From a paper read by C. M. Winslow, Brandon, Vt., before the Ayrshire Breeders, at their annual meeting, in Boston, Feb. 4, 1885:
Sometimes we meet with breeders whose only aim in their stock seem to be to produce animals that shall be entitled to registry. To such I have little to say, as their work is comparatively easy, and has but few hindrances to success; but to those breeders who are possessed of an ideal type of perfection, which they are striving to impress upon their stock, I have a few words to say upon the hindrances they may find in the way of satisfactory results. It is a law of nature that the offspring resembles some one or more of its ancestors, not only in the outward appearance, but in the construction of the vital organism and mental peculiarities, and is simply a reproduction, with the accidental or intentional additions that from time to time are accumulating as the stock passes through the hands of more or less skillful breeders.
The aim of the breeder is to not only produce an animal which shall in its own person possess the highest type of excellence sought, but shall have the power to transmit to its offspring those qualities of value possessed by himself. A breeder may, by chance, produce a superior animal, or it may be the result of carefully laid plans and artfully controlling the forces of nature and subjecting them to his will.
It is comparatively easy to accidentally produce an animal of value, but to steadily breed to one type is the test of the skill of the breeder and the value of his stock. However well he may lay his plans, or however desirable his stock may appear, his ability to perpetuate their desirable qualities will depend upon the prepotence of the animals, and this prepotence depends, to a great extent, upon the length of the line in which the stock has been bred with one definite end in view. A man may, in his efforts to breed stock excelling in a certain line, produce stock that shows excellence in other qualities, but this will not compensate for a deficiency in the qualification he is attempting to impress, nor is it safe to breed from any animal that does not show, in a marked degree, those desired qualities.
There is one qualification without which there can be no success, and that is a sound, healthy constitution, with good vital organs and vigorous digestion; and any amount of success in other directions will not compensate for lack of constitution, and disappointment is always sure to attend the breeder who does not guard this, the foundation of all success....
The very finest type of breeding and surest plans of success may be entirely defeated by improper feed and care. A valuable herd may be entirely ruined by a change of food and care; for those conditions which have conspired to produce a certain type must be continued, or the type changes, it may be for the better or it may be for the worse, since stock very readily adapt themselves to their surroundings; and it is just here that so many are disappointed in buying blood stock from a successful breeder; for a successful breeder is necessarily a good feeder and a kind handler, and stock may give good results in his hands, and, if removed to starvation and harshness, quickly degenerate. So, too, stock that has been bred on poor pasturage will readily improve if transplanted to richer pastures and milder climate.
Therefore he who would prove himself an artist in moulding his herd at will, must not only bring together into his herd many choice lines of goodness, but must ever seek, by kind treatment and good care, to change their qualities for the better, and by right selection and careful breeding so impress these changes for the better as to make them hereditary. If this course is persistently adhered to, the stock will gradually improve, retaining the good qualities of the ancestry, and developing new ones, generation by generation, under the hand of the artist breeder.