Page images
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

It is true that the progeny of superior animals, or plants, may, and usually do, rise above their inferior conditions ; but it is only a matter of time when they will find the level of these conditions. Like the impetuous mountain stream, which continues to flow for a space after it has found its level, from the impetus acquired under other conditions, it tends to come to rest on the first level, and remains obedient to the law of that level. Then the level must be changed, or the stream must be urged on by a never-ceasing supply of water containing the energy of the mountain, if work is to be done. We have generally practiced the latter and more expensive method in uplifting our domestic animals. We are importing no fine-wooled sheep and few swine and chickens, simply because the level of the conditions are above those in which these varieties of animals were originated. It appears to me that we have the foundation stock, and all we have to do is to uplift the conditions and accelerate improvement by rigid selection, and form specialized permanent habits for specialized work, always using good judgment, so as not to carry the law of improvement beyond its most useful sphere of action. The fact should always be kept cle:rly in mind, that specialized qualities are secured somewhat at the expense of other qualities; and that it is quite possible to develop the udder to such an extent that it will detract to a serious degree from the organs which are necessary to existence and vigorous health. This has been the case with some of the noted strains of milkers, which had the milking habit so firmly fixed that it dominated the one of self-preservation ; so that, when nutriment and

I comfort were insufficient, the animal kept on giving milk at the expense of its necessary reserved vital force, thus reversing the operations of the law, which are first, selfpreservation ; second, offspring; and third, surplus. All law should be used lawfully.

The law that governs water, the vehicle which transports the energy of the soil into and through the plant and animal, and the harmonious operation of this law in conjunction with the law of nutriment, should receive our careful attention. As water is the substance which carries all food for plants and animals into and out of circulation, it becomes

[ocr errors][merged small]

of the utmost importance. If the laws which govern all else be practically known, and the knowledge of the part which water plays in growth and production be wanting, our efforts will not reach the highest success.

It is not enough that water is present in suitable quantities, it must be palatable and easily accessible ; just enough, and not too much. Better a shortage of food than of water, better irregularity in feeding than in watering; for, if the ration be temporarily deficient, and the vehicle for transporting the reserve stored in the system be present, no great harm will result; but, no matter how much nutriment may be stored or otherwise present, if the universal carrier, water, is lacking, not only can no work of nutrition be done, but the system immediately becomes feverish and diseased. So to the dairyman I may say that if his herd, however poor, is made uncomfortable because of coldness or poorness or inaccessibility of the water supply, he had better study hydraulics before purchasing thoroughbreds. And to the grain raiser I might say that he had better pay strict attention to setting free more plant food by better culture, and to husbanding farm manures, before investing in commercial fertilizers; for possibly, if he utilizes what he already has, according to law, he will have little lack. And to all breeders and cultivators of plants may I not say that it might be better to make it more comfortable for the plants and animals which are already possessed, in order that they may make the best use of the operations of the laws which govern them, whether they be scrub or thoroughbred, before purchasing that which is too advanced for our present state of knowledge? It is possible that a part of what we have is good and that all that is lacking is opportunity. As the stream cannot rise above its source, so the animal cannot be better than its breeder. And to the breeders of thoroughbreds I may say, that it might be well to adopt the practice of that great Short-horn breeder, Mr. Bates, — “never to sell a good animal to a careless farmer.”

[ocr errors]

The CHAIRMAN. The professor told us in his opening remarks that he was merely going to drive in a few stakes and strike out a few furrows, and you were to set to and plough the middles later. It seems to me he has struck out some large lands, and, in order to have the work completed to-night, I think you will have to question the professor pretty sharp and close.

Mr. L. W. WEST of Hadley. I would like to ask the best arrangement for heating water for cattle.

Professor ROBERTS. Of course most large barns have a small engine and boiler. In case you do not have these, have a tin cylinder eighteen inches in diameter and eight inches deep, made water-tight, with a little smoke-stack four inches in diameter protruding out of it, and another place to feed in chips, about six to eight inches in diameter, which shall be a little lower than the smoke-stack. This is surrounded by a rim, so that there shall always be water around the cylinder. The whole thing should be covered and fastened in one corner of the water tank, so that it cannot be knocked over by the cattle. This arrangement has been used in Nebraska with very good results ; so good that we have had a little model made of it which we exhibit at institutes. The water can be cheaply and easily warmed in this way.

