Edited by George E. Waring - [ 1. Volume of the American Herd Book 1871]
The "Alderney" cow has been held i high repute as a producer of cream and butter ever since the days when Tabitha Bramble wrote in 1771 , to Mrs Gwyllim, housekeeper at Brambleton Hall, "I am astonished that Mr. Lewis should take upon him to give away Alderney without my privity and concurrants .. Alderney gave four gallons a day ever since the calf was sent to the market". In 1844, Col. Le Couteur, Queens`s Aide-de-Camp in Jersey contributed to the Royal Aagricultural Society of England an essay on "The Jersey, misnamed Alderney Cow", Which is here copied, nearly entire, from the Society`s Journal, vol V, p. 43.:
"The breed of cattle familiarly known throughout Great Britain as the Alderney, and correctly termed, in the article "Cattle" of the "Library of Useful Knowledge", the crumpled "horned", was originally Norman, it is conceived, as cows very similar to them i form and color are to be seen in various parts of Normandy, and Brittany also: but the difference in their milking and creaming qualities is really astonishing, the Jersey cow producing nearly double the quantity of butter.
The race is miscalled Alderney as far as Jersey is in question; for about seventy years since, Mr. Dumaesq, of St. Peter`s, afterwards the chief magistrate, sent some of the best Jersey cow to his father-in-law, the then proprietor of Alderney; so that the Jersey was already at that period, an improved, and superior to the Alderney, race. It has since been vastly amended in form, and generally so in various qualities, though the best of those recorded at that period gave as much milk and butter as the best may do now.
Ten years have elapsed since the attempt was first made by fixed rules to improve the form and quality of the Jersey cow. A few gentlemen, presided over by the then Lieutenant-Governor, Major-General Thornton, selected two beautiful cows, with the best qualities, as models. One of these was held to be perfet in her barrel and fore-quarters, the other equally so in her hind-quarters. From these two following points wee laid down to be the rule for governing the judges in all the cattle-shows of the Jersey Agricultural Society.
The accuracy of this arrangement is proved by the fact that no deviation from it has been made, the experience of ten years having only added to the scale the points for general appearance and condition. The evil was, and still exists, that most Jersey farmers, like many others, never thought of crossing with a view to improvement, conscious of possessing a breed excellent for the production of rich milk and cream - milk so rich in some cows that it seems like what is sometimes called cream in cities - and cream so much richer, that, from a verdant pasture in spring, it appears like clouted cream. But the Jersey farmer sought no further. He was content to possess an ugly, ill-formed animal, with flat sides, wide between the ribs and hips, cat-ha,med, narrow and high hips, with a hollow back.
She had always possessed the head of a fawn, a soft eyes, an elegant crumpled horn, small ears, yellow within, a clean neck and throat, fine bones, a fine tail; above all, a wellformed, capacious udder, with large, swelling milk-veins.
Content with these qualities, the only question in the selection of a bull among the most judicious farmers was, Is the breed a good one? Meaning, solely, Had its progenitors been renowned for their milking and creaming qualities? But the mere attention to this was one of primary importance in a circumscribed spot like Jersey; it may have been quite sufficient to establish a hereditary superiority in the most needful quality.
It may also have established it with a rapidity that could not have been obtained in a wide-extended country like France. Hence, perhaps, the present superiority of the Jersey over the French breed.
The Jersey cow is a singularly docile and gentle animal; the male, on the contrary, is apt to become fierce after two years of age. In those bred on the heights on St. Ouen, St. Brelade and St. Mary, there is a hardness and sound constitution that enables them to meet even a Scotch winter without injury; those bred in the low grounds and rich pastures are of larger carcass, but are more delicate, in constitution.
Of the ancient race, it was stated, perhaps with thruth, that it had no tendency to fatten; indeed, some cows of the old breed were so ungainly, high-boned, and ragged in form; Meg Merrilies of cows, that no attempt to fatten them might succeed - the great quantities of milk and cream which they produced probably absorbing all their fattening properties.
Yet careful attention to crossing has greatly remedied this defect. By having studied the habits of a good cow with a little more tendency to fatten than others, and crossing her with a fleshy, well-conditioned bull of a race that was also known to produce quality and quantity of butter, the next generation has proved of a rounder form, with a tendency to make fat, without having lost the butyraceous nature.
Some of these improved animals have fattened so rapidly while being stall-fed, from the month of December to March, as to suffer in parturition, when both cow and calf have been lost; to prevent which, it is indispensable to lower the condition of the cow, or to bleed in good time. Such animals will fatten rapidly. Their beef is excellent, the only defect being in the color of the fat, which is sometimes too yellow. It is now a fair question whether the improved breed may not fatten as rapidly as any breed known.
Quayle, who wrote the "Agricultural Survey of Jersey", states "that the Ayrshire was a cross between the short-horned breed and the Alderney".
There is a considerable affinity between these two breeds. The writer has noticed Ayrshire cows that seemed to be of Jersey origin, but none of them were said to have produced so large in quantity of cream or butter; nor was the butter in Scotland of nearly so deep a tinge of yellow as the most rich in Jersey. One Jersey cow that produces very yellow cream will give a good color to butter produced from two cows affording a pale-colored cream.
It is not doubted that crosses from the Jersey breed have taken place. Field-Marshal Conway, tehe governor of this "sequestered isle", as Horace Walpole termed it, and Lieutenant-General Andrew Gordon, who succeeded him, nearly half a century back, both sent some of the best cattle to England and Scotland. If pains were taken, the race and its consequents might be distinctly traced, which might lead to important results in breeding.
The grand desideratum is to discover a breed that will be useful to the grazier, the dairyman and the small farmer. In so small a spot as Jersey, it is difficult to cross the breed essentially - a great step towards it is gained by crossing cattle bred in the low, rich pastures with those of the exposed hills on the western or northern coast; these being smaller, finer boned, of a more hardy constitution, and feeding on a short, rich bite, impart strength of constitution and harrdihood to the larger and more delicate animals of the sheltered low grounds.
