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The daily expense of the feed of a milch-cow, riear London, is estimated, during the winter months, at two shillings per day. The usual allowance as under:
Weight of Food.
5 2 One and a half bushel of grains
6 6 Two bushels of turnips, at 5d. per
bushel O 12 Twelve pounds of hay
12 6 0 2 0
A bushel of grains weighs 3 stone 10lb.; turnips, S stone 3 lb.; the London grains may probably not be so heavy, as they have a better method of extracting the farinaceous matter from them than what is prac* tised in country breweries.
Where hay alone was given, or in chief part, I was not so fortunate as to be able to find a single instance, in which any steps had been taken to ascertain the quantity consumed in 24 hours inthefeedingone, or any number of cows; or the supposed. expense attending • it. The answer my enquiries received, in one of the first dairy districts near to London, where hay only is used, was, "That they gave just as much hay as the cows would eat." From the few trials I have made with the long-horned cattle, I am inclined to believe a milchcow would consume, in the twenty-four hours, frora two stone to two stone and a half pf hay.
The objections against feeding with hay, are, First,
the expense, which is much too high in the situations
D.4 where where milk is most required, to enable the dairyTman to afford it, either in sufficient quantities, or at a price to benefit the poor. Secondly, there are besides, few populous towns so circumstanced as lo admit of a sufficient quantity of hay-ground being procured for the support of extensive winter dairies ; but, Thirdly, supposing it could be had, the superior profits to be made by a summer dairy would decide in favour of applying jt to that purpose.
Most farmers consider it as more profitable to make butter in winter, than to sell their milk. I strongly Suspect their calculations on this subject not very correctly made, as I siull endeavour to show.
Having no means of procuring grains, and the price of hay precluding the possibility of employing it in feeding milch-cows with any prospect of advantage, I was driven to the necessity of adopting some othtr method. One of the most experienced breeders and feeders of cattle in the county of Durham, or probably Jn the kingdom, Mr. C. Mason, is of opinion, that no animal will pay the expense of feeding on hay at 2d. per stone., in which I entirely agree with him. This opinion has since been confirmed by Mr. Elman, and various other persons of great practical experience.
On the first proposition for substituting green food for the support of my dairy in winter, I was discouraged by a very prevalent opinion, that cows could Hot be kept in condition or health on this food alone. I should most probably have declined the attempt, had J not witnessed the complete success of other experiments ments as much at variance with received opinions and common practice.
Having matured my plan, I determined to appropriate twenty-two'acres of land, within less than a mile of a town containing eight thousand inhabitants, with a view of raisirg green crops for the purpose of supplying it with milk, and for the support of my other stock, during the winter months. I was in a great measure ignorant of the quantity of green food that would be required for each head of cattle.
The ground was Cropped with four acres of drumhead cabbages ; six acres of common red turnip; two acres of Swedish turnip; one of kohlrabi; and nine acres of coleseed. The milch-cows were turned out in good weather into a dry sheltered pasture of sixteen acres, which had been so hard stinted, as to afford them little or no food, but had the advantage of plenty of good water.
In the beginning of April, 1804, the cabbages were transplanted: by this early planting they have always succeeded better than those of my neighbours which were later set. The turnips were sown by the drill, in stitches at three feet distance, and the utmost attention paid to the cleaning of the whole, not only for the benefit of the present crop, but for that of the succeeding ones. The turnips proved a failing crop in many parts; the other green crops were very productive and weighty.
The stock of cattle fed in sheds consisted of thirtythree; twenty-two milch-cows, eight of them had been spring calvers, the remainder heifers. I notice this
circumstance, circumstance, to account for the apparent smallness of the quantity of milk afforded, in proportion to the number of milch-cows.
I was so circumstanced, as to be compelled to dispose of the greatest part of my stock before my winter crop was. exhausted; having no preparation for soiling them in the house during summer, nor any distant pastures of less value than the lands I occupied near to the" town, to continue them for another season. Much of the success of the experiment depended on the condition the stock should be in, to enable me to dispose of them early, and with little loss. I have been amused at the various objections which have been brought forward against my mode of feeding milch-cows.—What.has been most strongly urged, is, the injury to their health, by constantly keeping them in the house. One gentleman gravely brings forward an instance of a farmer's losing 28 milch-cows out of 120, by feeding them on potatoes, and supposes the advantage of feeding my colliers cheaply, makes the loss of a few milch-cows of no consequence.—In four years, I have lost but one cow, and that from a blow: In no instance have I ever seen any reason to believe the health of the cattle to be injured; on the contrary, their condition is superior to that of any neighbouring stock. What was said of them last year, by a farmer and miller of extensive practice, is a just description, that the milch cows were in such condition he should have supposed them "miller's cows, with the public for their feeder;" The heifers I have annually sold, have been in such forward condition, as to bring nearly their original cost. I had eight three-years old heifers, intended to be kept for stock; a bull and, four cows for fattening; and besides these, I wintered thirtyfive head of Highland heifers, and sixty-five sheep.
In dry and moderate weather, the milch-cows remained out from ten o'clock till towards evening. From their being kept in open sheds they were less sensibly affected by the cold. A greater degree of , warmth is supposed to be favourable to their milking; but I do not believe, so kept, they would have been in such thriving and healthy condition.
The first cattle sheds erected at the Schoose were with open arches. Experience has taught me that a draft of cold air is very injurious to milch cows, and greatly prejudicial to their milking. A further fault was that the sheds were not sufficiently lofty; in consequence of this, the heat from the reflection of the sun on the roof distressed the cattle in summer. The sheds were also too narrow, and had no contrivance to collect and preserve the urine. These I have taken down aud rebuilt;- they are now so lofty, as to prevent the cattle being too warm, or suffering from partial drafts of air. The urine is preserved, and collected in pits, from which it is pumped into barrels,'and taken to saturate the mould. Latterly the potatoe-halm has been collected, and brought into a yard, and ,on these the urine is thrown, by which 'means it is converted' into very good manure: such .of the halm as can be got perfectly dry, we ure in spring for litter.
I found it advisable to make use of the cabbage* first; they required much labour and unremitting attention