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The Domestication of Ani Mals


THE DOMESTICATION OF ANI MALS is the most important factor in the development and civilization of man. Before man had animal associates he was a savage, without a home, without culti vated fields and without sympathetic instincts. Animals, however, have pro duced more profound changes in man's mental and moral equipment and in his social and domestic affairs than any other feature of his environment. Ani mals not only furnished the power to subdue nature, cultivate the soil and in augurate an agricultural system, but they also supplied food, clothing and many necessary utensils. Tho para mount influence of domestic animals upon our civilization cannot be elimi nated by assuming that man naturally had the impetus toward a higher form of civilization. The races which have few domesticated animals have remained far behind in point of power, commer cial progress and mental development.

A human being without a fondness for animals is a rare and strange creature. A bond of sympathy exists between us and our animal associates and this sym pathy has led to the establishment of various forms of association between man and animals. Many species of an imals have found how to profit from as sociation with man. We in turn have found it necessary as well as a Source of satisfaction to utilize animals for our own purposes.

From the thousands of species of ani mals on the globe only a few have been domesticated. At first thought this may seem strange but practically all of the really promising species have been domesticated most of them before the dawn of history. Man requires certain characters in his farm animals. These are not mysterious characters, however, but simply the same qualities which he requires in his farm workmen the abil ity to understand and willingness to do his desires. Farm animals are useful to the extent to which they fulfill these re quirements and the wages of farm work men are rated on the same basis. A balky horse or one with vicious habits is of little or no value although his strength and speed may be of tho highest stand ard.

Animal characteristics Perhaps we have not all realized how necessary it is to have an understanding between ourselves and our animal servants. But everyone has noticed differences in attachment. The cat becomes attached to the place but there is little or no per sonal affection. When you move to a new home your cat remains at the former place, or if taken away goes back at the first opportunity. With the dog, on the other hand, home is at his master's side. The dog's sense of local ity is as well developed as in the cat but his attachment or affection is a personal matter. The dog, moreover, makes great progress in understanding his master's business and desires. We have all seen dogs which knew just where the pigs and chickens were allowed to range and where they were not permitted. Such dogs will learn to protect their master's interests in a hundred other respects. All of us who have seen trained sheep dogs work know how attentive they are to their business. The coyotes and other enemies must be driven away. None of the sheep can be permitted to stray away from the herd. Sleeping lambs must be roused and driven into the herd when it moves away from the bed-ground. These and a hundred other details are attended to without any ad monition from the shepherd. The dog learns how to frighten stubborn sheep without injuring them by threatening to bite and otherwise. All this requires a high order of intelligence more than some of our human servants manifest.

Cattle show less of the personal ele ment in their association with man. Usually they are perfectly content when they have comfortable quarters and enough to eat. One cannot help noticing, however, how differently they behave in the presence of strangers than with their regular attendants. Like children in the presence of company, they usually fail to show all the wonderful qualities which have been ascribed to them. A change of milkers produces a loss in milk yield. The cows are worried by strangers. In a much greater degree the horse understands our desires and forms close personal attachments. The horse knows instantly when a stranger has the reins and soon learns whether it is safe for him to "soldier." Our horse remembers kind acts and also cruelty. He knows, too, whether or not we are likely to enforce our orders.

The domestication of animals implies a sort of contract. It is not a one-sided affair. The animal on his part agrees to fit in with the schemes of man and fur ther his purposes by doing the appointed tasks. In return for these services man is under obligation, to protect his animal associates from cold, heat, flies, and storms; to furnish them suitable rations; and to give them sanitary quarters. The domesticated animal is a servant and the servant has rights. The man who beats or otherwise maltreats his stock is not only a brute but a fool from a mere bus iness standpoint. If you abuse your farm animals you get less wool, less mut ton, less pork, less beef, less milk, and less work. This is one case in which money and decency are on the same side of the scales.

Proper sanitationThe same may be said of farm hygiene. Animals require sanitary quarters just like man. Yet who has not seen farm stock in stables quite without ventilation, with moisture dripping from the walls and full of filth and foul odors ? Under such conditions stock cannot thrive or produce a profit for the owners. Moreover, animals have the right to healthful surroundings. In becoming servants of man they gave up the freedom which enabled them to se cure plenty of fresh air, untainted food and a clean bed-ground. Anyone can readily convince himself that farm ani mals are naturally of cleanly habits and, if a choice is offered, will not voluntar ily lie in filth or eat soiled food. It is an easy matter to encourage and strengthen this tendency. By so doing we serve the interests of the farm stock and our own pocketbooks.

