Cattle; their Breed, management, and diseases by William Youatt. 1834
In preparing this volume on "Cattle", the author has often had reason to deplore
the want of materials, and which he has been enabled to obtain only by correspondance with
competent individuals, and the personal inspection of the present state of cattle, in the
greater part of the British empire. To those noblemen and agriculturists from whom he
derived information, the more highly estimated by him, because mos readily and courteously
granted, he begs to return his warmest thanks. His obligation to Mr. Berry, for the
admirable history of the Short-Horns, will not be soon forgotten.
He has endeavoured to lay before the public an accurate and faithful account of the cattle
of Great Britain and Ireland. He does not expect to please every one who reads his work or
who has contributed towards it; for long experience has taught him that, although there is
some excellence peculiar to each breed, there is none exempt from defect; and the honest
statement of this defect will not satisfy the partisan of any one breed, or of any variety
of that breed. He has passed lightly over the subject of the general mangement of cattle,
in order to avoid trenching on the work on "British Husbandry", now publishing
under the superintendence of the Society.
Nassau Street, Middlesex Hospital, London W. Youatt
Hither also the long-horns penetrated, and were the prevailing breed, but they may be said
to have perfectly disappeared. They have given way to the Devons, and indeed to breeds of
every sort, and, more particularly near the coast, to the Alderney, or smaller breed of
The latter are the favourites in consequence of the greater quantity of milk which they
yield in proportion to the food which they consume. Good meadow land, however, is not
plentiful in this district, and is very dear; the dairy, therefore , is comparatively
neglected on too many farms, and little more butter is manufactured than is
nescessary for the consumption of the county. The short-horns are beginning to find their
way into Hampshire, and where the soil is productive they are profitable, but much of the
county is incapable of supporting so large an animal. Our friend, Mr. Moulden, informs us,
that in the neighbourhood of Winchester, the Norman is often crossed with the Hereford;
the Norman is not injured as a milker, while she is improved in size and sipostition to
fatten. About Southampton, the ALderney is the prevalent breed. There are many facilities
for obtaining her from the contiguous islands of Guernsey and Jersey. In this part of the
county, the Alderney has been crossed with the forest breed, and also with the Suffolk.
The forester has improved, and the Norman has deteriorated in consequence of the first
cross, and the second has been attended with doubtful success. Next to the Alderneys, the
Suffolks are most in favour on the coast of Hampshire.
Mr. Gawler, in his "Report of a North Hampshire Farm," (Farmer`s Series, No
VII., p. 15) states that "the stock in general best adapted to this soil are the
ALderney, and the smaller race of Norman cows. The Devonshire and larger breeds
require richer pasture; and although they may be kept in condition, the milk they give is
by no means in proportion to the bulk of food they consume. Mr. Gawler`s dairy stock was
in the proportion of one cow of the Devonshire breed to three of the Alderney or Norman,
and the milk was mixed on the presumption that, being thus diluted, it produced better
butter, and a larger quantity of it."
Sir RIchard Simeon has favoured us with a description of the cattle in the Isle of Wight.
They are a small mixed kind without any of those peculiarities which would mark them as
distinct breeds. Scarcely any oxen are bred from them; cowcalves are saved for the purpose
of keeping up the dairy; invariably from the best milkers, and not with any view to their
aptitude to fatten.
The dairy stock has been occasionally mixed with the Guernsey or Alderney cattle, and with
success so far as the quantity and quality of milk go. Some attempts have been made to
introduce the short-horns, and in some instances the cattle of the island have been
improved in size and appearance; but, looking to the general capabilities of the island
for the maintenance of large stock, and fitting them for the purpose of the butcher, it
may be doubtful whether the smaller and rougher kind of cattle may not be a safer
description of stock, and likely to produce a better result to the farmer. The Alderney is
a favourite breed - a cross between the Devon has produced some very good cows here, well
adapted for the dairy, and not unprofitable for the butcher.
The value of the Isle of Wight cattle depends almost exclusively upon their being good
milkers; for the purposes of the butcher, many of them are of little value, on account of
the generally received opinion, that a cow which has an aptitude to fatten is a bad
milker. The farmers rarely breed from a cow which has good points for grazing.
The smallest farmer in the Isle of Wight has a dairy, and the contrast is very striking to
an inhabitant of the island who visits the neighbourhood of Winchester, in the same
county, where he may ride many a mile without seeing a cow, because it is the custom to
keep bullocks on that land only that will not do for sheep.
