DEVON CATTLE. The Devons are among the very oldest of the distinctive breeds of cattle in Great Britain, as they are still the best adapted to hilly countries and scant pasturage wherever beef, labor at the yoke, and milk are to be taken into consideration. As grazing cattle they are unequaled in the quality of their flesh, among cattle in America, and only excelled in Great Britain by the Highland (Scottish) breeds. The cows, while not great milkers, give good messes of rich milk in exceptional cases, as with all breeds, individuals give large yields of milk. The oxen are unequaled at the yoke, especially in the ability to work continuously at a quick pace. They are long lived, hardy, good feeders, tractable, high spirited and sagacious. The great objection to the breed is their small size. While this is true of the bulls and cows, the oxen attain good weights, from 1,100 to 1,300 pounds, and upwards, live weight, when ripe, being not unusual. It has been objected that the Devon bull, when fully mature, is apt to be be dangerous: This, however, is only true in a sense; they are high spirited, and courageous to a degree, and if abused will resent the abuse. Firm, gentle handling will correct all this, as we can testify from having bred them many years, in early life. The same rule will apply to the cows and oxen. If treated kindly and, at the same time, with a firm will, there are no cattle more amenable to the hand of their master. In the article Cattle we have illustrated the breed as they were known one hundred years ago. The illustrations, on adjoining pages, of a bull and cow of to-day will serve to show the perfection to which Devons are now brought through careful breeding and feed ing. Youatt, in reference to the history of this breed; written in the early part of the century, says. The north of Devon has been long cele brated for a breed of cattle beautiful in the highest degree, and in activity at work and apti tude to fatten unrivaled. The native country of the Devons, and where they are found in a state of the greatest purity, extends from the river Taw westward, skirting along the Bristol Chan nel; the breed becoming more mixed, and at length comparatively lost before we arrive at the Parrett. Inland it extends by Barnstaple, South Molton, and Chumleigh, as far as Tiverton, and thence to Wellington, where again the breed becomes unfrequent, or it is mixed before we reach Taunton. More eastward the Somersets and the Welsh mingle with it, or supersede it. To the south there prevails a larger variety, a cross probably of the Devon with the Somerset; and on the west the Cornish cattle are found, or contaminate the breed. The Devonshire man confines them within a narrow district, and will scarcely allow them to be found with purity beyond his native county. From Portlock to Biddeford, and a little to the north and the south, is, in his mind, the peculiar and only residence of the true Devon. From the earliest records the breed has here remained the same; or if not quite as perfect as at the present moment, yet altered in no essential point until within the last thirty years. This is not a little surprising when it is remembered that a considerable part of this district is not a breeding country, and that even a proportion, and that not a small one, of Devon shire cattle, are bred out of the county. On the borders of Somerset and Dorset, and partly in both, extending southward from Crewkern, the country assumes the form of an extensive valley, and principally supplies the Exeter market with calves. Those that are dropped in February and March, are kept until May, and then sold to the drovers, who convey them to Exeter. They are there purchased by the Devonshire farmers, who keep them for two or three years, when they are sold to the Somersetshire graziers, who fatten them for the London market; so that a portion of the Devons, and of the very finest of thp breed, come from Somerset and Dorset. The Devonshire farmers were, until the last century, not conscious that they possessed anything superior to other breeds; but, like agriculturists everywhere else, they bought and bred without care or selection. It is only within the last one hundred and fifty or sixty years that any sys tematic efforts have been made to improve the breeds of cattle of the kingdom; and we must acknowledge, that the Devonshire men, with all their advantages, and with such good ground to work upon, were not the first to stir, and for a time, were not the most zealous when they were roused to exertion. They are indebted to the nature of their soil and climate for the beautiful specimens which they possess of the native breed of our island, and they have retained this breed almost in spite of themselves. A spirit of emu lation was at length kindled, and even the Devons have been materially improved, and brought to such a degree of perfection that, take them all in all, they would suffer