Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

choice and uniform merit displayed by most of the leading tribes affords ample proof of the ingenious and methodical manner in which they have been reared. But while much has been done in the way of establishing tribes of high character, it is very desirable that more attention should be given to the building up of distinct, well-defined families of as pure line-breeding as may be found practicable. It seems to us that it would be well for the interests of the breed if there existed several herds or strains which could be regarded as refined and reliable fountains of that mysteriously beneficial influence which may be generated by skilfully concentrating and assimilating the ever-present forces of heredity. Without entering upon a discussion of the question of in-andin breeding, we may remark that we believe it to be a most powerful agent either for good or evil. In competent hands it is perhaps the surest and shortest pathway to the highest pinnacle of a breeder's success. Unwisely employed, it becomes simply the broad road to ruin. We would not, therefore, desire that in-and-in breeding should be pursued by the general body of breeders. We would, however, rejoice to see a few of those best able, intellectually and financially, to undertake the work, following the example of Thomas Bates, the Booths, and other noted Shorthorn breeders, and establishing distinct line-bred families. We should like to see a few families reared in such a way as that they would not only be uniform in shape and character, but would also be possessed of one strong, unbroken, unadulterated, unvarying family current. We believe in the doctrine that “like begets like; ” but if we breed from composite animals—animals containing several conflicting family currents, perhaps the living influence of dead ancestors— we can have little confidence in the result. We cannot know which likeness may be produced—that of the immediate, or of more remote ancestors. Practical experience and Scientific reasoning both teach that no animal is so likely to reproduce an exact copy of itself as one that has been in-bred, or in other words, one that contains one dominant, all-prevailing family current. We therefore think that the existence of a few well-defined in-bred families of really high individual merit would help greatly to maintain, and even still further improve, the high character of the breed generally. These families would be as it were strong springs of rich, pure blood, from which fresh draughts might be drawn from time to time for the reviving and ameliorating of mixed herds. We are pleased to know that the importance of the point in question is being more clearly recognised than it has ever before been, and that by several breeders the higher and more scientific modes of breeding, to which reference has been made, are receiving greatly increased attention. Efforts, wisely and energetically sustained, are sure to produce excellent results, and we think we are not over-confident in predicting for some of our noted herds of polled cattle a future of great distinction and usefulness. While pressing these considerations upon the notice of breeders, we would also urge them to keep a jealous eye upon what are recognised as the established natural characteristics of the breed. We desire to see maintained its well-known distinguishing features, its typical symmetry and roundness of form, its hardiness and robustness of constitution, and at the same time still further developed its excellent beef-producing, earlymaturing, and milking properties, as well as to have imparted to the breed generally, and especially to the principal families, a little more true high-bred character. All these are attainable objects, and with good men devoted to the breed the great promise of the future of the celebrated polls of the North-East of Scotland can hardly fail to be abundantly fulfilled.

[graphic][graphic]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Achievements of the breed in the Show-yard–The Highland Society's Shows—Unique group of Tillyfour first-prize cows in 1864—Features of polled classes at Glasgow Show in 1867; Aberdeen, 1868; Edinburgh, 1869 ; Dumfries, 1870; Perth 1871; Kelso, 1872; Stirling, 1873; Inverness, 1874; Glasgow, 1875; Aberdeen, 1876; Edinburgh, 1877; Dumfries, 1878; Perth, 1879; Kelso, 1880; Stirling, 1881. –The Fat Stock Shows—Black Prince, the champion at Birmingham and Smithfield in 1867–Polled animals champions at Birmingham and Smithfield in 1872—The Altyre Smithfield champions in 1881– Performances at French Exhibitions — Paris, 1856; Poissy, 1857; Paris, 1862, and Paris 1878–The champion group at Paris in 1878.

THE position which the polled cattle of the North-East of Scotland have taken in show-yards—local, national, and international—has been almost unique. Wherever the breed has been well represented, it has attained marked distinction. It cannot be doubted that the splendid triumphs achieved by polled Aberdeen or Angus cattle in the principal British and French exhibitions have done much both to foster the improvement of the breed at home and to spread its fame in foreign lands. By these means its rare intrinsic merit as a beef-producing race, and its truly handsome and uniform proportions, have been made known far and wide; while the sweets of victory in those hotly-contested fields in which the breed has won its chief laurels, have operated as a powerful stimulus to its patrons, who,

[graphic]

in rearing their beautiful tribes of glossy blacks, have accomplished work of a noble character and lasting national value.

Scotch and English Shows.

Regarding the achievements of polled Aberdeen or Angus cattle in Scotch and English show-yards during the past twenty years, we have been favoured with some specially interesting notes by Mr William Macdonald, Editor of the North British Agriculturist. These notes we shall present in the writer's own words. Mr Macdonald says —“For several years prior to 1865 polled cattle, if not the largest, was one of the most meritorious features of the Highland and Agricultural Society's shows. The Tilly four herd was in those years in its best form. At that time few could stand successfully against the late Mr William M’Combie. Numerous were the honours won by those remarkably fine animals, which traced their descent to Queen of Ardovie 29, Charlotte 203, Angus 45, Hanton 228, etc. Quite a unique spectacle it was to behold no fewer than five Tillyfour cows at the Highland show in 1864, each forward for the gold medal in virtue of former first honours in the cow class. Such a display testified to a remarkable succession of showyard achievements on the part of the late Mr M'Combie. The following year at Inverness Highland show he crowned all his former National Society performances by carrying off no fewer than five of the six first prizes for polls. Than some of the Tillyfour females of that period, good judges maintain that nothing better and very little as good has since been seen in the polled ranks. Pride of Aberdeen 581, for instance, when she came out at Aberdeen Highland show in 1858 with the first ticket for yearlings on her head, made an impression which polled admirers have not yet forgotten. Her head, ears and neck, shoulders, bosom, and general character, stamped her at once in the estimation of experienced polled breeders as an animal of rare merit. It may be doubted if her equal has since or before headed the yearling-heifer class. And she maintained her grand form for years, winning in her classes all through, and doing something more—transmitting her characteristics in a notable manner to her progeny, the premier Pride branch of the Queen tribe. “Rinderpest occasioned a suspension of the Highland shows from 1865 to 1867, and almost swept the Angus and Mearns country of polled cattle. That disease was not so hard on the Aberdeen, Banff, and Moray herds, but the demand for Shorthorns was then so strong that polls narrowly escaped annihilation. At the Glasgow Highland show in 1867, polled cattle were very easily accommodated. Only fifteen in all the classes were entered, and there was very little competition. Lord Southesk's Jupiter 471 had easy work in the aged bull class. He was a big, lengthy, substantial bull, not so nice as his sire, the celebrated Windsor 221, which cost 180 guineas, the highest price which had up till then been paid, publicly or privately, for a polled animal. The younger bulls were not very remarkable, nor were any of the females, except the fine cow Mina 1009, and the first prize two-year-old heifer Lily 1114, from Castle Fraser. These two were compact, symmetrical, and admirably brought out by Mr Hampton, and would have held their own in much stronger competition, as they did that and next year at Aberdeen in formidable company. Mina and Lily founded two tribes of richly-fleshed, shortlegged, level, handsome cattle—the Minas and Livelys, which have since furnished several prize-winners, and have bred truly and regularly. “The following year, at the Aberdeen Highland show, the polled ranks were again numerously filled, and breeders and patrons of the black skins got into better spirits. If

[graphic][graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »