The Stock-Feeder's Manual - the chemistry of food in relation to the breeding and - feeding of live stock
by Charles Alexander Cameron
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The quantity of food consumed daily by an animal is, as might be expected, proportionate to the weight of its body. The pig consumes, for every 100 lbs. of its weight, from 26 to 30 lbs. of food, the sheep 15 lbs., and the ox 12 to 13 lbs. These figures and the statements which I have made relative to the proportions of fat and plastic elements in the animals' bodies, apply to them in their fattening state, and when the food is of a highly nutritious character. The calf and the young pig will make use—to cause their increase—of a larger portion of nitrogenous matters. The sheep, however, being early brought to maturity, will, even when very young, store up the plastic and non-plastic constituents of its food, in nearly the same relative proportions that I have mentioned.

As it is the food taken into the body that produces heat and motion, it might at first sight appear an easy matter to determine the amount of heat or of motion which a given weight of a particular kind of food is capable of producing within the animal mechanism. But this performance is not so easy a task as it appears to be. In the first place, all of the food may not be perfectly oxidised, though thoroughly disorganised within the body; secondly, as animals rarely subsist on one kind of food, it is difficult, when they are supplied with mixed aliments, to determine which of them is the most perfectly decomposed. But though the difficulties which I have mentioned, and many others, render the task of determining the nutritive values of food substances difficult, the problem is by no means insoluble, and, in fact, is in a fair way of being solved. Professor Frankland, in a paper published in the number of the Philosophical Magazine for September, 1866, determines the relative alimental value of foods by ascertaining the quantity of heat evolved by each when burned in oxygen gas. From the results of these researches he has constructed a table, showing the amount of food necessary to keep a man alive for twenty-four hours. The following figures, which I select from this table, are of interest to the stock-feeder:—

Weight necessary to sustain a man's life for twenty-four hours.

Kinds of Food. Ounces.

Potatoes 13.4 Apples 20.7 Oatmeal 3.4 Flour 3.5 Pea Meal 3.5 Bread 6.4 Milk 21.2 Carrots 25.6 Cabbage 31.8 Butter 1.8 Lump Sugar 3.9

These figures show the relative calefacient, or heat-producing powers of the different foods named outside the body; but there is some doubt as to their having the same relative values when burned within the body. The woody fibre of the carrots and cabbages is very combustible in the coal furnace, but it is very doubtful if more than 20 or 30 per cent. of this substance is ever burned in the animal furnace. However, such inquiries as those carried out by Frankland possess great value; and tables constructed upon their results cannot fail to be useful in the drawing up of dietary scales, whether for man or for the inferior animals.

I may here remark, that in my opinion the nutritive value of food admits of being very accurately determined by the adoption of the following method:—

1. The animal experimented upon to be supplied daily with a weighed quantity of food, the composition and calefacient value of which had been accurately determined. 2. The gases, vapors, and liquid and solid egesta thrown off from its body to be collected, analysed, and the calefacient[15] value of the combustible portion of them to be determined. 3. The increase (if any) of the weight of the animal to be ascertained. 4. The difference between the amount of heat evolvable by the foods before being consumed, and that actually obtained by the combustion of the egesta into which they were ultimately converted, would be the amount actually set free and rendered available within the body. The calculations would be somewhat affected by an increase in the weight of the animal's body; but it would not be difficult to keep the weight stationary, or nearly so, and there are other ways of getting over such a difficulty. An experiment such as this would be a costly one, and could not be properly conducted unless by the aid of an apparatus similar to that employed by Pettenkofer in his experiments on respiration. This apparatus, which was made at the expense of the King of Bavaria, cost nearly L600.

Value of Manure.—It is a complication in the question of the economic feeding of the farm animals that the value of their manure must be taken into account. Of the three classes of food constituents, two—the mineral and nitrogenous—are recoverable in the animal's body and manure; the non-nitrogenous is partly recoverable in the fat. I shall take the case of a sheep, which will consume weekly per 100 lbs. of its weight, 12 lbs. of fat-formers, and 3 lbs. of flesh-formers. Twelve per cent. of the fat-formers will be retained in the increase, but the rest will be expended in keeping the animal warm, and the products of its combustion—carbonic acid and water—will be useless to the farmer. It is, therefore, desirable to diminish as much as possible the combustion of fatty matter in the animal's body; and this is effected, as I have already explained, by keeping it in a warm place. Of the flesh-forming substance only five per cent. is retained in the increase, the rest is partly consumed in carrying on the movements of the animal—partly expelled from its body unaltered, or but slightly altered, in composition. The solid excrement of the animal contains all the undigested food; but of this only the mineral and nitrogenous constituents are valuable as manure. The nitrogen of the plastic materials which are expended in maintaining the functions of the body is eliminated from the lungs, through the skin, and by the kidneys—perhaps also, but certainly only to a small extent, by the rectum.

The food consumed by an animal is disposed of in the following way:—A portion passes unchanged, or but slightly altered, through the body; another part is assimilated and subsequently disorganised and ejected; the rest is converted into the carcass of the animal at the time of its death. The undigested food and aliment which had undergone conversion into flesh and other tissues, and subsequent disorganisation, constitute the excrements, or manure, of the animal. The richer in nitrogen and phosphoric acid the food is, the more valuable will be the manure; so that the money value of a feeding stuff is not determinable merely by the amount of flesh which it makes, but also, and to a great extent, by the value of the manure into which it is ultimately converted.

Corn and oil-cakes are powerful fertilisers of the soil; but the three principles which constitute their manurial value—namely, nitrogen (ammonia), phosphoric acid, and potash—are purchasable at far lower prices in guano and other manures. Nevertheless, many farmers believe that the most economical way to produce good manure is to feed their stock with concentrated aliment, in order to greatly increase the value of their excreta. They consider that a pound's worth of oil-cake, or of corn, will produce at least a pound's worth of meat, and that the manure will be had for nothing, or, rather, will be the profit of the business. The richer food is in nitrogen and phosphoric acid, the more valuable will be the manure it yields. It follows, therefore, that if two kinds of feeding stuff produce equal amounts of meat, that the preference should be given to that which contains the more nitrogen and phosphoric acid. Mr. Lawes, who has thrown light upon this point, as well as upon so many others, has made careful estimates of the value of the manure produced from different foods. They are given in the following table:—


Showing the estimated value of the manure obtained on the consumption of one ton of different articles of food; each supposed to be of good quality of its kind.

Estimated Money Value Description of Food. of the Manure from One Ton of each Food.

1. Decorticated cotton-seed cake L6 10 0 2. Rape-cake 4 18 0 3. Linseed-cake 4 12 0 4. Malt-dust 4 5 0 5. Lentils 3 17 0 6. Linseed 3 13 0 7. Tares 3 13 6 8. Beans 3 13 6 9. Peas 3 2 6 10. Locust beans 1 2 6(?) 11. Oats 1 14 6 12. Wheat 1 13 0 13. Indian corn 1 11 6 14. Malt 1 11 6 15. Barley 1 9 6 16. Clover-hay 2 5 0 17. Meadow-hay 1 10 0 18. Oat-straw 0 13 6 19. Wheat-straw 0 12 6 20. Barley-straw 0 10 6 21. Potatoes 0 7 0 22. Mangolds 0 5 0 23. Swedish turnips 0 4 3 24. Common turnips 0 4 0 25. Carrots 0 4 0

All the saline matter contained in the food is either converted into flesh, or is recoverable in the form of manure, but a portion of its nitrogen appears to be lost by respiration and perspiration. Reiset states that 100 parts of the nitrogen of food given to sheep upon which he experimented, were disposed of as follows:—

Recovered in the excreta 58.3 Recovered in the meat, tallow, and skin 13.7 Lost in respiration 28.0 ——— 100.00

Haughton's experiments, performed upon men, gave results which proved that no portion of the nitrogen of their food was lost by perspiration or by respiration. Barral, on the contrary, asserts that nitrogen is given off from the bodies of both man and the inferior animals. Boussingault states that horses, sheep, and pigs exhale nitrogen. A cow, giving milk, on which he had experimented, lost 15 per cent. of the nitrogen of its food by perspiration. The amount of nitrogen which Reiset states that sheep exhale is exceedingly great, and it is difficult to reconcile his results with those obtained by Voit, Bischoff, Regnault, Pettenkofer, and Haughton. Of course, men and sheep are widely different animals; but still it is unlikely that all the nitrogen of the food of man should be recoverable in his egesta, whilst nearly a third of the nitrogen of the food of the sheep should be dissipated as gas. I think further experiments are necessary before this point can be regarded as settled; and it is probable that it will yet be found that all, or nearly all, of the nitrogen of the food of animals is recoverable in their egesta.

