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fowls-a-birds-msg – 5/10/11


Period fowls and birds. Period chickens. Referances. Period breeds available now. game hens. Birds as pets.


NOTE: See also the files: falconry-msg, p-falconry-bib, chicken-msg, birds-recipes-msg, livestock-msg, med-fishing-lnks, Featherd-Gold-art.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I  have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given  by the individual authors.


Please  respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The  copyright status  of these messages  is unclear  at this time. If  information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



From: nweders at mail.utexas.edu (ND Wederstrandt)

Date: Thu, 29 May 1997 08:18:25 -0500 (CDT)

Subject: SC - Good Housewifes Jewell


Here is the recipe for the Tart that includes potatoes.


To make a tarte that is a courage to a man or woman.


Take two Quinces, and two or three Burre rootes, and a potaton, and pare

your Potaton, and scrape your rootes and put them into a quart of wine, and

let them boyle till they bee tender, & put in an ounce of Dates, and when

they be boyled tender, Drawe them through a strainer, wine and all, and

then put in the yolkes of eight Egges, and the braynes of three or foure

cocke, Sparrowes, and straine them into the other, and a little Rose water,

and seeth them all with suger, Cinamon and Gynger, and Cloves and mace, and

put in a little sweet butter, and set it upon a chaffing dish of coles

between two platters, and so let it till it be somethingn bigge.


I have not made this for several reasons..... I could get the Zoology

students to get me Cock Sparrow brains but I'm not that big of a

authenticity fanatic and I personally like sparrows.   Also I just started

reading through the cook book and was looking for something else when I found the recipe.  Hope you enjoy it.





From: DianaFiona at aol.com

Date: Fri, 30 May 1997 13:38:28 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: Re: SC - Good Housewifes Jewell



Take two Quinces, and two or three Burre rootes, and a potaton, and pare

your Potaton, and scrape your rootes and put them into a quart of wine, and


   Hummm, anyone have a good ID for the"Burre" roots? Could this be

Burdock, I wonder? I actually have some plants of these in the garden,

although they are going to seed at the moment, so I doubt the roots are very

good. I was pleased to find that they are generally a fairly bland, pleasant

tasting item, with none of the bitterness in their aroma (*Or* in their

leaves! Blegh, those are nasty!). If they were more prolific they would be

very good to use instead of turnips, which many folks dislike, in period

soups, etc. But unfortunately the plants are huge, while the roots often are

relatively skinny, if very long, so the yeild-to-space ratio is too small to

be efficient in a small garden like mine. I'll probably only grow them in

small quanities for medicinal use after this.


Ldy Diana Fiona O'Shera

Vulpine Reach, Meridies



Date: Mon, 05 Jan 1998 10:04:35 -0500

From: margali <margali at 99main.com>

Subject: Re: SC - It's still chicken? :-0


>      What *is* a game hen?


it is a domestication of a small fowl from africa called a guinea fowl,

first domesticated by the portugese and spread around their colonies. in

real life they have soft grey plumage and resemble a giant button quail

with the most godawful screech of a cry that would bend metal. i have

also been debating keeping them to drive certain neighbors nuts at dawn,

the fowl being significantly louder than a rooster. they also eat small

insects, and would keep the tick population down, something the dogs and

sheep would like.





Date: Wed, 7 Jan 1998 00:51:55 EST

From: LrdRas <LrdRas at aol.com>

Subject: SC - chicken types-Period


Here are the chicken types which were grown in period and are still available.


Appenzell Pointed Hood Hen (15th Century c.e.)

Aseel (oldest breed of chicken in existence) Note: Not bred in the US.

Dorking (Ancient Roman)

Dutch Bantam (16th century c.e.)

Polish ( so old their history has been obscured)

Styrian (first mentioned in the 13th century c.e.)





Date: Wed, 7 Jan 1998 00:57:54 EST

From: LrdRas <LrdRas at aol.com>

Subject: SC - chicken types-Breeds listed


Here is a list of chicken breeds alive today both period and non-period.




- ------------------------------------------------------------------------


Alphabetic Breed Listings


A - D 



Appenzell Bearded Hen 

Appenzell Pointed Hood Hen 











C - D 











Dutch Bantam 


E - J




Gallus Inauris 


Golden Montazah 





Jersey Giant 

Jungle Fowl -Green/Gray 


K - P

La Fleche 








Modern Game 

New Hampshire Red 

Old English Game 


Naked Neck (Turken) 

Plymouth Rock 



Q - Z 

Red Cap 

Rhode Island Red 

Silkie Bantam 

Silver Montazah 





Swiss Hen 

White-Faced Black Spanish 






Date: Wed, 7 Jan 1998 01:00:52 EST

From: LrdRas <LrdRas at aol.com>

Subject: SC - Cornish Game Hens-description


Here is a description of Cornish Game Hens. They are slaughtered very young

for the birds we buy as such in the supermarket if these are indeed the same

birds, which, IMHO, they probably are not. I am still looking for further








•White •White Laced Red •Buff


Standard Weights: Cock-10-1 /2 pounds; hen-8 pounds; cockerel-8-1/2 pounds;

pullet-6-1/2 pounds.


Skin Color: Yellow.


Egg Shell Color: Brown.


Use: Developed as the ultimate meat bird, the Cornish has contributed its

genes to build the vast broiler industry of the world, Its muscle development

and arrangement give excellent carcass shape.


Origin: Cornish were developed in the shire (county) of Cornwall, England

where they were known as "Indian Games". They show the obvious influence of

Malay and other oriental blood. They were prized for their large proportion of

white meat and its fine texture.


Characteristics: The Cornish has a broad, well muscled body. Its legs are of

large diameter and widely spaced. The deep set eyes, projecting brows and

strong, slightly curved beak give the Cornish a rather cruel expression.

Cornish males are often pugnacious and the chicks tend to be more

cannibalistic than some breeds. Good Cornish are unique and impressive birds

to view. The feathers are short and held closely to the body, and may show

exposed areas of skin. Cornish need adequate protection during very cold

weather as their feathers offer less insulation than can be found on most

other chickens. Because of their short feathers and wide compact bodies,

Cornish are deceptively heavy. Due to their shape, good Cornish often

experience poor fertility and artificial mating is suggested. Cornish are

movers and need space to exercise and develop their muscles. The old males get

stiff in their legs if they do not receive sufficient exercise. The females

normally go broody but because of their very minimal feathers can cover

relatively fewer eggs. They are very protective mothers but are almost too

active to be good brood hens.





Date: Tue, 6 Jan 1998 22:14:20 -0800

From: Ron and Laurene Wells <tinyzoo at vr-net.com>

Subject: SC - Chicken Catalogs


> Size and breed never seemed to have any influence on the meaness of the

>roosters, and the Bantams were as docile as any and kept specifically for the

>pretty tiny colored eggs, not as "game" or fighting birds.

>Perhaps somebody could track down one of those mail order farm bird catologues

>which would probably tell for sure what type of bird a cornish game hen is?

>- -brid


   My family had chickens when I was in high school.  Perhaps it is time

that has addled my brain, but I have fond memories of them.  The Buff

Orpingtons and the Auracaunas were my favorite.   Since graduating from high

school, I have never lived in a place where I could freely (or legally) keep

chickens in my back yard, but I do keep daydreaming of a time when I might

have my own place on my own land, and might have chickens again.  So I order

Chicken Catalogs, and lust over the birds pictured in them.  :)


If you would like to order catalogs of your own, here are two that have a

good selection and color pictures.  I thought I had another one as well, but

can't find it at the moment.


Murray McMurray Hatchery

Webster City, Iowa  50595-0458



Stromberg's Chicks & Gamebirds unlimited

Box 400

Pine River Minnesota  56474



Both catalogs offer a variety of poultry referred to as "Cornish Game"

birds, the females of which are called "Cornish Game hens".  Males are

cockerels. They are slightly longer legged, large breasted, quick footed,

and are offered in both standard and bantam sizes.  Strombergs offers

several colors of this breed of chicken, but does not have all of them

pictured - I believe Strombergs offers more choices but they pack a lot into

their catalogs.  Murray has pictures of ALL the birds they sell, and is a

very informative catalog.  From reading these catalogs, I would surmise that

the "Cornish Game Hens" we buy in the store are of this odd variety of

chicken. I could of course be totally wrong.  :)


- -Laurene



Date: Wed, 7 Jan 1998 02:17:11 EST

From: LrdRas <LrdRas at aol.com>

Subject: SC - Chicken info site url


<< In an effort to improve my library, without restarting the recent "books"

thread, might I ask >>


Sorry to dissapoint you with no addition to your library...:-(

The chicken info came from the following URL:




More than anything you'd want to know about chickens, plus some you might want

to know like which breeds are best for what type of cooking, etc, Enjoy! :-)





Date: Wed, 7 Jan 1998 11:56:03 -0800

From: Ron and Laurene Wells <tinyzoo at vr-net.com>

Subject: SC - For more information on Chickens and Poultry...


>Sorry to dissapoint you with no addition to your library...:-(

>The chicken info came from the following URL:


>More than anything you'd want to know about chickens, plus some you might want

>to know like which breeds are best for what type of cooking, etc, Enjoy! :-)



   Out of curiosity, today I did a search on the web to see if I could fin

either of the catalogs I have on the web.  Strombergs is not online yet, but

Murray Mcmurray Does have a web site.  One with pictures and looks like all

the information they have in their catalogs as well!  Unforunately, there

does NOT seem to be a photo of a Cornish Game bird, but they do sell just

the hens specifically for butchering at the 2-3 pound weight to produce

those Cornish Game Hens we see in the grocery store.  Have a peek, and see

for yourself!  Very nice web site.




For those who are interested in actually obtaining poultry for your own

backyard, I did find this web site that lists many mail-order resources as well.




And thank you, kind Sir, for the link to the page with all the information

about poultry varieties!  Looks very interesting, and I'm anxious to got

investigate the site further.


- -Laurene



Date: Mon, 9 Mar 1998 16:43:13 -0500

From: "marilyn traber" <mtraber at email.msn.com>

Subject: Re: SC - going a-birding


There is an easier way to get ortolan for dinner, but it takes a bit of time

and effort to start with. In Williamsberg VA, they have a dovecote that is

big enough to be hollow inside with little doors closing the backs of the

nesting boxes. You sneak in at night and open up the back doors and catch

the little beggers that way.





Date: 9 Mar 1998 13:43:52 -0800

From: "Marisa Herzog" <marisa_herzog at macmail.ucsc.edu>

Subject: Re: SC - going a-birding



There is an easier way to get ortolan for dinner, but it takes a bit of time



Or you could do it the way they do in old fairy tales, find a place where they

roost regularly, cover it with pitch when they are not there.  They land, they

stick, you come along in your leasure and pick 'em...

- -brid (wondering if they aren't too small to be bothered with...)



Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 15:21:23 -0500

From: "marilyn traber" <mtraber at email.msn.com>

Subject: Re: SC - going a-birding


ahem. one eats ortolan whole, just gutted and skinned.



[a bit grossed out about the crunchy little skulls and other bones, yech]



Date: Wed, 22 Apr 1998 20:24:27 -0800

From: salbert at ptialaska.net (S.Albert)

Subject: SC - rasher/game birds -- recipe


Thanks for the comments on rashers of bacon and how many cornish game hens

substitute for pigeons/etc. As requested, this is the information I have

about the recipe: it's apparently from The British Museum Cookbook by

Michelle Berriedale-Johnson, published by British Museum Publications,

copyright 1987. My friend found it through a search for recipes, which led

to collections, which led to medieval (or maybe medieval-collections),

which led to what sounds like the web page of one Jennifer Newbury, where

the following was posted (if I'm a little vague, it's because my friend is

pretty new to web-browsing and not sure what she's looking at sometimes). I

have the email address of Ms. Newbury if anyone wants it -- I just don't

want to post it openly. As I stated earlier, the original recipe was not

posted, just the modern version.


- -------------------------------------

Small Bird and Bacon Stew with Walnuts or Hazelnuts

Serves 6


6 fatty rashers of bacon, chopped roughly

3 cloves garlic

4 pigeons or other small game birds (6 if very small)

225 g (8 oz) mushrooms, whatever variety, chopped roughly

75 g (3 oz) roughly chopped roasted hazelnuts or walnuts

300 ml (5 fl oz, 1-1/4 cups) real ale

150 ml (5 fl oz, 3/4 cup) water

2-3 bay leaves

a little salt and freshly ground pepper

6 coarse slices brown bread


Fry the bacon, with the garlic, till it is lightly browned in a

heavy-bottomed casserole. Add birds and brown on all sides. Add the

mushrooms and nuts, continue to cook for a couple of minutes, then add the

ale and water with the bay leaves.


