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horse, in the same track, and kicks up the same dust: but he enlarges not the circle of his own knowlege, and has neither the wish nor the ability to make any additions to that of others. On the contrary, he who is experienced, intelligent, and liberally minded, sees the possibility of and strives to realise improvements; and if he be successful, he throws his acquired knowlege into the common stock. By the vast importance of the agricultural science, we are induced to wish that the number of the latter class may increase. "Knowlege, here, is power," and a well-conveyed hint to sensible men will not be lost. Well-written books facilitate the acquisition of experience. We proceed with more confidence in an experiment, when we find something to justify us in the practice of others; and that which to us is but a single instance of success becomes a kind of demonstration, when we read the report of a similar result from a similar experiment made by another.
Mr. Parkinson, if we can judge from the history which he gives of himself in the introduction to this work, seems qualified to offer his opinion on rural affairs; and yet his title,
The Experienced Farmer,' indicates more presumption than commonly accompanies the modesty of real science. We allow the value of most of his remarks: but in general they are too concise; and his work is rather the rapid glance at a system, than a detailed exposition. It treats indeed of a great variety of matters, being divided into 81 sections; besides the appendix, containing ro numbers: but the articles do not appear to be so regularly arranged, nor so fully discussed, as we should expect in a work bearing such a title. There is moreover no index, nor.table of contents, to assist on occaStons of reference*; so that the agriculturist who has purchased
The Experienced Farmer,' and wishes to consult it on any branch of his profession, must turn over perhaps both of the volumes before he finds what he seeks. This is not executing work like a man of experience, who knows the value of time. Whoever reads section 15, entitled Culture of Potatoes fully explained, by a new system, on all sorts of soils,' will find a superficial account of the culture of this useful vegetable. One single process is mentioned as suiting all soils: but no intimation is given that some soils are much better adapted to its growth than others, and that the quality of the produce depends much on the nature of the soil.
The same unsatisfactory and (in an experienced farmer) censurable brevity is practised in various other instances. We
Nor is there any glossary of agricultural provincialisms, nor any plates, though in one place he refers to a plate.
perceive proofs of judgment associated with experience, but we cannot recommend an implicit adoption of the author's rules. He tells us that a man in a very small farm, consisting of from eight to twenty acres (very small indeed!) should work his milch-cows, or such as he may be rearing for that purpose. By tilling his small quantity of land to advantage, he might keep eight or ten cows, and get fifteen acres of corn every year, which at 101. per acre would make 1501. besides the profit of the cows.' Here, however, we should think that he cannot speak from the oracular chair of experience *; and a person who was to make the experiment, in consequence of this statement, would most probably be led into a fool's paradise. Eight or ten cows kept on five acres of laud, and fifteen acres producing one year with another a crop worth 1501.! This is very notable farming! Could it be done, little farmers would have no reason for complaint: but we would put a quare in the margin.
We must also doubt the propriety of brining wheat, though Mr. P. recommends it t; and that the heaviest and finest crops of oats grow on gravel or sand, though he asserts it. We do not perceive, moreover, how the mode which he recommends, in stacking corn, prevents the havoc of rats and mice; nor why there should be a double process in saving turnip seed.
Stock seems to be Mr. Parkinson's forte.
His description of the features of the good milch cow at vol. i. p. 155. is worth consulting; as is also his account of such horses as are most proper for husbandry, with instructions for breeding them, breaking them in, &c. We shall transcribe his section on pigeons:
Dovecots ought to be built so spacious that the pigeons may with ease and comfort to themselves fly about within them, and that, if any thing alarm them from without, they may readily escape. If a dovecot be high, and narrow within, pigeons will dislike going to the bottom: I have known when young pigeons have tumbled out of the nest, that the old ones have suffered them to starve rather than go to the bottom to feed them. I had a summer-house in my garden, which I converted into a dovecot. For sake of ornament, I raised my new building a considerable height: but the inside was narrow like a well. The young pigeons frequently fell on the floor, some of which were found dead with empty craws, others picked up alive, but half starved. No pigeons ever laid their eggs in the bottom holes; nor would even the young roost in them. We had a great number in the winter, because we fed them well; but many
*He tells us in the last section that he would undertake to do something like this.