Regarding, then, an animal as a mechanism by which meat is to be "manufactured," five economic points in relation to it demand the feeder's attention: these are—the first cost of the mechanism, the expense of maintaining the mechanism in working order, the price of the raw materials intended for conversion into meat, the value of the meat, and the value of the manure. In proportion to the attention given to these points, will be the feeder's profits; but they are, to some extent, affected by the climatic, geographic, and other conditions under which the farm is placed.

* * * * *

[Footnote 1: If the elements were only capable of combining with each other in simple ratios, the number of their combinations would be as limited as that of the letters of the alphabet; but as one, two, or more atoms of oxygen can combine with one, two, or more atoms of other elements, we can assign no limits to the number of possible combinations. There are hundreds of distinct substances formed of but two elements, namely, hydrogen and carbon.]

[Footnote 2: In a paper by Professor Sullivan, of Dublin, the conversion of one of these substances into another outside the animal mechanism, is almost incontrovertibly proved.]

[Footnote 3: Experimental Inquiry into the Composition of some of the Animals Fed and Slaughtered as Human Food. By John Bennet Lawes, F.R.S., F.C.S., and Joseph Henry Gilbert, Ph.D., F.C.S. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Part II., 1860.]

[Footnote 4: From the Greek plasso, "to form." Plastic materials are sometimes termed formative elements; both terms imply the belief that they are capable of giving shape, or form, not only to themselves, but also to other kinds of matter not possessed of formative power.]

[Footnote 5: The slow conversion of phosphorus into phosphoric acid takes place in the animal organism; its gradual oxidation in the open air gives rise only to an imperfectly oxidised body—phosphorous acid. But the latter fact does not invalidate the general proposition, that the heat emitted by a substance undergoing the process of oxidation is proportionate to the amount of oxygen with which it combines, and is not influenced by the length of time occupied by the process, further than this, that if the oxidation be very rapidly effected, a portion of the heat will be converted into an equivalent amount of light.]

[Footnote 6: This statement is not absolutely correct, but the range of variation is confined within such narrow limits as to be quite insignificant.]

[Footnote 7: Doubt has recently been thrown on the truth of this belief by Frankland, Fick, and Wislicenus.]

[Footnote 8: The results of Savory's experiments on rats appear to prove that animals can live on food destitute of fat, sugar, starch, or any other fat-forming substance. I think, however, that animals could hardly thrive on purely nitrogenous food. The conclusions which certain late writers, who object to Liebig's theory of animal heat, have deduced from Savory's investigations, appear to me to be quite unfounded.]

[Footnote 9: So termed because it is the basis of the common oils; the fluid portion of fat is composed of oleine.]

[Footnote 10: The term dry is applied to the solid constituents of the food. Thus, a pig fed with 100 lbs. of potatoes would be said to have been supplied with 25 lbs. of dry potatoes, because water forms 75 per cent. of the weight of those tubers.]

[Footnote 11: The amounts of "mineral matter" are too high, owing to the adventitious matters (dirt) retained by the wool.]

[Footnote 12: This pig was completely analysed by Lawes and Gilbert.]

[Footnote 13: The results of recent and accurately conducted investigations prove that men engaged in occupations requiring the highest exercise of the intellectual faculties, require more nutritious food, and even a greater quantity of nutriment, than the hardest worked laborers, such as paviours, and navvies. I have been assured by an extensive manufacturer, that on promoting his workmen to situations of greater responsibility but less physically laborious than those previously filled by them, he found that they required more food and that, too, of a better quality. This change in their appetite was not the result of increased wages, which in most cases remained the same—the decrease in the amount of labour exacted being considered in most cases a sufficient equivalent for the increased responsibility thrown upon them.]

[Footnote 14: As ammonia, urea, uric acid, or hippuric acid; all of which are nearly or perfectly mineralised substances.]

[Footnote 15: The excrements of animals are capable of evolving, by combustion, enormous amounts of heat.]





Cross Breeding.—For many years past feeders have zealously occupied themselves in the improvement of their stock, and the result of their labors is observable in the marked superiority of the breeds of the present day over their ancestors in the last century. The improvement of animals designed as food for man is effected by keeping them on a liberal dietary, by selecting only the best individuals for sires and dams, and by combining the excellencies of two or more varieties of a species in one breed. A species consists of a number of animals which exhibit so many points of resemblance, that they are regarded by the great majority of naturalists to be the descendants of a single pair. If we except the believers in the hypotheses relative to the origin of existing varieties of animals and plants, propounded by Lamarck, Darwin, and other naturalists of the "advanced school," there is a general belief in the immutability of species. The individuals of an existing species, say dogs, can never acquire the peculiar features of another species; nor can their descendants, if we except hybrids, ever become animals in which the characteristics of the dog tribe are irrecognisable. By various influences, such as, for example, differences in food and climate, and domestication, a species may be split into varieties, or breeds, all of which, however, retain the more important characteristics of the primordial type. There appears to be no limit to the varieties of dogs, yet one can perceive by a glance that there is no specific difference between the huge Mont St. Bernard dog and the diminutive poodle, or between the sparse greyhound and the burly mastiff. All the varieties of our domestic fowl have been traced to a common origin—the wild Indian fowl (Gallus bankiva). Even Darwin admits that all the existing kinds of horses are, in all probability, the descendants of an original stock; and it is generally agreed that the scores of varieties of pigeons own a common ancestor in the rock pigeon (Columba livia).

As certain individuals are grouped by naturalists into species, so particular species, which in habits and general appearance resemble each other, are arranged under the head of genus. The horse, the ass, and the zebra are formed on nearly the same anatomical plan; they are therefore classed together, and designated the genus Equus, a term derived from the Latin word equus, a horse—that animal being regarded as the type, or perfect member of the group. Thus the horse, in the nomenclature of the naturalist, is termed Equus caballus; the ass, Equus asinus; and the zebra, Equus zebra. By a further extension of this principle of classification, very closely allied genera are united under the term of family.

The different varieties of the same species breed, as might be anticipated, freely together; but it frequently happens that two individuals of different species pair, and produce an animal which inherits some of the properties of each of its progenitors. These half-breeds are termed hybrids, or mules, and we have familiar examples of them in the common mule and the jennet. As a general rule, animals exhibit a disinclination to breed with other than members of their own species; and although the interference of man may overcome this natural repugnance, he can only effect the fruitful congress of individuals belonging to closely allied species, being members of the same genus. Hybrids in the genus Equus are very common. A cross has been produced between the he-goat and the ewe; the camel and the dromedary have bred together; and Buffon succeeded in producing a hybrid in which three animals were represented—namely, the bison, the zebu, and the ox. On the other hand, attempts to effect a cross between animals belonging to different families have generally failed; nor is it at all probable that a cross will ever be produced between the pig and the sheep, between the horse and the cow, or, most unlikely of all, between the dog and the cat.

It is the general belief that hybrids are sterile, or, at least, that they are incapable of propagation inter se. This may be true with respect to the hybrids of species not very closely allied; but that there are exceptions to the rule is quite clear from Roux's experiments with hares and rabbits. This gentleman, who is, or was, the president of a French agricultural society, but who makes no profession of scientific knowledge, has succeeded, after several failures, in producing a fruitful cross between the rabbit and the hare. This hybrid has received the name of leporide (from the Latin leporinus, pertaining to a hare), and it is different from former crosses, in being five parts hare, and three parts rabbit. M. Roux has bred this hybrid during the last eighteen years, and has not observed the slightest appearance of decay of race manifest itself up to the present, so that, for all practical purposes, the leporide may be regarded as an addition to the distinct species of animals. The leporide fattens rapidly, and with but little expenditure of food. Sold at the age of four months, it realises, in France, a price four times greater than that commanded by a rabbit of the same age; and at a year old it weighs on an average ten pounds, and sometimes as much as sixteen pounds. It breeds at four months, continues thirty days in gestation, and yearly produces five or six litters of from five to eight young. To produce this hybrid is by no means difficult. A leveret, just old enough to dispense with the maternal nutriment, should be placed with a few doe rabbits of his own age, apart from other animals. He will soon become familiar with the does, and when they attain the age of puberty, all the rabbits save one or two should be removed. Speedily those left with the hare will become with young, upon which they should be removed, and replaced by others. After this the hare should be kept in a hutch by himself, and a doe left with him at night only. As the hare is naturally a very shy animal, it will only breed when perfect quietness prevails. The half-bred produced in the first instance should now be put to the hare, and a cross, three parts hare, and one part rabbit, obtained. The permanent breed should then be obtained by crossing the quadroon doe leporide, if I may use the term, with the half-bred buck.