It is believed that cattle are generally more healthy and free from epidemics here than in most countries. This may be attributable in some measure to the saline particles which, being so frequently in suspension over the island, are afterwards deposited on the herbage, and tend to its salubrity. After heavy gales, it is frequently found that the grass all across the island has a strong saline flavour. So partial are cattle to this flavour, that they will greedily devour grass which has been watered with seawater which they previously rejected. Two pipes per acre, spread from an ordinary watering-cart, or from a pipe which may be made to pour into a long deal-box, perforated with holes, will be found of great utility where sea-water or salt can be obtained at small cost.
The Jersey farmer treats his cow with gentleness and care; it might be more correct to say that his wife does so. On good farms she is usually housed at night, after the end of October to the end of February, if heavy rain, hail, or snow prevail. It is deemed to be healthful to give a cow a short run daily through the winter, excepting in stormy weather. At this season, which is usually several degrees warmer than in the mildest part of Devonshire, she is fed with a certain portion of straw, from 10lbs to 20 lbs of hay, with about 10 lbs to 20 lbs of parsnips, white carrots, turnips, or mangold-wurzel.
The small portion of grass which she may pick up in the winter, with the above quantity of food, enables her to produce a ich and well-colored sample of butter till within six weeks of parturition.
At this period, which is usually regulated to take place the month of March or April, just when the cow, being in full milk, may soon be placeed on the fresh spring pasture in April or May, she is an object of extreme care. On calvin, sehe is given a warm potation of cider, with a little powdered ginger. Quayle hints that pet cows are further indulged with a toast in their caudle.
The calf is taken from the cow at once, and fed by hand. It may be well to advise that, on the first occasion of calving, the calf should be allowed to draw the cow fully; for no milking by hand will so completely empty the udder, nor cause the milk-veins to swell to their full development, as will the suction of the claf.
Some of the early meadows produce rich grass in March; but the general flush of grass, which comes on generally late in april, is the period when the Jersey farmer looks forward with anxiety. The cow is then tethered to the ground by means of a halter, 5 or 6 feet long; this is appended by a ring and swivel to a chain which encircles her horns, closed by a ring and bar; the other end of the halter is fastened to a chain 6 or 8 feet long, which is connected by a swivel and ring to a stout iron stake a foot long: this is driven into the ground by means of a wooden mallet. The cow, having this circular range of 12 feet or more, is compelled to eat it clean. She is usually moved thrice a day, and milked morning and evening, on many farms at midday also. Under this system, the writer has owned four cows that produced 48lbs Jersey, or above 51 lbs imperial weight, of rich yellow butter per week in the month of May and part of June.
In very hot weather, in July or August, it is advisable to shelter the cow from the heat and flies; otherwise, these tease cows to such a degree, b forcing them to run about incessantly, that they have no time for repose or for chewing the cud; they, in consequence, afford much lee milk or cream.
It was anciently thought that cream from the Jersey cow was too rich for making cheese. Mr Le Feuvre, of La Hogue, who has a fine breed of cows, tried the experiment two years since, and succeeded to admiration. It was made from the pure milk, cream and all, as it comes from the cow. It was found that the quantity of milk would have produced a pound of butter afforded 1½ lb of cheese.
From the quantity of milk which produced a cheese of 20 lbs weight, the drainings of the curds and whey, on being churned, yielded 4 lbs of butter. This butter was of an inferior quality when eaten with bread, but was superior to any other for the making of pastry; it was peculiarly hard, and of excellent texture for such use in hot weather. The writer has tasted cheeses from Mr. Le Feuvre`s farm quite equal in quality to the richest double-Glo`ster.
On one or tow farms besides General Fouzel`s, butter is made from clouted cream in the Devonshire mode; but as this is not peculiar to Jersey, it is not noticed further than that 10 lbs of butter are usually made in five minutes by this process. The usual way of procuring the cream is by placing the milk in pans about 6 inches deep -the glazed shallow earthenware having taken place of the unglazed deep vessels.
It is admitted that the richest milk and cream are produced by cows whose ears have a yellow or orange color within. Some of the best cows give 26 quarts of milk in 24 hours, and 14 lbs of butter from such milk in one week. Such are rare. Goods cows aford 20 quarts of milk daily, and 10 lbs of butter weekly, in the spring and summer months. Butter is made every second or third day."
In vol. xx of the same journal (1859) there is an essay on "The Agriculture of the Island of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, and Sark", by C.P. Le Cornu, from which the following extracts are made , as bearing upon the subject in hand:
"Jersey, the largest and most easterly of the group, lies in latitude 49º N., longitude 2º 22' W., being at a distance of 18 to 20 miles from the nearest coast of France. In form it is that of an irregular parallelogram, 11 miles long and 5½ miles wide. The surface of the island is intersected by a continuation of valleys, which, in general run from north to south, gradually increasing in depth and width as they approach the south, until they in many places unite and form small but fertil plains. On the northern side, the coast rises abruptly above the level of the sea to a height ranging from 250 to 400 feet, whereas on its southern side it is in most places on a level with the water`s edge; .... With regard to climate, it is mild and temperate, the heat never excessive, nor yet the cold intense; the winters are such that it is not a rare occurrence for one to pass by without a flake of snow falling, or even the thermometer to remain above freezing point; during the winter months rain is most prevalent.
When we consider the large population living on so small a surface -that there are two inhabitants to every acre -we almost wonder whence they derive their resources; but we must bear in mind that, although situated on a rocky bed, the soil of Jersey is particularly rich, and highly productive. The rock is of the primary formation, void of any organic remains, chiefly granite, syenite, gneiss, pophyry and schist, with other varieties belonging to this series. It might be supposed that the fact of the soil reposing on so rocky a bottom might produce meagreness, but it is not the case. The soil is a rich loam, varying in lightness, in accordance with the stratum bebeath it; if granite or syenite, it is lighter than where the other varieties of rock are found. The cause to which this difference is attributable is, that immediately between the granite and cultivated soil is a layer of coarse gravel, which acts as constant drainage, whereas where the granite and syenite disappear no gravel is found, but a light clay forms the layer between the soil and rock. As a general rule, the eastern district of the island may be said to belong to the latter formation, and the western to be more closely allied to the former; but in both cases there are exceptions. For certain kinds of produce the one is more esteemed than the other, but the universal opinion throughout the island is, that the eastern district is the richest and most productive. To bear this out, it will only be necessary to state that the rent of land is considerably higher in this than than in the other; and by comparing the two closely, it will be found that the calyey bottom is the most advantageous; being rententive of moisture, it protects plants against drought; it also retains the properties of manure, which, in thinner and more open soils are washed down by rain and lost; from this last remark, it is not to be inferred that the soil of the island in any one part is altogether deficient of certain retaining properties; what is wished to be impressed is, that the varieties of soil are numerous, and differ, as has been said, in accordance with the strata immediately beneath. Here it will also be well to observe that certain localities in the vicinity of bays have, through the violence of the wind from olden times become extremely light and sandy, but they nevertheless are tilled, and have in many places become highly fertile, especially in the parish of St. Clemens, which may be termed the garden of Jersey, from its great and early productiveness. Jersey is well studded with trees, much more so than either of the other islands; the oak, elm, chestnut and ash, are seen growing luxuriantly, but particularly the apple-tree may be noticed; formerly a large portion of land was devoted to the culture of this fruit-tree, but of late many have been destroyed, and replaced by the ordinary crops of grain, grass, roots &c.
