United States. Bureau of Animal Industry.

Special report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding online

. (page 54 of 56)
Online LibraryUnited States. Bureau of Animal IndustrySpecial report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding → online text (page 54 of 56)
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The table shows results obtained at the Wisconsin station with skim-
milk fed to Jersey and Holstein calves. At the Ontario College calves
representing six different breeds were fed on full milk at first, the trial
lasting a year. The Michigan experiments are the most complete, and
cover three trials with two lots of steers representing six different
breeds in the first trial and five in the last. In the Wisconsin experi-
ments the grain consisted of oats, bran, and oil-meal. At Michigan it
was wheat bran, oats, corn, and some oil meal. At the Ontario College
peas, oats, wheat screenings, bran, find oil-cake were fed.


I ask the reader to carefully review the results obtained at the Mich-
igan station and note the steady increase in the amount of food required
to produce 100 pounds of gain. With so many animals on trial, repre-
senting different breeds and long feeding periods, these results can not
be accidental, but must represent some rule of nature of great impor-
tance to the feeder. As we have learned from the second table in this
chapter, an animal requires a very considerable amount of food for mere
maintenance of the body, so that, as the body weight increases, more
and more feed must be given for its mere maintenance, and only from
the excess which the animal may consume comes the increased weight.
At first the young animal is able to eat and digest much more than is
required for its maintenance, and out of the large excess a rapid
increase in weight results. Though the total amount of food consumed
increases very considerably with the age of the animal, yet gradually
the amount required creeps up until finally all is required for mere main
tenance of the body, alid there is no gain in weight for profit to the


The facts just noted lead to the last suggestion in regard to steer-
feeding. Some of my readers will recall a period when it was not con-
sidered well to fatten a steer until he was 5 years old. A much larger
number will recall the early exhibits of cattle at the Chicago Fat Stock
Show, where prizes were offered for big steers. The long-legged, raw-
boned creatures that competed for premiums in those days are now
almost a thing of the past, but there is still room for large improve-
ment. Marls maturity has worked wonders in pork-making, and is
more slowly but surely accomplishing equally striking results with beef
cuttle. While in parts of the Old World hogs are not fattened until
J or 3 years old, on thousands of American farms in the corn belt April-
horn pigs are started for Chicago in November. Prices are now so low
for beef that cattle must be quickly turned and every pound of food
made to do its utmost. What can be accomplished in the way of early
maturity is HluHtrated by results obtained by Mr. W. A. Harris, of
Linwood, Kans.. who reports, in the Breeders' Gazette, his experience


with " baby" beef. He feeds pure-bred and grade Shorthorn calves
coining in December, January, and February until the following- Decem-
ber, when they average 11 months old. These calves generally had
most of their dams' milk until G or 7 mouths old and Mr. Harris figures
that they each consumed :

20 Imshels of corn, worth $5.00

1,000 pounds bran, worth 6.00

300 pounds oil-meal, worth 3.00

Total cost of grain 14 00

In addition they had pasture and what hay they would eat, which,
together, he estimates at $4. These calves weighed from 910 to 920
pounds each at eleven months, and brought from $3.80 to $5.00 per hun-
dred, which returns are certainly satisfactory, while yearlings have but
held their own and required the space and feed of nearly two calves
during the additional twelve months, to say nothing of interest and
accidents. While Mr. Harris' figures doubtless represent the extreme
limit in the direction of early maturity, and it is probable that many
will not dare to attempt to sell beef at twelve months old, there is no
good argument for not making a vigorous effort to steadily reduce the
age at which steers are marketed. The first requisite is good breeding,
for without a good calf further effort is of little avail. There is a gross
error abroad which it seems almost impossible to down, and that is the
idea that blooded stock can live on less food than the common cattle of
the country. The truth is that such animals, being more artificial, really
require better care and more abundant food. Their point ot vantage is
their ability to consume a large amount of food, making the most of it
and putting it on the most valuable parts of the body in the shape of
meat; further, they do this at an early age, long before native cattle
have reached anything like maturity. Improved stock means an im-
proved feeder with an intelligent understanding and good corn cribs.
Having good stock, feed liberally. I know of no greater crime toward
our stock in this country than parsimonious feeding. It is even more
common to hear men boast of how little their cattle have wintered on
than how much they have been fed and what large gains they have
made. There must be a great change in this particular before genuine
improvement comes.


