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Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland
On the Polled Angus or Aberdeen Breed of Cattle


ON THE POLLED ANGUS OR ABERDEEN BREED OF CATTLE, AND THE MEANS THAT HAVE BEEN OR MIGHT BE USED FOR ITS IMPROVEMENT.

By Thomas Farrall, Aspatria, Carlisle.
[Premium—Ten Sovereigns.]

Introduction.

The past quarter of a century has seen important changes in the agriculture of Great Britain. Twenty-five years ago, the object of the British farmer was to cultivate as much grain as possible, for this was the staple of the people's food, and the ultima thule of the grower's ambition. Since then, the population of both England and Scotland has increased; commerce and manufactures have extended; and the position of the working classes has been considerably ameliorated. Once the cry was for bread; now the constant call is for bread and meat, or rather, we should say, for meat and bread. The bulk of our bread stuffs is now imported from the fine grain-producing countries, where, during the growing season, fierce and uninterrupted sunshine almost exclusively prevails. Against such favoured lands the farmers of Britain, with their low summer temperature and variable climate, have little chance of competing, and heavily-freighted vessels are hitherward bound at all seasons of the year, in order to supply our markets with those important commodities we can no longer grow entirely for ourselves. Butchers' meat, once regarded as a luxury among the working classes, is at the present time looked upon as a necessary, and forms a part of their everyday diet. With respect to the import of animal food, all attempts have hitherto resulted in partial or entire failure, [Since the above was written, the American beef trade has sprung up, but whether it will have a lasting effect remains to be proved. ] so that the community of meat-consumers must look to the farmer at home to supply their requirements. This is the cause why beef and mutton have been enhanced so much in value—rates being almost double what they were twenty-five, or even twenty years ago. In order to keep pace with the times in which they live, agriculturists of almost every degree have drifted in either to mixed farming, or exclusive stocking. Flocks of sheep have multiplied; cattle-breeding, rearing, and feeding have been more industriously prosecuted, and many sorts of extraneous feeding substances introduced, with the view of furthering the desired object, namely, the early maturity and rapid development of stock. With this brief notice of the marked agricultural changes which have occurred within the experience of the present generation of farmers, we pass on to the subject of our report— the polled Angus or Aberdeen breed of cattle. The rapid rise in the price of butchers' meat could not fail to arouse the breeders of the black skins to greater exertion, for they are alike noted for hardihood, early maturing qualities, firmness of flesh, and being capable of converting a minimum amount of farm produce into a maximum quantity of animal food for the support of the great human population. The breed has, therefore, of late years, got into the good graces of graziers and cattle-feeders, who generally have an eye to the financial aspect of the question, and is not only supplanting other less-favoured cattle upon the soil which gave it birth, but is also gradually gaining preponderance over the native cattle in the districts adjoining.

The Home of the Race.

We have already intimated that the polled Angus or Aberdeen tribe is rapidly extending the breadth of its territory. It is now no longer confined to the shires of Forfar and Aberdeen, where it had its origin—if confined be a proper term to use in speaking of such an extensive tract of country—but the breed exists largely in Kincardine, Banff, Moray, and perhaps Nairn. A few solitary herds are also to be found dotted over various parts of Scotland, but not to the extent we should like to see them, for we feel confident they would answer better in many high-lying districts than the bovine race which presently inhabit them. The six counties lying in the north-east of Scotland, which we have already named, form the district in which the polls are chiefly reared. A line drawn from Fort George on the Moray Firth to Dundee on the Firth of Tay, constitutes the south-western geographical limit; on the north and east, the ocean is the boundary line. The district thus defined forms a large isosceles triangle having for its base the north coast, and Dundee for its apex; the entire area embraced by the triangle being 2,857,968 acres. Of this 1,226,558 acres are regularly under cultivation; two-fifths being under corn crops, principally oats, with a moderate amount of barley and very little wheat; one-fifth under green crops, chiefly turnips; and the remaining two-fifths being occupied by grasses under rotation. The uncultivated portion consists of high mountain chains, large stretches of moor and morass, and extensive plantations. Some of the mountain peaks rise to a considerable altitude. Thus it will be seen that the land to which the breed is indigenous, or that to which it has in recent years extended, is exceedingly diversified, varying in character from well-sheltered valleys to bleak and barren moors, or from comparatively low grounds to high mountain peaks, rising almost to the height of perpetual snow.

The following shows the number of cattle within the district in each year since the publication of the agricultural returns issued by the Board of Trade:—

The increase in the number of cattle during the past ten years has been remarkably steady, being 79,114 in the aggregate, or an uprise of 33 per cent. These figures are sufficient testimony that there has been no apathy on the part of the farmers in this part of Scotland, and it may safely be said that the improvement in the individual character of the stock has been quite as marked as that in the numbers. How many of the 319,000 cattle owe their parentage on both sides to the polled race would, in the absence of statistics bearing directly on the point, be difficult to say, but it is beyond dispute that a considerable proportion belongs to the type under notice and its crosses. In addition, there is still a somewhat large number of the native horned breed in the. high-lying lands; here and there a herd of shorthorns and their affinities; a few West Highlanders; a sprinkling of Ayrshires; and a wonderful display of mongrels. Saving shorthorns, where a pure herd is kept as at Sittyton, and a few sires for crossing purposes, the black skin is gradually encroaching on the domain of every other race, and bids fair in time to become the principal, if not the sole breed in this part of the

"Land of brown heath and shaggy wood."

Being an intermediate race between the mountain types and those of the richer plains, Doddies thrive well, for a healthy constitution and a disposition to fatten early seem to be as much the special characteristics of the polled Angus or Aberdeen, as is a heavy-milking propensity of the neat little Aryshire: hardihood and aptitude to withstand extreme privation of the majestic West Highlander; or, the capability to adapt itself to any country or climate of the valuable shorthorn.

Distinguishing Features.

Polled Angus or Aberdeen cattle, both masculine and feminine, are pleasing objects to the eye, inasmuch as they are finely and symmetrically made, are graceful in movement, have good con- , stitutions, and are yielding to the touch. The modern poll is much improved in appearance over its ancestors of the beginning of the present century. This has been attained by the care exercised by breeders in the selection of useful sires, and catering for those points which breeders call "good," and which now stamp the genuine type. Altogether there are few if any breeds which for general usefulness could compete successfully with the black skins in their native districts, being well adapted to the climatic and physical character of the country and the mixed system of farming practised therein. Belonging partially to the high-lands and partially to the level plains, the race is eminently calculated to thrive in a country diversified by mountain-chains and well-cultivated fields. Possessed of hardihood sufficient to enable it to withstand the asperities of a varied climate, the poll is the animal par excellence for northerly and exposed situations, as it has a disposition to thrive and fatten upon the produce of the fields with little or no artificial food, and when ripe for the butcher is a splendid weigher, bringing down the scales against apparently much larger animals of other breeds. This proves that it is not height that constitutes size, but length, width, depth and solidity of flesh. The chief points or characteristics of a well-bred polled Angus or Aberdeen bull are:—A nicely formed head well put on; eyes bright and prominent, and a good breadth between them; a clean throat and sweet muzzle, with not too great a distance from eye to nose; a high poll, and ears moderately sized. The neck should be long, clean, and somewhat full on the top; shoulders broad, but joining without abruptness to both neck and chin; the chest deep and expansive; the legs somewhat short, clean-boned, and supporting the body firmly. The back level and straight; ribs nicely sprung; barrel deep and full behind the shoulders, ensuring a large girth: well ribbed home towards the hooks, which should be level and moderately wide apart, but not too broad for the other proportions; and evenly fleshed to the tail. The twist full and long; well-fleshed but not protruding behind; the tail of medium thickness and hanging straight down.

