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CATTLE AND THEIR DISEASES
THEIR HISTORY AND BREEDS, CROSSING AND BREEDING, AND FEEDING AND MANAGEMENT; WITH THE DISEASES TO WHICH THEY ARE SUBJECT, AND THE REMEDIES BEST ADAPTED TO THEIR CURE.
TO WHICH IS ADDED A LIST OF THE MEDICINES USED IN TREATING CATTLE.
BY ROBERT JENNINGS, V. S.,
PROFESSOR OF PATHOLOGY AND OPERATIVE SURGERY IN THE VETERINARY COLLEGE OF PHILADELPHIA; LATE PROFESSOR OF VETERINARY MEDICINE IN THE AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE OF OHIO; SECRETARY OF THE AMERICAN VETERINARY ASSOCIATION OF PHILADELPHIA; AUTHOR OF "THE HORSE AND HIS DISEASES," ETC., ETC.
PHILADELPHIA: John E. Potter and Company, 617 Sansom Street.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1864, by JOHN E. POTTER, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, in and for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
A marked interest has of late years been manifested in our country relative to the subject of breeding and rearing domestic cattle. This has not been confined to the dairyman alone. The greater portion of intelligent agriculturists have perceived the necessity of paying more attention than was formerly devoted to the improvement and perfection of breeds for the uses of the table as well. In this respect, European cattle-raisers have long taken the precedence of our own.
The gratifying favor with which the author's former publication, "The Horse and his Diseases," has been received by the public, has induced him to believe that a work, similar in spirit and general treatment, upon Cattle, would not be without interest for the agricultural community.
In this belief, the present treatise has been prepared. The author has availed himself of the labors of others in this connection; never, however, adopting results and conclusions, no matter how strongly endorsed, which have been contradicted by his own observation and experience. In a field like the one in question, assuredly, if anywhere, some degree of independent judgment will not be censured by those who are familiar with the sad consequences resulting from the attempted application of theories now universally exploded, but which in the day and generation of their originators were sanctioned and advocated by those who claimed to be magnates in this department.
To the following works, especially, the author acknowledges himself indebted: American Farmer's Encyclopaedia; Stephens's Book of the Farm; Flint's Milch-Cows and Dairy Farming; Laurence on Cattle; Allen's Domestic Animals; Youatt and Martin on Cattle; Thomson's Food of Animals; Allen's Rural Architecture; Colman's Practical Agriculture and Rural Economy; Goodale's Breeding of Domestic Animals; and Prof. Gamgee's valuable contributions to veterinary science.
Particular attention is requested to the division of "Diseases." Under this head, as in his former work, the author has endeavored to detail the symptoms of the most common ailments of cattle in such a manner that every farmer and cattle-owner can at once understand them, and also to suggest such procurable remedies as a wide experience has proved to be most efficacious.
A generous space has been devoted to the consideration of that fatal epidemic, now generally known as "Pleuro-Pneumonia," as it has manifested itself in Europe and this country, in the belief that a matter of such vital importance to the stock-raiser ought to receive a complete exposition in a work like the present. As the author's personal experience in connection with the treatment of this peculiar disease has been, perhaps, as large and varied as that of any American practitioner, he is not without the hope that his views upon the matter may prove productive of some benefit to others.
Should the present volume prove as acceptable to those interested as did his former work, the author will be abundantly satisfied that he has not mistaken in this instance the wants of the public.
HISTORY AND BREEDS OF CATTLE, 13
THE BRITISH OX, 15
AMERICAN CATTLE, 21 The Ayrshire, 23 The Jersey, 30 The Short-Horns, 32 The Dutch, 36 The Hereford, 38 The North-Devon, 41 Native Cattle, 43
NATURAL HISTORY OF CATTLE, 50 Gestation, 51 Formation of Teeth, 51 Points of a Good Cow, 57
THE MILK-MIRROR, 61
CROSSING AND BREEDING, 77
TREATMENT BEFORE CALVING, 93
FEEDING AND MANAGEMENT, 97
CULTURE OF GRASSES FOR FODDER, 122
THE BARN, 146
RAISING OF CALVES, 168
POINTS OF FAT CATTLE, 183
DRIVING AND SLAUGHTERING, 188
DISEASES AND THEIR REMEDIES, 205
Abortion, 206 Apoplexy, 215
Black-Water, 215 Bronchitis, 216
Consumption, 217 Coryza, 217 Cow-pox, 218
Diarrhoea, 219 Dysentery, 220
Enteritis, 222 Epizooetics, 224 Epizooetic Catarrh, 234
Fardel, 236 Foul in the Foot, 237
Garget, 237 Gastro-enteritis, 238
Hoose, 238 Hoove, 239 Hydatids, 240
Inflammation of the Bladder, 241 Inflammation of the Haw, 241 Inflammation of the Kidneys, 242 Inflammation of the Liver, 242
Laryngitis, 243 Lice, 244
Mange, 244 Murrain, 246
Obstructions in the Oesophagus, 247 Open Joints, 248 Parturition, 248 Free Martins, 251 Cleansing, 253 Inversion of the Uterus, 253
Phrenitis, 254 Pleurisy, 255 Pleuro-pneumonia, 256 Pneumonia, 300 Protrusion of the Bladder, 302 Puerperal Fever, 302
Quarter Evil, 303
Rabies, 304 Red Water, 305 Rheumatism, 307
Strangulation of the Intestines, 308
Thrush in the Mouth, 308 Tumors, 308
Ulcers about the Joints, 312
Warbles, 313 Worms, 315 Worms in the Bronchial Tubes, 316
SURGICAL OPERATIONS, 316
Castration, 316 Tracheotomy, 319 Spaying, 320
LIST OF MEDICINES USED IN TREATING CATTLE, 330
DOSES OF VARIOUS MEDICINES, 336
PAGE A Prize Bull, 13 The Well-fed Beasts, 19 An Ayrshire Bull, 23 A Short-horn Bull, 33 A North Devon Steer, 41 Draft Oxen, 45 Skeleton of the Ox, 50 Teeth at Birth, 52 Teeth at Second Week, 52 Teeth at Three Weeks, 53 Teeth at a Month, 53 Teeth at Five to Eight Months, 53 Ten Months Teeth, 53 Twelve Months Teeth, 54 Fifteen Months Teeth, 54 Eighteen Months Teeth, 55 Teeth at Two Years Past, 55 Teeth at Three Years Past, 56 Teeth at Four Years Past, 56 Teeth at Five Years Past, 56 Teeth at Ten Years Past, 56 A Good Milch Cow, 58 Milk-Mirror (A), 62 Milk-Mirror (B), 63 Milk-Mirror (C), 63 Milk-Mirror (D), 64 Milk-Mirror (E), 65 Milk-Mirror (F), 66 Milk-Mirror (G), 69 Milk-Mirror (H), 70 Milk-Mirror (K), 72 Milk-Mirror (L), 74 Cow and Calf, 77 Ready for Action, 83 A Sprightly Youth, 89 Feeding, 97 The Family Pets, 102 Buying Cattle, 107 Calling in the Cattle, 112 "On the Rampage", 117 Patiently Waiting, 123 A Chance for a Selection, 129 A West Highland Ox, 139 Barn for Thirty-four Cows and Three Yoke of Oxen, 150 Transverse Section, 152 Room over the Cow-Room, 153 The Preferable Method, 159 Maternal Affection, 168 Frolicksome, 177 Points of Cattle, 185 A Frontispiece, 190 Scotch Mode of Cutting up Beef, 195 English Mode of Cutting up Beef, 197 Diseases and Their Remedies, 205 A Chat on the Road, 218 The Mad Bull, 230 An Aberdeenshire Polled Bull, 244 Taking an Observation, 256 The Twins, 268 A Rural Scene, 285 Taking it Easily, 299 Home Again, 313
History and Breeds
It is quite certain that the ox has been domesticated and in the service of man from a very remote period. We are informed in the fourth chapter of Genesis, that cattle were kept by the early descendants of Adam; Jubal, the son of Lamech—who was probably born during the lifetime of Adam—being styled the father of such as have cattle. The ox having been preserved by Noah from the flood of waters, the original breed of our present cattle must have been in the neighborhood of Mount Ararat. From thence, dispersing over the face of the globe—altering by climate, by food, and by cultivation—originated the various breeds of modern ages.
That the value of the ox tribe has been in all ages and climates highly appreciated, we have ample evidence. The natives of Egypt, India, and Hindostan, seem alike to have placed the cow amongst their deities; and, judging by her usefulness to all classes, no animal could perhaps have been selected whose value to mankind is greater. The traditions, indeed, of every Celtic nation enroll the cow among the earliest productions, and represent it as a kind of divinity.
In nearly all parts of the earth cattle are employed for their labor, for their milk, and for food. In southern Africa they are as much the associates of the Caffre as the horse is of the Arab. They share his toils, and assist him in tending his herds. They are even trained to battle, in which they become fierce and courageous. In central Africa the proudest ebony beauties are to be seen upon the backs of cattle. In all ages they have drawn the plough. In Spain they still trample out the corn; in India they raise the water from the deepest wells to irrigate the thirsty soil of Bengal. When Caesar invaded Britain they constituted the chief riches of its inhabitants; and they still form no inconsiderable item in the estimate of that country's riches.