Enormous as is the dairy industry of this country, its continued
growth for some time yet seems almost certain, for the reason that our
progress has been largely in the direction of an improved product
rather than a mere increase in gross output. Low prices for beef cat-
tle have been brought on in no small measure through flooding the mar-
ket with lean or half-fatted steers, which must be consumed in some
way and drag down the prices of well-fatted representatives of their


kind. The spread of the creamery system does not necessarily mean
that more cows are used in the production of butter, but rather that
more butter of a uniformly high quality is being made to take the place
of dairy butter, much of which has a doubtful reputation. Increased
consumption naturally follows improvement in quality, and with more
good butter on the market more is consumed, and for this reason more
than any other I think the prices of dairy products have held up so well
in the past.

But dairying will continue for another reason, which lies at the foun-
dation of stock-feeding, and this is because the cow gives a larger return
for her food than does the steer. I doubt if many of my readers have
ever reflected upon just this phase of the question, but it is one of large
importance and will some day be carefully studied.

In Table III wo have given the ration of a dairy cow weighing 1,000

pounds, as follows:


Corn foiller ...................................................... 11

Clover hay ....................................................... G

Bran ............................................................. 5

Corn meal ........................................................ 5

meal ................................................. 2

From this ration we may suppose a good daily cow will yield about
-~> pounds of average milk. Supposing we feed the same ration to a
weighing 1,000 pounds. I am sure the majority of feeders Avill
agree that i* pounds of increase, lire weight, will be a fair return for
this amount of food. Lawes and Gilbert, of England, made careful
analyses of the carcasses of ninety-eight oxen to determine the charac-
ter of their increase .while fattening, which they found to l>e as follows:

Per cent.
............................................................. 1.47

in lry lean meat) ......................................... 7. G!>

Fat ............................................................ 66.2

W:.t.r .......................................................... 21.6

I. ei u> place the food constituents of a day's increase of 2 pounds
live weight of the fattening steer beside what is contained in 25
pounds of average cow's milk:

TAISI.I: \l.Shoteiy the rrtiimi from a dairy coir ami a fatlrMtmy ttecr for one day.

S-HH from it. r unit t I Twenty- Two pounds

fiviMMMIIlllN 111. 1. -.:-

!cw Minilk. ill MI-,-;-

': i'tr ttnt. \ 1'trctnt.
0.17, 0.01

(I So 1 ii r.

r- .-


1 0111


Sugar . . .

1.20 !

Total ; 3.17 I 1.4*


Our dairy cow lias given nearly six times as much ajh, six times as
much protein, and TO per cent as much fat as is returned by the steer,
with 1.2 pounds of milk sugar, against Avhich the steer has nothing to
show. If we reduce this milk sugar to its fat equivalent by dividing
by 2.2 we find the milk sugar given by the cow to be worth for food
purposes 0.56 of a pound of fat. All of the constituents of the milk are
digestible and furnish the best of human food, while much of the
increase of the steer is hardly available for food as we commonly use
meat. At the present time, when coarse feeds and grains are raised in
such enormous quantities in America, we are more or less indifferent to
the relative economy of the cow and steer in condensing gross hay and
the coarse grains into human food, but when population becomes great
the steer must give way before the cow in the contest of economically
producing food for men.


^Nature's purpose in storing fat beneath the skin and between the
muscular tissues of the animal body is to lay up heat and energy
material against the time of need.- This process goes on rapidly at
first, but after a time the system seems gorged, and further storage is
secured at a high cost for feed. How different with the dairy cow.
Food given at night, for instance, is digested and elaborated into milk
^ready for the calf in the morning, and is at once disposed of instead of
being stored up and added to the body to be utilized and carried about,
and it is for this reason, probably, that the cow surpasses the steer in
the economical manufacture of human food.

It is the appropriation by man of food, material intended for the calf
that makes possible the great art of dairying. Under the stimulus of
good feed an4 long selection our dairy cow produces much more milk
than is needed for the calf, and has become more or less an artificial

The basis of the whole dairy system is the maternity of the cow, and
the successful management of a dairy depends upon fully comprehend-
ing and intelligently following out this idea. To ex-Governor W. D.
Hoard, of Wisconsin, belongs much credit for bringing this view to the
attention of our dairymen, and the effort has been of untold value, for
no one can fairly consider the problem as thus stated without regard-
ing the dairy cow in a new light.


I have spoken favorably of open sheds for steer feeding, urging that
with his load of fat and stomach filled with heating grain this creature
has a better appetite and is more comfortable with the freedom of such
quarters than in the average stable. For reasons just shown our dairy
cow is under very different conditions and shrinks from cold and expo-


sure. Any other animal on the farm will stand more exposure without
suffering than a cow giving a large flow of milk.

Close confinement in the barn during the whole winter is a subject
now being much discussed by dairymen, and some argue for the prac-
tice, reporting favorable results. I can not believe that it is well to
keep cows confined for four or five months in one spot. The dread dis-
ease tuberculosis has already found a lodgment in too many herds
scattered over the country, and its spread is something greatly to be
feared. It is not unreasonable to hold that dairy stock confined gener-
ation after generation in the stable, out of the sunlight and fresh air,
for many months each year, must, after a time, become more suscepti-
ble to this disease than where more freedom is allowed.