Bring to the boil, cover and simmer very gently for 2-2.5 hours -- the

birds should be falling off the bone. Remove the birds from the juices,

cool juices completely and remove any excess fat. The birds can be served

whole or off the bone. If the latter, carve them while they are cold then

returned to the skimmed juices and reheat gently. Adjust the seasoning to

taste and serve either the whole birds or the slices/pieces on the bread

slices, with plenty of the juices and "bits." A good greeen salad to follow

is the best accompaniment.

- ---------------------------


I thought I'd try this for a local potluck because I needed something quick

and easy to fix Friday night as I'll be in the kitchen Saturday with a

cooking class where we'll be making Brie Tarts (from To the Kings Taste)

and Capon in Orange Sauce (from To the Queens Taste) and I didn't want to

mess with anything complicated.


I'm going to make some barley to serve with it, because it's hard to show

people to use the bread slices properly at a potluck. I'm substituting

cornish hens because that's what I can find locally. I'll use walnuts

because they're cheaper. And I'll be doubling the recipe and deboning the

birds to make it go farther at the meal. It reads like it ought to taste



One other question: how is "real" ale different from ale you buy in a

liquor store. A local microbrewery here makes a dandy pale ale I thought

I'd use.


And in reply to one response to my initial question: obviously the bacon

isn't being used to wrap a dry game bird in order to add juiceyness (how do

you spell that word?), but seems to be there for flavor and browning fat.





Date: Mon, 6 Jul 1998 19:12:58 -0400

From: "Alma Johnson" <chickengoddess at mindspring.com>

Subject: Re: SC - chicken types-Period


>> Here are the chicken types which were grown in period and are still

>> available.


>> Appenzell Pointed Hood Hen (15th Century c.e.)

>> Aseel (oldest breed of chicken in existence) Note: Not bred in the US.

>> Dorking (Ancient Roman)

>> Dutch Bantam (16th century c.e.)

>> Polish ( so old their history has been obscured)

>> Styrian (first mentioned in the 13th century c.e.)


Murray McMurray Hatchery carries the Polish and the Silver Grey Dorkings.

Call for a catalog.

1-800-456-3280. There are maximum limits on their rare breed chickens, even

though there are minimum required purchases.  Weird.  Best to go in with a

friend who wants some standard birds, unless you want 25 at a time.


FYI, take it from me, you will NEVER hear the end of it from your friends if

you keep Dorkings.


Rhiannon (this is why they call me the chicken goddess) Cathaoir-mor

(Madly repairing the coop after the last fox attack)



Date: Tue, 7 Jul 1998 13:52:25 -0400

From: "Marilyn Traber" <margali at 99main.com>

Subject: Re: SC - chicken types-Period


>Since you keep them, do you find them to be very different in taste,

>texture, size or anything from supermarket chickens?  Your own fresh

>chicken is undoubtedly better, and the Dorkings are probably smaller than

>Tyson's, but would you say there's so much difference that we couldn't

>possibly reproduce medieval chicken dishes with what's currently

>available to most of us?



The flavor and texture are very different from store bought birds. The meat

is solid, not flabby. The flavor is more like turkey or game bird as they

are also eating bugs and bits of vegetation rather than just feed mash.

Also, I never fed medicated mash which seemed to also make a taste





Date: Fri, 18 Sep 1998 20:00:06 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - Turkey - NW or OW?


This one is rife with confusion.  The guinea fowl was eaten in ancient Rome,being imported from North Africa and was called Phrygian chicken andBohemian chicken among others.  The guinea fowl disappears from European cuisine  with the fall of Rome until the late 15th Century when first the Italians and then Portuguese start importing them from Africa.  The Portuguese sold them to the French.  The French referred to them as poulesde Guinee, poules de Turquie or poules d'Inde, as there appear to have been conflicting stories about where the birds came from. To make matters worse, the Spanish were introduced to the New World domesticated turkey about 1517 and were importing them to Spain by about 1524. When the Spanish started selling them about Europe, the French started referring to them as poules de Turquie (remember that all strange new things came from Turkey, as with gran turco (maize)). So, if the recipe calls for turkey, it might be either guinea fowl or turkey.  And you can thank the French for the confusion. Because of their relations with Spain and their forays into the New World, an Elizabethan recipe for turkey is very probably for our turkey.





Date: Sat, 19 Sep 1998 21:16:21 -0800

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Re: Turkey


At 10:36 AM -0400 9/19/98, Phil & Susan Troy wrote:

>Also, it's possible that the particular recipe you saw might have been for

>Guinea fowl. From looking at the recipe it could be hard or impossible to



I discussed this question years ago with Marion of Edwinstowe, who had

looked into the matter. As best I recall, she said there was very solid

evidence for the consumption of turkeys in England in the 16th century. I

think it may have included a sculpture or two, which solves the

turkey/Guinea fowl problem. She thought they had gone into use quite



If you want to check with her, I'm pretty sure she is online, but don't

have the address ready to hand. Her phone nbr is 617 BUTTERY.






Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999 11:14:21 -0500

From: "Paul Shore" <shore at dcainc.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Is quail period?


From:LrdRas at aol.com

> Quail/Pheasant/Etc.- Yes and no. Some pheasants were introduced rather

> late from the Orient. I am not familiar with the European species of

> quail, if any.





"The American quail is not related to the European quail, a migratory game

bird belonging to the partridge family (gray partridge and the red-legged

partridge). But when colonists discovered birds that resembled the

European version they called them by the same name."


Curye on Inglysh has multiple mentions of feasants and at least one mention

of Quale.


Paul Shore                       | Email: shore at dcainc.com

Sr. Research Engineer            | Phone: (918) 225-0346 X1021

Doug Carson and Associates, Inc. |   Fax: (918) 225-1113

1515 East Pine, Cushing OK 74023 |   Web: http://www.dcainc.com



Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999 19:58:09 -0400

From: "Daniel Phelps" <phelpsd at gate.net>

Subject: Re: SC - Is quail period?


The Four Seasons of the House of Cerrut, translated by Judith Spencer,

copyright 1983 by Arnoldo Mondadori Editore S.p.A. from a 16th century text

shows the following on the page numbers noted:


Of the birds:

Quail 85/Pheasant22/Pigeons118/Partridges21/Peacocks119Birds, small, and

thrushes118/ducks and geese115/roosters115/turtledoves120



"Quail is eaten in the autumn, but do not overindulge.  It should be young,

plump, and well hung, pointed by hunting dogs or, better still, caught by

birds of prey."  The illustration shows small birds with typical quail like

pear shaped bodies hunted by sniffing hound dogs.



From: David M. Razler <david.razler at worldnet.att.net>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Birdkeeping?

Date: Sun, 26 Sep 1999 13:55:26 -0400


lucy700095 at aol.com (Lucy700095) wrote:

|   Does anyone out there know of a source for information about Birdkeeping or

| birdcages, or know of anyone who may have done an A&S project about these

| subjects?

|    Oh yes, I do mean parrot-type birds, and not softbills or birds of prey.


|                                           Robyn

|                                               &

|                                            Peekaboo

|                                            The CAG


Parrot keeping *seems* to have been a time-honored tradition, with the range

of birds available expanding radically towards the end of period.

While I do not *believe* there were, in period, any native Western European

parrots,(1)  there were several that should have been available as African

exports - though the majority of the parrots kept today (outside of three

species of African greys and lovebirds) are either New World (Amazons, macaws

and conures) or Austrailian (budgies (the common "parakeets"), cockatoos and



I do know that African Greys were represented accurately in the marginalia of

a late-14th/early-15th C. book of hours (the source of one of my AoA)


Probably the earliest birds kept indoors as ornaments and entertainment were

finches, other seed-eating songbirds <softbills> and mynas (members of the

crow family native to India, and the best 'talking' birds)


Aside from the finches and songbirds, I *suspect* that early birdeepers

clipped primary flight feathers, and used T-stands, though I have never seen

any documentation ougside of sole half-recalled Far Eastern art depecting

birds in cages.


Parrots were brought back by sailors both as pets/curios and for trade, more

and more as period ends and post-period.


Note that the concept of keeping a "pet" is a relatively recent one, and

probably post-period in most cases.


Dogs were work animals, and the loyal <hunting> dog, like the loyal horse,

occasionally works itself into period litierature <see Eco for a quick

tertiary source>


Cats were usually tolerated as usually better than the alternative (rodents

causing much food damage) but considered linked to the Christian Devil at

times, many sources (including many debatable sources) state. The link *does*

come up in the recorded charges against the Knights Templar.


Most kept birds (outside of the few kept for sport hunting) were kept as

either food, or outdoor ornaments/food (swans and peafowl fall into this



The very wealthy might have exotic creatures, and we have countless chronic

quadrary sources on the exchange and keeping of same. But these could be

back-formed mythos based on modern custom.



        Af. gry. Prester John says "Here, kitty, kitty, kitty" to everyone


(1) To my knowledge, there is exactly one fieldguide/coffeetable book on

Psittacoids - I don't own it.

David M. Razler

david.razler at worldnet.att.net



Date: Tue, 12 Oct 1999 10:34:24 -0400

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - A Winter food


Victoria Wilson wrote:

> I have a question I wish to put before you.  I was told by someone that

> Pheasant is NOT a winter food, but a summer food.

> I, for one, have always considered it a fall and winter food.

> Especially since Pheasant season is currently going on here in Montana.


Platina, who discusses the seasonal aspects of several types of game,

doesn't mention a season for pheasant. The author of "A proper Newe

Booke of Cokerye" mentions seasons for several game animals too, and

says pheasant are good all year round, but that they are best taken with

a hawk. So far I haven't found any other references to season.





Date: Tue, 12 Oct 1999 12:50:46 -0400

From: "Alderton, Philippa" <phlip at morganco.net>

Subject: Re: SC - A Winter food


Adamantius sez:

Overall, I'm assuming that the game seasons as established by state laws

are based, or were originally based, on some idea of proper landscape

management (is there such a thing as game husbandry?). It's pretty well

established, for example, that the deer season is where it is because of

food availability and the breeding cycle. <


Actually, the pheasant season is where it is because of the pheasant

breeding cycle. Like most animals, they give birth in the spring and use the

summer to raise their offspring. By the fall time, this year's birds are

harvestable, if not particularly large.


I think that this was recognized in the MA as well- if you notice, most of

their big hunts were held in the fall and early winter, along with most of

their other harvesting activities- this seems to be true of most agrarian

societies, although hunter/gatherer types tend to hunt year round.


Philippa Farrour

Caer Frig

Southeastern Ohio



Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 10:10:24 -0400

From: renfrow at skylands.net (Cindy Renfrow)

Subject: Re: SC - A Winter food


>the reason I asked the question is a conflict between two persons....

>the one wants beef and feels that pheasant in Feb. is inappropriate.


>Lady Kinga


Hello! There are 10 period menus given in Harleian MS 279 & 2 in Harl. MS

4016. Of those that give dates, all list pheasant on the menu. The dates



Sept. 16th, 1425;

Dec. 4, 1424;

Feb. 7, 1404 (date provided by Thomas Austin for the wedding banquet of

Henry IV & Joan of Navarre);

Oct., 1399;

Sept. 23, 1387.


This February feast lists other game birds such as Quail & Woodcock, small

birds and 'fieldfare'. It also lists "Signettys", or young swans.


Cindy Renfrow/Sincgiefu

renfrow at skylands.net



Date: Fri, 15 Oct 1999 01:47:33 +0100

From: Thomas Gloning <Thomas.Gloning at germanistik.uni-giessen.de>

Subject: SC - Borde 1542 on feasant and partridge


I made an attempt to scan in page 269 of the 1870 Borde edition. It

worked not too bad and there seems to be not _too_ much labour of proof

reading. If I am not mistaken, there should be not copyright problems.

The ~ 80 pages could be done, say, in two or three days or nights ...


Here is a passage about feasants and partridges ( (AL) is the

alinea-sign ):




(AL) The .xv. Chapitre treateth of wylde

fowle, and tame fowle

[and] byrdes.


OF all wylde foule, the Feasaunt

is most beste, Althoughe that

a partreche of all fowles is

soonest dygested; wherfore it

is a restoratyue meate, and

dothe comforte the brayne

and the stomacke, & doth

augment carnall lust. A wood-cocke is a meate of






(Magninus has also a passage on feasants with some medical advice how

feasants are to be prepared in spring and in winter; see Scully 1985,

191ff.; Thorndike 1934, 187.)



Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 15:08:44 -0500

From: "Hupman, Laurie" <LHupman at kenyon.com>

Subject: SC - Conversations about Eggs (long)


I followed the recent thread about egg size, and the differences between

eggs in period and what's available in the grocery store, and then posed a

question to an apprentice in Indiana who is raising period poultry.  He

provided me with the following information:


> > I really can't give you specific documentation about egg sizes but,

> > I have been researching and raising antique and period breeds of

> > chickens for 7 years now. I raise Sussex (a 14thcen English breed)

> > which lays a white Medium egg, Light Brahmas (known in period a Polo di

> > Poli) from Venice, they lay a Medium to Large Brown egg, Black Jersey

> > Giants(11th cen. Channel Isle) which is a huge bird and lays a Large

> > white egg.

> > The best bet for an Italian egg is the Light Brahma, known from the

> > 12thcen. on, though it later was reintroduced by English Traders with

> > it's modern name. There is also known in Italy, The Roman (now known as

> > the Roman Dorking, (they lay a Medium egg) it was the first breed of

> > domestic fowl introduced to the British Isles by the Romans. Before this

> > the natives had no domestic

> > fowl!?! It would also be a good bet to look for Arcuna and Palermo

> > birds, but good luck. I've still not found a state side breeder!

> >

> > Generally the Large eggs we now would have been their Extra Jumbo!

> > Standard egg size in most antique breeds remains Medium to Small. I'm

> > not saying that we can't use modern eggs, but we do have to bear the

> > differences in mind.

> > Bear also in mind that the whites of the egg might also carry a flavor,

> > less than the yolk of course, from the diet of the hens. In late period

> > we were just re-introducing the planned diets of fowls for fattening,

> > but we were not yet planning for egg production and most hens foraged

> > for their feed or were fed a grain and refuse diet, fairly rich in

> > protein for strong egg production.

> >

> > If you need more info or discuss points let me know, I loave to talk

> > about poultry and my birds!!



Yes, most of that line is holding true to what we can see in the records.

However, we have to note that there were even then exceptions. While we do

not see a recording of our Extra Large and Jumbo eggs, we can see our

standard Large egg as being indeed a LARGE egg. The controversy isn't so

much as the chickens are bigger or larger but that they have been bred to

have ever larger eggs until now in many cases they are out of proportion

with the size of the bird laying them!! BTW, we have shell fragments from

middens and entire eggs from Pompeii, so we do have evidence to bear up

various findings! I think it is fine to use modern eggs and even the extra

large sizes, just bear the extra liquid in mind, and the fact that the

battery eggs DON'T taste the same at all!! Sorry, personal preferance!!



Waitaminnit! You mean that the size difference isn't as, well,

different, as the taste? So what do period eggs taste like? Do the

chickens taste different as well?

Rose :)


Ja Wohl,Madame the secret is the diet of the

birds and the amount of excersice they get!! like everything else what you

put in is what you get out!! Breeding gives you the egg and body size,

feeding gives you tha tasteand texture. Period and Free-range birds ate a

much more diverse and simplified diet. Those birds who are kept in cages are

fatter and fattier and have a much blander taste than those who eat what hey

choose and run around.Period eggs are richer in color and in taste, having a

slightly gamey taste, much more flesh-tasting, sort of hard to describe

though. If Modern birds are allowed a free-range lifestyle they will produce

a much more natural tasting egg, thoughthe size of said egg will still be a

good deal larger than in period.


So it seems to me that we'd be safe in using small to medium sized eggs to

approximate the appropriate level of liquid in each recipe, but in using

grocery store eggs, we're probably not coming too close to the right flavor.

However, if you wish, Brother Johann will sell both eggs and chickens to

interested parties, and is quite happy to talk "chicken."


Rose :)



Date: Thu, 18 Nov 1999 00:05:52 -0000

From: "=?iso-8859-1?Q?Nanna_R=F6gnvaldard=F3ttir?=" <nannar at isholf.is>

Subject: Re: SC - Indian Grain-found in the Medici Archives


Bear wrote

>One of the common names for Numida

>meleagris in the US is Hungarian guinea fowl, an odd name for a bird which

>originates in Africa.


And "Bohemian pheasant" is another one (but maybe that is because the guinea

fowl has been called "the bohemian of the barnyard").


>The guinea fowl (Numida meleagris)  was also known as "turkey".  It may be

>that relating an unknown commodity to the splendor and decadence of the

>Ottoman Empire was a marketing ploy.  Again, it might just be confusion

>about the origin of the product.


"In Europe, this bird became known as turkey because it was imported to

Europe by the Portuguese through Turkey, the contry where many people

wrongly assumed it originated ...

For about fifty years, until the beginning of the seventeenth century, the

word turkey therefore referred to two different birds, the African Guinea

fowl and the American turkey. Eventually, however, someone noticed that the

two birds do not really look alike, and thus turkey ceased to be used for

the African bird, the one that originally held claim to the name." (Mark

Morton, Cupboard Love)


Certainly there was quite a lot of confusion in Europe about the origin of

the turkey - the French name is dinde, from coq d´Inde (cock of India;

"Indian fowl" is also an early English name for the bird), and the German

name is and the German name kalkun is thought to mean "hen from Calcutta".


>For a little more confusion, there are two turkeys in the New World.

>Meleagris gallopavo is the North American turkey beloved by Ben Franklin.

>Agriocharis ocellata is the turkey of Mexico and Central America which was

>the bird imported into Europe in the 16th Century.  According to one of my

>sources, most of our domesticated turkeys are  varieties of A. ocellata.


I recall having read that these American domesticated turkeys probably

descend from turkeys European settlers brought with them to New England in

the 16th and 17th centuries.





Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 21:34:06 -0600

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Indian Grain-found in the Medici Archives


Yet another account of the origin of "turkey" that I heard, I think,

from Marion of Edwinstowe (I don't remember where she said she read

it) was that the merchants who traded from the eastern end of the

Mediterranean to England were called "Turkey merchants" and that they

picked up turkeys in Iberia en route to England and sold them in

England, leading to the association between the bird and Turkey.






Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999 12:56:38 +0100 (MET)

From: Par Leijonhufvud <parlei at algonet.se>

Subject: SC - egg sizes


Got a response from my archaeology professor on the issue.  A quick look revealed no indications of egg sizes, but he did find a note that bones from

chickens from when they first entered Sweden (a couple of centuries BC)

indicated that they were slightly smaller than moderns dwarf (bantam?)




- --

Par Leijonhufvud                                   parlei at algonet.se



Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 22:12:23 GMT

From: "Bonne of Traquair" <oftraquair at hotmail.com>

Subject: RE: SC - egg sizes


>Do we have any evidence of chickens being fed grain, even in winter?


>Brother Johann (the chicken guy in the Midrealm) told me not too long ago

>that he's experimenting with some period diets for his poultry.  I don't

>know what his sources are, but it sounds like there's something out



I have seen recipes for mixtures to feed chickens, but was under the

impression that these were "last meals", or last week of meals meant to

fatten the bird and/or to clean out any off flavor that may get into the

meat from a foraging diet. Or, perhaps in hopes of fattening up that raggedy

old hen into something worth cooking.


Oh, sources.  I've been reading Digby and Markham so I'm guessing that's the

place I read this.  I'm at work without the books, so I can't look to be






Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 00:27:37 EST

From: LrdRas at aol.com

Subject: SC - References-Chicken feed


I have received the following references lending support to my position on

the feeding of chickens in period. Some are less than ideal but at least one

is very specific regarding not only the food being given but the age of the

birds being fed and what they were being fed. Special thanks to Thomas of

this list and Melanie Wilson of the SCA-arts list for 'refreshing' my memory

and providing the specifics. Thanks also to Elysant who proofread the text

for me.


1) Piers plowman writes of a capon cote, where the capons were fattened for the

table (I presume grain. More importantly this passage indicates that chickens

did receive supplemental feeding of some sort under certain circumstances

such as the raising of capons for the table).


2) 'According to Hartley many manuscripts show hens being fed by old ladies,

unfortunately she doesn't say on what'. (again I presume grain as does

Melanie who opined that if other than grain were meant it probably would have

been mentioned))


3) 'There is an illustration in the Lutrell Psalter which appears to be a

women feeding grain to fowl.'


4) 'Gleaning-is an old English tradition, whereby the church bell was rung

after harvest, whereby all villages (non farmers) could go & collect the

grain in the fields missed by the harvesting process. ...... in living memory

this practice saw poor families' poultry through the winter. How old this is I

don't know.'


5) 'One such picture is in the Vienna Tacuin Sanitatis (AKA 'Four seasons of

the House of Cerruti', mentioned a few digests ago) under the heading

"Galli" (cocks), where hens are also treated. The picture shows a woman

with a basket feeding the hens with something I could not identify. The

text is somewhat more explicit: "To prefer: young ones (i.e. hens) that

are being fed with good grain".'


The text here definitely states that not only was grain being fed to the

poultry but that this grain was 'GOOD' grain. Since the translation specifies

young 'hens' (which I assume is a feminine word form in the original

language), this shows us that not only capons were fattened on supplemental

feeding but also that immature poultry were also fed with good grain. It is

not to much of a step to conclude that poultry of every age received at least

some form of supplemental feeding and that the form of the supplement was

most likely grain.





Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 10:37:02 -0500

From: "Hupman, Laurie" <LHupman at kenyon.com>

Subject: SC - Chicken Diets


I received the following from Brother Johann -- who should be joining this

list soon...


Rose :)


Johann replies: Good My Lady, Please forward this to the cooks list and

know that I will try to subscribe there myself one of these days!!

Johann/ Marcus Loidolt


> ********************

> > "Likewise, smaller hens who produce larger eggs take up less

> >  coop space and eat less feed, resulting in more compact and more

> efficient egg production and more profit."

> when the chickens were

> generally left to eat what they would on a free-range basis. Do we have

> any evidence of chickens being fed grain, even in winter?

> > **************************

> > Brother Johann (the chicken guy in the Midrealm) told me not too long

ago that he's experimenting with some period diets for his poultry.


I don't know what his sources are, but it sounds like there's something

out there...


> > Rose :)

> If you can find out from him sometime what he considers period poultry

> diets to be and what evidence he has for this I'd be interested. I still

> think the idea of feeding chickens grain that you could eat is

> unlikely. If you don't want to eat it, you can often make beer from it.

> Barley for instance.


" And the mash, you feed to the birds!!! A number of Digby's reciepts

call for a grain mash.


> One of the reasons that the horse took a while to begin

> to be used in agriculture, even after an appropriate collar was invented

> was that it required a better food supply than the ox. Even

> though it was faster than the ox this was a problem. One of the things

> that sped its use was the introduction of the three-field rotation of

> crops that allowed a winter? crop of oats to be grown. Thus still giving

> you two crops for your own use and a third for the horses.


> Animals were often slaughtered in the fall rather than feed them through

> the winter. I just don't think there was a lot of surplus food

> available to use on chickens.


" True for your expensive four legged mammals, but poultry is VERY

economical to winter over and very quick to replace itself."

"It all comes down to WHEN and WHERE!! A thousand years and a continent

changes in many ways. There is room for both extreme wealth and



> I'm wondering if Brother Johann's period diet might include a lot of

> bugs, that he has to make provision for, but that the period chicken

> keeper would let his chickens gather for themselves. The same would go

> for weeds and weed seeds. Chickens can and do eat a rather diverse

> diet. In some ways they are an excellant method to turn stuff you can't or

> won't eat into something you will eat.


"Very true and the majority of my birds do forage in just that manner. I

only give a special feed to those birds I want to specifically breed or

fatten. During the winter the breeders will continue to get select table

scraps as well as some oppourtunity to forage."


> I have no direct experience raising chickens though to base any of

> my comments on.


Johann replies:

My documentation for chicken feed is gathered from these principle

sources. As I have noted earlier this is usually given to theose special

birds who are good layers, breeding stock, or are reserved for special

occasions. The majority of the flock forages for weeds,seeds, and bugs,

they are also given what table scraps that might be found in period, ie,

no corn, potatoes or such.


1. Kenelm Digby's 'Reciepts of Cookery' the last chapters have several

procedures to fatten and promote egg production. These recipes are heavy

on white bread, beer and milk.


2. Pliny the Younger's 'Honest Indulgence' dictates several ideas about

what one should feed to certain hens to achieve the most desired

results, ie fattening and heavy egg production.


3. The Goodman of Paris also includes directions on how to increase

birds weight and flavor as well as the all important egg production.

'Give your best layers and those birds for our table the best of scraps

and plenty of fat and wheat.


3. Aepicius also gives 2 directions on fattening chickens for the

table. These include forcing with beer and grain and honey.

He says nothing about egg production.


