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Young Folks' Program - March 1928

Young Folks' Program

Five episodes

March 1928





United States Department of Agriculture 

Radio Service

Office of Information


Taming Wild Animals

Mar 02 1928

SUBJECT: Taming Wild Animals.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Our young friend, Jim, is very much interested in pets these days. He has been after Uncle Abe for some time now to get him to tell how to tame wild animals. You know, Uncle Abe is from the Department of Agriculture and is quite a hand at making friends with animals----- But here come Uncle Abe and Jim now------

* * * * * * * *

UNCLE ABE: Well, well, Jim, so you want to know how I do it, do you? You want me to give you the real secret of taming wild animals, huh?

JIM: If you will, Uncle Abe.

UNCLE ABE: The first thing then for you to get in your head is that: All wild animals are not wild.

JIM: What do you mean?

UNCLE ABE: Why, the so-called wild animals are many of them that way because we make them so.

JIM: Anyway, they're all wilder than domesticated animals, aren't they?

UNCLE ABE: No. Some wild animals are really just as tame as domesticated animals. You see they haven't had to associate with human beings and get scared out of their wits every so often-----

Why, Jim, I've caught beavers, for instance, lots of times. I catch them in cage traps. After taking a beaver out of a trap and taking him away from the water, in five or ten minutes I've had the beaver up in my arms petting him. The beaver is a big powerful fellow. He could have bit off my hand easily, but after he found out he had nothing to fear from me, he wasn't scared. He was tame.

It is the same with other animals. Not long ago, I fixed up a trap for a fox -- a so-called wild fox that had been seen prowling around the yard near where I was staying. I wrapped rags around the jaws of the trap, so they wouldn't hurt the fox when he sprung the trap. I attached a bell to the trap, so I could hear it in the house and come out to get the fox as soon as he was caught. Everything worked nicely. That "wild" fox wasn't hurt by the padded trap. After I let him out and held him down to the ground and talked to him a while, I took him up in my arms. 

JIM: How do you do it, Uncle Abe?

UNCLE ABE: Well, Jim, the chief thing is to gain the animal's confidence, let him know you are not going to hurt him. Wild animals are rarely afraid if you get their confidence.

JIM: How do you do that?

UNCLE ABE: Avoid quick motions and hard, abrupt voices. Be perfectly gentle with them. Speak to them in a soft voice and be slow in your movements. It is just a matter of overcoming the fright they get from our misunderstanding them. 

JIM: Ground-hogs are pretty wild ---

UNCLE ABE: Yes, the woodchuck or the groundhog, as you call it, is one of the wildest animals we know. It's a very timid, nervous animal. It is easily frightened. And there is no reason to wonder why it is so wild. It is hunted and killed by almost every man, boy, and animal that ever sees one.

JIM: Did you ever tame a woodchuck or groundhog, Uncle Abe?

UNCLE ABE: Oh, yes. I was going along the road some time ago and I saw a woodchuck or groundhog. I jumped out of my car to get him. There was no place for him to hide, so he ran under the car. I happened to have a gunny sack in the car. I made a noose with a piece of string. Talking to him gently, in a few minutes, I had caught him and put him in the gunny sack. Of course, he was trembling all over. He was scared. Soon, however, I gained his confidence and he became quite a pet.

JIM: How about game animals? Could you tame a deer or anything like that?

UNCLE ABE: Oh, yes. But, you must remember, the game animals are hunted. They have learned to fear us. You have to get game animals young to tame them.

JIM: They say some animals can't be tamed.

UNCLE ABE: I know "they" say that. But I've never tried to raise one yet, that I didn't do it. Many of the animals which it is supposed cannot be tamed and can not live in captivity are just easily frightened. It is nerves that kill them. That's the important thing to remember, Jim. Some of the little shrews are hard to raise also, because you have to feed them all the time.

JIM: Feed them all the time?

UNCLE ABE: Yes, they will starve to death in a couple of hours. But I've kept them and learned a good bit about them, too. For instance, I've found that they eat twice their own weight in insects every 24 hours. Yes, Jim, not only are many wild animals not wild, but they might be made very useful.

JIM: What would you use them for?

UNCLE ABE: Well, that depends on the animal, of course. Not long ago, I brought a little mouse home with me from Oregon. It was one of those little wild western mice known as the grass-hopper mouse, because it lives mostly on grasshoppers and other insects. Well, we had been having a good deal of trouble with cock roaches, so I put my pet grasshopper mouse in the kitchen. In a few nights, he cleared out all the cock roaches, mealy bugs and other troublesome insects. He did a thorough job of it. Then I put him in the basement, and he finished them up there. For months, we were free from insect pests.

