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A COMPLETE LONG HEEL AND SHORT HEEL

KEEP

By Hugh Norman

SELECTION

Health cannot be over


stressed, as it is the basis of
most everything that is expected
or even demanded of a cock. The
apparent health of a cock is what
any reasonably experienced
chicken man can detect, but there
is even more that the eye can see
for complete health. It is so
necessary to know the life
history of the individual cock
but sometimes this is impossible
and in most cases impossible.
Let us suppose that you walked
the cock and at one time during
his walk life he became starved,
listless, anemic and in poor
health in general, but when you
picked him up in the fall he has
had access to fall maturing seed
and water from the fall rains,
hence he strikes the eye as being
healthy. A healthy cock is the
cock with a high blood count,
which is indicated by heavy
pimples on his head and face.
These appear to be the skin of a
rich, ripe, lush strawberry. His
head is a rich true red like
blood itself. This comes as a
result of complete coordination
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of all that is inside a cock. The
flesh of a healthy cock is firm
yet pliable, never hard, never
flabby or weak feeling. The skin
of a healthy cock is a true
greasy yellow or slick white,
which ever the breed portrays.
Now, in a brief way we have gone
from the inside of a cock to the
part, which meets the eyes, and
this is his feather. Now let us
reverse this.

If a cock is not in full


bloom and does not have live
moving feathers, which seem to
slide on his shoulders and shed
your hand when you rub him, he is
to be discarded for some later
date. Just a word of caution; if
the humidity is high just before
a rain, even a cock that is not
real healthy will shine and
deceive you. This cock must be
observed several days. The
moleskin look and feel is
absolutely necessary. When the
feathers are as we have
discussed, then the skin is
healthy, the flesh is healthy,
the organs are healthy, hence a
cock is at this moment healthy
enough to begin training.

Now since we have an apparently


healthy cock, let us see if he has
always been so. How can we tell?
If this cock is narrow and
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apparently weak or poorly made, he
probably is one of those birds,
which have barely existed through
the summer, or he has been penned
too long as a stag. If he has
apparent health but his spurs
appear as a stag's spurs, his flesh
on his thighs short fleshed and his
breast lightly filled, yet his vent
and gizzard are heavy with flesh,
he is one which has not had proper
care and is a bad risk in good
competition.

Upon examining a cock's skin


and feathers, if the skin is flaky
and of poor texture and there are
cut feathers which show cuts
through the silk of the feather, a
few poorly made feathers, it is a
sure sign that this cock's health
and environment have been poor and
should be considered carefully. It
seems a bit needless to say but if
a cock behaves peculiarly in any
manner, has an odor of any kind, an
off shade in his complexion, a
peculiar crow or cackle or behaves
differently to the strain, he is
not a perfect cock in health.
Excess in appetite or insufficient
appetite for food or drink is a
sign of questionable health. It is
a real word of wisdom that when you
can detect anything at all wrong
with a cock, there is for sure much
more than you can see with the eye.

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Gameness is a point of
consideration as this is the
element, which will determine how
sincere a cock will be in the way
he tries to do what you have
trained him to do. It has often
been said with wisdom that a cock
does not hit with is feet, he hits
with his heart. This is just, of
course, a figure of speech but
there is truth in it. A cock will
indicate his gameness by how he
tries to annihilate an opponent.
If he is strong yet makes a weak
and feeble effort, he is poorly
trained or short on gameness, and
it is the job of the trainer to
determine which. Now as for a
completely game strain, there may
not be one, but it is the pit
behavior that we are concerned
about. If a cock claims, scores,
strikes and gives you an honest
effort under the pressure of
battle, you should not worry about
what he does beyond this since this
answers all practical purposes. I
do believe that a gamecock will
make an honest effort to annihilate
an opponent every second that he is
aware of his presence. And he will
fight an uphill fight the same as
when he is ahead. If one owns
gamecocks, he has a fair percentage
of his fights won before he begins.
It is a very good guess that
highflying, defensive fighting,

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cocks which act wild and shy are
not as game as the opposite type.

CONFORMATION

Conformation is a very
controversial point, but
performance has established a
number of facts, which must be
reckoned with. To look at a cock
from side view, if his head,
neck, and back lines form an
angle with the tail greater than
100 degrees, he is an oriental
type no doubt. His tail is too
low to the ground and if this
open space between his head and
tail is much less than 45
degrees, it is possible that he
is squirrel tailed. Either of
these is objectionable. His top
silhouette must range between
these two angles aforementioned.
The legs must come out from the
front position in relation to
the whole body but not an
oriental type of projection. If
the legs are far back, cock
pitches forward easily and if
they are too far forward, a cock
has a tendency to rock
backwards. It must be a center
of gravity position, considering
the entire body a proned
fighting position. A cock that
is extremely wide through the
back with massive legs and hips
is usually a short bodied cock
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like roundheads, blues, etc.
which have a poor confirmation
and roll around in their
fighting and lack power.