The great subdivision of property has caused farms to be of very small extent. The law of the island does not permit land or rents inherited to be devised by will, but they must follow the law of succession; on the demise of a proprietor, the eldest son takes as his birthright the house &c., with rather more than two acres of land adjoining, also one-tenth of the entire landed property and rents; the remainder is then shared, two-thirds among sons, and one-third among daughters, but in no case can a daughter take a larger share than a son. Thus, large estates become very much divided, but in most cases the eldest branch purchases some of the portions allotted to the junior members, who have commonly turned their minds to professional or mercantile occupations. Very many houses will be found to which only 2 or 3 acres are attached, whilst others have 20 or 30, but en estate which contains 15 acres is by no means considered a small one, and rarely do any exceed 50 or 60 acres; there may, perhaps, be 6 or 8 such in the whole island. However limited may appear the size of these farms, still their value is considerable. The following are the prices at which land has been letting of late years, viz: In the immediate vicinity of St. Helier`s £9 3 per acre; at a distance of 2 or 3 miles 6£ 10s. to 7£ 10s; beyond that 4£ 10s. to 6£.
Bearing these prices in mind, it will be observed that farming must be carried on with great care and attention, and that the farmers must be ever watching how to turn his occupation to the greates advantage, otherwise his business would prove a failure. In Jersey, almost every family residing in the country cultivate some portion of land adjoining their house; if but a garden, they grow fruit and vegetables for the markets; and if they have 1½ to 2 acres of land, they keep a cow, two or three pigs, and some poultry, increasing their stock in proportion to the extent of their occupation.
A farm of 20 acres, as before mentioned, will, with few exceptions (where meadow land or orchards predominate), be distributed as follows:
| || acres|
| Hay and pasture|| 10|
| Turnips..................... || 2|
| Mangolds.................... || 1|
| Parsnips.................... || 1|
| Carrots..................... || 0 3/4|
| Potatoes.................... || 2|
| Wheat....................... || 3¼|
| || 20 |
The stock usually kept will consist of:
| Horses....................... || 2|
| Cows......................... || 6|
| Heifers...................... || 6|
| Pigs......................... || 8|
To manage the above, and keep the whole in proper order, will require the constant attention of 4 persons -2 men and 2 women. In most cases the farmer has not recourse to assistance beyond that of his own immediate household; it is, indeed, a rare occurrence for a tenant-farmer to hold a farm of tis extent unless he can rely upon his own family for assistance.
In Jersey, horned cattle constitute the mainstay of agriculture; it is that upon which the farmer chiefly depends for money to pay his rents. Although the Jersey cow has been the subject of much notice in different publications, and is known to all who turn their attention to agriculture, still, within these pages, some remarks on the originality, value, and peculiarities of the breed are indispensable. The animal known in England and elsewhere under the name of Alderney cow is the same which is now under our consideration. The reason for the breed going under the name of Alderney is, that from that island the first were exported to England. At present but few are obtained from ALderney. In form the Jersey cow is deer-like, and small in size; the colours mostly prized are the light red and white, the brown and the fawn; brindled specimens are rarely seen; they are not at all valued, and may be purchased extremely cheap. The cow is naturally quiet, so much so taht a mere child can manage it.
In order to derive the greatest possible advantage from his cows, the Jersey farmer endeavours to arrange for them to calve during the first three months of the year; that is, when vegetation speedily advances. In the winter cattle are always housed at night: when they come in (about four o`clock in the afternoon) they are milked, after which each receives about threefourths of a bushel of roots and a little hay; they are then left until eight o`clock, when a bundle of straw is given to each one. The following morning they are attended to at six o`clock, or even before that hour; having been milked, they again receive the same allowance of roots and hay as before-mentioned, and at nine o`clock are turned out, if fine, in some sheltered field or orchard; then the stables are cleaned out, and the bedding renewed if required. Cows are dried one month or six weeks before calving; bran mashes are given to them about the time of parturition and continued for a fortnight after the calf is born; at no other time do they receive this food. Bull calves intended for the butcher receive the cow`s milk for about a month or six weeks, then they are considered fit for sale. A good calf will sell for about fifty shillings, some for more, but many for less. If the calf be a heifer she is always reared, and kept in the island until she is two years old; when, if not required, she is sold for exportation. Returning to the cow: two weeks or so after calving, if the weather be very fine, she is turned out to grass in the daytime: it is the custom in all the Channel Islands to tether cattle; the tethers are amde of small chain; a spike about one foot long is attached at one end and driven into the ground; the other end is tied to the cow`s halter, the latter being made fast at the base of her horns; the length of these tethers is altogether about four yards. During the day cattle are frequently moved, generally every three hours, and sometimes oftener; drink is given to them in the morning on leaving the stable, and at noon; if it be summer-time, they receive it also in the evening. About the month of May they are allowed to remain out at night, and continue so until the end of October, when the system of housing above described recommences. During summer cows are frequently milked three times a-day; and when the weather becomes very warm they are brought into the stable for a few hours, else they would be tormented by the flies. At this period (height of summer) a great diminution takes place in their milk; but as the heat ceases towards the fall, it rapidly springs up again to what it was in the spring: this is the time when butter is crocked for winter supply. A cow is in her prime at six years of age, and continues good until ten years old; many are kept that are much older, but then they begin to fall off. In general, cows have their first calf when much too young; at two years old is the usual time, but then their produce is small, and continues so for at least a twelvemonth, when it gradually increases until it arrives at maturity. A good cow on the average gives fourteen quarts of milk per day, or eight or nine pounds of butter per week: instances are common of cows giving twelve or even fourteen pounds of butter in one week, but that is above the average figure.
