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t' Aberystwyth College Agricultural…


t' Aberystwyth College Agricultural SocjpÄ ( ADDRESS BY Mr HAJ ADDING. SHEEP liEARiypty, connected with the .„ Aberystwyth, held its annual The Agrirljnrsday..Februrary 28th, for which Univer'-ivfr J. Marshall Dugdale, the well-known nierer and breeder, of Llanfyllin, had consented to deliver an address. Mr D. D. Williams, of the Agricultural Department, occupied the chair, and amongst those present were Messrs Edward Davies, J,P., Dolcaradog; J. D. Perrott, J.P., D, Lloyd Lewis (N. and P. Bank), F R. Itoberts (solicitor), David Davies, J.P., Felindre, Lampeter; Mrs Prin- cipal Roberts, Mrs Murray, Miss Hawkins and Miss Benkiron, Mr Marshall Dugdale's diarymaids, tratned at Lady Warwick's College. Reading; Miss Katie Davies and Miss Evans, Llanarth; Miss Harries. Brondilo' Carmarthenshire; Professors Murray, Anwvl, Lewis, and others. Mr Marshall Dugdale, who was warmly received, said:—Last year at the annual meeting of your Agricultural Association you had an address on short-horn cattle. On this occasion I have been asked to address you on the subject of sheep. From the earliest time in English history Welshmen have been noted as great sheep-owners and, therefore, I feel that I am approaching a subject in which you will take great interest. If yen look at that won- derful source of information, the Bible, you will find that sheep are on almost every occasion named before cattle. In those ancient times their great importance seems to have been for sacrifice. You will remember that the Shepherds of Israel were held in abomination by the Egyptians, and when the exodus took place out of Eg-ypt, a special feast was ordained, called The Feast of the Passover," aud the animal specially ordered to be slain by every family of the Israelites was a lamb without blemish. In later New Testament times our Lord is spoken of as The Lamb of igo(i that taketh away the sins of the world." The first shepherd is mentioned in the fourth chapter of Genesis, where the ill-fated Abel is described as a keeper of sheep." The next noted shepherd we hear of was Jacob, and later on the celebrated David, who was following the sheep when called to be King of Israel. The accounts of both men as shepherds are most interesting, and the vivid description of both given in Stanley's Jewish Church is well worth reading. Shepherds and sheep are continually mentioned all through the Old Testament, and, last of all, our Lord ii specially described as "The Good Shepherd." It I is really quite homely the way in which His qualities in this capacity are described in the New Testament, To a nation of shepherd? the description Msy iQ uaderstanvl &n5 the SAMS qualities there described are precisely the qualities a shep- herd ought to possess in modern time?. Now what are these qualities1st, He is described as giving his life for the sheep 2nd, knowing his sheep 3rd, rescuing the sheep; 4th, feeding the sheep. I wonder whether any of you conld give a better definition. As regards the first point, even to this day in many foreign countries, sheep have to be brought every night into walled enclosures to be guarded by the shepherds and their dogs from wild beasts, and they often have a very anxious time of it. In this country, how- ever, things are different; but in the mountains of Wales, Scotland and England, many a shepherd in the winter carries his life in his bands whilst looking for his sheep in tne mist or blinding snow. It is a most impressive sight to attend the services on the; Sunday of the Royal Agricul- tural Show week, and to observe the sea of faces of shepherds and herdsmen. There is a look of quiet intelligence which is very striking. Acute power of observation is an absolute necessity to a shep- herd. He has not only to use his brains, but still more his eyes. The hanging listless head, the quivering tail of a sheep or lamb, at once show that something is wrong. Then there is the counting of the sheep, which is an important work. The trouble the shepherd takes to find the lost sheep, and his delight when it is brought back to the flock, is a matter of frequent occurrence, and the description in the New Testament is absolute- ly true to nature. The power of observation, which has been so well described in General Baden- Powell's book on Scouting," is a gift that can be gradually cultivated, and I can assure you from personal experience that in all matters connected with farming, and even in the ordinary affairs of life, it is of the highest and most vital importance. Then again the shepherd should know h:s sheep and their different characteristics; in fact, I con- sider this one of the most important points of a shepherd. Except for show purposes you want all your ewes to be good milkers; but unless the shep- herd is well up to his work, there is a possibility of an excellent ewe being drafted out at the end of the season because she looks bad, whereas as a matter of fact she may be one of the best ewes in the flock and her poorness be caused by having suckled one or two very go 3d lambs. In every-day practice you. will find that some ewes will, year after year, throw extraordinary good lambs. When such is the case, my advice to you is to keep such ewes as long as you can get them to