SHEEP. The antiquity of sheep, as kept for their flesh and wool, is coeval with the first dawn of civilization of mankind. The original wild type is lost in obscurity, and naturalists have conjectured in vain as to when the original race was indigenous, and from what race or races domestic sheep have sprung; some asserting the muffion (Ovis musmott) of Barbary, Crete, Cor sica, Sardinia, and the islands of the Grecian Archipelago to be its origin; others, fhe argali ((leis ammon) of Siberia; while others again, con sider it likely that more than one wild species have commingled to form the numerous domestic breeds. Whatever may have been the type of our common sheep, there can be no doubt that they are naturally mountainous animals. For, if left to themselves, it is always observed that they prefer hill-sides and rocky mountains to valleys and low plains; and, hi the former situa tions, they thrive better, although they acquire less flesh than on more luxuriant soils. The domesticated sheep is pre-eminently a wool bearing animal; yet many races seem to be desti tute of this covering, particularly in tropical climates, and to be clothed with wool, so closely resembling hair as not to be distinguish able from it unless by means of a powerful lens. The muffions and argali, that is, the wild species, are covered with a harsh kind of hair, having beneath it, at its roots, a short, spiral wool, which, in winter, becomes longer and more full. Mr. Bell, an English writer, considered the harsh hair as essentially wool in its structure, present ing the imbrications which the microscope shows to be the characteristic of wool, and on which its felting property depends; and he regards the short under-coat as composed of hair, and not of wool. Mr. Youatt makes the contrary statement, and, notwithstanding the appearances noticed by Mr. Bell, one might be inclined to the opinion of the former; for, as is well known, in the Cash mere and Angora goats, the long outer covering is hair; the under-coat exquisitely fine down, or wool. In other down or wool-bearing ani mals, as the beaver and otter, a similar arrange ment prevails; and we know, moreover, that, in some neglected breeds of the domesticated sheep, the wool becomes mixed with long, coarse hairs, by which it is more or less obscured. Both in its natural and domesticated state, the sheep is a gregarious animal, collecting in flocks of greater or fewer numbers, according to the nature of the district it frequents, and the abundance of pas ture. The more the sheep is neglected, and the less its range of pasture is circumscribed, the more will it acquire habits of independence, and the more will its instincts be drawn forth and put into exercise. In wild and mountainous dis tricts, it has been remarked that sheep unite in self-defense, and form themselves into a phalanx in opposition to a strange dog, or a prowling fox, the rams heading the array, and presenting a formidable front to the foe, while the ewes and lambs crowd together in the rear. Should the intruder venture within a certain distance, they rush upon him and commence a violent assault. On the mouutains, they display considerable boldness and agility in leaping from crag to crag, and frequently climbing about the whole surface of the almost perpendicular sides of the precipit ous rocks, by treading upon the narrow ledges and projections, which scarcely afford them room to stand. In these apparently dangerous situa tions, sometimes at a height of several hundred feet, and with the billows of the ocean roaring beneath them, they show that they are not such cowardly and stupid beings as they have been described. They exhibit great intrepidity, and a full confidence in their skill, vieing with the goat in sureness of step and strength of 'spring, when they are ascending to the summit by repeated bounds. With regard to the courage of sheep may be instanced the boldness with which the ewe not unfrequently defends her offspring from danger, and the desperate combats often occur ring between the rams, actuated by a feeling of mutual jealousy; for, as soon as they come together, they rush headlong at each other with immense force, the concussion of their heads being audible at a very considerable distance. The skin of sheep is composed of three textures. Externally is the cuticle or scarf-skin, which is thin, tough, devoid of feeling, and pierced by innumerable minute holes, through which pass the fibers of the wool and the insensible perspira tion. It seems to be of a scaly texture. This is plain to be seen when the sheep have the scab. Below this is the rete mucosum, a soft structure, its fibers having scarcely more consistence than mucilage, and being with great difficulty sep arated from the skin beneath. This seems to be placed as a defense to the terminations of the blood and nerves of the skin, and these are in a manner enveloped and covered by it. Beneath is the cutis or true skin, composed of innumerable minute fibers crossing each other in every direction, highly elastic, in order to fit closely to the parts beneath, and to yield to the various motions of the body. Judging from the mixture of wool and hair in the coat of most animals, it is thought by some that the primi tive sheep had a hairy covering. It is said that there are, at the present day, varieties of sheep that are clothed outwardly with hair of differ ent degrees of fineness, and underneath the external coat is a softer, shorter, and closer one that answers to the description of fur, but which really possesses all the characteristics of wool. It is, therefore, highly improbable that the sheep, which has now become, by cultivation, the wool-bearing animal, should, in any coun try, have ever been entirely destitute of wool. Sheep of almost every variety have at times been in the gardens of the Zoological Society of London, but there has not been one on which a portion of crisped wool, although exceedingly small, has not been found at the bottom of the hair The filament of the wool has scarcely pushed itself through the pores of the skin, when it has to penetrate through another and singular substance, which, from its adhesiveness and color, is called the yolk. It is found in greatest quantity about the breast and shoulders, the very parts that produce the best and most abundant wool, and in proportion as it extends to any considerable degree over other parts, the wool is then improved. It differs in quantity in different breeds; it is very abundant in the Merino. The yolk being a true soap, soluble in water, accounts for the comparative ease with which the sheep, that have the natural propor tion of it, are washed iu a running stream. The fiber of the wool having penetrated the skin and escaped from the yolk, is of a circular form, generally larger toward the extremity and also toward to root, and in some instances very con siderably so. When the animal is in good con dition, and the fleece healthy, the appearance of the fiber is brilliant, but when the state of the constitution is bad the fiber has a dull appear ance, and either a wan, pale light, or sometimes scarcely any, is reflected. The age of the sheep is generally determined by their teeth. When they are about one year and a half old, they shed their two center teeth of the incisors, and two wide ones grow out and take their place. The next year the next two are shed, and wlien the sheep is three years old the four central teeth are fully grown. At four years they have six teeth, and at five years the teeth are perfectly devel oped. This is one year before the horse or ox can be said to be fully mouthed. This rule for the age of sheep will hardly ever fail in ewes, but sometimes will in the case of rams. If not too old, their age may be determined by the growth of their horns each year. The differ ence caused in the shedding of their teeth may be by the manner in which the sheep are cared for. If well fed and kept in a thriving condi tion, they will shed them faster, and Dice versa. Some sheep with the full mouth will hold their teeth much longer than others. The natural age of sheep is about ten years, to which time they will thrive and breed well if in good health. Sheep husbandry was early undertaken in the United States, but has been subjected to great vicissitudes. Sheep were imported into the colony of Virginia as early as 1609, and they increased by 1648 to three thousand. The Dutch West India Company introduced them about the year 1625, but they proved to be too much of a temptation for dogs and wolves, for it is recorded that in 1643 there were but sixteen in that whole colony. They were kept upon the islands in Boston Harbor as early as 1633, and two years after there were ninety-two iu the vicinity of Portsmouth, N. H. It became the universal practice in the good old days of homespun for the farmer to keep a number sufficient to clothe his family. The old native sheep was a coarse, long-legged, and unprofitable animal, and there was no improvement made in the breeding till toward the close of the last century, when, in 1793, the first merinoes, or fine-wooled sheep, were imported by William Foster, of Boston. They were wholly unap preciated, were given to a gentleman to keep, and he, knowing nothing of their value, simply ate them, and a few years after was buying the same class of sheep at $1,000 per head. The embargo of 1808 induced many to turn their attention to fine-wooled sheep, and soon very large numbers of merino sheep were imported and distributed throughout the United States, and our modern sheep-husbandry, now grown up to its proportional importance, may be said to date from these importations. The finest wooled sheep are now most extensively produced in the United States and in Australia. Next comes France, and then Spain. Mutton sheep have been carried to great perfection in England, and of late years, this industry has been a con stantly increasing one through the importation of the best representatives of the middle and long-wooled breeds. Of the English breeds, the report to the Government of the United States, following the Vienna Exhibition, states the characteristics of prominent English breeds as follows: The British breeds are most naturally divided according to altitudes and fertility of their habitat. The large breeds, white, hornless, and bearing long wool with small felting pro perty, occupy the rich alluvial districts, the lands reclaimed from the sea, and the highly cul-, tivated and very productive farm-areas. These are the Leicester, Lincoln, Romney-Marsh, Cots wold, the few remaining of the Devonshire Notts, the Roscommon, and similar Irish sheep. Next should be classed the sheep of the chalk downs, .the commons, and forests, suited to a dry and temperate climate. There are the Downs of several families, perhaps now to be taken as breeds, the Dorsets and their congeners, the pink-nosed Somersets. They produce a short, felting-wool, suited to inferior grades of goods. The Ryeland, formerly found in the western counties, and esteemed for producing the finest cloth-wool of England, is now almost extinct. The third general division comprises the moun tain breeds, first the Cheviots of the hills of the North of England and borders of Scotland ; the Black-face of the central chain of mountains and moors northward from Derbyshire to the mountains of Scotland; and two varieties of Welsh mountain-sheep, and the Kerry and other mountain-breeds of Ireland. There are many local remnants of the ancient stock allied to the above, hut there are none worthy of special mention. The weight of fleece of British sheep averages about five pounds. The Lincolns may be placed at eight pounds, the Cotswolds nearly the same, the Leicesters at seven, the Downs at four, the Cheviots at three, the Black-faces at two and one-half, and the Welsh at two. The Leicesters are most numerous, exceeding one third of all; the Downs one-sixth, the Black faces nearly as many, Cheviots one-eighth, leaving about one-fifth for other breeds. The heavy breeds of eighty years ago, modified mainly by the Leicester, now furnish lighter fleeces. For instance, the Lincoln, as reported by Hon. Robert R. Livingston, then yielded eleven pounds; the Teeswater and Cotswold, nine pounds. These are, of course, average weights, as rams as well as pampered ewes and wethers, greatly exceed the average. The weight of carcase exceeds by twenty per cent. the weight of imported mutton, and averages sixty pounds; by some estimates, sixty-five pounds. A brief reference to this improvement, with the characteristic points and present status of the principal breeds, will indicate more fully the progress of the century in sheep-husbandry. Leicesters.—The Leicestershire sheep, in the beginning of the Bakewell era of improvement, were known by their names, the old Leicesters, the new Leicesters, or Dishleys, (the latter from Bakewell's place of residence,) and the forest sheep. The Dishley experiment commenced in 1755, and was continued so successfully that the rams of this famous flock ultimately com manded $15,000 as hire for the season, giving an impetus to the improvement which was per petuated by the permanence and desirability of the results achieved, until the breed assumed a position which has been maintained to the pre sent time. The original Leicester upon which Bakewell commenced his experiment was an animal of large frame, with heavy bone and course-grained meat, a flat-sided carcase, and legs large and rough. It was a slow feeder and necessarily late in reaching maturity, weighing at two or three years old 100 to 120 pounds. Seeing the necessity of obtaining, in addition to the fleece, the largest possible increase of flesh in proportion to the food consumed, in the shortest period of time, he bred by selection most persistently and skillfully for these objects. With these aims always in view, he chose with rarejudgment, yet with a broad latitude as to breed or family, such animals as would approxi mate his ideal of compactness and symmetry, refinement of bone, a reduction of the proportion of unprofitable parts, and higher capacity for rapid conversion of food to flesh. After secur ing this result by animals of characteristics so widely differing from those of the original stock, he found necessary a rigid adhesion to the practice of in and in breeding to keep the advantage gained, until a fixedness of type had been secured which should impress itself surely and indelibly upon any race which might be selected for improvement. In accomplishing results of such practical value, with all possible care to retain the sound constitution and great hardiness of the old stock, there was perhaps inevitably induced a comparative delicacy, a reduction in size, a decrease in prolificness and excellence as nurses. These defects have indeed demanded the wisest judgment in the infusion of fresh strains of blood, by which the stamina of the race has been fortified, and its popularity maintained until the present day, to such a degree that the Leicester blood is far more widely diffused than that of any other breed, even modifying essentially all the long-wool races, and to some extent the mountain breeds, and some families of the short-wool Downs. The true type of this breed, as understood by Youatt, is thus described: The head should be hornless, long, small, tapering toward the muz zle, and projecting horizontally forward. The eyes prominent, but with a quiet expression. The ears thin, rather long, and directed back ward. The neck full and broad at its base, where it proceeds from the chest, so that there is, with the slightest possible elevation, oue continued horizontal line from the rump to the poll. The breast broad and round, and no uneven or angular formation where the should ers join either neck or the back; particularly no rising of the withers or hollow behind the situa tion of these bones. The arm fleshy through its whole extent, and even down to the knee. The bones of the leg small, standing wide apart; no looseness,of skin about them, and comparatively bare of wool. The chest and barrel at once deep and round, the ribs forming a considerable arch from the spine, so as in some cases, and especially when the animal is in good condition, to make the apparent width of the chest even greater than the depth. The barrel ribbed well home; no irregularity of line on the back or belly, but on the sides; the carcase very gradually dimin ishing in width toward the rump. The quar ters long and full, and, as with the fore legs, the muscles extending down to the bock; the thighs also wide and full. The legs of a moderate length; the pelt also moderately thin, but soft and elastic, and covered with a good quan tity of white wool. The Leicester requires less food in proportion to weight than any other race. They are mostly sold early in the summer or early autumn after their first year, many wethers at twelve to fifteen months weighing twenty to twenty-five pounds per quarter; and at two years they attain the weight of thirty to thirty-seven pounds. The fleeces are valuable as fine combing wool, and, if well grown, weigh from seven to eight.pounds each. The earliest record of this breed in the United States is a mention by Custis of the Bakewell ewes on the estate of Washington, from which, through a cross by a Persian ram, was derived the somewhat famous Arlington long-wooled sheep. The influence of this and other long-wool flocks of Virginia gave a popu larity to the English races which has continued to the present day, though the preference at pre sent appears to be given to the Merinoes, espec ially since the war and its accompanying desti tution and lack of thrift. Kentucky also gives a preference to the Leicester, as a fit companion to the short-horn bullock upon the blue-grass pastures. They are to be found in small num bers in the Middle and Ohio Valley States, gen erally in a semi-degenerate state, not bred up to the modern standard of the perfect Leicester in his English hpme. The mutton of Leicesters is too fat to suit American taste, yet that of grades is quite palatable, though coarse-grained, with too much outside fat. Even in England meat of animals two years old is less valuable than that of lambs or shearings; and the price is always materially lower than mutton of Southdowns and the mountain races. Border Leicesters. More than a century ago some of the sheep-folds of the border were reinforced by Leicestershire sheep of established repute. Early in the pre sent century representatives of the Dishley stud began a contribution to the improvement, which has been continued until they have won a distinct position in the show-yard and in popular esteem. The charapferistics of this breed, as given by Mr. John Wilson, are extraordinary aptitude to fatten and early maturity. He says: The most marked feature in their structure is the smallness of their heads and of their bones generally, as contrasted with their weight of carcase. They are clean in the jaws, with a full eye, thin ears, and plAcid countenance. Their backs are straight, broad, and flat; the ribs arched, the belly carried very light, so that they present nearly as straight a line below as above; the chest is wide, the skin very mellow, and covered with a beautiful fleece of long, soft wool, which weighs, on the average, from six to seven pounds. On good soils, and under careful treatment, these sheep are currently brought to weigh from eigh teen to twenty pounds a quarter at fourteen months old, at which age they are now gener ally slaughtered. At this age their flesh is ten der and juicy, but when carried on until they are older and heavier, fat accumulates so unduly in proportion to the lean meat as to detract from its palatableness and market value. Cotswolds. —This is one of the largest English breeds, though the improved race is smaller than the originals, on account of the influence of the Lei cester element in its amelioration. As a breed it is of great antiquity. It has gained in fleece and form, and comes to maturity earlier; is more pro lific than the Leicester, and has greater strength of constitution; is often fattened at fourteen months, yielding fifteen to twenty pounds per quarter, and twenty to thirty if kept till two years old. The fleece is six to eight inches in length, and sometimes much longer; is strong, somewhat coarse, of good color, and yields a heavy fleece. The mutton is superior to that of the Leicester, with a smaller proportion of fat, and the sheep are also superior to that popular breed in weight of wool, size, hardiness, and vitality. They are possessed of good figure, have a large head, well set on, a broad chest, a well-rounded barrel, and a straight back. They are often used for crossing upon other breeds, and for obtaining earlier market-lambs, both in this country and in Europe. They are more widely disseminated in this country than any other long-wool, and preserve well the popularity which they have attained here. Some imported sheep of this breed have borne fleeces in this country of eighteen pounds. Lincolns.