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Letter 3166

Tegetmeier, W. B. to Darwin, C. R.

[28 May 1861]

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    [Queries in CD's hand answered on same pages by WBT.] Sexual selection of fowls; role of beauty in cocks.


I believe that as a general rule a hen when with egg will yield to any cock   I do not think she refuses (as with pigeons) when she requires impregnating

You can make tame hens squat to your hand by scratching the scapular region as with the feet of a cock

I had a tame cochin hen who used to squat to any thing that touched her back, much to the annoyance of my wife the contact of whose dress often produced the movement.

My hen cock was victor always and some of the hens constantly kept with him—a very handsome full feathered bird being in the same yard.— I have never heard that game cocks after being trimmed for fighting were not equal favorites with the hens

In fact strong cocks make the hens yield by stamping alternately with each foot and sometimes will tear open the side with the spur if the foot slips between the hens wing and her body.

The hens impregnated by the hen tailed game cock lay very fertile eggs.— I have just looked at two settings and found all the 21 eggs fertilized—so that impregnation must have been very effectually performed.

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 3166.f1
    The date is given by CD's annotation. The letter from Tegetmeier was written on the back of the enclosure sent with the letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 14 April [1861]. See also letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 28 May [1861].
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    f2 3166.f2
    See letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 2 April [1861] and n. 3.
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