. 

Shank and Toes. — Shanks and toes are yellow or dusky yel- 

The best surface color in females and the best markings 
are associated with a lighter shade of undercolor. (T. F. McG.) 



It should be well understood that the first step for breed- 
ing this variety must be the selection for proper size, shape, 
and general requirements for the breed. 

But, in addition to this, color must have more than ordi- 
nary consideration. There are two systems practiced in the 
breeding of Dark Brahmas, and the same may be followed in 
the breeding of this variety of Plymouth Rocks which corre- 
sponds with the former in plumage. It is needless to say 
more than has been said under these subjects in Part II 
on line-breeding, in-breeding and double-mating, or on the 
general laws of breeding. These three methods of single, inter- 
mediate and double mating seem open to breeders of this 
variety with good promise of success. 

Single Mating. — The simplest and perhaps the best plan 
to follow is to mate together continually, year after year, 
the very best show specimens that are produced in each flock. 

Two Female Color Types. — A system of double mating can 
be practiced in one pen of fowls by hailing a male that pos- 
sesses show qualities to a marked degree mated with three 
or more females that are perfect or nearly perfect, according 
to the Standard description for the female of this variety, 
while in this same pen can be kept one hen or more for the 
purpose of producing exhibition males. This hen must be a 
direct descendant for at least two years, and if for longer she 
is much better for the purpose, from a cockerel breeding line ; 
that is, by knowing the male and females that produce, each 
specimen you can select the hen that produces the best cock- 
erel and mate her or her offspring year by year with the best 
male that is produced from the female line referred to i.i Part 
II as the Intermediate Mating. 



Double Mating. — For extreme double mating, select the 
hens that have produced the best exhibition males and mate 
them with the best exhibition male that you have or that you 
can secure. Toe-mark all the chicks from this mating and 
from them establish a cockerel breeding line ; keep them 
separate and apart and use them only for producing male 
birds for the exhibition. This line should be as carefully sep- 
arated as are the matings to produce cockerels in the Barred 


1 2 3 4 5 



1. Wing primary. 2. Wing secondary. 3. Lower main tail. 
4. Upper main tail. 5. Top tail feather 
(Best obtainable.) 


To produce females of the most beautiful color and mark- 
ings, the best hens should be mated with a male descendant 
from an exhibition female. The offspring from this mating 
should be kept separate and be mated together continually 
year after year; the best females so obtained should be mated 
with the best males that are produced from this same line of 


12 3 4 


Solid, for producing best ex- Penciled, as seen on females, 

hibition males. for producing females with best 

penciled body sections. 

1-2. Solid black stripe, necessar}^ to produce Standard exhibition 
colored hackles on males, 

3-4." Penciled stripe, as found on females possessing the finest 
penciling over breast, back, wing and body sections, necessary to pro- 
duce the best exhibition colored females. 

Note: — This section, neck, presents the most marked variance 
in plumage of the females of the cockerel-breeding and pullet-breed- 
ing lines. A solid black stripe in hackle, especially in the lower portion 
of the lower or longest hackle feathers, is required and very much 
desired in an exhibition male. To obtain such, it is generally neces- 
sary to breed from females that possess the same character. — (Ed.) 




Illustrating defects in color of male as follows: 
Hackle — Weak in striping. 
Shoulders — Irregularly splashed with black. 
Wing-Bows — Splashed with black markings. 
Wing-Bars — Splashed with white. 

Wing-Primaries — White at root, also white at tips. 
Primary Coverts — White tips. 

Wing-Secondaries — White edging in upper secondaries, very ir- 

Saddle Feathers — Weak, indefinite striping. 
Tail-Coverts — Stripe too weak, laced edging irregular. 
Tail, Sickles and Smaller Sickles — White at root. 





Markings on a high-class Standard-bred male: 
Head, Back and Wing-Bows — Clear, silvery white. 

Hackle — Each feather showing clear black striping and silvery white edging. 
Wings — Fronts black ; wing-bars, glossy, greenish black. 

Primaries and Primary Coverts — Black, edged on lower side with silvery white. 
Secondaries — Regularly bordered to form white surface, when folded, except 
upper wing-coverts, where black predominates. 

Saddle — -Each feather clearly striped with black, edged with silvery white. 
Tail-Coverts — Black, edged with silvery white. 
Tail and all Sickles — Glossy, greenish black. 
Breast — Glossy, greenish black. 
Body— Black. 





Illustrating defective female color, as follows: 
Neck feathers weak in striping. 

Back, wing-bows and fluff irregularly and coarsely penciled. 

Shafting showing on the wing-bows; many feathers in back and 
fluff not penciled; penciling lacking in secondaries. 

Primaries do not show the correct gray edging; splashes of white 
and gray at ends of primaries. 




Markings on a high-class. Standard-bred female. 
Head — Silvery gray. 

Xeck — Silvery white, black stripe penciled with gray. 
Wing Primaries — Black, lower edge penciled with gray. 
Tail Proper — Black, penciled with gray. 

All remaining plumage silver-gray, with distinct dark pencilings, 
outlines of which conform very closely to shape of feathers. The 
light and dark pencilings as nearly as possible equal in width, giving a 
steely gray effect, free from buff or brownish color in any part. 



The chicks from both these lines must be toe-marked for 
identification. The males and females from the one line must 
be used for breeding cockerels and cockerel-breeding pullets; 
the males and females from the other line for producing exhi- 
bition females and pullet-breeding males. 

Whenever it may be necessary to introduce new blood 
into either one of these lines, the best hen that can be secured 
from an outside strain that produces good specimens ran be 
introduced into the flock. She can be mated first with the 
male breeding line and a clutch of eggs secured, which can be 
hatched and reared by a mother hen. The best females pro- 
duced from this mating should be mated back to the male 
that produced them. If good specimens of both male and 
female come from the second mating, it will be safe to breed 
this new line into the cockerel line that has been established. 
From the same hen mated to the best pullet-bred cockerel 
eggs may be secured and hatched in like manner, and the best 
pullets from this mating re-mated to the male that produced 
them. The offspring produced from the second mating may 
be bred into the pullet-bred line. (T. F. McG.) 



The influence of the Partridge Cochin that was bred years 
ago into the Dark Brahma, and that of the Partridge Cochin 
bred into the Penciled Wyandottes have cast their shadow 
over the plumage of all American varieties of silver-penciled 
fowls. Although the cross of the Partridge Cochin was made 
with the Dark Brahmas almost fifty years ago, the shading 
of reddish-brown continues to come into the plumage of both 
the male and the female of the Dark Brahmas, and while 
there is much less now than formerly, it still exists. 

The cross of the Partridge Cochin with the Penciled Wyan- 
dottes came in the original process of the penciled varieties. A 
female of the Golden-Penciled or Partridge variety was 
crossed into the Silver-Penciled variety to improve color and 
markings. This was the mistake that was made by one of the 
most successful breeders, and the one who is credited really 
with the best accomplishments toward the establishment of 


Silver-Penciled Wyandottes. The Silver-Penciled Plymouth 
Rocks having descended from the same line of breeding, carry 
with them more or less of this influence, from which reddish- 
brown or brick color is, at times, found in the plumage. This 
color shows much more plainly in both the male and female 
while they still have their chick feathers. 

Perhaps it is this same influence that brings brassiness in 
males and dark shading in the shanks of both males and fe- 
males. Both of these defects are to be deplored; yet they 
exist, and it requires considerable care and judgment to pre- 
vent their increasing or to keep them entirely out of the plu- 
mage of both sexes. Brassiness in the top plumage of the males 
detracts considerably from their appearance, and renders them 
unfit for use in the breeding pen. This same influence makes 
it more difficult to produce clean, clear gray or silver gray in 
the female. 

Other defects that must be avoided are : Too much pencil- 
ing in the neck feathers of the female, any penciling in the 
neck of the male, and too much white in the wings of the 
male. Some of the best females of this variety have almost 
as much penciling in their neck feathers as in the body plu- 
mage ; this shows an excessive amount of penciling and 
detracts from their quality as exhibition specimens. Such 
females may be safely bred to a male not so strongly pen- 
ciled and they may produce females better than they are 
themselves ; but there is danger from the use of such females, 
because, where the lines are not kept perfect, injury may be 
done to an almost perfect male breeding strain by bringing 
this penciling into the neck and plumage of both the male and 
the female of that strain. There is also danger of losing the 
desired penciling in the females unless the lines are kept true 
to blood. 

White in Wings. — Too much white in the feathers of the 
wings of the male is apt to come from the female line, especial- 
ly so if light gray or white undercolor is present in the female 
plumage. To produce males with almost perfect wings re- 
quires the use of both males and females that have slate under- 
color. See illustration, Plate 81 

The Lower Fluff. — Perhaps the most difficult problem is to 
obtain females with even fairly good penciling in the fluff of 
the plumage that covers the abdomen. To have this to any 
extent requires extreme care and watchfulness of the breeding 




Typical modern winning males. Typical modern winning females 
At Madison Square Garden, New York, Dec. 29, 1916-Jan. 3, 1917. 
2nd Cock. 1st Pullet. 1st Cock. 1st Hen. 


lines with the object of producing beautiful color markings or 
pencilings in the feathers throughout the entire body. 

The Tail Feathers. — Some of the most exquisitely penciled 
females, especially in the Dark Brahmas, have gray markings 
in the greater part of all the main-tail feathers. In some in- 
stances these pencilings will show in the smaller sickles and 
coverts of the male, as well as in the breast and body plu- 
mage. These same defects will show in the Silver-Penciled 
Plymouth Rock males that are bred strongly in the female 
producing line, and while such are excellent for breeding 
pullets, they would not be likely to win prizes in the show 
room. (T. F. McG.) 

One of the best examples of the possibility of penciling 
in the neck plumage will be seen in the illustration of the 
Dark Brahma female, in the Standard of Perfection of 1915. 
Less of it is shown in the Silver-Penciled Plymouth Rock fe- 
male of the same Standard ; and while the Standard prescribes 
that the central portion of the neck feathers of the female 
shall be black, slightly penciled with gray, the illustrations 
themselves admit that more of this may come than is de- 
scribed by the Standard description. See illustration, Plate 80. 

(Note. — There is a growing tendency among breeders of 
both Silver-Penciled and Partridge varieties to allow the pen- 
ciling in the neck feathers of the female to become stronger 
and more pronounced, provided they secure the desired pen- 
ciling on the feathers of the other sections. The art of breed- 
ing correct penciling is very similar with both colors, the 
Silver-Penciled and the Partridge, and most of the lessons 
taught in either chapter in this work may be applied to the 
breeding of either of the penciled varieties. — Ed.) 





HE rich, warm colors as exemplified by the red and black 

color patterns of the Partridge varieties of our Standard- 

bred fowls never fail to win the admiration of all lovers 
of the beautiful in animal life. The combined warmth and 
richness of the brilliant-red and glossy-black of Partridge 
males is quite sufficient to arouse the interest of any person 
who has the slightest admiration for feathered pets. None 
the less attractive, and to many even more so, are the unique 
and strikingly beautiful markings of the female sex in the 
charming contrast of rich maghogany-brown and black. 

Further consideration of the intricacies of this color pat- 
tern increases the interest of the student at a pace which ac- 
celerates the more rapidly as these complexities are under- 
stood. The breeding problems, especially when breeding is 
pursued for any length of time and with any degree of suc- 
cess, become so all absorbing that many continue the fasci- 
nating work for life or until some vital occurrence prevents. 

It is not strange, then, that we find admirers of several 
breeds of acknowledged intrinsic merit, of which the Plym- 
outh Rock is an example, endeavoring to make what is known 
to be serviceable beautiful at the same time, by transcribing 
the color and markings of the oldest and best known ex- 
ponent of this particular type of beauty, the Partridge Cochin, 
to breeds of different types and temperaments. Such was the 
incentive behind the originators and early breeders of Par- 
tridge Plymouth Rocks, though to accomplish this self- 
imposed task they adopted different methods and used some- 
what different means. 

The Origin. — It is always difficult to say just who was the 
first to begin the development of any breed, for in nearly all 
instances several breeders are imbued with an idea at about 



the same time. Only a few months or, at the most, a year or 
two separates them at the starting points. It takes several 
years to attract popular attention, and by that time a matter 
of a year or two in priority is difficult to determine. After the 
advent of the Partridge Wyandotte it was but natural that a 
Partridge Plymouth Rock should suggest itself to someone; 
and if to one, why not to several persons? And that appears 
to be just what occurred, for we find records of two or three 
early strains that were developed in the East, and one that was 
originated and developed in the West, all of which became very 
prominent. The incentive in the latter case was the admira- 
tion or love of the originator of this strain for the Partridge 
plumage combined with the desire or necessity of keeping a 
variety that would develop flesh rapidly and that would pro- 
duce large egg yields. This line was originated, developed, 
and bred for many years by S. A. Noftzger of Indiana, and 
for the following facts and particulars we are indebted to 

(Note. — We find this story corroborated in several other 
publications. See catalogue of Mr. M. N. Perkins, of Freeport, 


Acting upon the incentive just related, Partridge Cochin 
females of scanty leg-feathering, which had proved to be great 
layers, were selected as the foundation from which to derive 
the Partridge plumage. The first cross was with a Cornish 
male, then called Indian Game. The following account is 
given in Mr. Noftzger's own words, excepting for a few minor 
alterations in language. 

The Original Cross. — "The first matings were made in 
1898, and consisted of scantily feathered Partridge Cochin 
females and Indian Game males. The female offspring from 
this first cross were mated (in 1899) to Golden Wyandotte 
males, most of which were single-comb sports. The young of 
this second cross were then, in 1900, mated back to the oppo- 
site sex that were bred from the original scantily feathered 
Partridge Cochins. 

"The result of the first cross was quite satisfactory in some 
respects, but simply disheartening in others. It was wonder- 
ful how the feathers disappeared from the shanks, some of the 
first cross being almost free from feathers on legs, but nearly 
every one had the shape and high station of the Game, besides 



the males were almost black in hackle and saddle, and the 
females inclined to open lacing. 

The Second Year. — "How to overcome these defects was 
the problem of the second year. In order to get brighter 
color, Golden Wyandotte males were used, even in prefer- 
ence to Partridge Wyandotte males, because the latter were 
then so dark and devoid of bright color as to make them very 
undesirable to use with fowls already too black. The major- 
ity of these were good in eyes, legs and top color. They were 
mated principally in pairs and trios, but one or two of the 
most desirable males were given an extra female. Some of 
these cockerels had fairly good combs, but most of them 
either had side sprigs or very irregular combs with too many 

''The results from the second year's matings were sur- 
prising. The cockerel line had been improved at the expense 
of the female penciling. For the first time clay breasts ap- 
peared in plenty among the females, but now fowls with even 
stubs were not much in the majority, and shape as well as 
male color, except in breast and body color, which were some- 
what mottled in many cases, was greatly improved. 

The Third Year. — "Aside from color difficulties much 
trouble was found in selecting enough breeding fowls with 
fairly good combs for the third year's matings, for it was 
fully determined to use only the foundation stock. For, while 
some of the matings of the past year had resulted in fairly 
good colored birds of one sex, there were but few that im- 
proved the color in both sexes (reader should note here the 
first inclination to single matings) and strange as it may 
seem, most were troubled with stubs on shanks and toes. 

"The third year nine matings were made, but as all the 
progeny of three pens were sent to market we have to do 
with but six. It might be well to add that each subsequent 
year the number of matings that figured in the production of 
the Partridge Plymouth Rock fowl had a tendency to grow 
less, showing conclusively the wisdom of carrying as many 
matings as possible at the early stages of a new breed of parti- 
colored fowls. For the originator must become more critical 
and may eliminate the ofTspring of whole pens in order to ad- 
vance rapidly. In time it is wise to reject some of the parent 
fowls for breeders, but not until the desired characteristics 
are somewhat established, and only close observation can 
assist in determining when to do this. 


Produced Exhibition Quality. — "The progeny of the six 
fairly successful matings of 1900 showed better color of both 
sexes as a rule and some improvement in comb. At the end 
of this season several specimens of each sex were exhibited 
at small poultry shows, attracted some attention, and several 
sales were made. 

"Realizing the necessity of a sufficient number of matings 
in order to improve rapidly, ten pens were mated in 1901, 
using cock birds and hens for the first time. Special atten- 
tion was given to shape in these matings, with the result that 
little advancement was made in color, but the improvement 
in shape was noticeable. This year was quite discouraging, 
and much of the stock was marketed. On the other hand, 
there was considerable interest shown in the Partridge Plym- 
outh Rock and a number of matings were sold. Some of the 
very best of these were placed in this vicinity, as it was evi- 
dent that their offspring might subsequently be of value in 
getting 'new blood' for future matings. 

More Satisfactory Results. — "A few of the fowls produced 
in 1904 were quite satisfactory. There were now some pretty 
good colored males and fair colored females. As a whole 
they were much better in Rock shape than previously. Several 
birds were sold for breeding purposes. 

"For 1905, six matings were made, using two of the cock 
birds, which had proved to be fine breeders, and four cockerels, 
two each from these two cock birds. With each male were 
from two to four females. In one of these pens a single-comb 
Partridge Wyandotte pullet was placed, keeping her eggs 
separated and carefully marking all her chicks, as had been 
done with all from the beginning. 

"The result this year showed that blood began to tell, for 
the males not only improved, but there were actually some 
good Partridge colored females, while with the exception of 
the chicks from the Wyandotte sport they were fairly good 
in shape. These youngsters were culled down very closely, 
although real culls were now in the minority, and every chick 
with stubs, with other than good shape or with a poor comb 
was discarded. The chicks from the Wyandotte sport, to- 
gether with their mother, were all disposed of, as most of them 
had dark legs and very few of them even passable shape, 
so they were considered worthless as breeders. 

"At minor shows where a few of the best specimens were 
placed on exhibition, the judges complimented their quality, 



and for the first time encouragement was received from ex- 
pert authority. This year inquiries came for the new variety, 
and some nice specimens were mated and sold at good prices. 
During the year Partridge Plymouth Rock fowls were shipped 
to five different states. 

Quality Is Established. — "Eight matings of quite respect- 
able quality were made for 1906. The breeders were actually 
selected for standard requirements and in several of the pens 
as many as five females were used. Even this number in- 
dicated great progress. Those now chosen were of good shape 
and color, and had good bay eyes, as a rule. Owing to the 
foundation stock used, no difficulty had been experienced with 
leg color, so the chicks showed on the whole by far more im- 
provement than at any previous year and were quite even in 
quality. Breeding fowls for next year were selected from 
all these pens. Interest in the new fowls was growing rapidly, 
sales increased proportionately and show birds began to sell. 

"For 1907 ten pens were mated, using sixty females, and 
the new breed made the greatest progress in its history. This 
was natural, however, as several of the matings were headed 
by males richer in color than the Wyandottes, and the females 
were the equal of the other breeds in this respect, while in 
eyes and legs the new breed was better than either Partridge 
Cochins or Partridge Wyandottes. From these matings many 
fine specimens were produced. 

"In one flock of youngsters, hatched from April first to 
April fourteenth, 1906, there were just twenty-four pullets, 
the quality of which was such that every pullet was used for 
breeding purposes. 

"For 1908 fourteen matings were made. These pens pro- 
duced over a hundred choice show fowls, besides numerous 
winners for minor shows, and a number of fine show birds 
won in the hands of fanciers at America's leading exhibi- 
tions. Judges unhesitatingly approved of them. There might 
have been a shorter road to success. It may be that the Par- 
tridge Plymouth Rock could have been produced in less time, 
by simply taking the American Partridge Cochin and breed- 
ing the feathers from the shanks, selecting from time to time 
the specimens with least feathers on legs for the breeders. It 
is noticeable that as the feathers disappear from the legs of 
fowls there is a tendency of the cushions and the depth of 
breast to go with them so that it would have been compara- 
tively easy to have perfected Plymouth Rock shape in this 


way. Or, at the start, by taking Partridge Wyandotte Sports, 
the path might have been temporarily strewn with roses at 
many places where there were thorns only, but in that event 
we would have not have had the true Partridge Rock today." 


While this new variety was being developed as related 
above in the West, Indiana being regarded in New England 
and New York as the West, in consequence of which the 
Noftzger strain is known in the East as the Western strain, 
it was also undergoing the ordeals of a formative period in 
the eastern states, New York and Pennsylvania surely, if not 
in others. 

George H. Brackenbury of Auburn, N. Y., who was so 
prominent in the origin and development of the Partridge and 
Silver-Penciled Wyandottes, in the American Fancier of Jan- 
uary 1900-1901, credits E. O. Thiem with being the first to 
breed this variety, but states that he had some time before 
discontinued and gives real credit to Dr. W. C. Crocker of 
Foxboro, Mass., with being the first to establish a true strain 
of Partridge Plymouth Rocks. W. F. Fotterall, the owner 
of Hillcrest Farm, also credits the same party, but states that 
the first he ever saw were shown by R. G. Buffington of Fall 
River, Mass. Mr. Buffington's name appears in other pages 
of this work as one of the originators or early breeders of 
Buff Plymouth Rocks. Originating or developing a new 
variety was a constant occupation of Mr. Buffington's through- 
out life. 

The Dr. Crocker referred to relates his experience in the 
Poultry Tribune of 1904. From this it appears that he had 
bred Partridge Cochins in the early seventies, 1870, and while 
he admired their plumage, he came to the conclusion that 
he wanted an up-to-date American fowl and formed a con- 
ception of his ideal. As he told it, "It was one with the beau- 
tiful plumage of the Partridge Cochins, but without feathers 
on the shank to be draggled in the mud and filth, and second, 
my ideal fowl must be an active, up-to-date, wide-awake Amer- 
ican fowl, and not so lazy that it had to be put to bed on 
the roost every night." 

Dropping the breeding of poultry for a few years. Dr. 
Crocker in 1899 took up the project of creating his ideal fowl 
as above outlined. He began with two Partridge Cochins. 



From these accounts it appears that the honor of originat- 
ing Partridge Plymouth Rocks is really divided between the 
Eastern and Western strains, as they were afterwards known, 
or the Crocker and Noftzger strains. According to these ac- 
counts, Mr. Noftzger made the first mating with a Partridge 
Plymouth Rock in mind only one year before Dr. Crocker 
began breeding with the same ideal in mind. YYe are very 
fortunate to have these accounts by the originators them- 
selves, preserved in such a manner that certain uncertainties 
that hang over the ancestry of some of our American varieties 
do not obscure the lineage of this one. 

One strain is Partridge Cochins, Dark Cornish and Golden 
Wyandottes together, while the other is a composite of Par- 
tridge Cochin, Golden Wyandotte, Brown Leghorn and 
Golden-Penciled Hamburg blood. The former would seem 
to be superior in flesh and the latter in laying qualities, as 
it has the blood of two of the best of laying breeds in its make- 
up. Partridge Cochin blood was so predominant in both, 
however, that one should expect a very great resemblance to 
that variety in form as well as in color. 


Though not real originators, but still so intimately as- 
sociated with the early development of this variety and so 
nearly contemporary with the originators that they are 
classed as pioneers, are several other breeders who were 
making Partridge Plymouth Rocks by methods of their own 
very soon after Crocker and Noftzger had started theirs. 
Among these, the most prominent, perhaps, and one that was 
exhibited constantly until very recently, was the Hillcrest 


This strain was created and developed by W. F. Fotterall, 
of Philadelphia, on his estate at Oakland, Pa. Mr. Fotterall 
states that prior to 1902 he had tried to produce Partridge 
Plymouth Rocks by several different crosses. Finally, two 
crosses, first, Brown Leghorn and Partridge Cochins, and 
second, Barred Plymouth Rocks and Partridge Cochins were 
made, and the progeny mated together the following year. 
The females obtained from this mating were then mated with 


a cock bird that was a cross of Brown Leghorn with Par- 
tridge Cochin. 

At this stage Mr. Fotterall bred birds obtained from 
Buffington and others with his own up to within less than a 


Mr. J. A. Hageman, of Michigan, originated and developed 
what he termed a laying strain of Partridge Plymouth Rocks 
early in the history of the variety. According to his account, 
his strain was developed by amalgamating the result of a 
cross of Partridge Cochins and Brown Leghorns made by 
W. H. Bryan, of Brooksfield, Mich., and of another cross of 
Partridge Cochins and Indian Games, now known as Cornish, 
by Mr. F. H. Lynd, Middleville, Mich., with Partridge Plym- 
outh Rock blood supplied from the flock of a Mr. Randall, of 
Mt. Pleasant, Mich., which flock, however, Mr. Hageman 
opines is nothing more nor less than Partridge Wyandottes 
breeding, using, of course, the single-comb sports. 

Similarity Between the Old and New Varieties. — This 
statement of Mr. Hageman gives evidence that the Brown 
Leghorn and Cornish blood cross is employed in more than 
one instance. This is not surprising, as the striking simi- 
larities between the plumage of the Brown Leghorn and the 
Partridge Cochin males and the not very unlike plumage of 
the females of these two varieties, taken together with the 
fact that the type sought, Plymouth Rock, is about a mean 
beween the Leghorn and the Cochin, suggests very favorably 
the possibilities of such a cross. The possibilities of a Cornish 
cross, too, are clearly apparent because of certain similarities, 
particularly the shade of color of both male and female and 
the penciling of the latter, very similar in fact, though not 
of the required number. 

It is noteworthy that each one of the originators and early 
breeders lays great stress on the efforts made to quickly per- 
fect type by selecting only those specimens that were the 
best Plymouth Rock shape. The impression given is that 
type was ever given the preference over color and penciling, 
but to some of those who have watched the variety develop, 
and not only this but other penciled varieties, it appears that 
many sacrifices in type must have been made for the sake 
of true pencilings, that is, unless type refers to comb. 





Positive white in main tail feathers, sickles or secondaries ; 
shanks other than yellow or dusky yellow. (See general and 
Plymouth Rock disqualifications.) 


Head. — Plumage, bright red. 

Beak. — Dark horn, shading to yellow at point. 

Eyes. — Reddish-bay. 

Comb, Face, Wattles and Ear-Lobes. — Bright red. 

Neck. — Hackle, web of feather solid, lustrous greenish- 
black, with a narrow edging of rich, brilliant red, uniform in 
width, extending around point of feather; shaft, black - plu- 
mage in front of hackle, black. 

Wings. — Fronts, black ; bow, rich, brilliant red ; coverts, 
lustrous greenish-black, forming a well defined bar of this 
color across wings when folded ; primaries, black, lower edges, 
reddish bay ; secondaries, black, outside webs, reddish bay, 
terminating with greenish-black at end of each feather. 

Back. — Rich, brilliant red with lustrous greenish-black 
stripe down the middle of each feather, same as in hackle. 

Tail. — Black ; sickles and smaller sickles, lustrous greenish- 
black ; coverts, lustrous greenish-black, edged with rich, bril- 
liant red. 

Breast. — Lustrous black. 

Body and Fluff.— Body, black ; fluff, black, slightly tinged 
with red. 

Legs and Toes.— Thighs, black; shanks and toes, yellow. 
Undercolor of All Sections. — Slate. 


Head. — Plumage, mahogany-brown. 

Beak. — Dark horn, shading to yellow at point. 

Eyes. — Reddish-bay. 

Comb, Face, Wattles and Ear Lobes. — Bright red. 

Neck. — Reddish-bay, center portion of feathers black, 


slightly penciled with mahogany-brown, feathers in front of 
neck, same as breast. 

Wings. — Shoulders, bows and coverts, mahogany-brown, 
penciled with black, outlines of pencilings conforming to shape 
of feathers ; primaries, black with edging of mahogany-brown 
on outer webs ; secondaries, inner webs, black, outer webs 
mahogany brown, penciled with black, outlines of pencilings 
conforming to shape of feathers. 

Back. — Mahogany-brown, distinctly penciled with black, 
the outlines of pencilings conforming to shape of feathers. 

Tail. — Black, the two top feathers penciled with mahogany- 
brown on upper edge ; coverts, mahogany-brown penciled with 

Breast. — Mahogany-brown, distinctly penciled with black, 
the outlines of pencilings conforming to shape of feathers. 

Body and Fluff. — Body, mahogany-brown, penciled with 
black ; fluff, mahogany-brown. 

Legs and Toes. — Thighs, mahogany-brown, penciled with 
black ; shanks and toes, yellow or dusky yellow. 

Under-Color of All Sections. — Slate. 

Note — Each feather in back, breast, body, wing-bows, and 
thighs to ha\^e three or more distinct pencilings. 


The Desired Shades. — There are, or should be, but two 
colors in an ideal Partridge male and there should be but one 
shade of each color. 

The neck or hackle, shoulder or wing-bow, back, saddle, 
and saddle hangers may be called the red sections, though 
we must understand that the Standard requires that each 
feather in neck, back and saddle should be striped with black. 

The Correct Shade of Red. — The red is nevertheless the 
color that is responsible for our first impression because it is 
visible at as great a distance as the bird itself. For this reason, 
the correct shade of red for the sections enumerated above will 
be first considered. To use the words of the Standard, these 
sections should be "rich, brilliant red." The term "rich" as 
used in such a connection is taken to mean deep, or dark, per- 
haps. This description would exclude a light, thin, or shallow 
color, such as would suggest a mixture of yellow. Even what 
is known as orange shades would not meet the requirements. 
The word "rich" alone might also, as understood in this con- 






nection, lead us to produce some very deep or dark shades of 
red but for the fact that when the red becomes too dark it ob- 
scures the black striping in hackle and saddle which, in the 
eyes of most breeders and fanciers, mars the beauty by dimin- 
ishing the brilliancy of the plumage. For this reason, the mod- 
ifying word "brilliant" is included in the Standard description. 
When the red becomes so dark in shade that it obscures the 
black striping, it becomes dull — perhaps dingy describes its 
appearance more fittingly — and the color is therefore no longer 
brilliant and fails to meet the Standard description, which pre- 
vents variation within these limits that, either the red must 
have body enough or must be dark or deep enough to be "rich," 
but not so dark that it is not "brilliant." 

The red shade which is preferred is perhaps difficult to de- 
scribe, and perhaps it is as fair to make a statement to the ef- 
fect that there is one opinion as to the shade of color among 
breeders, as to state that all the males are of one shade in 
plumage. The "rich, brilliant red" demanded by the Standard 
certainly gives a positive idea as to color, but one cannot from 
this description settle upon an exact shade that is to be pre- 
ferred to all others. From the word "rich," one is justified in 
ruling against the yellowish shades of red, and because of the 
"brilliant," one can conclude that too dark or dull shades are 
not to be given preference. It seems that what we might, for 
lack of a better term, designate as a "happy medium" is per- 
haps the desired shade, for all agree that the yellowish shades 
are not desired and very dark shades make dull and unattrac- 
tive plumage. As a guide as to whether the red shades are be- 
coming too dark or not, the degree in which they obscure the 
black striping in neck, back and saddle may be considered. A 
sufficient contrast between the red and black to enable the ob- 
server to distinguish between them, upon fairly close inspec- 
tion only, should be maintained. 

Correct Striping. — In order to maintain the desired con- 
trast, two essential color characteristics must be maintained. 
First, as already pointed out, the red must be of the desired 
shade and not too dull. Second, the black stripe must be a lus- 
trous, greenish black, sometimes described as a metallic black. 

Neck. — The striping in this section should be sound, that 
is, unbroken ; as explained, the stripes should possess a green- 
ish lustre and should be found even in the smaller feathers near 
the head. Too often, only the larger and longer feathers at 
the base of the neck are thus striped. 


Broken stripes are often seen and very often in males that 
are from well penciled females. This is another characteristic 
that breeders who are endeavoring to produce strongly pen- 
ciled females like to see in a male because it indicates strong 
penciling in the ancestry. It is not an exhibition quality, how- 
ever, especially when it appears near the lower end of the 
feather. (See illustration, Plate 88.) 

The Border. — JBrilliant red should run evenly down the side 
of that portion that is known as the surface, and also around 
the end of each feather. That is, the black stripe should termi- 
nate in a V-shaped point near the end of each feather, not at the 


i r R 3 J H 

(From different individuals.) 

