[The following paper was written by request for the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, and appeared in Vol. XVII 2nd ser. part 1, 1881.]
Nearly two generations have passed away since Col. Le Couteur wrote an excellent paper in the "Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society" (vol. V. p. 43), "On the Jersey, misnamed the Alderney Cow." That paper gives full information on many points, but did not give Col Le Couteur the credit to which he is fairly entitled. It was to his efforts, by acting as Secretary to the meetings in 1833, which led to the establishment of the Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society, and by continuing its officer and mainstay for many years, that the rise and progress and great improvement of the breed were mainly due. The chief aim of this Society was, by careful selection, to improve the native breed; and in that way a breed "as good as it is beautiful" has been established. He lived to receive the honour of knighthood, and to have the further gratification in his old age of seeing his work taken up by such a competent and zealous successor as Col. C.P. Le Cornu, who, in his turn, has lived to see three young cows sold in the Island in one week for 200 guineas each, and to find the English and American public appreciating the labour and thought, and following in the steps, of the Island breeders.
There can be little doubt that, by the rich soil and genial climate of Jersey, a native breed of cattle, originally of similar character to those of Brittany and Kerry, has been fostered into special excellence, such as the pastures of the northwest of France and of Ireland could not impart. A feeling of the islanders against the French cattle seems to have prevailed for generations. One of their earliest historians, the Rev. Philip Falle, as far back as 1734 wrote that "the cattle of this island are superior to the French;" and Thomas Quayle, in 1812, considered that "the treasure highest in a Jerseyman's estimation was his cow." The same spirit, that now exists among the farmers of the Island to preserve the purity of their breed, doubtless actuated their forefathers a century ago. Acts of the States of Jersey were passed in 1763, 1789, 1826 and 1864, prohibiting under heavy penalties (£200 and confiscation of the cattle and boat) the introduction of cow, heifer, calf, or bull from France. These Acts did not prohibit the importation of English cattle; both Shorthorns and Ayrshires were introduced, yet their milk and butter were thought so thin and poor, that they were looked upon as inferior to the native cow, and eventually found their way to the shambles. Although purity of breed was the farmers's first consideration, yet there is no record to show that any systematic attempt at improvement was made, beyond, preserving for breeding purposes the male progeny of a cow which was famed as a good milker. The number of Alderney cows that existed in the South of England more than a century ago is evidence that there was, even at that time, a trade between this country and the Island for them. The Act of l789 states in its preamble that the trade is one of the most profitable branches of the commerce of the Island with England; and it was a common saying for an indifferent animal in Jersey, that "she was good for England."
Mr. Michael Fowler commenced business as an importer in 1811, and his three sons now carry on the trade. He is said to have talked much to the Jerseymen of the cattle and cattle shows of Yorkshire, his native county; But no attempt to establish a society in the Island was made until l833, when a meeting of the Lieut. Govenor and 25 gentlemen and farmers was held. Rules and regulations were agreed to; and it was resolved that the encouragement of agricultural and horticultural improvements, as well as the improvement of the breed of cattle, would conduce to the general welfare of the Island. In l834 a scale of points for governing the Judges at the Shows was drawn up; for bulls there were 7 articles, to which 25 points were allotted, and for cows the same number of articles, to which 27 points were allotted. In l875 these were extended to 25 articles and 100 points for both bulls and cows. Records of the appearance of the cattle at that time exist in the present day. They were shown much out of condition, with coarse and ill-shaped heads, having a lot of loose skin under the throat, heavy shoulders, and ears without the golden tinge which denotes rich produce. They were too slightly formed behind, drooping in their hind quarters, and often cathammed; the udder was illformed, the tail coarse and thick, and the hoofs large.
Many were the difficulties which Col Le Couteur and his successor Col. C.P. Le Cornu, encountered. The income of the Society was very small; no great result came from the Shows, and the States grant of £100 was withdrawn in l842. Still Col. Le Couteur presevered; and at one of their public annual gatherings said:---" He would tell those who were lukewarm to the Society to look back teen years. The land foul with weeds, crops inferior, liquid manure wasted, the market ill-supplied. What had been effected? In cattle, beauty of form and flesh had been added to milking and creaming qualities, more cattle had been decorated than on any previous occasion, and the breed had so greatly improved that many of the cattle rejected would have been prize animals when the Society was formed. The price of cattle had fully doubled.
In order to encourage breeding from superior animals, new rules were enacted, to the effect that any person withholding the service of a prize bull from the public should forfeit the premium; that no person should receive a prize for bull, stallion, or boar until the animal had remained in the Island at least one whole season after the prize had been awarded; and that all heifers having had premiums adjudged to them should be kept on the Island until they had dropped their first calf; if previously sold for exportation, they should forfeit the premium. These rules became necessary, for prices began to increase.
When the Royal Agricultural Society of England held their show at Southhampton in l844, the Island Society gratefully acknowledged the liberal grant of premiums given by the Royal for "Channel Islands or crumpled horned cattle," and added half the amount of the awards as additional premiums to the owners of the prize animals in each class, calling special attention to the above new rules. A marked difference at this show was observed between the Guernsey and Jersey breeds, "the latter being altogether of a more delicate and slight form." This difference eventually became so troublesome to the Judges that, in l863, a petition - signed by the President, Secretary, and officers of the Society, and Mr. Dumbrell, of Brighton - was presented to the Council of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, recommending that Channel Islands cattle should form seperate classes. After a lapse of eight years, when the Show was held at Wolverhampton, in l871, the request was granted.
The great prosperity of America in l853 led to animals being bought for large sums and sent to the United States; and this trade continued more or less until l870, when animals were sold for higher prices than had hitherto been realized on the Island. Thirty-one animals were purchased at one time for £995 for exportation to America. The following year Col. Le Cornu sold an extraordinarily fine heifer for 100 guineas the highest price that had ever then been realized.
