The other two members of this family.
and noted for their singing qualities the redwing and the fieldfare, only visit us during the winter months, and go away far north to breed; they are very seldom kept as pets, as they are poor songsters, although very pretty birds to look at, especially the fieldfare.
The starling (Sturnus vulgaris) is also a soft-billed bird, but belongs to a different family. He cannot compete as a songster with the song thrush or the blackbird, but he has a happy little song of his own, and is quite an adept at copying the songs and calls of other birds.
The starling makes one of the most amusing and interesting of pets. He soon becomes wonderfully tame, is a keen observer of all that goes on around him, and in time will often mimic the cries of the cat and dog, or of any birds about the place. He will also imitate his master's whistle in calling the dog, and then put his head on one side and watch for the dog to come. Even in his wild state he appears to delight in imitating the cries of different kinds of birds. Some starlings can be taught a number of words which they utter quite distinctly.
The song thrush, blackbird, and starling can be bought for about half-a-crown each, and upwards, according to the time they have been -in confinement, their value as songsters, and the beauty of their plumage as exhibition specimens.
The best kind of food for these birds in confinement is a mixture of oatmeal and milk; they also like sopped bread and milk, and occasionally some scraped raw meat. They all thoroughly enjoy a good bath, which should be supplied them several times a week. It is most essential that the sand-tray should be well cleaned every morning, the food and water vessels scalded out, and that no sour food be allowed to remain in the cage under any circumstances. To be continued.
By E. D. Farrar
Does dog-breeding pay ? This is a ques-tion that the writer has been asked very often. The answer is, as with many similar queries, " It all depends upon the species of dog that is bred and the manner in which the occupation is undertaken."
The golden rule, which, alas ! is often a counsel of perfection, is to take up only the breed in which one is most interested. Unfortunately, that may be a breed in which there is "no money "; it may be out of fashion, and so there will be no demand for puppies; it may be very large, in which case the cost of rearing the stock will be heavy, and, owing to the size of the dogs, comparatively few people will be likely to buy them; or, finally, it may be a charming breed, but one that is too delicate for our climate. All these considerations have to be taken into account, and very often the would-be fancier regretfully decides upon the "second best."
After all, is the pursuit to be a hobby or a means of making money ? If the former, and money permits, then choice is unlimited. There is a fascination in rearing puppies of either large or exotic breeds that is ample compensation for the cost entailed. To produce a noble St. Bernard, a stately Irish wolfhound, a majestic Great Dane, or elegant Borzoi that is a model of straight-ness, symmetry, and imposing size is indeed a triumph. To achieve such a result, no expense must be spared in the way of feeding, beginning before birth with the dam and continuing through puppyhood and adult life. Weedy specimens can be consigned early to merciful oblivion, the best of sires can be used, the best of dams purchased, and, if patience and skill are exercised, good results are sure to accrue.
But with many fanciers the question will be, how can a delightful hobby be made at least to pay its expenses. The case then is narrowed down to those breeds which can, with care and' skill, be made to pay, that is, whose puppies will command a ready sale at fair or good prices.
Alas, for the lovers of the stately hounds mentioned above, the domain of the toys will be found to be the most profitable from many points of view. A well-bred and attractive Pomeranian, Yorkshire, or Pekingese puppy usually finds a speedy market. Such puppies require care and correct feeding, but are not too delicate to rear, and are reasonably hardy when grown-up. A nice little specimen of the first-named, though by no means a show dog, will realise anything from £5 upwards; the same applies to the Pekingese and the very small Yorkshires, though these latter have suffered an eclipse lately by the other two breeds.
Japanese spaniels are both beautiful and high-priced, but are most susceptible to our climate. Otherwise they are profitable. The quaint monkey-like Brussels Griffon and the French bulldog are dogs that sell for good prices, but are difficult to rear successfully. The many kinds of toy spaniels, too, are an anxiety; all large-headed varieties give their breeder bad moments when it comes to whelping time. On the whole, at the time of writing (1911), each dog having an adequate amount of food Photo. Terry Hunt
Litter of Irish terrier puppies, showing the correct method of feeding, by which each puppy has its separate dish. This system ensures
Pomeranians and Pekingese are as profitable as any and more so than most, especially for the woman who dwells in or near a town, or who has not a large amount of ground. They should be reared as far as possible as house-pets; thus they acquire more intelligence and affection - a great point in a toy breed. They do not require a large amount of food, though what they have must be sound and good; they are hardy and need no hothouse treatment. The little mothers have fairly large families, and, if not too small themselves, rear them well Altogether, these two breeds are worth practical consideration from a would-be fancier and breeder.
The terriers are many and various, from the largest member of the family, the Airedale terrier, to the smaller Cairn, Scottish, and West Highland white terriers. These, as well as the Skye, Dandie Dinmont, Manchester, fox (smooth or wire-haired), and all the other varieties, Irish, Welsh, and Sealy-ham are, from a commercial point of view, "much of a muchness." As each happens to be in vogue, it will be found profitable, but fashions change in dogs as in other things; over-production sets in,. inferior specimens multiply, and prices fall. So that the would-be breeder must in these varieties also study the market. Terriers have the advantage of being healthy, hardy dogs, easy to rear, of excellent, useful qualities, and not too large for indoor pets, with one or two exceptions.
Pyrenean dogs, Chow Chows, Samoyedes, Afghan greyhounds, elkhounds, Thibet and Lhassa spaniels, and the various foreign breeds each have their respective days and fanciers, but the demand for them is small and fluctuating; they may be ignored for the most part by the practical breeder.
The many kinds of spaniels, land and water, setters, retrievers, pointers, greyhounds and whippets, if trained for their respective duties, command a ready sale, but such training is best left to experts; it is impossible, as a rule, for the woman fancier.'
Leaving aside, therefore, the larger dogs and sporting varieties, we are reduced to such smaller breeds as are not too costly to feed, too delicate to rear easily, and small enough to thrive in the quarters the breeder is able to give them. This will materially limit choice.
The main consideration that should affect a decision, to the thinking of the writer, should be habitat. It is all-important that puppies, even when housed indoors, should have adequate room, air, and a sunny aspect. If only a few toys are kept, a large attic, with ranges of puppy-boxes or kennels, will suffice, provided that plenty of space and sun can be secured, and that in cold weather the temperature can be kept to the proper degree (see article on the "Care of a Puppy," page 815, Part 6, of Every Woman's Encyclopaedia).
Distance from a town is another point to consider; for if the breeder wishes to be an exhibitor also, fares must be taken into consideration. On the other hand, land is cheaper in the country, and so expenses, when outdoor kennels are in question, are lessened. Meat, too, is often cheaper in towns than in villages, and it is meat that must be the staple food of the dogs. The intending breeder, therefore, must decide whether the advantages of town prevail or those of the country. If her choice falls upon a very small breed, then town may prove quite suitable; some of our best toys are reared in urban surroundings. To be continued.
A baby's crawling-rug, made of thick, soft material, on to which are appliqued animals and birds cut out of bright-hued materials. The furnishing of an ideal clay nursery was described on page 27, Vol. I, of " Every Woman's Encyclopaedia."