—The old Lincolns, of the fertile meadows of Lower Lin colnshire, were remarkable beyond any contem porary breed for coarse and heavy forms and length of wool, the fleeces weighing ten to twelve pounds. They were hornless, with large limbs, hollow flanks, and fiat sides. They shared with the Romney-Marsh sheep the alluvial and fen districts, consumed largely their rank pasturage and fattened slowly. When the fame of Bake well at Dishley was rising to its zenith, recourse was had to his improved Leicesters for improve ment in the flesh-taking property, and this course of crossing was pursued to the close of the eigh teenth century, and indeed to the present time, as found necessary, for the purpose of securing a better form and earlier maturity without los ing wholly their peculiarities of size and length of fiber. For at least a quarter of a century a sharp contest was waged between the supporters of the old and the new, the former fearing the loss of hardiness and local adaptation, as well as its unrivaled peculiarities of fleece, while the lat ter were quite willing to risk any or all of these results in the belief that more mutton and wool and money could be realized upon each acre of area than with the modified Lincolns, And the latter ultimately prevailed, and verified the cor rectness of their theory. The effect of this change upon the wool has been to make it shorter and finer, and to diminish somewhat its softness of fiber. It is a question whether the peculiar quality of the wool could have been retained in larger degree without essential injury to its mut ton producing quality. This district of country still continues to produce the largest sheep of Great Britain, with fleeces superior in weight and value to any other. They are not equal in earliness of maturity to the Leicesters, but they are profitable, and suitable to the rich lands they occupy, wethers frequently attaining the enor mous weight of fifty to sixty pounds per quarter. Romney-Marsh —There is another breed of Eng lish sheep inhabiting the rich alluvial soil of Bent, known as the Romney-Marsh sheep, which pertinaciously retains its distinctive features, though modified and improved by recent breed ing. It is a large sheep, not very symmetrical in form, having narrow forequarters and flat sides, and coarse bone and muscle. It has a white face, a long and thick head, and a tuft of wool on the forehead. The wool is of more value than the mutton, perhaps, (but would not be profitable without it,) being long, fine and lustrous, and in demand at good prices for export to Flanders and to France, for the manufacture of cloth of gold and similar fabrics. Other breeds have been introduced upon the marshes, but can not maintain themselves in competition with the Rotuneys. The country is flat, open to the east, and very bleak, yet these sheep live through the winter in the open fields, and have little protec tion or supplied food. The ewes are compara tively prolific, about thirty per cent. of doubles being expected in reproduction. The lambs come late, after the severity of the winter is over. With a good course of turnip feeding after the first wintering they can be brought to seventeen pounds, sometimes to eighteen pounds, per quar ter, yet they are more frequently kept over a second winter. They are not very early in ma turing, and is the main reliance for growth if not for fattening. There are cattle on the farms, but sheep greatly predominate and furnish the principal profits. The pasture lands of the marsh differ greatly in productiveness. There are feeding lands, keeping two or three ewes in winter and twice as many in summer; and the fattening lands keep four or five sheep per acre. The original Sussex or Southdowns have proba bly the purest blood, free from admixture during the long period which covers the rise and devel opment of the British wool-manufacture and the increase of meat production, of any race of British sheep. Their improvement has been long-continued and is still continuing, apparently without the necessity of recurrence to any foreign blood for amelioration of a single objectionable point. While they have been greatly improved, progress has invariably been in the direction in dicated in the distant past, and not by radical and • violent changes. It has been carried on, there is little reason to doubt, solely by selection, there being little, if any positive evidence that the Leicester or other blood has aided in the amelioration. In the production of Hampshire and Shropshire and other breeds bearing the Down name, it is well known that other blood has been effectively used; but it should be re membered that these families, or rather breeds, are not really improved Downs, but have come from selected individuals of other hardy, primi tive breeds, molded into a modification of the Southdown type by large and repeated infu sion of that blood, with occasional dashes of Leicester to give greater size and aptitude for fattening. The changes effected in the true South (or Sussex) Downs'have been mainly these: Speckled faces have been changed to a uniform tint of brown or fawn color, sometimes almost a gray; the forehead and cheeks have been par tially covered with wool; a greater symmetry of form has been obtained ; a larger size and greater fattening aptitude. The flock of Lord Walsing ham exhibits some deviation from the Sussex type, having somewhat greater length and a de cided development of the forequarter, giving greater weight at the expense of somewhat re duced value to the butcher. They are splendid animals, and have been largely sought by conti nental purchasers, though disapproved by many breeders of pure Southdowns. By reason of its purity the Southdown, perhaps, has stamped its peculiarities upon its cross-bred offspring more certainly and strongly than any other of the English breeds; and for this reason, together with its hardiness and the unsurpassed quality of its mutton, it is deemed of greater practical value in its crosses than in its pure-bred flocks. But for the fact that quantity and quickness in lamb production are of mare pecuniary value than superior quality, it would far surpass the Leicester in its prevalent use for cross-bred early lambs. It is now considerably more than one hundred years since Mr. Ellman, of Glynde, Sussex, sought a more symmetrical and profit able form, and a superior flesh and fat producing habit, without injury to constitution or fecun dity; and he pursued his object slowly, cautious ly, with a judgment, patience, zeal, and intelli gent liberality that insured success. The light forequarters, narrow chests, and long necks and limbs were totally changed. This is the descrip tion given by Mr. Ellman, himself, to his im proved sheep: The head small and hornless; the face speckled or gray, and neither too long nor too short; the lips thin, and the space between the nose and the eyes narrow; the under jaw, or chop, fine and thin; the ears tolerably wide and well covered with wool, and the forehead also, and the whole space between the ears well protected by it as a defense against the fly; the eye full and bright, but not prominent; the neck of me dium length, thin toward the head, but enlarging toward the shoulders, where it should be broad and high, and straight in its whole course above and below. The breast should be wide, deep, and projecting forward between the fore legs, indicating a good constitution, and a disposition to thrive. Corresponding with this, the shoulders should be on a level with the back, and not too wide above; they should bow outward from the top to the breast, indicating a springing rib be neath and leaving room for it, the ribs coming out horizontally from the spine, and extending far backward, and the last rib projecting more than the others; the hack flat from the shoulders to the setting on of the tail; the loin broad and flat; the rump long and broad, and the tail set on high, and nearly on a level with the spine; the hips wide, and the space between them and the last rib on either side as narrow as possible, and the ribs, generally speaking, presenting a circular form like a barrel; the belly as straight as the back ; the lvgs neither too long nor too short; the forelegs st might from the breast to the foot, not bending ,nw.ird at the knee, and stand
