Small Beef Cattle Farm


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Cattle Selection Guide in 1864

  Image shown below illustrates the points of cattle and they are more fully described in the article presented below. Please keep in mind that this was written in 1864. Some of the points may carry a little different description today but most are still a part of the good judgement practiced today in any Cattle Selection Guide for the Beef Cattle Industry.

Cattle Points and description of Points of Cattle

    Whatever theoretical objections may be raised against over-fed cattle, and great as may be the attempts to disparage the mountains of fat, as highly-fed cattle are sometimes designated, there is no doubt of the practical fact, that the best butcher cannot sell any thing but the best fatted beef; and of whatever age, size, or shape a half-fatted ox may be, he is never selected by judges as fit for human food. Hence, a well-fatted animal always commands a better price per pound than one imperfectly fed, and the parts selected as the primest beef are precisely the parts which contain the largest deposits of fat. The rump, the crop, and the sirloin, the very favorite cuts, which always command from twenty to twenty-five per cent. more than any other part of the ox, are just those parts on which the largest quantities of fat are found; so that, instead of the taste and fashion of the age being against the excessive fattening of animals, the fact is, practically, exactly the reverse. Where there is the most fat, there is the best lean; where there is the greatest amount of muscle, without its share of fat, that part is accounted inferior, and is used for a different purpose; in fact, so far from fat's being a disease, it is a condition of muscle, necessary to its utility as food, a source of luxury to the rich, and of comfort to the poor, furnishing a nourishing and healthy diet for their families.

  Fattening is a secretive power which grazing animals possess, enabling them to lay by a store of the superfluous food which they take for seasons of cold or scarcity. It collects round the angular bones of the animal, and gives the appearance of rotundity; hence the tendency to deposit fat is indicated, as has been stated, by a roundness of form, as opposed to the fatness of a milk-secreting animal. But its greatest use is, that it is a store of heat-producing aliment, laid up for seasons of scarcity and want. The food of animals, for the most part, may be said to consist of a saccharine, an oleaginous, and an albuminous principle. To the first belong all the starchy, saccharine, and gummy parts of the plants, which undergo changes in the digestive organs similar to fermentation before they can be assimilated in the system; by them also animal heat is sustained. In indolent animals, the oily parts of plants are deposited and laid up as fat; and, when vigor and strength fail, this is taken up and also used in breathing to supply the place of the consumed saccharine matter. The albuminous, or gelatinous principle of plants is mainly useful in forming muscle; while the ashes of plants, the unconsumable parts, are for the supply, mainly, of bone, hair, and horn, but also of muscle and of blood, and to supply the waste which continually goes on.

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