The cock that is shaped


like your mother's old preheated
smoothing iron with the wider
end forward is a power cock with
balance, which carries his
power. The bird with heavy
legs, broad back, heavy hips,
thick coarse head, short quick
curving front feathers in the
wing, quick turning short tail,
short strong thick neck, is a
poorly conformed bird with poor
pit prospects. After the basic
consideration of body structure
a cock must have a full lengthy
strong quilled coat of feathers.
When a cock lifts his legs to
meet an opponent, he must have
something to carry himself with
and this is his wing, which must
be filled with good, tough,
long, heavy-quilled feathers.
When he looks as though you
could pick him up from behind by
the wings life wheelbarrow
handles, and then he has enough
wing feathers. The tail, too,
should be well studded with good
straight inside feathers, as
this is a cock's rudder and prop
against aggression. There have
been cocks that were too heavily
feathered but usually it is just

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the opposite. Let us say this:
Everything which resembles a
long legged crane, a short pudgy
dunghill chicken, a draft horse,
a big dumb coarse football
tackle or a big pudgy wrestler
is poor conformation for a
gamecock. Remember the falcon
and hawk swift, maneuverable,
deadly and more powerful than
any feathered opponent according
to the weight.

QUALITIES OF A FIGHTING COCK

Regardless if all the


foregoing meets the standards,
they are no good unless a cock
can fight, as this is the
fruition of all our efforts. If
the cock flips over the other
cock a time or two and does not
make a desperate effort to kill,
he is lacking in pit qualities.
This stroke for the kill should
be a multiple stroke, a vicious
shuffle or buckle, as a single
stroke cock is outmoded. If a
cock feeds his head or his
breast without an offensive
stroke he is the cock that hits
second and usually this cock
loses his battle. It might be
noted here that if a cock has a
few first shots at an opponent
and does not damage him
considerably, he probably is
lacking in cutting qualities.
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The high-flying cock is
usually a weak ground fighting
cock and spends lots of energy
maneuvering defensively and when
the fight comes to a slugging
ground fight, is at a loss to
compete with the cock which
stands on the ground, and pulls
back with a watchfulness
crushing into the opponent when
he comes down. Too, it may be
noted with importance that in a
bill and strike fight, after
five pitting, the cock, which
rises on another’s bill hold, is
an elusive target. The cock
that bills and strikes at the
same instant, strikes without a
bill hold or strikes first is
with real merit. It is real
wisdom to watch what a cock does
wrong rather than what he does
right. The cock which strikes
with devastating hardness
involving short strokes which
are delivered the instant of the
opponent's stroke or an instant
before, is a cock of quality.
The cock that chews on his
opponent, always looking for a
bill hold and when he gets it
rolls over the pit, shuffling
until exhausted, is a perfect
target for a multiple stroke
clever cock. The gamecock,
which has all the looks, health
and eye appeal is worthless as a

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pit cock unless he is a fighting
cock, as he is usually a loser.

FLESH

Flesh should be a main


consideration in selecting cocks
for the keep as this is the bulk
from which you are to carve and
perfect the physique. If you
will note it is to carve or take
from, not add to. In my
opinion, nothing can be added to
a cock in the keep unless it
would be wind and endurance, as
all flesh that is added is not a
natural part of him and we must
have extra flesh in the
beginning of the keep if we
expect to carve anything away
and yet have enough left. How
can one carve a statue from an
exact sized piece of marble
without a gamble? Suppose the
chisel slipped. There are too
many slips with thin cocks or
cocks that have been scratched
down too thin. A cock must go
into training from 4 to 8 ounces
heavy and he must be treated as
an overweight cock. One must
choose between feathers, sinew
and bone with weakness, or
reflex, round, firm alive flesh
with strength and vigor.

TEMPERAMENT

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Temperament is not to be
ignored, as this is a vital part
of the cock's makeup. The same
as he inherits his color, red,
gray, black or blue, he too
inherits his temperament. It is
wise to avoid birds with
extremely high temperaments this
is sometimes indicative of fine
brood yard qualities rather than
pit. Just a word of caution, do
not confuse temperament with
alertness. Alertness and being
wide-awake will come under
control when it is handled
properly, but temperament is
usually always explosive. It is
a part of his inherited makeup,
the same as color. Disposition
relates to the individual and is
usually a result of his
environment. It too generally
is a result of the way he has
been handled and responded to
it. This too can become a
seemingly permanent part of him
but this can be taken away from
him or added to by the way he is
treated. It is wise to discard
all cocks with ugly disposition
and stubborn tendencies.

