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Darwin Correspondence Project


From W. B. Tegetmeier   10 December [1866]1

Muswell Hill

Monday Decr 10.

My dear Sir

I did not write before as I expected to see Mr Zurhorst at Birmingham,— — From the conversation I have had with him respecting the eggs I do not think his information is sufficiently definite to be of use— It really amounts only to this, that a spanish hen running with his cochins laid dark eggs.— Whether she did so before or not he does not know2

My single experiment was that a spanish hen running with cochins laid perfectly white eggs, that were fertilized by the cochin and from which I hatched chickens

I regretted much not seeing you3   I wished to ask you your conclusions respecting the original stock of the Guinea fowl, the Duck—The so called Buenos Ayres duck4 and the Goose— I know practically very little of the origin of these birds and should like to be in accord with you in the Poultry Book5

Trusting you are quite strong | Believe me | Yours very truly | W B Tegetmeier.

C Darwin Esq

Should you like to write to Mr Zurhorst his address is


Donny brook

Co Dublin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 4 December [1866].
CD had asked for Frederick William Zurhorst’s address in order to ask him about the eggs of a cross between a Cochin hen and a Spanish fowl (see letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 4 December [1866] and n. 2).
CD had been unable to see Tegetmeier in London during his November visit (see letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 4 December [1866] and n. 3).
The Buenos Aires duck was also referred to as the Labrador or the East Indian duck (see Tegetmeier 1867, p. 306, and Variation 1: 276). CD described the Labrador duck in Variation as having entirely black plumage and as a variety of the common domestic duck, descended from the common wild duck, Anas boschas (Variation 1: 276–7).
The reference is to Tegetmeier 1867 (see letter from W. B. Tegetmeier, 22 January [1866] and nn. 10 and 11).


WBT interested in ancestors of domestic guinea-fowl, ducks, and geese.

Egg colours in fowls.

Letter details

Letter no.
Tegetmeier, W. B.
Darwin, C. R.
Sent from
Muswell Hill
Source of text
DAR 178: 77
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5299,” accessed on 24 October 2016,