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cattle-msg - 3/3/11

 

Period cattle and cattle raising.

 

NOTE: See also the files: livestock-msg, roast-meats-msg, dairy-prod-msg, butter-msg, cheese-msg, cheesemaking-msg.

 

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NOTICE -

 

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

 

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

 

I have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.

 

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given  by the individual authors.

 

Please respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear  at this time. If information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).

 

Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org

************************************************************************

 

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: shafer at ferhino.dfrc.nasa.gov (Mary Shafer)

Subject: Re: Any word from 30 Year

Organization: NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards CA

Date: Thu, 20 Jun 1996 18:09:38 GMT

...

 

Now to edge this back to something more relevant, being able to carry

a large number of animals through the European winters is a

post-period developement.  Lord Townsend, known in the Colonies as the

author of the Stamp Act and called "Turnip" Townsend by his peers,

worked with Jethro Tull to find a technique for overwintering cattle

instead of slaughtering all but minimal breeding stock.  The solution,

as you may have guessed, involved feeding turnips (and swedes and

rutabagas and sugar beets) during the winter, as there wasn't enough

hay to carry them and the grain was eaten by people, not animals.  The

root vegetables, however, provided sufficiently more energy using the

same amount of land compared to hay that this changed animal

husbandry.

 

A more subtle effect of this inability to overwinter stock was greater

period use of pork and poultry instead of beef, particularly in the

lower reaches of society.  Poultry, of course, reproduce generously

and reach edibility quickly.  Pigs farrow big litters that will be big

enough to slaughter when the first frost comes and pork is readily

preserved. Besides, poultry and pigs are better at foraging than are

cattle.

--

Mary Shafer               NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA

SR-71 Flying Qualities Lead Engineer     Of course I don't speak for NASA

shafer at ferhino.dfrc.nasa.gov                               DoD #362 KotFR  

URL http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/People/Shafer/mary.html

 

 

From: gfrose at cotton (Terry Nutter)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Any word from 30 Year

Date: 20 Jun 1996 21:46:09 GMT

 

Greetings, all, from Katerine Rountre.

 

Mary Shafer wrote:

: A more subtle effect of this inability to overwinter stock was greater

: period use of pork and poultry instead of beef, particularly in the

: lower reaches of society.  Poultry, of course, reproduce generously

: and reach edibility quickly.  Pigs farrow big litters that will be big

: enough to slaughter when the first frost comes and pork is readily

: preserved.  Besides, poultry and pigs are better at foraging than are

: cattle.

 

You may be right about the lower classes; that does not seem to be

what's going on in the upper classes, however.  There is lots of

direct evidence (much of which can be found in _Du Manuscrit a

la Table_) that poultry was a higher _status_ food than any four

legged meat, and that this was as true in high summer as at

Christmas time.  Also, there is no evidence that winter feasts

lacked fresh four-legged meat relative to summer ones.

 

There is, however, evidence of several forms that beef was the

least preferred of all four legged meats year round.  There is

some reason te believe that this is grounded at least partly in

the strains of cattle available -- what they were eating was

far closer to what we would today call ox (and what was in fact

referred to as oxen in lists of animals obtained for feasts)

than to what we would today call beef steers.

 

Also, of course, beef were not normally eaten before they are

about one year old, and then as veal.  Recipes distinguish

veal from beef, and veal is the more popular (not surprising,

considering the sort of beef we're talking about), but oxen

held to serve as beef plus cows held to bear young will necessarily

outnumber veal calves, unless you intend to decrease the meat

production level of your herd every year.  That means that all your

beeves wintered over at least one year, and most wintered several.

(This is true regardless of the class of the owner.)

 

From the point of view of the lower classes, of course, oxen

are more difficult to raise than chickens, and have a _far_ lower

birth rate (your "minimal breeding stock" must include at least

one cow for every animal you intend to kill in the following

year) -- but at least as much to the point, they are far more

useful alive.

