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different breeds of cattle. While on the one hand we would guard against neglecting our native cows, and lavishing our care upon an imported breed, which in the end may prove far inferior, yet we would deprecate the confident spirit which some manifest in saying that our native cows cannot be beaten; for this spirit, if indulged, would put a check upon the improvement of our milch cows. Let those who are disposed, import and rear their favorite breeds, and give the result of their experiments to the public; and if they should fail to meet the importer's expectation, the individual loss would, in some measure, be a public gain.
From whence shall the farmers of Essex County obtain their cows, is a question that is becoming every year a more important and difficult one to settle. In former years we have been able to buy two-year-old heifers, from the droves from Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, cheaper than we could raise them; but the comparative value between veal calves and two-year-old heifers has altered much since railroads have come into use. A few years since we could buy the best of heifers from the droves in autumn for about twice the price of a good veal calf in the spring. Then it was better for us to buy heifers than to raise them; but now we find but few good heifers in the droves. Either they are not sent here, or the high price of beef has caused the butchers to get the best of them; so that all we get are those whose hides are so close to their ribs that the butchers dare not attempt to separate them. If this state of things continues, we shall be obliged to some extent to raise stock in this county.
It may be well for us to consider the merits of the different breeds of cattle, and see if any can be found better adapted to our wants than those commonly called “native cows." Although there are many individuals among them of superior milking qualities, yet where is there a flock of native cows from which we could raise their calves with any degree of cer. tainty that their offspring will possess the milking properties of the parents ? From the imported stock which has been long and thoroughly bred we may raise stock with some such certainty. It may be asked, What have the Jersey cows to recommend them? There is nothing in their size, form, color, or external appearance, that would captivate any one. From what we have seen of them when well fed, we should think that if a flock of them were kept in our dry, bushy pastures in summer, and then exposed to the severe cold of our winter, fed on as poor fare as many of our native cows get, they would be as ill-shaped, ghastly-looking animals as could well be imagined; and if he who, in his dream upon the banks of the Nile, saw the ill-favored and lean kine rise up before him, could, when he awoke, have seen a flock of these cows, he would have said that it was no dream, but a living shadow. But if upon a fair trial we find them giving better milk and making more butter in a year than any other breed upon the same expense of feeding, we shall learn to judge, not by the outward appearance, but by their real merits.
There are some objections which may be raised against them; they are not so valuable for beef, and their calves for veal will not be so good as some other breeds. It is said by the importers of this breed that they continue to give milk all the year. It may be desirable for a family cow to have one that will give milk all the year; but upon a farm, either for making butter or selling milk, if we can have the same amount of milk in eight months as in twelve, we should prefer the cow that would give it in eight months, and go dry the other four months, for the expense of feeding is less when dry.
In the statements which we have of the cows exhibited, the owners have said but little of the quality of the milk-a point that needs more attention from those farmers who make butter.
We have often heard the remark, that a cow gives good milk because she had a fat calf. Our experience has led us to think that the calf is no criterion by which we may judge of the butter qualities of the cow, for we have known many cows that had fat calves which made but little butter. If any one will carefully notice the milk in a lactometer, he will find a great difference in the appearance of the milk of different cows after the cream has risen. One may have a thick, yellow cream, and the milk at the bottom will be thin, and nearly as blue as the sky; while another may give but little cream, and the milk will be nearly the same color. Thus we see that the milk of a cow may be good for fattening the calf and for family use, and yet not raise a thick cream; and hence we see that there is some truth in the remark which we sometimes hear, “that my cow's skimmed milk is about as good as my neighbors' new milk.” It is only by careful attention to these points that we can select and rear a stock of cows that will be adapted to our wants.
WM. R. PUTNAM, Chairman.
Statement of John Perkins. I present for examination a “native" cow, five years old. I have owned this cow three years. She had her third calf the 19th of last March. From that time to the present she has given two thousand four hundred and eighty-four quarts of milk. I have measured her milk morning and night, as I sold it to my neighbors. It is of good quality. Her feed has been good hay and eight quarts of shorts per day; when turned out to grass, four quarts of shorts per day.
In June she gave fifteen quarts per day; she now gives ten quarts per day. She would not go dry at all if I continued to milk her; but it was thought best to dry her about four weeks before calving.
Danvers, September 27, 1854.
Statement of Lorenzo Dow. The average yield of milk per day from the cow presented for premium for each month, commencing the 1st of March, was as follows:Average for March, . . . . 111 quarts per day.
« April, . . . . 12 o 16 "
" May, . . . . 13 16 16 06 06 June. . . . . 16 16 16 16 " " July, . . . . 151 " " " " " August, . . . . 12 " " " u “ September, thus far, . 12 “ “ “ I set seventeen and one-half quarts of milk, and churned the