Mr. Murray, of Overstone, thus states the expense of rearing the calf until it is two years old, when, after the weaning process is completed, it is turned out to grass:—
During the summer they have the run of a grass paddock during the day, but return regularly to their yards at night; the following winter they are kept in larger yards, and which contain a greater number of animals. Their bill of fare for this winter is 2 lbs. of oil-cake, half a bushel of cut roots, with cut chaff ad libitum. The chaff has a small quantity of flour or pollard mixed with it, is moistened with water, and the whole mass turned over; this is done the day previous to using it. By this means they eat the chaff with more relish, and moistening it prevents the flour being wasted. They are put to grass the following summer, generally from the 15th to the 20th of May, or as soon as the pastures are in a state to receive them; they remain there on second-rate land till about the end of October, when they are brought home and tied up in the stalls. The daily allowance is then 4 lbs. linseed-cake, 4 lbs. flour—3/4 bean, 1/4 barley—1 bushel of cut roots with cut chaff; the flour and chaff is mixed as already described. At about the end of December the quantity of cake is increased to 8 lbs., and the flour to 6 lbs.; this they continue to receive till they are sold to the butcher during the months of March and April, when they weigh, on an average, 90 stones of 8 lbs. per bullock, and under two years and six months old. At this season of the year beef generally makes 5s. per stone—we often make 9s.—but taking that as an average would make the value of each beast L22 10s. The cost of keeping to this age will be as follows:—
L s. d.
One calf 2 0 0 Milk, &c., nine weeks 1 5 0 Cake, grass, &c., forty-three weeks, at 1s. 6d. 3 4 6 Second year, November till May, cake, flour, roots, &c., 2s. 6d. per week, for twenty-six weeks 3 5 0 May till November, grass, twenty-six weeks, at 2s. 6d. 3 5 0 Third year, November till April, twenty weeks, at 8s. 8 0 0 ————- L20 19 6
Which leaves a gain to each animal of L1 10s. 6d., besides the manure.
Shelter of Stock.—The great diminution of temperature, and the falling off in the supply of herbage, that are coincident with the close of the autumn, render it necessary to remove our cattle from the open fields, and provide them with some sort of shelter during the winter months and early part of the spring.
The particular period at which this change of quarters takes place of course varies, and is, in fact, altogether dependent upon the character of the season. There are some years in which there is, so to speak, a kind of relapse of the summer, November being bright and warm, instead of, as is usually the case, cold and foggy. In such a year there is some herbage to be picked up until the very end of December. On the other hand, the latter part of October is often very wet, and October frosts are by no means uncommon. Tempestuous, biting winds in November, or torrents of rain, or both, tell severely upon the poor animals in the fields, even where there is abundance of herbage; and hence, should such weather take place at the latter part of October, the true economy would be to remove the animals at once to sheltered places.
Nothing lowers the temperature of the surface so rapidly as a cold wind. Captain Parry, one of the explorers of the Arctic regions, states that his men, when well clothed, suffered no inconvenience on exposure to the low temperature of 55 degrees below zero, provided the air was perfectly calm; but the slightest breeze, when the air was at this temperature, caused the painful sensation produced by intense cold. I could adduce the experience of many practical men in favor of the plan of affording shelter to animals, but more especially to those kept in situations much exposed to winds. Mr. Nesbit relates a case bearing on this point:—A farmer in Dorsetshire put up twenty or thirty sheep, under the protection of a series of upright double hurdles lined with straw, having as a sort of roof, or lean-to, a single hurdle, also lined with straw. A like number of sheep, of the same weight, were fed in the open field, without shelter of any kind. Each set was fed with turnips ad libitum. The result was, that those without shelter increased in weight 1 lb. per week for each sheep, whilst those under shelter, although they consumed less food, increased respectively 3 lbs. per week.
As a general rule, the latter part of October, or early in November, is the time for the removal of live stock from the pastures to the shelter of the farmstead. In England and Scotland the transference is seldom delayed after these dates; but in Ireland it is no uncommon thing to see the animals grazing very much later in the year—a circumstance which the lateness and mildness of our climate account for. But whatever the date may be, the importance of such shelter is universally recognised, even by those who most neglect it and are least acquainted with the principles upon which its necessity depends. The more important of these principles have already been explained, but they may be here summarised as follows:—
1. A certain amount of warmth is an indispensable condition for the maintenance of the life of animals.
2. The internal heat of the bodies of animals is supplied by the chemical combination which takes place between the oxygen of the atmospheric air which they inspire and certain of the constituents (carbon and hydrogen) of the food which they consume, or, to speak more accurately, of the tissues of their bodies, which are formed out of their food. It is very much in the same way in which our houses are heated by the burning of coal, turf, or wood in their fire-places, since the heat derived in the latter case is obtained from a similar source as in the former one—namely, by the union of the oxygen of the air with the carbon and hydrogen of the fuel. The only real difference between the two kinds of combustion is, that in respiration the process is conducted with an extreme degree of slowness, whilst in the ordinary fire the combinations take place rapidly, and the heat being evolved in a much shorter time is proportionately the more intense.
3. The temperature of the external parts of the animal body varies with the nature and quantity of the food supplied to it, and also depends upon the state of the weather and the character of the protection afforded to it.
The colder the air, the greater will be the quantity of food required, and the more complete the shelter. In other words, a diminution of temperature, no matter how caused, will necessitate an increased amount of food and more perfect shelter, in order to maintain at the proper degree of heat the fluids of the body. It is only the external parts of the body that become cold: so long as the animal is in health its blood always maintains the same degree of temperature; but in cold weather the blood is subjected to a greater cooling power than it is in warm weather, and this cooling power it can only resist by taxing more extensively the heat-producing resources of the body.
4. Exposure to wet, even in warm weather, will tend to reduce the temperature of the body, since the conversion of water into vapor can only be effected at the expense of heat, which heat must be in great part extracted from the body of the animal itself.
5. No possible increase of food, however nutritious it may be, can suffice to keep up the due warmth and healthy condition of the animal frame in winter, if shelter from cold and rain be not simultaneously effected. On the contrary, an animal well protected from the winter blasts will require much less food than if it were placed in an exposed position. The reason of this is, that the amount of food which an animal exposed to great cold consumes to maintain the temperature of its body would, under opposite conditions, be stored up in the form of permanent "increase"—beef or mutton for the butcher, in fact.
The fat-forming constituents of the food of stock are in no case converted into permanent fat, except when they exceed in quantity the amount required to keep up the internal heat of the animal; but when this is constantly reduced by exposure to a wintry temperature, the food becomes insufficient for even that purpose, no matter how much aliment is given. What, then, must not be the condition of the unfortunate animals whose fate it is to be the property of a farmer who neither shelters them from the weather nor provides them with a sufficient quantity of nourishing food!
Milch Cows.—When dairy-farming is conducted on pure pastures, the cows are altogether dependent upon the grasses; and in winter, the animals suffer much from scarcity of food. This is the very worst system of cow-keeping, but it is prevalent amongst many small farmers in Ireland, and is to be met with even in England and Scotland. I am strongly of opinion that it would be far more economical to keep cows (and other cattle) altogether in the house, and feed them with cut grass, than to allow them to remain out altogether in the field. There are several disadvantages resulting from the depasturing of cows. In the warm weather, the animals are greatly annoyed by the attacks of flies: there is a considerable waste of muscle, caused by the movements of the animals whilst in search of their food; and the excrements of the animals and their footmarks injure a large portion of the grass. It may be somewhat troublesome and expensive to cut the grass, and convey it from the field to the house; but the labor and the cost will be more than repaid by the greatly-increased yield of food. A grass-field, mowed, will produce from 20 to 30 per cent. more food than it would if it were trampled upon and soiled by cattle. Exercise for an hour or two in the cool of the evening, or early in the morning (during the hot weather), will be quite sufficient to keep the animals in health. This may be taken in a field, better in a paddock, best of all in a roomy yard. When cattle are supplied with cut grass, or clover, care should be taken not to give it to them when very wet, for otherwise there is danger of the excessively moist herbage producing the hoove. Neither should large quantities of the green food be given to them—the supply should be "little and often." Should the food be too succulent, the addition of a little straw will correct its laxative effects. When the stock is about passing from the winter keep to summer food, the transition should be gradual; a well-made compound of straw or hay with grass (natural or artificial) is much relished by cows. A supply of good water is absolutely necessary; but sufficient attention to this important point is seldom given. Cooked food is well adapted for milch cows. Mangels, kohl-rabi, and cabbages are each of them better food than turnips, as the latter is apt to impart a disagreeable flavour to the butter. Three feeds in the day is a sufficient number for cows. The first meal should be early in the morning, and may consist of roots, mixed with straw or hay. Some feeders prefer using dry fodder, or cooked food of some kind, and not raw roots. The second meal is given at mid-day, and the third in the evening. The daily allowance of roots varies from 2 to 8 stones, depending upon the quantities of other foods used. Mr. Horsfall's diet is as follows:—Hay, 9 lbs.; rape-cake, 6 lbs.; malt-combs, 1 lb.; bran, 1 lb.; roots, 28 lbs. These substances are mixed and cooked, and the animals receive them in a warm state. In addition to this food, Mr. Horsfall's cows get bean-meal—a cow in full milk 2 lbs., others from 1/2 lb. to 1-1/2 lbs.; cost per week per cow, 8s. 7d. Mr. Alcock, of Skipton, feeds his cows as follows:—Raw mangels, 20 lbs.; carob beans, 3 lbs.; bran and malt-combs, 1-3/4 lbs.; bean-meal, 3-1/2 lbs.; rape-cake, 3 lbs.; per diem. A steamed mixture of wheat and bean straws and shells of oats ad libitum. Oats, to the extent of 2 or 3 lbs. daily, are an excellent food for cows.
