We hot chicks need to stick together

I received an interesting catalog from Murray McMurray Hatchery, which claims to be the world’s rare breed poultry headquarters.  I have no idea how I wound up on Mr McMurray’s mailing list, but I now know where to turn for my live poultry needs.  The catalog is really quite fascinating.  Since skimming over some of its passages I have learned a tremendous amount about live poultry and the equipment needed for their care.

Since poultry is usually in my mind as a dinner ingredient, it never quite crossed my mind the number of distinctly different breed of chicken out there.  I suppose it should have; after all, if one can distinguish between different breeds of dogs, shouldn’t the same be true about chickens?  Take the “fizzle cochin,” for example:

Unlike all other chickens, the feathers on the fizzle curve outward and forward giving it the appearance of having walked through a windstorm backwards. These come in red, black, and white colors and show the other characteristics of the cochin…The frizzle feathering of these unique birds does not show as baby chicks.  Because the frizzle trait does not breed true, approximately one fourth of the baby frizzle chicks will develop normal feathering and the others will be frizzled.

These babies are quite different from the “Sultan”:

Sultans are a very old breed which originated in Southeastern Europe.  They get their name because they were once favored by the rulers of Turkey.  Sultans came from Istanbul to England in the 1850’s.  This extremely rare bird has a crest, muff, beard, feathered shanks, and a fifth toe.

Naturally, I was excited to read about the “Delaware”:

This breed was founded in the state of Delaware from an original Barred Rock and New Hampshire cross.  The Delaware is considered a heavy breed which lays a nice brown egg.  Males are medium size and large enough (approximately five pounds at maturity) to butcher for meat and the hens will make a nice “stewing” dish when they are done laying.  The feathering on these beautiful birds is almost all white but shows a slight indication of barring in the hackle and tail.  Delaware are a nice quiet bird when well tended to.

Of course, Mr McMurray sells all sorts of poultry, not just chickens.  Turkeys, ducks, pheasants, quail, geese, and guineas can all be purchased as baby birdlings.  This guy even sells peacocks!  They sell for about $35 each, but here’s the catch: there is an eight-peacock minimum.

If I were inclined to raise poultry, I would be delighted to buy mail-order fowl from this catalog.  There are so many great packages available to me, the consumer: With the “Homesteader’s Delight” I would be sent ten brown egg laying chickens, two ducklings, two goslings and two turkeys, all for just $44.32. Barnyard Combination #1 would get me two goslings, seven ducklings and seven turkeys for $65.44.  If I order the Sportsman’s Gamebird Special before my birthday, I will receive sixty Ringneck Pheasants, thirty Mutant Pheasants and thirty Chukar Partridge, one hundred and twenty birds for a mere $175.20.

…because my birthday just wouldn’t be the same without thirty mutant pheasants running around.

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