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JOSEPH E. WING.
By JOSEPH E. \A/ING,
Staff Correspondent of Thie Breeder's Gazette.
NEW AND REVISED EDITION.
Sanders Publishing Co.
BY SANDERS PUBLISHING CO.
All rights reserved.
Introduction to Second Edition 30
Fine-Wool Breeds 21-31
American Merinos 25
Delaine Merinos and Black Tops 25
Mutton Breeds 32-61
The Downs —
Dorset Horns 46
The Mountain Breeds —
Black-f aces 50
Tunis and Persian Sheep 55
Cross-Breeding for the Lamb Market 67
Cross-Breeding in Eastern Pastures 69
Selection and Management 72-106
Restocking a Farm with Sheep 72
Selection of the Ram. 74
Keeping a Tj^pe 77
Fixing Tjpe 82
Renewed Vitality from Fresh Blood 86
\ Vitality the Thing to Strive for 87
Selection of the Ewes 88
Getting Home with the Flock 90
Importance of Dipping 90
The Scab Germ 91
The Dipping Vat 93
Regular Dipping of the Farm Flock 95
Summary of Dipping 97
Fall Treatment of the Ewe Flock 97
Putting in the Ram 100
Management of the Ram 100
Care of the I*regnant Ewe 103
Care op the Ewe and Young Lamb 107-150
The Ewe Barn 107
Care at Lambing Time 113
Feeding of the Ewe After Lambing 118
Troubles of Young Lambhood 122
Sore Mouth and Teats 123
Feeding the Lambs 124
Feeding for the Market 128
Dressing Lambs for Fancy Winter Market 135
Treatment of the Late-born Lambs 138
Feeding Corn on Grass 141
Summer Shade 142
Marketing the Spring Lamb 146
Castration of Old Rams 148
Castration of Lambs 148
Summer Care and Management . 151-190
The Ewe Flock 151
A System of Management that Insures a Healthy Flock. . .159
Use of Sown Pastures 168
Oats and Alfalfa Pasture 171
Clover and Alfalfa Pasture 172
Danger from Clover and Alfalfa Pasture 173
The Use of Rape 178
Care of the Feet 182
Foot-Rot and Foot-Scald 183
Advent of Late Lambs 185
The Lambing Tent ; 186
Fall Lambs 188
Washing, Shearing and Marking 191-205
Washing and Shearing 193
Shearing Machines 195
The Tattoo Mark 202
Marking Pure-bred Lambs 203
Flock Husbandry in the Western States 206-255
New Mexico 206
Characteristics of Mexican Sheep 207
" The Good Old Times " in New Mexico. 209
Modern Management 210
Diseases of the Range 213
Mexican Lambs as Feeders 214
The Wandering Herds « 215
Waiting for Grass to Come 216
The Blood of the Herds 218
The Division of the Ranges 218
Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas. 219
Parasitic Infection of the Ranges 220
Happy Future of the Region 220
Management of the Range Rams 223
Where the Rams Come From 224
The Breeding Season 225
Vigor of Ewes and Lambs 225
The Busy Shepherd at Lambing Time 226
The Coyote 226
" Trimming " the Lambs , 228
Shearing on the Range. 230
The Maligned " Sheep Herder " 232
Ups and Downs of the Business 234
The Hopeful Outlook 235
A Work to be Done 237
Sheep Advance ; Cattle Retreat 238
Winter Feeding of Sheep and Lambs 238
Necessity for Dipping 241
Selection of Feeders 243
Feeding of Lambs 255
Western Lamb Feeding 256^07
Pea Feeding in Colorado 256
Canadian Peas for Lamb Feeding 257
Peas in the San Luis Valley 258
Amount of Lamb Mutton from an Acre of Peas 262
Alfalfa-fed Colorado Lambs 264
Feeding Mill Screenings 271
Sheep-Feeding in the Corn-Belt 272
Use of Self-Feeders 291
Feeding Beet Pulp .292
Causes of Death in the Feed-Lot 295
Peas for Lambs 297
The Business of Lamb Feeding 297
Feeding of Older Sheep 298
Feeding Mature Wethers 298
The Diseases of Sheep 308-342
Ailments in General " 308
CONTENTS. , 9
Importance of Post-Mortem Dissection 314
Other Diseases of Sheep 315
Garget, or Mammitis 316
Grubs in the Head 319
Liver Fluke— "The Rot" 320
Nodular Disease 321
Tape Worms 322
Husk, Hoose, or Parasitic Bronchitis 323
The Stomach Worm 324
Symptoms acd Diagnosis 326
Life History of the Stomach Worm 327
Methods of Preventing Infection 329
Treatment for Stomach Worms 334
Coal-Tar Creosote 335
Other Remedies 337
Start with a Healthy Flock 338
The Angoka and Milking Goats 343-361
The Angora Goat 343
The Milking Goat. .357
Joseph E. Wing Frontispiece.
Two-year-old Merino Ram 23
Yearling Rambouillet Ewes in France 27
Photographic Studies in Down Types of Sheep 33
Farm Training for the Show Ring 38
Lincoln Rams 43
Lincoln Ewes 43
Some Ohio Dorsets 47
Cheviot Ewes 58
Group of Tunis Sheep on an Ohio Farm 57
A Trio of Prize-Winning Lincolns 61
Dorset Ewes 64
Dipping Sheep at the University of Wisconsin 73
Dipping Plant 'J'5
The Champion Ram that was Not Too Good 79
Rambouillet Ram • . • • ■ • 81
Shropshire Ewes on a Canadian Farm 83
Black-faced Rams _ 85
Southdown Ewes 108
Delaine-Merino Ram Lambs Ill
A Bunch of Nebraska Leicesters 117
"Mary Had Five Little Lambs " 125
Dorset Lambs on the Way to Market 129
An English " Creep " 134
Ready for Market 136
Merinos Posed for a Picture 139
A Carload of Yearling Wethers 143
In an Old Country Pasture 153
Cotswold Ewes • • ■ -157
Studies in Sheep Character 161
Feeding Lambs on a Hillside Pasture 169
Yearling Oxford Ram 1'<'6
Leicester Ram 177
Imported Hampshire Ram Lambs 187
Hand Shearing Machine 196
Shearing Black-faced Sheep in Scotland 199
Yearling Oxford Ram « 208
Dishley Merinos in France 211
Black-faced Sheep in the Hills 217
A Kansas Feeding Yard, Capacity 18,000 Sheep 221
A Sheep Wagon on the Range 227
Lincoln Shearlings , 229
An Illinois Feeding and Shipping Yard 231
Suffolk Ram ' 236
A Fine-wooled Flock on a Western Farm 239
Feeding Corral, with Straight Fence 245
A Show of Cotswolds 252
Shropshire Feeders in Colorado 25t
Racks for Feeding Grain 266
Box Rack for Feeding Alfalfa 267
Cross-section of Model Sheep Barn Showing Frame 273
Side View of Model Sheep Barn Showing Doors 274
Two Views of Feed Rack 277
Feeding Corral, with Zigzag Fence 281
Sheep Wagons 286
A Texas Feeding Yard 293
A Pair of Hampshire Lambs 300
At a Royal English Show 301
Lincolns in the Show Ring 305
An Angora Goat Show 345
The traveler in England, Scotland and parts
of France and Germany is impressed by the
importance of the sheep industry to these lands.
Sheep farms are often found close together and
of large size with great numbers of sheep there-
on. The writer has stood on one hill in Dorset-
shire and counted eight shepherds, each with
his flock of about 400 ewes and their lambs, in
sight at one time. Nearby, in an adjoining
county, flocks of Hampshires exist as large as
2,500 on farms of not above 1,400 acres of not
extra soil. These flocks are very profitable and
they make rich soils that without the sheep
would be hardly worth cultivating. They ex-
ist in wonderful health and vigor on lands that
have been sheeped since civilization peopled the
land. In Scotland and the Cheviot hills flocks
exist over the entire land and without sheep
the land would almost lapse into wilderness. In
France on lands worth $250.00 per acre great
flocks of mutton sheep are kept. The agricul-
ture of these countries leans strongly on the
sheep. Long experience in maintaining fertil-
ity, in creating it, has taught the farmers that
without the flocks they can not continue profit-
able agriculture. Sheep fit in well to an in-
tensive system of agriculture. They are docile,
14 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
tractable, easily kept within bounds, not fastid-
ious in their appetites but willing to devour
most weeds along with the good forage, and
they leave behind them a wake of fruitful soil.
In America sheep farming is little understood.
8heep are kept in a more or less desultory man-
ner, having the run of some hill pasture or
woodland, fed at intervals in winter, sold off
when prices become low, bought up again with
the return of higher prices, given small care
or encouragement, often afflicted with parasites,
internal and external, a side issue with the farm-
er, profitable in spite of his neglect, yet not often
assuming the dignity of a business of them-
selves. There are several reasons for this state.
It is in part a heritage of the days when sheep
were little valued for their flesh and were kept
mainly for their fleeces. It is in part a result
of our once cheap lands and insufficient labor
with which to till them. And in large part it
is because of ignorance of profitable methods.
When sheep thrive their owners gladly reap
the profits ; when they become diseased and un-
profitable it is usually charged to ^'bad luck."
There need be small element of luck or chance
in sheep management. There is always a rea-
son for thrift and for unthrift in the flock. There
need rarely be any disease in the flock. A
healthy sheep is certain to be a profitable one.
There is at this time good reason for think-
ing seriously of these problems of sheep hus-
bandry because of the increase in mutton con-
sumption and the curious parallel fact that
the production is decreasing. April 1, 1903,
saw about 39,204,000 sheep shorn; April, 1904,
about 38,342,000, or nearly a million less. It is
probable that this decrease has been checked,
though there has been no decided change in
conditions and comparatively little re-stocking
of Eastern farms. Sheep are essentially today
dwellers of the range, the mountain and the
desert. Montana has the largest number of
sheep, 5,576,000 ; Wyoming has 3,800,000 ; New
Mexico, 3,150,000; Idaho, 2,300,000 ; Ohio, 2,033,-
000; Utah, 2,025,000; Oregon, 2,000,000; Cali-
fornia, 1,625,000; Texas, 1,440,000; Colorado,
1,300,000; Michigan, 1,200,000; Pennsylvania,
850,000 ; New York, 675,000 ; Washington, 560,-
000; Nevada, 600,000; Arizona, 620,000; Indi-
ana, 700,000, and all other states below 600,000
each. It will be seen that in comparison with
the ranges the states make rather a small show-
ing in the sheep industry, Ohio and Michigan
excepted. The fact of free grass upon the
Western ranges and the general healthfulness
of flocks in that arid region have had a deterring
influence upon the sheep industry in the old
farming states. Now, however, that the ranges
seem unable to supply the mutton that is de-
manded by our consumers it is time to forget
their menace and to take up again our old trade
of shepherding on our Eastern farms.
There are several excellent reasons why this
is a rational and promising industry in which
to embark. The ranges are now fully stocked
with cattle and sheep. To increase the num-
bers of sheep means to drive out more cattle
and this the cattle men are resisting by armed
16 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
force. On many of the drier ranges the sheep
have overpastured the grass till much of it has
been destroyed root and branch and thus its
carrying power is much decreased. Settlers are
taking the land in every irrigable valley and
fencing it and there is thus in every way a
steady diminution in the numbers of sheep on
the ranges. Nor can it be seen how this may be
checked and their numbers made to increase, see-
ing that alfalfa forms almost the sole forage
grown in the arid region, and this is not a crop
suited to careless grazing of large bands of
sheep by hireling herders.
Consider again that the prejudice that at one
time existed against mutton eating has almost
died away. The cities are eating all the mutton
that they can get and are paying for it much
more than they are paying for beef or pork.
There are doubtless several excellent reasons
for this. Fashion is one. The fact that crowds
of our people visit England every year leads
them to form the ^Mamb chop" habit. Mutton
is better fattened and prepared than formerly.
There is offered a very much greater supply of
lamb mutton than of mutton from old sheep, and
that helps. Then the old-time type of small,
wrinkly, thin-fleshed sheep has about disap-
peared and that helps. There is a demand for
lambs from babyhood up to a year of age, well
fattened; there is demand for mature mutton.
Whether the packers have or have not con-
trolled the price of beef they have not been able
or desirous of keeping down the price of mutton.
For ten years feeders of lambs have prospered
exceedingly, with occasional discouragements,
and there is no prospect of the production of
good, well-finished mutton being overdone for
some years to come. It can not be overdone until
one of two things happens, either the American
people must come into calamitous days or a
great number of farmers must turn shepherds
and learn the business from the ground up.
Neither of these things will happen soon. Sheep
husbandry is not difticult but it requires close at-
tention to details and that we will not many of us
give. The few who will patiently learn the art
will therefore prosper the more exceedingly.
It is a cheerful thought to look forward to the
day when well kept, happy flocks will abound in
our land. Then weeds will disappear to be re-
placed by luxuriant grass and forage crops.
Then trim fields, each with its appropriate green
growth, will be dotted with snowy-fleeced ewes
and plump, rollicking lambs, each one a picture
of health and thrift; shepherds' neat cottages
will shelter an intelligent and thrifty class of
farm laborers, great piles of manure will be ac-
cumulated in winter time to replenish the old
fields, the farm boys will find enough to do and
sufficient encouragement for doing it and will
remain on the farms and then agriculture will
be truly an upbuilding, a creation of fertility and
farms where now there is little of profit left to
Let no one imagine, however, that these bless-
ings follow the mere fact of buying a flock and
placing it upon the farm. '^ Sheep are ever an
unhappy flock," remarked an old Roman agri-
18 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
culturist, and in no other stock can the ignorant
or heedless farmer have so great a variety of
misfortunes as with the sheep. Few of these
troubles are unavoidable. It is to point the way
to success and to indicate the rough places that
this little book is written.
It is to be regretted that a great change has
come over country life. The old intimacy be-
tween the farmer and his men, the farmer and
his fields, the farmer and his animals, has .to
an extent gone, perhaps forever. Nevertheless,
the farmer who undertakes to keep sheep with
profit must go back to the ways of his fathers
and his boyhood, he must cultivate an acquaint-
ance with the individuals in his flock, must
learn to know instantly by sight whether or
no they are in health, must have their confi-
dence so that he can without much trouble catch
them afield, by aid of the shepherd's crook or
a bit of salt or a handful of shelled corn. For-
tunately this intimacy is a delight as well as a
source of profit. *^The eye of the Master fat-
tens the flock." Hired shepherds may be faith-
ful, but they need the suggestions and the in-
spiration that come from wise co-operation of
the employer. Best of all shepherds are the
men who own the sheep. It is a delightful oc-
cupation and one that interests the young.
There is room for labor, for thought, for growth
in this work. Some of the happiest hours and
most helpful the author has ever known have
been spent in working among his ewes and
lambs, or seated beneath a tree watching them
graze in the cool of the evening or seeing the
lambs scamper np and down the hillsides.
Strong men have come from tending sheep.
Young David watched his father's flocks and
in his zeal slew the lion and the bear that would
have destroyed them. Gazing from his hill
ranges afar out over the land he learned to love
it well, so that the day came when he emerged
from the solitude of the sheep pastures to be the
one who should redeem Israel from bondage.
Let us hope that in our own times young men
may be found who while working with the gentle
ewes and innocent lambs may from these scenes
of peace absorb sufficient love of home, country
and native land that they may come forth strong
to help in the redemption and upbuilding of their
own country. •
20 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
INTRODUCTION TO SECOND EDITION.
Since this book was first put out a good deal
has been learned concerning practical sheep
management. The problem of the internal
parasite, that terror that devastated eastern
flocks, has been nearly solved, and the author
has had the pleasure of presenting in this sec-
ond edition a plan of flock management that will
surely avoid the disasters that follow in the
trail of the insiduous foe and insure keeping a
flock in beautiful health and vigor.
Of a life somewhat filled with work and
thought, the writer feels that this is his chief
fruit and it cheers him to think that perhaps he
may be able to cause fine, healthy, happy flocks
to grow where none grow now, or, worse, where
sickly and unhappy sheep are.
Of a multitude of friends the writer feels that
the ones nearest his heart are the grave and
careful shepherds who, loving their flocks bet-
ter than their ease, make little lambs to grow
and play, unafraid, who lead their sheep safely
and feed them wisely, and who themselves are
led by their life of solicitous care nearer the
good Shepherd of us all.
THE FINE-WOOL BREEDS.
It is not thought worth while to present here
extensive accounts of the various breeds of
sheep ; however, some mention must be made of
the characteristics pertaining to each. Breeds
originate from environment, from peculiar
characters of soil and vegetation and climate,
and from the mental idiosyncrasies of the breed-
ers themselves. Each breed has its own particu-
lar field where it serves best a certain purpose.
For all that, breeds are somewhat flexible and
several have a wide range of adaptability. Con-
ditions of market and of environment make some
breeds more profitable than others in certain
locations. What would pay best on the range, in
some remote state where wool by its cheap trans-
portation brings the major share of profit,
might not pay so well in near proximity to large
cities where the demand is for quick-maturing
mutton. Inversely, sheep are not suited to
range conditions that are not good shearers,
good to ' ' herd, ' ' that is, having the mental trait
that makes them stay close together and an
ability to withstand occasional times of starva-
tion. On the farm the ability to live through
22 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
hard winters on sparse allowance of food is
not a qualification worth taking into account.
Probably the oldest races of domesticated
sheep are the various families of Merinos.
Most they have felt the moulding hand of man,
most they seem to diverge from any wild type
of which we have knowledge. Very likely Meri-
nos were kept in Palestine during bible times
and it may be that King David when a lad
watched beside a flock of Merinos. Under the
hand of man they have suffered a degeneration
in form, not being as hardy, as vigorous or
full of stamina as any wild race of sheep now
in existence. What they have lost in form and
vigor they have gained in fleece. The wool of
the Merino is the finest and for many purposes
easily the best in the world. It should com-
mand the highest price and usually does. Meri-
no breeders in the Eastern states, however, must
compete with producers of wool in remote and
semi-savage lands, Australia, Argentina, Pata-
gonia, the Falkland Islands and parts of our
own great West.
Breeders of Merino sheep have followed
many fashions and some that were their undo-
ing. At one time the aim was to secure a fleece
of extreme fineness, though by this course was
secured a sheep of little stamina and of small
value for mutton production. Again the aim
sought was an excessive amount of oil or ^'yolk"
in the fleece, which made it heavier. This weak-
ened the sheep, made it sensitive to cold weather
and, curiously enough, as the weight of yolk in-
creased in the wool, manufacturers kept apace
of the fact in buying, and by paying for it on a
scoured basis there was nothing at all gained to
the grower who sold the excessive amount of
grease. A manufacturer once related to the
writer how in the palmy days of heavy fleeces a
TWO-YEAR-OLD MERINO RAM.
celebrated ram's fleece was brought to him to be
scoured ; it weighed 45 lbs., was probably of 18
or 24 months' growth and made less than 12 lbs.
of scoured wool ! The farmer then had wasted
food enough to produce more than 30 lbs. of a
product of no utility whatever; in fact, being
only a drain on the strength of the animal that
24 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
produced it. It is of course essential that wool
should have a sufficient amount of this yolk to
preserve the fiber ; more than this is a damage in
It would seem that now the fads in Merino
sheep have nearly disappeared and the breeders
at the present time are breeding useful Merinos,
with generally more size and better forms and
more of mutton quality than was once seen.
The importance of the Merino breed will be
recognized when it is remembered that about
22,000,000 of the sheep of the United States are
of Merino foundation. The Merino is the sheep
of the range country, hardy in large herds, of
long life, though of slow maturity, able to with-
stand more of ''grief" than the mutton breeds,
and, most important to the ranchmen, holding
their fieeces to quite an age, whereas'under range
conditions mutton breeds soon become light
shearers. However, it is not now believed among
Western ranchmen that the Merino should be
bred pure for their purpose. They use large
numbers of mutton rams and aim to keep in all
their ewes a strain of mutton blood, from % to
14, which they find makes the ewes better moth-
ers, being more prolific and having a stronger
milk flow. Lambs from such ewes, sometimes
from pure-bred mutton rams, form the major
part of the supplies received in our great mark-
ets from August till June. A flock of ewes from
Merino mothers and a good sire of one of the
mutton breeds are almost ideal for use upon the
farm, hardy, healthy, great milkers, good shear-
ers. When a^ain topped by a blocky, mutton-
FINE-WOOL BREEDS. 25
bred sire they produce lambs that are hard to
There are a number of families of Merinos.
The American breeders divide them into three
general classes— the Spanish or American Me-
rino, the smallest in size and heaviest in fleece of
any; these sheep were once excessively wrin-
kled (wool grows upon wrinkles, thus the wool-
bearing capacity is increased). They usually
have a considerable amount of yolk in the wool,
though by no means the excessive amount that
was once common. During recent years the
American Merino has undergone quite an evolu-
tion, obedient to the command of its breeders,
and has a better developed leg, a stronger back,
a better sprung rib, more vigor and stamina than
before and has, I think, lost little in fleece-bear-
The American Merinos are the most highly
specialized of all sheep, their wool being best
and most abundant. Their breeders do not
claim that they are mutton sheep, though they
do make good mutton ; but not so profitably as
some lighter shearing breeds.
DELAINE MERINOS AND BLACK TOPS.
These two families have been bred by selec-
tion from the original Spanish ; the Black Tops
from the importation of 1802, the Delaines from
the Black Top foundation, with some outcrosses
of other Merino blood. The idea in developing
these two families has been to secure a larger
sheep than the original Merino, a better feeder, a
26 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
hardier sheep and with a ' ^ Delaine ' ' wool. This
wool should have parallel fibers of sufficient
length for combing purposes. There is unques-
tionable merit in tliese sheep and in the hands of
some breeders they approach closely to the mut-
ton type without losing their valuable fleeces.
Delaines are hardy, healthy when rightly man-
aged, their ]ambs from mutton sires are supe-
rior for the market and a well managed flock of
either Delaines or Black Tops has never been
unprofitable. The name ^' Black Top" was
given by the originator of the type because his
best sheep had a dark crust on the outside of the
fleece composed of oil and dirt this crust keep-
ing out weather and serving to shelter the sheep.
It is doubtful, however, if sheep should be re-
quired to carry shelter from rain on their backs.
Nearly two centuries ago the French govern-
ment began importing Merino ewes from Spain
and then was laid the foundation of the breed
that is called the ^'French Merino,'' or '^Ram-
bouillet," after the village in France where the
stud flock has been kept. With different feeds,
different ideals and selection, the breed has be-
come quite different from the other families of
Merinos, having much greater size and a differ-
ent type of wool, with coarser fiber, though yet
a Merino wool.
The Rambouillet is perhaps the most popular
today of all the Merinos, great numbers being
found on the Western ranges where there are
also great breeding establishments. Here thou-
BMII^M^gw - , 1
FINE-WOOL BREEDS. 29
sands of pure-bred rams are grown. Fashions
change even on the ranges and at present there
is inquiry for Delaines, and many rams of mixed
Delaine and Rambouillet blood are used, besides
some with an infusion of the blood of the Ameri-
can Merino. Rambouillets are truly wonderful
sheep, of great size and unlimited capacity to
consume food. With a top of mutton rams they
produce great lambs or make superb wethers.
Rambouillets have been grown profitably for
50 years in Ohio. There are indeed some farms
that have been stocked with these sheep continu-
ously for that length of time, which is unusual
in America. In recent years the breed has been
considerably improved by fresh importations
and by careful matings, so that both form and
fleece are better than formerly. The Eastern
Rambouillet growers have for some years en-
;joyed a very profitable trade in rams which they
have sent to the Western ranges. However,
the large Western breeders are absorbing much
of that trade of late, so that only the choicest
rams are in demand for Western shipments. A
good flock of Rambouillets will pay for their
wool and mutton, and Rambouillet ewes make a
most admirable basis for a cross-bred flock.
Rambouillet and Delaine Merino ewes have
the ability to conceive early and drop their
lambs in the fall or winter. Many Rambouillet
breeders make a practice of lambing as many of
their ewes as possible in the fall and early win-
ter months, thus getting the young things for-
ward to a good state of growth and development
before spring and summer come to bring their
30 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
problems of management. The early lamb is
often worth double the late one, because of the
superior healthfulness and vigor of the early
born that escape the troubles of parasitism, so
distressing to those of late birth.
This habit of early yeaning also comes in good
hand when the Merino ewes are used as mothers
for cross-bred "hot house" lambs, and many
growers of these winter lambs use Merino moth-
ers though the half-blood Merino ewe is better.
In truth she is near to perfection for this pur-
It is a curious fact that many old men suc-
ceed fairly well with Merinos who can not make
mutton sheep thrive at all. The Merino will
withstand more neglect than the English breeds.
It will endure fairly well a winter ration of
bright straw and a little added grain with the
run of a hill pasture. Formerly thousands
were wintered on pasture with no feeding at all
throughout the hill regions of Ohio and Pennsyl-
vania. It was thought that if they had access
to hazel brush where they might shelter and
browse a little and the grass was not too closely
cropped in fall they would do well enough.
Treated in this manner they must lamb late in
the spring, and they do survive and shear quite
good fleeces, whereas any breed of mutton sheep,
so poorly fed would hardly show any profit at
It is often quite difficult for men who have
spent years of their lives growing Merinos un-
der the let-alone, outdoor system to take another
breed and make it thrive at all. They can not
FINE-WOOL BREEDS. 31
bring themselves to give the feed, shelter and at-
tention that the English breeds demand.
And with Merinos, kindness and care are usu-
ally well repaid. There are hill regions where
the flock may be out of doors almost the whole
year, but the grazing should be supplemented
by a regular allowance of grain or early-cut
hay, and it is well if the flock can be sheltered
from chilling winter's rains.
All of our breeds excepting the Merinos and
the Tunis come from England. There the pe-
culiar character of the country and the mental
traits of the people have united to create a num-
ber of breeds, each having its especial excel-
lence for a certain purpose and soil. The Eng-
lishman's ideal in animal form runs, as it does
in architecture, to the square, the level, the
rectangular. His sheep, his beef cattle and his
swine all partake of the same characteristics in
form. To successfully judge Merino sheep one
must be a student of the breed ; to judge the mut-
ton breeds practically well one need only to know
what is a good animal, after the model of the
Angus cow or the Berkshire hog. Add the wool
and certain fancy points, such as the covering of
wool over the head, the size and set of ear, the
shape of nose and the coloring and all is told.
The novice in sheep breeding, if he knows An-
gus cattle or Berkshire or Poland-China swine,
need have no hesitation in attempting to select
a flock of breeding ewes if he can see them with-
out their fleeces. In fact, the owner will betray
his consternation before the novice has selected
MUTTON BREEDS, 85
half a dozen and remark, "You may not know
much about sheep but I can't let you select from
The English breeds are naturally divided into
classes of Downs, Long-Wools and Mountain
In the south of England is a chain of chalky
hills, covered with tine, short grass. Since his-
tory began there has been on these hills a race
of short-wooled sheep; in their early history,
with horns. From this old type has come the
Southdown, the Hampshire Down, the Sussex,
Oxford, Shropshire Downs and the Dorset
This sheep is a striking illustration of what
the genius of man can do. Before the day of
George the Third the unimproved Downs of Sus-
sex were ^'of small size and bad shape, long in
neck, low at both ends, light in shoulder, narrow
at the fore end, and shaped like a soda water
bottle, «mall in front and heavier in the middle ;
large of bone, but boasting a big leg of mutton.
The fleece was not so close and firm as now."
Once the Southdown was horned but now
there is seldom a scur to remind you of the past.
Today the breed is one of the most perfectly
formed breeds in existence. The size is but
medium to small, but so compact and thick-
fleshed are these sheep and so close to the ground
that their weights astonish those who are un-
acquainted with the breed. The Southdown has
36 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
a straight back^ a thick, muscular neck, bespeak-
ing vitality, a well sprung rib, giving a rotundity
of form and a well filled leg of mutton. The
character of the mutton is of the best, being fine-
grained, well marbled with fat and lean and
tender, sweet and juicy. The wool is short,
thick, elastic, of excellent quality, though not so
abundant as in some breeds. Southdowns are
very vigorous, hardy, ambitious, good foragers,
good feeders, always fat if given opportunity,
more easily kept in health than some breeds and
the rams are excellent for cross breeding, espec-
ially where early lambs are desired.
There are not so many breeders of South-
downs in America as the merit of the breed
would deserve. It is one of the easiest of all
breeds to maintain in high-class condition.
There is little tendency toward deterioration,
though there is great difficulty in bringing about
change or improvement in type. This is no
doubt owing in part to the fact that the breed is
absolutely pure, no admixture or infusion of
other blood having ever taken place. Therefore,
there is less variation of type and it is easier to
have a flock of Southdowns of uniform appear-
ance and character than of most breeds. .
In Sussex the author has studied Southdown
management on their native sod and observed
these features of their practice. Dry ewes in
summer time were often grazed on the hill pas-
tures, but under the care and observation of
shepherds at least part of every day. Ewes
suckling lambs were in hurdles eating sowed
crops of clovers, vetches and grass, with a little
MUTTON BREEDS. 37
bite of grain, while the lambs ''ran forward''
in other hurdle-enclosed bits of grazing. As
protection against sun the lambs had small
squares of canvas stretched over the corners of
their pen. The lambs got a full allowance of
''corn and cake ;" that is, grain with broken lin-
seed oil cake which is much fed in that country
and seldom ground into meal. The lambs were
as fat and round as little pigs and were sold as
they ripened, week by week, on the London
market. Of this system of hurdle grazing we
will speak later at more length.
There are few breeds with more adaptability
than the Southdown. It is especially useful on
high-priced land and near markets that demand
fancy lamb mutton. Though a. Southdown
flock will not shear so much as some others of the
Down family it is questionable whether there is
a more profitable breed for the production of fat
lambs to be marketed either from their moth-
ers' side in late spring or early summer or to be
fed later and marketed at the age of eight to ten
months. Their smaller size is in their favor,
seeing that small and very perfect lambs well
finished, command a premium always. South-
down ewes are prolific and excellent mothers,
and the lambs are strong at birth.
Farther to the north in England originated
the Shropshire sheep. Not unlike many pas-
tures of our country are those about Shrews-
bury, affording strong grass, based upon lime-
SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
stone and clay loams. The Shropshire had its
origin in a mingling of the bloods of a native
black or brown-faced and horned sheep called
from its habitat the ''Morfe Common sheep."
They were small and bore light fleeces of not
more than 2 lbs. Infusion of Leicester, Cots-
wold and Southdown blood worked a great
change, practically obliterating the blood of the
earlier parents and bringing at first great diver-
sity of type. Careful selection toward a pretty
FARM TRAINING FOR THE SHOW-RING.
well defined ideal had by 1853 resulted in fixing
a type and it was then advised that the Royal
Agricultural Society recognize them as a dis-
tinct breed. Since that time they have gone
steadily forward in improvement and this is es-
pecially notable in recent years, when the breed
MUTTON BREEDS. 39
seems really to have reached its ultimate per-
fection. It would certainly be difficult to suggest
any desirable modification of the well bred
Shropshire's form, fleece or character. The
breed is perhaps the most popular in the World
today and has the largest number of registering
The Shropshire is a medium-sized sheep, rams
weighing from 175 to 225 lbs. and ewes 125 to
170 lbs. They shear well, considerably better
than the Southdown, and the wool is of excellent
quality. The lambs fatten well and should go
to market from their mother's sides, else they
may reach too great weights for the top of the
The Shropshire ideal in form is close to that
of the Southdown, with a little greater size and
a darker head and legs, though not so dark as
the Hampshire or Oxford Downs. The fleece is
longer than in the Southdown and is not usually
so close-set or dense. Certainly there is no more
beautiful sight than a well bred and well kept
flock of Shropshires, the fine matronly ewes
with their white fleeces set off by the brown of
heads, ears and legs. Their mutton is perhaps
not quite so good as the Southdown, but there is
not much difference in this respect, and they are
equally prolific, though the lambs may not have
quite the same vigor at birth nor do they usually
fatten at quite so early an age.
The one difficulty with the Shropshire sheep,
in America is the careless and ignorant shep-
herd who permits his flock to become infested
with parasites or allows his ewes to become so
40 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
fat that they do not breed well, and such a man
might not succeed with any breed.
The study of how this great breed was orig-
inated is a most interesting one, though rather
too long and complicated to be entered fully into
here. The Hampshire is the result of skillful
mingling of the bloods of an old white-faced
honied race, called the Wiltshire, the South-
down, the Sussex and probably the Cotswold
breeds. During many years men worked grad-
ually toward an ideal, making skillful matings
and discarding the inferior offspring as well as
those which went toward the wrong type. The
result was astonishing, for the Hampshire
breeds .now remarkably true to type and that
type quite unlike any of the ancestry involved
in its creation.
The Hampshire is the largest and heaviest of
the Down breeds, and is only excelled by the
Lincoln in weight and occasionally by the Cots-
wold, among the long-wooled races. It has
dark brown or black points, with bold counte-
nance, and a large ear, set on rather low and
standing well out to the side. The bone is large,
lim^bs especially strong and well set on; fleece
fine and white. It presents a very striking ap-
pearance, the rams having bold Roman counte-
nances, and the ewes characteristic strong but
The Hampshire is essentially the sheep for
the arable farm, fitted by long habit to being put
in hurdles, able to consume a large amount of
MUTTON BREEDS. 41
food and to make from it good mutton at an
early age. The Hampshire lamb is famed for
its early maturity and great weight. There is
no breed that excels the Hampshire in this res-
pect. Well kept Hamp shires are among the
most profitable sheep in the world.
The writer recalls with great pleasure some
days spent in the Hampshire growing country
of England. It was much of it a soil of only
moderate fertility, resting on chalk, the farms of
fairly good size. One especially of 1,400 acres
he recalls to mind, for on that farm were 2,500
magnificent Hampshire sheep and lambs. Most
of them were in hurdles and following the hur-
dles were seen great crops of grain.
There seemed to be not a single sheep or lamb
on this farm that was not in perfect health and
A man ambitious to do the best possible thing
with sheep can take up the Hampshire breed
with good courage, for they have in them pos-
sibilities in the way of great and rapid growth
beyond most breeds ; perhaps beyond any other
breed. On the other hand few breeds degenerate
into more unsightly "weeds" than badly kept
and diseased Hampshires. The Hampshire ram
is often used for cross breeding and gets fine,
vigorous lambs nicely marked with black points.
The Oxford is in appearance a large Shrop-
shire, with a coarser and more open fleece, a
larger bone, usually a darker face and coarser
ear. It is the result of crossing the Cotswold
42 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
and Hampshire types, begun about tlie year
1833. The Oxford is a noble sheep, having some
of tlie characteristics of the Hampshires; is a
good sire with which to cross breed and is often
used for that purpose. There is need of a little
more care in management with these sheep to
avoid parasitism than with some breeds, but no
man who has grown Oxfords and kept them
healthy but has found them profitable.
The Leicester is an old breed little known in
the United States at the present time but much
kept in Canada. It is notable as being the first
recorded sheep to feel the improvement of a
genius in breeding, Robert Bakewell having un-
dertaken the improvement of the breed in about
1755. Bakewell conceived the idea of improving
this old, coarse-boned, long-wooled breed. Just
how he did it we would like to know and never
will, but it was entirely by selection, so we are
told, and he evidently had the master eye for
seeing virtues in animals and knowing which
Avould be transmitted. He made such fame as a
breeder of sheep that before his death his rams
were let for the season for as high as $2,000
The Leicester is found in Canada and on some
of our Western ranches. It is a large sheep,
with white points and a long, rather coarse wool.
It is finely formed, with an especially wide
spread of rib, and has an extraordinary facility
MUTTON BREEDS. 45
for taking on fat. In truth, it is a defect in tlie
Leicester, according to modern idea, that it
loads up too much with internal fat. Its best
place in our economy is in cross breeding. Lei-
cester rams on Merino ewes produce superb
feeders with a very good class of wool.
One of the most common breeds in parts of
America thirty years ago was the Cotswold.
Common they still are in parts of the country.
They abound in Canada and in some parts of the
West, notably in Utah and Oregon. The Cots-
wold resembles the Leicester somewhat, being a
large sheep with white face and legs and long
wool. The face may be grayish or even light
brown, and there is a tuft of wool on the fore-
head. The wool is coarse but adapted to cer-
tain uses. Cotswolds make gain profitably but
are not adapted to the production of very young
fat lambs. The best use of the breed is in cross
breeding on ewes of Merino foundation, and for
this purpose it has been extensively used in
Montana and other Western states. Cotswolds
do not thrive when kept in large flocks in the
Eastern states, though they are healthy in Can-
ada, Oregon and other cooler regions. There
is hardly any more grand and stately sheep than
the well bred and well fitted Cotswold as it ap-
pears at our great shows.
Quite like the Cotswold is the Lincoln. To
the careful observer, however, there is a consid-
46 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
erabJe difference in the type. The Lincoln is
the heaviest breed, probably, in the world, and
in England Lincolns have been known to dress
90 lbs. per quarter. The wool is extraordinarily
long, samples being shown of 21 inches growth,
and rams sometimes shear the extraordinary
amount of 30 lbs.
The new Lincoln sheep is the product of Lei-
cester crosses upon the old Lincoln. He is truly
a magnificent creation of the long-wooled char-
acter, requiring rich pastures and plenty of
space. As a mutton sheep he is inferior to the
Down breeds as far as quality is concerned, but
for crossing purposes no class of sheep is in
greater demand, and the highest prices in recent
years have been paid by Argentine buyers for
Lincoln rams. In truth, the great mutton ex-
porting business of Argentina is based largely
upon the use of Lincoln blood on Merino founda-
tion, and it is not generally known that their
sheep are far superior to our own in quality
and are therefore much more acceptable in the
There is little doubt that when we have
learned our trade better we will in turn use
thousands of rams of both the Lincoln and Cots-
wold breeds upon our range-bred ewes to pro-
duce mutton both for our own and the foreign
Properly, the Dorset belongs with the Downs
and indeed the ancestors of the present Dorset
Horns were much like the Wiltshire ancestors of
the Hampshire Down sheep. There is now lit-
tle resemblance between the Dorset and the
Hampshire breeds, though singularly enough
each has taken up the same field of endeavor, the
production of early lambs. The Hampshire
lambs usually come at a later time than the Dor-
sets and do not go to market quite so young,
but each has the habit of fattening at an early
SOME OHIO DORSETS.
age, and the Dorset ewe has also the way of
dropping her lambs at an earlier season than
any other ewe. Then she is the greatest milker
of any of the sheep tribe, and because of this
large supply of milk, and because of their vigor-
ous digestion and ability to use grain at an early
age the Dorset lambs soon attain to good weights
48 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
and are usually sold fat from their mothers'
sides. In truth, it is not good practice to allow
Dorset lambs to attain to an age of above six to
eight months, and most profit comes from selling
them at two to four months.
The Dorset, like the Southdown, is of unmixed
ancestry, and is one of the most ancient breeds
in existence, though doubtless much changed by
selection of modern and progressive breeders.
Before cows were used in the dairy in Dorset-
shire sheep were kept for their milk which, no
doubt, accounts in part for the wonderful milk-
ing powers of the Dorset ewe. In truth, many
of these ewes are such large milkers that it is
necessary to relieve them by hand stripping for
a few days after the lambs are born until they
become able to take all the milk.
Dorset Horns are so named because both
sexes have horns. The rams' horns are large
and heavy and curved rather closely in front of
the head ; the ewes have light horns that should
curve toward the front. It is a curious fact that
Dorset ewes are as pugnacious as their arma-
ment would indicate, often attacking stray dogs
and lacking almost altogether that timidity that
characterizes other sheep. A sheep-killing dog
will sometimes kill Dorset ewes, but it is not
probable that any dog would begin a career of
sheep-killing in a Dorset flock.
The Dorsets have a form not unlike the
Southdown, though generally more upstanding,
and a similar fleece of close, strong wool, with
an elastic fiber which is very white. They shear
better than some mutton breeds and the wool is
MUTTON BREEDS. 49
of the first quality. They are very docile and
thrive in hurdles or on grass where proper care
is taken to keep them from parasites. They
have been introduced into several states of our
country and have thriven wherever men have
understood their requirements, and have failed
wherever in the hands of careless or ignorant
shepherds. It is notable that there are now pro-
duced in America under the conditions of the
Eastern states as good Dorsets as there are in
the world, whereas most of the other mutton
breeds rely upon importations to maintain their
quality. 13orsets find their best use in America
in the hill regions of the South, where early
lambs are grown. They are favorites in Vir-
ginia, West Virginia, and so far as tried in
Kentucky, and in the Northern states they are
largely used in the ''hot house" lamb business.
Dorsets are excellent for cross breeding, the
lambs growing well and fattening readily, and
cross-bred ewes from Merino mothers and Dor-
set sires form the best foundation for a flock for
producing winter lambs.
THE MOUNTAIN BREEDS.
The Cheviot is classed as a mountain breed,
of which there are a number in England and
Scotland, natives of the hill regions. The Chev-
iot is from the Cheviot hills in southern Scotland
and northern England. It is a remarkably
hardy, vigorous sheep, standing erect and alert,
on strong legs, carrying excellent mutton, and a
50 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
fine fleece of good wool, rather fine for a moun-
tain breed. There is scarcely anywhere a pret-
tier sheep than the Cheviot. It has such an air
of interest and intelligence and seems so wide-
awake. The Cheviots have displaced the hard-
ier Black-faced breed in all the lower and rich-
er i^arts of Scotland, though in the colder and
more heathery portions this ancient breed still
holds its own.
The Cheviot has a place in our land. It is
well adapted to grass farms, to hill regions and
wherever sheep are required to make good mut-
ton largely from pasture.
Naturally the higher and cooler regions are
best adapted to this sheep. The breed is quite
well represented in America and has thriven in
many parts of the country. It is in its favor
that it is not too large, seeing that fat lambs, not
too heavy, are now most in demand.
The writer feels that it would cause disap-
pointment among his readers if he did not make
some mention of this wonderful little Scotch
Black-faced highland sheep. In their own land
nothing can take their place. They have the in-
stincts of true wild animals. They love the high
peaks and heathery slopes, and, scenting storms,
are led by that same instinct to seek the shelter
of the glens. These sheep belong with the lands.
They pass with the farm from one tenant to the
other, when farms change hands. Their love
of home is so great that when removed miles
away they will often return straight across coun-
MUTTON BREEDS. 51
try to their old haunts, swimming rivers if need
be to accomplish their desire.
The Black-faced sheep are small, moderately
well formed, with coarse, long wool. They make
good mutton, which commands in British mar-
kets a good price being thought to have a gamey
character. They are a comparatively new
breed in Scotland, if we accept tradition, having
existed there but about 140 years. From whence
they came is a mystery. There are no sheep
elsewhere in the world like them, the Lonks and
Berdwicks of northern England having most
resemblance. They seem to be a spontaneous
product, creation of environment, to graze those
Of course they had to start from somewhere,
and the legend that they swam ashore from some
sinking ship of the Spanish Armada is harmless
and as good as any. The management of these
hardy Black-faced sheep is simple; every day
the sheiDherd seeks to see each ewe of the flock,
climbing high ovr heather-clad hills with his dog
at his side to accomplish this. It is his part to
be sure that none of the ewes have accidentally
gotten upon their backs. They are shorn in
June or July, being brought down to the farm-
stead for that purpose. It takes a good dog and
an agile shepherd to round them up and bring
them down, and it is customary to tie their feet
when they are shorn, since they struggle like
In winter they are brought down to the fields
and given a bite of hay and sometimes turnips.
It is found, however, that too many turnips en-
52 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
courage a growth of horn in the unborn lamb
that sometimes destroys both the unfortunate
lamb and its mother.
Thus it is seen that this most beautiful and
picturesque sheep is one that presents unusual
difficulties to the would-be breeder in America.
He must beware of overfeeding in winter; he
will find them hard to drive and pen ; he will find
them somewhat harder than other sheep to re-
strain within boundaries. And still there are
situations, like the mountains in northern On-
tario, in the higher regions of California, Oregon
and Washington, and along the coast islands of
Alaska where undoubtedly the natural character
of the Black-faced sheep would make it of great
The writer has devoted this space to the breed
because of its connection with legend, song and
story, which have given it a place in almost ev-
ery man's heart, and because he hopes to count
loyal Scots among his readers. He will never
forget his days spent among the Lammermoor
hills of southern Scotland, where the Border
Leicesters occupied the lower slopes and the
Black-faced climbed the heathery heights and
their lambs played about the feet of the Twin-
law Cairns. It was a land of peace and quiet,
of faithfulness and almost religious devotion
to duty. The old steward of the farm had lived
there in that capacity for 50 years. His son and
grandson worked on the farm. High upon
the slope just below the plantation of fir wood,
stood a low stone cottage beaten with rain and
wind, where lived the faithful old shepherd and
MUTTON BREEDS. 55
his son, and just above his cottage began a great
mountain pasture, enclosed by stone walls, where
there were bits of moors from which peat was
dug, and great slopes of heather, which is a
small, fine and dense-growing bush on which
sheep can subsist. Would that we could implant
upon our own soil some such spirit as pervaded
this place, the quiet and peace, the simple living
and high, manly thinking, the honesty and de-
votion to duty !