ing far apart both 1,,ewre and behind; the hocks having a direction rather outward, and the twist, or the meeting of the thighs behind, being partic • ularly full; the bones fine, yet having no appear ance of weakness, and of a speckled or dark color. The belly well defended with wool, and the wool coming down before and behind to the knee and to the hock; the wool short, close, curled, and fine, and free from spiry projecting fibers. The Dorsets.—A very ancient race of sheep is found in the county of Dorset, which formerly included ,a large tract of country. It has some resemblance to the Merino in form, but none in other respects. In 1749 they were described by Ellis as having white fleeces, white and short legs, broad loins, and fine curled wool. They still have white legs and faces. and show some increase in length of limb and in weight of fleece, which averages about four pounds of fine wool without sufficient softness for goods of first qual ity. Its great distinguishing peculiarities, which prevent its extinction as a breed, are its early breeding and fecundity, rendering it popular for early lambs, dropped in October, and fit for table at Christmas. There is a paying demand for them raised as house-lambs for the London mar ket. Either Leicester or Southdown rams, pre ferably the latter, are generally employed, mak ing the lambs a Dorset cross. Some have attri buted their peculiarities to an origin in a warm climate; others to the comparative mildness of climate, a calcareous soil, and to the abundance of thyme and aromatic plants in the herbage. These .sheep are hardy, ford well, subsist on scanty pasturage, and wethers at three years old furnish mutton weighing eighteen pounds per quarter. While their range has been reduced by the predominance of the modern Leicesters and Southdowns, they maintain a better footing in the county of Somerset than in Dorset itself, exhibiting here, slight difference in type, especi ally showing a pink-colored nose like the Merino, and often called the pink-nosed Somerset. They have also somewhat greater length of wool, larger lambs, and mutton heavier per quarter. Other varieties of the Dorset group, inhabiting the older commons of the south and west of England, are nearly extinct, though traces of them may still be found. One variety, inhabit ing the isle of Portland, still exists in a state of purity. They are small, gentle, of good form, with a tinge of dun on the face and legs. Their wool is of medium fineness, weighing two pounds per fleece. The wethers often produce mutton weighing ten pounds per quarter. Welsh moun Welsh is another mountain breed, indigenous, and still unmodified in the higher elevations, while they are the basis of the more cultivated flocks inhabiting the more pro ductive valleys. They are small, weighing as store-sheep about seven pounds per quarter. The head is small and well bet up, the poll clean, except sometimes a tuft upon the forehead; the females generally hornless; the faces unusually white, with occasional instances of gray, spec kled, or rusty brown. They are narrow-chested, low-shouldered, high-rumped, long-tailed, active in movement, having little regard for fences or hedges, hardy and thrifty on scanty herbage. The wool is fine, though not very even in quality; fleeces weighing about two pounds. They are not prolific, as one lamb is enoligh for a mother to care for in mountain pastures, but are good nurses, and are sought for on that account for breeding fat lambs from Leicester or Down crosses. In the winter, just before the lambing season, the ewes are brought down from the mountain-wilds and supplied With small quanti ties of hay or oats; it the latter, sheaf-oats are used, as the little Welsh sheep would not know what to do with clear grain. Lambs kept in the flock are shorn in July or August; and after weaning, the mothers are milked for a month or two, and butter is made, or the milk is used to improve skim-cheese. They are too wild for ordinary farm economy of the lowlands, a new lot brought home disappearing in all directions if allowed the opportunity to scatter, and some times found on the roofs of neighboring cottages.' Cheviots or other breeds do not thrive in their mountain-home, rendering it probable that they will not be superseded, though they may be modi fied. Cheviots.—As the Black-faces monopolize the higher mountain-lands, the Cheviots occupy the lower elevations, the hills of the border coun ties between England and Scotland. They have been systematically improved by the use of care fully selected rams of Lincolnshire, before the day of the improved Lincoln race. It has been claimed that the Leicester blood produced the improvement, but the hardiness of the breed and the testimony of the breeders tend to invalidate th• opinion. They were formerly light in bone and wool, of scraggy frame, but with a constitu tion wonderfully hardy. Draining of lauds, pro vision of shelter, and a greater abundance, both of summer and winter food, have aided the efforts of the breeder, and the result has been one of the most useful and profitable of known breeds of slieep. No animal has contributed so much to the prosperity of the Scottish border and hill farms as the Cheviot sheep Their mut ton ranks very high in Smithfield market, and. some people give it a preference over the game flavored mutton of the Black-face. These sheep obtain their name from a range of hills running through the border counties of England and Scot land. The original improver of greatest repute is William Robson, of Bilford., who commenced his operations a century ago, and his flock became the nucleus of the ram-supply of all that region for many years. They are considered very useful for crossing with border Leicesters. Roscommons.