eat, and as long as they can suckle a lamb. Sometimes a well behaved flock of sheep will take to bad ways, and be led away by some llighty ewe or wether. -It is of the utmost importance to find out this leader at once, and then the best way is to part with it, otherwise you may have other sheep falling into the same bad habit. As regards the feeding of the sheep it is most important for the shepherd to notice how the sheep are doing from day to day. They will do well in a pasture for a time, but after that unless they get a change thoy will begin to fall away in condition. An expert shepherd who knows his business well will tell directly when the correct time for moving the sheep has arrived. And now having spoken about the shepherd, let me say a few words about his dog. A really good sheep dog is a valuable animal. Looks go fur very little, but good work is everything. Your Welsh sheep dog trials are now famous, and show to what pitch of perfec- tion sheep dogs can be brought. In your own -cases try and get. a broken sheep dog if possible. To train a young dog requires great skill and patience, and if you have ewes in lamb it is de- cidedly bad to have them driven about by a young -dog. If you have a young dog and want to break him from running sheep, the best time is just after the lambing season, as the ewes will then turn on any dog and teach him his place. My advice to all young fellows is to buy a good broken dog, and then be* very quiet and firm with him and try and not spoil him. Having- now tried to describe the shepherd and his dog, let us come back to you who are studying for a farming life You have a great advantage over your parents, for in then- day there were no colleges like Aberystwyth and Bangor where the elements of agriculture could be picked up. You can learn the theoretical part at these colleges, which they had to pick up by personal experience. One word of warning let me give you. Don't think because you take the highest agricul- tural honours here that you know all about every- day farming. You may know the theoretical part, but you will find it very hard to bring your theoretical training to work in the every-day practical work. If you take my advice you will make friends with any old shepherds or workmen about the Iplace, and with a little tact you will learn their "practical ways of doing things, which you may compare with what you have been taught, and possibly you may be able to improve matters. Whatever you do don't air your own knowledge, or you will get no in,formation from the men. And now let me suppose you are going to start farming. Those of you who are farmers' sons will doubtless go on the old lines and may go to work on your father's farm. In that case you will have the advantage of dealing with sheep of a breed which experience has shown to be suitable to that par- ticular farm. But let, me su; po-H a man who wants to start a farm of his own. He must first think how much capital he can afford to lay out. Then lie mnst make up his mind what sort of a farm be wants, and lastly lie must take a farm and deter- mine how he will stock it. Of course any man may decide to ta<e up a special breed of sheep, and it he is fortunate enough to be able to get uold of an old established flock his operations will bw simple. If however he has to start fresh he cannot do better than quietly go round the farms ad j mining the farm he has taken and see the class (o) -dte.-p kept. there. You will have learnt at Collog- hat different localities suit different sheep, ai,, I will generally find that the sort of sheep or eV'us kept in a district are the best for that oarti'-ul i ■ locality. In the moun- tains of Wales sheep are -rally taken over with the farm, but in the low] o; 1 trtns you will pro- bably have to buy shef. lois you can do by buying couples in the spring or buying young ones at some sale. In the commencement you had better begin by being understocked, as you will not know what each of your fi. Is will do, and for the first sprin yon are '-me to be short of grass. Let me warn yni you?^ Iellowsagainst two things, (1) overstocking farm in a growing year, and (2) buying great naagains. You will "find these things very hard to resist, but a lot of money can be lost at bo; H. Vo:,r first trouble will be with vonr lambs, for it vo > pa* the ewes on too rich a pasture you will prohabiv have considerable, losses from strike. Sonv: ti,1d are much more diable to cause strike' 1 In n others, and only experience will show you where it is best to put your ewes and lambs. A- I ciid before when speaking of the shepherd' now is the best time to train a youne d<> I'm-pies are apt to run the sheep about, but an ewe wt-h a lamb is difficult to drive and will at once turn on a dog if he comes too close. I Strongly advi — you all to get your sheep accustomed to a whisilf. Always blow your whistle when you get the sheep together. In this way you will giadually teach them what you want and in time they will obey the call of the whistle and gather together wit bo at the help of a dog. In j it is a very good thing to go sheep up first thing in the morning 13 I .1111g at night. On hearing the whistle j c^.vep lying down will get up, stretch themselves, and will empty their bladders, thus doing a good deal to prevent their being struck. You