The parent race of the ox is said to have been much larger than any of the present varieties. The Urus, in his wild state at least, was an enormous and fierce animal, and ancient legends have thrown around him an air of mystery. In almost every part of the continent of Europe and in every district of England, skulls, evidently belonging to cattle, have been found, far exceeding in bulk any now known.
As the various breeds of cattle among us were introduced into this country from Great Britain, we propose, before going into the details of the leading American breeds, to glance somewhat briefly at the history of
THE BRITISH OX.
In the earliest and most reliable accounts which we possess of the British Isles—the Commentaries of Caesar—we learn that the ancient Britons possessed great numbers of cattle. No satisfactory description of these cattle occurs in any ancient author; but, with occasional exceptions, we know that they possessed no great bulk or beauty. Caesar tells us that the Britons neglected tillage and lived on milk and flesh; and this account of the early inhabitants of the British Isle is corroborated by other authors. It was such an occupation and mode of life as suited their state of society. The island was divided into many little sovereignties; no fixed property was secure; and that alone was valuable which could be hurried away at the threatened approach of the invader. Many centuries after this, when—although one sovereign seemed to reign paramount over the whole of the kingdom—there continued to be endless contests among the feudal barons, and therefore that property alone continued to be valuable which could be secured within the walls of the castle, or driven beyond the assailant's reach—an immense stock of provisions was always stored up in the various fortresses, both for the vassals and the cattle; or it was contrived that the latter should be driven to the domains of some friendly baron, or concealed in some inland recess.
When the government became more powerful and settled, and property of every kind was assured a proportionate degree of protection, as well as more equally divided, the plough came into use; agricultural productions were oftener cultivated, the reaping of which was sure after the labor of sowing. Cattle were then comparatively neglected and for some centuries injuriously so. Their numbers diminished, and their size also seems to have diminished; and it is only within the last century and a half that any serious and successful efforts have been made materially to improve them.
In the comparatively roving and uncertain life which the earlier inhabitants led, their cattle would sometimes stray and be lost. The country was at that time overgrown with forests, and the beasts betook themselves to the recesses of these woods, and became wild and sometimes ferocious. They, by degrees, grew so numerous as to be dangerous to the inhabitants of the neighboring districts. One of the chronicles asserts that many of them harbored in the forests in the neighborhood of London. Strange stories are told of some of them, and, doubtless, when irritated, they were fierce and dangerous enough. As, however, civilization advanced, and the forests became thinned and contracted, these animals were seen more rarely, and at length almost disappeared. A few of them, however, are still to be found in the parks of some of the leading English noblemen, who keep them for ornament and as curiosities.
The color of this wild breed is invariably white, the muzzle being black; the whole of the inside of the ear, and about one-third of the outside, from the tips downward, red; horns white, with black tips, very fine, and bent upward; some of the bulls have a thin, upright mane, about an inch and a half or two inches long. The beef is finely marbled and of excellent flavor.
At the first appearance of any person they set off in full gallop, and at the distance of about two hundred yards, make a wheel around and come boldly up again in a menacing manner; on a sudden they make a full stop at the distance of forty or fifty yards, looking wildly at the object of their surprise; but upon the least motion they all again turn round and fly off with equal speed, but not to the same distance, forming a shorter circle; and, again returning with a more threatening aspect than before, they approach probably within thirty yards, when they again make another stand, and then fly off; this they do several times, shortening their distance and advancing nearer and nearer, till they come within such short distance that most persons think it prudent to leave them.
When the cows calve, they hide their calves for a week or ten days in some retired situation, and go and suckle them two or three times a day. If any persons come near the calves they clap their heads close to the ground to hide themselves—a proof of their native wildness. The dams allow no one to touch their young without attacking with impetuous ferocity. When one of the herd happens to be wounded, or has grown weak and feeble through age or sickness, the rest set on it and gore it to death.
The breeds of cattle which are now found in Great Britain, are almost as various as the soil of the different districts or the fancies of the breeders. They have, however, been very conveniently classed according to the comparative size of the horns; the long-horns, originally from Lancashire, and established through most of the midland counties; the short-horns, generally cultivated in the northern counties and in Lincolnshire, and many of them found in every part of the kingdom where the farmer pays much attention to his dairy, or where a large supply of milk is desired; and the middle-horns, a distinct and valuable breed, inhabiting, principally, the north of Devon, the east of Sussex, Herefordshire, and Gloucestershire; and of diminished bulk and with somewhat different character, the cattle of the Scottish and Welsh mountains. The Alderney, with its crumpled horn, is found on the southern coast; while the polled, or hornless, cattle prevail in Suffolk, Norfolk, and Galloway, whence they were first derived.
These leading breeds, however, have been intermingled in every possible way. They are found pure only in their native districts, or on the estate of some wealthy and spirited individuals. Each county has its own mongrel breed, often difficult to be described, and not always to be traced—neglected enough, yet suited to the soil and the climate; and among small farmers, maintaining their station, in spite of attempts at improvements by the intermixture or the substitution of foreign varieties.
Much dispute has arisen as to the original breed of British cattle. The battle has been sharply fought between the advocates of the middle and of the long-horns. The short-horns and the polls are out of the lists; the latter, although it has existed in certain districts from time immemorial, being probably an accidental variety. The weight of argument appears at present to rest with the middle horns; the long-horns being evidently of Irish extraction.
Great Britain has shared the fate of other nations, and oftener than they been overrun and subjugated by invaders. As the natives retreated they carried with them some portion of their property, consisting, in the remote and early times, principally of cattle. They drove along with them as many as they could, when they retired to the fortresses of North Devon and Cornwall, or the mountainous region of Wales, or when they took refuge in the retirement of East Sussex; and there, retaining all their prejudices, manners, and customs, were jealous of the preservation of that which reminded them of their native country before it yielded to a foreign yoke.
In this way was preserved the ancient breed of British cattle. Difference of climate produced some change, particularly in their bulk. The rich pasturage of Sussex fattened the ox into its superior size and weight. The plentiful, but not so luxuriant, herbage of the north of Devon produced a smaller and more active animal; while the privations of Wales lessened the bulk and thickened the hide of the Welsh Stock. As for Scotland, it set its invaders at defiance; or its inhabitants retreated for a while, and soon turned again on their pursuers. They were proud of their country, and of their cattle, their choicest possession; and there, also, the cattle were preserved, unmixed and undegenerated.
Thence it has resulted, that in Devon, in Sussex, in Wales, and in Scotland, the cattle have been the same from time immemorial; while in all the eastern coasts and through every district of England, the breed of cattle degenerated, or lost its original character; it consisted of animals brought from all the neighboring, and some remote districts, mingled in every possible variety, yet conforming to the soil and the climate.
Careful observations will establish the fact, that the cattle in Devonshire, Sussex, Wales, and Scotland are essentially the same. They are middle horned; not extraordinary milkers, and remarkable for the quality rather than the quantity of their milk; active at work, and with an unequalled aptitude to fatten. They have all the characters of the same breed, changed by soil, climate, and time, yet little changed by man. The color, even, may be almost traced, namely: the red of the Devon, the Sussex, and the Hereford; and where only the black are now found, the recollection of the red prevails.
As this volume is intended especially for the farmers of our own country, it is deemed unnecessary in this connection to present any thing additional under the present head, except the names of the prominent species of British cattle. These are, commencing with the middle horns, the North Devon, the Hereford, the Sussex, the Welsh (with the varieties of the Pembrokeshire, the Glamorganshire, the Radnor black, the Anglesea and some others); and the Scotch with its chief varieties, the West Highlanders, the North Highlanders, the North Eastern, the Fife, the Ayrshire, and the Galloways.
As to the long horns, which came originally from Craven in Yorkshire, it may be remarked that this breed has been rapidly disappearing of late, and has everywhere given place to better kinds. Of this species there are—or perhaps were—two leading classes, the Lancashire and the Leicestershire improved.
Of the short horns, the leading breeds are the Dutch, the Holderness, the Teeswater, the Yorkshire, the Durham, the Northumberland, and some others.
The breeds of cattle which stock the farms of the United States are all derived from Europe, and, with few exceptions, from Great Britain. The highest breeds at the present time are of comparatively recent origin, since the great improvements in breeding were only commenced at about the period of the American Revolution. The old importations made by the early settlers, must consequently have been from comparatively inferior grades.
In some sections of the Union, and more particularly in New England, the primitive stock is thought to have undergone considerable improvement; whilst in many parts of the Middle, and especially of the Southern States, a greater or less depreciation has ensued. The prevailing stock in the Eastern States is believed to be derived from the North Devons, most of the excellent marks and qualities of which they possess. For this reason they are very highly esteemed, and have been frequently called the American Devon. The most valuable working oxen are chiefly of this breed, which also contributes so largely to the best displays of beef found in the markets of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. By means of this domestic stock, and the importations still extensively made of selections from the short horns, and others of the finest European breeds, the cattle, not only of New England, but of other sections, are rapidly improving, especially in the Middle and Western States.
A brief sketch of the principal breeds of American cattle, as well as of the grades or common stock of the country, will be of service to the farmer in making an intelligent selection with reference to the special object of pursuit—whether it be the dairy, the production of beef, or the raising of cattle for work.