—Connaught has been for a long period the principal sheep-breeding section of Ireland, and the source of supplies furnished to the great Ballinasloe fair for the graziers of all other parts of the green isle. Culley described the original stock of Connaught as the most awk ward and ungainly sheep to be found in the king dom, with nothing to recommend them but their size. These sheep are supported by very long, thick, crooked, gray legs; their heads long and ugly, with large, flagging ears, 'gray faces, and sunken eyes; necks long, and set on below the shoulders; breasts narrow and short, hollow before and behind the shoulders; flat-sided, with high, narrow, heri ing-backs, bind quarters drooping, and tail set low ; in short they are almost in every respect contrary to what he apprehended a well-formed sheep should be; and it is to be lamented that more attention has not been paid to the breeding of useful stock in an island so fruitful in pasturage as Ireland. The spirit of improvement reached this district ; the smuggling of English animals, the importation of which was strictly prohibited, begat a desire for superior style and more satisfactory returns. At length the restriction was removed, and their improvement was very vigorously conducted, the first means employed being a Leicester cross, by which the form was improved and the wool lost much of its coarseness. When it assumed the distinctive and fixed peculiarities of a new breed, it took the name of the Roscommon sheep. The breeders manifested much judgment in perfect ing its points and skill in select ing the individuals by which it was accomplished. For the past generation the progress made has been remarkable, compelling the Royal Agricultural Society and the Royal Dublin Society, which for a long time admitted them in a mixed class to their shows, to recognize them as a distinct breed of long-wools. The fol lowing statement of their pres ent status is given by the editor of the Irish Farmer's Gazette : The old Connaught breed of sheep were never fattened until they were three or four years old, when they made great weights, but the mutton was coarse. In consequence of the improvement which has been made in the breed, shearling wedders, are now often sold fat to the butcher, making from twenty-five pounds to over thirty pounds per quarter; but, as a general rule, the Roscommon graziers hold them over until they are thirty months old, at which age they are generally sold in Ballinasloe fair, at prices varying from three to four guineas each, to Leinster gra ziers, by whom the sheep are kept until they are about three years old, when, they make from thirty-six pounds and upward per quarter. Draft ewes, fed after being cast for breeding, weigh from thirty-four pounds to forty pounds per quarter, and the quality of the mutton is unex ceptionable. It must be under stood that the Roscommon sheep are, in general, reared entirely upon grass, with the help of some lay during winter. Tur nip-feeding does not, as in Great Britain, form a material point in sheep-farming as conducted in Roscommon, there being only one acre of turnips grown in that country to each 109 acres of area. These sheep, from first to last, are for the most part reared and fattened without see ing a turnip. In all cases where turnip-feeding is pursued, the Roscommon sheep prove that early maturity, along with heavy weights, has become one of their characteristics; so that if turnip growing were extended in the west of Ireland, it is only reasonable to believe that Connaught would produce much larger supplies of sheep. A breed of sheep has long been known with enlarged and very fat tails, and were at one time regarded with considerable favor. They are now extremely rare, being unprofitable in both flesh and wool. The American Merino is acknowledged to be the best fine-wooled sheep in America, if indeed it now has a superior in the world. It has been disseminated into every State and Territory of the United States and Canada, and has been largely exported to every country in the world, where the raising of fine wool is made a leading industry. The intro duction of fine wooled sheep into the United. States, and the establishment of the American Merino was principally brought about by the introduction of Spanish blood. The history of their introduction is as follows: Win Foster, of Boston, Mass., imported three Mcrloo sheep from Spain into that city in 1793. They were given to a friend, who killed them for mutton! In 1801 M. Dupont de Neniours, and a French banker named Delessert, sent four ram lambs to the United States. All perished on the passage but one, which was used for several years in New York, and subsequently founded some excellent grade flocks for his owner, E. I. Dupont,,near Wilmington. Del. The same year, Seth Adams, of Zanesville, O., imported into Boston a pair of Spanish sheep which had been brought from Spain into France. In 1802, Mr. Livingston, American Minister in France, sent home two paira of French Merinos, purchased from the Government flock at Chalons. In 1809 and 1810,Mr. Jarvis, American Consul at Lisbon, bought and shipped to the Unit d States about 3,850 sheep. Of these, 300 were Aqueirres, 200 Escuriels, and 200 Montarcos, the rest Paulairs and Negrettis. French Merinos, and also Saxon Merinos, were also introduced. These crosses, however, worked damage wherever introduced. The incomparable American Merinos that have ahown themselves so well adapted to IL great range of climate and conditions, have beeu the result of careful crossing of selected animals with reference to weight and fineness of wool, per petuated for the last fifty years by careful selec tion. Thus, as at present constituted, they would suffer by crossing upon any other breed, and they will hold their own with the best flocks of any country, all things considered. In rela tion to the general management of sheep, the following extracts from a carefully written arti cle by Mr. T. M. Younglove to the Department of Agriculture will be found to carefully cover all the essential points. He says: I know of no more definite way of arriving at the profits of wool-growing than to refer to the common custom of letting sheep. Occasionally a flock of ewes are let to double in three years. This is an annual interest of thirty-three and one-third per cent. The more common practice is to let them for two pounds of wool per head annually, returning the original number. Assuming the ewe to be worth three dollars per head, and the wool an average of forty cents per pound, it gives eighty cents for the use of one sheep, or twenty-six and two thirds per cent. This is certainly a very 'good interest for the owner of the sheep. Now let us see what the taker has for his care and trouble. With reaaonable care he can count upon raising three lambs from every four ewes, or seventy-five per cent. increase; which, if they be worth $1.50 per head, would be over $1.12 cents per head for the increase of each ewe. This, added to the wool left after paying the two pounds to the owner, (assuming that they would shear four pounds,) is eighty cents—making one dollar and ninety-two and one-half cents for his portion. The cost of keeping a single sheep for the entire year is variously estimated at from one dollar to one dollar and fifty cents per head. Taking the highest figure, it still leaves over forty cents clear profit, after paying the owner over twenty six per cent. annual interest. But this is only upon a flock of breeding ewes. which may be set down as about two-fifths of each flock. The other three-fifths will only a little more than pay for their keeping. Allowing them to shear four pounds, at forty cents, gives one dollar and sixty cents. But this portion of the flock will shear more in proportion to their weight of carcase, and require much less care and attention than the breeding ewes. Upon this branch of wool growing very much depends. Upon the form of the carcase depend not only the powers of endurance, but the capability to produce the greatest possible amount of wool to the least weight of carcase. It is quite as impossible to put a strong and healthy constitution as it is to put a heavy fleece