NATURAL STRENGTH

Natural strength is a great


asset and can be likened unto a
prizefighter that has 50 wins
with 40 knockouts. This is
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indicative of natural strength
can be bred and raised in a
cock, and supplemented but a
small bit in his training. Some
other cocks appear to have all
the natural strength but when
the real heat of the battle
comes and injury is inflicted,
he is unable to cope with the
situation. This is a short-bred
undesirable pit cock. Natural
strength or weakness is a result
of breeding and perfect
environment.

PRECONDITION

Since it is necessary to
suggest some equipment in
preconditioning it can be brief:
An open air pen from 5 to 6 feet
wide, 8 to 10 feet long and 7 to
9 feet high with wind breakers
or blinds all around the sides
from the ground up for 2 to 2
1/2 feet. The top should be
half roofed under which a T-type
roost pole may be built which
reaches to within 30 to 36
inches of the roof portion.
There should be a fresh clean 4-
inch litter of corn shucks or
straw over the floor. Never
should this litter be over 6
inches. An easily clean water
can, can be nailed to one end of
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the T-type perch. The T-type
perch should be so arranged that
the cock never touch the sides
or top of the pen. Since the
pen is blinded around the sides
the cock will rise to the perch
to observe his surroundings, and
upon doing so, he will come down
to see what can be done about
it, thus he continues up and
down.

It is well to bear in mind


that we are not conditioning
this cock but we are roughing
him down or up to a physical
fitness to condition. The
height of the fly pole (not
swing) and the depth of the
litter are the factors, which
regulate his work. Therefore,
we must be careful to not
overwork a thin cock or a fat
cock because the thin cock will
never build up and the fat cock
can possibly burn up. In an
accessible place a feed cup can
be placed to feed all cocks in
at night and the thin cock can
be fed there in the morning,
whereas the fat cock can be fed
the morning feed in this litter
and from the cup at night only
until the desirable weight is
obtained. You can adjust this
feeding habit according to the
way the thin cock gains weight
and the fat cock loses weight.

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One must exercise judgment to
not overfeed a thin cock and to
not underfeed a fat cock, as
there is danger in either
extreme.

Cocks must be kept under


close observation and if weight
is being put on or taken off at
the rate of one ounce every
three to five days, progress is
being made. There is no
guesswork about the weight. You
must weigh these cocks empty.
Early in the morning before they
have picked up any feed or
moisture is the most desirable
time to weigh. It is wise to
remember that we are trying to
have the cocks carry a little
excess weight and moisture so
that we will have a surplus from
which to carve a full rounded
physique. There are two plans
for training cocks. One to work
hard, feed sparingly and spring
them by jumping their weight
with excessive moisture the last
two feeds, but this method we
are discussing is to fight the
cocks on the drop which most
successful cockers do. The drop
is accomplished by having and
keeping excessive flesh all the
way through the training period
and pulling the moisture with
the last 4 or 5 feeds.

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FEED CONSUMPTION

The feed composition for


Preconditioning and "Keep"
feeding should consist of 50
percent good commercial pigeon
chow, 15 percent oats, 20
percent corn chops, 15 percent
of barley, rye, millet, wheat,
sunflower seed and rice with the
husk, all this last 15 percent
in equal parts. This last 15
percent mixture is not
imperative but helpful and if
all cannot be obtained, any one
or two of them to substitute for
this 15 percent will be
satisfactory. This mixture
above is basic, but it must be
supplemented with a noonday feed
of variety. A little lettuce
once each day, a small chunk of
banana can be feed twice a week
at noon, a small amount nut
meats (peanuts, pecans, etc.)
may be fed twice each week, too,
a small marble sized ball of
ground lean beef may be fed
twice each week. It may be made
clear here that one-day out of
every 7 of a cock's entire life
must be soft feed. Stale bread
and buttermilk or oatmeal and
buttermilk are preferable. Each
night feed in precondition in
which the grain feed is used, it
is desirable to sprinkle the
feed generously with a good
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brand of plain canned evaporated
milk - I prefer Carnation.

A cod liver oil granule or


pellet high in Vitamin A and D
should be given every other
morning in precondition and
every morning after working in
cockhouse condition for the
first nine days of the cockhouse
training. Two weeks more or
less a sufficient amount of time
to keep a cock in his
precondition work, but the
precondition feeding program can
be continued indefinitely. After
a cock has been in precondition,
unless he is to be put in
cockhouse training, can be
switched to a small pen without
a high perch and very little
litter so that he may loaf for a
week. This pen should be a nice
clean place on the ground so he
may have access to minerals and
just relax and be lazy for about
a week. These two weeks in a
fly pen and one week's rest is a
good procedure, which will keep
a cock in excellent shape
indefinitely. It is true that
all work and no relaxation can
stale your cock or just burn him
up. It is equally true that
loafing and no work can make him
too fat and sluggish.

