Livestock

 

Clipper ships had to store a lot of food since their trips involved being at sea with no way to get new provisions for 4 or more months at a time.  A lot of the food was in the form of livestock.  For example, one of the passengers on the Flying Cloud’s first voyage wrote the following about the livestock on board in her diary:

 

"You don't know how odd it seems of a morning when comfortably seated in my rocking chair on deck -- when gazing over the broad ocean, to hear roosters crowing, hens cackling, turkeys gobbling, pigs grunting and lambs bleating.  There is an immense amount of livestock on board and our icehouse is still well stocked with provisions -- so no danger but we shall fare well enough let us ever so long a voyage.  We number, sailors and all, seventy-eight -- quite a village" [1]

 

She also wrote about the fourth of July dinner on board:

… I must name the goodies which crowd our table.  Roast turkey and chicken with oyster sauce, roast pig, boiled ham, …[2]

 

Another Flying Cloud passenger, on a different voyage, a writer named Charles William Stoddard, recorded additional information about the livestock loaded onto the Flying Cloud as follows:

 

"A list of our live-stock: 17 pigs; 12 dozen hens and roosters; 3 turkeys; 1 gobbler; a cockatoo and a wild-cat."[3]

 

       He also noted that the passengers (and at least some of the crew) had fresh eggs for breakfast, fresh pork for dinner, fresh chicken for supper” and noted that the chickens on board produced “a dozen to two dozen eggs per day[4] 

 

The Flying Cloud carried multiple chicken coops to house all those chickens and turkeys.  This is confirmed by a letter from Dr. Stanley Coffin to Margaret Lyon, on June 15, 1988 about an incident that happened on the Flying Cloud’s first voyage: "The Flying Cloud carried chicken coops to supply fresh meat for the voyage which were, in fair weather, slung outboard over the gun'ls."[5] .  I have not found a source that shows the size or location of the Flying Cloud’s chicken coops, but both the Cutty Sark and Charles W. Morgan have chicken coops that are about 2.5’ x 2.5’ x 6’, so those coops may be a model, but I have not found a source that says how much room one needs for 12 dozen chickens plus a few turkeys.

 

 

Cutty Sark chicken coop

 

There would have had to have been a pen to hold the larger livestock, including the pigs and lambs. The Boucher 1916 model in the Boston MFA includes a livestock pen over the forward hatch but the pen does not seem big enough to hold 17 pigs plus a lamb or two.  No other source shows a livestock pen but it is clear from the above that there must have been one or more and it is hard to image that the livestock was kept for long below deck due to the smell.

 

See Robert Leslie’s book Old Sea Wings … for a description of food and livestock carried by sailing ships of the time.[6]

 



[1] Margaret Lyon and Flora Elizabeth Reynolds, The Flying Cloud and Her First Passengers (1992), page 39

[2] The Flying Cloud and Her First Passengers, page 40

[3] Charles William Stoddard, In the Footprints of the Padres, (1902) page 126

[4] In the Footprints of the Padres, page 127

[5] The Flying Cloud and Her First Passengers, pages 53-54

[6] Robert Charles Leslie, Old Sea Wings, Ways, and Words, in the Days of Oak and Hemp (1890) pages 176-183

 

2021-05-30