WeaklingsIn this connection we wish to call attention to a reprehensible tendency among some breeders. Many fancy or pet breeds have been produced with a peculiar and striking set of char acters or with some peculiar feature but without health or vioor. Such creatures may be interesting but they are pitiable. Yew of us can find pleasure in the study of weaklings. Vigor, power and action are more attractive.

Another debt to domesticated animals which is not always acknowledged is the fact that man remained a savage in every sense until he acquired animal friends. The first real step in civilization was the domestication of animals. Some animals were first tamed not from any selfish motive, but purely for comradeship. Thus the dog was first valued as a com panion but was soon found to be useful for various purposes.

Successful agriculture is the very basis of civilization, but the soil could not be cultivated 'without the help of animals. Man needed animals also for transportation of burdens, for food, clothing and for innumerable utensils and articles used in construction. The races which showed the greatest skill and shrewdness in taming and training ani mal servants made the greatest progress. Similarly today the most prosperous stockman is the one who has the most improved breeds and knows best how to handle them. Primarily, too, he does not raise fine animals because he is prosperous, hut he is prosperous because he keeps fine stock.

Important live stock the student stock raising offers more interesting and more difficult prob lems than any other line of life work. The world has long worried over the various questions of heredity and varia tion. These can best he solved by work ing on domesticated animals. The aver age farmer can easily keep a record of his animal breeding which will be of the utmost value. He has to learn how to produce more fat or more lean, large bones or fine bones, long or short legs, long or short snout, fine, delicate ears, the proper expression in the eyes, smooth ness and regularity of form, a well bal anced development, the deposition of fat in certain parts of the body, a marbling of the meat, strength and elasticity of bone, delicacy of skin, a certain fineness and length of hair, definite color and definite color patterns, feather markings, size, color, and form of comb, wattles, legs and other parts, lung capacity, tempera ment, strength, vigor, action, ability to transmit desirable qualities to offspring, and so on through the list of the many thousand points which have been at tained by breeding.

The great strides already made along this line have not been accomplished by accident or by luck, but by working with a definite purpose in mind; not by leaps and jumps, but slowly through patient toil and after numerous failures. To the originator of a new, useful breed of ani mal the world owes as much as to the inventor of the most useful mechanical device. These men, however, are little known and little appreciated. All school children are taught who invented the tel ephone, telegraph, steam engine, loco motive, etc. How many of our readers know the names of the men who contrib uted to the origination and substantial improvement of Shorthorn, Hereford, Angus, Holstein, or Jersey cattle; mod ern types of horses, mules, zebroids; Berkshire, Victoria, Duroc-Jersey, York shire, or Tamworth hogs; Rambouillet, Southdown, Dorset, Suffolk, Lincoln, Cotswold or Cheviot sheep; Wyandotte, Dorking, Plymouth Rock, Orpington, Minorca, Brahma or Houdan chickens ; and so on through the almost endless list of distinct and valuable breeds of farm animals and fowls.

These improved breeds have contrib uted untold wealth, comfort and enjoy ment to the human race. In order to appreciate this point more fully compare the modern Berkshire hog and the "razor back," the Shorthorn and the Texas steer, the broncho and the thoroughbred, the common goat and the Angora, the tough, unimproved fowl and the Wyan dotte. Breeders have made improvement in every direction in the quality and flavor of the meat, in the value of the wool and mohair, in the size of the ani mal, in speed, strength and endurance of the horse, in docility, fertility and the power to utilize feed stuffs economically.

This sounds formidable enough on paper and in practice it is more difficult than it sounds. There is the constant struggle to prevent undesirable charac ters from cropping out in your farm ani mals. The process of improving animals Is in one sense unnatural or somewhat against nature. Certain natural tenden cies have to be overcome, others greatly developed. The sheep's coat is a protec tion and a great comfort in winter. By careful selection, however, we have so increased the weight of the fleece that in warm weather it is a positive burden to the sheep and must be removed once or twice per year. Without man's inter vention nature would gradually reduce the amount of wool.

Another example of this sort is seen in milch cows. Native cattle have small milk glands and produce a quantity of milk barely sufficient to nourish the calf for the first two months of its life. We have increased the size of the gland and the milk yield enormously until good dairy cows yield 6,500 to 30,000 pounds of milk per year. This is, again, an un natural performance and can be main tained only by rigid selection.

