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pear before your increasing flock, the sweet grasses will come in and afford your increasing numbers sufficient food of the best kind. By carefully selecting and frequently changing your bucks, in a few years you will not only have a first class flock of sheep, but you will have one indigenous to your own farm, and obtained at less cost and risk than in any other way. Farmers are too careless about changing the character of the feed of the sheep in the fall and spring.
When the sheep are housed and subjected to dry feed, it has a tendency to produce costiveness, and this produces stretches, which often proves fatal, and always injures the wool by making it weak. This disease may be prevented by an occasional feed of apples, potatoes, or other roots. In the Spring, after the sheep have been kept on dry feed all winter, and are turned out to young grass, such change frequently produces scours, which also might be prevented in a great measure by feeding roots a few weeks before turning out, if they have not been so fed all winter.
If they are allowed to run out late in the fall in the cold storms without any shelter, they will be very likely to have catarrh. And keeping them too close in ill ventilated stables will not only produce catarrh, but diseases of the lungs. It is a practice with some dealers, in addition to high feeding, to confine the sheep in ill ventilated stables for the purpose of producing yolk. This is called sweating, and it is sweating the life out of the sheep, and money out of the farmer's pocket who may purchase such stock; and though they may survive such a barbarous practice, and the fleece sheared may be of prodigious weight, let it be remembered that it is not wool, it is grease, and one thing we have noticed, that when such persons are boasting of the weight of their fleeces, and bringing certificates of proof, they seldom say it was unwashed wool. A gentleman once took one of these fleeces which weighed seventeen pounds, and scoured it; all the wool he got was four pounds, and that was not perfectly clean, the black gum still stuck to the ends of the staples. Such treatment as this will produce disease, and he who buys stock that has been thus treated may expect in place of heavy fleeces, diseased sheep. It is not a new invention. The Spaniards have now, and have had for many years, sweating houses, into which they crowd their sheep before shearing. It is bad enough to have as a necessity crowded and badly ventilated stables, and stock wintered in such places will be likely to have affections of the lungs, and their lambs may also be affected, and be the source of disease among the whole flock. But to purposely do this can only be characterized as barbarous. Merino sheep may bear this treatment with a degree of impunity, but the English long wooled sheep could not survive it.
With regard to the benefits of change of pasture, and obtaining a flock of sheep after the manner described, we have just found an article from J. W. Simmonds, in the Stock Journal, entitled “Experience of a Practical Wool Grower,” and as it is so applicable to our present subject, we quote the whole:
“On January 1st, 1860, I purchased and had driven to my barn, twenty fine-wooled old ewes, taken from one of the best flocks in the county, and paid for the same forty dollars. These twenty had been the good sheep in their day in a flock of eighty. My friends told me they would rejuvenate, as it were, upon my place. I had no sheep, no knowledge of sheep, no practice in tending them, and hence tried the advice of every one in managing them. A first rate, full-blooded Spanish Merino buck had been witha these sheep. The first season lost two sheep, raised twelve good lamba, and 33 pounds clean wool average per head from my sheep. Used one of the best bucks the Fall of 1860.
“Second season lost two more ewes, raised sixteen nice lambs, sheared upon an average four pounds per head. Fall of 1861, used an ordinary buck. Wintered fifteen of my old sheep and each raised a lamb. My old sheep had really recruited. Their fleeces increased yearly, and upon the third clipping season averaged 41 pounds, yearlings and two year old, 6 pounds. Sold my lambs Fall of 1862, for a high price. My sheep came to the barn in November in a first rate condition, the old sheep looked three years younger than when I got them. Pleased with my success, I had learned something of sheep and the way to tend them. Bought ten more old sheep from the same flock. Used in November, 1862, a yearling buck of my own purchase, selected for his many good and promising qualities—a full-blooded Spanish Merino. His first fleece of thirteen months of age weighed sixteen pounds, nice wool. Spring of 1863, raised thirty very nice lambs. Those from my young sheep are second to none. The fourth clip of these old sheep and their offspring averaged 5 3-5 nice, clean white wool per head. Of these twenty-two two and three year old sheep averaged 8 pounds per head. My buck sheared 227 pounds, one year's growth. Live weight before shearing, 153 pounds. Sold eight fat wethers just after shearing, whose average live weight was eighty-five pounds. Reckoned in last clip was the fleece of the first lamb of my buck, dropped from a small yearling cosset, Nov. 25th, 1862, which weighed 31 pounds. I have now lambs after that buck, which sheep men have urged me to sell to them for ten dollars per head, and two year old ewes for double that sum. During this three years' experience I have satisfactorily learned that there is a profound science in sheep-raising and wool-growing. This science has both its theory and practice, which requires both study and carefal observation. To young men entering upon the sheep business, I offer the following practical observations:-Begin with a few common ewes, and improve by using the best bucks. Keep no more sheep than you can keep well the year round. Tend them carefully, thus losses other than by accident will be avoided."
And in addition we would say, do not run the risk of rejuvenating old ewes. It would not do to follow his example in this matter, and particularly with long-wooled sheep. They mature earlier than Merinos, and consequently decay earlier. Sometimes a poor stunted fruit tree is removed from an orchard and transplanted with success, a fine, vigorous tree being obtained; yet such a course could not be recommended for general prac. tice because one sometimes succeeds. Neither expect to succeed with old ewes because one or two have met with success. Yet we know of many cases where improvement of feed has materially increased the weight of the fleece as well as the quality. We do not mean by this that the wool was finer, but it was much stronger and freer bottomed.