These sales were viewed with some alarm by the Board of Mangement of the Island Society, who called special attention to the impolicy of selling for exportation the greater number of the cattle which had obtained prizes. They showed that the certainty of keeping up the reputation of the breed, preventing its deterioration, eradicating its defects, and perpetuating and increasing its excellencies, was only to be obtained by selecting the finest and most perfect animals for reproduction, resolutely rejecting from the breeding stock every animal in which every breeder must ever keep in view." The growing taste for animals of a whole colour was also deprecated. This was first shown by the Americans, and later by English buyers, especially after Mr. Dauncey's great sale in Buckinghamshire, when 90 animals realized £3737 9s 6d. In their report to members of the Society, the Board thus protested: "Let henceforth such fanciful ideas as black tails and black tongues be simply estimated at their proper value; but let the large and rich yield of milk ever be the breeder's ambition to procure." They also impressed on farmers the necessity of selecting bulls only from the best and richest milkers. Some fear was at first felt by the Board at the rise of cattle shows in the various parishes. Jersey is divided into twelve parishes; and in l852, St. Peters and St. Owens formed farmers' clubs and held local shows. These, far from injuring, only swelled the shows of the parent society, which was increased by upwards of one hundred entries. In course of time the States grant was renewed; and it now amounts to £150, of which £100 is divided in prizes of £10 among ten parishes, and £50 in prizes for bulls. In Jersey, bulls were looked upon an expensive animals to keep; for they are kept generally in very high condition, and the prize bull of a parish becomes in truth a parish bull. It is no uncommon, thing for a first prize animal to serve upwards of 300 cows during the season; consequently they are rarely kept over three years old. By some this is attributed to the viciousness of the animal increasing with age, but undoubtedly the true reason is unfruitfulness.
The origin of recording pedigree, and eventually of the Herd Book, was as follows. A few years after the first Show was held, the produce of prize animals came up for examination; and i l838 points were first given for pedigree, which meant "the offspring of a prize or decorated male or female stock." Col. C.P. Le Cornu saw, as years passed by, the necessity of a further classification of animals. He inquired into the system of the English Herd Books, and found it not at all in accordance with his own ideas, which were to divide stock into three classes - highly commend the best, commend the second best, and reject the inferior animals. In l866, after great opposition, he at last succeeded in getting a meeting held to take steps for the formation of a Herd Book. He placed the advantages of his system - to select and breed from the best - before the country at meetings of the several parish farmers' clubs; and excellent papers on the subject appeared in the Society's annual reports. It was proposed to examine all stock from which produce in the future was to be registered. The first examination was held at St. Heliers. Six Judges were appointed. Breeders and owners brought up their animals; a separate staff of men was appointed. Breeders and owners brought up their animals; a seperate staff of men was appointed to bring them before the Judges to be examined. Members of the Agricultural Society were charged a fee of 6d., nonmembers 2s. 6d. Numerous examinations took place; and those animals highly commended and commended, were entered and numbered as foundation stock. Pedigree stock was the offspring of these animals; and strict regulations were enforced as to the date of service, date of calf's birth and other information, being recorded in the Society's books. Consequently, the number of animals that came up for examination as pedigree stock was comparatively small; for some breeders did not comply with these strict regulations, whilst others, tempted by the high prices offered for the produce of foundation stock for exportation, sold them before the examinations took place. It was therefore resolved to open the foundation stock again in l873-74, with a fee of 5s. for approved animals. The demand for pedigree stock by the Americans and English, and the increase of prices, awoke the Jerseymen at last to a sense of the value of pedigree. They sent up their stock by hundreds for examination, even at the 5. fee; and Col. Le Cornu had the pleasure of finding a balance in the hands of the Society of nearly £200, whilst the first year had left him 1s- 3½d. out of pocket.
The first volume of the Herd Book was published in a tabulated form in l873, and the second volume came out in l874, the foundation bulls standing at l96, the cows at l441. The pedigree stock recorded, numbered only 64 bulls and 52 cows. During the next three years l75 bulls and 185 cows only were examined; the small number being again attributed to the "temptingly high prices" offered for the young animals of foundation stock.The effect of fashion in colour was also apparent; for the report stated, "that quality forms in leading point to which the judges attend: fanciful ideas of colour form no part of the examination, though it is remarkable that an increasing proportion has taken place in the number of self-coloured bulls and Heifers." Disappointing as the number of pedigree animals may have been, the Committee had the gratification of receiving a petition signed by sixtythree breeders, praying that the foundation stock might be reopened for two more years. This was granted, on condition that the fee for approval should be 10s instead of 5s. Numbers flocked up for examination, and the funds now stand at over £500; whilst the fourth volume, just issued (l880), brings the numbers to: foundation stock bulls 320, cows 2223; pedigree stock bulls 223, cows 312.
It will thus be seen that an animal entered in the Island Herd Book is about equal in personal merit to one receiving a prize or commendation at one of our shows. No weedy or defective animal, although the offspring of excellent parents, is allowed to be entered; so that, however long the pedigree of a registered animal may be, the stranger may rest assured that, unless meritorious, it can have no place in their Herd Book. Assurance of this will tend greatly to encourage the value of the Island pedigree stock in the future; and the system is one commendable to the notice of members of Herd Book societies in this country. For the forced and obese state in which prize animals are seen at our own Agricultural Societies, from the Royal downwards, distinctly tends, except in very few instances, to the deterioration, and not to the improvement, of our British breeds. Our Herd Books simply record the produce of bulls and cows. They give no assistance to the uninitiated in discovering the merit or defect of the animal recorded. Thus our great national Agricultural and Herd Book Societies, with large funds at command, though working directly for the improvement of the British breeds, are indirectly encouranging the unnatural forcing of animals on the one hand without, on the other, cheking the propagation of offspring from parents which, however highly bred, are often themselves weedy and delicate.
Special prizes are given at the Island shows for a system which although little known, has been somewhat ridiculed in this country. This is the Gue'non system; and prizes are awarded to both bulls and cows showing the richest types. The system has been known and acted upon for more than half a century in France. Francois Gue'non, a poor studious lad, whilst tending a milch cow in his native province in France, observed a reverse growth of the hair on and above the udder, and he noticed that when this hair was scratched a kind of bran or powder fell from it. He reasoned, that as plants had signs for their good or bad qualities, there might be analogous signs in the animal kingdom. He examined other cows; and concluded, from the various sizes, ways, and forms in which the reversed hair (now called the escutcheon) grew in these parts, that the good or bad milking properties of animals might be ascertained even before they calved. After long and wide experience, he arranged animals into three groups - large, middle, and small size. He divided the escutcheon signs into eight orders, subdividing these again into eight classes, and found that he could determine the quantity and quality of a cow's milk daily, and the longest and shortest time she would continue it. His system was pronounced infallible by the Agricultural Committee of Bordeaux in l837, and later by other Agricultural Committee of Bordeaux in l837, and later by other Agricultural Societies, and he was honoured and rewarded for his discovery. Those also who have recently studied the intracacies of the system pronounce it a most excellent guide in estimating dairy properties; and though introduced into the Jersey shows so lately as l874, it is rapidly gaining adherents, and breeders are qualifying themselves to judge by it. In America the system has also received considerable attention.
