« AnteriorContinuar »
Many cheeses were ruined at Bodalla through bad salting. In one day's batch I have picked out (say) two fairly good cheeses, two rotten-insufficient salt-and two white and dry, and very salt.
Careful measure should be kept of the amount of salt necessary to give best results, as mistakes in over or under salting are not so likely to occur once the proper quantity is known.
Keep your curing-room very damp, and at about 60 degrees Fahr.
PARTURITION OF THE Cow.
Symptoms of Calving.
ABOUT a fortnight before calving symptoms as follows generally indicate themselves :—the vagina becomes loose and flabby; the udder becomes larger, firmer, florid, hotter to the feel, more tender looking; the milk-reins become larger; the coupling on each side of the rump-bones looser, and when the couplings feel as if separation of the parts had taken place, then the pains of labour may commence any time. When labour is about to commence the animal becomes easily excited, and should not be disturbed. In some cases premonitory symptoms succeed each other rapidly, in others they follow slowly. When the operation of calving actually begins signs of uneasiness and pain appear. A little elevation of the tail is the first mark. The animal shifts from place to place-frequently getting up and lying down, not knowing what to do with herself; separates herself from the others (sometimes plants the calf). After some time the natural throes or pains come on; the neck of the womb gives way, and the contents are pushed forward at every throe. The water-bag commences to show itself till it becomes the size of a large bladder containing several gallons. It generally bursts, and its contents are discharged. It consists of the liquor in which during gestation the calf floats, and which now serves to lubricate the parts, and render the passage of the calf easier. After the discharge of the water the body of the womb contracts rapidly upon the calf, and if the presentation is natural and all goes well, the head and feet of the calf will be protruded, and after a few throes or pains delivery is complete. If the water-bag breaks before protruding beyond the vagina the calf is in danger of being drowned in the passage.. Although the calf presents itself in the natural position with both its fore feet projecting, its chin lying on both its fore legs, and the point of the tongue appearing out of the side of the mouth, it may not be calved without assistance.
To render this, the feet of the calf being too slippery to be held firmly by the bare hands, a soft flat rope with a running noose is placed abore each fetlock joint. The ropes should only be pulled when the pains or throes are on the cow. It should be a firm steady pull in a direction rather downward from the back of the cow. Sufficient strain should be kept on the ropes during the intervals between the throes or pains to retain whatever advance the calf may have made. Endeavours should be made to relax the skin of the vagina round the calf's head by manipulation, the object being to slip the skin over the crown of the calf's head, and when this is accomplished the whole body, as a rule, may be easily drawn out. I have had sometimes sis and eight men pulling away calves, and as a rule both dam and calf were saved. Considerable power is sometimes required.
In the case of young heifers with their first calves care must be exercised in order to prevent laceration of the parts (disproportion of size). There should be no undue haste in giving assistance to a cow. Sometimes the mouth of the womb opens slowly-my experience, however, has been that if the forelegs and nose do not make their appearance shortly after the water-bag breaks, the band should be well oiled and introduced to ascertain the state of affairs. If the calf is in the right position give time for nature to do her own work; but if there is an unnatural presentation the sooner matters are put right the better, because the cow will soon become exhausted, and a calf is easier moved in the early stages of labour than afterwards. The cow is, of course, lying down (although some cows calve standing), and the operation will be greatly accelerated if bags filled with straw or chaff are placed under her to raise her up behind.
Reviving Calves. Some calves, though extracted with apparent ease, look as if they were dead when calved. If in doubt, the hand should be placed against the side of the beast to ascertain if the heart beats. If it does so, all that is wanted is to inflate the lungs. To do this the mouth should be opened, and if no breathing is yet felt, someone should blow steadily into the mouth. The bellows is sometimes used to inflate the lungs. The viscid fluid should be removed from the mouth.
Retention of After-birth or Placenta. There are numerous causes leading to this-dead calf, poverty of the animal, hurried delivery, &c. If left to putrify, fætid discharges will exhaust the animal. The blood is poisoned, and the animal either dies or remains unhealthy for life. It will usually come away at from two to six hours, but if after forty-eight hours the trouble still exists, the hand and arm, well oiled, should be introduced into the vagina and the placenta carefully separated from the walls of the womb and gradually pulled out. Its withdrawal is sometimes effected by attaching a small weight-say 2 lb.-and with the occasional straining of the cow this will be effectual.
The vagina and parts should be well syringed with chloride of lime and water. Powdered ergot in gruel is also recommended.
Refreshing the Cow. When a cow seems exhausted after a severe and protracted case of labour she should be supported with a warm drink of tepid water, with a few handfuls of oatmeal stirred in it, and seasoned with a little salt. In bad cases gruel is given, with a bottle or two of good sound ale. If too sick to drink it her. self, it should be gently given to her with the drinking-horn or bottle.
CALF-REARING, under natural conditions, is of course suckling, but in dairy cattle this cannot be accomplished, or there would be very little milk, and, consequently, little butter and cheese made. Those who carry on dairying in the vicinity of large towns dispose of the calves when dropped, either by knocking them on the head or keep them for the butcher.
If a man, however, owns a good herd of milch cows, it is imperative that he rear the best heifer calves to take their place in the dairy when the older cows become unprofitable.
Calf-rearing finds little favour with many farmers; it may be at once said that it is a troublesome business, demanding constant and careful attention.
With skilful and careful management, however, calf-rearing must prove remunerative, and no dairyman can afford to sacrifice his calves. Eren at Bodalla, with their 2,000 milking cows, the calves are all carefully reared on whey.
Calf-First food. If a cow is intended solely for the dairy, she should not suckle the calf at all, but this is not always practicable. But the calf should be removed as soon as possible. The longer the calf is kept with the mother the fonder she will be of it, and make more disturbance when it is taken from her. In all cases the mother's first milk should be given to the calf, and this will be no loss, as it is not fit for the dairy until three or four days old. The first milk is termed beestings. This has altogether a different composition to ordinary milk. It contains an exceptionally large proportion of caseine or cheesy matter, as the following analysis of ordinary milk and beestings will show:
Onlinary milk. Beestings.
... 87.02 80-3
It is considered essential to the health of the young calf that the beestings be given in abundance.
Teaching Calves to drink. It must not be forgotten that feeding a calf by hand is an unnatural process. Why should a calf be expected to drink with its head down when its natural instinct would teach it to suck with its head up? Great patience and a good temper are desirable in a person who has to teach calves to drink milk. The prevailing error is to plunge the calf's mouth into the entire quantity of milk until the liquid bubbles. How can it drink with its nose immersed? The best plan is to put a finger or two into the calf's mouth, and bring the head gradually down into the bucket with the nostrils free; the fingers induce it to take a few gluts of the milk, and while it is doing this the fingers should be withdrawn, while the mouth is gently held down in the milk. Usually, after tasting the milk, it will drink a little of itself. In a few days the fingers will not be required, the head only being put down to the milk, and very soon the calf will drink of its own accord. Calves should not drink thin milk too quickly ; in nature they have to suck. When it enters the stomach too quickly it coagulates in one solid lump, and is then difficult to digest. (It is not good for the human family to drink milk too rapidly for the same reason.) Invention has brought forward an imitation of nature in the shape of a canvas bag with numerous indiarubber teats all round. The milk is put in the bag and the calves have to suck before they can obtain any. I had one in South Australia ; it answered splendidly. It can be hung up in the yard and the calves gather round it. They are made with 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 teats, as required. It is not an uncommon thing, when a cow is very stiff, to put two calves on to her. A good milker will
bring up three, and often four, calves during the time she is in milk. Almost any cow will take to a young calf, but it is sometimes difficult to get a calf some months old to take to a strange cow. I have had to starve them, blindfold them, &c., &c.
The calf must be allowed, if possible, its own mother's whole milk for the first week, then partly skim-milk, and latterly the whole milk altogether withdrawn, and the skim-milk supplemented by some other food. Although skim-milk, when fresh, is an excellent beverage, it is not a well-balanced food for calves. The following analysis shows its composition :Water ...