I have directed attention to the production of the leporide because I believe that the problems in relation to it, which have been solved by M. Roux, have an important bearing upon the breeding of animals of greater importance than hares and rabbits. Here we find a race of animals produced by the fusion of two species, which naturally exist in a state of mutual enmity, and which differ in many important respects. The hare and the rabbit are respectively of but little value as food, at least they are of no importance to the feeder; yet a cross between them turns out to be an excellent meat-producing animal, which may be reared with considerable profit to the feeder. It is thus clearly shown that two kinds of animals, neither of which is of great utility, may give rise to an excellent cross, if their blood, so to speak, be blended in proper proportions. A half-bred animal may be less valuable than its parents, but a quadroon may greatly excel its progenitors. The goat and sheep are so closely related that they are classed by naturalists under one head—Capridae. Some kinds of sheep have hair like goats, and certain varieties of goats have fleeces that closely resemble those on the sheep. There are sheep with horns, and goats without those striking appendages. The Cape of Good Hope goat might easily be mistaken for a sheep. It would seem, judging by the results of Roux's experiments, that there is no great difficulty in the way of obtaining a cross between the sheep and the goat. I do not mean an ordinary half-breed, but a prolific hybrid similar to the leporide. Of course, it is impossible, a priori, to say whether or not such a hybrid race, supposing it produceable, would be valuable; but as goats can find a subsistence on mountains where sheep would starve, it is possible that an animal, essentially a sheep, but with a streak of goat blood in it, could be profitably kept on very poor uplands. Whether a race of what we might term caprides be formed or not we have derived most suggestive information from M. Roux's experiments, which I hope may be turned to account in what is by far the most important field of enquiry, the judicious crossing of varieties of the same species.

It is a quaestio vexata whether or not the parents generally exercise different influences upon the shape and size of their offspring. Mr. Spooner supports the supposition—a very popular one—that the sire gives shape to the external organs, whilst the dam affects the internal organisation. I have considerable doubt as to the probability of this theory. The children who spring from the union of a white man with a negress possess physical and intellectual qualities which are nearly if not quite the mean of their parents; but the offspring of parents, both of the same race—be it Caucasian, Mongolian, or Indian—frequently conform, intellectually and corporeally, to either of their progenitors. Thus, of the children of a tall, thin, dark man, and a short, fat, fair woman, some will be like their father, and the others will resemble their mother, or, perhaps, all may "take after" either parent. Sometimes a child appears to be in every respect unlike its parents, and occasionally the likeness of an ancestor appears in a descendant, in whom no resemblance to his immediate progenitors can be detected. It is highly probable that both parents exercise, under most circumstances, a joint influence upon the qualities of their offspring, but that one of them may produce so much greater an effect that the influence of the other is not recognisable, except perhaps to a very close observer. But I doubt very much that any particular organ of the offspring is, as a rule, more liable to the influence of the sire than of the dam, or vice versa; and the breeder who believes that the sire alone is concerned in moulding the external form of the offspring, and who consequently pays no attention to this point in the dam, will often find himself out in his reckonings. In order to be certain of a satisfactory result, the dam should in every respect be equal to the sire. In practice, however, this is not always the case, for as sires are so few as compared with the number of dams, the greatest efforts have been directed towards the improvement of the former.

There is, or ought to be, a familiar maxim with breeders, that "like begets like, or the likeness of an ancestor." This is a "wise saw," of which there are many "modern instances:" the excellencies or defects of sire or dam are certain to be transmitted through several generations, though they may not appear in all. As a general rule, good animals will produce a good, and defective animals a defective, offspring, but it sometimes happens that a bull or cow, of the best blood, is decidedly inferior, whilst really good animals are occasionally the produce of parents of "low degree." If the defects or excellencies of animals were ineradicable there would be no need for the science of breeding; but by the continual selection of only the most superior animals for breeding purposes the defects of a species gradually disappear, and the good qualities are alone transmitted. As, however, animals that are used as food for man are to some extent in an abnormal condition, the points which may be excellencies in that state, would not have been such in the original condition of the animal. We find, therefore, that the improved breeds of oxen and sheep exhibit some tendency to revert to their original condition, and it is only by close attention to the diet, breeding, and general management of these animals that this tendency can be successfully resisted. Sometimes, however, an animal of even the best breed will "return to nature," or will acquire some undesirable quality; such an animal should be rejected for breeding purposes, for its defects would in all probability be transmitted to its descendants, near or remote. A case, which admirably illustrates this point, is recorded in the Philosophical Transactions for 1813, and it is sufficiently interesting to be mentioned here:—

Seth Wright, who possessed a small farm on the Charles River, about sixteen miles from Boston, had a small flock, consisting of fifteen ewes and one ram. One of these ewes, in 1791, produced a singular-shaped male lamb. Wright was advised to kill his former ram and keep this new one in place of it; the consequence was, the formation of a new breed of sheep, which gradually spread over a considerable part of New England, but the introduction of the Merino has nearly destroyed them again. This new variety was called the Otter, or "Ankon" breed. They are remarkable for the shortness of their legs, and the crookedness of their forelegs, like an elbow. They are much more feeble and much smaller than the common sheep, and less able to break over low fences; and this was the reason of their being continued and propagated.

Here we have an instance of an animal propagating a defect through a great number of descendants, though it had not acquired it from its own ancestors. It is, however, probable that occasionally a male descendant of this short-legged ram possessed considerably longer organs of locomotion than the founder of his breed; and, consequently, if selected for breeding purposes might become the founder of a long-legged variety, in which, however, a couple of pairs of short-legs would occasionally present themselves. I have a notion that the higher animals are in the scale of being, the greater is their tendency to transmit their acquired good or bad habits to their posterity. Dogs are, perhaps, the most intelligent of the inferior animals, and it is well known that they transmit to their offspring their acquired as well as their natural habits. I doubt very much that those most stupid of creatures, guinea-pigs, possess this property in any sensible degree; or, indeed, that like the canine tribe, they can be readily made to acquire artificial peculiarities: but there once flourished a "learned pig," and it would be worth inquiring whether or not its descendants, like the descendants of the trained setter, and pointer, were at all benefited by the education of their ancestor. I shall conclude this part of my subject in the words of Professor Tanner: "In all cases where the breed has been carefully preserved pure, great benefit will result from doing so. The character of a breed becomes more and more concentrated and confirmed in a pedigree animal, and this character is rendered more fully hereditary in proportion to the number of generations through which it has been transmitted. By the aid of pedigree, purity of blood may be insured, and a systematic plan adopted by which we can perpetuate distinct families, and thereby obtain a change of blood without its being a cross. It is evident that any one adopting a systematic arrangement will be able to do this more effectually than another without this aid. This is the more important when the number of families is small, as is the case with Devons and Herefords, especially the former. The individual animals from which the Devons are descended are very limited in number, and in a few hands; but, with some honourable exceptions, little attention is given to this point. The importance is rendered evident by the decreasing size of the breed, the number of barren heifers, and the increased delicacy of constitution shown in the stock of many breeders of that district who are not particular in this respect. The contrast between such herds, and those in which more care and judgment are exercised, renders the advantages of attention to pedigree very evident; for here the strength of constitution is retained, together with many of the advantages of this valuable breed."



The nature of the animal determines, as I have already stated, the proportion of its food carried off in its increase; but this point is also greatly influenced by its variety, or breed. Certain breeds which have for a long period been kept on bulky food, and obliged to roam in quest of it, appear to have acquired a normal tendency to leanness. No doubt, if they were supplied with highly nutritious food for many successive generations, these breeds might eventually exhibit as great a tendency to fatten as they now do to remain in a lean condition. As it is, the horned cattle of Kerry, Wales, and some other regions, rarely become fat, no matter how abundantly they may be supplied with fattening food. On the other hand, the Herefords, but more especially the Shorthorns, exhibit a natural disposition to obesity, and such animals alone should be stall-fed. It is noteworthy that animals which are naturally disposed to yield abundance of milk are often the best adapted for fattening; but it would appear that the continuous use of highly fattening food, and the observance of the various other conditions in the forcing system, diminish the activity of the lacteal secretion, and increase the tendency to fatness in the races of the bovine tribe. The Shorthorns were at one time famous for their milking capabilities, but latterly their galactophoric reputation has greatly declined. Still I am disposed to believe, that if some of those animals were placed under conditions favorable to the improvement of dairy stock, herds of Shorthorn milch cows could be obtained which would vie in their own line with the famous fat-disposed oxen of the same breed.

