Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Fowl

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FOWL, in its general sense, this term is nearly synonymous with birds; but in a more restricted sense it means those domestic birds brought up in a farmyard for the table. Fowls originally came from Persia and India, and they are valuable to the breeder in many ways, yielding profit as they do in eggs, in broods, and in feathers. The principal kinds of this useful domestic creature are: (1) the game fowl, with erect and slender body and showy colors; valued also for the delicacy of the flesh and of the eggs. It is this breed which is used for cock fighting. (2) The Dorking fowl, so named from Dorking, in Surrey, where it has long been bred in great numbers for the London market — a breed characterized by an additional spur on each leg; often of a white color, with short legs; one of the most useful of all breeds, both for excellence of flesh and for abundance of eggs. (3) The Polish fowl, black, with a white tuft, a breed very extensively reared in France, Egypt, etc., little inclined to incubation, but valued for an almost uninterrupted laying of eggs. (4) The Spanish fowl, very similar to the Polish, but larger, and laying larger eggs, on account of which it is now much valued, and very common in Great Britain; black, with white cheeks and large red comb. (5) The Malay fowl, tall and handsome, and very pugnacious, but little esteemed. (6) The Hamburg fowl, of very beautiful plumage, and much valued for the quality both of flesh, and eggs, as also for extreme productiveness of eggs. (7) The Cochin China fowl, a large, tall, ungraceful variety, with small tail and wings. Is valuable chiefly on account of its fecundity, eggs being laid even during winter, and the hens incubating frequently. (8) The bantam fowl, a diminutive variety, rather curious than useful. Of most of these there are many sub-varieties and fancy breeds — gold-penciled, silver-penciled, etc. The guinea fowl, or pintado, is sometimes classed among the common order of fowls; they are very wild and restless in their nature, and, unlike the ordinary fowls, they give no notice to any one of their laying or sitting; they have consequently to be closely watched. The guinea fowl is very delicate eating, and is in season about Lent. See Poultry.