Limited as may appear the agriculture of Jersey, it has nevertheless attracted, in several instances, the atention of strangers. In the fall of 1856 the Agricultural Society of the Department of "La Seine Inférieure," in France, deputed two learned members of that society to the island, in order to report particularly on the process followed in the manufacturing of cider, and also to collect information on the general system of farming practised. The report appeared in the French language some time after, under the title of "Excursion Agricole à Jersey, par M.M.J. Girardin, Professor de Chimie à l`Ecole Départementale de la Seine Inférieure, et J. Molière, Professor d`Agriculture du Département du Calvados". In giving an account of their visit to Jersey, the writers dwell particularly on the varieties of apples used for cider-making, and the manner in which it is made, and observe that some of the cider which they had occasion to taste was far preferable to anything they had met with in France. On the rotation of crops they say:
1st. A great proportion of land is devoted to the cultivation of roots and grass, or what is necessary for the maintenance of cattle.
2nd. That only one sort of grain (i.e. wheat) is grown.
3rd. That by growing so large a proportion of root-crops the soil receives the greatest possible advantage it can obtain, either in manure from the extra number of cattle kept, or in cleanliness from the great attention which root-crops demand.
4th. That the great variety of food given to cattle tends greatly to keep them in a better state of health.
5th. That by the system followed, a larger proportion of cattle can be maintained than by that which is followed in the northern departments of France.
In conclusion , they speak of the Jersey cow in the highest terms, and admit its pre-eminence for richness of milk over the best of theirs; for whereas in Jersey from thirteen to sixteen quarts of milk are sufficient to make two lbs. of butter, they admit that not less than twenty-eight quarts of milk of their best cows are required to make the same quantity".
The following letter, received from Col. Le Couteur in response to enquiries made in behalf of the Club, will also be of interest:
Belle Vue, Jersey, september 14, 1869.
Dear Sir: I fear that my absence from Jersey will render this letter of no avail to you for the publiation of your Herd-Book, spoken of in your letter to me of the 30th of June last.
I have only experiences to add to anything I may have written in my essay on the Jersey cow in the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, in 1844, which has reappeared in the Transactions of the New York State Agricultural Society of 1850.
Our farmers have not the singular variety of ideas as to the appearance and character of our breed which you describe to prevail among the members of your Club. Our breed is believed to be a local pure breed, its original milking and butyraceous qualities having been improved, more than three-quarters of a century back, by carefully crossing in the line; in that view, then, without much regard to beauty of form. Later, since the formation of our present Society, of which I was the first honorary Secretary in 1834, great attention has been constantly paid to combine beauty of form with butterproducing habits.
The outline history of our breed is this: In the year 1789, the Jersey cow was already considered so good, so superior to any then known, I imagine, that an act of our local legislature (which for such ends is quite independent of the British Parliament) was passed, by which the importation into Jersey of cow, heifer, calf, or bull was prohibited, under the penalty of two hundred livres, with the forfeitue of boat and tackle, besides a fine of fifty livres to be imposed on every sailor on board who did not inform of the attempt at importation. Moreover, the animal was decreed to be immediately slaughtered, and its flesh given to the poor. Later laws are equally stringent; no foreign horned cattle are ever allowed to come to Jersey but as butcher`s meat.
Guernsey cattle are not deemed foreign, but there are scarecely ever a dozen of that breed in our island. They are of larger bone and carcass, considered to be coarse, though famous milkers, requiring much more food than the Jersey. Our judges at our cattle-shows have discarded both them and their progeny.
Those enterprising American farmers who have visited Jersey, and have found a marked difference to exist between the cattle of the Eastern district and those of the Western district, being cursory visitors, may not have been made aware of what I am to state. I believe the type to be the same. The difference in appearance is thus accounted for: The north and north-west coast of Jersey is high and precipitous, a bold syenite rock, rising two hundred and more feet from the level of the sea. Its nearest shelter in a westerly or south-westerly direction is the island of Newfoundland, or the British-American shore. South-West gales prevail here nine months out of the twelve. While I am writing, a hurricane from the south-west has burst over us, and burned all the exposed trees like a flame; it has ruined scores of orchards and gardens, levelled many trees, leaving the pastures like damaged hay. Hence this elevated coast has usually a short, scant, rich, nutritious herbage, from being so frequently saturated with saline moisture. Thus the cattle on this side are small, finelimbed, and hardy.
The southward half of Jersey may be called an inclined plane, gradually and beautifully slanting to the sea-shore, watered by innumerable streams. A part of it is a rich alluvial soil and meadow land - so sheltered and warmed as to produce fruit and vegetables a fornight or three weeks sooner than in my neighborhood. The cattle of this district are, consequently, fed on a richer pasture. They are larger in carcass, some think handsomer, than those of the upland. I consider them to be more delicate.
The late Earl Spenccer, and former President of the Royal Agricultural Society, England, the able and worthy contemporary of Bates, Booth and other noted shorthorn breeders, had a fine little herd of Jersey cows. When on a visit to him at Althorp, in 1839, he strongly advised me to recommend our farmers never to to venture on a foreign cross, nor with shorthorns or devons; merely to cross the cowss of the low, rich pastures with the hardy bulls of the exposed northern coasts, and vice versa. We had established a character in our cows for creaming and milking habits peculiar to our crumpled-horned race, to hold to that alone, by which means our breed might continue as renowned in the next century as it has been so in the present one. Many have held to that sound advice.
I shall be much honored by receiving a copy of your Jersey Herd Book, and shall, moreover, feel much gratified if what I have written shall prove interesting or useful to you.
Believe me to be, dear sir,
Yours very truly
(Signed) J.Le Couteur.
To Col. Geo. E. Waring, Jr., Secretary, etc.
N.B. - We have never had rinderpest or cattle-plague in Jersey".
Dr. L.H. Twaddell, a member of the Club, and one of the earliest breeders of Jersey cattle, visited the Channel Islands in 1865, and, soon after his return, made a report to the Philadelphia Society for promoting Agriculture, of which the following is an abstract:
"Three thousand Jersey cows and heifers, and about 1,200 Guernseys, are exported from the islands every year.
