The domestic animals : from the latest and best authorities. Illustrated online

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rest will give to the other horses.

The other part of the live-stock kept on a farm must'depend on va-
rious circumstances. Where there is good grazing land, the profit on
the improvement of the live-stock, or their produce, is evident and easily
ascertained. But where animals are kept upon artificial food or fatted
in stalls, it is often a difficult question to answer, whether there is a
profit on their keep or not. In most cases the manure which their dung
and litter aff"ord is the chief object for which they are kept. If manure
could be obtained in sufficient quantities to recruit the land, at a rea-
sonable price, it might often be more advantageous to sell off all the
hay and straw of a farm, and to keep only the cattle necessary to till
the ground or supply the farmer's family. But this can only be the
case in the immediate neighborhood of large towns. In the country at
a greater distance no manure can be purchased ; it must consequently
be produced on the farm; and for this purpose live-stock must be kept,
even at a loss. The management and feeding of live-stock is therefore
an important part of husbandry. The object of the farmer is princi-
pally to obtain manure for his land, and if he can do this, and at tlie
same time gain something on the stock by which it is obtained, he
greatly increases his profits. Hence much more skill has been dis-
played in the selection of profitable stock than in the improvement of
tillage. Some men have made great profits by improving the breed of
cattle and sheep, by selecting the animals which will fatten most readi-
ly, and by feeding them economically. It requires much experience and
nice calculations to ascertain what stock is most profitable on different
kinds of land and in various situations. Unless very minute accounts
be kept, the result can never be exactly known. It is not always the
beast which brings most money in the market that has been most profit-
able ; and many an animal which has been praised and admired has
caused a heavy loss to the feeder. Unless a man breeds the animals
which are to be fatted, he must frequently buy and sell; and an accu-
rate knowledge of the qualities of live-stock and their value, both lean
and fat, is indispensable. However honest may be the salesman he
may employ, he cannot expect him to feel the same interest in a pur-
chase or sale, for which he is paid his commission, as the person whose
profit or loss depends on a judicious selection and a good bargain.
Every farmer therefore should endeavor to acquire a thorough knowl-


edge of stock, and carefully attend all markets within his reach to watch

the fluctuation in the prices. It will generally be found that the prin-
cipal profit in feeding stock is the manure, and to this the greatest
attention should be directed. A little management will often greatly in-
crease both the quantity and quality of this indispensable substance, and
make all the difference between a loss and a profit in the keeping of stock.

THE "CREAM-POT" BREED CF CATTLE.— This is a valuable dairy-breed
and promises to exceed all other breeds in this country, in the quantity and
richness of the milk it furnishes, and the extraordinary amount of butter
which it yields. This breed originated in New England, and was pro-
duced by Col. Jaques, of Ten Hills Farm, Somerville, Mass., by crossing
the improved short-horns with the most valuable native breed. Col.
Jaques thus speaks of the origin of this breed: — "Hearing of cows
that produce seventeen pounds of butter each per week, the inquiry
arose, why not produce a breed of such cows that may be depended
on ? This I attempted, and have accomplished. I have made from
one of my Cream-Pot cows nine pounds of butter in three days on
grass feed only.

"The bull Coelebs, an imported thorough-bred Durham, and Flora, a
heifer of the same breed, and imported, and a native cow, whose pedi-
gree is entirely unknown, comprise the elements of the Cream-Pot breed,
of cattle. The native cow was bought in consequence of her superior
quality as a milker, giving eighteen quarts a day, and averaging about
fifteen. In the month of April, the cream of two days' milk produced
two and three-fourths pounds of butter, made of two and one-sixteenth
quarts of cream, and required but two minutes' churning. Thus much
for the mother of the Cream-Pots.

" I have bred my Cream-Pots with red or mahogany-colored hair and
teats, and gold-dust in the ears, yellow noses and skin, the latter silky
and elastic to the touch, being like a fourteen-dollar cloth. My Cream-
Pots are full in the body, chops deep in the flank, not quite as straight
in the belly, nor as full in the twisty nor quite as thick in the thigh as
the Durhams; but in other respects like them. They excel in affording
a great quantity of rich cream, capable of being converted into butter
in a short time, with little labor, and with a very small proportion of
buttermilk, the cream producing more than eighty per cent, of butter.
I have changed the cream to butter not unfrequently in one minute, and
it has been done in forty seconds."