The head of the cow ought to have a more elongated shape and feminine aspect than that of the bull; the ears of good size: the neck clean, straight, and well put on, with neither abrupt hollow where it joins the shoulders, nor prominence on the top; and the shoulder thinner and sharper on the summit than in the male.

In short, the head is fine, as becomes both sexes; the carcase round and low; the legs short, and the shoulder in keeping with the other parts.

The skin should be soft and pliant to the touch, and covered with a luxuriant crop of silky hair. When in motion, truly-bred animals have an easy, springy, and stylish action. The colour is mostly black, though occasionally animals of great purity are met with of a brindled cast; a few brown along the spine and around the muzzle; others again, of equally pure descent, have patches of white upon them. Black is the colour most breeders cultivate, although we have often found that the brindled and those with brown spines are capital milkers. It is therefore to be inferred that large indications of milk have their corresponding colours; notwithstanding this, milking families may be cultivated with care, and the jet black of fashion strictly adhered to.

The chief points in the breed have been summed up in the following rhyme:—

Annexed will be found in rhyming detail
The points to be seen in a polled Angus male.
The head should be stylish, and neatly set on,
And the distance from eye to the nose not too long;
Clean throat and sweet muzzle, bright prominent eyes,
With the poll pretty high, and ears of fair size.
The neck long and clean, somewhat full on the top;
The chest quite expansive, and deep in the drop;
The legs should be short, though not to an extreme,
Nor the shoulders too full to the eye ever seen;
The top free from sharpness, yet not over wide,
The back should be straight and level beside;
The ribs nicely sprung; a deep barrel as well
Ribbed close to the hooks, if he must excel.
The twist full and long, not protruding behind,
The tail of nice thickness, and clearly defined.
The hair soft and silky, below and above;
Skin mellow and yielding as a lady's kid glove;
Each part well developed, yet proportionate withal;
The gait light and graceful when leaving the stall.
The cow should not have the broadly-set head,
But one strictly feminine adorn her instead;
The neck well put on, straight, even, and clean,
With no abrupt hollow, neck and shoulder between,
The latter much thinner than that of the male,
A sign that she's sure to excel at the pail;
Jet black is the colour, that with breeders goes down,
Though a few polls are spotted and others are brown.

Such are the points of the improved breed at the present day, and such breeders are endeavouring to cultivate and fix upon their favourite type.

History of the Breed.

In order to trace the origin of the polled Angus or Aberdeen cattle, it will be necessary first of all to ascertain what descriptions of stock prevailed in the countries whose name they bear, previous to the era of improvement. Mr George Lumsden, Auquhorties, who is described by Mr M'Combie as " the greatest living authority on the subject, whose recollection goes back much farther than 1808, who was one of the few who first brought feeding to perfection in Aberdeenshire, and one of the best judges in Scotland," says—"Since my earliest recollection three-fourths of the cattle in Aberdeenshire were black and polled, and this was the original breed of the county. The celebrated breeders and feeders in the beginning of the present and end of the last century, viz:—Messrs Robert Walker, Wester Fintray; the Harveys, Bedlaston and Daneston; Mitchell of Fiddesbeg; Lumsden of Eggie; the Williamsons of St John's Wells, Bethelnie and Crichie, and Ardmurdo, and Captain Stoddart, bred and fed pure Aberdeens."

Three-fourths of a century ago Mr Lumsden himself bought stots two and a half years old for L.30 a head in spring, and sold them at Christmas at from L.40 to L.45. These statements at once guarantee that the Aberdeen stock was even then of no inferior order, for at that time figures as high as those we have quoted were rarely heard of in connection with the best bovine tribes. Mr Lumsden continues:—"The polled Aberdeenshire are the best of all the best yet produced, and had they got the same feeding which is now given to the shorthorns, would have surpassed anything I have seen in that class, and, moreover, I think the county would have sustained no loss although the shorthorn had never crossed the Dee."

Mr Lumsden may be speaking somewhat with the partiality of affection; nevertheless, this living testimony falling, as it does, from the lips of a thoroughly practical man, is of the utmost value in determining the position of the black skins as a commercial stock in Aberdeen at the beginning of the present century. His views are also in part confirmed by an account of the breed given in the history of the county published in 1811, which states that Aberdeen is a breeding county, and raises a larger number and value of black cattle than perhaps any other in Scotland. We also have it on undoubted authority that the polled breed were the almost exclusive inhabitants of the lower grounds, the horned types being chiefly confined to the high or hill districts. At Aikey Fair, early in the century, thousands of polled cattle were shown—not a horned beast to be seen; and so with many other important fairs. The merits of the best cattle will be understood by referring to the following weights extracted from the history of Aberdeen. W. Garden Campbell, Esquire of Troup, reared an ox that weighed 115 English stones, and sold eight stots at L.40 per head to Deacon Williamson, Aberdeen. Two Freemartins were killed in Aberdeen, which weighed respectively 1218 and 1030 Dutch lbs. and 7 stones 5 lbs., and 10 stones 17 lbs. of tallow,—the stone of tallow being 26 lbs. Dutch. Two oxen killed in Aberdeen, fed by a Mr Walker, brought down, avoirdupois weight, 1978 and 1976 lbs. These were fed solely on the produce of the farm, cake being then unknown.

The cattle of the county, even at this date, are described as having been much improved of late by crossing the most beautiful and best formed females with the purest males of the breed to which they belong. Moreover, we are informed from the same source, that the breeders of cattle endeavour to improve the size of the native stock by good keeping. These points are very important, and will serve to check an erroneous impression which at present prevails, namely, that the improved Aberdeen cattle were formerly horned. We have already alluded to the fact that there was a horned breed in Aberdeenshire at the time named, and we are also quite aware that the injudicious mixing of these with the polled breeds gave rise to every conceivable shape and colour of crosses. Therefore, horned cattle, possessing in other respects all the characteristics of polls, were quite common, and have doubtless led many into the error of supposing that the whole of the Aberdeen polled cattle were formerly horned. The original polls were generally fair milkers, and the dairy produce towards the end of last century was something considerable.

The history of Angus, published in 1813, gives some interesting particulars relative to the native cattle of that county. The permanent stock, we learn, constituted various breeds, which differed very much from each other, both in shape and quality. The report goes on to say, "that little attention is paid to the selection either of the males or females by whom the breed is propagated; and no pains have been taken to elicit a breed distinguished by any peculiar properties, either as a good milking or as a good fattening breed." The calves were not always carefully reared. Some farmers, with the view of economy, reared them on hay-tea, skim-milk, and the juice of boiled turnips, which rendered them feeble and paralytic. But the report must be taken generally and not exclusively. Many herds of black cattle were carefully reared even during the last quarter of the eighteenth century, and cases were not unfrequent of oxen whose four quarters exceeded 100 stones.