will find it wants great patience to sort the ewes so as to get. the right lambs with the ewes. The best way is to divide them a few at a time. If you know the different lambs it is fairly easy. When you have sorted them try and put the different lots where they can see each other, if possible with hurdles between. The ewes and lambs will soon sort themselves, and if a ewe cannot find her lamb she will go back for it bleating all the time. Then the lambs will hear her and will run to the hurdles and join the ewe. Again, let me repeat, the quieter you go about the work the better. The next important thing is sheep washing before shearing. This is done in some running stream. It saves expense if several farmers join together and use one place, paying a fixed charge for t ue use of the hurdles. In ;,bout a week after washing comes the shearing. For this I strongly recommend one of the modern shearing machines. It saves labour—it gives an extra cut of wool. and it cuts the sheep less than ordinary shears. This saves a lot of trouble from the sheep getting fly-blown. Vip shear in June and then dip the lamas. This used to be done in tubs and was a very heavy business. Now, however, we have made a regular dipping place. This saves a great deal of labour which is hard to get and expensive. The lambs are thoroughly dipped and there is an immense saving in the dip itself as the lambs are left to drain and the dip flows back into the bath. We dip our lambs twice a year-oret-in June and again in August—and in the latter month we dip the ewes as well. I consider this of great importance as a preventative against maggots and sheep scab. The ewes and lambs want care- ful watching at this time of the year. If you see a ewe or lamb lying down by itself or switching its tail you may suspect maggots. You ought to carry about a bottle containing dip and pour some on the maggots, which will curl up, and you can brush them away with your hand. If you cannot find maggots anywhere on the budy of a ram, look under the horns. I once bought a Welsh ram of a particular strain to get a change.of blood, and after I had him a few days I got a telephone message that the ram was maggotted. The young shepherd who attended the sheep had at once seen that something was wrong but could not find the seat of the trouble. When his father came he found that the ram was maggotted just a little under the horn out of sight close by the ear. I went at once to the farm, but when we opened the door of the box where the ram was we found him dead. A post-mortem examination showed a few maggSis deep down in the ear, and one had pierced the brain. I mention this to show the great care that ought to be taken til looking QY9Z 3 shesy yvhen anything appears to be wrong. My shepherd said that In his long experience he had only seen one similar case, but it is certainly worth while your remembering about it. The worst places for sheep and Iambs getting flyblown are under covert fences, or under trees, or under wooden sheds. In October we draft our lambs. The common practice is to sell lambs indiscriminately, but we always save the best ram lambs and all the ewe lam js. We do this as it enables us to select the very best of the ewes, and it is extremely difficult to say early on which ewe lambs will turn out well. Some people breed from ewe lambs, but we do not do so, as we consider our ewes grow into stronger sheep if we do not breed from thm until they are shearlings. Now is the time to divide up your breeding ewes. A good deal depends on your selection of a .suitable ram. If you once buy a ram that gets good stock keep him as long as you can. It is not always the best looking ram that gets the best lambs. Except for show purposes dont keep any ewe, however good looking she may be, unless she is a good milker. With my Welsh mountain rams I never use them until they are shearlings in order to get size. Each ram should have an ear mark and the ewes should also be specially marked so that at lambing time you may know how each lamb is bred. If you grow any rape you will find it is a good thing to give the ewes some at this time. When you take the rams from the ewes they hadbetter be put together in very close quarters until they have tired them-elves with fighting, after which one will settle down as master and will keep order. The ewes can now be run together, but it is well to put an old ram with them. When you wean the lambs put them as far as possible from the ewes. As a rule you will not have much trouble with the ewes' udders, but if any get inflamed you had better rub the udder with goose oil. During winter dont let the ewes fall away in condition. When snow comes, or if keep is short, dont grudge a litte hay. It will keep off the fluke and the ewes will be stronger at lambing. Personally, I prefer thousand-headed kale for sheep in preference to turnips. The latter, as you know, contain a lot of water and are liable to freeze. Whatever you do try to get a little green stuff for the ewes when they first lamb. Thousand-headed kale, rye and rye grass, will all yield a nice bite. In the spring keep your ewes as quiet as possible, especially before lambing. All my ewes lamb out in the open. If a lamb dies get its skin and put on another lamb which is a double lamb, and the ewe will take to it. Be