Having thus endeavoured to show the manner by which the Island breeders improved their native cattle, it is necessary to show the progress which the breed has made in this country during the present century. As far back as l794 an experiment was tried in Kent between a large home-bred cow, doubtless a Suffolk, eight years old, and an Alderney, two years old. The cow in seven days gave 35 gallons of milk, which made 10½ lbs. of butter; the alderney 14 gallons, which made 6½ lbs., or more than double the amount of ounces of butter to the gallon of milk.
In writing the history of the Jersey cow in this country, it is difficult to discriminate between the Jersey and the Guernsey, and even the Brittany; for all the Channel Islands cattle bore the common name of Alderney - an island that supplies a very small number (scarcely a hundred annually), and whose breed now, by the use of Guernsey bulls, has become larger and coarser than the fine deer-like Jersey. The difference, too, between the Jersey and Guernsey, has become very much more marked of late years, both in size and colour, and particularly the head, horns, and nose. The Jersey is the smaller animal, finer in its limbs, neater in its frame, and more thoroughbred-looking in appearance; the horns are thinner and more crumpled, the face finer, slightly concave, and more docile and intelligent in appearance. The eye i bright, black, often with a white rim, and the muzzle intensely black, also with a lightcoloured rim round it. This is one of the most striking difference between the Jersey and Guernsey, the latter having usually a fleshcoloured or stained nose, and a lightish yellow and white body, being larger of stature and coarser of limb. The yield of milk, too, is larger in the Guernsey; yet there is little, if any, difference in the yield of butter - indeed, some contend that Jersey will more butter and is a smaller consumer of food. Be this as it may, there is no question as to the Guernsey giving the larger yield of milk; and when large yields are spoken of as coming from an Alderney cow, it is more often found to be from a Guernsey than a Jersey. Guernsey cows have occasionally been taken into Jersey; but crosses between the breeds have not been successful: the yellow colour and pink nose usually crop up in the offspring, which retains a coarseness at once detected and rejected by the Island judges.
About forty years ago, when the Customs duties were altered, and later, French cattle were shipped to England with the Island cattle, and passed off as Jerseys. Hearing of this, the Island breeders became very vigilant. One man was reputed to have made about £1800 by this traffic; for in Brittany cows could be bought at about £5, and they were sold here, according to their merit, for £15 and upwards. Even now Brittany cows may be purchased along the coast about St. Malo for £8 to £10, and much resemble inferior Jerseys. The udder is not so good, nor is there such a generally well-bred appearance as in the Jersey. The Quarantine of French cattle, now enforced at Southampton and other ports, is sufficient precaution against this trade being continued.
Mr. George Culley, the great Northumbrian authority on cattle, in his "Observations on Live Stock" (1807), considered the Alderney breed scarcely worth the trouble of naming at all, as he imagined them too delicate and tender ever to be much attended to by British farmers. "They were only to be met with at the seats of our nobility and gentry, upon account of their giving exceeding rich milk to support the luxury of the tea table." Yet he admits having seen some useful cattle bred from a cross between an Alderney cow and a Shorthorn bull. It is only of later years that the breeds have been kept pure; for, as previously shown, at their first introduction it was the custom to keep one ALderney to two or three dairy cows, to enrich the milk and colour the butter. Even now, in some parts of the country, this practice is still continued; for some epicures consider both the cream and butter made entirely from the Alderney to have a fatty greasiness in flavour, distasteful to the refined and delicate palate. Much, however, of this may depend on the manufacture of the butter and the taste of the consumer.
Lord Braybrooke's herd in Essex , Mr. Selby Lowndes' and Mr. Dauncey's in Buckinghamshire, and the Rev. John Hill's in Shropshire, are among the very few herds that have been kept pure for upwards of half a century. To Mr. Philip Dauncey is, however, due the honour of bringing the breed into greater prominence - creating a demand for it, and setting the fashion for whole colours. He went to reside in Buckinghamshire in l821, and kept a Suffolk cow; but seeing a "little lemon-fawn cow with white round her nose", near Watford, which took his fancy, he purchased her. The Suffolk gave 21 quarts a day, the little lemon-fawn cow "Pug" 11 quarts, yet she yielded 10½ lbs. of butter against 101/4 lbs. from the Suffolk. His choice of a breed for the dairy was then made. Many interesting anecdotes are told regarding the selection and formation of his herd. He used Pope 652, an Island bull, in l826, and occasionally one of his neighbour's (Mr. Selby Lowndes); but he relied mostly on his own blood, weeding and rejecting for upwards of thirty years, when he took another direct Island cross. In management he adopted the English method of not putting his heifers to service until about two years old; and, on account of the increased price of winter butter (by which he made about £1000 a year from 50 cows), he preferred his cows calving in autumn and winter. Her certainly created a type which took the publiceye; and many a breeder now dates his taste for the breed, apart from the butter question, from having seen those beautiful deer-like creatures in "Dauncey's meadows, when hunting Whaddon Chase."
An eye-witness has left a vivid picture of them:- "Mr. Dauncey has been a breeder rather than a buyer, in which way he has acquired more size and constitution; but, together with the higher development of these qualities, an unmistakable coarseness is apparent. In going through the herd the first thing that struck the visitor was their fine size and level looks. There were but few of those ragged razor-backed bags of bones, so often supposed to typify good milkers; but most of the cows carried some flesh, with thick kindly coats, and other such attributes of the hardy healthy animal. Imposing as the Horwood Alderneys looked in their standings, they improved immensely upon the eye when led into the ring. What with their free graceful carriage, and kindly placid manners, they bore about them the very impress of highlybred but not over-bred animals. Long and low, level but not flat, their symmetry and condition were equally admirable. No wonder the Squire is loth to part with them, now that he has fashioned them, as it were, all of a family; for to sketch one is to portray the whole herd. The same dark pointing of the same sober garments is the very livery of the tribe, set off by the gamely-tanned muzzle, the bloodlike necks, and light deer-like limbs and movements. When the coarseness does crop up we note it in a thick, ungainly, and often gaudy horn, or, yet more, in the harsh awkward setting on the tail." Mark Lane Express, Oct. 28, l867.