from intermixture with any other breed. Whatever be the breed, there are certain conformations which are indispens able to the thriving and valuable ox or cow. When we have a clear idea of these, we shall be able more easily to form an accurate judgment of the different breeds. If there is one part of the frame, the form of which, more than of any other, renders the animal valuable, it is the chest. There must be room enough for the heart to beat, and the lungs to play, or sufficient blood for the purposes of nutriment and of strength will not be circulated; nor will it thoroughly undergo that vital change which is essential to the proper discharge of every function. We look, therefore, first of all to the wide and deep girth about the heart and lungs. We must have both: the proportion in which the one or the other may preponderate, will depend on the service we require from the animal; we can excuse a slight degree of flatness on the sides, for he will be lighter in the forehead, and more active; but the grazier must have width as well as depth. Not only about the heart and lungs,' but over the whole of the ribs, must we have both length and roundness; the hooped, as well as the deep barrel is essential; there must be room for the capacious paunch, room for the materials from which the blood is to be provided. There should be little space between the ribs and the hips. This seems to be indispensable in the ox, as it regards a good healthy constitution, and a propensity to fatten; but a largeness and drooping of the belly is excusable in the cow, or rather, though it dimin ishes the beauty of the animal, it leaves room for the udder; and if it is also accompanied by swell ing milk veins, it indicates her value in the dairy. Speaking of the steers, Youatt says, they are usually taken into work at about two years old, and are worked until they are four, or five, or six; they are then grazed, or kept on hay, and in ten or twelve months, and without any further trouble, are fit for the market. If the grass land is good, no corn, or cake, or turnips, are required for the first winter; but, of course, for a second winter these must be added. The grazier likes this breed best at five years old, and they will usually, when taken from the plow, fetch as much money as at six. After having been worked lightly on the hills for two years, they are bought at four years old by the tillage farmer of the vales, and taken into hard work from four to six; and, what deserves considera tion, an ox must be thus worked in order for him to attain his fullest size. If he is kept idle until
he is five or six, he will invariably be stinted in his growth. At six he reaches his full stature, unless he is naturally disposed to be of more than ordinary size, and then he continues to grow for another half year. The Devon oxen are rarely shod, and very rarely lame. Their next quality is their disposition to fatten, and very few rival them here. Some very satisfactory experiments have been made on this point. They do not, indeed, attain the great weight of some breeds; but, in a given time, they acquire more flesh, and with less consumption of food, and their flesh is beautiful in its kind. It is mottled, or marbled, so 'pleasing to the eye and to the taste. For the dairy, the Devons must be acknowledged to be inferior to several other breeds. The milk is good, and yields more than an average portion of cream and butter; but generally it is deficient in quantity. There are those, how ever, and no mean judges, who deny this, and i select the Devons,even for the dairy. Such is not, however, the common opinion. They are kept principally for their other good qualities, in order to preserve the breed; and because, as nurses, they are, indeed, excellent, and the calves thrive from their small quantity of milk more rapidly than could possibly be expected. This aboriginal breed of British cattle is a very valu able one, and seems to have arrived at the highest point of perfection. It is heavier than it was thirty years ago, yet fully as active. Its aptitude to fatten.is increased, and its property as a milker might be improved, ,without detriment to its grazing qualities. Those points in which the Devons were deficient thirty years ago, are now fully supplied, and all that is now wanting, is a judicious selection of the most perfect of the present breed, in order to preserve it in its state of greatest purity. Many of the breeders are as careless as ever they were; but the spirit of emulation is excited in others. Mr. Youatt adds: The Devon cattle are more than usually free from disease. The greater part of the maladies of cattle, and all those of the respiratory system, are owing to injudicious exposure to eold and wet; the height and thickness of the Devonshire fences, as affording a comfortable shelter to the cattle, may have much to do with this exemption. Since Mr. Youatt's time great improvement has