1. Weak Stripe. 2. Too dark, black running into fringe. 3. Fairly 
good. 4. Idealized. 



end. Black often runs through to the border, forming a black 
edge at the tip. This is undesirable, and while a little black 
edging will be tolerated for the sake of strong striping, any 
noticeable amount is discounted heavily. Occasionally a male, 
that is otherwise very good indeed, will have a neck so very 
strongly black that a ring of this color is formed at the base, 
where it meets the shoulder. This defect alone makes a male 
practically worthless. 

The shafts, particularly in the lower portion of the feathers, 
should be black. 

Back and Saddle Striping. — In this section, the same mark- 
ings and the same shades of color as in the hackle should be 


(From different individuals.) 

1. Weak stripe. 2. Too dark, black running into fringe. 3. Fairly 
good. 4. Idealized. 


found. The striping in the broad feathers of the back will, of 
course, and should be much broader than those in the hackle. 
The striping on the narrow feathers of the saddle will be nar- 
rower but both should be sound, that is, unbroken and pos- 
sess that metallic luster which creates such a pleasing contrast 
between the rich red and the lustrous black. The same state- 
ments about the character of the striping and the relations be- 
tween the borders, edging and color of the shaft that were 
made about the hackle, apply to the back and saddle. See il- 
lustration, Plate 89.) 

The Wings. — The shoulder is rich, brilliant red without 
black markings and, as stated, should be of the same shade as 


1 2 3 


1. Wing Bow. Black, broad, arrow-shaped marking at base of 
web. Web and fringe rich, brilliant red. 

2. Back. Broad, black stripe of black, well-pointed, following 
quill nearly to tip. Fringe, rich brilliant red. 

3. Breast. Lustrous greenish black. All underflufT, slate color. 



the other red sections. Very often it is of a deeper shade, which 
fault must be corrected as far as possible by breeding. The 
coverts are greenish-black, forming a well-outlined bar across 
the wing. This line between the wing-bow and wing-bar is 
one of the beauty points of the male if it is distinctly outlined, 
as it should be. When seen at its best, this line is not only 
sharply defined, but very regular in outline, either running 
across the wing or curving slightly ; either line if regular and 
distinct is very beautiful. The wing-bay should also be sharply 
defined, though but little difficulty is experienced in this par- 


12 3 4 

1. Primary. 2. Secondary. 3. Top main-tail. 4. Main-tail. 



ticular. The wing-bay is about the same shade as the shoul- 
ders, but seldom shows luster and frequently is lighter than 
the other red sections. (See illustration, Plate 86.) 

The wing-bows should be of the same shade of bright, rich 
red that is found in head, neck and saddle sections. The fronts 
of the wings should be black, showing a decided greenish lus- 
ter; the primaries black with the lower side of the feathers 
edged with bay; secondaries, upper part black and lower side 
with sufficient bay to form a beautiful triangle when wing is 
folded. The end of each of the secondaries should terminate 
with greenish black. (See illustration, Plate 91.) 


12 3 4 


1. Solid, single stripe down center, edging of reddish bay, most 
desirable for breeding exhibition males. 

2. Double penciling, solid center stripes, edging reddish bay. 

3. Double penciling, light colored quill, edging reddish bay. 

4. Triple penciling. Quill red in undercolor, edging reddish bay, 
most desirable in females for breeding exhibition females. 



Legs and Toes. — The thigh is, of course, subject to the rule 
which governs the other black sections. The legs and toes 
should be yellow, but some of the richest colored and best pen- 
ciled strains still show dark color on the shanks and toes. 

The Lower Sections. — The under sections, breast, body and 
fluff, should all be lustrous, greenish black. The best example 
of what the color of these sections should be will be found in 
the tail, which is most often highly lustrous. Brown is permit- 
ted in the fluff and is often seen in the rear body feathers. 
Breeders rather like its presence in the latter section as it 
seems prevalent in lines or strains that produce strongly pen- 
ciled females. 

The faults of the black section are purple sheen and bronze 
bars, both of which are highly objectionable. This will be 
well understood after consulting the chapter in the Standard 
on "Cutting for Defects." 


The novice would hardly regard the female of the Partridge 
varieties as of the same variety as the male, so different are 
the males and females in both color and markings, and we 
must note at once the change in the Standard color require- 
ments from the rich, brilliant red of the males to the mahog- 
any-brown of the females. 

The Color of Female. — The Partridge female is or should 
be most uniform in color of all plumage, as one description 
answers for all sections of plumage except the neck. Mahog- 
any-brown penciled with black is the color description for all 
sections. The head is mahogany-brown, much like the body 
sections. Only for the neck do we find a different color de- 
scription and a different color term, golden bay. 

Penciling surreptitiously appears in the neck, the one lone 
section in which it was not required. The beauty of the neck, 
according to the old ideal, was thus sacrificed to contribute to 
the beauty of the other sections. That being the object, ideals 
as to the particular form and number of pencilings have become 
very definite or exact. If these conform to the shape of the 
feather, without any breaks, so much the better, but regular- 
ity in penciling is usually given but slight notice, so if the 
neck has a single penciling, well and good, if as a rarity, two, 
so much the better. On a small feather the three that are 
required can hardly be expected and but rarely occur. 



The plumage is uniform in pattern in nearly all sections, 
that is, nearly all the sections are alike in color and markings. 
Only the neck and larger feathers of wing and tail are excep- 
tions to this, and even these features show a tendency to follow 
the color patterns of the feathers of the other sections. This 
tendency is very pleasing to all breeders of penciled varieties, 



1. On lower (left hand) edge, nearly parallel, then turning irreg- 
ularly outward to edge, on upper side breaks up into irregular cross 
penciling, which should be nearly solid black except near end of the 
smaller upper secondaries. 

2. Is barred instead of penciled parallel to edge. 

3. Penciling runs parallel to edge nearly all through lower (left 
hand) web. Approaches ideal marking. 





Male: 1. Primary. 2. Secondary. Exhibition specimens. 
Female: 3. Primary. 4. Secondary. Exhibition specimens. 


and proportionately as such a tendency manifests itself. ( See 
illustrations, Plates 92 and 93.) 

The Desired Shade. — This must, of course, be carefully 
considered. For the color of the wing-bow, secondaries, back, 
tail-coverts, breast and body, the Standard requires a rich, ma- 
hogany-brown. Obviously, this term allows some latitude 
for individual preference and, as the writer looks at the matter, 
there is no objection to that, rather the contrary, because it will 
be a regrettable occurrence when color requirements are made 
so arbitrary that breeders cannot play their fancies within reas- 
onable limits in this particular. Furthermore, judging for color 
may be overdone and very easily, as frequently has been the 
case when the Standard has described the color over-exactly. 

We may state, then, that the shades of mahogany-brown as 
they appear even upon different winning individuals vary 
somewhat, some being a little lighter, approaching, perhaps, a 
deep orange-red, others being very much darker or richer, the 
latter being the term commonly used by breeders and exhibit- 
ors of these varieties. The lighter shades are popular with some 


1 2 3 



1. Upper breast. 2. Lower breast. 3. Back 



because the darker pencilings are, on account of greater con- 
trast, more prominent. Though this feature is conceded an im- 
portant one by all, others favor the deeper and richer, that is, 
the darker shades which undoubtedly are regarded with great- 
er favor by a majority of breeders, exhibitors and judges. This 
is an indication that the deeper shades in the eyes of a greater 
number are more beautiful. 

Pencilings Required. — The markings of the sections named 
in the preceding paragraphs are known among breeders and 
described in the Standard as pencilings. Of these, we have 
two forms ; the crescentic, the pattern which conforms to the 
outline of the feathers, and the straight across, which runs at 
right angles with the shape of the feathers. The pencilings of 
the Partridge feathers take the crescentic form. (See illustra- 
tion, Plates 95 and 96.) 

That these pencilings should be distinct and regular is the 
crowning ambition of all breeders of all Partridge varieties. 


1 2 3 


1. Cushion. 2. Wing-bow. 3. Wing-bar. 



Showing different forms of irregular pencilings in different sections. 





UPPER ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT — 1. Shows about the right proportion of 
brown and black. The break in outline of the center penciling is a defect. 2. Too 
much brown. Outlines of pencilings good. 3. Too narrow brown pencilings. Too 
few pencilings, being two only. Center penciling badly broken. 4. Brown pencil- 
ings too narrow, and too few, leaving too much of the web black This is one 
example of coarse penciling. 5. Slightly different form of number four. 

SECOND ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT— 6. Brown pencilings, too narrow and 
very faulty in outline, do not follow the outline of feather. 7. Brown penciling 
entirely absent. 8. Brown penciling straight across, not the crescentic shape. 
Usually seen on young pullets before adult plumage is developed. 9. A long feather 
near the junction of back and tail, showing penciling without the crescentic form, 
more resembling coarse striping than penciling. 10. Top, main-tail feather, showing 
irregularities in penciling on upper web. Also, penciling on lower web not re- 
quired by the Standard, therefore a defect technically, though not objected to very 
seriously, if at all, by breeders. 11. Main-tail feather showing brown patches and 
little penciling. Main-tail feathers, except the top ones, should be black. 


Many qualities are sacrificed to obtain these peculiar and 
unique markings. Even the shade of color is of secondary im- 
portance, and it is a noteworthy fact that the longer one breeds 
this variety, the more he admires and strives to produce these 
pencilings in the highest state of perfection ; and in natural 
consequence, he comes to regard the exact shade of mahog- 
any as of correspondingly less importance. (See illustration, 
Plates 97 and 98 for examples of irregular penciling.) 

The Markings Required. — As already stated, these should 
conform to the outline of the feather. This is true of the sur- 
ace of the feather, and a little below. The undercolor or fluff 
should be a slaty color. 

The Undercolor. — Formerly, considerable importance was 
attached to the shade of slate below the surface, but of late 
little attention is paid to that feature. The regularly and 
strongly penciled surface is what is desired — and for under- 
color? Why, take whatever comes with the surface, which is 
usually slate of one shade or another, is the line of reasoning 
usually applied by breeders. To be a little more explicit : Dark 
slate undercolor was formerly desired very much because it 
was thought that by breeding for and from specimens that 
possessed it. the disqualifying white, so prone to appear in 
males, was most effectively eliminated. The fundamental 
reason why it is no longer insisted upon lies in the fact that 
the best penciled specimens are inclined to have light slate in 
the undercolor and males from the best specimens may have 
light slate, or even white, at the base of the feathers, yet both 
would be tolerated for the sake of producing superior female 
plumage. Another reason is that more brilliant surface color 
accompanies the lighter shades of undercolor ; or, at least, many 
think so. 

The Color of the Pencilings. — Because the ground color of 
mahogany-brown is marked with broad, black lines or nar- 
row bands, which, when approximately ideal, may have the 
appearance of having been sketched with a pencil, these mark- 
ings are known as pencilings. 

To be ideal, the color must be black. This quality gives 
strength to the pencilings, by virtue of the strong contrast, 
as true black give prominence to the pencilings. Lustrous, 
greenish-black pencilings sometimes appear and are very 
pretty, though the Standard does not require penciling of 
such pronounced black. Brown shades or any shade that 
gives the penciling a weak, or, as fanciers express it, a 



"washed out" appearance, are not desired for the reason that 
there is little contrast between the mahogany ground color 
and the pencilings. 

Irregularities of Pencilings. — Aside from being weak in 
color, irregularities take many and varied forms. In substance, 
however, one description, namely, failing to follow the outline 
of the feather, covers them all. Occasionally, pencilings will 
vary so from their true course that they will run straight 
across the feathers as barring does. This is far from what is 
desired. Other pencilings will break, leaving a space, while 
others zig-zag around instead of having a clean, straight out- 
line. Again, one edge, usually the outer, will have sharp defi- 
nition, while the other is inclined to rather gradually run into 
the ground color. All these faults and others must be bred 
out by selection of both male and female parents. (See il- 
lustration, Plate 97.) 

Too Few Pencilings. — The Standard requires each feath- 
er in the penciled sections to have three or more distinct pen- 
cilings. As a rule, when the pencilings are more than this 
number, they are not as distinct as if reduced to three or less. 
The fewer the pencilings, the more prominent they become 
because they are heavier or coarser. Fineness is usually ac- 
quired at the expense of prominence, and on this point some 
difference of opinion has existed as to which characteristic 
was the most desirable. The advocates of fine pencilings have 
proven to be the most numerous as well as the most influential. 
This much can be said as to the merits of each side in the 
controversv. Both were trying for an attribute that created 
beauty. The question was, which type was the most strik- 
ing? The advocates of more pencilings won because of the 
particularly pleasing effect of the remarkable regularity of 
the unique markings in even and richly contrasting colors. 




The widely divergent shades found on the male and female 
of this variety, to which attention has already been called, 
together with the complicated and intricate system of mark- 
ings of the female plumage make the Partridge Plymouth 
Rock one of the most difficult varieties in the Standard to 
breed to an approximate degree of perfection. Therefore, ex- 
perience and skill in selecting and mating on the part of the 
breeder are assets of considerable value. 

The Partridge variety of any and all breeds furnishes one 
of the most pronounced examples of the necessity of double- 
mating, according to the principles of mating as related in 
Part Two, that a special mating for each sex is necessary 
when the sexes have different color patterns. In neither color 
nor in markings are the Partridge sexes alike. If one is not 
familiar with the Partridge markings, it is inconceivable that 
males with solid colored feathers m breast, shoulders, wing 
and tail coverts will breed females, the feathers of which sec- 
tions are of two widely contrasting colors, and furthermore, 
diverge so widely from a solid colored web as to show three 
distinct crescentic pencilings. Yet, a knowledge of the differ- 
ence in color and color patterns of male and female in Par- 
tridge varieties was handed down to us with our first informa- 
tion about Asiatic fowls. 

Single Matings. — Many of the breeders today practice or 
claim to practice single mating. The requirements of the 
latest (1915) Standard are much more favorable to this meth- 
od than were the Standards before. First, because penciled 
necks are permitted on the females. It has always been diffi- 
cult to breed penciling in all soft and semi-soft feathers, ex- 
cept those of the neck and exclude it from those. By accept- 
ing necks that are slightly penciled, we receive more and bet- 
ter pencilings in all other sections. Second, because the males 
that are the sons of the best penciled females have also been 
prone to show brown edging in the soft fluff feathers, which 
the present standard allows, and very often, also, in the 
breast, we have a beginning toward the acceptance of 
the son of the best penciled female as the ideal male. 
But this son of the female goes further and has more 
or less brown in the rear-body feathers, and sometimes in 



breast, and the striping in hackle and saddle is sometimes 
broken and weak, failing in continuity and lacking in strength, 
intensity and lustre. Often, only at the end and then for no 
greater extent than an inch or less does a real stripe appear. 
So that if we adhere to the ideals of old, or to present ideals 
in males, there are still advantages to be gained by the double- 
mating system, because we can more easily conform to Stand- 
ard requirements in these sections, that is, we can more 
easily obtain solid black breasts, and rear body sections, as 
well as stronger or more metallic striping in male hackles and 

The Popularity of Single Matings. — Some breeders object 
to double matings because amateurs cannot understand them, 
and small breeders have no room for them. This causes the 
novice to look for simpler problems, or, in other words, to 
take up the breeding of some variety regarded as less difficult. 
The idea is prevalent that double mating is a disadvantage to 
any variety. Single mating is then practiced to create or 
maintain popularity rather than to produce superior speci- 
mens. As a commercial expediency, it may be wisdom to 
develop Partridge Rocks along single mating lines. That will 
manifestly depend upon the sentiment of the times. This 
much is granted, that as long as breeders will adhere to the 
practice of single matings, they will meet in the show room 
upon even ground, because all their specimens will be pro- 
duced by single mating. There can be no complaint of un- 
fair advantages. In breeding, much attention must be paid 
to the penciling and color of the females. Should the develop- 
ment of these female characters produce males that are not 
of sufficient exhibition merit to be satisfactory to the breeder, 
it is obvious that females with stronger striping and with 
less penciling in the hackle must be selected to produce males 
of greater exhibition merit. 

The Ideal Mating. — The mating sought at the present 
time is one that will produce both exhibition males and fe- 
males of sufficient quality to win. Such a mating usually 
consists of a male of rich red, though not dark enough nor 
deep enough in shade to obscure the black stripe in neck 
and saddle ; as even in the red shade of neck, shoulders, back 
and saddle as possible ; with some red in fluff feathers, and 
possibly a little in body and lower breast feathers may be 
tolerated in many matings and even sought in a few. Such a 
male is now considered fairly good exhibition color, not- 


withstanding minor discrepancies when compared with the 
Standard description. It will be noticed that the fluff or soft 
feathers back of and between the thighs may be "tinged with 
red." Generally, the red extends beyond these limits and is 
found in the body feathers. This is tolerated by most judges, 
though not permitted in the words of the Standard as inter- 
preted literally, because penciling is both desired and re- 
quired in this section of the female plumage and it is con- 
ceded that females with pencilings which extend well to the 
rear of the body produce males with red in this section. In 
a general way, it may be stated that the sires and brothers 
of the most perfectly and consistently penciled females show 
considerable red in those sections that correspond to the pen- 
ciled sections of the females, breast and wing coverts pos- 
sibly excepted ; though the better the pencilings of these fe- 
male sections, the more apt are the corresponding sections 
on the sires and brothers to show red or brown. (See illustra- 
tion, Plate 99.) 

The female desired to mate to such a male is the one that 
conforms most closely to the Standard of Perfection in color 
and markings, and shape also, of course, but this feature 
is treated under that head, and one treatise does for all varie- 
ties of Plymouth Rocks. 

The Standard Partridge Plymouth Rock female should 
present a rich, glossy appearance. In color she should be 
neither too light nor too dark. 

The penciling in each penciled section should follow the 
general profile of the feathers and consist of three or more 
distinct pencilings; each feather free from shafting; and the 
feathers in each penciled section to be a rich mahogany- 
brown, penciled with black. 

The head should be a mahogany brown ; the neck feathers 
bright red, closely matching the shade of color desired on 
the neck of the male ; wing bows, back, breast, tail coverts, 
body, fluff and thighs a rich, mahogany-brown, penciled with 
black ; the wing primaries black, with an edging of mahogany- 
brown on the outer web ; the inner web of the secondaries, 
black ; the outer web, mahogany-brown penciled with black. 

The main tail feathers black, except that the two top 
feathers should be mahogany-brown on upper edge. (See 
illustration, Plate 100.) 

Beak, eyes, comb, face, wattles, ear lobes, shanks and toes 
should be the same color as that required for the male. 




Different interpretations will, naturally, be placed upon 
such color terms as reddish-bay and mahogany-brown, but 
on the whole, breeders, exhibitors and judges agree very well 
as to the correct and incorrect shades. Lighter shades of 
mahogany-brown are, of course, preferred if the male is in- 
clined to be too dark and darker and richer shades if the male 
of the mating is rather too light or bright. Females that have 
the required number of distinct pencilings which conform 
closely to the outline of the feather and which are carried 
out in detail in all sections, particularly in body and thighs 
in which the penciling is usually the weakest, are as highly 
prized for breeding as for exhibition purposes, and even more 
so, though they may be one or two shades removed from the 
shade of mahogany-brown most accepted as ideal, and will be 
selected for the best matings. 

The conclusion will be rightly drawn that such matings 
will produce splendid females, but there must exist a tendency 
toward weak hackle and saddle striping which may become so 
much in evidence that the high quality of the males is very 
seriously impaired. 

In that case, and if one is determined to breed males of 
the highest exhibition merit, special matings for that purpose 
must be employed. (See illustration, Plate 101.) 

Of the male for this mating little or nothing need be added 
to the description in the Standard of Perfection and the ex- 
planations already offered herein. It is merely necessary to 
repeat the old rule so often repeated, to use the best male 
available, that is, the one that most nearly conforms to the 
Standard requirements, other qualities, particular lines of 
breeding and length of the breeding lines being on par. This 
means one with a strongly striped saddle as well as hackle 
and solid, lustrous black breast, body and wing-bar. (See 
illustration, Plate 103.) 

The females selected would, of course, as far as the color 
is considered, be those which had particularly rich, red color 
and strength of black striping in the neck. In making selec- 
tions for richness of color, do not overlook the short, small 
feathers under the throat. A rich color or medium to rather 
rich shade is very desirable for females that are to be used 
for breeding exhibition males exclusively. (See illustration, 
Plate 102.) 

A Word of Caution. — "Two dangers must be avoided if we 
wish to succeed, either in perfecting or improving fancy fowls. 


One is mating those with the same defect, and the other is 
going outside of a strain for mew blood'. One is equally 
as disastrous as the other. This idea of getting stock of abso- 
lutely no relation to the fowls with which they are to be mated 
has ruined more good flocks than we at first imagine. It is 
almost a custom, and the idea that it is necessary is prevalent, 
even among fanciers, while the very opposite is the case. Sel- 
dom, although practiced with the very oldest breeds, will mat- 
ings of entirely different strains of a breed produce much bet- 
ter than culls, and their progeny is very inferior foundation 
stock. Careful observation and experience with nearly half 
the varieties of pure bred poultry convince me that there are 
as few exceptions to this as other rules." (S. A. Noftzger.) 

The greater the difficulties presented by a variety in breed- 
ing, the greater the care should be to practice the above prin- 
ciples of breeding. 

As to Both Sexes. — "There is no question but that some 
fanciers select their fowls of this breed too dark, both male and 
female, while in other sections of the country the color of both 
sexes is without doubt too light. There is a rich, bright, me- 
dium color for the male and an exquisite, glossy mahogany 
for the female that should be universally adopted, and when 
all become better posted in this respect, the high color of 
the 'Beauty Breed' will be more appreciated." (S. A. 



PLATE 103 


1. Saddle feathers. Solid black stripe. 

2. Breast. Solid lustrous black. 

3. Wing-bar. Solid, lustrous greenish black. 

PLATE 104 

Upper right hand, a Garden winner. 

Other models furnished by State Agricultural College of Minne- 




THIS and the Partridge Plymouth Rocks are the latest 
among- the Plymouth Rock varieties to receive Stand- 
ard recognition. By accepting the variety prefix "Co- 
lumbian," which up to that time applied only to the variety 
of Wyandottes which carries the same color scheme as the 
Light Brahma, a term was established that is now universally 
understood to be applicable to all varieties of all breeds which, 
now or will hereafter, bear the color scheme of that old and 
much admired Asiatic variety. The term Columbian had al- 
ready been applied to a variety of Wyandottes which made 
their first appearance in 1893, the year of the World's Fair at 
Chicago, known as the Columbian Exposition, was in progress 
and from that fact the term was, seemingly, appropriately 
applied to this, then a new variety. 

The Incentive. — The incentive back of the endeavor to 
effect a creation of this kind in life is apparent to all who 
understand poultry problems. It was but another attempt to 
transfer beautiful plumage to a type that had already proven 
most useful. On the one hand we have a color design best 
exemplified by the Light Brahma fowl, the plumage of which 
is a wonderfully effective and striking combination of black 
and white. All concede its wonderful beauty which had held 
from the time of its introduction, the admiration of poultry 
fanciers, breeders and the public generally, yet it is a fowl 
which is adaptable to special purposes under special condi- 
tions. It is the largest and most magnificent of our recog- 
nized varieties, but it is known that the larger the fowl, the 
longer the time required for maturity, all conditions being 
the same. The variety did not, therefore, meet the demands 
of some of its admirers in that it was not a variety that was 
included, commonly, among the general-purpose breeds. A 



general purpose fowl with the same color scheme was but the 
natural desire of those who admired the plumage of the Light 
Brahma. Plymouth Rocks had proved their worth and pop- 
ularity as such, and those who desired a general purpose fowl 
with 'Light Brahma plumage, naturally thought of a Ply- 
mouth Rock-Light Brahma combination or amalgamation. 
This idea can hardly be called purely original, inasmuch as 
this identical task had been before successfully accomplished 
by breeders of Columbian Wyandottes. and this accomplish- 
ment may have convinced Plymouth Rock admirers that the 
same color scheme could be transferred to their chosen fav- 
orite. We have noticed, heretofore, that the later Plymouth 
Rock varieties did not originate as early as the corresponding 
varieties of Wyandottes. as well as the fact that there are 
not as many of them. This does not. necessarily, indicate a 
lack of interest or initiative on the part of Plymouth Rock 
breeders ; it may on the contrary indicate the state of very 
general satisfaction with varieties already existing. 

The Foundation. — Seemingly, the most direct way to com- 
bine Light Brahma beauty and Plymouth Rock usefulness 
was to cross the Light Brahma and White Plymouth Rock. 
Ail that is desired above and beyond what the White Ply- 
mouth Rock already had. was the acquisition of black in 
certain sections. With this acquisition, some very undesir- 
able features such as the Brahma shape, the comb too, and 
too heavy body and leg feathering were bound to be trans- 
mitted to the offspring of such a cross to a greater or less 
extent which features could, of course, be eliminated by years 
of a selective breeding. And this was the process by which 
the variety was originated and in part established. There 
was some doubt as to whether the offspring of such crosses 
could be so mated from generation to generation as to grad- 
ually eliminate the undesirable features and at the same 
time retain those qualities that were so much sought after. 
The plan was feasible, however, even though perplexing and 
is the process by which certain strains were originated and 
in part established. 

Advantage was naturally taken of the pre-establishment 
of Columbian Wyandottes and the fact that we have spas- 
modically, from this, as from all rose comb varieties, single 
comb sports and as if nature wished to assist, some of these 
were much more like Plymouth Rocks than like AVyandottes. 
Many of the Columbian Rock breeders were eager to secure 



these sports and their frequent occurrence gave many op- 
portunities to use them in crosses with lines that had been 
originated in the manner described. 

Still another cross was used to establish this variety with 
more or less success. This was the cross of Barred and 
White Plymouth Rocks. The results when the cockerel-line 
of Barred Rocks was used are said to have been unsatisfactory, 
but good results did come from the pullet-line cockerels mated 
with White Plymouth Rock females. 

The Influence of the Columbian Wyandotte. — Seldom is it 
that credit for the creation of a breed or variety can be given 
to one individual. Usually, one new creation in the poultry 
world suggests another similar in many respects, but unlike 
in some, to the first. 

This Columbian Plymouth Rock variety probably fur- 
nishes as striking an instance of this as is found among the 
Standard varieties, but it is but one of many, and in no way 
differs from the many. Columbian Wyandottes were ex- 
hibited nine years before the first cross to perpetuate these 
Plymouth Rock cousins was made. No doubt the Columbian 
Wyandotte had suggested the possibility of a Plymouth Rock 
of the same color pattern, long before the suggestion was 
acted upon by the originators of Columbian Plymouth Rocks. 
Many of us may be wondering how Columbian Leghorns or 
Columbian Dorkings or scores of other varieties would look, 
but we do not act upon this suggestion until we are con- 
fident that such a variety will be worth while. To be worth 
while, a new variety must be better in one or more respects 
than those that are already established, or handsomer. It 
must be admitted that most of our new varieties have been 
an outcome of a conviction in the minds of one or more per- 
sons, that the beauty of one breed can be combined with the 
usefulness of another. By the creation of the Columbian 
Wyandotte, a fowl, much smaller but yet of medium size, of 
good laying qualities, with smooth legs and with the same 
color pattern as the Light Brahma, was established, but an 
important fact, the one which must have crystallized the sug- 
gestion of a new variety of a different breed along these 
lines into an actuality, was that the Columbian Wyandotte 
had proved during this trial decade that it was worth while. 

Who Was the Originator? — ( )n this point Mr. 1). M. Green, 
one of the early breeders of this variety, for several years sec- 
retary of the Columbian Plymouth Rock Club, since con- 


nected with the United States Bureau of Animal Industry, 
who has access to most of the manuscript on Columbian Plym- 
outh Rocks, writes : 

"To no one individual is due all the credit, as it is a con- 
ceded fact that several fanciers, and not any one particular 
breeder, took part in the origin and early development of 
the variety. However, to Mr. F. M. Clemans, Mechanics- 
burg, Ohio, and Mr. George H. Sweet, East Aurora. New 
York, is due the honor of taking the first steps with this ob- 
ject in view, Mr. Clemans making the first cross in 1902 and 
Mr. Sweet about two years later. These two earnest fan- 
ciers were the pioneers, although several other breeders did 
as much or even more perhaps in perfecting and introducing 
the variety to the public." 

The Mr. F. M. Clemans, of Mechanicsburg, Ohio, men- 
tioned in the above, is said to have been the first to create 
this variety and the first to advertise them. Another of the 
early breeders claims that the honor of originating the Co- 
lumbian Plymouth Rocks belongs to several who actually 
originated this variety by crosses of their own selection. These 
selections have been pre\ T iously named in this article. 


Light Plymouth Rocks. — Mr. Clemans, however, positively 
asserts that he was the first to make the crosses that proved 
to be the foundation of this variety ; and these crosses ante- 
date any others that were made with the same object in 
view, and, in justice to him, it must be said that no one seems 
to claim a definite date prior to that of Mr. Clemans' first 
cross. You will note that Mr. Clemans did not call them 
by their present name but combined the names of the origi- 
nal parents as well as the blood. We quote from an article 
of Mr. Clemans' as follows : 

"As the date of my original crosses takes precedence of 
all others, I can fairly claim to be the originator of Columbian 
Plymouth Rocks. This honor is practically accorded to me 
by the latest authoritive work on The Plymouth Rocks., pub- 
lished in 1911. It is true that other breeders by independent 
crosses later formed other strains (and I have no desire 
to detract from them) but my crosses of 1902 antedate all 
others. Mr. Sweet, practically the only rival for the honor, 
did not begin his work until 1905. I was also the first to in- 



troduce the breed. This was in 1907, when I 'brought out' the 
breed through the columns of the American Poultry Journal, 
naming them 'Light Plymouth Rocks' in honor of their Light 
Brahma Plymouth Rock origin. My early crosses were made 
with the best obtainable blood of the Light Brahma, Barred 
Plymouth Rocks, White Plymouth Rocks and good boned 
Columbian Wyandottes. I also used at that time a male bird 
of unknown origin but almost ideal markings which I was so 
fortunate as to find in the flock of a friend. The years of 
breeding have since obliterated undesirable markings of the 
original blood used, and I have been signally successful in 
holding to the true Plymouth Rock type. This has been the 
aim in my breeding — to secure real Rock type and combine 
it with the beautiful and much desired color of the Light 

Type Important in Early Columbians. — How great im- 
portance Mr. Clemans attached to true Plymouth Rock type, 
that is, the large-boned sort, in distinction to fine-boned 
birds obviously of Wyandotte origin, is well brought out by 
the following extract taken from a report of the Philadelphia 
1911 show. 

"The 'Columbian' Plymouth Rocks shown by the origi- 
nator show the results he has attained in establishing his 
Big-Boned Rock type of Columbian Rocks. His first and 
third cocks, each weighing l0 J / 2 pounds, were regular models 
in Rock type, also showing grand color. His cockerel weighed 
9 pounds, was also a rare beauty and a most desirable bird. 
His pen, with cock weighing 11 pounds and hens from 7 J / 2 to 
8/4 pounds each, was a rare collection of the best of quality, 
in fact we were much pleased to see this size with excellent 
color and very choice shape." 

The following discussion of type should be accredited to 
Mr. Clemans : "The value of Rock type cannot be too 
strongly emphasized. It is even more important than color. 
The beginner must avoid being led into the purchase of the 
modern Wyandotte 'sports.' The popularity of Columbian 
Rocks has brought upon the market these little imitations 
of the breed. Some of them are bred by unscrupulous breed- 
ers who wish to get money out of the demand for the breed 
and then drop out. Others are being bred and sold by ama- 
teurs who know no better. The breeding of such stock can 
only end in disappointment. 


"It is true that there is some Wyandotte blood in all good 
strains, but it was combined with the Brahma and Rock 
blood and produced quite a different fowl from the modern 
'sport'. The true Rock type of the breed is 'a thing of beauty'. 
Its popularity is perfectly assured. The demand for good 
specimens will be on a rising scale for years to come. Al- 
ready I have sold exceptionally fine male birds as high as 
$100.00. While this is a phenomenal price for a new breed 
it will be greatly exceeded for choice specimens in the fu- 
ture, just as it has been in the older breeds." 