Henry Colman thus refers to Col. Jaques's stock: — " Mr. Jaques is
entitled to great credit for his care and judicious selection in continuing
and improving his stock. I have repeatedly seen the cream from his
cows, and its yellowness and consistency are remarkable, and in company
with several gentlemen of the Legislature, I saw a portion of it con-
verted to butter with a spoon in one minute. The color of Mr. Jaques's
stock is a deep red, a favorite color in New England ; they are well formed
and thrifty on common feed ; and if they continue to display the extra-
ordinary properties by which theyare now so disting'iished, they promise


to prove the most valuable race of animals ever known among us for
dairy purposes, and equal to any of which we have any information."

ers by long experience become very expert in estimating, by simple
inspection, the weight of live cattle ; and in making purchases, they thus
have a decided advantage over the less experienced seller. Hence, the
importance to the latter of some means by which he can know^ and not
guess at the weight of his live animals.

The following rules, the result of careful experiments, and which we
take from The Valley Farmer^ will enable any one to ascertain the
weight of live animals with a close approach to accuracy : — take a
string, put it around the breast, stand square just behind the shoulder-
blade, measure on a rule the feet and inches the animal is in circum-
ference ; this is called the girth; then, with the string, measure from
the bone of the tail which plumbs the line with the hinder part of the
buttock ; direct the line along the back to the fore part of the shoulder-
blade ; take the dimensions on the foot-rule as before, which is the
length ; and work the figures in the following manner: — girth of the
animal, say six feet four inches, length five feet three inches, which mul-
tiplied together, makes thirty-one square superficial feet, and that mul-
tiplied by twenty-three, the number of pounds allowed to each superficial
foot of cattle measuring less than seven and more than five feet in girth,
makes seven hundred and thirteen pounds. When the animal measures
less then nine and more than seven feet in girth, thirty-one is the number
of pounds to each superficial foot. Again, suppose a pig or any small
beast should measure two feet in girth and two along the back, which
multiplied together makes four square feet, that multiplied by eleven,
the number of pounds allowed to each square foot of cattle measuring
less than three feet in girth, makes forty-four pounds. Again, suppose
a calf, a sheep, etc, should measure four feet six inches in girth, and three
feet nine inches in length, which multiplied together make fifteen and a
quarter square feet ; that multiplied by sixteen, the number of pounds
allowed to cattle measuring less than five feet and more than three in
girth, makes two hundred and sixty-five pounds. The dimensions of
girth and length of horned cattle, sheep, calves, and hogs, may be ex-
actly taken in this way, as it is all that is necessary for any computation,
or any valuation of stock, and will answer exactly to the four quarters,
sinking ofi"al.








" How grateful 'tis to wake
While raves the midnight storm, and hear the sound
Of busy grinders at the well-tilled rack ;
Or flapping wing or crow of chanticleer,
Long ere the lingering morn ; or bouncing flails
Tliat tell the dawn is near I Pleasant the path
M^ By sunny garden wall, when all the fields

Are cliill and comfortless ; or barn-yard snug.
Where flocking birds, of various plume and chirp
Discordant, cluster on the leaning stack
From whence the thresher draws the rustling sheaves."

an amusement in which every body may indulge. The space needed is
not great, the cost of food for a few head insignificant, and the luxury
of fresh eggs or home-fatted chickens or ducks not to be despised. la
a large collection of poultry may be read the geography and progress
of the commerce of the world. The peacock represents India; the
golden pheasant and a tribe of ducks, China; the turkey, pride of the
yard and the table, America ; the black swan, rival of the snowy mon-
arch of the lakes, reminds us of Australian discoveries; while Canada
and Egypt have each their goose. The large fat white ducks — models
of what a duck should be — are English, while the shining green black
ones come from Buenos Ay res. And when we turn to the fowl
varieties, Spain and Hamburg, Poland and Cochin China, Friesland
and Bantam, Java and Negroland, beside Surry, Sussex, Kent, Suffolk,
and Lancashire, have each a cock to crow for them.