careful to see that the ewes suckle their lambs. If your ewes have long tails be: sure they are kept freei'rorn dirt, or it may effect the udder. For the fir^, three days carefully watch the little lambs as they are apt to get stopped. This is easily remedied with a knife, but if neglected the lamb may die. And now a few words about feeding and the diseases of sheep. Try and keep your sheep growing. Dont pamper your young sheep one week and then put them on poor land the next. Have a lump or two of rock salt in every field. It is a great preventative against liver rot. Breeds like the Shropshire will want more extra feeding than Welsh, Sheep intended for show require special and continuous good feeding. I dont believe in giving them at one time more than they will clear up. They like short, sweet, upland hay. Sheep drink ai)t of water, and if they can get it will do well in the hottest summers when there is little grass to be seen. They do not care for long rank grass. A little linseed cake with Indian meal and a few crushed beans with chopped mangolds is a good thing to give show sheep. My mountain sheep don't get footr rot, but with Shropshires it is very troublesome. It is very contagious, and it is a good thing to put a sheep tfcfet has it by o it- self. In some Welsh farms some fields on the farm are j noted for curing the footrot. Then again there is sheep scab. This is always more or less prevalent in the mountains of England and Wales, and it is a serious thing to get into a flock. Hither- to my flock has been lucky enough to escape, and I account for it from the fact that my are all so well dipped. At different times I have found num- bers of strange scabby sheep amongst my flocks. If you see a sheep biting at its wool and little bits of wool pulled out you had better look and ascertain the cause. Lice cause the same bitings. When scab first comes the outside wool is discoloured, and on opening the fleece you will see a little scab. If you treat this at once with sheep dip you will probably stop the trouble. The first stage of scab is very difficult to detect, and I have met many good shepherds who have never even seen a case of scab. Notwithstanding the greatest care and attention, at times the sheep will fall away in condition, and when this occurs the best way is to kill the sheep at once and make what use of it you can. If fit for nothing else it will do "to boil and give to the dogs and poultry. And now I have taken you through your year's work, and have given you some hints which I have found of much every- day use. I recommend you to read all you can, but don't think that because an experiment reads well at an experimental station that it will always suit an ordinary farm. Above all, don't look down on old fashioned farmers and labourers and try and puf: them right. Try, on the contrary, to find cut why they work as they do, and you will often find that there is a good deal of science in the old fashioned ways that have been handed down from father to son for generations. Mr Dugdale was accorded a most attentive hear- ing, and his address was frequently interspersed with marks of approval on the part of those present. I Mr Edward Davies, J.P., said the subject and the lecturer bad been so congenial to him that, he had had a really good time. He lJád heard a good many things he had never heard before. Mr Dugdale bad a world-wide reputation as a breeder of sheep, his ewes and rams being known all ovet the world, (applause). Mr David Davies, J.P.. said he had been mnch edified with what he had heard that day. But there were some things which he, as a practical farmer, would like to learn from the lecturer. He would like to know how long would it take to clip a Welsh-sheep with the machines which he bad referred to. Mr Dugdale's shepherd, who was present, replied thau it could be done in three minutes. Mr Davies said he had seen Welsh shepherds who could shear 120 sheep in a day, and he thought that was very good. He also did not agree with the lecturer as to his method of counting sheep. The usual way in -Cardiganshire, where there were flocks of thousands, was to let the sheep run by you, and count them by tbelhundreds. Professor Alan Murray said when it was intimated to the members of the Society that Mr Dugdale had consented to give this annual address, they all felt that the Society bad scored a distinct success, (applause). He would like to have the lecturer's opinion as to how far the Shropshires were suitable for the higher lands, and also on the question of crossing the Welsh sheep with the Shropshires or any other breed. Mr Dugdale, replying to Mr Davie", sa: I a man I who could countfsheep by the hundreds must be an extraordinary man, because he was one of a thousand. 