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Standard Varieties of Chickens:

Comments on the Internet Version


The original version of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farmer's Bulletin No. 51 was published in February 1897. This 100+ year old paper gives the reader a chance to get acquainted with dozens of both common and unfamiliar breeds of poultry.

The text and drawings are taken directly from the original Bulletin, but some changes have been made to the original to make it more accessible to the American and international student.

First, all American system weights and measures (inches, pounds, etc.) have been updated to include their metric (SI) equivalents. The metric units follow the original American units and are surrounded by parenthesis. This should give the international reader a better grasp of the sizes of these birds, and should help familiarize American students with the metric system.

Second, each image is hyperlinked to a higher resolution copy of the same image. These images are often large (on the order of hundreds of kilobytes), but give much greater detail.

Third, color drawings or pictures of the breeds described have been added when available. Since these color drawings were not part of the original, they are placed at the bottom of the individual documents and their sources have been documented.

Due to this document's age, some of the information may be out of date. New breeds of animals have been created over the years to fill specific needs and purposes, and to emphasize certain traits over others. Obviously these newer breeds would not be mentioned in an bulletin of this age.

Some of the classes of poultry described - specifically the Game classes - were bred for the sport of cock fighting. This sport has been banned within many of the United States and in several countries for years. These fowl are raised today primarily by poultry fanciers.

Finally, two excellent web sites external to the Chickscope project describe modern breeds of fowl - including turkeys, geese, ducks, and ratites. The Oklahoma State University's Department of Animal Science sponsors the Breeds of Poultry page, which details many domestic and barnyard fowl. The FeatherSite poultry page contains hundreds of photos and descriptions of all manner of fowl, domesticated and undomesticated.

We at the Chickscope project hope you enjoy this paper and find it useful in discovering the fascinating diversity of poultry around the world.

Daniel E. Weber

09 April 1998

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