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dant crop of grain, but, to appearance, is altogether left in a much higher state of cultivation,
But as many varieties of soil make many different opinions, the writer thinks it preferable to leave practical agriculturalists to determine for themselves what should be deducted for a probable deficiency in the ensuing crop. Ie, in endeavoring to report impartially, has thought it neeessary merely to call attention to this, as being, in his opinion, one great objection to the feeding of sheep under cover, even although it could otherwise be done profitably, omitting to put anything down for it in the table as a deduction, as he could only have done so at random, and might be thought incorrect in his estimate, placing nothing there but what he has practically proved by experiment; and from it there seems little ground or encouragement to hope for success in feeding sheep in this way with profit, there being no reasonable approximation of profits whatever in the two ways of feeding.
Had the sheep had open enclosures to walk about in, as well as houses in which to retire and feed at pleasure, very probably they would have thriven a great deal better-for although they did not seem to mind the confinement at all when they were first put under cover in November, eating as regularly and plentifully as those in the field, yet when the days began to get long and fine towards the end of February, they seemed very anxious to get out, and eat a considerably smaller quantity of turnips, although they then had them cut to them with Gardiner's cutter. During the two weeks in March, before being weighed, they consumed about onethird less of turnips than the two field-lots, the long confinement seeming gradually to lessen their appetite. But even supposing that, by the addi. tion of
open enclosures to covered boxes, sheep in that way could be fed with a profit-say even a greater profit than from those folded in the field -independent of the objection already taken notice of, of impoverishing the ground by the removal of all the turnips, there are several other drawbacks which must leave it very doubtful whether the feeding of sheep in houses can ever really usefully and profitably be carried into general practice. 1st, There would require to be a considerable outlay of capital to erect the necessary houses and enclosures, the cost of which at the very first, in most of cases, would devolve on the tenant, or where it did not do 80, at least an addition to his annual rent would be requisite as payment of the interest of the sum sunk by the landlord on buildings which might ultimately turn out to be of no real benefit to either of them. 20, It would require a considerable addition of hands to pull, root, and fill all the turnips into the carts——more than would be at all requisite for the other labor of the farm, so that when the weather was fine there might be
no lack of strength to get in a supply; there being in some winters weeks together when it is quite impassable from frost, snow, or rain, to pull and cart turnips in the way that work ought to be done. Now, one question would be, Where could these additional hands be obtained? for many of the farmers in Berwickshire, at least, can scarcely at present find the number absolutely requisite to pull and root turnips for their cattle, besides the other ordinary work, such as thrashing, winnonwing, &c. For some months in winter, more horses would also be required to cart the turnips home to the sheep, and at the same time keep forward the other departments of the horse labor. 3d, It would often be a very difficult matter getting so many turnips led off without souring the soil, although there are some fine winters in which it would be an easy task to do so. Yet, taking them in general, a good deal of rain or snow falls for some months at that time, making the fields often quite unfit for being much carted upon, without a great amount of injury being done to them.
Weighing, then, all these objections to feeding sheep under cover, fairly and impartially coupled with the result of the practical experiment already detailed, the writer cannot avoid thinking that the ordinary method pur sued feeding them folded on breaks, and getting the turnips cut to them in the field, is much to be preferred.—Jour. of Agriculture of Scotland.
EXPERIMENTS ON FEEDING TWO KINDS OF LEICESTERS
By Joan M'LAREN, Rossie Priory, Inchture.
[Premium-£10.) At the discussion in Edinburgh as to the advisability of having two classes of the Leicester sheep at shows of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, a question was raised as to which of the kinds of Leicesters, the White or Border, or the Blue or English, was the most profitable. In other words, was it ever ascertained by actual experiment whether, as stated, more sheep of small-boned and finer kind could be kept on the same amount of food than could be of the larger kind; and whether the small, although when sold not worth so much as the large the proportion as to profit might be more evenly balanced, as per acre of land, than the selling prices of each seemed at first to warrant? Lord Kinnaird then proposed to undertake a set of experiments to try this. The following report is the result of this trial:
After due consideration as to the best means of carrying out this experiment fully and fairly, and on a good foundation, his lordship put himsekis into communication with Mr. Sandy, of Home Pierrepoint, as to the Eng. lish Leicesters, and with Mr. Usher, Stodrigg, as to the Border Leicesters. We were very much indebted to those gentlemen for the trouble they took in furnishing us with their advice and assistance in getting the best specimens of both kinds of Leicesters. Having determined to carry on the trial from the time they were lambs, Mr. Sandy procured for us ten wether lambs from Colonel Inge, near Tamworth, and Mr. Usher also got for us ten wether lambs from Mr. Hardie, near Kelso. Although the ex. periment rests mainly between the above two lots, still Lord Kinnaird wished it somewhat more extensive, and ten wether lambs were selected from our own Leicester flock, and also ten wether lambs from our flock of grey-faced Cotswolds. This, though adding to the expense, also added to the experience, and gave nearly full work to the person in charge of all the weighings and measurements of food, &c. The experiment commenced on the 26th of August, by dividing a piece of rich old pasture into four equal pieces, further divisions being made by means of iron feeding-hurdles, moved four or five times a day, according as required. We thus found out what quantity of grass alone each of the lots consumed in four weeks; all the sheep were weighed at the commencement of experiment, and every four weeks afterwards. The ground thus pastured by each lot was then allowed them for exercise during the winter months of the trial. I may here mention that the necessary confinement of the sheep occasioned us much trouble, owing to their feet becoming sore, which was increased by a very wet season. This sometimes made a very great difference in the progress of all the lots; still, as they shared alike, it only made the value of all the sheep rather less at the end, so it could not interfere much with the results of the experiment.