The Jersey cow is of a medium size. Her peculiar deer-like aspect distinguishes her from the Guernsey. Her head is long and slender, the muzzle fine, and usually encircled with a lighter color; the nose is black, and the large, dreamy eyes encircled with a black band; occasionally the nose is of a buff color, when there is a corresponding buff band around the eye; the horns are usually short, small at the base,, tapering, and tipped with black.
This latter is one of the requirements of "the scale of points", and when, as occassionally happens, an animal deviates from the standard, being what is termed "wild-horned", the Jerseyman has an appliance consisting of a strong wire clamp, with a arrangement of screws, which he affixes to the horns of the growing beast, and, by dint of filing and screwing up, eventually gives them the orthodox bend.
The limbs of the Jersey are very slender and fine, her hips broad and develope, her neck is slender and rather long, and the body in the best specimens rotund and approximating to the shorthorn model somewhat, yet with sufficient angularity to ensure milking propensities.
The abdomen is well developed, giving evidence of sound nutrition: the external abdominal or milk veins convoluted and prominent; the udder, broad, running well forward and well up behind; teats squarcely placed, rather short than otherwise, and of a fine yellow tint.
The Jerseys are of all shades of colour, from a pale yellow fawn, running through all the intermediate hues, even occasionally to a red, an intermixture of black and grey gray, known as French gray, and that merging into black with an amber-colored band along the back, the muzzle invariably shaded with a lighter color; and individuals are often seen black and white, or pure black, unrelieved by any other color.
A yellow brindle is sometimes seen, but this is by no means a favorite.
The darker colors are the most popular in England, from the belief that they are hardier in constitution and bear the climate better, but this opinion does not accord with our experience in America, where the alternations from heat to cold are much more decided and severe. Here I think I may say with safety that no difference has been observed in constitution or ability to endure our burning summer heats or the cold of our Northern winters.
The care of cows and dairy devolves entirely on the female members of the family, whilst the farmer attends to his growing crops, or busies himself in the other duties of his little farm.
The cow are tethered with a rope passing around of the horns, with a chain and swivel attached, and are fastened to pegs driven in the ground; they are moved to fresh grass two or three times daily. Should they pe pastured in the orchards, an additional rope passes from the halter to each foreleg, and, thus tied down, they are prevented from regaling themselves with the tempting apples which load the low-hanging boughs under which they graze.
The method of milking cows is somewhat peculiar, the milking and straining the milk being done at one operation; the milkmaid, with her tin pail, linen strainer, and seashell, proceeds to the pasture; seating herself beside her cow, she soon completes her arrangements; the linen is securely tied over the narrow-mouthed tin bucket, and, placing the large shallow seashell on the strainer, with vigorous hands she directs the milky streams into the shell; quickly overflowing the shallow brim, the milk passes through the strainer into the receptacle beneath. This primitive method has been in vogue for more than a century; they claim for it the merit of perfect cleanliness.
Whilst overlooking the operation, I could understand the use of the strainer clearly enough, but the employment of the shell rather puzzled me, until the milkmaid informed me that it was to prevent the attrition of the streams of milk from wearing a hole in the strainer; this solved the mysteri.
The alves are kept stabled during the first year, and fed on green food during the summer; in the second year they are tetherede out.
The heifers are allowed to have calves at about two years old, and come in profit in April or May, when there is more demand for them in the English market.
The bulls are kept stabled all the year; in a large number that I saw not one was ringed, and I understood that it was never done in this islands; not one of those I examined was in any way vicious. M. Le Gallais (the owner of the prize bull, of Jersey, for 1865), an excellent judge, told me that in his opinion it was due to their being constantly tied up and daily handled.
The bulls are slaughtered at three years old; the opinion prevails there that the offspring of young bulls have most vigor and stamina.
In the year 1849, the Royal Jersey Agricultural Society established a scale of points for Jersey cattle as guide to the jduges in awarding the premiums. Thirty-six points established perfection. No prize can be awarded to a cow having less than 29 points, nor can one be awarded to a heifer having less than 26 points. A cow having 27 points, and a heifer 24 points, without a pedigree, are allowed to be branded, but cannot win a prize. [See note at page 9]
The term pedigree is employed to signify the offspring of a prize, or decorated male or female. The brand is burned on the horn, and are the letters J.A.S. (Jersey Agricultural Society).
Besides the Royal Jersey Society, each parish has a stock-breeders` club; the clubs hold their parish shows the month preceding the Royal Jersey; they decorate their prize winners in the same manner by branding with the initial letters of the parish and club, as, for instance, St. Saviours`s Club, "St.S.C."
A choice cow is sometimes seen whose horns are literally covered with brands, perhaps winning Parish and Royal Jersey prizes two or three years in succession.
Many breeders will not allow their animals branded on account of the disfigurement it produces.
The Guernsey is a larger animal, coarser in the head and heavier in bone; the horns are longer and thicker at the base, not usually crumpled; the rump is more apt to assume that peculiar droop which seems a characteristic of the breed, and there is a want of that symmetry and neatness of form that mark the highly bred Jersey, but as a dairy cow she is fully her equal; for quality of milk and butter she cannot be excelled; the skin is of a splendid rich, yellow hue, and the udder and teats are tinted with chrome.
The head of the Guernsey is larger, and the muzzle broader, and the eye not so prominent as the Jersey; the nose is usually of a rich yellow or buff; the eye banded with the same color.
The colors of the Guernsey are fawn, running through the various shades to a deep red, an umber brown, and a peculiar yellow brindle, which is a favorite here.
Although larger than the Jersey, I do not think they fatten quite as kindly as the latter, which has the advantage of a smoother and more rotund form.
This thinness and want of condition may be owing in a great degree to the fact that the pasturage is less luxuriant in Guernsey, and also that the Guernseymen are less solicitous about the figure and style of their animals, being satisfied if the animal is a performer at the pail -where she seldom disappoints.
The cattle of the Island of Alderney (which is the third in size of the Channel group) have a want of uniformity, attributable to the fact that they are the offspring of stock brought from Jersey and Guernsey, crossed and recrossed until all individuality as a breed is lost.
