The Old VS New When Feeding Gamefowl For Battle.
By Fred Allen (1969)
I would like to say a few words regarding the old and the method of caring for and feeding cocks for battle. Sure, we had some good walks where there wee small farms, but in the western part of our country we had very few walks. Some farm walked cocks were not getting what they really needed to keep them in good health and clean of insects. Some cockers think that a farm walked cock has a big edge over a pen walked cock. Different opinions on any one thing or project makes for better advancements, and this pertains to everything.
If a cock or stag is properly cared for in a pen (I said properly) and has proper condition, he is hard to beat. At any rate, walks are few and far between in these parts. All in all, Texas is a hell of a place to try to keep our sport and hobby alive. We have to go out of the state to fight our cocks. But I am getting off the subject of using old and new methods with game fowl.
Some few cockers are staying close to the old way of doing things. Of course, we in the middle and southwestern states have a chance to obtain some of the best of scratch material to put in the cock pens so they will work in their pens and become stout and fast in a certain number of days, with the right kind of feed - put them in the cockhouse and work them for one to two weeks - run and fly them 50 or 100 times (the old and new method combined). I remember back in the early twenties, mostly around Bakersfield, California, we had no scratch of any kind ot put in our pens as there was no grain or corn grown. There was plenty of alfalfa but we wouldn't use it for fear they might eat it, so we fought out of dirt pens. Of course we had to give our cocks what exercise we thought they needed, and there is where the different ideas showed up. For my part, I tried to have my cocks near their right weight in pens during fighting season. We used what the feed store had to sell. We had hack fights every two weeks and moved from pasture to pasture to avoid interference. Some of the cockers came from Taft and the oil fields in the area. All were perfect gentlemen who came to fight cocks - no drinking and no rough stuff.
As I remember, most of the gaffs were no more than two inches long. Of course, there were different breeds of cocks but not as high breed cocks as used at the present time. I fought the old time Sledge & Hanna Travelers, rough old roosters. Some of those who attended the meets were Mick Bowers, Dave Hence, Bill Vizzard, McGraw, Everet Snead, Juan Quaid, J.R. Williams, Pate (can't recall his last name), but he was a good scout and a great sport. There were also a blacksmith, a good man and a great cocker. Those were happy years I spent with these gentlemen. I understand that about all of them have pased on. May the Lord take their Souls, they deserve the best!
I am pretty sure that the cockers who uses the latest methods of feeding cocks are winning a large majority of their fights. I am going to mention a couple of incidents that happened. Once upon a time, a good honest man had a top string of cocks. He matched and fought six mains against the very top cockers of the west and he won four of these mains hands-down. Then along came two would-be expert feeders and wanted to feed half of the show for the other two. They used the old T-Model methods so you probably know what happened! The mains were fought for good amounts. No offense intended, but it just goes to prove that you had better have top roosters and the right care and good type of feed and "know-how" to feed it.
I would like to see all modern pits adopt the house rules that are given in the Code Of Honor. I have obe of these books sent to me by the late Walter Kelso in 1955, along with a very nice letter. I think Walter Kelso was a man "to ride the river with" - he and his fowl will never be forgotten.
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