1 Mr Davies said he did not think so, Mr Dugdale considered such a feat remarkable, adding that lie knew the Welsh farmers were excellent. As to shearing the sheep, there were still a few first class sbearers left, but by the old method sheep were much more cut than by the new. As regards Shropshires on higher lands, his father used to keep them when he (the speaker) first came into Wales. He found they took a great deal of feeding, and they did not grow to such a size as in the Severn Valley. They were always getting foot-rot, and required such a tremendous lot of feeding, that he took to the Welsh. Personally, he had found the Welsh do much better. They never got foot-rot, and wanted little or no feeding. In lambing time also all his ewes lambed in the open, while the Shrop- shires had to be taken in. All his neighbours crossed their sheep with Shropshires. He had tried it, but found, with his class of Welsh sheep, he did as well without crossing. Mr F. R. Roberts asked whether Mr Dugdale reared only Welsh sheep. Mr Dugdale replied that he reared no other breed. Mr Lloyd-Lewis asked what would the lecturer consider the average weight of a lamb fit for the butcher to kill at the end of the season in July or August. Mr Dugdale said at Owestry he showed three wether yearlings that averaged 160 lbs. a piece. Mr Jones proposed, and Mr Price seconded, a hearty vote of thanks to the lecturer, and this was carried with enthusiasm. Professor Alan Murray informed Mr Dugdale that the Society had done him the greatest honour they could, viz., elected him an honorary member of the Society. Mr Dugdale in acknowleding the vote of thanks and his appointment as honorary member, extended an invitation to the members of the Society to visit his farm and inspect the stock.—The meeting then terminated. Previous to the above meeting, a business meet- ing was held uti Wednesday evening, when the report of the general committee—including reports of treasurer, general and local secretaries, and out- committees-was received and adopted. The treasurer's report showed a balance of £7 12s 4td, and in the general secretary's report it was stated that all the County Councils had favourably received the representations made by the Society in favour of granting scholarships for the advanced short course at the College; the number of members on the books last year was 174, and 32 new members have joined; 78 experiments on grass, roots, and potatoes were carried out by members of the Society as followsBreconshire, 4; Carmarthenshire, 34; Cardiganshire, 24; Merioneth, 7; Montgomery, 4; Pembrokeshire, 1; Staffordshire, 4. The reports of local secretaries showed that local meetings had been held in Merionethshire, Montgomeryshire, Breconshire, and Carmarthenshire, and that the Cardigan- shire members bad paid a visit to Mr Morgan Richardson's farm at Cardigan, where they were very well received and afterwards entertained to dinner by him at the Angel Hotel The following were elected vice-presidents for the year Prof D. Morgan Lewis, Prof Edward Edwards, Mr Charles Barnett, Staffordshire; and Mr G. J. Davies, Penlan, Carmarthenshire. Mr Marshall Dugdale, Mr John Jones, Llandudno; and Mr H. Jones Davies, Carmarthen, were elected hon- orary members. It was resolved to add to the present list a competition in sheep fattening, and a committee was appoin- ted to draft the regulations, which will be published in the transactions. It was also resolved in future to hold two general meetings yearly-one at the College in December, and the other in the country in May or June—and that the summer meeting this year be held at uardiff on the occasion of the Royal Agricultural Society's Show. It was afco agreed to ask the readers of papers at the general and sectional meetings to hand over the papers to the general secretary for circulation amongst the members, and to publish a list of the available papers in the transactions. At the morning meeting on Thursday it was resolved to congratulate the following members (old students of the College) on their recent uppeint ments Mr John Roberts, Perferddnant, Merioneth, to be lecturer on agriculture in University College, Bangor: Mr David Thomas, Maeslly, Cardiganshire, temporary extension lecturer on Agriculture for Bangor College Mr A. Hopwood, Madely, Staffordshire, farm manager to the Cheshire Dairy Institute, Worleston. Reference was also made by Professor Murray to the loss which the Society had sustained through the death of John Derville, who had been serving with the Imperial Yeomanry in South Africa, and it was resolved, on the proposition of Mr S. Blore, to send a message of sympathy and condolence to his parents. The awards of the adjudicators in the Society's competitions were then announced as follows:—The Society's medal for the best essay to Mr Walter Williams, Brongaer, Llansadwrn, Car- marthenshire the challenge cup for the best root crop, won for Carmarthenshire by G. J. Davies, Penlan, Lampeter, who also was awarded the prize for the most interesting exhibit—a simple divise for trapping turnip flies; the prize for the most rapidly fattened beast to Mr O. A. Hopwood, Madely, Staffordshire. Mr Williams was then called upon to read his paper on The Farmer's Needs," which proved to be of a very interesting character, and was afterwards discussed by Professsor Murray and others, particularly in regard to co-operation. On Thursday evening, the annual dinner was held at the Lion Hotel, when eighty-one members gathered together, presided over by Mr Murray. After the covers bad been removed, a short speech was made by the Chairman, after which followed a programme of songs and recitations, with which the time passed very happily, until two o'clock, when the meeting concluded with the singing of God save the King," and Hen wlad fy nbadau."

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