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Feeding And Management

Category: History and Breeds

No branch of dairy farming can compare in importance with the management
of cows. The highest success will depend upon it, whatever breed be
selected, and whatever amount of care and attention be given to the
points of the animals; for experience will show that very little milk
comes out of the bag, that is not first put into the throat. It is poor
economy, therefore, to attempt to keep too many cows for the amount of
feed one has; for it will generally be found that one good cow well-bred
and well fed will yield as much as two ordinary cows kept in the
ordinary way; while a saving is effected both in labor and room
required, and in the risks on the capital invested. If an argument for
the larger number on poorer feed is urged on the ground of the
additional manure--which is the only basis upon which it can be put--it
is enough to say that it is a very expensive way of making manure. It is
not too strong an assertion, that a proper regard to profit and economy
would require many an American farmer to sell off nearly half of his
cows, and to feed the whole of his hay and roots hitherto used into the

An animal, to be fully fed and satisfied, requires a quantity of food in
proportion to its live weight. No feed is complete that does not contain
a sufficient amount of nutritive elements; hay, for example, being more
nutritive than straw, and grains than roots. The food, too, must possess
a bulk sufficient to fill up to a certain degree the organs of digestion
of the stomach; and, to receive the full benefit of its food, the animal
must be wholly satisfied--since, if the stomach is not sufficiently
distended, the food cannot be properly digested, and of course many of
the nutritive principles which it contains cannot be perfectly
assimilated. An animal regularly fed eats till it is satisfied, and no
more than is requisite. A part of the nutritive elements in hay and
other forage plants is needed to keep an animal on its feet--that is, to
keep up its condition--and if the nutrition of its food is insufficient
for this, the weight decreases, and if it is more than sufficient the
weight increases, or else this excess is consumed in the production of
milk or in labor. About one sixtieth of their live weight in hay, or its
equivalent, will keep horned cattle on their feet; but, in order to be
completely nourished, they require about one thirtieth in dry
substances, and four thirtieths in water, or other liquid contained in
their food. The excess of nutritive food over and above what is
necessary to sustain life will go, in milch cows, generally to the
production of milk, or to the growth of the foetus, but not in all
cows to an equal extent; the tendency to the secretion of milk being
much more developed in some than in others.

With regard, however, to the consumption of food in proportion to the
live weight of the animal, it must be taken, in common with all general
principles, with some qualifications. The proportion is probably not
uniform as applied to all breeds indiscriminately, though it may be more
so as applied to animals of the same breed. The idea of some celebrated
stock-raisers has been that the quantity of food required depends much
upon the shape of the barrel; and it is well known that an animal of a
close, compact, well-rounded barrel, will consume less than one of an
opposite make.

The variations in the yield of milch cows are caused more by the
variations in the nutritive elements of their food than by a change of
the form in which it is given. A cow, kept through the winter on mere
straw, will cease to give milk; and, when fed in spring on green forage,
will give a fair quantity of milk. But she owes the cessation and
restoration of the secretion, respectively, to the diminution and
increase of her nourishment, and not at all to the change of form, or of
outward substance in which the nutriment is administered. Let cows
receive through winter nearly as large a proportion of nutritive matter
as is contained in the clover, lucerne, and fresh grass which they eat
in summer, and, no matter in what precise substance or mixture that
matter be contained, they will yield a winter's produce of milk quite as
rich in caseine and butyraceous ingredients as the summer's produce, and
far more ample in quantity than almost any dairyman with old-fashioned
notions would imagine to be possible. The great practical error on this
subject consists, not in giving wrong kinds of food, but in not so
proportioning and preparing it as to render an average ration of it
equally rich in the elements of nutrition, and especially in nitrogenous
elements, as an average ration of the green and succulent food of

We keep too much stock for the quantity of good and nutritious food
which we have for it; and the consequence is, that cows are, in nine
cases out of ten, poorly wintered, and come out in the spring weakened,
if not, indeed, positively diseased, and a long time is required to
bring them into a condition to yield a generous quantity of milk.

It is a hard struggle for a cow reduced in flesh and in blood to fill up
the wasted system with the food which would otherwise have gone to the
secretion of milk; but, if she is well fed, well housed, well littered,
and well supplied with pure, fresh water, and with roots, or other
moist food, and properly treated to the luxury of a frequent carding,
and constant kindness, she comes out ready to commence the manufacture
of milk under favorable circumstances.