its size and strength, is admirably adapted for crossing with the Dorking
and other native breeds. 2. The Java Fowl, nearly resembling, and.
in the opinion of some, identical with, the Malay. 3. The Cochin
China breed, equal in most respects, and more prolific than the Malay.
4. The Spanish Fowl, perhaps the best breed known for laying. 5.
The Polish Fowl, a noble and very beautiful bird, and an excellent
layer. 6. The Spangled Varieties, including the whole class of Gold
and Silver Spangled, known in different countries as Spangled Ham-
burgs, Every-day Dutch, Bolton Bays, Bolton Greys, Chittyprats,
Creoles, Corals, etc. 7. The Speckled and White Dorking, the most
delicate of all the varieties for the table. 8. The Sussex Fowl, most
probably a variety of the Dorking. 9. The Game Fowl, graceful of
form and plumage, with undying courage, and excellent for crossing with
eommon varieties. 10. The Pheasant Fowl, erroneously said to
originate in a cross with the Cock Pheasant. H. The Bantams, more
remarkable for their beauty than any other quality.

The Malay Fowl, called also the Chittagong. — This is a large and heavy
fowl ; it is a close and hard-feathered bird, from which circumstance it



often weighs more than it appears to do. It stands tall, with very up-
right gait'. The legs are long, the thighs are remarkably long, strong,
and firm; and the tarsi of moderate length, round, stont, and of a
yellow color. The tail is long and drooping, the head snake-shaped,
i. e., with a great fullness over the eye, and of a flattened form above.
The thick comb, scarcely rising from the head, has been compared to
half a strawberry ; so that the natural form of comb a little resembles
that of the game-fowl when dubbed. The neck is rope-like and close-
feathered, and the bird is almost without wattle.

The Malay should have a pearl eye, and a hawk bill free from stain.

The pullets commence laynig early, and are often good winter layers.
The ego- is of medium size, with a tinted shell. The chickens when
lialf-grown, are gaunt, ungainly looking young things, and, like many
choice kinds, tledge slowly.

Height is a great point in a Malay. Old fanciers had a curious mode
of comparing notes upon this point. They used to hold the bird out at
full stietch, and measure the length, from beak to toe, on a table. Some
of old Mr. Castang's breed are mentioned as having measured thirty-eight
and a half inches. The cocks are said to have weighed from nine and a half
pounds to eleven pounds, and the hens from eight pounds to ten pounds.

I have known a Spanish cock and a Malay hen produce excellent
fowls for the table, being large, fleshy, and well-flavored.

The Malays are inveterate fighters ; and this is the quality for which
they are chiefly prized in their native country, where cock-fighting is
carried to the extent of excessive gambling. Men and boys may be
frequently met, each carrying his favorite bird under his arm, ready to
set to work the moment the opportunity shall cccur.

The Cochin China. — The history of the Cochin-China fowl might be the
history of the poultry mania, an excitement which rivaled manias of
greater importance in its strength. They were introduced some time
about the year 1845, and soon became known and popular. Their large
size, in the eyes of most persons, their handsome appearance, the bright-
ness of their colors, the number of their eggs, and their gentle, quiet
disposition, soon made their way ; they were much liked, and were
bought eagerly at from three to six dollars each ; at that time a
very high price for a fowl. Cochin China hens are excellent layers of
medium-sized eggs, which they produce in great abundance at the season
when they are of greatest value. The chickens, if bred from mature
birds, are exceedingly hardy ; and the fowls are of quiet, domestic habits,
and easily kept within bounds. A first-class fowl should be compact,
large, and square-built; full in the chest, deep in the keel, and broad
across the loins and hind quarters. The best in form are as compactly
made as Dorkings. The head is delicately shaped, with a short bill, and
the comb fine in texture, rather small, perfectly single, straight, and
equally serrated; the wings small and closely folded in, the tail short,
and carried rather horizontally ; the legs very short, yellow (according
to rule) and heavily feathered. This fowl has, however, lost its earlier
popularity, and is now generally discarded by good poulterers, being
lound a voracious feeder, and yielding a comparatively small return for
the food consun]ed.