The late Mr. Duncan's herd, in the same county, was somewhat similar to Mr. Dauncey's herd. It was bred during more than thirty years for whole colour, but the animals became rather smaller in size than Mr. Dauncey's The cows calved mostly in the spring months. Mr. Duncan's annual profit in dairy produce was about £23 for each cow. The average price realized. £40 5s., when the herd was sold in l873, fell just below Mr. Dauncey's It numbered but 44 head, against 90 sold at Horwood in l867.
Mr. Marjoribanks' herd at Bushey, collected at some pains and cost, was bred with a view to combine beef with dairy qualities. The public did not appreciate it, and a year later, l874, when times were good, only appraised it at £35 6s. each for 45 head.
It can scarcely be said that the Jersey breed, or rather Channel Islands cattle, except on two or three occasions, had formed a feature at any of our Agricultural Societies to 1871, when the Royal separated the Jerseys from the Guernseys, and the Bath and West of England followed suit a year later. Yet in l844, when the Royal Show was held at Southampton, 12 bulls and 10 cows and heifers were exhibited, three out of the four prizes being awarded to animals bred in Jersey; the remaining prize (in the Aged Bull class) was given to a Channel Islands bull bred by the Rev. W. Phillips, of Southampton. The Show was nevertheless so good that Mr. Bates and other eminent breeders expressed their great admiration of the animals. At Windsor, l851, there was another good show; thirty-one animals competed, and all the prizes were won by English animals, except that for cows, which went to Guernsey. Mr. Dauncey sent some of his animals; but the Judges only commended two of them, considering them too large for the breed. At Battersea, l862, there was a large show of 20 entries, described as "Jerseys, commonly called Alderneys." Two years later, at Newcatle-onTyne, there were 19 entries, and Mr. Dumbrell, of Brighton, carried off six out of the nine awards. Plymouth, in l864, brought out the largest display yet seen; 53 animals were shown, and every prize was taken by Island breeders. At Leicester in l868, 38 animals came out; here , as at Plymouth, the Island breeders took every prize that was awarded. In l870, at Oxford, there were 57 entries, Col. Le Cornu and Mr. Morgan were the Judges; three prizes fell to the Island, one to Guernsey, and five to English breeders. Mr. Dauncey's cow "Vixen" was the first, and his "Spiteful" the third prize winner.
In l871, at Wolverhampton, a final separation took place between Jerseys and Guernseys; and since then it has been pretty well an open question whether our own or the Island breeders win more prizes. Local shows began to give more encouragement to the breed. The Bath and West of England and the Hants and Berks Societies had large entries, commencing that year. Lord Chesham, Lord Egmont, Mr. Cardus, Mr. Drewitt, Mr. Wingfield Digby, Mr. Dixon, Mr. Fuller, Mrs Malcolm, Mr. Rigg, Mr. Ramsden, and Mr. Simpson have been the principal winners. The Essex Society has also had good and numerous shows; and the prize list has been swelled by special prizes given by county breeders.
It was obout this time that Mr. Walter Gilbey's name became noticeable as a successful breeder and exhibitor; and for the next four years, until he was suddenly compelled by the death of the owner to leave his residence and sell his herd, he may be said to have carried all before him. His success was, in a large measure, due both to management and selection. Being a great advocate for having one stall in a London stable kept for the use of a cow, he began, years prior to exhibiting, to keep a good "Alderney" for his family use. Finding a great difference between one cow and another, he gave more attention to their selection. The taste growing, he kept a larger dairy at his country residence in Essex. In time he found a demand for the offspring of these animals, as they became famous for their great yields of milk and butter. The best and choicest imported animals, regardless of colour or price, were sent to him; and he also made selections among herds in his immediate neighbourhood, where Lord Braybrooke, Mr. John Archer Houblon, and Mr. Cornwell had long given attention to the breed. He found, particularly among the Americans, that the inquiry was mainly for whole coloured animals. Having got the milking properties to the greatest perfection, by sedulously drafting cows with defective udders and indifferent yields, he sought to produce whole colours, not so much for his own taste as for that of the public. As Mr. Dauncey had studied both milk and color, Mr. Gilbey selected his "Ban", a threeyear-old in-calf cow, considered by most people the best in the sale; she cost 81 guineas (the second highest price, Mr. Marjoribanks having given 100 guineas for "Landscape"). "Ban", on coming to Mr. Gilbey, produced a heifer calf; and for nine months was kept idle, in order that she might be put to Rioter 746, a bull of Mr. Dauncey's to breed a bull for his own stock. The produce was the celebrated Banboy 17, first prize bull at the Royal at Wolverhampton, where also Mr. Gilbey's cows, "Duchess 14th," bred on the Island, was first, and "Milkmaid", bred by Mr. G.A. Fuller, near Dorking, third.
