11 June 2012

—1859, 1862 & 1874—
Cow Excerpts


A Valuable Cow
A gentleman of Dorchester, Mass., who has an excellent cow, has, at our request, furnished the following description of her, together with a statement of her yield of milk, &c., in a letter dated June 23, 1858:

“She was raised by me, on my estate in Dorchester, and is six years old this spring. Her dam was from the farm of Gov. Lincoln, or Worcester—a cross of a native cow with the progeny of the celebrated bull Denton, from the Williams farm in Northboro. Her sire was a full-blood Ayrshire. She has given, for the first twenty-one days in June, 436 quarts, or a fraction less than 21 quarts per day, beer measure, or 25 quarts wine measure. Weight of the milk, 1085-1/2, or 51 lbs. 10 oz. per day,—about her estimated weight on the hoof. The proportion of cream is 13 per cent. She has given us a little more than 10 lbs. of butter per week, besides the cream used for the family. She has had nothing but grass, and is milked regularly at 6 A.M. and 6 P.M.”

[Thomas’s Farmer's Almanac]

Good Points of a Cow
We offer the following doggerel lines, as combining what are popularly considered the good points of a cow, such as is commonly among the short-horned breed of Yorkshire:
She’s long in her face, she’s fine in her horn,
She’ll quickly get fat without cake or corn,
She’s clean in her jaws, and full in her chine,
She’s heavy in flank, and wide in her loin.

She’s broad in her ribs, and long in her rump,
A straight and flat back, without e’er a hump;
She’s wide in her hips, and calm in her eyes,
She’s fine in her shoulders, and thin in her thighs.

She’s light in her neck, and small in her tail,
She’s wide in her breast, and good at the pail;
She’s fine in her bone, and silky of skin,
She’s a grazier’s without, and a butcher’s within.
[Leavitt’s Farmer's Almanac]

Cows on Grass
The best food for a dairy cow is grass. There can be no doubt about that. It is as plain as the nose on a face.
[Thomas’s Farmer's Almanac]


Speaking of cows, my friend, Richard Grossman,  has started a new blog about raising Dexter and Kerry cattle on his fifth generation family farm in western Pennsylvania. You can read it here: The Craighill Herd of Kerry & Dexter Cattle.


Unknown said...

beautiful, got to love cows!

Anonymous said...

As you may know, I've been thinking a lot about cows lately, so I enjoyed reading this. It's good to know that in 1874 they still had the good sense to understand that cows were best raised on grass. Herrick, now that you have more land, will you be adding a cow to the homestead soon? Will it be a Dexter? :-)

Kerry Cowman said...

Thanks for the kind words Herrick. Also, I love old cow pictures so I really enjoyed this post.

Herrick Kimball said...


We would like to get some cows to "manage" the pasture land and help increase the fertility without going to a lot of expense. Joel Salatin's "Grassfed Beef" book has provided some inspiration. But we are now in the position of having spent most of our savings for the land and need to save for awhile to get some fence and some sort of simple cattle housing. As for cows, as much as we like the Dexter, we will probably start on the cheap with some free bull calves from a neighbor farmer. I don't see a dairy cow in our immediate future— just a few beef cows. We have a lot to learn. :-)

Anonymous said...

The beef cattle sounds like a good plan for you. What a blessing to be getting some FREE bull calves! We, too, are in the position of having to put fencing and housing in place. I plan to close in a 3-bay drive-shed and use that as a barn. Just starting out can be daunting, but you have been blessed with agrarian genes, so I'm sure you will be a natural!