An important point in dairy economics is the feeding of the cows at regular intervals. If the usual time for the feed be allowed to pass, the animals are almost certain to become very uneasy—to worry; and every feeder knows, or ought to know, that a fretting beast will neither fatten nor yield milk satisfactorily. The cow-house ought to be kept as clean as possible; and the excreta, therefore, should be removed several times a day.
Mr. Harvey, of Glasgow, has probably one of the largest dairies in the world. His cow byres, 56 yards long, and from 12 to 24 feet wide—according as one or two rows of cows are to be accommodated—stand closely packed, the whole surface of the ground being thus covered by a kind of roof. From 900 to 1,000 cows are constantly in milk. They are fed during winter partly on steamed turnips (7 tons being steamed daily in order to give one meal daily to 900 cows), partly on coarse hay, of which, as of straw, they get between 20 and 30 lbs. a day each. They are also fed on draff, of which they receive half a bushel daily each; on Indian corn meal, of which they have 3 lbs. daily each; and on pot-ale, of which they receive three times a day nearly as much as they will consume, i.e., from 6 to 10 gallons daily. During the summer they are let out, a byreful at a time, for half a day to grass, and on coming in receive their spent malt and still liquor, and hay in addition. They are managed, cleaned, and fed by two men to each byre holding about 100 cows. The milking is done three times a day, by women who take charge of 13 cows in full milk, or double that number in half milk, apiece. Between 4 and 5 o'clock a.m. (taking the winter management), the byres are cleaned out, and the cows receive a "big shovelful" of draff apiece, and half their steamed turnips and meal, and a "half stoupful," (probably 2 gallons) of pot-ale. They are milked very early. At 7 they receive their fodder-straw or hay. At 10 they get a "full stoupful" (probably 3 or 4 gallons) of pot-ale. They are milked at noon. At 2 p.m., or thereabouts, they are foddered again, and at 4 p.m. receive the same food as at the morning meal. They are again milked at 5 to 6, cleaned out and left till morning. The average produce is stated to be 2 gallons a day per cow.
Mrs. Scott, of Weekston, Peebles, who keeps one of the best managed dairy farms in the United Kingdom, thus conducts her operations in the winter:—At 6 o'clock in the morning the cows are well wiped or scrubbed, have their bedding removed, and receive each about 4 or 5 lbs. of straw. At 8 o'clock the cows are milked, and Mrs. Scott examines each to ascertain whether or not the milk-maid has left any fluid in the udder—and woe betide the careless maid if her work has been carelessly done! At 10 o'clock a barrowful of turnips is divided amongst three cows, and when these roots are not available, a quantity of peas or bean meal, with a pint of cold water, takes their place. At 1 o'clock the cows are allowed out to be watered, and during their absence from the byre it is thoroughly cleansed and ventilated. When the state of the weather prevents the cows from being turned out, they receive twice a day a handful of oatmeal diffused throughout three pints of water—a handful of salt being given in the first of these drinks. When the cows return to the byre, they receive each about 4 or 5 lbs. of straw, and at 4 or 5 o'clock an evening meal of turnips equal to their morning feed. At 8 o'clock a "windling" of meadow hay is given to each pair of cows, the quantity being always regulated according to the requirements of each cow. The cows upon calving receive, in addition to this allowance of hay, half a pailful of boiled turnips, mixed with a quart of peas or bean-meal. This mess is given in a lukewarm state. Mrs. Scott's system may be thus epitomised: Regularity in feeding; sufficient but not excessive food; regularity in milking; and minute attention to cleanliness and ventilation.
Stall-feeding.—What becomes of the 90 per cent. of the weight of the non-nitrogenous constituents of the food of the sheep, and of the 80 per cent. of that of the nutriment of the pig, which they consume but do not store up? I have already partly answered this question. This portion of the food is chiefly expended in the production of the heat with which the high temperature of the animal's body is maintained. Part of it, no doubt, passes unchanged through its body, either owing to its indigestibility, or to its being given in excess. The quantity of non-nitrogenous matters consumed by a man is influenced greatly by the temperature of the air which he habitually breathes, and by the nature of the artificial covering of his body; there may be other conditions at present unknown to us, but these are amongst the chief ones. Now, as there is sufficient reason to lead us to believe that the consumption of carbonaceous food by the lower animals is influenced in the same way by the temperature of the medium in which they exist, the question naturally suggests itself, would it not be cheaper to maintain the heat of the animal by burning the carbon of cheap coal or turf outside its body, than by consuming the carbon of costly fat within it? The answer to this question is not so simple as at first sight it appears to be. We must not consider that, because 10 lbs. weight of carbon, as coal, costs but a penny, whilst an equal weight of the same element in starch costs twenty pence, heat may be furnished to a fattening animal twenty times cheaper by the combustion of coal than by that of starch. No doubt the amount of heat evolved by the conversion of a pound-weight of carbon into carbonic acid is the same, whether it be a constituent of starch or of coal; but the application of the heat so produced is less under our control in the latter case. All the heat evolved during the combustion of the starch within the animal's body is made use of; whilst a very large proportion of that developed by the combustion of coal in a furnace cannot in practice be applied to the purpose of heating the animal's body.
It is only the handiwork of the Creator which is perfect, and no machine constructed by the skill of man, for the direction of force, can rival that wondrous heat-producing, force-directing mechanism—the animal organism. According to Dumas, the combustion of about 2-1/2 lbs. of carbon in a steam-engine is required to generate sufficient force to convey a man from the level of the sea to the summit of Mont Blanc; but a man will ascend the mountain in two days, and burn in his mechanism only half a pound of carbon. There is no machine in which heat and force are more completely made available than the animal organism; and were it not—thanks to the influence of antediluvian sunshine—that the carbon of fuel in these countries is so very much cheaper than the carbon of food, there is no doubt but that the cheapest mode of keeping an animal warm would be to allow it to burn its carbon within its body. As the matter stands, however, there is no question as to the advisability of keeping fattening animals in a warm place. If the temperature of the stall be equal to that of the animal's body there will be less food consumed in the increase of its fat; because less of the fat-forming materials will be expended in the production of heat. In this sense, therefore, heat is an equivalent to food, but only within certain limits; because heat is developed in large quantity within the animal body independently of the temperature of the air. There is, therefore, no object to be attained by having the stalls heated beyond 70 or 80 degrees. Indeed, it is to be questioned whether or not stalls artificially heated are ever properly ventilated. If they be not, the health of the animal will suffer, and its appetite—so essential a point in fattening stock—will become impaired. We may conclude—firstly, that animals, when fattening, should be kept at a temperature not under 70 degrees nor above 90 degrees Fahrenheit; secondly, that the mode of heating must be such that there is as little wasteful combustion of fuel as is possible under the circumstances; and, lastly, that no motives of economy of fuel should prevent the feeding places from being thoroughly ventilated.
Stall-feeding is not so extensively carried on in Ireland as it is in Great Britain. There is a general impression that it does not pay in the former country; but if such be the case, it is simply owing to the want of skill on the part of the Irish feeders.
The cattle intended for stall-feeding should be removed (if out) from the field in October, and put into the house, or court, or crib, or hammel, as the case may be. They are fed upon roots, straw, hay, grain, and artificial food. The greatest skill is required in their treatment. It is a nice point to determine which foods are the most economical, and also to ascertain in what foods excessive proportions of certain nutritive elements exist. Sufficient food should be given; but any approach to waste should be avoided. Three feeds a day are usually given, and should be supplied at the same hours each day. For about two weeks the animals are furnished with white turnips ad libitum; but after the expiration of that time they receive Swedish turnips, straw, and grain, or oil-cake. Late in the season mangels will replace turnips. Almost every extensive feeder now uses oil-cakes in large quantities; but when oats are low in price, they will in general be found a cheap equivalent for a large proportion of the oil-cake. Different feeders have different dietaries, and the nature of the aliments supplied to fattening stock depends very much upon the market prices of food-stuffs, and the locality in which the feeding-house is situated. The following dietaries are but examples of the methods of feeding adopted in different districts and by different persons:—
Mr. McCombie, of Tillyfour, fattens from 300 to 400 beasts annually, and obtained for them in 1861 L35 per head. He never exceeds 4 lbs. of oil-cake per diem, nor 2 lbs. of bruised oats, for each beast. He gives as much turnip and straw as they can consume. He realises L12 per acre in feeding on Aberdeen and Swedish turnips.