Banboy 17, bred on both sides for milk and colour, retained the dairy properties, and imparted whole colours to his progeny. With these, however, came a certain degree of coarseness, which has obviated by turning the heifers, when about nine months old, with a young bull of the same age, into a large barn. The animals shows inclinations to breed long before they had hitherto been mated; and by mating them early they were set breeding, and their udders kept shapely and perfect. The calves were kept on the heifers for six weeks, and gradually weaned; but calves from cows were brought up by hand and taught to feed early, yet not forced. To the heifer the most particular attention was paid; her milk was often too rich for the calf, and her feeding was regulated by her work. If she had to support a calf, to give much milk besides, and to carry another calf within her, she was generously fed; but immediately the milk began to fall off, the diet fell off too; and this practice was adopted generally with the herd. Warmth was considered as essential as food; and a little cake was given in extremely cold weather. Exercise was also looked upon as most important: the old people of the village, unable to work, earned a few shillings weekly by leading out a cow to walk both before and after calving. To this practice was attributed the result that no cow dropped, or rather fell, with milk fever. This tendency the Island breeders overcome by the system of tethering. The bull often commenced service when nine months old; he was well kept, though lean, as a lean animal was preferred to a fat one for use. Mr. Gilbey considers the gain of a few months in the calving of heifers of great importance. It had doubtless been a source of profit to Island breeders; for he observed that many of the imported animals evidently calved down long before they were two years old. Profit was the object of the Islander. The shippers and dealers who formerly brought over cows had frequent complaints from purchasers of the cows having bad udders; conseuently inquiries arose for in-calf heifers, and it thus became the Island breeder's object to get his heifers with calf as soon as nature and prudence permitted. Mr. Gilbey's herd came to the hammer on a snowy December morning in l874. It attracted buyers from all parts; and general admiration was expressed at the beauty of the cattle. This admiration spoke in golden accents at the sale, for the 50 head realized £3240. The l8 cows averaged £90 16s. 6d., and 255 guineas was given for a cow, and also for a heifer. Another made 215 guineas; and a third, "Milkmaid," went to AMerica at 155 guineas, where she afterwards became one of the most celebrated animals in the States.
The mantle of Mr. Gilbey's success has fallen on Mr. Simpson, of Wray Park, who has kept a herd for about eighteen years in Surrey. He selected, like Mr. Gilbey, the choicest animals, either from Island or home breeders, whenever opportunity offered. His system of management and rearing differs somewhat from that practised in Essex. He objects to heifers calving under two years old; for, unless rested three or four months, he finds a tendency to calve the second calf prematurely. For three or four week before calving, the cow or heifer is placed in a loose box, fed with oat straw, and walked out daily. Immidiately the calf is born, the cow has a rug placed on her for twenty-four hours or more, according to the time of year. She receives a dose of medicine, chiefly salts and bran mashes, and is kept low, being moved about occasionally to relieve the bowels. In two or three days she has hay and a little powdered cake. The calf is found to do better if allowed to run with the dam a week or ten days; but the cow is milked daily. Afterwards the calf gets new milk three times a day for about three weeks, then two parts new and one skim. Oatmeal gruel is also given with about five quarts of milk, and the calf is gradually taught to eat with powdered cake and fine hay. The gruel is thinneduntil water is substituted; and the calf is allowed to run out in a paddock in good weather, coming in once a day to feed and rest, for by galloping about when so young they are apt to run off flesh. In winter they live in large boxes or barns. Rock salt is put into their mangers, as well as a few lumps of crumbled chalk, which they readily lick. Tucker's pails are used for feeding; and by preventing a large quantity of fluid being drunk at once, blowing and indigestion is avoided. Seour, which frequently comes on, is relieved at once by giving a tablespoonful of linseed oil, and an hour afterwards a teaspoonful of bicarbonate of potash dissolved in water. These remedies break up the curd which causes the irritation in the bowels.
The cows go out part of the day in all weather, when the land will carry them. When brought in they are kept in a shed with a moveable front, which can either be taken away in hot, or closed in cold weather. Windows above are kept open day and night, except in extremely severe weather; for the yield of milk is, in a great degree, regulated by the warmth of the animal. Mr. Simpson believes in rearing young animals well, and keeping both cow and bull with a plentiful supply and occasional change of food. Roots, turnips, mangolds, carrots, and parsnips, with hay, straw, and chaff are allowed. Cows are kept from service until the eight or ninth week or third period after calving; and much stress is laid on the benefit of injecting a weak solution of Condy's fluid or carbolic acid soon after parturition.
The quantity of milk yielded is weighed. This has beeen found a more accurate method than measuring; for men, however careful, are apt to be misled by the froth. 10lbs. weight are equal to 1 gallon imperial measure , and 1 lb. of butter can ordinarily be made from about 15 to 17 lbs. of milk. One of Mr. Simpson's best cows gave after calving her second calf, from APril 10th to the end of February, 9202 lbs. of milk; whilst another cow, seven years old, after calving January 21st, gave, the week ending February 20th, 284 lbs. of milk. This, after standing thirty-six hours in shallow vessels, yielded 16 quarts of cream, from which l6 lbs. 5 oz. of butter were churned.
At Audley End a herd of Jerseys has been kept pure by Lord Braybrooke and his predecessors since l811. By the use of English bred bulls, and the system of management, the animals are on a larger scale than those bred in the Island. Heifers calve at about two years old, and are allowed to rest nearly four months before another service; but after the second and other calves, about nine weeks are allowed to elapse. It is considered that the heifer by being rested, develops her milking properties and increases her growth and strength. Calves suck their dams for eight or ten days, and are afterwards put on new and then on skm milk till about three months old, when the milk is discon tinued, and pulped roots, bean meal, linseed cake and hay are given. They have free access to water; and are kept indoors in the winter and run out during the day in summer, but are brought into an open shed at night. After nine or ten months old they remain out day and night, according to the season, and have a little bean meal, crushed oats, and mixed corn and linseed cake, with hay and occasionally clover chaff. Pulped roots are given, with straw and hay chaff salted, crushed oats, desiccated grains, and malt culms. Parsnips were used, but they invariably proved an unsatisfactory crop, and carrots have been grown instead. When the root-crop is short, brewers' grains are added to the other food. The milk is measured: one cow, after her fiftht calf, gave in fortyeight weeks 9003/4 gallons; and the herd of twenty-eight in milk, during the year l880, averaged about 11½ gallons per head per week.