In sheep the tendency to early maturity and to fatten is greatly influenced by the breed. The Leicester, even when kept on inferior pasture, fattens so rapidly that in eighteen months it is fit for the butcher; whilst the Merino, though supplied with excellent herbage, must be preserved for nearly four years before it is ready for the shambles. The crossing of good herds has resulted in the development of numerous varieties, all remarkable for their aptitude to fatten and to arrive early at maturity. The Leicester—itself supposed to be a cross—has greatly improved the Lincoln, and the Hampshire and Southdown have produced an excellent cross. Of course, each breed and cross has its admirers; indeed, the differences of opinion which prevail in relation to the relative merits of the Lincoln and the Leicester—the Southdown and the Shropshiredown—the Dorset and the Somerset—occasionally culminate into newspaper controversies of an exceedingly ascerb character. There is no doubt but that particular breeds of sheep thrive in localities and under conditions which are inimical to other varieties; but still it is equally evident that, caeteris paribus, one kind of sheep will store up in its increase a larger proportion of its food than another kind, and will arrive earlier at maturity. It is the knowledge of this fact which has led to the great estimation in which are held some half-dozen out of the numerous breeds and cross-breeds of that animal. In 1861 an interesting experiment was made by the Parlington Farmers' Club with the object of testing the relative merits of several varieties of sheep. The results are shown in the tables:—


+ + - Live Weight of Six Wethers Weights gained when Shorn, 26th February, 1862. during the time of + - Feeding from the Weight of Mutton when 11th November, 1861, Description of Slaughtered. to 14th February, 1862. Class of Sheep. + + + + -+ -+ - Weight Weight Weight of of of In Live In In Tallow Wool. Pelts. Weight. Mutton. Wool. + -+ -+ + + + -+ -+ - st. lb. st. lb. lb. lb. lb. st. lb. st. lb. lb. oz. Cross from the Teeswater 85 3 53 1 106 43 85 13 7 8 6 14 5 North Sheep 83 12 53 12 96 43-1/2 83 12 11 8 3 14 8 Lincolns 92 1 59 12 105 66 103 16 1 10 7 22 0 South Downs 71 0 47 7 97-1/4 28 65-3/4 11 13 8 0 9 5 Shropshire Downs 85 6 53 1 103 42-1/2 91 15 11 9 12 14 3 Leicesters 80 9 53 4 90-1/2 44 78-1/2 14 10 9 10 14 11 Cotswolds 76 5 47 6 79 54 90 12 6 7 11 18 0 + -+ -+ + + + -+ -+ -


-+ + -+ Value of the preceding Food Description Mutton and Wool so gained. consumed of Sheep. + + -+ during Price of the Mutton. Price of the Wool. time of Feeding. -+ -+ + -+ -+ -+ -+ Swd. Lnd. p. lb. p. lb. Tnp. Cke. + -+ + -+ + -+ -+ d. L s. d. d. L s. d. st. lb. Teeswater, Cross 6 2 19 0 18 1 1 6 978 300 North Shropshire 6 2 17 6 17-1/2 1 1 1-3/4 914 300 Lincolnshire[16] 5-3/4 3 10 5-1/4 18 1 13 0 936 363 Southdowns 6-1/2 3 0 8 17 0 13 2-1/2 684 300 Shropshire 6-1/4 3 11 10-1/2 17-1/2 1 0 7-3/4 924 300 Leicester 5-3/4 3 5 2 18 1 2 0 877 300 Cotswolds 6 2 14 6 18 1 7 0 926 300 -+ -+ + -+ -+ -+ -+

- Value of the Value of Food Food, Calculating Value of deducted from Value Description Turnips at 6s. the Mutton of Mutton and Wool, of Sheep. 8d., and Cake at and Wool. showing real value of L10 10s. per ton. the different sheep. - L s. d. L s. d. L s. d. Teeswater, Cross 3 8 10-1/2 4 0 6 0 11 7 North Shropshire 3 6 2-1/2 3 18 7-3/4 0 12 5 Lincolnshire[16] 3 13 0-1/4 5 3 5-1/4 1 10 5 Southdowns 2 16 7-1/2 3 13 10-1/2 0 17 3 Shropshire 3 6 7-3/4 4 12 6-1/4 1 5 10 Leicester 3 4 8 4 7 2 1 2 6 Cotswolds 3 6 8-1/2 4 1 6 0 14 9-1/2 -

These results, taken with the customary grain of salt, tell well for the improved Lincoln; they also clearly show the aptitude to fatten, without much loss in offal, of the Leicester;[17] and they commend to the lover of good mutton the Shropshire and South-Downs.

In the sixteenth volume of the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, Mr. Lawes gives some valuable information relative to the comparative fattening qualities of different breeds of sheep. The following table, on this author's authority, shows the average food consumed in producing 100 lbs. increase in live weight:—

Breed. Oil Cake. Clover. Swedes.

Sussex 297-1/4 285-1/2 3.835-3/4 Hampshire 291-1/2 261-1/4 3.966-3/4 Cross-bred Wethers 264-1/2 251-3/4 3.725-1/4 Do. Ewes 263-1/2 250-1/4 3.671 Leicesters 263-3/4 251-1/4 3.761 Cotswolds 253-1/2 216-3/4 3.557-1/2

Some breeds are profitably kept in certain localities, where other kinds would not pay so well: for example, the Devons, according to Mr. Smith, are better adapted than larger breeds for "converting the produce of cold and hilly pastures into meat." It is remarkable that nearly all the best existing breeds of oxen and sheep are crosses. Major Rudd states that the dam of Hubback, the famous founder of pure improved Shorthorns, owed her propensity to fatten to an admixture of Kyloe blood, and also that the sire of Hubback had a stain of Alderney, or Normandy blood. Although the Rudd account of the ancestry of Hubback is not accepted by all the historians of this splendid breed of cattle, there is no doubt but that the breed owes its origin as much to judicious crossing as to careful selection of sires and dams. It must not, however, be imagined that there are no good pure races of stock. There is a perfectly pure, but now scarce, tribe of Kerry oxen, admirably adapted to poor uplands. The excellent Southdown sheep, though in every respect immensely superior to their ancestors in the last century, have not attained to their present superior state by crossing. The high value placed by breeders upon good sires and dams in the approved breeds of stock is shown by the large sums which they frequently realise at sales, or when the former are let out for service. Bakewell received in one season for the use of a ram 400 guineas each from two breeders, and they did not retain the animal during the whole season. Several hundred guineas have lately been more than once paid for a celebrated tup. Colonel Towneley's Shorthorn bull, Master Butterfly, was, not long since, disposed of to an Australian buyer for L1,260. At the sale of Mr. Bates's stock in 1850, a stock of Shorthorns, including calves, brought on the average L116 5s. per head. At the Earl Ducie's sale in 1852, a three year old cow—Duchess—realised 700 guineas.

The color of an animal is, to some extent, a criterion of the purity of its breed. Roan is a favourite hue with the breeders of Shorthorns. There have been celebrated sires and dams of that breed perfectly white; but that color, or rather absence of color, is now somewhat unpopular, partly from the idea that it is a sign of weakness of constitution—a notion for which there appears to me to be no foundation in fact. The slightest spot of black, or even a very dark shade, is regarded to be a blemish of the most serious kind when observed on the pelt of a Shorthorn. The Herefords are partly white, partly red; the Devon possesses in general a deep red hue; the Suffolks are usually of a dun or faint reddish tint; the Ayrshires are commonly spotted white and red; and the Kerrys are seen in every shade between a jet black and a deep red. Uniformity in color would be most desirable in the case of each variety, and this object could easily be attained if breeders devoted some attention to it.

