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HAD he known the answer, Mr Memory would have told his persistent inquirer that pip in poultry was caused by the fowl breathing through its mouth (beak) as a result of a respiratory disease, such as catarrh, roup or diphtheria. In over 40 years as a poultry keeper I have never had a case or heard of anyone else coming across it. Indeed, although having a fairly extensive library of books on poultry, ancient and modern, in only two could I find a description of pip. The best was in the oldest of my collection, W. B. Tegetmeier's Poultry Book , second edition, 1872. The author trained as a doctor but gave up practice to become a naturalist. He assisted Darwin in his researches into the variations of animals, and became nature editor of The Field. According to him pip caused the tongue to become hard and horny and in some parts of the country the remedy was to snip off the end of the tongue, a practice he described as useless and barbarous. An American book published in 1933 is only other one I have that describes pip and concurs with Tegetmeier that it is a symptom of respiratory diseases.
R. Ricketts, Swindon, Wilts.