The above is printed to indicate the conditions at the time. 
These statements show clearly and convincingly that there 
was a tendency to use Wyandotte sports, which was perhaps 
legitimate, if used judiciously and not over practiced, be- 
cause type must then be destroyed. That this expediency 
was practiced to the detriment of the breed as a breed for a 
time, there can be no doubt. There was, however, the usual 
reaction against an unwise practice. The advertisements of 
the leading breeders of the early period just following their 
admission to Standard clearly bring out the disrepute in 
which strains that showed the effects of a Wyandotte cross 
were held. The breeders of Columbian Wyandottes had for 
a short period reaped a harvest on their single-comb sports 
that was quite remunerative, perhaps as much so as the speci- 
mens that came true to lineage. The writer once heard a 
prominent breeder of Columbian Wyandottes declare, upon 
being asked as to the future of the Columbian Plymouth 
Rocks, that the only purpose of that variety was to absorb 
the single-comb Wyandotte sports at a price. That profit- 
able period, as pointed out, was passed when Colum- 
bian Plymouth Rocks became as well established as their older 

The Royal Strain. — The Mr. Green referred to in a pre- 
ceding paragraph was one of the very first breeders and gives 
the following account of how his strain afterwards called the 
"Royal" was built up from the original cross of Light Brahma 
and Plymouth Rocks. It is the plan for a foundation to 
which reference was made in Mr. Green's own language, 
written into this copy as "feasible, even if perplexing" ; name- 
ly, of adhering to the straight cross of Light Brahma and 
White Plymouth Rock, as the following account clearly 
relates : 



"The first crosses and the results obtained were as follows: 
Light Brahma males with strong markings were mated to 
extra large White Plymouth Rock females with small, well- 
defined combs, bright, clean yellow legs and true Rock type. 
The result was large, vigorous, sturdy youngsters with no 
particular fixed type or color markings to any certain degree, 
yet Rock type predominated and the Brahma color in many 
specimens showed clearly that it was firmly seated. There was 
a variety of combs and feathered shanks were a prominent 
defect, but some few male birds were exceptional specimens 
showing the latter fault in only a moderate degree and with 
color nearly equal to their sires. These males were mated in 
two ways, back to their dame, which were designated as 
Flock A, and to the best pullets selected from the original 
cross, which were designated as Flock B. Flock A produced 
birds especially good in type, good comb and fairly clean 
shanks but weak in color of hackle, wing and tail. The off- 
spring from Flock B averaged good in color, showing ex- 
ceptionally strong hackles and tails, but with poor combs, 
type and more leg feathers. The next mating consisted of 
the more desirable specimens reared from Flocks A and B ; 
also pullets from Flock A back to the best male from the 
original cross. The specimens from these matings showed 
a decided improvement, some individuals having clean legs 
with good type and color and quite even, well balanced combs. 
At this point the best specimens were still far from what was 
desired, yet it was evident that the new variety had been 

We have, then, clear and authentic accounts of the differ- 
ent sources of the foundation stock of this variety. They 
are, as nearly as we can determine, principally Light Brahmas 
and White Plymouth Rocks, with a strong influence of single- 
combed Columbian Wyandotte Sports and a somewhat less 
influence of Barred Plymouth Rock blood. Besides these 
established lines of blood we have the unknown male of Mr. 
Clemans' that in some unaccountable way betook to himself 
very much the appearance of the, as yet, unestablished ideal. 

After the variety reached a stage where a general inter- 
change of birds occurs between breeders of the different 
strains, it became impossible to trace blood lines. Accounts 
must then relate the progress of the breeds as to quality, 
popularity, etc. 




One or more solid black or brown feathers on surface of 
back of females ; positive black spots prevalent in web of 
feathers of back except slight dark or black stripes in saddle 
near tail of male or in cape of either sex ; red feathers in 
plumage; shanks other than yellow. (See general and Plym- 
outh Rock disqualifications.) 

Head. — Plumage, white. 

Beak. — Yellow, with dark stripe down upper mandible. 
Eyes. — Reddish-bay. 

Comb, Face, Wattles and Ear-Lobes. — Bright red. 

Neck. — Hackle, web of feather solid, lustrous greenish- 
black with a narrow edging of white, uniform in width, ex- 
tending around point of feather ; greater portion of shaft, 
black ; plumage in front of hackle, white. 

Wings. — Bows, white except fronts, which may be partly 
black ; coverts, white ; primaries, black, with white edging on 
lower edge of lower webs ; secondaries, lower portion of lower 
webs, white, sufficient to secure a white wing-bay, the white 
extending around ends of feathers and lacing upper portion 
of upper webs, this color growing wider in the shorter sec- 
ondaries, sufficient to show white on surface when wing is 
folded; remainder of each secondary, black. 

Back. — Surface color, white ; cape, black and white ; sad- 
dle, white, except feathers covering root and sides of tail 
which should be white with a narrow V-shaped black stripe 
at end of each feather tapering to a point near its lower ex- 

Tail. — Black ; the curling feathers underneath, black laced 
with white ; sickles and coverts, lustrous greenish-black ; 
smaller coverts, lustrous greenish-black edged with white. 

Breast. — Surface, white; undercolor bluish-white, at junc- 
ture with body, bluish-slate. 



PLATE 105 




PLATE 106 




Body and Fluff. — Body, white, except under wings, where 
it may be bluish-white ; fluff, white. 

Legs and Toes. — Thighs, white ; shanks and toes, yellow. 
Undercolor of All Sections Except Breast. — Bluish-slate. 

Head. — Plumage, white. 

Beak. — Yellow, with dark stripe down upper mandible. 
Eyes. — Reddish-bay. 

Comb, Face, Wattles and Ear-Lobes. — Bright red. 

Neck. — Feathers beginning at juncture of head, web, a 
broad, solid lustrous greenish-black, with a narrow lacing of 
white extending around the outer edge of each feather ; greater 
portion of shaft, black ; feathers in front of neck, white. 

Wings. — Bows, white; coverts, white; primaries, black, 
with white edging on lower edge of lower webs ; secondaries, 
lower portion of lower webs, white, sufficient to secure a white 
wing-bay, the white extending around the ends and lacing 
upper portion of upper webs, this color growing wider in the 
shorter secondaries, sufficient to show white on surface when 
wing is folded ; remainder of each secondary, black. 

Back. — White ; cape, black and white. 

Tail. — Black, except the two top feathers which are laced 
with white ; coverts, black with a narrow lacing of white. 

Breast. — Surface, white ; undercolor bluish-white, at junc- 
ture of body, bluish-slate. 

Body and Fluff. — Body, white, except under wings where 
it may be bluish-white ; fluff, white. 

Legs and Toes. — Thighs, white ; shanks and toes, yellow. 

Undercolor of All Sections Except Breast. — Bluish-slate. 


A chapter under this heading will, as a matter of course, 
be expected to discuss defects of both color and markings 
when dealing with parti-colored varieties. 

The Color.— Both male and female of this variety have 
but two colors, white mainly, with markings of black in cer- 
tain sections. In all sections where white is required, a sur- 
face of clear, pure white is desired and required. The black 
should be a positive black in all sections where required. The 
black striping of the neck, tail-coverts and sickles should 


have that beautiful green gloss which sets off the white sec- 
tion to so much advantage. The black of the nights, sec- 
ondaries and main tail feathers has no greenish sheen as a 
rule, which is, moreover, not required. Strong, positive black 
is necessary to give quality to the specimen and it must be 
borne in mind at all times that strength of color is always re- 
quired. Black sometimes fades or rusts, that is, instead of 
being positive in character, it loses the intensity necessary 
to be so classified in the list of colors. That color which 
the Standard would call black, or positive black, is some- 
times described as coal black. The shade of black thus de- 
scribed is the shade usually referred to in the Standard, w T hen 
it does not specifically mention a lustrous, greenish-black. 
Sometimes, black will take on a luster of bronze and some- 
times of purple, neither of which is desirable. 

The black found in the plumage of the Columbian varie- 
ties has not so often the character of defects enumerated above 
as a general weakness because of an admixture of w T hite. 
Often, feathers that should be black are only partially black ; 
often, the portion of a feather that should be black is broken 
with a bar or a splash of white or gray, while again, an ad- 
mixture of a certain amount of white makes a dark gray or 
slate colored feather or part of a feather, rather than a black. 

The white portion of the plumage on the surface is sup- 
posed to be a pure white ; though, perhaps, a clear white ex- 
presses the idea better. Owing to the difficulty of obtaining 
the amount and intensity of black desired in neck, primaries, 
secondaries, tail-coverts, etc., white undercolor, even in the 
sections that are described as white on the surface, is not de- 
sirable On the contrary, because of the difficulty of main- 
taining the intensity of the black in those sections in which 
black is required, and also, in order that black may be dis- 
tributed in the right proportion in these sections, slate of a 
stronger or lighter shade is required in the undercolor of all 
the sections, even in those which are pure white on the sur- 
face. In all sections except breast, the shade of slate re- 
quired is of sufficient intensity to be described as bluish-slate, 
while that of the breast is bluish-white, a lighter shade of 
slate. This is natural because the breast, when both sexes 
are considered, is collectively the purest white section of the 
bird, and farthest removed from the tail, the section that 
should contain the most black. By this means alone can 
the lustrous greenish-black striping of the hackle, neck, sickles 



and tail-coverts of both sexes be produced and maintained 
from generation to generation. 

An understanding of the color faults and excellencies of 
each of the principal sections is necessary in order that the 
breeder may mate his birds in a manner that will produce 
satisfactory results. Therefore, a discussion of these features 
will be entered into in some detail. 

Neck of Males. — Because of its beauty when approaching 
the ideal in color and markings, and the difficulty encoun- 
tered in breeding the neck feathers to such an approxima- 
tion of the ideal that they can be called beautiful, this section 
when it possesses quality enough to deserve it, is very much 
appreciated and is, therefore, very important. 

The Black Stripe. — The Standard calls for feathers of 
"solid, lustrous, greenish-black, with a narrow edging of 
white, uniform in width, extending around the point of the 
feather," in other words this calls, as former Standards have 
stated it, for "a solid, lustrous greenish-black stripe down the 
center of the feather and with a narrow, white border extend- 
ing around the point of the feather." 

From this description it would be easy to infer that the 
black must not be dull and lifeless, neither must it have a 
brown shading ; it must not be broken, at least near the sur- 
face, because if any of these attributes are present, the de- 
scription of the Standard, i. e., solid, lustrous, greenish-black, 
is not complied with. 

The Border. — As to the border, this should be white above 
all things. Straw color or brassy shades are not tolerated 
and, if present, should be cut so severely that the class in 
which a specimen with this fault can win must be a very 
inferior one, indeed. Besides, the border must be narrow. 
Narrow is, of course, used comparatively. It refers to the 
border according to the Standard description, and as the re- 
mainder of the feather is black, the black stripe in the center 
must be relatively broad. Such are the ideals of the pres- 
ent time ; a broad, black stripe edged with a narrow white 

The white border should extend around the point from 
both sides of the feather. This results in a feather with a 
white border around a V-shape point of black, near the lower 
extremity of this feather but not at the extremity. This is one 
of the difficult features to establish, because there is a strong 
tendency for the black to run through the border to the point 



of the feather ; first, just on the shaft, perhaps. Then, with this 
tendency, is one to extend along the very outer edges of the 
feather. Thus, we have a black tip and a narrow black edge 
outside the white border. .Such a defective feather is shown 
in Plate 107, Figure 2, while Figure 1 shows weak black strip- 
ing, with a white shaft and a border that is too wide and 
with it, of course, a black stripe that is too narrow. 

The light shafting noticed in this figure is also defective 
inasmuch as the Standard states, "greater portion of the shaft, 
black." The third feather in the row is a good natural feather, 
but even in this, the black extends too low or too near the 
point. The fourth feather from the left in the row shows very 
nearly the ideal feather. Feathers in front of neck are white, 
the same as the breast. 

Neck of the Females. — The neck feathers of the female are 
shorter and comparatively broader than those of the male. 
The black center is also broader and the white border nar- 
rower comparatively. Such a comparison between the male 
and female neck feathers is found to exist in a great majority 
of specimens of this variety and such the Standard calls for, 
as the word "broad" occurs in the Standard description of the 
neck of the female and this word is not found in the descrip- 
tion of necks of the male. Narrow black striping with the 
V instead of the rounded points are frequently seen in the neck 
feathers of females and, though not strictly in accordance with 
the Standard description, are to be much preferred to striping 
that, though broad, is weak in color. The plumage of this 
section of the females is very striking because of the broad, 
metallic black with the very narrow but sound edging of pure 
white. A perfect resemblance between both the pattern and 
the color of the neck and tail-coverts of the females in a note- 
worthy and taking feature when ideals are approached. (See 
illustration, Plate 117.) 

Cape. — The cape, or that portion of the back that falls 
under the hackle feathers of the male and the neck feathers 
of the female, is black and white. This portion of the back 
is not seen when the bird stands in its natural position and on 
that account it draws less attention than other parts of the 
plumage. The feathers have, as a rule, a broad black center 
with white edging. The exact proportion of black to white 
is not as rigidly prescribed or enforced as in the more promi- 
nent sections, but if the edging is narrow, yet clear and sound, 
the feathers in the cape correspond more closely to the de- 



scription of neck and tail-coverts than when not so propor- 

The Back. — The back proper of both sexes is white on the 
surface. The importance placed upon this requirement is 
emphasized by the color disqualifications for this section in 
both sexes, as two out of the three disqualifications named 
apply to the back only of male or female. "One or more solid 
black or brown feathers on surface of the back of females ; 
positive black spots prevalent in web of feathers of back ex- 
cept slight dark or black stripes in saddle near tail of males or 
in cape of either sex;" these requirements must give the read- 
er a very clear idea of the importance of a clear white sur- 
face in this section, that is, the entire back of female from the 
rear of the cape to the front of the tail coverts ; and the same 
for males, except for the slight dark striping in lower part of 
the saddle hanger, "covering the root and sides of the tail." 

The clause which requires this particular form of saddle 
striping in those feathers that cover root and sides of tail is a 
new one that was first introduced in the 1915 Standard. It 
was not found in the 1910 Revised Edition. A clause of simi- 
lar import is found in both the 1898 and 1905 Editions, as 
follows in the latter, relating to Light Brahmas, the plumage 
of which is acknowledged to be the plumage after which 
that of the Columbian is patterned in all details, except leg 
plumage which has been, of course, obliterated. "Saddle 
white, except where saddle hangers take on the character of 
tail-coverts which, if black in the web and laced with white, 
shall not be considered defective ;" which, though not actually 
demanding black stripes in the rear and lower saddle feathers, 
clearly permitted them, and unquestionably for the reason that 
is advanced for requiring the same now, namely: that better 
black points, especially the tail-coverts, may be obtained in 
both sexes, and a more perfect blending of back and tail color 
is thereby obtained. 

That such saddle striping in the males will and does pro- 
duce the black feather or feathers that are pronouncedly spot- 
ted with black or dark color approaching black in the back 
of the female, most of the best authorities deny ; that is, if 
the character of such black striping is as described in the 
Standard, "With a narrow V-shaped black stripe at the end 
of each feather, tapering to a point near its lower extremity." 
Obviously a "V-shaped black stripe" is not the solid, lus- 
trous, greenish-black stripe of the hackle. This description 



PLATE 110 


1. Old style, too light in color. 2. Dark but gray near end an 
white at root. 3. Correct, excepting white at root. 4. Idealized. 



PLATE 111 


12 3 4 


1. Old style, too light. 

2. Too much white at tip. 

3. Too much white at root. 

4. Ideal (natural). 



would signify a pointed or narrow V-shaped center of white, 
inside the black stripe at the upper end ; and this particular 
stripe must have the border as the clause, "tapering to a point 
near its lower extremity" would signify, because, otherwise, 
the black stripe would terminate at the extremity. Two saddle 
feathers are shown, Plate 108, the first one weak in striping, 
and the second an ideal or nearly ideal feather. 

It will be observed that this stripe has not the same char- 
acter as the saddle stripe of the males of other parti-colored 
varieties and does not, as stated above, correspond in the pat- 
tern to the hackle striping of parti-colored males of this or 
of other varieties. The hackles and saddles of all other varie- 
ties of Plymouth Rocks do, however, correspond as to color 

Between the upper termination of the V-shaped stripe 
and the bluish slate of the undercolor, a white band of greater 
or less width should intervene. This is desired because it is 
considered that if the stripe extends to the slate of the under- 
color, the male that carries it will throw females with black 
on the surface of the backs. This is demanded, not only as a 
point of individual exhibition merit, but as a safeguard in 
breeding. A better and clearer idea of how the feathers of 
the back and saddle very gradually acquire the character of 
the tail feathers is shown by the series of six feathers in 
Plate 109, 1 from center of back, 2 small saddles, 3 saddle, 4 tail 
covert, 5 large tail-covert, 6 smaller sickle. All are ideal or 
nearly ideal feathers for the positions on the back and tail 
which they occupied. 

The Wings. — The fronts, white except that portion which 
is covered with breast feathers which may be partly black. 
The bows, coverts, and outside of the secondaries are white ; 
when spread, both primaries and secondaries should show 
black. With the exception of a narrow edge of white on lower 
web, each primary should be solid black. Such flights are 
hard to produce because a mixture of white with black in 
one or more of various ways is but natural in a variety that 
has a predominance of white in its plumage; splashes of white 
very often occur in the center of the upper or broader web of 
flight feathers, as shown in Plate 110, feather No. 1. while gray 
splashes near the end of the feather and white at the base are 
faults that are frequently seen. The latter two defects arc 
shown in Plate 110, feather No. 2. white feather No. 3 shows 
the white at base, which is a defect, though it is, on the 



whole, an illustration of a very good feather. Feather 
No. 4 shows an idealized flight feather from a male, from 
which sex are taken all these flight feathers, which show the 
improvement of a period of fifteen or twenty years, as at that 
^.period feather No. 1 was a very good flight feather indeed. 
The improvement during the period is shown by comparing 
feathers No. 1 and No. 4. 

PLATE 112 

1 2 3 


1. Glossy black, with white at root. 2. White breaking across 
the center. 3. Idealized. 



The upper web of the secondary feathers, that is the nearer 
web to the body, is supposed to be black, while the lower or 
outer web should be white. As the body is approached the 
proportion of black in the upper web diminishes and the white 
increases, so that the wing- shows only white when folded 
or, to localize the description still more, the wing bay is white. 
Previous Standards have described secondaries in these words, 
"Secondaries, lower portion of lower web, white, sufficient to 
secure a white wing-bay, the white extending around the ends 
of feathers and lacing upper portion of web, this color grow- 
ing wider in shorter secondaries, the five next to body being 
white on surface when wing is folded ; remainder of each sec- 
ondary, black." This description, though laborious and en- 
cumbered somewhat by phraseology, will nevertheless be 
found to be accurate upon analysis. From it might be de- 
duced the fact that the amount of black in the secondaries is 
relatively proportionate to the length of the feather, the 
shorter ones next to the body being white or having a lesser 
amount of black than those that are larger and more remote. 
Black, however, whatever the extent, should be black and 
not a modified shade of that color. Where the secondaries, 
or primaries for that matter, are black they should be black 
and where white is required, white that is nowise modified 
should be found. Furthermore, between the two, a sharp 
line of definition should exist. Feather No. 2 in Plate 111. 
the second feather from the left, shows gray shading in with 
the white, also too much white at the end of the feather for a 
secondary near the center of the wing; the third feather 
from the left, too much white at the base ; the fourth is an 
ideal secondary near the center of the wing. The flights of 
the males as a usual occurrence are stronger in color, that is. 
the black is more perfectly distributed than in the flights of 
the females. Flights splashed with white are, then, much 
more seriously defective in males than in females and in the 
young than in the old females. 

Tail. — The main tail feathers of both sexes should be black 
from top to base; often, of course, white creeps in, but com- 
paratively little difficulty is experienced in this particular. 
The real difficulty lies in . another direction, to produce tail 
coverts of lustrous greenish-black with narrow lacing or edg- 
ing of white. Particularly in the females is it difficult to 
breed the black entirely across these broad coverts and main- 


PLATE 113 

1 2 3 4 5 


1. Center of breast, white without bluish white undercolor. 

2. Near center of breast, ideal bluish white undercolor. 

3. Breast near wing, with very dark bluish slate undercolor. 

4. Middle of back, bluish white undercolor. 

5. Body, bluish white undercolor. 

PLATE 114 

1 2 3 4 5 




tain the uniform strength of color and lustre. It is also some 
task to maintain the very narrow edging so much sought 
and keep both colors well-defined, generation after generation. 
Very similar in color and pattern but lacking somewhat in 
the lustre of black portions are the broad, curly feathers at 
the rear of and between the main tail feathers. 

These smaller sickles are shown on Plate 112; feather No. 
1 is defective because of white on base; No. 2, defective be- 
cause of splashes of white; No. 3, ideal. 

Breast, Body and Fluff. — These sections of both sexes 
should be pure white on the surface, but show the bluish- 
slate underneath. It is highly desirable that they do so, be- 
cause with this slate undercolor lacking in all sections of 
white surface, color points are sure to be weak, losing there- 

PLATE 115 


Neck too dark. Hackle feathers black on edge of borders. 
Breast, next to wing-fronts and wing, near front, with too much black. 
Black tips on wing-bar. Irregular gray striping in side of saddle. 
Black showing on fluff and hocks. 



by the chief beauty of the variety. Over-dark specimens 
would be sought more eagerly and prized more highly than 
over-light or white specimens, both for breeding virtues and 
exhibition merits ; however, there is grave danger in using 
birds that are too dark. 

The Undercolor. — The Standard describes undercolor of 
both sexes in like phrases, "bluish-slate in all sections ex- 
cept breast which may be bluish-white at juncture of body," 
thus calling for lighter color than if it used the simple term 
"slate," which would allow an extremely large range of under- 
color from medium slate that might be almost white to very 
dark slate that approaches black. Too dark undercolor as 
well as too light is dangerous in the breeding pen, as white- 
surfaced sections would in many cases show black or dark 
color on the surface of the back of the female and in the 
sides of breast of the male or in the body feathers of one or 
both sexes. In the breast of both sexes, a lighter shade of 
undercolor is required, but at the junction with body the 
Standard again demands a bluish-slate. A very clear idea of 
the undercolor of the lower or under sections of the body is 
presented by the series of feathers in Plates 113 and 114. 

The undesirable black that occasionally will crop out in 
sides of breast, near shoulder of wing, wing-fronts and 
coverts, and fluff is illustrated in Plate 115. 



For the following we are largely indebted to F. M. Clem- 
ans, to whom reference has been made heretofore, as one of 
the pioneers in the development of this variety : 

"The color markings of the Columbian Rock are practically 
the same as those of the Light Brahma. When we consider 
how long the breeding of Light Brahmas has been reduced 
to a science it would be folly to ignore the valuable lessons we 
can learn from a study of results heretofore obtained by Light 
Brahma breeders. 

"Those who have had most to do with the advancement 
of the Columbian Rock have not failed to take advantage of 
this record of achievement in Brahma breeding and our breed 
has greatly profited thereby. The beginner can profit largely 
by following the course of the successful Light Brahma man 


PLATE 116 


Illustrating the black markings of standard exhibition male for 
breeding both males and females: 

Upper row: Neck, back, saddle, saddle (hanging at side near 
tail), smaller tail-covert, larger tail-covert, smaller sickle. 

Below: Wing, primary; wing, secondary; main tail. 



PLATE 117 


Illustrating the black markings of Standard exhibition female 
for breeding both males and females: 

Upper row: Neck, top tail-covert, smaller tail-coverts, larger 

Lower row: Wing, primary; wing, secondary; main tail, under- 



and advise with him and study the best product of his art at 
the shows. 

"The requirements for color and markings of each section 
have been so carefully weighed and considered with relation 
to breeding tendencies, ascertained by years of experience of 
breeders, not only of Columbian Plymouth Rocks but Colum- 
bian Wyandottes and Light Brahmas as well, by the framers 
of the present (1915 Revision) Standard for the Columbian 
varieties, that the desired strength of color may be maintained 
by using exhibition specimens exclusively in these matings. 
This happy state of affairs has been brought about largely 
by requiring stronger undercolor in certain sections, while 
still demanding a surface of clear white in these sections. 
Undoubtedly, however, the endeavors of breeders of this 
variety to more thoroughly establish the strength and stabil- 
ity of the color in the required sections have made a sub- 
stantial contribution to the advancement we find this variety 
has made during the past decade. 

"In the past so much importance has been attached to a 
clear white surface and many times to a clear white under- 
color, that those sections in which black was required have 
been weakened, for it is recognized that color is lost in suc- 
ceeding generations to a certain extent and occasionally a little 
excess must be added to maintain the balance. While such 
study of the methods of the pastmasters in breeding Light 
Brahmas will be a great benefit in mating for color, equally 
important knowledge can be acquired from old breeders of 
Barred and White Rocks. Here we learn much of value in 
producing shape and true Rock characteristics. A Columbian 
Rock of almost perfect color is of little value if lacking in 
Rock character, for in Rock type lies more than half of the 
beauty and utility of the breed. 

"In mating this or any breed, consider well the ancestry of 
the fowls being mated. It is an old saying that 'chicks gener- 
ally favor the grandsire.' It is important then that individ- 
ual quality be backed by ancestors selected for years for their 
individual merit. Otherwise we must combat the law of re- 
version to undesirable type. 

"Being satisfied as to ancestry, next in importance is the 
individual type of birds to be mated. The true Rock is a bird 
of good size that will make Standard weight or better with- 
out crowding; in other words, birds that have the bone to 
carry Standard weight or over without being fattened to an 


injurious extent. The shank bone is a good indicator of 
weight-carrying capacity. A small light shanked bird in 
a flock is an indication of the blood of a Wyandotte 'sport.' 
The true Rock has a broad, deep breast, a long, broad and 
deep body, with only a slight concave rise of back to the tail. 
The thighs and shanks are strong and of medium length, 
avoiding either the low-set Dorking or stilty Langshan. 

Color. — "We have learned from Brahma breeders that the 
tendency of this color is to breed lighter unless kept well re- 
inforced by strong colored males at the head of pens, and that 
a flock of birds of this color will, if turned loose without in- 
telligent mating, gradually revert to white. 

''The breeder of a Columbian variety should bear the 
following fundamental facts constantly in mind when mat- 
ing his breeding fowls : 

"That while a puMet with a clear white back and white 
undercolor is a bird to be admired, she should be mated to 
a male with strong black in neck and wings, well-striped 
saddle, with cape full of black and with dark slate undercolor, 
if we would sustain the color of the chicks. 

"That the male has much to do with producing and em- 
phasizing color, and, therefore, very light and faded males 
should invariably be sent to the block. 

"That by the use of strong colored males, females that are 
somewhat weak in color can be profitably utilized." 

Mr. Clemans describes several matings utilizing different 
grades of birds. These descriptions will be of service, especial- 
ly to the beginners : 

The Ideal Mating. — -"This mating requires birds of rare 
show quality. Many, of course, cannot afford such a mating, 
but the breeder with a good sized flock to select from can 
often make a number of such matings. For the male, select 
either a cockerel weighing seven to nine pounds or cock nine 
to ten pounds, when in good breeding condition, with big, 
strong, bright yellow shanks, bright reddish-bay eye and in 
general type as nearly Standard as possible ; wing flights, 
nearly solid black; cape, over one-half black; hackle, flowing 
full over the shoulders and with broad, deep black stripe; 
saddle showing some black striping near tail ; sickles solid 
black, with lesser coverts nicely edged with white. 

"For females choose either six to eight pound hens or five 
to six pound pullets showing clear yellow, strong-boned 
shanks, good eyes, flights over half black, stripe in hackle 



strong and running well down the feather, laced tail coverts, 
and undercolor bluish-white. The comb in both sexes should 
be of excellent type. While such a pen is worth a strong 
price it will be worth the money for future results. 

Females Lacking in Color. — "A male bird as described in 
the ideal mating but darker in plumage, the black in cape 
showing well into the back, and some feathers of back may 
even show a tendency to black striping. Undercolor, dark 
slate. Mate to females considerably lighter than in the ideal 
mating. This is a good mating for results, often producing 
ideal show birds. 

Females of Too Strong a Color. — "To utilize very dark, 
even smutty necked and ticked backed females. This mating 
is better adapted to practical purposes, but by its use good 
results can be obtained where it is necessary to use such 
birds. To females of this character, mate a male with flights 
about one-third white ; neck and cape rather light but hackle 
showing fairly good stripe and clear white edging; back, clear 
white and undercolor light. While this mating will throw 
some culls, it will produce a very fair percentage of good 

Extremely Light Females. — "This is also a mating that 
should be chiefly relied upon to produce birds for commercial 
flocks and utilizes very light colored females which often have 
light or pearl-colored eyes. Mate these to a male bird that 
would be discarded as a show bird for too much color in back. 
He should show very dark hackle, even smoky edge ; cape 
and undercolor, so dark as to show in web ; wing, as near 
solid black as possible in flights ; eye, very strong bright red. 
Remember a red eye is a strong breeding eye. It is very 
desirable in a male bird. Such a cockerel as here described 
will often moult the second year into a great show bird, though 
almost disqualified as a cockerel. 

"This is an extreme mating, but it makes reasonably valu- 
able females that would otherwise have to be discarded, and 
verv often it will produce a percentage of show birds. 

"Matings like numbers three and four and other matings 
in which the defects of one sex are offset in the opposite sex 
often meet the wants of a beginner whose purse will not reach 
a more desirable mating, and from such matings a very good 
flock is often started. A greater percentage of culls can be 
expected but many good birds will also be produced, and from 


these the beginner can build up. When the amateur can af- 
ford it, however, let him invest in a mating like one or two. 

Double Mating. — "Many ask about double matings and 
how to make them. Columbian Rocks do not require that 
system and it would be foolish to inaugurate it. However, 
such matings can be made and occasionally circumstances 
might make them desirable. 

"A special mating for pullets would be one in which the 
females of the pen conform closely to the Standard in all 
points, while the male should be equally good except that he 
should be exceptionally clear of black in web of back and with 
few striped feathers in saddle, while his tail coverts should be 
exceptionally nicely laced. This would throw fine pullets 
and at the same time a good percentage of good males. 

"A mating for show males might be made by mating very 
dark pullets showing nearly black flights and smoky or ticky 
backs, and such a mating should produce some grand males, 
no doubt, but many of the females would probably be ticky 
in back. On the whole, matings that will produce a good 
proportion of good chicks of both sexes cannot be too strong- 
ly adhered to." 

Double matings are now rarely used in solid-colored breed 
varieties or in those varieties in which the color pattern is the 
same in both sexes. 

As already pointed out, the tendency to use the last three 
matings diminishes as the variety improves, until nearly every 
breeder has one, at least, that approaches an ideal mating. 

Two groups of feathers, plates — and — , show feathers 
from different sections of male and female of an ideal single 
mating, conforming with the best ideals for the best matings 
of the present day, practically as described in paragraph under 
heading of "Ideal Matings." 


PLATE 118 

















THOROUGHBRED races of horses, cattle, sheep and 
swine, as well as domesticated breeds of dogs, are meas- 
ured in value by a fixed scale of points formulated for 
each breed and, with poultry, applicable to each breed even to 
every variety. 

The American Standard of Perfection describes the ideal 
specimen in shape and color and this description is the guide 
for the breeder, exhibitor and judge. It is the supreme law 
which controls all judges of Standard-bred poultry in making 
their decisions between contesting specimens in the show room 
or the breeders' yards. 

All breeds of poultry must be bred to the standards formu- 
lated by the American Poultry Association and published in 
the American Standard of Perfection, for without such Stand- 
ards advancement in the art of breeding poultry would have 
been impossible. 