Thus much for the polled types of cattle which were to be found in Angus and Aberdeen early in the present century. And before proceeding to notice the race of improvement which for the past seventy years has been gradually going on, let us examine another point which crops up. . It is asserted by some breeders of the present day, that the Aberdeen cattle and those of Forfar originally constituted two separate and distinct tribes. In proof of this, they draw attention to the difference in the external appearances of the cattle. Though admitting a general resemblance, they point out what they term distinctive features, in the quality of the hair, thickness of the skin, length of ear, size of the animal, and other exterior variations, which, say they, stamp them as separate types. But it is well known what effect climatic influences, quality of soil, breeding, feeding, and general management have upon stock of the same blood when brought to bear upon it for successive generations, and therefore, what the claimants for two stamps of cattle call distinctive features, may have been entirely caused by a combination of influences such as we have particularized. Tor ourselves, we have never noticed any points in the unimproved cattle of the two districts which are irreconcileable, or which would be likely to lead an impartial observer to believe that they constitute two separate races.

To proceed a point further. It is now acknowledged on all hands that what we may call for convenience sake the two tribes have at length merged into one. The blending has certainly been happy in its effects; just what we might expect if the members of a large stock were separated and removed to different quarters, and after a considerable lapse of time again brought together and the blood intermingled.

The repeated crossing of distinctive tribes almost invariably results in deterioration; after the first cross the progeny become ill-proportioned and weedy.

We have introduced the last subject inter alia in order to show that if the polled cattle formerly represented two distinct or separate types, then the blending of the tribes—the co-mingling of the blood—has produced results at once satisfactory and exceptional.

With respect to improvement in the polled stock, the late Mr Hugh Watson, Keillor, has the well-merited honour accorded to him of being the first improver of polled Angus cattle. The nucleus of his herd consisted of six cows and a bull of the Angus type received from his father. Not satisfied with their merits, he bought ten of the nicest heifers and the best bull he could procure at the Trinity Muir, Brechin. This was in the year 1808, when the improvement may be said to have commenced. Afterwards the Keillor motto seems to have been—"Put the best to the best, regardless of affinity or blood." The herd is still well represented by that of Mr Ferguson, Kinnochtry, who has some very superior animals.

Improvers of the breed were, however, at work almost, if not quite, as early as Mr Watson, and therefore to them belongs no inconsiderable share of merit in bringing the doddies to perfection. The principal of them were:—Messrs Mustard of Leuch-land and Fithie; late Lord Panmure; late Mr Thomas Collier, Hatton; Sir James Carnegie; Earl of Southesk; Mr Fullarton, Ardestie; Mr Scott, Balwyllo; Mr Ferguson, Kinnochtry; Mr Buxton, Farnell; Mr Lyall, Arrat; Mr Whyte, Spott; Mr Goodlet, Bolshan; and last, but not least, the late Mr Bowie, father of the present Mr Bowie, Mains of Kelly.

For many years there has been a mutual interchange of cattle between the north and south districts, but Mr Bowie maintains that, before the time of rinderpest, the migration of animals northwards far exceeded those coming south. Mr Bowie himself has sent about a score of bulls, independent of cows and heifers, north within the past twenty-five years, four of them having been Highland Society's first prize takers, while in turn he has only had two bulls from the north fit for service.

However, as already stated, a mutual interchange of stock between Aberdeen and Angus has been going on for many years, and the finest strains of the two counties having thus been judiciously blended, birth has been given to a race of stock which is difficult—for meat-producing and early-maturing principles— to excel, and to which the appropriate title of polled Angus or Aberdeen cattle has been given.

Notes on Polled Herds.

Before describing a few of the leading herds of polled cattle, we may notice briefly that in Angus and Mearns there are fewer breeding stocks than there were a dozen years ago. Rinderpest made serious havoc in many a noble fold—as one owner remarked: "They (the cattle) were smitten as if with a passing breath." Still there are yet some fine herds between the Dee and the Spey, indeed, we believe that the black skins were never more numerously or better represented in that quarter than they now are. In many other districts they are gaining ground, and supplanting the native races. Within a very few years, however, death has removed some most ardent lovers of the breed Amongst these we may mention the names of Colonel Fraser of Castle Fraser, Mr Robert Walker, Portlethen; Mr George Brown, Westertown; Mr James Skinner, Drumin; and Mr Alexander Paterson, Mulben, all of whom were connoisseurs in the art of breeding, pioneers in the general improvement, and great admirers of the polled type of cattle. We have also to lament the loss of Mr Dingwall Fordyce, M.P.; Mr Morison of Bognie; Mr Arthur Glennie, Fernyflat; Mr John Collie, Ardgay; Mr Robert Hector, Montrose, and several others, who, although perhaps not so well known to fame as the names of Walker, Brown, and Paterson, which had become household words with pedigree breeders, were nevertheless cultivating the race with great care, and extending its usefulness and popularity over a large area of country. Some of the herds alluded to are still kept up to a high standard of perfection, while a few others have since been dispersed. Quite recently—in October last—the Mulben fold, which has, since the death of Mr Paterson, been under the management of Mr Sutor, Elgin, was disposed of, when 21 cows averaged L.40, 6s.; 15 heifers, L.30, 4s.; 9 heifer calves, L.23, 4s.; and 6 bull calves, L.20, 6s. Amongst the purchasers were the Earls of Aberdeen and Strathmore, Sir G. Macpherson Grant, Mr M'Combie of Tillyfour, and other well-known breeders of polls.

But while within the past six or eight years there have been a few herds dispersed, there has, on the other hand, been a great accession of noblemen, landed proprietors, and farmers to the list of breeders. Included are the names of the Marquis of Huntly; the Duke of Richmond and Gordon; the Earl of Aberdeen; the Earl of Seafield; Lord Lovat; Lord Clinton; Sir William G. Gordon Cumming, Bart. of Altyre; Mr Brodie, Lethen; Mr Walker, Geddes; Mr Forbes of Culloden; Mr T. L. M. Cartwright, Melville House, Ladybank; Mr Hamilton, Skene House; Mr. D. A, Pearson, Johnstone Lodge; Mr Grant, Methlic; Mr Hannay, Gavenwood; Mr Brooks, Cardney, Dunkeld; Mr Gwyer, Biallid; Mr M'Gregor, Kincraig; Mr Wilken, Waterside of Forbes; Mr Gordon, Tullochallum; Mr Farquharson of Banchor; Mr Keir of Kindrogan; Mr Small of Dirnenean, with several others. We likewise understand that the Earl of Strathrnore is presently establishing a herd at Glamis; and that another is being formed by the Hon. Baillie Hamilton, Langton, Dunse, for whom purchases were made at Shevado. A herd is also being commenced by Mr J. H. Bridges, younger of Fedderate. Mr Bridges bought a bull calf at Shevado, and he has just purchased, at a long price, two in-calf heifers from Mr Walker, Montbletton. These are of Mr Walker's Mayflower family, and were first as a pair at the Turriff show in 1876.

Most of the folds which have been in existence a few years comprise not only fine individual animals, but also magnificent families. We have been kindly favoured by some of the owners with particulars as to the origin, descent, &c, of their herds; these we give below in order to show the general management of this valuable breed.

