This section is from the book "The American Woman's Cook Book", by Ruth Berolzheimer. Also available from Amazon: The Domestic Arts Edition of the American Woman's Cook Book.
They should be plump in appearance, have smooth, soft legs and feet and smooth, moist skin.
The lower or rear end of the breast-bone should be flexible, the skin should be easily broken when twisted between the thumb and finger, and the joint of the wing should yield readily when turned backward.
The eyes should be bright, the comb red, and there should be an abundance of pin feathers.
Birds with a yellow skin are likely to be plump, those with white skins are likely to be tender.
Bruised, dry or purplish skin is an indication of careless dressing and of age. Hard, dry, scaly legs, hard breast-bone and the presence of long hairs are all signs of an old and tough bird.
Avoid birds with a full crop. Buy dry-picked poultry whenever possible. Scalding the bird before plucking it impairs the flavor.
Poultry and game unless they are in cold storage, should not be kept long uncooked. They should be drawn as soon as purchased, and should be kept in a cool place.
Unless hen turkeys are young, small and plump, cock turkeys are more satisfactory.
Geese should have an abundance of pin-feathers, soft feet and pliable bills.