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AGRICULTURE. --+-- Covered Yards for Feeding and Breeding. The Field of January 13th has a very excellent arti- cle upon this subject, from which we extract the following:—"It appears to us that the question of covered yards is in danger of being injured by the in- temperate zeal of its advocates. We believe that, under many conditions, the covering of our homesteads will prove an economical investment. The saving of straw and concentration of manure are points of great importance. But, on the other hand, we are perfectly certain that manure may be made in open yards, when properly constructed, without any loss of valuable materials. How is this? I we hear some one ex- claim. Has it not been stated by Alderman Mechi and others that manure made under cover is worth inach more, weight for weight, than that from open yards ? And have we not all heard of the losses to which manure is liable when exposed to the action of rain? The graphic picture of the hillside yard, deluged with water collected by the long unspouted roofa of stable Rid barn on the upper side, with the duck.pond below, which receives the filtrate, has been too often brought forward as the type of the open yard system. But is this fair ? As well might we condeftn covered yards because failures have occurred through improper con- struction, causing imperfect ventilation. Divested of exaggeration, we believe the real facts of the case are these. Manure may be made in open yards properly constructed, without the loss of valuable materials; but a greatly increased cuiantity of litter will be re- quired and must be supplied according to the greater or less rainfall, in order to soak up the liquid and present waste. This is one of the most cogent arguments against the system. We cannot, in many cases, afford to throw away so much straw, which, if properly harvested, has a considerable consumptive value; and although not going so far as some who advocate its entire use as food, we believe that the perfection of manure-making consists in avoiding all excess of straw, and using no more than is absolutely required to absorb the solid and liquid excrements. Manure in open yards varies An quality in its different layers, according to the state of the weather when those layers were formed. If dry, little or no fresh litter will be required, whereas in a wet time litter must be spread once or perhaps twice a day. The proportion of excrement, therefore, differs greatly; and in order to obtain'an uniform bulk, we must mix their different layers in a heap and occasion- ally tern, in doing which we are liable to some loss of valuable ingredients. The again, we have extra labour in carting and spreading; serious items, if we Consider that thirteen loads of covered dung are equal in effect to twenty loads from open yards. An open yard should have a water-tight floor, either quite level, )r sloping slightly towards the centre, be of moderate 1 dse, capable of holding some six or eight beasts, and the hovel properly spouted. Under such conditions, if we are careful about the litter, good though bulky manure may be made; and this is oonsoltory for those who for many reasons may be obliged to adhere to the old Bystem. 11 Itis evident, then, from what has been advan ced, that the amount of rainfall materially influences ,his ques- tion; that it will be much easier to make good manure on the eastern side of England, where the rainfall does not exceed twenty inches, than in the west, where wo have frequently double that quantity consequently, we should expect to find covered yards most ,in use on the western side of our island. This, however, is not so, as, with one or two exceptions, we find there is a total absence of such arrangements. Now, why is this ? Some may Bay this is an evidence of the superior intelligence and enterprise of eastern farmers, and that after a time their example will be followed. To such we would remark that in Norfolk covered yards have existed for many years, and in these railway days farmers are very soon alive to the improvementa in other districts; we think, therefore, the more natural conclusion would be that for some reason the covered yard does not suit the circum- stances of the case. Now, what are these reasons ? 'I -1 __L1. -.L- .on.+;nn we are going to naziIora a rawier swung .muv, We believe that covered yards are not adapted for breeding animals, and that as breeding is pursued generally in the districts we have named, therefore the system of covered yards does not find favour, and may probably never be used to any great extent. If this difficulty could be overcome-as we fear it cannot —then these very farms, often consisting of two-thirds pasture, present the exact conditions under which the greatest advantage would follow the adoption of covered yards. In such cases, straw is always a scarce article To economise this straw, and at the same time make our manure to the greatest advantage, are objects for which much might be sacrificed; but when it comes to a question of the health and constitution of the young animal, we naturally pause. We hear some one exclaim Ventilate.' Well, we agree with our imaginary friend that this is absolutely essential; but it will not remove the difficulty. Take a number of yearling heifers in the autumn, divide them into two equal lots, place one in a covered yard, and let the others occupy a yard and shed, and perhaps enjoy the range of a dry grass field. Supply them with the same kind and quantities of food. The housed animals may look the sleekest, carry most flesh, and possibly not eat quite so much food daily; but at May-day take ithe two lot3 into a fair and offer them for sale. The rougher coats will command considerably the most money. And this is no idle prejudice, as we have proved by experience. Roused animals, when first turned out, often lose ground instead of improving, and sometimes never thrive all the summer. The truth is, the open yard is the more natural system, better calculated to develop bone and muscle, and to inure the constitution to j climatic changes. Under cover we have conditions that favour the deposition of fatty matter, the sinews *) are inclined to be soft for want of proper exercise, and, though growth is often very rapid, the flesh that is made wants compactness. It may be said that it would be easy to arrange for our stock being exer. cised. We might drive them about for a time daily; but this could not be compared to the voluntary mo. tions of an animal, with the free air of heaven circu- lating about him. It is all very well for professors to talk about the waste of food from a cold atmosphere, or the absorption of an increased quantity of oxygen during exercise, and to dilate upon the advantages of warmth. We listen to such arguments with the greatest deference when applied to fattening; but we know that exercise and fresh air, aye, and rain too, are all beneficial and neoessary agents in developing the frame and flesh, and giving vigour to the constitu- tion of our breeding animals."


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