Spanish Fowls. — The chief drawbacks in rearing Spanish are the del-
icacy of the chickens while young, and the length of time which elapses
before the youngsters show their quality, unless they are bred from
much better fowls than most persons can command; in which case the
chickens develop their prize properties earlier. The combs of the hens
shrink very much when they are not hiying, and during the moulting
season. In winter they should be protected from severe cold, which is
very apt to seize the comb and w^attles of the cocks.

The hens lay larger eggs than any other kind of fowl we have : they
are non-sitters. The chickens hatch out black, with a little mixture of
dull white, or yellow. They fledge slowly, and are very delicate while

The Minorca. — This is a plump-bodied, useful fowl, which would be
a Spanish, if it could persuade its parents to bequeath it the white face
which breeders and judges think so much of. The plumage is black,
with metallic luster, and the hens lay fine large eggs. I believe they sit
more than the Spanish.

The White Spanish. — The white-faced white Spanish I believe to be
merely a sport of the white-faced black Spanish. The red-faced white
Spanish, or white Andalusian, is really a Spanish fowl. They are good
layers, and very precocious. The stock was brought from Spain.

Andalusian Fowls. — The birds which have been shown under this
name are in color the kind of gray called blue, which is sometimes laced
and shaded with black. Mr. Taylor, late of Shepherd's Bush, imported
the original stock from Spain. They are good-looking fowls with large
pendent scarlet combs like the Spanish, and are said to be good layers.



Polailds. — With these fowls there has been much difference of opinion
respecting the applicability of the name. Some, with apparent reason,
would divide them into three families; the St. Ja^gro, the Turkish, and


the ITambnrc:, or muffed kind. We rank as Polands all fowls with their
cliief distinfruishing characteristic — a full, large, round, compact tuft on
the head. It is a class of fowls, the beauty of which, united to theii
useful qualities, must make general favorites. All the sub-varieties are
of medium size, neat compact form, with full plump bodies, full breast,
lead-colored legs, and ample tails. The kinds more or less known are
very numerous : they are all good layers.



The White-crested Black Polcind is a fowl of a deep velvety black,
with a large white tuft on the head. They should be Avithout comb ;
but many have a little comb in the form of two small points before the
tuft. The tuft, to be perfect, should be entirely white; but it is rare to
meet with one without a slight bordering of black, or partly black
feathers round the front.

The Golden and Silver Polands are, the one a gold color, the other
w hite spangled with black : the tuft, as in the black, should be large
and compact. The more completely the color in the tuft can partake
of the character of feather in the rest of the bird, the better. Some
persons admit white in the tuft of the golden Poland, but I cannot help
thinking the mixture a great fault. Mr. Baily (well known as one of
the best judges) would like to see the feathers of the tuft laced. This
is very difficult of attainment. The marking of the bird is a black
spangle on the golden or silver ground-color. The wings are barred,
and the best judges admit lacing on the wing-coverts.

There are several other varieties of tufted fowls or Polands, and many
intelligent breeders have devoted great attention to them.

The black and the white are both beautiful, with full tufts, muffs, and
clean legs.


HamLlirg Fowls. — The Hamburg is a medium-sized fowl, \\\t\\ a brisk
and spirited bearing, a brilliantly red double comb, ending in a spike at
the back, taper blue legs, ample tail, exact markings, and a well de-
veloped white deaf ear. They are profitable fowls to keep, being excellent
layers, and not large eaters. They are what pigeon-fanciers would call
good field-birds, delighting to wander far abroad, and to seek provender
for themselves. The varieties are.

The Spangled Hamburg, or pheasant-fowls, the marking of which
takes the form of a spot upon each feather. They are divided into gold
and silver, according to the ground-color of the plumao-e.

The Penciled Harnhiirg, in which the marking is more minute.
When seen at a distance, the hens have the appearance of being mi-
nutely speckled in plumage, and over this a pure white hackle falls and
contrasts very prettily. When one feather is taken separately, the
raarking is veiv exact and beautiful, being a regular penciling; i. e., the



feather is divided by bars evenly arranged, of alternate white and gold
color. Like the spangled, they are divided into golden and silver for the
same reason — the ground-color of the plumage. In all these birds, exact-
ness of the markings is a great point.

