« AnteriorContinuar »
should be as even as the top and side lines; and the bones of the legs fine, flat, and clean, with plenty of muscle and flesh above the knees on the fore-legs. The body should stand neatly and gracefully on the legs; and when the animal is stationary, the fore-legs should be perfectly straight, and the hind-legs very slightly bent forwards below the hock. All over the frame there should be a rich and even coating of flesh. Even the hook-bones, and other prominent parts, should be well covered; and above all, there should be no patchiness—no hollows, and no rolls of hard flesh, with spaces of soft useless fat between them, such as are always found in a patchy animal, Except in rare cases, the skin is fairly thick, but soft and pliable: it ought to be so free over the ribs, as that one could fill one's hand of it. The hair is, as a rule, not long, but fairly thick and soft; and in the best animals shows two growths, or rather two lengths—one short and thick, and the other longer and thinner. When walking, a good animal of the breed presents a very compact, graceful, and symmetrical appearance. Indeed it is fairly enough claimed for the breed that in these and in some other respects it has hardly any equals, and no superiors. The above description refers more correctly to bulls than to cows. The latter, of course, differ considerably in character. The head is much finer, the neck thinner and cleaner, with no crest; the shoulder-top sharper; the bone altogether finer; the skin not quite so thick; the udder large, and milk-vessels large and well-defined. In appearance, as well as in other characteristics, the polled Aberdeen or Angus breed differs substantially from the polled Galloway race. The former has lived under a dry cold climate, and has been fed in the house during a large part of the year. The latter has its home in a moist climate, and has spent much more of its time in the open fields. The differences between the two are just such as might be expected from their different conditions of life.
ARACTERISTICS OF THE BREED,
en as the top and side lines; and the bones
flat, and clean, with plenty of muscle and
knees on the fore-legs. The body o ind gracefully on the legs; and * o ionary, the fore-legs should be perio i. the hind-legs very slightly bent o: ck. All over the frame there o 6S ren coating of flesh. Even the h90 i o ominent parts, should be well o s and re should be n0 patchiness—no ho o t béo flesh, with spaces of soft o ..it > s found in a pato o:* is fairly thick, but soft and
thi - r, the neck d is much fino el' : o o crest; the shoulder-top sharp * the udder th -
finer; the ski . . . milk-vessels large an characterio thé arance, a ordeen or s Galloway race. te, and has been
The Galloway, as already noted, has a thicker skin and stronger coat of hair, and has altogether a slightly more shaggy appearance than the northern polled cattle, and does not mature quite so quickly. It is claimed that the northern polls surpass all other races of cattle in the production of beef. On that point there is of course considerable difference of opinion; for at the present day, when the beef-producing properties of our other leading breeds, notably the Shorthorn and Hereford, have been developed to so high a degree, it could not be expected that with anything like unanimity any one breed would be accorded the premier position. Be that as it may, we think the polled Aberdeen or Angus breed may safely be said to be inferior to none as all-round beef-cattle, and superior to all others in some respects. The brilliant and unequalled position it has latterly taken, alike in the show-yard and market-place, sufficiently establishes its claim to that description. Its show-yard achievements will be fully noticed afterwards. Here it may be noted, that at the Paris Exhibition in 1878 it carried off every single honour for which it was entitled to compete, including the £100 prize for the best group of beef-producing cattle in the Exhibition; and that in British showyards, both fat stock and breeding, it has attained to a leading position. In a strictly butcher's point of view, it has very seldom to yield to any other race of cattle. The superiority over most other breeds, for the butcher's purpose, lies mainly in the excellent quality of beef, and in the high percentage of dead meat to live weight. As a rule, the beef of the northern polls is very well mixed, and contains a greater proportion of compact, finely grained flesh, and less soft, coarse fat, than most other kinds of beef. Inside, the carcass is usually well lined with fat of the finest quality; while in the density and quality of the carcass itself, the breed may fairly enough claim the premier position among all our leading
breeds of cattle. Some place the small Devon breed alongside, if not even before it, in this respect; but with that exception, we do not think that any other breed in the British Isles will on an average yield so high a percentage of dead meat to live weight. In butchers’ phraseology, it “dies” well and “cuts up” admirably. In all the leading fat-stock markets in the country the breed is held in high estimation, and, as a rule, commands the very highest prices—in fact, generally a higher price in comparison to its size and live weight than any of the other leading breeds. This is especially the case at the great Smithfield Christmas Market in London, where the plump compact polls from the north never fail to find a ready sale at the highest quotations. The breed is specially adapted for crossing with Shorthorns. Indeed, perhaps the very best beef-producing animal that