Lord Chesham's herd at Latimer, Bucks, has been in existence upwards of a quarter of a century. Island cows were first bought, and bulls of the Dauncey and Duncan blood used. When the fashion for the French or silver grey set in, some of the best cows of that colour were purchased; but there seems to be a tendency in the soil and climate to grow the produce with more size and hair, and they change to a dark reddish fawn colour. About thirty cows form the dairy, which is especially studied, and a large quantity of butter supplied, at a standard price the year through, to a West-End London tradesman. One feature in the management at Latimer is that no roots of any kind are given: they have been tried, but the different flavour in the butter has at once been detected, and a request made for their discontinuance. No long hay is given, as it is apt to be wasted; it is all chopped , mixed with linseed steeped in water, and, after fermenting twenty-four hours, is given to the cattle and readily consumed. 3 or 4 lbs. of cotton-cake increases and enriches the milk; but care has to be exercised in getting it pure. If any cow is thin and weakly, 2 lbs. of oilcake is allowed daily; and the absence of milk fever is attributed to keeping the cows up three weeks before calving, giving them dry food and a weekly dose of salts and sulphur. After calving, bran mashes are given for en few days; then hay chaff and the usual food. They are tied and milked in a house, but turned out afterwards into a large three parts covered strawyard. The cow calf sucks the dam for a fortnight or three weeks, bull calves rather longer. When separated, these go into a partially covered yard, and are gradually weaned with warm skim milk and artificial food. They then get chopped hay, with barley, pea, bean, or oatmeal and a little oilcake. Bulls are similarly, but a little better kept, and walked out daily. The system of putting heifers to the bull at twelve months old was tried; but the produce was so small, and the heifers became so weakly, that it was not followed up: now they generally calve at two years old. Animals intended for exhibition receive about 2 lbs. of linseed cake daily for at few weeks previous to the show, and are well cleaned: a number of premiums have been won. The animals show an aptitude to feed when dry; and barren cows fatted have made £18 to £21 in Watford Market.
In Hertfordshire a large number of Jersey cattle are kept. Mr. Barnes' system of management prevails in the neighbourhood of Watford; and the demand for his butter is very great, prizes having been won with it. The herd of Jerseys, bred principally from Lord Chesham's and imported stock, has been kept some years, as well as a small herd of Shorthorns. His method is to bring the cow into a box a fortnight before calving, and give her a drink of salts, ginger, nitre, and ale. As soon as the calf is born a handful of salt is sprinkled over it, and the dam licks and strengthens it; if weakly and unable to suck, a little milk is trickled down its throat, and it is allowed to remain with its dam two or three days. Jersey milk is considered too rich, and the death of many calves is attributed to it. After calving , the dam is clean milked, drenched, and a pailful of warm oatmeal gruel given her, and for four days her food consists of bran mashes. Lukewarm water is also given, and the udder is drawn three times a day. At the end of a week she may be turned out for an hour or two in fine weather. The calf is fed three times a day, until a week old, with about a quart of warmed skimmed milk. The quantity is then gradually increased, but never exceeds two gallons a day; and the calf, if kept with others, is tied up both before and after feeding. The desire to suck something is gratified by giving a small piece of linseed cake; and bran and bruised oats, mixed with linseed cake dust, are given as soon as the calf will eat. At wo months old the calves are let out into a paddock for an hour or two daily - longer as they grow older; particular care being taken not to allow them to go out before the dew is off the grass, and to take them in during the heat of the day in summer. In cases of scour a tablespoonful of castor oil is given at night, and a tablespoonful of carminative chalk in the morning. In the autumn a little hay is given at night, with bran and cake; but it is considered a great mistake with Jersey cattle to get them fat with new milk when youmg - they grow coarse, and lose the quality and beauty of the breed. Later in the autumn a few carrots or swedes are given pulped with hay chaff, and they do better if allowed to run in a loose shed with a yard during winter. In this way the heifers get accustomed to the cold climate, and become as hardy as other breeds of cattle. They are put to service at about fifteen months old, so as to calve at two years old; but no cows are allowed to calve in June, July, August, or September. The cows are kept moderately. They have grass in summer and a little hay in autumn; with the addition of grains, roots, and a little decorticated cotton cake as winter comes on. Roots often cause an unpleasant flavour in the butter. Hay and straw chaff mixed with bran and boiled barley cause a great increase of milk, and do not taint the butter. The barley is boiled until it burst, and the hot liquor is poured over the chaff mixture, and allowed to stand twelve hours before being given to the cows. The same man milks the same cow night and morning; and care is taken that he be quiet, cleanly, and good tempered. It is preferred to let the bull run with the cows; but as this is often impracticable, he is kept loose in a box with a yard to it, and the cows are turned in for service. If it becomes nescessary to tie him up, he is walked out at least one hour daily. He is kept low in condition if not much worked.
Hampshire and the Isle of Wight have long been homes of the breed. The bulk of all the cattle shipped from the Channel Islands comes to Southhampton; and therefore cows can be purchased without much additional cost of carriage in transit. They are used largely in the dairies of Hampshire and Dorsetshire, and parts of Sussux and Surrey. When Mr. Cardus occupied the farm of Town Hill, near Southampton, he took over with it a herd of Jersey cows which the late Mr. Duff had imported and bred from. To these he used imported bulls, and also introduced some English stock, using a bull called Dairy King 211, bred on both sides from Mr. Gilbey's herd; he has successfully exhibited his animals, and he keeps them in houses opening into large strawyards, exactly in the same manner as the ordinary cattle of the county are kept. His system is to let his cows go out to graze all the year round, but to bring them in at night except in the height of summer. In the spring and autumn, after the evening milking from 4 to 5 o`clock, they go out until dusk. When they come in they get barley or oat straw, a little cake, sometimes linseed or cotton cake mixed, occasionally cotton cake alone, and a little hay. The calf, as a rule, is taken away from the cow as soon as it is born. In the case of a heifer with her first calf the calf sucks from a fortnight to six weeks, in order to develop the teats and udder. When taken from the cow the calf receives new milk for two or three months; then for a short time it has half new and half skim milk. Pulped roots (swedes generally), with a little barley meal and bran, and a handful of hay at night, form the food of the heifers until they go to the bull, from twelve to fifteen months old, according to their size and growth. The heifers are turned out to graze daily in all weathers, and come into an open shed littered with barley straw at night. Mr. Cardus adopts a useful plan of building a large rick of barley straw in the middle of the strawyards; and in the depth of winter the animals seem to prefer lying about under the rick instead of going into the covered sheds. He has lately grown carrots and pulped them with swedes mixed with bran, and upon this food the animals have thriven well. Cabbage, too, is given with good effect to the cows. The bulls are tied up, and only kept in moderate condition. No measurement is taken of the yield of milk or butter. One cow, however, showing an extraordinary udder, her milk was tested two months after calving, when 13 1/4 lbs. of butter were obtained from one weeks`s cream. A peculiarity at Town Hill has been observed in the horns of the animals, those of the females invariably coming small, delicate, and gracefully curled; while those of the males are strong and coarse, even when the animals are closely related, indeed own brothers and sisters. This difference is attributed to the good constitutions of the cattle and their aptitude to feed. Animals not breeding or milking well, or showing defective udders, are prepared for the butcher; and many of the cows go off fat at £20 in Southampton market.