Johann von Metten, poultrier



Date: Tue, 28 Dec 1999 03:21:27 GMT

From: "Bonne of Traquair" <oftraquair at hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: SC - References-Chicken feed


Stefan li Rous said:

>This is the strongest referance. Again, it would appear to apply only to

>those on the way to the dinner table. I think to jump from that to

>"poultry of every age" is a big step though. As you and others have

>pointed out "grain" can cover a number of different plant seeds. It

>would be nice to know which ones. While I was at first thinking "wheat"

>when grain was mentioned, it could be seeds less desired for human

>consumption and more bountiful such as perhaps barley? or oats? I do

>know that wheat does not grow everywhere in Europe well and in some

>areas was more precious than in others.


The evidence I supply, is to be found in Gervase Markham's "The English

Housewife" of 1615.  OOP by the strictest standard. According to the edition

edited by Michael Best, Markham wrote six books on husbandry, including

"Cheape and Good Husbandry" and "The English Husbandman". Markham and Mary

had spent from 1601-1610 as husbandman and housewife.


- - - -


Chapter VIII


6 [for poultry]  Now for all manner of poultry, as cocks, capons, chickens

of great size, turkeys, geese, ducks, swans and such like, there is no food

feedeth them better than oats, and if it be the young breed of any of those

kinds, even from the first hatching or disclosing, till they be able to

shift for themselves, there is no food better whatsoever than oatmeal grits,

(6) or fine oatmeal, either simple of itself, or else mixed with milk, drink

or else new made urine.


(6) Oats husked but not ground or rolled


- - - -


Yes, urine. I first transcribed wine, but upon proofreading, made the






Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 22:55:42 -0500

From: Kay Loidolt <mmkl at indy.net>

Subject: SC - small chickens


Johann, poultrier,

In previous posts there was a question as to the size of period

chickens compared to modern birds. I then stated that while most were

smaller there were larger breeds available. This is still true, though I

now have more details as to which breeds were smaller and where they


It appears as though the dutch and northern breeds were small, but

prolific layers, while the Mediterranean breeds were larger, taller

birds, though their laying does not seem to have been markedly


The Dorkings, the ancient Roman breed brought to Britain by the legions

retained its long body, but developed shorter legs when crossed with

later Saxon fowl.

These later mixed with the fowl of Norse settlers in Jorvik and the

North to produce the famed Scots Dumpy, or Bakkie. This bird has an

almost ridicules gait, having VERY short legs that do not extend

completely, so that it is always crouching!! The body is somewhat larger

than some of the Continental breeds, but not quite as large a the

Dorking. They are very hearty and are known to lay even in the snow!!

There is a really neat website for many breeds of chicken and domestic

fowl at www.thefeathersite.com

Many breeds have thier own club and website too!!





Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2000 22:49:12 -0500

From: Kay Loidolt <mmkl at indy.net>

Subject: SC - scotsdumpy



check out this site!!

neat chickens and whata history!!




Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2000 07:27:16 -0500

From: Kay Loidolt <mmkl at indy.net>

Subject: SC - Re: sca-cooks V1 #2153


> From: Morgana Abbey <morgana.abbey at juno.com>

> Subject: Re: SC - period egg sizes


> The best source for that info would probably be the Rare Farm Breeds

> Conservancy.  I'm sure they have a web page.


> Or does anyone know someone who's in the conservancy?


> Morgana


Johann von Metten, medieval Poultrier, responds


I am a member of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy

(albc~usa.org) for about 5 years now. There is also the New England

Heritage Breeds Conservancy(nehbc.org). While both of these groups

emphasis 17th-19th cen. American breeds, they have been most helpful in

my research regarding older breeds.


Johann von Metten



Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2000 22:38:00 -0500

From: Kay Loidolt <mmkl at indy.net>

Subject: SC - Re: sca-cooks V1 #2159


From: LrdRas at aol.com

> mmkl at indy.net writes:

> << The medieval poultrier would have a wide variety of egg sizes available  and would even have kept different ages of birds separated in

order to  make the gathering of size specific eggs easier.

>   The larger eggs would go to either market or the manor house while the smaller eggs might be used by the poultier him/herself, except for

the Spring eggs which would be large and be set aside for hatching >>


> Documentation, please.


> Ras


Johann replies:

Ahhhh, there we do have a slight problem!! Documentation for where the

various sizes of eggs would go!!

I assumed the larger eggs would be reserved for hatching, because from

a husbandry point of view that would make the most logical sense.

Though, as has been pointed out our ancestors were no more 'common

sensical' in some things than we are today!!


We DO have docs. for the separation of birds according to age and the

separation of egg sizes for market. Die Fowlerenbuch, a 16th cen German

guide to poultry( the only one I've yet had any reference to, from

"Farms of Yesteryear" by L.F. Howars, University of Manchester Press)

says that pullets and hens should be kept in separate coops as 'this

will promote concord in the flock, for the older birds may eat the

smaller birds eggs (!)'



Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 22:48:12 EDT

From: LrdRas at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - questions


CBlackwill at aol.com writes:

<< serving "thousands" of birds

at a banquet, unless there were "thousands" of attendees... >>


Considering that the lack of flocks consisting of thousands of birds is a

relatively modern phenomenon., I don't find it particularly strange that such

a number would be requires for a feast. Woodcocks, one of the larger small

birds, requires at least 6 birds per portion. Thrushes, starlings, wrens and

other small birds would require considerably larger numbers per portion.


Also I am aware of what the point was of mentioning the 3 oz. portions but my

point was that a 'feast' was served to literally hundreds of attendees. See

Chiquart for the large number of food items required for a feast. 10,000 eggs

comes to mind as a requirement so thousands of birds does not seem

unreasonable as a typical 'catch' for a typical royal progress feast.





Subject: [Stellararts] Re: [Fwd: Mediaeval hens]

Date: Wed, 09 Aug 2000 16:04:39 -0000

From: "Marcus Loidolt" <mmkl at indy.net>

To: Stellararts at egroups.com


--- In Stellararts at egroups.com, "Anthony J. Bryant" <ajbryant at i...>


> Forwarded from soc.history.medieval in the hopes that Brother Johannes

> can help this nice lady.


> Effingham

> ========

> What kind of hens were around in C15th?


> Mary the Chandler


  Johann the poultrier replies:

Well, I couldn't find her email addy, so I'm responding to the list,

Effingham, maybe you could forward her this info, as well as my own

email addy,mmkl at indy.net Or send her to medievalanimals at egroups.com


Now, 15th c. WHERE? That is always the all important question! What

was known in Italy was not in Ireland.


In Italy, I'd suggest either Leghorns, called in period Lombards or

Legannos (not the white strain,though). Brahmas, in period called

either PolodiPoli(birds of Polo) or, Venetians, (if she is of the

patrichtian nobility of that city, as the breed was quite rescricted

by sumpuary laws. Paduans, a predessesor of the Polish Crested breeds,

pretty funking looking with eleborate top-knots!!


In Germany, I'd look for Hamburgs,for the northern states and the

Netherlands. In the south and Switzerland I'd go for the either

Spitzhaubens,or the above Lombards from the Italian provinces. In the

Rhineland one could find all the above plus the Belgian/French  

Campines, while in the east and Austrian the famous Styrian hens would

be favored along with the Lombards. It should be noted that there is

evidence pointing out that the Brahma(Venetian) may have found its way

from Persia via the Turks into this area as well, without the Venetian

patrichians knowing about it.


In Spain you'd find the famous Andalusian Blues and the White-faced

as well as the now extinct 'Gallo di Morro'. you can still find the

other two breeds, though they are now quite rare.


In England, you'd have the famous Dorking, in three colors,

Black-Breasted Red, Silver-Gray, and Cuckoo(a B&W barred pattern)

all of these are somewhat rare, with the BBRed being the rarest.

In the North of England, in York one would find the Redcaps and the

Moonies,(a type of Silver Hamburg) while in the south one could find

some of the French hens, (really Italians!) such as the Campines,  

GoldenHamburgs and Lombards(Leghorns)

In 1680 the king of Poland, Kasimir X sent a brace of Polish Crested

fowl to Elizabeth as a present with his marriage proposal, like a fool

she turned down the one and gave the birds to Norfolk, whose family

has kept them as fighting cocks and a caged birds until the present,

making that flock one of the longest most complete bloodlines



In Scotland, the old breeds brought by the Norse, such as the Blummie

and Floer were still popular, and what had in the 11th cen. Become the

native chicken of Scotland, the Dumpy!

The Dumpy, also called Bakkies, Creepies and a whole host of rather

silly sounding Scots dialectial names, are a VERY old breed whose

orginal stock is thought to have come from Scandinavia, though noone

can say for sure. The breed carries a gene for a leg deformity which

prohibits the birds from standing fully upright as well as greatly

shortening their leg bones anyway!!

They are very hardy, surviving Highland winters all outdoors!! and

are rather steady layers. They are quite rare now and I have not been

able to find ANY outside of Scotland!


In Ireland, chickens were quite rare until the 14th cen. eggs and meat

being provided for by ducks and geese rather than chickens!

(Interesting Celtic history there for later exploration)

Though, by the 15th cen. you'd find some of the English breeds there,

such as the Dorking and Moonies and Redcaps.


I know I've probably swamped everyone with too much chicken talk by

now, so if you want to know more go to, Feathersite.com an on-line

encyclopedia of poultry!! Fantanstic, Wonderful site full of info!!

Also check in at the SCA A&S site, the Florilegium, it has a good

list of breed known and quoted in period as well!!


Johann von Metten,poultrier

in service to historic breeds



Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2000 22:59:31 -0400

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Chicken names


Robin Carroll-Mann wrote:

> Is there a specific term for a young male chicken?  The male equivalent

> of "pullet"?


Cockerel in English, I believe, for male chickens less than a year old.

In French (or so sez Larousse) the term "poularde" is sometimes applied

to male or female chickens of less than a certain age and weight (a year

and 1.8 kilos? I forget), but strictly speaking a poularde is female.





Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2000 23:27:51 -0500

From: Kay Loidolt <mmkl at indy.net>

Subject: SC - Re: sca-cooks V1 #2598/Chicken Names


Johann von Metten replies:

Sorry, but the poultrier(chicken breeder) and teacher just has to speak

up here in behalf of proper breeding terms. Pullet=Hen, Cockerel=Cock

the only difference is age. Rooster originally simply means a bird who

roosts rather than lays. Hence male birds of all ages might be

considered roosters.

The question was what the male equalivant of a 'pullet' might be. The

answer is a cockerel, that is a male bird less than a year old!! Older

than that the correct term is cock, unless castrated and then it is a

capon! An older hen who no longer lays is usually called Soup!! though

they might be classified as 'roosters' too!


Johann von Metten, poultrier



Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2000 01:06:44 EDT

From: LrdRas at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - Chicken names


harper at idt.net writes:

<< Is there a specific term for a young male chicken?  The male equivalent

of "pullet"? >>




cock*er*el (noun)

[Middle English cokerelle, from Middle French dialect kokerel, diminutive of

Old French coc]

First appeared 15th Century

: a young male of the domestic fowl (Gallus gallus)





Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2000 18:48:18 -0400

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Polish


Kay Loidolt wrote:

> Johann von Metten writes:

> Here is another medieval chicken for you!! This one comes from SE

> Europe, with older origins even further East!!

> Pliny's 'Honest Indulgence' speaks of preparing a hen of Padua,or a

> Paduan Hen. It appears as though this is it!! Of course, he could be

> talking about a recipe, but then he says that it might be prepared

> several ways....?


> http://www.cyborganic.net/People/feathersite/Poultry/CGP/Polish/BRKPolish.html


In Platina's De Honesta Voluptate, Book V, chapter 10, he says:


"The hen is useful to people for the egg, the pullet, the capon, and the

rooster, whether it is large, like those from Padua, or of a species of

dwarfs." [Millham translation]


He then goes on to speak of various types, and of chickens in general. I

believe that's the only reference to hens from Padua, though.





Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2000 17:03:07 -0500

From: Kay Loidolt <mmkl at indy.net>

Subject: SC - Re: sca-cooks V1 #2616/ Period Eggs


Johann von Metten writes:

First,I remember trying to answer and address much of this question

before, and while I am not the all answer guy in regards to this

question (or anything else aside from my own opinion) I will try again.



When discussing eggs we must take the breed of chicken into

consideration first and then it's age and it's quality of feed!!!


I raise period breeds(5 kinds,including Jungle Fowl(the original genus

and species) of chickens and geese(1 breed so far, Old Embdens)

I feed them period grains and foods in the attempt and aim to produce

period eggs and flesh. I have tried very hard to research and use such

period sources as I can find and reproduce.


I have found that the strains of chickens which have survived to the

present day are limited, but seem to be reletively pure coming from

isolated communities where there was not a lot of 'improvement' in their


The size of the eggs is directly linked to the size of the chicken that

laid it, so a small bird lays a small egg, a medium bird a medium egg

and a large bird a large egg.


