Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Popular Poultry Breeds by David Scrivener

Popular Poultry Breeds
David Scrivener (Author)ISBN13: 9781847971036
Price: $55.00
224 pages, Cloth, 7 1/2 x 9 1/2, 268 Color Photos
Pub Date: July 2009

David Scrivener has performed a significant service to the poultry world by setting down his knowledge in these books. Popular Poultry Breeds, companion to Rare Poultry Breeds, catalogs the history and breed information for the breeds each of us is most likely to encounter.

Rather than organize them by Standard classification, he simply lists breeds alphabetically. This makes the information easily accessible. You don’t need to know how a breed is classified in order to locate its section.

Although he writes specifically for the British Standard, he includes helpful information for Americans. Alternative names, such as Cornish in America for the breed known as Indian Game in the U.K., are provided. He adds names as appropriate for other countries, such as Hollandse Kriel, the Dutch name for our Dutch Bantams.

My heart is with him in his devotion to providing historical context for each breed. Teasing out the confusions of history is challenging. Cochins, for example, got their name from a location that contributed a different breed to England and the United States. Scrivener sorts that out neatly. He traces the significant characteristics of each breed across time and place, such as the Barnevelders’ dark brown eggs and the importance of that locale to the Dutch poultry industry. By citing sources and references, he provides those who follow him, like myself, with the information needed for our own research.

Because of his interest in breed history, he provides historic as well as contemporary illustrations. For historic breeds, a picture is worth a thousand words. The graphic documentation he gives us in this book is invaluable. His judge’s eye gives us conformation for each breed as well as feather color and markings and other points significant for exhibition and breeding to the Standard.

Although the Standard is the first essential work for every breeders’ shelf, Popular Poultry breeds adds valuable depth to the nuts-and-bolts of the Standard description.

His years of poultry breeding give him crucial insight into special management needs that some breeds have. He advises that Cornish (Indian Games to him) “need exercise and grass to keep fit and fertile…” Early feeding builds muscle and bone, but then should be restricted to keep them from getting fat and reducing fertility. He suggests breeding “Taller, less extreme, cockerels” to “winning short-legged, wide-bodied hens for best results.”

It’s the kind of detail that turns on the light of insight for experienced breeders as well as guiding novice efforts. Don’t let the price deter you from acquiring this important book for your own library.

Publisher's product description: Popular Poultry Breeds examines 40 popular breeds of chickens and bantams. Most breeds exist in several plumage color varieties, and in large and bantam [miniature] size versions, all of which are also included in this comprehensive book.
David Scrivener is a Panel A poultry judge and is Chairman of the Rare Poultry Society.

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