Some are neat and deer-like; others are larger and heavier, approaching the Guernsey type.
The island being small and rocky, the pasturages scanty, very few cattle are bred, and, as a consequence, the breed does not receive the care and attention that is given on the other islands.
It is us a dairy animal that the Channel Islands cow puts forth her claim for consideration.
Coming into notice after several of the leading British breeds had acquired a world-wide celebrity, her advocates had to contend with the prejudice of English stock-growers and dairymen, who could not be made to believe that anything not English bred could have merit. And forsooth, this stock, French bred, with true John Bull antipathy, they at once decidede must be worthless. But latterly this feeling towards their French neighbors has been wonderfully modified, and as the entente cordiale is now firmly established, Anglo-Norman cattle, among many other products from across the Channel, have found favor in England. The English dairymen have been induced to try them, and finding they produced more and better butter than the much-vaunted English breeds, have looked at the pound sterling side of the account, and, her consequence, have substituted the despised little Channel Islander for the queenly Short-Horn.".
The following article from Appletons`s Journal, January 1, 1870 will not be without interest to those who care to know something more than the simply agricultural features of the Channel Islands:
"The Channel Islands.
In a deep bay of the north-west coast of France, opposite to the centre of the south coast of England, lies a cluster of rocky islets, but little visited by the outlying world, and but lately brought to the cognizance of the great brotherhood of literature by becoming the retreat whence to indignant soul of Victor Hugo has poured forth its warnings and its thunders.
They are interesting from their peculiar position, geographically, historically, and artistically; and, from the fact of the principal one of them having given a name to the city and State which fobids fair to rival the maritime metropolis of the United States, they deserve more than a passing notice.
Only four of them are inhabited: Sark, by one family and their dependents; Alderney, by the Government officers of the Harbor of Refuge and a few fishermen; Guernsey, by a thriving seafaring population; and Jersey, by one of the most complete colonies of small gentility possible to conceive. All these have preserved to this day their ancient forms through all the political disturbances of eight centuries. When the Norman mail-clad warriors debated at Rouen the question of their invasion of Saxon England, many of the lords of feudal territories in the Channel Islands were in the conclave, just as some of their grandsons took part in the other great march eastward of those fearless buccaneers, under Godfrey of Boullon, whose castle still looks over the narrow strait of seven miles of stormy sea dviding Coutances and Jersey. Channel Islanders fought with Roger in the conquest of Sicily, and routed Alexis, the Emperor of Constantinople, on the shore of Butrinto. This story is ludicrously particularized by the Emperor`s daughter, Anna Comnena, the historian of her times. The expedition, which dailed from Sicily for the conquest of the Eastern world, met with misfortune from its outset. Storms and tempests, hunger, and finally disease, had thinned their ranks and broken their pride, so that the Byzantine army found their tents tenanted by only five hundred knights, attenuated by short commons and prostrated by fever
Their gesture sad,
Investing lank, lean checks and war-worn coats,
Presenteth them unto the gazing moon
So many horrid ghosts`-
as the genius of Shakespeare portrayed the famished host of Plantagenet Henry`s ragged array at Agincourt. No wonder that the rich and overfed Orientals treated them as the Constable of France did the famished Englishmen offered them ransom, "that their souls might make a peaceful retire from off the fields where, wretches, their poor bodies must lie and fester". But such terms did not suit the Norman mind. They donned their rusty armor, and gave the Emperor so hearty a lesson that his daughter chronicles that he never stopped in his headlong retreat till he reached the gates of the Hellespont. He never tried them again.
Of course, during the reign of the first five kings, Normandy was part of the English realm; but, when King John was defeated by Philip Augustus, and the French wrested it from his sceptre, the Channel Islands had to make their choice of nationality, and they followed their crown. Since that day, there has never been war between the two nations, but a descent has been made and successfully resisted, but not one sun`s setting has witnessed the French flag on their shores, though many a bloody day has been fought out between the stout islanders and their near neighbours. The inventory of the families and their lands of King John`s day is still extant; the heraldic records, and many of the deeds of knight`s service and other feudal tenures of possession, still remain in the Herald`s College of Rouen, the capital of the ancient duchy to which they then belonged. The lawcourts, the petty jurisdictions, even the terms, are all Norman French, as is all the language of agricultural labour, to this day. Hence, during the long troubles of the Huguenot persecution, the Channel Islands became the retreat of the routed Protestants, who found a ready asylum identical in language as in faith; and, in later times, Royalists and Republicans, Orleanists and Reds, have hailed the snug haven of St. Helier`s of Jersey as the paradise of exile, from which their longing eyes can see the fair shores of France - for ever distant, yet for ever near.
No taxes or imposts have ever been laid upon these fortunate lands. No customhouse officials here prey upon the friendless stranger. Their southern climate and sea-girt situation ensure them a mild and genial atmosphere even in the depth of winter, and, where the formation of the ground affords a shelter, the vegetation, watered by a thousand rills, attains an almost tropical verdure. Their neighboring coasts and shoals afford a boundless supply of fish; the celebrated Rochers de Cancale yield the most nooted and delicious oysters of the European gourmand, ignorant of the superior dainty of the Shrewsbury and Saddlerock; while their unrivalled breed of cattle gives them an opportunity of a market in every agricultural country on the face of the globe. The islanders have not yet been slow to avail themselves of these advantages. Their soil is so fertile that the cows only require the circuit of their tether for food in the rich pasture and the seasons are never severe enough to require their house-shelter. Their apples and pears are renowned in the fruit-culture, and their wonderful crops of potatoes find a ready market, without any dues, in England; while they draw all their daily supplies from France, the markets being crowded from Coutances or Granville, ports on the other side of the narrow strait, or from St. Malo, only four hours` daily steam-transport from St. Helier`s. Colleges and schools being plentiful, excellent, and far cheaper than in England, have attracted families, to whom the inexpensiveness as well as abundance of household supplies has been a temptation, to this almost suburban retreat from England. Their quarries pave the streets of London; their pilots navigate the royal and mercantile fleets. Timber being imported free of all duty, shipbuilders`yards line St. Helier`s Bay. There is almost daily steam-communication both with London and Paris, and crowds of excursionists come gladly to be fleeced by the inn and lodging-house keepers. No wonder the islands flourish, and their valleys laugh and sing! Not even religious controversy - that direst bane of civilized communities - has as yet disturbed "the even tenor of their way". The population, having been uniformly Puritan or Huguenot, has resisted all contact with Romanism effectually, and the Pope only reckons subjects among the foreign and alien residents of the Channel Islands. One of the two services in the churces is invariably conducted in the French language, which is spoken with remarkable purity by the higher circles. Hence a Jersey pastor, the son of a poor miller, who rose by his talents to be vie-chancellor of the University of Oxford, and died, two years ago, Bishop of Peterborough, was selected, in 1861, to preach in the Abbey of Westminister to the guests of England at the Great Exhibition of all nations, and astonished the educated foreigners by the grace and purity of his French idiom. The whole expenses of government are defrayed by the English crown, which maintains military governors, garrisons the forts, and pays the militia, recruited on the Prussian model, every male adult being compelled to serve a definite period in drill, and being liable to service in the narrow circle of his home in case of war. Under these circumstances, military life is made a pleasure, and, the rifles and ammunition being always at hand, the hardy fishermen and oyster-dredgers, rocking on a clam sea, amuse themselves in their leisure by friendly emulation in shooting-matches at birds and rocks, and the frequent encounters between parishes and regiments on shore for small prizes at the fairs and revels, which still keep up the memory of the old Norman festivals, give ample opportunities of testing their skill. It is not an uncommon thing for one out of the four regiments of Jersey militia to boast of one hundred men of their rank and file who can be backed to hit the bull`s-eye at five hundred yards.