The Form of Animals.—The functions of an animal are arranged by Bichat, an eminent physiologist, into two classes—those relating to its nutrition, and those exhibited by its muscular and mental systems. The first class of functions comprise the vegetative, or organic life of the animal, and the second class constitute its relative life. Adopting this arrangement, we may say, then, that those animals in which the vegetative life is far more energetic than the relative life are best suited for the purposes of the feeder. In tigers, wolves, and dogs the relative life predominates over the vegetative; the muscles are almost constantly in a high degree of tension, and the processes of nutrition are in constant requisition to supply the waste of muscle. On the other hand, in oxen, sheep, and pigs, at least when in a state of domesticity, the muscles are not highly developed; they do not largely tax the vegetative processes, and, consequently, the substances elaborated under the influence of the vegetative life rapidly increase. The form of an animal is therefore mainly determined by the activity of its relative life. In a greyhound, the nervous power of which is highly developed, the muscles are large and well-knit, the stomach, intended for the reception of concentrated nutriment only, is small, and the lungs are exceedingly capacious. In such an animal the arrangements for the rapid expenditure of nervous power must be perfect. It is not merely necessary that its muscles should be large and powerful, its lungs must also admit of deep inspirations of oxygen, whereby the motive power wielded by these muscles may be rapidly generated. Now, an animal exactly opposite in organisation to the greyhound would, according to theory, be just the kind to select for the production of meat. The greyhound and the horse expend all their food in the production of motive power; the ox and the sheep, being endowed with but a feeble muscular organisation, use a smaller proportion of their food for carrying on the functions of their relative life, consequently, the weight of their bodies is augmented by the surplus nutriment. It is clear, then, that an animal of a lymphatic temperament, an indolent disposition, a low degree of nervous power, and a tendency to rapid growth, is the beau ideal of a "meat-manufacturing machine." Now, as the larger the lungs of an animal are, the greater is its capacity for "burning," or consuming its tissues, one might suppose that small lungs would be a desideratum in an ox, or other animal destined for the shambles. This appears to be Liebig's opinion, for in one of his books he states that "a narrow chest (small lungs) is considered by experienced agriculturists a sure sign, in pigs, for example, of easy fattening; and the same remark applies to cows, in reference to the produce of milk—that is, of butter." On this subject Professor Tanner makes the following remarks, in his excellent Essay on Breeding and Rearing Cattle:[18]—"In our high-bred animals we find a small liver and a small lung, accompanied with a gentle and peaceful disposition. Now, these conditions, which are so desirable for producing fat, are equally favorable for yielding butter. The diminished organs economise the consumption of the carbonaceous matters in the blood, hence, more remains for conversion into fat, but equally prepared for yielding cream, if the tendency of the animal is equally favorable to the same." One would imagine, from the foregoing passage, that Mr. Tanner and Baron Liebig coincided in believing small lungs necessary to rapid fattening; but in another part of his essay, Tanner thus describes one of the points indicative of a tendency to fatten early:—"The chest should be bold and prominent, wide and deep, furnished with a deep but not coarse dewlap." On comparing the two passages which I have quoted from Tanner's essay, a contradiction is apparent. Mr. Bowly, Major Rudd, and other eminent breeders and feeders, appear to regard a capacious chest as the best sign of a fattening property which an animal could show. Lawes and Gilbert have recorded the weights of the viscera of a number of animals which, though supplied with equal quantities of the same kind of food, attained to different degrees of fatness. On carefully scrutinising these records, I failed to perceive any constant relation between the weight of their lungs and their tendency to fatten rapidly. Some animals with large lungs converted a larger proportion of their food into meat than others with smaller respiratory organs, and vice versa. In a state of nature, there is no doubt but that the lungs of the ox and of the sheep are moderately large; and it is evident that in their case, as well as in that of man, over-feeding and confinement tend to diminish their muscular energy, and, of course, to decrease the capacity of the lungs. That such a practice does not tend to the improvement of the health of an animal is perfectly evident, but then the perfect ox of nature is very different from the perfect ox of man. The latter is a wide departure from the original type of its species: any marked development of its nervous system is undesirable; and it is valuable in proportion as its purely vegetative functions are most strongly manifested. A young bullock, therefore, of this kind would, no doubt, be the most economical kind to rear, provided that it was perfectly healthy, and capable of assimilating the liberal amount of food supplied to it. But it rarely happens that a young animal with a weakly chest turns out other than a scrofulous or otherwise diseased adult. On the whole, then, I am disposed to believe that whilst naturally small-lunged species may be more prone to fatten than large-chested ones, it is not the case that small-chested individuals fatten more rapidly than larger lunged individuals of the same kind.

The conditions under which oxen, sheep, and pigs have been so long maintained in civilised countries, must have diminished the capacity of their chests in relation to other parts of their bodies; and it may be fairly doubted if any good could result by reducing to still smaller dimensions those most important organs. Probably the lungs and hearts of the improved breeds of stock are already too small, and that it is only the individuals which are least affected in this respect that answer to Mr. Bowly's description of a fat-disposed beast. Whether or not small lungs are desirable in a bullock or milch cow, it is certain that a ram or a bull should be possessed of a capacious chest, for otherwise he will have but little vigour, and will be likely to produce a weakly offspring. A sire should be a perfectly developed animal in every respect—sound lungs and heart, and not over fat. It is sufficient that it belongs to a good fattening breed; but to produce offspring with a tendency to fatness and early maturity, it is not necessary that the sire should himself be obese. It is to be regretted that so many sires of the Shorthorns and other improved varieties should be used for breeding purposes, when their hearts and lungs have become, by over-feeding the animals, unfitted for the proper discharge of their function. The progeny of such sires must naturally inherit the acquired taint of their diseased progenitors, and prove weakly and unhealthy animals.

With respect to the general outline structure of a bull, he should have a small, well-set head, rounded ribs, straight legs, small bones, and sound internal organs. The following are considered to be the best points in a Shorthorn bull:—A short and moderately small head, with tapering muzzle and broad forehead, furnished with short, white, curved, graceful looking horns; bright, yet mild, large eyes, placed in prominent orbits; dilated nostrils, and flesh-colored nose, and long, thin ears. The neck should be broad, deep, and muscular, sloping in a graceful line from the shoulder to the head. The chest should be wide, deep, projecting, but level in front. The shoulders should be oblique, the blades well set in towards the ribs. The forelegs should be stout, muscular above the knee, and slender below it; the hind legs should be slender to the hock, and from thence increase in thickness to the buttocks, which should be well developed. The carcass should be well rounded at each side, but level on the back and on the belly. There should be no hollows between the shoulder and the ribs, the line from the highest part of the shoulder to the insertion of the tail should be a perfect level. The flank should be full, the loins broad, and the tail finely formed and only partially covered with hair. The skin is a prime point: it must be covered with hair of a roan, or other fashionable color, and communicate to the hand of the experienced feeler, a peculiar sensation, which it is impossible to describe. With regard to this point, I cannot do better than quote the words of an experienced "handler":—

"A nice or good judge of cattle or sheep, with a slight touch of the fingers upon the fatting points of the animal—viz., the hips, rump, ribs, flanks, breast, twist, shoulder score, &c. will know immediately whether it will make fat or not, and in which part it will be the fattest. I have often wished to convey in language that idea or sensation we acquire by the touch or feel of our fingers, which enables us to form a judgment when we are handling an animal intended to be fatted, but I have as often found myself unequal to that wish. It is very easy to know where an animal is fattest which is already made fat, because we can evidently feel a substance or quantity of fat—all those parts which are denominated the fatting points; but the difficulty is to explain how we know or distinguish animals, in a lean state, which will make fat and which will not—or rather, which will make fat in such points or parts, and not in others—which a person of judgment (in practice) can tell, as it were, instantaneously. I say in practice, because I believe that the best judges out of practice are not able to judge with precision—at least, I am not. We say this beast touches nicely upon its ribs, hips, &c., &c., because we find a mellow, pleasant feel on those parts; but we do not say soft, because there are some of this same sort of animals which have a soft, loose handle, of which we do not approve, because, though soft and loose, have not the mellow feel above mentioned. For though they both handle soft and loose, yet we know that the one will make fat and the other will not; and in this lies the difficulty of the explanation. We clearly find a particular kindliness or pleasantness in the feel of the one much superior to the other, by which we immediately conclude that this will make fat, and the other not so fat; and in this a person of judgment, and in practice, is very seldom mistaken."