The Black Haniburrj. — This is a very beautiful variety, being of a
brilliant black, with metallic luster. The brilliancy of the plumage,
contrasted with the coral-red of the spiked comb and the white ear-
lobes, renders this fowl so attractive in appearance, that we cannot help
wondering that it is not more general, particularly as, like all the Ham-
burgs, it is an excellent layer.


The Dorking Fowl. — The Dorking would appear to owe its name to its
having been chiefly bred in a town of Surry, of the same appellation.
That the peculiarity of five toes, or, in other w^oi-'ls, of two hind toes
instead of one, is to be regarded as a distinctive character of the breed,
is by some writers questioned, and by others wholly denied. For my
part, I should say, that whenever this characteristic is absent, a cross
has been at work.

I do not, however, mean to assert that this possession of two hind
toes instead of one, has never occurred in any other family of fowl ex-
cept those bred at Dorking, in Surry, for Aristotle has mentioned the
existence of a similar peculiarity among certain fowl in Greece, and both
Columella and Pliny assert the existence of such in their time in Italy,
so also does Aldrovand; and these authors lived hundreds of years ago;
and, oddly enough, these breeds were remarkable, as are our own Dork-
ing, for being good layers and good sitters.

The color of the Dorking is usually pure white, or spotted or span-
gled with black; these colors sometimes merge into a gray or grizzle.
The hens weigh from seven to nine pounds ; stand low on their legs ;


are round, plump, and short in the body; wide on the breast, with
abundance of white juicy flesh. The hens are generally good layers,
and their eggs, though smaller than the egg of the Spanish and Polish
breeds, are of good size and well flavored. These birds have been long
prized, and it is now many years since their supei-iority over our ordi-
nary domestic varieties was originally discovered and appreciated; they
were first noticed, and the variety adopted, by the Cumberland breed-
ers, whence they were soon brought into Lancashire and Westmoreland,
and gradually spread over all England. Whether, however, from inju-
dicious treatment, or imperfect feeding, or change of climate, or from
whatever cause, it is certain that, when met with far from their native
place, they appear greatly to have degenerated from their original
superiority of character. In this, and all other varieties of fowl, fresh
blood should be introduced from time to time, or the breed degenerates.

The best breed of the gallinaceous fowls is the produce of the Dork-
ing (Surry) cock and the common dunghill fowl. This cross is larger
and plumper, and more hardy than the pure Dorking, without losing
delicacy of flavor or whiteness of flesh.

The characteristics of the pure Dorking are, that it is* white-feathered,
short-legged, and an excellent layer. The peculiarity of this established
variety, which has frequently five claws perfectly articulated (with some-
times a sixth springing laterally from the fifth, but always imperfect), is
well known. The crossing with the Sussex fowl has however greatly
diminished the monstrosity in the Surry pentadactylus vaiiety. But
though the true Dorking, which is white, is much esteemed, that color
is rare, and prized for the ornament of the poultry-yard; speckled colors
are most generally seen with the higgler.

The Sussex. — This is but an improved variety of Dorking, similar in
shape and general character, usually of a brown color, but possessing
the advantage of wanting the fifth toe ; we say advantage, for the
Dorking fowl frequently becomes diseased in the feet, the cocks espe-
cially, in consequence of breaking the supplementary toe in fighting.

The Game Fowl. — The game fowl is one of the most gracefully-formed
and most beautifully colored of our domestic breeds of poultry ; in its
form and aspect, and in the extraordinary courage which characterizes
its natural disposition, it exhibits all that either the naturalist or the
sportsman recognizes as the beau ideal of high blood, embodying, in
short, all the most indubitable characteristics of gallinaceous aristoc-

We do not possess any very satisfactory record of the original coun-
try of the game fowl ; but we are disposed to cede that honor to India,
the natives of which country have always been remarkable for their
love of cock-fighting ; and we also know that there still exists in India
an original variety of game cock, very similar to our own, but inferior
in point of size. As to the date or occasion of their first introduction
into the British islands, we know nothing certain ; but it is probable

Online LibraryUnknownThe domestic animals : from the latest and best authorities. Illustrated → online text (page 29 of 37)