"For fatting cattle," says Mr. Edmonds, of Cirencester, "I should recommend two parts hay and one part straw, or in forward animals three parts hay and one part straw cut in chaff. Those of average size will eat somewhere about five bushels per day, with 4 lbs. to 5 lbs. oil-cake, and half a peck of mixed meal, barley and peas, or beans, and, if cheap, a proportion of wheat also, to be increased to one peck per day in a month or six weeks after they have come to stall, the oil-cake and meal to be boiled in water for half-an-hour or three-quarters, and thrown in the form of rich soup over the chaff, and well mixed, to which add a little salt."
Colonel M'Douall, of Logan, Wigtonshire, gives 3 lbs. of bean-meal and 3 lbs. of cut straw cooked together, and 84 lbs. of Swedish turnips.
According to the researches of Messrs. Lawes and Gilbert, an ox weighing 1,400 lbs. ought to gain 20 lbs. weekly when fed under cover with 8 lbs. of crushed oil-cake, 13 lbs. of chopped clover hay, and 47 lbs. of turnips. The chemical constituents (in a dried state) of this allowance are as follows:—
Fat-formers, or heat givers 232 Flesh-formers 55 Mineral matter 29
Cost of Maintaining Animals.—The animal mechanism, which exhibits the least tendency to fatten, is the most costly to keep in repair, in relation to the work performed by it. If, for example, a sheep store up in its increase one-fifth of its food, then the remaining four-fifths are expended in preserving it alive, and their cost represents, so to speak, the expense of preserving the animal's body in repair. If another sheep store up only one-tenth of its food, then the cost of its maintenance may be said to be double that of the animal which retains the larger proportion of its nutriment in the form of flesh. Of course in both cases the value of the manure will to a great extent compensate for the cost of the food expended in merely keeping the animal alive; but that does not affect the proposition, that the less food expended by an animal in carrying on its vital functions the more valuable is it as a "meat-manufacturing machine." From the moment it is brought into the world until it is "ripe" for the shambles, an animal should steadily increase in weight: every week that it does not store up a portion of its food in permanent increase is the loss of a week's food to the feeder; for all the fodder consumed during that time by the animal is, so to speak, devoted to its own private purposes. Sheep overcrowded on pastures, milch cows on "short commons," calves kept on bulky innutritious food, are all so many sources of positive loss to the feeder—and as many proofs that he who aspires to be a successful producer of meat, must, in one respect at least, be a devout believer in the doctrine of Progressive Development.
Cooking and Bruising Food.—The cooking, or the otherwise preparing, of the food of the domesticated animals is a subject which until recently was completely ignored by the vast majority of stock feeders. It is now, however, beginning to attract a fair amount of attention; and no doubt ere long the best modes of treating the food of cattle will be discovered.
As might be expected from our limited experience of the subject, there exists considerable difference of opinion relative to the proper method of cooking cattle food; and there are many very extensive feeders who object to the plan altogether, and contend that as the food of the inferior animals is naturally supplied to them in a raw condition, it would be quite unnatural to give it to them in a cooked state.
Whatever difference of opinion there may be with regard to the propriety of cooking the food of stock, we believe there ought not to be a doubt as to the desirability of mechanically treating the harder kinds of feeding stuff. It is quite evident that a horse fed upon hard grains of oats and wiry fibres of uncut hay or straw must expend no inconsiderable proportion of his motive power in the process of mastication. After a hard day's work of eight or ten hours he has before him the laborious task of reducing to a pulp from 12 lbs. to 20 lbs. weight of exceedingly hard and tough vegetable matter; and as this operation is carried on during the hours which should be devoted to rest, the repose of the animal is to some extent interfered with. Indeed, it not unfrequently happens that a horse, after a hard day's work, is too tired to chew his food properly; he consequently bolts his oats, a large proportion of which, as a matter of course, passes unchanged through the animal's body.
In order to render fully effective the motive power of the horse, it is absolutely necessary to pay attention to the condition, as well as to the quantity and quality of his nutriment. The force wasted by a horse in the comminution of his food, when composed of whole oats and uncut hay and straw, cannot, at the lowest estimate, be less than that which he expends in an hour of ordinary work, such as, for example, in ploughing. The preparation of his food by means of water or steam power, or even by animal motive power, would economise by at least 50 per cent. the labor expended in its mastication; and this would be equivalent to nearly half a day's work in each week, and, consequently, a clear gain of so much labor to the owner of the animal. In the present time of water-power and steam-power corn-mills, one man is able to grind the flour necessary for the support of several thousand men; in early ages the labor of one person in the grinding of wheat served but to supply the wants of twenty others. In both cases machinery was employed for reducing the grain to flour; but in the one case, the mechanisms employed were more than a hundred times more effective than in the other. But even the most imperfect flour mill is by far a more economical system of comminuting corn than the jaws of animals; and if every man were obliged, as the horse is, to grind his corn by means of his teeth alone, he would find his powers for the performance of other kinds of labor considerably lessened.
It has been urged as an objection to the use of bruised oats by horses, that they exercise in that state a laxative influence upon the animal's bowels. I doubt very much that such is frequently the case, when the animal is fed only upon oats and hay and straw; but even if the oats produce such an effect, the addition of a small proportion of beans—the binding properties of which are well known—will obviate the disadvantage.
The desirability of mechanically acting upon soft food is not so apparent as the necessity for the bruising of oats is. Roots are so easily masticable that if they are rendered more so there is danger of their being so hastily swallowed as to escape thorough insalivation, which is so necessary to ensure perfect digestion. To guard against this danger, perhaps the best way would be to give pulped mangels and turnips mixed with cut straw; a mixture which could not easily be bolted. Mr. Charles Lawrence, of Cirencester, who is a great advocate for the cooking of food, and has frequently published his experience of the benefits derivable therefrom, thus describes his method of combining pulped roots with dry fodder:—
We find that, taking a score of bullocks together fattening, they consume per head per diem three bushels of chaff, mixed with just half a cwt. of pulped roots, exclusive of cakes of corn; that is to say, rather more than two bushels of chaff are mixed with the roots, and given at two feeds, morning and evening, and the remainder is given with the cake, &c., at the middle-day feed, thus:—We use the steaming apparatus of Stanley, of Peterborough, consisting of a boiler in the centre, in which the steam is generated, and which is connected by a pipe on the left hand with a large galvanised iron receptacle for steaming food for pigs, and on the right with a large wooden tub, lined with copper, in which the cake, mixed with water, is made into a thick soup. Adjoining this is a slate tank, of sufficient size to contain one feed for the entire lot of bullocks feeding. Into this tank is laid chaff with a three-grained fork, and pressed down firmly; and this process is repeated until the slate tank is full, when it is covered down for an hour or two before feeding time. The soup is then found entirely absorbed by the chaff, which has become softened and prepared for ready digestion.
Mr. Wright, near Dunbar, gives the following account of an experiment with pulped roots and straw and oil-cake. It appears to prove the superiority of mixed foods over the same foods consumed separately:—
Two lots of year-old cattle were fed; the one in the usual way—sliced turnips and straw, ad libitum—the others with the minced turnips, mixed with cut straw. The first lot consumed daily 84 lbs. sliced turnips, 1 lb. oil-cake, 1 lb. rape-cake, 1/2 lb. bean-meal, broken small and mixed with a little salt, and what straw they liked. The second lot ate, each, daily, 50 lbs. minced turnips, 1 lb. oil-cake, 1 lb. rape-cake, 1/2 lb. bean-meal, and a little salt, the whole being mixed with double the bulk of cut straw or wheat chaff. In spring, the lot of cattle which had the mixed food were in good condition, and equally well grown as others, though they had consumed in five months two tons less of roots apiece. The reporter does not advise the mincing process to be commenced when cattle are very forward in condition, as any change of food requires a certain time to accustom the animals to it, and in the meantime fat cattle are apt to fall off in condition. It ought to be begun when they are young and lean.
Mr. Duckham, of Baysham Court, Ross, Herefordshire, says:—
The advantages of pulping roots for cattle are—1st, Economy of food; for the roots being pulped and mixed with the chaff, either from threshing or cut hay or straw, the whole is consumed without waste, the animals not being able to separate the chaff from the pulped roots, as is the case when the roots are merely sliced by the common cutter, neither do they waste the fodder as when given without being cut.