In many respects the good points in a Shorthorn cow resemble those in the male of that breed, but in others there is considerable difference. As I have described in prose the excellencies which a bull should possess, I will now give a poetical summary of the good points of a cow of that breed, extracted from the Journal of Agriculture, and composed evidently by an excellent breeder and poet, Mr. Carr:—

The following features constitute, I trow, The beau ideal of a short-horn cow:— Frame massive, round, deep-barrell'd, and straight-back'd; Hind quarters level, lengthy, and well pack'd; Thighs wide, flesh'd inwards, plumb almost to hock; Twist deep, conjoining thighs in one square block; Loin broad and flat, thick flesh'd, and free from dip; Back ribs "well home," arch'd even with the hip; Hips flush with back, soft-cushion'd, not too wide; Flanks full and deep, well forward on the side; Fore ribs well-flesh'd, and rounded like a drum; Fore flanks that even with the elbow come; Crop "barrell'd" flush with shoulders and with side; Girth large and round—not deep alone, but wide; Shoulders sloped back, thick cover'd wide at chine; Points snug, well-flesh'd, to dew-lap tapering fine; Neck vein fill'd up to well-clothed shoulder-point; Arm full above, turn'd in at elbow-joint; Legs short and straight, fine boned 'neath hock and knee; Belly cylindrical, from drooping free; Chest wide between the legs, with downward sweep; Brisket round, massive, prominent, and deep; Neck fine at head, fast thickening towards its base; Head small, scope wide, fine muzzle and dish'd face; Eyes prominent and bright, yet soft and mild; Horns waxy, clear, of medium size, unfiled; Tail fine, neat hung, rectangular with back; Hide soft, substantial, yielding, but not slack; Hair furry, fine, thick set, of colour smart; Udder well forward, with teats wide apart. These points proportion'd well delight the eye Of grazier, dairyman, and passer-by; And these to more fastidious minds convey Appearance stylish, feminine, and gay.

Breeds of the Ox.—The Shorthorned cattle are now generally regarded as the most valuable breed in these countries. They are the descendants of a short-horned breed of cattle which existed for centuries in the north-east of England. They were not held in much estimation, their flesh being coarse; but the cows of this breed yielded abundance of milk. In the eighteenth century this breed, it is said, was greatly improved by a large infusion of blood from Dutch Shorthorns: but it is very doubtful that any such event took place, for during that period the importation of cattle into Great Britain was prohibited by very stringent laws. The present race of Shorthorns owe most of their valuable qualities to the brothers, Charles and Robert Colling, of the county of Durham. The former was the more successful breeder, and established the celebrated breed of Ketton Shorthorns. His whole process appears to have consisted in the careful selection of parents, and in "close" breeding. He must, however, have been an admirable judge of the good points of the ox, for beginning with animals not worth more on an average than L10 each, he produced in less than a quarter of a century a stock worth on the average L150 each. The most famous bull of Charles Colling's was Comet. The sale of this animal realised the handsome sum of 1,000 guineas. The bull Hubback is said by many writers to have been the great improver of Shorthorn blood. He was bought by Robert Colling for the trifling sum of L8; but although this animal was kept by both Collings for three years, there is good reason to believe that they made but little use of him. It would appear, indeed, that to the cows first used by the Collings—Lady Maynard, and young Strawberry—many of the good qualities of this breed are traceable. Shorthorns are now to be found in almost every part of the United Kingdom, capable of maintaining heavy stock. In Ireland the breed has been greatly improved, and it is gradually supplanting most of the other varieties.

Shorthorn males have a short, wide head, covered very often with short curly hair; the muzzle is taper; the ear rather long and narrow; the eye large, and bright, and mild. The shape is symmetrical, the carcass deep, the back level, ribs spreading out widely, and the limbs fine. The color is a mixture of red and white, sometimes a rich roan. The females are not so large in the head, which tapers more, and the neck is much thinner.

The DEVONS are not so large as the Shorthorns. Their shape is symmetrical; fine head, horns of medium size, often tapering gracefully; rich red or orange red color; fore-quarters rather oblique. The meat of this breed is much esteemed: they yield excellent milk, but in rather limited quantity; and the bullocks answer the plough much better than many other kinds do. These animals arrive early at maturity.

The HEREFORDS are a rather small-boned breed; their horns are medium sized, straight or slightly curved upwards; their color is dark red; neat shoulders, thin thighs, and wide sirloin. They fatten well, but are not generally kept on dairy farms. In many respects they resemble the Devons.

The AYRSHIRES have a tapering head, fine neck, and large, bony, but not coarse carcass; flat ribs; short and rather ugly horns; their skin is soft, and covered with hair, which is usually red and white in spots. The Ayrshire cows are invaluable for dairy purposes.

The POLLED ANGUS, POLLED ABERDEENS, and POLLED GALLOWAYS are very large cattle, with big heads, unfurnished with horns. Their color is in general a decided black, but occasionally it exhibits a mixture of black and white. Their flesh is in general not of the best quality, but some of their crosses with Shorthorns yield excellent meat, and at an early age, too.

The KYLOES are a breed peculiar to the Highlands of Scotland. They are rather rough, but very picturesque animals, covered with long, shaggy hair. Their horns are rather long, and curve upwards. Their hair is differently colored—red, yellow, dun, and black, the latter being the prevailing hue. No variety of the ox yields a sweeter meat than the Kyloes, and other mountain breeds of these countries. The animals, however, arrive slowly to maturity, and in this respect there is great room for improvement. These mountain-bred animals are now transferred in large numbers to lowland tillage farms, where the fattening process is more expeditiously performed. There are excellent crosses between Shorthorn bulls and Highland cows.

LONGHORNED CATTLE are rapidly advancing towards extinction. At one time they were the chief breed kept by most farmers. In general they may be regarded as an inferior variety, being slow feeders, and producing rather coarse beef. They are, however, capable of great improvement, as instanced in the case of Bakewell's celebrated Longhorn herds.

The KERRYS are a diminutive breed, peculiar to Ireland. They have small heads, fine necks, fine horns of medium length, and curved upwards near their summits. They have a soft skin; the hair is generally black, interspersed with a few white streaks; sometimes their color is red, and occasionally brown. They are a very hardy race, being indigenous to mountains. Their flesh is very good, more especially if the animals have been kept on fattening food. The Kerrys are good milch cows.

The ALDERNEYS are a small race of oxen with deer-like faces. They exhibit various shades of red, white, brown, and roan. No cows yield better milk, or larger quantities of that fluid.

Sheep.—The different breeds of sheep are classified under three heads—viz., Long-woolled, Short-woolled, and Middle-woolled.

The LEICESTER is, perhaps, the most celebrated breed of sheep reared in these countries. It was immensely improved by Bakewell about a century ago, and the breed is often termed the Dishley, after the name of Bakewell's residence. This sheep has a wide, clean head, broad forehead, fine eyes, long, thin ears, thick neck, round body, deep chest, straight, broad back, high ribs, and muscular thighs. The wool is long, very thick, and fine. At from fifteen to eighteen months old, the Leicester weighs from 25 to 30 lbs. per quarter; but a fat animal often weighs from 38 to 40 lbs. per quarter. The fleece weighs from 6 to 8 lbs. This breed is well adapted for Ireland. It is reared on very poor land: but in order to maintain its good quality, this sheep requires abundance of food, and also good shelter during the winter.

The LINCOLN is distinguished for its large bones and strong muscles. Originally a gaunt and ugly animal, it has of late years been much improved. Indeed, the prices lately realised by Lincoln sheep are extremely high. The Lincoln has a long, white face, long body, and thick legs. The wool is long, thick, and moderately fine. The flesh of the Lincoln is lean, owing to its great muscular development. At fifteen months old it yields about 30 lbs. weight per quarter. It is said that a Lincoln wether has attained the weight of 304-1/2 lbs. The average weight of the wool of a hogget is 9-1/2 lbs.

The COTSWOLD breed arose in the Cotswold hills, in Gloucestershire. In this variety the skeleton is large, the chest capacious, the back broad and straight, and the ribs well arched. It has good quarters, and a finely-arched neck. It is distinguished by a large tuft of wool—"fore-top," on the forehead. It fattens early, and produces about 25 lbs. per quarter when fifteen months old, and 40 lbs. when two years old. The wool is rather coarse; its yield is about 8 lbs.

The CHEVIOT has a long body, long face, long legs, and long ears. The chest projects slightly, and is rather narrow. The forehead is bare of wool; the legs and face are white, sometimes approaching to a dun shade. Weight from 70 to 80 lbs.; weight of fleece, from 3 to 4 lbs. The wool is of excellent quality, and is used largely in the manufacture of tweeds. The Cheviot is a mountain sheep, and, as might be expected, its flesh is well flavored. There are several crosses of the Cheviot with the Leicester, the Southdown, and the Shropshire.

The SOUTHDOWN is generally regarded as the best breed for wool reared in these countries. It is indigenous to the chalk hills of Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, and Dorsetshire. It has a small head; its back is broad and straight; the ribs spring out at nearly right angles from the vertebrae. It is rather light in the fore-quarters, and full in the hind quarters. Its chest is pretty deep; its face and legs are grey or brown. The wool of the Southdown is short, and extremely fine; the fleece weighs about 3 lbs. This sheep arrives early at maturity. It weighs at 15 months old about 80 lbs. The flesh is very well flavored.