COCKHOUSE CONDITIONS
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After two weeks
precondition, we can place the
cock in the cockhouse. Now, let
us make a survey. Have you
eliminated lice and worms? Has
the cock's health met the
standards? Is he a fighting
cock? Is he a gamecock? Is he a
well-conformed cock? Re-read
this keep from beginning to end
with intelligence and
understanding, as this is the
yardstick with which you hope to
measure your success or failure
in the pit. Inasmuch as you
have placed the cocks in the
cockhouse from the precondition
pen, let us use this as a five-
day period to accustom the cock
to the inside of the cockhouse,
since this will be his new
surroundings for about two weeks
after this introductory stay.
Place the cocks in the stalls at
night for the night and morning
feed. Take each cock from his
night stall to the work board,
exercise him a few times, rub
lightly and generously, but be
sure never to make a false move
with him or excite him. Do this
twice each day, morning and
night, and return him to his
precondition pen for an all day
stay with the same precondition
feed and routine. The five-day
period, if wisely used, should
prevent your spending time with

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a cock that will later train
unsatisfactorily.

DESCRIPTION OF WORK ROUTINE

How to work a cock in the


keep is the most controversial
subject, but we will discuss our
way. Probably all the methods
discussed have their merit but
we will just try to be
reasonable. It is nice to place
the cock's breast and front part
of the keel in a well cupped
left hand with your right hand
cupped downward across the back
with your little finger touching
his tail root and your thumb
wrapping around under him
towards his vent. With this
accomplished you find his legs
dangling down and he is sitting
comfortably in your hands. Now
give him a gentle flirt by
raising your left hand quickly
and lowering your right hand the
same. These two actions
combined will give the
impression of trying to gently
but quickly throw him over
backwards. This we can call a
flirt as you give him a flirting
motion. As the flirt is
understood and begins to
function watch the cock's feet,
they must rise to the head level
since a cock will often bill
what he wishes to strike and his
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feet must rise to his head level
in order to strike the object he
has billed. A cock carelessly
flirted will strike short.

The run is accomplished by


facing the cock to the left and
placing your right hand behind
him to his right side and by
slightly lifting a part of his
weight and pushing him firmly
but gently to your left until
you have reached a comfortable
distance in the direction.
Since you have taken him about
three or four feet in this
direction pull your hand and
arms towards you so as to partly
circle the cock's head from you
and tail towards you. This
accomplished you will find the
cock partially turned in the
opposite direction heretofore
accomplished. Now place your
left hand behind him gently in
the same manner as your right
hand was in the beginning, push
him back across the table to
your right. Thus you have
accomplished two runs, so you
may continue this alternating
process until runs are
completed. A cock must never
run across the board in an
absolute straight run or a
sideways run of 90 degrees. As
he is started across the board
he must run in a sideways

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position of about 45-degree
angle. Thus he will step one
foot slightly across the other.
This is his stepping motion,
which increases the power of
inward blows of a gamecock.
This 45-degree angle of the run
may be called "quartering" the
run.

The climb is a great


exercise and can be easily
accomplished by standing a bale
of shucks, straw, hay or any
baled forage against you work
table or any object against
which it can lean slightly,
(about a 65 degree angle). If
the bale is stood on the end so
as to barely balance itself
against and object, the angle is
correct. A well-padded board
about 4 or 5 feet long and 8 or
10 inches wide will suffice if a
bale is not obtainable. Either
of these pieces of equipment may
be arranged as a steep plane up
which the cock may climb. Since
we have established a flirt, we
will take the cock in hand in
the same position and pitch him
lightly in this manner to the
top of the inclined plane or
bale. He will learn this
resting place and in a few days
can be tossed with head up and
feet toward the middle of the
plane or bale 2 1/2 feet from

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the floor, and he will climb it
hurriedly to his accustomed
resting place using his wings
and entire body fully. The cock
must always be tossed with his
head and front of body upward
toward top of plane upon which
he has become accustomed to
sitting. If he hesitated to
climb, a light gentle pull
downward on his tail will teach
him. If he does not respond to
this, he is exhausted, sick, and
stupid or outsmarting you,
either of which is bad. A few
of these climbs are a great deal
of work. Be careful. When a
cock opens his mouth enough to
insert a grain of corn the flat
way, this is time to stop and
look our bird over.

