I is for Indian

I wasn’t  familiar with this meat bird, so I looked through my collection of vintage poultry books, and discovered a listing for it in British Poultry, published in 1927, which states that in America it is styled as “Cornish game.” Take a look at how strong this specimen is. It looks like an elongated modern Cornish. The entry in the book says that these birds do best when running in almost a wild state until maturity. And that, if interested in taking to poultry shows, a good specimen, with proper attention, can be used for years. Contrast that with our modern meat bird, that is so breast-heavy that it can no longer mate naturally, and that grows so fast, that if it’s not harvested for meat at under three-months of age, will die before the age of one, anyway. (Imagine the Hulk, bursting forth, but not going on with powerful muscles, but rather collapsing from the transformation.)

This card reminds me of what has happened to many of our domestic breeds. You just have to look at the pug to see where we’ve gone too far breeding for certain traits.

Do any of my UK readers have experience with the Indian? Are they still available? I hope that they are, and that their genetics are being put to good use.




I poem


  1. The point about “purebred” animals is exactly why I was asking about the Game Bird: I’m looking to mix up my poultry a bit. I chose Rhode Islands because of their versatility (eggs AND meat) and their tolerance to my local conditions, but I’m looking to mix in something else just to keep the genetics more adaptable.

  2. It seems that every time we breed animals for special characteristics we create more health problems. It’s not just the pug and other purebred dogs, but cats and horses too. Visit the open house at Tufts Veterinary School and see miniature horses that cannot foal without medical intervention because we have bred them to such small sizes for our amusement. Give me rescued mutts and moggies any day. And now I will get down off my soap box. Thanks for letting me vent.

  3. Human nature being such that it is, leads certain people to be always looking to achieve their idea of perfection in everything. It is unfortunate that often as you say Jean, it is without regard to introducing future problems when animals are the `guinea pigs`. Having said that….I do love my pure-bread chickens along with the hybrids and enjoy all the quirks that go along with each different breed(some more then others). :)

  4. i have a rescue sorta-cocker spaniel dog. certainly not a purebred, but he got the ‘soft mouth’ that spaniel breeders go for and is always finding something when we walk that he gets in his mouth. then if it’s hard, he can’t bite it, he stores it – and drools – and won’t take care of the business that he should be taking care of right then because he’s a dog and dogs can’t think of two things at once! i maintain that selective breeding is a good thing, only it should be done for intelligence only!!