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Norfolk Turkeys, 1795

The Rural Economy of Norfolk by Marshall

Norfolk is celebrated, and justly, for its turkies. The species is large; their flesh, nevertheless, fine; and the number reared greater than that produced in any other district of equal extent; owing, perhaps, to one circumstance. It is understood, in general, that, to rear turkies with success, it is necessary that a male bird should be kept upon the spot, for the same purpose that a gander, a drake, or a male fowl is kept; namely to impregnate the eggs individually. This deters not only cottagers, who are afraid of the expence of keeping a gluttonous turkeycock, the year round, but many farmers, who dislike the noise and troublesomeness of these animals from breeding turkies. But the good housewives of this country know that a daily intercourse is unnecessary; and that, if the female be sent to a neighbouring male previous to the season of exclusion, one act of impregnation is sufficient for one brood. Thus relieved from the expence  and disagreeableness of keeping a male bird, most little farmers, and many cottagers, rear turkies. This accounts for the number; and the species, and the food they are fatted with (which I believe, is wholly buck) account for their superior size and quality.

With respect to geese, ducks and fowls of this country, nothing is noticeable; except that they are, in general below common size, and that it is a practice to put young goslings upon green wheat: a piece of housewifery which perhaps is peculiars to the country.

Poultry of every species are sold, in the markets, ready picked and skewered fit for the spit; and are, in general, so well fatted and dressed up in such neatness and delicacy, as shew the Norfolk housewives to be mistresses in the art of managing poultry.


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