If a stream flow through the grounds, in the vicinity of the house; or a pond, or a small lake be near, a few varieties of choice water-fowls may be kept, adding much to the interest and amusement of the family. Many of the English nobility, and gentry, keep swans for such purpose. They are esteemed a bird of much grace and beauty, although silent, and of shy, unsocial habits, and not prolific in the production of their young. For such purposes as they are kept in England, the great African goose, resembling the China, but nearly double in size, is a preferable substitute in this country. It is a more beautiful bird in its plumage; equally graceful in the water; social, and gentle in its habits; breeding with facility, and agreeable in its voice, particularly at a little distance. The African goose will attain a weight of twenty to twenty-five pounds. Its body is finely formed, heavily feathered, and its flesh is of delicate flavor. The top of the head, and the back of its neck, which is long, high, and beautifully arched, is a dark brown; its bill black, with a high protuberance, or knob, at its junction with the head; a 371 dark hazel eye, with a golden ring around it; the under part of the head and neck, a soft ash-color; and a heavy dewlap at the throat. Its legs and feet are orange-colored; and its belly white. Taken altogether, a noble and majestic bird.
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