has as yet been reared is a cross between a Shorthorn bull and a polled cow. Throughout the northeast of Scotland that system of crossing is pursued very extensively. Nearly nine-tenths of the famous Aberdeenshire beeves, so highly prized in the London market, are crosses between these two breeds. The best system is to mate the polled cow and the Shorthorn bull; but the reverse system, which, owing to the scarcity of polled cows, is freely practised, also gives excellent results. It is noticeable that, as a rule, those of these crosses that approach the most nearly to the Shorthorn type are, if anything, the largest in appearance, and attain the greatest live weight. It is equally well known, however, that those which most closely resemble the polled breed not only bring the highest price when fat, and yield a larger percentage of dead meat to live weight, but also command the greatest number of customers and the readiest sale. An influential cattle-salesman in England stated the other day, that for a black polled Ox or heifer, or even a cow, he could find three buyers for one who would bid for an
s of cattle. Some place the small Devon blood side, if not even before it, in this respect; but with xception, we do not think that any other breed in the h Isles will on an average yield so high a percentage ld meat to live weight. In butes * s” well and “cuts up" admirably. In all the
• is held rkets in the country the breed is 0ck ma a rule, commands the wo
t prices—in fact, gener
Scotland that o' tenths of the famous Abe
ely. Nearly nine in the London mo"
Shorthorn 9 e polled to and o to the scarcio of polled
on, where the plump fail to find a ready
animal of any other variety; and that the longer he stood “week after week behind cattle in the markets,” his estimate of black polled cattle as beef-producers became greater and greater. At local fairs and sales of farmstock throughout the north-east of Scotland, lean black polled one and two year old cattle generally bring from £1 to £2 per head more than a corresponding class of roan horned crosses. An Aberdeen butcher of long and extensive experience states, that he considers it safe to give about 5s, more per cwt. for a well-fed polled animal than for a similarly finished horned cross. Among some not directly acquainted with the improved Aberdeen or Angus cattle, an idea has prevailed that the breed is slow in coming to maturity—that it grows slowly and fattens slowly. Formerly that may have been the case; indeed there is no doubt that it was. Now, however, the breed has been so greatly improved in that respect that it matures almost as early as any of the other leading breeds. When well fed from their birth, good specimens of the breed become ripe at the age of from twenty-four to twenty-eight months; and it is also worthy of note that animals of the breed that are being fattened will retain the levelness and quality of their flesh longer than those of most other kinds. At the Smithfield Club Show in London in 1879, the highest increase in weight per day from birth was shown by a two-year-and-nine-months-old steer of the polled Aberdeen or Angus breed, shown by Sir William Gordon Gordon Cumming, Bart. of Altyre, and bred by Mr Grant, Advie. At the Smithfield Club Show in London in 1880, the average daily increase in weight of the six steers of the polled Aberdeen and Angus breed under three years old was 1.78 lb., and that of the corresponding class of Shorthorn steers, 1.79 lb. In 1881 Sir W. G. G. Cumming won the Smithfield Champion Cup, and the cups for the best steer or ox and best heifer or cow, with two polled animals, each under three years old.
Since the rage for “young beef.” became so strong as it now is, a great many polled cattle have been fed off when from twenty-four to thirty months old; and at that age good animals bring from £25 to £35, a few even exceeding the latter sum. In the London Christmas market, choice three-year-old black polled bullocks bring from £40 to £48, and even in some cases over £80. In some years the late Mr M'Combie of Tillyfour obtained an average of more than £50 a-head for his best lot in the Smithfield market, and he sometimes exceeded £44 a-head all over. Great weights have been reached by specially good animals. Mr. M'Combie's celebrated ox Black Prince—the champion of 1867 already mentioned—came within a fraction of a ton in dead weight; while his prize ox at Poissy in 1857 weighed 2728 lb. at the age of 4 years and 4 months. A prize bull bred by Mr M'Combie, and the sire of one of the Tillyfour prize oxen at Poissy in 1862, was slaughtered at the age of two years, and his dead weight exceeded 14 cwt. The champion heifer Beauty, bred by Mr William Brown, Linkwood, Elgin, and the winner of many show-yard honours to Mr James Reid, Greystone, Mr John Cran, Kirkton, and others, was found to weigh, when slaughtered at the age of four years, more than 16 cwt. Two prize polled oxen bred by Mr Stephen, Conglass, weighed 164 cwt. each in the carcass, and were sold at £80 and £75 respectively. The prices obtained in the London Christmas market afford a fair indication of the weights of the best class of polled bullocks when fully fattened. Some years ago, cattle intended for that great market were kept till three and a half or four years old— in certain cases even longer—and then 11, 12, and 13 cwt. (dead weight) were common weights. Now the majority average from thirty to thirty-four months, and at that age the dead weight generally ranges from 7 to 8 or 9 cwt. Some choice animals even exceed 10 cwt. ; and the average of good well-finished thirty-month bullocks would be from