Upon all considerations, therefore, the Channel Islands have a fair claim to be thought to have succeeded to those fortunate islands of the West, whose existence had puzzled the brains of the learned before the hopes they gave rise to culminated in the discovery of the Western Hemisphere by Columbus. Though lying out of the great track of travel, they are yet in the very centre of trade and civilization; untrammelled by legislation or customhouses, they have free scope for the development of their rich natural resources; too small to invite political demagogism, and too insignificant for priestly domination, they flourish in even, happy contentment, in the enjoyment of a climate, a soil, and a society, completely free from the disturbances which afflict and often destroy larger and more celebrated but not so free and favored communities.
There have been many theories advanced concerning the origin of the Jersey breed of cattle, but the writer has been unable to find satisfactory evidence of the truth of any of them. It is quite certain that, however this breed may have originated, it has been vastly modified by the circumstances under which it has so long been cultivated; and it seems to me that we need not look beyond these circumstances for the causes of its peculiarities. It is apparent from Col Le Couteur`s letter that there are two distinct classes of Jersey cattle within a region hardly larger than Staten Island, New York. As the inhabitants of these islands are within easy reach of the principal market-place, it is natural to suppose that interchanges of the stock frequently take place; and such interchanges have undoubtedly not been uncommon for a long time. Yet the distinction between the small, hardy animals of the high-coast region and the more fully developed ones of the sheltered lowlands appears to have been maintained. This indicates that the influence of local circumstances has been sufficient to counteract the effect of cross-breeding. Naturally, therefore, it is fair to think that causes which can so far modify ancestral peculiarities are amply sufficient to account for the most highly prized characteristics of our favorite race.
Climate has much to do with the matter, through both its direct effect on the animal, and its indirect effect through the quality of its food. Much undoubtedly, is due to the admixture, by interbreeding, between the animals of the different localities. What modifications of the race are to be traced to these influences it would be impossible to determine.
Hardly less, probably, than the effect of the foregoing causes is that of the system of agriculture necessarily practised by so dense a population. The extreme delicacy of limb, the slight development of muscle, and the unusually small lungs of these animals may be taken as a natural result of the almost entire absence of exercise that we know to have long been one of the leading conditions of their lives. The perfect docility of disposition, the evident fondness of even the youngest calves for the presence of man, and the slight dispsition to roam (especially observable, in imported animals) have unquestionably grown from the door-yard and household-pet character of their treatment through long generations. The unusual secretion of fat in the milk may be reasonably attributed to the slight waste of the fat-forming portions of the food that moderate respiration and limited exercise make possible; and to the fact that fat in this form, rather than in flesh, has long been the prime object of the farmer`s attention. The beauty of apperance, he delicate coloring, the mellow, kindly eyes, the fine horns, and the softness of the skin may be in part due to original characteristics of the breed, or of its several ancestors, and in great part to the demand that taste and fashion have caused.
It would be interesting to know, were it possible to discover, how far purely natural causes (climatic and geological) and how far the influence of man`s needs have operated in determining the peculiarities of the breed as now known.
Reasoning from analogy, and remembering the achievements of the breeders of Shorthorn cattle, and of the improved races of sheep and swine, it is hardly extravagant to ascribe the greater importance to human intervention.
Of course it should be our object to improve on the best results that have yet been attained by breeders in Jersey, but we should be extremely careful how we set about it. The papers quoted at the commencement of this essay convey, probably, as good an idea as can be obtained, without a personal visit, of the social, geological, agricultural, and climatic circumstances under which the development of the breed has taken place. Within certain wide limits we should be careful how we deviate from the lines of influence that these circumstances have marked.
It is very commonly asserted that, under the warmer sun, on the broader pastures, and with the more lavish feeding that are incident to our own operations, the breed has improved since its introduction into this country; also that the progeny of imported animals are usually superior to their progenitors. It seems to me that this criticism is not unquestionably a sound one. There is no doubt that, under ordinary American treatment, the animals do increase in size, in richness of appearance, and in the quantity of their yield of milk; it is, how ever,, very doubtful whether this general enlargement is a real advantage. The most desirable qualities of the Jersey are quite the opposite of the most desirable qualities of the Shorthorn or the Ayrshire; and there seems no reason to suppose that we shall really improve the breed by giving it the characteristics of larger races, else we had better breed Shorthorns or Ayrshires at once.
