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American Cattle






Category: History and Breeds

The breeds of cattle which stock the farms of the United States are all
derived from Europe, and, with few exceptions, from Great Britain. The
highest breeds at the present time are of comparatively recent origin,
since the great improvements in breeding were only commenced at about
the period of the American Revolution. The old importations made by the
early settlers, must consequently have been from comparatively inferior
grades.

In some sections of the Union, and more particularly in New England, the
primitive stock is thought to have undergone considerable improvement;
whilst in many parts of the Middle, and especially of the Southern
States, a greater or less depreciation has ensued. The prevailing stock
in the Eastern States is believed to be derived from the North Devons,
most of the excellent marks and qualities of which they possess. For
this reason they are very highly esteemed, and have been frequently
called the American Devon. The most valuable working oxen are chiefly of
this breed, which also contributes so largely to the best displays of
beef found in the markets of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. By
means of this domestic stock, and the importations still extensively
made of selections from the short horns, and others of the finest
European breeds, the cattle, not only of New England, but of other
sections, are rapidly improving, especially in the Middle and Western
States.

A brief sketch of the principal breeds of American cattle, as well as of
the grades or common stock of the country, will be of service to the
farmer in making an intelligent selection with reference to the special
object of pursuit--whether it be the dairy, the production of beef, or
the raising of cattle for work.

In selecting any breed, regard should be had to the circumstances of the
individual farmer and the object to be pursued. The cow most profitable
for the milk dairy, may be very unprofitable in the butter and cheese
dairy, as well as for the production of beef; while, for either of the
latter objects, the cow which gave the largest quantity of milk might be
very undesirable. A union and harmony of all good qualities must be
secured, so far as possible. The farmer wants a cow that will milk well
for some years; and then, when dry, fatten readily and sell to the
butcher for the highest price. These qualities, often supposed to be
utterly incompatible, will be found united in some breeds to a greater
extent than in others; while some peculiarities of form have been
found, by observation, to be better adapted to the production of milk
and beef than others.

It is proposed, therefore, to sketch the pure breeds now found in
America.





Next: The Ayrshire

Previous: The British Ox



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