1. The Tillyfour Herd.—As this now famous herd has often been described in newspaper articles and reports, and also by the owner himself at full length in a book entitled "Cattle and Cattle Breeders," we merely give a list of the principal bulls and cows used in the herd, from Mr M'Combie's own pen. " The following Aberdeen and Angus bulls have since 1832 been used extensively here, viz:—Monarch (44), Victor (46), Rob Roy Macgregor (267), Tam O' Shanter (491), Angus (45), Black Prince (366), Hanton (228), Derby (377), Jim Crow the 3d (769), Major of Tillyfour (509), President 4th (368), Bright (454), Gladstone of Tillyfour (458), Champion (459), The Chancellor (460), Remarkable (482), the Shah (680), &c.

"So much for the bulls; now as to the females. The first female of note was an Aberdeen cow, from the late Mr Wilson, Netherton of Clatt. (The cow that the late Mr Robert Scott, Balwyllo gained the first prize with at the Highland Society's show in 1847, and the first prize at Windsor in 1851, was bred at Tillyfour—her dam was Mr Wilson's cow.) The next was a celebrated first prize winner of the Highland Society, from Mr Walker, Montbletton—an Aberdeen cow. The third was another first prize winner, from the late Mr Watt, Rannieston—an Aberdeen cow. Then followed Duchess, from Castle Fraser, second prize, Royal Northern Agricultural Society's cow; Jenny Lind, from Mr Pirrie, Collethie, first prize Highland Society's heifer; Jane Ann and Princess, from Mr Ruxton, Farnell— Princess was a second prize cow at the Angus show; Anabella, from Mr Walker, Wester Fintray, first prize winner at Royal Northern Agricultural Society's show. Then came a first prize Highland Society cow and heifer from the late Colonel Dalgairns, of the Angus breed; the celebrated cow the Queen Mother (348), at the Ardestie sale, from Mr Fullerton, then a yearling heifer of the Angus breed; four heifers from the late Mr Scott, Balwyllo, of the Angus breed; three cows and heifers from Mr Bowie, Mains of Kelly—Angus cattle; four cows and heifers from Keillor; seven cows, the best of the herd, from the late Mr Collie, Ardgay—all pure Aberdeens; two from Easter Skene— Aberdeens; four cows and heifers from Mr Tayler of Glenbarry's sales—Aberdeens; two from the late Mr Brown of Westertown's sale; two from Mr Walker of Portlethen's sales; one from Mr Skinner of Drumin's sale; one from the Ballindalloch sale; two from the sale of Mr Barclay, M.P.; one from Mr Brown of Link-wood's sale at Morayston—all Aberdeens. By private bargain from Mr Reid, Baads, I bought the first and second Highland Society's yearling Aberdeen heifers at Inverness, and several cows and heifers from Mr Scott of East Tulloch. These have all been bought without reservation as to price. The above enumeration brings up the principal purchases since 1832 to the present time. It will thus be seen that the Aberdeen and Angus polled breeds are here blended together; and that not a single horned animal has been introduced into the herd."

The fold at Tillyfour we may say has few rivals, and its worthy owner has raised the black skins to a standard of excellence which redounds greatly to his credit.

2. The Mains of Kelly Herd.—Very few, if any, breeders of polled cattle have been more successful than Mr A. Bowie, Mains of Kelly. He avers that the breeding of black skins has been a labour of love with him for more than forty years; moreover, he was trained to the business, for his worthy father was one of the first improvers of the race, and was thus contemporary with the elder school of breeders.

The late Mr Bowie bought his first cow at Boysack, on the property of Mr H. A. F. Carnegie, of Spynie and Boysack, in 1810 or 1811. She was named Boysack; in colour was black with a little white on flank, and had a white udder. She was of large size, a fine milker, and thoroughly doddied. An offshoot from this cow produced Jenny (55) who produced Rosa of Kelly (828), and, by the help of Colonel of Ardestie (329), produced Cupbearer (59), than whom scarcely a better bull could be bred. When the property of Lord Southesk, who kept this favourite animal till he was ripe in age and honours, being eight or nine years old, his blood flowed freely into all the counties where Angus male blood was desired.

Such was the origin of the famous Mains of Kelly herd. Mr Bowie's method has been to breed in line from Panmure and Old Jock on the male side, and while he has always kept in sight the maxim " put the best to the best," he has done it judiciously, avoiding violent crossing. Although Mr Bowie has had the honour of owning such celebrated cows as Old Favourite, the dam of Angus (45), Queen Mother (348), Lola Montez (202), and Black Meg (11), yet their progeny have not come to the front in the showyard in past years equal to those from the old Mains of Kelly and West Scryne cows.

But rinderpest made sad havoc in the herd, only 21 being saved out of 93 head ! And yet Mr Bowie's lot was not so hard as that of some of his neighbour breeders, whose herds were completely stamped out.

Of late years, by perseverance and that consummate skill and judgment in selection and crossing which alone tend to satisfactory results, Mr Bowie has again raised his fold to the desired standard of excellence. We might say much more on the merits of this splendid herd, but we reserve further remarks until we come to speak of the rearing and general management of polled cattle.

3. The Ballindalloch Herd.—This fine old herd, the property of Sir George Macpherson Grant, Bart., presently numbers about 80 animals, and is one of the best managed in the district. In his book on "Cattle and Cattle Breeding," Mr M'Combie of Tillyfour wrote about ten years ago: "Perhaps the Ballindalloch herd of polled cattle are the oldest in the north. They have been the talk of the country since my earliest recollections, and were then superior to all other stock. The herd has been kept up to its wonted standard, and even raised higher by the present proprietor, by selection from the best herds in the kingdom." Early in the current century the herd at Ballindalloch had attained considerable repute; and Mr James Mackay, who was overseer upon the estate for forty-one years, well remembers how superior the stock was when he undertook charge of it in 1835. There was then no herd-book of black polls, the first being issued in 1862, but many breeders had nevertheless become fully alive to the superior character of the black skins. Sir John Macpherson Grant, father of the present baronet, paid much attention to his herd. An old catalogue shows that in 1850 he purchased, at somewhat high figures, two cows at the public sales at Tillyfour, which did much good service in the herd; but not till 1861, when the present owner of the property came to Ballindalloch, did the herd take a leading position in the country. At that time the nurseries of the best cattle were found at Keillor, Mains of Kelly, Southesk, Mains of Ardovie, Balwyllo, Portlethen, Tillyfour, Easter Skene, Montbletton, Mulben, Westertown, and at Ardgay. More improvement had been made at these places than at Ballindalloch. Sir George, however, found a fine foundation to work upon, and turned it to good account. In 1861 he purchased, for 50 guineas, Erica, one of the gems from Lord Southesk's fold. Herself a successful prizewinner, she became the founder of the Ballindalloch strain, which in later years took many leading honours at local and national shows. At the Highland Society's show at Aberdeen, last July, where the competition in polled cattle was keener than ever it had been before, no fewer than five of her descendants were in the prize list, some of them very high. Young Viscount, from Duff House, the first prize winner in aged bulls, is one of her family; so is Saint Clair, the winner of the two-year-olds at Aberdeen, and the one-year-olds at Glasgow. Eva, the pretty cow from Ballindalloch, which was second at the same show, is a granddaughter of Erica. Of this race there are still some noble animals in the herd. Eisa, Erica's calf of 1867, and the Highland Society's prize cow of 1871, is still as handsome as ever, showing a deep broad body on short legs with sweetness of shoulder, neck, and head very seldom equalled. Some competent judges award her the palm as being the best cow ever the Ballindalloch herd contained. Enchantress, a seven-year-old cow, and a noted prize-winner, is also still in the herd, as well as Eva, one of the loveliest representatives of the race that can be imagined.