 

-- Katerine/Terry

 

 

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: shafer at ferhino.dfrc.nasa.gov (Mary Shafer)

Subject: Re: Any word from 30 Year

Organization: NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards CA

Date: Fri, 21 Jun 1996 18:21:25 GMT

 

On 20 Jun 1996 21:46:09 GMT, gfrose at cotton (Terry Nutter) said:

T> From the point of view of the lower classes, of course, oxen are

T> more difficult to raise than chickens, and have a _far_ lower birth

T> rate (your "minimal breeding stock" must include at least one cow

T> for every animal you intend to kill in the following year) -- but

T> at least as much to the point, they are far more useful alive.

 

Er, oxen are castrated male cattle, not a breed of cattle, and don't

really have a birth rate, if you see what I mean.  That is, a male

calf might be selected to become an ox, but one doesn't breed them,

although one might breed _for_ one, using parents whose offspring had

made good oxen previously.

 

Oxen are work animals, made docile by castration, and are, as you say,

very valuable alive, particularly since they are only eaten when

they've lost their work value.  Since this usually happened because of

age, they were probably not nearly as edible as yearling beef, or

veal.

 

Skip this next paragraph if you're squeamish about castration, please!

 

I believe I've read that oxen were castrated at an older age than

modern steers.  Modern steers are castrated at or near birth, but I

think oxen were castrated at about a year.  In modern steers, they're

castrated young and then receive a testosterone implant so that they

have its benefit in their early growth.  However, the implant only

lasts about six months, in part because testosterone at an older age

produces behavior that is counterproductive to weight gain.  Forgive

me for not being more explicit, but I know that many squeamish people,

particularly men, find this subject very distasteful and I don't feel

very comfortable going on about the hormonal development and sexual

behavior of cattle, if you see what I mean.

 

In addition, once again dragging this back to period practices, it's

my understanding that the bulls were owned by the local gentry (holder

of the manor, knight, priory, etc), so that the less affluent had only

to support the breeding cows.  One bull can easily service twenty or

thirty cows, so this was an efficient use of resources.  I'm not sure

if providing the services of the bull was part of the duty of the

gentry or if some sort of fee was charged, but I suspect that the

former was very common.  After all, the tenants owed certain duties to

the landholder and it would be surprising if the reverse were not

true.

 

We have three bulls for about seventy cows; we used to rent the bulls

from Hertz but now we buy our own, our herd having gotten big enough

that we are not so concerned about inbreeding.  One last tidbit of

bull lore; bulls from breeds commonly used for milk production tend to

be very easy-going and fairly safe to be around, but beef bulls are

generally exactly the opposite.

--

Mary Shafer               NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA

SR-71 Flying Qualities Lead Engineer     Of course I don't speak for NASA

shafer at ferhino.dfrc.nasa.gov                               DoD #362 KotFR  

URL http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/People/Shafer/mary.html

 

 

From: patrick1 at rica.net (Jimmy Patrick)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Beef and Cattle Raising (Was: Re: Any word from 30 Year)

Date: Sun, 23 Jun 1996 20:12:38 GMT

 

Condensed history of medieval moo-cows in reponse to

Curious Kimberly <kim at inna.net> who wrote:

.......................

>Someone told me the cattle of the medieval world were much smaller than those

>we breed today.  She mentioned them not being much larger than a shetland

>pony, and were often driven by dogs (much like sheep)..............

 

       All modern cattle- Bos taurus- are descended from aurochs (Bos

primigenius) that were found all thru Europe.  The last auroch that we

know of was killed in the medieval period.  They were as tall as most

modern cattle, not as "beefy" <g> and had long curved horns.  They

were IMHO very scary critters.

       By the start of the medieval period there were a number of distinct

domestic cattle varieties.  Several were as small as you said,

probably (IMO again) for the practical reason of handling them.   A

museum farm near me has a few of an Irish breed that are dated back

into the 1500's.  They are about 40-48 inches at the shoulder, are

hardy, and have very nice dispositions.  Their milk is _over_ 30% fat,

which is probably why the breed was kept so long!

