Hurd was a professor at Cornell University, and he thanks his colleagues there for their help in various sections. G.O. Hall is the breed expert. I'll have to follow up with him. The series was published by Macmillan, a major publisher.
I write that to establish that this was no fringe publication. This was information that was the best current knowledge about poultry.
Choosing a Breed is Chapter 3, right after The Business of Poultry-Keeping and Starting a Poultry Business. Hurd clearly felt that the choice of breed was primary in running a successful poultry operation. He advises poultry keepers to "select the one in which the breeder takes the most interest." At this point, poultry keepers enjoyed their birds.
Among Egg Breeds, he lists Leghorns, of course, but not limited to them. He includes Anconas, Hamburgs, Campines and Minorcas as their equals. He mentions three varieties of Minorca (He's probably referring to black, white and buff, not differentiating between single and rose comb) and says they are second only to Leghorns in popularity.
|Schilling's portrait of White Leghorns|
|My own favorite Ancona|
|These Brahmas are substantial.|
Hurd isn't done with the two single-purpose breeds. He elaborates on the General Purpose Breeds, in which he includes Plymouth Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, Wyandottes, New Hampshires and Orpingtons. In that category, he finally addresses the Delaware, although not by name. The final group in his chapter is the Cross-Bred Chickens, where he mentions crossing Barred Rock males with New Hampshire or Rhode Island Red females. That crossing was the origin of Delawares, which would be recognized for exhibition in the American Poultry Association's Standard of Perfection two years later.
|Delaware, with its distinctive color pattern|
|A current flock of Delawares|
The variety of breeds that were still in use, and recommended by the best agricultural advice, in 1950 startled me. As the industry has grown and vertically integrated in the past half century, most of those breeds have become rare and in need of attention to avoid losing them altogether, while nearly all America's chicken meat and eggs come from three breeds (Cornish/Rock crosses, Leghorns and Rhode Island Reds). Even those have been so aggressively inbred that they scarcely resemble birds of similar name from those quaint years ago.