Jilt, obtained from the stalls of Tillyfour in 1867, was the founder of another favourite tribe. Though several summers have somewhat dashed her bloom, she is still a cow of great size and many good points. She is dam of the bulls Juryman and Judge, which have often been crowned with victory. Two well-made cows, Jewel and Jewess, are also of her progeny, so that she has brought forth a race or family of J's difficult to compete with.

The Nosegays are the most ancient family in the herd. The oldest representative was, we believe, sold last autumn, when fifteen years of age.

The next strain which claims attention was founded by Sibyl (974), whose portrait adorns the "Herd-Book"—and a capital portrait it is. She was bred at Bogfern, and, after gaining prizes at Aberdeen and Edinburgh, she came to the top as the first prize-cow at the Highland Society's show held at Dumfries in 1870. It was at this show that the Ballindalloch herd acquired the high position in which it now stands. At Perth in the year following, the cattle from this fold were equally successful, and they still maintain the pre-eminent place they then acquired.

The Burgess tribe or family was descended from a cow bred by the tenant of Phonas, when he was at the Slack of Ballindalloch. Several of the descendants have taken high honours at the Highland Society's and other shows. Four of this family of B's were sold last autumn—Brunette, Bouquet, Blacklegs and Bridesmaid.

There are some smaller tribes in the herd, but the creme de la creme are undoubtedly included in the E's, the J's, and the B's.

The following bulls have been used:—Craigo, out of a Keillor cow; King Charles, bred at Southesk; and Trojan from Tillyfour, which did more good in the herd than any other bull. To him lies the credit of imparting to the females the special characteristics which made them so popular with the public.

Victor, a Montbletton bull, had a short reign; then came Juryman, a first prize winner everywhere, as he had fine style, was straight and level, and good in the shoulder and hindquarters-Scotsman, a Tillyfour bull, succeeded; and the bulls in present service are Ballimore, bred at Westerton; Elchies; and Judge, the latter a yearling out of Jilt and got by Scotsman.

The herd, although well cared for, are free from pampering and over-feeding; thus they combine hardihood with good breeding, and always turn out well when dispersed to other folds.

At the sale of surplus stock last autumn (1876), 21 cows, heifers, and calves drafted from this herd realized close upon L.48 each upon the average; the highest figure being 80 guineas, which was paid for Emma, of the Erica tribe.

4. The Easter Tulloch Herd.—Mr James Scott has here a very nice and promising herd of black cattle, of about thirteen years standing, during which time he has purchased from Mr Ferguson, Kinnochtry, several cows and queys, mostly descended from the Keillor doddies, containing among others, Princess (1026), Levity (1034), Mary (1035), Agnes (1966), Kate (1036), and Duchess (1028).

He has also purchased pure bred cows and queys from the Earl of Southesk; Mr M'Combie of Tillyfour; the late Mr Walker, Mains of Portlethen; Mr Strachan, Wester Fowlis, and others.

From the purchases effected from Mr Ferguson are presently in the herd 19 good cows and heifers, and 13 descended from those purchased at Southesk. Mr Scott also bought several cows from Mr Scott, Upper Tulloch, who had bred polled cattle for many years before he began his herd. He had several cows of the Portlethen and other breeds, as also Southesk bulls, but he kept no pedigree of his cattle.

From one of the Upper Tulloch cows, by a Southesk bull, Mr James Scott had Bluebell, and this favourite dam has bred some superior stock; among others, Tamerlane (392), which took first prizes at Laurencekirk, Aberdeen, and Dundee, and the Highland Society's second prize at Edinburgh; Prince of Wales 2d (934), which besides several local prizes took the first honours at the Highland Society's show at Edinburgh; Bluebeard (648), which as a two-year-old took in 1874 the first prize at the Highland Society's show at Inverness, and the first prize at the Royal Northern Society's show at Aberdeen.

The herd also includes seven cows and heifers descended from Bluebell, and she has this year (1876), a very superior bull calf, but unfortunately too late calved for showing next year.

Besides the bulls already mentioned, Mr Scott has used in his. herd King Henry (390), Cavalier (411), and Theodore (393), all from Southesk, as well as Colonel (391), from Mr Leslie, The Thorn. Colonel gained the second prize at the Highland Society's show at Stirling in 1864. Other bulls were Kinnochtry (685), bred by Mr Ferguson, Kinnochtry; Emperor (396), purchased from Sir George Macpherson Grant of Ballindalloch out of his famous cow Eisa (977), and Westertown by Baron Setterington (356), from the late Mr Brown, Westertown.

From the above sires and dams Mr Scott's present herd of 42 cows, 14 two-year-old queys, 22 one-year-old queys, and 17 heifer calves has been chiefly descended. The animals are all well-bred, healthy, and free from patchiness, and when fed are alike noted for making heavy weights and maturing early. Animals from what is called the improved breed have been tried at Easter Tulloch, but although "they look promising as individuals, their progeny have not done well for Mr Scott.

5. The Drumin Herd.—This herd, the property of Mr William M. Skinner, has of late years risen into considerable repute. Long before the introduction of pedigreed stock, a useful herd of polled cattle was kept at Drumin. The first purchase of the improved race was a pair of black heifers from the Mains of Kelly. These turned out well, founded the present herd, and gave birth to the Lucy and Beauty tribes. The former is the most strongly represented at Drumin. It traces back to a good old stock, in which the blood of the Keillor and Portlethen tribes is largely mingled.

The Beauty tribe has also many points of excellence. Beauty of Drumin was the first of the family which showed great merit, and after winning many prizes and doing much service as a breeder in the herd, she was eventually sold to the Marquis of Huntly for 60 guineas. Mr Skinner next purchased "three heifers from Morayshire. These heifers founded three races, known as the Eliza, Heatherbell, and Catherine tribes. The first of these, says the "Herd-Book," sprang from "a pure Aberdeenshire cow, bred at Dandaleith." Eliza of Drumin, now eight years old, is a fine cow, and has often taken the first card of honour. Her daughter Forget-me-not has won firsts at the Speyside shows from her early calfhood, and is a well-framed, fashionable animal. Members of the race of Heatherbell have also often stood first in the contest for ribbons, and are possessed of many distinguishing points of merit. The third of the Morayshire heifers founded the tribe now represented by Catherine, a fine seven-year-old cow.

New strains have recently been added from Portlethen and Rothiemay, and the herd, altogether numbering about 55, is one of the most select, thriving, and profitable to be found in the country.

The first bull that brought much merit to the herd was Defiance, out of Charlotte (203), Mr M'Combie's excellent cow, which took the first prize at Inverness in 1846, and the first prize and gold medal at Paris in 1856. Next came Marshal (399), a Tillyfour bull, which gave the herd size and constitution; afterwards Disraeli from Tillyfour; then Clansman and Talisman both from Rothiemay. The former gained many prizes, and was most serviceable at Drumin. The stock bulls now are Adrian 2d, a broad, deep, shortlegged bull; and Byron, a Drumin descendant from the Catherine tribe.

