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The above is a portrait of the thorough bred Improved Durham short horned bull, Wye Comet, from an original painting, by Fisher, in the possession of Henry Watson, of Windsor, Con., to whom the Editor is indebted for a full pedigree of the animal, but which want of room must exclude.
Wye Comet was begotten in England, but was calved in the United States, in November, 1822. His sire was Blaize, dam, White Rose, by Warrior (bred by Charles Champion Esq.) g-d by Mr. Mason's Charles; gr. g-d. by Prince; gr. gr. g-d by Neswick.
White Rose, the dam of Wye Comet, was imported by John S. Skinner of Baltimore, in the spring of 1822, by whom she was sold to the Hon. Edward Lloyd, of Maryland. Wye Comet was sold in 1823, by the latter gentleman, to John Hare Powell, Esq. of Philadelphia ; and in 1826, was purchased for the sunt of $500, by Messrs. Ward Woodbridge and Henry Watson, Esqrs. of Connecticut, to whose patriotic exertions, and pecuniary sacrifices, the county of Hartford is indebted for much of its fine stock of various descriptions, for which it is becoming justly celebrated.
In stocking a farm, the first object should be to consider the amount of stock which the farm will keep, and keep in good condition; as it is not only highly disreputable to a farmer, but injurious to his interests, to keep a stoek of meagre, half starved cattle.
This point being settled, regard should next be had to the kind of stock which is desirable ; and this will be determined by considering, whether you wish to rear cattle for the fair, or for supplying the market.
* NEAT CATTLE.
These two particulars being settled, the farmer should consider the following things:
I. Beauty, or symmetry of shape; in which the form is so compact, that every part of the animal bears an exact consistency, while the carcass should be deep and broad, and the less valuable parts (such as the head, bones, &c.) ought to be as small as possible. The carcass should be large, the bosom broad, and chest deep; the ribs standing out from the spine, both to give strength of frame and constitution, and likewise to admit of the intestines being lodged within the ribs; but yet not so much as to be what is called high ribbed, as the butchers consider it an indication of deficiency in weight of meat. . Further, the shoulders ought not only to be light of bone, and rounded off at the lower point, but also broad, to impart strength, and well covered with flesh. The back also ought to be wide and level throughout; the quarters long, the thighs tapering and narrow at the round bone, but well covered with flesh in the twist; and the flank full and large. The legs ought to be straight below the knee and hock, and of a moderate length; light boned ; clean from fleshiness, yet having joints and sinews of a moderate size, for the united purposes of strength and activity. In these points all intelligent breeders concur; but, as beauty of shape too often depends on the caprice of fashion, it is more requisite to regard,
II. Utility of form, or that nice proportion of the parts which has already been noticed.
III. The flesh, or texture of the muscular parts; a quality which was formerly noticed only by butchers, but the knowledge of which is justly deemed essential by the enlightened breeders of the present day; and although this quality necessarily varies according to the age and size of cattle, yet it may be greatly regulated by attention to the food employed for fattening them. As a knowledge of this requisite can only be acquired by practice, it is sufficient to state, that the best sign of good flesh is that of being marbled, or having the fat and lean finely veined, or intermixed, when the animals are killed; and, while alive, by a firm and mellow feel.
IV. In rearing live stock of any description, it should be an invariable rule to breed from small-boned, straight-backed, healthy, clean, kindly. skinned, * round-bodied, and barrel-shaped animals, with clean necks and throats, and little or no dewlap; carefully rejecting all those which may have heavy legs and roach backs, together with much appearance of ‘offal. And, as some breeds have a tendency to generate great quantities of fat on certain parts of the body, while in others it is more mixed with the flesh of every part of the animal, this circumstance will claim the attention of the breeder as he advances in business.
V. In the purchasing of cattle, whether in a lean or fat state, the farmer should on no account buy beasts out of richer or better grounds than those into which he intends to turn them; for, in this case, he must inevitably sustain a very material loss, by the cattle not thriving, particularly if they be old. It will, therefore, be advisable to select them, either from stock
* As this word may probably often appear in the course of the subsequent pages, it may not be altogether irrelevant to state, that it implies a skin which feels mellow, i. e. soft, yet firm to the touch, and which is equally distant from the hard, dry skin, peculiar to some cattle, as it is from the loose and flabby feel of others.
