A boat-shaped object is brought on to the stage and placed on a couple of trestles. The performer and assistants demonstrate that it's empty: they lower the back and front, lift the top, and let the end-pieces (that look like the bow and the stern of the boat) down on hinges. Then they close it up again and pour water into it, though a funnel (so as not to splash the stage, of course). Once sufficient water has been poured in, and proper incantations recited, the little windows on the front of the boat are opened, and the performer reaches in and brings out chickens, pigeons, ducks, small dogs, cats, and any other small animals that the performer wants to use. Then the front of the box is dropped and another assistant is revealed inside it! Properly done, it would seem that there is nowhere for the livestock and assistant to be concealed, and certainly no way that they can be dry!
As can be seen, the animals are all tucked away in the end pieces — the bow and the stern — and the assistant is strapped to the back panel. S/he can get into the box and start releasing the livestock as soon as the performer begins to pour the water in. The water actually drains away through the funnel and down a tube which runs through a leg of a trestle and so away under the stage.
The sequence in which the panels are opened at the beginning of the trick is vital. The back panel must be let down BEFORE the front panel is opened: the end pieces and the back panel can be lowered simultaneously by way of distraction. Likewise the back panel can't be raised until the front panel has been replaced.
No tips can be offered on keeping the livestock quiet until they are brought out on stage; nor on how they are to be caught thereafter!