Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Article Index



Previously to their being dressed, every description of game and poultry requires to be carefully picked, and neatly trussed; every plug should be removed, and the hair nicely singed with white paper. In drawing poultry, care must be taken not to break the gall bag, for no washing will take off the bitter where it has touched. In dressing wild fowl, a brisk clear fire must be kept up, that they may be done of a fine yellow brown, but so as to leave the gravy in: the fine flavour is lost if done too much. Tame fowls require more roasting, and are longer in heating through than others. All sorts should be continually basted, that they may be served up with a froth, and appear of a fine colour. A large fowl will take three quarters of an hour, a middling one half an hour, and a small one, or a chicken, twenty minutes. The fire must be very quick and clear, before any fowls are put down. A capon will take from half an hour to thirty-five minutes, a goose an hour, wild ducks a quarter of an hour, pheasants twenty minutes, a small stuffed turkey an hour and a quarter, turkey poults twenty minutes, grouse a quarter of an hour, quails ten minutes, and partridges about twenty-five minutes. A hare will take nearly an hour, and the hind part requires most heat. Pigs and geese require a brisk fire, and quick turning. Hares and rabbits must be well attended to, and the extremities brought to the quick part of the fire, to be done equally with the backs.


In the rearing of poultry, care should be taken to choose a fine large breed, or the ends of good management may be defeated. The Dartford sort is generally approved, but it is difficult to say which is to be preferred, if they be but healthy and vigorous. The black sort are very juicy, but as their legs are so much discoloured, they are not well adapted for boiling. Those hens are usually preferred for setting, which have tufts of feathers on their head; those that crow are not considered so profitable. Some fine young fowls should be reared every year, to keep up a stock of good breeders, and bad layers and careless nurses should be excluded. The best age for a setting hen is from two to five years, and it is necessary to remark which among them are the best breeders. Hens set twenty days, and convenient places should be provided for their laying, which will also serve for setting and hatching. A hen house should be large and high, should be frequently cleaned out, and well secured from the approach of vermin, or the eggs will be sucked, and the fowls destroyed. 

Hens must not be disturbed while sitting, for if frightened, they are apt to forsake their nests. Wormwood and rue should be planted about their houses; some of the former should occasionally be boiled, and sprinkled about the floor, which should not be paved, but formed of smooth earth. The windows of the house should be open to the rising sun, and a hole left at the door to let in the smaller fowls; the larger may be let in and out by opening the door. There should be a small sliding board to shut down when the fowls are gone to roost, to prevent the ravages of vermin, and a strong door and lock should be added, to secure the poultry from thieves and robbers. Let the hens lay some time before they are allowed to set, the proper time for which will be from the end of February to the beginning of May. Broods of chickens are hatched all through the summer, but those that come out very late require care till they have gained sufficient strength. Feed the hens well during the time of laying, and give them oats occasionally. If the eggs of any other sort are put under a hen with some of her own, observe to add her own as many days after the others as there is a difference in the length of their setting. 

A turkey and duck set thirty days, the hen only twenty. Choose large clear eggs to put her upon, and such a number as she can properly cover; about ten or twelve are quite sufficient. If the eggs be very large, they sometimes contain a double yolk, and in that case neither will be productive. When some of the chickens are hatched, long before the others, it may be necessary to keep them in a basket of wool till the others come forth. The day after they are hatched, give them some crumbs of white bread or grots soaked in milk, which are very nourishing. As soon as they have gained a little strength, feed them with curd, cheese parings cut small, or any soft food, but nothing that is sour, and provide them with clean water twice a day. Keep the hen under a pen till the young have strength to follow her about, which will be in two or three weeks; and be sure to feed the hen well. Poultry in general should be fed as nearly as possible at the same hour of the day, and in the same place, as this will be the surest way of collecting them together. Potatoes boiled in a little water, so as to be dry and mealy, and then cut, and wetted with skim milk that is not sour, will form an agreeable food for poultry, and young turkies will thrive much on it. Grain should however be given occasionally, or the constant use of potatoe food will make their flesh soft and insipid. 

The food of fowls goes first into the crop, which softens it; it then passes into the gizzard, which by constant friction macerates it; this is facilitated by small stones which are generally found there, and which help to digest the food. If a setting hen be troubled with vermin, let her be well washed with a decoction of white lupins. The pip in fowls is occasioned by drinking dirty water, or taking filthy food. The general symptom is a white thin scale on the tongue, which should be pulled off with the finger; afterwards rub the tongue with a little salt, and the disorder will be removed.