THE TUNIS AND PERSIAN SHEEP.
In Asia and Africa began the first civiliza-
tions, and there perhaps began the first domesti-
cation of the sheep. It is a curious fact that we
do not now know whence came the ancestors of
our various breeds of sheep, nor do we know
certainly whether they all have a common an-
cestry, though we may infer that it is so from the
fact of their readily interbreeding with each
other. All of the wild breeds of sheep at pres-
ent have short tails, whereas most domesticated
sheep have long tails. It is probable that the
wild race from which sprung our flocks of to-
day is extinct.
However, it is interesting to note what ad-
vance has been made by the Asiatic and African
breeders of sheep and goats. The Nubian goat
is probably the most developed in milking power
and fecundity of all breeds of goats and the Per-
sian and African sheep have also strong devel-
opment in certain ways fitting them to the cli-
mates and environments in which they were pro-
duced and to the needs of their owners.
56 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
The Persian and Tunis sheep have evidently
common origins and belong to the same race.
In truth it would seem to the writer that the Tu-
nis breed which has existed in America since
about 1799 and which now may need some infu-
sion of fresh blood might with advantage receive
an infusion of Persian blood.
The Tunis came to America early in the last
century, and was bred near Philadelphia, and
afterwards in South Carolina and Georgia
where they proved to be well adapted to the en-
vironment. The civil war almost destroyed
them. A few survived and were shown at the
Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Soon there-
after some enthusiastic admirers began breeding
these sheep in Indiana. It is possible that in
their time of adversity the blood of the Tunis
was not kept quite unmixed, since there is more
variety in type among them than is usual among
The distinguishing character of the Tunis
breed is the head, which should be hornless, cov-.
ered with tawny yellowish brown hair the nose
may incline to roman character, the ear should
droop and be rather heavy. The form is much
like other mutton sheep except that the legs are
usually long and the neck the same. The fleece
is soft, fine, fairly abundant, and varies much in
color; it may be white, or brown, or reddish, or
the colors may be intermixed. In the Persian
the same characteristics are noted, with a like-
lihood of black predominating.
The distinguishing feature of the Tunis is the
fat tail. This seems to have been originally
^ iiil^^ '-mm
EP ON AN OHIO FAB
■H^^^^lE^ ° V
MUTTON BREEDS. 59
planned as a store-house to tide the animal over
periods of drought and bad pasturage. When
tails are not docked they are moderately long
and the fleshy part hangs down about six or
eight inches. This is so inconvenient at the
breeding season that ewes usually have their
tails docked, besides there is in the United States
no popular clamor for fat tails, which are in
African and Asiatic regions considered very de-
licious and are used in place of butter.
When the tails are docked there is yet an ac-
cumulation of fat across the top of the rump.
Tunis sheep fatten very readily and their
lambs are especially quick to become plump and
ready for the fancy hot-house lamb trade. It
is for this purpose that they are mostly used,
though the Tunis rams crossed upon almost any
breed of ewes get good lambs.
The Persian sheep were introduced into the
United States in 1891 and bred in California,
Nevada and other Western States. They are
very large, very active, good feeders on the
range, and when crossed on Merinos the lambs
prove to be very easily fattened. Of a herd of
half-blood Persian-Merino ewes a California
owner says : ^ ' They are omnivorous feeders and
great rustlers for food. If there is anything be-
tween heaven and earth to eat they will get if
The writer has observed a tendency among some
Persians to foot disease when kept on wet soils.
They are true sheep of the desert, and there
they would seem to have a useful place.
Among the breeds described the would-be
sheep owner can choose one and he should stick
60 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
to that one. Cross-breeding is permissible for
the market, but let no one undertake at this day
to create a new breed of sheep by mingling the
bloods of breeds already having received
the care and thought of generations of skillful
breeders. One man's lifetime is too short to es-
tablish a breed, and there seems small need of
Notwitlistanding the great excellence of many
of the pure breeds of sheep it will be a long time
before we will be free from the practice of cross
breeding. There is a necessity for this in sheep
breeding much more urgent than in cattle breed-
ing, or in fact, with any other farm animals.
Very few pure bred sheep reach our markets.
Nor will they come in large numbers for many
years. The reason for this is to be found in the
fact that so large a per cent of our sheep are
grown upon the western ranges. There ewe
flocks seem most profitable when they have a Me-
rino foundation. Merinos from time immem-
orial have been range sheep, the only break in
their habit being the few decades that they were
kept upon eastern farms. Merinos are hardy,
are used to droughts and short feed, have the in-
stinct of herding, are easily managed. More-
over they retain their wool well up to consider-
able age. Wool is a far greater factor in West-
ern sheep husbandry than it is in the country to
the east. Flocks must be good shearers, must
be hardy, must herd well.
But the Merino when kept pure is an inferior
mutton sheep. Moreover it is an inferior breed-
ing sheep. An infusion of mutton blood makes
the ewe a better mother, her lambs are stronger,
SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
she suckles them better. She feeds better, too,
and is a "better rustler." Then her progeny is
in large part destined to reach the great markets
when about six months of age. Therefore the
better grown and heavier it is the more money it
will bring. Thus there is often sought a class
of rams that will make the best lambs, regard-
less of their titness for long continued life upon
the range, they will not naturally remain there
more than one summer. Thus the complexity of
cross-breeding is increased for from the mother
having in her own body an infusion of mutton
blood there is secured a lamb having a sire of
pure mutton breeding. What sort of cross
makes the best ewe, what sort of cross upon her
makes the best market lamb! To this question
there would naturally be as many answers as
there are supporters of breeds of sheep. There
is hardly any commingling of bloods that has
not use for some special environment. We may
clear the matter up somewhat by discussing a
few crosses and their results.
At the outset let it be said that the influence
of the sire and dam are theoretically equal.
Some hidden power of the one or the other may
seem to cause the offspring to resemble more
nearly the one parent than the other, but no man
can safely predict whether this influence will re-
side in the sire or the dam. Naturally, as she
nourishes the lamb, the ewe has greater chance
to influence her progeny/ than the sire. Thus if
a ewe of a small race is mated with a ram of a
large race the lamb must be nourished, both be-
fore and after birth, by the smaller ewe. It will
grow to be of greater size than its mother, but
will not equal the size of its sire. Nor will it be
identically the same as though the cross was re-
versed. That is, supposing we are considering
the Merino of one of the lesser strains, and the
Hampshire, the natural way of crossing is to
use the Hampshire ram on the Merino ewe. The
result is a lamb that grows to be larger than its
mother, and smaller than its sire.
Reversing the process, we choose a typical
Merino ram and mate him to a Hampshire ewe
and get a lamb that never equals its mother in
stature, but excels considerably its sire, and also
66 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
excels the lamb of identically the same blood
from the Merino mother. The better nourish-
ment both before and after birth causes this re-
sult. It is seen then that the better the ewe
the better her lamb. Nevertheless, it may hap-
pen that a class of moderately small ewes may
yield most profit since they consume forage
about in proportion to their size, thus a flock of
1,000 medium sized ewes bred to fine, strong
mutton-bred rams would very likely yield a bet-
ter weight of lambs than a flock of 800 larger
ewes and consume practically the same amount
In other words, the ram is just half of the
flock, and by far the easier half to provide the
forage for. Thus the ram cannot well be too
To freshen the blood of the pure Merino on
the range a number of infusions have been tried.
The Cotswold blood does well; a flock having
one-quarter or even one-eighth of Cotswold
blood is increased in size and stamina remark-
ably. To get a flock of one-quarter Cotswold
blood one must first get one-half blood Cotswold-
Merino rams to use on his pure-bred Merinos.
For some exceedingly rich ranges the one-half
blood Cotswold-Merino ewes are used and with
good success. These ewes are exceedingly' good
foragers and raise hardy fast growing lambs.
The Lincoln cross does admirably on some
types of Merino ewes and is much esteemed in
some regions of the West. The Oxford cross
has given good results also as a permanent in-
fusion in the range flock. There are a few sheep
owners who use the Hampshire for this purpose,
though the general opinion is now that the blood
of the Downs cuts short the yield of wool.
The Leicester blood makes an admirable infu-
sion into the range flock. It is said that not
more than one-ciuarter or one-eighth of it is
needed to give strength and hardiness. The
Dorset has been tried and found worthy; some
of the best range ewes the writer has ever seen
have been in part of Dorset blood. Dorset
blood especially helps the milking qualities of
Merino ewes and makes them able to push their
lambs forward astonishingly.
Though the writer knows of no instance of its
use he is of the opinion that the use of
Cheviot blood would prove a very desirable ad-
dition to herds ranging in the mountains of the
west. Probably one-quarter of Cheviot blood
would be enough. Cheviots make flesh readily
from grass alone and are remarkably hardy
and are very great rustlers for feed.
CKOSS-BEEEDING FOR THE LAMB MARKET.
Considering the western range sheep first,
various breeds have been used for production of
market lambs. At one time the Long-wools,
Cotswold, Leicester or Lincoln, were considered
best for this purpose. Rams of either of these
breeds will beget fine, strong lambs that will feed
well and grow to large size. They will not be so
fat at weaning time nor come into market so
early as lambs from one of the Down breeds, but
they do splendidly in the feed-lot and attain
68 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
The Hampshire gets splendid lambs, well
marked with brown points, easily made fat and
selling near the top of the market. One can
hardly make a mistake in using Hampshire rams
if he wishes to make market lambs. Hampshire
grade lambs will usually be fat enough for the
butchers when they come from the range, and if
they are fed will ripen very early. They attain ^
to large weights.
The Oxford ram gets a lamb a little larger,
l^robably, than the Hampshire, a strong, hardy
fellow, that feeds well. He weighs heavy and
makes good, but not so early as the other
The Shropshire ram gets fine, active, growthy
lambs that mature sooner than the Oxfords
and sell first rate. They will usually be fat
enough for the killers when they leave the
The Southdown gets merry, plump, roly-poly
lambs that are fat first of all and are apt to bring-
most money ]Der pound in the market. They will
not weigh quite so much as the Shropshire
grades, but will be ripe earlier. The Grand
Champion load of range lambs at the Interna-
tional at Chicago in 1906 was a load of South-
down cross-bred lambs. The western flock-mas-
ter need not fear to use Southdown rams if he
means to sell the lambs. They will make good
and that very early.
The Dorset gets lambs that weigh unusually
well and the ewe lambs should always be saved
to be put in the flock, since Dorset blood in the
ewe flock is a gold mine to the flock owner.
Cross-breeding on the ranges is not without
its difficulties. The problem is to maintain the
original ewe flock in its integrity. Cross-bred
lambs that may sell for the top of the market at
the river markets may be unfit for retention on
the range, because of the too large proportion
of mutton blood. The best plan is to breed a
portion of the ewes of highest quality from the
standpoint of the range man to rams especially
suited to range use, and thus to maintain the
flock in its required qualities, letting all of the
cross bred lambs go to market.
CKOSS-BREEDING IN EASTERN PASTURES-
There is not the same reason for cross breed-
ing in eastern lands. In truth too much of that
is done at all times and types are destroyed by
useless combinings of bloods. If one starts out
with a Shropshire flock he should endeavor to
make it a better Shropshire flock by purchase of
better Shropshire rams than he has been in habit
of using. If he needs greater vigor and consti-
tution he can get it probably quite as easily by
choosing an unrelated ram bred,, it may be, at a
distance from him, having first rate vigor and
constitution, and of the same breed. The same
is true of the Cotswold, Oxford, Southdown, and
other breeds. There are not enough of the pure
breeds now, and they should not be mixed un-
less for some special purpose, and it must be re-
membered that as the cross-bred progeny should
go to market the process of cross-breeding is
a suicidal one.
70 SHEEP FARMING IN AMEKICA.
There are occasions, however, when cross-
breeding on the farm is desirable. One may
buy Western ewes and ship them home. These
are destined for lamb growing exclusively and
no attempt will be made to maintain the flock.
These ewes then may be mated with a ram
suitable to the market and the time of year
aimed at. If for hot-house lamb trade a South-
down, Tunis, Hampshire, Shropshire or Dor-
set should be used. If to lamb later and grow^
the lambs mainly on grass the Tunis and
Dorset may be eliminated and the Cheviot and
Oxford added to the list from which rams may
be drawn. Or if the lambs are to come late and
be fed the next Winter one of the long-wools may
be chosen. Or, if the flock happens to be placed
in one of those rare regions like the hills of Ohio
where sheep are yet grown largely for their
fleece, the Delaine or Rambouillet, or Spanish
Merino ram may be used.
There are regions, however, where cross
breeding is imperatively demanded. That is in
the early lamb breeding regions of the Virgin-
ias, Tennessee and Kentucky. Here are found
types of native mountain sheep of a peculiar
character. They may be said to be true ' ' Amer-
ican" sheep, descendants of the earlier impor-
tations. The unmixed native mountain sheep is
leggy, thin in neck, light in fleece, having some-
what of an open fleece as though coming from an
open-wooled breed, and very often the ewes have
horns. It may be supposed that the first colon-
ists sailing as they often did from Bristol and
Plymouth, in the south of England, brought with
them the native sheep of those regions among
which would be the Dorsets and various types of
long-wools. These mountain ewes though not
handsome to look at are better than they at first
appear. They are active, good feeders, very
prolific, and good mothers. Their lambs are not
of first rate quality unmixed, but when sired by
rams of good mutton type they grow finely and
sell well. The favorite sire for this business
has been the Southdown, in truth no breed can
get a better lamb or one ripening earlier than
this old standby. Shropshires are often used,
also, and get a heavier lamb. Hampshires are
in great favor where tried and Dorsets have
their strenuous advocates, especially in Vir-
ginia, where they have been used most.
The advantage of Dorset blood is two-fold,
first the lambs attain very good weights, usually
outweighing the progeny of Down rams, and the
ewe lambs if retained on the farm, make admir-
able mothers for successive generations. Lambs
in these regions are usually born in March and
fattened mainly on grass, going to market in
June and July. The source of supply of these
ewes is from the small farmers in the moun-
tains. Could these men be induced to improve
their flocks by use of better rams the benefit
would be immediate and marked. There is no
doubt that an infusion of fresh blood from any
of the Down or Dorset breeds would greatly ben-
efit these mountain flocks. iVt present they are
suffering from the result of long continued in-
breeding. An infusion of fresh and unrelated
blood would marvelously improve them.
SELECTION AND MANAGEMENT.
KESTOCKING A FARM WITH SHEEP.
Supposing that we have decided to embark in
the sheep industry, and have decided on a breed,
the next consideration is liow to set about filling
the void of sheep upon our farm. Farms differ
in size, conformation and soil ; conditions vary
greatly, so that no rule can be laid down that will
be applicable to all places, yet there are a few
facts that are of general application. In Eng-
land and France there are farms almost entirely
devoted to sheep ; they carry little other stock,
and grow crops mainly to be fed to the flock, with
only grain in rotation.
These farms are very profitable when well
managed, and greatly build the soil and the for-
tunes of the owners. We can not yet advocate
the attempt to establish in our land such sheep
farms as these, at least the growth of such a
farm should be very gradual, and any attempt
at to once establish such a one would result dis-
astrously in nine cases out of ten. We have no
class of expert shepherds such as would be
needed to care for a flock on such a farm, nor
SELECTION AND MANAGEMENT 73
would the importation of British shepherds help
us, for we have problems that they know not of,
and our range of feeds is quite different from
theirs. With a right understanding of the mat-
ter and a gradual adaptation of our farms to
sheep growing, and a habit of care once formed
we can devote whole farms to sheep as well as
DIPPING SHEEP AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN.
our British cousins, but that is a work that must
come with time and exiDerience.
At present, then, the farmer should start with
a small flock, letting it increase gradually, and
trying to grow in knowledge and experience as
the flock grows in size.
Nor would it be wise or prudent to begin with
a flock of pure-bred ewes. A few pure-breds
should be purchased, say ten or twelve, the rest
of the flock mav well be of 2:rades. The ram
74 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
sliould always be pure-bred and of as good qual-
ity as can be secured. He is half the flock, and
if he is mated with grades and is required to
supply all their deficiencies he has great need
to be a good one.
SELECTION OF THE RAM.
Choose not an extra large ram, but one of
medium size for the breed selected. Size does
not always go with vigor or prepotency, or abil-
ity to transmit good qualities. It is rare that
the largest ram of a lot has the most vigor or
quality. Choose a ram that has short legs (they
go with early maturity), with wide breast, avoid-
ing the rams where "both legs come out of the
same hole in the body," choose the one with well
sprung rib and a level, straight back, looking of
course for a good leg of mutton, which is after
all, about all that there is in a sheep, from the
butcher's standpoint. Then be sure that there
is a thick, muscular neck, a bright, quick eye a
brisk movement denoting vim and vigor. Such
a ram will leave his impress indelibly upon the
flock If one can not personally select his ram,
he may often leave it to the good judgment of the
seller, specifying what is wanted, and the novice
will generally get better service from the honor-
able vendor than were he to attempt to select for
Fleece is of course important, and minor
points, such as markings and absence of scurs or
horns on all breeds save Merinos and Dorsets.
But first of all in importance is it to get a ram
boiling over with vim and vigor.
SELECTION AND MANAGEMENT. 77
A ram of such character will readily care for
40 or 50 ewes if hand coupling is practiced, al-
lowing but one service to each ewe. He may
indeed go to more than that when in his prime,
aged from one year to four or five.
KEEPING A TYPE.
At the show ring one often hears a remark
from some student of breeds, ''that is a good
pen, but off on type, ' ' or, ' ' that is a good sheep,
but not of the right type for the breed. ' ' What,
then, is type?
Type is style, conformation, character. It is
a something distinct and definite, though hard
to describe, that belongs with each breed. It
may not always be of much value, from a dollar-
and-cents standpoint, yet a flock lacking in type
is not attractive and can not hope to do much in
the show ring. For example, a Cheviot true to
type has an erect ear, an alert manner, a way of
carrying its head. A flock of Cheviots that
lacked this erect ear, this sjDrightliness of look
and carriage, would fail very much in type and
would not be attractive. Types change as
ideals change. The Shropshire has undergone a
notable evolution within 20 years, has decreased
somewhat in scale, has gained in compactness,
in covering, in beauty. The shepherd should
study type so as to know what the correct ideal
is for his own especial breed and then choose his
ram to help him iii^ that type.
This does not mean that he should be a slave
to other men's caprices, there are fashions that
are foolish and that sooner or later will work
78 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
the undoing of their followers. One is wise to
steer clear of them as far as he is able. Or a
man may have within him the creative instinct
that will enable him to evolve a new and better
ideal, and to breed a new and more desirable
type. There is need in America of mncli more
independence than exists now in this matter.
The last thing has not been learned in sheep
breeding, nor in all cases the most profitable
type evolved. In England there is a constant
evolution going on and breeds do not remain sta-
tionary very long. Their work is done in vari-
ous ways, usually by selection and careful mat-
ings, sometimes by judicious and skillful intro-
duction of new blood. This is more easily ac-
complished there than here owing to the lack of
prejudice against such practice and the differ-
ent rules of their flock books.
Here is an illustration. It throws much light
upon the creation of breeds in the good Old
World. The writer met a breeder, of, let us say,
Dartmoor sheep. (In fact it was another
breed.) This man was exhibiting at the Royal
show, and pressed the writer to visit his pens
and inspect the sheep. There was among them
an especially good ram and the following conver-
sation took place. "Writer, '^he is a splendid
animal. I should think he would get first in
"Indeed, I hope he will, and championship
too, and I think he is sure of both if the judge
does not think him too good. ' '
''But how can he be too good, he is pure Dart-
moor in blood is he not?"
1 .;:^ ■
SELECTION AND MANAGEMENT.
''WelV cautiously, "I'll not deny that there
may be a drop of other blood in him, just a drop,
and not too much." The writer saw the point,
and curiosity led him back after the showing.
He found the owner jubilant. "Did your ram
win first ? ' '
"Indeed he won first, and championship too."
"And what did the judge sayf "
"Indeed the judge said that a Dartmoor could
not be too good. ' '
However, the writer does not by any means
advise the ordinary breeder to attempt to help
82 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
his breed by an admixture of foreign blood.
That is for the great creators with unusual in-
stinct and insight and patience and persever-
ance to undertake.
Sometimes one has in his flock a few individ-
uals, or maybe but one, that is of unusual beauty
and excellence. This may arise from a skillful
combining 'Of blood lines within the breed, or
there may be born within the flock an animal
different and better than any of the others. We
may not be able to point the reason for this dif-
ference, this betterment. It is, perhaps, a ''mu-
tation" as the newer students of breeding would
say. However it came, it is such that we wish
very much to fix it in the flock, to breed many
like unto it. How can we accomplish this? To
^x it in its entirety may indeed prove impossi-
ble, if we have but one animal possessing this
unusual excellence. The best that we can do is
to breed it, supposing it to be a ram, to a num-
ber of the most likely ewes and save the ewe
lambs that come nearest the type sought. Should
any of these ewe lambs show weakness of consti-
tution they must be rejected, or at least ignored
in this effort, and the strong ones may be bred
to their own sire. The progeny of them will
carry three-fourths of his blood, and will be
much like him in appearance and character.
Supposing, now, there happen to be^ two lambs
each having unusual quality, possessing this de-
sired type, each sired by the same sire but by
different dams. They may be bred together and
SELECTION AND MANAGEMENT. 85
another step taken towards fixity in character.
It is worth considering that in breeding a ewe
to her own sire one is not inbreeding more than
Avhen he breeds together two animals born from
two ewes and having a common sire. The clos-
est in-breeding is when a ram is bred to a ewe
having the same mother as well as the same sire.
There is absolutely no other way to fix type
or to get great uniformity in a flock than this
system of inbreeding. It has been adopted to
a greater or less extent by all the great improv-
ers of breeds.
There are certain dangers inherent in a sys-
tem of inbreeding. Nature permits a certain
amount of it, but it is done always under the
law of combat. The strongest male gets posses-
sion of the females, thus nature's weaklings,
no matter what the form or fleece are weeded
steadilv out. Under Nature's svstem the males
86 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
of all animals of the deer and sheep families
roam far during the breeding season and it is
unlikely that incestuous breeding is very
The effect of incestuous breeding is not well
understood and there are men who deny its dan-
gers. There seems, however, to be abundant
evidence that it develops an accumulation of
weaknesses of constitution, it makes the progeny
delicate and lessens its size and vitality.
Furthermore, it often seems to lead to partial
or total sterility. Not to go deeply into this
debatable subject we will say that inbreeding is
probably absolutely necessary in the creation
of breeds and in the further development and
fixing of types, but that it should be attempted
only by the skilled breeder, the man sure that
he has a type worth fixing. The man who is
breeding for the market will find that he will do
best to keep as far from in-breeding as possible.
And this brings us to
RENEWED VITALITY FROM FRESH BLOOD.
There is something wonderfully invigorat-
ing in the mingling of unrelated bloods. This
has long been recognized by the advocates of
cross breeding. It has indeed become a well-
known saying that ''cross-bred animals are
most thrifty.'^ ''Cross-bred lambs fatten first."
Among cattle breeders the truth is admitted,
and swine breeders very often cross-breed for
greater vigor and thrift.
It is not so generally known that the bring-
ing together of unrelated animals, especially of
SELECTION AND MANAGEMENT. 87
the same breed if they may happen to have been
grown under different environment, most usu-
ally brings as much added vigor and thrift as
though two distinct breeds had been brought
together. There is great advantage in bring-
ing vigor without losing the breed and its spec-
ial character and purpose.
The man, then, who tinds his well-bred flock
needing a renewal of life, needing a general
''toning up'' and rejuvenation should not resort
to cross-breeding, supposing that he has al-
ready a breed of value for his purpose, but
should seek within his own breed sires as re-
motely related as he can find, and possessing
as much health and vigor as he can find. ^
He will find a marvelous result to come from
this new mating with fresh blood. His old flock
has in it latent excellencies that lie dormant
only because the spark of life has burned dimly
for a time. With the renewal of that vital spark
and the greater intensity of life that results
these old and almost forgotten excellencies will
be in a manner revived, so that the progeny may
be not merely better than the dams but better
than the sire as well. The writer has seen very
striking instances of this, when the ewe flock
was of good inheritance and only suffering from
lack of fresh blood.
VITALITY THE THING TO STRIVE FOR.
The sheep under domestication is not so
strong as we would like to see it. In truth there
is no animal under our care with less resistance
than the sheep. Men do not enough consider
88 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
this. They study points, like the quality of the
fleece, or the form of the head, the covering of
the legs or nose, the shape of the ear, and doubt-
less these are all essentials, but the first and
foremost essential in a profitable flock is vigor,
vitality, life. That, if it is abundant, will insure
strong lambs, will insure ewes with right mother
instinct and milk to serve that, will insure lambs
that eat and thrive and grow and fatten and
bring good prices at the market, no matter
whether the ear is true to type or the wool grows
on the nose or not. So, to the practical market
breeder, the writer counsels, seek vigor, build
constitutions, encourage health and thrift and
the profits will be sure.
SELECTION OF THE EWES.
Pure-bred ewes may be selected much as the
ram is, avoiding overgrown individuals, and
seeking for uniformity of type and evidence of
perfect health. In buying any sheep look well
to the skin, that it be pink in color and the
fleece bright and elastic, for a pale skin and
sunken fleece are sure indications of lack of
health and should invariably be rejected, no
matter how good the blood or breeding. The
grades that are to be made the body of the
flock may be of Merino foundation, with excel-
lent expectation of success. If these are not to
be found near at home, they may often be
bought of good quality at the great markets
when discarded by the ranchmen. Usually ewes
are sent to market because of their age and be-
ginning lack of teeth so that it is not profitable
SELECTION AND MANAGEMENT. 89
to retain them for more than two lamb crops
on the farm. They will thrive for that time
and having saved the best of their ewe lambs,
there is thus laid the foundation of a useful
grade flock, while the mothers may be fattened
and sent back to market.
While foundation ewes may be had from the
markets, coming thence from the great West-
ern ranges, it should not be overlooked that
the native stock is generally better and to be
preferred, when available. Western ewes hav-
ing never been exposed to parasitic infection,
are healthy, true, but when brought to Eastern
farms and then exposed to these dangers, they
prove less resistant than natives. The climate
of the Eastern states is worse than they are
accustomed to, and their breeding is apt to be
uncertain. In no case should one buy ewes
with perceptible Mexican blood in them, as
these sheep readily revert to a very fixed and
stubborn type, useful on the desert, but too
primitive for good farm sheep husbandry.
It is unwise to select ewes shearing too heavy
fleeces. A moderately heavy fleece betokens
the stronger sheep with greater feeding capac-
ity. Select that sort. Choose the short-legged
ewes, with good backs, and as thick as you can
The best time of the year to stock a farm with
sheep is in the early fall. Getting the ewes
home then, you have time to make their ac-
quaintance while work is not crowding on the
farm. Then you can see to the mating, and dur-
ing the first winter things will go as you plan,
90 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
and you are certain of one good lamb crop. Your
troubles will not begin for six or eight months.
They need not begin at all if you will observe
carefully some rules for avoidance of parasites,
to be laid down later.
GETTING HOME WITH THE FLOCK.
The writer remembers with delight the day
when he drove to Woodland Farm his first flock
of ewes. It was a fine sunny day in November.
The sheep were well selected and round and
plump, all young ewes. They traveled willingly
along the country road through a quiet neigh-
borhood where great oaks overarched the way
and stopping now and then to browse the green
grass among the purpling wild asters.
The writer was but a boy then, newly wed-
ded filled with high hopes and dreaming brave
dreams of the future. The young wife met him
and together they drove home the little flock!
Happy beginning it proved to be, though many
lessons remained to be learned and many dis-
couragements to be fought through, yet the
coming of the flock meant the beginning of the
upbuilding of the old farm and of the for-
tunes of its owners.
IMPORTANCE OF DIPPING.
When the flock comes home the first duty is
to give it a thorough dipping. There are two
reasons for this : the one that there may be ticks
upon the sheep; the other because of danger
from scab germs. Any sheep shipped by rail
SELECTION AND MANAGEMENT 91
or penned in stock yards or railway stock pens
is liable to be infected with scab germs. One
or two scab insects on a sheep may multiply
until the entire flock is scabby in a few months
and entail great suffering upon the sheep and
loss upon the owner. Prevention is easy and
cheap, though cure after the disease has prog-
ressed far is harder. Another reason for dip-
ping is the sheep tick. This is a common pest
upon farms and greatly interferes with the
thrift of sheep, while it is entirely preventable,
and in truth upon the farm of the writer with
a thousand sheep there are years when not a
single tick is to be found. Sheep ticks so far
as we know inhabit no other animals and once
rid of them you will remain rid of them unless
you buy infested sheep or carry ticks upon your
own clothing or they are brought by shearers.
It is very easy and inexpensive entirely to rid
a flock of ticks and as easy to prevent the attack
THE SCAB GERM
This is a minute form of parasitic insect too
small to be easily discovered with the naked
eye, which by burrowing in the skin, or, rather,
by irritating the skin and causing it to form
a crust by its own exudations beneath which
it burrows, greatly afflicts the sheep, causing
loss of wool, intense itching, loss of flesh, and
in the end frequently brings death from the
result of the distress and emaciation conse-
quent upon its disturbance.
The scab germ multiplies with fearful rapid-
92 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
ity, each female laying in two or three days 15
eggs, of which ten will hatch females and five
males. These eggs hatch and soon mature in-
sects begin laying eggs. Gerlach, the German
authority, says that in 15 days one female will
become the mother of 15, after 30 days of 150,
after 45 days of 1,500, after 60 days of 15,000.
Up to this time there has not been much seen
of the result of the disease, but here begins
the wholesale onslaught of the legion upon their
hosts, for in 75 days there are 150,000, and in
90 days 1,500,000! Now let them alone for a
little longer and the result is sufficiently ter-
The symptoms of scab are first the uneasi-
ness of the sheep, which reaches around to the
affected part (that is apt to be on the shoulder,
neck or side, though it may appear in almost
any part, but wherever it appears it causes in-
tense itching) and bites at the wool or paws
with its foot trying to scratch the spot. If now
you will carefully examine the animal you will
find under the wool at this spot of infection
the skin whitened and perhaps exuding a watery
secretion. One can not with the naked eye see
the scab insects at work. A little later this spot
if untreated becomes a veritable scab and the
adjacent regions are attacked. It rapidly
spreads throughout the flock, the affected sheep
rubbing against posts and racks, dislodging
mites that fasten in turn upon other sheep.
To cure scab thorough dipping is necessary.
To prevent it all sheep should be well dipped
after every railway journey or exposure in in-
SELECTION AND MANAGEMENT. 93
fected yards or pens. Dipping for prevention
is cheap and easy. Dipping for cure is not so
much harder. The main thing is to dip, and
THE DIPPING VAT.
This sliould be a simple trough of wood or
metal or concrete, 16 inches wide, 4 feet deep
and as long as one wishes to build. The shorter
the vat the slower the process of dipping, as the
sheep when scabby must soak for two minutes.
For a farm vat a length of 10 or 12 feet will be
ample, as time can be allowed them thoroughly
to soak. The vat must be narrow so that the
sheep can not turn around in it. It must be
deep so that each sheep can be plunged clear in
all over so that no spot will remain untreated.
It is not necessary to lower the sheep into the
vat or to raise them out again; they may as
well be thrown in or made to jump in at one
end, and that end of the vat should go down
perpendicularly; at the other end there must
be a gradual incline up which they can walk.
For a small flock the bottom level of the vat
need not be more than four feet long, with an
incline beginning there and running gradually
out to the level and to a draining platform from
which the drip should be collected and dis-
charged into the vat again. A width at the bot-
tom of 6 inches is ample, as only the feet go
clear down and the less width the less liquor
is required to charge the vat. In case there is
genuine and serious affection of scab, the sheep
should be held rigidly in for two minutes, and
94 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
in that time the head should be immersed briefly
twice. If there is only suspected infection, how-
ever, and not yet any outbreak, the sheep may
be run through as rapidly as convenient, being
only sure that each one is completely immersed
in the liquor, for they will remain wet for 24
hours at least after emerging from the dip.
In a practice of many years the writer has never
had scab break out in a flock thoroughly dipped
once by simply running the sheep through.
There are other essential conditions to be ob-
served however, which will be mentioned now.
The dip should be hot. This does not mean
warm, nor boiling, but as hot as the operator
can endure to plunge in his bare arm. It is
better to test the temperature in this manner
than by use of a thermometer. If the latter
is used a temperature of 110 deg. Fahrenheit
will be about right, but the bare skin is the best
Tlie water used must be softened or ''broke."
To do this use ordinary concentrated lye,
enough to make the water a little biting and give
it an oily feel like soap. This is an inexpensive
The dip, whatever it is, must be used of good
strength. There are various good preparations
in use, most of which are effective if used of
On the farm of the writer the coal tar prep-
arations are used almost always, because they
prove effective and cheap, and are pleasant to
operate with. They are healing to the skin and
SELECTION AND MANAGEMENT. 95
effectually dissipate any tendency to eye dis-
ease and are sure death to all forms of insect
life whatever. These coal tar dips are given
various names as ^'Zenoleum,'' ' ' Naptholemiij "
^ ' 13aytholeum, " etc., and are similar in compo-
sition and effect. The directions often say to
use them at a strength of 1 to 100, that is of
one part of dip to 100 parts of water; this is
not safe in combating scab, and as the cost of
dijjping is mostly in labor, the writer always
uses them at a strength of one to forty, and
has had no failure to cure every sort of para-
sitism and has never injured a sheep by its use.
In truth, one winter when s-cab broke out
among some undipped sheep (that had been
dipped in Chicago, but imperfectly) and the
farm flock became infected, we dipped all in the
middle of winter, turning back to the old quar-
ters, and cured each case effectually, so that
there has never been a reappearance of the dis-
ease upon the farm. The dipping was repeated
in ten days to give chance for eggs to hatch.
This dipping so thoroughly also eradicates
ticks which is no small matter.
REGULAR DIPPING OF THE FARM FLOCK.
While new sheep added to the flock should
be dipped whenever they arrive, barring ex-
ceedingly cold weather the regular flock needs
its annual bath,, and this should be given imme-
diately after shearing, when ewes and lambs
may all be dipped at a nominal cost. It takes
nearly a gallon of liquid to dip a yearling of
96 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
medium size with its fleece on, but to dip a
shorn sheep takes not more than a quart, and
t]ie little lamb a small amount. This annual
cleaning up prevents ticks getting foothold and
heads off a lot of other troubles, such as sore
eyes and mouths, canke-r of teats, and sheep lice.
It is not a troublesome operation to dip a
flock of sheep. The water should be conveni-
ently at hand and some means of heating it. An
open kettle of 30 to 40 gallons capacity will
serve if nothing else is convenient ; red hot irons
may be thrown into the tank to lieat what is
left from a previous dipping; there should be a
large pen to hold the sheep and a small one
close to the tank for a catching pen. Just at tlie
end of the tank tliere may be an incline about
3 feet long covered with smooth sheet metal,
and this may be greased so that when a sheep
steps on it or is lifted upon it, it will easily slide
down into the plunge.
A force of five men, two of whom keep the dip
mixed and replenished, and three of whom put
in and take out sheep, will readily dip 100 in an
hour, though if they have their fleeces on they
should drain for a longer time than would make
this practicable. It is not often necessary to as-
sist the sheep to climb out, but there should be
one man ready and watching with care to see
that all are fully submerged and none stay in
too long. The writer has never seen pregnant
ewes, handled with care in the dipping vat.
abort their lambs, and has frequently dipped
500 without killing or injuring one.
The cheapest tank is made of galvanized iron.
SELECTION AND MANAGEMENT. 9?
The best is made of concrete, which will endure
forever if rightly made.
SUMMARY OF DIPPING.
Dip every sheep when it comes to the farm as
soon as it is rested, especially with care when
it may have come by rail.
When scab infection is suspected, but none is
visible, dip once by simple and complete immer-
sion in a dip hot and strong enough.
When scab is already in evidence let the af-
fected sheep soak in the dip for two minutes,
first having rubbed and loosened up the scabs.
After ten days dip again; always turn freshly
dipped sheep into their sheds so that they may
rub their wet fleeces against the wood work and
Dip the whole flock every spring if there are
ticks, immediately after shearing, being sure
that no sheep or lamb escapes.
After the flock is clean it will remain clean
if newly bought sheep are dipped before being
added to it. There is no necessity to dip a
At shearing time should the owner shear his
own sheep and there be but two or three ticks
to each animal he should cut them in two with
the shears and dip the lambs.
There is no more need of having ticks on a
sheep farm than there is of wolves.
PALL TREATMENT OF THE EWE FLOCK.
The ewes being brought presumably to new
and fresh pastures and rid of their vermin
98 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
thrive admirably. If grass is not abundant
they ought to have a little extra feed at times as
it is Nature's way to then make them gain. A
field of rape in which they may run, alternat-
ing at their pleasure with grass, makes them
improve rapidly. Pumpkins fed on grass, seeds
and all, are excellent for the ewes. Not only
are the pumpkins good feed, but their seeds,
besides being nourishing, have in them great
medicinal virtues. Pumpkin seeds are efficient
vermifuges. One of the best treatments for
tape worm in the human subject is the infusion
of pumpkin seeds. Worms destroy more sheep
than dogs do, and it must be the constant study
of the shepherd to avoid them.
The reason for desiring the flock to thrive at
this time is that it is near the mating season,
and if the sheep are in fine, thrifty condition,
the ewes will the more rapidly conceive and
drop a greater number of twins.
Yet another reason is tliat a sheep which
starts into winter in good thrift comes through
much stronger with less feed than one that
starts in in poor flesh.
A handful of grain fed in October or No-
vember is worth a peck of feed to a thin ewe
in January not that the flock should be neg-
lected later on, but it is essential that sheep
should enter winter well fortified and strong.
Before the mating begins one should care-
full v ^0 over his flock and assort the ewes.
SELECTION AND MANAGEMENT. 99
Ewe lambs must be taken out and none bred
that are not past a year old. Old ewes that have
lost their teeth and are evidently not quite able
to go safely through the winter and nourish
well their lambs, are better consigned to the fat-
tening pen. At least there should be a mark put
upon them that will indicate their condition,
so that they may be given extra care and atten-
tion. Quite often with such ewes it is most
profitable to breed them and by careful feeding
keep them as strong as you dare till lambing
time, after this to give them a large allowance
of grain, ground if need be, so as to push them
with their lambs, and they will often make as
good lambs as the other ewes and be themselves
ready to follow their otf spring to market a few
weeks after the lambs have left them. A suit-
able mark for these culled ewes is to clip off the
end of one ear.
Yet another thing for which to search, is a
spoiled udder or a ewe without perfect teats.
Quite often such ewes are found, and to have
them drop lambs without ability to suckle them
is to entail great disappointment and trouble
on the shepherd.
There is a temptation to breed the young,
immature ewes, particularly if they are well
grown, but it is wiser not to do this, as it leads
to the steady decrease in size of your sheep,
and by weakening the ewe's constitution be-
cause of the heavy drain upon her, you make
her the more liable to attacks of parasites,
100 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
those foes of the sheep and shepherd that never
can be forgotten with safety.
TUTTING IN THE RAM.
The ewe carries her lamb from 142 to 150
days, or, roughly, five months. It is well to so
time the putting in of the ram as to bring the
lambs at the season when they will best fit in
with your scheme of management. Much de-
pends here upon the breed under consideration,
for it is natural for the Dorset and the Merino
to drop their lambs very early, so that they m^y
be mated with the ram in September, when the
lambs will come early in February, or if bred
in August they will come in January, or in July
to have them in December. With Shropshires
it is unusual for lambs to appear so early as
December or January, though the middle of
September is an excellent time to mate them;
with Southdowns the same time will serve,
though they naturally lamb later, and with
Cotswolds and Lincolns it is unusual for lambs
to be born before March or April. If the shep-
herd has good quarters for his flock he may as
well try for some early lambs ; they will serve
to occupy his time in winter, and coming then
when he has leisure, he will lose but a small
proportion of them. Winter lambs well nour-
ished in infancy make much stronger and better
sheep than late lambs, as they go on to grass so
big and lusty as to defy many of the evils that
attack later lambs.
MANAGEMENT OF THE RAM.
The ram during the summer days should have
SELECTION AND MANAGEMENT. 101
the run of a small lot with access to shade, with
abundant food, yet not too much, and with com-
pam^ of other rams or of a few wethers, or some
ram lambs or even with a few ewes running with
him. He should have careful attention that he
remains in perfect health, especial care being
taken not to put him on a piece of infected grass
where he may develop parasites. Before the
breeding season he should be entirely separated
from the ewes, and if not in strong condition,
given a regular feed of oats and bran or some
similar feed twice a day, not enough to fatten
him, but to put him in vigorous condition.
It is wise not to ever turn him with the ewes,
but better to bring them to him each morning
early while it is yet cool, penning them in a small
pen so that there is just room enough for him to
move about readily among them, and where they
can not easily escape you when you desire to
catch some of them.
After the ewes are brought up, let him come
in with them, and he will soon single out one
that may be in heat. Allow him to serve her
once only and immediately put her out, mark-
ing her at the same time so that you will know
that she has been bred. It is wise to use a dif-
ferent color in marking each week, thus all the
ewes that are bred the first week will be marked
red, all the next week blue, the third week yel-
low; the fourth week black, the fifth week green
and so on. This marking is done with a brush
and a daub of paint, on the back of the head or
on the shoulder is a good place.
After the first ewe has been taken out, the
102 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
ram will proceed quietly to search for another.
Unless he is a very vigorous ram, it is unwise to
allow him to serve more than four during a
morning, and if a large number seem to be in
heat, it will be well to get them up again after
sunset in the evening. The ram has an exceed-
ingly vigorous reproductive system, and has
power to impregnate more females than most
animals, even though his work is confined to a
short period each year.
The ewes that are served and put out should
be put by themselves and not returned to the
flock for three days, else they may be still in heat
and receive unnecessary attention from the male.
One service will as surely impregnate as more
and will beget stronger lambs.
Managed in this way a ram will easily care
for 40 or 50 ewes and many serve 100 if he is
unusually strong and vigorous and well cared
for. He should be kept quiet all day, in a cool
place, and well fed on stimulating food such
as oats and bran with clover hay.
One advantage from this way of managing
ewes is that one will know those that do not
take the ram at all and can put them out of the
flock, and by giving them a little extra feed,
they will soon fatten, when they may be sold.
There is a practice not very common among
shepherds of forcibly holding ewes that per-
sistently reject the ram, and allowing him to
serve them. They will not often conceive from
this service, but it occasionally causes them to
come in heat naturally in from ten days to three
weeks. Some earlv lamb breeders make consid-
SELECTION AND MANAGEMENT. 103
erable use of this practice. It can do the ewe
no harm in case it is unsuccessful.
CARE OF THE PEEGNANT EWE.
Perhaps the greatest stumbling block in the
way of the inexperienced shepherd is in the
care of his ewe flock during pregnancy. Either
he feeds them too well, or on unsuitable foods,
or he deprives them of air and exercise, or he
goes to the other extreme and lets them brave
the storms without enough food. Either condi-
tion will surely be fatal to his fortune, though
of the two extremes the worse is that of too
much food and no exercise. Such a course is
surely fatal to his hopes of a large crop of
If one would have success with these preg-
nant ewes he should consider their condition in
a state of nature. Then they roamed the hills,
selecting the higher points as places to sleep;
they sheltered beside rocks or under pines.
They were not in large flocks and found suf-
ficient food as they were not restrained by
fences. They had abundant exercise and al-
ways fresh air. Doubtless when their lambs
came they were very strong and vigorous, able
soon to run beside their mothers. Under ranch
conditions today lambs are born very strong,
and it is rare to find one so weak as to be un-
able to suck without aid.