upon a sheep with long, slen der legs and neck, and a thin, lathy, loose body. In order to secure the many desirable good qualities which go to make up a first-class flock of sheep, great care is taken in the-selection of a buck with reference to the particular flock of ewes with which he is to be put. As one buck is sufficient to serve from one to two hundred ewes, very much depends upon him, as he is to impart, in a great measure, his qualities to the entire flock. Some bucks, although possessing all the desired qualities of form and fleece, yet fail to infuse into their stock their many good qualities, and are, therefore, rejected as not good stock bucks. But when one is found that seems to impart all the valuable qualities of the sire to the entire stock, he is very properly termed a decided stock-getter, and is prized accordingly. One hundred dollars is not deemed an excessive price for a good stock buck. In some cases fancy prices even beyond this have been paid. It is not uncommon for a buck in prime of life; weighing from one hundred and twenty-five to one hundred and fifty pounds, to shear twenty pounds annually of unwashed wool. Bucks that are valued highly are not risked the expo sure of a cold bath for the purpose of washing the wool upon the sheep. Conatitutional defects of body or fleece in a flock of ewes can easily be corrected by using a buck that shows strength where the other is weak. A common custom is to turn the buck loose with the flock of ewes which he is desired to serve, and to give them no further attention. This will do very well where only a few ewes are to be served by one buck; but when it is desired to have one buck serve a large number, it may be done much more effectually by keeping the buck up, and ewes only taken to him when in heat, such being selected from the dock, by the aid of a buck, with an apron called a teaser. Some allow the buck to run with the flock during the daytime, and keep him up through the night. From observation of the different modes, I think the better way is to allow the buck to run with the ewes from the time the flock is brought to the yard at night until they are turned away in the morning, and so keep the buck in the stable during the day. This gives the buck an oppor tunity to go through the flock before they lie down at night and again in the morning, and not only the buck, but the whole flock of ewes are allowed to feed at their leisure through the day. There are few males in the whole of the animal race more cruel or abusive to the female than the buck, for he will follow and butt or hook until both are worried down. From this practice an observing breeder will readily sec that extraordinary exertion of the ewe brings her readily to the wants of the buck. In case it is desired to have the ewe ready for the buck when put together, it can easily be effected by driving the flock of ewes briskly for a half or a whole mile before being brought to the yard. They will then be found in a particularly pleas ant mood. If the buck is stabled, and the ewes brought to him in this manner, he is saved much labor, and will consequently serve more ewes in a given time, without fatigue or exhaustion of the system, than if allowed to run with the flock. A buck treated in this manner will serve one hundred ewes without materially impairing his condition or the offspring, and will be as strong and healthy at the close of lambing as at the beginning. Lambs should be dropped at the particular season when the ewe first obtains a scanty supply of grass, and conse quently must be varied in different localities. If allowed to drop earlier, the ewe gives but a poor supply of milk, many of the young ones, and those in low condition, none at all. In this case many of the ewes that have no milk will refuse to own the lamb, and many of the lambs get a stunt, of which they recover, if at all, but slowly, and the flock will be of all sizes. If allowed to drop later in the season, when the ewe has obtained sufficient grass to enable her to give a flow of milk, and the whole system becomes invigorated by it„ the offspring too often attains an over growth, so that even the services of the most skillful midwife are not sufficient, and frequently both mother and lamb die from this cause. Another serious difficulty of late lambing is, that unless the lamb draws both teats soon after its birth, the ewe suffers from an abundance of milk, and frequently inflammation follows. The lamb should be cas trated at from one to three days old. The lamb should be held by an assistant, who should set the lamb upon his back just back of the hips, taking the fore and hind legs of each in each hand, putting the fore legs outside of the hind, and hold them firmly just above the knee joints. The operator takes hold of the pouch and pulls it gently, so as to get as much as possible of it, and then with a sharp knife at a single stroke takes off the pouch pretty close to the testicle. Then take a firm hold of each testicle separately between the fore finger and thumb of the right hand, and pull it out with all the cord that adheres to it. This completes the operation. The reason for cutting off all the pouch that can be easily pulled beyond the testicle is, that it leaves a much evener surface for shearing than if only a little is taken off. This operation should be performed in the morning, and the lambs then turned out to move about, which will, in a great measure, prevent any disposition of swelling or stiffening of the parts, which is frequently the case if they are allowed to lie still for a time afterward. Docking should be done as soon as they are well of the castration, generally about three days afterward. This operation should be performed with a single stroke of a sharp knife, and in the evening, allowing the flock to lie down and keep quiet and still, so that they may lose the least possible amount of blood. By morning the wound will be sufficiently dried that no fear of bleeding need be entertained, unless by accident. In no case should they be driven or put to any extra exertion immediately after being docked, for if so, many will bleed to death. If these hints, which are simple and easily put in practice, are carefully heeded, not one lamb in a hundred need be lost by both operations. At from ten to fifteen days old he should be entirely well of both, and will go on thriving. At about three months old the lamb should be taken from the ewe. The flock should be brought to the yard in the forepart of the day and turned away just at evening, while they are hungry. Much anxiety of both is avoided by this simple prac tice, for both flocks will go quietly to feeding, and finally lie down satisfied, which they would not otherwise do. The lambs should be picked from amongst the ewes and allowed the liberty of a larger yard, while the ewes are kept more closely confined during the latter part of the day, the two flocks separated by a sheep rack, or open fence. The lambs' yard should be fur nished with a feeding trough, supplied with a mixture of salt and bran. This is very palata ble, and they will learn to eat from a trough the same day their supply of milk is taken from them. This yard and trough should be con venient