A perfect cow ought to have a broad forehead, black eyes, large clean horns, a long thin skin, a large deep belly ; strong muscular thighs, round legs, broad feet, short joints, and a white large udder with four teats. The use of this animal is equally important for the dairy, and the propagation of its species. For the former purpose, the Al-derney breed of red cows is generally preferred, as they are supposed to yield the best milk ; though the quantity they produce greatly depends upon the nature and quality of their food.
Grass growing spontaneously on good, sound, meadow land, is in general deemed the most proper nutriment for those cows which are kept for the supply of the dairy. When, however, other green food cannot be procured, the and tenderest parts of furze may be chopped, bruised, and given to them. It is affirmed that this vegetable is greatly superior to fodder; as it increases their milk, without imparting any unpleasant flavour. Carrots, oil-cake, cabbages, turnips, potatoes, and bur-net (see vol. i. p. 459), are excellent provision, acid well calculated to afford beneficial winter-food for this useful animal.
The proper periods for milking cows, during the summer season, if they are well fed, are three every day, at the least, and at intervals as nearly equi-distant as possible, namely, in the morning, at noon, and in the evening, just before the approach of night. We are well aware that such practice is not ge-nerally followed in England, the cows being milked twice only in 24 hours : this method, however, is against all the rules of good economy ; for experience has amply evinced, that if a cow be milked three times a day, she will yield a greater quantity, and as good, if not better milk, than by desiring her teats only twice, namely, in the morning and evening. We are, therefore, induced to recommend this circumstance to the attention of our agricultural readers; for, if by the bad milking of their cows, they lose only half a pint in quantity, they in fact are deprived of as much cream as six or eight pints would produce at the beginning of the operation, together with that part of the cream, which alone can impart a rich and agreeable flavour to butter.
Every precaution ought to be taken in the choice of milkers. When this manual work is roughly performed, it becomes painful to the cow ; but if a soft hand be gently applied, the animal seems rather to receive pleasure, and allows the milk to flow plentifully ; as she possesses the singular faculty of retaining or parting with her milk. Indeed, instances have frequently occurred, in which one dairy-maid could not obtain a single drop, but another drew the milk in abundance, and without the least difficulty. For the same reason, when cows are ticklish (as farmers express it), they should be treated with the most soothing gentleness, and never with harshness or severity. If the udder be hard and painful, it should be tenderly fomented with luke-warm water, and gently rubbed, in order to bring the creature into a good temper.— Thus, she will suffer the milk to flow without restraint; whereas, if she retain, and not allow it to be drawn off freely, it will prevent her from yielding the accummulated quantity, and eventually dry up her udder. When a cow has been milked for a series of years, and begins to grow old, the most advantageous mode that canbe adopted, will be that of making her dry. To effect this purpose, a correspondent, in the 21st vol. of Annals of Agriculture, directs six ounces of white resin to be well pulverized, and dissolved in the evening in a quart of water; and at the same time to house the cow. On the following morning, she should be bled and milked, when the liquid is to be administered, and the animal turned out info the best grass. After these preparatory measures, she ought no longer to be milked, but may be fattened with any of the vegetables already pointed out, under the articles Black Cattle, Bullocks, and Cattle.
With regard to the cows intended for breeding, care should be taken to select those which give abundance of milk. For about three months previously to calving, if in the spring, they should be turned into sweet grass; or, if it happen in the winter, they ought to be well fed with the best hay. The day and night after they have calved, they should be kept in the house, and no cold, but luke-warm, water allowed for their drink. On the next day, about noon, they may be turned out, yet regularly taken in during the night, for three or four successive days ; after which they may be left to themselves. Every night, the cows thus housed should be kept till the morning cold is dissipated, and a draught of warm water given them previously to their going to the field. Without this precaution, they would be apt to slip their calves ; an accident which, independently of the loss it occasions, cannot fail to weaken them considerably. Where this is the case, and a cow begins to grow old, the most experienced farmers generally cause her to be spayed; and after keeping her two or three weeks from the cold, turn her into pasture. Such practice, if propor-ly attended to, may be of considerable advantage, as the cows thus, treated will thrive exceedingly, and soon be fit for sale.
Having already mentioned the advantages of soiling and sweating (see vol. i. p. 463), we shall only add here, that in the management of cows, a warm stable is highly necessary ; and if they be curried in the same manner as horses, they not only receive pleasure, but will give their milk more freely. Farther, cows should always be kept clean, laid dry, and have plenty of good water to drink ; in consequence of which, they will produce both more milk, and afford a quantity of rich dung, that will amply repay the trouble and attention bestowed upon them.
Cows are liable, in common with other cattle, to the Distem-per (which see), and various other diseases (see Cattle), but more particularly to a stoppage, that o casions the feces to dry up in the intestine, vulgarly called farthing-bound; or, perhaps, with more propriety, knit ; for, by the motion of the intestines, one of them, or part of it, is surrounded with a strong ligament, which totally im-pedes the passage, and adheres to the inside of the loin. Animals af-fected with this malady, loath their food, and frequently move their hind-legs inwardly, and up towards their bellies. The only remedy at present known is, to throw them on the ground, and make an incision in the flank, wide enough to admit the hand : thus the operator will immediately find the ligament, which must be separated with the thumb-nail; when the intestine will be released, and return to its proper position. The incision may then be sewn up ; and the animal will in a short time completely recover. Although the disorder here described, is at present chiefly prevalent in the weald of Kent, and in the adjacent parts of Sussex ; yet we apprehend it is not confined solely to those places, and have therefore discussed it with some attention; which may, perhaps, tend to restore to health many useful animals.
External injuries done to the udder of a cow, by blows, falls, friction, wounds inflicted with sharp or pointed instruments, by the violent sucking of calves, or the rough treatment of milkers, are frequently of serious consequence, and occasion the milk to be tainted with blood. While the inflammation continues in an indolent state, the parts affected should be anointed several times a day with fresh butter, or a salve prepared of one ounce of Castile soap dissolved in a pint and half of fresh Cows-milii over a moderate fire, stirring it constantly, to form a complete mixture. But, if the udder and teats be considerably inflamed, it will be necessary to make use of internal remedies. For this purpose, take one pound of common salt, and four ounces of salt-petre, mix them carefully, and give two table-spoonfuls of the powder, every three hours, in a gallon of water mixed up with a little oatmeal.
Should, however, from neglect, the disorder have made such progress as to exhibit hard tumors, in this case fomentations, made of the following herbs, ought to be used: Take of common hemlock, or couium maculatum ; dwarf, or small-flowered mallow, or malva rotundifolia; common melilot, or trifo/ium melilot. ojffic.; of each one handful; boil them in a sufficient quantity of water; apply them diligently, not warmer than the animal can bear it; and, as soon as a tumor opens, the sore should be properly cleansed, and then covered with a plaster of basilicon ointment, or Turner's cerate.
To promote the cure of such ulcerated parts, especially in very obstinate cases, we recommend another remedy, which has often been attended with success: Take Castile soap, gum ammoniac, gum galbanum, and extract of hemlock, one ounce of each; form them into eight bolusses, and administer one of them every morning and evening.
Lastly, to prevent cows from sucking their own milk, we are informed, that rubbing the teats frequently with the most fetid cheese that can be procured, has proved an effectual remedy.