Keep the cows constantly in good condition, ought, therefore, to be
the motto of every dairy farmer, posted up over the barn, and on and
over the stalls, and over the milk-room, and repeated to the boys
whenever there is danger of forgetting it. It is the great secret of
success; and the difference between success and failure turns upon it.
Cows in milk require more food in proportion to their size and weight
than either oxen or young cattle.

In order to keep cows in milk well and economically, regularity is next
in importance to a full supply of wholesome and nutritious food. The
animal stomach is a very nice chronometer, and it is of the utmost
importance to observe regular hours in feeding, cleaning, and milking.
This is a point, also, in which very many farmers are at fault--feeding
whenever it happens to be convenient. The cattle are thus kept in a
restless condition, constantly expecting food when the keeper enters the
barn; while, if regular hours are strictly adhered to, they know exactly
when they are to be fed, and they rest quietly till the time arrives. If
one goes into any well-regulated dairy establishment an hour before
feeding, scarcely an animal will rise to its feet; while; if it happens
to be the hour of feeding, the whole herd will be likely to rise and
seize their food with an avidity and relish not to be mistaken.

With respect to the exact nurture to be pursued, no rule could be
prescribed which would apply to all cases; and each individual must be
governed much by circumstances, both regarding the particular kinds of
feed at different seasons of the year, and the system of feeding. It has
been found--it may be stated--in the practice of the most successful
dairymen, that, in order to encourage the largest secretion of milk in
stalled cows, one of the best courses is, to feed in the morning, either
at the time of milking--which is preferred by many--or immediately
after, with cut feed, consisting of hay, oats, millet, or cornstalks,
mixed with shorts, and Indian linseed, or cotton-seed meal, thoroughly
moistened with water. If in winter, hot or warm water is far better than
cold. If given at milking-time, the cows will generally give down their
milk more readily. The stalls and mangers should first be thoroughly

Roots and long hay may be given during the day; and at the evening
milking, or directly after, another generous meal of cut feed, well
moistened and mixed, as in the morning. No very concentrated food, like
grains alone, or oil-cakes, should be fed early in the morning on an
empty stomach, although it is sanctioned by the practice in the London
milk-dairies. The processes of digestion go on best when the stomach is
sufficiently distended; and for this purpose the bulk of food is almost
as important as the nutritive qualities. The flavor of some roots, as
cabbages and turnips, is more apt to be imparted to the flesh and milk
when fed on an empty stomach than otherwise. After the cows have been
milked and have finished their cut feed, they are carded and curried
down, in well-managed dairies, and then either watered in the
stall--which, in very cold or stormy weather, is far preferable--or
turned out to water in the yard. While they are out, if they are let out
at all, the stables are put in order; and, after tying them up, they are
fed with long hay, and left to themselves till the next feeding time.
This may consist of roots--such as cabbages, beets, carrots, or
turnips sliced--or of potatoes, a peck, or--if the cows are very
large--a half-bushel each, and cut feed again at the evening milking, as
in the morning; after which, water in the stall, if possible.

The less cows are exposed to the cold of winter, the better. They eat
less, thrive better, and give more milk, when kept housed all the time,
than when exposed to the cold. A case is on record, where a herd of
cows, which had usually been supplied from troughs and pipes in the
stalls, were, on account of an obstruction in the pipes, obliged to be
turned out thrice a day to be watered in the yard. The quantity of milk
instantly decreased, and in three days the diminution became very
considerable. After the pipes were mended, and the cows again watered,
as before, in their stalls, the flow of milk returned. This, however,
must be governed much by the weather; for in very mild and warm days it
may be judicious not only to let them out, but to allow them to remain
out for a short time, for the purpose of exercise.

Any one can arrange the hour for the several processes named above, to
suit himself; but, when once fixed, it should be rigidly and regularly
followed. If the regular and full feeding be neglected for even a day,
the yield of milk will immediately decline, and it will be very
difficult to restore it. It may be safely asserted, as the result of
many trials and long practice, that a larger flow of milk follows a
complete system of regularity in this respect than from a higher feeding
where this system is not adhered to.