The stretch may help a


great deal to overcome some of
the poor or improper work, which
has been thrust upon a cock.
First position, turn cock's head
straight from you on the work
table, stand cock firmly on the
table with his tail toward you,
cup your right hand palm up and
thumb pulled in tight as though
you were expecting to pour a few
drops of water in your hand,
turn left hand facing your right
cupped hand, slide right hand
firmly under the cock between
his legs, lay left hand gently

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across cock's back as if to rub
raise cock upward with right
hand, left hand resting and
securing cock between hands.
Assuming that you are standing
within two feet of your work
table while all the preparation
is being made for the stretch,
pull the cock back toward your
right hip and with an upward
circular motion with the edge of
the table in mind, point the
cock's feet toward this point on
the table which you have had in
mind. Now hesitate or stop the
forward motion of the cock
within 4 to 6 inches of the
table and the cock will reach
full length with his legs and
will try to pull himself with
his wing power to the table.

When he has made sufficient


effort to reach the table, let
him go to it so that he will
feel that he has accomplished
his aim. A slight effort is all
he will make perhaps, but some
cocks will make more effort than
others. As soon as you get the
feel of the stretch yourself,
all cocks will cooperate more as
they learn what you wish them to
do. It is best to perform the
stretch while cocks have energy
left and are anxious. Three to
five of the stretch exercises
are enough at each working

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period. An added feature to the
stretch exercise is a little
easier accomplished and should
not be overdone. It is this; as
you have through working and
rubbing your cock and are
starting towards the stalls or
scratch pens, you may put the
cock on the floor, take him
gently by the tail and lift a
small portion of his weight by
his tail, walking him at the
same time from you and you will
find his toes slightly touching
the ground; he is now digging or
stretching to carry himself
forward. You may let him pull
himself with your giving gently
to his pull until you feel that
he is relaxing a bit. A little
of this exercise has very
definite merit but should be
suspended the last three days of
the keep.

Rubbing your cock is as


vital as any feature of training
and it is well to bear in mind
that we as average men are about
forty times as large as a
gamecock. An elephant is
possibly forty times as big as a
man. How hard do you wish an
elephant to rub you? Rub as
though you were rubbing a sore
part of your body on which the
skin is sore, not like the bone
was aching. Do not rub a cock

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down the back so firmly that his
legs kick downward and stretches
his neck twice its normal
length. Easy and gentle does
the job. Remember this about
rubbing and working a cock;
common sense is an abused
phraseology and yet it has its
place, but let us say it this
way. Consider the cock as to
what he does for himself and to
himself under natural
circumstances. He can chase a
hen a half a day when he wishes
to, but I say when he wishes to.
If a cock does not wish to
cooperate with you in his work,
his breathing is heavy and
thick; he is wild, stubborn, fat
sick or overworked. Maybe you
are advancing your work too
rapidly. Observe him closely as
you will have to be the judge.
Patience, consideration and time
will usually bring about good
results. Remember too, a cock
does not necessarily share your
zeal and zest to win a
cockfight. He does not know how
many days he has to get ready
nor how much you wish to whip
and opponent. Do not let your
strength, energy or ambition run
away with you to the extent that
you will overwork or abuse your
cocks. Regularity, system,
perseverance, patience and good
judgment are the basis of the

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formula to successfully training
gamecocks.

It is absolute folly to
assume that one can train ten
cocks for fourteen days and
raise the curtain at the end of
fourteen days finding ten cocks
ready for battle. Most usually
you will find five or six of the
ten cocks, which will be ready
and give a creditable
performance. The others need
another week or two and some
cocks may never get ready. Then
there is the cock to consider
which may get ready to fight
once in a lifetime. If you have
these very difficult cocks to
train, they become a nuisance,
and do not deserve the time and
effort given to them. However,
these difficult cocks can be
trained when understanding what
you are trying to do.

SELECTING FOR BATTLE

Selecting for battle is a


complete survey of all the
details before mentioned and
assembling them in your mind as
well as on paper. Then make up
your mind which cocks you choose
to fight using standards of
perfection as your guide. Do
not compromise with much short
of perfection. The cocks you
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select for battle must be all
that you can think about a cock,
which is good on a reasonable
basis. Finally his flesh must be
firm, not hard, yet not soft, a
well contracted or small vent
and feel lighter that he really
is but not dehydrated or dry,
not listless feeling. He must
be wide-awake, anxious and
looking for an opponent. It is
well to remember that a complete
mental note must be at hand
about each cock in final
selection. Selecting and
training a gamecock is a job for
the mentally alert. A cock,
which feels like a firm rubber
rooster, is in full flesh and
should be able to fight.