       Cattle (today) are harder to drive with dogs because 1) the dogs are

so small to them, and 2)cattle -esp. cow with calf- are more ornery

than sheep.  There are several dog breeds just for cattle driving and

the better herding dogs can be easily trained to herd cattle.

(see http://worm.biosci.arizona.edu/Stockdog/stockdog.html)

Many people don't train their smaller dogs for cattle because if the

dog (or the person) goofs up the dog can die.

 

Yours truly,

       Jimmy

 

 

Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 12:30:33 -0400 (EDT)

From: Carol at Small Churl Books <scbooks at neca.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: old breeds of farm animals

 

>>    Would the loss of size be related to probable extreme inbreeding

>> due to small numbers in the breeding herds?

 

Some speculation: I've read that a lot of people in the medieval villages

had quite small holdings.  If you were trying to raise a milk animal in,

say, your back yard, a small cow might be an advantage.  People now use milk

goats this way.

 

Also, a very small cow would be much SAFER to have around.  Cows in heat are

very dangerous.  My mother has a story about a cow in heat trying to jump on

her (she ducked and it jumped over).  Cows in heat climb on things - like

pick-up trucks.  It is when they will stand still to have another animal get

ON THEM that they are ready to breed.  Safety in handling the cow might have

been even more important since they did not have modern methods of de-horning.  

 

So I could easily imagine that small cows would be informally selected by

the ordinary folk.

 

Lady Carllein

 

 

Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 14:27:34 -0500 (CDT)

From: "J. Patrick Hughes" <jphughes at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

To: SCA-ARTS list <sca-arts at listproc.cc.ukans.edu>

Subject: Re: Re- Mediaeval chickens and

 

This is actually about the cattle in Ireland.  In O'Croinin' _Early

Medieval Ireland_ he comments that the parchment used in Ireland was calf

skin as opposed to the sheep skin more frequent on the mainland of Europe.

He also notes the tendency to have a greasy texture which indicates

overfeeding on grass.  He later goes on to cite a study made by Kathleen

Ryan, "Parchment as faunal record" in the University of Pennsylavania

Journal IV (1987) pp 124-138.She estimated that a theoretical book of 140

folios (70 skins) meant a figure of 438 adult cattle as the number of a

heard required to produce such a manuscript.  The estimate "assumes that

up to fifty percent of all male calves were culled in summer.  The rest

being slaughtered in their second autum and only the bulls and milch cows

being retained."  I though this might be of interest to people on the

list.

 

Charles O'Connor

jphughes at raven.cc.ukans.edu

 

 

Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 08:22:23 -0600 (CST)

From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming)

Subject: SC - Period Dairying, Etc.

 

Greetings.   For the person looking for information on period dairy

practices and cheesemaking try _The English Housewife_ by Gervase

Markham, 1615.  There is a good edition out by Michael Best,

McGill-Queen's University Press, 1986, ISBN 0-7735-0582-2.  He has a

chapter on the practices that a good housewife should follow.  While I

don't believe there are "recipes" per se he does mention certain types

of cheeses and what one should do with the whey, curds, etc.

 

There is also another fascinating book, _The Country House Kitchen,

1650-1900_, edited by Sambrook and Brears.  While the dates indicate

OOP, this book takes some of the manors belonging to England's National

Trust and details the architectural plans and layout of the kitchens

and related rooms.  Tucked in with all the OOP material are references

to period practices.  There are numerous references to dairies and

dairying. I don't know where one might find the book.  It is esoteric

enough that most public libraries wouldn't have it and expensive enough

that most SCAers wouldn't have it.  I have a copy, but then, I'm single

and a pack rat for books!  If there's something specific - dairy

layout, items needed for a "perfect" dairy or dairyroom, post me and I

will send what I can find, time willing.

 

Alys Katharine

 

 

Date: Tue, 12 May 1998 16:00:29 -0500

From: "I. Marc Carlson" <LIB_IMC at centum.utulsa.edu>

Subject: Medieval Cattle *LONG* (was Cost of Things)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

 

I'm having some trouble tracking down the information for the medieval

Continent, but for Britain it seems pretty straightforward...