One prime object which the dairyman should keep constantly in view is,
to maintain the animal in a sound and healthy condition. Without this,
no profit can be expected from a milch cow for any considerable length
of time; and with a view to this, there should be an occasional change
of food. But, in making changes, great care is requisite in order to
supply the needful amount of nourishment, or the cow will fall off in
flesh, and eventually in milk. It should, therefore, be remembered that
the food consumed goes not alone to the secretion of milk, but also to
the growth and maintenance of the bony structure, the flesh, the blood,
the fat, the skin, and the hair, and in exhalations from the body. These
parts of the body consist of different organic constituents. Some are
rich in nitrogen, as the fibrin of the blood and albumen; others
destitute of it, as fat; some abound in inorganic salts, phosphate of
lime, and salts of potash. To explain how the constant waste of these
substances may be supplied, a celebrated chemist observes that the
albumen, gluten, caseine, and other nitrogenized principles of food,
supply the animal with the materials requisite for the formation of
muscle and cartilage; they are, therefore, called flesh-forming

Fats, or oily matters of the food, are used to lay on fat, or for the
purpose of sustaining respiration.

Starch, sugar, gum, and a few other non-nitrogenized substances,
consisting of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen, supply the carbon given off
in respiration, or they are used for the production of fat.

Phosphate of lime and magnesia in food principally furnish the animal
with the materials of which the bony skeleton of its body consists.

Saline substances--chlorides of sodium and potassium, sulphate and
phosphate of potash and soda, and some other mineral matters occurring
in food--supply the blood, juice of flesh, and various animal juices,
with the necessary mineral constituents.

The healthy state of an animal can thus only be preserved by a mixed
food; that is, food which contains all the proximate principles just
noticed. Starch or sugar alone cannot sustain the animal body, since
neither of them furnishes the materials to build up the fleshy parts of
the animal. When fed on substances in which an insufficient quantity of
phosphates occurs, the animal will become weak, because it does not find
any bone-producing principle in its food. Due attention should,
therefore, be paid by the feeder to the selection of food which contains
all the kinds of matter required, nitrogenized as well as
non-nitrogenized, and mineral substances; and these should be mixed
together in the proportion which experience points out as best for the
different kinds of animals, or the particular purpose for which they are

Relative to the nutrition of cows for dairy purposes, milk may be
regarded as a material for the manufacture of butter and cheese; and,
according to the purpose for which the milk is intended to be employed,
whether for the manufacture of butter or the production of cheese, the
cow should be differently fed.

Butter contains carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen, and no nitrogen. Cheese,
on the contrary, is rich in nitrogen. Food which contains much fatty
matter, or substances which in the animal system are readily converted
into fat, will tend to increase the proportion of cream in milk. On the
other hand, the proportion of caseine or cheesy matter in milk is
increased by the use of highly nitrogenized food. Those, then, who
desire much cream, or who produce cream for the manufacture of butter,
select food likely to increase the proportion of butter in the milk. On
the contrary, where the principal object is the production of milk rich
in curd--that is, where cheese is the object of the farmer--clover,
peas, bran-meal, and other plants which abound in legumine--a
nitrogenized organic compound, almost identical in properties and
composition with caseine, or the substance which forms the curd of
milk--will be selected.

And so the quality, as well as the quantity, of butter in the milk,
depends on the kind of food consumed and on the general health of the
animal. Cows fed on turnips in the stall always produce butter inferior
to that of cows living upon the fresh and aromatic grasses of the

Succulent food in which water abounds--the green grass of irrigated
meadows, green clover, brewers' and distillers' refuse, and the
like--increases the quantity, rather than the quality, of the milk; and
by feeding these substances the milk-dairyman studies his own interest,
and makes thin milk without diluting it with water--though, in the
opinion of some, this may be no more legitimate than watering the milk.

But, though the yield of milk may be increased by succulent or watery
food, it should be given so as not to interfere with the health of the

Food rich in starch, gum, or sugar, which are the respiratory elements,
an excess of which goes to the production of fatty matters, increases
the butter in milk. Quietness promotes the secretion of fat in animals
and increases the butter. Cheese will be increased by food rich in
albumen, such as the leguminous plants.

The most natural, and of course the healthiest, food for milch cows in
summer, is the green grass of the pastures; and when these fail from
drought or over-stocking, the complement of nourishment may be made up
with green clover, green oats, barley, millet, or corn-fodder and
cabbage-leaves, or other succulent vegetables; and if these are wanting,
the deficiency may be partly supplied with shorts, Indian-meal, linseed
or cotton-seed meal. Green grass is more nutritious than hay, which
always loses somewhat of its nutritive properties in curing; the amount
of the loss depending chiefly on the mode of curing, and the length of
exposure to sun and rain. But, apart from this, grass is more easily and
completely digested than hay, though the digestion of the latter may be
greatly aided by cutting and moistening, or steaming; and by this means
it is rendered more readily available, and hence far better adapted to
promote a large secretion of milk--a fact too often overlooked even by
many intelligent farmers.

In autumn, the best feed will be the grasses of the pastures, so far as
they are available, green-corn fodder, cabbage, carrot, and turnip
leaves, and an addition of meal or shorts. Toward the middle of autumn,
the cows fed in the pastures will require to be housed regularly at
night, especially in the more northern latitudes, and put, in part at
least, upon hay. But every farmer knows that it is not judicious to feed
out the best part of his hay when his cattle are first put into the
barn, and that he should not feed so well in the early part of winter
that he cannot feed better as the winter advances.

At the same time, it should always be borne in mind that the change from
grass to a poor quality of hay or straw, for cows in milk, should not be
too sudden. A poor quality of dry hay is far less palatable in the early
part of winter, after the cows are taken from grass, than at a later
period; and, if it is resorted to with milch cows, will invariably lead
to a falling off in the milk, which no good feed can afterward wholly

It is desirable, therefore, for the farmer to know what can be used
instead of his best English or upland meadow hay, and yet not suffer any
greater loss in the flow of milk, or in condition, than is absolutely
necessary. In some sections of the Eastern States, the best quality of
swale hay will be used; and the composition of that is as variable as
possible, depending on the varieties of the grasses of which it was
made, and the manner of curing. But, in other sections, many will find
it necessary to use straw and other substitutes. Taking good English or
meadow hay as the standard of comparison, and calling that one, 4.79
times the weight of rye-straw, or 3.83 times the weight of oat-straw,
contains the same amount of nutritive matter; that is, it would take
4.79 times as good rye-straw to produce the same result as good meadow

In winter, the best food for cows in milk will be good sweet meadow hay,
a part of which should be cut and moistened with water--as all inferior
hay or straw should be--with an addition of root-crops, such as turnips,
carrots, parsnips, potatoes, mangold-wurtzel, with shorts, oil-cake,
Indian meal, or bean meal.

It is the opinion of most successful dairymen that the feeding of moist
food cannot be too highly recommended for cows in milk, especially to
those who desire to obtain the largest quantity. Hay cut and thoroughly
moistened becomes more succulent and nutritive, and partakes more of the
nature of green grass.

As a substitute for the oil-cake, hitherto known as an exceedingly
valuable article for feeding stock, there is probably nothing better
than cotton-seed meal. This is an article whose economic value has been
but recently made known, but which, from practical trials already made,
has proved eminently successful as food for milch cows. Chemists have
decided that its composition is not inferior to that of the best
flaxseed cake, and that in some respects its agricultural value
surpasses that of any other kind of oil-cake.

It has been remarked by chemists, in this connection, that the great
value of linseed-cake, as an adjunct to hay, for fat cattle and milch
cows, has been long recognized; and that it is undeniably traceable, in
the main, to three ingredients of the seeds of the oil-yielding plants.
The value of food depends upon the quantities of matters it contains
which may be appropriated by the animal which consumes the food Now, it
is proved that the fat of animals is derived from the starch, gum, and
sugar, and more directly and easily from the oil of the food. These four
substances, then, are fat-formers. The muscles, nerves, and tendons of
animals, the brine of their blood and the curd of their milk, are almost
identical in composition with, and strongly similar in many of their
properties to, matters found in all vegetables, but chiefly in such as
form the most concentrated food. These blood (and muscle) formers are
characterized by containing about fifteen and a half per cent. of
nitrogen; and hence are called nitrogenous substances. They are, also,
often designated as the albuminous bodies.

The bony framework of the animal owes its solidity to phosphate of lime,
and this substance must be furnished by the food. A perfect food must
supply the animal with these three classes of bodies, and in proper
proportions. The addition of a small quantity of a food, rich in oil and
albuminous substances, to the ordinary kinds of feed, which contain a
large quantity of vegetable fibre or woody matter, more or less
indigestible, but, nevertheless, indispensable to the herbivorous
animals, their digestive organs being adapted to a bulky food, has been
found highly advantageous in practice. Neither hay alone nor
concentrated food alone gives the best results. A certain combination of
the two presents the most advantages.

Some who have used cotton-seed cake have found difficulty in inducing
cattle to eat it. By giving it at first in small doses, mixed with other
palatable food, they soon learn to eat it with relish. Cotton-seed cake
is much richer in oils and albuminous matters than the linseed cake. A
correspondingly less quantity will therefore be required. Three pounds
of this cotton-seed cake are equivalent to four of linseed cake of
average quality.

