- In pheasants and quails, yellow legs and dark bills are signs of a young bird. They are in season in autumn. Pigeons should be fresh, fat and tender, and the feet pliant and smooth. In prairie-chickens, when fresh, the eyes are full and round, not sunken; and, if young, the breast-bone is soft and yields to pressure. The latter test also applies to all fowls and game birds. Plover, woodcock, snipe, etc., may be chosen by the same rules.
Turkeys are in season in fall and winter, but deteriorate in the spring. Old turkeys have long hairs, and the flesh is purplish when it shows under the skin on legs and back; when good, they are white, plump, with full breast and smooth, black legs; and, if male, soft, loose spurs. The eyes are bright and full, and the feet are supple, when fresh. The absence of these signs denotes age and staleness. Hen turkeys are inferior in flavor, but are smaller, fatter and plumper. Full-grown turkeys are best for boning or boiling, as the flesh does not tear in dressing.
Chickens, when fresh, are known by full, bright eyes, pliable feet, and soft, moist skin. Young fowls have a tender skin, smooth legs and comb, and the best have yellow legs. In old fowls, the legs are rough and hard. The top of the breast-bone of a young fowl is soft, and may be easily bent with the fingers; and the feet and neck are large in proportion to the body. The best fowls are fat, plump, with skin nearly white, and the grain of the flesh 'fine. Old fowls have long, thin necks and feet, and the flesh on the legs and back has a purplish shade. Fowls are always in season.