The writer remembers vividly his first experi-
ence with lambing ewes. The first winter he
let them have the run of a pasture, with shel-
104 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
ter, fed clover and corn stover, and the result
was a good lamb crop. A few of these lambs
were so remarkably promising, one selling for
$18 at weaning time, that he was encouraged to
attempt to do much better the next year. That
winter proved to be quite cold and stormy so
he kept them rather close. Having learned the
value of wheat bran as a bone and muscle build-
er, he fed these ewes about all the bran they
wanted, and they consumed a great deal, with
The lamb crop came early, and the lambs
were strong, being the product of hand coupling
with a vigorous sire. The difficulty was in the
enormous size of many of them, some being so
large of bone that it was nearly impossible for
them to be delivered at all. One Shropshire
weighed 17 pounds at birth! Its mother died
soon after its delivery, and the lamb itself was
lost through unskillful feeding. The net result
was a small crop of magnificent lambs secured
at a Cost of great labor and pains.
The next year an old friend and shepherd
counseled him to adopt a radically different pol-
icy. This was to allow the flock to run in the pas-
ture, sheltering in open sheds and under the
trees, and subsisting solely on coarse forage
such as corn stover and oat straw. Having in
the barns a great number of lambs that were
being fed for fattening, there was some excuse
for neglecting the ewes.
Unfortunately ewes in winter time because of
their long fleeces, appear to be in good con-
dition when they are not, and the writer had
SELECTION AND MANAGEMENT 105
no idea how very thin in flesh they were becom-
ing nntil lambs started to drop in April. Then
his troubles began. The lambs came strong
enough, as a rule, nor were they too large to be
delivered easily but the ewes having been
poorly nourished, had no milk for them, and
would not own them at all. The truth is that
there is a direct connection between the milk
glands of an animal and the part of the brain
where lies love of offspring, and in the sheep
at least it is rare to find mother love where
there is no milk to go along with it.
The result was that the writer was put to his
wits' end to make the ewes own their lambs and
to try by good feeding to bring them to their milk
flow. Many lambs were lost, and the whole
result was disheartening.
The simple truth is that pregnant ewes must
have so far as possible natural conditions. They
must have enough food, and that of a suitable
nature properly to nourish the growing foetus
without stimulating too much the development
of bone. They must come to lambing in good
heart, what the farmer would call ''fat," but
not according to the butcher's standard. They
must have abundant opportunity to exercise
and to get fresh air. Thus treated their lambs
should come as strong as wild things and give
little trouble. It is the natural thing for a lamb
to be born strong, to live at birth, since all its
ancestors have done the like since lambs were
born into the world.
There is danger in well bred ewes highly fed
upon such foods as wheat bran and clover or
106 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
alfalfa hay that the lambs may have excessive
bony development, and it is not now the prac-
tice of the writer to feed much bran before wean-
ing, but to give instead bright, sweet corn stover
and alfalfa hay. Too much alfalfa hay alone will
sometimes make the lambs rather large at birth.
If the coarse forage is not abundant and of ex-
cellent quality, the shepherd should feed a small
daily allowance of grain. A mixture of corn
and oats may be used, which should be fed
in wide flat-bottomed troughs, so that the ewes
can not rapidly swallow it as they will when
fed in V-shaped troughs.
A run to a blue-grass pasture is an excellent
thing and if the grass is permitted to grow up
in the fall and lie uneaten, no small part of the
sustenance of the flock will come from that. A
sheltering bit of woodland, in which they may
wander, affords shelter and amusement, and
well repays the ground on which it stands.
While the flock should be out of doors every
fine winter's day, yet the shepherd should have
his charges in mind and see that each ewe comes
to the barn before storms break, and always
the flock should be shut in at night. Yet unless
the weather is very seyere they should have
much fresh air in their night quarters— a large
opening on the leeward side is the best pro-
CARE OF THE EWE AND YOUNG LAMB.
THE EWE BARN.
A breeding ewe requires about 12 square feet
of floor surface. There should be provided in
the ewe barn movable feed racks, long and nar-
row, of such type that they will form partitions
wherever needed. These racks are best made
24 inches wide, 36 inches high, with a tight bot-
tom about 6 inches up from the ground. The
sides about this bottom may be of 6 inch boards,
forming a shallow feed box. On this founda-
tion will be nailed, vertically, slats 1/2 inch thick,
4 inches wide and 30 inches long. These slats
may be placed 7 inches apart, so that the sheep
can thrust their heads clear into the rack to feed.
There will then be much less loss of feed than if
the slats are placed close together, for in that
case the ewes pull all the hay through the cracks
and drop most of it under their feet. There will
be a little dust get into the wool of the necks in
feeding in such a rack, but it is a trifling dam-
age compared with the loss of forage in any
^ ' feed-saving ' ' rack.
SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
After using many forms of racks, the writer
now uses these in preference to any others, for
in them may be fed grain, bran, silage or any
sort of hay.
The ewe barn must have provision for most
ample ventilation. That is best accomplished
by having on two sides clear across the barn
a system of doors so arranged that they are
divided in halves horizontally, the lower part
of the door swinging as an ordinary gate swings,
the upper half hinged at its upper edge and
lifting up to a horizontal position, upheld by
wooden props or pendant chains.
By means of these upper doors the ventilation
CARE OF THE EWE AND YOUNG LAMB. 109
may be made so thorough that the air will be
practically as good within the barn as outside, or
in colder weather one side may be completely
closed and the other, to leeward, opened or in
very cold weather all may be closed tight.
It will be disastrous to confine the sheep in a
poorly ventilated building. Loss of thrift, colds
and catarrh will surely result.
In England sheep are almost never confined to
buildings at all. Their usual mild winters make
outdoor feeding practicable with them, whereas
it is not so with us. We must feed in racks dur-
ing the time that they are hurdling off turnips
in winter and much of the loss of thrift and char-
acter of English sheep bred here is owing to
unskillful entering in poorly ventilated barns.
During the winter season the shepherd has op-
portunity to get well acquainted with his flock.
He should learn to know each ewe by her counte-
nance; and she should learn to know him and
to know so little of evil of him that he can ap-
proach any one and catch her without difficulty
and without frightening her. A shepherd's
crook that will catch by the hind leg is useful in
the sheep fold, though I prefer for ordinary use
the old-fashioned crook that catches by the neck.
Any blacksmith can make in a few moments a
crook of an old horse-rake tooth, set in a long
wooden handle. It should be so shaped that it
will with a little pressure slip over the neck of
the ewe, widening at the opening considerably to
make it easy of use, and the end should be turned
over in a little coil so that it can not accidentally
wound the skin.
110 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
Before the lambs are due it is well to turn each
ewe up on her rump, using her gently, and with
shears clip the wool away from the udder ; par-
ticularly the little locks that might be seized by
the lamb when searching for the teat.
Before the lambing season the shepherd
should provide himself with. some little panels,
made of light wood, like doors, each panel 36"
high and 48" long. Two of these panels should
be hinged together at the ends so that they may
be folded together and laid away or opened in
the shape of the letter L. The use of these is to
make little pens in which to place ewes about to
lamb, or newly lambed, to prevent their lambs
straying away and getting mixed through the
flock. Thus many lambs will be saved that
otherwise would be lost and much of the usual
vexatious work of the shepherd avoided. To
use these panels, one is opened at right angles in
the corner of the lambing room and by aid of
hooks fastened at the free ends to the wall thus
making a pen 4'x4'. As it is tight, the lamb can
not creep out, and the ewe being unable to see
out is made more tranquil. When there is need
of another such pen it is set up alongside the
first one and thus on until a row has been erect-
ed across the end of the building. If there be
need, another row can join these.
The observant shepherd can usually foretell
the advent of a lamb, for the ewe shows by her
appearance and her actions that she is expecting
it. Because of her instinct, indeed it is not un-
usual to see a ewe hunting anxiously about for
her lamb before it has been born at all! It is
CARE OP THE EWE AND YOUNG LAMB. 113
wise to place her by herself before this event oc-
curs, if it conveniently can be done.
CARE AT LAMBING TIME.
There should be small difficulty in the ewe de-
livering her lamb if she has been rightly fed and
treated. There will probably be no occasion for
interference of the shepherd, yet he should be
watchful, and when she has been in distress for
some time without effect he should not hesitate
to go to her assistance. The difficulty may be
one of wrong presentation. Naturally the lamb
comes with front feet first, and nose just be-
tween them. Even when the presentation is
right the shepherd may be of great help some-
times, if the lamb is of large size, by gently man-
ipulating the parts, pulling a little at the lamb
and pushing the external parts of the ewe back
until the head is free. Then the nose may be
wiped so that the lamb can breathe and in a mo-
ment, after the ewe has again begun her labor,
you may gently draw the lamb outward until the
shoulders are delivered— the hardest part. I
usually leave her then, for the hips and hind legs
come away readily, and the ewe generally gels
up at once and seeks her lamb and proceeds to
lick it and caress it with her tongue. It should
soon try to stand and in about 15 minutes will
try to suck. If it finds the teat without aid you
may call it half raised.
Usually it is well to help the lamb to its first
meal, especially if the ewe is young, and it is her
first born. The easiest way to do this is to gently
set her on her rump, as though you were going
114 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
to shear her, kneeling down behind her and with
her shoulders resting against you. First start
the milk from her teats, tlien taking the lamb
with the right hand (the left arm being under the
ewe to support her), lay it down on its side and
opening its mouth insert the teat, when it will
usually begin to suck immediately. Let it get a
pretty fair belly full and its chances are bright
for coining on in good, strong fashion.
The shepherd should observe whether it aft-
erward goes to sucking on its own account, and
if it does there need not be many slips between
that lamb and a ten dollar bill, if it is born right !
Supposing there is a wrong presentation.
The shepherd is fortunate if he has a small hand,
for it is his duty to help put things right. We
can not here give details of how this is to be
done, but knowing the natural presentation the
shepherd should be able to study it out for him-
self. He must carefully grease his hand with
lard or vaseline and avoid so far as possible any
rough treatment or injury to the delicate parts.
The writer has taken several lambs away with
hind feet first without difficulty, but should the
head be turned back it must be straightened be-
fore delivery is possible.
There will be much more difficulty with young
ewes than with older ones, so that the inex-
perienced shepherd is wise if he begins with
ewes most of which have lambed once or twice
before they came to his care.
In very cold weather the lambing barn should
be made as comfortable as possible, without de-
priving it altogether of fresh air, and even then
CARE OF THE EWE AND YOUNG LAMB. 115
when twin lambs are born there may be need of
assistance or one of them may perish before it is
made dry and given milk to supply inward heat.
It is an excellent plan to have at hand a tub or
half barrel; a salt barrel sawed in two serves
well and in this have a jug of hot water. The
lamb may be laid in this tub and it covered with a
blanket until its mother can give it her attention.
Or a chilled lamb, if only slightly chilled, may
be warmed in this manner. An excellent plan
and simpler if the shepherd is at hand when the
first of twins is born is to lay it in a tub on two
or three inches of wheat bran and cover it all
but the nose with more bran. It will keep as
warm as toast there and the bran will help ab-
sorb moisture. Then when it is given to the ewe
she will lick off the adhering bran without in-
jury to herself.
Supposing that through some accident the
new-born lamb has gotten thoroughly chilled;
the best manner of warming it is by immersion
in water as hot as one can bear his hand in.
This will soon become cooled and more hot
water should be added, taking care of course
not to scald the lamb. When warm and re-
vived it should be wiped dry and taken to its
mother and held till it is supplied with her milk.
The writer has revived in this manner lambs
seemingly dead. It is not wise to give it cow's
milk if it can be avoided and if it is necessary
the cow's milk should be diluted with some quite
warm water. Some shepherds give a drop or
two of whiskey to a chilled lamb and it may
sometimes prove beneficial.
116 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
The next day after the lamb is born the ewe
should be milked clean. The shepherd should
then observe whether the lamb is taking her
milk all right, and if there is much surplus he
should milk it out every day clean until such
tmie as the lamb can use it. This is especially
necessary with Dorset ewes and some other
breeds occasionally need attention. It is not
well for the lamb to take in the milk first se-
creted after being retained stagnant in the
dam's udder for an undue length of time. Such
large milking ewes while troublesome raise the
finest and most profitable lambs in the end.
Occasionally a young ewe will not own her
lamb or an older ewe may neglect or disown
hers. Generally, if the lamb is put with her in
a small pen and helped to get its rations for a
few times she will own it. If she persists in
her neglect she may have her head fastened
into a pair of small stanchions so that she can
eat but not get away from the lamb nor attack
it, nor readily prevent its sucking. These
stanchions may be made of two pieces of 1x4
pine driven into the earthen floor, and the tops
held together by a short board nailed on. There
is no cruelty about this practice and it is gener-
ally effective when persisted in for a few days.
Occasionally there will be a ewe whose lamb
will die and leave her with an udder filled with
milk. This gives opportunity to change to her
some twin lamb whose mother would be better
for the relief. To accomplish this transference
the best plan is to remove the skin of the dead
lamb soon after its death and slip it over the
CARE OP THE EWE AND YOUNG LAMB. 117
living lamb. It may be pulled off as a stocking
is removed and rubbed with a little salt to dry-
it and at once slipped on to the twin lamb with
the feet thrust through the holes where the
former lamb's legs were. Introduced now to
the mother of the dead lamb, confined with her
in a small pen, it is not often that she will refuse
to own it at once. Ewes know their lambs en-
A BUNCH OP NEBRASKA LEICESTERS.
tirely by scent, and thus the odor of the skin
tells her that it is truly her own lamb that is
with her. This ,skin may be taken off after a
It is not good shepherding to permit a ewe
to be without a lamb sucking her when there are
lambs enough to go around, and usually there
will be so many twins among ewes of the mut-
118 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
ton breeds that there are enough lambs for all
and perhaps 25 to the hundred over.
Occasionally a ewe will be found of so per-
verse a disposition or so undeveloped in udder
or malformed that she will not raise a lamb
at all. The cure for her is to cut oif half of one
ear, which is the ^' brand of Cain," and indicates
that she is to go to the butcher as soon as fat.
There is a man in the West who sells for one
dollar a receipt for making ewes own lambs,
either their own or some others. Having paid
my dollar I can testify that there is merit in his
plan, which is to carefully wash the lamb, es-
pecially about the rump and tail and on top of
the head, removing thus all trace of scent so far
as possible. Next 3^011 are to catch the ewe and
milk upon the head and rump of the lamb from
her udder, rubbing it well over him, and lastly
to put a handful of milk on her own nose and
in her mouth. Then hold the lamb to her side
and when it is sucking permit her to smell of it.
Often this will succeed, but if she has lambed
some days previously the recourse to stanchions
will be surer and less troublesome.
FEEDING or THE EWE AFTER LAMBING.
If the ewe has been well nourished during her
pregnancy she comes in with her lamb strong
and has a well filled udder. At once when the
lamb is born she must be turned away from the
flock, and if the shepherd will give her the trifle
of care that she really needs then, he will keep
her by herself or in a pen with other ewes in
her condition for a few days. During this time
CARE OF THE EWE AND YOUNG LAMB. 119
she should be somewhat sparingly fed with
grain, or it may even be best to give her none at
all, depending upon her condition. It is unwise
to early force her to a milk flow in excess of
what the lamb can consume. In a few days,
however, she will need good food in generous
amounts for the lamb will draw heavily upon
her system for nourishment. She can not keep
up her milk flow by eating alone if she is a large
milker, but will decline somewhat in condition,
even when well fed, showing that her flesh also
turns to milk.
Bear always in mind two facts. Sheep are
ruminating animals, accustomed by nature to
eating bulky foods of moderate nutritive prop-
erties, and not accustomed to eating grain.
Next, sheep have delicate digestions, easily dis-
turbed by improper feeding, excessive feeding
or sudden changes in the amount of feed given.
Therefore make no sudden changes and least oP
all make at once a large addition of grain to her
daily ration. In England ewes seldom taste
grain at all, but eat instead grass, hay and
roots, mainly -swede turnips. Here, where roots
are not so easily grown and fed (excepting in
Canada and northern America), more reliance
is put upon grain and with care in feeding it
may take the place very well.
A sensible treatment of the ewe that lambs in
winter is to keep her mostly on clover or alfalfa
hay until after her lamb comes. There will be
no need to limit the amount of hay that she con-
sumes after lambing and then when her lamb
takes all her milk and wishes more, begin feed-
120 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
ing her a little wheat bran. For a week bran
will suffice, gradually increasing the amount
fed, then there may be added to it a little chop-
ped corn or barley and a little later some oil-
meal. A pound a day of this mixture will keep
her in good milk flow and it must be gradually
led up to for about ten days.
About the right proportions of this mixture
are 100 lbs. of wheat bran, 100 lbs. of chopped
corn and 20 lbs. of oilmeal. This with clover or
alfalfa hay will push her to a very heavy milk
flow. If she is a large ewe she may consume
more tlian a pound to advantage, as much as
two pounds being consumed by some large Dor-
set ewes belonging to the writer.
If this feed is so gradually introduced to the
ewe that her digestion is not disturbed nor her
milk flow stimulated too much at first, there is
small danger of overfeeding her, supposing that
the lamb is to be pushed for early market. Her
unselfish nature turns the feed quickly into milk
and little of it goes to nourish her own body.
It is much easier, however, to keep her in
large milk flow if we provide succulent food at
this time. Corn silage is easily provided and
is as good for the ewe as for the cow. It should
be made from well matured corn so as to de-
velop its sugar and prevent an excess of acid
from forming. Some complaint has been made
of the effect of corn silage upon sheep, but usu-
ally the trouble has been that the feeders have
tried to make it the main part of the ration. It
should always be fed in connection with good
sound dry hay and some grain. As corn silage
CARE OF THE EWE AND YOUNG LAMB. 121
from well matured corn has in it a good deal of
grain when it is fed, the rest of the ration should
be of wheat bran, oilmeal and clover or alfalfa
In the northern part of the United States,
along the great lakes, in Michigan, Wisconsin
and northern Minnesota beside northern New
York and New England and in all of Canada
(besides Oregon, Washington and British Co-
lumbia) roots form a very important part of the
ewe's ration. Eoots have, indeed, almost cre-
ated the English breeds of mutton sheep. They
are safer to feed than silage and better. In
England it is customary to grow turnips, mostly
swedes, which are seldom pulled but are con-
sumed on the ground on which they grow, being
enclosed by hurdles and eaten off a block at a
time. In very wet or bad weather some are
pulled and carried to the sheep being fed on
grass or in open sheds.
The use of roots is productive of great good
to the ewe flock. They are succulent and start
a natural milk flow, whereas grain naturally
goes more to producing flesh and fat. There is
no danger of the ewes consuming too many
roots. They push her easily and naturally to
a strong flow of milk that has very healthful
properties. Ewes highly fed on grain often
give milk that is injurious to their lambs. Of
this there is no danger when roots are substi-
tuted in large part for the grain.
The shepherd who can readily grow roots has
a distinct advantage over the one who relies
upon dry hay and grain for wintering his ewe
122 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
flock. Most of tlie best developed sheep, the
ones seen at our fall shows, come from root-
growing regions. Unfortunately roots are not
very easily grown in the corn-belt and below,
though mangels will thrive well to the south-
Swede turnips form the bulk of the roots
grown for sheep. They should be sown on pro-
ductive soil, well prepared. The time of sow-
ing varies with climates but usually early in
July the seed should go into the ground. It is
well to have the land ridged nicely and to sow
the seed on the top of the ridge, which makes
much easier hoeing and thinning or "singling."
In dry climates of course ridging must be at-
tempted with caution not to get them too sharp
and tall. Mangels are more productive than
swedes but are not so rich and are unsafe to
feed to rams. Carrots are more trouble to grow
than either but are the best when grown.
Many distressing troubles come from sud-
den increase in the grain ration of the ewe after
lambing. It is a very inducing cause of garget,
or it may stop the milk flow altogether, or it
may cause founder, stiffness of joints and great
TROUBLES OF YOUNG LAMBHOOD.
The lamb has his trials and dangers too.
Supposing that he gets accidentally shut away
from his mother for some hours, until he is very
empty and she very full of milk, if then he gets
sudden access to her he will usually die from
the overburden of milk taken in. When the
CARE OF THE EWE AND YOUNG LAMB. 123
shepherd discovers that ewe and lamb have been
separated for several hours he should catch the
ewe and milk her nearly clean before allowing
them to come together.
Then there are contagious sore eyes. These
are caused by a germ. There are probably sev-
eral kinds of germs that do the mischief, and
the result is an inflammation and weeping of the
eye with consequent distress and lack of thrift.
The cure is fortunately easy. Taking some one
of the coal tar dips, and diluting with water
nearly as much as for killing scab, the head
should be well wet and care taken that some of
the fluid actually reaches the eye. It may be
painful for a moment but it works a speedy
cure. The writer has repeatedly cured this
trouble by dropping a tiny drop of the pure dip,
undiluted, into the open eye of the lamb. Tears
start vigorously and dissolve it while the eye-
lid winking vigorously carries it to every part.
The cheeks should be saturated also with dip,
SORE MOUTH AND TEATS.
Quite often a contagious form of sore mouth
affects young lambs and the sores are seen also
upon the teats and udders of the ewes. These
sores form scabs along the edges of the lips and
pustules upon the teats. Often they become so
troublesome as to cause the death of the lamb,
more usually simply interfering with its thrift
so much as to sometimes make it profitless. The
writer has found this disease, which sheep writ-
ers usually spend so much time in describing
124 SHEEP FARMING IIN AMERICA.
and discussing, of the easiest possible control.
Assuming that it is of germ origin, to rub off
the scabs and wash the lips with strong solu-
tions of coal tar dips and to treat the udders in
the same manner has with the author in every
case served to effect a radical cure. Quite often
this disease breaks out upon the mouths of
Western range lambs upon their arrival at an
Eastern farm for feeding. The treatment is to
rub off the scabs and apply the undiluted dip
to the fresh surface. In recommending these
coal tar products the writer wishes to be under-
stood as meaning such preparations as are
usually sold as "Zenoleum," ''Naptholeum/'
"Milk Oil/' etc. They are much alike, really
impure coal tar creosote, and most effectual
destroyers of germ life and when used with dis-
cretion are among the best friends of the shep-
FEEDING THE LAMBS.
Lambs eady develop a hunger for solid food
and begin nibbling at hay and sampling ground
feed or whatever is at hand. At the age of ten
days they will begin seriously to eat ground
feed. Advantage of this should be taken and
the lamb encouraged to eat as early and as much
as possible. During the early life of an animal
nutrition is more perfect than later and the cost
of producing growth is much less. Digestion
IS more perfect, the young animal can consume
more in proportion to its weight and it is more
perfectly assimilated. A pound of flesh on the
babv lamb can therefore be made at a much less
CARE OF THE EWE AND YOUNG LAMB. 125
cost than after he is older. Seeing that the
young mntton commands by far the higher ]3rice
it is plain that the earlier weight is put on the
better so far as profit is concerned.
The practice in England is to have in the
hurdles in which the flock is usually confined,
I'm. -.,n^": ■
■ y mMM,
"MARY HAD FIVE LITTLE LAMBS."
"creeps" or openings wide enough to let the
lambs slip through while restraining the ewes.
TheFe creeps usually have small rollers at the
sides so that the lambs as they grow and nearly
fill the opening may squeeze through without
injury to themselves or loosening of their wool.
126 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA
Tims the lambs *^'rmi forward" to an enclosure
of their own where they find fresh grazing of
turnips or vetch or clover or grass, according
to the situation and season, and in these small
enclosures are kept troughs replenished regu-
larly twice a day with some grain mixture.
English feeders use great amounts of ^'cake,"
which is either of linseed or cottonseed. This
cake is made at American oil mills where by
pressure oil is extracted from the crushed seed.
American feeders usually buy '^oilmeal," or
ground cake whereas our British cousins prefer
to buy the actual cakes and break them on the
farm into bits as large perhaps as hickory nuts,
or somewhat smaller for young lambs. English
lambs come from the hurdles at the age of three
or four months weighing 20 to 100 lbs. They
will do as well in America, under right manage-
ment, as the writer has frequently demonstrated
in his own practice. The fact is that one must
keep the ewes in any case and must feed them,
so that there is a certain fixed expense con-
nected with rearing the lambs. This expense
produces a certain amount of growth; now by
the addition of supplementary foods this growth
may be greatly increased at very slight expense.
The amount of extra food consumed by the
young lamb to make an extra pound of growth
will not cost more than one or two cents. To
make a pound of growth on him after he has left
his mother will cost from 3% to 5 cents. Then
too, the early growth is what brings the highest
price. And again the lamb that matures very
early and gets away to market escapes a hun-
CARE OF THE EWE AND YOUNG LAMB. 127,
dred ills that lie in wait for the lamb that re-
mains on the farm for nearly a year, so, alto-
gether, the arguments are all for pushing the
farm-born lambs as rapidly as possible by extra
allowances of feed.
Of course lambs that are pure-bred and in-
tended to stay on the farm to maturity must be
fed a different ration from those that are
merely to get fat quick and end a short but
happy and victorious life at the market. Stock
lambs need abundant food but no forcing. Their
ration aside from their mothers' milk should
be of oats and bran, with a trifle of oilmeal,
clover and alfalfa hay, and in their ground feed
there may be added a little fine ground bone-
meal,-- the steamed bone or some odorless pro-
duct to be chosen of course. There is small
danger of overfeeding these stock lambs in their
infancy ; they will the earlier go afield and learn
there to seek their subsistence in the form of
grass and herbage. Corn should not be fed to
them, neither to the ewe lambs nor the ram
lambs, for corn mainly makes fat and fat im-
pedes vital functions rather than helps. The
ram lambs developed on corn are slow, sluggish,
early losing their usefulness; the ewes devel-
oped on corn are uncertain breeders and often
poor milkers. To develop bone and muscle and
stamina in these stock lambs should be the aim
and this is accomplished by feeding food rich in
bone and muscle-making materials, of which
wheat bran is easily among the first and oats
comes next. They should have abundant chance
of exercise too, which may be denied somewhat
128 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
to the lambs that are to go fat to an early mar-
ket. Then there should be constant watchful-
ness to avoid infection from parasites and if
this is done the shepherd will have abundant
reason to congratulate himself upon the splen-
did growth of his stock lambs.
FEEDING FOR THE MARKET.
Supposing now the lamb crop is mostly to go
fat to market as soon as ripe. We will assume
that they have been born in winter, which is the
proper season for all lambs to be born on
farms, unless one can get them in the fall, and
that they have comfortable quarters and their
mothers have been so well fed that they have an
abundance of milk for them. Next there must
be provided a small room or pen in which the
lambs can go and the ewes can not. This place
must be of very convenient access, so that it is
really easier for the lamb to go in than to re-
main outside. This is because lambs have fleet-
ing memories and are largely the creatures of
opportunity. They will consume much more
feed when it is right at their mouths than if
they have to go even a few rods to seek it. This
place, which we call a ''creep," must be in a
light part of the barn and if the sun can shine
in all the better, for lambs are attracted by sun-
light and greatly benefited by it. In truth some
of the most successful lamb growers have glass-
roofed sheds for their use in winter and achieve
thereby remarkable results.
This creep need not be very large. If it is
12 feet square it will accommodate 50 lambs
CARE OF THE EWE AND YOUNG LAMB. 131
very nicely, as they will not all be in it at one
time. It stionld be separated from the ewes'
part of the barn by a fence of vertical slats,
spaced about 7 inches apart, the slats with
ronnded edges. This will permit the lambs to
pass in and restrain the ewes. After a time
the lambs will need some wider openings and
then if small rollers are put up to permit them
to squeeze between all the better.
In the creep there must be some flat-bottomed
troughs in which to feed grain and a hay rack
for alfalfa hay, or clover if it is the best at hand.
The troughs must be low to permit young lambs
readily to reach them. As lambs delight to get
into troughs with their feet they must be
covered. To accomplish this let the end of the
trough be a solid board 12 inches wide and ex-
tending up 12 inches above the sides of the
trough, pointed at the end like the gable of a
house roof and put on this two boards like an
inverted V. This makes a steep roof to the
trough and effectually prevents the lambs get-
ting their feet into it.
This cover is readily lifted off when grain is
put in. Attention to such small details as keep-
ing troughs clean is essential to success in feed-
ing lambs. Their sense of smell is acute and
they discriminate sharply against anything but
clean, fresh food.
The first feed to put into the trough may be
wheat bran. Scatter a trifle in the bottom and
sprinkle it with brown sugar. If the lambs do
not find it readily, take one up gently, not to
frighten him, and carrying him to the trough
132 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
put a little of the sweetened bran in his mouth.
He will get the taste and in many cases you can
carefully put him on his feet with his head in
the trough leaving- him there. Once he gets a
taste he will return and bring others with him.
It is essential that the bran used be fresh.
Cracked corn will be added to the bran ; it also
must be fresh and made of good, sound corn.
It need not be cracked very fine. Better mix
in a box or bin about 50 lbs. of cracked corn,
50 lbs. of wheat bran and 10 lbs. of oilmeal,
coarse ground. If oats are available they may
be added to this ration, ground at first, without
changing the proportions of other things for
oats themselves form nearly a balanced ration.
Feed this twice or three times a day, placing
in the troughs about what will be consumed and
when next feeding time comes sweep out and
give to the ewes what may be left so as to
always have fresh feed before the lambs. Never
wait for them to lick out the last particle before
I offering them fresh feed.
X / You will soon be astonished at the amount
y the little fellows will consume and at the trans-
formation in their appearance. The plump
roundness of the baby forms is very beautiful
and to watch them grow is a satisfaction and
joy every day.
Of course there are other things that may be
fed. Wheat middlings may make a small part
of the ration; it is too floury for best results,
as the lambs do not like it so well. Eye will
serve a useful purpose, though it seems less
palatable than oats or barley. Soy beans may
CARE OF THE EWE AND YOUNG LAMB. 133
replace the oilmeal and are better. Soys are
readily grown upon any farm and should be
regularly sown where lambs are grown.
Early varieties of soy beans should be grown
in the Northern states, threshed when ripe and
the seeds kept for the lambs. The bean straw
if kept dry has in it a good deal of nourishment
also which the ewes will seek out and the
coarser parts will serve as an excellent bedding.
There is hardly any other food that will push
forward lambs like soys. They have abundant
protein and a good deal of bone material also.
As compared with ordinary field peas they have
29 to 40 per cent of protein, while field peas
have 16 per cent and cowpeas 18 per cent. Field
peas are best adapted to New England, Canada
and Michigan, with some regions of high alti-
tude in the Rocky Mountains; soy beans to all
the corn-belt. As the oilmeals are steadily in-
creasing in price with possibilities of their fre-
quent adulteration the shepherd can not afford
to overlook sources of home-grown protein.
In the Southern states the hairy vetch is a
source of home-grown protein not to be over-
looked. Further reference to this will be made
when we take up the subject of field crops for
The lamb will drink a good deal of pure
water, even while sucking his mother. It should
be readily available and always clean enough
for human consumption.
After the lambs are well started on feed the
ewe lambs if they are designed to be kept upon
the farm, and such ram lambs as may be worth
SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
keeping, should be separated from the others
and fed differently. They may have all the oats
and bran they wish and some soy beans but are
the better for having very little corn. It is best
if they have the run with their mothers of a field
and learn early to seek part of their food out-
side, whereas the ones destined for market will
AN ENGLISH "CREEP."
grow as well and fatten quicker to have their
range somewhat restricted.
The shepherd should keep close watch on the
ewes, for there will come a time when they are
no longer milking freely and then they will put
their food on their backs. Rather than fatten
them to their harm, unless they are to go to
CARE OF THE EWE AND YOUNG LAMB. 135
market, the grain should be gradually cut down
and it will be found that the lambs at this time
will take more each day.
iVfter the fattening lambs are a few weeks
old they love to shell off corn from the ear and
crack it with their own teeth. They should
have opportunity to do this.
In fact, when they are six weeks old it is
hardly worth while to shell or grind any more
corn for them at all. They prefer it fresh shel-
led by their own teeth. It is folly to spend
effort in doing things that the lambs delight in
doing for themselves.
DRESSING LAMBS FOR FANCY WINTER MARKET.
When the lambs reach a weight of 50 to 60
lbs. or even less if they are very fat the fancy
New York market will pay for them from $3
to $12 each if sent there by express nicely dres-
sed and cooled. The prices depend upon how
fat they are and what the season is. Big lambs,
only moderately fat, sell much cheaper than
small lambs that are very fat.
For this trade the lambs are dressed in a
special manner as the market requires. Mr. H.
P. Miller, a successful ''hot house"^ lamb
grower, gives this as his method: "It is very
important to have them thoroughly bled out.
To secure this I have found it advantageous
to hang the lamb by the hind feet in killing.
Suspend a small singletree about six feet from
the ground. Loop a small rope or strong twine
about each hind le^ and attach to the hooks of
the singletree. With a sharp pointed knife
136 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
sever the artery and vein in the neck close to
the head. Be sure to sever the artery. Bright
red blood is the assurance. The veinous blood
is dark. Severing the head with one blow of a
sharp broad axe would cause no suffering and
insure thorough bleeding. I remove the head
with a knife as soon as the lamb ceases strug-
gling. Clip the wool from the brisket and along
a strip four or five inches wide upwards to the
udder or scrotum, also from between the hind
legs as in tagging sheep. Now open the lamb
from the tail to the brisket. Slit the skin up the
READY FOR MARKET.
inside of the hind quarter about four inches and
loosen it from the underlying muscles for two
inches on either side of the openings for the
attachment of caul fat. This should be re-
moved from the stomachs before they are de-
tached, and in very cold weather placed in
warm water until ready to be used. Next re-
move the stomach and intestines. In the early
part of the season the liver, heart and lungs
may be left in place but when the weather gets
warm they must be removed. Carefully spread
the caul fat over all the exposed flesh. Good
CARE OF THE EWE AND YOUNG LAMB. 137
large toothpicks will hold it in place. Make
small slits in it over the kidneys and pull them
through. This part of the work requires care
and skill to make the carcass look attractive.
''Be sure that all is clean and pretty. Hang-
in a cool place for 12 to 24 hours. The car-
casses should not actually freeze but come close
to it. Sew a yard of clean muslin about each
lamb so as to cover all exposed surface. Then
line a small crate with strong paper and place
three lambs in it, tacking burlap over the top.
Crate them just before shipping. Ice may be
put. between the lambs but not in them. Pre-
pare for market as fast as ready, three or six
at a time. Aim to slaughter regularly each
week, if you have lambs in condition, and keep
your commission firm informed as to how many
you will send. ' '
It is worth noting that for a period of years
prices for these fancy fat winter lambs have
steadily advanced and the supply though in-
creasing has not been equal to the demand.
There is, however, a wide variation in prices
obtained and if one finds his lambs selling at a
low price he had better investigate to see what
is wrong. It is better to keep the lambs to sell
alive in spring than dress them and pay express
charges and commission for $3 to $4 each in
winter. During January and February, how-
ever, good lambs, such as any careful man can
as easily make as any other sort, sell for from
$8 to $12 each in New York with small prospect
of oversupply for some time.
138 SHEEP FARMINGS IN AMERICA.
TREATMENT OF THE LATE BORN LAMBS.
Naturally the larger part of the lambs will
be born too late for the fancy trade. Nor would
there be demand for all of them in the form of
"fancy hot house lambs." There is, however,
abundant profit in fattening them to be sold
afoot in April, May, June or July. Usually the
highest prices are obtained in June. At that
time the supply of fat lambs born on the ranges
the previous summer and winter-fed is about
exhausted and the supply of fat native winter
or spring born lambs has never yet been ade-
To develop lambs for this live trade they
should be fed just as advised for the winter
lambs except that they should be permitted
to take more exercise than if they are to be fin-
ished at the earliest possible moment.
When grass comes the lambs should be kept
off of it until it is actually sweet. The sun must
have time to get into it before it will be strong
and good and to eat it before that time is a dam-
age alike to the grass and the lambs Further-
more after they have a taste of green grass
they will not eat dry forage well, so there is
loss all around Keep them on dry feed there-
fore until there is abundant green grass and it
is sweet, then you may let them go to it without
fear of them shrinking.
There is little danger of scouring from eat-
ing grass after it has become sweet. The corn,
of which they are now eating a great deal, has
a tendency to prevent it and after a day or two
CARE OF THE EWE AND YOUNG LAMB. 141
they will go on as though nothing had been
changed, happy indeed beyond words in the
fresh spring sunshine and tine pasture, before
flies have come or summer heat to oppress.
Here is a great argument for having lambs
born in winter, they may thus get such a vigor-
ous start that when green grass comes they are
able to make the most of it. There are two
months in our trying climate of the corn-belt
that make ideal natural conditions for making
mutton cheaply; they are May and June, with
sometimes a bit of April. Wherefore the shep-
herd should plan to have his lambs big and
strong when this time comes so that they may
make the most of their opportunities. There
is no profit as a general thing in carrying any
over through July, August and September,
save those that are destined to remain perma-
nently to replenish the breeding flock.
FEEDTNG CORN ON GRASS.
While in winter time on dry feed it is essen-
tial to feed bran, oilmeal or soy beans to sup-
ply the requisite protein to the growing lambs
there is not so much need of supplying protein
when on grass, that is, if the lambs are destined
for the butcher. Green grass is more nitrog-
enous than dry hay and there are many
clovers usually mixed in the grass so that a
ration of corn (maize) alone will serve a good
purpose. This may as well be fed in the ear,
laying it in troughs or if there is a clean sward
of thick grass the ears may simply be scattered
about upon it, in a fresh spot each day. To do
142 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
this before the lambs are weaned it is of course
necessary to fence oft* a part of the pasture
away from the ewes, allowing only the lambs
to have access to it. No more corn should ever
be fed at a time than the lambs will consume
and that they may eat it regularly care should
be taken to see that every lamb is there at feed-
ing time. If a few troughs are set close by in
which a few handful s of oats are strewn that
the ewes can get, the shepherd can readily call
the whole flock up at feeding time and the lambs
will rush through their creeps to get their corn
while their mothers are munching the sparing
allowance doled out to them.
Gains on grass when lambs have had a good
start in winter are surprisingly rapid. By the
first of June the February lambs will often
weight 80 lbs. and drafts may be made and sent
away if it is convenient to market in that man-
ner, or all may be kept till they average about
80 lbs., which will be early in June. If care-
fully managed there will be no culls and all will
be gone and the cash in the owner's pocket be-
fore the dread of parasites comes.
Salt is an essential to the sheep and it is well
to accustom them to the use of it and keep it
at all times before them. It is especially use-
ful in spring when grass comes and no doubt
checks many bowel troubles when they have
access to it.
Shade is essential in our climate of the corn-
belt. Even in April sheep will begin to seek
CARE OF THE EWE AND YOUNG LAMB. 143
the shade during the warmer parts of the day
and by May and June it is very necessary.
Where the pasture is near the barn the cool,
dark lower story, where were the winter quar-
ters, is the ideal place for the flock. It should
A CARLOAD OF YEARLING WETHERS.
be kept well bedded down and thus there is
saved a good deal of fertility that would other-
wise perhaps be heaped up in fence corners
or beneath trees where it would do the pasture
little good. The sheep prefer the darkness of
144 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
the barn to the semi-shadow of trees and it is
very much better and safer for them for rea-
sons that we will presently take up under the
subject of parasite infestation.
In this barn basement one should each day
put down a little fresh hay and usually the flock
will eat quite a bit of it. In connection with
their green forage it is to them what dry bread
and butter are to the boy eating green apples in
summer time. It is even a good practice to salt
the sheep in summer by sprinkling brine over
dry hay in the barn, thus encouraging them to
eat as much of it as they will. Of course there
are locations where hay is hard to get and
pasture is in excess There this would not be
good practice, but all through the region of the
corn-belt hay is abundant and really more eco-
nomical to produce on high-priced land than
Corn may be fed to the lambs also in the
barn basement if the flock has access to it.
There is but one thing to fear; that the place
may be allowed to become foul so that fleeces
will be soiled and feet endangered but it is at-
tention to these little things that assure success.
Shade in fields may be had best by movable
sheds. These may be made on runners, simple
roofs about 16 feet square and not high, open
at the sides, made of pine boards. They need
not be rain-proof since sun is what we are seek-
ing to shelter against. A shed of this size will
shelter 40 sheep and as it may be frequently
moved there will be an enrichment of a good
many scoots during the summer. The writer
CARE OF THE EWE AND YOUNG LAMB. 145
has on the farm on which he lives a spot where
his father forty years before had a temporary
sheep shelter that still produces crops remark-
able for their distinguishing greenness and
There are reasons why we should not permit
the sheep to stand where they will, along fences
and beneath trees. First the manure is wasted
there; then the shade is seldom really satis-
factory. Sufficient in the early morning the
sun has by noon moved so that it is no longer
comfortable and the silly flock will suffer much
before moving away. Worst of all is the dan-
ger to the health of the sheep through parasitic
infection. Lying much in one place there is
an accumulation of droppings presumably bear-
ing germs of various harmful parasites such as
stomach worms, throat worms, nodular disease
and the like. The droppings stimulate the
growth of sweet, rich grasses here. The
germs harbor on the roots and about the base
of these grasses. Lambs lying in shade near by
become hungry and venturing into the sun a lit-
tle way nibble at these rich grasses. It is worth
noting that sheep will the more greedily eat
grass that grows strong, from manured land,
than that which is thin and tough growing on
poor soil. The lambs then nibbling this thick
grass, which is thus kept short, take in many
germs of stomach worms and other parasites
which their mothers have deposited there with
their manure. Thus disease creeps in to the flock.
In England the writer has seen shepherds put-
ting fences of hurdles about trees to prevent
146 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
ewes lying beneath tliem when on grass and ex-
plaining that they found when the ewes laid in
the shade of those trees they "took cold from the
draughts and coughed." The facts were cor-
rectly observed but the reasoning was defective ;
it was not the ^'draught" that made the sheep
cough but the throat worms and lung worms in-
stead that gained entrance from the infected
area of the tree shade.
MARKETING THE SPRING LAMB.
Through Virginia and Kentucky there are
many sheep breeders who make a practice of
growing their lambs on grass alone, having
them born usually in March and putting them
off fat in June. They usually contract them
ahead for about $6 per cwt. They find this
business very profitable and thus their rough
lands devoted to sheep pastures steadily im-
prove rather than deteriorate.
It is a temptation to the young shepherd to
keep the lambs over till fall or perhaps to feed
them again the following winter. This seldom
13ays so well as to have them fat early and get
rid of them at a good price. When they come
to market as late as August and from then to
Christmas they must compete with lambs
grown on the ranges under much more favor-
able conditions for cheap production. More-
over, the lambs during the hot summers of the
corn-belt do not gain much fat; if in fact they
hold what they made in May and June they do
well and there is besides that terrible danger,—
CARE OF THE EWE AND YOUNG LAMB. 147
Unless one is certain that his lambs will go
early to market, say at an age not exceeding
three months, he had better dock and castrate
them. Tails are unnecessary appendages to
a modern sheep and are apt to become fouled.
A docked lamb has a squarer look and seems
fatter than one with a tail. What blood goes
to nourish a useless tail would add to the
growth of the rest of the body no doubt. Dock-
ing may be done at a very early age, within
ten days after birth if the lamb is strong, and
there is then slight shock. Tails may be sev-
ered with one stroke of a sharp knife, (cutting
from the under side) or by use of a mallet and
chisel, but a better and safer way when pure-
bred and well fed lambs are docked is by use of
hot docking pinchers. These are readily made by
the country blacksmith. They are shaped like
large shoeing pinchers only much heavier and
with a wider opening to admit any tail, for some-
times one will wish to dock a mature sheep or
cut off a scrotum from an old ram. They
should be thin at the edge but not very sharp
and thick back of it to hold the heat. The man-
ner of operation is to have a board with a hole
bored through it of a proper size to admit the
tail of the lamb. This board protects the adja-
cent parts against the heat of the pinchers.
They are heated to redness and quickly sever
the tail which will not bleed a drop. Some dis-
infectant is then applied and the lamb let go.
After flies come one must watch that the stumps
148 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
do not become infested with maggots; there is
no other danger. Pure-bred and well fed
lambs will sometimes bleed to death when their
tails are cut with knife or chisel. When no
docking pinchers are at hand the stumps may
be corded for a few hours.
CASTRATION OF OLD EAMS.
These docking pinchers are convenient things
to have for castration of old rams, or of any
sheep past the age of lambhood. The method
is to lay the ram on his back; one man seizes
the scrotum and testicles and pulls them out
from the body and another simply severs them
all together with the docking pinchers used
There is no bleeding, though the operation
should not be too hastily performed, as there
is need of a m.oment's contact with the hot iron
to sear the arteries. The application of dis-
infectants completes the operation. A thin
board may keep the heat from scorching the
body. The writer has thus operated on a six-
year-old ram and had him get up and go to eat-
ing hay quite unconcerned. It is probable that
the hot iron destroys the sensibility to pain to
quite an extent.
