Lewis Falley Allen.

American cattle: their history, breeding and management online

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American cattle

Lewis Falley Allen


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In the Clerk's office of the District Court of the United States, for the Northern
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The object of this work is not only to give a historical
account of the Bovine race, to suggest to our fiwrmers, and
cattle breeders, the best methods of their prodaction and
management, but to exalt and ennoble its pursuit to the
dignity to which it is entitled, in the various departments
of American agriculture.

I have contemplated a work of this kind for many years
past Indeed, its plan was partly shadowed out near
twenty years ago ; but on reflection, I mad^ up my mind
that more personal observation was required than I then
possessed, and also, that further experience in the use
of the better, improved breeds of foreign cattle, among
our farmers and cattle breeders, was desirable, to give that
extended range of information which so important an
interest demanded.

More than forty years ago, it was felt by those largely
engaged in stock growing for beef purposes, that our
" native " cattle were lamentably deficient in their most
desirable, as well as profitable qualities, and instead of
attempting to improve and raise our American native

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stock to the desired standard of excellence, the better way
was to resort to such European breeds as, by a long course
of intelligent culture, already possessed the properties
required. It was so with our dairy, or milking stock.
As a race, they were lamentably deficient in the uniform-
ity of their milking qualities, and the yields they pro-
duced. We needed better ones, and to undertake to build
them up from the miscellaneous herds, composed of all
congr^ted mixtures, as they are, without any certain
basis to commence upon, was a hazardous, and almost
interminable labor, as well as uncertain mode of proced-
ure. Hence, numerous importations of the choice breeds
of foreign cattle have been made, involving an outlay of
millions of dollars in the aggregata The propagation of
these cattle, the success that has attended them, and the
popularity which they have achieved among our intelli-
gent formers, and breeders, has confirmed the wisdom of
those enterprising men who embarked their capital and
labor in their introduction.

Further knowledge in relation to these foreign breeds,
of their breeding, and rearing, together with their benefi-
cial uses in elevating the qualities of our old native stock,
through their adaptability in crossing their blood upon
them, has now, beyond a question, decided the necessity
of a book on " American Cattle." Therefore, such as it
is, this volume goes forth to the public.

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I believe it is the first work of the kind, so general in
its scope of observation, which has been written, collated,
or published in our country. We have been fiivored
with sundry publications, relating to cattle in the way
of Dairy Oows, and some of the departments connected
with their use — able, useful, instructive publications, too —
but not comprising so full and general a range of the sub-
ject as is here proposed. This work is not intended to
interfere with them; each may be essential — necessary,
indeed — ^to convey all the information which may be
required on so extensive and ramified a subject

A book which should embrace all that is here imder-
taken, together with the productive results appertaining to
neat cattle, as the Dairy, and other economical industries,
could not well be consolidated into a single, acceptable
voluma It would involve a more intimate, and wider
range of experience and observation, than can well be
combined in one individual effort So far as suggestion,
or instruction, is concerned, I have chosen only to take the
creature firom its conception, and carry it through life to
its proper and ultimate destination — the ox to the yoke,
the bullock to the shambles, the cow to the pail, or the
propagation of her young — ^and there leave them. The
Dairy, and its management, are referred to other, and
more competent hands.

This Prefiace ought not to be concluded without saying
that I have gleaned somewhat, much indeed, from the

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observatipus, writings, and publications of others, both
abroad and at home, perhaps more experienced than
mysel£ To such, I feel largely indebted, and give my
acknowledgmenta But those observations have been scat-
tered in such fi^igmentary and miscellaneous ways, as to
be beyond the reach of the inquirer, without more labor
and expense to combine them into accessible form than
can well be done by the mass, or even a few of those
seeking them.

I trust that here may be found embodied all those various
materiel which will prove acceptable to the wide spread
community interested in the breeding and improvement of
our herds, and that they may be benefited by my labors.
With this trust, the following pages are submitted.

Buffalo, N. T., 1868.