In selecting any breed, regard should be had to the circumstances of the individual farmer and the object to be pursued. The cow most profitable for the milk dairy, may be very unprofitable in the butter and cheese dairy, as well as for the production of beef; while, for either of the latter objects, the cow which gave the largest quantity of milk might be very undesirable. A union and harmony of all good qualities must be secured, so far as possible. The farmer wants a cow that will milk well for some years; and then, when dry, fatten readily and sell to the butcher for the highest price. These qualities, often supposed to be utterly incompatible, will be found united in some breeds to a greater extent than in others; while some peculiarities of form have been found, by observation, to be better adapted to the production of milk and beef than others.
It is proposed, therefore, to sketch the pure breeds now found in America.
This breed is justly celebrated throughout Great Britain and this country for its excellent dairy qualities. Though the most recent in their origin, they are pretty distinct from the Scotch and English races. In color, the pure Ayrshires are generally red and white, spotted or mottled, not roan like many of the short horns, but often presenting a bright contrast of colors. They are sometimes, though rarely, nearly or quite all red, and sometimes black and white; but the favorite color is red and white brightly contrasted; and, by some, strawberry-color is preferred. The head is small, fine and clean; the face long and narrow at the muzzle, with a sprightly, yet generally mild expression; eye small, smart and lively; the horns short, fine, and slightly twisted upward, set wide apart at the roots; the neck thin; body enlarging from fore to hind quarters; the back straight and narrow, but broad across the loin; joints rather loose and open; ribs rather flat; hind quarters rather thin; bone fine; tail long, fine, and bushy at the end; hair generally thin and soft; udder light color and capacious, extending well forward under the belly; teats of the cow of medium size, generally set regularly and wide apart; milk-veins prominent and well developed. The carcass of the pure bred Ayrshire is light, particularly the fore quarters, which is considered by good judges as an index of great milking qualities; but the pelvis is capacious and wide over the hips.
On the whole, the Ayrshire is good looking, but wants some of the symmetry and aptitude to fatten which characterize the short horn, which is supposed to have contributed to build up this valuable breed on the basis of the original stock of the county of Ayr, which extends along the eastern shore of the Firth of Clyde, in the southwestern part of Scotland.
The original stock of this country are described as of a diminutive size, ill fed, ill shaped, and yielding but a scanty return in milk. They were mostly of a black color, with large stripes of white along the chine and ridge of their backs, about the flanks, and on their faces. Their horns were high and crooked, having deep ringlets at the root—the surest proof that they were but scantily fed; the chine of their backs stood up high and narrow; their sides were lank, short, and thin; their hides thick and adhering to the bones; their pile was coarse and open; and few of them gave more than six or eight quarts of milk a day when in their best condition, or weighed, when fat, more than from a hundred to a hundred and sixty pounds avoirdupois, rejecting offal.
A wonderful change has since been made in the condition, aspect, and qualities of the Ayrshire dairy stock. They are now almost double the size, and yield about four times the quantity of milk that the Ayrshire cows formerly yielded. A large part of this improvement is due to better feeding and care, but much, no doubt, to judicious crossing. Strange as it may seem, considering the modern origin of this breed, all that is certainly known touching it is, that about a century and a half ago there was no such breed as Ayrshire in Scotland. The question has therefore arisen, whether these cattle came entirely from a careful selection of the best native breed. If they did, it is a circumstance without a parallel in the history of agriculture. The native breed may indeed be ameliorated by careful selection; its value may be incalculably increased; some good qualities, some of its best qualities, may be developed for the first time; but yet there will be some resemblance to the original stock, and the more the animal is examined, the more clearly can be traced the characteristic points of the ancestor, although every one of them is improved.
Youatt estimates the daily yield of an Ayrshire cow, for the first two or three months after calving, at five gallons a day, on an average; for the next three months, at three gallons; and for the next four months, at one gallon and a half. This would give eight hundred and fifty gallons as the annual average; but, allowing for some unproductive cows, he estimates the average of a dairy at six hundred gallons a year for each cow. Three gallons and a half of the Ayrshire cow's milk will yield one and a half pounds of butter. Some have estimated the yield still higher.
One of the four cows originally imported into this country by John P. Cushing, Esq., of Massachusetts, gave in one year three thousand eight hundred and sixty-four quarts, beer measure, or about nine hundred and sixty-six gallons, at ten pounds the gallon; being an average of over ten and a half beer quarts a day for the entire year. The first cow of this breed, imported by the Massachusetts Society, for the Promotion of Agriculture, in 1837, yielded sixteen pounds of butter a week for several successive weeks, on grass feed only. It should be borne in mind, in this connection that the climate of New England is less favorable to the production of milk than that of England and Scotland, and that no cow imported after arriving at maturity can be expected to yield as much, under the same circumstances, as one bred on the spot where the trial is made, and perfectly acclimated.
On excellent authority, the most approved shape and marks of a good dairy cow are as follows: Head small, long, and narrow toward the muzzle; horns small, clear, bent, and placed at considerable distance from each other; eyes not large, but brisk and lively; neck slender and long, tapering toward the head, with a little loose skin below; shoulders and fore quarters light and thin; hind quarters large and broad; back straight, and joints slack and open; carcass deep in the rib; tail small and long, reaching to the heels; legs small and short, with firm joints; udder square, but a little oblong, stretching forward, thin skinned and capacious, but not low hung; teats or paps small, pointing outward, and at a considerable distance from each other; milk-veins capacious and prominent; skin loose, thin, and soft like a glove; hair short, soft, and woolly; general figure, when in flesh, handsome and well proportioned.
If this description of the Ayrshire cow be correct, it will be seen that her head and neck are remarkably clean and fine, the latter swelling gradually toward the shoulders, both parts being unencumbered with superfluous flesh. The same general form extends backward, the fore quarters being, light the shoulders thin, and the carcass swelling out toward the hind quarters, so that when standing in front of her it has the form of a blunted wedge. Such a structure indicates very fully developed digestive organs, which exert a powerful influence on all the functions of the body, and especially on the secretion of the milky glands, accompanied with milk-veins and udder partaking of the same character as the stomach and viscera, being large and capacious, while the external skin and interior walls of the milk-glands are thin and elastic, and all parts arranged in a manner especially adapted for the production of milk.
A cow with these marks will generally be of a quiet and docile temper, which greatly increases her value. A cow that is of a quiet and contented disposition feeds at ease, is milked with ease, and yields more than one of an opposite temperament; while, after she is past her usefulness as a milker, she will easily take on fat, and make fine beef and a good quantity of tallow, because she feeds freely, and when dry the food which went to make milk is converted into fat and flesh. But there is no breed of cows with which gentle gentleness of treatment is so indispensable as with the Ayrshire, on account of her naturally nervous temperament. If she receives other than kind and gentle treatment, she will often resent it with angry looks and gestures, and withhold her milk; and if such treatment is long continued, will dry up; but she willingly and easily yields it to the hand that fondles her, and all her looks and movements toward her friends are quiet and mild.
The Ayrshires in their native country are generally bred for the dairy, and for no other object; and the cows have justly obtained a world-wide reputation for this quality. The oxen are, however, very fair as working cattle, though they cannot be said to excel other breeds in this respect. The Ayrshire steer maybe fed and turned at three years old; but for feeding purposes the Ayrshires are greatly improved by a cross with the short horns, provided regard is had to the size of the animal. It is the opinion of good breeders that a high-bred short horn bull and a large-sized Ayrshire cow will produce a calf which will come to maturity earlier, and attain greater weight, and sell for more money than a pure-bred Ayrshire. This cross, with feeding from the start, may be sold fat at two or three years old, the improvement being most noticeable in the earlier maturity and size.
In the Cross with the short horn, the form ordinarily becomes more symmetrical, while there is, perhaps, little risk of lessening the milking qualities of the offspring, if sufficient regard is paid to the selection of the individual animals to breed from. It is thought by some that in the breeding of animals it is the male which gives the external form, or the bony and muscular system of the young, while the female imparts the respiratory organs, the circulation of the blood, the organs of secretion, and the like.
If this principle be true, it follows that the milking qualities come chiefly from the mother, and that the bull cannot materially alter the conditions which determine the transmission of these qualities, especially when they are as strongly marked as they are in this breed.
Until, however, certain mooted questions connected with breeding are definitively settled, it is the safest plan, in breeding for the dairy, to adhere to the rule of selecting only animals whose progenitors on both sides have been distinguished for their milking qualities.
It may be stated, in conclusion, that for purely dairy purposes the Ayrshire cow deserves the first place. In consequence of her small, symmetrical, and compact body, combined with a well-formed chest and a capacious stomach, there is little waste, comparatively speaking, through the respiratory system; while at the same time there is very complete assimilation of the food, and thus she converts a very large proportion of her food into milk. So remarkable is this fact, that all dairy farmers who have any experience on the point, agree in stating that an Ayrshire cow generally gives a larger return of milk for the food consumed than a cow of any other breed. The absolute quality may not be so great, but it is obtained at a less cost; and this is the point upon which the question of profit depends. The best milkers which have been known in this country were grade Ayrshires, larger in size than the pure bloods, but still sufficiently high grades to give certain signs of their origin. This grade would seem to possess the advantage of combining, to some extent, the two qualities of milking and adaptation to beef; and this is no small recommendation of the stock to farmers situated as American farmers are, who wish for milk for some years and then to turn over to the butcher.