CASTRATION OF LAMBS.
Castration of young lambs is a very simple
process. The lambs should be two weeks old
and strong. The end of the scrotum is cut off,
the testicles made to emerge and are then pulled
out with the adhering cords. Some shep-
CARE OP THE EWE AND YOUNG LAMB. 149
herds practice seizing them with their teeth;
this is a common practice on many Western
ranches. It is not usually necessary to apply
anything in case of these young lambs but a
mixture of lard and turpentine, or tallow and
turpentine : combined in proportion so as to be
soft will deter germs and make healing more
rapid. There should not be a loss from dock-
ing and castration of more than one lamb in 500
and it is a satisfaction to have both done so
that whatever age the lambs may reach they
will not in marketing suffer a ''dock" because
of their ''bncky" condition.
As a rule it is not necessary to wean lambs
before they go to market. If they are fed right
they will while sucking their mothers reach a
weight of 75 to 85 lbs. if of mutton breeds.
There is nothing better than mothers' milk ex-
cept more mothers' milk! Lambs that are to
remain on the farm, however, should be sep-
arated from the ewes when ten or twelve weeks
old, or when the advent of warm weather makes
parasitic infection a danger. An exception may
be made of the ewe lambs, which may in some
cases run with their mothers until they are
weaned naturally. The advantage of weaning
is that it makes possible the separation of the
young and old and thus the young things are
put by themselves on clean pasture where there
can be no contaminated grass and thus they es-
cape infection and parasitic diseases. The
proper way to wean lambs is by taking away
150 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
the ewes, leaving the lambs in the pasture where
they are accustomed to run. Build in the
pasture a small yard or corral having creeps
through which the lambs can run; the ewes,
after being away from the lambs for 12 hours,
are returned and yarded there when the
lambs will run in and milk them out, and when
they have again gone out to feed the ewes may
be taken away for another period. Thus there
is a gradual separation, neither ewes nor lambs
experiencing a shock, and if the ewes are put
on rather sparce picking they will soon be dry.
There is but one danger, viz. ; there may be some
ewes yet milking so heavily that their lambs
will suffer from gorging upon their return. The
watchful shepherd will be aware of such a case
and catching her will milk her out somewhat
before letting the lamb at her, or if it be a late-
born lamb allowing it to run with her a little
SUMMER CARE AND MANAGEMENT.
THE EWE FLOCK.
In winter the shepherd is a god to his flock.
Shut away from natural sources of food supply
the sheep depend entirely upon his providence
and therefore their thrift rests entirely upon
his knowledge and willingness to give. In sum-
mer Nature provides forage in abundance and
turned out in the fields the sheep can choose as
their instincts prompt them. They should
then thrive upon pasture as nowhere else. They
would were it not for two things : one that the
shepherd too often considers a ^'pasture" as
being an enclosure surrounded by a good
fencCj regardless of what the forage may be
within; the other that in summer time come
pests of flies, maggots and worms, internal par-
asites. The shepherd who thoroughly learns
the lesson of prevention of these pests will find
his work a joy and will stay with it and make a
large profit from his flock. The man who sim-
ply turns the flock to pasture and gives it no
more attention or thought will very likely find
himself confronted with a lot of diseased and
152 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
unprofitable sheep within a few years and his
farm perhaps so infected with germs of para-
sites that there is no longer any profit in keep-
ing sheep there.
Most of the trouble comes from the internal
parasites, and while there is a long list of them
that afflict sheep nearly all the trouble in our
country comes from two or three species. By
far the most prevalent and troublesome is the
twisted stomach worm (naemonchus contortus).
This inhabits the fourth stomach of the ewe and
she carries it through the winter even though
she may seem to be in good health. In spring
and during summer the worms become filled
with eggs, ^' ripen" and pass away. Just how
the young germs then re-enter the sheep or find
a home in the more tender stomachs of the
young lambs no one knows. They probably
hatch in shallow pools of stagnant water (infec-
tions in Texas and New Mexico are thought to
be by this means) or they attach themselves to
the moist grass close to the ground and are tak-
en in from that position. It is noticed that old
and rich sheep pastures covered with short,
sweet grass are frequently the most fatal to
young lambs even when there is no stagnant
water in them.
It is not too much to say that the stomach
worm has done more to discourage sheep hus-
bandry in the corn-belt of America than all
other causes put together and many a man has
gone out of business from the depredations of
this little enemy who did not even know that
such a pest existed.
SUMMER CARE AND MANAGEMENT. 155
The symptoms of infection from stomach
worms are first; the wool appears lusterless
and if pressed with the hand does not spring
out again as when the animal is in vigorous
health. Looking more closely, the red in the
veins in and about the eye seems pale and when
you part the wool the skin has lost its pinkness
and if the disease has progressed far it looks
white and chalky. There is a disordered di-
gestion and perhaps a depraved appetite, the
animal may gnaw earth, rotten wool or
bark, there may be diarrhea or constipation.
Before death comes there will probably be
'^ black scours." Old sheep seldom die from
stomach worms but are run down in vitality by
the pest while lambs may die in great numbers.
Stomach worms seldom ever trouble sheep in
cool regions and there is some evidence that a
temperature of 50 degrees in the soil prevents
their development. Therefore they do not
spread through the flock until warm weather,
which may come in May and certainly comes in
June. Up to that time the lamb crop is com-
paratively safe to run with the mothers; after
that the idea of the twisted stomach worm
must be kept ever in mind.
It may be well here to call attention to the
fact that there are considerable regions in
America where fear of the stomach worm is
not felt. In Massachusetts, Maine, New Hamp-
shire and Vermont there is little or no evidence
of Ha^monchus infestation. Northern New York
and the mountain regions of that section
should be almost exempt from danger if flocks
156 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
are properly managed. Ontario in Canada,
seems to be without the dread pest. The writer
has seen wonderful flocks in Vermont and On-
tario managed very simply on thick, sweet
blue-grass and white clover pastures and with-
out a trace of this malady. The road-side sheep
of Ontario graze perennially on the same
restricted areas and escape infection. So in
northern Michigan, in the Upper Peninsula es-
pecially, is a grand field for easy and almost
care-free shepherding. Northern Minnesota
and Wisconsin should prove little subject to
One evidence that cool climates deter the de-
velopment of the Hsemonchus contortus is seen
in northern England and in Scotland. On the
Cheviot hills flocks grow as thick as the grass
will bear and for many centuries this has been
so. In Scotland the same is true and the writer
in a rather careful study of conditions there
saw no evidences whatever of infestation of
this pest. There is some parasitism in that re-
gion but it is more likely to be of tapeworms
or the brain parasite that causes ''gid" or
' ^ staggers. ' '
It is a matter of wonder to the writer that
more men do not in New England and our other
northern border states turn their attention to
sheep growing on a scale large enough to make
it a business. There should be whole regions
given up to the breeding of sheep and such
breeds as the Cheviot, Lincoln or Cotswold
would there find a congenial home, while
Shropshires and Southdowns would thrive well
SUMMER CARE AND MANAGEMENT.
and furnish the market with prime mutton.
Shepherding without the fear of stomach worm
infestation is a delightful occupation.
The simplest method of keeping the lambs
in health in the summer time is to separate
them from the ewes and put them on grazing
that has had no sheep on it for a year, or at
least that has had no sheep since the previous
fall. We will take up the care of the lambs a
The ewe flock is easily kept in health. Ma-
ture sheep are resistent to parasites unless they
are depleted in vitality by reason of being bred
too young, or by suckling their lambs when
poorly nourished. It is only necessary to give
them sound grass and as good a variety of
herbage as is at hand and to change them from
158 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
one pasture to another about once in ten days
or a fortnight. Tlie old adage, "change of
pasture makes fat sheep/' is true and it de-
pends upon two reasons: change gives chance
for fresh herbage to spring up and it gives par-
asitic genus chance to die before finding again
a Jiving place in the body of its former host.
It is better then to divide large sheep pastures
into several divisions and during warm weather,
say about the middle of May till the middle of
September, to change the flock from one division
to another letting cattle or horses follow them,
or letting the pastures have rest till the flock
comes back again.
It would not help matters any to keep sheep
in each division and change by transposition, a
common and sinful practice, as one lot would
readily infect the other. It is not good manage-
ment therefore fully to stock a pasture with
sheep in any part of the United States east of
a line running about with the 100th meridian, or
roughly along the western limit of the corn-belt.
The exception to this rule would be in the case
of high mountain pastures or in the far north,
where the air and soil are cool enough to deter
the spread of parasites.
These stomach worms are not very hard to
destroy or drive out of the body of the sheep.
The writer introduced the gasoline treatment
into the United States and it has given excellent
results in his practice. Coal tar creosote is
said to be as good and perhaps better. Some
coal tar dips are used successfully in destroy-
ing the stomach worm. We w^ill give explicit
SUMMER CARE AND MANAGEMENT. 159
directions for administering these remedies
A SYSTEM OF MANAGEMENT THAT INSURES A
Two men in America fought stomach worms
all through the disastrous years of the 90s,
when little was known to help ; they found light,
they conquered the pests in a measure, and kept
on keeping sheep and studying flock manage-
ment. Finally each made a journey to Eng-
land and studied the conditions there with a
view to solving the problem for America. There
they found hurdling the best answer to the
question. Independently of each other they
reached the same conclusions as to the practical
solution of the question in America. Dr. H.
B. Arbuckle of West Virginia and the writer
were the two men. But they wish to give all due
credit to the Department of Zoology of the Bu-
reau of Animal Industry at Washington for at
last giving accurate details of the life history of
the Haemonchus contortus (formerly called
Strongylus contortus) for without the details
that we now have no certain plan could have
The basis of this plan is the fact that lambs
are born free from parasitic infection ; they are
healthy. It is only necessary to keep them
healthy by preventing infection. Their moth-
ers carry over in their bodies the germs that will
infect them in the form of mature stomach
worms, which when ripe pass away in the drop-
pings and thus infect the pasture. When the
160 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
temperature is below 40° the eggs will not
hatch. AVhen it is above that they will hatch
out in a few hours or in a week or so, depending
upon how warm it is. Freezing or drying soon
kills the unhatched eggs. So it is seen that ewes
will not pollute a field in Winter, their drop-
pings are sure to be soon frozen, at least in the
region where sheep are mostly kept. But if the
tiny worm hatches from the egg it feeds for a
time upon the material of the manure and con-
tinues to grow till it is about one-thirtieth of
an inch long. Then it creeps up on a blade of
grass and waits to be swallowed by some lamb,
after that it finishes its growth within the fourth
stomach of the lamb, and, incidentally, finishes
the lamb as well.
Under the heading of "Diseases of Sheep"
will be found entire the very interesting bulle-
tin of Dr. B. H. Ransom on this subject.
Now how to manage a flock with safety and
profit on natural grass. To begin with the ewe
flock should be treated for stomach worms.
This is best done in the fall, when they come
from pasture. It may be again done in the
spring before their lambs come. Remedies
for treatment will be found under the heading
"Diseases of Sheep." The writer is of the
opinion that use of some of the coal-tar dii^s, in
small doses, much diluted, will eventually be
recognized as most efficient. This treatment
alone has doubled the weight of lambs in some
experiments in Kentucky. Next, the flock
should at the approach of spring weather be
confined to the yard and shed. There
STUDIES IN SHEEP CHARACTER,
SUMMER CARE AND MANAGEMENT. 163
are two reasons for this; the one that it
is better for the grass, and thus in the long run
better for the flock, and the other that there is
thus no contamination of land over which the
lambs will later feed. If it were possible to
wholly eradicate the worms from the ewes by
treatment this care would not be needed, but
unfortunately it seems almost impossible with
our present knowledge to kill all of the worms
by any medication. While confined to the yard
the lambs will probably be born. It is essen-
tial that the flock be well fed at this time so that
the ewes be full of milk. If desired there may
be provided a run to a rye field, or to some grass
pasture that will not be afterwards used that
summer, to help stimulate the milk flow. By
May 15 probably the grass will be so forward
that the flock may be turned out for good. Now
begins the new management. Instead of turn-
ing the flock to a large pasture to roam over it
at will turn them on a very small part of it.
How best to manage this will depend upon cir-
cumstances. The writer thinks that in our land
of small supply of labor and much hurry and
turmoil during the summer season it is safest
to divide the pastures by permanent wire fenc-
es. These are not costly and need not be very
high. We will, then, turn the whole flock to-
gether into the first division ; none shall be scat-
tered about. Of course there may be two
flocks, one with lambs and a dry flock, but the
dry flock had better be put apart somewhere
or else put with the ewes. It will not do to let
anything interfere with the regular rotation of
164 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
these pastures. Now once in this pasture the
flock will be allowed to eat it down close to the
ground That will not hurt the grass, for all
will go on in a short time and the grass may
spring up again. This is how pastures are
often managed in England b}^ hurdles.
Doctor Eansom says that sheep may probably
be safely left on May pasture for two weeks.
We will shorten this time to 10 days, to make
sure. That is, the germs falling to the earth
could not before 10 days find their way back
into any sheep or lamb, and we are going to
move the flock on before they are able to get in.
Now in the division between this pasture
and the next we will place creeps so fixed that
the lambs can readily pass through to the next
enclosure. This they will early learn to do,
and so they will be eating the fresher parts of
the herbage in advance of the ewes.
In ten days then the whole flock will go for-
ward one pasture, the lambs yet having access
to the fresher feeding on ahead. Doctor Ran-
som says we will need for this sure treatment
the following divisions :
For May, 2 pastures.
For June, 4 pastures.
For July, 4 pastures.
For August, 4 pastures.
For September, 3 pastures.
For October, 2 pastures.
That makes 19 enclosures in all and insures
that the flock shall be kept in absolute freedom
from infection throughout the year.
However, one will not absolutely need so
SUMMER CARE AND MANAGEMENT. 165
many enclosures as that. By June many of the
lamljs will be ripe, by July many of the others,
and even when the lambs are born late when
managed in this way they should all be ripe as
peaches by the middle of August. After the
lambs are gone the ewes can be managed a little
less carefully, especially if they are in strong
condition, though there is a comfort in knowing
that every stomach worm germ that falls to the
earth must die from lack of a host.
To make this thing doubly successful put flat
bottomed troughs in the pastures ahead, where
the lambs run, and put feed in them; any sort
of grain, corn, oats, barley, bran, coarse-ground
or broken cake or oil meal. Thus the lambs
will grow like weeds and pay many times over
for their grain. Thus more sheep may be car-
ried on the same ground than would be possible
under ordinary treatment. There is scarcely
any limit to the number of sheep that can be
safely kept on an eastern farm under this sys-
tem of management. The limit is, of course,
the size of the farm and the amount of grass.
Even this can be greatly helped by soiling.
Racks may with great profit be placed in the
fields and the ewes fed green crops, fresh
mown oats, peas, clover or alfalfa. Thus
twice as many ewes may be kept as the grass
alone will support. The writer would suggest
that about 400 ewes would keep one man nicely
busy in caring for them and their lambs, haul-
ing water to them, soiling somewhat, and feed-
ing the lambs. He would not hesitate to under-
take the manasrement of 400 ewes on one farm
166 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
in any part of the corn belt, the regions most in-
fested with stomach worms. There is no busi-
ness more sure of profit than this. Lambs sell
remarkably well and the prospect is that as
the western ranges are diminished that they
will sell better for the ravages of the stomach
worm deter eastern farmers from going into
the business. The two serious obstacles to be
overcome are; first, the question of water and
next, the question of shade. Water is readily
hauled in mounted tanks as it usually is in
England. Shade is not absolutely essential.
The writer has seen very fat sheep in the San
Joaquin valley of California confined to the al-
falfa meadows and with no shade whatever.
Probably a system of canvas sheds, long and
narrow, would not be very expensive nor too
troublesome for one man to move and set up un-
aided. Any sort of good grass will serve.
Kentucky blue grass is to be preferred, perhaps
brome grass (Bromus inermis) is better, clovers
may be utilized and oats sown to be grazed off,
Tlie writer does not hesitate to say that he
looks forward to seeing many sheep farms es-
tablished in the cornbelt each carrying from 200
to 500 ewes and managed nearly under this sys-
tem. He feels confident that no other branch of
the live stock industry holds forth better pros-
It should be borne in mind that the earlier
the lambs are born the sooner they will be gone
to market, and thus the fewer pastures will be
needed. Also the market is usuallv best in
SUMMER CARE AND MANAGEMENT^ 167
June and July, after the flood of fed lambs lias
passed and before the new crop from the ranges
has started to come.
Besides the stomach worm there is the worm
that makes the nodular disease of the intestines.
Any observant man who has dissected a ma-
ture sheep has often noticed on the small intes-
tines little nodules or ''knots." These are
really small tumors, filled with a greenish,
cheesy substance. They do not do much harm
when they are few in number but the trouble is
a cumulative one and the numbers of the nodules
increase until after a time digestion and absorp-
tion are much interfered with. Sometimes parts
of the intestines becomes calcified, that is, so im-
pregnated with lime salts that they are almost
like stone. Death ensues in a longer or shorter
time from the nodular disease. It does not
work quickly as does the disease caused by the
stomach worm. The worm causing these tu-
mors is called oesophago stoma columbianum.
This nodular disease is a hard one to cure,
if indeed it is possible to cure it at all after it is
established. Prevention is about all that we
can do. Dr. W. H. Dalrymple of the Louisiana
Experiment Station has shown, however, that
it is readily communicable from affected ewes
to their lambs through the medium of the pas-
ture. He has also demonstrated that where
diseased ewes are kept confined to the barn
and their lambs allowed to run on clean pasture
not contaminated by the presence of any old
sheep, the lambs remain healthy and thus a new
and healthful stock can be had even from a dis-
168 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
eased flock. None of these diseases originates
spontaneously. There are no other known
hosts of these diseases than sheep, goats and
perhaps deer, so it is merely a question of start-
ing with the lambs, born free of all parasites,
and keeping them in health by putting them on
fresh and uninfeeted pasture.
USE OF SOWN PASTURES.
The easy way of management is to use only
the wild or natural grass pastures, the same
ones year after 3 ear, but there is often great
good resultant from sowing special pasture
crops for the flock. Eye sown in the fall will
afford very useful pasture before Christmas
and again very early in spring. If vetches are
sown with the rye in mild latitudes they will to-
gether in spring make good grazing, and clover
sown in March will take the land after the rye
is gone. Eye is not a rich grazing crop ; in fact,
is a poor one, but it adds the element of suc-
culence to the diet and thus has its value. Then
it gives employment and exercise in the way
that the ewe likes best to take it, wandering
about the field and picking here and there.
Then there is almost no danger at all of para-
site infection from grazing rye, or from graz-
ing any sown crop for that matter. Eye where
clover is sown with it should not be too closely
grazed after the clover gets started and it is
well to cut it for hay before it heads. If per-
mitted to head it becomes woodv and makes
SUMMER CARE AND MANAGEMENT. 171
very inferior hay, and the clover does not come
on again so quickly.
OATS AND ALFALFA PASTURE.
Oats sown early in spring with clover or al-
falfa form an excellent pasture for about two
months in late spring and early summer, fol-
lowing the use of rye. Oats should be sown on
good soil or should be well fertilized and may
be sown rather thickly, as much as two bushels
per acre, with about a peck of clover or alfalfa.
Ii the land is well drained, a clay loam with
limestone in it, alfalfa will make the best
growth and pasture. Red clover however,
thrives on thinner soils than alfalfa and is the
pioneer among the legumes. On any rich lime-
stone clay soils, however, alfalfa is the queen
of forage crops from Labrador to the Grulf. In
depasturing oats where legumes have been sown
with them some judgment must be exercised
else the delicate clovers will suffer. It is well
to allow the oats to get up about eight inches
high, then turn in and permit the sheep to eat
them down pretty close, which should be done
in three or four days. If there are not enough
sheep to do that, divide the field by temporary
fences or hurdles, depasturing a part at a time.
As soon as the oats are eaten down take the
sheep off and let the plants come again. They
may thus be repeatedly grazed and the result
will be a beautiful stand of clover or alfalfa.
After midsummer, however, it may be wise
to keep the flock entirely off this field, letting
172 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
the clover or alfalfa get strong to withstand the
trial of the coming winter.
Young clover and alfalfa should never be
grazed hard nor be eaten close the first year
else tlie stand will be seriously weakened.
CLOVER AND ALFALFA PASTURE.
By all odds the most useful summer pastures
in the cornbelt are those composed of clover
or alfalfa. There are several distinguishing
advantages in these crops : they renew the soil,
they are rich in protein and add to the size,
health and vigor of the sheep; they afford a
great amount of grazing and they are almost ab-
solutely free from danger of carrying parasit-
ic infection. The reason of this healthfulness
of these plants is that sheep crop the higher
leaves and stems, leaving the parts close to the
ground and thus escape germs that may lurk
down close to the earth.
Either red clover or alfalfa is too richly a
nitrogenous product, however, to be grazed
alone. Sheep confined to either of them must
eat too much protein and therefore will crave
food of more carbonaceous or starchy composi-
tion. They will greedily eat grasses or even
hay or dry straw to help balance their ration.
Therefore* it is wise to sow a mixture of grasses
with the clovers. The best grasses for this
purpose are smooth brome grass and orchard
grass. Either of these come on quickly and
give a continuous grazing with the clovers. Of
the two, brome grass (Bromus inermis) is by
far the better, yielding more grazing and be-
SUMMER CARE AND MANAGEMENT, 173
ing better relished by the stock. Indeed this
brome grass is one of the best pasture grasses
we have and of easy culture, though it should
always be sown in connection with some clover,
else it fails to yield as it should.
Red clover and alfalfa should not be mixed
together. If they are the red clover having
the habit of more vigorous growth at first
crowds badly its slower neighbor. It is wise,
however, to put about 10 per cent of alfalfa seed
in all clover mixtures sown on suspected alfal-
fa soil, for the small amount of alfalfa will in-
fect the field with the alfalfa bacteria so that in
after years it may be all profitably sown to al-
DANGEK FKOM CLOVEE AND ALFALFA PASTUKE.
Sheep grazing leguminous crops often suffer
from hoven, or bloat, caused by the fermenta-
tion of the tender leaves within the paunch.
The greatest danger of this is when the clover
is young and tender and growing rapidly.
After alfalfa becomes woody there is not
much danger from bloating. Nor is there so
much danger when grasses are mixed with the
clovers in the pasture. After sheep become ac-
customed to eating the clovers, they have then
learned somewhat by instinct how much to store
within. Pasturing on clovers is never abso-
lutely safe, yet certain simple rules will almost
always prevent trouble.
First, the clovers should have reached neariy
to the blossoming stage before the sheep are
174 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
Tlie sheep should not be hungry. They
should have a prelhninary course of feeding
of some sort till their appetites are well sated.
Perhaps a fill-up on good grass pasture will
generally best accomplish this.
They should go on the clover or alfalfa pas-
ture after eating all they will of other things at
about ten o'clock in the morning, at a time
when they naturally prefer to cease eating and
go to lie in the shade.
They should be given salt as soon as put upon
pasture, and salt mixed with air- slaked lime
should be kept before them.
They should never thereafter be removed
night or day, rain or shine, as long as they are
desired to graze the field.
Of course they may have the run of an ad-
jacent grass pasture, and be permitted to go
and come at will, but they must never be taken
away even for a few hours and allowed to get
hungry and then returned to the clover or alfal-
fa field. If the}^ are, there is danger that they
will gorge themselves too suddenly and bloating
The writer devotes considerable space to the
subject because he has had a long and success-
ful experience in pasturing clover and espec-
ially alfalfa with sheep, and in his practice he
has found these rules essential to success. It
is well worth the risk, seeing that this pasture
returns such well nourished and healthy sheep
and is so free from danger of parasitic infec-
tion. The writer has annually lost from 2 to 4
per cent from bloat on alfalfa pasture, com-
SUMMER CARE AND MANAGEMENT. 175
monly of animals not in the best health, and if
it has returned the other 96 or 98 per cent in
fine health to him, he considers the sacrifice of
The following remedies for a bloated sheep
When first in distress, administer three
tablespoonfuls of raw linseed oil in which is a
teaspoonful of turpentine.
If this does not relieve at once, tie or hold
a large corn cob or stick of similar size cross-
ways in the mouth like a bridle bit; hold the
head up, stand astride the ewe and seek gently
to press out the gas with the knee. Do not use
too much force.
Pour several buckets of very cold water
slowly on the distended side over the paunch.
This often of itself relieves the distress by stop-
ping the accumulation of gas.
If there is too much distension for these
measures to relieve, make an incision on the
left side, high up, where the greatest disten-
sion is seen, and let the gas escape. A trochar
is best for this but a penknife will serve. The
incision should be just large enough to insert
some small tube— a small joint of cane fishing
pole, a pipe stem or goose quill.
Keep hold of the tube, else it will slip within
the paunch and be lost and perhaps do serious
damage to the sheep. After relief has been
had disinfect the wound. It should not be
large enough to need stitches but care must be
had that flies do not blow it. Pine tar will re-
SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
pel flies. The wool should be cut away from
There will be some years when there will not
be occasion for any remedy whatever and with
the same treatment there will be at other times
more or less trouble. During hot and wet
YEARLING OXFORD RAM.
weather when alfalfa is stimulated to very rap-
id growth more trouble may be expected.
The writer has been in the habit of pasturing
alfalfa and yet allowing the sheep to shade in
the barn, permitting them to come off in the
morning when it gets too hot for their comfort.
He has, however, been careful that a boy should
SUMMER CARE AND MANAGEMENT.
stir them out and send them fieldward again by
three or four o'clock in the afternoon.
In sowing alfalfa that probably may be pas-
tured, be sure lo sow a mixture of brome grass
(Bromus inermis) with it. A light scattering
of brome seed is best, else it will soon crowd out
the alfalfa. We have had no difficulty in erad-
icating the brome grass when afterward the
fields have been cultivated.
The writer has solved most of the problems
of summer management in the way outlined.
One serious trouble, however, remains for solu-
178 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
tioii. The ewes will often get too fat under such
treatment and sometimes refuse to breed reg-
ularly. He has not yet found a solution of this
problem. In England, where this often occurs,
the fat ewes would go for mutton and there
would end that difficulty, but where one has a
flock of pure-bred sheep of considerable value
this is not a satisfactory solution for America.
Some manner of exercising the flock will
probably prove the best cure for the sterility
but as a business proposition with a grade flock
it is no very serious matter.
Where one is within reach of tracts of rough
and poor mountain pasture the problem is
solved in a natural way, by turning the flock
onto this thin grass where they must take abun-
dant exercise by walking and climbing and will
not find an excess of food. This is the natural
way of preventing an excess of flesh.
It is not a safe plan to attempt reduction of
flesh by over pasturing of small and fertile
fields. The result is to cause the ewes to gnaw
into the ground for the herbage there and para-
sitic infection is pretty sure to follow.
THE USE OF EAPE.
Rape belongs to the same order of plants as
the cabbages and rape leaves have a similar
taste and appearance as cabbages. On rich
soil rape yields an astonishing amount of for-
age, which must be eaten green, as owing to its
watery nature it can not be cured into hay.
There seems a peculiar affinity between the cab-
bage family and the sheep. Common cabbages,
SUMMER CARE AND MANAGEMENT. 179
thousand-headed kale, rape, swede turnips—
all are greedily eaten and make good, healthful
Rape comes in to good play during the drouths
of autumn and after cool, frosty weather has
stopped the growth of grass in the fall. It may
be sown in the corn at the time of the last work-
ing, using about three or four pounds of seed
to the acre and letting the cultivator cover it.
Should the season prove moderately moist there-
after the rape will come on and be ready to make
a vigorous growth as soon as the corn is cut.
By the middle of October it may be waist high
over the field and will atford an immense
amount of grazing until Christmas or later.
Care should be taken not to turn on rape early
in the morning in late fall when it is frosted
as every leaf that is bent at that time will black-
en and decay. It takes a cold of about 12 de-
grees to injure rape if it is not disturbed until
it has thawed again.
Sheep will fatten on rape though an addition
of grain is profitable and access to a grass pas-
ture or the regular feeding of good hay in con-
nection with it is very desirable. There is some
danger from bloat in rape feeding, though the
writer has never had to treat a sheep for rape
bloating nor lost one.
The Dwarf Essex seems the best variety to
In fitting sheep for the show ring cabbages
are almost indispensable and for feeding in fall
and earlv winter they are most excellent. In
180 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
many places cabbage grows luxuriantly and a
given amount of sheep feed can probably be as
cheaply grown from this plant as in any other
way. In considering these foods it must be
borne in mind that a certain portion of succu-
lence is absolutely necessary to the sheep if it
is to be kept in perfect health. It is less trou-
ble to grow the common farm crops of grain and
hay and sheep can be maintained upon them
alone, but not in their highest degree of health
and profit. There is also in the rape, turnips
and cabbages some quality that makes for
healthful growth of wool.
Among the best autumn and early winter
supplementary foods for sheep are pumpkins.
They are readily grown in the cornfield or in a
separate field by themselves and yield a large
amount of feed to the acre. Our method of
growing is to use pumpkin seeds to replant, with
in the cornfield, putting them in wherever
missing hills occur. In this manner we have se-
sured as high as two tons of pumpkins to the
acre without in the least injuring the crop of
corn, provided the season proved favorable. In
fact, the shading of the ground between the corn
rows by the wide leaves of the pumpkin vines
serves to help conserve the moisture when it
is most needed and the corn is often the better
for the association of the vines. It is safer,
however, to plant pumpkins by themselves.
Pumpkins serve the flock in two ways: first,
SUMMER CARE AND MANAGEMENT. 181
as a direct and healthful food of considerable
nutritive value and yet never dangerous from
excessive richness, and next from the direct me-
dicinal value of the seeds. Pumpkin seeds are
among the best vermifuges known. They
should never be removed from the pumpkins but
fed all together, and if fed in considerable
amounts, the direct and immediate improve-
ment in the flock will be very apparent. Tape-
worms have never troubled the writer's flock
in the least and no other reason can be attrib-
uted than the annual liberal pumpkin feeding.
The way to feed pumpkins is to strew them
about the pasture without cutting them open at
all, or at least cutting only a few of them. If
many are cut the sheep eat only the soft inside
parts at first, with the seeds, and might in this
way get too many seeds for their good, whereas
when they must gnaw a way into the pumpkin
they will eat it up clean before attacking an-
other. The pumpkins keep better to be scat-
tered over the field than to be piled in heaps, at
least before frost strikes them.
The secret in growing pumpkins is, first, to
have the land rich, then to plant a great sur-
plus of seeds. The striped-cucumber beetle rev-
els on pumpkin leaves, and if not enough are
planted for him and you also he will reap the
entire harvest at an early date. They may be
thinned after beginning to vine.
It is particularly desirable to have the ewe
flock thriving and increasing in flesh at time
of breeding. Not only will the lambs con-
ceived at such a time be of superior vigor but
182 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
there will be a larger number of twins among
CARE OF THE FEET.
When the sheep are turned to pasture in the
spring their feet should be carefully trimmed
and shortened. It is easier to do this, if they
are permitted to go in the wet grass for a day
or two and are taken in while their hoofs are yet
soft. They will at such a time cut like cheese,
whereas if they are trimmed when dry they will
be very horny in texture.
Nature evidently intended the sheep for
climbing over very rocky soil where the feet
would be subjected to rapid wear. It is prob-
able, too, that in selecting individuals for their
superior wool growth the horn growth of the
feet has kept apace with the wool growth in
some degree, since there is a relationship be-
tween horn growth and wool. In any event it is
very unlikely that with the amount of travel
needed on arable farms the sheep will sufficient-
ly wear down their feet to relieve the shepherd
of need to trim them twice a year, and with some
breeds more often.
Unless the feet are kept trimmed they will
become deformed and the sheep will stand on
one side of the foot, with the ankle turned over,
giving doubtless some pain and a very awkward
The aim of trimming should be to keep the
feet as short as possible, not to cut to the
quick, so that they may be able to stand natur-
ally and squarely upon them. It is probable
that lack of trimming is in some degree re-
SUMMER CARE AND MANAGEMENT. 183
sponsible for disease of the feet. Diseases may
occur, unfortunately, even in feet that have been
well trimmed, and the subject must have at-
rOOT-EOT AND FOOT-SCALD.
The shepherd commonly makes a distinction
between a simple contagious affection of the
foot called foot-scald and the real and very
serious disease, also contagious, called foot-
rot. There seems reason to believe that there
is a form of foot-scald that rapidly goes
through a flock yet readily yields to treatment
that is distinct from the more severe and less
easily eradicated foot-rot.
It is the belief of the writer, however, that
quite often the shepherd hides his genuine foot-
rot behind the more harmless appellation.
There is, however, an inflammation of the
skin between the claws of the foot that does not
extend beneath the horny covering of the foot
itself and that yields quite readily to a simple
treatment of putting the sheep upon a dry foot-
ing, cleansing from filth and an application of
some coal tar dip or carbolic acid.
When the disease has penetrated beneath the
shell of the foot and there is found there a wa-
tery, evil-smelling exudation it is genuine foot-
rot and should have immediate and thorough
treatment, with preventive measures to pre-
clude its spreading to the rest of the flock.
First, it is necessary to pare away all the
horn that hides the diseased surface. The dis-
ease being one of germ origin, there is no hope
184 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
of cure except through the complete destruction
of the germs, and they must therefore be uncov-
ered from their hiding. A sharp knife in the
hands of a careful and thorough man is a kind
thing to the afflicted sheep, even though it may
cause some temporary pain.
When once the diseased surface is laid bare
it is only necessary to wet it well with a strong
solution of blue vitriol (sulphate of copper), or
butter of antimony, to bind it up if much horn
has been cut away and keep the sheep on dry
footing for a time.
It is necessary, however, to prevent the
spread of the disease through the flock. To do
this all feet should be carefully trimmed and
any sore ones given individual treatment.
Then a trough 6" wide in the bottom, 12" wide
at the top, 12" deep and about 10' long should be
made of three two-inch planks. This must be
enclosed with hurdles so that the sheep may be
compelled to pass through it. The writer has
fastened such a trough at the door of the sheep
barn so that in order to ]:)ass out the flock must
pass through the trough. Then it was only
necessary to confine the flock for a time and they
would of their own accord go out, each one
walking through the trough.
This treatment was given daily for a week_
or so, as it took little of the shepherd's time and
was inexpensive. By this means foot disord-
ers were eradicated from the flock after having
caused much trouble.
In the trough was placed a simple lime white-
wash, in which was sufficient blue vitriol to give
SUMMER CARE AND MANAGEMENT. 185
it a blue color. This effectually prevented the
spread of the disease and cured many cases in
In no other business is it more true that ''a
stitch in time saves nine" than in the care of
It is unfortunate that the average American
shepherd sells out when foot disease strikes
his flock when he can so easily control and erad-
icate the disease. Troubles must come in all
endeavors, so when one has been suffered and
the remedy therefor found it is not a reason for
abandonment of enterprise but the more reason
for continuance, rather than to ''fly to troubles
we know not of."
ADVENT OF LATE LAMBS.
There are situations where it is desirable that
lambing should be delayed until grass comes.
When forage and grain are scarce and the
means not at hand to well nourish the ewe after
lambing until grass comes, when indeed grass is
the chief asset of the shepherd it is wise to time
the lambing so that the lambs will come at about
the same time as the grass. Indeed a lamb
dropped then will make a far better growth than
one dropped weeks earlier from a poorly-nour-
ished ewe half starved by its mother because
she cannot give it much milk before she herself
has been fed. Nor will such a ewe respond in
her milk flow to green grass as she would did
her lamb come after grass has started anew in
her veins a vigorous coursing of the vital fluid.
It is most wise, however, to see to it that
186 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
these late lambing ewes are strengthened by
some supplementary feeding before the lambs
appear. A little grain fed then will repay its
cost several times, for the well-nourished ewe
goes easily through the pains of lambing and
loves well her offspring if she has milk for it
inside her udder.
The shepherd who herds on grass may have
the lamb crop all born within a very few days.
They will be anxious days while they last, but
the agony is soon over, seeing that this is Na-
ture's time set for this miracle to take place,
and the ewes naturally conceive readily to
lamb then. Great watchfulness is necessary
and there are certain helps that may be men-
THE LAMBING TENT.
Many Western sheep owners use small shel-
ter tents about -42 inches square, supported by
curved iron rods, to shelter the ewe and her lamb
from storm. These tents are readily carried
and set over the ewe any where. They serve to
keep her and her offspring together while they
are becoming acquainted and by turning the
chilling rain save many lambs that would other-
wise be lost. As these tents are inexpensive and
can readily be made by the shepherd himself
some of them should be at hand when an early
lambing on grass is planned.
It is desirable to scatter the flock as much as
possible at this time, for then the ewes are the
more readily kept track of and their lambs are
not so often lost through mixing and straying
SUMMER CARE AND MANAGEMENT.
from their mothers. This latter is particularly
dangerous in case of twins, seeing that the ewe
is often content if she has one lamb with her
and looks for the other very little.
IMPORTED HAMPSHIRE RAM LAMBS.
There are exceptions to this rule however.
The writer has known Dorset ewes that seemed
to have perfect memories and a knowledge of
nunibers and would seek as earnestly for a
strayed twin as though it were a single lost
188 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
Seeing that the ewes at this time must give
their attention to tlieir lambs and cannot wan-
der wide in search of food, it is a good plan to
lamb them on some specially good piece of grass.
xVnd to aid in keeping them quiet the shepherd
may carry with him oats, giving a handful to
the ewe wherever he finds her. It is hardly
probable that a larger per cent of lambs will be
saved by lambing on grass than by lambing
earlier, nor will they ever be so good as early
Jambs pushed from the start, but they may be
produced with comparatively little trouble and
in some situations are the only ones that it is
practicable to produce.
No lambs should be permitted to be born later
than the first of May, except in a high mountain-
ous region where grass starts late and cool
summer weather prevails. Lambs born in May,
June or July seldom amount to much, owing no
doubt to the fact that they are almost sure to
become infested with parasites. Between April
and September, then, there should be no lamb-
ing done. liather than to lamb out of season the
ewe should be allowed to go over open and she
may be bred in the spring for fall lambs.
The best sheep are developed from fall-born
lambs. They may begin to come in September.
From this time on till winter the conditions are
excellent for their growth and development.
The weather then is favorable, food is abundant,
the ewes are easily made to milk largely and
SUMMER CARE AND MANAGEMENT. 189
instead of the weather becoming warmer and
more oppressive it becomes steadily more and
more stimulating to the lambs. And, best of
all, there is little danger of parasites at this
time. The fall lambs come out in spring half
matured and able to go safely and healthfully
through the trials of summer. Or if they are
sold at the market they bring long prices in
winter time. It is not altogether easy to get
ewes to lamb in the fall. Certain breeds refuse
altogether to do this, but with some of the Me-
rinos and their grades and the Dorsets and Dor-
set grades it is not so difficult of accomplish-
ment. To get the ewes to breed in spring the
conditions of fall must be complied with as
nearly as possible.
First, the ewes must have their lambs of the
previous crop born as early as possible so that
they may be weaned and new strength gained
from a term of rest.
Next, they must be sufficiently well fed so
that they will feel an ascending current of
health throughout their veins.
They must have the ram turned with them be-
fore warm weather comes on. April and May
are the months in which to breed ewes for fall
The rams must not as a usual thing be per-
mitted to run continually with the ewes at this
time. If they do they themselves soon acqui-
esce in the idea that it is an unnatural time
for breeding. It is wise if the ram can be kept
up and turned with the flock for only an hour
or two each day, as described in earlier pages
190 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
of this work. Or two rams may be used, their
rivalry inciting them to extra exertion.
There is no doubt whatever that the breeding
instinct is in part a result of mental processes
that may be stimulated by suggestion. This is
almost as true of the sheep as it is of higher
races of animals. The ram that persistently
courts the ewe may after a time so divert (by
his suggestion) blood to her reproductive organs
as to cause her to come in heat and conceive at
a time when naturally these organs would be in
a dormant condition.
If the shepherd does not care to risk the un-
certain mental influence of the ram he may
practice holding the ewe and compelling her to
accept the attention of the ram once. This of-
ten supplies stimulation enough to cause her to
come naturally in heat and to conceive at the
Fall-born lambs in America have developed
into as fine sheep as ever were produced in
England. This is true of few lambs born in
spring, no matter how skillfully they have been
treated. Fall-born ram lambs make fine
strong fellows when they are yearlings and
ready to go into service.
WASHING, SHEARING AND MAEKING.
The washing of sheep to remove the surplus
oil in the wool was once a universal practice.
It was one of those old practices, like putting
^'redding" on the fleeces to make the sheep
look attractive (?) that are hard to account
for. The washing did not prepare the wool for
manufacture nor render it more easily scoured
by him. It did, however, render it lighter, and
therefore the buyers found washing to their ad-
At the present time few sheep, comparative-
ly speaking, are washed before shearing. It
may, however, be profitable in some localities
where buyers discriminate sharply against un-
washed wool to continue to put the sheep
through the water as of old.
If the sheep owner can find a buyer who
really knows his business and buys honestly,
he will get as much for his fleeces unwashed as
washed, and can therefore save himself the dis-
agreeable task and the flock the injury that such
a shock is bound to inflict.
One serious disadvantage of washing is that
it can not be done safely and comfortably until
the advent of warm weather, whereas the flock
192 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
should be shorn much before that time, unless it
be a hill flock running without shelter.
The writer, living on the fortieth parallel,
usually shears his ewe flock tlie first week in
April and sometimes the last week in March.
There are several advantages of this early
shearing. About this time ewes that have been
well fed often experience a little loosening of the
wool, as though it were time to shed it off, and
locks will be lost, particularly about the neck.
Then the advent of warm days causes a feel-
ing of languor and the sheep do not eat and
thrive as has . been their wont. And again,
there are many showers in April and the flock
with fleeces on literally ''has not sense enough
to come in out of the rain" and the fleeces be-
come drenched and heavy. Then they keep
their lambs out in the rain, whereas if they were
shorn they would flee to their sheds as soon as
the first drops struck them.
Any one who has once tried this early shear-
ing will continue it. Should the flock be poorly
fed, however, and unsheltered, the fleeces should
be left on until the middle of May.
The amount of wool taken off in a period of
years will probably be nearly the same whether
shorn in April, May or June, with the probabil-
ity that the early-shorn sheep through their
greater vigor and healthfulness may shear the
For washing sheep a considerable body of
water is required. It is usual to take advan-
tage of a creek or natural pool. The sheep
are immersed, the wool squeezed a little be-
WASHING, SHEARING AND MARKING. 193
tween the hands and they are permitted to go
out and drain themselves on the bank. No
soap is usedj as the oil of the wool is itself read-
ily dissolved in water, and it is this oil only that
is sought to be removed. It is usual to allow
ten days or two weeks to elapse after washing
before the sheep are shorn ; and, in fact, it is not
easy to shear them as soon as they are dry ow-
ing to a diflicutly in penetrating the wool with
the shears until more oil has been secreted in
WASHING AND SHEARING.
The dipping tank can be used for washing
sheep, but not unless there can in some way be
secured a continuous stream of water to flow
through it. The sheep should not drain back
into the tank in case it is used. It is to be
hoped that this custom of washing will soon be
one of ancient history wherever sheep are
Some sheep owners have their fleeces tub-
washed after being taken from the sheep 's back.
This is not difficult to do, only that the drying
is slow and it ought not to be necessary.
The shearing of sheep is an art not to be im-
mediately learned by the novice. It requires
several seasons' practice to make an expert
shearer of a man. There is, unfortunately, a
scarcity of good shearers in all our Eastern
states. It is a trade that any vigorous young
man may learn with sure expectation of making
good wages for some weeks each season. A
194 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
good shearer will shear from 45 to 100 sheep in
a day, using common hand shears. He will get
for his service from 4 to 10 cents each, perliaps
6 cents being the average price.
The shearing place should be in some light,
airy part of the barn. A clean platform on
which to work is necessary. If nothing else is
available, since sheep barns have usually the
natural earth for floor, a spare barn door may
be taken from its hangings and laid down for
temporary use. A small pen close by holds
enough sheep in readiness to keep the shearer
busy for some hours.
In back regions it is customary to tie the legs
of the sheep, place it on a low platform or box
and set two men, or one man and a boy at work
cutting off the fleece. This is a childish and
unskilled method that should not be imitated.
The sheep is a peculiar animal, directly sen-
sitive to touch. Tie the legs, or even touch
them, it responds by struggling to be free.