First Poultry Standard Published in 1865. — The history of 
standard-making in the poultry world would make a long 
chapter, for it dates as far back as 1865, when the first "Stand- 
ard of Excellence" was compiled in England. The late Lewis 
Wright, one of the most thorough students of the poultry 
problems, as well as the most successful writer on poultry 
topics in Great Britain, in his authoritative "Book of Poultry." 
comments on the first Standard as follows: 

"About 1865 a poultry club was formed in England, but it 
did not secure many adherents and was speedily wrecked by 
the personal animosity which developed between two or three 
of its members. But it issued a description of the recognized 
breeds, with numerical values for the points, under the title of 
"Standard of Excellence," which was a landmark in the judg- 
ing of poultry. In spite of many faults, it embodied the prin- 



ciple that fowls ought to be bred to definite points and judged 
by them and that the points could be and ought to be defined. 
This was a great idea and a great service, though the first 
clubs existence was brief and its Standard very crude. The 
scale of points only added up to a total of fifteen, through all 
the breeds, which quite shut out the modern system of "cut- 
ting" a portion off for defects ; and in the descriptions them- 
selves there were several errors — such as attributing red eyes 
to Malays — which, however, could scarcely be avoided at that 
early period. The existing judges ostentatiously declined to 
be bound by this Standard, which had, in fact, no authority; 
yet, nevertheless, its definitions or descriptions undoubtedly 
had great influence in bringing about greater uniformity of 
type and more general acceptance of a real type in many 

A. M. Halstead, Rye, N. Y., issued a reprint of this English 
Standard in 1867, but it did not prove satisfactory to Amer- 
ican poultry breeders. A year before the above made its 
appearance, I. K. Felch, Natick, Mass., devised a Standard and 
Score Card, with a scale of points, for Light Brahmas, that 
proved to be the forerunner of an American Standard of Ex- 
cellence. Mr. Felch claims that his score card was the first 
to be used in America. 

The Lockwood Standard, adopted in New York City in 
1871, was the result of the embryonic scale of points on Mr. 
Felch's first score card, embodying his valuation for shape and 
color, but the Felch scale was raised to 100 points and, instead 
of four sections, eleven were allotted to each breed. The bulk 
of this Lockwood Standard was made up from the English 
Standard, however. A. M. Halstead, in the fall of 1871, also 
published an American Standard of Excellence, but neither of 
these Standards proved satisfactory. 

It was not until the American Poultry Association was 
organized, February 15, 1873, at Buffalo, N. Y., that the work 
of compiling a Standard of Excellence which would meet with 
the approval of American breeders of pure bred poultry was 

At a meeting of the reorganized American Poultry Asso- 
ciation, held at Buffalo, N. Y., January 15, 1874, the first Amer- 
ican Standard of Excellence was adopted. This standard con- 
sisted of 102 pages. At the third annual meeting of the Amer- 
ican Poultry Association, held at Buffalo, N. Y., January 21, 
1875, a larger and more complete Standard was adopted, con- 



taining descriptions of seventy-nine varieties of fowls, and 
consisting of 243 pages. Revisions of this Standard of Excel- 
lence were made at Chicago, 1876, Buffalo, 1877, and Portland, 
Maine, 1878. The 1878 edition remained unchanged for many 
years, as did the Scale of Points. Further revisions of more or 
less importance were made at Indianapolis, 1888, Buffalo, 1889, 
and Chicago, 1893, but the most thorough revision of the 
Standard occurred at Fishers Island, N. Y., in 1897, when 
many important changes were made, among them being the 
separation of the shape and color descriptions to the breed it 
belonged to. "Typical Carriage" was substituted for "Symme- 
try" in the Scale of Points. This Standard was adopted at 
the twenty-second annual meeting of the American Poultry 
Association, held at Boston, Mass., January, 1898. Additions 
to this Standard were made at Chicago, 1901, Charleston, S. C, 
and Hagerstown, Md., in 1902. But the above revisions, as 
well as all subsequent ones, did not affect the Scale of Points. 


The first Scale of Points printed were those in the Hal- 
stead Standard of 1867. They were called "Points in Brah- 
mas," "Cochins," "Dorkings" and other breeds in vogue at 
that time. As no Plymouth Rocks or Wyandottes were rec- 
ognized by the Standard at that time, we reproduce below the 
Scale of Points given for "Light Brahmas" : 

Points in Brahmas. 

Size 3 

Color 4 

Head and Comb 1 

Wings, Primaries well tucked under Secondaries. . 1 

Legs and Feathering, ditto 1 

Fluff 1 

Symmetry 2 

Condition 2 



For White Leghorns the Halstead Scale of Points ran as 
follows : 

Points in White Leghorns, Single and Rose Combed. 

Comb 2 

Face and Ear-lobe 3 

Purity of Plumage 3 

Size 3 

Symmetry . . . 2 

Condition 2 

It is significant to note that breeders of Brahmas fifty years 
ago placed the paramount value in their Scale of Points on size 
and color, while the Leghorn fanciers of that time went even 
further in making color, face and lobes, and size of the greatest 
valuation in their Scale of Points, symmetry and condition 
playing minor roles in the scale. 

The above early, albeit crude, measures of value given to 
the various breeds by breeders of a half century ago indicate 
quite clearly, however, that their idea of valuation of points in 
the respective breeds was founded on what they deemed the 
salient features, and it seems to us that the foundation was a 
good one. 

First Scale of Points in the American Class. — In the Amer- 
ican Standard of Excellence, as revised by the United Poultry 
Fanciers of America, convened under the auspices of the i\mer- 
ican Poultry Association, at their convention held in Buffalo, 
X. Y., January 15, 1874, the first standard description of Barred 
Plymouth Rocks is printed, with the following Scale of Points : 

Symmetry 20 

Size 20 

Color of Plumage 25 

Head . . . . ..! 5 

Comb 10 

Tail 5 

Leg . .; 5 

Condition 10 




Size played an important rule in the early days of the 
standard-bred fowl industry, judging- by the instructions to 
judges found in the 1874 Standard, as the following extracts 
will prove : 

"In figuring size or weight, the fowls which shall be com- 
paratively small in proportion to a weight that indicates exces- 
sive fat shall be estimated in the same ratio as those which 
present large size and are deficient in weight compared to size." 

"Judges must in all cases make a pro rata reduction for 
any fractional part of a pound that a specimen falls short of 
the largest or Standard bird." 

In the Asiatic class, the specimen largest in size and weight 
was deemed the perfect specimen and allowed full number of 
points in size and weight, provided always that the cocks did 
not weigh less than eleven pounds, cockerels less than ten 
pounds, hens less than ten pounds, and pullets less than eight 
pounds, under the 1874 Standard Scale of Points. As an illus- 
tration : 

"When the largest cock specimen in size and weight weighs 
thirteen pounds or more, the remaining specimens shall be 
figured comparatively, losing two points for every pound they 
fall short of the weight of the per Standard specimen. When 
the largest cock weighs under thirteen pounds, and not less 
than twelve pounds, then the remaining specimens shall lose 
four points for every pound they fall short of the weight of 
said best or Standard specimen." 

The same rule was applied to Asiatic cockerels, hens and 
pullets, and all judges in other classes were instructed to first 
establish a corresponding size and weight that shall apply to 
their class and shall be in keeping with the spirit of the fore- 


(An Adaptation From Mr. Drevenstedt's Article on Wyan- 


But what Plymouth Rock breeders are interested in today 
is the valuation placed on their breed by the American Stand- 
ard of Perfection. In 1888 the Scale of Points for the three 
varieties of Plymouth Rocks then recognized, Barred, Pea- 
Comb and White, allotted to the different sections relative val- 
uation as indicated : 


Symmetry 8 

Weight 6 

Condition 6 

Head — Shape 3, Color 3 6 

Comb 8 

Wattles and Ear-Lobes 6 

Neck— Shape 4, Color 6 10 

Back— Shape 4, Color 4 8 

Breast — Shape 5, Color 5 10 

Body and Fluff — Shape 5, Color 3 8 

Wings — Shape 4, Color 4 8 

Tail— Shape 4, Color 4 8 

Legs and Toes 8 


This scale of points applied to all varieties in the Amer- 
ican class. Plymouth Rock breeders of today will note that 
the valuations given placed too low a value on color of plum- 
age, only 26 points being designated to this important feature. 
But the Scale of Points in the 1898 Standard was practically 
the same, with the exception that "Typical Carriage" supple- 
mented "Symmetry." In the Scale of Points of the 1910 
Standard we find some important changes. Twenty-eight 
points are allotted to color of plumage and the shape of the 
important body sections gains three points. Weight counts 
less and failure to approach Standard weight is more severely 
penalized. By the allotment it will be seen that more credit 
for merit was accorded to the sections which were in most 
varieties the most difficult to breed. Plymouth Rocks were 
now recognized in six different colors and color patterns, or 
six varieties, three of which were comparatively new. The 
color patterns of two of these were admittedly difficult to 
produce, especially at that stage of development. 

1910 Scale of Points. 

Symmetry 4 

Weight , , 4 

Condition 4 

Comb 8 

Head — Shape 2, Color 2 4 

Beak — Shape 2, Color 2 4 



Eyes — Shape 2, Color 2 4 

YVattles and Ear-Lobes — Shape 2, Color 3 5 

Neck — Shape 3, Color 5 8 

Wings — Shape 4, Color 5 9 

Back — Shape 6, Color 5 11 

Tail — Shape 5, Color 5 10 

Breast — Shape 6, Color 5 11 

Body and Fluff — Shape 5, Color 3 8 

Legs and Toes — -Shape 3, Color 3 6 



Under the above heading, on page 35 of the American 
Standard of Perfection, the following paragraph instructs 
judges, as well as breeders and exhibitors, how to apply the 
"Scale of Points" : 

"Merit: The merit of specimens shall be determined by a 
careful examination of all sections in the "Scale of Points," 
beginning with symmetry and continuing through the list, de- 
ducting from the full value of each section of a perfect bird 
for such defects as are found in the specimen. Judges must 
familiarize themselves with the scale of points of each breed 
they are to pass upon, to intelligently award prizes. And it 
must be understood that no more and no less value can be 
placed on any section than is provided for in the "Scale of 
Points." And it shall be further understood that this system 
must be applied whether judged by score card or comparison. 
The minimum cut for any section shall be one-fourth of one 

On page 41, under "Cutting for Defects," the Standard 
reads : 

"These cuts should not be confused with nor take prece- 
dence over the valuation given each section in the Scale of 
Points of all varieties." 

Owing to the fact that all of the largest shows are judged 
by comparison today, the above paragraph is of greater im- 
portance than the succeeding ones, giving cuts to be made in 
the various sections. In other words, the "Scale of Points" is the 
true measure of value which the judge must apply when select- 
ing the winners in the Plymouth Rock classes in the showroom 
or in the breeders' yards. In all sections, except weight and 
condition, the relative value of shape and color are clearly 


defined and, if adhered to, will determine the ratings of the 
competing specimens correctly as a rule. But the size or 
weight and condition of an exhibition specimen often decide 
its standing among the winners in the show-room, and great 
care must be exercised by the judge when handling birds that 
appear large and look in the pink of condition. 

Size is a relative term, so when two specimens are com- 
pared the one that apparently looks the larger will often win, 
other points being equal. But, applying the weight clause is 
the safest rule in all such decisions. 

It is also well to bear in mind that a Plymouth Rock when 
over standard weight, though larger in size, may be coarser in 
type. Size and overweight has a tendency to destroy the type 
by making the specimen coarser. In defining Standard size, 
page 39 of the present Standard of Perfection reads : 

"In determining size, the judge shall decide by comparing 
the specimens in competition, with due regard to weight in all 
breeds and varieties, where weight is required by the Stand- 
ard. When a bird fails to attain, or in case it exceeds, the 
size proportionate with the type or shape, it must be dis- 
counted quite severely." 

Symmetry is valued at four points in the Scale, so a bird 
approximately closely the Standard ideal can be rated 100 
per cent or the full four points of value in the Scale of Points, 
which will make the ratings of less typical specimens a mat- 
ter of comparative percentages. But in comparison judging 
today, as in the past, symmetry is rarely, if ever, computed 
by a Scale of Points. Where one specimen which is almost 
identical with another in typical shape or symmetry, has one 
minor shape defect only, as for instance, a head too narrow, 
or a comb too large for a Plymouth Rock, that defect should 
be discounted under head points, as are all minor or serious 
faults in the different sections, and the cuts to be made when 
the score card is applied should comply with the rules given 
in the Standard of Perfection under "Cutting for Defect." 

Condition, like symmetry, is valued at four points, and is 
equally difficult of application when measured by the "Scale 
of Point" valuation, as no definite rule to determine the rela- 
tive value of condition in competing specimens can be laid 
down, for it is a duty of the judge to determine this matter. 

The Standard defines Condition as follows : "The state of 
a fowl as regards health, cleanliness and order of plumage." 
Frosted combs, broken feathers and scaly legs are discounted 



in their respective sections, and handicap seriously the speci- 
men that may be in good health and feather otherwise; rough 
and soiled plumage, if caused by poor washing and handling, 
handicaps an otherwise hue specimen severely, but if the 
plumage of a well-conditioned bird becomes soiled in the show 
pen, due allowance must be made by the judge. 

The relative values of color and shape in the neck, back, 
wing and breast sections, given in the 1915 Standard, are more 
just and equitable than those in the older Standards, as color 
in parti-colored Plymouth Rocks is of paramount importance, 
especially in Silver Penciled and Partridge, varieties that have 
run less true to shape requirements than the Barred and White, 
due to the extreme difficulties experienced by breeders in per- 
fecting the penciled feather pattern demanded by the Standard. 
To a certain extent, shape had to be sacrificed in order to 
obtain the desired Standard color markings. It is, therefore, 
necessary to place as high a valuation on these color sections 
as possiole in order to protect the male or female specimens 
which show superior color markings, but that fail somewhat 
in the shape of different sections. (J. H. D.) 



The philosophy of judging Standard breeds of poultry is 
the same as that which must apply for all other animate or 
inanimate exhibits found in nature or produced by the art 
and skill of man, for it is based on the knowledge which 
governs the valuation of all such matter examined, or speci- 
mens exhibited. In other words, the Standard-bred specimen 
in the yard of the breeder, or in the show pen of the exhibitor, 
is the matter to be considered by the mind of the judge. And 
the mind of the poultry judge is governed by the American 
Standard of Perfection, which is the only safe guide for the 
breeder, exhibitor and judge in selecting breeding or exhibition 
specimens. This Standard is the law which every judge must 

The fads of breeders and exhibitors must be ignored by 
the judge, for no conscientious adjudicator of live stock is or 
ever will be a faddist. Fads of any description are short-lived. 


Furthermore, there are the dangers of the advanced types in 
certain popular breeds or varieties to carefully guard against. 
They may seem to be in advance of the present Standard for 
the special variety in some one section of color marking which 
has been produced by skillful and progressh'e breeding, and 
beautiful as such may look to the producer and other admirers 
of this particular variety, they cannot be justly considered by 
an American Poultry Association judge until they have been 
recognized, authorized and printed in the edition of the Amer- 
ican Standard of Perfection that is in force at the time of 

To recognize any one particular so-called advanced section 
is to become a slave to a single idea, for the poultry judge 
with a fad is usually the one who ignores the Standard by plac- 
ing too much valuation on some particular section in one speci- 
men and overlooking the general all-around excellencies of the 
competing specimens. 

With some judges of Barred Plymouth Rocks, under- 
barring is a dangerous fad, one that is shared by breeders not 
infrequently. A Barred Plymouth Rock, beautiful in surface 
color, will often be passed because the undercolor is not barred 
strongly and deeply down to the skin, notwithstanding the fact 
that deficient underbarring and lighter, less sharply defined 
barring in the undercolor is discounted from one-half point to 
one and one-half points only. 

Exhibitors or judges who cultivate this special fondness for 
superior development in any one section of a breed or variety 
will sooner or later realize their mistake ; for it is the exhibitor 
and judge that stick to the Standard, obey its laws and require- 
ments, who will win out in the short or long run always. 

The Standard Is the Judge's Guide. — The American Stand- 
ard of Perfection describes the shape and color sections in each 
variety of all recognized breeds of poultry, gives the general 
and specific disqualifications for which exhibition specimens 
are to be disqualified by the judges, defines under "Instruc- 
tions to Judges" the most important laws which govern the 
selection of prize winners, while under "Cutting for Defects" 
and "In Applying the Comparison System," rules are laid 
down for the judge's guidance when examining and adjudi- 
cating all specimens in whatever classes they may be as- 
signed to. 

The foundation of American poultry culture rests upon the 
American Standard of Perfection and every poultry judge 



should bear this in mind. The Standard is supreme law, 
rirst, last and all the time. The breeder, exhibitor or judge 
who fans to reeognize it as sueh destroys whatever chances ne 
may have to make good. 

Judging by the standard. — The American Standard of Per- 
fection being the law, as well as the guide, for the poultry 
judge, he must be thoroughly posted on its requirements be- 
fore attempting to adjudicate in any classes at a poultry exhi- 
bition. A thorough study of the rules which govern judging 
is of the greatest importance, as more protests against awards 
are based on the failure to observe these rules than on errors of 
judgment. Never overlook a disqualification of any kind, no 
matter how trivial it may be, or how much the mind rebels 
against throwing out a surpassingly fine bird. The judge sim- 
ply has to do it or invite protest. The Standard may seem 
wrong to him, but that should make no difference, as all the 
specimens entered in his classes have, or should have, been 
selected by the exhibitors according to the same Standard. 
The judge has no right to disregard any of its rules if he de- 
sires to remain in good standing in his profession. 

Another important point, however, and one that must never 
be overlooked is: The Standard permits the judge to give 
the benefit of any doubt he may have in his mind to the bird. 
A superior specimen, the best in its class, may have some 
defect so near to the disqualifying limit that an over-zealous 
judge will exercise arbitrary powers and disqualify the bird. 
This is placing a radical or literal construction on the laws 
laid down by the Standard certainly not intended by its fram- 
ers. A judge must exercise his common sense in interpreting 
all such laws. To throw out the gem in any class because d 
pinhead spot of black or red appears in a white feather is 
both suicidal to the breed or variety and the judge. 

Lastly, a judge should follow Davy Crockett's advice — 
"Be sure you're right, then go ahead" — when judging poultry 
at exhibitions. Under any circumstances he must' make his 
decisions without fear or favor and care naught for what 
exhibitors may say. A judge is an individual having but one 
opinion. That one he should adhere to. Others may have 
different ones, but that need not influence him in the least. 
It is, however, his duty toward exhibitors that may be pres- 
ent and who courteously ask him for explanations of his 
awards to satisfy them. Jt is well to remember that many 
exhibitors are as well posted on the merits of the birds entered 



at the shows as the judge himself, and some may know even 
better the strong- points of the best birds. Such exhibitors 
are not kickers, as a rule, and it benefits a judge to associate 
with them after the show is over. 

First Impressions Are Best. — First impressions of any 
specimen are usually the most reliable, and other things being 
equal will govern final decisions of the thoroughly competent 
judge, one who is thoroughly "up" on the breeds or varieties 
he is called to adjudicate and no other should ever be engaged. 

The real judge is one who — plus training and experience — 
has a natural instinct for discerning the best, which a noted 
English authority claims is a quality given to but few men 
and fewer women, adding- : "Well do I remember many years 
ago one such man, though there have been several others, but I 
mention him because he seldom acted as judge, although one 
of the best I ever knew. Put before him a dozen birds or 
animals of any breed, even though he had never seen the like 
before, and he would assuredly pick the winners, placing them 
in correct order. He had the instinctive capacity which en- 
abled him to gauge the type and idealize it." 

This bears out the adage : "Judges are born — not made." 
but which does not imply that training and experience are 
not required, for without these valuable assets, no man should 
accept the position of judge of important classes at any exhi- 
bition of poultry. 

Tt is the experienced eve of the judge that selects, often 
at first glance, the bird which stands out among all the rest 
pnd this one and the others must be measured by the Standard 
ideal as it exists in the mind of the judge, provided on closer 
insnection no serious defects are discovered, which would 
debar them from winning. We call attention to this because 
some pood breeders, who have attempted to pass judgment 
on poultry in the show room, have failed to look at the good 
Joints of the fowl but have started right off hunting for 
defects. Thev wanted all that was bad and overlooked all 
that was p-ood in the birds. 

As an illustration, we will cite the case of an old and noted 
breeder who did not think the judge placed his Buff Leghorn 
cockerels correctly, contending that the second and third prize 
birds were better than his first, just because the latter had a 
tinpe of b 1 uish-gray in the undercolor of the back. Yet this 
cockerel was far superior in surface color and shape to the 
other two. All the owner could see was one little hidden 



defect in color. He forgot all about the other fine qualities of 
the winning cockerel. He judged not by first impressions, but 
with a mania for discovering imperfections. 

A poultry judge should be an optimist always, see the 
g:ood and then discount the bad points of a specimen. He 
must bear in mind that there are twelve sections for shape 
and nearly as many for color, besides weight and condition, 
which must figure in the complete and final examination of 
every specimen. However, in a well finished and matured 
specimen, typical shape is readily seen at a glance, in fact a 
real top-notcher stands out from the rest. Other things being 
equal, such a bird will win. 

Yet it may so happen that an ideal bird in type and size 
is handicapped by a bad comb, which, with the faddist judge, 
may result in its being passed by without further examination 
or patient consideration of its superior merits in both shape 
and color. And therein lies the chief danger in awarding 
prizes at a poultry show, for this one glaring defect obscures 
the vision of the judge who happens to be a confirmed defect 
hunter, at the same time being oblivious to the existence of 
the Standard which describes the entire bird, even to placing a 
limit upon penalties for defects. 

General Disqualifications. — The American Standard of 
Perfection, under "General Disqualifications," describes and 
enumerates the defects which will disqualify the specimens on 
which they are discovered by the judge. In most instances 
the descriptions of such disqualifying defects are defined in 
clear and unmistakable language, but in several others there 
is considerable room for doubt, requiring intelligent interpreta- 
tion and generous application by the judge. 

For instance, where it reads : "In varieties where positive 
white in ear-lobes is a disqualification, judges shall disqualify 
for unmistakable evidence of an attempt to remove the de- 
fect." The words "unmistakable evidence" should be carefully 
weighed before proceeding to disqualify a specimen, as the 
burden of proof rests with a judge, should an exhibitor 
demand an explanation in the event of having a specimen 
disqualified for removal of white from the lobes. To be on 
the safe side, the specimen should be given the benefit of all 
reasonable doubt. 

But there is another disqualification clause which is even 
more delicate of adjustment, as it is more difficult of inter- 
pretation, and that is: "Faking in any manner shall disqualify 



the specimen." This will bring up the perennial query, "What 
constitutes faking?" 

To define "faking" in terms that will prove satisfactory to 
all good poultry breeders is a difficult matter ; as the dividing 
line between real faking, such as bleaching or coloring of the 
plumage, trimming of combs, pulling feathers from shanks of 
clean-legged breeds, and the methods of preparing birds for 
the show room, is a very narrow one, especially when it is 
considered legitimate to pluck many feathers from a parti- 
colored specimen in order to bring out the color markings more 
distinctly and effectively, or to fluff up the feathers of a 
Cochin, pull tails of a Cochin bantam a certain length of time 
prior to a show, and a few other little aids or "tricks of the 
trade" in fixing up exhibition specimens. It will keep the 
judge guessing just where to draw the line in most of the 
instances stated above. 

However, the disqualifying clause that has caused judges 
more trouble and annoyance than all others in the past reads : 
"In all breeds required to have unfeathered shanks, any feather, 
or feathers, stubs or down on shanks, feet or toes ; or unmis- 
takable indication of feathers, stubs or down having been 
plucked from same." The difficult part the judge must play 
is in determining whether feathers have been plucked from 
the shanks. The defect-finding judge will do the miscroscopic 
act in order to discover the hole or incipient stub. The experi- 
enced judge will obey the Standard admonition at the foot of 
the rule for "General Disqualifications," which reads : "Under 
all disqualifying clauses, the specimen shall have the benefit 
of the doubt." If the naked eye of the judge cannot detect 
a stub or "unmistakable evidence of feathers having been 
plucked," no magnifying lenses or pen knives need be resorted 
to in order to discover a puny stub located somewhere on the 
otherwise clean shanks of a specimen. Exhibitors are human 
and will do all in their power to prepare a bird which will 
pass muster with the average judge, but they will frown 
on the adjudicator who calls to his aid magnifying glasses or 
surgery when examining the legs or toes of fowls. 

Size and Condition. — The size and condition of an exhibi- 
tion specimen often determine its fate in the show room, but 
great care should be exercised by the judge when handling 
birds that appear large and look immaculate in their feathered 
garb. Looks are often delusive, especially in the artificially 
prepared exhibition specimens such as judges are confronted 



with in the white-plumaged varieties, and not infrequently in 
the parti-colored ones. Cochins which appear immense in size 
in their very loose feathering- which has been curled and 
fluffed up by the skilled hand of the exhibitor, may fall short 
of the Standard weight, although they look to have both size 
and weight. 

Size is a relative term, so when two specimens are com- 
pared, the one that is apparently the larger will win, other 
points being equal. But the weight clause is the only safe and 
correct rule to apply in such close decisions. 

It is also well to bear in mind that the specimen over 
Standard weight, while larger in size, may be coarser in type. 
As the veteran Light Brahma breeder and judge once remarked 
to an old judge who awarded a twelve-pound Light Brahma 
hen a prize over one that fell a trifle under the Standard 
weight : "When we want meat, we go to market for it where 
we can buy it for a shilling a pound." Size and overweight do 
not make Brahmas, and every pound over the Standard weight 
destroys the type by making the specimen coarser. 

What applies to Light Brahmas will apply with equal 
force to Plymouth Rocks, Wyandottes, Rhode Island Reds and 
other breeds subject to weight clauses, where it is desirable to 
maintain the correct typical form of the brood. 

The size or weight allotted the various breeds in the Ameri- 
can Standard of Perfection is based on the careful judgment 
of the poultry breeders of the United States and Canada, so 
that a strict adherence to the weight clauses, when judging 
standard-bred varieties, is compulsory. 

Relative Value of Condition. — Condition is given but four 
points in the "Scale of Points," for nearly all breeds, the 
exceptions being Sumatras, Games and Malays, which have 
ten, six and eight points allotted to them. As the last three 
mentioned breeds possess special characteristics in plumage, 
condition is a most important factor when specimens of these 
fanciers' breeds are exhibited in the show room. 

But in the American classes four points is sufficient, as few 
breeders and exhibitors will send poorly feathered or ill- 
conditioned specimens to a winter show. However, at a 
summer or fall show, due allowance must be made for the 
condition of adult specimens, as few if any are through their 
natural molt, consequently will not "shape up" like a finished 
specimen, one that has molted in a completely new garb of 
feathers. Nevertheless, shape can be approximately gauged 



by careful inspection of the body, the breadth and length of 
the back and breast sections, as a rule, furnishing a good indi- 
cation of what the bird will develop into when in full plumage. 
It is well to bear in mind that an adult specimen exhibited at 
an early show, albeit in full plumage and exhibited in excellent 
condition, may be greatly inferior in color markings to one 
heavy in molt. 

Typical Shape and Color. — -"Shape makes the breed, and 
color the variety," is an old accepted belief among poultry 
breeders which obviously makes type or shape all important 
in a breed, and no judge can afford to sacrifice shape for 
color alone. American poultry judges in most instances have 
accepted and followed this belief, but in England the type 
has not received the consideration at the hands of English 
judges the Standard demands, a fact which has led progress- 
ive poultry editors and breeders to issue warnings in the 
poultry press, demanding that greater value be placed on type 
and lesser consideration be given to color. 

The American Standard of Perfection in the Scale of 
Points for the American classes, allows nearly an equal num- 
ber of points for color and for shape, aside from comb, which 
places each on an equal footing, consequently both must 
receive the same consideration when specimens are judged 
at a poultry show. But great care must be taken in balancing 
defects, especially in varieties where color markings may be 
so strikingly beautiful that the judge must accord to such 
their full value always, no matter what the defects in shape 
may be. To pass by a magnificently Penciled or Barred 
Plymouth Rock, simply because it may have a short back or 
lean neck, is not consistent with careful and sound judgment. 

The Standard demands that such consideration be given 
to both shape and color, and what applies to Silver Penciled 
Rocks, for instance, whether English or American bred, will 
apply to all other varieties in the American, English, Mediter- 
ranean, French or other Standard classes. The Standard rule 
in applying the comparison system when judging typical 
shape, reads : "In awarding prizes by comparison, judges 
must consider carefully each and every section of the specimen 
and not allow color alone to influence their decision. The 
vital importance of typical shape is to be borne constantly in 
mind, at the same time giving due consideration to color in 
all sections, including under-color." 



And in judging size, the rule to be followed is: "In 
determining size, the judge shall decide by comparing the 
specimens in competition, with due regard to weight in all 
breeds and varieties where weight is required by the Standard. 
When a bird fails to attain, or in case it exceeds the size pro- 
portionate with type or shape, it must be discounted quite 

If poultry judges will obey and carry out these two rules 
when adjudicating their classes at poultry exhibitions, satis- 
factory judging will be the rule. For a thorough knowledge 
of the Standard requirements of all breeds and their varieties 
and of the rules governing the awarding of prizes to same, 
poultry judges (especially the younger ones) should make it 
a point to visit the larger winter shows for the purpose of 
studying the winning specimens in the different classes ; a 
surpassingly beautiful bird in shape and color will make a 
lasting impression on the minds of close observers, and a 
poultry judge should be the closest observer of all. (J. H. D.) 





CHAPTERS upon this topic are generally written under 
the title of "Selecting for the Show Room," but selection 
is always accomplished by examination ; in reality it is 
the result of several examinations from different angles, the 
candidate for show honors passing successfully through at 
least four successive examinations before it is finally crated 
and shipped to the show room, where it is to undergo final 
examination at the hands of the official arbiter, whose decision, 
should it be final as it usually is, will determine whether this 
particular specimen was worth while, or whether it was a 
"misfit" in that particular select company, and whether your 
energy was well directed or misspent. Chances of misdirected 
effort or of selecting to little purpose increase with com- 
petition, but so do also the benefits you derive from winning 
in such competition and in such proportion as the competition 
is keen. Your interests demand that misdirected effort in all 
directions be so far as possible eliminated. That basic law 
of success is just as applicable when selecting for the show 
room as at any other time and in any other place. To select 
wisely and well, your best candidate means much to you and 
something to the poultry-loving public. To you it means the 
saving of labor, expense and perhaps chagrin. To the public, 
the elimination of poor and mediocre specimens means a better 
impression and increased interest, attitudes worth cultivating. 

The Processes of Selection. — The process of selection of 
show birds as it is practiced by the experienced exhibitor, if 
analyzed, consists of four steps : the candidates are quite 
loosely selected, then examined closely, and carefully and 
critically compared one with another, after which the selec- 
tion by casual observation is confirmed or rejected. 



The First Step. — Selection is dependent upon examination, 
casual at first and superficial, necessarily, as it is the superficial 
attractiveness of a bird that must first catch the eye. An ex- 
ceptionally good comb, stylish carriage, symmetrical form, 
strikingly handsome markings, or brilliant colors, are super- 
ficial qualities that please and win the specimen possessing 
them almost instantly a first consideration. 

"Catchy Quality." — This "catchy quality" should figure 
largely in the selection of show specimens when not accom- 
panied by too serious faults as it means beauty, and beauty 
coupled with utility is the keynote of the Standard. 

To explain the phrase "catchy qualities" would be difficult, 
though to define it would be easy. It simply means beauty or 
attractiveness. To state exactly of what it consists is prac- 
tically impossible. However, it is a quality recognized by both 
the professional and the amateur and must always be reckoned 
with. Many birds with the catchy quality lack in certain 
qualities and they become what is known as "fillers." 

"Fillers." — Fillers are used, however, in the keenest com- 
petition and one expects to take chances with a few of good 
quality if they have characteristics to which the judge is 
known to be partial. Fillers are, in general, birds of three 
classes, first: birds of no more than average merit but one 
phenomenally good section, or quality, which, if it is located 
in some prominent section, makes the specimen very attract- 
ive; second: often, however, a specimen having such phenom- 
enal qualities in one or perhaps more sections is correspond- 
ingly poor in possibly an equal number, yet it is possible that 
the judge and even popular opinion will be overawed by the 
excellence of the section of phenomenal merit, while the faulty 
sections will be overlooked ; third : the class of birds that are 
known as good all around specimens, though they have no 
serious defects, they are very fair in all particulars and meet 
technical requirements very well, but they lack attractive- 
ness. While the analysis is satisfactory, the catchy qualities 
are decidedly lacking. Without these, it is seldom that a bird 
is returned a winner in close competition. 