2. The use of ordinary hay or straw. After being mixed with the pulp for about twelve hours, fermentation commences, and this soon renders the most mouldy hay palatable, and animals eat with avidity that which they would otherwise reject. This fermentation softens the straw, makes it more palatable, and puts it in a state to assimilate more readily with the other food. In this respect I think the pulper of great value, particularly upon corn farms where large crops of straw are grown, and where there is a limited acreage of pasture, as by its use the pastures may be grazed, the expensive process of haymaking reduced, and, consequently, an increased number of cattle kept. I keep one-third more, giving the young stock a small quantity of oil-cake, which I mix with the chaff, &c.
3. Choking is utterly impossible, and I have only had one case of hoove in three years, and that occurred when the mixture had not fermented.
4. There is an advantage in mixing the meal with the chaff and pulped roots for fattening animals, as thereby they cannot separate it, and the moisture from the fermentation softens the meal and ensures its thorough digestion, whereas, when given in a dry state without any mixture, frequently a great portion passes away in the manure.
On the value of the process for a grazing farm with but a small quantity of plough-land, Mr. Corner, of Woodlands, Holford, Bridgewater, thus speaks:—
My plan is, first commencing with the grazing beasts, to cut about an equal quantity of hay and straw and mix with a sufficient quantity of roots (mostly mangel) to well moisten the chaff; and as the beasts advance in condition, I lessen the straw and increase the hay, and in their further progress I mix—in addition to all hay, chaff, and roots—from 6 to 10 lb. per day to each bullock of barley and bean-meal, according to its size—and I have them large sometimes. I sold last week for the London market a lot of Devon oxen of very prime quality, averaging in weight upwards of 100 stone imperial each.
For my horses, cows, yearlings, and oxen—the latter to be kept in a thriving condition, and turned to grass, and kept through the summer for Christmas, 1860—I cut nearly all straw, with a very small quantity of hay, and this the offal of the rick. These also have as many pulped roots as will moisten the chaff, except the horses, and to them I give, along with bruised oats, just enough roots to keep their bowels in a proper condition. To the two or three-year-old beasts I give some long straw and a part chaff, and the offal (if any) of the food of the above lots of stock.
My farm is but a small one—under 200 acres. My predecessor always mowed nearly all the pastures for hay, which is about half the farm, and with this scarcely ever grazed any beasts, and kept but very few sheep. Since my occupation I scarcely ever exceed ten acres of meadow with one field of seeds for hay. I keep from 250 to 300 large-size Leicester sheep, and graze from 20 to 25 large-size beasts a year, with other breeding stock in proportion.
I consider the pulping of roots is better for fatting pigs than anything else. My plan is to have a large two-hogshead vat as near the pulping machine as possible, so as to fill it with a malt shovel as it comes from the machine; at the same time I keep a lad sprinkling meal (either barley or Indian corn) with the roots; and this is all done in fifteen or twenty minutes. It is then ready for use, to be carried to the pigs in the stalls alongside the fatting beasts. I never could fatten a pig with profit until I used pulped roots.
Although the practice of cooking food has been advocated by several eminent feeders, it has been condemned by others. Mr. Lawes is not favorable to the cooking of food unless when it is scarce. The results of Colonel M'Douall's experiments go to prove that cattle can be more economically kept upon a mixture of raw and cooked foods than upon either raw or cooked fodder given separately. One meal of cooked food and two feeds of raw turnips gave better results than three feeds of raw turnips; whilst two cooked feeds and a raw one resulted in a loss.
The fermentation of food, if not the best, is certainly the cheapest mode of preparing it. If the process be not pushed too far the loss of nutriment sustained is inconsiderable. When a mixture of straw and roots is fermented, the hard fibres of the latter are, to a great extent, broken up, and the nutrient particles which they envelop are fully exposed to the action of the solvent juices of the stomach.
A great advantage in cooking or fermenting food is that the most rubbishy materials can be used up. Indeed, as a general rule, the better soft food is, the less the necessity for cooking it; but washed out hay and hard, over-ripened straw are of but little value, except when cooked and given in combination with some agreeably-flavored substance.
VALUE FOR FEEDING PURPOSES OF VARIOUS FOODS.
KEY: A. Starch, Sugar, &c. B. Oil, Starch, &c., computed as Oil. C. Weight. D. Value. E. Value of Nitrogen, Phosphoric Acid, and Potash. F. Deduct Nitrogen for perspiration. G. Net Value for Manure. - - COST. 100 LBS. CONTAIN. - - - + MATERIAL. Nitrogen. Per Per 100 + - ton. lbs. Oil. A. B. C. D. - - - - -+ L s. d. s. d. lbs. lbs. lbs. lbs. d. Meadow-hay 4 0 0 3 7 2.68 39.75 24.63 1.48 10.62 Wheat-straw 1 15 0 1 7 0.50 32.0 18.50 0.42 3.0 Swedish Turnips 4 10 0 4 0 2.0 60.0 35.0 2.40 17.28 Oil-cake 9 6 8 8 4 12.0 38.0 33.0 5.0 36.0 Beans 9 6 8 8 4 2.0 42.0 25.30 4.45 32.0 Indian Meal 9 6 8 8 4 7.0 60.0 40.0 2.25 16.20 Carob, or Locust Bean 9 6 8 8 4 6.76 57.0 35.0 0.64 3.75 + - - - - -
+ -+ -+ + 100 LBS. CONTAIN. + -+ -+ + -+ -+ MATERIAL. Phosphoric Potash. Acid. + + + + + C. D. C. D. E. F. G. + -+ + + + + + -+ -+ lbs. d. lbs. d. s. d. d. s. d. Meadow-hay 0.90 1.35 1.50 4.50 1 4-1/2 2-1/12 1 2-1/4 Wheat-straw 0.14 0.21 0.65 2.16 0 5 1/2 0 5 Swedish Turnips 0.80 1.20 2.25 6.75 2 1-1/4 3-1/2 1 9-3/4 Oil-cake 2.25 3.37 1.75 5.25 3 8-1/2 7-1/4 3 1-3/4 Beans 0.86 1.29 1.11 3.33 3 0-1/2 6-1/2 2 6 Indian Meal 0.19 0.28 0.17 0.51 1 5 3-1/4 1 1-3/4 Carob, or No analysis Locust Bean of ash. say 5-3/4 0 5 + -+ + + + -+ -+
Bedding Cattle.—Instead of wasting straw in bedding cattle, it would be much better to pass it through their bodies. If straw must be used for litter, let it be employed as economically as possible. Good substitutes, wholly or in part, for straw bedding may be found in sawdust, ashes, tan and ferns. Leaves of trees if procurable in quantity constitute an excellent litter.
The management of sheep varies greatly—depending upon the breeds of the animal, the localities in which they are reared and fattened, and various economic conditions. The tupping season varies of course with the country: in Ireland it commences about the middle of September and lasts for two months; in England and parts of Scotland, the season is about a month earlier. The best kinds of sheep admit of being very early put to breed. Both ram and ewe are ready for this purpose when about fifteen months old. One ram is sufficient for about 80 ewes. The breeding flock should be in a sound, healthy condition, and the ram ought to be as near perfection as possible. The condition of the sire ought to be good, but at the same time it is not desirable to have him over fat. The more striking indications of good health in the sheep are dry eyes, red gums, sound teeth, smooth, oily skin, and regular rumination. The color of the excreta should be natural.
Breeding Ewes.—After the tupping season, which generally lasts for a month, the sheep are usually put on a pasture, which need not be very rich. In cold situations ample shelter should be afforded to the breeding flocks; and in severe weather they should, if possible, be removed to sheds. When snow covers the ground, the animals must be supplied with turnips, or cooked food of some kind. At such time a little oil-cake will be found very useful.
Yeaning.—In March the yeaning season sets in; and as this time approaches, the food of the animals should be improved, and the greatest care must be taken of them. The shepherd should be unceasing in his watchfulness, frequently examining every individual animal. The lambing, if possible, ought to take place in sheds, or some covered place.
Rearing of Lambs.—Delicate lambs require great care. Very weak ones often require to be hand fed. Should a mother die, her offspring may be placed with another ewe; on the other hand, should a lamb perish, its mother may be appointed to rear one of another ewe's twins (if such be available). The ram lambs, not intended for breeding purposes, are subjected to a necessary mutilation when they are about three weeks old. If this operation be performed later, there is great danger that fatal inflammatory action may set in; on the other hand, a lamb much younger than three weeks is hardly strong enough to bear the pain of the operation. The tails of the lambs are shortened about the same time; but it would be better in the case of the rams not to perform both operations on the same day. These operations are best performed during moist or cloudy weather; if they must be done on frosty or stormy days, the lambs should be kept under shelter for two or three days, as otherwise the cold might induce inflammation. The lambs remain with their mothers for about four months, after which they are weaned, and put upon a good pasture. When the herbage is poor, oil-cake, say 1/4 lb. daily, or some other nutritious food, should be used to supplement it. During the summer and part of the autumn the young stock, as a rule, subsist upon grass; but many flock-masters give them other kinds of food in addition. As winter approaches, the young sheep on tillage farms receive soft turnips, and sometimes a little hay or straw. The allowance of oil-cake may be increased to 1/2 lb., or if corn be cheap, it may be substituted for the oil-cake. After Christmas Swedish turnips are used.