These cattle are now widely known in this country. Many of them have been imported from an island of the same name in the British Channel, near the coast of France, and they may now be considered, for all practical purposes, as fully acclimated. They were first introduced, upward of thirty years ago, from the channel islands, Alderney, Guernsey, and Jersey.
This race is supposed to have been originally derived from Normandy, in the northern part of France. The cows have been long celebrated for the production of very rich milk and cream, but till within the last twenty-five or thirty years they were comparatively coarse, ugly, and ill-shaped. Improvements have been very marked, but the form of the animal is still far from satisfying the eye.
The head of the pure Jersey is fine and tapering, the cheek small, the throat clean, the muzzle fine and encircled with a light stripe, the nostril high and open; the horns smooth, crumpled, but not very thick at the base, tapering and tipped with black; ears small and thin, deep orange color inside; eyes full and placid; neck straight and fine; chest broad and deep; barrel hoofed, broad and deep, well ribbed up; back straight from the withers to the hip, and from the top of the hip to the setting of the tail; tail fine, at right angles with the back, and hanging down to the hocks; skin thin, light color, and mellow, covered with fine soft hair; fore legs short, straight and fine below the knee, arm swelling and full above; hind quarters long and well filled; hind legs short and straight below the hocks, with bones rather fine, squarely placed, and not too close together; hoofs small; udder full in size, in line with the belly, extending well up behind; teats of medium size, squarely placed and wide apart, and milk-veins very prominent. The color is generally cream, dun, or yellow, with more or less of white, and the fine head and neck give the cows and heifers a fawn-like appearance, and make them objects of attraction in the park; but the hind quarters are often too narrow to work well, particularly to those who judge animals by the amount of fat which they carry.
It should be borne in mind, however, that a good race of animals is not always the most beautiful, as that term is generally understood. Beauty in stock has no invariable standard. In the estimation of some, it results mainly from fine forms, small bones, and close, compact frames; while others consider that structure the most perfect, and therefore the most beautiful, which is best adapted to the use for which it is destined. With such, beauty is relative. It is not the same in an animal designed for beef and in one designed for the dairy or for work. The beauty of a milch cow is the result of her good qualities. Large milkers are very rarely cows that please the eye of any but a skillful judge. They are generally poor, since their food goes mainly to the production of milk, and because they are selected with less regard to form than to good milking qualities. The prevailing opinion as to the beauty of the Jersey, is based on the general appearance of the cow when in milk—no experiments in feeding exclusively for beef having been made public, and no opportunity to form a correct judgment from actual observation having been furnished; and it must be confessed that the general appearance of the breed would amply justify the hasty conclusion.
The bulls are usually very different in character and disposition from the cows, and are much inclined to become restive and cross at the age of two or three years, unless their treatment is uniformly gentle and firm.
The Jersey is to be regarded as a dairy breed, and that almost exclusively. It would not be sought for large dairies kept for the supply of milk to cities; for, though the quality would gratify the customer, the quantity would not satisfy the owner. The place of the Jersey cow is rather in private establishments, where the supply of cream and butter is a sufficient object; or, in limited numbers, to add richness to the milk of large butter dairies. Even one or two good Jersey cows with a herd of fifteen or twenty, will make a great difference in the quality of the milk and butter of the whole establishment; and they would probably be profitable for this, if for no other object.
THE SHORT HORNS.
No breed of cattle has commanded more universal admiration during the last half century than the improved short horns, whose origin can be traced back for nearly a hundred years. According to the best authorities, the stock which formed the basis of improvement existed equally in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Northumberland, and the adjoining counties; and the pre-eminence was accorded to Durham, which gave its name to the race, from the more correct principles of breeding which seem to have obtained there.
There is a dispute among the most eminent breeders as to how far it owes its origin to early importations from Holland, whence many superior animals were brought for the purpose of improving the old long horned breed. A large race of cattle had existed for many years on the western shores of the continent of Europe. As early as 1633, they were imported from Denmark into New England in considerable numbers, and thus laid the foundation of a valuable stock in farming at a very early date in Holland, and experience led to the greatest care in the choice and breeding of dairy stock. From these cattle many selections were made to cross over to the counties of York and Durham. The prevailing color of the large Dutch cattle was black and white, beautifully contrasted.
The cattle produced by these crosses a century ago were known by the name of "Dutch." The cows selected for crossing with the early imported Dutch bulls were generally long horned, large boned, coarse animals, a fair type of which was found in the old "Holderness" breed of Yorkshire—slow feeders, strong in the shoulder, defective in the fore quarter, and not very profitable to the butcher, their meat being coarse and uninviting. Their milking qualities were good, surpassing those, probably, of the improved short horns. Whatever may be the truth with regard to these crosses, and however far they proved effective in creating or laying the foundation of the modern improved short horns, the results of the efforts made in Yorkshire and some of the adjoining counties were never so satisfactory to the best judges as those of the breeders along the Tees, who selected animals with greater reference to fineness of bone and symmetry of form, and the animals they bred soon took the lead and excited great emulation in improvement.
Importations of short horns have been frequent and extensive into the United States within the last few years, and this famous breed is now pretty generally diffused over the country.
The high-bred short horn is easily prepared for a show, and, as fat will cover faults, the temptation is often too great to be resisted; and hence it is not uncommon to see the finest animals rendered unfit for breeding purposes by over-feeding. The race is susceptible of breeding for the production of milk, as several families show, and great milkers have often been known among pure-bred animals; but it is more common to find it bred mainly for the butcher, and kept accordingly. It is, however, a well-known fact, that the dairies of London are stocked chiefly with short horns and Yorkshires, or high grades between them, which, after being milked as long as profitable, feed equal, or nearly so, to pure-bred short horns. It has been said, by very good authority, that the short horns improve every breed with which they cross.
The desirable characteristics of the short horn bull may be summed up, according to the judgment of the best breeders, as follows: He should have a short but fine head, very broad across the eyes, tapering to the nose, with a nostril full and prominent; the nose itself should be of a rich flesh color; eyes bright and mild; ears somewhat large and thin; horns slightly covered and rather flat, well set on; a long, broad, muscular neck; chest wide, deep, and projecting; shoulders fine, oblique, well formed into the chine; fore legs short, with upper arm large and powerful; barrel round, deep, well-ribbed horns; hips wide and level; back straight from the withers to the setting on of the tail, but short from hips to chine; skin soft and velvety to the touch; moderately thick hair, plentiful, soft, and mossy. The cow has the same points in the main, but her head is finer, longer, and more tapering; neck thinner and lighter, and shoulders more narrow across the chine.
The astonishing precocity of the short horns, their remarkable aptitude to fatten, the perfection of their forms, and the fineness of their bony structure, give them an advantage over most other races when the object of breeding is for the shambles. No animal of any other breed can so rapidly transform the stock of any section around him as the improved short horn bull.
It does not, however, follow that the high-bred short horns are unexceptionable, even for beef. The very exaggeration, so to speak, of the qualities which make them so valuable for the improvement of other and less perfect races, may become a fault when wanted for the table. The very rapidity with which they increase in size is thought by some to prevent their meat from ripening up sufficiently before being hurried off to the butcher. The disproportion of the fatty to the muscular flesh, found in this to a greater extent than in races coming more slowly to maturity, makes the meat of the thorough-bred short horn, in the estimation of some, less agreeable to the taste, and less profitable to the consumer; since the nitrogenous compounds, true sources of nutriment, are found in less quantity than in the meat of animals not so highly bred.
In sections where the climate is moist, and the food abundant and rich, some families of the short horns may be valuable for the dairy; but they are most frequently bred exclusively for beef in this country, and in sections where they have attained the highest perfection of form and beauty, so little is thought of their milking qualities that they are often not milked at all, the calf being allowed to run with the dam.
This short horned race, in the opinion of many—as has been previously remarked—contributed largely, about a century ago, to build up the Durham or Teeswater stock. It has been bred with special reference to dairy qualities, and is eminently adapted to supply the wants of the dairy farmer. The cows of North Holland not only give a large quantity, but also a very good quality, so that a yield of sixteen to twenty-five quarts, wine measure, at every milking, is not rare.
The principles upon which the inhabitants of Holland practise, in selecting a cow from which to breed, are as follows: She should have, they say, considerable size—not less than four and a half or five feet girth, with a length of body corresponding; legs proportionally short; a finely formed head, with a forehead or face somewhat concave; clear, large, mild and sparkling eyes, yet with no expression of wildness; tolerably large and stout ears, standing out from the head; fine, well curved horns; a rather short, than long, thick, broad neck, well set against the chest and withers; the front part of the breast and shoulders must be broad and fleshy; the low-hanging dewlap must be soft to the touch; the back and loins must be properly projected, somewhat broad, the bones not too sharp, but well covered with flesh; the animal should have long curved ribs, which form a broad breast bone; the body must be round and deep, but not sunken into a hanging belly; the rump must not be uneven, the hip-bones should not stand out too broad and spreading, but all the parts should be level and well filled up; a fine tail, set moderately high up and tolerably long, but slender, with a thick, bushy tuft of hair at the end, hanging down below the hocks; the legs must be short and low, but strong in the bony structure; the knees broad, with flexible joints; the muscles and sinews must be firm and sound, the hoofs broad and flat, and the position of the legs natural, not too close and crowded; the hide, covered with fine glossy hair, must be soft and mellow to the touch, and set loose upon the body. A large, rather long, white and loose udder, extending well back, with four long teats, serves also as a characteristic mark of a good milch cow. Large and prominent milk-veins must extend from the navel back to the udder; the belly of a good milch cow should not be too deep and hanging. The color of the North Dutch cattle is mostly variegated. Cows with only one color are no favorites. Red or black variegated, gray and blue variegated, roan, spotted and white variegated cows, are especially liked.