Generally speaking from bone evidence from York and other buried cities,

such as Pompeii and others, bantam breeds which lay those small 'pee-wee

eggs, were not extensively developed until the late 1600's in the

lowlands. Looking at Dorking chicken bones from York and Pompeii, we see

a bird which is not at all distinguished from the rare bird known today.

So too the Scots Dumpy and the Persian Brahma as well as the Egyptian

Phayoumis(the smallest of the list) all are known birds from period, all

are sometimes rare, but exrent breeds today. All lay medium to large

eggs today and always have.

Granted, with the modern breeding of such birds as the Modern Leghorn

and RhodeIslandRed and their crosses, we can have much bigger eggs than

'normal' in period. That does not mean that they didn't have them, just

that they were not common.  

In the past I have used the formula that as Jumbos would have been rare

I would make the Large, Jumbo, and the Mediums, Large and so forth.

I believe this is still the most realistic way to scale, but would still

acknowledge that Jumbos are possible from at least 4 breeds in period,

the Langshans and the Jersey Giants, as well as possibly Turkens and the



Again,when discussing eggs we must take the breed of chicken into

consideration first and then it's age and it's quality of feed.

Johann von Metten, medieval poultrier



Marcus Loidolt





Date: Tue, 03 Oct 2000 19:51:03 -0400

From: margali <margali at 99main.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Re: emulsified sauces


> Since I now live in

> Balitmore city (ick) instead of the country, I no longer have the luxury of

> going to find winged supper in the back yard.  Anyone know where I can

> locate such around my parts?  I have seen some of these offered up as frozen

> solid objects, but it seems to destroy the delecate flavor.

> Olwen


Do you have a yard or balcony?

If you do, build a 'williamsburg dovecote' This is a birdhouse with attitude.

Imagine a central core large enough for someone to stand in[they usually were set on 4 legs so that the base of teh house part is at waist height] and the walls on all 4 sides are actually planks hinged along one side to make access doors int oall of the little nests. You raid the boxes at night so the birds are stunned by the light and you just grab the critters and snap their little necks.





Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2000 16:46:37 -0500

From: Kay Loidolt <mmkl at indy.net>

Subject: SC - Re: sca-cooks V1 #2702/Ducks


Johann von Metten writes, medieval poultrier, writes:

Actually, if they have the Mallard coloration, but are really big, like

over 6lbs, chances are they are Rouens, a period breed, derived from the

Mallard, (like all domestic ducks!) but quite heavy! Drakes can weigh in

at 12lbs or better while hens are usually about 10!

They were first seen as early as the 13th cen. from?....Rouen, France!!

There are other old breeds of ducks, all derived from the Mallard, but

of varying colors from the wild coloration to the Red and Fawn and Buff

to the Black and Blues.

White is a very rare color for ducks and was first seen as a Light Buff,

which gradually was bred lighter. The White duck we see now is a rather

late comer, about the last 200 years or so, after Asian stock was

introduced from India and China.

It is interesting to note that duck eggs were preferred by many cultures

for plain eating, they are more flavorful. Chicken eggs are blander,

thus making better ingredients than duck eggs. Also ducks are seasonal

layers, who while there are breeds who do produce well, still lay only

during the spring and summer.


Ducks were probably the first fowl to be domesticated, then geese.

Lastly came the chicken!

Ducks have been domesticated since at least 8,000 years before Christ,

while chickens, only 5,000 years before the common era.

We see ducks being herded and kept in Egypt in the Old Kingdom, along

with geese. Chickens we do not see until the New Kingdom and later.





Date: Wed, 1 Nov 2000 22:36:02 -0500

From: harper at idt.net

Subject: SC - Chicken Feed


Here are the highlights of what Herrera has to say about feeding

hens. I've put an ellipsis (...) wherever I omitted text.


Work on Agriculture

Gabriel Alonso de Herrera, 1513


Chapter XIX


Of the food that hens must have, in order to make them good egg-layers


Whatever food is given to the hens, you must always keep in mind the

advice that you feed them frequently and each time a little rather than the

contrary, because very often if you give it to them in that way they are

eager and eat everything and waste nothing; and often if you give them

a lot to eat and they are very hungry they fill their crops and often

cannot digest it well and die of it, especially the chicks, if you donít run

to them with some remedy; and even though the hens are of such a

nature that they will eat it all, not everything is entirely beneficial for

them, for with one food they will fatten a great deal, with another they

will lay many eggs, and with others they will cease to lay; and if they are

used to eating grape husks or grapes, little by little they will stop laying

and will lay smaller eggs until they come to the point of laying none and

cease completely; and because of this you should take counsel that

those who indulge a great deal in wine engender fewer children and

those are more diminished and smaller than [the children] of those who

drink wine temperately, or only water, and I treat of this at greater length

in the second book on the properties of wine; and because the grape

husks take away the egg-laying, they help to fatten the birds, because all

that force and substance that they had been putting into the eggs is

converted into fat, but for fattening the grape husks must be just a few

within the wheat or other foods, that is, the grains; and because for the

most part hens stop laying in the winter and especially in the coldest and

most severe weather, take counsel that they should be in a dry, hot

place, and being there they will benefit by what they eat, and the winter

foods should be hot.   Everyone says that if you give them boiled barley

to eat which is a little bit hot, they will give many eggs, and larger ones,

but this food and sustenance should be in the morning, and little of it,

and it creates a lot of bile in the hens and makes them ill, but if it is given

to them in this manner, it will not do them any harm, and with it they will

lay many eggs, and even if it is very cold they will not stop laying, or at

least more than in the other manner; cook a little barley in very clean

water, first having well cleaned it of all dust and dirt, and pour out that

water in which they were cooked and have another pan or cauldron with

good clean water and cast in a little lavender to cook with it; make bran,

and within the barley heated in this way, and give it to them in the

morning because it warms them, and the lavender or ìalhucemaî (which

are the same, although they are different names) have this property, that

they make the hens lay a lot, but to warm them you have to give it to

them in the winter, and when it is cold in the daytime, give them wheat, or

millet, panic-grass.  In the summer, it is good for them to have uncooked

barley, between grass and leaves, if they donít have somewhere to graze,

but in that way the hens stop laying in the great heat of summer as in the

cold of winter, although not as much, and because of that it is good to

give them green flowers (?? rosas verdes) in the daytime, and where

there are a lot of melons, splitting them and setting them out, they will eat

very well and those are very good, but not cucumbers, which are very

cold and dangerous, and if the hens have space and a field where they

can graze, feed them twice a day, once in the morning, again two hours

before they go to sleep, and if they donít have space or grass to graze,

let it be three times: in the morning, at midday, and in the afternoon, and

where there are many of them, and a large field, so that they go far,

gather them near with a little bell, and in the winter cast some feed among

the excrement so that they scratch at it and wallow in searching for it,

and in the summer, amongst dust, for these things will make them bright

and healthy and clean of lice...


I could say much more about the feeding of hens, but I will briefly say

this before I proceed to speak of how to fatten them: they should not eat

eggshells, because they will go on to eating eggs.

In Rome, in the winter they give them dry bran to eat in some baskets,

and on top they put some large stones so that they donít scratch at

them, and this is good sustenance for the winter.



Chapter XXIII


On fattening hens


...but to fatten the birds, three things are first required: a place that is hot, narrow, and dark; because space, coolness, and brightness are contrary

things to fattening, and it is not necessary to speak of the causes,

because it suffices for our work to know the consequences in order to

fatten them; there are many ways.


One is to give them balls of dough of barley flour, and some flax seed

mixed with it.  Another is to give them cooked rye, as I said above, from

the husks that they make so that the hens donít lay; rye has the same,

and because of this it fattens them, and because in the winter they donít

lay eggs, therefore they fatten more; but not all hens are good for

fattening; Pliny says that for fattening, the ones with thick flesh on the

neck are best, and he also says that if you feed them with sops in milk ñ

and this can be done when there are abundant flocks or for great lords ñ

that this makes them very tender and very tasty.


Columela says to fatten them a lot and very quickly, is done in this way:

let the place be hot and dark, as I have said, and take as many wicker

baskets as you have birds you want to fatten, and in each place a hen or

capon, and let it have two holes, one for the head and another so that it

can cast out excrement...


Give them balls of flour or rye to eat, and the first days give them little by

little, and don't give them one to eat until they have digested the other...

give them a little to drink or soak the balls in a little water when you give

them... if you give them sops in wine they will fatten well and become

very tender, especially if you give them balls kneaded with it, and if

being so confined they donít want to eat well, loosen them a little and

change their food, giving them some wheat until they are appeased and

return to eating the first food...


The Moors, in Granada, fatten them with dough of panic-grass, so than

in fifteen days they become so fat that they almost have no lean [flesh],

in this manner: they have some large cages where they have thirty or

forty birds in each one, and of each five or six, one is empty, and they

take out each bird by itself and stuff them with balls of millet flour until

they fill up the crop, and a little water afterwards, and one by one they do

this and pass them into the empty cage...


Lady Brighid ni Chiarain

Settmour Swamp, East (NJ)



Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2000 14:37:31 -0600

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - I am not sure where else to try so...


> When were Flamingo's introduced to Europe?  


> I have seen evidence that they were found in Rome...


> but I was told that they aren't period as they were originally located

> in South America.  Now I know that the explorers discovered

> the Americas in period but do we not acknowedge that?


> Nicholas of Falcon Cree.


The lesser flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor) has a range from Africa to India

and north into the Mediterranean.  These would be the flamingos that were

eaten by the Romans.


Phoenicopterus ruber, P. chiliensis, P. andinus and P. jamesi are all New

World species.





Subject: [Stellararts] Fwd: Documentation!

Date: Tue, 05 Dec 2000 19:34:31 -0000

From: mjloidolt at yahoo.com

To: medievalanimals at egroups.com, stellararts at egroups.com


--- In RarePoultryBreeders at egroups.com, mjloidolt at y... wrote:

Well, guys, it appears as though I have hit the jackpot!!

I found a copy of Pliny the Elders 'Historia Naturalis' and there I

found detailed descriptions for many different chickens, including

Brahmas, Cochins, and Silkies, (if Pliny knew of them they had to

exist at least as far West as Asia Minor! He even puts them in Rome

under Vespasian!)

He describes a type of chicken called a Lombard, which sure sounds

like a Leghorn to me! "These birds are slight of carriage, though of

a fierce fighting nature, their hens lay well, though are poor

mothers"! In various colours and patterns, each having its own value

and use! He even says that they come in patterns, like an Excheuquer?!

They were sacred to Mars while the Dorking was sacred to Jove,and

were most worthy of sacrifice to these gods, though not for others!?

The birds of Germania he calls 'wild, unkept, and of a good fighting

nature, their hens will fiercely keep their chicks and are much

prized for it!


I have requested Columella Marcus' work 'De re rustica' and Varro's

of the same name!

I hope to find out more and more of these ancient breeds!

I am trying to find Ulisse Aldrovandi's Naturalis Historia, as well,

and while I find him quoted, it would be nice to find the work itself!


Marcus Loidolt

on the track of the Medieval and Ancient Chicken

--- End forwarded message ---



Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2003 21:07:31 -0700 (PDT)

From: Marcus Loidolt <mjloidolt at yahoo.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] GM foods

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


[about a claim that chickens would not eat genetically modified food - Stefan]


Now, as to stock telling the difference... maybe its

just my girls, but those hens will eat ANYTHING that

isn't nailed down, and yes, if we can peck it apart it

wasn't nailed down....!!:)

Kitchen refuse of all kinds, (save curiously anything

citrus!? won't touch that!!) is all eaten by the yard

birds, plus their own hunting, yes, HUNTING!! brings

in bugs, worm, snakes, mice, neighbors bees(straight

out of the hive!!(now has an enclosed fence around and

on top of said hives!) and the occaisonal road kill or

whatever they find if I don't stop them in time!!

Where people like PETA got the idea that chickens were

naturally vegetarian is beyond me, obviously none of

them have been natural chickens!!


Abot Johann von Metten, OL

medieval poultrier



Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 17:18:51 -0700 (PDT)

From: "Lora Weems.Leofwynn atte Gos" <muchosnombresfarm at yahoo.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Re: Peacocks

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


On or about the 15th, there was a thread about serving and eating

Peacocks at a feast.  I have raised peacocks for several years, and my

husband has raised them for even longer. I want to put out to the list

the following information, from a husbandry standpoint:


1. Peachicks are subject to fall over dead, for no apparant reason, at

any time prior to 3 years old; (at which point it takes an atom bomb,

shotgun, or hatchet to kill them; I had one of my 8 year old cocks get

hit by a semi- it did $900 damage to the truck, broke the bird's wing).

