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one in the summer for the purpose of making them more airy. The benches should be made of pine or oak spars, and if they are made to turn up according to the following plan several advantages result, being described, by a correspondent signing himself “Lepus,” in the columns of “The Field,” as follows :
“My benches are made of inch deal, cut into widths of three inches, and nailed half an inch apart to two transverse pieces, to which hinges are fixed to connect the bench with a board six
Plan of Kennel Bench for Hounds. A A folds to B B; cc folds to D D; E, hook to
fasten bench back.
inches wide, fastened firmly to the wall about a foot from the ground. In front is a piece of board about three inches in width to keep the straw from drawing off with the hounds. To prevent the hounds from creeping under, I nail two long laths the length of the bench across in front of the legs, which are hung with hinges in front of the bench, so that when the bench is hooked back they fall down and hang flat. By having the six-inch board between the hinges and the wall, it prevents the former from being strained when the bench is hooked back with straw upon it.”
In some establishments there is a separate kennel for the young hounds, with a grass yard attached, for their own use, and it is certainly very advantageous; but with a little management the buildings above recommended will be sufficient, and with a saving of considerable expense. The hounds during the hunting season will not require it at all, as they should be walked out several times a day into a paddock or field, and should not be allowed to lie about anywhere but on their benches.
In the rear of the kennels should be a covered passage into which the doors of the middle kennel should open, and leading to the feeding-house, which stands under the same roof as the boiling-house, only separated from it by a partition. This passage should be so constructed as to make a foot bath for the hounds as they pass through after hunting, the bricks being gradually sloped from each end to the centre, where it should be a foot deep, with a plugged drain in the lowest part, to let the hot liquor or water off into a drain. On each side of this passage should be a paved court with a small lodging-house at each end ; one for lame hounds, and the other for those which are sick.
The rentilation of the rooms composing the lodgings of the hounds must be carefully attended to, and for this purpose the shaft alluded to at page 228 is by far the best adapted. It resembles in external appearance that usually placed above well
Muir's Ventilating Apparatus. a, b, c, d, the four divisions of shaft; e, f, board for
distributing down current.
constructed stables, &c. ; but there is this important internal alteration, that the square is divided perpendicularly into four triangular tubes, one of which is sure to be presented to the wind from whatever quarter of the compass it is blowing, while the opposite one allows the foul air to escape, to make room for that descending through the first-named tube. When this is once constructed, it only remains to lead a metal tube from each of these four compartments to every one of the lodging-rooms, which will thus be as effectually ventilated as if each had an apparatus to itself. To carry this out well the lodging-rooms should be in a block, and then there will be a corner of each meeting in a common centre, above which the ventilator should be placed with the arrangement of tubes above described.
The kennel management of hounds is a much more difficult and important affair than is generally supposed, as upon its proper performance, in great measure, depends the obedience of the pack in the field. Sometimes it is entirely committed to the care of the feeder, but every huntsman who knows his business will take as much pains with his hounds in kennel as out, and though he will not of course prepare the food, yet he will take care to superintend it, and will always “ draw” his hounds himself, for no one else can possibly know how to feed them. During the season this duty must of necessity devolve on the feeder or kennel-man on the hunting days, but the huntsman should always carry it out himself whenever he can. Hounds cannot be too fond of their huntsman, and though “cupboard love” is not to be encouraged in man, yet it is at the bottom of most of that which is exhibited by the dog, however much it may appear to take a higher range when once it has been properly developed.
The regular daily kennel discipline is as follows: — With the four lodging-rooms described there should always be two dry and clean in the early morning, having been washed the day before.
Into these the general pack should be turned, as soon as the doors are opened, or, if the morning is not wet, directly after a short airing in the paddock. The feeder then sweeps out the room in which they have slept, and afterwards mops it clean, drying the floor as much as possible, so that by ten or eleven o'clock it is fit for the hounds to re-enter. The men then get their breakfast, and directly afterwards the hounds are taken out to exercise, or the, hunting hounds to their regular day's work. If the former, they are brought back to kennel at eleven o'clock, fed, and returned to their regular lodging-room, or in some kennels they are still kept in a separate room during the day and night, always taking care that they are not turned into a room while the floor is damp, and that strict cleanliness is practised nevertheless. The hour of feeding is generally fixed for eleven o'clock, but for the day before hunting it should be an hour or two later, varying with the distance they have to travel. Water should be constantly provided, taking care that the troughs are raised above the height at which dogs can pass their urine into it, which they will otherwise be constantly doing. As before remarked, iron troughs are the best. After feeding the hounds should remain quiet for the rest of the day, only stirring them in removing them from their day-room to their night-room, if two are allowed, which, I think, is an excellent practice.
The food of hounds is composed of meal flavoured with broth, to which more or less flesh is added, or with greaves as a substitute when flesh cannot be obtained. The relative value of the various meals is described at page 217, but I may here remark