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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/803

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Mask one side of the cutlets with the prepared farce, enclose them in thin pieces of caul, brush over with white of egg, cover with a buttered paper, and cook in a moderate oven for about 20 minutes. Brush the pigeons over with liquid glaze, arrange them in an almost upright position on a potato border, fill the centre with the prepared vegetable, pour the hot sauce round and serve.

Time.—Altogether 2 hours. Average Cost, 4s. 6d. Sufficient for 5 or 6 persons.

Aspect of the Pigeon-house.—The front of a pigeon-house should have a south-west aspect to shelter the birds from the cold of the north and east winds, which frequently occasion canker in the mouth or throat of young pigeons. If the birds are kept in a room a hole should be made in the roof of the building fitted with a trap-door, which can be opened or shut at convenience. A trap or cage also be provided for the pigeons to perch upon and look about them. This should be furnished with bolting-wires to protect the birds from the attacks of cats, which will frequently depopulate a whole dovecote. It is also necessary to secure the pigeons from rats and mice which suck the eggs. The platform or trap should be painted white and renewed as the paint wears off, white being a favourite colour with pigeons; it also serves as a conspicuous mark, enabling the birds to find their way home when flying abroad. The boxes should be painted in a similar manner. Lime and water will serve the purpose as well as paint.

The Necessity of Cleanliness.—This is of the first importance in keeping the birds in good health and comfort. If cleanliness be neglected the pigeons, both young and old, will speedily be covered with filth and vermin. The pigeon-house should be cleaned once a week at least—more frequently if possible—and the floor covered with sifted gravel or gritty sand, which aids the digestion of the birds; old lime and salt should be provided for the formation of eggshell and the prevention of many ailments to which pigeons are liable. Pigeons are very fond of water, and should be furnished with a wide pan of this liquid, often renewed; this serves them for a bath, cools and refreshes the birds, and assists them to keep their bodies clear of vermin.

1252.—PIGEONS, DUCHESS STYLE. (Fr.Pigeons à la Duchesse.)

Ingredients.—3 pigeons (trussed), 4 or 5 ozs. of sausage meat, 1½ ozs. of butter, ½ a pint of Espagnole sauce (see Sauces No. 244), eggs, breadcrumbs frying-fat, vegetables, garnish, peas, beans or macedoine.

Method.—Cut the pigeons in halves, remove all the bones except the first bone of the leg, season well, and fold the skin under, shaping them as much as possible like plump cutlets. Fry them on both sides in clarified butter, press until cold, then mask the upper surface with sausage-meat force. Coat with egg and breadcrumbs, fry until nicely browned in hot fat and drain well. Arrange neatly on a potato border, fill the centre with a dressed vegetable, pour the sauce round and serve.

Time.— Altogether about 1½ hours. Average Cost, from 1s. to 1s. 6d. each. Sufficient for 5 or 6 persons.

Breeding Pigeons.—In breeding pigeons it to necessary to match a cock and hen and shut them up together, or place them near to each other, and in the course of a day or two there is little doubt of their mating. Various rules have been laid down for the purpose of assisting to distinguish the cock from the hen pigeons; but the masculine forwardness and action of the cock is generally so remarkable, that he is easily ascertained. The pigeon being monogamous, the male attaches and confines himself to one female; and the attachment is reciprocal, and the fidelity of the dove to its mate is proverbial. Under the age of six months young pigeons are termed "squeakers," and then begin to breed when properly managed. Their courtship and the well-known tone of voice in the cock, just when acquired and commencing, are indications of their approaching union. Nestlings, while fed by cock and hen, are termed "squabs," and are at that age sold and used for the table; their flesh is far more delicate than that of older birds. The dovehouse pigeon is said to breed monthly, when well supplied with food. At all events, pigeons of any healthy and well-established variety may be depended upon to breed eight or ten times in the year, whence it may readily be conceived how large are the numbers that may be raised.