The characteristics of the herd are size, fleshiness, and superior dairying qualities, fine temper and freedom from patchiness. Milking capacities have always been catered for, obtained, and permanently fixed. Most of the cattle are of large size and evenly fleshed. At the last sale but one, cows averaged L.43, 13s.; two year-old heifers, L.44, 10s.; yearling heifers, L.34, 13s.; heifer calves, L.26, 17s.; bull calves L.27; and as an evidence how good blood tells in feeding, we may say that Mr Skinner generally realizes in the London markets from L.42 to L.48 for his three-year-olds. At the draft sale last autumn (1876), 21 animals brought an average of L.40, 8s. all round, the highest price being paid for Forget-me-not, which made 66 guineas.

6. The Rothiemay Herd.—This herd, the property of Mr J. W. Tayler of Glenbarry, has been raised to a high standard of perfection by the owner, as the formidable array of prize cards sufficiently testifies. Kate 2d (1482), from this stock, was the first prize cow at Inverness in 1874, the first prize two-year-old heifer at Stirling the year before, and the second prize yearling at Kelso in 1872. Thus, as she grew up, she became more difficult to vanquish, and many breeders averred that she was the best heifer which had then appeared in the Scotch show-yards within the previous ten years. Many of the bulls used at Rothiemay have also taken a fair share of honours. In 1872 Mr Tayler had a sale of draft cattle which made good prices, and again in 1875, but unfortunately foot-and-mouth disease had been prevalent in the herd some time before, which would no doubt prevent some buyers from taking part in the sale, and to some extent flatten the competition. Nevertheless, high prices were realized for all classes of stock. The twelve cows sold brought an average of L.51, 3s.; a pair of two-year-old heifers, L.39, 7s.; four heifer calves, L.16; and three bull calves, L.29, 8s. The highest price was 70 guineas, which was paid for the cow "Fashion," bought by Mr Symon Tulloch, Dufftown; and also for a two-year-old heifer, "Orange Blossom," which fell to the lot of Mr Collie, Priestwells. The Rothiemay herd has many points of recommendation—robustness, good milking qualities, evenness of flesh, size, and fashion.

7. The Auchlossan Herd.—This herd, the property of Mr Barclay, M.P., Auchlossan, Aberdeenshire, has been in existence ten or twelve years. Though Mr Barclay has not paid so much attention to the stock as some breeders have, yet the animals comprising the herd have much merit, being of good size, well-formed, and evenly-fleshed. The foundation at Auchlossan was laid by the purchase of females from Tillyfour, Mulben, and Bogfern, and bulls were used of the Tillyfour and Westertown breeds which gave much character to the fold. Five or six years ago a bull, that had driven competition before him, was bought from the late Mr George Brown, Westertown. This purchase proved very valuable; and later, the Czar by the same breeder did good service. As prolific cattle and splendid milk-producers, the Auchlossan breed stand second to none in the district. Moreover, the herd has been reared to its present large dimensions at wonderfully little cost. The pastures at Auchlossan are naturally rich and healthy, but over-condition is strictly guarded against. This is one reason that the cows have all along bred so regularly, and brought forth a sound healthy progeny. As the opinion of the public is generally a safe one, particularly when it is expressed in L. S. D., we give the prices of the draft cattle sold from this fold in October 1875. Thirty odd animals realized in the aggregate upwards of L.2000; cows averaging L.35, 16s.; two-year-old heifers, L.33, 5s.; year-old heifers, L.28, 11s. 8d.; heifer calves, L.14, 8s. 9d; and bull calves., L.18, 12s. 9d. A few oxen also brought good figures.

8. The Cortachy Herd.—This herd, the property of the Earl of Airlie, dates from 1869, and numbers from 80 to 100 animals. Amongst the first females purchased were Victoria of Kelly (345), from Mr Bowie; New Year's Day (1124), Jessica 2d, and several heifers from Mr Whyte, Spott. In 1870 it was augmented by-additions from Mulben, Aldbar, and Burn herds, and in 1.871 by several animals from Spott, Thorn, and Mains of Kelly. Recently, Tillyfour, Easter Tulloch, and Johnstone Lodge blood has been introduced, so that the herd is full of fashion, and many of the cows are excellent milkers.

The first bull was obtained from Mr Goodlet, Bolshan, from which place he took his name. Westertown, bred by the late Mr Brown; Easter Skene, by Mr M'Combie; Jim Crow, from Mains of Kelly; and Ballot, from Mr Tayler of Glenbarry, followed in succession. Then came Juryman from the Ballin-dalloch herd, which did good service. Belus (749), is now the stock bull, and is a fine animal; but whether he will prove as good as his sire remains to be seen. The stock are thus all welt descended, and not being pampered are healthy and good breeders.

At a draft sale held last October, 7 cows averaged over 41 guineas each; 6 two-year-old heifers, 32 guineas; 4 yearling heifers, 43 guineas; and the grand old bull, Juryman, 57 guineas. Altogether the sale was a good one.

Many other useful herds might be noted if time and space permitted, but we must forbear.

Rearing and General Management. With slight variations in matters of detail, the feeding and management of calves and young stock are much the same in all the best herds.. In order to illustrate these features, we believe that we cannot do better than adduce the example of Mr A. Bowie, Mains of Kelly, who, as we have already intimated, was bred to the business, and has had, so to speak, forty years' apprenticeship. His remarks do not refer simply to the food bestowed, the shelter provided, and so on, but taking a much wider range, they bristle with information on many important points connected with the management of the black skins.

We have previously stated that the breeding of polled cattle has been regarded as a labour of love by Mr Bowie. He has adhered to them in the firm conviction that for beef-producing, properties of the finest quality, hardiness, and early maturity they are the most suitable breed for Scotland and other countries. Some of Mr Bowie's stock reached New Zealand many years ago, and he has had the pleasure of hearing from the owner that his bovine antipodes are succeeding well in that fine climate.

Mr Bowie has been very successful in the breeding of bulls both for home and outside service. He might also have had fair success as a competitor at the national shows with animals of the female class, but never save once—at Perth in 1871— exhibited a female at them, simply because he declined to destroy their breeding properties by turning them into hard fat, only fit for butchers' meat, and probably over fed even for that. He adds: "Perhaps to this circumstance I owe my success, such as it has been, in breeding males, because, right or wrong, I have been accustomed to think how can a calf be properly developed in a womb already filled with hard fat?" Hearing of the extraordinary fat females at the Highland show at Aberdeen this year, he cannot but lament that this over-feeding is seriously on the increase, in fact, the shows are merging into fat competitions rather than for giving encouragement to cattle breeders.

As a frequent judge at the Highland Society's and other shows, Mr Bowie admits that a certain amount of flesh is necessary for proper judgment, and to set the animal off to advantage, but he is of opinion that this can be attained by feeding on ordinary farm produce—turnips, straw, and grass. In his own management he often limits the first of these supplied to one and two year old heifers, and always to in-calf cows not giving milk, just to prevent the laying on of fat, an excess of which in his opinion also destroys the milking properties. From the results of this experience he believes the Highland Society should have a rule to the following effect:— "That no breeder or exhibitor—on oath—shall be permitted to show a female of any age, calves excepted, that has been fed upon other produce than the ordinary turnips, straw, and grass of the farm." Indeed he has found that these articles given in moderation do not prevent his finer types of females from getting too fat.