These cattle derive their name from a county in the western part of England. Their general characteristics are a white face, sometimes mottled; white throat, the white generally extending back on the neck, and sometimes, though rarely, still further along on the back. The color of the rest of the body is red, generally dark, but sometimes light. Eighty years ago the best Hereford cattle were mottled or roan all over; and some of the best herds, down to a comparatively recent period, were either all mottled, or had the mottled or speckled face.
The expression of the face is mild and lively; the forehead open, broad, and large; the eyes bright and full of vivacity; the horns glossy, slender and spreading; the head small, though larger than, and not quite so clear as, that of the Devons; the lower jaw fine; neck long and slender; chest deep; breast-bone large, prominent, and very muscular; the shoulder-blade light; shoulder full and soft; brisket and loins large; hips well developed, and on a level with the chine; hind quarters long and well filled in; buttocks on a level with the back, neither falling off nor raised above the hind quarters; tail slender, well set on; hair fine and soft; body round and full; carcass deep and well formed, or cylindrical; bone small; thigh short and well made; legs short and straight, and slender below the knee; as handlers very excellent, especially mellow to the touch on the back, the shoulder, and along the sides, the skin being soft, flexible, of medium thickness, rolling on the neck and the hips; hair bright; face almost bare, which is characteristic of pure Herefords.
They belong to the middle horned division of the cattle of Great Britain, to which they are indigenous, and have been improved within the last century by careful selections.
Hereford oxen are excellent animals, less active but stronger than the Devons, and very free and docile. The demand for Herefords for beef prevents their being much used for work in their native county, and the farmers there generally use horses instead of oxen.
It is generally conceded that the qualities in which Herefords stand pre-eminent among the middle-sized breeds are in the production of oxen and their superiority of flesh. On these points there is little chance of their being excelled. It should, however, be borne in mind that the best oxen are not produced from the largest cows; nor is a superior quality of flesh, such as is considered very soft to the touch, with thin skin. It is the union of these two qualities which often characterizes the short horns; but Hereford breeders—as a recent writer remarks—should endeavor to maintain a higher standard of excellence—that for which the best of the breed have always been esteemed—a moderately thick, mellow hide, with a well apportioned combination of softness with elasticity. A sufficiency of hair is also desirable, and if accompanied with a disposition to curl moderately, it is more in esteem; but that which has a harsh and wiry feel is objectionable.
In point of symmetry and beauty of form, the well bred Herefords may be classed with the improved short horns, though they arrive somewhat more slowly at maturity, and never attain such weight. Like the improved short horns, they are chiefly bred for beef, and their beef is of the best quality in the English markets, commanding the highest price of any, except perhaps, the West Highlanders. The short horn produces more beef at the same age than the Hereford, but consumes more food in proportion.
The Herefords are far less generally spread over England than the improved short horns. They have seldom been bred for milk, as some families of the latter have; and it is not very unusual to find pure-bred cows incapable of supplying milk sufficient to nourish their calves. They have been imported to this country to some extent, and several fine herds exist in different sections; the earliest importations being those of Henry Clay, of Kentucky, in 1817.
The want of care and attention to the udder, soon after calving, especially if the cow be on luxuriant grass, often injures her milking properties exceedingly. The practice in the county of Hereford has generally been to let the calves suckle from four to six months, and bull calves often run eight months with the cow. But their dairy qualities are perhaps as good as those of any cattle whose fattening properties have been so carefully developed; and, though it is probable that they could be bred for milk with proper care and attention, yet, as this change would be at the expense of other qualities equally valuable, it would evidently be wiser to resort to other stock for the dairy.
THE NORTH DEVONS.
This beautiful race of middle horned cattle dates further back than any well established breed among us. It goes generally under the simple name of Devon; but the cattle of the southern part of the country, from which the race derives its name, differ somewhat from those of the northern, having a larger and coarser frame, and far less tendency to fatten though their dairy qualities are superior.
The North Devons are remarkable for hardihood, symmetry and beauty, and are generally bred for work and for beef, rather than for the dairy. The head is fine and well set on; the horns of medium length, generally curved; color usually bright blood-red, but sometimes inclining to yellow; skin thin and orange-yellow; hair of medium length, soft and silky, making the animals remarkable as handlers; muzzle of the nose white; eyes full and mild; ears yellowish, or orange-color inside, of moderate size; neck rather long, with little dewlap; shoulders oblique; legs small and straight, with feet in proportion; chest of good width; ribs round and expanded; loins of first-rate quality, long, wide, and fleshy; hips round, of medium width; rump level; tail full near the setting on, tapering to the tip; thighs of the bull and ox muscular and full, and high in the flank, though in the cow sometimes thought to be light; the size medium, generally called small. The proportion of meat on the valuable parts is greater, and the offal less, than on most other breeds, while it is well settled that they consume less food in its production. The Devons are popular with the Smithfield butchers, and their beef is well marbled or grained.
As working oxen, the Devons perhaps excel all other races in quickness, docility, beauty, and the ease with which they are matched. With a reasonable load, they are said to be equal to horses as walkers on the road, and when they are no longer wanted for work they fatten easily and turn well.
As milkers, they do not excel—perhaps they may be said not to equal—the other breeds, and they have a reputation of being decidedly below the average. In their native country the general average of the dairy is one pound of butter a day during the summer. They are bred for beef and for work, and not for the dairy; and their yield of milk is small, though of a rich quality. Several animals, however, of the celebrated Patterson herd would have been remarkable as milkers even among good milking stock.
Still, the faults of the North Devon cow, considered as a dairy animal, are too marked to be overlooked. The rotundity of form and compactness of frame, though they contribute to her remarkable beauty constitute an objection to her for this purpose: since it is generally admitted that the peculiarity of form which disposes an animal to take on fat is somewhat incompatible with good milking qualities. On this account, Youatt—who is standard authority in such matters—says that for the dairy the North Devon must be acknowledged to be inferior to several other breeds. The milk is good, and yields more than the average proportion of cream and butter; but it is deficient in quantity. He also maintains that its property as a milker could not be improved without producing a certain detriment to its grazing qualities. Distinguished Devon breeders themselves have come to the same conclusion upon this point. The improved North Devon cow may be classed, in this respect, with the Hereford, neither of which has well developed milk-vessels—a point of the utmost consequence to the practical dairyman.
The foregoing comprise the pure-bred races in America; for, though other and well-established breeds—like the Galloways, the long horns, the Spanish, and others—have, at times, been imported, and have had some influence on our American stock, yet they have not been kept distinct to such an extent as to become the prevailing stock of any particular section.
A large proportion, however—by far the largest proportion, indeed—of the cattle known among us cannot be included under any of the races to which allusion has been made; and to the consideration of this class the present article is devoted.
The term "breed"—as was set forth in the author's treatise, "The Horse and his Diseases"—when properly understood, applies only to animals of the same species, possessing, besides the general characteristics of that species, other characteristics peculiar to themselves, which they owe to the influence of soil, climate, nourishment, and the habits of life to which they are subjected, and which they transmit with certainty to their progeny. The characteristics of certain breeds or families are so well marked, that, if an individual supposed to belong to any one of them were to produce an offspring not possessing them, or possessing them only in part, with others not belonging to the breed, it would be just ground for suspecting a want of purity of bloods.
In this view, no grade animals, and no animals destitute of fixed peculiarities or characteristics which they, share in common with all other animals of the class of which they are a type, and which they are capable of transmitting with certainty to their descendants, can be recognized by breeders as belonging to any one distinct race, breed, or family.
The term "native" is applied to a vast majority of our American cattle, which, though born on the soil, and thus in one sense natives, do not constitute a breed, race, or family, as correctly understood by breeders. They do not possess characteristics peculiar to them all, which they transmit with any certainty to their offspring, either of form, size, color, milking or working properties.
But, though an animal may be made up of a mixture of blood almost to impurity, it does not follow that, for specific purposes, it may not, as an individual animal, be one of the best of the species. Indeed, for particular purposes, animals might be selected from among those commonly called "natives" in New England, and "scrubs" at the west and south, equal, and perhaps superior, to any among the races produced by the most skillful breeding.
There can be no objection, therefore, to the use of the term "native," when it is understood as descriptive of no known breed, but only as applied to the common stock of a country, which does not constitute a breed. But perhaps the entire class of animals commonly called "natives" would be more accurately described as grades; since they are well known to have sprung from a great variety of cattle procured at different times and in different places on the continent of Europe, in England, and in the Spanish West Indies, brought together without any regard to fixed principles of breeding, but only from individual convenience, and by accident.
