23 April 2012

Hints On Fattening Stock

# 100

As to rapid fattening, study the habits and requirements of fattening stock. All animals, when at liberty, take considerable exercise.  Hence it is evident that a box stall, or “pen," is better than to tie by the neck or in stanchions.  Cattle at pasture eat often, and take comparatively little rest except at night.  From this it would appear that frequent feedings-- that is, at least three or four times a day-- are better for fattening cattle than larger quantities at longer intervals.

Ease, warmth, quiet, and comfort are quite indispensable to the rapid accumulation of fat.  Hence pens out of the sight of store cattle, or well-sheltered sheds, well littered, removed from any disturbance from any operations which may be going on about the premises and which might distract the animal, are important.   Fattening cattle must be treated with great gentleness and familiarity.  All domestic animals are wonderfully sensitive to human kindness, and none more so than fattening cattle.  Card or brush them every day.  It promotes rapid progress in taking on fat.  Rest and repose being of the utmost importance, careful attention to the litter is essential.  A good, soft comfortable bed is almost an essential requisite.  It is of little use to give the best and richest of food if the bed is hard and uncomfortable.  The progress will be unsatisfactory.  A soft bed tempts the creature to lie down more of the time.  In feeding, or attendance of any kind , be regular in time, prompt and quick, so that the animal may, as soon as possible, be left to undisturbed repose.  Never expose a fattening beast to wet, or cold, stormy weather.

As to food, an infinite variety presents itself for consideration, but with us Indian corn meal, ground fine, will form the basis, as being most available.  Still its is desirable to study change, both to promote the health and to stimulate the appetite.  For a full grown ox, two bushels of turnips, sliced up, per day, with ten or twelve pounds of good meal, or say five pounds of linseed meal and three pounds of Indian meal, and as much good hay as the animal will eat, is none too much.  A scanty allowance of water should be given.  If you are disposed to take a little pains, the hay may be run through a hay-cutter, put into a box with a tight cover, the meal sprinkled over it, and scalding hot water poured on, when it should be covered up, and may stand for hours.  If it begins to ferment, no matter.  It is better.  If you have plenty of caraway seed, you may add a little of that to the meal to advantage.  if the animal seems to get cloyed or sick of one kind of food, try another.  Oatmeal is a good change, and shorts may be resorted to occasionally.

Of the roots, feed the round turnips first then the Swedes, or ruta-bagas, and the mangolds last.  If you have such a box as I mentioned, you can make a layer of six inches of cut hay, packed down solid, and then a layer of cut roots, say two inches thick, and on the roots, the meal may be put; if in a boiling condition, all the better; and so on, in similar alternate layers, till the box is full.  Stir it up a little, and pour on a little hot water, and cover up, an let it stand, say twenty-four hours.  The roots will be cooked in this time.  After the first few days the animal will devour this mixture with the utmost greediness, even if the hay is not of the best quality.  For a medium sized animal six pounds of meal will do, and one bushel of roots; and it is better to begin with four pounds of meal, and gradually increase the quantity.  Linseed and Indian meal mixed is better than either alone.  Some straw may be used if the mixture is made as suggested above.  The roots must be made quite clean, or they will cause the animal to scour.  If you can get hold of some bean meal, it is excellent, especially for a change. 
[Thomas's Farmer's Almanac]


I have no experience at raising cattle. However, I think it was customary to raise "meat cows" to a certain age on pasture, then bring them in from the pasture and fatten them up with a special diet for a season of time before butchering. That would seem to be what this old article on fattening is about.

Is this still customary on farms? Perhaps some of you who know more about this can provide some perspective?

And can anyone explain "store cattle?"

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09 April 2012

Market Gardening


(photo link) (click the picture to see an enlarged view)

—The market garden is a specialty which many a young man thinks he can master, but in which he often fails for want of knowing the conditions requisite for success. The market gardens within six miles from Boston are worth often more than a thousand dollars per acre for purposes of cultivation. Capital, therefore, is one of the greatest requisites for success in this business; but, in addition, there must be good soil, and that within easy reach of a good market.

—The market garden implies the highest cultivation. A very large amount of manure is to be applied to a small amount of land. Twenty to thirty cords to the acre, every year, is not uncommon, and for a garden of ten or a dozen acres a two-horse team is kept going nearly every day to draw manure, to say nothing of the carting of the produce, which, if skillfully marketed, will amount to from eight hundred to a thousand dollars per acre.

—With the conditions absolutely necessary for success in market gardening, one must have a natural tact for it, and this implies habits of industry and a keen eye, together with some years of experience, so as to be familiar with the infinite details of the business. Within five or six miles of a large city both the market and the manure wagon can make two trips or more a day, if necessary, and this is often the case.

—The number of hands required to run a market garden within five or six miles of the city will be about one man to the acre in summer, and a horse for every three acres, and the crops most frequently produced are the bulky but valuable ones, such as lettuce, spinach, radishes, dandelions for greens, beets, early cabbages, onions, kale, horseradish, celery, the early crops being followed by later ones on the same land, such as squashes, melons, tomatoes, cauliflowers, carrots, parsnips, etc. Dandelions and rhubarb occupy the land for the whole year, but with most other things two crops are grown on the same land, and sometimes even three or four crops a year are raised on the same ground.

—As to gardens, or farms, devoted to market gardening, at a greater distance from the market, say from eight to twelve or fifteen miles, the conditions are different. Land is cheaper, ranging from one to two hundred dollars per acre, the cost of hauling manure and produce is much greater, and the management varies accordingly. The capital required will be less, and the crops raised, such as need less manure, and are in general less bulky, like beans, pease, asparagus, early potatoes, strawberries and other small fruits, squashes, late cabbages and turnips, cucumbers for pickles. The market wagon will make fewer trips, say three or four times a week in summer, only once or twice in winter.

—While market gardens near the city will require a working capital of five to eight hundred dollars per acre, to be invested in tools, teams, buildings, hot beds, manure, etc.: those lying at a greater distance may be worked with a capital of from one hundred to two hundred dollars per acre, and the force required for efficient working will be less, say on an average one man and a horse for every two or three acres.

[Thomas’s Farmer's Almanac]

Hauling Potatoes to Market (photo link)

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