Turn it so that it can not get its feet to the
ground and its struggles cease, as though it
knew the hopelessness of struggling.
Following this thought, if one attempts to
hold a horned sheep by the horns it continues to
struggle and can not seem to understand why it
is not free. It can not feel the press of the hand
upon the horn. Hold the same sheep by a touch
under the chin and if it has had a trifle of train-
ing it, feeling your hand, yields and stands
The shearer then, without tying the feet,
turns the sheep upon its rump, with its head
WASHING, SHEARING AND MARKING. 195
and shoulders resting against him, supported
by the left arm and with the shears in the right
hand ojjens the wool, usually on the right shoul-
der, and proceeds to clip it away, keeping it as
much as possible in one piece. That is, he
strips it away easily and gently as he would re-
move a coat. It is essential that he so bend the
sheep's body that the skin will be at all times
tight. If this is done it is easy to cut the wool
closely and there is little danger of cutting the
When the wool is removed all very dirty
pieces should be separated from it and never
tied up with the fleece. There is need of hon-
esty in tying wool and nothing but wool should
go inside a fleece. The fleece is rolled with the
belly and loose ends inside, the cut fibers out.
It is tied, not too tightly, with special wool twine
wrajDped twice or at most three times around.
The use of binder twine or any but special
wool twine greatly injures the wool, as the
small bits of fiber get in it and not taking dyes
must be picked out by hand. This occasions a
loss of sometimes as much as 5 cents per pound
which must eventually come from the producer,
since manufacturers learn what sort of stuff is
to be expected from some regions and bid for it
There is no need of a box or wool table for
tying a very compact bundle since buyers pre-
fer the ordinary, rather loosely tied fleeces.
The use of machines has now become quite
SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
common in shearing sheep and they are suf-
ficiently well perfected so that they do their
work with little trouble from breakage. It is
far easier to learn to shear sheep with machine
than by hand, though old shearers prefer the
hand shears and can shear as many sheep in the
old-fashioned way as with the machine. Not so,
however, with the novice ; he will shear twice as
many with the machine as he will with hand
Then the work is far better done with the ma-
chine. There are no cuts from shears and the
WASHING, SHEARING AND MARKING. 197
fleeces are taken off closely and evenly. There
need be made no second cuts, which cause short
fibers, little better than shoddy.
The machine shears in careful hands will cut
in two every tick and leave the sheep clean of
Against its use is the cost of the machine,
about $15.00 for a hand machine, and the cost
of repairs. If well oiled and cared for, how-
ever, it will last for many seasons with occa-
sional renewal of cutting parts.
Then there is needed a boy to turn the crank,
so that its use requires two persons to shear a
sheep. As the boy is unskilled and may usu-
ally be had for a small sum this is not import-
ant. Altogether the writer advises the man
who has not available skilled shearers of the
old-fashioned type and does the shearing him-
self to use the machine. If he must hire shear-
ers he had better let them furnish their own
There are power machines for large plants.
These are operated very successfully by gaso-
line engines and there are small power ma-
chines with two or more sets of shears. These
are entirely practical but it is not usually profit-
able to install a power plant for fewer than
AVhen sheep are to go to market after being
shorn the machine is a saving since it takes off
more wool than hand shears can. The saving
is from 2 to 8 ounces. A saving of 4 ounces, or
1/4 pound, would pay the cost of shearing. All
sorts of sheep are shorn by machines, though
198 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
they work especially well on Downs, Long-
Wools and Dorsets. They are difficult to oper-
ate on Western lambs that have been dipped
and placed on feed in winter, owing to the pe-
culiar condition of the wool which seems to be
affected by the shock of transportation and dip-
ping and to be dead at that point and conse-
quently hard to get shears into. .
A fat sheep nicely shorn with the machine
shears is a very attractive object and appears
fatter than when shorn by hand.
The shearing machine should not be used in
midsummer, or if it is it should not be set to
run very close else there will not be enough
wool left on to protect the sheep from flies and
sunburn and it will suffer severely before the
wool has grown out again.
It is in some situations a good plan to shear
a flock of ewes twice a year, once very early,
say in late March, and again in August.^ The
wool will not be quite so valuable, for it will
be shorter, but the relief to the sheep in get-
ting rid of its warm coat at this sultry time is
remarkable and it will thrive far better than
unshorn, lambing stronger if it is to drop fall
or early winter lambs and conceiving earlier if
it is not yet bred. The writer has practiced
this and has not had to take more than one cent
per pound less for his short wool, which loss is
not worth mentioning when the advantage to
the flock is considered.
It is a custom of some shepherds and feeders
to shear sheep and lambs before placing them
on feed in the fall and early winter.
WASHING, SHEARING AND MARKING. 201
There is little advantage in this. It forces
and crowds them close together and they do not
gain any better.
The one advantage is that it is easier to free
them from ticks after they are shorn and if they
are dipped less fluid is required.
When sheep go to pasture it is well to have
a mark upon them so that in case they acci-
dentally become mixed with other sheep they
may be known.
A large letter made of wood, with a handle
to it, is used, some thick paint serving for ink.
Linseed oil and lampblack make a durable mark,
Permanent marking is done by splitting, crop-
ping or notching the ears. This is the univer-
sal custom on Western ranges, but such dis-
figurement is seldom practiced in the Eastern
states. There are metal labels that are in-
serted in the ears ; these bear the name of the
owners, or numbers, or the numbers assigned to
registered sheep by the breed secretaries.
There are various forms of these metal ear
tags. None of them is absolutely sure to remain
in the ear. The difficulty is that the ears be-
come sore and pus formation eats away so much
of the tissue that the labels drop out or they
are caught and torn out by some branch or nail.
They may remain in place for years and the7y'
may become lost in a short time. There is a
right and a wrong way to put these metal tags
202 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
The right way is to use a punch, cutting out
an oval bit of the ear tissue and to make the
hole some days before the label is inserted, giv-
ing the ear time to heal in the meantime.
Then the hole must be so carefully gauged
that the label will not compress the ear, yet will
fit snugly and present little of projection to
catch and cause it to be torn out. If this course
is taken most of the labels will remain in place.
THE TATTOO MAKK.
The best method of permanently marking a
sheep is by the tattoo mark. This is especially
applicable to sheep with light-colored ears,
though it is used on some of the Down breeds.
The tattoo properly put in is absolutely per-
manent It does not annoy the sheep and once
put in is a sure record as long as the animal
There are sets of tattooing instruments sold
by dealers in shepherds' supplies. These con-
sist of a frame with handles like pinchers in
which are set removable letters and numbers.
These letters and numbers have a great num-
ber of sharp points, forming the characters,
and the handles when closed cause these points
to prick the required characters.
India ink is the pigment used and when
pressed into these minute wounds remains
there, leaving an indelible black tracing. There
is danger of the careless or inexperienced oper-
ator making failure with this tattooing outfit,
for certain things are essential. The levers
must be so adjusted that when closed the points
WASHING, SHEARING AND MARKING. 203
will prick evenly the required characters in a
thick sheet of paper or cardboard. If any do
not make their mark the instrument is out of
adjustment or the letters worn out. These
points rust if not kept oiled when not in usee
Then in placing in the letters or figures one
must be sure that he has them in right. They are
like type, reversed, so that it is puzzling at first
to the operator to use them and it is well to test
them on a bit of cardboard before using them
on the sheep. After once the mark is in the ear
there is no erasing it.
Then there should be used a great abundance
of the india ink, smearing as much on the points
as possible and afterward rubbing more in the
ear with the finger. If once the pricks are made
in the ear and the ink rubbed in them the deed
is done and will endure.
In England there are men who make a busi-
ness of marking sheep with the tattoo mark.
It is the official marking of a number of breeds
and the Secretary often attends in person to the
marking. It is the most desirable mark for
any pure-bred sheep that is to be retained as a
breeder, though it is hardly necessary to use
this mark on stock sheep that are soon to be fat-
tened. It may, however, save much dispute if
all stock ewes have their owner's mark, seeing
that they may become mixed on pasture.
MARKING PURE-BRED LAMBS. \"
When lambs that are pure-bred are to be
registered it is essential that the shepherd so
mark them at an early age as to identify them
204 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
later according to their parentage. This is by
no means an easy task. A very small lamb
can not safely carry a mark in its ear and there
is a little trouble later on in discovering which
ewes are the mothers of the lambs.
The writer has found a good plan to be to
let them run until they are well grown, but
still sucking, then separate them from their
mothers some morning and keep them apart
until they are eager for association with their
dams. Then the lambs may be caught one at
a time, and in one ear a tattoo number be put.
This should be in the opposite ear from where
the permanent number is to go. These num-
bers may begin each year at No. 1, running up
as high as necessary.
Having put the number in the lamb's ear and
entered it in a note book it is placed with the
ewes, where it soon singles out its mother and
while sucking she is caught and her number
noted and entered opposite that of the lamb. A
name may be given the lamb at the same time,
though individual names except for exception-
ally good lambs are hardly worth while. It is
easier and as well to designate them simply by
numbers, identifying them with the name of the
breeders or the farm, as ''Jones' 99" or
Of course these permanent numbers must be
consecutive from year to year else the Secre-
tary would find duplicates in his records.
After the lambs have been weaned and are
sufficiently developed to indicate which are
worth permanent record their records are sent
WASHING, SHEARING AND MARKING. 205
to the breed Secretary and he records them and
sends with their certificates the Association
number, which must be placed in the ear left
blank for that purpose.
Care must be taken not to make confusion by
using occasionally the wrong ear, and it is well
to use numbers of different size for this first
marking. If they are a trifle larger than the
permanent numbers it is well, seeing that the
ear will grow, and if they were made a little
smaller they would in time become of the same
size as the ones later put in.
The writer is of the opinion that shepherds
are usually very careless in assigning mothers
to lambs for record and guess more than they
The English system is to record the individ-
ual rams and the ewes by flocks only. Seeing
that they have achieved glorious results in the
development of breeds by their course it would
seem presumptions for the American breeders
to claim superiority of method. The writer
unhesitatingly declares that the English sys-
tem should be adopted on this side of the water
and sees but one objection to it, that, perhaps,
a fatal one, that in recording by flocks men are
not compelled to pay much for the support of
the breed association. In England this is done
largely by subscription and liberal annual dues :
here by charging 50c each for recording indi-
vidual sheep. The English system would re-
lieve the secretaries of a vast amount of drudg-
ery that seems to have accomplished very in-
FLOCK HUSBANDRY IN THE WESTERN
The management of flocks upon the great
ranges of the West varies considerably accord-
ing to the climate and topography of the
country and according to the character of the
men engaged in the industry. Probably the
oldest sheep industry in the United States was
founded in New Mexico by the early Mexican
colonists of Spanish and Indian origin. There
are in New Mexico vast plains ranging from
4,000 to 8,000 feet in altitude, interspersed with
mountains and canyons. These plains are gen-
erally covered with a rather thick, short grass
of considerable nutritive value. The climate is
dry and moderately cool, especially at night.
The days are almost uniformly sunny and
The native Mexican sheep found there in its
purity is becoming more and more uncommon,
owing to the steady introduction of Merino
blood. There has also been introduced here
more or less blood from the English breeds but
as a rule the Merino has been found to cross
FLOCK HUSBANDRY IN WESTERN STATES. 207
better and to withstand the conditions better
than the mutton breeds.
Management on most of these Mexican
ranches is extremely simple. Native Mexican
sheep owners often use corrals (small yards
built of cedar or pinon posts set close in the
ground) in which the flocks (called ''herds"
throughout the West) are confined at night.
This secures them from loss from coyotes or
mountain lions. The corralling is however, a
serious injury to the sheep since they must
travel some distance to and from the enclosure
and what is worse must await the pleasure of
the herder before they can go forth to graze
in the morning.
CHARACTER OF MEXICAN SHEEP.
The native Mexican sheep is indeed a ''sorry"
animal, having few characteristics that we are
wont to associate with good form or character.
It has a thin neck and feeble look, a curving
back, round, contracted belly, thin legs and
rather woe-begone countenance. The wool is
coarse and scanty, the bellies and legs being
often bare. And yet the Mexican sheep is not
without its peculiar virtues.
It is fairly prolific and the lambs are hardy.
It is a great traveler and can subsist upon
scanty and dry forage. When worst comes to
worst and in the lower country along the Rio
Grande, far down in Texas and across the river
in old Mexico rain does not fall and all herbage
is dried up and turned to dust, the humble
Mexican still subsists upon the tender ends of
SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
twigs, uj)on oactus joints, upon the withered
grass growing between the cactus bunches and
upon dry weeds that have blown by the wind
across the plains. They may become very much
emaciated but seldom perish. The Mexican
ewe when mated with a good Merino ram pro-
YEARLING OXFORD RAM
duces an offspring far superior to herself and
with a second cross upon this foundation very
serviceable flocks are established. Indeed a very
great number of flocks throughout New Mexico,
Colorado, Arizona, Utah and California have
been bred up from a Mexican basis.
FLOCK HUSBANDRY IN WESTERN STATES. 209
After the infusion of Merino blood the use of
some of the mutton breeds produces an admir-
able lamb, sprightly, a good feeder, healthy and
rugged. There will occur, however, a good
many cases of reversion to type, when the Mexi-
can character will crop out, modified, but not
destroyed by the foreign bloods.
THE '^GOOD OLD TIMES ^^ IN NEW MEXICO.
Under the old fashioned regime in New Mex-
ico not much improvement of the herds was pos-
sible. There was no provision for winter feed-
ing and there often occurred a somewhat long
period of semi-starvation. Water was not
readily accessible and often of execrable qual-
ity, being supplied by shallow pools or lakes that
became incredibly foul and dangerous to drink
from. There is now a considerable number of
men engaged in sheep growing under better
conditions. Near the irrigable valleys vast
amounts of alfalfa are grown and winter feed-
ing is practiced to some extent. Better rams
are used than formerly, the Rambouillet having
been used to a considerable extent, together
with Delaines and other Merinos. In some places
Shropshire and even Cotswold blood has been
introduced. Native Mexican sheep owners
have in many instances given way to American
owners and in other instances have themselves
learned better methods. A peculiar industry
of this region, especially down along the Pecos
river is the lambing of ewes in the alfalfa fields
in March or earlier, and growing the lambs rap-
210 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
idly with grain and green alfalfa for early
marketing in May and June.
A herd may contain from 500 to 3,000 sheep.
Perhaps 2,000 would be considered a good sized
but workable herd in New Mexico. At lambing
time the ewe band is divided, not more than
1,000 being together. Good shepherds seldom
use the corral at night, since its use is almost
certain to bring a steady deterioration in a
good flock and prevent the improvement of a
bad one. Instead of the corral the sheep are
driven at evening time near to the tent of the
herder and watched for a little time when they
finally lie down in a compact body. They are
then said to be ''bedded down" and will remain
there quietly until morning unless the moon
happens to be very bright, or something occurs
to frighten them.
It is usual to have bells upon a number of the
sheep. The herder in his tent close at hand
hears the jingle of the bells if the sheep start to
move off and goes around them or sends his dog.
Soon the habit is formed with great fixity of
'' bedding down" regularly close to their herder
and they do not often try to stray without
Very early in the morning the herd awakens
and unless there is a storm threatening, of
which they have instinctive fore knowledge,
the}^ will go out to graze. The shepherd, or
*^ sheep herder" as he is often called, directs
them to the one wav or the other according to
FLOCK HUSBANDRY IN WESTERN STATES. 213
the conditions of the range, and swallowing his
rather hastily prepared breakfast sets out after
them to see that they do not scatter too wide
or go too far. At noon he may return to his
tent and prepare his midday meal and perhaps
the flock will lie quiescent for some hours if
feed is fairly abundant and there is shade of
trees or rocks.
As evening approaches he gathers them to-
gether and follows them to tlieir bed ground
again and thus has closed the labor of the day.
The work is not usually laborious but it calls
for faithfulness and considerable patience and
to be a really first-class ''sheep herder" re-
quires a deep insight into the ways of sheep and
of all wild Nature as well.
DISEASES OF THE EANGE. '
SheeiD in this region are healthy except for
two principal troubles; scab, which was once
almost universal, and stomach worms or ''lom-
briz" which are occasionally destructive to
lambs. Scab is very difficult to eradicate on
ranches where corrals are used continuously
and where flocks stray about and cross each
other's paths and especially if they alternately
use certain corrals. Of recent years, however,
many herds have been made completely clean
of scab and there is hope that all may be rid
of it in the near future.
That scab is not a necessary adjunct of range
sheep the writer has amply proved, having
completely eradicated it from his own herds
when engaged in ranching in Utah.
214 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
Stomach worms, (Strongyius contortus) in-
fect flocks that drink from shallow pools where
to avoid the tilth the sheep and lambs wade
out till the water comes to their bellies, deposit-
ing there more germs of whatever parasite they
may harbor. There would be no stomach
worms in these regions if sheep watered at
clean drinking places, or at least the number
would be greatly restricted.
MEXICAN LAMBS AS FEEDERS.
Mexican lambs have been favorites among
Colorado feeders ever since they commenced
their feeding operations in that region. They
have found their death losses comparatively
low from the Mexican lambs and that with a
given amount of feed they make good gains.
When fat they sell well because they dress well,
and their small, light carcasses are in favor
with local retailers of mutton. They are doubt-
less often palmed off on Eastern buyers as
"spring lambs." Brought to Ohio the writer
did not find them as profitable feeders as lambs
from Utah, Wyoming or Montana, making much
smaller gains and shearing very light fleeces.
Some of these Mexican ewe lambs (having
one cross of Merino blood) were kept on an
Ohio farm and bred to lamb. They did not by
their performance indicate that they were de-
sirable stock for Eastern conditions. The
writer thinks the sooner the half wild "Mexi-
can" blood is bred out of these sheep the bet-
ter save for very hard conditions of drouth and
FLOCK HUSBANDRY IN WESTERN STATES. 215
THE WANDERING HEEDS.
In Utah, Nevada and parts of Colorado and
in Idaho (with also a part of Arizona and Cali-
fornia) a peculiar system of sheep ranching
prevails. It might be called the nomadic, or
trailing system, for the herds spend their smu-
mers on the high mountain pastures, their
springs and falls in intermediate regions and
their winters in the low-lying parts, on the
deserts and foothills. Some of the better cared-
for flocks are fed during part of the winter or
spring on alfalfa or other hay grown in the
These trailing bands of sheep are in charge
of herders each having in his care from 2,000
to 3,000 except during lambing time, when he is
given a smaller number and very often has
help in addition. We may start with them in
spring, when their journey begins from the
desert toward the mountains. All winter they
have lived on desert herbage and brush and
snow has been largely their reliance for drink.
When that is melted and the water holes are
dried up the sheep must come out of the desert
and head toward their mountain ranges. Very
often these ranges are a hundred miles away
and in rarer instances they are much more dis-
tant. The herder moves the band each day by
slow stages towards their destination, taking
care to visit each promising spot along the way
where perchance food may be found. This for-
age may be of green grass quick grown from
the melting snows and genial sun, which even
216 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
in March shows a fervor unknown in Eastern
lands, or it may be the young shoots of rabbit
brush, willows and sage with an admixture of
The herder usually has a wagon equipped
with a canvas cover, stove and commissary. In
this, his home, he is established and with it he
journeys in a desultory fashion, searching right
and left for subsistence for his flock. Tliere is
a steadily intensifying spirit of opposition to
the nomadic sheep men on the part of local set-
tlers along streams and in the valleys of these
mountain states, since the herds eat the grass
that would naturally belong to settlers' horses
and cows, and because they sometimes pollute
streams that must serve as drinking water for
the settlers and their animals.
WAITING FOR GEASS TO COME.
The herder can not hasten toward his cov-
eted destination, for when by drouth he is driven
from the desert the snow is yet covering his
summer range, hence there may be a trying
peiiod of journeying with occasionally very
short feed. In fact journeying flocks not un-
frequently camp on each other's bed grounds,
one after the other in succession sometimes to
the number of half a dozen. The last comers
find little to eat save the roots of the grass.
This habit of roving prevents the sheep men
from having any very great regard for the
preservation of the range and makes it difficult
for them to preserve it even should they desire
so to do. In truth there are regions where
nomadic sheep have changed a once well grassed
FLOCK HUSBANDRY IN WESTERN STATES. 217
country into one almost bare of grass and con-
taining no forage other than comparatively
worthless brush and weeds.
Lambing is usually delayed until the flocks
are established upon their summer range, since
it is difficult to move ewes with young lambs
without great loss. It is a happy moment when
after very great trials and toil the flock reaches
BLACK-FACED SHEEP IN THE HILLS.
the high mountain pastures, the snow is found
to be gone and green grass abounds. Then
there is long rest before distant journeying
must begin again. The moves are of only a few
miles each and camps may remain for days and
sometimes for weeks without being moved. The
weather upon these green mountain pastures
is stimulating and delicious; there are lovely
groves of aspens and cool pine woods intersper-
218 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA. '
sed with flower-decked grassy glades. The
lambs are born here and start into vigorous life
and growth, far exceeding that of lambs born
on lower altitudes on the plains of New Mexico.
From some of these mountain ranges come
the best and fattest lambs that reach the mar-
kets of Omaha, Kansas City and Chicago, be-
ginning in August and continuing until cold
weather. Idaho especially and Utah are noted
for their fine lambs.
THE BLOOD OF THE HERDS.
The basis of the flocks of this region is Merino
but there has been added a great deal of mutton
blood, where the ability of the range to produce
fine lambs has been recognized. The Cotswold
has worked great changes in Utah and some ad-
jacent territory. Shr op shires have been used
in many places. Hampshires have been intro-
duced also and upon good ranges and in the
hands of generous men, able to give good care
and liberal feeding, they have proved worthy.
THE DIVISION OF THE RANGES.
There is at present a general move upon the
part of sheep owners in these mountain regions
to get in some way possession of parts of their
ranges. They seek ownership of the summer
range, or of parts of the fall and spring ranges,
and are establishing farms where forage may
be cut and stored for winter use. There is a
large body of good citizens engaged in the sheep
industry in these regions and also unfortu-
nately some of the most selfish and degraded
FLOCK HUSBANDRY IN WP^STERN STATES. 219
of men. A nomadic sheep herd under the
management of an ignorant, lawless and irres-
ponsible man is a curse to any land over which
it travels. It sheds off scab germs to infect
other herds so unfortunate as to follow in its
trail, it pollutes streams, devastates young for-
ests and destroys the range by over pasturing.
It will indeed be a happy day for all this region
when the land is divided up owned or leased by
the cattle and sheep owners and the era of de-
struction of that beautiful region ends and re-
construction begins again. It is a short-siglited
policy of our National Government that per-
mits ranges to be devastated and refuses leases
that would tend to preserve them and thus en-
rich all the community.
MONTANA^ WYOMING AND THE DAKOTAS.
These regions possess a distinct character
and have a type of sheep husbandry of their
own. They are characterized by very wide,
well grassed plateaus or plains, somewhat desti-
tute of trees or brush and sometimes devoid of
hills, canyons or natural shelter. The climate
is much milder than it would be in a similar lati-
tude in the Eastern states and while very low
temperatures are often reached in winter, some
times with occasional blizzards, yet there are
seldom deep or long-lying snows and the abund-
ance of grass renders it easy for the flocks to
find subsistence. The grasses on these plains
seem not so fattening as upon the mountains
of Utah and Idaho, but are more abundant than
those of regions to the southward and produce a
220 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
fine class of sheep. In this region are found
the larger types of Merinos, with often an in-
fusion of Cotswold or Lincoln or Leicester
blood, while mutton-bred rams of all types are
used to produce market lambs. Sheep do not
permanently injure the grasses of this region
and indeed when grazed with judgment, not to
overstock, the range is often benefited. In fact,
some progressive ranchmen, make it a practice
to pasture cattle and sheep together and find
that both thrive.
PARASITIC INFECTION OF THE RANGES.
There is sometimes in this region, particu-
larly in the Dakotas, sufficient humidity to make
it possible for internal parasites to propagate
and diffuse themselves through the flocks.
Grievous losses from stomach worms are re-
ported during bad seasons and tape worms have
worked havoc over much of the region.
These losses, however, are far less serious
than occur in the states east of the Missouri
HAPPY FUTURE OF THE REGION.
This whole region is destined to be, the author
believes, one vast pastoral expanse, dotted with
sheep herds, and given over very nearly, to the
•exclusion of other animals, to the sheep. It is the
one part of the United States having abundant
grass, admirable climate and soil capable of
growing almost any breed of sheep in perfec-
tion and with little loss from parasitic infection.
There is, too, the advantage of an intelligent
FLOCK HUSBANDRY IN WESTERN STATES. 223
and progressive people embarked in the sheep
industry and they have already shown by their
work in suppressing scab over large parts of
this region what they can and will accomplish.
These plains do not produce as early or as
fat lambs as the mountains southwest of them
but very superior feeding lambs come from
There was once small preparation made for
winter feeding in this region. There is today a
great deal of hay being put up, both of native
and alfalfa sorts. When snow is deep ''snow
plows" are used, which make bare strips along
which the flocks feed. Sometimes corn is fed
scattered on the ground. In some parts of this
country the summer and winter ranges are dis-
tinct, the flocks climbing into the mountains
during the heated season and relieving the
range of their presence; in other parts the
mountains are too remote and the sheep use
near by parts of the range for both summer and
Except on farms in the East there is no other
part of the United States where much increase
in numbers of sheep kept can be made. Here
double the numbers now kept, may be and some
day doubtless will be kept when the cattle men
turn sheep breeders.
MANAGEMENT OF THE RANGE EAMS.
The ''buck herd" is a necessary institution
upon the range, and often a troublesome prop-
osition it is. There are usually kept about 30
rams to the thousand ewes, though some grow-
224 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
ers use a larger number. Various methods are
adopted to keep these rams between breeding
seasons. They are sometimes pastured in a
fenced pasture and corralled at night to keep
them from coyotes. Sometimes they are herded
where they are enough of them on a ranch to
make a herd and he must indeed be an active
and careful herder who will lose none of them,
since as fall days come on their instinct leads
them to roam in search of females.
Often several ranches will combine their
forces and put all the rams together in one herd.
And others will allow them to run with the ewes
during winter and spring, separating them in
summer when there might be danger of too
Sometimes it is possible to put the rams in a
wether herd, though wether bands are not
nearly so common as they once were and many
ranchers keep none at all, selling off all wether
lambs or at most keeping them only till year-
WHERE THE RAMS COME FROM.
The source of supply of range rams is prin-
cipally from large growers of rams situated in
various parts of the range country and in the
valleys of California and Utah. Eastern Ore-
gon produces thousands of magnificent rams
mainly of Merino blood, approaching the E_am-
bouillet type or purely of that blood. Califor-
nia sends many high-class Merino rams to the
ranges. Utah and Idaho grow Merino and
Cotswold rams bv thousands with lesser num-
FLOCK HUSBANDRY IN WESTERN STATES. 225
bers of other mutton breeds. Wyoming grows
Merinos, Cotswolds, Leicesters and Hamp-
Range-bred rams are most serviceable on the
range, having learned how to live there and
being more muscular and hardy than Eastern
farm-grown sheep. There is, however, a steady
stream of the best bred sires from Eastern stud
flocks going to reinforce the blood of the moun-
tain stud flocks. The day seems past when
large numbers of Eastern farm-grown rams,
will be used on common range herds since the
Western rams are in fairly abundant supply
and are more efficient.
THE BEEEDING SEASON.
On the range rams are turned in usually to
bring the lambs in late May or June. It is dis-
astrous to lamb down before the herd is settled
on good grass and where it may remain for
some weeks with little driving. There is not
the objection to late lambing on the range that
there is on the farm, since the danger of parasit-
ic infection is escaped in the range flock. This
is principally from two causes; first, that the
soil is usually too dry to permit the germs to de-
velop upon it, and second that the sheep are
moved often and seldom return to graze over
the same ground before an interval of weeks,
months or a year.
VIGOR OF EWES AND LAMBS.
It is astonishing to see how little difficulty
range ewes have in passing through the jDcrils
226 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
of lambbirtli. There seems seldom a case of
wrong presentation and often not one ewe is
lost from a thousand at lambing time.
Then the lambs seem endowed with remark-
able vigor at birth and not one of a thousand
but will get up and find its mother's maternal
fount without aid from the shepherd. Indeed
this is fortunate, seeing that he is generally re-
mote from yards or fences, and to catch a range
ewe is commonly a work of some difficulty.
It is a lesson to the Eastern farmer to see the
remarkable viability and vigor of these range-
born lambs, being an illustration of Nature's
way of management to promote vigor and re-
THE BUSY SHEPHERD AT LAMBING TIME.
A good shepherd will, however, be busy at
lambing time, for there are many little things
to occupy his attention then. One of the most
essential is to observe the ewes with spoiled
udders and those having imperfect udders,
made so perhaj^s by careless shearers who cut
off the ends of the teats. These lose their lambs
and should be caught, examined and marked
so plainly that they can never escape the eyes
of the master, when next the flock passes the
Then there is the coyote pest. The coyote is
a small wolf, not much larger than a big fox,
but having a voracious appetite for lambs. To
combat covotes a number of methods are used,
FLOCK HUSBANDRY IN WESTERN STATES. 227
.and all fail if persisted in, since the coyote is
one of the most cunning beasts of prey in the
world. Strychnine placed in carcasses found
dead kill a good many, but some coyotes learn
to avoid strychnine. The watchful shepherd
gets a chance to shoot one now and then.
Occasionally a coyote may be trapped. And
greyhounds, or rather special hounds bred for
the purpose, having the conformation of the
A SHEEP WAGON ON THE RANGE
greyhounds with more size and better fighters,
catch some of them.
At lambing time, however, coyotes assemble,
scenting a feast. Then the shepherd can not
avoid letting his flock spread over quite an area
of range since to crowd the ewes close would be
sure to make many orphan lambs. It helps to
build fires about at various points, as though
there were numerous camp fires, and the wary
228 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
beasts scenting danger, keep their distance. To
hang out lanterns is a good practice, also. To
patrol the flock almost ceaselessly with rifle in
hand, firing it now and then is the method most
effective, and this is usually adopted by careful
shepherds. It is necessary at this time to have
help, and two or three men may, if available,
keep themselves usefully employed about the
^^TKIMMING^' THE LAMBS.
Lambing lasts usually only a week or two on
the range, since the rams are not put in till late
and the ewes soon come in heat and conceive.
After the lambs have become strong they are
earmarked, docked (unless they are to go to
market, in which case their tails are sometimes
left long), and castrated.
They grow very rapidly if well born on good
range. The shepherd has now some compensa-
tion for his pains and anxieties. His duties
are comparatively light, he has time to keep a
neat camp, to hunt a little for grouse or deer,
and the flock itself is a source of great pleasure,
if he is more than an indifferent hireling. In
the evenings when the ewes have assembled,
perhaps on the slope of some ravine, the lambs
will disengage themselves from the flock and
withdrawing a little way will race up and down
in mobs, a fuzzy flood, undulating over the
ground. Again some belligerents will square
off and fight mock fights, butting by twos and
threes until one decides that too rough a sport.
Again there will be a game of leap frog, or ^^fol-
FLOCK HUSBANDRY IN WESTERN STATES. 229
low your leader," and strings of lambs will
race up over banks and rocks and jump stiff-
legged down the other side.
After a time some old ewe, feeling a pressure
within her udder, will disengage herself from
the rest and coming to the open will call anx-
iously for her lamb. As though a miracle some
lamb will stop, listen, cease to play and an-
swering with a bleat, will come scampering
across the ravine to her to get his evening meal.
Curiously enough the ewe, though she has
seen him a thousand times, refuses to believe
that he is her rightful offspring until she has
applied her infallible test, her nose. Scent
tells her it is her own darling child, and she
tranquilly allows him to milk her dry.
230 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
SHEARING ON THE RANGE.
Shearing on the ranges occurs at different
seasons, according to the conditions and charac-
ter of the country. Usually in southern ranges
it is before lambing; at railway stations where
the wool is readily shipped away. If on the
other hand, the ewes are shorn upon their sum-
mer range, they may be shorn after lambing.
The shearers are roving groups of men, as
needs must be, possessed of iron muscles and
great deftness of hand. A good shearer will
average 100 sheep a day, for which he gets
from seven to twelve cents per head. Nor must
Eastern shearers console themselves that these
men do exceptionally rough or careless work;
they shear on the average, quite as well as the
common shearers of the Eastern states. Nor
are their sheep as easily shorn as the general
run of farm sheep in the East. Many a careful
man has laid the foundation of his fortune by
shearing sheep on Western ranges. An old
friend of the writer, now known and honored
throughout all that mountain region and one of
the largest sheep owners, began ranch life as a
shearer on California ranges. He now owns
probably 50,000 sheep of his own. There are
now a good many plants where machine shears
are in operation and their number is increasing;
nevertheless there are many situations where
the old hand shears will continue to be used.
Dipping on the range should be a regular
yearly or semi-annual practice. When it can
FLOCK HUSBANDRY IN WESTERN STATES. 231
be done it should follow shearing. x\nother
practice is to dip when the lambs are weaned
in the fall. The dipping is done in a rapid man-
ner by means of very long tanks or swimming
vats, through which the sheep are crowded in
rapid succession. A furnace adjacent, with
boilers, heats and cooks the dip used. Several
thousand sheep are dipped in a day, according
to the size of the plant. The dip most used is
'■^^y // i
AN ILLINOIS FEEDING AND SHIPPING YARD.
lime and sulphur, which is certainly when
rightly compounded an efficient scab destroyer.
The writer when engaged in sheep ranching
on the hills and mesas of Utah did not use this
dip, since it is injurious to the fleece and seemed
not to eradicate the disease, but used instead
one of the dips prepared from coal tar, using
it strong and hot, and entirely eradicated scab
from his range, so that it did not again reappear
during his occupancy of it. There is no doubt
that scab can be entirely banished from the
ranges if men can be educated to it, and have
232 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA,
instilled within them a living conscience that
will lead them to do their plain duty toward
themselves, their flocks and their neighbors.
The obstacle to complete scab eradication is the
ignorance and criminal indifference of the
lower class of sheep owners and the abettors of
these criminals are often the state inspectors,
who very often make of inspection a farce and
give to their friends, or to others for a con-
sideration, clean bills of health when scab is
really widespread. To give them the benefit of
a doubt, however, these inspectors very often
would not be able to recognize a case of scab
were they to see it except in the last stages.
There is growing, however, a healthy senti-
ment, and sooner or later the neighboring
ranchmen will themselves take it upon them to
see that scab is eradicated from their district
and compel the indifferent to clean their flocks
in self-defense. That done a great and un-
necessary expense will be saved, since it will
not be necessary to dip so often, only ticks being
to combat, and a heavy cloud of apprehension
will be removed from the sheep owner's mind
and the shepherd's as well.
THE MALIGNED ^^ SHEEP HEKDEK.'^
There is in the minds of the public a deep-
seated prejudice against the range shepherd,
the ''sheep herder," and he is often regarded
as being an ignorant, lazy, and generally de-
graded individual. There is doubtless here and
there a man of that sort engaged in herding
sheep, but in the main the herders are men of
FLOCK HUSBANDRY IN WESTERN STATES. 233
character and intelligence. Their work de-
velopes within them quite different characteris-
tics from those developed in the man who herds
cattle, the ''vaqueros" who do their work on
The shepherds acquire patience, thought and
faithfulness. They develop endurance and
stoicism. Lacking the dash of the cowboys, they
have greater capacity for enduring discomfort
There are every year wonderful things done
on the sheep ranges by these faithful herd-
ers. Storms come and blizzards blow and some-
times there is no shelter. Then the sheep can
not be restrained but drift aimlessly before the
blast. Then the herders forsaking their tents
and the comfort and shelter to be found therein
follow the sheep, striving to keep them together
and if possible to lead them at last to a safe
shelter, j^erhaps among pines or behind shelter-
ing cliffs and hills.
Oftentimes these storms endure for several
days and the shepherd may tind no refuge nor
help until at last he is overcome with weariness
and cold and lies down in the snow for rest.
Here he is found, sometimes yet alive and more
often frozen to death. There is hardly a winter
that there are not a number of herders lost in
storms and there have been single storms that
counted their dead by scores. The writer
knows one old man, a tine herder he is, who has
been found buried in a snow drift beside his
flock, miles from the camp, so frozen that he
lost all the lingers of both hands, only one
234 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
thumb remaining. This old man, after the ter-
rible experience, calmly resumed his occupa-
tion, and even managed to live alone and make
camp in his crippled condition.
Men of foreign birth often make excellent
herders for the range country. Germans excel,
Portuguese are reputed good herders, Andalus-
ians have a reputation in parts of California, a
Chinaman has been known to become a skilled
shepherd and Mexicans have their virtues,
among them a dog- like fidelity, though they are
not reputed so daring and resolute in time of
stress as men of Northern climes. And now
and then a lad of American stock excels. Scots
are everywhere found among them, and every-
where in the lead, having a heritage of sheep-
keeping ancestry and tradition.
UPS AND DOWNS OF THE BUSINESS.
It is to be regretted that the sheep industry
has such remarkable ups and downs. There
will be a series of years when flocks on the
ranges make their owners very large profits.
As, for instance, if a thousand ewes cost the
owner $8,000 and thirty rams will cost maybe
$300 more. The expense of keeping them will
vary greatly, but may be as low as 60 to 75 cents
per head, or, say, $772.50. It has been known
that the thousand ewes would drop and rear, a
thousand lambs, but cutting this down to 850,
they sometimes sell for as much as $3 each on
the range, or $2,550. Then the fleeces have sold
recently for more than a dollar per head, or
FLOCK HUSBANDRY IN WESTERN STATES. 235
$1,030 more, leaving a paper profit of $2,807.50
on an investment of but $3,000.
However, as there will needs be some ewes
die and rams to be replenished, we can take off
the $807.50 to put with the herd and still leave
a nice dividend.
On the other hand, when times are good and
sheep prices high the wary operators are will-
ing to sell, and men with moderate or small
amounts of capital buy, giving mortgages on all
they possess for security. Thereafter (and
oft-times soon) things happen! Wool declines
in price, lambs go begging, hard seasons come
and the men find themselves often involved in
absolute ruin. It is related during the last
slump in sheep values, about 1894, in Texas a
rancher started to market with a train load of
sheep. He got drunk in Kansas City and the
sheep went on without him, sold, but not for
enough to pay the freight. He therefore re-
ceived a letter from his commission firm asking
him to remit for the freight, and they in turn re-
ceived a telegram from him saying, ''I have no
money; am sending on more sheep."
THE HOPEFUL OUTLOOK.
The writer believes, however, that the days of
ruinous prices for sheep are over. The capac-
ity of our country to consume sheep has grown
very enormously. The mutton-eating habit,
once formed, is retained. Mutton is indeed an
economical meat to buy, since in chops one can
buy small amounts more easily than in beef
SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
steaks; thus the high price does not so much
count. And mutton, especially lamb mutton, is
consumed by the well-to-do,— a steadily increas-
ing class in our country. It is hard to believe
that there will ever again be such a Waterloo at
the Jast decade of the Nineteenth Century
brought. And yet the writer wishes to prevent
his friends from rushing heedlessly to buy when
prices are the highest, and to caution them
from following the example of the Texan and
FLOCK HUSBANDRY IN WESTERN STATES. 237
giving their flocks away merely because they
are temporarily depressed.
A WORK TO BE DONE.
There is a great work remaining to be done
on our ranges,— that is to build up the quality
of the flocks till they approach in excellence the
quality of the flocks of New Zealand and Ar-
gentina. The writer once in Deptford Mar-
ket, where the live cattle and sheep sent to Lon-
don from foreign ports are slaughtered, was
shocked to see how much better were the
strangers' sheep than those of his brethren.
Needless to say that the good sheep brought
much the better prices.
To thus upbuild our range flocks needs a
steady inflow of the best rams, mainly of Ram-
bouillet and the larger, smoother Delaine type,
and the crossing of their produce with rams of
Lincoln, Cotswold and Leicester blood.
Such cross-breeding needs, to be a success,
great study and attention and of course with
finer animals comes always need for bet-
ter feed and care, for provision of forage for
winter and cessation of long and fruitless jour-
neyings. These things will come, the great
plains and grassy mesas and green forested
mountains will soon be covered with flocks of
far better sheep than they hold today, and by
some sort of peaceable division of the ranges
each rancher will know where he may graze and
where he may save grass with sure expectation
of feeding it himself in time of need.
238 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
SHEEP ADVANCE — CATTLE KETKEAT.
It is the opinion of the writer that the cattle
will steadily retreat before the peaceable ad-
vance of the sheep, since sheep are best fitted
for this region and bring far more profit. There
will always be room, however, for some cattle
and they will be found to thrive alongside the
sheep, when the day of intelligent grazing and
range management has been reached.
WINTEE FEEDING OF SHEEP AND LAMBS.
The writer does not think it worth while to
devote much space to describing the best meth-
ods of feeding native lambs in winter, for the
reason that natives (those born on Eastern
farms) ought to be fat and sold before winter
has set in. If they are not fat it may very like-
ly be because they are infected with some de-
pressing parasite, such as stomach worm or
nodular disease, and in that case are hardly
worth fattening at all. In his own practice he
has abandoned feeding native lambs entirely
since his own lambs, born upon the farms, are
fat and sold before July and those he can buy
give him almost certain trouble.
It may be said, however that if one is to feed
native lambs he should select them if possible
with an eye to getting the good ones, those in
health. These are easily discovered. They
show their health by the vigor of their action,
the quickness of their movements, the bright-
ness of their eyes and if examined closely the
pinkness of their skins. Those that are droop-
FLOCK HUSBANDRY IN WESTERN STATES. 241
ing or that show white chalky skins, signs of
diarrhoea and have dead-looking fleeces are
surely infected with worms and if they can not
be discarded they should be treated before be-
ing put on feed.
It is not well to turn feeding lambs out on
pasture when they are brought home. They will
gain little on pasture in the fall, unless it be
some special sowed crop such as rape or
vetches, and to turn the lambs on the grass pas-
tures usually results in gnawing the grass to
the ground without putting on any gain as
compensation. It is therefore best to put them
directly into the feed lot and to begin feeding
them on dry hay, or other forage.
NECESSITY FOR DIPPING.
Earlier in this book directions are given for
dipping and the reasons why. We will here re-
peat and emphasize the fact that all sheep that
have been shipped on railway cars or penned
in railway yards are very apt to be infected
with germs of scab. If they have no scab germs
they almost surely have ticks on them. Ticks
will fatten in the same shed with sheep but the
sheep will suffer. Ticks find slow sale in the
market place. Scab, if it breaks out during the
feeding season, is ruinous and will entail great
loss unless promptly suppressed. The longer
dipping is delayed the more costly it is because
of the greater amount of material required, be-
cause of the greater degree of exposure when
the weather is colder, and because the animal
after being on feed suffers a greater shock and
242 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA,
has a worse set-back than when dipped on its ar-
rival at the feed yard.
Lambs that are sent out from the larger cen-
ters of distribution, such as Chicago, Omaha and
Kansas City, are dipped under Federal super-
vision before they leave the yards. This dip-
ping should preclude the necessity of further
dipping at home unless in the case of very well
advanced cases of scab. Such instances of dis-
eased sheep are much less numerous than they
once were, thanks to a rather determined scab
campaign by flock-owners on the ranges. The
dipping at the Chicago yards has for several
years been so thorough that the writer has
ceased to again dip the lambs received from
that place. He feels, however, that he is run-
ning considerable risk by this neglect, since it
is only a question of time when carelessness or
^' graft" will send out again strings of im-
perfectly dipped lambs from these very yards.
This has, at least, been the history of the past.
One winter some years ago the writer trusting
to the dipping there received had the distress-
ing experience of having to dip every sheep
upon the farm in midwinter.
It is safer then not to rely upon the dipping
at the yards, but to dip carefully upon arrival,
or as soon thereafter as the lambs have rested
and recovered their strength. Until that time
if the weather be good it is wise to turn the
sheep into pasture, where they may find water
and grass and rest sufficient to recruit them.
Then, as soon as rested, thev should be dipped
FLOCK HUSBANDRY IN WESTERN STATES. 243
and put at once into their permanent quarters,
if they are to be fed in yards or sheds.
SELECTION OF FEEDERS.
A visit to one of our great stock yards is a
most interesting experience. There are seen
there such a multitude of slieep of ahnost every
sort and description. There are great bands
of fat Western wethers, noble sheep, some of
them of an astonishing uniformity in size and
character. They are "strong almost as
horses," used all their lievs to roaming over the
plains and mountains. These may go for ex-
port, or to the killers. They are too fat to feed
and would cost too much. And yet they are not
so fat as the sheep that come in winter and
spring from the feed lots. They are just right
to give the most profit to the killers, with enough
fat and little waste.