Mr. Fisk, at Brighstone, in the Isle of Wight, has a good and wellmanaged herd. To imported cows he uses mostly bulls bred in England; and he finds the Jerseys quite as hardy as crossbred animals. The calf is allowed to remain on the dam about a week, according to its strength; it is then weaned on new milk for a month, afterwards on warmed skim milk with beans or peas and hay until four months old. The quantity of milk is then reduced and sliced mangolds substituted; and, if the season is mild, the calves are turned out to grass, with a shed to run in, getting a little cake or corn. At eight months old they keep themselves on pasture; but if late calves, and the weather is severe, they are housed at night and fed with roots and hay. As yearlings they are wintered in an open yard with a shed, getting a few roots or cake and hay. If the hay crop be short, straw is substituted with a little extra cake, meal or roots. The meal is mixed usually with chaff. The bull is turned in with them when they are about fifteen months old. Mr. Fisk attributes much of his success to the manner in which he manages his stock. The cow calves in a loose box, and receives a bran mash twice a day and lukewarm water, and on the third day i allowed, if the weather is fine, to go into a sheltered yard for a few hours in the middle of the day. On the seventh or eight day she is put into the cowhouse, and fed on meal and chaff or cake with hay. The meal is usually a mixture of barley, pea, and maize, of which about 10 lbs. is given in winter and 6 lbs. in summer. Every day the cows go out in a sheltered yard, and if the weather is fine on a dry pasture. In warm weather they lie out at night; but the meal or cake is still continued until the cow is let dry, which is generally six weeks before calving. During these six weeks she is allowed to run into a sheltered yard, with rough hay or a little barley or oat straw. Mangolds are never given until late in the spring; and it is found that they increase the flow of milk, but do not increase the yield of butter. Under this system Mr. Fisk has never lost a cow from milk fever. The yield of butter is considered to depend not only upon the cow is kept at any one time, but upon the general management. The greatest return from 15 cows was 10 lbs. each weekly for several weeks; the heifers made 6 lbs. The milk is allowed to remain, according to the weather, from 24 to 36 hours. The cream is then taken and churned twice a week. Compared with that from other animals, the cream requires less working. Owing to the closeness of the texture of the butter there is a very small quantity of whey; and the butter keeps firmer and sweeter and longer in hot weather than that made from other cows under the same system.
Mr. Dumbrell`s extensive dairy at Ditchling, near Brighton, was kept up entirely with imported stock. His views are best given in a letter to Mr. Palmer, dated Oct. 30, 1875:- "The comparative excellence of this breed is, or rather should be determined, not by quantity of produce, but by quality. For my own part I do not care as a rule for a cow giving an extra quantity of milk, as I find the most profitable animals are those giving the least quantity and superior quality. All my calculations are made on the amount of butter produced. I enclose you my weekly averages through this year. Of course the cows are in all stages of produce, some fresh calved, some nearly dry; but all in milk are fairly reckoned.
I am not a high feeder, plenty of hay, cabbage and roots; and in the winter a little cotton cake; through the summer nothing but grass. I think you will find that about 7 or 8 quarts of milk (depending on the time of the year, and, of course, with a fair proportion of fresh cows) will produce one quart of cream, which will, as a rule, make 1 lb. of butter, in the summer possibly a little more.
"The weekly average throughout the nine months of 1875 is as follows:
|1875 || No. of cows|
Average make of butter
per head per week
| January|| 74|| 6 3/4|
| February|| 80|| 6 1/2|
| March|| 86|| 7|
| April|| 88|| 7 |
| May|| 80|| 9 |
| June|| 80|| 9|
| July|| 85|| 8|
| August|| 90|| 7 3/4 |
| September|| 89|| 7 1/2|
The herd at Goodwood has gradually been improved and kept to wholecoloured stock during the last twenty years. Imported cows were purchased, and Dr. Syntax 240 and Palmer 621 were hired from Mr. Duncan. Imported bulls were sometimes used in the herd, and Col. Cavendish`s blood has likewise been introduced. The animals are kept hardy, and the cows run out in the park winter and summer, having also a strawyard to run into,so that they rarely, if ever, take cold. They generally calve in the winter months; the calf is allowed to remain a week with its dam; it then gets skim milk for about three months, with crushed linseed cake and barley meal, and is kept in a square pen. In April or May the calves are allowed to run out till the autumn, when they are put into strawyards. They are put to the bull, so as to calve at about two years old. Many animals from this herd have been spread about the country in a singular manner. During the Goodwood week, visitors are accustomed to look round the farm in the afternoon, after the Races; and the choice of in-calf heifers at 20 guineas is given to those who wish to purchase. A great number of animals are thus reported as being from the Duke of Richmond`s herd at Goodwood, for the bulls from these heifers have frequently been saved.