POINTING A COCK FOR BATTLE

Point a cock for battle in


the minds of most cockers is a
real job for a magician, but
this is not the case providing
real judgment and knowledge have
been used in the keep. It is
well to assume that if a cock
has been abused during the keep
and dealt with unintelligently,
he then can not overcome this in
a week much less two or three
days, hence, it is impossible to
point him in the last few days
of the keep which are allotted
to his job. If cocks have come
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well all through the keep, they
will point easily when properly
fed, work tapered and complete
rest period. A little less feed
and much more rest is the
formula for pointing cock for
battle. If your keep has been
good, do not have too much worry
about pointing your cocks.
Details on pointing are to
follow with your feeding
routine. Two things alone
accomplish holding cocks to
point for battle. 1. Know what
days and approximate hour he
will fight. 2. Stagger your
work and feed. If you are
fighting in a multiple day event
then point the cock for each
separate day as if this were the
only day you are to fight. If
you are fighting cocks for four
days, you are to assume that you
are fighting four separate
derbies. If you should choose
to fight a cock a day later than
the day scheduled, feed him the
night before the fight same as
the other cocks you wish to
fight the same day. After the
cock is pointed to fight one day
and you fight him the following,
it is wise to observe him
closely by the standards laid
down in this keep and do not use
him unless he meets with the
requirements. If he has lost a
couple of ounces in weight and

26
does not seem wide-awake, it is
well to discard him. After a
cock is pointed for battle, he
is usually his best for six to
eight hours afterwards, but
there are frequent exceptions.

HEELING A COCK

Heeling a cock can be made


an extremely controversial
subject but since this keep for
the greatest amount of benefit
to those who use it, we will
pursue the facts as this writer
sees them. A two and a quarter
or two and three eighths inch
gaff for a cock up to five
pounds, four ounces and a two
and five eights or two and
three-quarter inch gaff on all
cocks above five pounds four
ounces may be used. A high
pointed jagger type gaff is the
most desirable. The gaff should
be snugly, not tightly fitted to
the stub of the spur and leg.
Thus fitted, the concave flange
will rest snugly to the light
packing around the leg and the
socket will fit the natural
shape of the spur. When a gaff
is fitted in this manner and
your cocks do not cut, it is
well to assume that you need
another pair of gaffs. Never
try to set a gaff according to
your whims or fancy.
27
If you twist the gaff or
over pack it, top or bottom, to
do the job, there is a greater
possibility that after the cock
strikes a few blows the gaff has
take its natural set or slips
back on the leg like the
designer created it to fit.
This being true, it warrants the
purchase of a different pair of
gaffs if a different set is
desired. It is true that one of
several pairs of identical gaffs
will cut, whereas the others do
not seem to do as well. A real
strong fighting cock usually
makes a pair of standard type
gaffs good, but one must not
depart too far from the
conventional type. A good cock,
a nicely made pair of gaffs well
fitted and snugly tied on will
usually serve the purpose well.

CARING FOR A FOUGHT COCK

Caring for a cock to


refight soon is a pet subject
with this writer and it has
proven a real worthwhile
endeavor. Pardon the personal
comment, but this writer
campaigned during the year of
1954 in what is considered the
country's major competition
areas with about forty cocks,
and won or made a considerable
28
showing in all events entered.
Some of these cocks were fought
six and seven times and one of
these cocks, which proved to be
outstanding, were fought
thirteen times in one season.
Let us see what we have done to
the cocks in the process of
training. We have taken him
from a slightly over-fleshed
cock down to a perfect physique
which required taking off flesh
and removing excess moisture.
And too, it is well to remember
that his nervous system has been
tuned to almost a breaking
point.

Assuming that this has been


successfully accomplished, now
let us reverse the process of
training. Put your cock in a
nice pen on the ground without
much litter and feed him
generously of things as
different to the keep feed as
possible. Keep the corn out of
his diet unless it is severely
cold. In short, give him plenty
of rest, pleasure and feed. In
a few days his weight will rise
about three to six ounces above
his fighting weight. By weighing
and thoroughly examining the
cock when empty and deciding he
has regained his moisture and
original flesh, he may be put
either in the keep or the

29
preconditioned pen as previously
described. If you stay on the
job, and exercise your best
judgment with your cocks, they
may be fought seven or eight
times a year if not badly
injured and retrained each time
if this plan is pursued.

COCKHOUSE DO'S AND DON'TS

Assuming that the preconditions


and selection of birds to train
have been intelligently handled,
we will now set forth on a
fourteen-day routine of work and
feed.