Beside them will be a band of thinner weth-
ers, perhaps from a dried-up range, of fairly
good quality. They, too, will go to the killers,
though they are almost thin enough to sell at
a farmer's price. The next pen may show some
ideal feeders, big and strong and active, yet in
thin flesh. Probably it did not rain on their
range, or they traveled too far. The killers
pass them by and the feeder gets them at a cent
or more off.
In the next pen will be seen a different type
altogether, a band of wild, scarred, thin, sharp-
backed, weazened sheep, looking as though all
the plagues of Egypt had struck them. They
are the product of an ignorant and stingy own-
244 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
er, a careless and unprofitable shepherd and a
starved and overpastured range, together with
a dearth of rain and snow. >i o one wants them
and they sell very low indeed. Sometimes they
are great bargains and if carefully nursed for
a few months will lay on flesh fairly well and
being bought so cheaply will reward well their
feeder. There is, however, the disadvantage of
having your yards filled with stuff of which you
are ashamed till near the last of the feeding sea-
son. They are more likely to make money for
their feeder than the good feeders because
they are bought so cheaply and weigh so little.
However, if there is not at home plenty of
good clover or alfalfa hay, or if the feeder is not
willing to buy for them wheat bran and a trifle
of oilmeal, if they must be fattened on corn and
cornstalks mainly it is doubtful if they are of
the class that he should buy. Emaciation calls
for foods rich in portein. With plenty of early-
cut alfalfa hay in the mow these thin sheep may
bring profit. They are of no value for a short
feed. They require time to first restore their
strength and afterward to rebuild, or perhaps
build their flesh and afterward to lay on fat.
Unless one can buy at a low price per pound
it is unwise to buy the emaciated ones, seeing
that his profit comes largely from a hoped-for
advance on the purchase cost and it costs money
to build flesh in the feed lot.
There is, however, another range of condi-
tions to be considered when selecting our feed-
ers. That is the breeding of the sheep. Here
is a pen of very heavily fleeced wethers, or
FLOCK HUSBANDRY IN WESTERN STATES. 247
lambs. They will shear very heavy, but they
are not of the best form. They have thin necks
and drooping sharp shoulders and a look of
meekness and depression. Shall we take themf
In the next pen is a lot with evidence of mutton
blood on the Merino. They are lighter fleeced,
but stronger. As a rule the very heavily
flee<3ed sheep are not the best money-makers.
They will not eat so well nor make so good
gains. Nature specializes ; the food goes to flesh
or it goes to fleece and oil in the wool. And
after a time thrown together, probably into a
load of good feeders. It is only the exceedingly
heavy fleece that is to be avoided.
Now visit the lamb pens. The wethers have
run very even and have required little a&sorting.
The lambs are even also, but there is with them
a few culls so that the buyer for the great
packers usually reserves the right to discard 10,
20, 30, or maybe more of each lot. These are
after a time thrown together probably into a
load of feeders. The lambs are in character
about what the wethers were, though they have
suffered more in transit and are not so strong.
Again we see the killers bidding high for the
tops. Then goes up a sigh as you relinquish
them, and you look on down the line. Ah!
Here are the beauties ! They are from Merino
mothers, evidently, and their sires were Shrop-
shires, or maybe Lincolns or Cotswolds and
they are small and in rather thin flesh, so there
is a chance. They have been born late and
their tops have been selected and sold, these
younger ones remaining.
248 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
If we get them we have done well. They will
grow and fatten admirably and be our pride
and joy all through the feeding season. When
fat they will command the top price. If we
buy them we will take 350 (which fills a car) or
maybe 700 or 1,050, and we may need to buy
some smaller lots to make the number come out
But hold ! Those lambs were after all priced
pretty high, and here are some lively little fel-
lows, not so well bred, quite, but yet giving evi-
dence of good blood. They are very late and
small, pretty thin, too, weighing less than 50
pounds. "What of them f It depends upon what
is stored at home in the barn. If there is abun-
dance of good alfalfa, if there are silage and
and perhaps roots, and loving care and generous
shelter and long time, take them ! They are the
best. But if the feeding season must be short,
if there is little clover or alfalfa, take the other
And here is yet another sort. They must
have come from a terrible range where grief
has been their constant portion. They are
miserably thin and weak and were ill bred at the
beginning. Their one redeeming feature is that
they weigh little and will be sold for a very
small price per pound. Shall we venture to
buy them! That also depends upon the fur-
nishings at home. Many of them may die be-
fore they gain enough strength to enable them
to go on and gain. They will require a long
feeding period. But when they are fat they will
sell for nearlv as much as the best bred lambs
FLOCK HUSBANDRY IN WESTERN STATES. 249
in the market. There is that peculiar side to
the lamb trade : the light lambs of part Mexican
type when rightly fed sell well. So if we have
the feed, the kindness and comforts at home,
we may venture to take even these weaklings.
But let us beware of them if we propose to
''rough them" or to try to hasten them along
by a short period of heavy feeding.
Here is yet another opportunity. In these
smaller pens are a lot of thin Natives, from
some near-by state. They are big enough but
their lack-luster eyes and sunken wool and gen-
eral air of discouragement speak surely of an
internal revenue department held under the
rule of predatory parasite worms. If these
lambs had been in health they would have been
fat, in nine cases out of ten, and the killers
would have taken them in. Avoid them un-
less you understand treating them and eradi-
cating the worms. Thin Western lambs do not
often have these parasites because on their drier
ranges the diseases do not lodge nor spread.
And yet lambs from some of the more Eastern
ranges, in the Dakotas, Nebraska and occasion-
ally from Montana, come now and then infected.
Before you buy these thin lambs look at their
skins. If they are chalky pass them by.
Here are ewes. This band of old ewes, in
thin flesh, shows evidences of fairly good breed-
ing. They have a motherly look too. We find
that we can buy them cheaply. What can we
do with them?
Let us look first at their teeth. Ah, I thought
so ! A large number of them have lost their front
250 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
teeth. This means two or three things. It ac-
counts for their being sent from range to mar-
ket. They have been culled out because they
no longer could subsist well on the tough
grasses and herbage of the range. It accounts
mainly for their emaciation And it means to
you, "Am I in position to take good care of
these old ewesf These ewes may not be too
old to make a good recovery under favorable
conditions ; they may even drop a strong crojD of
lambs and nourish them well, but they must eat
more costly food than ewes that have 1;heir
They ought to have bran, oats, shelled corn
and early-cut, tender hay. But they are for
sale, and at a low price. If it is early enough so
that we can breed them to good rams we may do
this ; take them home and at once mate them with
the best rams of Shropshire, Southdown,
Hampshire, Dorset or whatever we fancy that
we can get and then carry them along well, not
forcing too much till after the lambs are born,
and after that with judgment and discretion
pouring into them all the good nourishing stuff
that we can get them to consume. It will aston-
ish us how those lambs will grow, and the beauty
of them coming from these skinny old ewes but
they may be soon sent off fat to market and the
mothers wdll have gained all the time in flesh
and in about two months' more feeding will be
ready to go after their lambs. This is good
practice and only requires the right combina-
tion of careful handling, with skill in feeding,
warm, w^ell ventilated barns and an assortment
FLOCK HUSBANDRY IN WESTERN STATES. 251
of feeds with wise generosity in carrying it out
to make the thing pay. In fact, this thing has
been done. 100 ewes have been bought in Chi-
cago for $175. They have dropped and raised
90 lambs that sold at about 10 to 14 weeks ' of age
for over $5.00 each. The ewes sheared, under
this good care, above 7 pounds each and the wool
sold for 25c. Then the ewes finally fattened and
weighed 112 lbs., selling for 5c per pound.
Thus the ewe that cost $1.75 in Chicago sold,
with her wool and lamb, for $11.85 in late May.
This was an exceptionally favorable result,
however achieved by an assemblage of favor-
ing conditions of low first cost, fairly good qual-
it}^, good sires, wise and generous treatment and
a booming spring market. Let the indifferent
shepherd, or the one having ear corn and tim-
othy hay, beware of these broken-mouthed ewes ;
they will undo him every time.
There is danger that these ewes may part of
them be already with lamb to some inferior
range ram. These lambs will not usually fat-
ten off at an early age and may materially af-
fect the result.
Let us digress here to consider for a moment a
proposition having in it great possibilities of
profit for the feeder and offering to the rancher
a ready means of disposing of his aging ewe
stuff' without too much sacrifice. The rancher
may cull out his aged ewes before they have
reached too decrepit a condition, discarding any
that have spoiled udders or defective teats,
and putting them on the best and tenderest grass
he can find. Put with them good blocky mutton
252 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
rams as early as possible in summer. He
ought to get a Down or Dorset ram for this pur-
pose, since the long- wools do not get lambs fat-
tening best at a very early age.
Then he can sell the ewes, bred, to men who
make a business of fattening winter lambs, and
get a great deal more for them than it has cost
him to give them this treatment. The writer
several years ago called the attention of sheep
growers and feeders to the possibilities of this
A SHOW OF COTSWOLDS.
practice and it has already been begun in a
small way with the probability that the prac-
tice will become more common as the advantage
becomes known, and especially as Western
sheep ranching narrows down to a state of set-
tled practice of good methods
The age when a ewe should be discarded
varies considerably with the breed and also with
the district where she is kept and the manner
FLOCK HUSBANDRY IN WESTERN STATES. 253
of keeping. In England among the Dorset
breeders it is the custom to take three or four
crops of lambs from a Dorset ram, then to breed
them to a Down (Hampshire, Shropshire or
Sussex), and sell them in lamb to go away to
men who make it a practice to buy these ewes,
grow from them one or two crops of lambs and
send them fat to market. In America it can
hardly be said that there is any established sys-
tem anywhere, and the more usual metliod is
simply to continue to use the ewe so long as her
teeth are good, disposing of her then for what
she will bring. There is something to be said
for this practice, though undoubtedly wlien we
have settled down to a good and regular system
of management, when we have formed a habit of
good management, we will turn off our ewes
young enough so that they may be finished
easily into prime mutton and will not have be-
come ^'shelly." The number of lambs that
can be taken from a ewe varies somewliat with
the breed. Those that mature quickly the
sooner lose their usefulness. Merinos taking
long time to mature are sometimes productive
for 16 years or more. Downs and Dorsets are
usually past their usefulness at twelve years.
In general it is good practice to discard ewes
upon farms at about the age of six to eight
years. To return to our yards : there is a vast-
ness about it and a bewilderment that appalls
the man fresh from tranquil fields where a flock
of 500 sheep seems large. On some single
days there will be received at the big markets as
many as 25,000, or even more, and in a single
254 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
brief forenoon most of them will be sold and
many of them disjoersed, some to the killers and
some to the dipping vat and on cars again to go
out to country feeders It is a confusing place
to the countryman and he is wise to choose some
skilled commission man to go with him and make
his purchases, helping, too, in making selec-
It is not always wise for the feeder to go in
person to the market, though he should make it
a point to be there once or twice a year to study
types and results of other men if possible
The advantage in leaving the purchase alto-
gether to an honest and capable commission
man (there are such in most markets) is that
the commission man may take advantage of
heavy runs and depressed markets to secure
for the feeder his supplies at the lowest price.
Naturally when the man goes himself to the
market place he desires to make his purchase
and get away whether conditions seem to him
just right or not. His impatience may there-
fore cost him dearly.
It is a good plan to set a price that you are
willing to pay for the class of sheep that you
decide to feed and carefully describing your
wishes state the case to your commission man,
leaving the order with him to be filled when he
can. It may happen that you are too low and
your bid may need to be raised, or the stuff
may cost you less than you have expected to
Tlie feeder may if he desires go in person to
the ranges and make his selections there, bring-
ing his purchases directly home. Thus he will
FLOCK HUSBANDRY IN WESTERN STATES. 255
get the best and get them home fresher than did
they lie around in stock yards awaiting pur-
chasers. The practical disadvantage of this,
however, is that on the range the buyer must
pay the rancher's price; if the sheep go on to
market he sets the price himself.
It is especially desirable in buying on the
range that the purchaser should take care to
weigh at least a portion of the stuff and make
due allowance for shrinkage in shipment, else
he may buy very dearly without being aware.
In advising the feeder to beware of thin Na-
tive feeders the writer is aware that he is pre-
judicing his very subject and aim, the building
up of flocks of Natives in all the regions east
of the great ranges. It must be remembered,
however, that in most of this region food is so
abundant, both of grass and grain, that ahuost
any sheep in health will be fat when it goes to
the market, and therefore snapped up eagerly
by the killers, except those that are parasitic
and therefore difficult to make fat. He hopes
and believes that the day will come when this
condition will be overcome and sheep will be
found as healthy on farms as on ranges, but
even then they will go fat to market instead of
going to swell the supply of feeders.
FEEDING OF LAMBS.
Let us now take up in detail the work of
iamb feeding, having by this time purchased our
supply of feeders, or having grown them our-
selves. Methods of lamb feeding vary widely
according to the district where they are fed. We
will consider the several wavs in detail.
WESTERN LAMB FEEDING.
PEA FEEDING IN COLORADO.
In the San Luis valley of Colorado a very
curious method of fattening lambs has within
recent years grown to large proportions. This
valley lays very high, so high indeed that alfalfa
does not thrive as it does elsewhere in the irri-
gated valleys of the West. But Nature evens
up things and here is found the natural home of
the tield, or Canadian, pea. The soil and cli-
mate seem admirably suited to the growth of
peas. Indeed it is said that nowhere else in the
world do peas thrive so well. The soil is some-
what alkaline, full too of mineral riches, and the
abundant irrigation and cool mountain air as-
sure a good growth and a very heavy fruiting.
The methods of culture are easy and simple;
after being drilled into the soil and irrigated
(sometimes with cultivation and sometimes
without) they soon cover the ground and need
no more attention. The climate is so dry that
the crop may stand sometimes without waste
until it is consumed. The harvesting is simple
in the extreme. Lambs are bought and turned
WESTERN LAMB FEEDING. 257
in where they remain until the crop is harvested
and the lambs are fat. There is no need of other
forage than the dried pea vines give, nor of
other grain than the peas. Gains on this ration
are very large and the quality of mutton pro-
duced unexcelled. The growth of this new in-
dustry has been very rapid indeed, since prac-
tically the first efforts were made in the winter
of 1901-1902, when about 3,000 lambs were fed,
and it is said that in the winter of 1904-1905
160,000 fat lambs left the San Luis and adja-
cent valleys of Colorado. It is probable, too,
that this is the beginning of the industry, for
there are doubtless other valleys in Colorado
high enough, cool enough and dry enough to
grow peas well, and so of Utah, Idaho and Wy-
CANADIAN PEAS FOK LAMB FEEDING.
The Canadian field pea is similar to the com-
mon garden pea. It has no relationship to the
southern cow pea. The Canadian pea thrives
during cool and moist weather, it grows a large
vine and sets freely with peas. All animals
relish j)eas which are not only delicious to the
taste but very nutritious. Peas are very rich
in protein, having in fact about the same com-
position as milk, minus the water. Peas are
Not all regions are adapted to the growth of
the field pea. In the corn belt they thrive if they
can be sown early enough, but then they must
be promptly fed as a soiling crop or else cured
into hay. Oats and peas mixed make a first
rate soiling crop and have been much used.
258 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
Late sown peas in warm or dry regions have
Jittle value. The great pea regions are in Can-
ada, in northern Michigan, Wisconsin and Min-
nesota. In New England and northern New
York, and now, more recently, in the high val-
leys of the Bocky mountains.
PEAS IN THE SAN LUIS VALLEY.
The ''Sunny San Luis" is a wide and fertile-
valley about 7,500 feet high in southern Colo-
rado. It has a long, cold but dry and sunny
winter, a spring lasting for most of the rest of
the year. The nights are always cool in the
San Luis. The valley is abundantly irrigated
by a peculiar system. The soil is soaked by
long continued furrow irrigation till the "sub"
or undersrrouncl water level rises nearly to the
surface. Thus, even in a dry climate, there is
moisture in abundance for the coolness and
moisture loving peas.
The San Luis valley was primarily devoted
to wheat growing. Peas were first planted to
rebuild the depleted soils. This they did, and
incidentally in order to consume some of them
and get rid of them sheep were turned in. The
sheep thrive astonishingly. When lambs were
put on the peas, they grew fat with astonish-
ingly little care or expense. Now lambs feed-
ing on peas is a large business in the San Luis
valley each year.
The usual method is to grow the peas by
sowing broadcast and letting them mature,
turning in the lambs in the fall, sometimes as
early as October, sometimes earlier. The lambs
WESTERN LAMB FEEDING. 261
gather the peas from the vines and eat more
or less of the forage. The fields are nsually
fenced and the lambs turned loose, from 500 to
2,000 in a lot. At night they are usually
corralled to protect them from coyotes.
When the weather remains dry there is no
great waste of peas by feeding in this man-
ner. With snow, however, there is danger
that the forage will become greatly damaged
and more or less of the peas lost.
It is not an economical way to utilize peas at
best because the lambs travel too much in gath-
ering them and by their restlessness fail to put
on flesh as they would were they confined to a
small feed-lot. The advantage of feeding the
peas where they grow is, however, two-fold.
There is saved all the labor of harvesting them
and the manure is scattered as it is made and
thus the field is enriched. Where labor is scarce
and dear as it often is in Colorado these are
There is another way that makes a fair com-
promise between harvesting and feeding the
peas in a yard and letting them lie where they
grow, that is to cut them with a mower and
cock them up in rather large cocks, then let-
ting the lambs run to them. It would seem that
this was a good scheme, especially if the lambs
have a shepherd with a dog so that they may be
kept from running over the whole field at one
time. There would be practically no waste in
feeding by this plan, especially as pigs would
follow the lambs and pick up what they left un-
262 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
Undoubtedly the greatest number of pounds
of mutton could be gotten from an acre of peas
by harvesting them and stacking them as alfal-
fa is stacked, and feeding them in corrals as al-
falfa fed lambs are fed. It would no doubt pay
also to feed some supplementary grain in
troughs, so as to let the lambs consume nearly
all of the pea forage and still have grain
enough to make the proportion of concentrates
to roughness a just one. In this manner about
twice as many lambs can be fattened from a
field of peas as by the simple process of leav-
ing the peas lie w^here they grow and the lambs
to harvest them at will.
AMOUNT OF LAMB MUTTON FROM AN ACRE OF PEAS.
The pea feeding industry is yet in its infancy,
and no one knows exactly what can be done with
an acre of peas. Undoubtedly the greater num-
ber of pea feeders fail to make the most of their
opportunities because of poor methods. They
let the peas damage by lying in the snow, or
they over-stick and have not enough peas to
tinish their lambs, or they let the lambs run off
in travel and lose flesh that should remain on
their ribs. Peas gathered and fed in quiet
should give about these results.
An acre of peas may yield 30 bushels of
shelled peas. Probably that is above the aver-
age yield, yet it is not unusual for San Luis
peas to exceed that. A bushel of peas weighs
An acre of peas in the San Luis valley may
yield 1,800 lbs. of shelled peas. This is doubt-
WESTERN LAMB FEEDING. 263
less above the average, but many surpass that
yield; Peas are exceedingly digestible when
fed whole to lambs so it is probable that 3, or at
most 3^2 lbs. of peas would make a pound of
gain, if the forage was good and the conditions
right. Thus an acre yielding 1,800 lbs. of peas
should make from 500 to 600 lbs. of mutton.
While there is no doubt thati some careful
feeders, using some supplementary grain and
feeding in corrals, will reach this high mark,
yet at present under the easy method of turn-
ing the lambs directly upon the peas, not more
than 100 to 175 lbs. of Jamb are secured, and
about 100 lbs. of pork from the pigs that
follow the lambs. The death loss, from feed-
ing peas is said to be exceedingly light. The
quality of the mutton so produced is very high.
The peas also greatly enrich the ground on
which they grow. The best method of feeding
these peas would seem to include thought to put
on them only good lambs and to put them on as
early as the peas are nearly mature. There
will always be a demand for good pea-fed lambs
at a premium and the commoner sorts of lambs
should be fed elsewhere. There are other re-
gions where peas may be grown and fed with
profit provided they are harvested and stacked.
There are few places where the winter climate
will permit feeding them on the ground where
they grew as is done in the San Luis valley. But
there are many high parks and mountain valleys
in Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana,
and other western states where peas thrive ad-
mirably and only the Winter's snowfall pre-
264 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
vents their being fed as readily as in the San
Lnis valley. There is no better feed for old
ewes, or for lambing ewes, than peas. The
whole plant has a similar composition to milk,
it rebuilds wasted tissue and creates new flesh.
ALFALFA-FED COLORADO LAMBS.
The front range of the Rockies sends forth a
number of refreshing streams, creeks and riv-
ers, from the Animas river at Trinidad up to the
Arkansas in middle Colorado and the forks of
the Platte at Fort Collins. Early in the settle-
ment of Colorado it was learned that alfalfa
grew wonderfully well on the plains, where,
supplied with water b}' irrigation the difficulty
seemed to be to use the alfalfa. Finally some
man tried feeding it to sheep, then to lambs;
grain was fed with it. A few car-loads of the
lambs went to Eastern markets ; the killers tried
them and pronounced them extraordinarily good
and the Colorado lamb industry was born.
Colorado lamb feeding has had its ups and
downs. In the winter of 1898-1899 the feed-
ers lost nearly all the hay they put into the
lambs, getting back only the manure and pay
for the corn bought in Nebraska. In other
years they have made very large profits. At
intervals they have tried feeding other things
—calves, wethers, ewes to lamb— in the feed
lot. The wethers and calves are mostly elimi-
nated now and lambs are fed on an ever-in-
creasing scale. It is a settled industry, not
without its risks yet as certain of profit as any
feedins: business can well be.
WESTERN LAMB FEEDING. 265
Colorado lambs are the product of Colorado
alfalfa and Kansas and Nebraska corn. There
is sometimes a little locally-grown wheat or
barley fed, when it is cheap enough, but shelled
corn and alfalfa form probably 95 per cent of
the foods used.
In early days the Colorado feeders depended
almost altogether upon the lambs of New Mex-
ico and southern Colorado for a supply of feed-
ers. The reputation of Fort Collins' lambs was
made first with these Mexicans. In more re-
cent years lambs have come there from other
regions, notably from Utah and Wyoming. The
process of feeding lambs in Colorado is admir-
ably simple. There are yards built of six-inch
boards, with cracks between them wide enough
to permit the lambs to thrust their heads in and
eat between them. Hay is then piled along
these fences right on the ground (which is usu-
ally dry in that sunny clime) and the lambs eat
it standing with their necks through the fence.
Two or three times a day men go along and
throw the hay up afresh. The hay is drawn
from great ricks standing in the alfalfa mead-
ows. Little of it is ever put in barns, which
hardly exist in the sense that they are used in
Grain is fed in flat-bottomed troughs in the
yards. There is often an arrangement of yards
so that one may be used as a feeding yard for
two or more pens. In that way the grain may
be put in before the sheep are admitted. When
the 2:ates are ODened they come in with a rush.
When first the lambs are received they are
SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
carefully dipped and then given, usually, a pre-
paratory course of alfalfa feeding before hav-
ing any grain. When they are introduced to
corn it is fed in very small amounts, slowly and
steadily increased until finally they are eating
about all they desire. That amount will be be-
RACKS FOR FEEDING GRAIN.
Photo from Wilcox, 1902 Year Book, Bureau Animal Indus.. U. S. Dept. Agr
tween two and three bushels per day to the hun-
dred head. It is found best to feed corn in reg-
ular rations two or three times a day rather
than to use "self feeders," such as are used
in the Northwest for feeding light screenings.
These self feeders, by the way, are merely bins
having troughs at the lower edges on each side,
WESTERN LAMB FEEDING,
with narrow openings through which the screen-
Very few of the Colorado feed yards have
sheds attached to shelter the lambs. Little
rain falls and the snow is light and dry. Wind-
breaks are found desirable. Water is pumped
BOX RACK FOR FEEDING ALFALFA.
From Bulletin 31, Bureau Plant Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture.
by wind power and supplied abundantly in
troughs, which are kept clean.
Most of the Colorado lambs are sent to mar-
ket with their fleeces on. The gains secured
are excellent, lambs weighing 55 lbs. when put
on feed often weighing 85 lbs. when ripe, and
268 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
better gains are sometimes secured. They
come to the markets of Kansas City, Omaha and
Chicago in solid train loads, and owing to their
good quality and even ripeness they sell at the
top of the market.
There seems a distinct quality of goodness
diffused through an alfalfa-fed lamb, and it is
difficult to make as good on any other ration.
The healthfulness of the diet is attested by the
very great evenness of lots of alfalfa-fed lambs,
though this is in part accounted for by the reg-
ularity and moderation of the feeding
There are other alfalfa feeding districts in
Kansas and Nebraska where the business is
carried on very much as in Colorado, having
almost as good weather though not usually as
good alfalfa. This is owing to the greater lia-
bility of rain falling on Nebraska and Kansas
alfalfa and to the careless methods of hay-
makers caused in part by scarcity of labor.
Corn is plentiful in these feeding yards and is
sometimes fed with greater freedom than in
Colorado, though without corresponding in-
crease in gain. The truth is that a lamb can
not be forced as a pig can by feeding an excess
of grain; he must make a large part of his
growth from coarse forage and over feeding
with grain is a dangerous proposition.
Then there are regions where men attempt
to fatten lambs with wild prairie hay or sor-
ghum, with corn. Large, well-developed lambs
will finish fairly well on such rations, though at
considerably greater cost than when alfalfa is
WESTERN LAMB FEEDING. 269
Prof. E. A. Burnett of the Nebraska Experi-
ment Station has shown that, comparing alfal-
fa hay and prairie hay with corn, the alfalfa-fed
lambs made 52 per cent greater gains than the
prairie hay-fed lambs. The addition of 16 per
cent of oilmeal to the grain ration of the prai-
rie hay-fed lambs increased their gain 26 per
The writer has often demonstrated in his own
practice that lambs can not be fed with much
profit without a large amount of protein in the
ration, and alfalfa or clover is the best and
cheapest carrier of available protein.
In Nebraska and elsewhere lambs are quite
frequently turned directly into fields of stand-
ing corn and permitted to do their own har-
vesting. Sometimes rape is sown in the corn
at time of last cultivation to add to their sup-
ply of forage. Two to four pounds per acre of
rape seed are sufficient It is better to let this
last cultivation be fairly early so as to give the
rape a start. Should the season prove show-
ery the rape will come on and add greatly to the
value of the feed.
There are certain points to be observed in
pasturing down corn with lambs. It is not a
practice adapted to feeding very thin, light
larDbs, since they require too long a feeding sea-
son. It is not a good practice in a wet re-
gion, or on a soil readily tramped into mud
and damaged thereby. Once the lambs are ac-
customed to the corn they should not be taken
away from it else they will on return overeat
and die in consequence. Salt should be^ before
them at all times.
270 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
The writer is of the opinion that the one
valuable feature of this practice is the cheap-
ness of its execution. There is certainly some
waste, unless pigs follow the lambs, and in some
instances at least there is a high death rate ow-
ing to the impossibility of limiting the amount
of corn eaten. However, as a usual thing the
lambs learn slowly to eat tlie corn, finding it
hard to shell, and do not founder.
Mature sheep are sometimes turned into the
cornfields to glean their own harvest. There
is probably more danger of founder in old
sheep than in lambs, since they the more read-
ily begin to eat the ears. It may be said here
that it is unsafe to turn Native sheep in the
cornfields, as being accustomed to corn they
will get too much of the grain, while their West-
ern kindred will take more readily to the fod-
In conclusion it may be said that the Western
feeders have very great advantages in their
cheap and abundant forage and grain and their
mild, sunny climate They achieve success by
close attention to details; the lambs are fed
with very great regularity as to time and
amount. One man will feed 2,500 or more, so
the labor cost is light.
Their disadvantage is in their remoteness
from market, entailing higher freights, and in
the speculative character of the Western men
which leads many of them to jump from one
industry to another, feeding few lambs one year
and very many the next, jumping often just at
the riolit time to fail to alight on their feet.
WESTERN LAMB FEEDING. 271
It is a curious fact that in Nebraska and Kansas
few farmers feed their own grain and hay,
preferring to sell it to great operators who feed
in central plants many thousands of sheep and
lambs. Thus is the manure lost to the farms
that will some day need it, and mountains of
richness are heaped up outside of feeding cor-
rals to prove an embarrassment to the owner.
This system is wrong and invites disaster. The
man who produces the food should feed it at
home. A man can afford to devote his time to
500 sheep or lambs in winter; thus he has left
on the farm most of the fertility taken from it in
crops and can readily return it to his fields.
Feeding his own crops he runs small risk of loss
in his operations
FEEDING MILL SCREENINGS.
Minnesota is the great state at' present for
feeding screenings. These . screenings come
from the great mills along the upper Missis-
sippi and elsewhere. They contain a little
shrunken wheat, a good deal of weed seed,
largely of pigeon grass, and bits of straw and
trash. There are many thousands of tons
of screenings available every year. Most
of this material is used by the large
sands of tons of screenings available every
year. Most of this material is used by the large
operators, who feed from a few to many thou-
sands. They generally use sheds provided with
self-feeding bins holding many bushels of
screenings. The management of one of their
272 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
plants is admirably simple; the lambs are
bought, usually of a fairly, good size and qual-
ity, dipped and turned into the sheds, where they
remain until fat. Usually no hay is fed or re-
quired, the bulky nature of the screenings ren-
dering them all sufficient for distending the
At one time large profits ensued from feeding
lambs on screenings. The millers, curiously
enough, became aware of this fact and began
steadily to raise the price of screenings.^ As
lamb prices advanced so did screenings, till at
this writing the margin is not large and a bad
year would wipe it out altogether.
SHEEP FEEDING IN THE CORN BELT.
In the corn belt proper the conditions for
feeding are good generally so far as abundance
of food is concerned. Corn is a staple and must
find a market. Hay is readily grown, and late
experience has shown that wherever there is
limestone soil, or sweet and fertile soil, alfalfa
may be grown. Red clover is usually easily
grown. Thus there is a ready source of food
The climate is another matter. Sheep want
dry footing and dry coats. They can not en-
dure muddy yards and wet dripping skies.
Therefore before we attempt to feed lambs we
must provide a somewhat artificial climate.
This is done with shingles to turn off the wet.
Mature sheep are very often fattened altogeth-
er in open yards and Western Merinos have
WESTERN LAMB FEEDING.
fleeces that turn rain fairly well, but lambs in
the exposure do not thrive and it is folly to at-
tempt feeding them east of the Missouri river
without some shelter from rain. North of Illi-
nois, however, where rains are infrequent and
CROSS-SECTION OF MODEL SHEEP BARN, SHOWING FRAME.
snows light and dry, sheds are sometimes dis-
pensed with, but that is reall}^ outside the corn
The character of the barn or shed used is
SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
not essential It may be a simple roof open on
two or three sides, to which hay will be hauled
on wagons from ricks. The writer has such a
feeding plant and uses it to good advantage,
It may better be a barn of two stories, the upper
one stored with alfalfa or clover hay. On the
lower or ground floor the lambs are *^fed. Their
part should be eight feet high in the clear, all in
SIDE VIEW OF MODEL SHEEP BARN, SHOWING DOORS.
one large room, which may be divided as de-
sired by use of racks or movable panels.
Through this room there should be oppor-
tunity to drive transversely through nearly or
quite every bent or space* between posts. To
accomplish this doors must constitute the whole
length, preferably on the north and south sides
of the building, which may well stand east and
WESTERN LAMB FEEDING. 275
Tims the two sides will be composed entirely
of doors so far as the lower story is concerned.
Doors cost little more than ordinary siding to
construct. These doors should be divided trans-
versely at a height of about four feet. The
lower half will swing from the post just as a
gate swings, while the upper half will be hinged
at the upper side, and raise up outwardly. Thus
the lower part of the door may remain closed to
restrain the sheep, while the upper half is lifted
to admit air and light. And air may be admit-
ted and storms kept out, the outward swing of
the upper door throwing drip of rain away.
These upper doors will in mild weather be
raised high and left up. In time of storm or
extreme cold they may be closed on one side or
An abundance of fresh air is absolutely nec-
essary to the lamb. He will not thrive or fat-
ten well without it. He will thrive better in the
open field than in a close foul-smelling, un-
ventilated barn or shed.
Nor does it matter much after being once on
feed whether the lamb barn is warm or cold.
In truth the lambs often thrive better to have it
moderately cold. It is not necessary or best to
have it warm enough so that water will not
freeze within. If the user is uncertain whether
he will remember to open these upper doors he
had better not hang them at all, but leave the
space open instead. The cold and snow that
will blow in will do less injury to the fattening
lambs than the deprivation of air w^ould do.
The barn should have no floor save the nat-
276 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
ural earth. Water troughs of concrete are best
and they may be built so as to be half within
and half outside of the barn, on the sunny side.
These tanks may be of large size, thus obviat-
ing the necessity of storage tanks, say 10x12
feet and about 18 inches deep. It is of no use to
make a lamb's drinking trough very deep, and
in fact there is danger that they may drown in
a deep tank, since they will sometimes jump
The amount of room desirable in a feeding
barn is about 5 square feet to a lamb aside from
the racks. In practice one will need about 8
square feet gross, which will give him room for
his racks. To feed, then, a carload or 350
lambs, he needs a barn about 36x72 feet. Some
feeders crowd the lambs more than that but
they will not thrive as they ought nor ripen
evenly unless all have room so that they may
eat at the same time.
The next thing is the feed rack. Various
types are in use and all have some good quali-
ties. After much experience with various types
the writer finds this form best (see illustration).
It is made of two 1x6" boards spaced 24 inches
apart, with ends and a bottom of matched pine
flooring. This makes a shallow box or feed
trough. At the corners are legs of 2x2 inch
stuff, 40 inches high. The vertical slats are
of %-inch stuff 3 inches wide and are spaced
6% inches apart. The top of the box should
be about 12 inches high. In this rack may be
fed any sort of grain or forage. The wide
openings between the slats permit sheep to
WESTERN LAMB FEEDING.
thrust their heads clear in and there they will
stand quietly eating until they have consumed
the ration with little waste, whereas if
the vertical slats are placed close together the
lambs will pull the hay out, dropping it be-
neath their feet. This is a cheap form of rack,
durable, easily made and as effective as any.
The length should be to fit well with the type of
barn used, so that rows of these racks will, when
required, make divisions or fit between the
posts of the basement.
Now, with the feed racks in place, with wa-
ter, and the mow above stored with clover or al-
TWO VIEWS OF FEED-RACK.
falfa hay, which should have been early cut,
we are ready for the lambs. First a word about
the yard. It should have in it about one half
greater capacity than the roof covers, not more,
and if it can be sloping all the better. It should
be well graveled with rather coarse gravel,
spread smoothly. If it can be concreted all the
better, since it will then be very easily kept
The reason for having a small yard is so that
it may the more readily be kept dry and clean,
and because in a large yard there is too much
278 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
waste of manure- Lambs in the fattening pen
do not need much exercise and are the better not
to have it.
A word, too, about hay. With timothy hay in
the mow no attempt should be made to fatten
lambs. Oat straw is as good, or as bad.
Bright shredded corn stover is a little better,
and when fed in connection with abundant
wheat bran and a little oilmeal it will serve
very well. Without this extra supply of pro-
tein shredded corn stover will not profitably
Now let us bring the lambs home. They come
from the cars half famished, though there are
seldom any dead ones among them. What a
sight it is to see them devouring the grass along
the roadside as they go from the station to the
farm! It is impossible to hurry them, nor
should one attempt it; let them take their time.
When they reach the farm we will turn them
first into some grass pasture where there is wa-
ter and there they may rest for two days, sup-
posing it to be yet fair and dry weather. Then
they must be dipped, unless we are willing to ac-
cept the dipping at the yards. And at once they
go to their pens and are initiated into the mys-
teries of barn life. We will put about 500 in a
pen or what the barn holds. The writer feeds
700 in one barn, which seems not to be too many
for all to thrive. There must be racks enough
so that all the lambs may find places to eat at
the same time.
We fill the racks moderately full of alfalfa
hay and watch the lambs eat it. At first they
WESTERN LAMB FEEDING. 279
are timid about going into the barn, but soon
they find their way about and learn wliere the
food is. And then how they do eat! We will
feed them twice a day, at the same time each
day, and let them rest. The water we must
watch, that it is kept pure enough for man to
drink and always in supply. Salt we will give
at first by dissolving it in water and sprinkling
it over the hay; it may be put on the coarse
stems that they leave. After doing this for a
few days we will find their appetite for salt
satisfied ; then we will fill a box with salt in one
corner of the barn and let them have access to
it at their own wall. But if we could take time
and trouble to put brine on their hay all through
tne feeding season that would be the better way,
making them eat the coarser parts with relish
and avoiding all danger from getting too much
salt. There is, however, little danger of that
if the lambs are first carefully introduced to it
until their appetite is appeased, then given ac-
cess to it at all times. On Woodland Farm it is
the custom to roll salt barrels into the barn and
saw out two or three staves, letting the sheep
consume it as their appetite indicates they
should. But when the writer fed his lambs in
person he preferred the brining method.
We will feed no grain at all for the first two
weeks, unless the lambs chance to be unusually
vigorous and therefore able to take it sooner.
It is wise to let the lambs get their strength be-
fore attempting to feed them grain, to which
they are not accustomed.
In some cases the lambs will be so weak
280 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
when they have found their journey's end that
it will be wise to strengthen them by feeding a
little wiieat bran in connection with the clover
or alfalfa hay. There is scarcely anything more
readily digested and strengthening than wheat
bran and it seems especially suited to the needs
of the lamb. In truth, the one reason why the
writer is not using it and advocating it, is its
heavy cost, now that the dairymen have learned
that they must have it.
In former years, before they had much alfal-
fa hay and when bran was far cheaper than
now, the writer and his brothers fed many
tons of it to lambs with very gratifying results.
They made it profitable to feed it, though later
when they had abandoned it for alfalfa hay
produced on their ow^n farm, the profits of lamb
feeding were greatly increased.
The cost of growing lamb mutton in the days
when timothy hay, oat straw and shredded corn
stover w^ere used in connection with wheat bran
and oilmeal for the ration, w^ith corn, was
about $6.25 per hundred pounds. Afterward,
when the only feeds used were alfalfa hay and
ear corn, the cost dropped to $3.50 per hun-
There are troubles that come to weak West-
ern lambs upon their first introduction to the
Eastern feed lot. Sometimes they develop sore
mouths in a very contagious form. The rem-
edy is to rub off the scabs with a corn cob and
cover the sore places with a little undiluted coal
tar sheep dip. This remedies the disorder in
short order. It is wise to take it in hand earlv.
WESTERN LAMB FEEDING. 283
Sometimes, if the yards are a bit muddy, sore
feet develop. These ought to be promptly
treated, either with blue vitriol or butter of an-
timony and the yard made dry. Air-slaked,
dry lime scattered where they will get it on
their feet will help.
Now we have the lambs used to their new
home and fed up on alfalfa until they are
strong again; we are ready to introduce them
to grain feeding. It is a good practice to turn
them out of doors while we put in feed for
them, leaving them out until the racks are all
filled. If oats are plentiful and cheap enough
we can give the first grain food of oats, mixed
with bran. There is nothing better than this.
Scatter the grain very thinly along the bottoms
of the racks, having first cleaned them out well.
A quart to a rack will be an abundance, less will
Put the hay in after the grain, loosely. Be
careful with nice bright early-cut clover and
alfalfa not to feed too much ; they will waste it.
They may as well eat it up almost clean.
Let the lambs come in. Throw open several
wide doors at one time so that they will not
crowd. Little by little they will learn the taste
of the grain. Do not increase the amount fed
until you feel certain that most of them are
seeking it. Then let your increase be very grad-
Corn, in the cornbelt, must be the main part
of the fattening ration. Now to introduce that.
Take ear corn, if it is at hand, and chop the
ears up with a hatchet into nubbins about an
284 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
inch long. Strew a few of these nubbins in
each rack. Next feeding time strew in a few
more. Increase very, very slowly as they learn
to eat the corn, till you are giving them several
ears to a rack. Cut the bits longer and longer,
till at last you are merely making two pieces of
an ear. Finally stop breaking ears at all, and
feed them whole.
You should be about 45 days in getting them
on to what is practically a full feed of corn.
And then do not give them all they want, but
give them nearly all. If when on full feed
they are eating as much as they desire within
a very few grains you have done well. Be
sure they clean it all up at every feed and come
eagerly for more at the next feeding time.
Now when they have gotten to eating corn well
you may as well drop the bran and oats, merely
because of the expense of feeding them, since
oats are usually dear. If they are cheap enough
continue to feed them, and so of barley, in con-
nection with corn; they form an admirable ra-
tion. If a portion of the hay must be prairie
hay, oat hay or timothy, in fact any grass not a
clover, you can not discard bran, since there is
too little protein in the grasses to make the
lambs grow. They need to make a lot of flesh
and bone, too, besides the fat. If you have them
to sjDare feed a small amount of soy beans in
connection with corn. Soys are rich in protein,
some varieties having above 35 per cent. And
the soy straw, if it has not been wet, is relished
though too coarse to be eaten clean. Oilmeal
WESTERN LAMB FEEDING. 285
in connection with bran, where grasses or corn
stover form the hay, works admirably.
There is more clean profit, however, in feed-
ing the simple ration of alfalfa hay and ear corn
and nothing else, unless corn silage. No feed
will make better or more marketable lambs.
Once on fnll feed the programme should be
an unvarying one. At some regular time in the
morning, not too early, say half an hour after
sunrise, the lambs should have their morning
feed. The water should be looked after and
the lambs allowed peacefully to consume their
allowance. Shortly after noon they will lie
down to rest and sleep. Do not ever disturb
them; assimilation takes place best when they
are asleep. Try to feed hay with judgment, so
that they eat it nearly all and yet have enough.
At about four in the afternoon begin feeding
again. Later will serve, so you observe the
same time each day. Feed just as you did in
One hundred lambs will eat about 2i/> bush-
els of corn daily when on full feed, unless they
are very small lambs. A thousand lambs will
eat more than a ton of hay daily. It will take
about 2% bushels of corn to fatten a lamb and
12 to 20 tons of hay to the hundred lambs, de-
pending on how long they are kept.
Soon the stems of hay will accumulate in the
barn and make a good bed. The corn should
be cut and the stalks fed in the open yard,
which will thus be kept dry and clean. The
blades of the corn will be pulled off and eaten
and the hay thus helped out.
SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA=
Soon the manure spreader must be started
taking ont the accumulatmg manure from the
shed. Every day a few loads may be hauled
away and spread on the frozen ground; thus
there is avoided the accumulation of a vast
amount of manure to be cleared away at one
Photo from Wilcox, Annual Report B. A. 1. 1902, U. S. Dept. of Agr.
time in spring when every sort of work is
Late in March the lambs may be shorn, if
they have not already gone to market, and the
feeding continued for a little time thereafter.
When they are ripe they should go to market,
otherwise losses are likely to follow, not from
WESTERN LAMB FEEDING. 287
disease but from disorders favored by too
plethoric a condition.
With small lambs it requires at least 120
days to ripen. With larger and more fleshy
ones less time is required. With very small
lambs in thin flesh 180 days are none too many
to induce ripeness. The latter part of the feed-
ing period gives the most profit, since gains are
better than at the beginning when the lambs
were unused to feed.
It is cheaper to ship the lambs to market
clipped, since many more can ride in a car and
the freight is no more.
When the lambs are uneven in size it is likely
that some will ripen before the rest. In this
case a carload may often be sent on and the
rest allowed to ripen further.
The writer has sometimes made lambs fed in
this manner gain nearly 100 per cent in weight.
It is a pleasant business and in the long run
profitable. Sometimes a year w^ill come when
the price of feeders is too high in proportion
to the selling price of lambs and one must fig-
ure on the value of the manure to find his
In recent 3?"ears the writer has varied the
treatment outlined by feeding corn silage in
connection with ear corn and alfalfa hay. This
silage is made from well matured corn, so that
it makes a sweet silage, containing little acid
and having in it no mould. Lambs eat this
greedily and seem to grow much more rapidly
than when it is withheld. About 2yo to 3
pounds of silage makes a ration for a day to a
288 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
lamb. The writer believes this cheapens the ra-
tion materially and perhaps the mutton is bet-
ter; he thinks it is and has had no difficulty in
securing the top price for his alfalfa-silage«
corn-fed lambs. When corn is made into silage
after it is well matured there is of course a very
large proportion of grain thereon and it is
tender and succulent and much relished by the
lambs. The small amount of acid in the silage
is lactic acid, promotive of digestion.