The Second Step. — Close Examination. — A winning speci- 
men needs more than the power to attract admiration. It 
needs also the power to retain it after examination, which 
with one who has accepted certain standards of beauty means 
that the specimen must meet the requirements of such a 
standard as the person who conducts such an examination has 


adopted. The first step, the selection of candidates by casual 
observation, usually at a distance, is followed by an examina- 
tion which should involve the closest and most critical scru- 
tiny, section by section, as to their conformity with the re- 
quirements of the Standard of Perfection. 

Mental processes, even with the best trained minds, are 
too restricted to attempt to accomplish this as a whole or in 
one operation. The specimen must be examined carefully, 
section by section, for both color and shape, beginning with 
symmetry and ending with legs and toes, forgetting none. 
Both the merits and defects of each must be accurately 
weighed, the defects because they count against the speci- 
men, the merits because upon these depend its position in the 
awards. The examiner must expect to find both merits and 
defects. These are two qualities that all birds possess. None 
are perfect, and no well-bred specimen is entirely devoid of 
merit. Unusual merit in one or more sections will offset 
defects in others. Good color will offset good shape, and vice 
versa. In some varieties good undercolor offsets to a certain 
extent defective surface color, while in other varieties under- 
color may be so universally good that but little attention is 
paid to it in estimating comparative merits of two or more 
exhibition specimens. In still other instances, undercolor is 
almost wholly a breeder's point, not considered very seriously 
in the estimation of show merit. The actual consideration of 
the different phases of each section of each variety obviously 
cannot be treated in this chapter, as such consideration forms 
a large part of the entire treatise. 

But it is in place, however, to call particular attention to 
the chapters on common defects of plumage and the accom- 
panying illustrations, which should be studied minutely after 
a good mental digest of the standard requirements of the par- 
ticular variety in question. Many other chapters in this work 
would assist the exhibitor in selecting the strongest candi- 
date for show honors, as there is much correlation between 
breeding and exhibiting, and the understanding of the origin 
and development of a breed or variety increases the capacity of 
an individual to comprehend the trend of public opinion, which 
as well as the Standard has its influence on the judge's con- 
ception of what an ideal fowl of any variety should be, as it 
has had, heretofore, its influence upon the Standard's printed 
description of the same thing. 



Prime Requisites Overlooked. — There are, moreover, some 
qualities which must be considered that are usually overlooked 
as Standard qualities, though they should not be. Health, 
vigor and a generally attractive appearance are surely most 
essential considerations in final selection by exhibitors of long 
experience. It is clearly the intenton of the Standard to make 
these requirements of prime importance. Health is demanded 
under the section of "condition," with but an allowance of 
four points, it is true, but even at that it is next to impossible 
for a bird to win unless it is in perfect health, or we might 
better say, in good condition, which means more, including 
both good health and good feather. It is not necessary that a 
specimen should lose the total allotment of four points to 
have a cut on condition fatal to his chance of winning. Often 
a loss of one point or even of one-half a point in this section is 
fatal. It is generally essential that the bird be perfectly con- 
ditioned, if it is to be a possible winner, and such a condition 
is acquired only by perfect health, which is confirmed, per- 
haps, by the fact that it has already been selected as a candi- 
date, which should be reaffirmed by closest examination. To 
win in close competition without this quality would be difficult, 
but alone it is not enough to win in good competition, though 
it is sufficient many times to win the admiration of both the 
novice and the expert ; that of the latter for only a limited 
period, however, and that period comparative to the degree of 
his proficiency. 

Comparison of Candidates. — During this process many 
things must be taken into consideration besides comparing 
one section with another for shape, for color, or for both. 
These are: The condition of the bird, the health, development 
in regard to shape, in regard to plumage, weight, time of 
show, or length of time available for process of conditioning. 

When the time for the final consideration of the different 
candidates with these requisites in mind draws near, much de- 
pends on whether the show is to be judged by score cards or 
comparison. For one thing, when the score card system is 
to be used, weight becomes of much importance. A bird that 
is a pound underweight loses according to standard rules two 
points, and the ones which are so handicapped must excel one- 
half of one point in four sections to get on even terms with 
one not thus handicapped. This statement gives the reader an 
idea of the handicap of underweight, yet it is not unusual to 
see specimens on exhibition more than a pound underweight. 



and then the handicap becomes even more serious. Very 
often birds of naturally very superior plumage are justly de- 
feated by fully matured, up-to-weight specimens. As a rule, 
well-balanced birds, or birds of good even qualities do well 
in score card exhibitions. High scoring birds are often those 
whose fundamental qualities are perfect. If a specimen be 
fully up to weight, in good plumage, in perfect health, and 
perfect in beak, eyes, and legs, and has a nearly perfect comb, 
it is a hard bird to score low, even if it has only fair plumage. 
The foregoing attributes are what we term the fundamental 
qualities, and the previous statement is particularly true, if, in 
addition, the specimen has good shape. 

When the Comparision System is Used. — At exhibitions 
governed by the comparison system, first impressions un- 
doubtedly carry more weight than under the score card sys- 
tem, which compels minute inspection, not merely invites it. 
First impressions are, therefore, important and such birds 
as described near the beginning of this chapter are the ones 
which catch the eye at first glance and are good selections as 
a rule. Not only do first impressions count more but if a speci- 
men under the comparison system fails to "score" with the 
first impression, that specimen is, then and there, down and 
out. It must possess some strongly attractive feature, and it 
must be one that impresses the judge quickly. What that fea- 
ture must be varies widely and depends somewhat upon the 
likes and perhaps the dislikes of this or that particular judge. 
It might be shape or it might be color. It should be without 
question even all-around quality. Thus it will be seen that a 
study of judges as well as a study of standard requirements is 
very often important in the solution of the big problem, "HOW 
to WIN prizes." Again, the excellence of the markings of 
one or more sections, possibly the condition or behavior of the 
specimen in the show coop, the ability to pose, very likely 
will have considerable weight with the judge that is just a 
little emphatic about shape requirements. 

It would be well at this stage for the novice to take from 
the Standard a mental or written list of all possible defects 
for each section for color and markings. Defects of shape are 
not so complicated and are, therefore, more quickly seen. For 
example, if a specimen of the Buff variety was to be examined, 
a list something like this would assist the novice : Correct 
shade of color, form, surface color, edging, mealiness, shafti- 
ness, sections too dark, sections too light, undercolor too light, 
uniform color, black or white in tail, in wing, etc. 





Successful showing consists of two things, having the 
quality and showing it properly. The gardener who raises 
roses for the market strives to place them on the market when 
they bring the greatest price. The man who raises broilers 
for a living times his product for the highest market. It is 
the exhibitor's business to time his birds for the exhibition just 
as the gardener and market poultryman time their products to 
be at their best at the most advantageous season. 

Regulating Development. — The second principle involves 
the science or art (may we say knack?) of properly rearing a 
bird and timing it for the exhibition. 

The phrase "Every dog has his day," will never be applied 
to anything more forcefully than to exhibition poultry ; the 
bird that was a "Never Beaten" last w r eek is a "Has Been" 
this, and we see it exemplified time and time again. There 
comes a time in the life of every young bird when, seemingly, 
a transformation from the awkward, angular lines and short, 
scant, rough garb of the chicken to the full, round contour and 
abundant, sleek, profusely flowing feathered dress of maturity 
takes place, which, on account of its brevity, appears almost 
magical. It is well then, to estimate the time, even the mo- 
ment, which you can from years of experience with your own 
strain of birds, when your birds will be fully matured in form 
and fully fledged, as the growing proclivities of two strains 
are seldom the same. Note mentally the progress and de- 
velopment of your birds each year. If your memory is in- 
capable of carrying the relative progress of your birds with 
reference to age and development, keep accurate notes. They 
will be both interesting and instructive if kept in connection 
with a feather album, which is always a valuable asset to 
any breeders' library. 

Condition, All-Important. — A good exhibition specimen 
must have first a certain degree of excellence in size, shape and 
plumage. Excellent quality in all of these particulars except 
size passes unnoticed in poorly conditioned birds. 

We see then that condition is an all-important, overshad- 
owing essential to a winning bird and without approximate 
perfection in this particular, specimens even of great quality 



naturally will seldom win in close competition. With some 
varieties, the relative places on the award list are but expres- 
sions of the degree of perfection of condition of the specimens 
shown. To win, some varieties are more dependent upon con- 
dition than others. Most prominent of these varieties that de- 
pend largely upon condition to win are all black and all white 
varieties, and varieties of the red-black color patterns. Some 
will object to this statement as too broad and certainly condi- 
tion with nothing back of it will never win; but just as cer- 
tainly will perfect condition cover many defects and enable 
a bird of average exhibition quality to win over one naturally 

Condition, Examined. — Y\ 'hat, then, does condition mean? 
What does the word embrace? Many things and various 
things : in some birds, it means the proper fluffy effect or 
looseness of feather; in others, it may mean the opposite or 
hardness of feather, and in still others, the American varieties 
for instance, a mean between these two extremes ; in all varie- 
ties, the necessary weight, the health and vigor that gives a 
bright eye, glowing face, slick appearance and gloss of plum- 
age. The shape that a specimen displays in an exhibition cage 
depends upon condition, for without good poise no specimen 
appears to good advantage and poise is in most every instance 
dependent upon condition. Condition of exhibition specimens 
consists of perfect health, full developed form and plumage, 
but not over-development in either, the required smoothness 
and hardness or looseness of feather, the acquired tempera- 
ment and docility to assume and maintain perfect poise, or 
correct carriage without which no specimen can create the 
impression of form. 

In the acquiring of good or perfect condition, two principles 
become involved and must receive consideration. The first 
is that — 

Winning Quality Is Hereditary. — Good showing qualities 
and aptness for good condition are just as surely transmitted 
from generation to generation as any characteristics of the 
species. You have often observed, if you are an exhibitor, 
that some birds condition easily while it is almost impossible 
to make others acquire the smoothness of feather and the 
style or poise that gives them the winning quality. Both of 
these characteristics, sleek plumage and poise, are hereditary 
in fowls just as much as good combs, strong undercolor or 
straight barring. A Barred Plymouth male that lacks a certain 



amount of style should be rejected just as quickly as one that 
fails in undercolor, and any male that does not possess the 
attribute of smoothness of feather should not be considered 
long as a candidate for the head of a breeding yard. So much 
for condition and heredity. Do not accept the testimony of 
others, rather make careful observations along these lines if 
you wish to develop a line of winning specimens. 

Fresh Plumaged Birds Win. — Young birds that have just 
attained maturity are fresh and bright in plumage and fresh 
and bright birds are certainly attractive and for that reason 
are the ones that usually win. This necessitates rapid growth 
and that demands free range and skillful, judicious feeding. 
This is the problem, then, to solve: how are some birds to be 
pushed forward and some held back, so that the entire string 
may be shown in uniformly perfect condition ? 

Right here is where the writer will prove disappointing, 
because he knows of no magic that will mature the immature 
or freshen the fading colors of those that are past prime. 

The Art of Conditioning No Mystery. — There are a few 
who cling to the idea that there are sublime methods for 
accomplishing anything. There are a few who believe that 
winning specimens are made so by occult means. Were we 
to find some agent which would effect such a marvelous trans- 
formation in our flocks, we should have accomplished no less 
than the alchemists of old undertook when they sought to find 
the Philosopher's stone, a reagent that would form a panacea 
as well as transmute the baser metals into gold. As well 
dream the dreams of the old alchemists as to expect to make 
winning show birds by any except the most thorough processes 
of nature. 

A prominent breeder asked another at one of the New York 
shows how he managed to bring such a good conditioned string 
of cock birds to the show year after year. "Would it be asking 
too much to tell me?" said he. "Certainly not," replied the 
other, "we just give them ample range, good food and keep the 
lice from them." The questioner made it very clear that he 
did not credit the answer. He was evidently a believer in the 
occult. But as a fact, aside from selecting for breeding year 
after year very smooth males, that successful exhibitor did 
nothing more than he suggested to his questioner, who was 
and still is one of the largest breeders of his variety. 

The Pleasing Bird Wins. — The question naturally arises, 
"Why is a winning bird?" The answer would seem to be one 


that most nearly meets the requirements of the Standard of 
Perfection. But is it? It is not always, even with the most 
conscientious and the keenest judges, there is in some birds a 
certain quality that is very hard to describe unless we limit 
that description to one word and call it the "catchy" quality, 
or the "pleasing" bird, as it is expressed by the more refined 
exponents of the craft. 

Under our present mode of comparison judging, and this 
mode has its advantages as well as its drawbacks, the order 
seems to be that the catchy or pleasing specimens are picked 
out and then examined for defects according to the judges' 
interpretation of the Standard. Under this method the bird 
in poor condition and the one that has not catchy qualities 
fare alike, being passed by while the pleasing bird, if he has 
no glaring faults, has a good chance to win. 

Too Close Cooping. — There are several methods of more 
or less merit of fitting for the show room. The best is to let 
the bird fit itself ; the poorest, and that which is more gener- 
ally used, consists in confining the bird to an exhibition cage 
two or three feet square and either starving it or stuffing it as 
the fancy of the owner dictates. In such quarters, this bird 
has the pleasure of moping around for two or three weeks. It 
has a clean coop, perhaps, plenty of the best of food and a 
nice bright tin cup to drink out of, but after all that has been 
done, this bird is being subjected to the most unnatural life 
that a fowl could live. If the cage is kept clean, the bird is 
clean also, but its appetite soon diminishes, its digestion is 
soon disordered, its feathers soon become rough, and its head 
loses color. The bird deteriorates from the moment that 
it is put into the cage. The only advantage is that you have a 
tame bird. Unless it is endowed with an unusual amount of 
vitality, it has become so lifeless and docile that it should not 
even, in many cases, be admitted to classification in the gal- 
linaceous division. Of all the idiotic methods that poultrymen 
employ, this is the most stupid and foolish. 

Range the Best Conditioner. — Those who have exhibited 
at the early winter shows, say the early part of December or 
the latter part of November, may have been favored by one 
of our occasional warm autumns, when the weather permitted 
keeping the birds out on the summer runs. Under these cir- 
cumstances the birds probably went into the shows in the best 
possible condition. If such is not your experience, it is the 
experience of others. It should be, therefore, our aim to pro- 



vide the candidates for show honors with as near natural 
conditions as the usual severe winter weather and sometimes 
several feet of snow will permit. The greatest benefits that a 
bird can receive are, of course, derived from range conditions, 
but under the conditions mentioned, rang-e is out of the ques- 
tion. How, then, can we supply a substitute? By affording 
the bird a chance for exercise and by compelling it to exercise 
if it is not inclined, and by supplying those things that con- 
finement and the season of the year rob it of. Added to these, 
there are some artificial methods that are simple and harmless 
that we shall speak of later. 

Food and Exercise. — Take the case of a young male bird 
that is to be conditioned for winter shows under the usual 
conditions when protection from the weather is necessary and 
confinement unavoidable. Growth must be promoted and 
health of the most vigorous kind maintained. The quarters 
are the first essential. He should be penned by himself, with 
one female, or some younger cockerels. In general the larger 
the pen, the better, but one eight feet by nine, and even 
smaller, will answer in most instances. 

The floor should be of dry, clean sand if possible to obtain 
it at a reasonable amount of expense or trouble, covered with 
a litter of dry straw. The straw need not be cut, as the birds, 
if properly trained, will break it up in a short while. This 
litter should be from two to four inches deep, varying with 
the size of the birds; the larger the birds the deeper the litter. 

The Feeding Method. — In the morning throw in a small 
handful of scratch feed, scattering it well. After an hour of 
brisk exercise, give some warm mash but do not allow them 
too much, because if not hungry, the birds will not exercise. 
A heaping teaspoonful or two is about all that the average 
bird will consume without becoming inactive, and unless he 
eats this eagerly and rapidly, it is too much. An hour or two 
later scatter more scratch feed and set them to work again. 
If the birds are immature and you wish to force them a little, 
feed another small amount of mash at noon. An hour later 
a few kernels of small grains will induce more exercise, while 
for the evening meal, a generous supply of good grain should 
be allowed. 

It should be kept constantly in mind that rapid growth de- 
pends upon the amount of food the bird can consume and 
assimilate, and that exercise stimulates the appetite, aids 
digestion and increases assimilation of the foods consumed, 



hardens the muscles and promotes the most rugged health 
and vigor; which facts sufficiently explain the reasons for 
feeding often in small portions. 

Green food, he should have a little of and but a little. Grit 
and oyster shells he should have in abundance at all times. 

A Good Mash Makes Flesh. — A mash helps the bird to 
acquire flesh, but too much of it overloads the crop and, 
hunger being satisfied, the bird refuses to exercise ; conse- 
quently, it will not eat as much nor can its system assimilate 
as much. The ingredients of the mash may vary somewhat. 
Cornmeal and bran may be mixed with a very small quantity 
of white flour middlings in such a proportion that the mash 
is a substantial but not a sticky mass. It should be mixed 
with boiling water, merely hot water does not do. It must 
cook to get the desired effect. To that end it should be packed 
closely together and covered for a time. After standing for 
half an hour, uncover and stir. Allow it to cool until it is 
warm but not hot; then you have the food for a meal that the 
fowls will relish. 

For scratch feed, any of the small grains will do. Oats 
are very good, so is wheat if you are not using it for a night 
feed. But the prepared scratch feeds are to be preferred 
above all, if they are made of good grain, for two reasons : 
first, for the variety they supply, but principally for the fact 
that the grains are cracked into small bits, which make the 
fowls do the maximum amount of work for the minimum 
amount of food. 

For the final feed at night, nothing compares with wheat 
of the best quality. This is the main food, out may be alter- 
nated with barley with good results. For fowls that are 
inclined to get too fat, barley is preferable to wheat. 

Forcing Immature Birds. — Birds that are very immature 
and that it seems advisable to force along as fast as possible 
may take a quite different ration from those that are grown 
or have ample time to grow. An excellent mash may be made 
as follows : Put hamburg steak to boil in cold water, allow 
it to boil until the amount of water is small, and then thicken 
with cornmeal and a little bran. This may be fed once a day, 
but not in such quantities that the bird is forced off his feet. 
This bird should be kept scratching as the others, but he may, 
if hearty, be fed more heavy grains. A good variety will force 
a bird along faster than a limited diet. 

A very appetizing meal is made of broken crackers and 
cornmeal and bran. The birds like this, especially if the 



crackers are the sweet kind, and if not, they can be sweetened 
with sugar or molasses. The value of the food as a weight 
producer may be further enhanced by mixing with scalded 
milk. It should not be forgotten that these birds must be 
growing feathers and that it is sometimes necessary to aid 
them in this. Nothing that I know of is any better for aiding 
feather development than dessicated fish. A little may be 
added to one of the mashes each day. 

The Best Forcing Menu. — To make myself plain, the best 
forcing feed consists of the broken scratch feeds, the sweet 
cracker mash and the beef and meal mash with wheat or 
mixed grains for the hearty meal at night. In very cold 
weather a few kernels of whole corn might be thrown the 
birds, after the evening meal and the last thing before they 
go to roost. A very little buckwheat may be added to the 
grain mixture. 

Feeding for Color. — With reference to feeding, two classes 
of birds might be considered, as each class must be fed in a 
different manner. They may be divided into white birds and 
others. The methods of feeding each differ, but the methods 
that have already been described are tolerably well suited to 
either class. These methods can be modified somewhat and 
are then better adapted to each of the special classes. 

Feeding White Birds. — By white birds, I refer to those that 
have white in their plumage, not necessarily only the solid 
white varieties. Barred, Silver Penciled, and Columbian 
Plymouth Rocks, for instance, should be fed precisely as pure 
white birds are. 

It is a generally recognized principle that clear white color, 
often described as pearl white, chalk white, or dead white, 
cannot be obtained in its clearness and purity when allowing 
these white birds oily foods. Therefore yellow corn, meat 
scraps, meat fats, or any foods of an oily nature are excluded 
from their diet. Those who wish to feed meat and are still 
very cautious, may boil fresh beef, allow the liquor to stand 
and cool, when the fat may be skimmed off. The meat and 
broth may be reboiled and stirred into the mash, which has 
already been thoroughly mixed. Cut green bone should be 
treated in the same manner, if fed to white or partially white 
birds. After boiling both lean meat and green cut bone, you 
will find an amount of fat that will surprise you. 

Foods That Develop Gloss. — For the varieties which re- 
quire a glossy plumage, the fats and oils are a great help if 


not an absolute necessity in getting birds of certain colors into 
good condition. The best foods to produce gloss are corn, 
buckwheat, sunflower seed, beef scraps and beef tallow. These, 
with the single exception of corn, cannot be used in quantity 
or as staple foods, as they "age" the plumage and impair 
digestion if given in excess. A wonderfully glossy plumage 
may be produced in a remarkably short time if conditions are 
favorable. Besides oily food, plenty of sunlight and housing 
conditions that embrace dryness and very moderate tempera- 
tures are necessary. 

Constant attention wherever administered is beneficial to 
fowls for whatever purpose kept, and particularly so to fowls 
that are being conditioned for shows, but is not absolutely 
necessary. Many exhibitors are so situated that they cannot 
attend their fowls during the day. I believe that the best 
method they can pursue is to feed the mash late in the after- 
noon, and in the morning, give the birds grain in deep but 
light litters to scratch for during the day. Many contrivances 
may be devised to induce or even compel exercise ; for instance, 
a cabbage may be hung so high that they will have to jump 
a little to reach it. Grains may be fed in automatic feeders 
in connection with deep litters, etc. 

Grouping the Birds to Be Conditioned. — The grouping or 
arranging of the birds with relation to their association with 
one another has oftentimes much to do with their develop- 
ment. A male put alone sometimes loses his interest in life, 
but not always. If he is a cock bird, one or two hens that are 
active and alert should be placed with him. If it is necessary 
to raise his weight, feed him alone, once or more daily. A 
cockerel may be allowed to run with one or two hens, but if 
he is not too far along, it is preferable to allow the society of 
two to four younger cockerels. If he maltreats them, there are 
but two alternatives left, the society of females, or isolation. 
Young males, not too far along, generally do best in flocks of 
six to eight, but these must have grown up together. Even 
then the time will come when they must be closely watched. 
At the first signs of fighting, both birds must be removed. 
Females can be kept in groups of four to six. Quarrelsome 
females must be kept alone, as they are sure to ruin the good 
appearance of their companions. 

Taming the Show Bird. — A show bird should be tame, so 
that it does not become frightened when handled. The ad- 
vantage that a bird that will pose while the judge is in front of 



the cage and handling it, has over one that gets all out of 
shape the moment the judge touches it, is obvious. While 
continuous cooping of any fowl is a crime against good condi- 
tion and even against good sense, a half-hour a day or so is 
necessary for all candidates for show honors. The bird may 
be tamed quickly while cooped by offering tid-bits such as 
meat and kernels of whole corn from the hand. By stroking 
with the hand, the bird can be taught the correct pose for the 
show coop. 

Washing the White Fowls. — In these days of strong com- 
petition, an unwashed white bird is practically debarred from 
winning. An unwashed bird, be it ever so white, looks very 
cheap beside a well washed one of much inferior color. This 
is a branch of the industry in which a certain few have 
become so proficient that it is practically impossible for 
anyone not an expert in this line to defeat them. There are 
many soaps and preparations used for washing white fowls, 
but Ivory soap and soap-bark are the most generally used. 
The best washers thoroughly lather the birds to the skin, and 
use two rinse waters. The last water contains a very little 
blueing. This will show in the feathers if too much is used 
and beginners are almost sure to use too much. If not thor- 
oughly rinsed, so that all the soapy water is removed, the 
feathers will curl and crinkle. 

In late years much is hinted at concerning the use of 
bleaching agents that bleach a creamy or yellow bird, other- 
wise fine, so that it becomes a winner. No doubt, hydrogen 
peroxide, the active agent of which is a free atom of oxygen, 
is used to a certain extent. So is ammonia and other cleaning 
agents. Their value lies more in their power to remove stains 
and dirt than in any real bleaching process that takes place. 

The process of drying is very important and is in itself an 
art. The most effective method of whitening a bird is to 
repeat the washings. Persistency in this counts as in every- 
thing else. 

The best treatment for the comb, face and wattles of a 
perfectly healthy bird is to wash in soap and water, dry and 
let alone. When the face does not show good color, massage 
and treat with a very small amount of vaseline. To keep the 
color in the face, repeat the massage with a small bit of 
vaseline. This treatment is simple and will bring more color 
than would be supposed. There are many lotions and draw- 
ing, burning liquids that are applied, but they are all at best 



but temporarily efficient. A short while after the application, 
the head possesses less color than before. 

Cleaning Shanks and Toes. — The shanks and toes should 
be washed in warm soap-suds, dried, and then treated with 
cottonseed oil, vaseline, or something of that nature. When 
there is much dirt under the scales, it should be removed, 
which can best be accomplished with an ordinary wooden 
toothpick dampened with some cleansing liquid. Many shanks 
and toes are improved by brushing dry, with a stiff brush 
before using the soap and water. 


Washing white birds properly presents one of the greatest 
difficulties to the amateur fancier. To get any bird into the 
show room in perfect condition, is really quite an art ; and 
white birds present the additional problem of washing. There 
is, however, no reason why anybody, who is careful and pains- 
taking, can not show white birds in good condition. Birds 
other than white seldom require washing, except where a bird 
has become very much stained or soiled, in which case a care- 
ful washing will improve them. The following instructions 
about temperature of water, in drying room, and other con- 
ditions, will, if carefully followed, bring success. 

Coop Training. — All birds that are to be shown, whether 
they are to be washed or not, should be cooped up in cages 
similar to those used in the shows. Coop them up for about 
three days, so they may become accustomed to the cage and 
to being handled by their attendant. Then put them back into 
their usual run for a few days. Alternating in this way, they 
will get the necessary coop training and show-manners with- 
out becoming stale from too long confinement in small quar- 
ters. Unless the bird has some such preliminary training, to- 
gether with such special feeding as his condition requires, no 
matter how excellent the wash, he will not appear at his best. 
This preliminary training should extend over a period of about 
two or three weeks. 

Equipment. — Birds should be washed from forty-eight to 
sixty hours before they are shipped to the show room. If you 
are going to wash many birds, a rubber apron and rubber 
boots will be necessary. The details of washing white birds 



are as follows : Start with three ordinary wash tubs about 
half full of water at a temperature of from 103 to 110 degrees. 
Birds can be washed in a room at a temperature of about 70 
degrees, which is as warm as an attendant can work in com- 

The Process. — Grasp the bird firmly by the legs, lower him 
into the water, and begin washing by lathering him with a 
cake of soap. Soap counteracts the oil in the bird's feathers 
and allows the water to penetrate to the skin. Be careful in 
handling the feathers until you get them thoroughly wet ; 
afterwards you can rub them enough to build up a heavy 
lather all over the bird, very similar to the process of sham- 
pooing the hair. Then rinse this lather out, and repeat the 
same process. If the bird seems very dirty, give him even a 
third lathering. The rinsing of the heavy lather out of the 
feathers seems to carry all the dirt and stain away. Then go 
over the bird's comb, face, wattles, and legs with a nail-brush 
and heavy lather. Also scrub the wings and any stained spot 
on the bird's plumage with the nail-brush. Then thoroughly 
rinse the bird successively in the second and third tubs of 
water. You can wash from four to six birds, according to 
how dirty they are, before changing the water. Then empty 
all three tubs and start again with clean water. 

The Water. — The character of the water you use will influ- 
ence results to a considerable extent. Soft water, that is also 
white, will give better results than hard water. Sometimes 
water contains iron or other mineral substances that affect the 
color and the finish of the feathers. You can generally find 
suitable water in every locality, by a little effort, or you can 
catch rain water, melt snow or overcome the difficulty in 
some way. Borax or ammonia arc sometimes used to soften 
hard water, and they help some ; but all such agencies have a 
tendency to injure the fabric of the feather, and you do not 
get quite the beautiful satin finish with anything but pure, 
naturally soft water and some mild soap. All of these things 
have to be carefully considered. 

Blueing. — Until very recently, all white birds were blued 
slightly in the last rinsing, and this practice was used by all 
conditioners for many years, but is gradually being abandoned, 
for the reason that otherwise well conditioned birds were left 
out of the awards every year on account of being too blue, 
streaked with blue, or in some way presenting a bad appear- 
ance on this account. If done just right, this may add slight- 


ly to the apparent whiteness of the bird ; but it is impossible 
to give explicit directions for blueing, for the reason that water 
from different sources requires different amounts of blueing to 
produce the best results, and the different blueings that are 
sold throughout the country differ very materially in strength 
and composition. So, if you adopt this practice, you will have 
to experiment beforehand as to the amount of blueing you will 
use. The amount that produces good results in the laundry is 
generally also about right for birds. 

Drying. — After the bird is washed and rinsed, put him 
into a coop similar to those used in the show room ; and if 
possible, one having a wire netting bottom, so that he can 
drain out for about fifteen minutes. Then transfer him to a 
coop in a room where the temperature is from 85 to 90 degrees. 
He will dry out there in proper shape in three or four hours. 
Then gradually reduce the temperature to about 70 degrees, 
at which temperature the room should be kept for eight or 
ten hours longer. After that he should be able to stand 
normal temperature as before washing. 

Some of the larger farms have special rooms fitted up for 
washing and drying, arranged so that they can have rooms at 
different temperatures. Lacking this equipment, you can get 
about the same results by moving your birds to and from the 
fire or other source of heat. You can tie a thermometer to 
the front of the coop in which your bird is drying, and keep 
him in about the correct temperature in that way. To a cer- 
tain extent, the actions of the bird indicate the proper tem- 
perature ; as, when he is shivering, get him closer to the fire; 
and, if he begins to pant, it is time to move him back. Indi- 
vidual birds differ as to the amount of heat they need and can 
stand ; and they will indicate, to the observant attendant, the 
proper procedure. 

Drying Long Tails. — In washing a Leghorn or any bird 
that has long sickles, it is well to fan his tail out after he has 
been drying about an hour, or just as the feathers begin to 
web. Let one person hold the bird, and an assistant fan the 
tail for about fifteen minutes. Otherwise the sickles are liable 
to dry twisted or to come with a poor finish on the edge. 

Impossible Specimens. — Some birds have a type of feather- 
ing that does not improve by washing. Anyone who has 
washed many birds can detect this at a glance, as a thinness 
of the fabric of the feather, as we express it. This style of 
feathering seems to go to pieces during the washing and dry- 



ing process, shrivel up and finally presents an unsatisfactory 
appearance. So it is always well to select, train and wash a 
few more birds than you actually intend to show. This 
precaution will save you disappointment, should anything go 
wrong with any of the birds up to the moment that judging 
actually begins. 

One of the objections to washing birds for exhibition is 
that the same bird can seldom be shown more than twice 
during a single season ; and sometimes but once, if you want 
to get the very best results. The reason for this is that wash- 
ing and drying takes a good deal of the natural oil out of the 
feathers, which causes them to become brittle and they will 
begin to break up, and eventually to lose the natural sheen on 
the feathers which makes them look so attractive. However, 
any bird that is to be used for breeding should not be shown 
more than once ; because, in conditioning, washing, and show- 
ing the bird, getting him home and rested, etc., and ready to go 
into the breeding pen, will occupy three weeks or a month. 
During this time the bird has been inside in a warm tempera- 
ture, and it is something of a shock to his system to go back in- 
to a breeding pen in what may possibly be zero weather. Still 
a strong, vital bird will generally stand this for one trip ; but, 
when you keep repeating this for show after show, the bird 
becomes softened and loses his natural resistance to cold, with 
the result that he contracts a cold or in some way gets out of 
condition. So, for this more vital reason, birds that are valu- 
able as breeders really should be shown but once in a sea- 
son. It is hard and cruel to keep a bird on the jump from 
one show to another from August until late in February. 
This practice is generally the result of greed or ignorance. 
However, such a practice brings its own penalty ; because, 
after such treatment, your fine bird will not breed you the 
sound, vigorous stock that he otherwise would. 