Sheep taken from over-stocked farms and placed upon well cultivated, good conditioned farms, health and age being in their favor, will be much improved; and two flocks changed, by simply passing from the pasture of one to that of the other, will sometimes affect both favorably. We would just call attention to the 227 pounds of nice wool sheared from that buck. It does not say that it was clean, nice, washed wool. We do not think that this was purposely omitted. We think the article worthy of special atten. tion, and recommend it to the careful consideration of all desiring to obtain flocks of sheep, subject to the limitation we have noted, with a hope that those who have tried and failed will try again, nor let one failure rob them of the reward of ultimate success. · Animals, just in proportion as they become subservient to man, become dependent upon him for care and protection. To none will this apply with more force than to the sheep. When in a state of complete domestication, it appears sometimes as stupid as it is harmless, and affords Buffon some justification for describing it as one of the most timid, imbecile, and con. temptible of quadrupeds. When sheep have an extensive range of pasture, and are left to a considerable degree to depend upon themselves for food and protection, they exhibit more force of character. It is the tender care of domestication that renders the sheep imbecile.' But when left to take care of themselves, a ram has been seen to attack and drive off a large and formidable dog, and even a bull has been knocked to the ground by à stroke received between his eyes as he was lowering his head to receive his adversary on his horns and toss him into the air. Such sheep show considerable sagacity in the selection of their food. Always avoiding low, marshy lands, they prefer the uplands, and in good weather they will be
found on the highest points; but when a storm approaches they turn their heads downward and seek shelter in the plains below, but always avoid the watery margh. It is true there are breeds such as the Romney Marsh, and the old Lincolns, that are raised and fed upon marshes; but these are well drained and abound in the richest and best of grasses, unlike in every particular our meadows. The sheep is the most extensive feeder of all domesticated animals, selecting its food from a greater variety of plants.
It will be found best in the management of all domesticated animals to pay some regard to the habits of the wild animals from which they have their origin. These ought to be made the base of our operations, to be regulated according to the conditions imposed by domestication. Our Winter treatment of sheep ought to be regulated to some extent by a knowledge of the habits of the less domesticated animal. If under all ordinary circumstances the sheep avoids the meadow when its grass is green, it certainly will not choose it when it is dried, but eat it rather than perish.
We have met with a number of farmers who never feed with any thing else but meadow hay during the Winter; and we have heard more complaints from these men that sheep raising does not pay than from any others. They complain that their fleeces are light, and their wool does not bring so good a price as their neighbors'. They complain also that they lose their ewes, and have poor luck with their lambs. Their oldest ewes die because their teeth are not capable of masticating sufficient of such food to keep them alive, and they lose their lambs because meadow hay does not furnish sufficient nutriment for the lamb during the period of ges tation, or not sufficient to produce milk to supply its early wants, and should such lambs survive they bring a poor price from the butcher, or furnish very poor stock.
In another portion of this article it is stated that the character of the feed materially affects the condition of the wool; and it has been stated in very positive terms that there never was a good or heavy fleece from meadow hay. It matters not how large the supply of that kind of food, the wool bears the characteristics of short feed, always dry, harsh, and often cotted at the bottom. Ewes brought from such places after being well wintered gain one and a half pound per fleece, and worth five centa per pound more after being properly cared for than when fed upon meadow hay. But connected with this there is generally another evil. The farmer who cannot afford better food than meadow hay, can seldom afford a warm stable-poor feed and cold stables being characteristics of bad farming. In order to elucidate this more clearly, we submit an account of some ex. periments performed by Lord Ducie and Mr. Lawes, with their results:
Lord Ducie bad one hundred sheep placed in a shed, which ate twenty
pounds of Sweedish turnips per head each day; another hundred in the open air ate twenty-five pounds each, and at that rate for a certain period. The former animals weighed each thirty pounds more than the latter. In another experiment five sheep were fed in the open air between the 21st of November and the 1st of December. They consumed ninety pounds of
food per day, the temperature being 44 degrees. At the end of this time , they weighed two pounds less than when first exposed. In another, five
sheep were placed under shelter and allowed to run at a temperature of 49 degrees. They consumed at first eighty-two pounds, then seventy pounds, and increased in weight twenty-three pounds.
Mr. Lawes took twenty wethers and placed them in four pens, on the 30th of November, 1860. They were fed upon meadow hay cut into chaff, for eight weeks, with a plentiful supply of water. At the end of this time they were weighed. Those in pen one had gained five pounds; in pen two they had lost ten pounds; in pen tbree they had lost seven pounds, and in pen four they gained eleven pounds—making a loss on the whole of one pound. The temperature is not given, but being in England, and in November, we are satisfied it would be much higher than in our Winters.
In another experiment of thirty-two weeks duration, from January 25th to September 6th, 1861, five sheep ate on an average 224 pounds of meadow hay per head per week, and gained 84 ounces per head per week. Bear in mind that this experiment was continued through the Summer, and not duringone of our rigorous northern Winters. For though much bas been said, written and done to economize heat in our manufacturing establishments and dwellings, yet it is equally important that heat should be economized in the bodies of our domesticated animals, in order that food, which is the fuel of the system, may be properly economized, and unless this is done in the case of the sheep we must expect very poor fleeces. Nature demands that the temperature of the body be kept at a certain point. From this there is but a slight variation, Winter or Summer, in the frigid or in the torrid zones. In Winter we complain of cold, not because our bodies are reduced in temperature, but because the heat is rapidly removed. In Sum. mer we complain of heat, not because the temperature of the body is much higher, but because it is nearly equal to the surrounding atmosphere, and the heat generated in the system is not removed with sufficient rapidity, If the heat is allowed to escape too rapidly from the animal by keeping it in an atmosphere at too low a temperature, the deficiency must be supplied by a larger amount of food, or the fat which the animal obtained while roaming at large during Spring, Summer and Autumn, will be consumed in the system in the same manner as it is consumed in the lamp or stove,