During the winter season, as has been already remarked, a frequent
change of food is especially necessary, both as contributions to the
general health of animals, and as a means of stimulating the digestive
organs, and thus increasing the secretion of milk. A mixture used as cut
feed and well moistened is now especially beneficial, since concentrated
food, which would otherwise be given in small quantities, may be united
with larger quantities of coarser and less nutritive food, and the
complete assimilation of the whole be better secured. On this subject it
has been sensibly observed that the most nutritious kinds of food
produce little or no effect when they are not digested by the stomach,
or if the digested food is not absorbed by the lymphatic vessels, and
not assimilated by the various parts of the body. Now, the normal
functions of the digestive organs not only depend upon the composition
of the food, but also on its volume. The volume or bulk of the food
contributes to the healthy action of the digestive organs, by exercising
a stimulating effect upon the nerves which govern them. Thus the whole
organization of ruminating animals necessitates the supply of bulky
food, to keep the animal in good condition.

Feed sweet and nutritious food, therefore, frequently, regularly, and in
small quantities, and change it often, and the best results may be
confidently anticipated. If the cows are not in milk, but are to come in
in the spring, the difference in feeding should be rather in the
quantity than the quality, if the highest yield is to be expected from
them during the coming season.

The most common feeding is hay alone, and oftentimes very poor hay at
that. The main point is to keep the animal in a healthy and thriving
condition, and not to suffer her to fail in flesh; and with this object,
some change and variety of food are highly important.

Toward the close of winter, a herd of cows will begin to come in, or
approach their time of calving. Care should then be taken not to feed
too rich or stimulating food for the last week or two before this event,
as it is often attended with ill consequences. A plenty of hay, a few
potatoes or shorts, and pure water will suffice.

In spring, the best feeding for dairy cows will be much the same as that
for winter; the roots in store over winter, such as carrots, mangold
wurtzel, turnips, and parsnips, furnishing very valuable aid in
increasing the quantity and improving the quality of milk. Toward the
close of this season, and before the grass of pastures is sufficiently
grown to make it judicious to turn out the cows, the best dairymen
provide a supply of green fodder in the shape of winter rye, which, if
cut while it is tender and succulent, and before it is half grown, will
be greatly relished. Unless cut young, however, its stalk soon becomes
hard and unpalatable.

All practical dairymen agree in saying that a warm and well-ventilated
barn is indispensable to the promotion of the highest yield of milk in
winter; and most agree that cows in milk should not be turned out, even
to drink, in cold weather; all exposure to cold tending to lessen the
yield of milk.

In the London dairies, in which, of course, the cows are fed so as to
produce the largest flow of milk, the treatment is as follows: The cows
are kept at night in stalls. About three A. M. each has a half-bushel of
grains. When milking is finished, each receives a bushel of turnips (or
mangolds), and shortly afterward, one tenth of a truss of hay of the
best quality. This feeding occurs before eight A. M., when the animals
are turned into the yard. Four hours after, they are again tied up in
their stalls, and have another feed of grains. When the afternoon
milking is over (about three P. M.), they are fed with a bushel of
turnips, and after the lapse of an hour, hay is given them as before.
This mode of feeding usually continues throughout the cool season, or
from November to March. During the remaining months they are fed with
grains, tares, and cabbages, and a proportion of rowen, or second-cut
hay. They are supplied regularly until they are turned out to grass,
when they pass the whole of the night in the field. The yield is about
six hundred and fifty gallons a year for each cow.

Mr. Harley--whose admirable dairy establishment was erected for the
purpose of supplying the city of Glasgow with a good quality of milk,
and which has contributed more than any thing else to improve the
quality of the milk furnished to all the principal cities of Great
Britain--adopted the following system of feeding with the greatest
profit: In the early part of the summer, young grass and green barley,
the first cutting especially, mixed with a large proportion of old hay
or straw, and a good quantity of salt to prevent swelling, were used. As
summer advanced, less hay and straw were given, and as the grass
approached ripeness, they were discontinued altogether; but young and
wet clover was never given without an admixture of dry provender. When
grass became scarce, young turnips and turnip leaves were steamed with
hay, and formed a good substitute. As grass decreased, the turnips were
increased, and at length became a complete substitute. As the season
advanced, a large proportion of distillers' grains and wash was given
with other food, but these were found to have a tendency to make the
cattle grain-sick; and if this feeding were long-continued, the health
of the cows became affected. Boiled linseed and short-cut wheat straw
mixed with the grains, were found to prevent the cows from turning sick.
As spring approached, Swedish turnips, when cheap, were substituted for
yellow turnips. These two roots, steamed with hay and other mixtures,
afforded safe food till grass was again in season. When any of the cows
were surfeited, the food was withheld till the appetite returned, when a
small quantity was given, and increased gradually to the full allowance.

