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Fowl Play

Sexing all fowl, baby chicks, game birds, cage birds
Stromberg
1977

Submitter: This book is still available for purchase via McMurray Hatcheries.  It contains text descriptions and black and white drawings of what to look for when determining a bird’s sex.  It is also peppered with little cartoons.  No doubt to relieve the tension of people who have issues using a book with the word ‘sexing’ on the front.  It does not include directions for caponizing (castrating male poultry) but it does assure one  that it is a simple surgical procedure which isn’t hard to do once you get a Caponizing Set. Which begs the question, is there a Sexing all Fowl Volume 2: removing the genitals that you have identified?  It also includes blank pages at the end for keeping ‘personal notes’.

Holly: You can buy a caponizing set?  Really?  Just anyone can un-sex their bird?  Is that something people did in 1977, or is it still considered a basic part of owning a bird?  Oh my.  Bird ownership is not for me.  I think I’d take Tweety to the vet and let them handle it.

0 Responses to Fowl Play

  • You know, a botched caponing can be a legal liability!

  • I googled Caponizing Set and am now deeply, deeply disturbed.

  • Sexing is actually useful if you are breeding birds. Not to mention that male birds of the same species may attack each other. Something that would be useful if you kept chickens.

  • Possibly a different title, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she had both the book and the caponizing set. http://www.amazon.com/Animal-Vegetable-Miracle-Year-Food/dp/0060852550

  • Does it tell you how to squeeze the poop out like they did on Dirty Jobs when he sexed chicks?

  • I wonder if they have an updated version called, “Sexting all fowl..”

  • @ Diana – me too, and so am I. The worst of the lot was a random article in a North Carolina newspaper from 1939 where the columnist was offering caponisation demonstrations to all comers after readers had reunited him or her with the equipment (‘We mentioned that we had loaned our caponizing set to someone and forgot who borrowed it.’)…

  • I am disturbed by a discussion of weeding books because you don’t understand a subject.
    Many people are going “back to basics” and might find this helpful — if they are already in the business of raising chickens or trying to decide if they want to get involved.
    Please don’t make fun of farmers or farming and then sit down to enjoy your chicken dinner.

  • We’re not making fun of farmers or farming. We’re sharing a little “in” humor. Libraries that have a population that would use such a book would have updated materials. If they didn’t the patron would ask for help and the librarian would respond by finding the information. Librarians love a research challenge.
    There…I can eat my chicken dinner in peace and satisfaction.

  • I actually don’t really see why this is a weeder, either. I mean, bird genitalia hasn’t changed since the book was published, has it? I suppose if the thing is never ever checked out it might not be useful for your particular library community, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still a valid book.

  • I have to agree with Aj on this one. I’m a librarian, but I also raise chickens and ducks and a clear guide on sexing would be very handy regardless of the publish date. After all, their genitals haven’t changed a bit since this was published, though it would be better if it had color photos rather than line drawings.

    I am seeing a big increase in patrons looking for books on homesteading, raising their own meat, eggs and dairy or creating sustainable gardens on small acreage. I’d recommend keeping this book, and may buy one from McMurray myself.

  • Yeah, I’d say this is a prime example of a book that doesn’t really go out of date. If it circulates often, maybe look for something newer (with photos, as Krista suggested), if it hasn’t circulated in whatever your cutoff period is, weed it, but if it’s somewhere in between, it might be a keeper.

    The title is pretty funny, though.

  • I first came across the job title “Professional Chick Sexer” on a list of jobs that sound way sexier than they really are.

  • I guess weeding would be in order depending on which library this was found in.
    Years ago where I lived was close to farmland, however you have to travel for a very long time to get anywhere near were a chicken is being raised now. In the case of my library, the librarian would be well advised to weed.

  • I agree. I generally enjoy the conversation here, but I am disgusted with the reasoning for having this book here. Too many people today are removed from where their food comes from, and do not understand the simple process of farming. This book is not just for libraries in these “rural farm areas”, but also for people to learn and understand.

  • I kind of like this one. It reminds us that back in the day people actually knew how to do things.

  • I’m at a library in North Dakota so we circulate plenty of farming-related resources. Our patrons wouldn’t want this particular guide because it doesn’t include online sources for buying the kits and other equipment.

  • I’d also like to add to the discussion that urban chicken farming is a growing trend. A lot of people are keeping egg flocks these days and may even want to raise them for food in the urban/suburban neighborhoods – Chicken Capon is a delicacy, I understand. I agree that you shouldn’t ditch a book just because you don’t understand the topic. Does McMurray carry a more recent edition?

  • There is no current edition. There are however better resources for this topic mostly on-line and through cooperative extension services. This book got reviewed at my library because of the desire for resources on backyard poultry raising and was found wanting. Don’t assume that people who weed this don’t understand the topic. It is kind of a silly book.

  • Amazon.com shows a 1999 2nd edition?