In the hog, in turn, we have taken advantage of the tendency to lay on fat and have developed it to such an extent that the hog has become a living fat factory.

Similarly through the list of breeding achievements we have exaggerated cer tain tendencies and suppressed others un til the breeder must be constantly on the alert to maintain the high standard in his stock. Under natural, wild condi tions there is no occasion for the produc tion of a ten-pound fleece, a 30,000-pound milk yield or 200 pounds of fat and, if left to themselves, such animals would soon return to the normal, wild condition.

The animals themselves take no conscious part in the improvement of breeds. In fact from their standpoint what we call improvements may not be improvements at all. Animals can cer tainly derive no advantage to themselves from becoming so fat that they cannot walk without danger of crushing the bones of the leg, from producing a fleece too hot and heavy for comfort or from producing three times as much milk as is needed for their offspring. These con ditions must be brought about by man without help from the animals, for our farm stock can hardly be expected to take interest in a process which tends in some respects toward their discomfort.

The unconscious forces of nature also operate against us because we make our animals do or produce more than would be necessary in a state of nature. In the natural laziness of things there is great inertia against doing any unnecessary work. Enormous milk yields and in creased production of other animal sub stances constitute a more or less serious drain on the strength of the animaL Their health is liable to be affected and special diseases arise.

These difficulties have been overcome as they arose and it is therefore unnec essary to consider them further. They should remind us again of our debt of gratitude to the men who have given us our modern wonderfully perfect farm animals.

A farm without live stock an in complete idea. Fields of alfalfa, clover, rice, sugar cane, cotton ; orchards of cher ries, peaches and oranges may be beauti ful, hut they soon become tiresome to the eye if no farm animals are in sight. The well-sodded, green pasture support ings cows, sheep, goats and horses is re quired to round out the idea of farm or homestead.

Not only from an artistic standpoint is home incomplete without animals, but also from a business standpoint. It is impossible to sell all crops as such to the greatest advantage. Without farm ani mals there is always considerable waste on the farm. Small undersized potatoes must be thrown away. Turnips, ruta bagas, carrots, cabbage, cull apples, etc., are allowed to rot and become a total loss. Animals manufacture meat, milk, wool and eggs from this unsalable material. Hogs will root out and eat all potatoes that may have been missed in digging. They will also harvest other root crops and will pick up a good living from the shattered grain left on the ground after harvest. Sheep clean the weeds out of fence corners better than hired help. All this work is done without expense, and much material which otherwise would be lost is utilized.

There is another practical point worth bearing in mind. Farm crops are bulky and require much time and labor for transportation to market. Moreover, they are in a comparatively raw, crude condition. In the finished product (meat, milk, eggs, wool, etc.) the crops bring more and are more easily marketed. Many farmers keep their men and teams busy all fall and winter long hauling hay and corn to market. The same hay and corn could be made into beef and pork on the farm and marketed in a day. This allows the men and teams as well as the farmer himself to remain on the farm and attend to their proper business. The fences need repairing, a few broken binges are to be replaced and definite plans must be made for the next year's work. The whole farm should be care fully mapped and crops assigned to each field for a period of five years in advance. Such plans require thoughtful attention each year. It is good work for the fire side in winter and serves to keep the farmer at home rather than constantly on the road between the farm and town.

Farm animals contribute much the national wealth. We usually think of factories and mines as the real foun dation of commerce but these are of sec ondary importance as compared with farming. In 1905 agricultural produc tion in the United States amounted to $6,000,000,000. A large part of this was animal products. The present value of our horses is $1,200,000,000; of our mules, $251,000,000; of our dairy cows, $482,000,000; of our beef cattle, $662,000, 000; of our sheep, $130,000,000; of our hogs, $283,000,000. These are almost un thinkable values and show how farm ani mals are the basis of our national great ness.

This is no place or occasion to set forth the importance of meat in the human diet. This is too well known by the millions who cat it. A corner on meat causes unspeakable anxiety and even panic among the people. The work ing man must have meat. Without go ing into the merits of the vegetarian controversy meat is indispensable for most of us if we are to remain capable of normal work.

Then, as already indicated, the arti cles of clothing and manufacture fur nished by animals are beyond number. Our debt to animals is large but we must make it still larger by greater ani mal production.