STOCKING A FARM.
feeding in the neighborhood, or from such breeds as are best adapted to the nature and situation of the soil.
VI. Docility of disposition, without being deficient in spirit, is of equal moment; for, independently of the damage committed by cattle of wild tempers on fences, fields, &c., which inconvenience will thus be obviated, it is an indisputable fact, that tame beasts require less food to rear, support, and fatlen them; consequently every attention ght to be paid, early to accustom them to be docile and familiar.
VII. Hardiness of constitution, particularly in bleak and exposed districts, is indeed a most important requisite; and in every case it is highly essential to a farmers interest to have a breed that is liable neither to disease nor to any hereditary distemper. A dark color, and in cattle which are kept out all the winter a rough and curled pile or coat of hair, are, in the popular estimation, certain indications of hardiness: but it must be obvious to every thinking person, that this quality, though in some respects inherent in particular breeds, depends, in a great measure, upon the method in which cattle are treated.
There is, indeed, a rather prevalent opinion, that white is a mark of regeneracy, and that animals of the most vivid hues possess the greatest portion of health and strength; in proof of which it has been instanced that among mankind, a healthy habit is visible in the floridness of the complexion; as sickness is perceptible in the paleness of the looks, and the decripitude of age in the whiteness of the hair. It has also been remarked that gray horses are commonly of a tender constitution, until crossed with darker breeds; and that among the feathered tribe, the common poultry, with high colored plumage, are in all respects superior to the white. But it has been justly observed in reply, that the powerful Polar bears, and many of the strongest birds, as the goose and swan, are white : nor will it escape observation, as more immediately touching the present subject, that the wild cattle are invariably of that color; and that the highest bred Herefords are distinguished by white faces.*
VIII. Connected with hardiness of constitution is early maturity, which however, can only be attained by feeding cattle in such a manner as to keep them constantly in a growing state. By an observance of this principle, it has been found that beasts and sheep, thus managed, thrive more in three years, than they usually do in five when they have not sufficient food during the winter, by which, in the common mode of rearing, their growth is checked.
IX. A kindly disposition to take fat on the most valuable parts of the carcass, at an early age, and with little food, when compared with the quantity and qnality consumed by similar animals. On this account
* It is stated, in the Agricultural Survey of Leicestershire, England, as the remark of a scientific observer of the cattle usually bred in that county, " that those of a deep red, dark liver color, or black, with tanned sides, are the hardiest, and have the best constitutions; will endure the severest weather, perform the most work, live to the greatest age, and fatten on such food as would starve those of weaker colors." But in opposition to this we have, in the Annals of Agriculture, the assurance of Mr. Campbell, a practical and extensive breeder, that, upon repeated comparative trials, he has had bulls, oxen, and cows, of a white breed, as healthy and hardy as any others."
STOCKING A FARM.
smaller cattle have been recommended as generally having a more natural disposition to fatten, and as requiring, proportionably to the larger animal, less food to make them fat; consequently, the greater quantity of meat for consumption can be made per acre. In stall-feeding''-the nature, method, and advantages of which will be stated in a subsequent chapter,—it has been remarked, that, “ whatever may be the food, the smaller animal pays most for that food; in dry lands, the smaller animal is always sufficiently heavy for treading; in wet lands less injurious." But this opinion is combatted by many able judges, who still contend that the largest animals are the most profitable. They doubtless are so on good keep; but the smaller animals will thrive on soils where heavy beasts will decline.