THE SHROPSHIRE is said to combine in itself the good qualities of the Southdown, the Cotswold, and the Leicester. It resembles the Southdown more than any other breed, having the same grey, or brownish grey hue, and a similar shape. It is, however, larger than the Southdown, and yields a larger quantity of wool. This breed is becoming a great favorite in both England and Ireland.

The BLACK-FACED sheep is peculiar to Scotland. It is equipped with horns, has a bold long face, and possesses a tuft of wool on its forehead; its limbs are strong, and its body is somewhat long. The wool of this breed is very coarse, the fleece weighs about 3-1/2 lbs. The average weight of this sheep is 75 lbs., the quality of the mutton is excellent, but it is long before it becomes matured. There are several other breeds of the sheep, but they are of far less importance than those which I have described.

Breeds of the Pig.—There are several breeds of this useful animal, of which those known as BERKSHIRE and YORKSHIRE appear to be the greatest favorites. The Berkshire is black or dusky brown, very rarely reddish brown. It has a very small head. Its sides are extremely deep, and its legs very short. There are several sub-varieties of the Yorkshire. This breed is white, has a compact body, and very broad sides. The head is very small, somewhat like that of the Berkshire. Both Berkshire and Yorkshire pigs attain to the enormous weight of 1,000 lbs. The old Irish "racer" pig is the least profitable kind to keep, but fortunately it is, as a pure breed, nearly extinct.

Breeds of the Horse.—There are a great many breeds of horses. The Shetland pony is so small, that many specimens are no larger than a Newfoundland dog; on the other hand, Clydesdale horses sometimes attain to almost elephantine proportions. There is a wide difference between the bull-like Suffolk Punch and the greyhound-like racer. The English and Irish racer is said to owe its origin to a cross between the old English light-legged breed and the Arabian. The most valuable kind of carriage horse is the joint product of the draught-horse and the racer. The dray-horse of these countries has a large share of Flemish blood in him. The best horses for agricultural purposes are unquestionably the CLYDESDALE and the SUFFOLK PUNCH. The latter is perhaps to be preferred in most instances, especially on light lands. Very light and feeble horses are the most expensive variety on almost any kind of farm; for whilst they consume nearly as much food as the most powerful animals, and are therefore nearly as costly, they are incapable of effectively performing their work. A large proportion of the farm horses used by the small farmers of Ireland are totally unsuited for tillage purposes. On the other hand, there is no need to employ horses equal in size to the ponderous creatures that draw brewers' carts. Moderate sized horses, with well rounded, compact bodies, and muscular but not too heavy limbs, are the kind best adapted for farm purposes. In Ireland, where there are not fewer than 600,000 horses, a considerable infusion of blood from Clydesdales and Suffolk Punches is much required.

Hunters and Racers.—There is a strong tendency in the human mind to look with a regretful feeling to the past, and to compare it to the disadvantage of the present. It is a general belief with most people that the old time was the best time; that the seasons were more genial formerly; that provisions were cheaper and more abundant; that men were taller, and stouter, and healthier; that, in a word, everything was better in the days of yore than it is now, and that degeneracy and effeteness are the prevailing characteristics of our age. Philosophers, statists, and political economists tell us that all this regret for the "good old time" is mis-spent sympathy; for that we are in every respect superior—in physique, health, morals, and wealth—to our ancestors. On the whole, I rather incline myself to this comfortable philosophy; but we must admit that we have not progressed in all things since the times of our fathers.

In a work entitled "A Comparative View of the Form and Character of the English Racer and Saddle Horse during the Last and Present Centuries," published by Hookham, of Old Bond Street, London, it is proved very clearly that the English race-horse has sadly degenerated. The author very properly traces the cause of its decay to the avarice of the turfites: they look upon the noble animal as a mere gambling machine; and they sacrifice all its other qualities to the excessive development of that one which is likely to put money in their pockets. Formerly, gentlemen kept horses for their own sakes—for their admiration and enjoyment of one of the most beautiful, docile, and useful of animals. They were incessant in their efforts to develop into perfection all the really valuable points in the animal; and the result was, that the English and Irish racer of the last century was unmatched for strength, speed, and endurance. Models of this splendid race of horses are seldom to be found at the present time; but there are, perhaps, sporting men living who saw them in the celebrated Mambrino, Sweet Briar, and Sweet William. Those horses possessed compact bodies, capacious lungs, strong loins, large joints, and enormous masses of muscular tissue on the shoulder-blades and arms. They were good weight-carrying hunters as well as racers, and they could carry eight stones over a six miles heat, or twelve stones over a four miles one. The Irish horses, at least, were capable of safely carrying thirteen stones over what would now be considered a very ugly ditch, and could get over a long steeplechase in a style which would astonish the owners of the modern "weeds." Since the distance to be traversed by competing horses has been reduced from the old-fashioned three heats of four miles each to a single run of a mile or two, and also since the weight imposed upon the animals has been reduced to six or seven stones, from ten to twelve, the anatomical structure of the race-horse has undergone a remarkable and serious alteration. The back has become very long, the sides flat, the loins weak, the limbs long and very thin; and this alteration in structure has been attended by weakness of constitution and a remarkable tendency to disease. The modern horse has attained to a remarkable degree of rapidity of locomotion, but it has been at the expense of its vigor, endurance, and health; it can run with great velocity for a short distance, but in a four-mile heat, and mounted by a man of average weight, a mediocre horse of the style of the middle of the last century would come to the post long before the winner of the last St. Leger.

The decay of the breed of horses in this country is a serious matter, and the attention of all who are interested in the preservation of this animal should be earnestly and promptly directed towards discovering the means of regeneration. My remarks are directed towards racers and hunters. The quality of speed which they possess has been developed to an extent which is incompatible with the development of equally essential properties. Encouragement should be given to the production of weight-carrying hunters; steeple-chasing should be restored to its old state, when only a powerful horse had a chance of success. The quality of speed should be promoted in the animal up to a certain point; but when the development of this attribute begins to cause a loss of strength and endurance, it is high time to check it. There are a few horses at present which are strong and moderately fast: why should not steeple-chasing be of the kind which would call this style of animal into competition? Only a "weed" can now enter with any probability of success at a race of this kind; and when he has won it, of what use is he as a good hunter? What we want are good, stout, healthy horses, capable of carrying, in good style, twelve stones weight over a rough country; and the object of steeple-chasing should be the production of such a race of horses.

* * * * *

[Footnote 17: Improved by Leicester blood.]

[Footnote 18: The object of the first breeders of the Leicester was to produce a sheep which would yield a great carcass, and small offal weight. So far as the results of these experiments go, I think the idea of the founder of this breed has been realised.]

[Footnote 19: "Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland," for July, 1860.]





Breeding Cows.—The period of gestation in the cow is about nine months. The earliest time at which it is at all safe to breed from these animals is when they are one year and eight months old. Shorthorns breed early, whilst the mountain varieties are seldom in calf before they are three years old. The practice of very early breeding, though approved of by some extensive rearers of stock, is not to be commended for sound physiological reasons. Cows calve at all times of the year; but the most favorable time is near the end of winter, or in early spring. The cows should at this time be in fair condition—neither too fat nor too lean. Parturition should take place in a roomy, covered place, provided with abundance of clean litter. If such a place be not available, a nice paddock close to the house must answer. After having given birth to the calf, the cow should receive an oatmeal drink, or some warm and nutritious mash, and afterwards be liberally fed. The cow is usually allowed to run dry four or five weeks before calving: this period should not be curtailed; on the contrary, it would be better to extend it to six weeks, so as not to allow her condition to become too poor.