There are physiological reasons why it is impossible to combine the rich creaming quality of the Jersey with the fattening quality of the Shorthorns. In the one case or in the other, the most perfect result is to be obtained by directing the deposition of fat either to the adipose tissues or to the lacteal organs. Previous experience in breeding leaves us no ground to suppose that the highest perfection of both can be obtained in the case of an individual animal, and it is doubtless an axiom that the more we enrich the milk the more do we impoverish the body, and vice versa. Within certains limits there is, of course, an advantage in increasing the flow of milk, but this should not be carried to such a degree that, in the vital labour of secreting, a large amount of the fluid, fat-forming matter, which would otherwise be deposited ascream, shall be consumed in the production of thhe animal heat whose elimination is incident to all vital processes. We can conceive a case in which the chief energies of the animal organization are devoted to the secretion of a copious flow of milk, thereby consuming a large proportion of the fatforming matter which, under more normal circumstances, would have taken the form of cream. As a rule, though it is a rule with many exceptions, cows that yield extraordinary amounts of milk yield thin milk. This is a recognized fact among farmers, but there are no statistics on which to base positive assertions concerning it.
Neither is it possible to fix an absolute standard as to the most profitable daily quantity of milk. All that we can do is to watch vigilanty every circumstance that may tend to augment or decrease the performance of any desirable function. As a broad proposition, the sole office of the Jersey cow is to produce the largest possible amount of rich and highly coloured cream from a given amount of food. Everything else in connection with the breeding of the race is, or should be, incidental. Beauty of form and beauty of colour are, of course, desirable, but no wise breeder will give these features more than a secondary position. I f they can be secured without detracting from economic value, they are most desirable; but if in seeking them we lose sight of the chief aim, we not only do injury to our own interests, but permanently detract from the average value of the whole race.
The question of size is, doubtless, of great importance, but there is no positive knowledge to guide our decision concerning it; at least I am aware of no experiments that do more than to indicate which is the wisest course to pursue. So far as uncertain indications are to be relied on at all, they seem to point to medium size as the most desirable. Further experiments as to the advantage or disadvantage of large size are needed. Certain arguments in favour of the smaller size are worthy of consideration. In the case of pure breeding where calves have a high value, more calves will be produced with the consumption of a given amount of food in the case of small cows than of large ones; that is, a larger number of cows can be kept. In a large herd of small animals, it is easier to keep up, throughout the year, a uniform supply of milk and its products than where there are fewer animals of a larger size consuming the same amount of food. One great source of the demand for Jersey cattle is the necessity for a few quarts of milk regularly supplied for family use. A large Ayrshire or Dutch cow, giving 4000 quarts of milk during the year, will produce an oversupply during one season, and go entirely dry at another. She will consume as much food as would support two little Jerseys giving each 2000 quarts of milk, one coming in in the spring and one in the autumn. In perhaps a majority of instances, accommodation can be furnished for only one cow, and food for only a small one. For such cases the smaller Jerseys are especially adapted, such as will give ten quarts of milk at their flush, and not fall below three quarts within six weeks of the next calving; the cream increasing in proportion and becoming richer as the quantity of milk decreases, thus maintaining a satisfactory quantity for at least ten months of the year, and yielding enough for necessary use during the eleventh.
Until we are able to establish a standard better suited to our wants than that adopted in Jersey, we shall, if we are wise, adhere as closely as possible to that. Just now, when so many new fanciers are becoming interested in the breed, and are creating a factitous enthusiasm for certain points of only fancy value, there is great danger that those characteristics on which the permanent worth and popularity of the race depend will be lost sight of. The idea that it is desired to convey cannot be more clearly illustrated than by referring to the matter of black points. A few years ago, black points were unheard of as an important feature. Now a very large majority of those who have recently become interested in the subject regard a black switch and a black tongue as almost indispensable qualifications. The Herd Book published on the Island of Jersey contains the entries of 124 bulls and 474 cows; 41 of the bulls and 106 cows are H.C. (highly commended). Of these 147 animals, 24 are to have black switches, and only one to have a black tongue. So, too, with regard to colour. Solid colour is with many regarded as indispensable to perfection. Of the 147 H.C. , bulls and cows, only 45 are of solid colour or nearly so. These indications, like the much larger number of white switches and white patches, are given, not at all as being of special advantage, but merely as distinguishing marks to serve for the identification of the animals.
That a decided injury has been done by those who attach more importance to black switches than to good udders, to solid colour than to large milk mirrors, must be evident to all who have had an opportunity of comparing the older with the newer herds - animals that have been bred for several generations with those that have been recently imported. It sometimes seems that the best stock must have already been cleared out from he Island of Jersey. Some herds, said to have been selected with great care and at high cost, have appeared to be deficient in milking quality, and in the indispensable yellowness of skin; while their solid gray and fawn colouring and the preponderance of black switches indicate plainly enough the standard according to which they were selected. In the case of these herds and of a number of the sales importations, there is an almost universal defectiveness of the forward quarters of the udder, the front teats being carried high up on the forward slope of the bag, and being not more than one-fourth as large as the hind teats.
Now and then, however, an experienced judge, selecting cattle on the island, brings over as good animals as we have ever received - animals on which there are generally broad patches of white, but whose udders are broad, wll carried forward, evenly teated, and of the good old texture and size, while the milk mirror and the milk-vein have evidently been an especial object in the selection. So far as the writer`s persoanl observation has extended, he has never seen a really first-class cow without decided white marks; and of the six best buttermakers he knows, not one has a black switch or a black tongue. This, of course, proves nothing, for there may be better cows than he has ever seen whose colour is uniform, and whose tongues and switches are black as night. The statement is made only as an indication that for the valuable characteristics, the real usefulness of a cow, these new-fangled points may have no value. As a matter of taste, or beauty, or fashion, they may have great value, but I conceive that those who are seriously undertaking to maintain the breed in its purity and perfection will give these distinctions their merited go-by, and strive to maintain the wonderful butter-developing qualities of the Jersey. Manage as we may in this regard, we cannot fail to secure a deal of beauty. The fine, waxy horn, the light fillet around the muzzle, the mellow eyes, and the clean-cut, blood-like look never appear in greater perfection and beatuty than in the case of the very best butter-making animals. On the other hand, the most uniform of grays should never be allowed to redeem a thick neck and shoulder and a beefy jowl.
It is desired to maintain, as the most essential principle of all in breeding Jersey cattle, that improvement should march with an eye single to an increase of the butter-producing quality, very little regard being paid to the question of colour, which, in the case of a cow that would give 300 pounds of butter per annum, might be either white or black, or anything between. Those who make beauty of appearance the chief aim of their operations had better make it the sole aim, and give up the cows and breed the more beautiful deer at once. Beauty and utility are, of course, .