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[Illustration: HOUDAN CHICKS WITH BARRED PLYMOUTH ROCK MOTHER. (Photograph by C. E. Petersen)]

OUR DOMESTIC BIRDS

ELEMENTARY LESSONS IN AVICULTURE

BY JOHN H. ROBINSON

GINN AND COMPANY BOSTON · NEW YORK · CHICAGO · LONDON

COPYRIGHT, 1913, BY JOHN H. ROBINSON

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

413.9

=The Athenæum Press= GINN AND COMPANY · PROPRIETORS · BOSTON · U.S.A.

PREFACE

Ten years ago aviculture had hardly been thought of as a school subject. To day it is taught in thousands of schools, and in some states instruction in poultry culture is required by law. This rapid change in sentiment and situation has resulted from a combination of causes. When agricultural colleges established poultry departments, it was found that a large part of those applying for admission to them had neither the practical knowledge of poultry nor the general education that they needed to do work of college grade. About this time also the interest in nature study began to take a more practical turn, and attention was directed to the superiority of domesticated to wild animals and plants as material for school studies of the phenomena of physical life. Added to these special causes was a general cause more potent than either: great numbers of people had reached the stage of experience in various lines of aviculture where they realized keenly that a little sound instruction in the subject in youth would have been of great value to them later in life, saving them from costly mistakes. To these people it seemed both natural and necessary that the schools should teach poultry and pigeon culture.

Developing as the result of such a combination of causes, the demand for an elementary textbook on poultry came with equal force from country schools, where poultry might be kept on the school grounds as well as by every pupil at home, from city schools, in which all instruction must be by book, and from all types of schools and conditions of life between. Had there been only the extreme classes of schools to consider, the natural way to supply the demand would be with a special book for each distinct type of school. The idea of one book for all schools, from which each might use what seemed to suit its requirements, was dismissed as impractical while so large a proportion of teachers were but slightly acquainted with the subject. It is believed that the plan of making an elementary reading course for general use, and a secondary book of a more technical character for use where practice courses are given, is the best solution of the problem under existing conditions.

In this first book the object is to tell in plain language the things that every one ought to know about poultry, pigeons, and cage birds; to teach fundamental facts in such a way that they will be fixed in the mind; to excite interest in the subject where none existed; and to direct enthusiasm along right lines. While the demand has been almost wholly for a poultry book, pigeons and cage birds are included, because they are of more interest than some kinds of poultry and better adapted than any other kind to the conditions of city life.

In regard to the time that should be given to this course, one period a week for forty weeks is better than a period a day for forty days, because the average person, young or old, retains a great deal more of what is read or heard about a diversified subject if the ground is covered by easy stages with comparatively long intervals between. References for collateral readings and suggestions for original investigations are omitted, because, in the author's opinion, what work of this kind it is desirable for a high school pupil to do should be done by those taking practice work in the advanced course.

JOHN H. ROBINSON

READING, MASSACHUSETTS

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I. BIRDS AND THEIR RELATIONS TO MAN 1

Definition of a bird; Place of birds in the animal kingdom; Flight of birds; Voices of birds; Social relations of birds Place of birds in domestication Uses of birds in domestication Place of wild birds in civilization Classes of domestic birds

II... Continue reading book >>




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