If breeders will feed to excess, Mr Bowie is of opinion that they should confine this treatment to the males, as in his experience he has found that the service of a fat bull is surer than that of a lean animal, and giving extraneous food as oilcake, &c, may pay when the animal reaches the butcher. Forcing a female for a paltry prize of L.10 or L.15 is ruinous; nay, absolute cruelty. Mr Bowie then states that he has dwelt long upon this subject, because he believes that many polled breeders are getting into the rut of the shorthorn fanciers, and that their over-kindness, if this be a proper term, is being manifested in lumps and patches, which in his eyes are odious.

Mr Bowie further states, that although his breeding stock have paid him well, his butchers' beasts have paid him better—ergo, the calves brought up by pail leave larger returns than those which breeders have suckled, as such get a cow to themselves. On the whole this is true, although in exceptional cases, where L. 100 can be got for a single animal, there is more profit in the latter system, as the sum named will pay a cow's keep for eight years.

The remnant of Mr Bowie's excellent account we give in his own words, lest it should lose any of its force by our paraphrase. He continues:—"Rinderpest having nearly extinguished the polled herds in Forfarshire, I have now great difficulty in getting black calves to buy for feeding purposes. Although my bulls do good service in the district, such is the mongrel character of the cows that it is rare to get a black calf worth buying. The Ayrshire cow prevails hereabouts, and what are the crosses between Ayrshire cows and polled bulls ? Why, generally wretched things!

"The calves reared by hand-pail seldom get more than from 3 to 4 Scotch pints (about 6 to 8 imperialquarts) of milk per day, but it is given sweet and warm from the cow. We commence with very small quantities, added to daily until 3 pints is reached at ten days old. At a month or six weeks, they are offered sliced Swedes, cut in pulping fashion, also oilcake, both of which they take readily to if milk is scarce. I distinctly disapprove of cooked food for calves, but certainly think they have been the better of a supplement of the "Albion food." Every calf thus reared has a loose box, 6 feet by 5 feet, fitted up with hay-rack and box for turnips or cake, and the earlier the calf, the better for the butcher, at, say from 2 to 2 years old.

"Here let me remark on this point, that if the early calf, whether for breeding or feeding, be the best, why should the Highland Society shut out of their yard those calved before the 1st of January? In my opinion the calves should be born after the first or middle of November. If it were possible to have my whole complement of calves—say 25 to 27—thoroughly educated to eat turnips, cake, and hay, and weaned from milk before being turned out to grass, all the better, but this means an excess of cows which might not pay."

Before closing this subject we may briefly allude to the systems adopted by the Earl of Airlie and Mr M'Combie.

The calves on the farm of Cortachy, occupied by Lord Airlie, are mostly hand-fed, only a few being allowed to run with their dams. The best plan seems to be to keep the calves in thriving order, as liberal feeding during calf-hood does not impair breeding stock in after years. A good sappy condition should, if possible, be maintained, and there is nothing more conducive to this than allowing the dams to suckle their young for five or six months. After weaning, the females intended for breeding-purposes are substantially fed, but by no means pampered, all forcing being judiciously avoided.

The breeding cows at Tillyfour—numbering 80 more or less— are kept as low as possible in the winter. Calves are usually dropped during the spring, and have access to their dams until the end of October, getting, in addition to the milk, from 1 to 2 lbs. of oilcake. When the weaning has been accomplished they have straw and sliced turnips with 1 to 2 lbs. of oilcake daily. The after-treatment of the females is somewhat difficult, avoiding an excess of fat on the one hand, and ensuring progressive development on the other. The heifers are rarely put to breeding until two years old, as they are apt to become stunted if used before.

Milking Properties of the Breed.

During the march of improvement which has been going on steadily for many years, and particularly in the last decade, we believe that we are right in stating that milking properties have not, as a rule, been catered for in the breed of polled cattle. Early maturing and heavy beef-making characteristics have mainly been sought after by the improvers, inasmuch as these seem to be the points in which the type excels, and can therefore be brought up to the highest standard of perfection. A few breeders, however, while not losing sight of the main properties possessed by the polls, have paid a little attention to the milking capacities as well; we therefore find some herds which are very profitable dairy cattle. The race, viewed as a whole, may be set down as fair milkers; of course not nearly equal to the Ayrshire, or cattle of the Channel Islands, but far superior to many other breeds. The quantity. given is larger than that of the West Highlander, but the quality falls short, although it is vastly superior to that of the shorthorn, which is sometimes given in large quantities and very thin. As in other breeds, there are good, bad, and indifferent milking families, according to the pains, or otherwise, which have been bestowed upon the cultivation of this important faculty. Those who are anxious to secure females of this kind for the dairy should be careful not to be led away by the too-heavily fleshed animals. Where milk alone is a desideratum, we could not recommend the polled breed as being the most suitable, but, as we have said, if judicious selection be made, a race of cattle may be founded which will milk fairly well and make good carcases of beef at the finish,—an important consideration, for, as Mr M'Combie truly says, "All cattle come to the pole-axe at last," so that this is one end which should be kept in view from the commencement. The quantity of milk, as might be expected, given by different herds varies very materially, perhaps more than in any other breed. Nice milkers will, however, give 16 to 20 quarts per day during the best of the summer season; others, a great deal more; some much less.

Growing Demand for Polls.

It is a notable fact, that since the establishment of a Herd-Book, there has been an increasing demand for nice polled stock. This has been particularly the case during the past three years, when every sale has been relatively better than its predecessor. The enhanced competition speaks well for the popularity of a breed which has long been somewhat extensively reared in the northeastern counties of Scotland, but considering its hardihood and meat-producing capabilities, deserves to be scattered over a much wider tract of country. It is claimed for the polls that no other distinctive breed will bring such a large return for the quantity of food consumed, for, as Mr M'Combie truly says, pound for pound the meat is worth more than that of any other breed. As for hardiness, the cattle are second to none but the picturesque West Highlander, and in the matter of healthiness they stand in the foremost rank. The sales of last year (1875) eclipsed any in former years, both as regards prices realized and numbers sold. No less a sum than L.5922 was paid for animals sold in the season. The year previous, twenty-seven young polled bulls were recorded as having been sold; in 1875, the number ran up to fifty. These brought, in the aggregate, L.1398, 1s. 6d., or an average of L.27, 19s. 2d. for each bull. Owing to the dispersion of the Westertown and Indego herds, and the disposal of large drafts from Tillyfour and Easter Skene, a considerable number of polled females was offered for sale, being sixty against twenty-six in the year previous. The total amount brought in was L.2401, 9s. 6d., or an average for each cow of L.40, 0s. 5d. In 1874, thirty-nine heifers were disposed of; in 1875, seventy-four, of which twenty two-year-olds realized the high average of L.40, 16s. each, or a sum total of L.816, 15s. 6d. Forty-two one-year-old heifers made L.1096, 11s. 10d., or an average of L.26, 1s. 3d.