JIM: You must have had an awful lot of queer pets, Uncle Abe.

UNCLE ABE: You see, Jim, I study the habits of animals. But there are a great many other animals that haven't yet been studied. Many of those wild animals could be controlled very easily. In order to learn about animals we must make friends with them.

JIM: I'm going to try that. You say to move slowly, be careful and talk softly to them?

UNCLE ABE: Yes, treat them gently. Win their confidence. That is the real secret of taming wild animals. That is the important thing for folks who want to learn the ways of animals.


Our Forest Wild Animals

Mar 09 1928

SUBJECT: Our Forest Wild Animals.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Last week Uncle Abe, of the Department of Agriculture, was talking to his nephew, Jim, about taming wild animals. Ever since then that boy hasn't overlooked a chance to ask Uncle Abe more about animals. --- There they are talking together now ----

* * * * * * * *

JIM: -- You say there are a lot of wild animals in our national forests?

UNCLE ABE: Why yes, Jim. A forest would hardly be a forest without the animals. It would be about like a town without people. Do you know how government forests started?

JIM: No. How, Uncle Abe?

UNCLE ABE: Well, you know there were government forests in the old countries hundreds of years ago. The first government forests were the King's game preserves. The first foresters were the game keepers. And foresters still are game keepers. The practice of using the forests to protect game as well as to produce timber has come down to modern times.

JIM: Are the Forest Rangers on our National Forests game keepers?

UNCLE ABE: Oh, yes. There are 133 State Game Preserves on our National Forests, besides a number of Federal game refuges established by special acts of Congress. Most of the Forest Rangers are State Game Wardens and help to enforce the hunting and fishing laws of the State.

JIM: What kind of wild animals are in the National Forests?

UNCLE ABE: Why, most of the important animals of the temperate zone. You see, our National Forests, contain a good bit of the wild country still left in the United States. In them there are the smaller animals like rabbits, squirrels, beaver, marten, otter, and mink. There are also the bigger wild animals like the mountain lion, lynx, wildcats, wolves, and coyotes which kill much game and livestock every year and are hunted the year around. Then, too, there are such animals as deer, elk, moose, mountain sheep, mountain goats, antelopes, and several kinds of bears, including the big grizzly. As the rangers go about their business of the forest, riding the trails, they naturally come often in contact with wild animals. They have a fine chance to learn the habits of animals.

JIM: They must have a lot of fun.

UNCLE ABE: Well, meeting wild animals is not always pleasant --- Did I ever tell you about Jones, the forest fire fighter or "smokechaser" as we call them on the National Forests?

JIM: What happened to him?

UNCLE ABE: Well, Jones left headquarters one morning to go to a forest fire. When four miles on his way, he met a she bear.

JIM: What did he do?

UNCLE ABE: He couldn't get past that bear. The bear started toward him, Jones dropped his "smokechaser" equipment on the ground and took to a tree. Up the tree, the bear went after him. Jones beat her over the nose with his canteen, until she slowly retreated, called her cubs from another tree, and disappeared in some brush.

JIM: Then what happened?

UNCLE ABE: After half an hour or so, Jones came down out of the tree and started picking up his tools he had dropped. Out rushed the bear. Jones headed for a cabin about 200 yards away, with the bear right behind him. Jones got there first, shut out the bear, and waited for her to leave. After staying there an hour and a half, he again ventured out after his fire-fighter's tools. That time, the bear sprang at him from close range behind some bushes. He started to run. She struck him. He tripped. As he fell, the bear sprang on him.

JIM: -- Did she kill him! ---

UNCLE ABE: Jones led a left hook to her chin and kicked hard as he drew his hunting knife with his right hand -----

JIM: -- Good! ---

UNCLE ABE: He never knew whether he got her with the knife or not. Just then the bear hit him a heavy blow in the ribs. He was knocked out. From marks on his body afterward, that bear must have struck him a second time for good measure. -- When he woke up, she was gone; but he was too badly damaged to get to the fire. Late that evening, battered and torn, he limped dejectedly into ranger headquarters.

JIM: Working in the National Forests must be exciting ----

UNCLE ABE: Well, of course, Jim, fights with wild animals like that don't happen every day. Besides acting as game wardens, the rangers help to keep the lakes and streams of the National Forests well stocked with game fish. Sometimes that means tramping for miles through the forest with cans of the baby fish strapped to their backs. And, of course, all the National Forests don't have all the wild animals. There are just two of them that have buffaloes, for instance; although we don't class buffaloes as wild animals these days.

