Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

produce quarrels and fights, and serious consequences.

The shy feeders, and those low in condition, ought to be fed alone, before the other dogs are allowed to commence. In a kennel of hounds each hound is called in by name, according to the judgment of the huntsman and feeder, and the utmost discipline adopted in this respect, otherwise his whole kennel would be in a state of confusion. If hounds were fed ad libitum, many would be overfed, and others half-starved. The effective management of a pack of hounds in the field is much influenced by the good discipline which is maintained in the kennel.

There is a wonderful difference in the feeding of dogs. Some are so voracious and expeditious that they fill themselves, in two or three minutes, so that they can scarcely walk to their benches. Others require ten minutes, and encouragement, and coaxing into the bargain. The food ought always to be ready the moment hounds or other hard-working dogs enter the kennel, so that they can satisfy their hunger before they get upon their benches. It interferes sadly with a dog's comfort, and with his condition, to allow him to take partial repose on his bench before he be fed. In fact, many dogs, when very tired, will not get off their benches to feed, if they have not been fed in the first instance, unless they be forced off, and then they

will only take a partial and insufficient supply, being stiff and cold, and in a hurry to return to their rest. In a well-managed kennel the utmost attention is paid to these essentials.

The same food will answer for all shooting dogs when at work, although a change is beneficial to pointers and setters, in the shape of damaged biscuits, milk, and any scraps from the kitchen. However, when pointers and setters work hard on the moors, they must have strong nutriment to sustain them; and horseflesh, if thoroughly boiled, and mixed in moderate quantities with the porridge, will not interfere with their noses. If horseflesh cannot be had, then greaves may be used; these ought to be boiled by themselves for a length of time, and added to the oatmeal porridge, after it has been made in the usual manner: if the porridge be cold, then the greaves can be reheated before being mixed, as working dogs ought always to have moderately warm food on returning home after a hard day's fatigue.

Before greaves are put into a boiler to be reduced, they ought to be broken into small pieces and carefully examined before used, as there are often sharp pieces of bones, bits of wood, and pins in them, which, if not removed, and accidentally swallowed, might prove very injurious, if not fatal.

The average price of oatmeal of the very best

quality (in Scotland) is from 15 to 16 shillings the bole; the bole contains 8 stones, a stone being 16 lbs., —consequently a bole ought to contain 128 lbs. This meal is made from oats which have been kiln-dried previous to grinding, every particle of the husk being subsequently removed; and, as it is precisely the same meal which is universally used in Scotland for porridge, of course requires looking after. Greaves are about 12 shillings the cwt. With greaves and meal, a kennel of pointers, spaniels, setters, and retrievers, may be kept at from 12 to 14 pence per head per week.

During the summer months dogs will not require such strong food as when they are at work; the porridge may be made much thinner, and very little flesh or greaves employed; and, if a good garden be at hand, a drumhead cabbage occasionally, cut up into small pieces, boiled in the soup, will be very beneficial: twice a week will not be too often; it will keep the dogs cool, and prevent constipation, to which some dogs are subject when kept at home. They should, however, have exercise every other day; and if they can conveniently be let out every day, if only for a few minutes, in a grass-field, it will be attended with good effects.

During the summer months, whether dogs exhibit any sign of mange or not, they should all be once thoroughly dressed, and a little nitre, sulphur, and antimony occasionally given. The kennel should likewise be thoroughly cleansed, and whitewashed all over with a mixture of lime and water, not omitting the benches, which should be moveable by hinges, so that no dirt whatever be allowed to accumulate underneath them.

Great care must be taken that there is always a constant supply of fresh water, with a few pieces of brimstone at the bottom of the vessel; and I must not omit to add, that there should always be an abundant supply of salt in the kennel, to be used at all times in the food. Dogs enjoy their food more with salt, and its use is essential to their health.

Although I have partially alluded to the treatment of hounds in a kennel, having had more particularly in view the arrangements necessary for the management and care of shooting dogs, I have only recommended the use of one boiler, which will suffice for at least twenty dogs; in fact, with twenty couple of harriers, I have known one boiler answer every purpose: in a large kennel of foxhounds, of course two boilers will be required, one for the preparation of meal, the other for the boiling of flesh; but the same system which I have before suggested must be adopted. The great advantage of the two boilers is, that you can better regulate the consistency of the food after it is made, by the addition of either liquid or solid, as circumstances may render advisable, and, by one being kept hot and the other cold, can also manage that the food be exactly the proper warmth when hounds return home, which, as I have previously intimated, is important: however, a good man in the kennel, who has twenty couple of hounds to attend to, will rarely be at fault with one boiler. These matters of detail merely require method with regular and assiduous attention. A man who in any way neglects his dogs, ought immediately to be discharged.

I cannot close this chapter without again insisting upon the great importance of the strictest cleanliness being maintained in a kennel of pointers and setters: this is essential to the nicety of their noses, and as sport much depends upon this particular, every sportsman will do well to see that his kennel is kept as it should be.

THE METHOD OF TEACHING DOGS TO BRING THEIR GAME ON LAND AND FROM THE WATER, ADOPTED IN FRANCE.

No French chasseur considers his chien d'arret of any value unless he brings his game both by land and water, and every small town in

« ForrigeFortsett »