A dozen heifer calves brought L.210, or L.17, 10s. on the average. The highest averages in all classes were made by the cattle belonging to Mr M'Combie of Tillyfour, and were as follows:—bulls, L.47, 5s.; cows, L.45, 15s.; two-year-old heifers, L.57, 17s. 6d.; yearling heifers, L.34, 19s. 3d; and heifer calves L.23, 2s. He also secured the highest prices for individual heifers and heifer calves, being for a two-year-old, L. 79, 16s.; for a yearling, L.55, 13s.; and for a heifer calf, L.32, 11s. The bull and cow which sold for most money belonged to Mrs Brown of Westerton, for which L.99, 15s. and L.69, 6s. were made respectively. In the present season (1876) there have been several draft sales and one or two dispersions. The Ballindalloch and Drumin joint draft sale was the best of the kind ever held in the north, the spirited bidding and high prices paid affording strong testimony of how rapidly the polled breed is growing in popularity. In another part of the report we refer to the high averages obtained. At the Mulben dispersion, an example of the way in which the Tillyfour Prides are rising in value was furnished. Five years before, the late Mr Paterson paid 29 guineas for a calf of this noble family at Mr M'Combie's sale. Notwithstanding two or three mishaps relative to the death of calves descended from her, the 29-guinea purchase with three of her progeny, realized L.283, 10s., or an average of L.70, 17s. 6d. per head. Examples like this afford ample proof not only that the black skins are profitable, but also that they are gaining esteem.

Feeding and Preparing for Market.

In order to show the great importance of cattle-feeding in the district where the polled breed forms no inconsiderable proportion of the live stock, we may state that it is computed that about 42,000 cattle are annually fed in the country lying round Aberdeen. These represent a total annual value of a little over one million pounds sterling. About 34,500 head are exported, either alive or as dead meat, to London and other large towns. Successful feeding may therefore be looked upon as a sine qua non in the farming of the part alluded to. As a striking example of this, we may adduce the practice of Mr M'Combie of Tillyfour, than whom no better feeder can be found. The forward bullocks are tied up early and finished off in October with turnips, cake, and straw. The larger and better sorts are usually destined for the Islington, Liverpool, and Edinburgh Christmas markets, where they almost always come off conquerors in the peaceful showyard battles. Very little cake is given, and then only an allowance of 3 to 4 lbs. daily, for a short time towards the finish. Indeed, the thriving qualities are so marked that the Christmas cattle are not unfrequently thought too ripe by buyers. As the fat cattle go off, the stalls are filled by beasts bought in the neighbourhood, and either finished in spring, or kept over-year upon the pastures. The method of feeding stock upon Mr M'Combie's farms is very simple. The cattle eat the best of the straw and the refuse goes for litter. The racks are carefully cleaned out twice a day, and the forestalls once. Turnips are given thrice a day; at six in the morning, then at twelve, and again at four, a barrowful being allowed between two cattle. Now and then the cattle are inspected, and the sluggish ones allowed 3 or 4 lbs. of cake with a like quantity of ground corn, so as to keep them up to a level with the tops. The beds are well shaken up two or three times a day in order to ensure comfort when the animals lie down.

Mr Reid, Greystone, is also an extensive feeder. He breeds a few, but buys in and fattens many more. He does not confine himself entirely to polled stock, but selects good crosses as well. His Christmas cattle have turnips at 6 a.m., 12, and 4 p.m., each animal consuming 9 to 11 stones daily. Good oat straw is supplied between the root meals, the refuse going for litter. Until the turnips are ready, tares and 3 lbs. of cake are given, afterwards the cake is discontinued until about six weeks from the time that the cattle are to be sold. Cake, bean-meal, and pease are all used as required; in some cases, a little hay is added. Mr Reid's great principle seems to be to keep the animals in a progressive state from the time they come into his possession.

Mr Adamson, Balquharn, also feeds a large number of cattle. His system differs very little from those just described. He allows turnips thrice a day, with straw between the meals thrown into the forestalls. About six weeks before market, 3 lbs. of cake are given in the morning and 4 lbs. of bruised corn at eight o'clock in the evening. The animals intended for the Christmas markets are housed in August, and fed with cut grass and ripened tares until the soft turnips are ready.

Most farmers who prepare polled cattle for the butcher, feed, with trifling modifications, as described above. The very fact that little extraneous food is required, speaks volumes for the improved breed. Many feeders prepare 50 to 100 animals for the market in the course of the year; others, 100 to 200; while Mr M'Combie annually fattens 300 to 400, about 50 of which he breeds, the remainder, as already stated, being purchased in the neighbourhood during the spring months.

Polled Crosses.

Crossing the breed with other races has been extensively tried with various results. The small native horned breeds are often served with polled males, and the calves are naturally weedy mongrels. Mr Bowie jocularly alludes to the strange variety of bovines by which he is surrounded, and says that they are of every colour and shape —"Greeks, Yankee Doodles, and Hindoos"—indeed he would not be surprised if a green bull were introduced before long. The Ayrshire and Angus crosses are fair milkers, but are useless for producing beef. The shorthorn crosses are, however, worthy exceptions. With good strong polled females and a useful bull, the progeny are large in size and splendid feeders. Crossing in this way ensures early maturity and weight of carcase from the shorthorn side, while the poll guarantees constitution to withstand vicissitudes of climate and the property of making a comparatively small amount of food into a considerable weight of finely-marbled flesh. The blending of two such noble races as the shorthorn and the poll is generally successful if the female be on the polled side; the reverse is not attended with such happy effects. Since the wonderful improvement in the polled race, some feeders question whether crossing with the shorthorn brings either weight or early-maturing principles, while they say the quality of the meat is somewhat impaired; others look at the matter in another light, and prefer feeding cattle with a dash of shorthorn blood in their veins.

Improvement of the Breed.

In the body of this report we have furnished examples of the improvement which has gradually been taking place in the polled type of cattle for more than half a century. This has been particularly noticeable in the past twenty or twenty-five years, during which time some of the folds have been brought up to a high standard of perfection, and others are in a fair way for shortly achieving a creditable position.

Few points now remain to be noticed. However, we may mention two or three which naturally crop up as we muse upon this favourite type. In the matter of breeding, we are of opinion that many farmers, who are still content to raise cattle from ordinary stock, might very materially improve their herds by following in the footsteps of the great pioneers who have long ago paved the way and made the path smooth and even. By the purchase of two or three good females, they would be able, at a comparatively small cost, to lay the foundation of a superior stock, which by crossing with good bulls, and the exercise of care in the management, would yield a progeny calculated to fatten on a smaller amount of food, and be of more value when finished.

With respect to the rearing of calves, some breeders, we observe, allow either too little milk or give it for too short a period— sometimes both. This is poor—nay, false economy, for the calves become poor and stunted, and never afterwards attain to a large size. "Keep the calf-flesh on," is a maxim which should be deeply engraven on every breeder's heart. As to the matter of allowing the calves to suck their dams, or that of hand-feeding, opinion is divided; we, however, decidedly lean to the former system, as being the most natural and the best. There is no fear of the calves becoming so fat that their future usefulness will be impaired even by this liberal practice.

In after-life there is danger of over-feeding females, which should be zealously guarded against. This leads to another point. The pampering of show cattle as practised at the present time is positively injurious, and destroys the breeding properties of many a blooming heifer. On this subject, Mr Bowie, Mains of Kelly, makes some pertinent observations, which are given elsewhere in this report, and to which we can add but little, coming, as they do, from an experienced breeder and a good show-yard judge.

In conclusion, we may remark that, considering all the points of merit which the polled breed may justly lay claim to, it deserves its boundary to be much extended, as we feel confident that it would pay both the breeder and feeder far better than the weedy crosses which are found not only in many counties of Scotland, but also in various parts of England. May its merits become more widely known, and the area of its dominion considerably increased is the earnest hope of an enthusiastic admirer of the breed.


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