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Nomber of CatUe in the United States and Territories— Valne of the lame— Vulae
of Bee(; Batter, Cheese, and Labor of Oxen 11

The CUmate and Soils of North America, as adapted to the prodnctioa of Neat
Csttle «1

Neat Cattle— Their Hlstorj— lOsrepresentations by Artists— fipolcen of in the Bible—
In India— In Egypt— Among the Romans— In Borope iS

Uktory 9i American Cattle— Introdnctton by the Spanish into Mexico— By the Eng-
lish into Virginia— By the Dutch into New Torlc- By the English into other
Colonies W

QnaUty, Condition and Appearance of onr Native Cattle— Amalgamation of Different
Breeds— ResoU of the diflSBrent mixtures 81

Tlie Anatomical and Economical Points of Cattle— Illustration of Points— Good
Points— Bsd Points— Texan Cattlo-Comparison of Good and Poor Cattle. . . 41

Improred Breeds of Cattle— What are they ?— Cattle of Great Britain— Their Pro-
gress there— Their DiTision Into Breeds— Improvement in them— Youatt's His-
tory of them 4S

Middle-homed Cattle— The Devons— History— Description— Points— Bull— Cow, as
a Milker— Ox, as a Worker— As a Beef Animal— Their Introduction to, and Pro-
gress in America fiO

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The Herefords— History—Description—Ball— Cow, as a Milker— Ox, as a Worker—
Ab a Beef Animal— Their Introdaction to, and Progress in America 63

The Long-horns— History— Description— Bull— Cow, as a Milker— Ox, as a Worker—
As a Beef Animal— Their Introdaction into America— Their Extinction here . . 73

The Cattle of Scotland- The West Highlands— Their History, and Present Condi-
tion- Valae as Beef Animals— Little Value for the Dairy— Their Fitness for the
Mountain Ranges and Western Plains of America 86

The Qalloways— Their History— Description— Manner of Breeding them— Introduc-
tion to America— Value as Grazing, and Beef Animals 09

The Ayrshires— Their Origin and History— Description— Improvement in their Breed-
ing, and Quality for the Dairy— Milk Production— In America— As a Beef Ani-
mal Ill

The Aldemey, Jertey, Guernsey, or Channel Island Cattle— Their Origin and His-
tory—Description—Introduction to America— Value as Milkers— As a Worker,
and Beef Animal 128

The Short-horns— Their Pretended History by Berry, in Youatt— Their True His-
tory—Charles and Robert Colling— Short-horns in America— Characteristics-
Description of them— As a Dairy Cow— As a Working Ox— As a Beef Animal-
Their Proper Homes— Their Predominance in the Herds of Britain 184

The Hobtein, or Dutch Cattle— Their History— Description of them— Introduction to
America— Mr. Chenery's Importations— Their uses— For the Dairy— As a Worker
—As a Beef Animal 166

The Spanish, or Texan Cattle— Orlghi and History— Introduction into Mexico— Mi-
gration to Texas and California— Description— Beef Qualities— Diseases attend-
ing them 1 74

What is the Best Breed of Cattle ?— What they are Wanted for— Bach may be the
Best Breed tor Certain Localities 181

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What Constitotes % Good Animal T—Coarae Oftttte— Fine Cathe—BMaiy— Perfec-
tion 187

On Breeding-^General Principles— Rolea for Good Breeding— In-and-in Breeding—
Examplea— Bstablisliing the Variety as an Improved Breed— Contending Opin-
ioos 199


Treabnent of Breeding Cows— Strange Inflnences— Mistaken Theories— Doctor

Harvey*s Bssay— Occasional Barrenness— Professor Tanner's Essay— Mr. E. W.

Stewart's Rcmarlu— Feeding in Advanced Stages of Pregnancy— Duration of

Pregnan<^ 219

Breeding Grade Cattle for Grazing— Breeding Dairy Cows— Do not Change the
Breed— Age at which Heifers should be Bred— Rearing and Treatment of
Bolls 854

Bearing Stock Calvea— Their Treatment-Calves for Veal— Calves Running with the
Cows— Handling Yoong Animals— Shelter— Rearing Thorough bred Heifers— In-
fluencing the Sex of Calves 2tt7

Beef Cattle— Diiferences in Breed— Regularity of Condition— Proper Ages for Fat-
tening—Modes of Feeding— Sliape of Fat Cattle— Cattle in the London Mark-
ets, by Mr. A. B. Allen— TransportaUon of Stock to Market— Railway CatUe
Yards 270

Working Oxen— Rearing, Matcliing, and Training— Devons and Herefords the Best
Breeds for Labor 893

Osttle Food— Tlie Grasses— Full Feed and Water— Sliade in Pastures— Cliange of
Pastures— Winter Forage, and Care of Neat Stock— What Winter Feeding and
Care of Stock Should be— Bams and Sheds 897

Summer Food for Dairy Cows— Pastures— Soiling— Proper Soiling Crops— The Best
Kind of Com for Soiling— Mr. E. W. Stewart's Experiments— Condition of Ani-
mals Soiled— BlTect of Soiling' upon the Product of Milk— Saving in Fences-
Saving in Manure— Saving in Land— Method of Feeding— Arrangement of Ani-
mals— Another Experiment— Fall Feeding— Winter Feeding au9