Mr. Mechi gives the following information on the subject of rearing lambs during a season when roots are scarce:—
Two hundred lambs, which cost 22s. 6d. each on September 12th, were kept on leas and stubble until November 3rd, then on turnips until December 19th, when fifty of them were drafted to another flock getting a little cotton-cake. On the 3rd of February fatting commenced with linseed-cake in addition to cut Swedes. On the 7th of April the fifty tegs were put on rye with mangels, and they were sold on the 4th of May at 61s. each.
The remaining 150 lambs were wintered as stores at little cost, on inferior turnips uncut; they were put on rye from March 8th till May 4th, when they were valued at 48s. each.
The district just referred to became so exhausted of its stock, that at some of the later fairs the number of lambs and of ewes exhibited was less than one-fourth of the average. But in Essex, on six adjoining farms, including that from which I write, the number of sheep wintered has been greater than these heavy lands ever carried before. This has been effected by the extension of a system of management often practised on heavy land, that of eking out a scanty supply of green food by a liberal allowance of straw, chaff, and grain; which happily were good in quality, as well as plentiful and low in price in 1864.
By these means we were enabled last winter to keep 1,500 sheep on about 650 acres of arable, and 350 acres of dry upland pasture—chiefly park surrounding a mansion. The arable land does not very well bear folding in winter, as a preparation for spring corn. Neither climate nor soil are favorable to turnips, and notwithstanding our efforts in assisting Nature, our crops of turnips, rape, or Swedes, are never first-rate, and sometimes very bad. Strong stubbles, good beans, clover-seed, and mangel, are the specialities of the locality, and they indicate heavy land, corn-growing, and yard-feeding. Sheep have been generally "conspicuous by their absence," though even the heavy-land farmer is glad to winter a yard of them instead of cattle, that he may keep some, at least, of the stock that pays best.
In the autumn of 1864 our root crops consisted of some white turnips and rape, eaten by the ewes in September, and of a very bad crop of mangel, the whole of which was reserved for the ewes at lambing-time. In this predicament we wintered about 1,000 half-bred lambs, more than 400 ewes, and some fatting sheep. All, except the fatting sheep, were folded on the stubbles, and allowed a daily run on the park of about an hour for each flock. The freshest grass was reserved for the ewes, and a very meagre bite remained for the lambs; in fact, except for a few weeks in autumn, the parks afforded them little or nothing except exercise and water.
The flocks were divided between three separate farms, and their food was prepared at the respective homesteads. The treatment was in every respect similar; we shall therefore only notice in detail the management at one farm.
The following details are taken from our "Live Stock Book:"—
EXTRACTS FROM STOCK BOOK.
November 4th, 1864. L s. d.
352 lambs, cost at date, 30s. 9-1/2d. each 542 2 3 (a) Cost of keeping 24 weeks to April 21, 1865:— (b) Corn and cake, as per granary book 245 16 9 (c) Cutting 25 tons of chaff, at 6s. 7 13 0 (d) Grinding 96 qrs. 6 bshls. of corn, at 9d. 3 12 6 Attendance, at 19s. 10d. per week 23 16 0 (e) Horse labor, at 6s. per week 7 4 0 Coal, 3s. 2d. per week 3 16 0 (f) Use of 21 troughs, at 3d. each per month 1 11 6 (g) Use of 180 hurdles, at 1d. each per month 4 10 0 1-1/2 cwt. of rock salt 0 4 6 ========== L840 6 6
(a) Total cost of keeping 352 lambs for 24 weeks, L298 4s. 3d. (b) Cost per head, 16s. 11d. (c) Cost, food only, 14s. 11d. (d) Value of the manure, reckoned at one-fifth the cost of the corn and cake, L49 3s. 4d. (e) Cost of the lambs, per head, L2 7s. 8d. (f) Value of manure, per head, 2s. 10d. (g) No charge made for the straw-chaff eaten on the land.
The tegs would probably have been sold at a profit in April; they were, however, put on grass and clover, and were fattened in the summer.
September 29th.—352 lambs in the parks, on a little cotton-cake and some oats, until November 4th, when they were folded on a wheat stubble. Gave them 5 bushels of meal daily, mixed with 468 lb. of straw chaff. Cost 3-1/2d. each per week for meal.
December 20th.—Increased the food to 6-1/2 bushels of meal and 1 bushel of oil-cake.
2-3/4 bushels of maize crushed and boiled 143 4-1/2 bushels of mixed meal 200 1 bushel of oil-cake 50 —- 393 ===
Cost 5-1/2d. per week for corn and cake; chaff, 2-1/4 lb. each, between these and the ewes, the lambs eating rather less than 2 lb. each.
Eight pounds of rock-salt licked up by the 352 lambs per week.
January 23rd.—The food was increased to 7-1/2 bushels of meal, 2 bushels of oil-cake, and 2 bushels of rape-cake.
Mixture of Corn.
Wheat 4 parts. Barley 4 " Oats 2 " Maize 4 "
Cost per stone (14 lb.) s. d. Wheat 1 0 Barley 0 10 Oats 1 0 Maize 0 10 Oil-cake 1 4-1/4 Rape-cake 0 9
Sheep Feeding.—In Ireland sheep are often exclusively fed on grass; but in most cases the addition of other food is desirable, and more especially is it necessary during winter. When confined to roots, sheep, on an average, consume about 26 lbs. daily, unless when under shelter, which diminishes the quantity by from five to ten per cent. Some sheep on which Dr. Voelcker experimented were fed as follows:—
Mangel wurtzel 19 8 Chopped clover hay 1 3/10 Linseed cake 0 4-8/100 ——————— Total 20 15-38/100
On this diet four sheep were maintained from the 22nd of March until the 10th of May, a period of forty-seven days. The weights were as follows:—
22nd Mar. 10th May. Gain.
No. 1 153 170-1/2 17-1/2 No. 2 134 151-1/2 17-1/2 No. 3 170 187 17-1/2 No. 4 136 155 19
This experiment shows that the sheep can increase in weight on a daily allowance of food, much less than is usually given to them; but it will be found that growing sheep will usually consume a greater quantity of food than that used by Dr. Voelcker's fattening animals.
Sheep washing is performed before the animal is shorn. It is a process which should never be neglected, as dirty wool is certain to bring a less price than the same quality would if clean. After being washed, sheep should be kept in dry pasture for about ten days in order to allow the loss of yolk removed by the washing to be repaired; they will then be in proper condition for the shearer.
Sheep Dips are used for the purpose of removing parasites from the animal's skin. They often contain arsenic, or bichloride of mercury (corrosive sublimate), which are very objectionable ingredients. The glycerine sheep dip, prepared by Messrs. Hendrick and Guerin, of London, is a safe mixture, as it is free from mineral poisons, whilst the tar substances which it includes, act as a powerful cleanser of the skin, without injuriously affecting the yolk of the wool.
In the breeding of pigs, as in the breeding of other kinds of stock, great care should be taken in the selection of both sire and dam. A good pig should have a small head, short nose, plump cheek, a compact body, short neck, and thin but very hairy skin, and short legs. The black breed is considered to be more hardy than the white; and pure—all black or all white—colors as a rule indicate the purest blood.
The sow should not be bred from until she is a year old, and the boar especially should not be employed at an earlier age. Although one boar is sometimes left with forty pigs and even a greater number, he will not be able to serve more than a dozen about the same time, if vigorous progeny be expected. The sow's regular period of gestation is 113 days; she can have two litters a year, and in each there are from five to fourteen young. Moderate sized litters are the best, the young of very numerous ones being often weakly. The best time to rear young pigs is during the warm or mild parts of the year.
During gestation the sow should be liberally fed, but not with excessive amounts. The food at this time should rather excel in quality than in quantity; but so soon as she begins to nurse, her allowance must be increased, and may be rendered more stimulating. For a week or so before farrowing, the sow ought to be kept alone. Its sty should not be too small—not less than 8 or 10 feet square—for pigs require good air in abundance as well as other animals.
