Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The General Characteristics of the Dairy Type

 "Type," in this connection, refers to the conformation of the animals which indicates or suggests the purpose it serves. A person familiar with cattle in general, but not with highly developed dairy cattle, looking for the first time upon a high-class dairy cow in full flow of milk would have his attention especially directed to three points as follows:

1. The extreme angular form, carrying no surplus flesh, but showing evidence of liberal feeding by a vigorous physical condition .

2. The extraordinary development of the udder and milk veins.

3. The marked development of the barrel (body) in proportion to the size of the animal.

 These three points should be kept in mind as describing the special characteristics of the dairy animal in comparison with those bred for beef, or with inferior dairy animals. Sometimes the error is made of attributing this lack of flesh, so characteristic of a good dairy cow, to insufficient feeding. The dairy cow does not, however, have the same appearance as an animal not of the dairy type that is in thin flesh because of insufficient feed. A high-class dairy cow never carries much flesh when in full flow of milk. The stimulation to produce milk is so strong that all the feed she can consume and digest above that needed for maintenance is utilized in producing milk. Such an animal, although thin in flesh, has an alert, vigorous appearance, her hair is soft and healthy, her skin pliable and loose, her eyes are bright, her paunch is full, and a general appearance of thrift and contentment is noticeable. An animal thin in flesh on account of insufficient food has a stupid appearance and shows a lack of vigor, while the rough, long hair stands on end. The paunch may be large or not, depending on the bulkiness of the feed consumed by the animal.


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