JIM: I thought all the buffaloes were about killed off.

UNCLE ABE: No, buffaloes are not in much danger of extinction nowdays. The Government Game Preserve on the Wichita National Forest in Oklahoma is full of buffaloes -- There are more there than the pastures will support, so the government has been giving them away. The State Preserve in South Dakota became so overstocked with buffaloes, that it was necessary to get rid of some of them. They were sold to hunters and butchers for meat. No, Jim, with game laws in force, there is probably little chance of many of our game animals becoming extinct through wasteful killing. But there is one thing that can kill them off and drive them from their homes in a hurry.

JIM: What's that, Uncle Abe?


JIM: I see how forest fires might run wild animals out, but it looks like they could get away from the fire. It wouldn't kill them, would it?

UNCLE ABE: The big game animals, Jim, depend on grazing and browsing for their food. Fire destroys the grasses and brush. It takes away their food. That makes them crowd on to other ranges. When the fires occur late in the fall, big game animals, and especially deer, suffer during the winter. Often they die of starvation on account of the forest fires.

I want you to remember, Jim, that the prevention of forest fires is one of the most important means of preserving and protecting wild animals. Be sure to be careful with fire when you are in the forest. Fires can totally destroy the smaller animals with homes near the ground. Many forest officers think that the scarcity of some game birds is due largely to fires. Many a forest mother has been found dead beside her young whom she tried to protect from the fire.



Mar 16 1928


ANNOUNCEMENT: Our young friend Jim has been asking Uncle Abe a good many questions lately about wild animals. Today he is asking Uncle Abe some hard questions about soils, what soil is made of, and how it should be prepared for the garden.

* * * *

UNCLE ABE: Hello Jim! what is that you have in your hand?

JIM: That is what I was going to ask you Uncle Abe. It is a part of our garden, in fact, our garden is full of just such clods as this.

UNCLE ABE: Let me see, it looks like what they use for making bricks, but it is soil. 

JIM: It may be soil Uncle Abe, but it looks like awful poor soil to me.

UNCLE ABE: True enough Jim, but you see this is soil in the making.

JIM: What is soil made of Uncle Abe?

UNCLE ABE: Rocks originally, just rocks, but water, Jack Frost and other agencies have, through long periods of time dissolved and pulverized the rocks in nature's mill, and they have become soil.

JIM: Do all kinds of rocks turn to soil Uncle Abe?

UNCLE ABE: Yes, only different kinds of rocks make different kinds of soil. For example, we have coarse sandy soils, fine sandy soils, loam soils and clay soils. If you were to look at a particle of soil through a microscope, it would look almost like a pile of broken rocks. The main difference between the different kinds of soil is in their texture, sandy soils being quite coarse while the loam soils are finer and many of the clay soils are very fine.

JIM: How does nature change the rocks into these different kinds of soils? 

UNCLE ABE: Did you ever observe a piece of sandstone, how in the spring of the year after it has been frozen and thawed a number of times during the winter there will be lot of particles of sand lying around it?

JIM: Yes, Uncle Abe, there is a sandstone sticking out of the side of the cut in the road with a pile of sand beneath it. It never occurred to me that soil was made in that manner.

UNCLE ABE: That is the way part of it is made, in fact, the most of it. You see, a small quantity of water soaks into the stone then freezes. You know how a jug will burst if it is left full of water and allowed to freeze. It is just the same way with stone. When the water freezes in the stone the freezing expands the water and it splits off a small particle of the stone and this becomes a grain of sand. If it were a limestone rock the particles would be so small that they would blow away or be washed away by the rain so you might never notice them, but the splendid limestone soils which make up many of our best farms are created in just this way.

JIM: My! Uncle Abe, it must have taken a long time for all of the soil in the world to be made in this way.

UNCLE ABE: Quite true Jim, but you see until man began to cultivate the soil it was covered with forest and very little of it either washed away or blew away so it gradually built up.

JIM: What makes some soils dark in color like the black soil in the woods?