FIRST DAY

Take your cock from the


overnight stall to your
worktable. Give him six runs
across the worktable. The
worktable should be an old half-
bed mattress or even a new one,
which is better. Three good
flirts two feet high, one stretch
exercise, two climb exercises.
Rub him generously and freely
without quick jerking motions and
any excessive hand waving about
his face, as this is the time
that you must make a good or bad
impression on the cock. Now drop
this cock in a cool out pen where
there is no draft and allow him
to become normal in respiration
30
and scratch about a little while
you are working another cock. As
you have finished with the second
cock, remove the first cock from
the cool out pen and place in the
overnight stall; continue this
process until all cocks are
worked. Now feed two-rounded
tablespoonful of oatmeal and
buttermilk, which has soaked
overnight. Give one cod liver
oil pellet or granule after
morning workout only. At nine or
ten o'clock in the morning rub
all cocks down generously and
pitch them into fly pens or
scratch pens until time for their
night work. All cocks should be
fed as suggested in the keep for
the noonday feed.

Repeat same work and feed


routine at night.

SECOND DAY

Work, one stretch, five


flirts, five climbs, 6 runs. Feed
grain, a level tablespoon in the
morning, well rounded
tablespoonful at night, Follow
your same cooling and scratching
routine as described for the
first day. This is his first
grain feed of the keep with a cod
liver oil pellet in the morning
only, lettuce, nutmeat or banana
at noon.
31
Repeat same work and feed
routing at night.

THIRD DAY

Two stretches, five flirts,


five climbs, ten runs. Repeat
same stretch and cool out routine
as described in second day,
except increase his grain feed to
a well-rounded tablespoon in the
morning and a heaping
tablespoonful at night. Now the
cock is on full feed, and the
only thing that will vary for the
next few days is the amount of
work which you will give him,
unless upon close examination you
find that he is not throwing his
grain and if this is the case,
cut his grain a little for one
more feed until he does begin to
throw it.

Repeat same work and feed


routing at night.

FOURTH DAY

Two stretches, ten flirts,


five climbs, ten runs. Cod liver
oil pellet in the morning and
repeat same feed and scratch
routine as last mentioned. Work
night and morning.

FIFTH DAY

32
Three stretches, ten flirts,
ten climbs, fifteen runs. Cod
liver oil pellet in the morning
and same feed and work routine as
before. Work night and morning.

SIXTH DAY

Three stretches, ten flirts,


fifteen climbs, twenty runs. Cod
liver oil pellet in the morning
and same feed and work routine as
before. Work morning and night.

SEVENTH DAY

Three stretches, fifteen


flirts, fifteen climbs, twenty-
five runs. Cod liver oil in the
morning and feed all cocks two or
three tablespoonful of oatmeal
and buttermilk night and morning
with same noonday feed as
mentioned before. Continue same
cool out and scratch routine as
before established. Work night
and morning.

EIGHTH DAY

Three stretches, twenty


flirts, twenty climbs, twenty-
five runs. Cod liver oil pellet
in the morning and feed one
rounded tablespoon of grain
mixture in the morning and
heaping tablespoonful at night.
Continue same cool out, scratch
33
and rubbing routine as before
established. Work night and
morning.

NINTH DAY

Four stretches, twenty


flirts, twenty-five climbs,
thirty runs. Cod liver oil
pellet in the morning and same
grain feed, same cool out and
scratch routine as for eighth
day. Work night and morning.

TENTH DAY

Four stretches, twenty-five


flirts, thirty climbs, thirty-
five runs. No cod liver oil
pellet for the remainder of the
keep. Add one-fourth of the
white of a hard boiled egg,
morning only, to the grain feed
(egg white). From this day for
the remainder of the keep, do not
use fly pens or high roost perch
poles nor liter over two inches
deep, as we are beginning new to
store up energy and taper off on
the work of the cock. Use same
feed, cool out routine as before
described. Cock may be left all
day in a medium sized scratch
pen. Work night and morning.
34
ELEVENTH DAY

Two stretches, ten flirts,


twenty climbs, twenty run. Feed,
cool out, and scratch as
described in tenth day. Work
night and morning.

TWELFTH DAY

One stretch, two flirts, ten


climbs, ten runs. Feed one-
fourth of the white of a hard-
boiled egg per cock with your
regular morning and night grain
feed. Scratch thirty minutes in
the morning and ten minutes in
the afternoon. Leave in overnight
stalls for the rest of the day.
Work night and morning.

THIRTEENTH DAY

One stretch, one flirt, one


climb, two runs. Scratch five
minutes in the morning and five
minutes in the afternoon. Leave
in overnight stalls all day.
Feed one fourth of the white of a
hard-boiled egg per cock with the
regular grain feed night and
morning. It is desirable to
cover the coops loosely so that
plenty of air may be had, but
make the coops as dark as
possible to keep the cocks
perfectly quiet and calm all day.
Make as little noise and as few
35
trips to the cockhouse as
possible. The noonday feed on
this day should consist of a few
bites of the white of a hard
boiled egg and two or three picks
of yellow cracked corn. No
lettuce, no banana, no nutmeat on
this day.