The first importations to this country were doubtless those taken to Virginia previous to 1609, though the exact date of their arrival is not known. Several cows were carried there from the West Indies in 1610, and in the next year no less than one hundred arrived there from abroad.
The earliest cattle imported into New England arrived in 1624. At the division of cattle which took place three years after, one or two are distinctly described as black, or black and white, others as brindle, showing that there was no uniformity of color. Soon after this, a large number of cattle were brought over from England for the settlers at Salem. These importations formed the original stock of Massachusetts.
In 1725, the first importation was made into New York from Holland by the Dutch West India Company, and the foundation was then laid for an exceedingly valuable race of animals, which, subsequent importations from the same country, as well as from England, have greatly improved. The points and value of this race in its purity have been already adverted to under the head of the Dutch cattle.
In 1627, cattle were brought from Sweden to the settlements on the Delaware, by the Swedish West India Company. In 1631, 1632, and 1633, several importations were made into New Hampshire by Captain John Mason who, with Gorges, had procured the patent of large tracts of land in the vicinity of the Piscataqua river, and who immediately formed settlements there. The object of Mason was to carry on the manufacture of potash. For this purpose he employed the Danes; and it was in his voyage to and from Denmark that he procured many Danish cattle and horses, which were subsequently scattered over that entire region, large numbers being driven to the vicinity of Boston and sold. These Danish cattle are described as large and coarse, of a yellow color; and it is supposed that they were procured by Mason as being best capable of enduring the severity of the climate and the hardships to which they would be subjected.
However this may have been, they very soon spread among the colonists of the Massachusetts Bay, and have undoubtedly left their marks on the stock of the New England and the Middle States, which exist to some extent even to the present day, mixed in with an infinite multitude of crosses with the Devons, the Dutch cattle already alluded to, the black cattle of Spain and Wales, and the long horn and the short horn—most of which crosses were accidental, or due to local circumstances or individual convenience. Many of these cattle, the descendants of such crosses, are of a very high order of merit; but to which particular cross this is due, it is impossible to say. They generally make hardy, strong, and docile oxen, easily broken to the yoke and quick to work, with a fair tendency to fatten when well fed; while the cows, though often ill-shaped, are sometimes remarkably good milkers, especially as regards the quantity which they give.
Indeed, it has been remarked by excellent judges of stock, that if they desired to select a dairy of cows for milk for sale, they would make their selection from cows commonly called native, in preference to pure-bred animals of any of the established breeds, and that they believed they should find such a dairy the most profitable.
In color, the natives, made up as already indicated, are exceedingly various. The old Denmarks, which to a considerable extent laid the foundation of the stock of Maine and New Hampshire, were light yellow. The Dutch of New York and the Middle States, were black and white; the Spanish and Welsh were generally black; the Devons, which are supposed to have laid the foundation of the stock of some of the States, were red. Crosses of the Denmark with the Spanish and Welsh naturally made a dark brindle; crosses of the Devon often made a lighter or yellowish brindle while the more recent importations of Jerseys and short horns have generally produced a beautiful spotted progeny. The deep red has long been a favorite color in New England; but the prejudice in its favor is fast giving way to more variegated colors.
Among the earlier importations into this country were also several varieties of hornless cattle, which have been kept measurably distinct in some sections; or where they have been crossed with the common stock there has been a tendency to produce hornless grades. These are not unfrequently known as "buffalo cattle." They were, in many cases, supposed to belong to the Galloway breed; or, which is more likely, to the Suffolk dun, a variety of the Galloway, and a far better milking stock than the Galloways, from which, it sprung. These polled, or hornless cattle vary in color and qualities, but they are usually very good milkers when well kept, and many of them fatten well, and attain good weight.
The Hungarian cattle have also been imported, to some extent, into different parts of the country, and have been crossed upon the natives with some success. Many other strains of blood from different breeds have also contributed to build up the common stock of the country of the present day; and there can be no question that its appearance and value have been largely improved during the last quarter of a century, nor that improvements are still in progress which will lead to satisfactory results in the future.
But, though we already have an exceedingly valuable foundation for improvement, no one will pretend to deny that our cattle, as a whole, are susceptible of it in many respects. They possess neither the size, the symmetry, nor the early maturity of the short horns; they do not, as a general thing, possess the fineness of bone, the beauty of form and color, nor the activity of the Devons or the Herefords; they do not possess that uniform richness of milk, united with generous quality, of the Ayrshires, nor the surpassing richness of milk of the Jerseys: but, above all, they do not possess the power of transmitting the many good qualities which they often have to their offspring—which is the characteristic of all well established breeds.
It is equally certain, in the opinion of many good judges, that the dairy stock of the country has not been materially improved in its intrinsic good qualities during the last thirty or forty years. This may not be true of certain sections, where the dairy has been made a special object of pursuit, and where the custom of raising the best male calves of the neighborhood, or those that came from the best dairy cows, and then of using only the best formed bulls, has long prevailed. Although in this way some progress has, doubtless, been made, there are still room and need for more. More attention must be paid to correct principles of breeding before the satisfactory results which every farmer should strive to reach can be attained.
Having glanced generally at the leading breeds of cattle in Great Britain, and examined, more in detail, the various breeds in the United States, the next subject demanding attention is,
THE NATURAL HISTORY OF CATTLE.
[Illustration: SKELETON OF THE OX AS COVERED BY THE MUSCLES.
1. The upper jaw-bone. 2. The nasal bone, or bone of the nose. 3. The lachrymal bone. 4. The malar, or cheek bone. 5. The frontal bone, or bone of the forehead. 6. The horns, being processes or continuations of the frontal. 7. The temporal bone. 8. The parietal bone, low in the temporal fossa. 9. The occipital bone, deeply depressed below the crest or ridge of the head. 10. The lower jaw. 11. The grinders. 12. The nippers, found on the lower jaw alone. 13. The ligament of the neck, and its attachments. 14. The atlas. 16. The dentata. 17. The orbits of the eye. 18. The vertebrae, or bones of the neck. 19. The bones of the back. 20. The bones of the loins. 21. The sacrum. 22. The bones of the tail. 23. The haunch and pelvis. 24. The eight true ribs. 25. The false ribs, with their cartilages. 26. The sternum. 27. The scapula, or shoulder-blade. 28. The humerus, or lower bone of the shoulder. 29. The radius, or principal bone of the arm. 40. The ulna, its upper part forming the elbow. 41. The small bones of the knee. 42. The large metacarpal or shank bone. 43. The smaller or splint bone. 44. The sessamoid bones. 45. The bifurcation at the pasterns, and the two larger pasterns to each foot. 46. The two smaller pasterns to each foot. 47. The two coffin bones to each foot. 48. The navicular bones. 49. The thigh bone. 50. The patella, or bone of the knee. 51. The tibia, or proper leg bone. 52. The point of the hock. 53. The small bones of the hock. 54. The metatarsals, or larger bones of the hind leg. 55. The pasterns and feet.]
DIVISION. Vertebrata—possessing a back-bone. CLASS. Mammalia—such as give suck. ORDER. Ruminantia—chewing the cud. FAMILY. With horns. GENUS. Bovidae—the ox tribe.
Of this tribe there are eight species:
Bos urus, the ancient bison. Bos bison, the American buffalo. Bos moschatus, the musk ox. Bos frontalis, the gayal. Bos grunniens, the grunting ox. Bos caffer, the South African buffalo. Bos bubalus, the common buffalo. Bos taurus, the common domestic ox.
The usual period of pregnancy in a cow is nine calendar months, and something over: at times as much as three weeks. With one thousand and thirty one cows, whose gestations were carefully observed in France, the average period was about two hundred and eighty-five days.
FORMATION OF TEETH.
It is of the utmost importance to be able to judge of the age of a cow. Few farmers wish to purchase a cow for the dairy after she has passed her prime, which will ordinarily be at the age of nine or ten years, varying, of course, according to care, feeding, &c., in the earlier part of her life.
The common method of forming an estimate of the age of cattle is by an examination of the horn. At three years old, as a general rule, the horns are perfectly smooth; after this, a ring appears near the nob, and annually afterward a new one is formed, so that, by adding two years to the first ring, the age is calculated. This is a very uncertain mode of judging. The rings are distinct only in the cow; and it is well known that if a heifer goes to bull when she is two years old, or a little before or after that time, a change takes place in the horn and the first ring appears; so that a real three-year-old would carry the mark of a four-year-old.
The rings on the horns of a bull are either not seen until five, or they cannot be traced at all; while in the ox they do not appear till he is five years old, and then are often very indistinct. In addition to this, it is by no means an uncommon practice to file the horns, so as to make them smooth, and to give the animal the appearance of being much younger than it really is. This is, therefore, an exceedingly fallacious guide, and cannot be relied upon by any one with the degree of confidence desired.
The surest indication of the age in cattle, as in the horse, is given by the teeth.
The calf, at birth, will usually have two incisor or front teeth—in some cases just appearing through the gums; in others, fully set, varying as the cow falls short of, or exceeds, her regular time of calving. If she overruns several days, the teeth will have set and attained considerable size, as appears in the cut representing teeth at birth. During the second week, a tooth will usually be added on each side, and the mouth will generally appear as in the next cut; and before the end of the third week, the animal will generally have six incisor teeth, as denoted in the cut representing teeth at the third week; and in a week from that time the full number of incisors will have appeared, as seen in the next cut.