Mr. WARE. I am very glad of what has been developed here with regard to warming water. I have seen a good many arrangements for warming water for stock, which were simply designed, as was claimed, to “ take the chill off.” I have heard of cases where that has been done, and the farmers have felt that they did not gain anything specially from it. Now I learn from the professor that water slightly warmed is rather objectionable, - I should think possibly it might be, it certainly is unpalatable, and he advocates heating the water to ninety degrees. It strikes me that that is a departure from the advice that we have previously had. I have seen an apparatus on our cattle fair ground for taking the chill off by passing a pipe through a large trough of water. I think this idea of making the water hot is an important one. I would like to hear from any gentlemen here who have had experience in using water with the chill taken off, how they like it, whether it has proved profitable to them; and, if there is anyone here who has used hot water, I would be glad to know the results of that experience.

Professor ROBERTS. I recommended the use of hot water for cattle sixteen years ago, before our State Dairymen's Association at Norwich, N.Y., and got hissed off the stage. Then, at a great banquet that night in the basement of the Baptist Church, I got toasted in hot water. We commenced warming the water for our cattle as an experiment, and we found that the warmer we got it the better the animals liked it, until we got it up to ninety degrees. If we got it hotter than that they would put their noses into it, draw back, throw their heads up, and then drink slowly; but in the course of a week our cows got so they refused any but hot water. We have made some careful experiments, and find that we save about fourteen per cent of the food by giving the animal hot water. Some have made experiments with better results than this. I know that our cattle like hot water a great deal better than cold.

Mr. WARE. You have objected to lukewarm water, why?

Professor ROBERTS. I will tell you the reason I have objected to it. I have learned of the cow.

I have learned of the cow. I just ask her the question, and she says, "I want my water hot.” I say, All right; you know best.”

Mr. B. J. STONE. If you had water under cover, and there was no ice on it, would there be any advantage in warming it?

Professor ROBERTS. I think there would be a very great advantage. We have the water for our cattle under

[ocr errors]


Mr. STONE. I find that when I feed my cows dry food they will drink twice a day and drink largely, and your remark of their needing so much water to properly digest their food struck me. My practice most of the time is to feed moist food and steamed food, so that I have a boiler; and I find the cows do not care to drink a great deal of water, not more than one-half or one-quarter what they drink when they are fed with dry food. Sometimes they will drink only every other day. I water them but once a day. I would like to know whether I am losing anything by not getting so much water into them.

I cannot see any decrease in their milk by their drinking less, in comparison


with what they gave when they were eating dry food and drinking a large amount of water. I want to know whether the moist food does them as much good as dry food, and drinking a large amount of water.

Professor ROBERTS. Certainly, when the food is moist they will not drink so much water. If you give them cold water, you

have got to burn hay and corn to warm it. Mr. STONE. It does not take much corn or cotton-seed meal, if you make your food moist, to warm it.

Mr. NEWHALL. I have had some experience in this matter. I have had a heater made by the Ericsson Company of Brattleboro, Vt., that I like as well as anything I have I believe it pays me.

I think it saves me at least ten dollars a year in the time that I would otherwise have to spend in watering my cattle. We all know that cows are very sensitive to cold water. If you take out a lot of young cows, they will dip their noses into the water, throw their heads up, and very often it is ten or fifteen minutes before they can make up their minds to drink that cold water. This heater only takes a handful of waste wood to heat the water. It is seven feet long. If the water is frozen over in the morning an inch thick, I build a little fire under it, and when I come out from feeding, the ice is all gone and the cattle will drink that water just as quickly as they would on a warm morning in July. I have never tested it to find out exactly how much difference it made, but I think it would pay me to buy one every year. I water my young cattle only once a day. They will go out and drink the cold water, and you will hear the barn shake, they are so full of ice water when they go back. It is just so with the cows. If they go out and drink all the cold water they want, they will tremble as if they had the palsy. I have made up my mind that it does not take nearly as much food for my cows when I warm their water, as when they have it cold. I do not warm it up, probably, as hot as the professor suggests, but pretty near, — what I should call milk-warm.

Mr. EVERETT. I think not one in ten of the farmers of Massachusetts have ever heard of heating water so hot as the professor has suggested. At any rate, I never have. But taking the chill from the water has been practiced by a good

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »