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w FIELD AND FARM. (From the "Agricultural Gwette.") THE WINTER FEEDING OF DAIRY COWS. The growing demand of town populations for the supply of milk (writes J. D.") at all times of the year causes in every successive year large numbers of contracts to be entered into by farmers for the winter as well as summer supply of milk to merchants. The impression is very general that it is more profitable to sell milk direct, rather than to make butter and cheese from it; and whether this be always so or not, it is a great convenience to be able to get rid of it daily. Hence the general desire on the part of farmers to make contracts whenever it be possible to do so at all advantageously, although the necessity ia devolved thereby of their having as many cows in profit in winter as in summer. Although in olden times the spring was universally considered to be the legitimate calving season, it was only the convenience of those who made butter and cheese that caused it to be so. Then as now ae many cows would have calved in autumn as spring, if they had been permitted to do so, or if Nature had been allowed to have her own way. Conse- quently farmers who enter into the new order of things have only one difficulty to grapple with, this being how to provide sufficient succulent food for their milch cows in winter when grass, the cheapest milk producer, is invariably almost, if not entirely unprocurable. Agricultural chemists profess to help farmers out of it by assuring them that if they only supply the necessary albuminoids and carbo- hydrates in sufficient quantities in dry foods, their cows will yield milk as abundantly thereon as when having in summer a full supply of grass. This may be so if the dry fodder be made sufficiently palatable and digestible, which brings on the tapis the reflec- tion that, if the matter be treated scientifically, phy- siology has quite as much to do with it as chemistry. But the farmer knows that relying principally on cake or meals, or other auxiliary feeding stuffs, for the winter feeding of his cows involves a heavy ex- penditure, consequently he'perceives it to be to his in- terest still to make the natural produce of the farm supply the food as much as possible, and only to rely on auxiliary feeding stuffs to the extent of supplying the albuminoids and carbo-hydrates wanting in the ordinary fodder. In doing this he acts right for another reason besides the economical one. The cow's stomach requires bulk of dietary as badly as her lacteal function demands quality, and unless the cow's internal organic system be kept in healthy play by enabling her to fill her stemach whenever inclined to do so, she would be unable to sustain her milk supply on ample albuminoids and carbo-hydrates in a concentrated form. Thus, while chemistry de- mands quality in the winter diet of cows, physiology just as strenuously insists on bulk and suitability. The crucial point is therefore the best natural food of the farm for dairy cows in winter, and by best ia implied the most relishable and agreeable to the in- ternal organic functions, as well as the most econo- mical. Quality can always be added easily to the extent they prove deficient in nutriment. For farmers occupying mostly grass lands, and very little arable, there can be no question about silage being by far the best, because the most akin to grass and being in- variably found practically to promote lacteal secre- tion far more effectively than hay, the only other natural food to fall back upon. Silage is also more digestible, no less than more agreeable to cows than hay, consequently it is only reasonable that there should be as much of this food produced as possible in those cases in which few roots can be grown. EveD in fine summers when it is easy to make hay cheaply, there should be every endeavour to stack enough grass for silage to enable a small portion to be given to the milk-yielding cows throughout winter, some succulent element in the dietary appearing to be so very essential. Almost every autumn it would be possible for grass-land farmers to collect and utilise sufficient coarse grass and weeds, which would otherwise be wasted, to provide a considerable quantity of silage for winter use. As Mr. Clare Sewell Read advised, after the severe drought summer of 1893, not only should the blotches of grass rejected by the cows in summer be pared up for the purpose, and similar coarse grass underneath trees or in the paths of woods be cut and collected, but the trimmings of banks and of hedges, and even weeds from rhynes and ditches. Such greenstuff, however distasteful to cattle in a raw state, becomes not merely relish- able but positively delicious after undergoing fer- mentation in the ensilage stack. As the human taste turns with aversion against the potato when raw, but accepts it eagerly after being cooked, pre- cisely similar will it be found in