  We refuse to sell them before 3 years, as we have a guarantee that the

birds will live at least a month after purchase, and we have had to buy

back too many peachicks and poults;


(I think that they are equal in this respect to sheep and turkeys)


2. The birds don't become sexually mature till 3 years old, and the

cocks don't get really pretty for a couple more years;


3.  The part that most people think of a the peacock's 'tail' isn't; it

is called the 'train' and grows from the back, about 3/4 of the wail

from the shoulders to the rump.


4. They moult after breeding season.  It is very unusual to see a

peacock in full train from about mid-July to December or so (at least

here in Texas, the dates may be different in other areas)


5.  The hatching eggs sold on WWW.EGGBID.COM  this year for roughly $10

per egg; the babies (less than a year old) run $15 -$20; and poults (a

year to adult) $20 and up.  (and remember about the infant mortality).  

This is for India Blues, the kind that is most common and what most

folks think of when they think of a peacock.  They come in a multitude

of species (For example the Java Green, starting at $200 per pair if

you are lucky) and colors.  (a neat place to look for a lot of these is

www.feathersite.com) .  So if it is, for example, white, expect to pay

$75 for a cock and more for a hen, at least from me.


What this boils down to, is if you want a really fancy presentation,

you will be paying out a lot of money for an old bird. And as we all

know, old probably = tough and stringy. That is, if you can get

someone to skin it as if you were going to have it stuffed by a

taxidermist. (Tough to do.  Have you ever tried to skin out a bird's

head?  Peacocks have a really pretty crest.)


I think that what would be easiest is to talk to a taxidermist or

someone else who may have a stuffed peacock, show it around, then take

it to the kitchen and serve something out something that will taste

better; chicken, turkey, or guinea (which is period, and available, tho

pricy at gourmet groceries).  Who will know?


I bet that's what was done in period...


Leofwynn (no longer lurking)



Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2003 05:51:58 -0700 (PDT)

From: "Lora Weems.Leofwynn atte Gos" <muchosnombresfarm at yahoo.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Swan

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


Now, to give more info re: swans:


(relayed from my husband the bird keeper at the zoo:)


Most swan cygnets (babies) are gray until adult.  That is why, if you  

ever see an instruction as to how to tell the age of a swan and to get  

a tasty bird, you are instructed to get a bird that is not white. (We  

are talking about Mutes, Trumpeters, and Black-necks; Black swans are a  

different story).


Well, accidental selection happened. Every once in a while you will  

have a baby swan who is white from birth. They are not hunted and  

otherwise taken from the gene pool. After lo these many years, you  

have a new species of bird (the Polish) that is not gray at all.


Swan is quite good, if eaten in the first year.


Another bird that I don't know if it is period or not, but is very  

tasty and in season soon, is Sandhill Crane.  Looks like beef; tasts  

like finest venison, and you cook it the same way.


Anyone who is within driving distance of Muleshoe Texas, you need to  

take a look at the flocks; hundreds of thousands of birds.  I can only  

imagine what all those birds do to farmers' fields...





Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2003 09:30:16 -0700 (PDT)

From: "Lora Weems.Leofwynn atte Gos" <muchosnombresfarm at yahoo.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Re: Polish swans

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


Per Brad Hazelton, the bird curator at the FT Worth Zoo, Polish are

simply a color phaze of the mutes.  The way to tell the difference is,

Polish have either completely orange feet and legs, or at least orange

on them.


The regular mute swans (the real name for them, by the way, is Royal

Mute, because Elizabeth I decreed that the only swans that would be

permitted on the Thames were the ones that were dark as cygnets; maybe

so she could have swan whenever she wanted?)(FOOD REFERENCE!) have

solid black legs and feet.


Brad doesn't know offhand when they began to be considered different

birds, but it is at least pre-Elizabethan.


Brad says that many aviculturists who are stupid enough (oops! outside

voice) who raise Mute Swans probably have both Royals and Polish, you

just have to get close enough to see their feet.


Since Polish are just a different color from Mutes, they are probably

just as aggressive.


Check Eggbid or Birdauction to see if someone is selling eggs or birds;

or check to see if your local rescue group has any that need a home.


I agree with you.  Swans are about as agressive as Cape Barron Geese or






Saith Master Johann:


  Where would I find any? and how mean are they in regards to the Mutes I used to have? I HATE swans, alive that is, Mutes, I mean!! People

who talk about geese being mean, haven't a clue until

you run across some old cob on a private lake!! Esp.

with a nesting pen!! BTW, Cob and Pen are old terms

for male/female swans.


Abot Johann



Date: Thu, 15 Jul 2004 13:12:59 -0400

From: "Sharon Gordon" <gordonse at one.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Is it an Egg or a Goose

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


In Iasmin's wonderful description of the siege cookery dishes, I noticed

that they broke the goose eggs to check for embryo development.


If you want to know if an egg is still an egg without breaking the shell,

you can hold it up to a light, called candling it.  Here's a website that

shows some of the different things you might see.






Date: Sat, 17 Jul 2004 11:51:12 -0700 (PDT)

From: Marcus Loidolt <mjloidolt at yahoo.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Candling Eggs

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


Pliny the Elder and Columella both speak of candling

eggs to determine whether there was life inside.

As to the middle ages, I haven't gotten much in docs

for the later periods.

I use a candle on my setting eggs on the thirteenth

day and the eighteenth days on chicken eggs. I include

the twenty-fifth day for geese.





Date: Wed, 3 Nov 2004 05:56:11 -0800 (PST)

From: Marcus Loidolt <mjloidolt at yahoo.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Fwd: Sca-cooks Digest, Vol 18,   Issue 5/Turkey

      versus Swan

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


Okay, now as a poultry Laurel you might figure I'd

take a different angle on this!


As fierce a fighter as the NA Turkey might be, they'd

be no contest for a Swan, particularly a big cob (male)

in breeding season!  Those monsters are BIG and


with a wing span of 9 feet and a neck 5 feet long

there isn't much a swan couldn't do to a turkey, or

any other opponent for that matter!


Many years ago there was an article in National

Geographic Magazine about the Royal Swanherd of

England, all the Swans on the Thames are property of

the Crown and must be tagged and counted each year.

This has been going on since the reign of Bloody Bess

and her equally bloody father, Hank.


According to the article and to the current RSH, there

have been 15 men to have been killed by the swans

defending their young and mates! The cob can beat the

opponent with the force of a sledgehammer breaking

bones and causing concusions! Attacking the boat and

dragging the swanherd over board to drown him is the

primary mode of attack. I have seen a fight between a

White Emben Gander and a Turkey and it wasn't pretty!


Yes, the Gander won by plucking feathers and penning

said Tom under the gas barbeque!!


Abot Johann von Metten OL

medieval poultry



Date: Thu, 4 Nov 2004 04:00:14 -0800 (PST)

From: Marcus Loidolt <mjloidolt at yahoo.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Sca-cooks Digest, Vol 18, Issue 8

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org, medievalanimals at yahoogroups.com


Yeah, Swans are very big indeed, the Black Swan which

you describe is from Australia and is one of the more

docile social members of that genus! The Mute Swan,

which we all know from the fairy tales, is not so

nice, they are very territorial and can be quite

vicious! They were introduced to this country in the

late 1800s after the first settlers had killed off the

native species such as the Whooper and Trumpeter Swan,

just now making a comeback in the Midwest and North.


Mute Swan tastes much like goose, though a bit on the

gamey side. Eat as many as you can, exotic invasives

that they are, they depopulate a body of water of any

other waterfowl! They will kill ducks and ducklings in

short order, which is one reason you find them on

artificial ponds in apartments. Course some of that is

being eliminated once you have a Swan/human

interaction gone amiss!!


Abot Johann

Medieval Poultry,



Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 21:16:05 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Guinea Fowl

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Guinea fowl show up as "turkey" before the second quarter of the 16th

Century when they were replaced by the New World turkey.  According to some

sources, they were reintroduced into Europe during the Portuguese

exploration of Africa.  The Romans referred to the Guinea fowl as the

Numidian Hen.


They were introduced into the U.S. as Hungarian Guinea fowl.  You

occasionally find them running wild in the prairie states.




> I'm wondering whether Guinea Fowl has been documented in period. According to

> the Larousse Gastronomique, the bird is from Africa and was known to the

> Romans. I've also seen the term in Weaver's 'Food and Drink in Medieval Poland'

> but I mistrust this source. It may have been an error in translation, and

> since

> I can't remember where in his text I saw this I can't verify his source

> (if any, and if available).

> Petru



Date: Tue, 17 May 2005 22:36:48 +0000

From: "Olwen the Odd" <olwentheodd at hotmail.com>

Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] Guinea Fowl

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


Petru, there are lots of paintings done in period that clearly show Guinea

Fowl hanging from kitchen rafters and market stalls.  It is a large bird,

almost turkey size with charcoal/black feathers with tiny white spots all

over them.  They roost in trees and make an ungodly sound that will shut up

any junkyard dog.  Oddly, they have a distant affection for their owners, or

care-takers, if you will.  I had a brood of them once.  Very interesting.

Oh.  Did I also mention yummy?


Cariad a heddwch (love and peace)


THLady Olwen the Odd

Apprentice to Master Chirhart Blackstar

House Blackstar

Bright Hills Cooks Guild



Date: Tue, 17 May 2005 18:39:46 -0700 (PDT)

From: Pat <mordonna22 at yahoo.com>

Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] Guinea Fowl

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


A Guinea Cock's alarm call is on a par with a peacock's, only louder.


Olwen the Odd <olwentheodd at hotmail.com> wrote:

  They roost in trees and make an ungodly sound that will shut up

any junkyard dog. Cariad a heddwch (love and peace)


Pat Griffin

Lady Anne du Bosc

known as Mordonna the Cook

Shire of Thorngill, Meridies

Mundanely, Millbrook, AL



Date: Wed, 01 Jun 2005 07:19:59 -0400

From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius"

      <adamantius.magister at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Chickens in Hochee-

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


On Jun 1, 2005, at 12:57 AM, Stefan li Rous wrote:


> Adamantius replied to 'Lainie with:

>> On May 31, 2005, at 4:28 PM, Laura C. Minnick wrote:


>>> If I'd left the chicken in the broth that long, it would fall apart

>>> (as it was, I had a hard time getting it out of the pot), which

>>> would rather defeat the purpose of stuffing it, I'd think. So I'm

>>> back to wondering how the garlic and the chicken are done through

>>> at the same time.


>> I assume that either the garlic cloves are smaller in period, or the

>> chickens tougher, or both. While I'm not suggesting this recipe was

>> done with a boiling fowl, you might get better results with either a

>> free-range or even a Kosher roasting chicken, either of which might

>> need longer cooking.

> I wondered about whether this meant the period chickens were

> tougher than the modern ones, too. However, wouldn't there also be

> a number of other recipes in which this problem of the chickens

> being tougher appears?

> If most of the chickens were tough, then I would think that boiled

> chicken recipes might outnumber the baked or roasted recipes. But

> then humoral theory might impact this as well.


It might, indeed. In addition, I'm not sure that recipes for boiled

chicken (or capon, or hen, or whatever, and each probably needs

somewhat different treatment, but lumping them together

notwithstanding) do _not_ outnumber those for roasted or baked birds

(which last seem to be in the form of pie recipes, and probably

increase later in period).


But my point was that we're not necessarily talking about really

tough boiling fowl or baking hens, or stewing chickens. Rather, I

just meant that the default medieval chicken was probably not the two-

month-old, battery-raised, chock-full-o'-hormones special we tend to

get in supermarkets, and it might take a little longer to cook

because it's a little tougher, less watery, more flavorful, maybe

darker meat, etc. Just as a rough guess, the typical modern chicken

wisdom says you bring it to a boil and it's done in about 25 minutes

using one of those little 3.5 lb all-purpose fryer/broiler chickens.

I don't know the preferred slaughter age for a medieval chicken, but

in general most of our commercial meat animals seem to grow more

speedily and reach slaughter age faster than they did in period. A

chicken that takes 4-6 months (random guess here) of scratching in a

yard is almost certainly going to be tougher than one whose life

cycle is accomplished in eight weeks with minimal exercise.


> I think cutting up the garlic smaller is what I would try. I might

> have tried sauteing the garlic in oil or butter before using it,

> except the recipe doesn't mention that. Nor does it call for

> pickled garlic which would seem also to soften it. Hmmm. Is there

> any period mention of pickling garlic or otherwise preserving it?

> Or was it just hung up in a dry place? Which from personal

> experience does not give an unlimited storage time. :-)


Maybe. My inclination is that the garlic and the grapes might be

supposed to be roughly the same size, and a little longer cooking,

such as might have been necessary anyway in period, might get that

garlic softer.