UNCLE ABE: Humus, Jim, decayed vegetable matter, decayed wood, leaves, or even grass, anything that is rotted into the soil and has added what we call humus to it. Of course, soils are naturally of different color, those from white sandstone naturally are light in color, those from limestone are often dark grey or even red in color, the red usually being due to the presence of a little iron in the soil. The lump that you have brought in is what we might call a red clay. Now if it had been exposed to the weather all winter instead of lying buried in the ground, it would have frozen and thawed and been broken into fine particles, then if you were to mix with it a lot of compost it would be made darker in color and suitable for growing garden crops. That is the principle of improving soils. The farmers plow their land and either apply compost or grow a crop of cowpeas, soy beans or velvet beans on it to add organic matter. Then when they plant their crops they often add fertilizers to supply more plant food.

JIM: What is the best way for me to improve the soil of my garden, Uncle Abe? You know I have joined the garden club and I want to have a good garden.

UNCLE ABE: First, clean off any trash that is on the ground then, if possible, secure a load of compost and spread it over the surface of the soil, next, spade the ground either with a spading fork or a spade, turning under the compost to a depth of 7 or 8 inches and mixing it with the soil.

JIM: What is the next step after I spade the garden?

UNCLE ABE: Put on some fertilizer and rake it into the top two or three inches of soil.

JIM: How much fertilizer should I put on, Uncle Ale?

UNCLE ABE: About 4 or 5 pounds for each 100 square feet of ground.

JIM: One Hundred square feet - let's see - that would be 10 feet in each direction.

UNCLE ABE: Exactly, and don't forget to spread the fertilizer uniformly, not in piles here and there, but all over the soil alike.

JIM: When should I put on the fertilizer, Uncle Abe?

UNCLE ABE: You can put it on right after spading the ground or you can wait until later, but it should be applied at least 2 or 3 days before you plant your garden seeds.

JIM: Is there anything else I should do in preparing the soil for planting?

UNCLE ABE: Yes, go over it and break all the lumps with the back of the hoe or rake. Good soil preparation means good crops, in fact, half the work of growing the crop is in the preparation of the soil. The last thing before you plant the seeds give the top of the soil another good raking so that the surface will be fine and mellow but be careful and do not work the soil when it is wet, because that makes the soil particles stick together in chunks, thus undoing nature's work in breaking up the particles.

JIM: How about putting ashes on my garden Uncle Abe?

UNCLE ABE: Wood ashes is a good fertilizer, because it contains potash, also a little lime. Coal ashes is not worth much as a fertilizer, but its use is sometimes recommended on heavy clay soils because it lightens the soils. I wouldn't advise you to put very much ashes on your soil, however, better depend on compost and thorough spading and pulverizing.

JIM: Thanks Uncle Abe, I am going to try to have the best garden in the club.

UNCLE ABE: I wish you success Jim.


How to Grow Garden Crops

Mar 23 1928


ANNOUNCEMENT: Our young friend Jim, you will recall, last week entered the garden club. Today he has come to Uncle Abe for information on how to plant and care for a garden. Uncle Abe, owing to his connection with the Department of Agriculture, is supposed to know all these things and be able to answer the hardest questions, sometimes, however, the boys ask questions that Uncle Abe can not answer.

* * * * *

UNCLE ABE: Howdy Jim! What is on your mind today?

JIM: Several things Uncle Abe. First of all, I want you to tell me something about these seeds. I just got them from the seed store. Uncle Abe, what is a seed anyway?

UNCLE ABE: A seed, Jim, is in reality a baby plant. Take for instance one of these beans; if you soak it for a few hours in tepid water, it will begin to swell, finally the two parts will separate, the root will begin to grow and if you were to plant it in a little soil where it is warm, it would make a plant. In other words, it is a baby plant that is asleep, we might say, and it goes on sleeping so long as it remains dry, but just as soon as it gets the necessary heat and moisture, it wakes up and begins to grow.

JIM: But Uncle Abe, what is it about the seed that makes it grow?

UNCLE ABE: The germ or heart of the seed is what grows. Really it is a bud in the seed that makes the new plant. Then, you see, a seed contains food for the young plant to feed upon until it can send its roots into the soil and shift for itself. There are two important groups of plants, one having a single seed-leaf like corn and the other having two seed-leaves of which the bean is a good example. In the case of the corn the seed stays in the ground and a single leaf comes up while with the beans only the root remains in the soil and the seed leaves come out of the ground.

JIM: I often wondered what kept the plant alive until it got started to grow, now I understand. Another question, Uncle Abe, what is a bulb and what is a tuber? Gardeners talk about onion bulbs and they sometimes call potatoes tubers. What is the difference between a bulb and a tuber?