The Wintering of Young Stock.—There are certain localities wherein the rearing of young stock is one of the easiest tasks which devolve upon the farmer. Well-drained and shady fields, yielding abundance of sound herbage, and through which streams of pure water unceasingly flow, are just the proper locale for economically feeding young animals. But there are districts in which those favorable conditions do not exist; yet they are not better adapted to other uses. It is only the feeders of young stock in wet, moory, sandy, or undrained, heavy soils who really have cause for anxiety and incessant watchfulness. In rearing a calf the great object is to cause a rapid and uninterrupted increase in the weight of its body. At first the food of the animal should be furnished solely from the maternal founts; but at an early stage of its existence—about the third or fourth week—other food may wholly, or in part, be substituted for the natural aliment. It is important that no great interval should elapse between the hours of feeding. The digestive apparatus of the young animal is small, and its powers of assimilation are very energetic. The food with which it is supplied should, therefore, be given in moderate quantities, and very frequently. This is, in fact, what takes place when the calf is allowed free access to its dam; for the instant it feels a desire for aliment, the supply is at once available. Of course, there may be objections to this plan on the score of economy; but as a general rule, too much liberality cannot be exercised in feeding growing animals; and there is nothing more certain than that the calf which is illiberally fed will never be developed into a valuable, matured animal. When carefully tended from their birth, comfortably housed in winter, and abundantly supplied with nutritious food, it is sometimes wonderful the rapid progress which young stock make. Mr. Wright mentions a remarkable case of early maturity, which occurred in his own herd. A young steer, one year old, exhibited all the development of an animal twice its age. This bullock had been suckled for three months, whereby it had not only kept its calf-flesh, but gained and retained a step in advance. Its weight when only a year old was no less than 50 stones; and as the price of beef at the time was 8s. 9d. per stone, live weight, the carcass of the animal was worth L21 17s. 6d. Mr. Wright offers this fact as a suggestive one to "those farmers who think of bringing up their calves on old milk, or who would otherwise stint their growth."

Supposing, then, that we have young stock which had been liberally treated when in their "baby" state, how are we to most economically maintain them throughout the winter? In the first place, they should be kept in warm sheds, and well sheltered from both rain and wind. Some authorities contend that exercise is necessary to young stock, and deny that a proper development of the muscles (lean flesh) can take place if they are cooped up like fattening turkeys during the winter. There is some truth in this opinion; and if the animals be designed for breeding or dairy purposes, their freedom of motion should only be partially restrained. On the other hand, if they be intended for an early introduction to the shambles, the less exercise they get the greater will be the profit on their keep. I have known cases where animals were closely housed for seven months, and yet their health did not appear to suffer in the slightest degree. In fact, so predominant are the vegetative functions of the ruminants over their nervous attributes, that the only essential conditions of their existence are adequate supplies of good air and food. That the health of these animals does occasionally suffer when the motions of their bodies are reduced to a minimum is quite true; but in most of these instances the real cause is, not the want of exercise, but the want of pure air. The greatest care should, therefore, be taken in the ventilation of the places where stock, whether old or young, are kept; and no economy of space or heat will compensate for the want of wholesome air. Under the fallacious idea that exposure to cold renders young stock hardy, many farmers turn them out to eat straw in the open fields in frosty weather. Treatment of this kind, instead of being productive of good, almost invariably lays the foundation of disease, which will manifest itself at some stage of the animal's growth. There are a few favored localities, such as those to which I have already alluded, where yearlings may be occasionally allowed a turn through the fields in winter; but on cold clays, wet moors, and sandy soils the young stock should never be permitted to leave their sheds or courts from the time they are housed till late in the spring.

Young stock are best fed on good meadow hay and turnips, with a moderate supplement of oil-cake; this, however, is expensive feeding in many farms, and a little filling-in may be done with cheaper or more easily obtainable stuffs. A mixture of cut chaff, with pulped mangels, is a good substitute for the more costly hay; and particularly in the case of animals intended for breeding or for the dairy. The roots should be pulped, and allowed to remain until, owing to a slight fermentation, they become warm. This change takes place in from twenty-four hours to sixty hours, according to the temperature; but the fermentation should not be carried farther than the earliest stage. The heated pulp should then be thoroughly mixed with the chaff, and the compound, after an hour or two, will be ready for use. A little chopped hay—no matter if inferior or slightly mildewed—may be substituted for the chaff, and turnips employed instead of the mangels, but the latter are the more desirable roots.

Until lately, the use of oil-cake was confined to fattening animals, but latterly it is freely given to calves, even when they are only a month old; and there is no doubt but that it is a suitable and economical food for store stock. It is, however, sometimes given in excess: from half a pound to two and a half pounds daily will be sufficient for animals under one year; and this addition to their food will be found to exercise a beneficial influence on them when they are placed in stalls for finishing. The experience of several eminent breeders has proved that fattening beasts, which had in their youth a supply of oil-cake, or its equivalent, invariably store up a larger portion of their food than those which had been reared on hay and roots only.

Mr. George Stodart, of Cultercullen, an Aberdeenshire farmer, describes, in the Irish Farmer's Gazette, his method of rearing calves:—

I occupy (says Mr. Stodart) a farm of 380 acres. I usually rear twenty-four calves yearly, and buy in sixteen one-year-olds. I generally breed from cross cows (the same as mentioned above), served by a pure Shorthorn bull. When the calves are dropped I put two calves to suck one cow for six months. In autumn, spring calves are put into the house upon turnips and straw, with about 1 lb. of oil-cake per day to each, until they are put out to grass in spring following, at which time they are one year old. Then, of course, they have grass in summer, and at the approach of winter they are again housed upon turnips and straw, which bring them to be two years old in spring. Now they are sent out to the best grass, and again brought into the house at the beginning of September, and fed on turnips and straw until the end of November or middle of December, when they usually fetch from L25 to L32 a-head. This year (1864), however, they will average L32. a-head. Before selling I give each 3-1/2 lbs. of oil-cake per day for six weeks, and during this time they have swede turnips; at other times yellow. We give as much turnips at all times as they can eat.

Mr. Bowick, in his excellent paper on the rearing of calves, published in the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society, gives the following information on this subject:—

We consider it desirable to allow the calf to remain with its dam for the first three or four days after calving.

Not much trouble is generally experienced in getting it to take to the pail. We find it better to miss the evening's meal, and next morning a very little attention induces the majority of them to partake of what is set before them. At most the guidance of the fingers may be wanted for the first meal or two.

As regards the quantity of milk which is needful to keep a moderately bred Shorthorn calf in a thriving condition, we have found the following allowance to come pretty near the mark, although the appetite of calves varies, both in individuals and at different times with the same animal:—

1st week with the dam; or 4 quarts per day, at two meals.

2nd to 4th week, 5 to 6 quarts per day, at two meals.

4th to 6th week, 6 to 7 quarts per day, at two meals.

And the quantity need not, during the ensuing six weeks (after which it is weaned), exceed a couple of gallons per day. This implies that the calf is fed upon new milk only, and that no other feeding liquids are employed. But, in addition to the above, the calf will, towards the fourth week, begin to eat a little green hay; and in a week or two later, some sliced roots, or meal, or finely crushed cake, mixed with hay-chaff; and, if really good, creditable beasts are wanted—such as will realise L25 a-head from the butcher when turned two and a half years old—a little cake or meal in their early days will be found a desirable investment. In fact, we doubt not but 1 lb. of cake per day to the calf will make as much flesh as triple the quantity of cake at any period of after life. As regards meal, if that is given with the chaff, we prefer oatmeal, or barley-meal, or wheaten flour, but not the meal of beans or pease. Others may see it differently, but we believe beans to be too heating for any class of young stock. For roots, the best we know of is the carrot, grated and mixed with the chaff, or sliced thin with a knife and given alone. It is also, of all roots, the one which we find them most fond of, and which they will most readily take to. As soon as they can eat them freely, an immediate reduction in the supply of milk may be made.

In most articles it holds good in the end that "the best is the cheapest." So with the rearing of calves; the best class of food, or that above referred to, is found to give the greatest ultimate satisfaction. But practically the question often is, how to rear good calves with comparatively little new milk, a condition which circumstances often render almost imperative; for where dairy produce, in any other form, is the chief object, the calves stand in a secondary position, and are treated accordingly. But let us ask whether you cannot rear good stock under such circumstances also? We believe that this may be, and often is done. We manage to turn out from twenty-five to thirty calves annually—such as will pass muster anywhere—and never use at any one time more than six gallons of new milk daily. For this purpose, as well as to obtain a regular supply of milk for other purposes, the calves are allowed to come at different periods, extending from October to May. Hence the calf-house has generally a succession of occupants throughout the season; and as one lot are ready to be removed, and placed loose in a small hovel, with yard attached, others fill their places. We begin with new milk from the pail, which is continued for a fortnight after leaving the cow. Then skim-milk—boiled, and allowed to cool to the natural warmth—is substituted to the extent of one-third of the allowance. In another week the new milk is reduced to half, and at the same time, not before, boiled linseed is added to the mess.[20] As soon as they take freely to this food, the new milk may be replaced with that from the dairy, and the calf is encouraged to indulge in a few sliced carrots and the other dry foods named.

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