Date: Wed, 01 Jun 2005 11:53:55 -0400

From: rbbtslyr <rbbtslyr at comporium.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Chickens in Hochee-

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Actually find a 2 or 3 year old rooster and you will have close to a  

period bird.  Spare Roosters and cockerls are what were generally  

cooked until a hen quit laying for good.  A hen can earn her keep up to  

3 or 4 years before she lays fewer eggs than what is needed to cover  

her feed. The eggs tend to be fewer but larger. The same with domestic  

ducks. Often a cockerl or rooster is slaughtered for older dished fixed  

traditionally at 6 months to 2 years. Connective tissue equals flavor  

in sauced most of the older dishes would of used these birds.  A  

Rooster would go to the pot when a better one was born, cockerls as  

they will fight for hens and are only needed at 10 or 15 hens to 1  

rooster for maxium fertil egg production, and about 25 to 1 still gives  

a reasonable rate.  Depending on where your dish is from you would want  

a Heavy Breed, or a Light Breed bird for you dish The Med had Light  

Breeds (mostly white egg layers) Northern Europe Dark eggs and there  

are a couple of breeds that go almost back to period but I wouldn't worry about finding a rare bird to cook but a general or double duty breed of one of those  

types would be a good choice.


I have RIR and Orps for eggs and meat, older cockerls at about 5 to 6  

months [for] my wonderful pies, stews and dumplings.





Date: Wed, 1 Jun 2005 14:01:38 -0400

From: Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne Heise <jenne at fiedlerfamily.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Chickens in Hochee-

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> Actually find a 2 or 3 year old rooster and you will have close to a

> period bird.  Spare Roosters and cockerls are what were generally

> cooked until a hen quit laying for good.  A hen can earn her keep up to

> 3 or 4 years before she lays fewer eggs than what is needed to cover

> her feed.


Well, it's interesting. Many recipes (such as "Hen in Broth") specify

the gender of the chicken to be cooked, even when you aren't counting

capons (neutered cockerells).


-- Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, Knowledge Pika jenne at fiedlerfamily.net



Date: Wed, 01 Jun 2005 20:36:50 -0400

From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius"

      <adamantius.magister at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Chickens in Hochee-

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


On Jun 1, 2005, at 3:14 PM, Huette von Ahrens wrote:

>> So while the standard having-reproduced

>> country bird might be more leathery than its table-bred town

>> counterpart, the premium young birds for upper-class tables might

>> easily have been somewhat tougher than our grain-fed chooks. Which is

>> why I thought maybe Kosher or free-range birds might be worth looking

>> at as being perhaps closer to the chickens the original recipe

>> intends.


>> Adamantius

> But what about capons?  There are a few recipes that call for

> capons, which are castrated

> male chickens.  Capons apparently are much more tender and fat than

> their fertile brothers.

> And what about pullets, which also are called for in recipes, which

> are young chickens,

> usually females, which are less than one year old?  I am told that

> they are very tender.

> And everyone knows that writers always crave that very special

> recipe, called the Pullet

> Surprise. :-)


True, both capons and pullets can be very tender. But this is sort of

the opposite version of an "all-other-things-being-equal" situation,

in my view. Or maybe not the opposite, but that exactly. What you're

describing are tender birds, but in period, still probably what we'd

regard as free-range and not pumped full of hormones to make a two-

month-old bird have as much meat as an adult. Doing it the old-

fashioned way, it takes more feed and several months of exercise to

produce a bird as big as a capon, but there's still probably more

connective tissue in the meat as a result. The good news is that a

capon has marbled fat, somewhat like a good steak, and doesn't easily

dry out when cooked for a longish time.





Date: Sat, 4 Jun 2005 08:32:11 -0700 (PDT)

From: Marcus Loidolt <mjloidolt at yahoo.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Re: Sca-cooks Digest, Vol 25,    Issue 8/ Chicken


To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


Greetings all, From Meister Abt Johann von Metten,

Chicken Laurel.


I have been very busy this Spring so I haven’t been

following this fascinating thread as I should have,

but thanks to Lady Joanna, I've read up and let her

know some of my opinions regarding the type/age/gender

of most medieval chickens per my research over the

past dozen years.


The term 'Rooster' in period was not reserved for that

of the adult male chicken, indeed it was not so used

until the late 19th century.

Rather the term 'Rooster' or 'Reuster' a bird which

roosts, ie is an adult non breeding member of the

flock, either an EXCESS cock or a hen which is no

longer laying.


The proper term for an adult male chicken, still used

in the poultry industry and in show rings around the

world and country is 'cock', 'rooster' is used when

specifing a non breeding bird.


On a second article, Capons which have been known

since Roman times have often been either greatly

rescricted or so frowned upon as to be illegal to try

to make or raise.  In Carolingian times the mere idea

of emasculating any beast was so repulsive that it was

punishable by imprisonment, and fines.  In Roman times

the slaves used to castrate bull calves and colts were

forbidden to enter the temple of any male god. Even in

early Anglo/Saxon and Norman England this idea was

regarded as strange and bizarre. Only in the various

Roman/Italian and Merovingian early French courts was

the idea of Capon and Gelding, neutering, kept alive.

Even then the fashion came and went in differing time

periods, but always regarded as a sign of decadence

and luxury.


Unlike mammals which have the sex organs on the

outside, chickens have theirs on the inside and so an

operation is needed to remove the testes by way of a

cut between the fifth and sixth rib.


Today there is a greater knowledge of infection and

surgery but then Caponizing was a very expensive

operation because for every 10 birds undergoing said

operation, there was a 10 percent survival rate!


There is now as chemical castration process which is

sometimes done but even then the process is expensive.





Date: Sun, 28 Aug 2005 01:48:41 -0700 (PDT)

From: Huette von Ahrens <ahrenshav at yahoo.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] A bird bird bird- bird is the word!

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


--- "Laura C. Minnick" <lcm at jeffnet.org> wrote:

> Are grouse native to Europe? Might you find one in, say Poitou, in say

> 1154? What birds might be hunted there?

> 'Lainie


Many grouse species are native to Europe, but not Poitou.  The closest areas that have some species of grouse are Aquitaine, which has a sub-species of Wood Grouse (Tetrao Urogallus Aquitanicus) which can also be found in the Pyrenees and the Cevennes.  The Tetrao Urogallus Major is found in the French Alps.  The Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta or mutus) can be found in the Pyrenees and in the Alps. The Hazel Grouse (Bonasa bonasia) can be found in Provence and the French Alps.


The other countries that have species of Grouse are England and Scotland, Germany, Belgium, all the Scandinavian countries, most of the Central and Eastern European   countries, and Russia.


As for other game birds, off the top of my head: partridge, pheasant, goose, duck. Quail was considered unwholesome until recently.  Apparently quail eat poisonous plants, like Hellebore.





Date: Sun, 28 Aug 2005 11:15:56 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] A bird bird bird- bird is the word!

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> Are grouse native to Europe? Might you find one in, say Poitou, in say

> 1154? What birds might be hunted there?

> 'Lainie


European Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix) is spread all across Europe into the

Caspian region with the exception of Spain.  Red grouse (Lagopus lagopus),

ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) and capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) are found in

England and other parts of Europe.


I have identified (with some possibility of error) some wild birds that

could probably have been purchased at market in late 16th Century Rome,

courtesy of Carravagio's "Still Life with Birds".  They are:


barn owl (Tylo alba)

short-eared owl (Asio flammeus)

pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)

mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

curlew (Numenius acquata)

kestrel (Falco tinnuculus)

song thrush (Turdus philomelos)

black bird (Turdus merula)

figpeckers (Sylvia hortensis)

great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopus major)

skylark (Alruda arvensis)

lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

European robin (Erithacus rubecula)

blue tit (Parus caeruleus)

bullfinch (Pyrrula pyrrula)


While there is no evidence one way or the other, some of these birds were

definitely eaten in period and I suspect that all of them used as models

were purchased from the market where they were being sold as fresh meat.





Date: Sun, 28 Aug 2005 11:24:15 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] A bird bird bird- bird is the word!

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


According to Platina, "The food most pleasing to quail is the seed of

poisonous plants.  For this reason, in certain periods, foreign tables

banished it, but not our cuisine, for in autumn qualea (for this is the way

common people designate it) is in demand.  When it returns in the spring, it

is considered tasteless and of bad nutriment.  I have eaten those caught on

the shore at Anzio with my friend Julius, and nothing is more  



So apparently it was eaten, dependent upon time and place, but that  

Other birds were considered preferable.




> As for other game birds, off the top of my head: partridge, pheasant,

> goose, duck.  Quail was

> considered unwholesome until recently.  Apparently quail eat poisonous

> plants, like Hellebore.

> Huette



Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2006 07:55:08 -0500

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Turkeys ARE Period!

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


During the medieval period a number of great birds were eaten.

I don't personally think that one ought to list Bustard or Crane or Swan

on a menu and then serve turkey or chicken. One ought to list what

the actual meat, fish or fowl will be. Don't list pike or porpoise,

when it was always going to be farmed salmon. Wild boar is not the same

as modern pork. If need be, say you are roasting

a Great Bird and under ingredients list that you are serving a turkey.

We demand that cooks list their ingredients so that those with allergies

or dietary concerns may determine

what is in a meal. Likewise, we ought to be willing to admit the bird is

chicken or turkey

and not the exotic unobtainable swan or bustard. Likewise, don't

promise duck or quail and again serve chicken.


Sources for those wanting to read more on the topic:


Witteveen, Joop. ?On Swans, Cranes, and Herons,? 1986-87. Parts 1-3 in

*/PPC/*, 24, 25, 26.

Witteveen, Joop.?The Great Birds, Part 4: Peacocks in History,? 1989,

*/PPC/* 32.

Witteveen, Joop. ?The Great Birds, Part 5: The Preparation of the

Peacock for the Table,? 1990, */PPC/* 36.

Eiche, Sabine. /Presenting the Turkey. The Fabulous Story of a

Flamboyant and Flavourful Bird./ Florence, Italy: Centro Di, 2004.

Distributed in the USA by the Antique Collectors' Club Ltd. ISBN No:


Smith, Andrew F. /The Turkey/. Chicago and Urbana: The University of

Illinois Press, 2006. ISBN: 0252031636.





Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2007 10:15:27 -0400

From: "Saint Phlip" <phlip at 99main.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Sugar Waffles and fertilized chicken eggs

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


On 3/24/07, Stefan li Rous <StefanliRous at austin.rr.com> wrote:


> I'm also not sure how to take this description of straining out the

> chicken embryos. Basically yuck, I think. And wasteful. Does using

> fertilized chicken eggs affect the consistency or the taste of the

> white/yolk that remains?

> I was also, at first, wondering why they were using fertilized

> chicken eggs at all. Today you avoid that by simply not having

> roosters around. Perhaps this is evidence that the hens were not

> penned but were allowed to run around free, with the roosters, and

> finding what they could to eat.

> Stefan

> --------




Until modern times, chickens were essentially free range. Roosters and

elderly hens were generally eaten as chicken- the eggs were used as

eggs. However, since often eggs got laid wherever the hen was when she

had the urge, it wasn't always possible to determine how old they

were, and whether or not they'd been set on.


My eggs are fertile too, but it's very unlikely you'll ever have to

strain the embryos out of them, simply because the eggs get collected

every day, unless I'm letting them be set (and I mark any eggs for

that purpose). And, while I let my girls free range, weather

permitting, they have nesting boxes where they lay most of their eggs.

Got 9 yesterday ;-)


If you look at an egg, the yolk is essentially food for the developing

chicks, and the white is essentially shock absorption. The reason that

babies can be shipped all over the US right after birth, is that as

long as you keep them reasonably warm (and requiring certain numbers

of chicks/ducklings/goslings/poults to be shipped at one time helps

this) they don't need to eat for a couple of days, because they're

still reabsorbing the yolks into their bodies- in essence, feeding



One thing the hens will do is lay the eggs in a safe place, and leave

them alone until they have a full clutch. Then they come back and set

them, and all of them start developing at once, so they all hatch

about the same time. My hens will continue to set until about 48 hours

after the first egg hatches- after that, they give it up as a bad job.


This has implications today, for my chickens. One thing you do is try

to save the largest eggs because they're likely to be the most healthy

(understanding breed differences- last summer I let the girls set the

banty eggs). If you save those eggs, and keep them above freezing, and

below setting temp, you can pick and choose which eggs you want to

save. Johann told me that you can actually keep them in the fridge for

a few days. Had a dozen I was going to put out- 6 to the Tag Team

banties, 3 to Princess Layer, and 3 to the black hen, but then worked

out a deal with a neighbor, where we'll swap eggs, to increase both

our flocks, and give each of us a wider gene pool.


But, all my girls lay fertile eggs, and no, I don't strain embryos  

out of them.