Silage has been fed to breeding ewes with ex-
cellent results when it was of good quality and
fed judiciously. When it has been acid, or when
in immoderate amounts, disaster has followed
In some instances that have come under the
writer's observation great losses have come
from attempting to feed silage exclusively to
breeding ewes. They did well for a time, then
went swiftly to ruin, much of it irretrievable.
Loss has also come from feeding acid silage.
A silo should not be built with cemented,
water-tight floor. On such a floor the silage
becomes very acid and trouble follows when it
is fed to sheep. The natural earth makes the
best floor for a silo.
Never with sheep should silage form more
than half the ration. If this rule is observed
and the silage is made from well matured corn,
planted no thicker than for the regular crop, it
is believed that none but good results will ever
follow its use.
Lambs will not consume quite all the coarser
parts of the silage. These must be thrown un-
WESTERN LAMB FEEDING. '^^9
der foot or cleaned out and fed to cows. The
writer has seen great loss from feeding the re-
fused portions of silage to horses. In one in-
stance where quite a heap of it had accumu-
lated in the barnyard eleven horses and mules
ate of it. Eleven of them died. There is evi-
dently some principle developd in silage after
it has been exposed to the air, perhaps, that is
most unfavorable to horses. They die with
symptoms resembling spinal meningitis. There
will be death loss among feeding lambs no mat-
ter how carefully they are fed. Care will
greatly reduce this loss, however. Tbe writer
has had as low as 2 per cent and as high as 8
per cent. If no more than 4 jDer cent of loss is
sustained no one need shed tears.
Attention to regularity in feeding, care that
no doors or gates are left open to admit lambs
to feed bins, and always feeding well under the
gauge of the appetite will usually keejD the
death loss very low. With Western lambs
there is sometimes danger of their jumping
into water tanks if they have access thereto.
The feeder should be careful that no sudden
fright causes them to stampede in the barn and
]3ile up, which may smother a number.
There is seldom any good accomplished by
treating with medicine sick lambs in the feed
lot, unless for stomach worms. These should
be cleaned out before the feeding begins. The
writer has probably lost his full share of lambs
and has tried various remedial treatments, but
is not aware that he ever helped one. Death,
in fact, usually comes from some inflammation
290 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
of the intestinal tract, caused by engorgement
of rich food, and medicine only aggravates the
There will occasionally be loss from gid, or
turnsick, which is caused by a bladder worm
parasite in the brain. There is no practical
remedy for this, though the lamb when first
observed will make good mutton.
With regular, rational treatment the lambs
will keep in health and when occasionally one
dies the owner must console himself by thinking
of the 99 well ones, meantime taking off the
pelt, salting it well and feeding the fresh car-
cass to his pigs or chickens.
The writer does not believe it necessary for
lambs to be out in their yards during day or
night, so the barn or shed is as thoroughly aired
as he has directed. When they are confined
their urine is saved and the value of the manure
greatly increased. Kich green fields spring up
as by magic about the lamb feeding plant and
when off years come and little direct money
profit is seen the feeder can console himself if
he has husbanded wisely his stores of manure
by seeing the corn reaching toward heaven and
flaunting its banners of deepest, darkest green,
while following the corn are fine meadows, of
alfalfa or clover.
When lambs are fed long, until after green
grass comes in spring, it is a temptation to turn
them out to graze for a time. This is a mis-
taken practice, sure to result in great loss. The
lambs will not continue to gain on grass, even
though fed their grain as usual, at least there
WESTERN LAMB FEEDING. 291
will be a period of reaction when they will actu-
ally lose flesh, though if the practice be con-
tinued long enough they will gain it back again.
It is more profitable to send them to market
right from their dry lot.
Sometimes, however, lambs are bought in the
spring with the expectation of feeding them off
on grass, with corn. This may prove a satis-
factory enterprise, if it is carefully managed.
The troughs should be placed in a yard or tem-
porary corral in the pasture and when grain is
put in them the entire flock must be called or
driven within and fastened there for a sufficient
time for them to consume their ration. They
may then be loosened and permitted to roam
where they will until the next feeding time
The feeder must see to it that every lamb
comes up every time. Otherwise he will have
cases of indigestion and founder; many will
get off their feed.
Sometimes self-feeders are used on pasture.
They seldom result well, owing to the essen-
tially short memory and weak original impulse
of the lamb. He will not leave his fellows to
go for feed when he is hungry, and when he
does reach the feeder he is apt to gorge himself
thereafter declining to eat at all.
USE OF SELF-FEEDEES.
The writer has used self-feeders in past years
in his feeding barns and discarded them en-
tirely. Various tests have shown that not only
292 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
is the death loss much heavier where self-feed-
ers are used for corn but the cost of gains is
also much greater. If bran is fed it may be fed
in a self-feeder^ though of course this requires
the use of considerable bran, and light screen-
ings are well enough fed in that manner, but for
corn, barley or wheat, troughs and regular ra-
tions are safer and better.
FEEDING BEET PULP.
Nearness to sugar factories gives oppor-
tunity to utilize the waste product called beet
pulp. This pulp is an excellent food but con-
tains 90 per cent of water. Therefore like si-
lage,, it is not well to feed it without dry grain
being added to the ration, as well as dry forage.
A ton of pulp contains about the same feeding
value as 200 lbs. of corn. This would indicate
what the farmer can aif ord to pay for pulp, a
very small amount indeed when he must count
the cost of hauling and feeding. It is doubtless
a healthful addition to the ration but experi-
ments show that pulp alone with alfalfa hay
does not make as good lambs as corn and al-
There is little bone material in beet pulp,
therefore lambs fed on it are said to suffer that
lack. It would seem, however, that alfalfa
would make good this deficiency. The prac-
tical objection to feeding beet pulp in cold
weather is its freezing, or its liability to make
the yards damp
The quality of meat from these pulp-fed
WESTERN LAMB FEEDING. 295
lambs is very good, though they do not stand
shipment so well as the corn-fed lambs.
CAUSES OF DEATH IN THE FEED-LOT.
Lambs born east of the Missouri river are
often infested with stomach worms. In buying
them in the fall to put on feed only the thin
ones can be secured, and these are almost cer-
tainly infested. These lambs will die rapidly
in the feed lot unless they are thoroughly treated
to eradicate the worms.
Lambs free from parasites should not die.
When they do it is because of some mistake in
their management, or some accident.
The heaviest losses that ever occurred to the
writer came from feeding a large amount of oat
hay, not well cured, and on which had been put
too much salt in an effort to keep it from mould-
ing. Very many lambs die from affections of
the bladder causing retention of urine, or ^'wa-
ter belly." There is some evidence that the
too free use of oat hay will cause this.
Many lambs are lost from indigestion caused
by feeding too much grain, or by introducing
them too suddenly to grain. Seventy-five per
cent of all the lambs dying in the feed lot die
from indigestion caused by over-eating of grain.
In investigating the causes of death losses
the writer has found these significant illustra-
tions. One man fed his lambs in the sheds,
feeding corn, clover hay and corn silage. He
did not feed too much grain, but he did not turn
the lambs out when he fed them. Thus some of
the lambs began eating sooner than the others
296 SHEEP FARMING IN AMEIUCA.
and naturally ate too mucli. Another man had
heavy losses because his lambs had not enough
good hay and too much mouldy ensilage. Had
they had a sufficiency of hay it is doubtful if
they would have eaten the mouldy portions of
the silage. It is not well to feed mouldy silage
to any animals. We have lost lainbs through
the carelessness of feeders in leaving the gran-
ary door open. We have lost lambs from an
awkward arrangement of our sheds^ having an
L with a long and narrow extension. This pre-
v^ented perfect distribution of the lambs. Some-
thing frightened the lambs from the L, maybe a
house cat, or a rai or barn fowl, and they
fled to the main part of the shed soon after they
were turned to their feed. A few ventured
and ate too much corn. They died. The writer
has had a death loss of less than 1 per cent, and
as high as 6 per cent. No one need feel dis-
heartened at a loss of three per cent between
purchase and sale.
To absolutely prevent loss it is quite neces-
sary to start with healthy lambs; to rest them
and begin by feeding very moderately, using
good clover or alfalfa hay as the basis of their
ration and to introduce them to corn very'
slowly and gradually; to increase the ration so
slowly that they will be unaware of the change
—to feed always with perfect regularity and
always a little less grain than they will con-
sume and to give attention to veiy thorough
ventilation and the supply of pure water. The
salt supply should be always conveniently avail-
able. Nothing should ever frighten the lambs.
WESTERN LAMB FEEDING. 297
Stampeding them will often cause death. When
lambs are lying down they should never be dis-
turbed. They fatten most while reclining and
PEAS FOR LAMBS.
In some regions where the Canada field peas
thrive, or near the factories where split peas
are prepared, peas or pea refuse is available for
lamb feeding. There is nothing better. Lambs
grow, thrive and fatten admirably on this food.
With peas for the grain ration it is not so ma-
terial that alfalfa be fed, since peas are exceed-
ingly rich in protein.
THE BUSINESS OF LAMB FEEDING.
The writer thinks it unnecessary to ask
13ardon for thus devoting so many pages to the
description of the lamb feeding industry, based
on Western lambs, corn and alfalfa.
It is easy to see from the immensity of the
ranges and the constant supply of lambs coming
from them, together with the great and ever-
increasing demand for lamb mutton in the
United States, that this industry is one not
destined to soon diminish in importance. Old
sheep are fed in relatively decreasing numbers
and the demand for strictly ''baby lambs" is
absorbing a greater and greater proportion of
the farm-grown lambs. Lamb feeding as a
speculation may result disastrously, indeed is
certain to do so at times when feeders are
bought dear, feeds are high in price and lambs
sell cheaply in spring: but the farmer who fits
298 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
himself for the business and feeds with care
and steadiness year by year will find his profits
encouraging and his farm increasing steadily in
jDroductiveness. The work is such that farm
labor finds employment the year 'round, thus
good men are attracted to lamb-feeding farms.
FEEDING OF OLDER SHEEP.
After the lamb comes the yearling in point of
merit as a feeder. Very often the yearling was a
light lamb, too light the owner thought to put
upon the market in the fall. In the feed lot year-
lings thrive. They do not always have perfect
front teeth and are therefore less able to eat ear
corn. If bought light enough their gain is very
good. They may be fed best in just the way de-
scribed for feeding lambs and their treatment
need vary in no particular save one. Should
there be any ewes among these yearlings the
feeder must be very careful that they do not get
access in any way to the ram, or that there be
no rams among the lot when bought.
Ewes in the feed lot will not very often drop
living lambs. If they are sent to market be-
fore lambing, supposing they show strong signs
of pregnancy, they are subject to dockage and
may possibly be thrown out by the inspectors.
FEEDING MATURE WETHERS.
There are advantages in feeding wethers that
lambs do not possess. They are big and strong
and hardy. They do not die so easily. They
do not need shelter so much as the lambs need
it. They will thrive quite well on corn and corn
WESTERN LAMB FEEDING. 299
stover with little hay. They are adapted to a
ruder, rougher style of sheep husbandry than
There are, however, some few essentials to
successful wether feeding. First and most im-
portant is to buy the right class and to buy them
cheap enough. With the lamb one can afford bet-
ter to pay too much, since the gain in weight may
be so great that the excess of cost may be offset
by the good gain in pounds and profitable price
for it. With mature sheep much smaller gains
can be had and if there is not a material ad-
vance in selling price over cost loss is apt to
In lamb feeding there is often more profit in
buying small, immature lambs. W^ith wethers,
on the other hand, the bigger and better ma-
tured they are the better the chances presum-
ably are for profits in feeding them— that is,
if they have been bought low enough so that the
selling price will be materially better. There is
thus the advanced gain on the first cost besides
the pay for what weight is put on. Opinions
differ as to what advance in price the feeder of
m.ature sheep must have in order to make a
profit. Certainly it depends much upon the sell-
ing price; if that is high there is need of less
margin than if it is low. In general there
should be a rise of a dollar per hundred to make
feeding of mature sheep profitable. This also
depends much upon the price of wool. When
wool sells as high as 25 to 30 cents per pound
the profit of feeding mature sheep is naturally
much firreater than when wool is low. Then also
SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
one can afford to feed the heavy shearing types,
which do not naturally make so good gains in
weight as do the more open wooled and light
In feeding sheep there is need for much less
protein in the ration than when lambs are fed.
A PAIR OF HAMPSHIRE LAMBS.
The reason is plain: the mature sheep has its
frame already built; has nearly as much mus-
cular structure as it will ever have. It has
been demonstrated that feeding does not ma-
terially add to the flesh of the animal, unless
perhaps in case of considerable emaciation, but
puts on fat instead, either intruding it between
WESTERN LAMB FEEDING.
the muscles, or, what is usual with the sheep,
depositing it in masses partly upon the inside
and partly distributed over the body.
The lamb, as has been noted, has its frame-
work yet to build, therefore it needs and must
have abundant protein, thence its thrift when
AT A ROYAL ENGLISH SHOW.
fed such protein-carrying foods as wheat bran,
oilmeal, soy beans and alfalfa or clover hay.
Corn, (maize) is preeminently the best food-
stuff for fattening sheep. It may be fed in very
economical manner. In Ohio it is the practice
to cut the corn when ripe, gathering it into large
shocks containing from 144 to 256 hills. These
shocks tightl}^ bound about the tops keep out
302 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
the weather and preserve the ears and blades
very well. From the field the shocks are drawn
direct to the feed yard, or to some large, dry
feeding field, where the nnhusked corn is
strewn thinly over the ground. Here the sheep
consume the ears with little or no waste, trim-
ming off the blades also. If this practice of
feeding shock corn is now supplemented by sup-
plying racks filled with clover or alfalfa hay the
sheep are as well provided for as need be.
Sheep consume more food than steers, weight
for weight of animals being compared and also
make slightly greater gains for food consumed.
In general sheep will consume about one-fourth
more than steers.
There would thus seem to be considerable ad-
vantage in feeding sheep over feeding cattle,
when gains are considered and also fleeces se-
cured, were it not that death losses are higher
among sheep and also prices fluctuate consid-
erably, sometimes feeders being relatively high
in the fall and ripe sheep low in the spring.
The correct management of the sheep feeding
yard is simple. There should be provided
wind breaks. It is an old saying that ''the pig
can see the wind" and the sheep can certainly
feel it through its thick coat. Sometimes these
windbreaks are formed by long sheds, some-
times by high fences, made tight, and sometimes
they are of natural timber and brush. Some of
the best sheep the writer has ever seen fed were
fed in the old fashioned way on shock corn, in
a blue-grass pasture that had been allowed to
grow up very high and thick, and where open
WESTERN LAMB FEEDING. 303
glades were interspersed with thickets of hazel,
oak and hickory. In this primitive solitude the
sheep found shelter and sustenance, feeding on
shock corn strewn in the open places where the
wind could not reach them.
Water must be abundant and good and very
accessible. Sheep will not thrive if they must
go far for their drink.
It is a good plan to provide wide, flat-bot-
tomed troughs in which may be fed husked ear
corn, since it will not all the season be prac-
ticable to feed shock corn. If the sheep have
their teeth they will shell the ear corn so read-
ily that it is not worth while shelling it for them.
The hay racks are best in shelter of sheds so
that the hay cannot become wet with rains.
And if there is room so that all can be sheltered
from soaking storms all the better. Dry cold
and snow will not hurt but wet is a serious set-
Mam^ sheep feeders rely upon self-feeders
for shelled corn for the finishing of the sheep.
These are usually large bins, holding 20 to 100
bushels each, with troughs on either side into
which the corn descends slowly. There seems
less objection to the use of the self-feeder for
mature sheep than for lambs. The writer be-
lieves, however, that the greater profit comes
from regular feeding in troughs of rations a
little under the appetites of the sheep.
A better and safer self-feeder is the self feed-
ing corn crib. This is built with a capacity of
hundreds or thousands of bushels, with a large
trous^h at the side into which corn descends.
304 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
Sheep shell this corn at their will and the cobs
are thrown out as they gather.
Sheep ought to gain on feed from one to four
pounds per week, depending on their condition
and the stage of feeding. The gains are most
rapid just before approaching ripeness.
Death losses in feeding mature sheep should
be slightly less than in feeding lambs. Natur-
ally gains are less since there is not opportunity
for much growth along with fattening. The
writer once made a gain of 45 lbs. with lambs
in the barn while his wethers outside, very well
fed, gained 20 lbs. The wethers consumed more
corn than the lambs but had no wheat bran
which the lambs received.
Sheep will consume better than lambs vari-
ous coarse fodders. Soy bean straw they relish,
if it is not weather damaged, and bean and pea
straw. When only a maintenance ration is fed
it may consist largely of these fodders, with a
trifle of grain to keep up the weight.
While in the regions west of the Missouri
sheep feeding is carried on in this rather primi-
tive fashion, in Michigan and Ohio it has pro-
gressed further toward a right solution of the
problem. The writer has a neighbor who has
fed sheep for many years. This neighbor,
Chas. Bales of Madison Co., Ohio, formerly fed
in open yards protected only by high fences. In
these yards he fed with shock corn, using self
feeders toward the latter part of the period.
He was able to get a gain of about 30 pounds,
using the best class of Montana feeders.
Later he built barns and sheds in which he
WESTERN LAMB FEEDING. 307
fed clover and alfalfa hay. Continuing his
grain feeding in much the same manner he was
able to increase his average gain so that 1,000
sheep weighing when they went into the yard
110 lbs. average increased to a weight of 156 lbs.
besides shearing a fleece of 10 pounds. At the
same time- he cut down his death losses to 2
sheep from 1,200 one year and again to 6 from
1,200. He attributes the lighter losses to the
fact of the sheep being more comfortable, thus
eating with more regularity, and not injuring
their digestions by sudden overloading with
grain. He now believes that the self-feeders
should be under cover and only the shock corn
fed in yards.
This man makes a practice of saving the late
summer growth of blue-grass on large pastures,
on which the sheep are turned in October or
November. On these pastures they remain un-
til Christmas or sometimes till February if the
season is suitable, having also racks filled with
cjover or alfalfa hay. They then go to the yards
for the final feeding, going to market, shorn, in
He believes that the secret of success in feed-
ing wethers is to buy the best, using those with
a Cotswold or Lincoln cross if obtainable, and
to keep them stuffed at all times full of grass
or clover or alfalfa hay. He finds that by this
method they consume less corn and do not suf-
fer from indigestion from the result of too much
He does not turn the sheep to pasture until
such time as danger from infection by intestinal
parasites is past.
THE DISEASES OF SHEEP.
AILMENTS IN GENERAL.
The writer is sure that sooner or later the
reader will feel a sudden need of knowledge of
sheep diseases and the remedies therefor.
Thus at the risk of duplicating a good deal that
has been said elsewhere, he devotes this chapter
specifically to sheep diseases.
At the outset let me say that to the novice,
and sometimes to the professional, it is very
difficult oftentimes to say just what ails a sick
sheep. Diseases may, however, be divided into
three principal classes.
First, there may be some external parasite,
as the tick, louse, scab or foot rot (which is in
a sense an external disease.)
Second, there may be some form of internal
parasitism. This may be worms in the stom-
ach or intestines, in the throat or lungs, or
encysted worms making a bladder in the brain.
And one or another of these internal parasites
is the cause of most of the sickness among
Last, there may be some derangement of the
digestion due to improper feeding, no feeding
THE DISEASES OF SHEEP. 309
at all, or gorging with grain. And in some
regions, among the class of sheepmen who feed
sheep in winter, nearly all diseases are of this
Now as to chance of cure. For external para-
sites cure is easy and cheap. For scab, lice,
and ticks there is the dipping bath, and this has
been carefully explained in another place.
Foot-rot is also of rather easy treatment.
These things are matters requiring timely
and prompt treatment and are no cause for
alarm whatever except as scab breaks out in the
winter time in the middle of the feeding season,
when it is costly to dip and the sheep have seri-
ous set-back therefrom. Indeed it is not just
proper to class these external parasites as dis-
eases, any more than fleas on a dog's back,
though they jDroduce disease if left unchecked.
The matter of internal parasites is much more
serious. Nine-tenths of all the troubles of sheep
east of the Missouri river are caused by some
form or other of these plagues, or by a combina-
tion of them. We will presently give to them
some attention in detail.
Derangements of the digestion, caused by too
much or too little food, or by food of improper
quality, are often hard to diagnose. For ex-
ample, recently a neighbor of the writer came
to him for advice. His wethers suffered from
some brain disorder, they turned around and
around in small circles, acting stupefied; they
lingered a few days and died. These sheep had
come from the same range in Montana. The
writer promptly diagnosed the disease as gid
310 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
or turn sickness caused by the encysted
parasites called Taenia Coenurus. This worm
is the fruit of a tape worm that infests dogs or
wolves. The eggs pass from the dogs or
wolves and are taken in by the sheep on the
grass or in their drinking water. They hatch
within the sheep and the young worms pierce
the walls of the stomach, gaining the blood
where they travel until they reach the brain,
where they undergo a change, developing heads
and making large bladders in which to live. It
is necessary that the sheep should die after
these cysts have reached a certain stage of de-
velopment so that some dog, fox or wolf may
feed upon the dead sheep's head and thus take
into its own system the parasites which become
established there as regular tape worms. Thus
the round is continued. The tape worm within
the dog or wolf reinfects the grass, the sheep
become affected and die to infect more dogs (if
there are any). Now the way this hydatid
affects sheep is by pressing upon the brain sub-
stance and absorbing it until the nervous sys-
tem is quite deranged, the sheep is stupid, it
turns steadily round and round, always the
same way, neglects food and dies.
The disease is somewhat prevalent in Eng-
land and Scotland some years but is probably
rare in America, at least in a rather long ex-
perience the writer is not sure that he has ever
seen an instance of it, but from his book lore
he advised his neighbor to dissect the next ail-
ing sheep and look for the brain bladder worm
or hydatid. The neighbor obeyed, but no brain
THE DISEASES OF SHEEP. 811
disease was found. Another neighbor sent word
to the afflicted one to cease feeding millet hay
full of seed which he did and lost no more sheep,
having lost some 30 before. Thus there was a
clear case of deranged digestion deceiving one
by the symptoms resembling those of brain par-
The writer has seen other instances of de-
ranged digestion that in the last stages gave
symptoms very like the ones described.
Now a word about true ''turn sickness." It
is sometimes possible to cure the disease by
locating the place in the brain where the blad-
der is formed and cutting through the skull and
destroying the j)arasite by puncturing the sac
that holds it. Recovery sometimes follows this
operation, it is said. And in Scotland it is re-
ported that some shepherds have such skill that
they can push a sharp wire up the nostril till
it locates and punctures the bladder in the
brain. This is an interesting and astounding
fact, if true. In practice, in America, where
sheep are plenty and veterinarians of the finest
skill in sheep diseases are costly to employ for
such cases, it is best to kill the sheep for mut-
ton (which is not hurt by the brain hydatid in
the earlier stages), feed the head to the tire,
and not to dogs and get some new sheep. It is
a safe rule never to allow a dog or wolf to de-
vour a sheep's head at any time. And dogs
about the place may well be treated for tape
worms. Dr. Rushworth thus prescribes for tape
worms in dogs: ''The dog to be treated should
not be fed for at least twelve hours before re-
312 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
ceiving the medicine but it can be allowed all
the water it chooses. The evening before ad-
ministering the worm medicine a dose of castor
oil is advisable ; for large dogs the dose is three
tablespoonfuls. Then in the morning take of
kamala 3 drachms, gruel 1 ounce, mix and give
as a dose. With a medium sized dog two
drachms of kamala will be sufficient. This is
a very etfective taeniacide."
As to the cure of disorders of sheep caused by
overfeeding in the barn or feed lot. Cases will
occur in the best regulated barns, not very many
when things are carefully done, but always
some. The writer and his brothers and neigh-
bors have lost hundreds of sheep and lambs in
this manner and tried many reputed remedies.
He does not now believe he has ever benefited a
sick sheep by medicine or treatment when the
cause was due to serious derangement of diges-
tion. Death is almost sure to follow no matter
what you may do. If there is virtue in any
thing it is in simply taking the sheep away from
all grain whatever and letting it alone. If there
is not too much internal disorder this will suffice
but in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred when
the sheep is sick enough to be very noticeable it
will die no matter what you may do. So pre-
vention, not remedy is the rule for disorders of
the digestion. These cases come from gorging
with grain and there is probably some toxic
poison formed, for in many instances where the
writer has made post-mortem examinations of
afflicted sheep immediately after death no mor-
bid condition was apparent save a slight inflam-
THE DISEASES OF SHEEP. 313
mation of some part of the intestinal tract, and
sometimes even this was not in evidence.
Disorders of the bladder causing stoppage of
the urine are caused by the deposit of limy sub-
stances in the bladder, which become washed
into the urethra where they lodge, causing in-
flammation, stoppage of the urine, a period of
suffering accompanied with great distension of
the bladder, then death.
The reason for this disorder seems to be in
some instances the eating of too many mangels
rich in lime, the eating of too much salt, or the
drinking of water too ''hard" with lime. The
worst instance that ever came under the writ-
er's observation was in his own feeding barns
where he had a great store of oat hay, put up
so very moist that to save it, it was liberally
sprinkled with salt. The salt was greatly in
excess of the needs of the animals and made
them consume much more water than they
otherwise would. Very many of the wether
lambs became afflicted with this distressing
malady and many remedies were attempted to
save them. Some few may have been benefited,
though the writer doubts it. It is recommended
to cut off the vermiform appendage in the end
of the penis, and to slit the penis, opening the
urethra, to free it from limy substances that
obstruct. The writer advises prevention, and
in his own experience with thousands of sheep
and lambs under observation fed by his broth-
ers for some years, good plain practice, using
the same water supply, has resulted in not one
instance of ''water belly." The writer has
314 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
been informed of other instances where oat hay
had seemingly caused this disorder without the
accomiDaniment of an overdose of salt.
The use of clover or alfalfa hay with corn
silage in not too great quantity and corn, with
oats or bran if desired^ will not cause this dis-
order in one instance in thousands.
This is not a treatise on starvation, but it
may be as well to drop here a hint that sheep
that have been starved near to death for some
time are not usually profitable animals to buy,
since they take a long time to recover and many
will die in the process unless great care is used
in building them up again. The writer has
known instances of famishing sheej) being
bought for a few cents each on some dried-up
and overstocked range, shipped to other more
fruitful ranges distant some ways and there
turned out on good grass. They died rapidly,
however, and continued to die for some time
after being placed on the good feed.
IMPORTANCE OF POST-MORTEM DISSECTION.
The novice in sheep breeding and feeding, or
the old hand for that matter, should take fre-
quent opportunity of post-mortem examination
of a sheep recently dead, seeking to see whether
the cause of death is from disordered digestion
or parasitic infection. It is useless to dissect
a sheep that has been dead for some days and
even after the lapse of a few hours there will
often be misleading appearances, as of blood
settling in one part or another, that will cause
him to form very curious conclusions as to the
THE DiSEAyES OF SHEEP. 315
cause of death and miss the real cause entirely.
It would be amusing if it was not so annoying
to read the letters from sheep owners attempt-
ing to describe the symptoms of their sick sheep
and the results found after their making crude
Let us rest the case here; that only careful
regular and judicious feeding will prevent
death in the barn and feed lot and that medica-
tion for ''water belly" or retention of urine and
for serious indigestion has never yet proved of
use. The fact is that the sheep suffering from
slight indigestion is not readily detected among
hundreds, and when its case is obvious it is too
far gone generally to be helped by any known
OTHER DISEASES OF SHEEP.
Of a long list of diseases that sheep may
sometimes be afflicted with, such as rheuma-
tism, apoplexy, goitre, pining, humping, ery-
sipelas, actinomycosis, tetanus, rabies, sheep
pox, and a lot of other diseases usually cata-
logued, the writer has seldom seen an instance
in his own flocks and if he had seen it would
have felt powerless to help, with all the knowl-
edge of specialists available. Sheep are said
to suffer sometimes from black leg but it is
rarely if ever reported in America, and in Eng-
land, on the extremely fertile pastures of Kent,
sheep suffer from anthrax. This disease is rare
indeed in America among sheep.
Sheep do not suffer from tuberculosis, at
316 SHEEP FARMING IX AMERICA.
least the disease is exceedingly rare among
tliein in America or elsewhere.
In truth, of the long list of diseases usually
catalogued as occurring in sheep the shepherd
will not in his lifetime observe more than one
or two, always excepting the diseases that come
from internal or external parasites, from un-
wise feeding and from garget of the udder.
It is wise, therefore, to study carefully the
question of the internal parasite and to learn
ways of management that will avoid them.
This learned all the long catalogue of diseases
may repose serenely upon the library shelf,
since the occurrence of an instance of one of
them in the flock will be of the rarest.
GARGET OR MAMMITIS.
This is a disease that affects the udders of
the very best and largest milking ewes, pre-
ferring those that are best bred and most cod-
dled. The symptoms are a hard, distended
udder, from which a changed sort of watery
milk may be drawn, which often becomes
streaked with blood and sometimes with pus.
The flesh of the udder is often red or purple
and upon pressure can be dented with the hand.
The ewe has fever and distress, milk secretion
ceases, the udder mortities and if the ewe lives
lono- enough it sloughs off, leaving a sore slow
to heal. In mild cases the symptoms are much
]ess severe and the ewe soon recovers, losing
perhaps the use of one quarter of her udder.
One of the causes that led the author to at-
tempt this work was his despair of finding light
THE DISEASES OF SHEEP. 317
on this and some other subjects in any existent
book that had come to his notice. The causes
usually assigned to the production of garget are
lying on the cold ground, bunting by lambs or
from having too much milk for the lamb to take
clean. Doubtless all these things are evils, but
the writer is convinced that the cause of garget
is something quite apart from any one of them.
Probably there are two forms of garget,
caused by different things and running differ-
ent courses. Too m-uch milk in the udder caused
by the death or removal of a lamb, may cause
caked bag and injure a portion of the udder,
but that is a far different disease from the ma-
lignant garget that has often nearly broken the
heart of the writer and of his younger brother,
upon whose shoulders the mantle of shepherd-
ing on Woodland Farm has fallen. Indeed, ex-
cepting that the seat of the disease is in the
udder, there are no symptoms in common with
the two diseases. The writer has never seen a
case of caked bag result fatally and but one or
two of real garget recover; those after a long
Xoeriod of healing when the entire udder had
The writer believes that all the cases of ma-
lignant garget that have come under his obser-
vation have had a common cause, one not men-
tioned in the books, a sudden increase in the
food of the ewe, resulting in perhaps some mor-
bid change in her blood that going to the udder,
shortly after her lambing (the period has some-
times been as long perhaps as two weeks there-
after) and finding there some favorite germ has
318 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
set up there the great and rapid destruction of
live tissue that is seen. Doubtless the disease
is caused by the multiplication of microbes com-
ing from an introduced germ, equally doubtless
the conditions must be right for the develop-
ment of the germ. And the right conditions
seem to be the derangement of the blood by too
much food, especially by feeding with corn
A skilled veterinarian once related to the
writer that he had never dissected the udder of
a cow without finding therein, along with the
milk ducts, germs of bacteria that he consid-
ered the agents that cause bovine garget. How
the germ got there he could not tell. When
conditions were right for the germ it multiplied
and did its work of destruction. When con-
ditions were right for the cow it remained, wait-
ing. This is probably the explanation also in
the case of the ewe.
Corn feeding of milking ewes has apparently
induced most of the cases of malignant garget
that have come under the writer's observation.
Indeed he has seen a fine ewe, proud of her two
beautiful lambs, with an udder like a Jersey
cow, break into the lot of feeding lambs and
gorge herself with corn ; he has predicted at once
that she would come down with garget, and
has seen his sombre prediction verified; has had
the sad task of trying to find mothers for the
two worse than orphans and nursed the mother
for weeks till at last, ghost of her former self,
she went with the flock again, her udder com-
THE DISEASES OP SHEEP. 319
pletely gone and only a partly healed surface
to show where it had sloughed off.
The books prescribe for malignant garget
hot water, camphor, applied externally, and
epsom salts and iron and quinine taken inter-
nally. The writer after faithful efforts with
hot water and all the rest of the remedies does
not feel that he has ever in one instance even
mitigated the horrors of this form of garget,
so will not burden the reader with his recipes.
Let the shejjherd experiencing his first instance
of trouble resolve that hereafter his ewes shall
have the most gradual increase in feed after
lambing ; that they shall be given little corn and
more bran, oats and early-cut clover or alfalfa
hay, with roots or silage to make milk and that
by this means he can prevent future inflictions
of this nature.
For the simpler form of caked bag, however,
hot water applications are doubtless good, with
rubbings of camphor and belladonna, and some
have recommended counter irritants like kero-
sene oil. This form will never occur either if
the shepherd will keep the ewe milked out after
lambing, and perhaps sometimes just before
lambing if she is a wonderful milker, and will
feed right taking care also at weaning time.
GKUBS IN THE HEAD.
Most of the old sheep books have chapters
on this disease. It seems therefore the duty of
the writer to speak of it also though he must con-
fess that his practical experience with the pest
320 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
has been very small. This may be because his
flocks have almost always had shade of dark
barn basements in which to lie during the heat
of the day, conditions not conducive to the de-
position of the eggs that hatching in the nostrils
of the sheep crawl up into the sinuses of the
nose and form the mature grubs. It may be,
also, that well nourished sheep the more easily
repel tlie grubs, or endure them with least in-
There is no cure for grubs, once they are
established. They can not crawl into the brain
of the sheep. They Vv^ll come out of their own
accord in due time. They change into a fly that
in turn lays eggs for more grubs. You can-
not do anything except to feed well the sheep.
''Grub in the belly is a cure for grub in the
head" is an old saying. Tar on the noses will
let the sheep eat in comfort; once shepherds
bored holes in logs and put salt in the bottom of
the holes and pine tar around them. Sheep eat-
ing the salt got the tar. It needed replenishing
daily, or oftener. Easier is the darkened shed
for the sheep to lie in.
LIVER FLUKE. — ^^ THE EOT.'^
This terrible disease has caused in the past
great havoc in the old world. It is less prev-
alent there since the underdraining of their
lands. It was a parasitic disease; the parasite
])assing one stage of its life in the liver of the
sheep, the other in the body of a snail. If there
is no water for the snail (a water species is
THE DISEASES OF SHEEP. 321
chosen) the flukes cannot propagate. There is
very little if any of the disease in America.
This is the disease commonly called by butch-
ers ''knotty guts." It is characterized by small
tumors on the intestines, the tumors filled with
a greenish cheesy substance. The disease is
caused by a small worm, about an inch long,
called oesophagostoma columbianum. The
worm thrives in spite of its name. This worm
seems a distinctly American species, inhabiting
deer, goats and sheep, possibly rabbits. What
it does to the sheep is to interfere with the di-
gestion and assimilation of food. It works its
way gradually into a flock and brings ruin to it.
There is said to be no cure. Its progress is
usually slow and it takes years to kill a sheep,
as a rule. The way of spreading is by infecting
the soil and grass through the excrements of
the afflicted sheep. Therefore when sheep are
so managed that lambs do not graze much be-
hind their mothers they will not become affect-
ed. Presumably the contamination of the soil
will not last longer than one year. This point
we hope will be demonstrated by our national
or state experiment stations before long. It is
a vital necessity to know that of both the nodu-
lar disease and the stomach worm. Thus it is
evident that a healthy flock can be produced by
not intermixing the infection free young sheep
with the irtfected older ones, and fattening and
by marketing the older ones as fast as practic-
able. Little or nothing in the way of medica-
322 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
tion can be done to cure the afflicted sheep.
Prevention of the disease by right treatment of
the young ones is the thing to be aimed at.
There are occasionally outbreaks of disease
caused by tape worms. Montana and the Da-
kotas have suffered from these outbreaks, also
various regions in the Eastern states. The
writer has never observed a case of this kind
upon the farm occupied by himself and his
brothers and attributes this freedom from in-
fection in part at least to the free feeding of
pumpkins in the fall of almost every year.
Pumpkin seeds are well known vermifuges of
The tape worm of sheep, taenia expansa, va-
ries in length from three to six yards. It is
from one twenty-fifth of an inch in breadth at
the head to one-half an inch at the tail. In ap-
pearance it is a dull white. It causes scouring,
bloodlessness, white skin, emaciation, weakness
and sometimes death.
Treatment should be given to each one of the
affected flock. Prepare them for treatment by
fasting for 12 hours. After being treated they
should be confined for 24 hours so that the seg-
ments of tape worm expelled will not be scat-
tered over the fields, to further infect them.
The sheep should after treatment has been
deemed satisfactory be put on clean fresh
Dr. Rushworth always prescribes kamala for
tape worms The dose is three drachms mixed
THE DISEASES OF SHEEP. 323
well in three ounces of linseed gruel, this dose
for adult sheep. Lambs will require from one
to two drachms, according to their size.
Any medicine administered to a sheep should
be given with the sheep standing in a natural
position, with its head raised not too high, and
given slowly, so that it may pass at once into
the fourth stomach. If it passes into the paunch
it will probably not do much good.
If the kamala does not prove effective Rush-
worth advises giving ethereal extract of male
shield fern, one drachm castor oil, four ounces,
mix and give as a dose to mature sheep. Lambs
can have from one to three-fourths of this dose.
A tonic is then prescribed, consisting of salt,
2 pounds, epsom salts, 1 pound, sulphate of iron,
one-half pound, powdered gentian, one half
pound, nitrate of potash, 4 ounces. This is to
be mixed together and fed to 100 sheep, in oats,
bran or other feed. The writer believes good
feed and change of pasture will make much tonic
There is a minute parasitic worm called
Strongylus tilaria that inhabits the bronchial
tubes, causing .the animals to cough and run at
the nose, sometimes bringing death. In the
opinion of the writer this is not a very prev-
alent disease in America, fortunately. The
remedy is thought to be to fumigate with sul-
phur. The writer has tried the remedy and
though the lambs treated did not have the dis-
ease for which he treated them they mostly sur-
324 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
vived the operation What they had, and what
most coughing, emaciated lambs have, is a re-
lated parasite, of far more import to us all, the
dreaded stomach worm.
THE STOMACH WORM.
This little worm is but % of an inch long and
albout as thick as a hair. It lives in the fourth
stomach and especially afflicts lambs. It causes
the diseases (or symptoms, rather) of ''paper
skin," ''black scours," "lamb cholera" and so
on. It attacks lambs at any age after they be-
gin to nibble grass until cool weather comes in
the fall. It is the smallest parasite yet men-
tioned in this list of diseases and has wrought a
hundred times the havoc that these have all to-
gether It has devastated whole regions so that
the sheep industry has been given up to them
and men have taken to breeding swine. The
stomach worm is responsible for gullied hill-
sides, abandoned farms, and boys leaving the
farm. It is not a new pest but in olden time
when sheep suffered from it men did not know
the cause. Many years ago it swept over Ohio,
decimating the Merino flocks, and over all the
states of the corn belt. Then no remedy was
known, nor was it understood whence came in-
fection or how immunity could be had. Now
we know all this and the stomach worm has
lost its terrors to the intelligent and watchful
This fourth stomach of the sheep is just where
the intestines attach and where an important
part of the digestion takes place. When it is
THE DISEASES OF SHEEP. 325
filled with these tiny worms digestion is wonder-
fully disturbed and the lamb loses tone, the
wool appears dead, the skin loses its pinkness,
the appetite is deranged. The lamb may scour
and may be constipated. It eats earth or rotten
wood, in the latter stages of the disease. There
may come a dropsical swelling beneath the un-
der jaw. This is not a disease, only a symptom
of the disease.
Depend upon it, if it is May, or from then
till October, and your lambs are droopy, lan-
guid, their wool dead looking, their skins chalky,
they have stomach worms. Just catch one and
kill it, dissect it at once and examine the fourth
stomach with care. You will surely see there
the little writhing serpents that do the mischief.
These worms inhabit old sheep too, but do
not do them so much harm. The life history
is like this: the worms become mature in the
body of the older sheep and pass out, laden with
eggs about to hatch. The little worms do some-
thing, we do not know what, to get back into the
sheep again. Probably they crawl up a little
way on the grass. The lambs come along and
nibbling close on tender grass where the ewes'
excrements have been dropped take in the
worms They mature in the lamb and raise
havoc there as we have said.
Now cold weather either numbs or destroys
these worms so that there is no danger of in-
fection in winter, late fall or early spring.
Elsewhere, in management, the prevention of
stomach worms is described. Here we will con-
cern ourselves with the cure of afflicted lambs.
326 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
The writer has dosed hundreds. For a number
of years he has, on the same farm, had no cases
to doctor. Moral : there is something in manage-
ment. But there is something in cure also.
Therefore the writer appends parts of bulletin
of the U. S. Bureau of Animal Industr^^ pre-
pared by B. H. Ransom, March 1907. The
writer has faith in the gasoline treatment and
was the first man in America to administer it.
His brother has had better success with car-
bolic acid tlian coal tar creosote using 12 drops
for a mature sheep, given in milk. The bulletin
The stomach worm of sheep, known to zoolo-
gists as HaemoncJius contortus, is generally
recognized as one of the most serious pests with
which the sheep raiser has to contend. Sheep
of all ages are subject to infection, and cattle
and goats as well as various wild ruminants
may also harbor the parasite. The most serious
effects of stomach-worm infection are seen in
lambs, while full-grown sheep, although heavily
infested, may show no apparent symptoms of
disease. It is from these, however, through
the medium of the pasture, that the lambs be-
SYMPTOMS AND DIAGNOSIS.
Among the symptoms which have been de-
scribed for stomach-worm disease probably the
most frequent are anemia, loss of flesh, general
weakness, dullness, capricious appetite, thirst,
and diarrhea. The anemic condition is seen in
the paleness of the skin and mucous membranes
THE DISEASES OF SHEEP. 327
of the mouth and eye, and in the watery swell-
ings which often develop nnder the lower jaw.
A more certain diagnosis may be made by kill-
ing one of the flock and opening the fourth
stomach. The contents of the fourth stomach
are allowed to settle gently, and by carefully
watching the liquid the parasites, if present in
any considerable numbers, will be seen actively
wriggling about like little snakes from one-half
to 114 inches long and about as thick as an ordi-
LIFE HISTORY OF THE STOMACH WORM.
The worms in the stoiPxach produce eggs of
microscopic size, which pass out of the body in
the droppings and are thus scattered broadcast
over the pasture. If the temperature is above
40^ to 50° F. the eggs hatch out, requiring from
a few hours to two weeks, according as the tem-
perature is high or low. When the tempera-
ture is below 40^ F. the eggs remain dormant,
and in this condition may retain their vitality
for two or three months, afterwards hatching
out if the weather becomes warmer. Freezing
or drying soon kills the unhatched eggs. The
tiny worm which hatches from the egg feeds up-
on the organic matter in the manure, and grows
until it is nearly one-thirtieth of an inch in
length. Further development then ceases until
the worm is swallowed by a sheep or other
ruminant, after which it again begins to grow,
and reaches maturity in the fourth stomach of
its host in two to three weeks. The chances of
the young worms being swallowed are greatly
328 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
increased by the fact that they crawl up blades
of grass whenever sufficient moisture— such as
dew, rain, or fog— is present, provided also that
the temperature is above 40°F. When the tem-
perature is below 40°F. the worms are inactive.
The young worms which have reached the
stage when they are ready to be taken into the
body are greatly resistant to cold and dryness;
they will stand repeated freezing, and have
been kept in a dried condition for thirty-five
days, afterwards reviving when moisture was
added. At a temperature of about 70° F. young
worms have been kept alive for as long as six
months, and the infection in inclosures (near
Washington, D. C.) which has been pastured by
infested sheep did not die out in over seven
months, including the winter, the inclosures
having been left vacant from October 25 to
June 16. It is uncertain whether infection in
fields from which sheep have been removed will
die out more rapidly during warm weather or
during cold weather ; experiments on this point
are under way, but have not been sufficiently
completed for definite statements to be made.
It is, however, safe to say that a field which has
had no sheep, cattle, or goats upon it for a year
will be practically free from infection, and fields
which have had no sheep or other ruminants
upon them following cultivation may also be
safely used. The time required for a clean
pasture to become infectious after infested
sheep are placed upon it depends upon the tem-
perature; that is, the field does not become in-
fectious until the eggs of the parasites contained
THE DISEASES OF SHEEP. 329
in the droppings of the sheep have hatched out
and the young worms have developed to the
final larval stage, and the rapidity of this
development depends upon the temperature. It
may be stated here that neither the eggs nor the
newly hatched worms are infectious and only
those worms which have reached the final larval
stage are able to continue their development
when swallowed. This final larval stage is
reached in three to four days after the eggs
have passed out of the body of the host if the
temperature remains constantly at about 95° F.