Thorough washing has been proved to be sufficient.
flew away in summer. I put in a floor about half way down, and they prospered much better.
A man, who besides exercising other trades went about the country to kill rats, and had been employed in that capacity by an uncle of mine, was engaged by a neighbouring gentleman to repair some nests in his dovecot-the largest and best I ever saw. Having a strong inclination to build a cot and raise a stock of pigeons, and hearing of this famous dovecot, I went with the rat-catcher to view it. The nests were all made of small wickers, like basket-work. Though this was quite a new method to me, I could very easily conceive it was the best I had seen: the pigeon in a wild state makes her nest so; and he will not err much who observes and takes nature for his guide. However, as this method was expensive, I varied from the plan, and made mine of clay and laths. I did not inclose it in front, because I then thought (what I am now convinced is true) that pigeons like to be more at liberty than the common form of dovecots allows. The one I examined was in the middle of a town, and in the centre of the most populous street. I was amazed the number of people almost continually near the place did not disturb the pigeons so much as to make them forsake their habitation, especially as a blacksmith's shop was situated close to it: but my guide, the rat-catcher, told me that pigeons delighted in noise and company, and that, if they left the cot, he knew how to fetch them back again. I thought he dealt a little too much in the wonderful. He advised me not to stock the dovecot until the latter end of the year with the harvest flight; as pigeons bred at that time are the stoutest for the winter. I followed his advice, and in the proper season colonised it with four dozen of pigeons, and kept them in. closed for some time; but when they were let out, they all flew away in a few days. One or two would sometimes come about the cot, but I despaired of ever making them fond enough of their habitation to breed in it.
Recollecting however the assertion of the pigeon-conjurer, I sent for him, and he paid me a visit the next day. He began by filling a large pot with water, and immediately threw some ingredients which he took from his pocket into the water; set the whole on the fire to boil, and kept stiring the ingredients about until they were entirely dissolved. He went with this mixture into the dovecot, and took great pains to lay it on with a painter's brush both in and outside the holes. He then got a ladder, and in the same manner washed over the loover, or aperture where the pigeons enter, with the same mixture. In spite of the assurances given me by the operator that my pigeons would return, and perhaps with additional company, I did not place implicit faith in his predictions, and could not avoid expressing some doubts of the attracting power of his Dostrum. But he consented to stop until the next day, when the pigeons were to make their appearance; upon the terms, "No pigeons, no pay." About eleven o'clock a single pigeon came, and about three the same day all my emigrants returned. My stock soon grew numerous, and they never after forsook the cot. A most extraordinary good one it soon proved, with the assistance of a
colony of strangers, who had been enticed to take up their residence by the fascinating accommodations provided by my rat-catcher.
I could not prevail upon the man to disclose his secret, or I would here give the recipe for the public good: but the principal ingredients were undoubtedly salt and asa-foetida. However, as he had convinced me of his skill in pigeons, listened carefully to his Instructions concerning the management of them. He advised me never to go into a dovecot later than midday, but as early in a morning as convenient. Whatever repairs are necessary, either to the building or to the nests, should be done before hoon: for, if you disturb the pigeons in the afternoon, they will not rest contentedly the whole night; and the greatest part perhaps will not enter the cot until the next day, but will sit moping on the ground; and if in breeding-time, either a number of eggs may be spoiled, or several young ones starved to death. He likewise cautioned me against letting the first flight fly to increase my stock, but to take every one of them; as these will come in what is called Benting-time, that is, Between seed-time and harvest. It is then that pigeons are the scarcest; and many of the young would pine to death through weakñess during that season.
