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very little care. They take them up in handsful and throw them below. Here they remain till the subsequent day, on which they are draw out to the corridor, where they pass some hours; sometimes one whole day. After this they are carried in covered baskets to particular houses, as will be explained, where they begin to eat ground corn or hard eggs. During the day they are exposed to the sun; before sunset they are carried to a room to be sheltered from the cold. The Arabs never help the chicken in breaking the egg-shell.
During the hatching at which I was present, the natural temperature in the shade varied from 13° to 16°; the day on which the chickens were born it was 16°, and the thermometer exposed to the sun about midday marked 29°. On the subsequent day, under the same circumstances, it rose to 33. The weather was always perfectly fair excepting the fifteenth day, on which a little rain fell during the night. All the apertures were on that occasion well shut up, and the dampness produced no bad effects.
I have always placed the thermometer in the upper stove (n. fig. 3) in which the fire existed. That which served me for these observations compared with others of Reaumur's, was found to be rather lower than these.
The oven in which I studied this description, began its labours on the 2d of February last. Generally they begin fifteen or twenty days later. The hatching season closes in the month of June at the latest. In the midst of summer the sun is more powerful, and the eggs more abundant and cheap. Why, then should this operation be practised in the spring?
To give a satisfactory answer to this objection, there must be facts of which I am not possessed, never having had either opportunity or time to set one of the ovens in operation during the hot season. However I am fully convinced in my own mind that spring is the season best calculated for this operation in Egypt, according to the present mode of working; for the first inventors of these ovens would not have fixed upon this season but through experience, having no doubt made repeated trials.
Where facts are wanting, conjectures founded on observations and reason, may frequently in a great measure supply the deficiency; I shall therefore state what I conceive to be the reasons for giving spring the preference to summer in the lighting of the ovens.
1. During the spring months a hot southerly wind prevails, which ceases at the commencement of summer, yielding to a strong, cold, northerly one; this fills the whole atmosphere with dust and fine sand, of which there is such abundance in Egypt; it is therefore im
possible that the little tender chickens just hatched should be able to withstand the inclemency of such weather; whereas if hatched in spring. they become strong enough before summer sets in.
2. The great difficulty of collecting a sufficient quantity of fresh eggs during the summer, must be a decided objection for putting them into the ovens at that time, for in five or six days all the eggs become spoilt, and it takes some time to gather the required number of eggs ; indeed this is the reason which the natives themselves assign when questioned on the subject.
Whatever may be the weight attached to these opinions, yet the very circumstance of this artificial hatching being practised in spring furnishes us with a strong proof that its introduction not only in hot but in temperate climates is feasible.
In this firm conviction, and with the anxious desire of its adoption in other countries with success, I shall venture to offer a few remarks which I trust will be profitable.
Without waiting to shew the different modifications and improvements of which the Egyptian ovens are capable, I shall only mention that the system of large ovens is subject to many inconveniences.
1. This work becomes a monopoly to a few, and Government consequently levy a tax on the establishment.
2. The collecting of so many thousand fresh eggs becomes a work of labour and expense.
3. Taking care of the newly-hatched chickens would be attended with immense trouble and loss; for at sunset they must be placed in a warm room, their food and drink must be attended to, and cleanliness, and other little cares, must not be neglected to rear them, whilst the oven-keeper must be looking after more fresh eggs to continue his subsistence. In fact, these serious inconveniences have been felt and remedies adopted.
In some districts people bring eggs to the ovens on their own account; these they mark with ink or otherwise, and pay the proprietor for the use of the oven and his superintendence, taking the chickens away when hatched.
In other districts Government allot six or eight villages for the exclusive use of the oven-proprietors, to whom alone the villagers must sell the eggs. In this case the proprietor farms out a certain number of chickens to several poor families, either paying them when the fowls are sold for the trouble of rearing them up, or receiving back generally one half for the number of chickens given; the persons taking as many above that number as they may have succeeded in rearing, as a compensation for their trouble.