The second four weeks they had cut clover weighed out to them in troughs, along with oats, cake, and Indian corn; of the artificial substances we regulated the supply to each lot as the animals would eat, thus leaving the more bulky portions of the food—as grass, clover, turnips, &c.—to test the qualities of the different kinds of sheep.
The third four weeks all the lots had turnips cut in troughs, along with hay, chaff, and oats, cake and meal, as formerly; they had turnips and mangolds for eight months, when they returned to clover for part of the eleventh month, and on grass all the twelfth, in the same manner as the first month, with the addition of oilcake. During the trial they were carefully washed and shorn, and the wool of each sheep weighed, marked, and each lot kept separately. It was all sold at the same price, but the merchant said that the wool of the Border Leicesters, in the present markets, was of most value for his purpose, the grey-faced next, and the other Leicesters about equal. In the following tables we shall confine ourselves to each lot, as the particulars of each sheep for a year would only make a multiplicity of figures; and we think it quite sufficient for the purpose of the trial to show the weight at the commencement of experiment on 26th August, and the weight at the end, on the 25th of August following, along with the weight of wool and price; also the price of the sheep when sold, as against so much grass, turnips, mangolds, hay, corn and cake consumed. Before doing so, however, we shall give the particulars of each lot.
No. 1 consisted of ten wether lambs from the flock of Colonel Inge, se. lected for this experiment by Mr. Sindy. They were very early lambs, seemingly, and had been accustomed to artificial food before we got them. In fairness we had to allow them a fortnight's rest before commencing; they were, however, all sound. After being weighed they were put on their piece of grass on the 26th of August, their average weight at that time being 864 lbs. After the first month they did very well, but, owing to causes previously stated, the average gain on each weighing varied or ranged from 4 to nearly 13 lbs. each sheep. The first month we had to put out one, on account of an unfortunate accident by which it got a broken leg, and, to make the lots equal, we also cast one from each of the others, thus reducing the number to nine, which number we carried through all the trial; but some, as previously stated, were from lameness and other causes not sound and well enough to afford a fair criterion of progress. We think, therefore, the best plan is to give the average weight of each sheep in the several lots at the commencement and end, thus making it immaterial whether ten or seven sheep were in the lot.
The average weight of ten sheep on 26th August was 86.5 lbs.; the average weight of seven sheep on the 26th of August following was 156.2 lbs.; gain in live weight, 69.7 lbs.; weight of wool of nine sheep, 63 lbs. 4 oz., which sold for £6, 53. 14d. The seven sheep were sold for £20. We may here mention that the sheep of this and the other lots were equally divided-one part sold in Edinburgh, and the other in Liverpool. Total for sheep and wool, £26, 59. 11d. The annexed tables will show the amount of food consumed by this lot during the trial.
No. 2 was composed of ten wether lambs, from the flock of Mr. Robert Hardie, Hariotfield, near Kelso, selected for the purpose by Mr. Usher, Stodrigg. They also were allowed about the same time as the previous lot before commencing the trial. This lot bad also been accustomed to trough.feeding before, and were a nice lot of lambs; one of them died the first month of the trial, leaving nine to be carried on. They seemed to resist the influence of the confinement and bad weather better than their finer-bred opponents; but even their average gain per four weeks varied from nearly 5 to 15 lbs. each. This was owing to the causes before stated. The average weight of the ten sheep on the 26th of August was 90 lbs. On the 25th of August following, their average weight was 178.4 lbs.; total gain (live weight) 88.4 lbs. The weight of wool of nine sheep was 69 lbs. 13 oz., which sold for £6, 83. 0fd. The seven sheep of this lot sold for £22, 53., making a total for sheep and wool of £28, 133. 0}d. The tables also give the amount of food consumed by this lot during the trial.
No. 3 consisted of ten wether lambs, bred by Lord Kinnaird from his Leicester flock; and here we may remark that we have almost always used the small-boned blue-faced Leicester, our rams being obtained from Messrs. Burgess, Stone, Saudy, &c.; and our lambs were evidently at least six weeks younger than those of the preceding lots. They also labored under the disadvantage of not having been accustomed to trougb-feeding, for the most part having been newly taken off their mothers and confined for the trial; and, as a natural consequence, for the first two months they rather decreased than increased in weight. After that, however, they improved very rapidly, although, as in all the other lots, their improvement varied very much, as from 3 to 13 lbs. each sheep. The average weight of the ten sheep on the 26th of August was 78.8 lbs. per sheep, and at the end of experiment in August following, 149 lbs.; the total gain, live weight, was thus 71.2 lbs. each. The weight of wool of nine sheep was 62 lbs. 2 oz., and sold for £5, 14s. Seven sheep of this lot sold for £19, 58. Total for sheep and wool, £24, 199. The food consumed will be found in the tables.
No. 4 consisted of ten wether lambs, bred by Lord Kinnaird out of his flock of grey-faced Cotswolds; and we here take an opportunity of stating our high opinion of this class of sheep-wool, mutton, and quality being largely combined. We are only sorry that we cannot give the real result of the trial of this lot, as in the month of February, during the trial, two of the best of the lot were found dead in one morning. They were replaced by others out of the flock, which, however, were not so heavy at the time, and they had the further disadvantage of not being accustomed to the confinement. The average gain in this lot was large, varying from 7 to 18 lbs. each per four weeks. They did remarkably well after this. The average weight of ten sheep on the 26th of August was 95.1 lbs., and the average weight of seven sheep on the 25th of August following was 180.5 lbs.; total gain, live weight, was 85.4 lbs. The weight of wool of nine sheep was 81 lbs. 10 oz., which sold for £7, 93. 8d. Seven sheep sold for £23, 12s. 6d. Total for sheep and wool, £31, 23. 2d. The particulars of food consumed are furnished in the tables.