... ... ... ... 0.7
... ... 4.0
The skim-milk thus retains almost all the caseine and sugar, but little of the butter-fat. About one-sixth of the caseine and albumen consists of nitrogen, and as far as it goes, skim-milk is undoubtedly a valuable food when used with other feeding material. When fed alone it is liable to bring on scour, indigestion, and other bowel complaints. It is best when scalded, and keeps sweet longer—a whole week sometimes. During the first ninety days a calf will require an average of from 15 lb. to 20 lb. skim-milk, and will only make 1 lb. live weight per day, whereas, if proper mixtures, such as boiled linseed and wheaten meal, are added to the skim-milk, it will gain 2. lb. per day. Professor Stewart says the oil of the linseed will make good the loss of the cream in milk.
The other substances mostly used are oatmeal, Indian cornmeal, peameal, barley meal, or some of the many specially-prepared foods offered for this purpose.
A good ration wouid consist of 6 quarts boiled skim-milk, lb, flax-seed, lb. wheatmeal made into gruel. This per day. I can suggest nothing better.
Whey for rearing Calves. Whey is more useful for food than is generally supposed. It consists of about 93 per cent. of water and 7 per cent. of solids.
The solid matter consists of about 70 per cent. of the sugar of milk, 14 per cent. of albuminous compounds, containing about 3:75 per cent. of nitrogen, 11 per cent. of ash, and nearly 5 per cent of butter or pure fat.
But while the food constituents in whey are considerable, and may be turned to good account in feeding calves, they must be largely supplemented by other richer commodities in order to sufficiently nourish the young animal. Fat-forming matter must be added to compensate for its removal in the cream ; and the nitrogenous matter, phosphate of lime, magnesia, sulphur, soda, &c., taken away in the caseine must be replaced. These may be supplied by using linseed and oat or barley meal.
Whey must be used while fresh and sweet. If allowed to become sour it would seriously derange the system of the animal.
It must not be fed alone, containing too much water and too little dry matter, but must be given with more concentrated food.
ABORTION. ABORTION or slipping is a most serious mishap affecting cows during gestation. Its causes are numerous. Amongst them, agricultural shows, results from a long fatiguing journey, the shaking of a railway train, molestation by dogs, slipping, or getting crushed in an awkward stall; toiling through a vard full of wet manure, or wet soil, in which they sink, such as undrained land in wet weather; eating too much; the overloaded stomach sometimes presses injuriously upon the uterus. The fætus is injured by the eating of ergotted grasses or grain, smell of blood, bad water, want of exercise.
Ergot and Abortion. There has been from time to time much discussion as to whether or not abortion in cows is due in any large measure to their eating grasses affected with ergot-a fungus which attacks the ear or panicle of grasses and cereals, rye and rye-grass particularly. Ergot is a strong irritant, and the idea is that the irritation which ergot, consumed in the food by cows, sets up in the womb results in the premature expulsion of the fetus. Farmers should, therefore, regard ergot as a dangerous enemy. The symptoms of abortion are a sudden filling of the udder, a yellow discharge from the vagina, and a giving way of the ligaments on both sides of the rump, a premature preparation for calving. Little can be done in the way of preventing abortion; the symptoms generally make their appearance suddenly, and go through their course rapidly.
The American breeders have a strong belief in hemp-seed as a safe preventive of repeated abortion ; fluid extract of Indian hemp is also recommended.
After-risks from Abortion. The risk which a cow runs after abortion is not getting rid of the cleansing after-birth or placenta, it not being in a state to separate from the womb. Should it remain it will soon corrupt, and send forth a nauseous smell to the detriment of the other cows. Sometimes it must be taken away, but laxative medicine and food will generally bring about its removal. Abortion is often spoken of as being infectious, but it has no property in common with any contagious disease; and sympathetic influence is the main cause of its occurrence amongst numbers in a herd. The result, however, is as bad as if direct contagion had occasioned it. It usually spreads like an epidemic. When a cow slips her calf she should be at once removed from the rest of the herd and disinfectants used. Lime is good.