UNCLE ABE: A bulb is made up of fleshy layers or scales just as an onion or a tulip is formed. It has one or more central buds from which growth starts. A tuber is really an underground stem, the eyes of the potato corresponding to the buds on above ground portions of plants. That is why farmers cut the seed potatoes in pieces before they plant them, each piece having one or two eyes or buds.

JIM: How should the seeds be kept until time to plant them?

UNCLE ABE: All seeds should be kept dry. Moisture causes them to soften and sometimes to grow and once they start to sprout and then again become dry they lose their power to grow. Keep them dry and in a room where the temperature does not change much. Freezing injures some seeds and it is not a good plan to keep them where they are too warm. Never keep seeds in the kitchen where they will be affected by the moisture from cooking.

JIM: I think the temperature and other conditions in my room upstairs will be about right.

UNCLE ABE: Yes, that will be satisfactory, but keep them at as nearly a uniform temperature as possible.

JIM: What kind of soil should I use when starting early plants in the house? You know it is awfully hard to get good garden soil; and you remember our garden is mostly clay.

UNCLE ABE: The best thing is to save some good garden loam in the fall of the year. Keep it in baskets or in a covered barrel where it will not be too wet or frozen when you want to use it. Some day when you are out in the country you can probably go into the woods and find a little black soil underneath a bed of leaves. That is known as leafmold. It is excellent for mixing with your seedbed soil. A little very thoroughly rotted compost will be even better. If the soil is very heavy some sand can be mixed with it in order to make it easy to work. The trouble with heavy clay soils is that they bake over the seeds after watering. Then it is hard for the seeds to come up. Always sift the soil which is to be used in the boxes for starting early plants.

JIM: How would it do to sprinkle a little sand over the top of the seed in the seed bed?

UNCLE ABE: A good idea Jim, or you can wet a piece of muslin or light cloth and spread it over the surface of the seedbed for a day or two until the seeds begin to sprout. 

JIM: I heard an old gardener say that when he planted certain seeds that he always walked upon the row after covering the seeds or that he laid a board over the row then walked upon it to firm the soil. Is that a good thing to do?

UNCLE ABE: When you plant seeds in moderately dry soil, it is a good plan to firm the soil over the seeds to draw moisture to them. It would not he desirable to pack the soil over the seeds when it contains plenty of moisture.

JIM: How about transplanting garden plants?

UNCLE ABE: By transplanting, certain plants like cabbage, tomato, pepper, eggplant, lettuce and celery, can be started indoors quite early and later transplanted to the garden, thus gaining a lap on Jack Frost. Gardeners often use flower pots, paper pots, wooden bands, and tin cans with both bottom and top cut out for starting early plants.

JIM: I saw a garden in which hundreds of hills of cucumbers and muskmelons were being started under funny little paper tents. The garden looked like a little army camp. The paper was waxed so as to shed water and most of the sunlight went right through it.

UNCLE ABE: Yes, gardeners use a great many of these little paper caps for starting cantaloupes in California. They not only protect the plants from cold, but keep off the wind and the sand that is sometimes carried with the wind. You can make caps for your early plants by bending little arches of wire over the plants then covering these with a piece of parchment paper. The edges of the paper can be held in place by heaping a little soil upon them.

JIM: Say, that is a good idea, and the paper covers would keep the bugs off the plants. I am going to try planting a few hills of watermelon under the paper covers and see if I can't grow some big ones.

UNCLE ABE: I know a gardener who covers his melon hills with little wooden boxes without bottoms but with a piece of glass over each box, making a miniature hothouse over each hill of melons.

JIM: I want to ask you a lot more questions about gardening, Uncle Abe, but I must be going now, for I have some lessons to get.



Mar 30 1928

SUBJECT: Rabbits.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Well, if there isn't Jim again! And look what he's got. Some rabbits! ---- And he seems to be so interested in those rabbits that he hasn't noticed Uncle Abe standing behind him. Uncle Abe, you know, is from the Department of Agriculture ---------


UNCLE ABE: Those are fine looking rabbits, Jim. Did your Dad give you those?

JIM: --- Hello, Uncle Abe! ---- you're just the one I've been looking for!

UNCLE ABE: I'll bet you wanted to ask me something about those new rabbits. Isn't that it?

JIM: Sure. I want to know how to feed them, for one thing.

UNCLE ABE: Well, feed them regularly.

JIM: How often should I feed them?

UNCLE ABE: Twice a day. Feed them about the same hour each morning and evening.

JIM: What should I give them?

UNCLE ABE: Either whole or crushed clean bright oats, rolled barley, well-cured alfalfa hay, and a little of some kind of green feed, is the daily diet in most rabbitries.