Saint Phlip



Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2008 09:53:06 -0400

From: Jennifer Dobyns <jendobyns at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] something to ponder (old chicken breeds)

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org


This has been interesting, hopefully I can add something useful to  

the conversation as my first post, a link for the American Rare  

Breeds Conservancy.  They have a section on poultry that could be  





And as for period chicken size, my understanding is that they should  

be quite small.  Even by the 18th Century, chickens were still much  

smaller than they are today (my 18C foodie friends refer to the big  

ones at the supermarket as "franken chickens").  Somewhat bigger than  

a cornish game hen, but  much smaller that what Mr. Purdue produces.


Perhaps it's time to start investigating period paintings for evidence?


Genevieve D'Aubigne



Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2008 10:50:05 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Something to Ponder-OT, OP

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


There were also chickens that were used to pay rents. In Scotland these

were known as kain hens. Those tended to be rather small, having been ill

fed because the rent was paid in numbers of hens, not in the quality of



Kane means a rent paid in kind.




Saint Phlip wrote:

<<< Size of poultry in period is really hard to determine. The Jungle Fowl

tend to be only a couple of pounds. But in period, I suspect they

caponized the roosterlings, and didn't kill the hens until they were

too old to lay. In modern times, most of our commercial chicken comes

from young birds who have been bred to get big, fast. >>>



Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2008 06:47:05 -0500

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] seagulls

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Stefan li Rous asked

> Were seagulls eaten in period? I assume they were, but I imagine they

> taste like fish considering their environment. But apparently weren't

> considered fish under the medieval fish day restrictions.

> But then I've not eaten Pelican, either.


C, Anne Wilson in Food & Drink in Britain mentions that they ate various

gulls in pre-historic England. They also ate the eggs of course. This practice of eating gulls continued until roughly the 18th century. By that time tastes had changed and gulls, cranes, and herons were found to be too fishy.


Places long associated with eating gulls and other seabirds were those

communities on the coast and those that lived in the islands off

Scotland of course. St. Kilda gets mentioned.

Mason & Brown in Traditional Foods of Britain note that black-headed gulls' eggs

are still gathered. It requires a special license and the season runs for 4 weeks in late March.





Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2008 09:56:19 -0800

From: Dragon <dragon at crimson-dragon.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] seagulls

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Stefan li Rous did speak thusly:

> Were seagulls eaten in period? I assume they were, but I imagine they

> taste like fish considering their environment. But apparently weren't

> considered fish under the medieval fish day restrictions.

---------------- End original message. ---------------------


I honestly do not know but as I understand it, they taste nasty. A

former boss and career mentor of mine was in Holland during World War

2 and he and his family had to resort to eating things that were not

commonly eaten, one of those things was seagull. He said that no sane

person who wasn't starving would even consider it.





Date: Sat, 4 Apr 2009 00:20:57 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Storing eggs through Lent,   WAS Re:  Hi again


To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Mistress Jadwiga commented:


<<< The big trouble with eggs in Lent is that the hens have already stopped

laying, and the number of eggs they were laying in the winter was very

diminished anyway, so you've probably used up most or all of your stored

eggs. >>>


I thought that hens mostly stopped laying eggs back in late fall or  early

winter. And would have started laying again during Lent. So  when did the

hens start laying again?


And I am specifically thinking about within period, not today. With  the

years of genetic manipulation and constant, provided grain  supplies

instead of scrounging for bugs and such, I doubt there is  much

resemblance in the rate of today's egg laying to medieval times.  However,

I seem to remember that even today, egg laying does drop off  during the

winter. The amount and size of eggs today also does still  vary depending

upon the age of the hen.





Here's a start, Stefan.


"There seem to be naturally two periods of the year in which fowls

lay,--early in the spring, and in the summer; and this fact would seem to

indicate that, if left to themselves, like wild birds, they would bring

forth two broods in a year.  The laying of hens continues, with few

interruptions, till the end of summer, when the natural process of moulting

causes them to sease.  This process, which is annual, commences about

August, and continues through the three following months.  It is the

constitutional effect which attends the beginning, continuance, and

consequences of this period, which prevents them from laying.  This period

is a very critical one, in the case of all feathered animals.  Until it is

very close, when the entire coat of new feathers replaces the old ones, the

wasting of the nutritive juices, which are yielded by the blood for the

express purpose of promoting growth, is a great drain on the system.  It is

easily understood, therefore, why the constitutional forces, which would

otherwise assist in forming the egg, are rendered inoperative.  The approach

of cold weather, also, at the close of the moulting period, contributes to

produce the same effects.  As the season of moulting is every year later, it

follows that the older a hen is, the later in the spring she will begin to

lay. As pullets, on the contrary, do not moult in the first year, they

commence laying sooner than the older hens; and it is possible, by judicious

and careful management, so to arrange, in a collection of poultry tolerably

numerous, as to have eggs throughout the year."   John C. Bennett, The

Poultry Book, 1851.


"While few hens are capable of hatching more than 15 eggs, and are incapable

usually of sitting more than twice a year, frequent instances have occurred

of hens laying three hundred eggs annually, while two hundred is the average

number. Some hens are accustomed to lay at longer intervals than others.

The habit of one variety is to lay once in three days only; others lay every

other day, and some produce an egg daily.  A hen exhibited at the American

Institute, in 1843, was reported to lay two eggs per diem, and Aristotle

mentions a breed which laid as often as three times a day."  John C.

Bennett, The Poultry Book, 1851.





To: Gleann Abhann (mail list) <gleannabhann at yahoogroups.com>

Subject: Chickens

Posted by: "Melissa Erlund" melissaerlund at yahoo.com melissaerlund

Date: Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:28 am ((PST))


I have some Buff Orpingtons and just love their personalities!  Some are extremely tame.  I can walk right up to them and pet them and pick them up (they are all free range).  They are good layers also.

I have Production Reds and Barred Rocks as well.  The Reds are the best layers and also pretty tame.  I think lots of handling as chicks makes a big difference.


I have heritage breed turkeys as well.  Two Bourbon Reds and a Blue Slate.  We are hoping they will breed this spring. : )


Melisant of Exmoor



To: Gleann Abhann (mail list) <gleannabhann at yahoogroups.com>

Subject: [Gleann Abhann] Poultry

Posted by: "sharikolar" sharikolar at yahoo.com sharikolar

Date: Thu Feb 25, 2010 2:15 pm ((PST))


I have raised Buff Orpintons for over 2 years, they have exceptionally sweet personalities. This is the first time I have kept on extra roosters. They do not fight one another as other breeds do. My Orpingtons lay all winter long and even produce double yolk eggs. THe hens are broody (sit on and hatch eggs) so I can adjust the size of the flock readily. Another benefit seems to be that hawks don't see them as easily as light colored breeds, so I don't loose them to this peril. Ana Krejcova



Date: Wed, 2 Mar 2011 19:34:39 -0600

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Game for Your Feast


You're looking at the present range, not what their range was pre-1600.  The

great bustard's European range extended from England across Southern Europe

and into Central and Northern Europe.  They are extinct in England, Sweden,

Switzerland and Poland.  There is still a breeding population in Russia and

Hungary. It was more common than you assume.


Almost all other large birds were taken by hunting, while turkeys, like

geese, chickens and guinea fowl could be farm raised.  Besides tasting

better than other large birds, turkeys cost less.  For Catherine de Medici's

feast of 1549, turkey hens cost 20 sols, turkey cocks cost 30 sols, bustards

cost 70 sols, and swans cost 100 sols.  The sol or sou is 1/20 of a livre.




<<< I wasn't sure if they

were extinct or not, but this article says they aren't extinct, but

endangered, like so many other creatures. It also shows another reason for

the turkey to have quickly replaced them. The bustard's area covers only a

small area of Europe, mostly the Iberian peninsula, so even assuming a

larger area in medieval times, it probably wasn't that common. So

domesticated turkeys would have easily become more common.


It also sounds like a domesticated turkey would be much easier to raise

than swans or geese or other large birds.


Stefan >>>



From: "aviceofyork" <aviceofyork at yahoo.com>

Date: March 1, 2010 10:55:19 AM CST

To: Stefan li Rous <stefanlirous at austin.rr.com>

Subject: Re: [Gleann Abhann] Poultry


My Lord,

I was one of the folk who advised milady to search a couple other sources on poultry.  I love your Florigium and it is a wonderful source for all things SCA.


Could you please add this link: http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/poultry/index.htm

for poultry breeds?  It provides a great deal of breed development information.


You can also look up other livestock breeds and their origins at this link:



THL Avice of York, CSL


--- In gleannabhann at yahoogroups.com, Stefan li Rous <stefanlirous at ...> wrote:

Liz said:

<<< In the research I've been doing, a lot of information has changed

in the past 10 years.  Stefan's list is a great source for finding

information and sources... I located an online source for Pliny's

descriptions of all kinds of fowl from people listing sources.

However, when taking a general statement from someone on an elist,

it's wise to double check the info.  Just as I've discovered when

someone very knowledgeable with poultry stated on a list back in 2001

that Buff Orpingtons were period, we know this is not the case.  >>>


Yes, I'll be one of the first to detail some of the problems with

depending upon the Florilegium as your prime resource. Come to either

of my classes on the Florilegium at this coming Gulf Wars on Wednesday

or Friday. :-)





From: Gleann Abhann (mail list) <gleannabhann at yahoogroups.com>

Subject: Re: PC chickens?

Posted by: "Barbara Easley" barbara.easley at fedex.com kane1lissa

Date: Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:52 am ((PST))


Medieval history lesson: geese mate for life, and can live 20 years. That's why getting a goose at your wedding was such an awesome gift. They provided eggs, meat, and security on practically nothing but bugs and grass. When they bite, they grab a hunk, then twist those long necks like a screwdriver... and they beat you like a dog with wings that are stronger than your arms are. It puts a hole in you that you won't forget!


I kept mine with the guinea hens. NOTHING could even tip-toe by without the alarm. Guineas are funny; they cry "pied-rike! pied-rike!" as they walk, but they scream "DIE! DIE! DIE!" when they are alarmed. <G> Not exactly what you want to hear when you are trying to sneak in somewhere!



missing the geese, the guineas and the chickens



To: gleannabhann at yahoogroups.com

From: ladyanne at cox.net

Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2011 09:32:55 -0500

Subject: RE: [Gleann Abhann] Re: PC chickens? (and gooses)


I have worked with goose eggs in the past and they are 2 to 3 times as thick shelled as chicken eggs.





To: gleannabhann at yahoogroups.com

Subject: Re: PC chickens? (and gooses)

Posted by: "Katherin Aulds" kbaulds at msn.com aulds_k

Date: Sat Feb 19, 2011 4:41 pm ((PST))


Yes you can raise geese in this area.  In one of my other lives I bought gooslings and when they began to lay I collected the eggs. Important to know... collect the eggs at night and as you prepare to reach under the goose gently place your thumb and first finger,( forms a V) directly under the chin.  No need to hold any pressure.


The best advice as to saftey is to get a breed known as "African" geese. These are grey and very friendly and will come when called especially if you have stale bread or other treats.  OK with children.  Oh yes they will bite but nothing like the white geese.


With geese eggs do remember to mist the eggs in your incubator and turn the eggs twice a day if you do not have an automatic turner. Write the day with a PENCIL that they were place in the incubator so you can continue adding eggs and know when they will hatch.  If they do not hatch after they have piped  call me and I will give a lesson on "midwifing" the eggs. It can be done and I have done it many times for myself as well as others.  Good humidity is very important.


Katharine le Spinnere



To: gleannabhann at yahoogroups.com

Subject: Re: PC chickens? (and gooses)

Posted by: "Barbara Easley" barbara.easley at fedex.com kane1lissa

Date: Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:29 am ((PST))


Goose eggs are a little thicker but not excessively. The reason people don't raise them for egg production is that they lay seasonally... in the spring, while chickens lay pretty much year 'round (breed-dependant).


It's coming spring, the wild geese are starting to scout out potential nest sites, so now would be a good time to start looking for goose eggs. We go to either country flea markets, the local co-op farm store, or just order from a hatchery like Cardinal. I'd get baby geese instead of eggs, and I'd find a female goose. Best baby-sitter you can get!!


Just remember that baby geese can't float unless their mama oils them. Newly hatched goslings will drown. If you have no mama goose, you can let them splash in little puddles, but until those feathers come out, no deep water.




----- Original Message -----

From: Stefan li Rous <stefanlirous at austin.rr.com>

Ilissa said:

<<< We ate a few goose eggs, but for the most part, we hatched them. >>>


Are the goose eggs thicker than chicken eggs?  I know they are

larger, but I don't think I've seen any in person. I've never seen

them available in the store. Is the only way to get goose eggs to

raise them yourself or know someone raising them? Is this

protectiveness of the geese the reason they aren't raised

commercially? Or is it just that they take more food, and costs, per

egg than for chickens?


<the end>

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