Canadian Poultry Magazine

Features 100th anniversary Key Developments
Better Table Birds

March 1936

October 12, 2012
By Canadian Poultry


During the first week of this month officers of the Provincial and Dominion Poultry Departments from every province are in conference in Ottawa to discuss the possibilities of the export meat poultry market. For the last two years the heads of the various poultry depts. have been studying foreign markets and seeking to establish connections. They have found, among other things, that there is a certain type of carcass most acceptable to the consumer and now that they are all together, it is to be hoped that something constructive will be accomplished.

Two things have happened in the last ten years or more that now necessitate some alteration in our selection of breeding stock or a change of breed, if poultry meat consumption is to be maintained and increased. The first is that continuous breeding for egg production alone has altered the shape of the skeleton of the bird. In place of a broad breast we have now a deep wedge shaped body, carrying insufficient meat on the most favored portion of the bird. In the last years poultry meat has been so low in price that it has just been regarded as a by-product to egg farming. This would possibly have continued indefinitely had our Poultry Departments failed to survey the Old Country market and had not the U.S. tariff been lowered to permit of shipments to their Eastern cities.

The second factor is the tendency of the housewife to buy smaller birds than was formerly the case. The average household is now smaller than in days gone by and the average meal is now considerably lighter than it used to be. Great Britain has a good demand for a four-pound bird, well fleshed and preferably white skinned. No popular breed in Canada conforms to these requirements and so, either some of our breeds must be altered or a different breed must be used.

Have we a breed that could be produced commercially that would meet the demands of the egg farmer and the packing house?

There certainly is a breed that in a very short time could be brought to a pitch of efficiency to meet all requirements. Reference is to the Old English Game. We can imagine people saying that our head needs examining! Of all the tripe! O.E. Game, purely a fancier’s hobby.

But is it? We know it is the hardiest of all breeds, with hundreds of years of fighting blood behind it. It is of ideal shape, fine boned, broad breasted, active, a great forager, never yet spoiled by unsound breeding for excessive egg production. It is white fleshed and the average birds lay large eggs. Of all breeds it is said that O.E.G. have the least offal, the least bone and the most white flesh per pound.

While not easing up in their endeavors to select stock from our popular breeds that conform to the requirements of the market, wouldn’t it be possible for some good strains of O.E.G. to be handled at the various Experimental Stations throughout the country? Without being “sourcastic” as they say in the funny papers, we would safely take a wager that a pen of these birds would do no worse and in al likelihood much better, than several of the Govt. owned pens of popular breeds now entered in the Laying Contests.

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