Beef and Dairy Cattle
Breeds and how to Improve your Herd
Know your cattle breeds
and learn how to improve your herd of beef or dairy cows through better
management and feeding.
Our improved cattle breeds
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,
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
There are two main classes
of cattle breeds —
and dairy breeds.
principal breeds of each class are as follows:
Beef Cattle 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.
Dairy Cattle 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
Other breeds of cattle are
Devon, Dutch Belted, Red-Polled, Kerry, Dexter, West
There are many.
In general structure there
is a marked difference between the beef and
dairy cattle breeds.
Beef Cattle Breeds and their Appearance
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,
the skin soft and pliable.
Cow (a Beef Type)
Breeds and their Appearance
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
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
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 of Cattle Breed
Because of lack of flesh
on the back, loins, and
thighs, the cow of the dairy type is not profitably raised for beef,
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
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
on the race track, you do not expect a cow of the beef type to win
premiums as a milker.
Jersey Cow (a Dairy
"Scrub" cattle are not
profitable for homesteading. They mature slowly and
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
of even little means can soon build up an excellent herd.
Cattle Breeds and How to Improve your Herd
fact that it is not possible for every homesteader 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 cattle stock can be quickly improved by
continuous use of good sires. It is never wise to use
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 is 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 no more than two or
If a farmer kills or
sells his poor
cows and keeps his
best ones, he will soon have a herd of only heavy milkers. Read
everything you can find about taking care
of cows and improving them, and then start a herd of your own.
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.
Finally, what you feed
your livestock is the most important aspect in
maintaining their health and fertility. For us, there is no doubt that
is the only way to go. You are planting feed that will medicate your
livestock naturally, give them a daily tonic, as well as keep internal
parasites and worms down.
(1) A cow with a tendency to get fat is not profitable
for the dairy.
(2) A thin, open, angular cow will make expensive
(3) "The sire is half the herd." This means that a good
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.
- Holstein Cow
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