Qualifications of a stock farmer For success at live stock raising one must put all his time, energy and thought into the business. This is no more than must be said for any other business. Without attention animals do not make profit for their owners. We cannot get something for nothing from farm ani mals. Special education, skill, common sense count for just as much in stock raising as in banking. The time has passed when the man who does not know enough to do anything else can make success of stock farming. A good gen eral education is required and also ex tensive special training, particularly in chemistry and biology. The stock raiser must know the laws of heredity, the principles of breeding, animal physiology, the nature and treatment of diseases and practical hygiene. This involves some engineering skill in providing water sup ply and drainage. Then he must know the chemistry and effect of foods. Brains and skill in feeding bring results and save money.

Stock raising a science The man who understands the principles of feed ing and the nutritive value of feeding stuffs will be able to compound rations for mere maintenance, for growth, for fattening or for other special purposes. Stock farming is not a trade but a science combined with practical skill. The brain work is far more important than the manual labor.

Farm soils are not inexhaustible. Re moving crops year after year is like draw ing checks against your bank account. When the account is exhausted in either case you can draw no more. Now, the ideal way of cropping the soil annually is to carry farm animals up to the limit of the farm's capacity and raise legumes, which in turn are effective in stock feed ing as well as in maintaining the fertil ity of the soil. When the farmer hauls his hay and grain to market ho is haul ing away his farm; but when the annual surplus of farm animals is sold the farm and its fertility remain.

A system of bookkeeping necessary in stock raising. Otherwise the farmer must work in the dark, for he has no other means of knowing whether certain methods are paying or losing propositions. There should be a record of the performance of every animal. Then all barren ewes can be fattened and sold for mutton and unproductive cows can be disposed of. The stock raiser is thus in a position to detect and stop leaks in his profits.

A very important requisite of the successful stockman remains to be men tioned. There must be a liking of the business and a love of animals. The farmer need not be fond of all kinds of live stock. In fact strong prejudices may exist against sheep, hogs or some other animal simultaneously with a special fondness for horses or cattle. Cattle men may hate the sight of sheep and sheepmen of cattle. The successful stockman, however, is fond of his ani mals. He has names for all of them. He knows all their peculiar habits when they sleep, when they drink, what and bow much they eat. He therefore recog nizes instantly when one of his animals is "off feed" or ailing in any way and promptly attends to its wants. In other words he knows his stock as individual animals, not as a herd. The peculiar requirements of each animal are thus considered in farm practice. Farm ani mals differ as much in temperament and habits as man. In the same herd very different dispositions are to be observed. When these differences are taken into account in the rations and daily treat ment of different animals the best re sults are obtained.

Farm animals must continue to fur nish us with food, clothing and many other necessities, and our indebtedness to them will increase rather than dimin ish. There is accordingly a glorious op portunity for all stock raisers to improve the quality of their animals and an equally fine opportunity for the great ex tension of the business to meet the ever increasing demand for animal products. CLASSIFICATION OF FARM STOCK More or less serious attempts have been made to tame or domesticate for some use almost all known animals including even snakes, crocodiles, turtles and in sects. Only a comparatively few species, however, have proved suitable to man's uses. Naturally almost all of our impor tant domesticated animals are herbivo rous, and the most useful mammals be long to the order of ungulates or hoofed animals.

This order of animals includes the horse, ass, zebra, camel, llama, alpaca, goat, sheep, buffalo, bison, zebu, cattle, hog, etc. Ungulates are commonly di vided into two groups, the odd-toed and the even-toed. The group of odd-toed ungulates includes, the horse, ass, quagga, zebra, tapir, and rhinoceros. Other ungulates, except hyrax and the elephant, are even-toed. The even-toed or artio dactyl ungulates include the hippopot amus, swine and ruminants which, group in turn embraces musk ox, cattle, sheep, goats and antelopes with hollow horns which are not annually shed, and the deer family with solid horns which are shed annually and regrown.

Rabbits and the Belgian hare belong to the family Leporidae of the order of rodents which includes also rats, mice, squirrels, prairie dogs, etc.

The majority of our domestic fowls belong to the order Gallinacem, which in cludes the domestic hen, turkeys, guinea fowl and pea fowl in addition to the various species of grouse, pheasants, and quail, some of which are raised in a state of semi-domestication.

Ducks, geese and swans are the repre sentatives of three families of the order Lamellirostres.

The numerous breeds of domestic pigeons are descended from the wild pigeon (Columba livia) of Europe.

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