for the flock of lambs to run to, and should, as often as twice a week, be supplied with something palatable, which learns them to eat from a trough, and goes far towards taming and attaching them to the shepherd. If the yard is not contiguous to the pasture, the trough may and should be moved to the pasture where the lambs are to make their future home. As the season advances and the nights become frosty, or during heavy storms, the flock of lambs should be herded, and the yards supplied with racks and troughs sufficient for them to feed without crowding too much. Occasionally a little hay, or oats in the sheaf, should be put in the racks. This teaches them to use the yard and and rack ere it is needed; and when the first severe storm of winter covers the ground, as only a cold winter storm can do, they will take hold with a keen relish. If they are left in the field until the winter sets in and makes it necessary to fodder, they are brought to the yard strangers alike to the arrangements and the food they are to use. Many will become dis couraged and stand with drooping head and ears, and will only eat when reduced to a reeling skeleton. They thus begin the winter under serious disadvantages and frequently never regain' it, but drag along a miserable winter, toppling over every obstacle, to be lifted to their legs, and finally die, as the first warm days of spring take from them the miserable remnant of appe tite which idly lingered about them. This neg ligence'in the early education of the sheep is like neglecting the education until the tender and pliant years of childhood are past. When the fully-matured man acquires a business that must be done, he sets about learning to do it. There is however, this difference; the man can get a competent person to do it for him, but the unlearned sheep can get none to eat for him that will supply the wants of nature. When the lambs are fairly in their winter quarters, their education may be considered complete, as their treatment in the after part of the winter may be in every respect like older sheep only a little more care and attention; and like older ones grain is not lost upon them, although toohigh feeding is not recommended. During the care should be taken not to allow too many to run in one flock, for the stronger continually over run the weaker, picking out the most delicate portions of the food, and leaving that less palat able and of inferior quality to those which should have the beet. The usual mode is to allow from. one hundred to one hundred and fifty in a flock. While some keep them in close yards and water and feed them, others allow them to roam over the fields during the day and bring them to the yard at night. Such as are allowed a free range usually pick quite a portion of their winter living, but it is of an inferior qual ity, and a flock allowed to roam will not usually keep in as good condition as when they are care fully yarded, housed, and properly fed. If sheep are divided into small flocks of about twenty-five. and are selected with reference to sire and strength, and kept in close confinement through the winter, giving them only room enough to move about, they will require less food than if allowed more liberty, and allowed to run in larger flocks; but whether the increased amount of labor will offset against the difference in the supply of food can only be determined by the circumstance• and conveniences of the grower. Before the sheep are changed from hay to grass in the spring they should be carefully looked over, and all horns and hoofs that threaten to be troublesome carefully removed. The hoofs can be taken off with pruning shears, but a fine saw is needed for horns. The sheep is then laid upon his back in a kind of saw-buck, with a board nailed to each side, forming an easy place for the sheep to lie, and convenient for the operator. It should be high • enough for the sheep to run under without oversetting it. .A. basket is then Placed at the end to receive the tag locks as they are taken off.. A portion of the wool should then be taken from the stern of each sheep in such a manner as to allow the manure to drop free without Ending any stray locks or loose raw edges of • wool to obstruct it in its passage. The wethers should have a small por tion of wool removed from the belly, to allow the urine a free passage. This is quite as important as any part of the tagging, and yet is neglected by many. When the entire have received this al tendon, they are ready to he changed from ..the yard to the pasture. A. ewe should not be required to move about much for a fek hours after lambing. If her teats are closed against the efforts of the lamb, squeeze them out with the wetted fingers, If they have been cut oft in shearing and are grown up, reopen them with a delicate blade, inserting it no further than is neces sary. The sucking of the lamb will generally keep them open; but if they become inflamed, the ewe must, be held for the lamb to suck, and some cooling lotion applied to the part. If the udder is bard and hot, it should be fomented by frequently and continuously applying to it a cloth dipped in hot water. Repeated washings with cold water produce the same effect, but more slowly, and with a greater tendency to up the milk. If the lamb is dead, and there are indurated tumors in the udder, apply iodine ointment. A ewe which disowns her lamb, or one which is required to adopt another should be confined alone with it in a dark place. and out of hearing of _ other sheep, and she should be held several times a day for it to suck. Frightening a ewe when with her lamb, by showing her a strange dog, or a child wearing a bright colored mantle, sometimes arouses her dormant maternal If a ewe's dead lamb is skinned, and the bkm tied on a living lamb, she will generally readily adopt it. If she hesitates, rubbing some odor on her nose and also on the lamb will facili tate the process. Docking and castration should be performed when the lamb is not more than two or 'three weeks old, and before warm weather comes on; and it is an excellent plan to smear the wounds with a compound of tar, butter, and turpentine. The tail should be cut off so that uo part of the bone is left uncovered. Castration is an operation sufficiently familiar to most farmers. It is generally held by those who have tried it that early shearing is preferable for sheep, if they can be subsequently housed in case of severe storms or unusually cold nights. As early washing is improper in cold climates, it is urged that sheep should be shorn unwashed. This is a question on which the wool-grower should be allowed to exercise his own judgment; nor should any buyer attempt to compel wash ing, or to take advantage of its omission by insisting on a particular and fixed rate of shrinkage on unwashed wools. The shrinkage on every lot should be proportioned to its actual condition, as deduction is made on wheat, other products, or foreign wools which contain impu rities. The mode of washing sheep does not require to be here described. Merino sheep generally require to have their feet trimmed at least once a year. Some do this at washing, when the feet are clean and • soaked soft; others immediately after shearing.