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be modified by stating the purpose for which a herd is to be kept,whether for the shambles, for work, or for milk. The inquiry is not answered by taking ten tons of Short horns and ten tons of Devons and feeding fifty tons of food to each lot, and then selling the beef which may be as 21 to 19. The entire history of each lot must be known. The one may have credit for milk, the other for work. The cost of each, with the debits and credits, should be kept down to the day they leave the feeder for the butcher. It must be known which beef fetched the more money, that represented by 21 or by 19.
The fact of having bred animals of rare symmetry, great size, early maturity, of first rate quality, &c., is not enough to settle the point. Inquiries like these suggest themselves: "After how many failures was this done? "At what cost ?” “How stands the balance ?” Upon the true answers to interrogations like these every thing touching this subject depends.
The first object with a breeder should be, to furnish his countrymen with milk, butter, cheese, cream, &c. The next is to furnish beef; milk and beef in case of cattle, and wool and mutton, in case of sheep. The breeder must cater to appetites which, luckily, exertions have made keen rather than critical, as well as for those blunted by sedentary and intellectual pursuits, and thereby stimulated to the appreciation of quality, both of beef and mutton.
New breeds claim the first notice, because created by man, or more accurately, made by crossing of races. The first in this rank is the improved breed of Short horns, uniting in a most remarkable degree milking qualities with a tendency to fatten. In the market at Birmingham, where the beef of cows from dairy districts is seen, the blue loin is also noticeable. It is claimed for the improved breeds of both cattle and sheep, that from the same amount of feed in a given time, they will yield a larger weight of beef and mutton than animals of the races. This is undoubtedly true of given cases; but to give it a fair test, select 1,000 Devons or IIerefords, females, and 1,000 Short horns, and with the latter, there will be fewer animals produced, and more of a low, coarse and exceptionable quality, than by either of the old races. The same would be true of the Leicester ewes. This is because art is less certain than nature, whose operations are unvarying, or nearly so, where man has not interfered. With regard to breeds, specimens of races and varieties, the combined will crop out, every now and then, to disappoint the expectations of the breeder. The nondescript, introduced into
a herd or fock because of some apparent excellence, will taint the blood most likely with defects inherent in his own. The slab side, the bad head, or the blue hard muscle of some ancestor, is sure to appear. It is said by a breeder of the Leicester sheep, that the oldest and purest flocks, produce from time to time, gray faces and black legs. Earl Spencer said to a friend who consulted him on a point of breeding, “ Your cross will not justify a very high priced bull, but to secure you against anything monstrous, you must ascertain that you have several generations of good blood.” Who has not noticed the diversity of shapes, quality, color, and aspect, in a drove of Short horns or Ayrshires, or modern Jerseys, on the one hand, and the uniformity of appearance in a drove of Devons or Herefords on the other. High breeding, it is said, is at the sacrifice of fertility.
Mr. Edge of Strelley, England, is mentioned as an instance of a breeder who conceived a model of size, symmetry and aptness to fatten, and then spared no pains to realize it. Aided by a correct eye, and free from prejudice, he selected at any cost and from any quarter, animals, both male and female, which he deemed most likely to answer his expectations. Nor was he disappointed in this respect. But after some years when about to attain his beau ideal, the females ceased bearing. Thus ended his experiment. Lord Spencer, an enthusiastic advocate and admirer of Short horns, in a speech, admitted that fecundity had diminished in his herd, to an inconvenient degree. The reason given is, that the females are too fat. This is not the only reason says an English writer; for a herd of Herefords of equal fatness were very prolific. Barrenness is said to be a fault in cheese-making districts where Short horns are kept. A Kentucky breeder recently said this was not a fault with his herd of Short horns.
The Short horn breed are naturally coarse and of delicate constitution, requiring a mild climate, a productive soil, careful tending and feeding, or else the refined touches of careful breeding, nursing and feeding will soon deteriorate ; and if carried to the highest degree of perfection, sterility is the result; another serious evil. The beef is said to be inferior to that of the races. But in quietness, composure and docility, they have no equals. A small native scrub bull, steer or cow, will rule a herd of Short horns. Breeding seems to have subdued their combativeness. Early maturity is claimed both for the Short horn cattle and the Leicester sheep. True, but have they not had possession of the most fertile districts
of England where bred in perfection? Do they not receive more care and cossetting than falls to the lot of common animals ?
With regard to the Devons and the Herefords, they have many points in common. They are prolific, but not suited, remarks an Englishman, to a farmer whose rent is to be made by the produce of his dairy. Human labor is said to be worth too much in England to be profitably associated with so slow a team as that of bullocks. They have good constitutions, bear hardships without much suffering, are kept with less care, and furnish beef superior to that of the breeds. Between the two races, says
the same writer, would you please the eye, take the Devons; if the pocket is regarded, take the Herefords. The West Highlander is a more hardy race than either of the preceding, but is defective in the hind quarters,-a grave fault in the eye of the farmer. The beef is said to be very delicious.