To Remove Stains. — If you should find a grease spot on 
one of your birds that did not come out in the wash, you can 
remove it by using gasoline ; but you must exercise great care 
in doing this. Take the bird into the open air, and do not 
use more than is necessary. It is possible that you might 
just pick some birds ofif inside. 

Feeding. — After the birds are dry, feed nothing but hard 
corn until after they are judged. Be sure that you have suit- 
able shipping coops. 


Shipping. — A good many birds lose their chance of winning 
by poor shipping in transit to the shows. Inspect the coops 
to see that they are high enough that the bird can easily stand 
upright; also see that no sharp nail points are exposed on the 
inside, which may tear the bird's comb or otherwise damage 

For the ordinary show where competition is not very 
strong, perhaps all this preparation is not absolutely neces- 
sary. It is possible that you might just pick some birds off 
the roost the night before, and get away with it; but it is a 
good plan to always show your birds in their best possible 
condition. The more earnest effort you put into the poultry 
business, the better your standing will be with the poultry 
fraternity, and the more pleasure and ultimate profit you will 
get out of it. (M. L. C.) 



Considerable attention should be given this, one of the 
necessary steps in showing fowls. Though it is but a single 
step and a short one compared with the number and length 
of time it takes to grow and to condition exhibition fowls, 
yet it is fully as important as any of the previous or sub- 
sequent steps in the process because of the dangers involved, 
due to unusual, strange conditions, such as confinement, re- 
striction of feed and water, and the inadaptability of some 
fowls to such changes in the routine of life, to exposure to 
weather conditions, extreme in either heat or cold, to sudden 
changes varying from one extreme to the other, as when taken 
from a heated car in cold weather in which they have perhaps 
been packed all too closely together, and transferred in un- 
protected trucks to other transfer points or to the show room. 

Shipments Dependent Upon Three Conditions. — From the 
foregoing it is apparent that three conditions are highly de- 
sirable. First, that the bird be fortified to withstand these 
changes of temperature and weather. The best means of 
fortification against these is to select naturally rugged birds 
that are in excellent health and conditioned to withstand 
these changes. This is, however, the subject of another 



Second, that the style of shipping coop provided furnishes 
as much protection as possible against tliese changes and at 
the same time allows a sufficient supply of pure air to insure 
the good health and condition of the occupant or occupants. 
Because the shipping coop does not allow always for a suffi- 
cient supply of iresh air, the danger of overheating, particu- 
larly in express cars, is also incurred. 

Construction of Shipping Coops. — The proper construction 
of a suitable shipping coop involves all these questions, also 
the question of how much the occupant may be confined with- 
out injury of either health or condition. 

Large and Small Coops. — Obviously when the good ap- 
pearance of the bird counts for so much it will not do to take 
the slightest chance of injury even if that injury merely con- 
sists ot rubbing the plumage or the breaking of a single prin- 
cipal feather. Many claim that too large coops involve more 
and greater injuries in this latter regard than smaller ones. 
The idea advanced is that the bird breaks the feathers by 
turning around in the coop and that when the coops are so 
narrow as to prevent it, there is less liability to injuries of 
this kind. The style of coops vary widely. One large poultry 
show will show scores of designs. Shipping coops are usually 
built of wood or have a framework of wood covered with cloth. 

Cloth Covered Coops. — Cloth tears so easily that express 
companies will not receive cloth covered coops at single rates 
unless the wooden frame over which the cloth is put is so con- 
structed that it will hold the bird even if the cloth is not put in 
place. Cloth covered coops, when the frame is constructed in 
accordance with these regulations, are very satisfactory except 
in extremely cold weather. They offer the advantage of good 
ventilation at all times and, it must be admitted, far too much 
when the weather is severe. 

Wooden Coops. — Wooden coops are without question the 
most often used and the safest from many points of view. They 
are certainly stronger and less liable to be broken and it is for 
this reason that they are most often used. Ventilation is the 
difficult problem with wooden coops. If they are open in con- 
struction the birds take cold when left out of doors or in a 
draft for any length of time. If they are closed the birds some- 
times smother when large numbers are shipped, as they often 
are when poultry shows are being held. This, of course, re- 
sults from stacking a number of coops together. The coops in 
the center of the stack or against the wall receive an insuf- 


ficient supply of air or become overheated. There is no known 
way to prevent this occurrence and at the same time properly 
protect the birds against the weather, unless the handlers or 
messengers of the express company will use reasonable pre- 
cautions against overlarge stacks and overheated cars. 

Material in Wooden Coops. — Wooden coops, as a usual 
thing, are made with solid sides and bottom and are left as 
open on the top as possible and still retain the bird or birds. 
The sides are usually made of three-eighths inch matched lum- 
ber and the floor of one-half inch, or sometimes thicker boards. 
A sufficient number of narrow strips cover the tops to keep the 
birds inside. 

Dimension of Coops. — Some shippers make the top higher 

at the center than on the sides to prevent setting other boxes 
or packages which interfere with ventilation on top. Raised 
strips, one at each end, an inch or more thick are sometimes 
used to prevent too close packing. This allows some venti- 
lation, enough in ordinary cases. Open spaces at the top, and 
on the two sides, two inches or a little more in width are 
sometimes left and answer the purpose fairly well. 

Elaborate coops of much heavier construction with hinged 
or sliding tops are often used. These afford, of course, rather 
more protection, but because they are much heavier, their use 
increases the cost of transportation very much. 

Shipping White Birds. — Birds of white or light colored 
plumage are usually shipped in coops that are so constructed 
as to protect them from dust and dirt. This result can be tol- 
erably well accomplished by tacking cheese cloth or a similar 
fabric to the top of the coop, or by using closed tops and pro- 
viding more ventilation through the sides. Large openings 
even on the side should be covered with burlap, cheesecloth, or 
some material that will prevent dangerous drafts and also, in a 
measure, keep out the dirt and dust. 

While there is some danger of the plumage becoming soiled 
while in transit, by the dust and dirt that is in the air, there is 
also some liability from the coop itself, if it has been in use 
before. Consequently, all coop's should be thoroughly clean 
before receiving the birds. This is a good plan to follow 
whether shipping to a show or customer. 

The greatest danger to plumage aside from that of breaking 
feathers is that it will be soiled by the droppings. To prevent 
this possibility as effectually as possible a bed of some ab- 
sorbent must be provided. Sawdust or planer shavings answer 



the purpose as well as any material yet used, unless it is a com- 
bination of the same and long straw, with the straw on top. 
Clean, hand-threshed, rye straw is best suited to this purpose. 
While it is clean and unbroken, the droppings have a tendency 
to fall through onto the sawdust or shavings which adhere to 
them, absorbing the moisture contained in them, or covering 
them with a thin coating of whichever bedding material is 
used ; being protected in this way and by the straw above, the 
plumage is kept clean. Unless shipments are very long, birds 
shipped in coops fitted up in this manner will arrive in excel- 
lent condition of plumage, provided, of course, that they start- 
ed in that condition. 

Feeding During the Journey. — When the journey is of such 
length that the fowls must be confined to their coops for more 
than two or three hours, food should be supplied. This should 
consist largely of the small grains, but a supply of green foods, 
which serve to entertain the fowls and keep the digestive tract 
in good order, is important because the fowls must feel their 
best to look their best. There is certainly a chance of their 
crops becoming overfull if the fowls are not accustomed to 
these foods. However, they should have been previously ac- 
customed to them. The green foods should be of such a nature 
that it will not soil the plumage and in the case of white birds, 
greens are usually omitted from the bill of fare while the birds 
are in transit. 

Shells and Grit. — A small handful of oyster shells and grit 
should be supplied. This is doubly essential because the 
fowls will in all probability be deprived of both during the 

Whether water is necessary or not depends upon the time 
of confinement in the shipping coop. In cold weather birds 
may be deprived of water for twenty-four hours, or even a 
little longer, without visible inconvenience or discomfort if 
plenty of succulent food is provided. The more succulent the 
green feed, the longer the period during which water may be 
withheld. Without water the fowls are less liable to be soiled 
in transit and usually arrive in much better condition than 
when water cups are a part of the coop fittings. When it is 
necessary to supply water in transit, cups that are partially 
covered or have a float should be used, particularly when white 
birds are shipped. After the birds have been washed and 
conditioned for exhibition, shippers of white birds supply 
water only when absolutely necessary. 



As the birds must usually return in the same coops as 
those in which they are shipped, labor and time may be saved 
by supplying enough grain, grit and shell to last throughout 
the return journey. 

Arrangements for Shipping. — The exhibitor should first of 
all become acquainted with the dates of the exhibition, the first 
day when the exhibition room will be open for birds, and the 
last minute when they will be received for competition. The 
most desirable time to have them enter the show room should 
be determined, as under certain conditions it is better to have 
them arrive at the first possible moment, while under different 
conditions one would not want the birds to arrive until the 
very last moment. 

Consult the Transportation Agent. — The transportation 
agent should then be consulted and the exhibitor should be- 
come acquainted with the route, the changes from one route to 
another, from one car to another, and all the changes involved, 
whether they mean long delays and whether the birds will be 
exposed or kept in comfortable rooms, etc. Sometimes in- 
formation along these lines will make an entire change in the 
shipping program advisable, as by so doing long waits, poor 
connections, exposure from weather with chances of storms, 
may be eliminated, or the chances of the same greatly reduced. 
The best facilities in shipping should always be sought. Ex- 
pense should not be the first item considered. 

Travel with Your Birds. — When possible to do so without 
incurring too great expense or making too large sacrifices of 
one nature or another, it is advisable to travel not only by the 
same route as the birds do but by the same train. The ad- 
vantages are many. A small gift or kindly words will often 
keep coops on a level that otherwise would be tilted sharply, 
which is of obvious advantage in preserving the good condi- 
tion of the bird's plumage as well as its tranquility, both of 
which are essentials when competition is keen. Express cars 
are very apt to be so overcrowded in the show season, when 
all coops are going in one direction, that some wait; your coop 
need not and probably will not if you are present to use gentle 
suasion. Safe and sane stacking is another comfort that your 
birds will enjoy if you travel with them, and comfort is neces- 
sary for a highly conditioned show bird if it is to remain 
highly conditioned. While it is usually against the rules of 
express companies, the writer has often been permitted by 
the messengers to remain in the car to feed, water and in 



some cases exercise the birds. Such attention is naturally 
beneficial on extended or prolonged trips. 

Many appreciable and obvious benefits accrue if you are 
with your birds and watch them every waking hour. Small 
advantages tell in the long run and more likely than not, these 
small advantages, just the barely appreciable things, will turn 
the scale in your favor. 



The largest and most prominent exhibitors accompany 
their birds to the show room and remain with them through- 
out the show or hire a competent man to do so. The smaller 
exhibitors do not usually accompany the birds except at 
their respective local shows. It often occurs that many birds 
are shipped a great many miles to important shows and en- 
trusted to the care of individuals employed by the show 
management. Very often these employees are incompetent 
because inexperienced in either handling or caring for Dirds. 
Undoubtedly, the greatest harm is done by the handling of 
assistants that are inexperienced and, very often, even un- 
instructed. Experienced help is always hard to obtain for 
temporary positions, and no exception to this statement can 
be made when poultrymen or even men competent to handle 
show specimens, perhaps only for a few brief minutes, are 
required. Because of the effect upon their value of even the 
slightest injury, perhaps merely the breaking of a single 
feather, particularly, if such is affected by a disqualifying 
clause and on this account open to suspicion, it is very de- 
sirable for an exhibitor to go with, stay with, care for and 
come home with his birds when it is possible for him to do 
so without too great a sacrifice on his part. Besides the care- 
ful handling- that he can bestow, there are many precautions to 
take against exposure and accident, and many things that one 
can do to increase the chances of winning. That, to attend to 
these things is worth while, may be soon proved to anyone's 
satisfaction by watching closely the movements of the suc- 
cessful and unsuccessful exhibitors. The time of the former 
class is spent on their birds ; that of the latter, generally in 
social duties. 


Delivery . — -Every moment before judging is a precious one, 
as there is much to be done and much may depend upon what 
is done or not done. First, the birds must be located. If 
they are scheduled to have arrived and have not, the express 
company should be at once notified and pressure applied to 
bring about a quick delivery. As soon as they are delivered, 
see that they are in a comfortable place. Before the birds are 
put in the exhibition cages, the cages should be cleaned and 
supplied with a proper amount of bedding, water, grain and 

Clean Cages Important. — It is very important to rub the 
exhibition cages until free of all dust, dirt, or mould, especially 
if you have white or light colored birds to exhibit. Other- 
wise, the plumage becomes so soiled in a very few hours that 
the birds present a very poor appearance, compared to those 
who have been washed white and kept clean. Metal cages 
especially should be thoroughly cleaned before white birds 
are put in them. Old papers or rags are suitable cleaning 
agents, though clean rags should be used in the last cleaning 
operations to insure its thoroughness. 

Bedding. — The bedding may be planer shavings, sawdust 
or straw, but the first two are most often used. The bed or 
litter should be of sufficient depth to allow the birds to stand 
comfortably which they can not do on bare boards. From 
one-half to one inch of shavings or sawdust should be ample, 
but these must be renewed from time to time for several reas- 
ons. First, for cleanliness and sanitation, which includes elim- 
ination of odors, offensive alike to patrons of the show and 
to the birds themselves. The ammonia that arises from un- 
clean litter or bedding is not only disagreeable but may in- 
flame the organs of the bird's nose and throat and become the 
cause of more serious troubles. Renewal of bedding, daily, is 

Drinking Dishes. — -Diseases of the mouth, nose and throat 
are often transmitted because of unclean and non-disinfected 
drinking dishes. Before using and before the birds are caged, 
the drinking dishes should be washed and disinfected or thor- 
oughly scalded, if possible. 

Protection Against Drafts. — The doors to the show room 
are often left open while the birds are being received, and in 
such a manner as to allow strong drafts in the show room 
itself or certain parts of it. In locations exposed to drafts, 

: J ,80 


the birds, if caged, must be protected by covering the tops 
and possibly the front of cages with paper, or cloth, during 
that time, and subsequently if need be. If the draft is strong 
and the temperature low, the birds may be allowed to eat and 
drink in the show cage and returned to the shipping coop until 
necessary to feed and water again, or until conditions for 
caging are more favorable. 

Change in Temperature. — Many times, not as much heat 
is provided during the night as during the day. In such cases 
it is well to cover the tops of the cages as you are leaving for 
the night. This not only keeps the birds warmer but darkens 
the cages besides, and the birds rest better. This plan may 
be carried farther and the front of the cage covered if the 
temperature is so low that it seems advisable. With birds 
of nervous temperament this scheme assists materially in keep- 
ing them in good condition. 

Feeds and Feeding. — In a large show individual attention 
cannot be expected of the regular show attendants, and in small 
shows they are not likely to accord it. For this reason owners 
or caretakers should take to themselves the duties of feeding 
as well as other cares. First, because the ordinary feeds of the 
show room lack variety. Second, it is by no means certain 
that feeds will be given at the proper time. Third, feeds are 
not always of a suitable nature, and fourth, not given in the 
right amounts. 

Variety is Necessary. — Show room feeding often consists of 
giving a supply of whole or mixed grains, usually cracked or 
whole corn, wheat or oats, perhaps a mixture of all these or of 
any two, twice a day. Very often this is the entire bill of 
fare. There is, consequently, a lack of meat, greens, grit, shell 
and mash, all of which are necessities for a continuance of 
normal digestion. With a restricted ration, the digestive or- 
gans soon become abnormal, a condition that may soon severe- 
ly affect the good appearance of the specimen. 

Meat and Greens in the Show Room. — As a rule feeding in 
the show room should not differ materially from feeding at 
home. If the birds have been accustomed to greens and meat 
at home, greens and meat should be fed in the show room, 
though not necessarily in the same form. Substitutes of the 
same general nature will be relished for the sake of variety. 
No fowl will object to a little Hamburg steak or fresh meat 
in preference to beef scraps, or to cabbage as a substitute for 
alfalfa or clover. There may be a slight objection to making 


such substitutions on account of expense and because the 
fowls may continue to demand such palatable foods, once they 
have acquired a taste for them, but if they are weaned gradu- 
ally, no harm will result. Lack of meat and greens often re- 
sults in feather-eating when birds are shown together as in the 
breeding pen. It is a wise precaution to hang a part of a cab- 
bage or a bunch of lettuce in the top of the cage which con- 
tains a breeding pen, of the lighter breeds particularly, to 
prevent this trouble and if this is not efficacious, hang up 
also a small piece of fresh meat. The more busy fowls are 
kept, the less feather picking is practiced. 

Grit and Shell. — Grit and shell may not be absolutely nec- 
essary during a short show, but a small supply is often appre- 
ciated by the fowls and serves a good and certainly not a 
harmful purpose. 

Overfeeding and Underfeeding. — Overfeeding is more like- 
ly than not to be practiced by the novice or by the average in- 
experienced attendant unless he neglects to feed at all, when 
he practices underfeeding. Birds are sometimes underfed, not 
for lack of feed, but because the hall or the coop is so dark that 
they cannot see to eat. In such cases they must be moved to 
the light and fed regularly, or perhaps given a grain, the physi- 
cal nature of which makes it more visible than that which 
they have been fed. Sometimes, in small shows so many birds 
are confined in one cage that it is impossible for them to eat. 
This is false economy as the birds lose rapidly in both weight 
and condition. 

Too Intensive Caging. — There are, also, other disadvant- 
ages in connection with too intensive caging. No bird shows 
to advantage when caged with others, even if only one other, 
except in case of mated pairs and pens in correspondingly large 
cages, and the more they are caged together, the more in- 
ferior they appear. To properly appreciate a bird, a spectator 
must see the whole of it at a glance, not a portion. When 
caged with others and, as is often the case as closely as 
though being sent to market, the best bird conceivable fails to 
impress either the onlookers or the judge. Specimens of the 
finest quality will fail to win for you under those conditions. 
Consequently, we may conclude that of all the economies prac- 
ticed in the show room that of caging closely is the most fool- 
ish. If prizes are worth anything they are certainly worth the 
coop fee which is usually about the traditional two-bits. 

The specimen is supposed to have been "conditioned" at 
home. This term, as pointed out, refers to the condition, fit- 



ness or good order of the plumage and to general health and 
state of flesh. Little or nothing can be done in the short time 
that the bird is in the show room to materially affect any of 
these conditions. The object of the various measures that 
have been or may be taken while the bird is within the exhibi- 
tion hall is to maintain the favorable aspects brought about 
before arrival. 

There remains, after the birds are properly caged and 
fed, only a few duties that may affect the candidate's chances 
for honors. These are generally termed the finishing touches, 
and consist of cleaning the head and adjuncts and the shanks 
and toes. The latter especially should have been attended to 
at home as part of the process of conditioning. If not, how- 
ever, or if either shanks or toes have become soiled in the 
meanwhile, they should be cleaned and afterwards repolished 
if necessary. The head and adjuncts may be redressed to ad- 
vantage as described in the chapter on conditioning for show 

The exhibitor should, of course, be at all times on the look- 
out for false, broken, or ragged feathers. By general custom 
the removal of these is permissible. 

After the judging, exhibitors are inclined to relax in their 
efforts to keep their birds at their best. To a certain extent 
this is good policy. Birds, no matter how well accustomed to 
being handled and pampered, will get tired of too much atten- 
tion and they, as well as the exhibitors, need relaxation. Re- 
laxation, however, should not be carried to the extent of actual 
neglect in the case of the birds. The regularity and variety of 
feeding operations should be maintained from start to finish. 
Nothing whatever should be allowed to interfere with these 
rules, for neglect in these particulars, even for a day, may af- 
fect the bird more seriously later; and at no time should the 
exhibitor, as a breeder, lose sight of the fact that his best 
birds in the show room are his best birds at home, as a rule. 
The value of his flock next season will depend very largely on 
what these birds which he has in the show room this season 
will produce. What they produce depends, not alone, on 
their quality but on their health and vigor which is very easily 
affected, adversely, by neglect at any time and at any place, 
at home, enroute to the show, on the return, and again at 
home. Care that is well calculated to meet these varying con- 
ditions and keep the birds at their best, physically, is one of the 
many essentials of success in the business of producing "the 
Best" in Standard Bred Poultry. 




Birds that are returning from exhibitions are always 
shipped by the shortest and most direct routes and always 
by express, except shipments that are local or so nearly 
local that they may be taken by the exhibitor's own con- 
veyance or one that he has hired. Freight shipments are 
too slow and unreliable even for the return journey when, 
though the exact time perhaps of arrival is not important, the 
duration of the journey must not be of such length that it is 
wearisome to the birds being shipped and has, consequently, a 
detrimental influence on their health. 

Low Return Rate. — Generally, a lower rate is secured by 
allowing the same express company that transported your 
birds to a show, to handle the return shipment. Usually, two- 
thirds or three-quarters of one rate is saved thereby, if fully 
prepaid when the shipment leaves the home office. 

A Change in Temperatures. — As to preparing the birds to 
withstand the return journey, little that has not been may be 
done now. It should be remembered, however, that the birds 
have been in a room that ordinarily has been several degrees 
warmer than a. poultry house usually is, at this season of the 
year, and, therefore, the birds may be a little more sensitive to 
weather conditions than when they started on the trip to the 
show ; consequently, all the protection that was provided for 
the first trip should be used for the return. Usually, the birds 
are shipped out of the show room in the same coop in which 
they entered it, and the protection would be identical for both 

Condition of Coops. — The coops should, however, be in- 
spected to discover any break that may have been incidental 
to the journey, and if the same is so located as to cause drafts 
or of such a nature as to afford a possible chance of injury to 
the fowl, it should be repaired securely before the birds is 
cooped. The shipper should see that there is ample bedding; if 
it is the same that was in the coop when it started from home, 
it should be ascertained to be in sanitary condition, and per- 
fectly dry above all things. 

Feeding for the Return Journey. — Grit, or shell, or both 
should be there in small quantities, and wholesome grains in a 
sufficient quantity for the needs of the birds during the jour- 



ney. All of the above could have been put in the coop before 
it left home, unless the journey was a very long one. A lib- 
eral supply of succulents must not be forgotten. Besides their 
value as an aid to indigestion, they are very palatable and the 
fowls enjoy them. Like a good meal on a diner, they serve to 
"kill time" and induce the birds to forget their confinement 
and discomfort. 

As in the case when shipping to shows certain advantages 
such as more careful handling, quicker transfers if transfers 
are necessary, better positions and more careful stacking in 
the car accrue from traveling along with the birds. 

Home Delivery. — Arrangements should have already been 
made for the delivery of the birds immediately after their ar- 
rival at the home express office. In large cities deliveries are 
sometimes slow on account of the distance of the exhibitor's 
poultry yards from the express receiving station, and often 
many deliveries have to be made before the yards are reached. 
When such conditions prevail and the express company's of- 
ficials are obdurate and cannot be induced to make a special 
delivery, as they generally can be, however, when a reasonably 
large shipment is involved, it pays, if the birds are valuable, 
to employ a truck for the special purpose of obtaining a 
prompt and direct delivery. 



Changed Conditions. 

Though safely home, not all the possible dangers to the 
birds are over by any means. While in the show room, 
the birds have become accustomed to comparative high tem- 
peratures and, in all probability, entire absence of drafts ; and 
unaccustomed to cold poultry houses, with cold floors, an 
atmosphere more or less laden with moisture, and a ventila- 
tion system that in all probability is subject to perceptible 
drafts; conditions that obviously contrast widely. 

Gradual Changes. — Manifestly, the birds should not feel 
tlie full force of these changed conditions at once. But as a 
matter of fact, if a little common sense is applied to our meth- 
ods, and the changes be made as gradually as possible, no harm 


seems to result therefrom, and the birds even take up the life 
of the pen precisely where they left off. A few simple rules, 
obviously of good sense and judgment, are all that are neces- 
sary to follow in ordinary cases to insure these fowls against 

Removing from the Shipping Coops. — It would certainly 
seem to be unsafe to transfer them from their shipping coops 
to the poultry houses during the night, early in the morning, or 
late in the afternoon during severe weather. It would be far 
more safe to select the middle of a bright sunny day, if such a 
day accommodatingly presents itself within a reasonable 
length x of time, as the auspicious time to make the change. 

If the birds arrive during the day, they should be taken 
from the coops long- enough to get food and water, and de- 
pending upon conditions, be allowed more or less exercise. If 
the weather is mild, or the poultry house is comfortable, there 
is no reason why they should not remain there, if contrary con- 
ditions are encountered, they should be returned to their ship- 
ping coops and if necessary these should be covered. The 
birds should be, however, again taken from the coops as early 
as appears to be safe the next morning and may then remain 
in the poultry house indefinitely, unless it is so cold that they 
could not remain there under ordinary circumstances without 
freezing, in which case they should be returned to the boxes, 
and the boxes covered if necessary. It is much better to take 
precautions against disease than to be obliged to try to cure it. 

Prevent Diseases of the Head. — The diseases that are most 
apt to be contracted in the show room and during shipment 
are those of the head, including the nose and throat, and in- 
testinal disorders. To prevent the former, it is well to bathe 
the head in a slightly warm solution of some good disinfectant, 
and the throat may be easily cleaned by swabbling it with a 
flight or secondary feather after dipping the feather in a solu- 
tion of hydrogen peroxide or listerine and water, half and 
half. These treatments, especially if repeated two or three 
times, often prevent such diseases as cold, canker, roup and 
chicken pox. 

To Prevent Intestinal Disorders. — Intestinal disorders are 
harder to control but much benefit may come from administer- 
ing a mild laxitive as soon as the bird is back from the show; 
not wholly because that disease may be warded off. but be- 
cause the general health of the bird may be greatly benefited. 
It was the practice of a very successful exhibitor, with whom 



the writer was long ago acquainted, to give each bird on its 
return from a show a small cube of beef or ham fat, dipped 
lightly in red pepper. This seems so simple as to be folly, yet 
we readily can see that the fat was, because of its oily nature, 
warming and laxative, while the pepper is known to be a stim- 
ulant to digestive action. 

The Use of Condiments and Laxatives. — Another equally 
successful exhibitor and breeder who was most skillful in the 
care of chickens, mixed equal parts of ginger, charcoal, flowers 
of sulphur, and powdered charcoal together, added enough 
melted lard or flour and water to hold the ingredients together, 
and gave each bird a pill about the size of a large pea. We 
can understand that this is mildly laxative and stimulating to 
digestive action. These remedies are mentioned because of 
their simple, harmless character, and because they are usually 

Compel Exercise and Feed Lightly. — Aside from these 
simple precautions, it is necessary to mention but one or two 
more, and these are so important, so obvious and so well 
known that it is not necessary to go into very much detail. It 
is known by every exhibitor that birds, partly because they 
are overfed and underexercised, become lazy if not dyspeptic 
during the time they are so closely confined. It is therefore 
necessary to feed lightly for a few days and in such a man- 
ner that the birds must exercise. This is easily accomplished 
by supplying the same light, yet deep litter that is so neces- 
sary to get birds in show condition, or to keep hens laying 
briskly in the winter months. 

Notwithsanding the usual demands of the show room and 
the incidentals connected therewith upon the physical and 
mental systems of fowls entirely unprovided for by nature in 
the original parents, the difficulties of conditioning and show- 
ing fowls seems very small and trivial to anyone who has even 
a very few years of experience in this fascinating sport. 




Chapter I. HOW TO START. 














WELL KNOWN American humorist once said, "The 

way to start is to begin", and that applies as well to 

poultry keeping as to any other enterprise. There is 
no rule or set of rules for starting in this business which, if 
followed, will guarantee success, or which, if neglected, is sure 
to be followed by failure. How well one applies himself to 
the details of the work and how well he understands the busi- 
ness is far more important and necessary to his success than 
that he start at any particular time or according to any particu- 
lar plan or system. 

Selecting the Breed. — Undoubtedly the first thing to do is 
to decide on a variety which has a special appeal to the person 
about to take up the work of breeding standard-bred fowls. 
If he decides to breed Plymouth Rocks, he has his choice of 
all the varieties of that breed which are described in this vol- 
ume and all of these will give perfect satisfaction if properly 
bred, housed and cared for. As all varieties are required to 
have the same shape, the matter of choice is merely one of 
color. As it is a generally accepted fact that a breeder will do 
best with the kind he likes best, it is by all means advisable to 
select the variety of Plymouth Rocks which appeals most to 
him on account of its plumage, bearing in mind that in selling 
eggs and stock for breeding purposes, and stock for exhibition, 
there is more demand for the popular varieties than those that 
are not so popular. 

While many contend that the first thing to do is to build 
and properly equip quarters for fowls or chicks, it is true that 
there is no real poultry keeping or poultry breeding until one 
possesses the chicks or fowls. Many a poultry breeder who 
now occupies a prominent position in the poultry world started 
by buying a setting of eggs at a time when he possessed no 
more equipment than a sitting hen and a box in which to make 



a nest. If the start is made by purchasing eggs, the buildings 
and equipment can be built as requirements demand. 

Quality, Health and Vigor. — When starting in this way, 
the first thing to do is to select the breeder from whom the 
eggs are to be bought. As distance is no bar, if eggs are 
packed and handled properly, the main point to be considered 
is the quality of the stock that the breeder can and will sell. 
When referring to quality, we mean how closely the stock 
approximates the requirements of the American Standard of 
Perfection and described, so far as they affect each variety of 
Plymouth Rocks, in this book; and also, whether the same 
stock possesses the health and vitality which is so necessary 
for success. These things are of equal importance, because 
one's success as a breeder of standard-bred fowls depends on 
his having stock good enough to command good prices, and it 
also depends on his having stock with the health and strength 
which will make it productive, not only of good color, but of 
plenty of eggs and meat. It should be particularly noted that 
it is very difficult to produce the quality of stock in any variety 
of Plymouth Rocks which will sell for high prices from any 
except a line, or family, of healthy fowls. 

Buy of a Specialist. — It is very satisfactory to see the stock 
from which one buys eggs if it is convenient to do so, but al- 
most all of the buying of eggs is done by mail and breeders 
with reputations to sustain can be depended on to deal justly 
with those who send to them for eggs for hatching. It is al- 
ways best to buy of a breeder who has a good reputation, be- 
cause it is difficult to build up such a reputation except by 
breeding good stock and giving good value when filling or- 
ders. Almost invariably the specialist is the best one to buy 
from, for the specialist has more and better stock of his breed 
or variety than one who attempts to breed or handle and sell 
a great many different varieties. This is not intended to cast 
reflections on the reputable and successful breeder who handles 
two, three, or even half a dozen varieties and who has suc- 
ceeded with all of them. Our readers will understand, how- 
ever, why it is impossible for any man, or associated group of 
men, to successfully breed, raise and sell high quality stock 
of many different varieties. 

Prices of Hatching Eggs. — Prices should be made a minor 
consideration. The main point is to get good eggs from good 
stock and while a few dollars more in the price of the eggs 
amounts to but little, the difference in the value of the chickens 



hatched will amount to considerable as the stock grows up 
and develops, and is in turn bred from to build up the flock. 
Poor eggs, or even good eggs from poor or ordinary stock, 
are expensive at any price, because they make it impossible for 
the breeder to progress as he must, in order to be successful. 
In many cases, buying eggs proves a very inexpensive method 
of getting some of the finest chicks. It frequently happens 
that a setting of eggs sold for five, ten, or perhaps, in extreme 
cases, twenty-five dollars produces a single bird which is worth 
many times the original cost of the eggs. The writer recalls 
cases in which settings of purchased eggs produced first prize 
winners at several fairly prominent poultry shows. 