But the most elaborate and valuable experiments in the feeding and
management of milch cows, are those made, not long since, by Mr. T.
Horsfall, of England, and published in the Journal of the Royal
Agricultural Society. His practice, though adapted more especially,
perhaps, to his own section, is nevertheless of such general application
and importance as to be worthy of attention. By his course of treatment
he found that he could produce as much and as rich butter in winter as
in summer.

His first object was to afford a full supply of the elements of food
adapted to the maintenance, and also to the produce of the animal; and
this could not be effected by the ordinary food and methods of feeding,
since it is impossible to induce a cow to consume a quantity of hay
requisite to supply the waste of the system, and keep up, at the same
time, a full yield of the best quality of milk. He used, to some extent,
cabbages, kohl rabi, mangolds, shorts, and other substances, rich in the
constituents of cheese and butter. "My food for milch cows," says he,
"after having undergone various modifications, has for two seasons
consisted of rape cake five pounds, and bran two pounds, for each cow,
mixed with a sufficient quantity of bean-straw, oat-straw, and shells of
oats, in equal proportions, to supply them three times a day with as
much as they will eat. The whole of the materials are moistened and
blended together, and, after being well steamed, are given to the animal
in a warm state. The attendant is allowed one pound to one pound and a
half per cow, according to circumstances, of bean-meal, which he is
charged to give to each cow in proportion to the yield of milk; those in
full milk getting each two pounds per day, others but little. It is dry,
and mixed with the steamed food on its being dealt out separately. When
this is eaten up, green food is given, consisting of cabbages, from
October to December, kohl rabi till February, and mangold till grass
time, with a view to nicety of flavor. I limit the quantity of green
food to thirty or thirty-five pounds per day for each. After each feed,
four pounds of meadow hay, or twelve pounds per day, is given to each
cow. They are allowed water twice a day, to the extent which they will

Bean-straw uncooked having been found to be hard and unpalatable, it was
steamed to make it soft and pulpy, when it possessed an agreeable odor,
and imparted its flavor to the whole mass. It was cut for this purpose
just before ripening, but after the bean was fully grown, and in this
state was found to possess nearly double the amount of albuminous
matter, so valuable to milch cows, of good meadow or upland hay. Bran or
shorts is also vastly improved by steaming or soaking with hot water,
when its nutriment is more readily assimilated. It contains about
fourteen per cent. of albumen, and is rich in phosphoric acid. Rape-cake
was found to be exceedingly valuable. Linseed and cotton-seed cake may
probably be substituted for it in this country.

Mr. Horsfall turned his cows in May into a rich pasture, housing them at
night, and giving them a mess of the steamed mixture and some hay
morning and night; and from June to October they had cut grass in the
stall, besides what they got in the pasture, and two feeds of the
steamed mixture a day. After the beginning of October the cows were kept
housed. With such management his cows generally yielded from twelve to
sixteen quarts of milk (wine measure) a day, for about eight months
after calving, when they fell off in milk, but gained in flesh, up to
calving-time. In this course of treatment the manure was far better than
the average, and his pastures constantly improved. The average amount of
butter from every sixteen quarts of milk was twenty-five ounces--a
proportion far larger than the average.

How widely does this course of treatment differ from that of most
farmers! The object with many seems to be, to see with how little food
they can keep the cow alive. From a correct point of view, the milch cow
should be regarded as an instrument of transformation. The question
should be--with so much hay, so much grain, so many roots, how can the
most milk, or butter, or cheese, be made? The conduct of a manufacturer
who owned good machinery, and an abundance of raw material, and had the
labor at hand, would be considered very senseless, if he hesitated to
supply the material, and keep the machinery at work, at least so long as
he could run it with profit.

Stimulate the appetite, then, and induce the cow to eat, by a frequent
change of diet, not merely enough to supply the constant waste of her
system, but enough and to spare, of a food adapted to the production of
milk of the quality desired.

Next: Soiling

Previous: Treatment Before Calving

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