In regard to sheep, the South Downs are the most comely and valuable for agricultural purposes of any breed known. They are hardy, grazing on short and dry pastures, yielding wool and mutton considerably above the average; and, therefore, better for common purposes than
any of their congeners. The New Leicester is deemed by some the most valuable of the white-faced variety ; but inferior for mutton to the South Down. “A little fat mutton makes many fat potatoes.” To furnish such mutton, the New Leicester and the South Down must be bred. The South Down has been introduced into this State by Mr. Whittier and others, and bred with success. A cross with the Spanish merino, makes both a good mutton sheep and a good wool-bearing sheep.
A race is distinguished from a breed by uniformity of size and shape, a self-color, similarity of disposition and aspect, recurring generation after generation. In short, Nature where man has not interfered, seems to have fixed the type of the races; and, moreover, it does not require the interference of man to prevent deterioration. On the other hand, it is stated that Sir John Sebright of England, bred pigeons to a feather. Col. Jaques of Massachusetts, did the same with dunghill fowls. But all artificial breeds have a tendency to return to the primitive type. Man has the power of making breeds,—whether races or not is quite uncertain. Colling and Bakewell each created breeds of cattle, and the latter a breed of sheep also. Devons or Herefords removed from their native countries ever remain Devons and Herefords. Not so of the Short horns, or the Ayrshires, as now known. No one visiting England,
can help observing how soon a dairy farmer suffers loss from deterioration of his herd, if it consists of Short horns. A breed created by crossing, it is affirmed, can only be kept up by crossing, and great skill and care.
Says an English writer, the most uniform drove of oxen which I ever saw, consisted of 500 from Ukraine. There is, then, good evidence to believe that the Herefords are the representatives of a widely diffused and ancient race of cattle, for the aforesaid drove was very like the Herefords of Britain.
The mode of feeding cattle is a subject intimately connected with successful farming and profitable stock-raising. To neither overstock, nor under-stock, requires the exercise of more than ordinary judgment. To come within half a bullock in a pasture of 100 acres, as an old English grazier was wont to do, shows the possession of remarkable skill in cattle feeding, or grazing Grass fed beef is not up to the state of the English market now, as formerly.
Stall-feeding, as some have supposed it to be, is no new practice. The “stalled ox” is alluded to in Proverbs as a luxury. Ten fat oxen and twenty out of the pasture, are spoken of in connection with the daily consumption of the household of the man “of three hundred wives and seven hundred concubines."
Cooked feed, steamed, raw or uncooked, have been topics exciting much interest among feeders. But the conclusion arrived at, now, is, that no advantage is derived from cooking. The want of economy, to say nothing of the inhumanity of the same, is no where more apparent in rural affairs than in the neglect to provide comfortable and well ventilated stables for cattle, and sheds for sheep. An English Lord made the following experiment: He separated a flock of two hundred sheep into two equal lots. One of them was furnished with sheds with an unlimited supply of Swedish turnips. The other was supplied with equal liberality, but without shelter. After a few months, it was found that the latter lot had consumed on an average, 25 pounds a day, while the former had eaten but 21 pounds a day per head, and had gained on an average, 3 pounds a head more than the former. The loss of the lambs of the lot without shelter, was 20 per cent. greater than of the lot provided with sheds, and the loss of ewes 8 per cent. So much for the of shelter.
In conclusion, allow me to urge the members of the West Oxford Agricultural Society, that if they would keep up with the spirit of progress and improvement in all matters of rural economy, they
must read, study and reflect upon the contents of the best papers, periodicals and books that treat of the promotion and advancement of stock-breeding, feeding, sheltering and good husbandry, thus putting away the prejudice to "book farming."
EXTRACTS FROM REPORTS.
LIVE STOCK. Horses. We were very much pleased with the respectable and quite numerous entries in this department of the Fair, and before going into detail, feel bound to say that no one, who has attended the exhibitions of this Society, from its start to the present time, and seen, on this occasion, the visible improvement and interest manifested in the breed and style of horses entered at this Fair, but feels conscious of the benefit of Agricultural Shows.
There were entered for premiums, but three stallions. These were quite good specimens; but West Oxford did not do her duty. While every village, in the Spring of the year, is visited by a half dozen, and every street corner and shop door is curtained with showy pictures, of groom and stallion, here, where the farmer can see, examine, and know for himself, the age, size, weight, breed, and every merit of the animal-worth, both to farmer, groom and owner, more than an acre of printed advertisements,—the meagre number of three only are on exhibition from all the best half of Oxford county! A fact not at all creditable to the intelligence and shrewdness of the owners of these animals, and a strange disregard of self-interest, not common to the alive and wide awake horse-dealers.
Of these entries, one was by Freeman Hatch of Hiram. Breed, Harpinas; weight, 1,100 pounds ; six years old; raised in Hiram. To this horse we award the first premium, for best stallion.
One was entered by James Holden of Sweden. Horse seven years old, known as Young Kentucky Hunter; sired by the old Kentucky Hunter, of Canton, Mass.; weight, 1,100 pounds ; a fine horse, and to him we award the second premium, for best stallion.
One by Stephen L. Bradbury of Lovell. Age, three years ; dam, Morgan; sire, English horse; raised in Fryeburg, by Col. E. L.