The straw used for litter should neither be too abundant nor too long; in the latter case some of the young might be covered by it, and escaping the notice of the sow, might unconsciously be crushed by the latter. If the young are very feeble, it may become necessary to hand-feed them. Some sows eat their young: and when they have this habit, the better plan is to cease breeding from them; for it appears to be incurable. After parturition some bran and liquid or semi-liquid food should be given to the sow.
Young Pigs subsist exclusively on their mother's milk but for a short time. In two or three weeks they may receive skimmed or butter-milk from the dairy. At a month old such of them as are not designed for breeding purposes may be subjected to the usual mutilations; and at from five to six weeks old the young are weaned, and converted into stores.
Store Pigs, when young, are best fed upon skimmed milk, oatmeal, and potatoes, in a cooked state. When they are approaching three months old, they may be supplied with raw food, if the weather be warm; but in winter, cooked and warm food will be found the more economical. Cabbages, roots, potatoes, and all kinds of grain that are cheap are used in pig feeding. The number of meals varies from six or seven in the case of very young animals, to three in the case of those nearly ready for fattening. Store pigs should be allowed a few hours' exercise daily in a paddock, or field, or at least in a large yard.
The dietaries of store pigs vary greatly, for these animals being omnivorous readily eat almost every kind of food. Mr. Baldwin, of Bredon House, near Birmingham, an extensive pig breeder, gave (in 1862) stores the following allowance:—At three months old, a quart of peas, Egyptian beans, or Indian corn. He considered English beans to be too heating for young pigs. The animals were allowed the run of a grass field. On this diet the stores were kept until they were eight months old (increasing at the average rate of five pounds per week), after which they were allowed an extra half-pint of corn. He calculated the weekly cost as follows:—Dry food, 1s.; grass, 2d.; man's time, 1d.; total, 1s. 3d. These results yielded a profit of 1s. per week per pig, pork being at the time 6d. per lb. Some feeders give young store pigs half-a-pint of peas, mixed with pulped mangel, and the quantum of peas is gradually increased to one pint per diem. All kinds of food-refuse from the house are welcomed by the pig. Skins, dripping, damaged potatoes, cabbage, &c., may be given to them; but they should not be altogether substituted for the ordinary food-stuffs. Coal-dust, cinders, mortar rubbish, and similar substances are often swallowed by pigs, and sometimes even given to them by the feeder. In certain cases Lawes and Gilbert found that superphosphate of lime was a useful addition to the food of pigs. A little salt should invariably be given, more especially if mangels (which are rich in salt) do not enter into the animals' dietary.
Fattening Pigs.—For some time before store pigs are put up to be fattened, the quality and quantity of their food should be increased, for it is not economy to put a rather lean animal suddenly upon a very fattening diet. The sty should be well supplied with clean litter, and should be darkened. Three feeds per diem will be a sufficient number, and the remains (if any) of one should be removed from the trough before the fresh feed is put into it. The feeding trough (which should be made of iron) should be so constructed that the animals cannot place their fore feet in it. The pig is naturally a clean animal, and therefore it should be washed occasionally, as there is every reason to believe that such a procedure will tend to promote the animal's health. It should be supplied with clean water.
In Stephen's "Book of the Farm," it is stated that two pecks of steamed potatoes, and 9 lbs. of barley-meal, given every day to a pig weighing from 24 to 28 stones, will fatten it perfectly in nine weeks. Barley-meal is largely used in England as food for pigs. It is given generally in the form of a thin paste, and in large quantities. Lawes and Gilbert found that 1 cwt. of barley-meal given to pigs increased their weight by 22-1/2 lbs. Indian meal is fully equal, if it is not superior to barley-meal, as food for pigs; and for this purpose it is far more extensively employed in Ireland. Every kind of grain given to pigs should be ground and cooked. In Scotland pigs are often fattened solely on from 28 to 35 lbs. of barley-meal weekly, and mangels or turnips ad libitum. Pollard is a good food for pigs, being rich in muscle-forming materials; it is a good addition to very fatty or starchy food. A mixture of pollard and palm-nut meal is an excellent fattening food. Potatoes are now so dear, that they are seldom—unless the very worst and diseased kinds—used in pig feeding. They should never be given raw. The more inferior feeding-stuffs should be used up first in the fattening of pigs, and the more valuable and concentrated kinds during the latter part of the process.
The horse is subject to many diseases, not a few of which arise from the defective state of his stable. The best kinds of stables are large and lofty, well ventilated and drained, smoothly paved, and well provided with means for admitting the direct sunlight. The walls should be whitewashed occasionally, and for disinfecting and general sanitary purposes, four ounces of chloride of lime (bleaching powder) mixed with each bucket of whitewash, will be found extremely useful.
Farm horses are kept in stalls, which should not be less than six feet wide, and (exclusive of rack and rere passage) 10 feet long. For hunters and thorough-breds, loose boxes are now generally used.
The mare commences to breed at four years, and the period of gestation is 340 days. She may be worked until within a fortnight of the time at which parturition is expected to occur. After foaling, the mare should be turned into a grass field (unless the weather is severe) and kept there idly for three or four weeks.
Foals are kept with their mothers until they are about five or six months old: after weaning, their food must be tender and nutritious—well bruised oats, cut hay, bean or oatmeal mashes; carrots are very suitable.
Working horses are fed chiefly upon oats and hay, which undoubtedly are the best foods for these animals, both being rich in muscle-forming materials. Bruised oats are far more economical than the whole grains: and if the animals eat too rapidly, that habit is easily overcome by mixing chopped straw or hay with the grain.
According to Playfair, a horse not working can subsist and remain in fair condition on a daily allowance of 12 lbs. of hay and 5 lbs. of oats. According to the same authority, a working horse should receive 14 lbs. of hay, 12 lbs. of oats, and 2 lbs. of beans.
Beans are a very concentrated food, rich in flesh-formers, and are, therefore, well adapted for sustaining hard-working horses. They are rather binding; but this property is easily neutralised by combining the beans with some laxative food. Turnips, carrots, furze, and various other foods are given to the horse, often in large quantities. The following are some among the many dietaries on which this animal is kept:—
Professor Low's formula is, 30 to 35 lbs. of a mixture of equal parts of chopped straw, chopped hay, bruised grain, and steamed potatoes.
The daily rations of horses of the London Omnibus Company, are 16 lbs. of bruised oats, 7-1/2 lbs. of cut hay, and 2-1/2 lbs. of chopped straw.
Stage coach-horses in the United States receive daily about 19 lbs. of Indian meal and 13 lbs. of cut hay.
Mr. Robertson, of Clandeboye, near Belfast, gives the following information on the subject of horse-keeping:—
The year we divide into three periods—October, November to May inclusive, June to September inclusive. During the first period, the horses get about 18 lb. of chaff and 12 lb. of crushed oats and beans; "10-1/2 oats and 1-1/2 beans" per head per day. During the second period they get about 15 lb. of hay chaff, 12 lb. of crushed oats and beans, and about 3 gallons of boiled turnips per head per day. During the third period they were turned out to graze during the night. In the day time, whilst in the stable, each animal is allowed about 50 lb. of cut clover, and about 12 lb. of crushed oats and beans per day. The feeding is all under the charge of one person. He uses his own discretion in feeding the animals, though he is not allowed to exceed the quantities named. The horses to which I allude are the same on which the experiments commenced two years ago—six cart horses, one cart pony, and one riding horse. From Sept. 1, 1865, to and including August 31, 1866, the cost of maintaining these horses in good working condition; keeping the carts, harness, &c., in repair; shoeing, c., was as follows:—
Oats, 14 tons, at 16s. per cwt. L112 0 0 Beans, 2 tons, at 18s. per cwt. 18 0 0 Hay, 13 tons, at 30s. per ton 19 10 0 Green Clover 15 0 0 Turnips 5 0 0 Night grazing 18 0 0 Engine, cutting chaff, crushing oats, &c. 7 4 0 Attendance 26 0 0 Blacksmith 12 0 0 Saddler 12 0 0 Carpenter 10 0 0 Five per cent. interest on value, L110 5 10 0 Depreciation in value 10 per cent. 11 0 0 —————— L271 4 0 Deduct cost of riding horse 35 0 0 —————— L236 4 0
L33 11s. 10d. per head; if we suppose the available working days to be 300, allowing 13 for wet days, holidays, &c., the daily cost will be 2s. 2-1/2d.; to this if we add 1s. 8d., the wages of the driver, we shall have a total of 3s. 10-1/2d. as the cost of a horse, cart, and driver per day. I would only add, in conclusion, that the horses are kept in good working condition; and, as a proof of their good health under this system, I may state that during the past two years we have not had occasion to require the services of a veterinary surgeon.
Musty hay or straw should not be given to horses. Furze is said to be a heating food; but it is very nutritious, and when young, may be given as part of the food of the horse.