These teeth are temporary, and are often called milk-teeth. Their edge is very sharp; and as the animal begins to live upon more solid food, this edge becomes worn, showing the bony part of the tooth beneath, and indicates with considerable precision the length of time they have been used. The centre, or oldest teeth show the marks of age first, and often become somewhat worn before the corner teeth appear. At eight weeks, the four inner teeth are nearly as sharp as before. They appear worn not so much on the outer edge or line of the tooth, as inside this line; but, after this, the edge begins gradually to lose its sharpness, and to present a more flattened surface; while the next outer teeth wear down like the four central ones; and at three months this wearing off is very apparent, till at four months all the incisor teeth appear worn, but the inner ones the most. Now the teeth begin slowly to diminish in size by a kind of contraction, as well as wearing down, and the distance apart becomes more and more apparent.
From the fifth to the eighth month, the inner teeth will usually appear as in the cut of the teeth at that time; and at ten months, this change shows more clearly, as represented in the next cut; and the spaces between them begin to show very plainly, till at a year old they ordinarily present the appearance of the following cut; and at the age of fifteen months, that shown in the next, where the corner teeth are not more than half the original size, and the centre ones still smaller.
The permanent teeth are now rapidly growing, and preparing to take the place of the milk-teeth, which are gradually absorbed till they disappear, or are pushed out to give place to the two permanent central incisors, which at a year and a half will generally present the appearance indicated in the cut, which shows the internal structure of the lower jaw at this time, with the cells of the teeth, the two central ones protruding into the mouth, the next two pushing up, but not quite grown to the surface, with the third pair just perceptible. These changes require time; and at two years past the jaw will usually appear as in the cut, where four of the permanent central incisors are seen. After this, the other milk-teeth decrease rapidly, but are slow to disappear; and at three years old, the third pair of permanent teeth are but formed, as represented in the cut; and at four years the last pair of incisors will be up, as in the cut of that age; but the outside ones are not yet fully grown, and the beast can hardly be said to be full-mouthed till the age of five years. But before this age, or at the age of four years, the two inner pairs of permanent teeth are beginning to wear at the edges, as shown in the cut; while at five years old the whole set becomes somewhat worn down at the top, and on the two centre ones a darker line appears in the middle, along a line of harder bone, as appears in the appropriate cut.
Now will come a year or two, and sometimes three, when the teeth do not so clearly indicate the exact age, and the judgment must be guided by the extent to which the dark middle lines are worn. This will depend somewhat upon the exposure and feeding of the animal; but at seven years these lines extend over all the teeth. At eight years, another change begins, which cannot be mistaken. A kind of absorption begins with the two central incisors—slow at first, but perceptible—and these two teeth become smaller than the rest, while the dark lines are worn into one in all but the corner teeth, till, at ten years, four of the central incisors have become smaller in size, with a smaller and fainter mark, as indicated in the proper cut. At eleven, the six inner teeth are smaller than the corner ones; and at twelve, all become smaller than they were, while the dark lines are nearly gone, except in the corner teeth, and the inner edge is worn to the gum.
POINTS OF A GOOD COW.
After satisfaction is afforded touching the age of a cow, she should be examined with reference to her soundness of constitution. A good constitution is indicated by large lungs, which are found in a deep, broad, and prominent chest, broad and well-spread ribs, a respiration somewhat slow and regular, a good appetite, and if in milk a strong inclination to drink, which a large secretion of milk almost invariably stimulates. In such a cow the digestive organs are active and energetic, and they make an abundance of good blood, which in turn stimulates the activity of the nervous system, and furnishes the milky glands with the means of abundant secretion. Such a cow, when dry, readily takes on fat. When activity of the milk-glands is found united with close ribs, small and feeble lungs, and a slow appetite, often attended by great thirst, the cow will generally possess only a weak and feeble constitution; and if the milk is plentiful, it will generally be of bad quality, while the animal, if she does not die of diseased lungs, will not readily take on fat, when dry and fed.
In order to have no superfluous flesh, the cow should have a small, clean, and rather long head, tapering toward the muzzle. A cow with a large, coarse head will seldom fatten readily, or give a large quantity of milk. A coarse head increases the proportion of weight of the least valuable parts, while it is a sure indication that the whole bony structure is too heavy. The mouth should be large and broad; the eye bright and sparkling, but of a peculiar placidness of expression, with no indication of wildness, but rather a mild and feminine look. These points will indicate gentleness of disposition. Such cows seem to like to be milked, are fond of being caressed, and often return caresses. The horns should be small, short, tapering, yellowish, and glistening. The neck should be small, thin, and tapering toward the head, but thickening when it approaches the shoulder; the dewlaps small. The fore quarters should be rather small when compared with the hind quarters. The form of the barrel will be large, and each rib should project further than the preceding one, up to the loins. She should be well formed across the hips and in the rump.
The spine or back-bone should be straight and long, rather loosely hung, or open along the middle part, the result of the distance between the dorsal vertebrae, which sometimes causes a slight depression, or sway back. By some good judges, this mark is regarded as of great importance, especially when the bones of the hind quarters are also rather loosely put together, leaving the rump of great width and the pelvis large, and the organs and milk-vessels lodged in the cavities largely developed. The skin over the rump should be loose and flexible. This point is of great importance; and as, when the cow is in low condition or very poor, it will appear somewhat harder and closer than it otherwise would, some practice and close observation are required to judge well of this mark. The skin, indeed, all over the body, should be soft and mellow to the touch, with soft and glossy hair. The tail, if thick at the setting on, should taper and be fine below.
But the udder is of special importance. It should be large in proportion to the size of the animal, and the skin thin, with soft, loose folds extending well back, capable of great distension when filled, but shrinking to a small compass when entirely empty. It must be free from lumps in every part, and provided with four teats set well apart, and of medium size. Nor is it less important to observe the milk-veins carefully. The principal ones under the belly should be large and prominent, and extend forward to the navel, losing themselves, apparently, in the very best milkers, in a large cavity in the flesh, into which the end of the finger can be inserted; but when the cow is not in full milk, the milk-vein, at other times very prominent, is not so distinctly traced; and hence, to judge of its size when the cow is dry, or nearly so, this vein may be pressed near its end, or at its entrance into the body, when it will immediately fill up to its full size. This vein does not convey the milk to the udder, as some suppose, but is the channel by which the blood returns; and its contents consist of the refuse of the secretion, or of what has not been taken up in forming milk. There are also veins in the udder, and the perineum, or the space above the udder, and between that and the buttocks, which it is of special importance to observe. These veins should be largely developed, and irregular or knotted, especially those of the udder. They are largest in great milkers.
The knotted veins of the perineum, extending from above downwards in a winding line, are not readily seen in young heifers, and are very difficult to find in poor cows, or those of only a medium quality. They are easily found in very good milkers, and if not at first apparent, they are made so by pressing upon them at the base of the perineum, when they swell up and send the blood back toward the vulva. They form a kind of thick network under the skin of the perineum, raising it up somewhat, in some cases near the vulva, in others nearer down and closer to the udder. It is important to look for these veins, as they often form a very important guide, and by some they would be considered as furnishing the surest indications of the milking qualities of the cow. Full development almost always shows an abundant secretion of milk; but they are far better developed after the cow has had two or three calves, when two or three years' milking has given full activity to the milky glands, and attracted a large flow of blood. The larger and more prominent these veins the better. It is needless to say that in observing them some regard should be had to the condition of the cow, the thickness of skin and fat by which they may be surrounded, and the general activity and food of the animal. Food calculated to stimulate the greatest flow of milk will naturally increase these veins, and give them more than usual prominence.
The discovery of M. Guenon, of Bordeaux, in France—a man of remarkable practical sagacity, and a close observer of stock—consisted in the connection between the milking qualities of the cow and certain external marks on the udder, and on the space above it, called the perineum, extending to the buttocks. To these marks he gave the name of milk-mirror, or escutcheon, which consists in certain perceptible spots rising up from the udder in different directions, forms and sizes, on which the hair grows upward, whilst the hair on other parts of the body grows downward. The reduction of these marks into a system, explaining the value of particular forms and sizes of the milk-mirror, belongs exclusively to Guenon.
He divided the milk-mirror into eight classes, and each class into eight orders, making in all no less than sixty-four divisions, which he afterward increased by subdivisions, thus rendering the whole system complicated in the extreme, especially as he professed to be able to judge with accuracy, by means of the milk-mirror, not only of the exact quantity a cow would give, but also of the quality of the milk, and of the length of time it would continue. He endeavored to prove too much, and was, as a matter of consequence, frequently at fault himself.
