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Cattle Teaching In 1903

Have you ever thought about or wondered what kind of cattle education was provided in the USA Public School System in years gone by?

  We discovered in the public domain a USA public school text book that was first printed in 1903 that provides us with that information. The information indicates it was kept up to date from 1903 to 1914. It has one complete chapter dedicated to "Cattle" and that chapter is reproduced here for your enjoyment and education. The entire text book is being entered on another website, OnlineFarmer.net. We will provide a link when it is completed.

Nothing to go on but a hunch and remembering some of the stuff that was available in my school days (1940s); this was probably about a 9th grade text book. Short of going on to college this may have been all of the off farm training available to kids in those days. 





Cattle Teaching In 1903 A Prize Winner
Fig. 247. A Prize-winner

All farm animals were once called cattle; now this term applies only to beef and dairy animals—neat cattle.

Our improved breeds are descended from the wild ox of Europe and Asia, and have attained their size and usefulness by care, food, and selection. The uses of cattle are so familiar that we need scarcely mention them. Their flesh is a part of man's daily food; their milk, cream, butter, and cheese are on most tables; their hides go to make leather, and their hair for plaster; their hoofs are used for glue, and their bones for fertilizers, ornaments, buttons, and many other purposes.

There are two main classes of cattle—beef breeds and dairy breeds. The principal breeds of each class are as follows:

I. Beef Breeds

1. Aberdeen-Angus, bred in Scotland, and often called doddies.
2. Galloway, from Scotland.
3. Shorthorn, an English breed of cattle.
4. Hereford, also an English breed.
5. Sussex, from the county of Sussex, England.

II. Dairy Breeds

1. Jersey, from the Isle of Jersey.
2. Guernsey, from the Isle of Guernsey.
3. Ayrshire, from Scotland.
4. Holstein-Frisian, from Holland and Denmark.
5. Brown Swiss, from Switzerland.

Other breeds of cattle are Devon, Dutch Belted, Red-Polled, Kerry, and West Highland.

In general structure there is a marked difference between the beef and dairy breeds. This is shown in Figs. 248, 249. The beef cow is square, full over the back and loins, and straight in the back. The hips are covered evenly with flesh, the legs full and thick, the under line, or stomach line, parallel to the back line, and the neck full and short. The eye should be bright, the face short, the bones of fine texture, and the skin soft and pliable.

Cattle Teaching In 1903 Aberdeen Angus Cow
Fig. 248. Aberdeen-Angus Cow (a Beef Type)

The dairy cow is widely different from the beef cow. She shows a decided wedge shape when you look at her from front, side, or rear. The back line is crooked, the hip bones and tail bone are prominent, the thighs thin and poorly fleshed; there is no breadth to the back, as in the beef cow, and little flesh covers the shoulders; the neck is long and thin.

The udder of the dairy cow is most important. It should be full but not fleshy, be well attached behind, and extend well forward. The larger the udder the more milk will be given.

The skin of the dairy cow, like that of the beef breeds, should be soft and pliable and the bones fine-textured.

The Dairy Type. Because of lack of flesh on the back, loins, and thighs, the cow of the dairy type is not profitably raised for beef, nor is the beef so good as that of the beef types. This is because in the dairy-animal food goes to produce milk rather than beef. In the same way the beef cow gives little milk, since her food goes rather to fat than to milk. For the same reasons that you do not expect a plow horse to win on the race track, you do not expect a cow of the beef type to win premiums as a milker.

Cattle Teaching In 1903 Jersey Cow
Fig. 249. Jersey Cow (a Dairy Type)

"Scrub" cattle are not profitable. They mature slowly and consequently consume much food before they are able to give any return for it. Even when fattened, the fat and lean portions are not evenly distributed, and "choice cuts" are few and small.

By far the cheapest method of securing a healthy and profitable herd of dairy or beef cattle is to save only the calves whose sires are pure-bred animals and whose mothers are native cows. In this way farmers of even little means can soon build up an excellent herd.

Cattle Teaching In 1903 Head of a Galloway Cow
Fig. 250. Head of a Galloway Cow

Improving Cattle. The fact that it is not possible for every farmer to possess pure-bred cattle is no reason why he should not improve the stock he has. He can do this by using pure-bred sires that possess the qualities most to be desired. Scrub stock can be quickly improved by the continuous use of good sires. It is never wise to use grade, or cross-bred, sires, since the best qualities are not fixed in them.

Moreover, it is possible for every farmer to determine exactly the producing-power of his dairy cows. When the cows are milked, the milk should be weighed and a record kept. If this be done, it will be found that some cows produce as much as five hundred, and some as much as ten hundred, gallons a year, while others produce not more than two or three hundred gallons. If a farmer kills or sells his poor cows and keeps his best ones, he will soon have a herd of only heavy milkers. Ask your father to try this plan. Read everything you can find about taking care of cows and improving them, and then start a herd of your own.

Conclusions. (1) A cow with a tendency to get fat is not profitable for the dairy. (2) A thin, open, angular cow will make expensive beef. (3) "The sire is half the herd." This means that a good sire is necessary to improve a herd of cattle. The improvement from scrubs upward is as follows: the first generation is one-half pure; the second is three-fourths pure; the third is seven-eighths pure; the fourth is fifteen-sixteenths pure, etc. (4) By keeping a record of the quantity and quality of milk each cow gives you can tell which are profitable to raise from and which are not. (5) Good food, clean water, kindness, and care are necessary to successful cattle-raising.

Cattle Teaching In 1903 Holstein Cow
Fig. 251. Holstein Cow

The ownership of a well-bred animal usually arouses so much pride in the owner that the animal receives all the care that it merits. The watchful care given to such an animal leads to more thought of the other animals on the farm, and often brings about the upbuilding of an entire herd.

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