FOURTEENTH DAY

Feed the cocks one fourth of


a feed if the cocks fight about
noon, feed one half of the feed
if they fight in the afternoon.
If he fights at night, feed a
full morning feed and a bite or
two of corn and egg white at
noon. Keep cocks dark and quiet
until time to heel. Just before
heeling, the cock may be dropped
into a scratch coop long enough
to kick about a dozen or so
strokes, then he is ready to
heel. Grain feed night and
morning every day except first
and seventh day of keep. It will
take from two to two and one-half
pounds of feed a cock through
fourteen-day keep. Use the same
mixture as use in the
precondition and mix in a large
can so all feed may be mixed at
one time for all cocks through
the keep. For example, if you
have one cock use about two
36
pounds of mixture -- four pounds
for two cocks -- six pounds for
three cocks, etc. Now, this is
important to avoid any quick
change of feed. And too, after
the first four days of the keep,
you will begin to add to this can
of mixed feed. From the fourth
day on, every time you use feed
from your mixture, you will
replace the same amount with good
clean yellow corn chops. The corn
chop mixture will consist of
ninety per cent yellow corn
(common field variety) and ten
per cent yellow popcorn. When
the corn mixture is added to your
original mixture, stir well to
blend the corn in. As you add
corn each day fro the amount of
mixture removed each day, you
will approach a full mixture of
pure corn. After the fourth day
same as the case of adding the
corn mixture, you will add one
heaping tablespoon washed clean
oats which have been soaked in
condensed milk all day or night,
whichever the case may be. These
oats are added to your mixture
after you have put the proper
amount of feed in your pan,
washed it with clear water and
are ready to feed your cocks. One
heaping tablespoon of oats above
mentioned to every six cocks. A
generous amount of medium sized
granite grit must be fed at all

37
times can be discontinued last
three days. Stir these well into
your feed mixture and add a
little condensed milk, but
discontinue milk after tenth day
of keep.

A mixture of one-half
condensed milk and one-half water
may be given generously to
replace drinking water for first
ten days of keep. Give your fat
cocks the milk mixture one day
and plain clean water the next,
however your thin cocks may have
the milk mixture every day for
the first ten days of the keep.
Bear in mind that cups and feed
pans must be well cleaned and
sunned when milk is used. After
working cocks in the morning for
first ten days of keep, a cod
liver oil pellet may be given. A
pellet, which is high in Vitamin
A and D, is necessary. After the
ninth day you may begin to feed
white of a hard-boiled egg at
night only the tenth and eleventh
day at the rate of one white of
egg to every four cocks. The
twelfth and thirteenth day white
of an egg may be fed twice each
day, night and morning. In same
proportion as mentioned above.
All feed should be washed before
feeding but well drained. When
milk is being fed, it can be
added after washing feed. Milk
38
is to be discontinued in all
forms after the tenth day. Oats
may be soaked in water from the
tenth day on until the fourteenth
day. Water should be kept before
the cock all through the keep
except the last two days. The
twelfth and thirteenth day after
you have fed night and morning,
place a cup of water, before the
cocks and let them have what they
want, then remove the water and
close the cocks up. Try to
encourage moisture through
drinking until the last two days
and particularly the last two
feeds. No water at all on fight
day. Never change water source
or type during your keep.

When cocks do not turn out


well, there is usually no single
thing to blame but there are many
things too small to attract much
attention and they have added up
against your cock. It is rarely
ever the feed if a conventional
pattern is followed. It is nice
to see cocks jump at the stalls
and pound the feeding cups, but
if he looks and acts anxious at
all times, he is too hungry --
increase his feed. If he sits
idly around and does not show
life and vigor, decrease his
feed. Observe him closely, he
may be sick. Meat may be fed
three or four times during the
39
keep at noon preferably, but
night feed will do. A ball about
the size of a marble. Boiled,
lean beef well ground and fed at
noon on the twelfth day of the
keep is good. Never make an
abrupt change in feed. If
anything is to be added or taken
away from the feed, do it
gradually. Work and feed should
be eleven hours apart such as,
seven o'clock in the morning and
six o'clock at night. Once a
routine is established, it is
wise not to vary it, even ten
minutes one way or the other.
Routine is of the greatest
importance.

If you wish to convert this


keep into a short heel keep just
add about one third more work and
rest one more day at the end of
the keep which will make a
fifteen day keep instead of a
fourteen day keep.

40

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