GEESE require a somewhat different management. They generally breed once in a year; but if well kept, they will frequently hatch twice within that period. Three of these birds are usually allotted to a gander; if there were more, the eggs would be rendered abortive. The quantity of eggs to be placed under each goose while setting, is about a dozen or thirteen. While brooding, they should be well fed with corn and water, which must be placed near them, so that they may eat at pleasure. The ganders should never be excluded from their company, because they are then instinctively anxious to watch over and guard their own geese. The nests of geese should be made of straw, and so confined that the eggs may not roll out, as the geese turn them every day. When they are nearly hatched, it is proper to break the shell near the back of the young gosling, as well for the purpose of admitting the air, as to enable it to make its escape at the proper time. To fatten young geese, the best way is to coop them up in a dark narrow place, where they are to be fed with ground malt mixed with milk; or if milk be scarce, with barley meal mashed up with water. A less expensive way will be to give them boiled oats, with either duck's meat or boiled carrots; and as they are very fond of variety, these may be given them alternately. They will then become fat in a few weeks, and their flesh will acquire a fine flavour. In order to fatten stubble geese at Michaelmas time, the way is to turn them out on the wheat stubble, or those pastures that grow after wheat has been harvested. They are afterwards to be pent up, and fed with ground malt mixed with water. Boiled oats or wheat may occasionally be substituted.

DUCKS are fattened in the same manner, only they must be allowed a large pan of water to dabble in. Those kept for breeders, should have the convenience of a large pond; and such as have their bills a little turned up will generally be found the most prolific. In the spring of the year, an additional number of ducks may be reared by putting the eggs under the care of the hen, who will hatch them as her own brood.

TURKIES, early in the spring, will often wander to a distance in order to construct their nest, where the hen deposits from fourteen to seventeen eggs, but seldom produces more than one brood in a season. Great numbers are reared in the northern counties, and driven by hundreds to the London market by means of a shred of scarlet cloth fastened to the end of a pole, which from their antipathy to this colour serves as a whip. Turkies being extremely delicate fowls, are soon injured by the cold: hence it is necessary, soon after they are hatched, to force them to swallow one whole peppercorn each, and then restore them to the parent bird. They are also liable to a peculiar disorder, which often proves fatal in a little time. On inspecting the rump feathers, two or three of their quills will be found to contain blood; but on drawing them out, the chickens soon recover, and afterwards require no other care than common poultry. 

Young turkies should be fed with crumbs of bread and milk, eggs boiled hard and chopped, or with common dock leaves cut fine, and mixed with fresh butter-milk. They also require to be kept in the sunshine or a warm place, and guarded from the rain, or from running among the nettles. They are very fond of the common garden peppercress, or cut-leaved cress, and should be supplied with as much of it as they will eat, or allowed to pick it off the bed. In Norfolk they are fed with curds and chopped onions, also with buck wheat, and are literally crammed with boluses of barley meal till their crops are full, which perhaps may account for the superior excellence of the turkies in that part of the kingdom.


This article, used in writing, is made of gum sandaric, powdered and sifted very fine; or an equal quantity of rosin, burnt alum, and cuttle fishbone well dried, and mixed together. This last is of a superior quality.


Beat a pound of butter to a cream, and mix with it the whites and yolks of eight eggs beaten apart. Have ready warm by the fire, a pound of flour, and the same of sifted sugar. Mix them and a few cloves, a little nutmeg and cinnamon, in fine powder together; then by degrees work the dry ingredients into the butter and eggs. It must be well beaten for a full hour, adding a glass of wine, and some carraway seeds. Butter a pan, and bake it a full hour in a quick oven. The above proportions, leaving out four ounces of the butter, and the same of sugar, make a less luscious cake, but a very pleasant one.


Cut a pound of good mellow cheese into thin slices, add to it two or three ounces of fresh butter, rub them well together in a mortar till quite smooth. When cheese is dry, and for those whose digestion is feeble, this is the best way of eating it; and spread on bread, it makes an excellent supper. The flavour of this dish may be encreased by pounding it with curry powder, ground spice, black cayenne, and a little made mustard; or it may be moistened with a glass of sherry. If pressed down hard in a jar, and covered with clarified butter, it will keep for several days in cool weather.


When fresh they have a sweet flavour, are firm and stiff, and of a bright colour. Shrimps are of the prawn kind, and may be judged by the same rules.


Boil six whitings and a large eel, in as much water as will cover them, after being well cleaned. Skim them clean, and put in whole pepper, mace, ginger, parsley, or onion, a little thyme, and three cloves, and boil the whole to a mash. Pick fifty crawfish, or a hundred prawns; pound the shells, and a small roll. But first boil them with a little water, vinegar, salt, and herbs. Put this liquor over the shells in a sieve, and then pour the soup, clear from the sediment. Chop a lobster, and add this to it, with a quart of good beef gravy. Add also the tails of the crawfish, or the prawns, with some flour and butter. The seasoning may be heightened, if approved.