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Sale Milk Dairies— Yalae of Milk Sold In the City of New York— In the United
States-Swill Milk— Good Milk— Cooking Food— Why Fodder Should be Cut-
Mixing Food— Straw Cutters— Values of Different Food— Steam Apparatus— Re-
sults of Cooking— Experiments, Ac 883

Milk Cows— Their Selection— Mr. Magne's Essay on their General Character— Marks
— Shape — Appearance— Hygienic Conditions— Selections for'Breeding— Mr. Hax-
ton's Modes of Selection— Guenon's Theory, Ac .. 865

The Common Mode of Obtaining Dairy Cows— Milking, Ac, 403

Value Invested in Cows— Low Average in Production— Dairy Soils— J)airy Factories
—Dairy Women— Love of Fine Cattle 408


Miscellaneous— Pregnancy, and What Follows— As Maternity Approaches— Marks

Indicating Ages of Cattle— Diseases, Treatment, and Cures— Habits and Tricks

of Cattle— Kicking Cows— Kicking Oxen— Breachy Animals— Cows Sucking

Themselves— Hooking and Quarreling 415

Diseases Propei^Water Treatment— Garget— Puerperal, or Milk Fever— Wounds,
Bruises, Sprains, Jkc— Lowson's Treatise on Diseases and Cures 438

Castration— Spaying Heifers and Cows— Free-Martins— Drinking Water— Bloody,
and Curdly Milk— Handling— Proof— Large or Overgrown Cattle 616

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That the value of American Neat Cattle, as a branch of our
agricultural interests, may be ^irlj understood and appreciated,
some statistical £atcts and estimates are submitted.

The census reports for the jears 1850 and 1860 give the
following returns for the United States and Territories :

1850. 1860.

Milk Cows, . . . 6,385,094 8,728,862

Working Oxen, . . 1,700,694 2,240,075

Other Cattle, . . • 10,293,069 14,671,400

Thus showing an increase in ten years, of about one-third, or

33^ per cent in numbers ; and, although, during the past eight

years, since the year 1859, in which the last census was taken,

four of these years, 1861 to 1865, have been, during the war in

the Southern States, a period of extraordinary consumption,

waste, and depreciation in the numbers of their cattle of all

descriptions, still, the aggregate of the entire neat stock of the

country must have considerably increased.

The number of cattle in thirteen of those States, more or less
disturbed and overrun by the armies at various times — Cleaving
out Maryland — in the census reports of 1860, was as follows:

Milk Cows, 3,305.953

Working Oxen, . • . . 1,732,232
Other Cattle, 7,782,635

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Showing that nearly 40 per cent, of the milk cows ; nearly 80
per cent, of the working oxen, and upwards of 50 per cent, of
" other cattle " were owned in the Southern States, including
Missouri. Of "other cattle," however, 2,733,267, or nearly
one-third, belonged to the single State of Texas, where enor-
mous numbers of semi-wild animals rove over the wide plains
and savannas of its extensive territory, but of far less value per
head, (probably not exceeding one-half,) than those under the
same denomination in the other Southern States. So, also, of
their milk cows, which were 598,086 in number, or about
eighteen per cent, of the whole ; and as of these cows probably
three-fourths of them are as untamed as their "other cattle,"
and devoted only to the production and rearing of young stock,
they cannot be denominated as "milk cows" proper, as they
are in most other of those States ; and are, therefore, of about
the same proportionate value as "other cattle," with which
they range. The working oxen of Texas, (172,243 in number,)
devoted to labor purposes, we let stand.

Excluding, therefore, the Texan herds — ^working oxen also—
as less valuable than those of the other States at large, we class
them separately; and calling the aggregate stock of all the
Southern States now what they were at the last census — the
waste of the war taken from what would be the natural increase
in times of uninterrupted agricultural advancement — we may
now put the numbers of the whole South as they were in 1860,
deducting Texas, viz.:

Milk Cows, . . . . . 2,707,867

Working Oxen, 1,560,989

Other Cattle, 4,949,368

The natural mcrease of the cattle of the Northern States,
including Maryland and Delaware, not much disturbed by the
war, counting it as from the increase from the years 1850 and

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1860, at about 33 per cent, every ten years, or 23 per cent, for
seven years, would be thus :

Mak Cows, in 1860, . . . 5,422,909

Working Oxen, in 1860, . . . 507,843

Other Cattle, in 1860, . . . 6,888.765

To these, add, say twenty per cent, for the six to seven years'

increase, and the numbers would now be, in the Northern States

and Territories :