Despite the strictures which have been passed upon Guenon's method of judging of cows, the best breeders and judges of stock concur in the opinion, as the result of their observations, that cows with the most perfectly developed milk-mirrors are, with rare exception, the best milkers of their breed; and that cows with small and slightly developed milk-mirrors are, in the majority of cases, bad milkers. There are, undoubtedly, cows with very small mirrors, which are, nevertheless, very fair in the yield of milk; and among those with middling quality of mirrors, instances of rather more than ordinary milkers often occur, while at the same time it is true that cases now and then are found where the very best marked and developed mirrors are found on very poor milkers. These apparent exceptions, however, are to be explained, in the large majority of cases, by causes outside of those which affect the appearance of the milk-mirror. It is, of course, impossible to estimate with mathematical accuracy either the quantity, quality, or duration of the milk, since it is affected by so many chance circumstances, which cannot always be known or estimated by even the most skillful judges; such, for example, as the food, the treatment, the temperament, accidental diseases, inflammation of the udder, premature calving, the climate and season, the manner in which she has been milked, and a thousand other things which interrupt or influence the flow of milk, without materially changing the size or shape of the milk-mirror. It has, indeed, been very justly observed that we often see cows equally well formed, with precisely the same milk-mirror, and kept in the same circumstances, yet giving neither equal quantities nor similar qualities of milk. Nor could it be otherwise; since the action of the organs depends, not merely on their size and form, but, to a great extent, on the general condition of each individual.
The different forms of milk-mirrors are represented by the shaded parts of cuts, lettered A, B, C, D; but it is necessary to premise that upon the cows themselves they are always partly concealed by the thighs, the udder, and the folds of the skin, which are not shown, and therefore they are not always so uniform in nature as they appear in the cuts.
Their size varies as the skin is more or less folded or stretched; while the cuts represent the skin as uniform or free from folds, but not stretched out. It is usually very easy to distinguish the milk-mirrors by the upward direction of the hair which forms them. They are sometimes marked by a line of bristly hair growing in the opposite direction, which surrounds them, forming a sort of outline by the upward and downward growing hair. Yet, when the hair is very fine and short, mixed with longer hairs, and the skin much folded, and the udder voluminous and pressed by the thighs, it is necessary, in order to distinguish the part enclosed between the udder and the legs, and examine the full size of the mirrors, to observe them attentively, and to place the legs wide apart, and to smooth out the skin, in order to avoid the folds.
The mirrors may also be observed by holding the back of the hand against the perineum, and drawing it from above downward, when the nails rubbing against the up-growing hair, make the parts covered by it very perceptible.
As the hair of the milk-mirror has not the same direction as the hair which surrounds it, it may often be distinguished by a difference in the shade reflected by it. It is then sufficient to place it properly to the light in order to see the difference in shade, and to make out the part covered by the upward-growing hair. Most frequently, however, the hair of the milk-mirror is thin and fine, and the color of the skin can easily be seen. If the eye alone is trusted, we shall often be deceived.
In some countries cattle-dealers shave the back part of the cow. Just after this operation the mirrors can neither be seen nor felt; but this inconvenience ceases in a few days. It may be added that the shaving—designed, as the dealers say, to beautify the cow—is generally intended simply to destroy the milk-mirror, and to deprive buyers of one means of judging of the milking qualities of the cows. It is unnecessary to add that the cows most carefully shaven are those which are badly marked, and that it is prudent to take it for granted that cows so shorn are bad milkers.
Milk-mirrors vary in position, extent, and the figure which they represent. They may be divided according to their position, into mirrors or escutcheons, properly so called, or into lower and upper tufts, or escutcheons. The latter are very small in comparison with the former, and are situated in close proximity to the vulva, as seen at 1, in cut E. They are very common on cows of bad milking races, but are very rarely seen on the best milch cows. They consist of one or two ovals, or small bands of up-growing hair, and serve to indicate the continuance of the flow of milk. The period is short, in proportion as the tufts are large. They must not be confounded with the escutcheon proper, which is often extended up to the vulva. They are separated from it by bands of hair, more or less large, as in cut marked F.
Milk-mirrors are sometimes symmetrical, and sometimes without symmetry. When there is a great difference in the extent of the two halves, it almost always happens that the teats on the side where the mirror is best developed give more milk than those of the opposite side. The left half of the mirror, it may be remarked, is almost always the largest; and so, when the perinean part is folded into a square, it is on this side of the body that it unfolds. Of three thousand cows in Denmark, but a single one was found, whose escutcheon varied even a little from this rule.
The mirrors having a value in proportion to the space which they occupy, it is of great importance to attend to all the rows of down-growing hairs, which diminish the extent of surface, whether these tufts are in the midst of the mirror, or form indentations on its edges.
These indentations, concealed in part by the folds of the skin, are sometimes seen with difficulty; but it is important to take them into account, since in a great many cows they materially lessen the size of the mirror. Cows are often found, whose milk-mirrors at first sight appear very large, but which are only medium milkers; and it will usually be found that lateral indentations greatly diminish the surface of up-growing hair. Many errors are committed in estimating the value of such cows, from a want of attention to the real extent of the mirror.
All the interruptions in the surface of the mirror indicate a diminution in the quantity of the milk, with the exception, however, of small oval or elliptical plates which are found in the mirror, on the back part of the udders of the best cows, as represented in the cut already given, marked A. These ovals have a peculiar tint, which is occasioned by the downward direction of the hair which forms them. In the best cows these ovals exist with the lower mirrors very well developed, as represented in the cut just named.
In short, it should be stated that, in order to determine the extent and significance of a mirror, it is necessary to consider the state of the perineum as to fat, and that of the fullness of the udder. In a fat cow, with an inflated udder, the mirror would appear larger than it really is; whilst in a lean cow, with a loose and wrinkled udder, it appears smaller. Fat will cover faults—a fact to be borne in mind when selecting a cow.
In bulls, the mirrors present the same peculiarities as in cows; but they are less varied in their form, and especially much less in size.
In calves, the mirrors show the shapes which they are afterwards to have, only they are more contracted, because the parts which they cover are but slightly developed. They are easily seen after birth; but the hair which then covers them is long, coarse, and stiff; and when this hair falls off, the calf's mirror will resemble that of the cow, but will be of less size.
With calves, however, it should be stated, in addition, that the milk-mirrors are more distinctly recognized on those from cows that are well kept, and that they will generally be fully developed at two years old. Some changes take place in the course of years, but the outlines of the mirror appear prominent at the time of advanced pregnancy, or, in the case of cows giving milk, at the times when the udder is more distended with milk than at others.
M. Mayne, who has explained and simplified the method of M. Guenon, divides cows, according to the quantity which they give, into four classes: first, the very good; second, the good; third, the medium; and fourth, the bad.
In the FIRST class he places cows, both parts of whose milk mirror, the mammary—the tuft situated on the udder, the legs and the thighs—and the perinean—that on the perineum, extending sometimes more or less out upon the thighs—are large, continuous, and uniform, covering at least a great part of the perineum, the udder, the inner surface of the thighs, and extending more or less out upon the legs, as in cut A, with no interruptions, or, if any, small ones, oval in form, and situated on the posterior face of the udder.
Such mirrors are found on most very good cows, but may also be found on cows which can scarcely be called good, and which should be ranked in the next class. But cows, whether having very well developed mirrors or not, may be reckoned as very good, and as giving as much milk as is to be expected from their size, food, and the hygienic circumstances in which they are kept, if they present the following characteristics: veins of the perineum large, as if swollen, and visible on the exterior—as in cut A—or which can easily be made to appear by pressing upon the base of the perineum; veins of the udder large and knotted; milk-veins large, often double, equal on both sides, and forming zig-zags, under the belly.
To the signs furnished by the veins and by the mirror, may be added also the following marks: a uniform, very large, and yielding udder, shrinking much in milking, and covered with soft skin and fine hair; good constitution, full chest, regular appetite, and great propensity to drink. Such cows rather incline to be poor than to be fat. The skin is soft and yielding; short, fine hair; small head; fine horns; bright, sparkling eye; mild expression; feminine look; with a fine neck.
Cows of this first class are very rare. They give, even when small in size, from ten to fourteen quarts of milk a day; and the largest sized from eighteen to twenty-six quarts a day, and even more. Just after calving, if arrived at maturity and fed with good, wholesome, moist food in sufficient quantity and quality, adapted to promote the secretion of milk, they can give about a pint of milk for every ten ounces of hay, or its equivalent, which they eat.
They continue in milk for a long period. The best never go dry, and may be milked even up to the time of calving, giving from eight to ten quarts of milk a day. But even the best cows often fall short of the quantity of milk which they are able to give, from being fed on food which is too dry, or not sufficiently varied, or not rich enough in nutritive qualities, or deficient in quantity.
The SECOND class is that of good cows; and to this belong the best commonly found in the market and among the cow-feeders of cities.
They have the mammary part of the milk-mirror well developed, but the perinean part contracted, or wholly wanting, as in cut G; or both parts of the mirror are moderately developed, or slightly indented, as in cut H. Cut E belongs also to this class, in the lower part; but it indicates a cow, which—as the upper mirror, 1, indicates—dries up sooner when again in calf.
These marks, though often seen in many good cows, should be considered as certain only when the veins of the perineum form, under the skin, a kind of network, which, without being very apparent, may be felt by a pressure on them; when the milk-veins on the belly are well-developed, though less knotty and less prominent than in cows of the first class; in short, when the udder is well developed, and presents veins which are sufficiently numerous, though not very large.
It is necessary here, as in the preceding class, to distrust cows in which the mirror is not accompanied by large veins. This remark applies especially to cows which have had several calves, and are in full milk. They are medium or bad, let the milk-mirror be what it may, if the veins of the belly are not large, and those of the udder apparent.