Breeding Stock. — To start with, the purchase of breeding 
stock requires more capital if the stock is first class, but on 
the other hand a good trio or pen will supp 1 y several settings 
of eggs. There is, moreover, a certain satisfaction in possess- 
ing the fowls and considerable pleasure in feeding and caring 
for them. When adopting this method of getting a start, it is 
best to buy mature specimens, or at least those which are 
nearly mature, in the case of young stock. Quarters and equip- 
ment must be provided before the fowls arrive. It is just 
as important to select the variety which appeals most to the 
purchaser when buying stock as when buying eggs, and it is 
also just as important to buy from a breeder who has a good 
reputation for the quality of his stock and whose business has 
developed to the point where one is justified in believing that 
it is founded on honesty in his dealings. While this may not 
be as important when the experienced poultry breeder is pur- 
chasing, it is something that the beginner should not over- 

Here again, the quality of the stock individually and the 
ability of the family, or line, from which it comes to repro- 
duce its good qualities of shape and color as well as its strength 
and vitality, are important matters to consider. Inasmuch 
as the success of a reputable breeder depends considerably on 
his ability to build up a strain, the individuals of which will 
breed true to character, we find here another reason for patron- 
izing a man with an established reputation. As such a breeder 
knows the parentage of the members of his flock, and also how 
to mate each individual member for the best results, a faculty 
which is founded on his knowledge of the breeding tenden- 
cies of his line, it is always best to have the breeder mate the 
fowls which the novice purchases. If this is done, the inex- 


perienced beginner is relieved of one of the most trying respon- 
sibilities of his first season ; and if he takes care of his breeders 
properly and rears the chicks with such good judgment that 
they grow and develop well, he may be sure of good results 
the first season. Whether it is best to buy young stock, if it 
is mature enough to show its quality, or old stock, or a part 
of each, is less important than whether one gets the right 
quality. Pens made up of well matured stock hatched the 
previous spring are often as healthy, as strong, and produce 
as good results as old birds. Yet such birds are, of course, 
untried and just what they will produce can not be foretold, 
whereas the older birds can sometimes be bought with an 
exact knowledge of what they produced the previous season 
and what they may be expected to produce in the season to 
come. While it is sometimes advised and occasionally advis- 
able to mate cocks with pullets and cockerels with hens, there 
is no well defined rule which must be followed calling for such 
matings, and no preponderant proof that such matings are 

If only a certain amount of money is to be spent, it is 
better to buy a few good birds than many poor ones, or even 
an ordinary number of birds of mediocre quality. It should be 
remembered that the stock bought at the beginning is to be 
the foundation of the flock, and the better the quality of the 
foundation stock, the faster the value of the flock will increase 
as its numbers become greater. It may also be remembered 
safely, when Plymouth Rocks are being considered, that beauty 
and utility may be found in the same birds. There is no rea- 
son why any variety of Plymouth Rocks can not be doubly 
valuable because it meets the requirements of the Standard of 
Perfection in shape and color, and at the same time produces 
eggs in goodly numbers and meat in satisfactory quantity and 
quality ; in fact, there is every reason why these qualities 
should be found in the same specimens. 

When to Start. — When the start is made with eggs, it must 
be done in the spring or early summer, that is, in March, April, 
May or the first part of June. Much depends on the use the 
beginner intends to make of the chicks that are to be hatched. 
If Plymouth Rocks are wanted for the early fall shows, they 
should be hatched in March or the first half of April ; if to be 
shown at the winter shows, May is early enough to get them 
out, and at the late winter shows, those hatched in the first 
fifteen days in June are frequently among the winners. It is 



a fact that the best results are usually obtained when the eggs 
are bought after the breeding stock has had a chance to get 
outdoors and exercise in the open air, because chicks from 
such eggs come out at the time Nature intended they should 
and when they have the fresh, green, warm earth to run on, 
and all Nature is favorable to them. For this reason, it is 
best to defer the purchase of the eggs which are to produce 
next season's breeders until the latter part of April or the first 
part of May in northern latitudes, and hatch as soon as the 
grass begins to get green in southern latitudes. 

The average beginner buys stock when his interest is 
highest, that is, generally during the show season, immediately 
after the show season, or directly preceding the opening of the 
breeding season, which begins about March first. At this 
time of the year prices of breeding stock are generally at the 
highest point because the poultryman has been to the expense 
of keeping it through the winter and because there is more 
demand for it. There is an advantage in buying at this time 
because the stock is usually in good condition for breeding, if 
supplied by a successful breeder, and the beginner can go right 
to work increasing his flock. Again he secures his stock in 
time to hatch chicks early in the season. 

One of the best times to buy old stock is in the summer, 
when breeders are offering lower prices on the stock which 
they used the season before, and which they do not require for 
the season following. Young stock can be bought most rea- 
sonably in the fall, at about the time when the breeder must 
put it in winter quarters ; but it should not be bought at this 
time unless it is sufficiently developed to show its quality. An 
excellent opportunity is sometimes offered to purchase fowls 
from mated pens, or to purchase entire pens in the late spring 
after the breeder has secured a certain number of eggs from 
them, and while there is still time for the new owner to raise 
a nice flock of chicks. There is no best time to start with the 
purchase of the stock. That depends altogether upon condi- 
tions. (H. A. N.) 




There are interesting possibilities connected with keeping 
a breeding pen in the back yard, or, if the back yard is big 
enough, keeping two breeding pens or perhaps more. Limited 
room is no bar to success if the poultry keeper does his part. 
The smaller the area to be devoted to a flock of fowls, the 
more care that flock needs, for the things that the fowls 
could do for themselves if they had a wide range must be 
done for them by the owner when they are confined within 
narrow limits. Naturally, none but standard-bred flocks 
should be kept, for these not only can be made profitable 
for eggs and meat, but there may be an added profit from 
the sale of eggs for hatching and stock for breeding and ex- 
hibition, if the breeder has the inclination and ability to 
breed high class stock. Some of the winners in our largest 
shows are from flocks that are kept in back yards, where there 
is room for only a small house and a small yard. If it happens 
that an owner can place his chicks on a farm where they will 
receive good care and where they can have the advantage of 
free range during their growth, he can raise more chicks, and 
in many cases better chicks, than if obliged to do all the rear- 
ing in his small back yard. 

Advantages — Poultry Keeping Brings Health. — Back yard 
poultry keeping is not only capable of making good profits, 
but it offers recreation of the most healthful kind. Many a 
man or woman has found improved health by spending, every 
day, the time needed to care for one of these small flocks, be- 
cause in doing so that man or woman was compelled to take 
outdoor exercise. 

The boys and girls can frequently be interested in the back 
yard flock and thereby be induced to spend more time at home 
in a useful pursuit than they otherwise would. Instances are 
known where boys and girls have made the profit from a small 
flock the nucleus of a splendid bank account, which afforded 
them the means of obtaining an advanced education or a start 
in business life. 

Feeding. — The back yard poultry breeder has one decided 
advantage. He has enough table and kitchen waste to make up 
perhaps half the ration for his flock, which reduces the cost of 
feeding his fowls and adds to his profits. These table and 



kitchen sciaps can be mixed with a little corn meal and bran 
and that part of one ration, therefore, costs but little. If pre- 
ferred, these scraps can be fed separately m a trough, for a 
lunch at midday. Usually, however, there is more of this 
material, which is usually excellent for the purpose, than can 
be fed for lunch only. (H. A. N.) 

A Poultry House, after the Maine Model, at University Farm, 
St. Paul, Minn. The cut shows the curtains open (left) for a mild 
winter day and closed (right) for severe winter weather. 





Housing is one of the most important items in poultry 
keeping. A flock that is not well housed is not comfortable 
and a flock that is not comfortable is not healthy, profitable 
nor satisfactory to care for. It is a mistake to expect the 
same type of house to prove satisfactory under all conditions. 
Houses that seem to meet the requirement when placed in 
sheltered locations fail utterly when exposed to the cold winds. 
Houses that are used in the northern parts of the country must 
obviously be more warmly built, and are, therefore, more ex- 
pensive than those used in the South where the winters are 

Plymouth Rocks have rugged constitutions and do not re- 
quire particularly warm quarters, but they must be well pro- 
tected from the elements and at the same time a reasonable 
provision must be made for fresh air and sunlight. The fact 
that they will stand extreme temperatures, when healthy and 
vigorous, without apparent suffering, is no contradiction of 
the statement that, if part of their energy and heat is used to 
combat extreme cold, that same energy and heat can not be 
used to produce eggs or meat. It is best to keep the fowls 

Open Front Houses. — What is known as the open front 
house, that is, the house with the north, east and west sides, 
as well as the roof, tightly and warmly built and the south 
side entirely open, can be used satisfactorily in warm and mild 
climates and sometimes proves satisfactory in sheltered loca- 
tions in all except the coldest parts of the United States and 

Warm Houses. — In most cases, however, poultry keeping 
in the northern part of this country calls for houses which 
can be closed up quite tightly during severely cold nights, and 
which may be opened sufficiently to let in a plentiful supply of 
fresh air during the daytime. It will be plain to all that in 
order to properly protect the fowls and conserve their heat 
and energy, they must have more protection in cold weather 
than in warm weather, and that the protection afforded must 
be at all times in proportion to the severity of the weather ; 
that is, houses must be quite open in warm weather, partly 
closed in moderately cold weather, and almost entirely closed 
in very cold weather. 



The house must be constructed in such a way that the 
cold can not penetrate it readily, yet the sun can dry it and 
warm the walls during the bright days, as the sun is the 
cheapest heating and drying- agent that we have. 

Houses for Warm Climates. — In parts of the country where 
extremely cold weather is unknown and in parts even farther 
south where only moderately cold weather is experienced, 
buildings which are very simply and thinly built, open on one 
side and with conveniences for letting in air through one or 
more of the other three sides, may be constructed. 

Simple Construction Best. — The poultry keeper who has 
at his disposal the rear of a small city lot, or the village poul- 
tryman who has a little larger space, will find the simplest 
house the best in most cases, and also the least expensive to 
construct. Of all buildings, the shed roof style, with the 
front about seven or eight feet high and the back about five 
to six feet high, is the cheapest to build and the one most 
commonly used. It can be built any width up to sixteen feet 
and any length desired. It should face south and have one 
full size upper and lower sash window, hung preferably on 
weights and pulleys, like the windows in a dwelling, for every 
eight feet in length, if it is more than ten feet wide, or one 
window for each twelve feet in length, if it is less than ten 
feet wide. A house less than twelve feet wide is more expen- 
sive to build, in proportion to its capacity, and is not advised 
except in cases where a narrower house must be used for some 

Walls and Roofs. — In the cold parts of the country, the 
walls and roof of such a building may be built of tongued and 
grooved boards nailed to a frame work of two-by-fours, and 
covered with two or three thicknesses of tar paper, then one 
thickness of any good brand of prepared roofing. This con- 
struction, though simple and cheap, makes a wall that is rea- 
sonably warm, because it keeps out the cold and is warmed 
up and dried out quickly when the sun shines on it. Shin- 
gles, clapboards, or any kind of siding on the outside makes 
a better appearing structure and a warm one, but more ex- 
pensive. In warmer territories, only a single thickness of 
boards for the walls, with the same and tarred paper or 
prepared roofing on the roof to make it water-tight, is re- 
quired. A handsomer finish can also be applied to the same 


Ventilation. — This is an important matter, because it is 
known that the presence of moisture impairs the health of 
fowls. Fowls throw off quantities of moisture when exhal- 
ing and this moisture, together with that which originates 
from any other source, must be carried out of the building by 
means of ventilation or currents of air. These air currents, 
if rapid, cause drafts and drafts in the house endanger the 
health of the fowls. To prevent these drafts the air must be 
allowed to enter through the one side only by opening the 
windows, much or little, according to the temperature and the 
force of the incoming wind. In some localities, cloth covered 
frames are placed in openings between the windows and high 
enough up in the side of the house so that when these frames, 
which should be hinged at the top, are opened the drafts can 
not strike the fowls on the floor. These cloth covered frames 

Windows hung on weights and pulleys serve as ventilators when 
required. Openings above windows fitted with two sets of doors, each 
of which can be closed or open, provide constant ventilation. 



permit the air to enter and leave the house slowly and provide 
ventilation when the windows are closed to keep out the wind. 
In higher houses than we have described, a loft is built in the 
top of the structure by placing boards an inch a part, high 
enough to clear the head of the caretaker and covered with 
a thick bed of straw or hay. Openings are made in the walls 
of the house above this straw or hay and the air enters and 
escapes from the house by slowly passing up and down 
through this material. 

No system of flues and pipes will work satisfactorily unless 
artificial heat is applied to create a draft in them. In warm 
parts of the country where the buildings have one side en- 
tirely open, except perhaps for a wire screen to keep the hens 
in and other animals out, the ventilation takes care of itself, 
though frequently it is necessary to have open spaces in other 
sides of the house to keep it comfortable in the hottest 

Other types of poultry buildings, including those with the 
roof divided into two equal pitches and those with the roof 
divided into two unequal pitches, can readily be adapted to 
suit the back yard poultry keeper's needs, if they seem to 
better suit his convenience and fancy. 

Whatever the type of the house, it should be so constructed 
that it will be dry. If it is on a damp location, or one which 
is not well drained and likely to be damp at any season of 
the year, a floor is necessary. If, however, it is on a dry loca- 
tion, the floor may be made by filling in with gravel and sand 
to a height a few inches above the ground level. The last 
named method makes the most healthful and the warmest 

Interior Equipment. — The equipment of the back yard 
poultry keeper's hen house should be very simple. The roost 
platform should be placed two feet above the floor, so that 
the hens can use the floor space under it, against the north 
wall of the house and the roosts should be set from six to 
eight inches above the platform. These roosts may be made 
of small dimension stuff that is not more than two inches wide 
on its upper surface, with the corners rounded, or of round 
pieces not more than three inches in diameter. It should be 
remembered that when the hen sits down on the roost her 
toes automatically curl and for that reason the upper surface 
of the roost must be rounded. If more than one roost is used. 


all should be on the same level and far enough apart so that 
the fowls will not be crowded when the roosts are full. 

Nests may be made of ordinary boxes, large enough so 
that a hen can sit down in them comfortably, and hung on 
the walls, or they may be made to look better by any special 
construction and the use of good lumber. Grit and shell 
boxes, feed hoppers-, etc., may be hung on the walls at con- 
venient places and high enough so that the dirt will not be 
scratched into them by the fowls. (H. A. N.) 



The average poultry-keeper pays too little attention to the 
practice of the principles of sanitation, though it is of the 
greatest importance that these principles should be thoroughly 
applied in both the poultry houses and yards, because sanitary 
measures must be practiced assiduously in order to maintain 
normal health among the fowls. 

Every condition that promotes the possibility of disease 
may be classed as insanitary and the elimination of such con- 
ditions must be accomplished as quickly after discovery as 
possible, in order that the flock may be kept in perfect health, 
without which the best results in any of the different branches 
of poultry culture, as the production and hatchability of eggs, 
and the livability and growth of young stock, can not be ob- 

Cleanliness. — This is the most potent agency in promoting 
sanitation. The vital importance of cleanliness must be ac- 
cepted as a first principle in the successful management of a 
poultry establishment, large or small. Manifestly, it is more 
difficult and laborious to maintain cleanliness when large num- 
bers of fowls or chicks are kept in small houses and runs, than 
when the reverse is the practice. But, in that case, the neces- 
sity is in a proportionate measure more urgent, and in all cases 
cleanliness, not as a theory but as a condition, must be estab- 
lished and maintained in all parts of the house, including 
floors, walls, roosts, roost platforms and nests and, particu- 
larly, in all watering and feeding devices. Cleanliness pre- 
vents disease by removing the germs of disease and the accum- 
ulation of filth which is conducive to their increase and de- 


The Use of Disinfectants. — The intelligent use of disin- 
fectants is also effective as a method of destroying germs of 
disease. There are numbers of these that can be relied upon 
to do the work desired if the directions furnished are followed, 
but while they serve their purpose nicely, it should be under- 
stood that the necessity for their use is reduced or increased 
as cleanliness is practiced or neglected. When a tolerable 
degree of cleanliness is constantly maintained, the frequent 
use of disinfectants will not be necessary, except when disease 
is prevalent, or unless it is to destroy or prevent the intrusion 
of lice or mites. Cleanliness of all parts of the house to a 
degree that insures against ordinary dangers of disease can 
be acquired by the common mechanical process of cleaning, 
except in cases of feeding and drinking appliances, which 
should be scalded or washed in disinfectants occasionally. 

Roost platforms should be cleaned at least twice a week, 
or daily if convenient, and with the roosts should be treated 
copiously with a liquid disinfectant which is an insecticide 
as well as a germicide once a month, and at least twice as often 
during hot weather. The floor litter should be removed and 
renewed as often as necessary, which is readily determined by 

Care of Grounds. — The sanitation of the small poultry yard 
is often a serious problem. When the fowls are kept on the 
same ground for a considerable length of time, disease germs 
multiply so rapidly in the filth which accumulates, that the 
ground becomes so contaminated as to become a menace to 
health. Where the yards are exceptionally small, poultry- 
keepers sometimes remove the surface of the soil for fertilizer 
and replace it with new earth. It is also a common practice 
to spade up the earth, turning the surface under and bringing 
fresh soil to the top; but even when this is done, the ground 
sooner or later becomes saturated with filth which nurtures 
germs of disease. 

Fortunately, Nature has provided a way for cleansing filthy 
ground by means of vegetable grow th w hich may be of service 
to the poultry-keeper. Wherever possible the back yard poul- 
try-keeper, or any poultry-keeper who is obliged to use a small 
area of ground, should take advantage of this fact by dividing 
his yards, so that while the fowls are running in one, some 
quick-growing, succulent vegetation, which is at the same time 
purifying the soil and supplying green food, is being produced 
in the other. As soon as this vegetation in the second yard 



has obtained a good start, that yard may again be used by the 
fowls, and greens planted in the yard first used. By this 
process the ground can be kept in good condition and a cer- 
tain amount of green food constantly furnished the fowls in 
season. (H. A. N.) 



Feeding the fowls from which the eggs for hatching will 
be secured is a very important matter. Sometimes care and 
feed which will secure a good yield will not produce eggs that 
will hatch well, nor which will hatch strong, healthy chicks. 
When feeding for high production alone, the main idea is to 
feed the hen a ration that will enable her to produce the most 
eggs in a given time, and that very often overworks her so 
that her strength and vitality are reduced to such an extent 
that she will seldom lay eggs that are suitable for incuba- 
tion. To produce a strong chick, the egg must not only be 
perfect so far as table qualities are concerned, but must also 
possess a strong, vigorous life germ and the proper life-giving 
material to develop this germ. It will be obvious that both 
the male and females in the breeding pen must be in good 
physical condition, or the qualities desired, hatchability of 
the eggs and vitality of the chicks hatched, will be lacking 
in the egg produced. 

In accordance with Nature's plan, the hen usually waits 
until warm weather comes and the ground is covered with 
green grass before eggs are laid and incubated. She then 
finds health-giving nourishment in form of fresh vegetable 
matter and has an invigorating atmosphere in which to exer- 
cise and build up her powers of reproduction to a high degree 
— and the same natural conditions favor maximum vitality in 
the male. Conditions are very different in most poultry yards 
because the poultry-keeper has found it necessary to hatch 
earlier than the natural season in order to get the most profit 
from the chicks and because, in the case of the back yard 
poultry-keeper in particular, he has not space enough for much 
grass to grow or to give extended range. The breeding season 
comes close after the severe winter weather in the northern 
states, and although it comes earlier in the South, the condi- 
tions are approximately the same as related. 



It often happens that it is necessary to use the hens for 
breeding that have been fed for egg production during the 
winter. The vitality of these hens may have been somewhat 
reduced by heavy laying. This condition must be met by 
building up and maintaining the strength of the birds. To 
do this the methods of management must be arranged and 
foods selected so as to approach as closely as possible the 
methods and foods which Nature uses and supplies so suc- 
cessfully later in the season. 

A Variety of Hard Grains. — A variety of feed is very im- 
portant, for it is useless to expect the fowls to obtain from any 
one or two kinds the many different elements which are 
needed to build up and strengthen the different parts of the 
body and to produce the egg as well. A variety of the ordi- 
nary grains, as for instance, corn, wheat, and oats, usually 
supplies the needs as far as grain is concerned. 

The feeding of these grains also furnishes an opportunity 
to compel hens which are in small quarters to take exercise 
which they naturally get by ranging over the fields in warm 
weather. The floor should always be covered with a litter of 
straw, leaves, coarse hay, corn stalks or shavings, and all 
the whole and cracked grain buried in this litter so that the 
fowls will scratch vigorously to get it and, by exercising their 
muscles, increase the flow of blood in their arteries and veins, 
thus better nourish the different parts of the body. While 
the fowls are exercising, the windows should be opened suffi- 
ciently to allow them to breathe the pure air while at work. 
In extremely cold weather, a very small opening is all that is 
necessary to keep the air dry and pure. 

Ground Grains or Mashes. — In addition to the hard grain, 
which is fed as previously directed, a mash, either dry or 
damp, is usually supplied. Dry mashes are fed in hoppers 
or boxes which are open to the fowls a 1 l or part of the daw 
Damp mashes are made by mixing the same ingredients which 
make up the dry mashes with milk or water and are fed in 
troughs once a day, usually. After each meal the troughs 
are cleaned and removed. If damp mashes are allowed to 
remain before the fowls very long, the}- become sour. When 
in this condition mashes injure the digestive organs and at the 
same time are likely to reduce the appetites of the fowls, and 
a good appetite is very necessary to a healthy fowl. 

Animal Foods. — In addition to the ground hard grains, 
meat-foods and greens must be supplied. The most common 


methods of supplying animal food are by feeding beef-scraps or 
the by-products of milk, though usually it is best to furnish 
scraps and bone-meal in addition to the milk. With that variety 
the results are likely to be more satisfactory. Milk can be fur- 
nished as a drink, if water is given in addition, or may be 
mixed in the mash and it may be given sweet, clabbered, 
whole or skimmed. 

Green Foods. — When fowls are confined, green food of 
some sort to take the place of the fresh green grass and tender 
young shoots, which the hen gets by ranging freely in the 
fields in warm weather, must also be supplied. In the early 
part of the breeding season when the fowls are to be put in 
condition for breeding the poultryman must depend entirely 
on mangels, beets, cabbages, sprouted oats and green stuff 
of that kind. Green-cured clover and alfalfa, ground finely or 
cut in short lengths, are often added to the damp mash or 
moistened and fed separately, furnishing green food to some 
extent, but it does not take the place of the fresh succulence 
of the greener foods. It will not do to feed mouldy or spoiled 
vegetables of any kind, and when sprouted oats are used the 
poultryman should be particularly careful that they do not 
get musty or mouldy while sprouting. 

Too Fattening Rations. — If the fowls are inclined to get 
too heavy or too fat, the more fattening foods of the ration, 
like corn and cornmeal, should be reduced in quantity and 
the muscle-forming elements like bran, clover, alfalfa and 
meat foods should be increased. This answers better than to 
give less food if the fowls are eating well, because less food 
is likely to reduce their strength. 

Outdoor Exercise. — Y\ nen the weather is warm enough to 
permit, some breeders allow their fowls to get a part of their 
exercise by scratching in straw which is placed on the ground 
in front of the house. In some cases the snow is shoveled 
away for that purpose. (H. A. N.) 





Breeding fowls that are kept in houses or houses and small 
yards have less opportunity to keep in vigorous health than 
breeding stock which is allowed free range when the weather 
permits, or has the run of extensive yards. As we have before 
mentioned, the only way to secure and maintain health and 
vigor in a breeding flock is to provide as nearly as possible 
the things the flock would secure if it were running wild in 
the natural breeding season. 

Healthy Stock. — In the first place, the stock must be 
healthy to start with. It is a waste of time and money to at- 
tempt to breed health and strength into a flock in confine- 
ment. With healthy stock to start with and proper surround- 
ings, proper care and proper feed, that health may be main- 
tained to a satisfactory degree ; but unless surroundings, feed 
and care are as they should be, the fo\v 1 s will weaken sooner 
or later, and succeeding generations will have less and less 
vigor as time goes on. 

The House. — A healthful house is of the first importance 
and a house which furnishes the requirements for health is 
likewise a comfortable house, and a comfortable house is the 
most profitable house to use. A sufficient amount of venti- 
lation to keep the air reasonably pure, protection from drafts 
and severe cold, provision for plenty of sunlight in every part 
of the house, at least during the part of the day, are the prin- 
cipal requirements. Under such conditions fow 1 s that a ,- e 
properly fed and cared for will maintain their vitality. 

Feeding. — Good feeding is another requisite and good feed- 
ing must include sufficient variety of the right kinds of food, 
comprising whole and cracked grains, ground grains, meat 
food, green food, grit, charcoal and oyster shells. The grain 
must be fed in deep litter to encourage exercise, for without 
exercise no fowls remain healthy. Feeding at regular hours 
helps to keep the digestive organs of the fowls in good con- 
dition and hens that have good digestion arc likely to have 
good health, at least, so far as anything affected by food is 


Management. — Good care is of the utmost importance, and 
good care includes not only careful methods of supplying 
feed but careful methods of adjusting ventilation, cleaning 
and disinfecting the house, etc. Closing the house up too 
tightly in moderate weather and allowing it to remain too 
open in severe weather is a prolific source of trouble ; colds 
develop and colds weaken the bird's power of resistance to 
other diseases. Drafts allowed to blow on the fowls day or 
night, especially at night when they are inactive on the roosts, 
will be likely to cause colds in the flock. When kept upon 
filthy or damp floors or litter, fowls are uncomfortable and 
soon get into such condition that they are easily affected by 
any kind of disease germs. 

Unclean nests not only injure the eggs laid there but 
menace the health of the hens. Filthy dropping boards fur- 
nish a place for the breeding of germs of disease and vermin. 
All these fittings should be kept clean and should be disin- 
fected occasionally. Vermin must not be allowed to get a 
foothold. It not only makes the fowls uncomfortable, but 
actually tortures them in some cases and by so doing reduces 
their strength and vitality. 

New Blood. — When adding new blood to the stock, ex- 
treme care should be taken to obtain the most vigorous and 
healthy birds, for anything else not only fails to assist in 
maintaining the health of the flock, but it reduces the neces- 
sary vitality. (H. A. N.) 

(Courtesy Minnesota Agricultural College.) 





IN MOST CASES the keeper of a back yard flock depends 
on the old hen that can cover thirteen to fifteen eggs to do 
the hatching and she is as often entrusted with the busi- 
ness of brooding the chicks. If the hens begin laying in the 
fall or early winter, there are sure to be some broody ones 
among any of the varieties of Plymouth Rocks by March 
first, which is as early as most poultry-keepers care to set 
hens. If the hens do not become broody early enough, or if 
the poultry-keeper prefers to break up those which do become 
broody in order to get them to laying again, and use their 
eggs for hatching, a small incubator is a practical necessity. 
All the high-grade makes will give satisfactory results if 
properly handled and supplied with good eggs. Furthermore, 
they are so perfected that they require but little care and are 
safe and also easy to handle. Inasmuch as complete instruc- 
tions for operating are supplied with each machine, it is not 
necessary to describe these methods in this book. 

The Sitting Hen's Nest. — Setting a hen is a more important 
and exacting matter than most people think. Many hatches 
are spoiled because the nests are not properly made. It is 
unreasonable to expect a hen to distribute her warmth over 
a large area and still have enough to incubate the eggs, par- 
ticularly in cold weather. A warm nest is absolutely neces- 
sary and that means that it must be made, or at least lined, 
with a fine material, such as hue, soft hay and be built in a 
good warm box. The sides of the box, however, should not 
be so high that the hen will land heavily on the eggs when 
getting down into the nest, or one side must be cut down to 
allow her to enter easily. At the same time the box must be 
deep enough to extend well up around the side of the hen's 
body and of the right size so that the hen will lit snugly to 
the nest, so that the heat of her body may be adequate for 


incubation, even in cold weather. The bottom of the nest 
should be slightly lower in the center so that the eggs will 
tend to keep closely together, but if the nest is too deep in 
the center, the eggs are more apt to be crushed or broken. 
Just enough gradual drop is necessary to keep the eggs under 
the hen and in the center of the nest. Less chicks are crushed 
during hatching in a nest that is flat or almost flat, therefore 
the nest may be flattened by removing the material on the 
outside when hatching time arrives, so that the eggs on the 
outside will not exert too much pressure on the newly hatched 
chicks, or on the chicks that are partly out of the shell and 
are located in the center of the nest. 

Care During the Sitting Period. — Vermin must not be 
allowed to exist on a sitting hen, and she should have her 
plumage treated with lice killing powder just before she is 
set, and again every six days, the last time at least twenty- 
four hours before the chicks are expected to break the shell. 
Usually the hen will do well while sitting if fed on a variety 
of hard grains, but many poultry-keepers depend entirely on 
corn, and we have had good results by feeding that grain 
alone during the incubating period, perhaps because corn 
is a heating food, and the hen requires considerable of that 
kind of nourishment to keep up the incubating temperature. 
To assist digestion a supply of grit and charcoal should always 
be ready when the hen comes off the nest, as well as plenty 
of fresh, clean water. The hen should leave the nest once a 
day, and usually the morning is the best time. The hen 
knows when feeding times come and is nervous and restless 
if it is allowed to pass without feed being gi\ T en her. This 
results in a complete or partial loss of the eggs. Hence, 
punctuality and regularity in feeding and care are vitally im- 

Care at Hatching Period. — When the chicks are hatching, 
it is well to remove the empty shells so that they will not cap 
the unhatched eggs and perhaps prevent the chicks from 
getting out. When the hatch is complete the hen should be 
encouraged to stay on the nest for twenty-four hours, after 
she has been taken off, fed, and returned. In cold weather, 
the chicks should be covered with a warm cloth while the 
mother hen is being fed. 

Care of Baby Chicks. — When they are from twenty-four to 
thirty-six hours old. the hen and brood should be removed to 
the brood coop and it is best to darken the coop at intervals 



during the first day so that the lien will brood the chicks 
frequently and conserve their strength. Unless the weather 
is warm the brood coop should hot be placed outdoors, but 
should be given a place in a well lighted building which is 
clean and which has been thoroughly disinfected if neces- 
sary. In warm weather the little chicks can be moved to a 
coop on the warm ground immediately, and should always 
be given fresh green grassy runs. They should not be put 
where older broods or fowls have been running earlier in 
the season. 

Feeding the Baby Chick. — The first feed may be stale but 
not musty or mouldy bread, moistened with milk and then 
squeezed quite dry, with a little grit and a little finely granu- 
lated charcoal sprinkled on it; johnny cake baked hard, crum- 
bled and fed dry ; hard boiled egg chopped fine and mixed 
half and half with bread crumbs ; steel cut oatmeal, or any of 
the numerous, satisfactory rations given to little chicks by 


Placed on the ground or floor in any building if secluded. By this 
arrangement the liens may be fastened on and fed at regular intervals 
or allowed to come off and go on at will. 


successful poultry-keepers. Sometimes the chicks are started 
from the very first on prepared chick feeds, made from finely 
cracked grains, and when they can have plenty of outdoor 
exercise they will do well on such a ration. They should be 
fed five times a day at the start. Milk is especially good for 
little chicks, but plenty of clean water must also be provided, 
for milk will not take its place. A little lettuce or a tender 
cabbage leaf may be given each day from the first. No better 
green food can be supplied young chicks than short, tender 
grass on the sod. 

Cleanliness, plenty of pure air, warmth, protection from 
chilling winds, and lots of sunlight are essential to the well 
being of the little chicks. 

The Artificial Method. — If incubators are used, the chicks 
should remain in the incubator until they are from twenty- 
four to thirty-six hours old. They should then be removed 
to the brooder, which should occupy a well lighted, clean 
room where there is plenty of sun. The hover should pre- 
viously have been warmed to a tempe«itu+-e of about- ninety 
degrees. After the chicks are in, their animal heat will raise 
the temperature under the house from ninety to about ninety- 
five degrees. 

