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the Angora cats are the handsomest. Cats are seldom ill, except from cold, which generally gets well without any particular care being taken of it; but when they have any serious disease it generally proves fatal.
QUADRUPEDS KEPT FOR SUPPLYING FOOD. — - COWS, CALVES,
GOATS, PIGS, RABBITS, AND DEER.
I AM very glad, my dear Annie, to hear such favourable accounts of your garden, and to find, by the inquiries you are beginning to make, that you really are taking a lively interest in country affairs. You say you are getting quite fond of your dairy; but that you cannot understand how it is that your cows produce so much less milk in the morning than they do at night, when there are exactly twelve hours between the milkings in both cases; as they are milked first at five in the morning, and again at five in the afternoon. I have no doubt from what
your cows are kept in the cow-house during the night, and only turned out during the day, as this would account for the difference in the quantity of milk. But such a mode of management, though it saves trouble to the dairy-maid, who finds it much easier to milk the cows in the cow-house than in the open
field, is bad for both the cows and the dairy; as the cows, after feeding on grass all day, cannot of course relish dry food at night, and whenever they fast unnaturally very little milk is secreted.
Your dairy-maid will probably tell you that cows are very delicate, and that they will catch cold if they sleep in the open air ; but from May till September, unless the weather be particularly cold and rainy, they are less liable to take cold if they sleep in the open air than if they are kept in a warm cow-house all night, and turned out about sunrise. Cows are peculiarly sensible of all sudden changes of temperature, especially from heat to cold; and, after they have been kept in a cow-house all the winter, great care should be taken to accustom them gradually to the change when they are first turned out to grass, by letting them out only for a few hours in the middle of the day; but when they are become accustomed to the open air, and the nights are warm, they are much better kept in the open air altogether, especially if there is a shed in the field, under which they can find a dry place to lie upon if it should rain.
The following observations on this subject are from an excellent work, entitled The Book of the Farm, published in 1844: 66 This mode of allowing them to lie out always in a sheltered field, no doubt, imposes a good deal of labour on the dairy-maid and her assistant, in carrying the milk to the dairy after the calves have been
weaned, but I am persuaded it is an excellent system for the health of the cows. Under it, cows rise from their lair at day break, and feed while the dew is on the grass; and by the time when the hour of milking arrives, say six o'clock, they are already partially filled with food, and stand contented, chewing the cud, while the milking proceeds. They then rove about, and fill themselves, and by nine o'clock they lie down in a shady part of the field, and chew their cud until milking-time arrives at mid-day; after which they again roam about for food, and, when the afternoon is hot, will stand in the coolest part of the field, whisking away the flies with their tails and ears. The evening milking takes place about seven, after which they feed industriously, and take up their lair about sunset, from which they rouse themselves in the morning before being milked. Some people are apprehensive that cows must injure themselves by eating grass which is wet with dew in the morning; but it is a fact, which I believe is not so sufficiently known as it should be, that bedewed grass before sunrise, and grass after it is dried by the sun, are alike wholesome for animals; and it is only when the dew is in the act of being evaporated, immediately after sunrise, that grass proves injurious to them. Why it should be injurious at that particular state I do not precisely know, but I imagine it to be so, because the grass then becomes suddenly cold by the evaporation of the dew. When cows lie out, they have nearly filled themselves by the time the dew is evaporated, and therefore feel less inclined to eat the grass while in the dangerous state; whereas cows that are housed all night are usually milked about sunrise, and put out to grass just at the very time the dew on it is being evaporated, and is, of course, in the most dangerous state, just when the cows feel the greatest hunger, and eat most grass.”
When cows eat a quantity of grass in this state, they very often have the disease which is called hoven or blown. To make you understand this fearful complaint, I must remind you that cows, in common with all ruminating animals, have four stomachs; and that, when a cow is turned into a field, she twists her tongue round mouthful after mouthful of the long grass, and after biting each off, conveys it without chewing to her first stomach or paunch, till this is about half full, when the animal seems stimulated by nature to seek rest and quiet, for she leaves off eating, and either stands perfectly still in some shady place, or lies down. The paunch now begins to exert its extraordinary power of separating a small portion of the food it contains, and returning it to the mouth, when the animal begins slowly to masticate it, moistening it as she does so with small quantities