JIM: Suppose I can't get alfalfa?

UNCLE ABE: Then substitute clover hay for the alfalfa, but alfalfa is preferable. The rabbits eat it more readily. Before feeding the hay, you should cut it into about inch lengths ----

JIM: What's that for? 

UNCLE ABE: The rabbits can eat it easier that way, and you waste less.

JIM: What other green stuff can you feed them?

UNCLE ABE: Rutabagas, potatoes, cabbages, mangels, or lawn clippings. The lawn clippings and other green feeds should always be fresh and clean when you feed. Never feed rabbits moldy or fermented greens if you don't want to start trouble. But, for that matter, never feed any kind of feed but the best.

JIM: How much of the grain should I give them?

UNCLE ABE: That's where you come in, Jim. You must watch the rabbits. The quantity of feed depends on the age and on the condition of the rabbits and on the kind of the feed. Some rabbits need more grain than others. It is only by watching each rabbit day by day that you can regulate the feed properly.

JIM: How would you feed these rabbits here?

UNCLE ABE: Young rabbits, while they are still growing, like those you have, may be fed all they will clean up in thirty minutes at each of the two meals.

JIM: How about when they get full grown?

UNCLE ABE: Well, full-grown rabbits should never be allowed to get too fat, unless you want them for cooking. Overfat rabbits often will not breed and will sometimes die from too much heat. Don't let left-over feed stay in the feed dishes and get sour or dirty. Rabbits are dainty eaters. And, what's more, sour or dirty feed may cause indigestion and other troubles.

JIM: When should I give them something to drink?

UNCLE ABE: You should keep fresh clean water before the rabbits at all times. Water is almost as necessary as food. And keep the feed and water dishes clean -- just as clean as you can. Cleanliness and regularity are important, very important.

JIM: What kind of a house should I build for them?

UNCLE ABE: Why don't you write the U. S. Department of Agriculture for Leaflet No. 4 and Leaflet No. 15, on "Raising Domestic Rabbits" and "Rabbit-House Construction". They will tell you all about rabbit raising.

JIM: How many kinds of rabbits are there, Uncle Abe?

UNCLE ABE: Why, there are eighteen distinct breeds of domestic rabbits raised in this country. The American White, American Blue, New Zealand White, New Zealand Red, and the White Flemish however, are the varieties bred most in the United States for meat and fur.

JIM: Why do so many people raise white rabbits?

UNCLE ABE: The fur buyers prefer pure-white skins because they can be dyed light, dark, or medium shades of any color needed. You know, ladies' fur coats imitating white ermine and leopard skin are often made entirely of rabbit skins. But Chinchilla rabbits are worth more than white rabbits. Chinchilla rabbit skins are used undyed, because their color is much the same as that of the rare wild South American chinchilla. More than 100,000,000 rabbit skins are used by the fur trade every year. About 55,000,000 of those are dressed and dyed and made into fur coats for women. The rest, not suitable for coats and cloaks, are used for making felt for hats and for men's and boys' glove linings.

JIM: Why do they use rabbit skins instead of those of other animals?

UNCLE ABE: One of the chief reasons is probably that rabbit skins are easier to get. And that is largely due to the fact that rabbits multiply so fast. Rabbits raise big families and many of them.

JIM: Are all those one hundred million rabbits a year raised in this country?

UNCLE ABE: No, indeed. Ninety-eight out of every hundred of those rabbit skins used by the American fur trade are imported from Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, France, and other foreign countries. Only two out of a hundred are from rabbits grown in this country.

JIM: Where did rabbits come from in the first place?

UNCLE ABE: Well, there are many different kinds of hares and rabbits. You find them pretty much all over the world. But most of the rabbits now raised for commercial purposes come from the European hare. Wild European hares were taken to northern Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries. Domesticated rabbits have been carried to many parts of the world, including this country.

JIM: How about our jack rabbits and cottontails?

UNCLE ABE: Oh, they are American all right, but they are not the kind we are talking about. The fur of cottontails and jack rabbits is thin and of practically no use for making fur coats. The rabbits that are raised for food and fur are the domestic rabbit, that is, the European hare. And they make mighty good food, too, Jim. Those rabbits you have there should soon be able to keep your family in rabbit meat.


ANNOUNCEMENT: Any listeners who wish more information on raising rabbits should send for Department of Agriculture Leaflet No. 4. on "Raising Domestic Rabbits." You can get it by application through this Station.