Mr. R.G. Kirkpatrick has informed us, that the only farms that are calculated for grazing
lie along the streams that run through the valley on the south side of the Chalk Downs,
and chiefly on the Brading stream. Lord Yarborough, at Appeldurcombe, is one of the most
extensive graziers in the island. He annually imports forty or fifty head of cattle from
his estates in Loncolnshire and from Scotland. The other graziers attend the fifferent
markets in the south and west of England, and but chiefly Sussex, Welsh, Devonshire and
other west country cattle. The whole importation amounts to about 500 annually, besides
which there are about 100 west country calves brought into the island a little before
midsummer. There are partly taken into the dairies and partly kept for fattening. One of
the finest dairies in the island belongs to Sir Richard Simeon. His cows are of a larger
sort than are generally seen here, and crossed with the Durham. He has devoted a great
deal of time and expense to agricultural pursuits. He first introduced mangelwurzel and
Swedish turnips into the Isle of Wight.
Oxen are not much used in husbandry labour; and the few oxteams which we see on the
south side of the Downs are generally brought from the West of England. They are used in
field labour, but not on the road, from the notion that their feet would suffer, and that
they are not so well adapted as horses for this kind of work. They are found to work in
the field nearly as fast and as well as horses, and are kept at much less expense.
The foreign breeds of cattle
First among them - and a regular importation of which is kept up,- we have the Normandy,
or Alderney cattle. The Normandy cattle are imported from the French continent, and are
larger and have a superior tendency to fatten; the others are from the islands on the
French coast; but all of them, whether from the continent or the islands, pass under the
common name of Alderneys.
Except in Hampshire, they are found only in gentlemen`s parks and pleasure-grounds, and
they maintain their occupancy there partly on account of the richness of their milk, and
the great quantity of butter which it yields, but more from the diminutive size of the
animals. Their real ugliness is passed over on these accounts; and it is brought
fashionable that the view from the breakfast or drawing room of the house should present
an Alderney cow or two grazing at a little distance.
John Lawrence describes them as "light-red, yellow, dun or fawn-coloured; short,
wild-horned, deer-necked, thin and smallboned, irregularly, but often very awkwardly
Mr. Parkinson, who seems to have a determined prejudice against them says that "their
size is small, and they are of as bad a form as can possibly be described; the bellies of
many of them are four-fifths of their weight: the neck is very thin and hollow; the
shoulder stands up, and is the highest part; they are hollow and narrow behind the
shoulders; the chine is nearly without flesh; the hucks are narrow and light in the
This is about as bad a form as can possibly be described, and the picture is very little
exaggerated, when the animal is annlysed point by point; yet all these defects are so put
together, as to make a not unpleasing whole.
The ALderney, considering it voracious appetite - for it devours almost as much as a
short-horn - yields very little milk. That milk, however, is of an extraordinarily
excellent quality, and gives more butter than can be obtained from the milk of any other
cow. Of this no one can doubt who has possessed any ALderney cows. Some writers on
agricultural subjects have, however, denied it. The milk of ALderney cows fits her for the
situation in which she is usually placed, and where the excellence of the article is
regarded, and not the expense: but it is not rich enough, yielding the small quantity that
she does, to pay for what she costs [John Lawrence says, that an Alderney cow that had
strayed on the premises of a friend of his, and remained there three weeks, made 19 lbs.
of butter each week; and the fact was held so extraordinary, as to be thought worthy of a
memorandum in the parish books.] On the coast of Hampshire, there is great facility in
obtaining the Alderney cattle, and they are great favourites there. We must refer
our readers to the "Description of Hampshire," p. 215, for the manner in which
they have established themselves in that part of the country, and the various ways in
which other breeds have been crossed by them.
One excellence it must be acknowledged that the ALderney possess: when they are dried,
they fatten with a rapidity that would be scarcely thought possible from their gaunt
appearance, and their want of almost every grazing point, while living. The Duke of
Bedford exhibited a French ox at the Smithfield cattle show in 1802, whose four quarters
weighed 95 stone 3 lbs., and the fat 17 stone 3 lbs., Smithfield weight.
Some have assigned to the Norman cattle as share in the improvement of the old
short-horns; but the fact does not rest on any good authority.