Milk Cows, ..... 6,507,491
Working Oxen, ... . 609,411

Other Cattle, 8,266,518

Thus, the present number of cattle in all the States and Terri-
tories, excluding Texas, stands, in 1867 :

Milk Cows, 9,215,358

Working Oxen, . . . . . 2,170,400

Other CatUe, 13,215,886

The value of these cattle may be safely put as follows :
Cows, at $40 each, . . . $368,614,320
Working Oxen, at $50 each, . . 108,520,000
Other Cattle, at $30 each, . . . 396,476,580


Add the Texan cattle:

Milk Cows, 598,086

Working Oxen, . ... 172,243

Other Cattle, . . . . . 2,773,267

The value of which may be :

Milk Cows, at $25 each, . $31,952,150

Working Oxen, at $40 each, . . 6,889,720
Other Cattle, at $15 each, . . 41,599,005

Here we have an aggregate value of $954,051,775 — near a

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thousand millions of doUars — ^in 28,145,240 head of neat cattle
of all descriptions.

That the value of this stock is not over-estimated, we may
state that the price of good dairy cows now ranges in the
Northern States at $50 to $100 each, and working oxen at $150
to $250 a pair, according to age and quality. " Other cattle,"
which range from the last spring calves to heifers of three years,
and steers of four years of age, the youngest of which are worth
$5, and the oldest $50, in their pastures, are not over- valued.
In our estimates of value, are not counted the thousands of
" improved " blood cattle, of the different breeds, now becoming
widely diffused over extensive portions of the country, and
would, if properly accredited, add some millions to the aggregate
value of our cattle herds. It may be said that our currency b
inflated to thirty per cent, above gold prices, and a great depre-
ciation will follow when we come to a specie basis. No matter.
"We take things as they are. "We may safely estimate our
working capital in neat stock, for the next five years, at .a
THOUSAND MILLION of dollars, and consider whether that
amount invested by a nation containing near forty millions of
people in the aggregate, is not worth improving and caring for —
so much so, at least, as to study, and find out ways for their
improvement in breeding, rearing, and feeding — to raise them to
the perfection of which they are capable, by more care than we
have been accustomed to bestow upon them, without much
increased cost in their food. This we believe to be both possible
and practicable, and if these pages shall only in an imperfect
degree, accomplish the object, our purposes will be answered.

Our Agriculture, in all its branches, is but in the gristle of
improvement. The scarcity and high price of labor has com-
pelled us to invent and use labor-saving . implements and
machinery in many departments. We drain, and ditch, and
bring our waste lands under cultivation, and cultivate those we

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have long been accustomed to work, better than of old. We
plow, and we sow, and we mow, and we reap, and harvest, and
secure our crops somewhat better than our fiathers did. We
build better bams and shelters for our xnrops and farm stock than
they could afford. We do manj things better than they were
accustomed to do, in the less enlightened days of their expert
ence. We have numerous agricultural papers, edited by
intelligent men and teachers. We interchange our ideas through
them. We have oi^r annual Agricultural Society meetings and
exhibitions, in a majority of our States, and in multitudes of
counties, and towns, and neighborhoods of the different States.
Our stock, in the main, is better than the farm stock of fifly
years ago ; but it can be made better by thirty per cent, than it
is, by a trifle more knowledge and experience than we now
possess, and a better practice in taking care of them. We owe
an immense debt of gratitude to those generous and enterprising
men who, of late years, at so much cost and pains, have
expended their time and money in introducing improved breeds
from abroad, and urging attention to them upon those who, but
fo> their efforts, would still be groping in the dullness of past
times, and delving through all their abortive attempts to '* get
on," and strive, in their own darkness, at success.

It is to be regretted that there exists no accurate data on
which to compute the annual slaughter and consumption of beef
and veal in our country. No returns of this kind have been
made in the census department of the government, and it is
impossible to fiiirly conjecture its extent. New York City, and
its immediate vicinity absorbs about 6,000 head of beeves weekly,
making 312,000 per annum, besides multitudes of veal calves,
and large numbers of milk cows, store cattle and working oxen,
which are bought for use in the surrounding country, and of
which we seldom hear anything again. The Philadelphia and
Baltimore markets probably take as many more, and the New

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England cities along the sea-board, an equal number, making a
round million in the aggregate ; and the Southern sea board

Online LibraryLewis Falley AllenAmerican cattle: their history, breeding and management → online text (page 1 of 42)