respect to nettles, thistles, flags, and numerous other weeds which are perfectly repulsive to stock ere being ensiled, which makes them absolutely delicious. On arable and mixed arable and pasture farms there are almost always abundant supplies of two products which utilised together make excellent winter food, so far as bulk is concerned. These are roots and straw, which by the former being pulped and the latter chaffed, for the chaff and pulp to be mixed together, get partially cooked by fermentation, this improving the properties of both. A grateful aroma always is imparted to straw by fermentation, and it is rendered more digestible either through that agency or by steaming or cooking. The latter seems almost indispensable for the straw of beans, the nutritive properties of which are so superior to those of the straw of the cereals that it seems worth while to adopt that costly way of making them soluble and the substance digestible. But there are other arable crops besides roots which are available to be grown for utilisation in winter. Cabbage in many districts of the South- west and Midlands may be made to serve the object up to Christmas, and in South Devon and Cornwall the Flatpole stands severe frost, and is given to stock throughout winter. Kale, although so extensively grown for the wintering of sheep, has not been used as much yet as it deserves to be for dairy cows; yet kale would make a valuable substitute for cabbage all through the dead season, after these have been consumed. Kohl-rabi is also an admirable milk pro- ducer, and might be grown far more extensively than at present for the winter feeding of dairy cows. Gorse has also teen well proved to be a crop deserving far greater appreciation than it receives at present, for the provision of cheap green fodder for milking cows in winter. POULTRY NOTES. Winter eggs for the farmer and winter eggs for the fancier are managed (observes" R. T.") in very different ways. The farmer wants them to sell and the fancier to sit. In both cases it is the moderately early-bred pullets that will help to fill the egg basket. Where anything like a systematic business is going to be made of it, a warm breakfast of smasbed small potatoes, offal meat, and a little meal, say, heated up overnight in an outhouse copper, makes an excellent preparation. This, how- ever, is by no means essential; ordinary boiled wheat given just warm is easily digested. It must be remembered that fowls at liberty have a chance of getting far more variety of food, both animal and vegetable, than those that are confined in small runs. The cpmmon practice, and one hard to beat at this time of year, is to give soft food in the morning and hard grain at night. When the weather is fine, scatter the food far and wide, and not in the same place every day. If the day is wet feed the meal in troughs, and the grain as suggested in the above paragraph under cover. The time is not altogether wasted in watching the birds feed. Not only will a certain quantity of food be saved that would other- wise go to something that is not poultry, but some of the more weakly fowls will be given a chance. In this comparatively slack time the house should certainly be seen to, and have a thorough clean out. Have everything made so that it can be taken out easily, perches, nest-boxes, and all. Shovel out all the manure (this if put on thin enough makes an excellent garden dressing). Then, after having swept down the sides and roof, go for a limewash throughout the interior. A little paraffin or carbolic iicid or tlb. of dissolved soft soap to every gallon of the limewash will make a good disinfectant. Several parasites, such as the red mite, attack fowls at night, living in the crevices and cracks of the house in the day time, and it is these we want to get at. A fowl examined in daylight and passed as being com- paratively clean, if picked up late direct off the Eerch, may be found swarming with vermin. The ouse should be light—fowls hate darkness—well ventilated at or near the top of the roof, and free from direct draught striking the birds. There will probably be a few more spare cockerels and pullets rather late hatched still on hand. If big enough, by all means shut them up and feed on ground oats, barley meal, and maize meal for a few weeks, and let them be sold. Athough, turkeys and geese naturally hold the simy at Christmas time. vet there is always some trade for fat fowls. The old birds ought to have been cleared out some time ago. The yard now should consist of stock pullets, care- fully selected males and young growing birds, which must be sold as soon as big enough. It is sometimes advisable to keep back a few late pullets, as these will commence to lay soon after the others have finished; but what we chiefly want to see is every- thing either growing into money or producing a profit in the shape of eggs.







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