Answers CD's queries about polygamous birds. Does not think appearance of cock makes any difference to female. Dyeing the male has no effect on female.
The Field. | 346, Strand, | London, W.C.
March 29 1867
My dear Sir
I delayed day after day replying to yours of the 5
But as far as regards polygamous birds do not think the statement has any foundation whatever—
A Game cock closely trimmed for fighting is as unlike an ordinary male fowl as a bird can well be, yet he is always well received by the hens and as in these birds the male always forces the female if reluctant I do not think it is likely that he would be ill received—
If two or more cocks are turned down the hens will receive anyone willingly but the strongest and most valiant chastises the others if he perceives them pursuing the hens.— certainly I think appearance has but little to do with the reception of the cock in fowls— I have just turned down a polish bird (crested) with some white cochin hens removed the same day from white cochin cocks the advances of the polish male (though totally different in colour tail crest and general appearance) were received
I cannot personally try the experiment in any of my runs as they only contain a single cock each—but I will do what I can elsewhere—
Have you any objection to my enquiring in my own name in the Field. I might get some useful information—
I send you a few slips of a letter M
I shall be happy to make any experiments in my power
do [you] not think dying a white male pigeon magenta colour which is easily done and seeing whether his wife knows him, would be of any bearing on the question
Believe me | Yours truly | W B Tegetmeier
- f1 5473.f1See letter to Tegetmeier, 5 March  and n. 1.
- f2 5473.f2In Descent 2: 117, CD noted that he had received long letters concerning the `courtship of fowls' from Tegetmeier and two other observers, and that none of these believed that females preferred particular males because of the beauty of their plumage. In Descent 1: 269, CD wrote that widow-birds were evidently polygamous.
- f3 5473.f3A letter from Alfred Russel Wallace to the Field, 23 March 1867, p. 206, requested information for himself and CD on the preferences of insectivorous birds for particular caterpillars; he asked readers who kept birds to offer them a variety of caterpillars, and observe their choices. For the first responses to a similar request from Wallace following his correspondence on the subject with CD, see the letter from A. R. Wallace, 11 March  and n. 7.
- f4 5473.f4See letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 30 March  and n. 6.