It is necessary to give food to pigeons during the Benting-season only but it should be done by three or four o'clock in the morning; for they rise early. If you serve them much later, they will keep hovering about home, and be prevented taking their necessary exercise. If you feed them the year round, they will not breed near so well as if forced to seek their own food; for they pick up in the fields what is pleasant and healthy to them, and from the beginning of harvest to the end of seed-time they find plenty.
At the latter end of every flight be careful to destroy all those: eggs which were not laid in proper time. The proper time for the spring-flight is in April and May. After the harvest flight, cold weather begins to come on, which injures the old pigeon much if she sits late; and the young will be good for nothing, if hatched. A warm situation suits pigeons the best.
It is very necessary to pay attention to cleanliness in the management of a dovecot. Before breeding-time the holes ought to be' carefully examined and cleaned: for if any of the young die in the holes in summer, maggots are soon bred in them: they become putrid, and emit a disagreeable and unwholesome stench, very injurious to the inhabitants of the dovecot Pigeons are tenacious of their nests, as appears from the conduct of the wood-pigeon, which will breed for years in the same tree, and the mother forsakes hers with regret but, unable to endure the filth and stench of her dead offspring, she is obliged to quit the eggs she has laid for a second brood; and the prime of the season is lost. Every sunimer, immediately after the first flight, the nests should be all cleaned out, and the dung totally taken away, as it breeds filth. But remember to do this business early in the morning. You ought likewise to destroy the remaining eggs, and make a perfect clean habitation for the harvest-flight.
REV. AUG. 1799.
Pigeons are profitable and useful. Although they be supposed to do mischief in seed-time and harvest, I contend that the farmer is a gainer by them, and repeat my assertion that they are both profitable and useful. They make an extraordinarily good manure, which, if worked up into a compost, instead of being used in the present slovenly way, would be of still more value. Pigeons, like many other animals, are more productive from the breeds being crossed. I put a few tame pigeons into a dovecot; and the consequence was, that I had a more early and a more numerous hatch of young than any of my neighbours.
In general, a dovecot has treble the number of holes that are used. I took off the roof from one of mine, and put a new one on without doing any injury to my pigeons: but I did not suffer the workmen to work after twelve o'clock at noon. It was a very low cot, but wide, with few holes in it. I have had six dozen of pigeons In a morning from it. Many of them bred on the floor: an old table stood in the middle of the cot, and several had made nests and bred upon it; which makes me think it not necessary to inclose the holes in the manner so generally practised.
It is erroneous to suppose starlings destroy pigeons' eggs, or injure a dovecot: they only take up room. Pigeons have a great antipathy to owls, which find their way sometimes into dovecots; and there is no getting rid of so troublesome a guest but by destroying him. Rats are terrible enemies to pigeons, and will soon destroy a whole dovecot. Cats, weasels, and squirrels will do the same. It will be necessary, therefore, to examine the dovecot once every week at least very minutely.'
We are glad to see Mr. P. insisting so very properly on the article of cleanliness in pigeon-houses; which we know, from experience, to be of much consequence to the health and productiveness of the stock. We may add that, in proportion to such care as he recommends, the birds will be the less tormented with fleas; by which these poor "feathered folk *" are peculiarly apt to be pestered.-Gentlemen, who are solicitous that their tame pigeons should be well managed, will never suffer a pair to hatch twice in the same nest, without having it well cleaned out, after the first hatch, and even washed, where that can commodiously be done.-With such attention, the breedingbirds will prosper, and increase and multiply to an uncommon degree.
Mr. P. labours to recommend what he calls the new system of agriculture, in preference to the old, and he is right; though we think that he exaggerates the calculation of the profits; and when he talks of a farm producing plenty of manure for itself, so as to enable it to give abundant crops without buying, he must not expect farmers of any experience to adopt this opinion. Something
* Here our readers will recollect the pretty song of Tweed-side.