Having thus attempted to describe the breed and its management in this country, let us turn again to Jersey, whose rugged cliffs and pretty bays lend such a charm, in fine weather, to the scenery as the vessel glides into the beautiful harbour of St. Heliers. The neat tidy gardens, the fruit trees, the prim clean houses, and capital new cow stables, all betoken the industry and prosperrity of the inhabitants; whilst the narrow shady lanes, the orchards, the hedgerows, and the sweet balmy air remind one of Devonshire. Nothing strikes the stranger sooner than the pretty short-legged, dark-faced, long-tailed cows grazing with a rope tied round their horns, and fastened about half-a-dozen yards off to a peg driven into the ground. This is the tethering system, for which the Island is so famous. It doubtless originally arose from the small size of the farms, some of the largest being only about 20 acres in extent. Every piece of available land is cultivated, and banks divide the little fields, in which may be frequently seen strips of corn, parsnips, carrots, potatoes, and cabbages growing side by side, as well as clover and rye-grass. The orchard is generally close by; and there the cows are usually tethered in rows of five or six, according to the size of the orchard and number of stock, for rarely are more than eight or ten cows kept on a farm. So clean and close is the rich grass eaten, that it has the appearance of being roughly mown; and as a patch is eaten the cows are shifted on a few yards four or five times a day. Liquid manure is applied to the grazed portions; so that by the time the cows have reached the bottom of the field, the grass at the top is ready for them to be tethered on again, so quick and luxuriant is the growth. Of its economy there can be no question, as the grass is not trampled, and good and bad are eaten alike. The animal, too, remains docile, and two of them can be easily led by a young girl;women usually tend and milk the cows, and feed the calves. This docility is early acquired, for the calves are very soon tied with halters and led. Bull calves for veal are sometimes allowed to suck; but generally the calves are fed by hand from the day of their birth with new milk for a fortnight. The heifer calves then get sour or skimmed milk thrice a day. On some farms, for the first month, the dam`s milk is given diluted with boiling water. At the end of two or three weeks they receive sour milk with bran; when able to eat, in about six weeks, they get hay with pulped roots and chaff and a little meal. Grass is cut and laid before them in spring and summer; the skimmed milk is gradually reduced, and by some breeders is superseded by steeped linseed, until, at five or six months old, they are allowed to run out, and on the small occupations tethered. In Guernsey, buttermilk and hay-tea are given with good effect to calves up to six or seven months old. Many breeders do not serve their best heifers until they are eighteen months old; but if any are well grown they are put to earlier.
The greatest care is bestowed on the cow before and at parturition. She is treated most kindly, and carefully dried from four to six weeks before calving, which usually takes place in January, February, or March. She is moderately fed with straw and a little hay; and bran mashes, barley meal, or linseed are given to keep the bowels loose. Many years ago the cows were kept exceedingly thin and low; indeed, so weakly did they become, that it was necessary sometimes to help the older cows to rise. After the introduction of roots, and under the auspices of the Agricultural Society, a better system of farming took place; the cows were better fed, and, to the surprise of the Islanders, some of them fell with milk fever. Roots now are seldom, if ever given before calving; the cow is kept moderately; and it is rare thing to hear of one dropping. Immediately after calving, bran and warm water are given; the old system of "toast and cider", warm and often with a little powdered ginger in it, is still practised, especially if the cow is a little queer or has had a hard time. Bran mashes or barley meal, with plenty of lukewarm water, is given for a few days; by some breeders it is continued for a month, and the cow is milked three times daily for two or three months.Parsnips, mangolds, or swedes, hay or straw, and the customary food, according to the season follow. From May till October the cows are tethered, and remain out at night. In very hot weather they are taken in or sheltered from the heat and flies during the middle of the day. In the autumn, when the grass becomes short, the leaves of parsnips and mangolds, and occasionally of cabbage, are given, and begin to help out the winter food. Every day the cows are allowed to go out for two or three hours` run, except in very stormy weather or winter. Gentleness, quietude, and warmt increase both the flow of milk and the yield of butter. Milking takes place generally between 5 and 6 in the morning in winter, when parsnips, carrots, or mangolds are given; then hay and a few more roots, before they go out, about 10 or 11 o`clock. Hay is placed before them on their return about 4 o`clock, and roots again at milking time, with a bundle of straw at night. The quantity of milk given varies; it is not so great as is the large yield of butter from it. Richness - or the deep orange colour of the ears, teats, and hide generally - is now looked upon as one of the highest points and the great aim in breeding. Although some cows will give upwards of 20 quarts a day, it is apt to be thin; and 8 to 12 quarts is a fair standard. This will yield usually 7 to 10 lbs. of butter weekly; but 5 to 6 lbs. per week throughout the year is a good average from one cow.
The bull is highly fed; this is the rule - if kept in the house he is fed with hay, roots, and meal, but if tethered in summer he lives as the cows. He is, however, always seen in good condition, and rarely kept over two years old; for keeping them well gives them, it is considered, a handsome appearance, and they are ready and worth more to the butcher should they prove at all troublesome.
It is estimated that Jersey, in size some eleven miles long by five and a half wide, containing about 39.000 acres, a little more than half of which is cultivated, has, according to the latest Agricultural Returns (1880), 2261 horses, 10.922 head of cattle, 346 sheep, and 5844 pigs. Of the cattle, about 2000 are exported annually to England and AMerica; only a few go to other countries. The population is estimated at 60.000; about half living in St. Heliers; so that, in addition to all other live stock, the island has one cow on each two cultivated acres. In England, the same extent, or even a little more, cultivated land is held to be necessary for a cow`s support. Seeing the number of buildings, of roads, of hedgerows on the Island, the acreage actually under cultivation must be considerably under two acres for every head of cattle.
No animal, in its yield of milk and butter, can compare, for its size, with the Jersey cow; and the increase of the breed of late years in this country, and the extraordinary number exhibited at the Kilburn Show, have been the surprise of many a farmer. For years it has been "the parson`s cow." It will not bear comparison with the Shorthorn; its angular appearance may call forth derision; still the neglect of the dairy properties in our indigenous breeds has had no small influence in spreading the Jersey. The high price of good butter and a difficulty of obtaining pure rich milk, have led to many Jersey cows being kept in the neighbourhood of large cities. Her gentleness, her small stature, herquietude, her adaptability to any circumstances, as well as her large produce when generously fed, all combine to make her a most valuable animal. The taste for country life, or for occupying a bit of land, is inherent in most Englishmen, and the love of animal life accompanies it. As wealth and population increase, large estates around cities are yearly broken up for villas with a few acres of grass and garden. In these the Jersey finds a quiet home, and makes a bountiful return for the food supplied her. Whilst she already flourishes on villa grounds, in time she will doubtless creep into small farms; for her great dairy profit and her capability of being kept and fed in a confined space are high recommendations to the dairy farmer. The steady increase of the AMerican beef-supply sets up a rivalry which must have an important influence on our larger breeds. Still fresh milk is man`s first and natural food; and this ought, when practicable, to be produced at home. Treated generously and kindly, kept warm and healthy, and daily exercisd, the little Jersey cow will supply our multiplying thousands with nature`s simplest and richest food, and her gentle ways will exert a kindly influence on all who are concerned in her management.