It is not well to turn stock out into the bleak winter storm to obtain
fresh air and exercise, but can we not modify our present system so that
the cows shall have the freedom and avoid the exposure? At Cornell
University Prof. Roberts has for years followed a plan which seems of
great value in its teachings to the dairymen of this country. The cows
stand in stanchions while feeding and being milked, but immediately
afterward they are turned into a large covered yard where they are free
to stand or lie, entirely unconfined except by the walls, so that they
have a dining room and living room, each adapted to its purpose. The
a< ( umulations from the horse stable are spread over the floor of the
covered yard where the cows spend most of their time, and is cov-
ered with straw and land plaster, used to prevent odors arising.
This perfect system of saving manure should alone pay in a few years
for the cost of the additional room required. The stable can be reduced
10 the smallest si/e compatible with holding the cows and permitting
milking and feeding, andean be, kept scrupulously clean and thoroughly
aired, since the cows are in it but a few hours each day. Under these
conditions the cows should eome to their meals each day with the best
of appetites and return to their larger quarters to ruminate in com-
fort. Where dairymen arc buying and selling COWH constantly, using
each animal but a few years, close confinement and little attention to
the health of the herd may not bring unfortunate results, but there are
nn-ny persons breeding choice herds of dairy animals who wish to take
a^ little rink as jK)Ksible from weak constitutions or inducing tubercu-
losiH. To Htieh I commend a careful review of the Cornell system.


The dairy cow is the creature of habits, as well as most other annuals.
and is very susceptible to favorable or unfavorable intluenccH. At this
station a record of every milking in kept, and in looking over it we can
tell when Sunday comes by the smaller yield* on that day. Our men


milk a little later Sunday morning and a littie earlier at night, prob-
ably hurrying the operation, and the cows resent the treatment by
a somewhat smaller yield of milk. Dr. Babcock has found that a new
milker will get less milk from a cow at first than the milker to which
she is accustomed. Milking the teats in a different order also affects
the percentage of fat in the milk and the amount of milk given. Irreg-
ularity in the order of feeding must also have an unfavorable effect.
Probably a very considerable portion of the milk is elaborated by the
cow during the time of milking, and if this is true it is not difficult to
understand that the cow should be in perfect comfort of mind and body
during this time. The dairyman should follow a regular system in his
feeding operations, supplying the same kinds of food at the same time
in the day and in the same order. Milking should be performed with
regularity, the cows being milked in the same order and so far as pos-
sible by the same milkers.


We have found nothing more helpful for its cost than the use of scales
in the dairy barn for recording the milk yield of each cow at each milk-
ing. A sheet of nianila paper can be quickly ruled with a lead pencil
and the names of the cows placed at the head, with the days of the
week along the side of the sheet. These sheets can be made to hold
either a week's or a month's record, the former being preferable, we
think. A pair of spring balances, tested occasionally, prove very sat-
isfactory for weighing the niilk. The fraction of a minute is all the
time required for the milker to get the weight and enter it upon the
record sheet. The effect is most salutary and conduces to better milk-
ing and more kindly care for the cows, since each milker is desirous of
making a good record.

The fat contained in the milk practically measures its market value,
and the milk of different cows varies so in the fat content that the
dairyman really knows very little of what his cows are doing when he
goes no farther than weighing the milk. Churn tests to learn how
much butter a cow can make have been recommended, but. to set the
milk of each cow separately and churn it carefully involves so much
labor that this system is hardly practical. In the Babcock test the
dairymen now have a simple, rapid, and inexpensive means of deter-
mining just how much fat there is in the milk of each cow in the herd.
The dairyman who will use this test will be surprised at what it reveals.
Some cows that were supposed to be among the best are found to yield
milk poor in butter fat; while others, giving less quantity, may be
leaders in the total amount of fat produced. With the scales to show
how much milk the cow gives during the year, and the Babcock test
for analyzing the milk and determining the percentage of fat from time
to time, the dairyman is in position to know just what his herd is doing,
and can dispose of unprofitable animals and keep the good ones and


their progeny. At last he has a means of measuring the true worth
of each cow in the herd, and there is no longer any excuse for keeping
and feeding unprofitable animals.


The opinion generally prevails among dairymen that the quality of
milk is directly due to the feed supplied, most of them holding that-
certain feeds will make milk rich in fat, while other feeds will make it
watery and thin. The results of carefully conducted trials in order to
study the effects of feed on the quality of milk have generally shown
that the composition is quite regular and little modified by the food,
though the total yield of milk of course varies greatly with the feed.
I think in this particular case popular opinion is largely in error. With
certain kinds of feeds the dairyman does increase the amount of
butter he receives, but it is because the total amount of milk has been
increased and not because a higher per cent 'of fat has been put into
the milk.