It is advisable to keep the youngsters under the hover most 
of the time during the first twenty-four hours, letting them 
out at frequent intervals to become accustomed to the brooder, 
and to drink a little water and eat a little food. After the 
first day they may be allowed to go in and out at will, unless 
they are found to crowd in the corners, when they must be 
returned to the hover until warm again, for crowding in out- 
side corners always means that they are chilly. The same 
food that was recommended for chicks with hens will prove 
equally satisfactory for chicks in brooders. (H. A N ) 





After the little chicks are well started on life's journey, 
under the old hen or in the brooder, it is necessary to see that 
they have proper care throughout the growing period. A 
setback at any time in their growth can never be entirely over- 
come and the more severe the setback, the greater the harm. 
The brood should be kept with the hen or in the brooder as 
long as artificial heat is necessary, which is until they are 
well covered with their chicken feathers and sometimes longer, 
depending on the season of the year. They may, of course, 
remain in the same quarters if the weather continues cold 
and be allowed to run out doors only when conditions are 
favorable. Unless the accommodations are ample, they are 
likely to soon outgrow them and more room must be fur- 
nished. A brood mothered by a hen can sometimes be kept 
in a good sized brood coop for a short time after the hen weans 
them, but they soon fill a coop of ordinary size so completely 
that they are crowded at night. Before that occurs they 
should be removed to what are generally known as roosting 

Roosting Coops. — These roosting coops are of various 
sizes, but a common size is six feet long, three feet wide, three 
feet high in front and two feet high at the rear. If the chicks 
use these little buildings during the heat of the summer, it is 
customary to make the front entirely of wire netting or slats, 
so that the air can circulate freely. To provide protection 
against the storms and occasional cool weather, especially 
in the fall, a burlap or cotton cloth curtain is often arranged 
so that it can be rolled or dropped down to cover the open 
side, in this way shutting out strong winds and driving rains. 
This curtain should not be kept down except when necessary 
for the before mentioned reasons, because at any other time 
it confines the air too much and makes it too warm for the 

When the brooder chicks are ready to be put out on the 
range, that is, when they no longer need the protection of the 
brooder or colony house in which the brooder is operated, 
they are usually put into the roosting coops which are dis- 
tributed over the range. The same procedure is followed in 
the case of hen-brooded chicks. 



Rearing in Restricted Quarters. — The back yard poultry 
keeper faces a serious situation when attempting to rear 
chicks, yet good results can be obtained on a small area. If 
one has no more room than is necessary for the fowls, it is 
useless to try to raise chicks in his back yard, because chicks 
cannot occupy the same ground as the fowls and do well ; 
nor can they occupy ground that has been fouled to any ex- 
tent. Under such conditions, arrangements must be made 
to have the chicks grown away from home, and care should 
be taken to get them into the right hands and to be sure that 
they have suitable quarters and proper feed. If the home 
quarters are of a fair size, it is possible to grow very good 
chickens by giving them extra care. The same method of 
cooping should be followed as if they were on range and the 
outdoor runs should be frequently spaded over. The location 
of the coop and yard should be changed every few days if 
possible, and some small grain which sprouts quickly planted 
in each spot as soon as it is vacated. As the chick can not 
develop muscle and will not be healthy or strong without 
exercise, they must be made to scratch vigorously in litter 
for the dry grain part of their ration. 

Cleanliness is absolutely necessary in all cases, and the 
coop must be cleaned at frequent intervals and occasionally 
disinfected, especially the floor. If, as the chicks grow, they 
fill the coop to a point where it becomes crowded, the flocks 
must be divided, for each chick should have ample room to 
sit on the floor comfortably at night. When the youngsters 
are half-grown they may be given roosts placed lengthwise 
of the coop, two being as many as can be used satisfactorily 
in a coop of the dimensions we have mentioned. These roosts 
should be of good size, but round enough on top so that the 
toes of the chicks can curl around them, as Nature intended, 
when the chicks sit down. 

Lice will injure or even destroy a flock of chicks if given 
any lee-way, and liquid mite killer should be used on the 
floors of the coops and on the roosts when the roosts are 
put in. The chicks should be dusted thoroughly with a lice 
killing powder, if any lice are discovered on them, and one 
should search industriously for vermin at frequent intervals. 
(H. A. N.) 


A .1/ /<; /,*/ ( m A' po / ; ///'/,' v .1 n n o r 7 ,1 tion 



There are various methods of feeding growing chicks, 
many of which are entirely satisfactory. The test is whether 
or not they produce the desired results. A great many differ- 
ent food elements are required to nourish properly the differ- 
ent parts of the chick's body, and unless food is given in 
reasonable variety the chick usually cannot obtain, from what 
is given it, enough of all the elements required to make satis- 
factory growth. Obviously, if too much fat forming material 
is given and too little of the material that makes the lean 
meat and muscle, the chick can not develop as it should. A 
chick on free range can sometimes overcome mistakes in feed- 
ing by collecting from the range the different food elements 
which it requires but does not obtain from the food provided. 

In the back yard poultry keepers' little flock of young, this 
can not be done, and the owner must be careful to furnish a 
reasonably well balanced ration. 

A good ration for chicks from two weeks to one month old 
is as follows : 

A mash consisting of three parts each ( by weight) of 
wheat bran and cornmeal, one part wheat middlings and one 
part beef scraps, mixed dry and kept before them in hoppers ; 
a mixture of three parts cracked wheat, two parts finely 
cracked corn and one part pinhead oatmeal, fed in a litter in 
order to compel them to scratch for it. During the second 
month of their lives, the same dry mash may be always avail- 
able and a mixture of three parts wheat, two parts cracked 
corn and one part of hulled oats may be given for scratch 
feed. From the end of that time until they are grown they 
should have constantly before them in hoppers, a dry mix- 
ture consisting of three parts wheat bran, three parts wheat 
middlings, three parts cornmeal, and two parts beef scraps, 
and a scratch mixture of equal parts of wheat and cracked 
corn, if they are on free range. If not on free range, the 
scratch mixture should be given in a litter, to induce exercise, 
twice a day. The same mash may be mixed with water, or 
sweet or sour milk, and fed once a day, in addition, to hasten 



Very simple rations sometimes prove quite effective when 
chicks are on free range. A hopper of beef scraps and a 
hopper of cracked corn constantly in reach is said to grow 
excellent chicks, the corn furnishing the heating and fatten- 
ing part of the ration, and the beef scraps the material of 
which to make solid flesh. Of course, the chicks pick up the 
green stuff and other food on the range. We would not ad- 
vise anyone to feed such a ration to chicks confined in yards, 
because, if there were no other arguments against it, it is 
plain that the chicks would soon tire of it. 

Chicks in yards must a 1 ways be furnished green stuff once 
each day, but none should be allowed to remain after they have 
satisfied their appetites, because it soon becomes unwhole- 
some. Grit and charcoal should always be available and plenty 
of fresh water must be furnished. If milk can be given them 
to drink in addition to water, better growth will result: 
(H. A. N). 


Design from Minnesota Agricultural College. Capacity three or 
four hens and 50 or 60 small chicks. Later twenty-four larger chicks. 
Front can be protected during stormy weather by bran sacks at 
either end. 

















HE CHAPTER ON THE utility feature of the Plym- 

outh Rock fowl may very well contain a definition of 

what is meant by the term "utility." It is so often 
misused that, far contrary to its real meaning, it has come 
to mean to many not much more than lack of Standard qual- 
ity. This is due to the fact that it has become a custom among 
fanciers to sell or offer for sale all the stock that does not 
meet the requirements of the Standard of Perfection in a 
degree to meet the approval of those that buy it on that basis 
as "utility" stock, or eggs from such stock as "utility" eggs 
In many cases, not only the quality but the vitality of such 
stock has become so inferior that the term has fallen into 
disrepute. "Utility-stock" now means to a great many who 
have perhaps suffered in their transactions along this line 
with unprincipled breeders and dealers, and we are thankful 
that it is usually the latter, simply something that is unfit to 
sell as Standard-bred stock. This application of the word is 
to be regretted as "Utility-stock" should be desirable stock 
that is useable for its purpose, and the word utility should be 
held to its original meaning when it applies either to breed- 
ing or to sales. 

"Utility-stock" is that which yields a useful product. The 
utility products from poultry are two only, flesh and eggs. 
Stock that will produce progeny of a superior meat quality, or 
that grows and produces flesh more rapidly than does ordinary 
stock is entitled to the term "utility," and such stock does 
not discount itself or discredit the term. 

"Utility-stock" should have utility quality, and should not 
be confused with Standard-bred specimens of poor quality. To 
be such is the result of accident very often. To improve any 





quality in any stock, the most satisfactory results arc obtained 
by selecting for that quality. 

Standard-bred Fowls, Useful. — It is a noteworthy fact and 
the most convincing refutation to any imputation that Stand- 
ard-bred poultry is ornamental rather than useful, that in the 
beginning all of our American breeds originated with men who 
were interested in poultry in a practical way and not as fan- 
ciers; consequently, these breeds took on at the start a practi- 
cal rather than a fanciful aspect. Both aspects have been im- 
proved. That our American breeds, including all varieties of 
Plymouth Rocks, have improved in appearance, everyone in- 
terested is aware, but that they have improved in usefulness 
and productiveness some may not be disposed to admit, yet all 
available records, both public and private, show such an enor- 
mous advance in these respects as to be almost incredible, not 
only to those skeptically inclined but to all, except the com- 
paratively small number who because of business or other 
interests follow the results of such tests most closely. 

It should not be concluded from the foregoing statement 
that fowls should be bred to improve in one particular alone; 
although, it often happens that a specimen of the most pro- 
nounced degree of excellency in a certain particular is often 
so deficient in other requirements that no one of good judg- 
ment would use it in a breeding capacity, and for that reason 
alone it often happens that we do not acquire one quality as 
rapidly or in as marked a degree as though we limited out- 
selections for that one quality alone. 

Yet rapid growth and laying qualities are very dependent 
upon health and vigor, and when selections for these qualities 
are the rule, more productive fowls are bred. 





The shape of Plymouth Rocks required by the Standard 
of Perfection is such as to insure the highest quality as a 
table and general purpose fowl. The "rather long" back, 
which is "broad its entire length" ; the "broad, full, moderate- 
ly deep, well rounded" breast and the rather "long, broad, 
deep, full" body which extends "well forward", guarantee the 
largest proportion of edible flesh and the least waste in 
bone, feathers and refuse. The long keel bone, the plump 
breast and large thighs, all of which are well covered with ten- 
der flesh of finest texture, give the exceptional quality desired 
for table use to the choicest portions of the bird. 

The shape of the body also affords ample room for large 
and vigorous egg organs and a digestive system which is con- 
ducive to high egg production. They produce large numbers of 
brown shelled eggs and also produce flesh rapidly. They are 
rapid growers, quick to mature, and fatten easily. 

The economic value of the breed is shown by its wide 
scope of usefulness. They are well suited for pleasure or 
profit ; for a city lot or for the farm ; for the show room or for 
commercial purposes. It matters not what may be wanted, 
broilers, roasters, mature fowls, capons or layers, Plymouth 
Rocks possess qualities which recommend them if they have 
been selected and bred according to standard requirements. 
Birds of this breed are of a quiet, gentle disposition and they 
are easily confined. 

Because of their combined market qualities and egg laying 
ability, the Plymouth Rocks are recognized as a great dual 
purpose or general purpose breed. 

Plymouth Rocks are faithful sitters and good mothers. 
They are active as well as good foragers, and will find a good 
portion of their living if given the opportunity. Their combs 
being of medium size and their bodies rather blocky, compact 
and well feathered, they are prepared to withstand severe 
weather. Their type is one that is symbolical with great vigor, 
and is well adapted to varying conditions ; it is also one which 
combines many desirable qualities in one fowl. 

The chicks reach maturity quickly and some pullets have 
been known to lay at five months of age. It is not advisable 



to force them too rapidly for fear it will stunt their growth, 
that is, it is not best to force early laying at the cost of size, 
bone and muscle, if the pullets are to be used subsequently 
as breeders ; but if they are intended for broilers or roasters, 
they may be fed heavily on growing and fattening foods, upon 
which they will develop very rapidly and reach the broiler age 
in nine to fifteen weeks, depending upon the size and type of 
broilers desired. (T. E. Q.) 



The fact that the Plymouth Rock rapidly gained pop- 
ularity and still is the most popular breed of poultry among 
farmers simply means it has stood the test for more than 
a quarter of a century and has not been found wanting. 
A farmer's fowl which represents ninety per cent of the 
entire poultry crop of the continent is no mean fowl. A farmer 
wants meat as well as eggs. Step into almost any special 
finishing or feeding plant and watch the superintendent smile 
when a crate of Plymouth Rocks arrives or go into the dress- 
ing room or finally into the dressed poultry boxes. Ask a 
dealer to see a sample of the boxes of dressed poultry of prime 
quality that he has to offer the trade and in nine cases out of 
ten he will show a box of Plymouth Rocks. All of which 
must mean that to date the Plymouth Rock is still America's 
banner market chicken. It has stood the test of time and is 
yet the market fowl. 

What is there to the Plymouth Rock that makes it so popu- 
lar as a market bird? First they are vigorous. That is, they 
withstand disease and are good feeders. You do not want a 
bird that is not a good feeder. Fowls, the whims of whose 
appetite you have to study hourly, will never stand the test of 
time. The Plymouth Rock is a good feeder, and stands second 
to no breed under forced feeding or special finishing. Right 
here is where its abundance of vigor comes worth while. 

The second consideration is that the lean meat or muscles 
are well distributed over the various parts of the body. The 
breasts are well muscled. There are very few Plymouth Rocks 
with long, high, bare breast or keel bones. There is fair dis- 



tribution of both light and dark meat. Hence the dressed 
birds please the various tastes of the average family. Every- 
body does not want white meat, very few want a hard, dry, 
unbitable chicken, whether it is dark or light meat. The 
grain of the Plymouth Rock flesh is such that it tends to be 
juicy and tender. 

The third consideration, is that as a breed Plymouth Rocks 
are smooth skinned and elastic fleshed. They have a pleasing 
appearance when dressed. The skin of the bird, when the 
feathers are removed, does not present the appearance of a 
horse-radish grater, but is smooth and mellow. This adds 
very much to the attractiveness of the dressed carcass and 
also is one of the best quality indicators. 

Last, but not least, the fact remains that in the dressed 
poultry shows held in this country, Plymouth Rocks have won 
more sweepstake prizes than all the other breeds. They are 
year after year the outstanding dressed fowls in the shows. 

A breed of poultry which pleases the large packer and 
makes money for him, which is bred more than any other 
breed by the farmers, which wins sweepstake prizes at dressed 
poultry shows and is constantly selected on the market by 
intelligent housewife, needs no argument as to its position 
or qualification as a market bird. The fact that it is still 
the most popular fowl among over one hundred competitors 
and has been the popular fowl for over a quarter of a century 
simply means that it is well rooted and is bearing a satis- 
factory crop annually. (W. R. G.) 

(Courtesy Minnesota Agricultural College.) 





When the bird has been properly fattened and dressed, 
its beautiful rich yellow skin and plump carcass never fails to 
attract attention and favorable comment and to command 
the highest market price, because it is characteristic of the 
breed that after the birds are plucked few undesirable pin 
feathers are left to detract from their appearance. 

Every part of the Plymouth Rock's body is well covered 
with meat which is rich in flavor, line in texture, and, when 
milk-fed or raised under proper conditions and fed abundantly, 
is extremely tender and juicy. The breast and thighs, which 
are recognized as the two choicest portions of the bird for table 
use, are especially well covered with flesh. These exceptional 
market qualities, combined with their great egg laying ability, 
class them as one of the greatest American breeds. 

Note. — The qualities, as related by Messrs. Quisenberry and Graham 
are ample explanations as to why the large packers and feeding estab- 
lishments favor Plymouth Rocks over all other breeds. This point 
brought out by Mr. Graham, the editor has taken the pains to verify. 
Furthermore, these concerns agree that the Plymouth Rock leads all 
other standard breeds in numbers received and easily. 




A White Plymouth Rock pullet that combined standard and high 
egg-producing qualities in a remarkable degree. 





LL VARIETIES of Plymouth Rocks should lay mod- 

erately large, tannish brown eggs. Eggs which weigh 

twenty-four ounces to the dozen are recognized as 
standard in weight, but the average Plymouth Rock pullet 
lays eggs which exceed this weight. As hens, they usually lay 
a slightly heavier egg, some averaging as much as twenty- 
eight ounces or more to the dozen. In shape, the egg is spher- 
ically oblong, tapering slightly to one end. 

The Plymouth Rock egg has a quality of contents, and a 
thickness and texture to the shell by which it is assured of 
carrying well while being shipped to market and also assures 
the minimum amount of evaporation while being held for 
hatching, for market or in storage. 

Uniformity of shape and color, and freeness from wrinkles, 
rough places and thin shells should be sought for by all breed- 
ers. Uniformity largely controls the appearance, and appear- 
ance seriously affects the selling price. 

Some families or flocks of so-called Plymouth Rocks lay 
eggs which are very much under-sized, misshaped, thin shelled 
and of many colors. The country abounds in Mucks of this kind 
which, though they bear a certain resemblance to standard- 
bred Plymouth Rocks, usually the Barred variety, are far from 
having the qualities of the latter and are. in fact, very inferior 
in size, productiveness and appearance, and they are not stand- 
ard-bred Barred Plymouth Rocks though often mistaken for 
the latter. 

The qualities of the eggs can be controlled to a large ex- 
tent by the breeder. By selecting and hatching from eggs of 
the desired shape and color, and by using only males and fe- 
males for breeding purposes which have been hatched from 
such eggs, one can soon establish a flock that will produce 



eggs that possess these qualities to a reasonable degree of cer- 
tainty. See that all eggs for hatching weigh two ounces or 
more, and are of the perfect shape desired, and with firm, sound 
shells and of uniform color. Such care in selection and breed- 
ing for two generations will make a remarkable difference in 
the qualities of the eggs, and if continued, will insure the pro- 
duction of a very large per cent of eggs which meet the market 
requirements for Plymouth Rock eggs. (T. E. Q.) 

Barred Plymouth Rock Pullet No. 5501, Purdue University Ex- 
periment Station. Record, 166 eggs in 182 days. December to May, 





The egg laying competitions which have been held in 
America have proven not only that Plymouth Rocks lay a 
sufficient number of eggs to make them profitable as egg 
producers, but in every instance that Plymouth Rocks are 
among the best as layers. They have also demonstrated 
the facts that Plymouth Rocks are good layers in winter when 
eggs are highest in price ; that they begin to lay when from 
five to seven months of age ; and that they lay well in the fall 
months or during what is generally recognized as the moult- 
ing season. 

Plymouth Rocks, as a rule, make a good yearly average 
and an especially even distribution of their eggs throughout 
the year. There is no season of the year that they do not pro- 
duce a reasonable number of eggs. In one contest the Ply- 
mouth Rocks distributed their eggs throughout the year as 
follows : 

30.2 eggs per pullet in December, January and February. 
62.4 eggs in March, April and May. 

45.3 eggs in June, July and August. 

27.1 eggs in September, October and November. 

All varieties of Plymouth Rocks collectively, have aver- 
aged from one hundred and forty to one hundred and ninety 
eggs per hen each year in practically every contest which has 
been held in this country. 

In one contest the pullets which averaged five pounds in 
weight, averaged one hundred and seventy-six eggs each ; 
those weighing six pounds averaged one hundred and fifty- 
eight eggs each ; those weighing seven pounds averaged one 
hundred and forty-two eggs ; and those weighing eight pounds 
averaged one hundred and twenty-two eggs. This would indi- 
cate that the females slightly under standard weight were the 
best layers, but nevertheless, it is best to adhere to standard 
weight in breeding as much as possible, otherwise, in time, the 
breed might become too small to be classed as a general pur- 
pose fowl. 

The highest record ever made by a pen of any variety in 
the National Contest at the Missouri State Poultry Experi- 
ment Station was made by a pen of Barred Plymouth Rocks, 


the five pullets laying one thousand one hundred and eighty- 
five eggs, or an average of two hundred and thirty-seven eggs 
per bird in twelve months. Barred Plymouth Rocks won the 
highest honors for two years in succession at this contest. 

The highest individual record ever made by one pullet of 
any variety at the same Experimental Station was made by a 
White Plymouth Rock which laid three hundred and four eggs 
during the year. This bird also scored ninety-two and one- 
half points. A Barred Plymouth Rock in the same contest 
scored ninety-two and one-half points and laid two hundred 
and fifty-four eggs. Buff Plymouth Rocks which laid over 
two hundred eggs in the same contest also won prizes at the 
Panama-Pacific International Exposition Show. These facts 
plainly show that high scoring Standard Bred Plymouth Rocks 
can also lay large numbers of eggs. 

In the American Egg Laying Contest, the highest scoring 
Plymouth Rocks proved to be the best layers. Plymouth Rocks 
led throughout most of this contest. 

In the North American Contest at the Delaware College of 
Agriculture and in previous contests pens of Barred, White, 
Buff and Columbian Plymouth Rocks averaged more than two 
hundred eggs per bird, or over one thousand eggs in a year 
from a pen of five pullets. The highest individual records 
made in this contest by birds of this breed were as follows : 

In the International Egg Laying Contest at the Connecti- 
cut Agricultural College, it was found that only one breed laid 
eggs that exceeded those of the Plymouth Rocks in size. Only 
one breed lost less time in broodiness than Plymouth Rocks. 
If the birds had been marketed at the close of the contest, alive 
or slaughtered, the returns from the Plymouth Rocks would 
have exceeded all others. In the sixth Annual Contest held at 
that place, the best laying pen of Plymouth Rocks were of the 
Barred variety and the ten pullets laid two thousand, one hun- 
dred and nineteen eggs during the year. The best individual 
record was by a Barred Plymouth Rock that laid 277 eggs. 

In the International Egg Laying and Breeding Contest 
conducted by the New Jersey Experiment Station, a White 

White Plymouth Rock 

Buff Plymouth Rock 

Partridge Plymouth Rock 
Columbian Plymouth Rock 
Barred Plymouth Rock... 

247 eggs 
250 eggs 
200 eggs 
287 eggs 
283 eggs 



Plymouth Rock won first place, with a record of three hundred 
and one eggs ; a Columbian Plymouth Rock was in third place, 
with two hundred and eighty-eight eggs to her credit; and a 
Barred Plymouth Rock won fifth place, with a record of two 
hundred and seventy-eight eggs ; three of the highest records 
being made by Plymouth Rocks, with one thousand pullets 
of different varieties competing; the best Plymouth Rock 
pen records of ten birds each being as follows : Barred Ply- 
mouth Rock, 1956 eggs; White Plymouth Rocks, 1985 eggs 
and Columbian Plymouth Rocks, 1854 eggs. 

The Plymouth Rocks entered in the First All Northwestern 
Egg Laying Contest demonstrated their winter laying quali- 
ties and ranked among the breeds as follows : 

From October 15th to October 30th, 1916, second in aver- 
age egg production per fowl. 

For the month of November, second in average egg pro- 
duction per fowl ; second in actual profit per average fowl. 

For the month of December, third in average egg produc- 
tion per fowl. 

For the month of January, 1917, first in average egg pro- 
duction. (T. E. Q.) 



At the left, the White Plymouth Rock hen, Lady-Show-You, No. 
717 in the Mountain Grove, Missouri, egg-laying contest, November, 
1911. to November. 1912. 

Lady-Show-You sold for $800 after making a record of 281 eggs 
in twelve months. Even with this number to her credit, Lady-Show- 
You did not la}- an imperfect egg. The industry that is characteristic 
of a good layer was displayed in this case. Lady-Show-You invariably 
spent the day out of doors if allowed to do it, and usually laid early 
in the morning. She also shows the conformation we expect to see 
in a good layer, broad across the hips, large in heart girt. When han- 
dled, her body feels firm, well filled out and muscular. 

At the right, a Barred Plymouth Rock hen with a high and very 
creditable egg record and which shows much the same type as the 
White Plymouth Rock. 





American Standard of Perfection, Introduction to the 1915 Revised 

Edition 3 

Applying the Comparison System 29 

Back 122 

Back of Female 134 

Backs, Ideal and Defective 123 

Male, Defective 124 

Female, Defective 125 

Back Yard Flock, The 393 

Bennett's Early Plymouth Rocks 64 

Bodies, Male Defective 124 

Bodies, Female Defective 125 

Body and Fluff 128 

Breast 127 

Breeding of Domestic Fowls. 

In-Breeding 50 

In-Breeding, Limits of 50 

Injudicious In-Breeding 53 

Like Begets Like 56 

Line-Breeding 52 

Principles of Breeding 56 

Offset Defects 57 

Out-Crossing 51 

Resting Males 54 

Strain Building 52 

Uniformity in 58 

Why Like Begets Like 56 

Cochins — Black Cochins in America 77 

Black Cochins in England 76 

Cochins and Javas 79 

Color Terms, Explanation of 35 

Comb 112 

Base of 113 

Blade of.. 113 

Carriage of 113 

Outline of 113 

Points of 116 

Size of 113 

Combs, Defective (111.) 117, 133 

Conditioning, The Art of 362 

Conditioning Fowls for Exhibition 360 

Constitutional Vigor 60 

Copyright 2 

Corrective Breeding, I. (111.) 141 

Corrective Breeding, II. (111.) 142 

Corrective Breeding, III. (111.) 143 

Corrective Breeding, IV. (111.) 144 

Corrective Breeding, V. (111.) 146 

Cutting for Defects 31 

Defects, Common, in Plvmouth Rock Plumage 148 



Definitions of Technical Terms, see Glossary of Technical 

Terms 14-25 

Development of Domestic Fowls 40 

Disinfectants, The Use of 400 

Domestic Fowls — Breeding of 44 

In-Breeding of 50 

Limits of In-Breeding 50 

Mating of .44 

Origin and Development of 40 

Out-Crossing 51 

System of Mating of 45 

Early American Importations 42 

Early Days of the New Breed 96 

Examination of Candidates for Show Honors 355 

Feeding — During a Journey 376 

For Color 366 

The Breeding Flock 401 

White Birds 208 366 

Feeds and Feeding 380 

General Disqualifications for Plymouth Rocks 30 

General Disqualifications, Discussion of 350 

General Purpose Fowl Demanded 64 

Glossary of Technical Terms 14 

Hatching and Brooding 406 

Heads of Males, Defective (111) 117 

Heads of Females, Defective (111) 133 

Health of the Breeding Flock 404 

Health of the Breeding Flock in Confinement 404 

Housing the Flock 395 

Incentive to Poultry Keeping 41 

Individual Disposition 54 

Influence of Health on Shape and Color 139 

Interior Equipment 398 

Introduction to 1915 Revised Edition , 3 

Judging Plymouth Rocks — Instructions for 26, 344 

American Breeds 340 

By the Standard 347 

Color Defects 29 

Comparative System 29 

Cutting for Defects 31 

Dated Score Cards 28 

Defective Score Cards 28 

Disqualifying Weights 29 

Faking 28 

Handling , 29 

Merit 26 

Old and Young Specimens Competing 28 

Private Scoring 28 

Proper Tail Carriage Ills 32 

Reweighing 27 

Rules Governing Sweepstakes 27 

Scaly Legs 29 

Scores of Exhibition Pens 28 

Ties , 28 



Weight 26 

Typical Shape 29 

Like Begets Like 56 

Line-Breeding 52 

Male One-Half the Flock 59 

Male Parent of the Plymouth Rock 91 

Mating — Barred Plymouth Rocks 158 

By Natural Selection 44 

By Artificial Selection 44 

Buff Plymouth Rocks 242 

Columbian Plymouth Rocks 329 

Partridge Plymouth Rocks 293 

Silver-Penciled Plymouth Rocks 255 

White Plymouth Rocks 203 

Matings — Advantages of Two Matings 164 

Double 46 

General Methods of, To Overcome Defects in Shape 140 

Intermediate 46 

Large 54 

Single 45 

Special Matings an Old Established Institution 165 

Stud 53 

Systems of 45 

Systems of, In Early Days 169 

To Produce Exhibition Specimens (Barred Plymouth Rocks) . . 158 

Mendelism 55 

Mr. Ramsdell's Account 72 

Mr. Upham's Account of Origin 69 

Mr. Upham's Account, Vital Points in 71 

Neck 118 

Neck of Female 134 

Nomenclature of the Male (111.) 12 

Nomenclature of the Female (111.) 13 

Origin of Domestic Fowls 40 

Out-Crossing 51 

Plumage — Barred Plymouth Rocks 148 

Buff Plymouth Rocks 216 

Character of — Affecting Form and Outline 138 

Columbian Plymouth Rocks 314 

Partridge Plymouth Rocks 274 

Silver Penciled Plymouth Rocks 248 

White Plymouth Rocks 202 

Plymouth Rocks — All Varieties 62 

Drake Strain of 99 

English Opinions as to Origin 81 

Essex Strain of 103 

Essex County Strain of 101 

Instructions for Judging 26 

Gilman Strain of 100 

Judging 346 

Name, How Selected 104 

Origin and Early Development of 63 

Ramsdell Strain of 98 

1910 Scale of Points for 343 



Shape of . 108 

Spaulding Strain of . ... 97 

Upham's Account of Origin 69 

Upham Strain of 97 

Plymouth Rocks — Columbian. 

Color of 314 

Color of Female 314 

Color of Male 311 

Mating 329 

Origin and Early Development of 304 

Plumage of 311 

Plymouth Rock, Early Development of 63 

Plymouth Rock Shape, Defects of 112 

Plymouth Rock Comb — Blade of.... 113 

Base of , 113 

Carriage of 113 

Outline of 113 

Points of 116 

Size of 112 

Plymouth Rock, Buff — Buff Plymouth Rock Color 220 

Color Defects Accounted For 228 

Color of Male and Female 216 

Common Defects of Buff Color 221 

Development of Buff Color 216 

Matings 242 

Origin and Early Development of 209 

Plymouth Rocks. Partridge — Color of Female 274 

Color of Male 274, 275 

Mating 293 

Origin and Early Development 266 

Plumage of 274 

Plymouth Rocks, Silver-Penciled — Color of Female 245 

Color of Male 245 

Description of 248 

Mating 255 

Origin and Earlv Development 243 

Plumage 245 

Plumage Defects and How to Overcome Them 262 

Plymouth Rock Standard and Breed Book — 

Contents, Table of 10 

Contents, Part I.. Table of 11 

Contents, Part II., Table of 39 

Contents, Part III., Table of 61 

Contents, Part IV., Table of 337 

Contents, Part V., Table of 387 

Contents, Part VI., Table of 414 

Introduction to 8 

Preface to 5 

Plymouth Rocks, White— Color of Male and Female 202 

Defects of White Plumage 203 

Mating 203 

. Origin and Early Development of 193 

Recognition by American Poultry Association 197 

Poultry Keeping, Incentive to 41 



Poultry Keeping Introduced into Europe 41 

Poultry Keeping, First Authentic Accounts of 42 

Preface 5 

Prepotency 38 

Prepotency, Value of 59 

Sanitation 399 

Score Cards (Official) 33 

Selection of Show Birds 355 

Sex Control of Character 59 

Shape of Plymouth Rocks 108 

Common Defects of Plymouth Rocks 112 

Male, Ideal and Defective 140 

Shape — Counts More Than Color. Why? 137 

Female, Ideal and Defective , 132, 135 

Importance of 137 

Mating to Overcome Defects in 137 

Shape Perfection Unattained 145 

Typical 353 

Shanks and Toes 129 

Shipping to Shows 373 

Size and Condition 351 

Skull 118 

Slow Feathering 136 

Equipment, Interior 398 

Standard Measurements 34 

Standard, Judge's Guide 347 

Standard, Judging by 348 

Standard Scale of Points 38, 338 

First Poultry 338 

First Scale of Points, American 340 

First Scale of Points, American Class 341 

First Scale of Points, Brahmas 340 

Scale of Points for Plymouth Rocks, Modern 342 

Scale of Points for Plymouth Rocks, 1910 343 

Scale of Points for White Leghorns 341 

Strain Building 52 

Symmetry and Awkwardness, 111 140 

Tail 126 

Tail, Female, Defective 111 125 

Tail, Female, Tail of 134 

Tail, Male, Defective 111 124 

Taming Show Birds 367 

Type vs. Shape 136 

Type Faulty 136 

Types, Geographical ." 42 

Types, American 43 

Types, English in America 43 

Variation in Early Types 40 

Views of Early Writers 73 

Washing White Fowls 368 

Wattles and Ear Lobes of Males, Defectives 117 

Wattles and Ear Lobes of Females, Defective 133 

Why Like Begets Like 56 

Wings 119 

Wings, Defective 120, 121