Boiled turnips and mangels are often given in winter; but they are not sufficiently nutritious to constitute a substantial portion of the animal's diet. Oil-cake is occasionally given to horses; but seldom in larger quantities than 1-1/2 lbs. per diem. On the whole, experience is in favor of occasionally giving cooked food to horses; and the practice meets with the full approval of the veterinarian. To most kinds of food for horses, the addition of one or two ounces of salt is necessary.
In the Agricultural Gazette for November 25, 1865, the following instructive tables are given:—
STABLE FEEDING DURING AUTUMN.
- - - - - Name and Address Clover, Weekly No. of Authorities. Hay. Oats. Beans. &c. Cost. - - - - - lb. lb. lb. s. d. 1 W. Gater, Botley 168 63* 32* ... 12 0 2 W. C. Spooner 112 84 24 ... 11 0 3 T. Aitken, Spalding. ... 37-1/2 ... ad lib. 7 6? 4 " " ... 37-1/2 35 ad lib. 10 O? 5 T. P. Dods, Hexham. ... 105 ... ad lib. 10 6? 6 " " ad lib. 105 ... ... 10 6? Straw 7 A. Ruston, I. of Ely. ad lib. 84 10 ad lib. 9 0 1/2 1/2 Bran. 1/3 bush. 8 A. Simpson, Beauly 168 70 14 24 lb. 10 0 Straw. 9 H. J. Wilson, Mansfield ... 52-1/2 ... ad lib. 7 3? 10 " " 42 87-1/2 ... ad lib. 9 0 - - - - - In this table the asterisk (*) means that the grain is crushed or ground.
STABLE FEEDING DURING WINTER.
- - - No. Name and Address. Hay. Oats. Beans. Roots. Sundries. Straw. Weekly Cost. - - - lb. lb. lb. lb. lb. lb. s. d. 1 Professor Low Elements of Potatoes Agriculture 56* 56* ... 56+ ... 56* 6 6 2 H. Stephens Book of the Turnips Farm 112 35 ... 112 ... ... 6 0 3 J. Gibson, Woolmet Potatoes H. Soc. 1850 ... 84 ... 217+ 217+ 112 9 0 4 Binnie, Barley ad Seaton ... 70* 28* 243+ 42+ lib. 11 6 5 Thomson, ad Hangingside ... 84 14 336 14 lib. 9 6 6 W. C. Spooner, Ag. Soc. Journ. vol. ix. ... 63 ... 42 ... 196 4 9 7 T. Aitken, ad ad Spalding, lib. lib. Lincolnshire (2/3) 37 35 ... ... (1/3) 9 0 8 G. W. Baker, Woburn, Bedfordshire ... 60* 20* ... ... ... 9 8 9 R. Baker, Writtle, Essex 70 42 ... ... ... 140 5 0 10 J. Coleman, ad Cirencester ... 84 16 ... ... lib. 7 3 11 T. P. Dods, ad Hexham ... 95 ... 56 ... lib. 8 0 12 J. Cobban, Linseed ad Whitfield 84* 60* ... ... 3-1/2 lib.* 7 3 13 S. Druce, jun., Swedes 2 Ensham 112 52 ... 70 ... bu.* 7 0 ad ad 14 C. Howard, lib. lib. Biddenham (2/3) 52 17 84 ... 1/3* 8 6? 15 J. J. Mechi, M.Wurzel ad Tiptree. 49* 70* ... 210 ... lib.* 7 6 16 W. J. Pope, ad Bridport 2* 84 ... ... ... lib. 9 0? 17 S. Rich, Didmarton, Grains ad Gloucestershire 168 63 ... ... 2 bush. lib. 10 8 18 H. E. Sadler, Lavant, Sussex 140 84 ... ... ... ... 9 9 19 J. Morton, Carrots ad Whitfield Farm ... 126 ... 350 ... lib. 10 9 20 E. H. Sandford, Bran ad Dover 56 42 ... ... 12 lib. 5 6 21 A. Simpson, Tail Corn ad Beauly, N.B. ... 49 7 105 21 lib.* 5 6 22 H. J. Wilson, Bran ad Mansfield 42 52-1/2 ... ... 21 lib. 6 6? 23 F. Sowerby, Aylesby, North ad Lincolnshire 112 28 Cut Oat Sheaf. ... lib.* 8 0? -+ - - Where an asterisk (*) is attached to any item, it is to be understood that the corn has been bruised or ground, or the hay or straw has been cut into chaff. Where a dagger () is appended, the article so marked has been boiled or steamed. A mark of interrogation (?) indicates that the result so marked is uncertain, owing to some indefiniteness in the account given.
On feeding horses with pulped roots, Mr. Slater, of Weston Colville, Cambridgeshire, says:—
I give all my cart horses a bushel per day of pulped mangel, mixed with straw and corn-chaff. I begin in September, and continue using them all winter and until late in the summer, nearly, if not quite, all the year round, beginning, however, with smaller quantities, about a peck, and then half a bushel, the first week or two, as too many of the young-growing mangel would not suit the stock. I believe pulped mangels, with chaff, are the best, cheapest, and most healthy food horses can eat. I always find my horses miss them when I have none, late in the summer. I give them fresh ground every day. Young store beasts, colts, &c., do well with them.
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[Footnote 20: Five pounds of linseed will make about seven gallons of gruel, and suffice for five good-sized calves; considerable allowance must, however, be made for differences of quality in the linseed, that from India not being gelatinous enough, and therefore boiling hard, instead of "coming down kindly."]
[Footnote 21: "Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society," vol. xxxix.]
[Footnote 22: From Mr. Horsfall's Essay on Dairy Management, in "Journal of Royal Agricultural Society," vol. xviii., part i.]
MEAT, MILK, AND BUTTER.
No one ought to feel a greater interest in the subject of meat in all its branches than the stock feeder. Just in proportion as this kind of food is agreeable to the taste, easily digestible, and rich in nutriment, will the demand for it increase. The quality of meat is, in fact, a primary consideration with the producer of that article; and he whose beef and mutton are the most tender and the best flavored will make the most profit.
Quality of Meat.—The flesh of herbivorous animals is composed of muscular and adipose (fatty) tissues. The muscles consist of bundles of elastic fibres (fibrine), enclosed in an albuminous tissue formed of little vessels, termed cells, and intimately commingled with water, and a mixture of albuminous, fatty, and saline matters. The leanest flesh (muscles) contains fat, but the latter accumulates in certain parts of the body—often to such an extent as to seriously interfere with the functions of life. The red color of flesh is due to a rather large proportion of blood, which it contains in minute vessels; and the slight acidity of its juice is owing to the presence of inosinic acid, and probably of several other acids. The agreeable odour of meat, when it is subjected to the process of cooking, is developed from a complex substance termed osmazome. This constituent varies in nature and quantity in the different animals—hence the variety in flavor and odour of their flesh—and its amount increases with the age of the animal. The albumen of the muscles, and their fatty and saline constituents, are digestible; but it is generally believed that the elastic fibres, and the horny cellular tissue which binds them into bundles, are not assimilable. It is more certain that the crystalline substances found in flesh, such as, for example, kreatine, are incapable of ministering to the nutrition of animals.
The composition of flesh varies very much—that of a very obese pig containing more than half its weight of fat, whilst in some specimens of "jerked beef," imported from Monte Video, scarcely 5 per cent. of that substance was found. The flesh of a fat ox has on an average the following composition:—
Water 45 Fatty substances 35 Lean flesh, or muscle 15 Mineral matters 5 —- Total 100
I have examined for Dr. Morgan several specimens of the corned beef recently prepared in South America, by "Morgan's process." The following were the average results of three analyses:—
Water 40 Fatty matters 21 Lean, or muscular flesh 27 Mineral matters (chiefly common salt) 12 —- Total 100
It may not here be out of place to direct attention to the composition of a kind of animal food extensively purchased by the poorer classes, and known under the term of slink veal. It is the flesh of calves that are killed on the first day of their existence, and also, I have reason to believe, that of very immature animals—of calves that have never breathed. The flesh is of a very loose texture naturally, and is still further puffed out by air, which is usually supplied from the lungs of the operator. This kind of meat, though regarded as a delicacy by some people, is not held in much estimation, otherwise its price would be higher than it is. It is at present sold at about 4d. or 5d. per pound, sometimes even at a lower rate. Apart from the disgusting process of "blowing" veal, so generally adopted, the use of this food is extremely objectionable, owing to its great tendency to produce diarrhoea. To the truth of this assertion every physician who has studied the subject of dietetics can testify. I have analysed a specimen of it (purchased from a person who admitted that it was part of a calf a day old), and obtained the following results:—
100 parts contain—
Water 72.25 Fat 6.17 Lean flesh 18.46 Mineral matter 3.12 ——— Total 100.00
I believe that a large portion of the lean flesh is indigestible; and altogether I may safely say of this kind of meat that it is, especially during the prevalence of cholera, an unsafe article of diet. Of course these observations do not apply to fed veal, the only kind which respectable butchers, as a rule, offer for sale.
