New book does justice to proud birds

Oriental Gamefowl by Horst W. Schmudde

Available through AuthorHouse, 888-280-7715, 208 pp., illustrated, $47.

Reviewed by Dr. Charles R. H. Everett
The secretary/treasurer of the Society for the Preservation of Poultry Antiquities.

At the present time in the United States there are two people I would consider experts on Orientals: Craig Russell and Horst Schmudde. So, when I heard that Mr. Schmudde had written a book on Orientals, I immediately went about contacting the publisher for a copy of my own. As an avid breeder of Orientals, I waited with bated anticipation for the arrival of my copy of Oriental Gamefowl to show up at my front doorstep via the USPS. I waited a week, not very patiently, until it finally arrived on Friday afternoon. Over the weekend, I devoured the entire book. I can honestly say it was well worth the wait! Truly, Mr. Schmudde has delivered the most informative book on Orientals since Carlos A. Finsterbusch published Cockfighting All Over the World.

In compiling the information, Mr. Schmudde used a variety of resources including his own vast knowledge, the Society for the Preservation of Poultry Antiquities Bulletin, local first-hand accountants, and older original source material. In covering so vast a topic as Oriental Gamefowl, there are any number of ways the material might be arranged. At first, I was somewhat baffled by Mr. Schmudde's chosen arrangement. After careful reflection, I believe his arrangement to be imminently practical and a most logical system.

Mr. Schmudde introduces the present state of Orientals in America, Europe, and Australia, in the opening chapters. He follows that with excellent descriptions (including photographs) of the Orientals that are still being used in the pit by cockers. Of particular value are the standards for breeding in this section.

Interestingly, many of these cockers are of Vietnamese and Thai descent. Since the 1960s these particular people of the East have had a close and visible connection with the West; thus, their inclusion in this section.

Next, Mr. Schmudde re-introduces us to the familiar Orientals of the Standard of Perfection. He also tempts us with lesser-known breeds. His coverage of the Asil in this section exemplifies the depth of knowledge revealed in this excellent text. He describes twelve different varieties, the standard developed by the Calcutta Aseel Club over 50 years ago, and a detailed breeding plan.

Mr. Schmudde then moves on to the long-tail breeds, including the familiar Sumatras, Yokohamas, Cubalayas, and Onagadori. Amazingly, he then introduces five additional breeds. These are followed with a detailed look at four long-crower breeds.

Finally, Mr. Schmudde gives us a glimpse into the world of breeding, hatching, rearing, and housing of Orientals.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the excellent quality of the photography throughout the book. The pictures alone are worth the cost of the book. The print and quality of the paper are superb.

Preservationists, fanciers, and cockers all owe Mr. Schmudde a great debt for the quality of material he has assembled in this one handy reference work. As a breeder of Cubalayas that include birds originally from his strain, I wholeheartedly recommend this new resource.

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