This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Probably every farmer who has had the chance of observing, as well as others" whose attention has been called to the matter, will acknowledge the superiority of Southdown mutton over a common mongrel carcass, and also the preference in favor of a good shorthorn bullock for the shambles over a Western steer with the blood of a hundred or less mongrel stocks in his veins. Certainly your butcher, if he understands his business, will tell you at once which is accounted the most valuable; and if said butcher's patrons order Southdown mutton, and examine their passbooks, they can see for themselves, and feel also, financially, the difference in value. And yet these same persons - farmers, citizens, or others - are very slow to acknowledge that there is any difference between one fowl and another.
A chicken is a chicken, whether it weighs 2½ lbs. at maturity or 10 lbs.; whether it is tender or tough. And an egg is an egg; large or small, delicate in flavor, or tough and rank.
"You can't tell me anything about fowls; why, I raised them before you were thought of"Tha's so; and before steam was thought of as a motive power - before the lightning was tamed - before steel fingers worked our button-holes and made our pantaloons, etc. And you raise the same old kind yet, don't you? - because your greatgrandfather's grandmother did. And you get from 25 to 40 eggs a year from each hen, don't you - because your great-grandfather's grandmother did. And you let them roost under the hovel and sheds, and dirty up your carts, wagons, plows, etc., allowing dollars' worth of the most valuable manure you have on your farm to go to waste - because your great-grandfather did.
Well! how much money do you make by doing just what your above-mentioned venerable ancestor used to do?
That is a practical view of the question. How much money do you lose by keeping and feeding fowls that lay 50 eggs per year, instead of 150? - by breeding fowls that weigh 3 lbs. to 5 lbs. each, instead of those that weigh 6 lbs. to 8 lbs.? Just think this over until next month, and then we will "talk to you some more".