been made, while their eminent fineness and style has been preserved. now mature earlier, and their size has been increased. The characteristic points of the Devon, as it existed fifty years ago, may be summed up as follows: The North Devon bull has a bold 'countenance, indented forehead, clear, full and prominent eyes, surrounded by an orange-colored ring; his head is square, with a light, cream-colored muzzle, or nose; his horns are moderately strong, a little turned up at their tips, and of a wavy color; his back is straight from the hip bone to the insertion of the tail; his hind quarter is full and round quite down to the hough, with the thigh full of muscles, and a deep, rich flank; his shoulder is also deep and strong from the withers to the chest, and thick through the breast behind the elbow; his fore-arm and knee are thick and strong, with the bone small and short under the knee; his flank is well down the body, which is rather straight underneath. The cow has a neat, sharp head, with graceful, upturned horns, a very full, clear eye, encircled with an orange-colored ring, and she is of the same color within the ears; the muzzle, or nose, is narrow, and of pale cream color; her frame is long and straight, symmetrical in shape, with good, prom inent hips and full springing ribs; her hind quarter is long and full; her shoulder round, slanting and full, and she is deep from the top of the plate-bone to the breast-point; her fore-arm thick down to the knee-bone, and thin and short below the knee; her abdomen is straight along the under side; her flank is low down near the hough; she is usually small when compared with. the The North Devon working ox has a large, long, straight and symmetrical frame, with a clean, sharp-looking head, clear, prominent eye, encircled by an orange-colored ring, a cream colored nose, and long, waxy, upturned horns, which are fine at the points; his shoulder is slanting and well placed; his neck is lean and thin at the breast-point; his ribs are rounded, and spring out; his hip is high and long from the hip-bone to the insertion of the tail, and nearly as high as the line of the back; hind quarter round and full, quite to the hough, with great substance and bone; fore-arm, thick and large above, but small below the knee, with a. good, expansive solid hoof that seldom fails. While these characteristics remain, measurably, to-day, they have been modified and refined by breeding, so that while retaining their high mus cular development, rounded form and intelli gent sagacity, they are at the same time more fully rounded out, and finer in every way; and in the show rings, both for fat and breeding ani mals, in England and America, they do not com pare unfavorably with other. improved —except in localities where flush pastures, and abundant winter feed enables the larger breeds to supersede them. In high northern latitudes, and in hilly countries, they will always be favor ite cattle. In relation to the uniform red color of the Devons—breeders of the improved Devons adhere scrupulously to the deep red Color, and reject individuals who have a tendency to pro duce white, and in this way the color of the Devons has been established and perpetuated. It is now found that the deep red color of the pure bred Devon is implanted so strongly that there is no race in which a mixture of foreign blood is so easily traced; nor is there a race that has. remained so free from foreign intermixture. Their color is generally stamped on the progeny, in a cross with any other breed—so much so that when the Devon bull is crossed on the and grade cows, of whatever color, the progeny are almost invariably like the sire in color. The systematic improvement of the Devons, commenced in England, over 150 years ago. They were transferred to the New England. States and into Maryland. They are said to have been imported into the Plymouth Colony in 1623, but the first importation of improved Devons into. the United States was in 1817, when Mr. Coke, afterwards Earl a Leicester, presented to Mr. Robert Patterson, of Baltimore, Md., six heifers and one bull, Taurus. The dam of Taurus, in 1820, made thirteen• pounds of butter per week. Three of these heifers Mr. Patterson gave to his father-in-law, Mr. Richard Caton; the other three he gave to his father, Mr. William Patterson; they were all bred to Taurus. In 1835, Mr. George Patterson came in possession of the herd of his father, Mr. William Patterson, and, in 1836, imported the bull Anchises (140), for a cross, from one of the best dairies in Devon shire. He afterwards imported Eclipse (191); in 1846, Herod (214); and in 1852, Norfolk (266). As showing the estimation in which Devons were held in England and America, from the time of their introduction here, up to 1860, we find in one of the volumes of the Agriculture of Massa chusetts, the following: Mr. Bloomfield, the manager of the late Earl of Leicester's estate, at.