Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Sustainable Living and Land use › Draft Animals and Land-Use History › 18th century cattle welfare treatise
- January 17, 2010 at 12:25 am #41313bivolParticipant
the oldest treatises on cattle welfare here are dating back to the 18th cent.
back the, what is now Croatia was on the border with Ottoman empire, an insecure region in which raids and pillage were common. it was than divided in civilian part and military border. as the situation gradually got better after 17th cent, the was animal husbandry was still very primitive, although in parts of the military border there were good predispositions for agriculture and cattle husbandry, such as the open region of Slavonia. because of the importance of the border, there was intrest in promoting a more efficient animal husbandry and more better approach to it.
those people living in which was a military defense border had little knowledge of animal husbandry. cattle were held outside most year round, on freezing storms, and were fed stubble, straw, husks, and some bad hay left over from the horses.
after watering corn stubble, if there was any, was given.
oxen were numerous and only they, besides breeding bulls, were fed better, as they were the primary source of power in agriculture.
cows recieved no special care, not even after calving, and the animals were often dying at the end of the winter.
Contessa Orshich wrote the first book about cattle health and care, on native language rather than then official latin, which enabled it to be red by people of lesser education.
she starts with acquiring cattle, keeping the properly, miscarriage prevention. this was a practical book, and peasant adopted it well, so that after her death it got republished again. even if it wasn’t fully original, as it borrowed from other books, it was never the less significant because t was written on commoner’s tongue.
Adamovich, another author from the era, wrote about improved haying methods. he also recommends economic use and registrating the amounts used. he asked forbidding of grazing on hay fields after 6th month, before cutting, regular care for the implements, cutting hours (from 2 or 3 am in the morning til 8 or 9 in the morning, and again after there is no sun til 8 or 9 pm).
he gave clear instructions on how to cut, transport and store hay.
furthermore, he gives instructions how to protect the draft cattle (not driving a loaded wagon straight up the hill watering the oxen three times daily).
the best hay is to be given to cows and calves. good hay should be given at the start of the winter, poor in the middle, and the best at the end of the winter.
for bedding corn straw or leaves of certain trees gathered in the fall.
his special attention, and for the age unusual sympathy, is focused on working oxen.
he explicitly advocated constant caring for them because of their economic usefulness. they should get salt every month, and especially in summer, have enough time to graze.
he states the the ox wagon mustn’t be overloaded, and orders the drivers to walk besides them, and not drive on the wagon, to decrease the load.
(this was because back then there was still busha cattle predominant, smaller than jersey, so a hundred pounds more made a real difference).
he forbids big whips, and allows only a small whip to be used, they shouldn’t be made to run, or drive a load straight up hill.
if rain or snow starts falling while they work, he advises unyoking them and taking them to the shelter or setting them out to graze, and when working in rain they should have their necks and yoke smeared with old fat.
it also stated that the forest paths on which the oxen moved should be thoroughly cleaned of roots and regularly maintained, so the oxen’s feet are not damaged.
hoofs should be regularly examined and if need be cut back.
after hard work, as plowing, he advises resting the oxen for 3 – 4 days.
in slippery weather oxen shouldn’t be employed.
for offenses against these rules he advises harsh punishments.
noone should dare beating the oxen on eyes and muzzle, and if someone does it, he is to get 12 strikes with a whip.
it is clear that Adamovich advocates a humane approach to animals and punishments to those two don’t do so. although he did it for economical reasons, the very fact that someone more that two centuries ago advocated the same thing we now are fighting for is clearly worth attention and respect.
he also advocated the controled jump, leading the bull for walks at least once in three days, selecting the biggest calves, branding, milking twice a day, instead of 3 times, extra feeding the cows in milk, controled watering to prevent goring, and so on…
there were other writers too, like the priest Reljkovich, who took the matter further, but about that later, if you want…;)
I hope you enjoyed!
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