Black Cattle, among graziers, denotes all the larger kinds of domestic animals which contribute to our support or convenience; such as oxen, cows, horses, etc. As these will be respectively treated of in their proper order, we shall, therefore, at present, state only the essential properties of a perfect breed of Hack cattle, designed for the purposes of the dairy, as laid down by Mr. Marshall :
1. The head small and clean, to lessen the quantity of offal. 2. The neck thin and clean, to lighten the fore-end, as well as to lessen the collar, and make it sit close and easy to the animal in work. 3.The carcass large, the chest deep, and the bosom broad, with the ribs standing out full from the spine; to give strength of frame and constitution, and to allow sufficient room for the intestines within the ribs. 4. The shoulders should be light of bone, and rounded off at the lower point, that the collar may be easy, but broad, to give strength; and well covered with flesh, for the greater ease of draught, as well as to furnish a desired point in fattening cattle. 5. The back ought to be wide and level throughout; the quarters long; the thighs thin, and standing narrow at the round bone; the udder large when full, but thin and loose when empty, to hold the greater quantity of milk; with large dug-veins to fill it, and long elastic teats for drawing it off with greater ease. 6. The legs (below the knee and hock) straight, and of a middle length ; their bone, in general, light and clean from fleshiness, but with the joints and sinews of a moderate size., for the purposes of strength and activity. 7. The flesh ought to be mellow in the state of fleshiness, and firm in the state of fatness. 8. The hide mellow, and of a middle thickness, though, in our author's opinion, this is a point not yet well determined.
Black cattle, as well as horses, have been observed to thrive better in salt-marshes, than in fresh-water meadows, or upland pastures ; and it has been conjectured, that the herbs produced by the lands near the sea, are more healthy for herbaceous animals, than such as grow on higher lands. But it is said, that the saline particles with which the earth, as well as its produce near the sea, is strongly impregnated, occasions this beneficial change in the condition of cattle; as these salts purge away the foul humours which the beasts have Contracted, either by idleness, or by being over-heated in labour. As cattle are naturally fond of salt, and, if left at their liberty, will take no more of it than what is conducive to their health, it is recommended to lay common sea-salt in the fields, for them to lick as often as they please. - See Salt.