X. Working, or an aptitude for labor: a point of infinite importance in a country whose population is so extensive as that of Britain, and where the consumption of grain by horses has so material an influence on the comforts and existence of the inhabitants. As, however, there is a difference of opinion on this subject, the reader is referred to the chapter where the question is fully discussed. But, whether kine be purchased for the plough, or for the purpose of fattening, it will be necessary to see, in addition to the essentials already stated, that they are young, in perfect health, full-mouthed, and not broken either in tail, hair, or pizzle; that the hair stare not, and that they are not hidebound, otherwise they will not feed kindly. The same remark is applicable to cows intended for the pail, the horns of which should be fair and smooth, the forehead broad and smooth, udders white, yet not fleshy, but thin and loose when empty, to hold the greater quantity of milk, but large when full; provided with large dug-veins to fill it, and with four elastic teats, in order that the milk may be more easily drawn off.
XI. Beside the rules above stated, there are some particulars with regard to the age of neat or black cattle and sheep, which merit the farmer's consideration.
“ Neat cattle cast no teeth until turned two years old, when they get two new teeth; at three they get two more; and in every sucoeeding year get two, until five years old, when they are called full-mouthed, though they are not properly full-mouthed until six years old, because the two corner teeth, which are last in renewing, are not perfectly up until they are six."*
The horns of neat cattle also supply another criterion by which the judgment may be assisted, after the signs afforded by the teeth become uncertain. When three years old, their horns are smooth and handsome; after which period there appears a circle, or wrinkle, which is annually increased as long as the horn remains; so that, acoording to the number of these circles or rings, the age of a beast may be ascertained with tolerable precision, unless such wrinkles are defaced, or artificially removed, by scraping or filing; a fraudulent practice, which is but too frequently adopted, in order to deceive the ignorant or inexperienced purchaser with respect to the real age of the animal. There is also a tip at the extremity of the horn, which falls off about the third year.
OF THE BULL.
OF TEE BULL.
A bull ought to be the most handsome of his kind; he should be tall and well made ; his head should be rather long, but not coarse, as fineness of head indicates a disposition to fatten; and as it is designed by nature to be the chief instrument both of offence and of defence, it ought to present every mark of strength; his horns clean, and bright; his large black eyes lively and protuberant ; his forehead broad and close set, with short, curled hair; his ears long and thin, hairy within and without; muzzle fine; nostrils wide and open; neck strong and muscular, not incumbered with a coarse, wreathy skin, but firm, rising with a gentle curve from the shoulders, tapering to the part where it is connected with the head; dewlap thin, and but little loose skin on any part. Further, his shoulders should be deep, high, and moderately broad at the top; the bosom open; breast large and projecting well before his legs; back straight and broad, even to the setting on of the tail, which should not extend far up the roof, but be strong and deep, with much lank hair on the under part of it; ribs broad and circular, rising one above another, so that the last rib shall be rather the highest; the fore thighs strong and muscular, tapering gradually to the knees; the belly deep, straight, and also tapering a little to the hind thighs, which should be large and square ; the roof wide, particularly over the chine and hips, or hooks: the legs straight, short jointed, full of sinews, clean and fine boned; knees round, big, and straight; feet distant one from another, not broad, por turning in, but easily spreading; hoofs long and hollow; the hide not hard, or stubborn to the touch; the hair uniformly thick, short, curled, and of a soft texture; and the body long, deep, and round, filling well up to the shoulder and into the groin, so as to form what has not improperly been termed a round, or barrel-like
The bull attains the age of puberty generally at the end of from twelve months to two years; but it has been thought advisable to restrain him from the propagation of his species until he has arrived at his full growth, which is about four years; for, if this animal be suffered to breed earlier than three years, the stock is liable to degenerate. It must, however, be admitted, that a contrary opinion prevails among many eminent breeders; who maintain that the bull is in his full vigor at eighteen months old, at which age his progeny will display the most strength.
The bull, as well as the cow and ox, generally lives about fourteen years; but the progress of decay is usually perceptible after he has attained the age of ten years.
For the prevention of accidents from mischievous bulls, an ingenious and simple contrivance has been suggested by Henry James Nicholls, Esq. of Woodhall
, near Wisbeach, on whom the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Agriculture, &c. in 1815 conferred a premium of ten guineas for his invention. Of its form and application, the following engravings will convey a correct idea.