And when we give the matter due thought the position here
advanced seems the tenable one. We do not expect a fruit tree to
change its variety of fruit through good or poor feeding. A Baldwin
apple tree always produces Baldwin apples, though the number may
be increased or diminished by the treatment of the tree. If feed \\v:r
the controlling factor, the strong characteristics of the dairy breeds
would all disappear with the art of the feeder. Is it not more reason-
able to hold that we must breed for quality and feed for quantity?


We know that a horse standing idle in the stable in winter will live
on oat straw and a little grain and keep in very fair condition. His
-live lowers are untaxed and utilize the coarse material without
diliu'ulty, but as soon as the hard work of spring comes on he not only
u r ood deal more feed, but, if very hard worked, the hay should
he rhaffed and the grain ground. The labor he performs has made
sueh demands upon the body that there is not energy enough left to
work over the coarse food and get enough out of it to make up the
increased wastes of the Ixxly. We should always remember that our
dairy cow is really performing a very large amount of work when giving
a large How of milk, and her food should not only be in large quantity
hut put in the best form possible lor easy digestion. Even with an
abundance of food carefully prepared, so strong are the inherent ten-
dencies toward milk-giving that many rows will take from their own
bodies a large, amount of fat stored there and put it into tlie milk. If
we will only route to regard our good dairy rows as working very hard
while giving milk *vc are iu position to treat them pro]>erly.



There should be a good feed-cutter on every dairy farm, useful for
silo filling in the fall and for chaffing feed in the winter. All cornstalks
should be put through this machine, for then they are in better condi-
tion for feeding, and the coarser portions left uneaten are in good form
for bedding and the manure heap. Long cornstalks are a nuisance in
a feeding manger, worthless for bedding, and troublesome in the manure
pile. Many farmers find difficulty in feeding cut cornstalks, since some-
times the cows refuse to eat them. In a few cases we have found that
the sharp ends of the cornstalks, when cut certain lengths, injure the
mouths of the cows. This difficulty can usually be avoided by chang-
ing the length of cut. Judging from experiments at the Kansas sta-
tion, it is possible that in the lower portions of the corn belt cornstalks
are so coarse and poor that they are not useful for feeding dairy cows,
but farther north I am sure they will pay for the cutting. Where they
are not well eaten the cause is often due to overfeeding, or endeavoring
to have the cows live on too limited a variety of foods. Keep the
mangers clean and feed the cut fodder with care, and usually very little
will be left over, and that only the coarsest portion. Experiments at
the Wisconsin station show that with the varieties of corn raised there
much more of the cut stalks will be eaten than if fed uncut under the
same conditions.

Where corn is cheap and labor high, uncut shock corn of small varie-
ties can be very successfully fed to dairy cows. It is surprising to see
how they thrive on it, and the undigested grain can be gathered from
the droppings by lively shotes. This system is somewhat crude, but
not without advantages in the pioneer stage of dairying in the corn
belt, where it helps to educate the farmers to a proper appreciation of
the value of corn and corn stover for dairy cows. After a time this
practice should give way to more improved methods commonly followed
in the older dairy sections.

Much has been written in regard to wetting hay, straw, and stalks,
putting meal thereon and mixing up before feeding. The English are
accustomed to pulp or slice roots, mix these with cut hay or "chaff,"
as they call it, and then sprinkle the meal over the mass, shoveling it
over. Such mixtures must be very palatable to the cow, and give ex-
cellent results. In most dairy sections we have not yet progressed so
far in our feeding methods, and the simpler practice of giving hay and
grain separately will probably be continued by many, as it gives very
fair results.

The best general rule to follow is to put the food of a cow into just
that form which seems most palatable to her. Many labor under the
mistaken idea that food will not be properly mixed in the rumen unless
it is mixed before being swallowed. Examinations of the rumens of
cows fed experimentally show that different kinds of feed are all inti-


raately mixed together within half an hour after they have been swal-
lowed, and that the mixing is much more thorough than is possible to
get in the feed-box. It is better to let the appetite of the cow govern
in that matter rather than the theory of the feeder.


First in the requisites place palatability, next quantity, and finally
proper proportions of nutrients, being guided somewhat by the German
standard as expressed in Tables I and If. From the large amount of
protein represented by the cheese part of the milk and the albumen, it
is certain that a very considerable amount of protein should enter into
the composition of the food. The carbohydrates supply the matt-rial

Online LibraryUnited States. Bureau of Animal IndustrySpecial report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding → online text (page 54 of 56)