Young meat is richer in soluble albumen and poorer in fibrine and fat than the matured flesh of the same animal. The flesh of the goat contains hircic acid, which renders it almost uneatable, but this substance is either altogether absent from, or present but in minute proportion in, the well-flavored meat of the kid. The flesh of game contains abundance of osmazome, a substance which is somewhat deficient in that of the domestic fowl.
Owing to the marked individuality which man exhibits in the selection of his food, and to the intimate relationship subsisting between food and the organism it nourishes, it is impossible to arrange the alimental substances in the strict order of their nutritive values. You can bring a horse to the water, but you cannot compel him to drink it; you can swallow any kind of food you please, but you cannot force your stomach to digest it. It is, therefore, vain to tell a man that a certain kind of food is shown by chemical analysis to be nutritious, when his stomach tells him unmistakeably that it is poisonous, and refuses to digest it. In the matter of dietetics Nature is a safer guide than the chemist. Many substances, when viewed only in the light shed upon them by chemical analysis, appear to be rich in the elements of nutrition, yet when they are introduced into the stomachs of certain individuals, they disarrange the digestive organs, and sometimes cause the whole system to go out of order. Every day we see exemplified the truth of the proverb, that "one man's meat is another man's poison." There are persons who relish and readily digest fat pork, and yet they cannot eat a single egg with impunity; others enjoy and easily assimilate eggs, but their stomachs cannot tolerate a particle of fat bacon.
It is not merely the composition of an aliment and its adaptability to the organism which determine its nutritive value—its digestibility and flavor are points which affect it. There are few people in these countries who are disposed to quarrel with beef; but no one would prefer the leg of an elderly milch cow to the sirloin of a well-fed three-year-old bullock: yet if our selection were to be determined by the analysis of the two kinds of beef, we would be just as likely to prefer the one as the other. No doubt the relative tenderness of meats may be ascertained by experiments conducted outside the body; but tenderness is not in every case synonymous with easy digestibility. Veal contains more soluble albumen, and is, consequently, far more tender than beef; yet, as every one knows, it is less digestible. It is curious that maturity renders the flesh of some animals more digestible, and that of others less digestible. Flavor has something to do with these differences. Beef is richer than veal in the agreeably flavorous osmazome, and the flesh of the kid is destitute of the disagreeable odour of the fully-developed goat. The superiority of wild-fowl over the domesticated birds is solely owing to the finer flavor of their flesh.
The habits of animals, and the nature of their food, affect the quality of their flesh. Exercise increases the amount of osmazome, and consequently renders the meat more savory. The mutton of Wicklow, Wales, and other mountainous regions is remarkably sweet, because the animals that furnish it are almost as nimble as goats, and skip from crag to crag in quest of their food. The fatty mutton, with pale muscle, which is so abundant in our markets, is furnished by very young animals forced prematurely into full development. Those animals have abundance of food placed within easy reach; their muscular activity is next to nil, and the result is, that their flesh contains less than its natural proportion of savory ingredients. It is the same with all other animals. The flesh of the tame rabbit is very insipid, whilst that of the wild variety is well flavored. Wild fowls cooped up, and rapidly fattened, lose their characteristic flavor; and when the domesticated birds become wild their flesh becomes less fatty, and acquires all the peculiarities of game. Ducks, whether wild or tame, ordinarily yield goodly meat; but the flesh of some of those that feed on fish smacks strongly of cod-liver oil. Birds which subsist partly on aromatic berries assimilate the odour as well as the nutriment of their food. The flesh of grouse has very commonly a slight flavor of heather. Foster states that in Tahiti pigs are fed upon fruit, which renders their fat very bland and their flesh like veal. Animals subjected to certain kinds of mutilation fatten more rapidly than they do in their natural state. Capons increase in weight more rapidly than cocks, poulards than hens, bullocks than bulls, and cows deprived of their ovaries than perfect cows. Why it is that the flesh of mutilated animals should be fatter and more tender than that of whole animals, we know not; we only know that such is the fact. The hunting of animals renders their flesh more tender; the cause assigned is, that the great exertion of the muscles liquefies their fibrine, which is the toughest of their constituents. The meat of animals brought very early to maturity is seldom so valuable as the naturally developed article. Lawes and Gilbert state that portions of a sheep that had been fattened upon steeped barley and mangels, and which gave a very rapid increase, yielded several per cent. less of cooked meat, and lost more, both in dripping and by the evaporation of water, than the corresponding portions of a sheep which had been fed upon dry barley and mangels, and which gave only about half the amount of gross increase within the same period of time.
Although the digestibility and flavor of meat (and of every other kind of food) affect its nutritive value, these points are in general of far less importance than its composition. Potatoes are not so nutritious as peas, because they contain a smaller amount of fat and flesh-formers; but they are more digestible. Fish contains less solid matter than flesh, and is less nutritious, yet a cut of turbot will be, in general, more easily digested than an equal weight of old beef. The fact is, that digestibility and flavor are only of great importance to dyspeptic persons. In the healthy digestive organs a pound weight of (dry) food of inferior flavor and slow digestibility will be just as useful as the same weight of well-flavored and easily assimilable aliment, provided all other conditions be alike. If the food be eaten with a relish, and tolerated by the stomach, its digestibility will not, except in extreme cases, affect in a very sensible degree its nutritiveness.
Were one question in animal nutrition satisfactorily answered, it would then be comparatively easy to arrange aliments in the order of their nutritive value. That question is—What are the proper relative proportions of the fat-forming and flesh-forming constituents of our food? It is constantly urged, that the food of the Irish peasantry contains an excess of the fat-forming materials in relation to the muscle-forming substances; and the remedy suggested is, that their staple article of food—potatoes—should be supplemented with flesh, peas, and such like substances, in which, it is supposed, the elements of nutrition are more fairly balanced. In potatoes, the proportion of fat-formers (calculated as fat) is about five times as much as that of the flesh-formers; but these principles exist in the same relative proportions in the fat bacon with which the potato-eater loves to supplement his bulky food. In bread we find the proportion of fat-formers to be only 2-1/2 times as much as that of the flesh-formers, whilst, according to Lawes and Gilbert, the edible portion of the carcass of a fat sheep contains 6-1/2 times as much fat as nitrogenous (flesh-forming) compounds. It is evident, then, that meat such as, for example, the beef recently imported from Monte Video, from which the fatty elements of nutrition are almost completely absent, cannot be a suitable adjunct to a farinaceous food.
There is evidence to prove that in the animal food consumed by the population of these countries, the proportion of fatty to nitrogenous matters is greater than in the seeds of cereal and leguminous plants, and but little less than in potatoes. "It would appear to be unquestionable," say Lawes and Gilbert, "therefore, that the influence of our staple animal foods, to supplement our otherwise mainly farinaceous diet, is, on the large scale, to reduce, and not to increase, the relation of the assumed flesh-forming material to the more peculiarly respiratory and fat-forming capacity, so to speak, of the food consumed." It must be remembered, too, that the fat formers are ready formed in animal food, whereas they exist chiefly in the form of starch, gum, sugar, and such-like substances in vegetables. According to theory, 2-1/2 parts of starch are equivalent to, i.e., convertible into, 1 part of fat; but it is not certain whether the force which effects this change is derivable from the 2-1/2 parts of starch, or from the destruction of tissue, or of another portion of food. If there be a tax on the system in order to convert starch into fat, it is evident that 2-1/2 parts of starch, though convertible into, are not equivalent in nutritive value to one part of fat.
It is quite certain that millions of healthy, vigorous men have subsisted for years exclusively on potatoes; but it is no less clear that a diet of meat and potatoes enables the laborer to work harder and longer than if his food were composed solely of potatoes. But we have seen that the relation between the flesh-forming and fat-forming elements is nearly the same in both potatoes and meat; so that the superiority of a meat or mixed diet cannot be chiefly owing, contrary to the generally received opinion, to a greater abundance of flesh-forming materials. As the proportion of flesh-formers to fat-formers is so much greater in wheaten or oaten bread than in potatoes, and as peas and other vegetables rich in nitrogenous compounds are practically found to be an excellent supplement to potatoes, it is probable that the latter may be somewhat relatively deficient in flesh-forming capacity. It is, however, in all probability the great bulk of a potato diet, and its total want of ready formed fat, that render the addition to it of animal food so very desirable. The concentrated state in which the ingredients of flesh exist, the intimate way in which they are intermixed, their agreeable flavor, and their (in general) ready and almost complete digestibility, appear to be the principal points in which a meat diet excels a vegetable regimen. There may be others, which, though less evident, are, perhaps, of equal importance. At all events, the general experience of mankind testifies to the superiority of a mixed animal and vegetable diet over a purely vegetable one.