A small oven worked by a single family on their own risk and profit, would be free from these inconveniences, and no doubt would remunerate them for their labour and expense.
An oven for that purpose ought to be of a rectangular shape, made of baked clay, 3 feet high and 3 feet broad, and from 4 to 6 feet long, with a double roof, so that the fire might be spread evenly on the whole. The lower roof should have a hole to allow of the heat passing into the oven where the eggs are. The upper roof must have an aperture for the smoke to issue, and if necessary to lessen the heat, and also for the purpose of introducing a thermometer. This aperture should be made like the lid of a box to lift up, for the greater convenience of removing the ashes, and renewing the fire; one of the walls of the oven should be made to open to admit of the hands being introduced to remove and shift the position of the eggs.
This oven moreover must be kept in a closed room, out of the way of any current of air; while the room where the oven is placed would be further useful for keeping the newly-hatched chickens till they gain strength.
Perhaps it would be an improvement if the oven were made with a double wall an inch or two apart, and the space filled up with some non-conductor of caloric, such as cork or triturated charcoal.
I think that any potter could make such an oven for the sum of five or ten shillings, and that this artificial hatching might thus be carried on in almost every country house, on a small scale, at all seasons of the year, particularly summer, with successful results. A high temperature must of course be more favourable than a low one for this process. In Egypt itself this fact is acknowledged by a common proverb among the people,
الكتكوت الفول ياكل ويموت كتكوت التوت ياكل ويموت
كتكوت المزمع وياكل وينفرح
"The chicken of the bean (i. e. the chicken hatched at the season of beans) eat and die; the chicken of the mulberry eat and die; but the chicken of the apricot eat and thrive." The season for beans is in February, and that of apricots in May.
Besides this, a curious circumstance once occurred which still more strongly proves that this is the best season for hatching. Three eggs were forgotten, and left in a basket in July in the house of Mr. Aime at Cairo; these were hatched spontaneously, and produced three chickens which thrived. Why should not then two or three hundred in a small oven succeed?
Before I conclude this brief account, I would just mention that this artificial mode of hatching will apply equally to turkey's eggs. Several Europeans had put them into the ovens in Egypt, and a few did succeed in being hatched, but Arabs being totally ignorant of the principles of the oven-hatching, they subjected them to the same conditions as fowl's eggs-hence the failure of the greater number. But that they might be hatched artificially was evident from some of the eggs which were put in having been hatched. By this means the supply of turkeys would also be cheap and abundant.
I have no doubt that if this artificial hatching of turkeys as well as fowls were introduced into any country, and commonly adopted in farm houses, it would tend greatly to the advantage of the land.
1st. General plan of the oven.
2d. Section of the corridor F G H I
3d. Section of one cell in the direction of the corridor F G H I.
4th Section of one cell in the direction of the corridor A B C D.
5th. Floor of the upper story of one cell.
6th. Floor of the upper story of the cell Y.
7th. Floor of the under story of a cell.
8th. Floor of the under story of a cell after the 14th day.
9th Floor of the upper story of a cell after the 14th day.
ART. VII. Report on the Mortality among Officers and Men in H. M. Service in Bengal, and on the comparative salubrity of different Stations. By the late Dr. W. A. BURKE, InspectorGeneral of Hospitals.*
To W. W. BIRD, ESQ.
President of the Committee for the Insurance of Lives in India. SIR,
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, which a protracted and severe illness prevented my replying to as soon as I could have wished. I shall now endeavour as far as possible to comply with the request of the Committee in affording all the information in my power regarding mortality in the rank of officers as well as men
*For this very valuable paper we are indebted to Mr. Martin, the Surgeon to the Native Hospital of Calcutta. Dr. Burke's tabulated returns form an important addition to our knowledge of the laws of vital statistics. In connexion with this paper the reader should consult Mr. H. T. Prinsep's paper on the "Value of Life in the Civil Service."-Journal of the Asiatic Society, 1832, p. 277, and 1837, p. 311; and his "Table of Mortality," founded on the registers of the Lower Orphan School, 1838, p. 818.-ED.