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To Make Birds In A Cage Lay

This is an excerpt from Le Menagier de Paris
(France, 1393 - Janet Hinson, trans.)
The original source can be found at David Friedman's website

TO MAKE BIRDS IN A CAGE LAY, HATCH AND FEED. Note that in the Hesdin cage, which is the greatest in this realm, nor in the King's cage at Saint-Paul, nor in the cage of Messire Hugues Aubriot, no eggs are laid to be hatched and later little birds fed, and in the Chariot cage they do lay eggs, brood them and hatch. In the first case, the fault is that the young birds are fed on hempseed, which is hot and dry, and nothing to drink. And in the second case (where the birds do lay, etc., as in the Chariot mews), they give them chickweed or sow-thistle, field thistles soaked in water and often renewed and always fresh, refreshened three times a day, and in lead vessels which are clean, and along with the chickweed and sow-thistle all green, the thistles that have been standing in water a good while beforehand, hempseed which has been shelled, sorted and the spines removed, milled and soaked in water.

Item, you should put in the cage carded wool and feathers so they can make their nests. And thus have I seen turtle-doves, linnets, goldfinches flourishing in cages, laying and feeding.

Item, and you should also give them caterpillars, little worms, flies, crickets, grasshoppers, butterflies, all fresh in grass and dampened and wet.

Item, worms, caterpillars and the like are soft to the young bird's beak which is tender.


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