At 70° F., six to fourteen days are required, and
at 46° to 57° F., aggregating about 50° F., three
to four weeks are ncessary for the eggs to hatch
and the young worms to develop to the infec-
tious stage. At temperatures below 40° F., as
already stated, the eggs remain dormant.
METHODS OF PREVENTING INFECTION.
It is evident from the foregoing statements
that in the northern part of the United States,
under usual climatic conditions, infested and
non-infested sheep may be placed together in
clean fields the last of October or first of No-
vember and kept there until March or even
later, according to the weather, with little or no
danger of the non-infested sheep becoming in-
fected. If moved then to another clean field
they may remain there nearly the entire month
of April before there is danger of infection.
From the 1st of May on through the summer the
pastures become infectious much more quickly
after infested sheep are placed upon them, and
330 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
during May it would be nece&sary to move the
sheep at the end of every two weeks, in June at
the end of every ten days, and in July and
August at the end of each week, in order to pre-
vent the non-infested sheep from becoming in-
fected from the worms present in the rest of the
flock. After the 1st of September the period
may again be lengthened. This method of pre-
venting infection in lambs would require a con-
siderable number of small pastures or subdivi-
sions of large pastures, and in many instances
could not be profitably employed, but in cases
where it could be used it would undoubtedly
prove very effective. By the time the next lamb
crop appeared the pastures used the year be-
fore would have remained vacant long enough
for the infection to have disappeared, and would
consequently again be ready for use. By con-
tinuing this rotation from year to year, not only
would each crop of lambs be protected from in-
fection, but as reinfection of the infested ewe
flock is prevented at the same time, the parasite
would in a few years be entirely eradicated from
the flock and pastures.
If such frequent rotation is not possible or
practicable, a smaller number of pastures may
be utilized, after the ewe flock has been treated
with vermifuges. The treatment may be given
either before or after the birth of the lambs. If
before, the ewes should be treated before preg-
nancy is too far advanced, in order to avoid pos-
sible bad results from the handling necessarv in
treatment. Probably the best time for treat-
ment is late in the fall or early in the winter.
THE DISEASES OP SHEEP. 331
The treated sheep should be placed immediately
on clean pasture in order to avoid reinfection.
The object of treating the ewes is to get rid of
the worms with which they are infested, and
thus remove the source from which the pasture
becomes contaminated. If it were possible by
treatment to free the old sheep entirely from
stomach worms, it is evident that the lambs
would remain free from infection, provided, of
course, that the flock were afterwards kept on
clean pasture. Unfortunately, there is no ver-
mifuge known which can always be depended
upon to remove all of the worms, but it is pos-
sible to get rid of most of them and thus greatly
reduce the amount of infection to which the
lambs will be exposed.
Two other methods may be suggested by
which lambs can be kept free from infection
with stomach worms.
1. It is assumed that a large pasture is avail-
able which has had no sheep, goats, or cattle
upon it for a year, if a permanent pasture, or
since cultivation, if a seeded pasture. This
pasture is subdivided into two by a double line
of fence, and a drainage ditch is run along the
alley between the two fences. At one end of the
alley between the two subdivisions a small yard
is constructed, communicating with each of the
subdivisions by means of a gate. When the
lambs are born they are placed in one of the
subdivisions and the ewes are placed in the
other. The small yard should be kept free of
vegetation and must not drain into the lamb
pasture. As often as necessary the lambs are
332 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
allowed in the small yard with the ewes for
suckling. The rest of the time- the lambs and
the ewes are kept separate in their respective
pastures. By this arrangement the lambs are ex-
posed to infection only while they are in the
small yard, where they may become infected
either by embryos of the stomach worm present
on the manure-soiled skin of the infested ewe,
or by embryos picked up from the ground which
has been contaminated by the droppings of the
ewes. The chances of infection from the skin
of the ewe are so light that in practice this
source of infection need not be considered. The
danger of infection from the ground may be
avoided by frequently removing the manure
from the yard and keeping the surface sprinkled
with lime and salt. The lambs and ewes will
soon learn the way to their proper pastures, and
after a few days little difficulty will be experi-
enced in separating them each time after the
Jambs are through suckling.
2. Another plan which may be followed
where the climatic conditions are suitable— that
is, in regions where there is a cold winter sea-
son—is that of having the lambs born at a time
of year when there will be no danger of their be-
coming infected during the suckling period, and
weaning and separating them from the rest of
the flock before the advent of warm weather.
Under the usual climatic conditions of the State
of Ohio, for instance, if the lambs are born in
the latter part of October or the first of Novem-
ber they may remain with the ewes on fields
which have not been previously occupied by
THE DISEASES OF SHEEP. 333
sheep, goats or cattle within a year— or, if cul-
tivated fields, since cultivation— until the fol-
lowing March without danger of becoming in-
fected, since the eggs in the droppings of the
infested ewes will not hatch out during this time
of year because of the cold weather. The use
of fields not previously occupied by sheep,
goats, or cattle within a year, or since cultiva-
tion, is necessary, since otherwise the fields
would be already infected with young worms
which had hatched out and reached the infec-
tious stage before the beginning of cold weather,
and the lambs would consequently be liable to
infection from picking up these young worms,
which are not killed by cold weather after they
have reached the final stage of larval develop-
ment. When they are weaned the lambs must,
of course, be placed on clean pasture, if they are
to continue free from infection. With this
method only two clean pastures are necessary,
one in which the ewes and lambs are placed in
the fall, and another for the lambs when they
are weaned in March.
Unfortunately for this scheme, it is not
always possible to have lambs born at the be-
ginning of the winter season; but with addi-
tional clean pastures a modification of the fore-
going method may be used in the case of lambs
born toward the end of the winter or in the
spring. In the northern United States lambs
born the first of February for example, may be
kept with their mothers in a clean field or past-
ure until the last of March, as in the case of
those born at the beginning of winter, but un-
334 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
like the latter they will not then be old enough
to wean. Accordingly they are not separated
from the rest of the flock, but the ewes and
lambs are moved together to a second clean
pasture April 1. May 1 they are moved to a
third clean pasture, May 15 they are moved
again, and finally the lambs are weaned June 1
at the age of four months, and moved by them-
selves to a clean pasture. In the case of lambs
born the first of March and weaned the first of
July three additional clean pastures would be
required for use during the month of June, and
with later lambs a still greater number of past-
ures would be necessary.
TREATMENT EOR STOMACH WORMS.
Among the remedies which may be used to re-
move stomach worms may be mentioned coal-
tar creosote, bluestone, and gasoline.
The animals to be treated should be deprived
of feed for twelve to sixteen or even twenty-
four hours before they are dosed, and in case
bluestone is used should receive no water on the
day they are dosed, either before or after dos-
ing. In drenching, a long-necked bottle or a
drenching tube may be used. In case a bottle is
used the dose to be given may be first measured
off, poured into the bottle, and the point marked
on the outside of the bottle with a file, so that
subsequent doses may be measured in the bot-
tle itself. A simple form of drenching tube con-
sists of a piece of rubber tubing about 3 feet
long and one-half inch in diameter, with an or-
dinary tin funnel inserted in one end and a piece
THE DISEASES OF SHEEP. 335
of brass or iron tubing 4 to 6 inclies long and of
suitable diameter inserted in the other end. In
use the metal tube is placed in the animal's
mouth between the back teeth, and the dose is
poured into the funnel, which is either held by
an assistant or fastened to a post. The flow of
liquid through the tube is controlled by pinch-
ing the rubber tubing near the point of union
with the metal tube. It is important not to raise
the animal's head too high on account of the
danger of the dose entering the lungs. The
nose should not be raised higher than the level
of the eyes. The animal may be dosed either
standing on all fours or set upon its haunches.
It has been found by experiment that if the
dose is taken quietly most of it will pass directly
to the fourth stomach when the animal is dosed
in a standing position, and that when the animal
is placed on its haunches only a part of the dose
passes immediately to the fourth stomach.
From this it is evident that the position on all
fours is preferable, as more of the dose passes
to the place where its action is required.
Great care should be used not only in dosing
to avoid the entrance of the liquid into the
lungs, but also in the preparation and adminis-
tration of the remedy so that the solution may
not be too strong or the dose too large.
Good results have been obtained from a single
dose of a 1 per cent solution of coal-tar creosote.
This solution is made by shaking together 1
ounce of coal-tar creosote and 99 ounces (6
336 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
pints 3 ounces) of water. The doses of this 1
per cent mixture recommended by Stiles are as
Lambs 4 to 12 months old 2 to 4 ounces.
Yearling sheep and above 3 to 5 ounces.
Calves 3 to 8 monttis old 5 to 10 ounces.
Yearling steers 1 pint.
Two-year-olds and above 1 quart.
Serious objections to the use of coal-tar creo-
sote have been found in that the substance
known by this name varies considerably in com-
position and in that some trouble is often ex-
perienced in obtaining it in many parts of the
country. Complaints have been made that the
substance dispensed by some druggists as coal-
tar creosote has failed to give satisfactory re-
Bluestone, or copper sulphate, has been ex-
tensively used in South Africa in the treatment
of sheep for stomach worms and is recommended
by the colonial veterinary surgeon of Cape
Colony as the best and safest remedy. His di-
rections are to take 1 pound avoirdupois of
pure bluestone, powder it fine, and dissolve in
nine and one-half United States gallons of
warm water. It is better to first dissolve
the bluestone in 2 to 4 quarts of boil-
ing water, then add the remaining quantity in
cold water, and mix thoroughly. This solution
is given in the following-sized doses:
Lambs 3 months old % ounce.
Lambs 6 months old m ounces.
Sheep 12 months old 'IV2 ounces.
Sheep 18 months old 3 ounces.
Sheep 24 months old 3^4 ounces.
In making up the solution only clear blue
THE DISEASES OF SHEEP. 337
crystals of bluestone should be used. Bluestone
with white patches or crusts should be rejected.
It is especially important that the bluestone
and water be accurately weighed and measured,
and that the size of the dose be graduated ac-
cording to the age of the sheep.
Gasoline is one of the most popular remedies
for stomach worms which has been used in this
country and has the particular advantage of
being readily obtained. It is important to re-
peat the dose if the gasoline treatment is em-
ployed, and it is usual to administer the treat-
ment on three successive days, as follows :
The evening before the first treatment is to
be given the animals are shut up without feed
or water and are dosed about 10 o'clock the
next morning. Three hours later they are al-
lowed feed and water, and at night they are
again shut up without feed or water. The next
morning the second dose is given, and the third
morning the third dose, the treatment before
and after dosing being the same in each case.
The sizes of the doses are as follows :
Lambs H ounce.
Sheep Vz ounce.
Calves ^/2 ounce.
Yearling steers l ounce.
The dose for each animal is measured and
mixed separately in linseed oil, milk, or flaxseed
tea, and administered by means of a bottle or
drenching tube. Gasoline should not be given in
■^ * OTHER REMEDIES.
Manv other remedies in addition to those
338 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
mentioned here have been used in the treat-
ment of stomach worm disease with more or
less success. Several of the coal tar dips on
the market are recommended by the manufac-
turers for the treatment of worms, and the
action of some of them is much the same as that
of coal tar creosote.
The Department of Agriculture does not
recommend the use of any particular proprie-
tary remedy and as the action of some such
agents is very uncertain it is suggested that, if
it is desired to use them, they be used with cau-
tion and only in accordance with the printed
directions on the package. Whatever remedy is
used, it is wise to test it on two or three animals
before the entire flock is dosed.
START WITH A HEALTHY FLOCK.
It may be that the reader has a flock of dis-
eased sheep. He has had much trouble with
stomach worms', or the nodular disease has in-
vaded the flock, or he has bad losses from tape-
worms. Shall he therefore go out of business?
That, indeed, may be his best course. To
get rid of the diseased flock, first fatten-
ing the sheep as well as possible, and to let the
land rest for two years will be quite sure to
make the land clean, ready for a new flock. But
there are certain objections to this course.
First, he gets out of touch with the sheep in-
dustry, and that is bad. Then he begins to de-
vote his land to other purposes and it is harder
to again start with a flock. And there is the
very real and practical difficulty that it is im-
THE DISEASES OP SHEEP. 339
possible to be sure that the new flock is free
from the enemies that led to the discarding of
the old one.
The shepherd may take advantage of the fact
that lambs are born healthy to start anew with a
clean flock, even though his ewes were tainted.
Infection will not come from the mother's milk,
unless in rare instances from the fouling of her
udder. If she has a clean bed there is small risk
of that. If she is scouring she should not be
put in the company of ewes devoted to this pur-
These ewes should be bred as early as practi-
cable, so that their lambs will come if possible
in November, December or January. That is
because in northern situations there is practi-
cally no danger of infection anywhere, indoors
or out, in cold weather. Ewes and lambs should
all be well fed to encourage a vigorous growth.
When warm weather begins to come in April
the ewes should be confined rigidly to the barn
and small yard. In that yard there should not
be permitted to grow even a single weed or
spear of grass. This rule must be absolute.
The yard must be small and kept always per-
fectly clean. If it is not the lambs may nibble at
some plant and from its lower lengths, or roots,
imbibe the germs that we are seeking to avoid.
Nor should there be any feed thrown into the
yard. Furthermore the hay racks should be
kept clean and the water pure at all times.
As fast as ewes cease giving a good milk flow
they should be removed to another pen and thus
340 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
their contact removed, with a per cent of the
When grass comes the lambs should be taken
to a field where no sheep ran the previous year ;
where no sheep manure had been spread the
previous year, and where ; o stream or pool
could bring germs from some other flock. Once
established there no other sheep should for an
instant be permitted to mingle with them.
The ewes, if there is room on the farm, may
be kept over for another crop of lambs, since it
will take two crops to produce enough ewe
lambs to make up their number. After that all
that are not of this youthful blood and free
from infection should be sold and the young-
sters given possession.
At "all times there should be this thought,
''Has there been opportunity during the past
year for any sheep to drop germs with their
manure upon this land?" If the answer is yes,
then do not permit the lambs and yearlings of
the clean flock to graze upon that ground for an
The extra cost of this method of producing a
perfectly healthy ewe flock is almost nothing.
A trifle of care, a constant thoughtfulness, a few
hours labor and the result ; a banishment of the
torments that render 60 per cent of farm flocks
in the corn belt diseased and comparatively un-
And having a healthy flock, absolutely with-
out parasites, they will remain so if the germs
are not brought in by something added to the
flock. It is barely possible that rabbits may
THE DISEASES OF SHEEP. 341
carry some of the same parasites that afflict
sheep as also do goats and deer. Aside from
them there are no other carriers of these germs
so far as we know. Unfortunately we must
purchase rams or else practice inbreeding. The
writer is inclined to think that with strong,
well bred, vigorous stock once secured it is
wiser to inbreed for a time rather than to risk
purchasing a new starter of germs with an un-
certain ram. However, the ram himself may
be put in quarantine on his arrival, permitted
to associate with the flock only when he can be
of use to it and at all other times have his own
quarters, a grassy paddock with shed attached.
Thus, without giving a dose of medicine or
applying to the soil any lime, salt, corrosive
sublimate or iron sulphate, the farm secures
clean pastures, stocked with clean sheep.
Following the thought of destroying the para-
sites in the soil, as is frequently advised, by ap-
plications of lime, salt or chemicals, the writer
would call to the attention of the reader the
folly of the proposal. There is in an acre 43,560
square feet. Supposing that we desired to purify
that soil to a depth of one foot, not an unreason-
able depth, there is then to purify 43,560 cubic
feet of soil. It would take at least a pound of
salt to destroy germ life in a cubic foot of soil ;
it is doubtful if that would suffice, so that about
21 tons of salt to the acre would be required. Of
lime probably two or three times as much would
be needed, and when it comes to applying chem-
icals one had better halt, for he will have de-
stroved his land before he will have killed the
342 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
germs; that much is sure. And why do this
thing, when all these germs will perish (we be-
lieve) in one year unless they find their host, a
sheep, deer or goat, in which to undergo part
of their life cycle?
The writer is very glad to give credit to Dr.
W. H. Dalrymple of Louisiana, for hav-
ing performed by far the most useful series of
experiments ever made in attempting to rid
sheep of parasites in much the manner that he
has described in the foregoing paragraphs. It
is remarkable that a far Soutliern state should
undertake a work fraught with so much im-
port to men in the sheep growing regions fur-
ther north, the explanation being of course that
Dr. Dalrymple is a Scot.
THE ANGORA AND MILKING GOATS.
It may not be out of place in this work to
give a little information concerning the Angora
goat, which is now becoming so well and favor-
Indeed the sudden arrival of the Angora into
public appreciation and its very wide distribu-
tion will make inspiring chapters in the history
of American live stock.
THE A^TGOKA GOAT.
While not meaning to wander far into the
realms of goat lore yet a few words concerning
this work. So late as 1897 the first large num-
ber of goats were sent from Texas to Iowa as
an experiment in brush destruction, going to
J. R. Standi ey. These goats '^grubbed the land,
brought in grass and boarded themselves, be-
sides yielding a profit." Other shipments fol-
lowed. They also were successful. Since that
time goats have been introduced into every
state and territory of the United States and
into Alaska and the Hawaiian Islands. Usu-
ally they have accomplished their object; they
have destroyed brush, and grass has followed
344 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
in their footsteps. Now there is a demand for
goats and inquiry concerning them. Several
kinds of disappointments have followed the
introduction of so-called "Angoras" into new
neighborhoods. To answer some of the many
questions arising in connection with this sub-
ject this chapter is written. Breeders of Angora
goats should have one of the following works,
"New Industry, or Eaising the Angora Goat
and Mohair for profit," by AVm. L. Black of
Texas; "Angora Goat Raising and Milch
Goats," by George Fayette Thompson, or "The
Angora Goat," by S. C. C. Schreiner (Long-
mans, Green & Co.). Schreiner 's work is a
classic, a thing of beauty. Thompson is con-
cise and practical, enthusiastic enough, and tells
besides much about milking goats. Black is an
earnest advocate and presents a great array of
facts and examples of successful practice. I
think he leaves out the failures and some of the
Very extravagant things are claimed for
Angora goats. It has been claimed that they
will shear from six to eight pounds of mohair
per year, worth— well, all sorts of prices from
75 cents to $8.00. That was in the olden time.
They have been claimed to be immune to all
sickness, hardy as the common goat; that they
will kill dogs and keep disease from among
horses ; that they would clear land of brush and
make delicious mutton at the same time; that
they were very prolific.
Now the simple truth is that the Angora
goat is the most delicate, though the most beau-
THE ANGORA AND MILKING GOATS. 347
tiful goat known. It is troubled with all the
diseases that afflict sheep, or most of them. It
is not very prolific, nor are the kids very easily
raised in a cold and wet climate. It is not dog-
proof, nor will it serve very well^ to keep dogs
from sheep. It destroys brush effectually, if it
can reach it, but should have some grass along
with the brush to keep it in good order. And
it shears a fleece of about 3 pounds that is worth
from 7 to 40 cents per pound.
While the writer from his study of goats
believes his characterizations true, yet he be-
lieves further that despite their delicacy An-
goras can be profitably grown in every state
in the Union, wherever there is rough, dry,
brushy land, that they may readily be kept" in
health, and more readily than sheep, since they
are in no danger from parasitic infection while
browsing on trees, and that the quality of their
fleeces may be so greatly increased by system-
atic breeding that the 7-cent fleeces will be-
come extinct and even the best fleeces will be-
come more valuable.
Let us get at the history of the American
Angora goat. The native home of the Angora
is in Asiatic Turkey, on a high, dry and rather
cold plateau. It may be that there is some
peculiarity of the soil and climate of that re-
gion or some mental twist of the breeders
there, since there are other animals found there
that have the long silky hair that characterizes
the true Angora. Cats from Angora have that
quality, and dogs are said sometimes to possess
it. The ancient history of the Angora is un-
348 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
known. It has doubtless been the companion of
man for countless ages and civilizations have
existed upon the world far longer than we have
been taught. This region of Angora was in the
ancient days famed for the wonderful fabrics
woven there, and the Angora goat furnished
the fleece for these fabrics. Occasionally war
or famine decimated the flocks, and at last the
changes in industrial life hushed the looms of
Angora and the industry of spinning the fab-
rics was transferred to England. Thereafter
mohair became a regular export from Angora,
and the quality of the product suffer ed at once.
What was good enough to use at home became
too good to sell abroad and the Angoras were
crossed with a baser goat called the Kurd. It
is thought that there is not now in the world a
specimen of the true, ancient Angora. The loss
has been in the fineness of the hair and the
presence of more kemp, which is an under hair
shorter and damaging to true mohair, because
it will not take dye. It would seem from the
studies of Mendel's law that it is most un-
likely that the true and honorable blood of the
old Angora is lost, for it is sure to reappear in
its purity sooner or later, if it has not already,
and can be fixed again, if it has not already
been fixed, by proper matings.
In the beginning the Sultan of Turkey gave a
few Angoras to Dr. Jas. B. Davis of South
Carolina. Dr. Davis called them ^'Cashmeres,"
and for some years they were called by that
name in America, though the Cashmere goat is
quite distinct and of no great value in its pres-
THE ANGORA AND MILKING GOATS. 349
ent form and has never been bred pure in the
United States, so far as the author knows.
These goats throve fairly well, and following
the custom of the times very great laudation
was made of their virtues, among other things
that they sheared from four to eight pounds,
which sold from $6.00 to $8.00 per pound in
Scotland. This, unfortunately, wns an exag-
geration of about $7.25 per pound, but the goats
meekly bore the obloquy as in the Israelitish
days of old, meantime going merrily about their
true mission, to subdue and replenish the earth!
When Dr. Davis had finished with his goats
they were sold, and among the purchasers was
Col. Eichard Peters, of Georgia. This man
proved to be an Angora enthusiast and in turn
sent specimens to Texas, California and other
It is significant that the Angora never be-
came prominent anywhere except in Texas,
California and Oregon until within compara-
tively recent years. There were several reasons
for that. The warm, dr}^ climates of the two
states were peculiarly suited to the animals and
land was cheap there and range limitless. Then
there were found in Texas herds of common
Mexican goats on which the Angoras could be
crossed. This crossing was done on an exten-
sive scale and in a short time there sprung into
existence great flocks of grade Angora goats,
larger and stronger than the pure-bred anirnals,
but possessing a small amount of inferior hair.
Further crossing greatly improved the hair,
however, and it is not meant to suggest that this
350 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
debasing blood lias brought ruin or irretriev-
able loss. In truth, the added size and strength
of the grades have been a help, and by the care-
ful selection of bucks for a few generations
wonders are worked in Angora grade fleeces.
This brings us (without mention of further
interesting importations) down to the date of
the recent exploitation of the Angora. Proved
in 1897 to be unrivalled brush exterminators in
Iowa, their fame spread, and Angoras have
been sent in carload lots to most all the states
and territories. When they have been good goats
and given good care they have proved profit-
able. When they have been common goats, the
result of indifferent grade sires on common
smooth Mexican goats, they have still proved
excellent brush exterminators but have struck
their owners with dismay when they had them
sheared and tried to sell the fleeces.
Within very recent years, however, since the
establishment of a record and flock book for the
Angoras ; with classes at fairs and new impor-
tations from Asia and Africa, there is a very
great improvement coming over the Angora in-
dustry and it is only a question of time when
good mohair will be abundant on the American
market. When that time comes, curiously
enough, it will be in greater demand than it is,
now that it is rather scarce. Mohair is used
in making plush for dress fabrics and yarns.
It is the most durable of all fabrics, practically
indestructible by wear. Most of the upholstery
of railway cars in the United States is said to
be made from mohair.
THE ANGORA AND MILKING GOATS. 351
\¥liat then could a breeder hope to reach in
Angora goat breeding? By the use of right
sires, for a series of years, by discarding from
the flock steadily the worst he ought in time to
possess a flock shearing from 4 to 6 pounds of
mohair, worth about 45 cents per pound at the
present writing. That will pay well. A fleece
of 2 to 3 pounds worth 20 cents per pound is
It takes time, however, to breed out the com-
mon goat from the Angoras. To buy any large
number of practically pure-bred goats is impos-
sible in America. The breeder must have pa-
tience, persistence and the habit of extermina-
Now what of management? Newly arrived
goats from the Southwest are tender and when
turned on cold Eastern pastures may suffer
considerabh' for a time. They need a dry shed,
open to the south. To this they will come when-
ever it threatens rain. They may be fed there
some dry forage, clover hay or whatever is
available It is not usual to feed them grain,
and much grain will cause the kids to be born
with small vitality. The fence restraining them
may be of woven wire and thus they are easily
held in bounds„ Thej^ must not be confined to
too small a pasture else they will famish. Bet-
ter let them take their time to the brush exter-
mination and make a profit from them as
you go along. They will feed upon the leaves
of almost every species of tree and brush, if
they can reach them. They will not do much
in the Avay of girdling trees, though they will
352 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
eat the bark from some varieties of trees. They
do not much relish hickory. Green briars are
dangerous because they sometimes catch and
hold fast the little goats till they perish. These
should be mown oft' with a brush scythe and
then the goats will keep them down. They do
not make a meal of any one article of diet but
nibble a few leaves from one shrub, a few from
another, then some weeds, some grass, more
leaves and so on the day long. They will not
thrive on brush alone. They will live well on
grass alone but thrive better to have brush
to mix with it. They require water. Laurel
will poison them if they are given access to it
when very hungry.
Angoras make good eating. Their flesh is
called ''venison" or ''mutton," according to
the state of their respective markets. The An-
gora does not have the overpowering odor of
the common male goat. They are as dainty as
deer in their habits. Offered for sale at our
great market centers they sell for considerably
fess than sheep, 1 to 2 cents per pound less.
This condition may improve with time and
the elimination of more of the common goat
from their blood.
Angora goats are not heavy milkers and are
not suitable for use as milking goats. Great
excellence is seldom attained in two or three di-
verse lines of endeavor.
The beginner in goat raising in the East
should fix in his mind a few facts. Angoras are
not exceptions to the universal rule in the ani-
mal world that food is required for sustenance
THE ANGORA AND MILKING GOATS. 353
and growth. They are able, true, to eat foods
that other animals neglect, but as a rule brush-
wood is not very nutritious and there ought to
be some grass in connection. In winter time
Angoras deprived of food suffer as sheep
would. They can not subsist on coarse browse.
They need bright straw, corn fodder, a very lit-
tle grain. Then let them browse what they will.
They absolutely must have abundant exercise
to keep themi in health. They love to take it by
roaming about and browsing.
They must not be crowded. The shed should
be roomy and airy and dry under foot. It is
absolutely essential that they should have an
abundance of fresh air. They are very dainty
about what they eat and will not eat any for-
age that has been dropped underfoot. Their
racks, therefore, should be so made as to hold
the forage up. It is useless to lift hay or fod-
der from the floor or ground and put it again
into the rack; they refuse it. They have the
sensitive noses of rabbits.
Do not forget the dryness under foot. The
yard must not be muddy, and if it becomes so,
slightly raised walks of plank or rock should
lead from the dry shed to the dry pasture out-
side. There should be abundant opportunity of
entrance to the shed. It is best to leave the
entire south side open, else some quarrelsome
individuals will prevent the others from gain-
The period of gestation in the Angora is
about 150 days. A buck will serve from 40 to
354 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
The buck should be managed as has been ad-
vised for sheep, though some breeders practice
turning in about 5 bucks to the hundred does
and leaving them, with the result that nearly
all the kids come at one time. This may be a
good practice if the breeder can manage them
in that way.
The kids must not come before warm weather,
After the leaves start in the spring is the proper
time. The does should be sufficiently well nour-
ished to be strong at kidding time, though one
must not overdo this kindness, else the kids
will come weak. Abundant exercise for the doe
with sufficient food will make a successful kid-
Angoras must have care and attention at kid-
ding time, much more than ewes require. The
little kids are delicate and can not endure cold
or wet. They are not hardy and must not
follow their mothers out to graze before they
are six or eight weeks old. Should they at-
tempt to follow they will become weary and lie
down to rest and become lost. Therefore, they
are kept in the corral and a board put up over
which the mother must jump. When the kid can
also jump out it may follow her.
A better scheme is the ''bridge." This is an
incline ending abruptly in the air, the high end
at the corral side. The does jump up on this to
go out and the weaklings run under where they
can not get through Thus they are removed
from danger of being stepped upon by their
mothers or other does.
When the kid is born it should be placed with
THE ANGORA AND MILKING GOATS. 855
its mother in a small pen. Care should be taken
not to handle it unnecessarily nor to rub it
against other kids, else the mother may become
confused by the odor, and she depends upon
that entirely for her knowiedge of her off-
spring. If it is inconvenient to have a pen for
each doe, several may be confined to the one
pen, placing their kids apart as far as possible.
The kids are often ""staked," that is tied by one
leg with a strong cord in which is a swivel. The
doe will always return to where she left the kid
to seek for it. It is said that twice a day is of-
ten enough for the kids to suck. Should the
doe disown her offspring she will own it again
if confined with it and the kid assisted to suck
for a few days.
The kids must not be exposed to cold or wet,
as has been said. They are more delicate than
lambs. Is not this a striking proof of the an-
tiquity of the breed? For how many unnum-
bered centuries has it been under the fostering
care of man ! The common goat is the hardiest
of domestic animals, and the most difficult to
get profit from. The Angora, with its deli-
cately beautiful fleece, has had this ruggedness
sacrificed to the beauty and usefulness of its
covering. As a rule the better bred the An-
goras are, the nearer pure-bred, the more deli-
cate they are. And yet, given right manage-
ment, they are hardy enough. They endure
tropic heats and semi-Arctic colds, but they
must be dry, they must have air and exercise
and food partly of browse and partly of grass.
We will not here go into the range manage-
356 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
ment of Angoras. Any one wishing to grow
them in large numbers should make careful
study in detail. He will find much information
in the volumes previously mentioned in this
chapter. Dry, hilly ranges are admirably
adapted to Angora goat growing. They seem
rather more expensive to manage than range
sheep, especially at kidding time. It is not well
to put more than 1,000 in a flock. An increase
of 75 per cent is considered good. In small lots
increases of 100 per cent are not unusual. The
better bred Angoras are the fewer the pairs of
Angoras suffer sometimes from stomach
worms, from foot rot and lice, from two sorts
of scab (they are exempt from sheep scab), and
probably from nodular disease. They have a
disease of their own called ''takosis," which
makes them waste away giving them a tired
feeling, accompanied with diarrhoea and cough.
It was once believed that Angoras had no dis-
eases; indeed like sheep in dry hilly regions
they are practically exempt from disease, but
when brought to damp countries with dense
green grass their environment is so changed
that they become infected in the same manner
as sheep. The treatment for internal parasites
is the same as for sheep. Good management in
suitable locations will prevent disease in An-
Where should Angoras be introduced? Not
to arable farms. Sheep pay better there. But to
hilly and brushy regions where it is not desired
to encourage the growth of new timber, or
THE ANGORA AND MILKING GOATS. 357
where it is desired to clear away a part of tlie
brusii and replace it with grass. In Virginia,
West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and
southern Ohio, in Tennessee and the hill regions
south of there Angoras might exist by thou-
sands with profit and advantage.
They should in all locations have provision
made for feeding in winter, some dry corn fod-
der, oats and hay.
The difQcuJty in introducing Angoras to the^
region best for them is the character of many
of the people living there. The careful reader
will have realized ere this that Angora goat
breeding is not adapted to a careless, lazy or
indifferent man's habits. More than most ani-
mals. Angoras are dependent upon man for aid
in infancy and help at intervals during life.
Angoras are destroyed sometimes by dogs,
though it is thought that with a number of
wethers among them they are less subject to
attack than sheep. The man who wishes to
breed goats without care or attention from him
had better take the common ''Billie goat,"
which is as energetic a brush destroyer as he
needs, and does not have to be shorn or
need attention at kidding time, and can usually
defend himself from dogs.
THE MILKING GOAT.
Doubtless goats have been the companions of
man for a longer time than cows and have be-
friended him for most of this time by sharing
their milk with him. Therefore the milking
habit has been well fixed in certain types of
358 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
It is doubtless true that goats make better
use of their food thau cows, and turn more of it
into milk. Therefore from the standpoint of
economy goats make milk better and cheaper
than cows. Furthermore, goats are almost
never attacked with tuberculosis and their milk
is said to have tonic properties of especial value
to children. Then there is the fact that a goat,
is very much smaller than a cow, is easily shel-
tered, is tractable, requires but one-eighth as
much food, and is in many ways better adapted
to village or suburban life.
Taking these facts into consideration it is
surprising that we have not had a larger devel-
opment of the milch goat in America. There
are two principal reasons : the incapacity of the
average American for independence and self
help, and his false pride that makes him fear
ridicule if he adopts a practice that is followed
by his poorer neighbors. Near many cities
there are colonies of European emigrants who
make more or less use of the goat as a milk-giv-
ing animal. Many a well-to-do suburbanite
could follow this example with profit and gain,
great comfort from the assurance of a supply
of pure milk, produced under his own eye.
The writer has often seen cottagers in the
old world employ goats for this purpose of
milkgiving. Very often they would be teth-
ered near the dwelling and children would
bring them forage, clippings from the lawn, re-
fuse from the table and surplus vegetables from
the garden. Children would often do the milk-
ing, also, and the friendship between the gentle
THE ANGORA AND MILKING GOATS. 359
goat and the appreciative children was very
The amount of miik given by a well bred goat
is extraordinary. From three to five quarts per
day are not uncommon in Europe and the period
of lactation is long. Some German authorities
assert that the goat often yields ten times the
weight of its body annually and that excep-
tional animals yield as much as eighteen times
It is a good goat of any breed that will yield
two quarts per day for seven or eight months
in the year.
The flavor of goats' milk is good, if the goats
have good food. If they must subsist upon bit-
ter and aromatic brush or ui^on onions, and
refuse from the garden, there is danger of the
flavors reacting on the milk. Milch goats when
in use should be as carefully fed as dairy cows,
given good wholesome sweet hay or clovers, al-
falfa, or dried lawn clippings. They should
have their ration of bran and oats, with a trifle
of oilmeal if the best is sought. At times when
they are not in milk they may be permitted to
feast upon all sorts of brush and weeds that
taste more palatable to them than to us.
As to the amount of feed required it is said
that eight goats require about the same amount
of food as one cow.
Milch goats need a comfortable, clean, dry
house, well ventilated, for their winter's home.
They need a good fence since they will climb
and creep out whenever they have opportunity.
They are quite often tied in stalls as cows are
360 SHEEP FARMING IN AMERICA.
tied though it would seem better to give them
clean, roomy pens. They should be milked reg-
ularly three times a day by the same person.
They should be taken to a clean, odorless place
to be milked. Previous to milking the udder
and teats should be wiped quite clean. No tu-
berculous person should milk either goats or
Milch goats are very prolific, having many
pairs of twins and triplets. The Nubian goat,
one of the best milking kinds, is said to have
dropped eleven kids in one year. The period
of gestation is about 155 days.
Just how to manage the kids when their
mother's milk is needed for human consumption
the writer does not see. Probably to wean them
after the age of ten days, feeding them with the
bottle a portion of their mother's milk and by
substituting other foods, as bran with a litttle
oilmeal in it, oats and good hay, or grass in
summer would solve that problem.
It must be confessed that the interest in milch
goats is mostly speculative at present in Amer-
ica, since there are so few here and the source
of supply being Germany, Switzerland, France,
and perhaps Malta or Italy, where animal dis-
eases prevail. Besides, our regulations forbid
the importation of goats or other cud-chewing
animals. There is hope that some way may be
opened to the importation of these anim-als
and that an industry may spring up here.
The best adapted to our climate would seem to
be the goats of Switzerland and Germany, the
THE ANGORA AND MILKING GOATS. 361
Toggenburger and Saanen breeds being esj^e-
The Nubian goat is the greatest milker of
them all, as well as the largest in size, bnt is
not hardy in the colder parts of our country.
Crosses of the Nubian on other goats are har-
dier and good milkers. It is remarkable that
Africa should have given us this animal, the
sole representative of its breeding that has
come to us if we except the fat-tailed sheep of
Doubtless these Nubian goats gave milk in
the days of Joseph and Pharaoh.
Age to discard ewes, 252, 253.
Alfalfa for pasture, 172.
Alfalfa, how sheep may help start it, 171.
Alfalfa-fed lambs in Colorado, 264.
Alfalfa-fed lambs, quality of, 268.
Alfalfa feeding in Kansas and Nebraska, 268.
American conditions described. 14
Amount of feed needed to fatten lambs, 285.
Angora goats, 343.
origin of, 347.
numbers of in Texas, 349.
as milkers, 352.
period of gestation, 353.
care at birth, 364.
diseases of, 356.
regions adapted to their growth, 357.
Bales, Charles, successful feeder of sheep, 304.
Barn for ewes, 107.
for aheep feeding, 274.
Beet pulp for feeding, 2^2.
Black-faced Highland sheep, 50.
Black-tops, Merinos. 25.
Bloat from alfalfa, 173.
Bloating, prevention and treatment, 174, 175.
Bluestone for intestinal worms, 3o6.
Breeding young ewes. 99.
Breeding on range, season of, 225.
Brome grass, 172.
Bronchitis, verminous, 323.
Buying stockers on the range, advantage of, 254.
Hy-products of the feed-lot, 290.
Cabbages as forage, 179.
Canadian field peas for lambs, 257
Colorado lamb feedinj.?, 265.
T'ommissionmen, use of, 254.
Corn for baby lambs, 13.5.
for fattening sheep, 301.
Coyotes, trouble.some on range, 226.
Creeps for lambs, 125.
use of, 131.
Creosote for worms, 335.
Crook, how to make and use, 109.
theory of, 65.
on the range, 66.
Cross-breeding in Eastern pastures, 69.
for market lambs, 67.
in the South, 70.
Dalrymple Dr. W. H.. of Louisiana, experiments of, 167,
Death in feed-lot, causes, 295.
Delivery of lambs, signs of, 110.
Dipping vat, 93.
for scab, 94.
in regular farm practice, 93.
summary of practices, 97
on the range, 230.
feeding lambs, 241.
at stock yards, 242.
Diseases of sheep. 308.
of feed-lot, 312.
Dissection of dead sheep advisable. 314.
where loated in United States, 49.
Dressing lambs for fancy market, 135.
England, large flocks in, 13.
Ewes disown lambs, cause of, 105.
Ewes in stock yards, 249, 250.
Fall born lambs, 188.
how to get, 189.
Fall feeding of ewes, 98.
Fall treatment of ewe flock, 97.
Fat ewes often barren, 178.
Fattening sucking lambs, 128.
sheep and lambs in winter, 238.
weaned lambs in feed-lot. 255.
Feeders, buying in stock yards, 2^3.
Feeding in the corn belt, 272.
on grass, 141.
pure-bred stock lambs, 127.
stock lambs, 13t.
the nursing ewe, 118
Feed racks, how made, 276.
Feet, care of, 182.
Foot rot, foot scald, 183.
Fresh air for ewes necessary, 106.
Gains in feeding sheep, 304.
Garget, induced by overfeeding, 122.
treatment of, 3I6.
instances of, 318.
Gasoline for worms, 337.
Gestation, time of, 100.
Getting the flock home, 90.
Goats, proflt from, 344.
milking, breeds of, 361.
milking, care of. 359.
use of in old world, 358.
yield of in milk, 35i».
Grub in the head, 319.
Hsemonchu^ con tortus (stomach worm), 326,
Harvesting peas in Colorado, 261.
Hurdling in England, 1-.6.
Inbreedmg to flx type, 85.
Incestuoi.s breeding, 86.
Infected pastures, treatment of, 34].
Invigoration of fresh blood, 86.
Lambliood's troubles, 133.
Lambing tent, 186.
attention at, 113.
management to secure good, 104.
Lambs, late, management of, 138, 185.
feeding when very young, 134.
making ewe own, 116.
reviving when chilled, 1!5. •
born with too large frame, cause, 105
Liver rot, 330.
Losses in feed lot, 389, 304.
Long wools, 43.
Management to insure healthy flocks, 159.
Merinos, Delaine, American, Spanish, 35, 33.
Mexican lambs in feed lot, 214.
Milking ewes, large, care of, 116.
Mutton breeds, 30.
New England, freedom from parasitic enemies, 156.
New Mexican sheep, -^06. 307.
New Mexico, management of flocks in, 209.
Nodular disease, 331, 167.
Nomadic herds destroy forests and scatter scab, 219.
Northwestern plains country, 219.
Number of ewes for arable farms, 165.
Oats for grazing, 171.
Origin of breeds, 21.
(Orphan lambs, making ewes own them, 118.
Outlook for sheep feeding, 297.
on the ranges, 220.
dangerous in shade of trees and fences, 145.
Pasturing fattening lambs, 290.
off corn and rape, 269.
system of to avoid worm infection, 16i.
change of to make fat sheep, 157.
Pea refuse for fattening, 297.
fed lambs, amount of gain per acre, 262, 263o
feeding in Colorado, 356.
Pens for lambing ewes. 110.
Persian-Merino ewes in California, 59.
Persian sheep, 55.
Pregnant ewes, care of, 103.
Proflts in wether feeding, 299.
Protein necessary in lamb feeding, 284,
Ram, use of, 101.
management of, 100.
on the range, 223.
for the range, where bred, 224.
Ranching, proflts of, 234.
Range management, 210.
diseases on, 213.
conditions, the trail herds, 215
Range management injured by nomadic herds, 216.
herds in the mountains, 217.
sheep, quality compared with Argentine sheep, 237.
Ransom, Dr. B. H., work on stomach worms, 326.
Ration for baby lambs, 132.
for mature sheep, 300.
Recording pure-bred sheep, 205.
Regularity essential in feeding, 285.
Restocking a farm. 72.
Ripening feeding lambs, time required, 287.
Roots in the ration, 121.
Rye, vetches and clover, 168.
Salt on grass. 142.
for fattening lambs. 279.
San Luis Valley (Colorado) methods. 258.
Scab, not necessary on the range. 231.
Scotland, sheep on the Lammermoor hills, 52.
Screenings, feeding, 271.
Self-feeders for screenings, 266
for old sheep, 303.
use of on pasture and in barn, 291.
Self-feeding corn crib, 303.
Selecting a ram, 74.
Shade in summer, 142.
best if in barn, 144.
Shearing, early. 192.
art of, 193.
fattening lambs, 286.
on the range, 230.
twice a year, 198.
"Sheep Herders" ' a maligned lot, 232.
heroism of, 233.
Shepherds' duties at lambing on range, 226.
Shipping dressed lambs, 137.
Silage for fattening lambs, 287.
milking ewes, 120.
Sore eyes and mouths in lambs, 123.
Sore feet in Western lambs, 283.
Sore mouths in feeder lambs, 280.
Southern mountain ewes, 71.
Soy beans for sheep, 133.
Spanish Merinos, 25.
Spring lambs, marketing, 146.
Starting the babies on feed, 131
lambs on c<)rn. 283.
a healthful flock, 339.
on feed, 278.
Stomach worms, treatment of, 155, 324, 334.
preventing infection, 329, 331.
Summer care and management, 151.
Tattoo mark. 202.
Ticks and scab, 91.
Trough for young lambs, 131.
Tunis breed, 55.
Turn sickness, 309, 310.
Type, how evolved. 77, 78.
Ventilation of feeding barn, 275.
Vitality of prime importance, 87.
Vitality of range-born lambs, 225.
Washing, 191, 192.
"Water belly," stoppage of urine, 313.
Water for baby lambs, 133.
in hurdling system, 166.
Watering troughs, how made, 276.
Wethers in feed-yard, 298.
Wheat bran for lambs, 280.
Wind breaks for feed-yards, 302.
Wool, tying up. 195.
Worms, inf 3ction of, 160.
THIS BOOK WILL BE
FOUND VERY VALUABLE
It does not take up the question of farm dwellings or
residences, but in respect to general farm barns,
horse barns, general cattle barns, dairy barns,
sheep barns, hog pens, poultry houses, silos,
feed racks, fencing, gates, etc, it is
replete with interesting plans
NOT THEORY, BUT ACTUAL CONSTRUCTION.
Every Plan Shown is in Actual Use.
A chapter on CEMENT CONSTRUCTION
^A^ill be found of special value.
310 Pages. 513 Illustrations.
Price, $2, Postpaid.
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