 

>I'll take a look and see if I can pull out the "ancient" breeds from the

>more modern ones in this text.  And I am still looking for information

>on such cattle.

>Marc/Diarmaid O'Duinn

 

Just to set the stage:

   Domesticated cattle (B. Taurus).  Height of 150 cm (59"), and

   weigh 410-910 kg (900-2,000 lbs).  Eat 70 kg (155 lbs) of

   green grass a day Eat 1.4 kg (3 lbs) of silage or .45 kg (1 lb)

   of hay for every 100 lbs of body weight.  Lactating cows require

   an additional .45 kg (1 lb) of grain or feed for every 3 lbs

   of milk it produces [2.7-4.4 gallons per day. Milk weighs

   3.9 kg (8.6 lbs) per gallon].

 

Cattle were raised principly in history for either milk production

or for muscle.  Beef and leather are byproducts of an animal that

has either died or is somehow otherwise surplus.

 

For the following material the following standard is used:

 

Size information:

   [female cm (in.); kg (lbs)/male cm (in.); kg (lbs)]

 

Size of British Cattle (to the top of the shoulder):

Postglacial Aurochs

   [147 cm (57.9")/157 cm (61.8")]

Neolithic Domestic (c2600 BCE) [Longhorns]

   [125 cm (49")]

Late Neolithic, Beaker, and Early Bronze Age (c1900 BCE)

   [122 cm (48")]

Middle Bronze Age (1000 BCE)

   [109 cm (43")]

Iron Age (300 BCE)

   [107 cm (42")]

Romano-British (1st -4th C)

   [112 cm (44")]

Anglo-Saxon & Scandanavian (7th-10th C)

   [115 cm (45.3") or 104.6-121.4 cm (40.9"-47.8")]

Saxo-Norman and High Medieval (11th-13th C)

   [110 cm (43.3") or 100-130 cm (39.4-51.2")]

Later Medieval (14th-15th C)

   [109 cm (42.9")]

Tudor (late 15th-16th C)

   [120 cm (47.2")]

18th C

   [138 cm (54.3")]

Modern English Longhorn

   [130-140 cm (51"-55")/150 cm (59")]

Modern Dexter

   [91.4-106.7 cm (36"-42")/96.5-111.76 cm (38"-44")]

 

For comparison:

Greenlander (extinct)

   [100-110 cm (39.4"-43.3")]

 

Therefore, in Britain, at least, cattle in the Middle Ages were

smaller than the "average" modern cattle (I *think* 110 cm: 150 cm

is about 73% and about 3.6").  On the other hand, the different

breeds can give you a different idea of what an average Bovine

should look like both then and now.  Most breeds of cattle can not

be dated accurately before the 17th century.

 

SOME assumed pre-17th century breeds?

"Alpine" Brown Cow.  Lower alps in Switzerland and Germany.  Bred

   into the Swiss Brown.  Large.  Work/Milk

Aurochs (Bos "Primigenius") Currently extinct, other than "bred

   back" recreations. [aka auerochse, ur, boeuf sauvage, oeros,

   oerrund]. A second shorthorned species was also described (B.

   longifrons) although some people think that Lognifrons may be

   just the female aurochs. [147 cm/157 cm]

British ("Park") White - England. Medium (or Small) and Shaggy.

   Longhorns and polled varieties exist.  The Chillingham Park

   herd allegedly has not had any interbreeding with other herds

   since 1220/50.  Genetically related to the Galloway and

   Highland.   [636 kg (1,400 lbs)/954.4 kg (2,100 lbs)]

   depending on your sources.  Others place the Chillingham herd

   at [ (850 lbs)/454.5 kg (1000 lbs)]

Greenland - extinct.  Decended from Norwegian cattle (see

   "Norsecattle").  Milk [Size based on bones: 100-110 cm]

Icelandic -  Decended from Norwegian cattle (see

   Norsecattle"). Small. Milk (long body/short legs) [340.9-500

   kg (750-1100 lbs)/454.5-772.7 kg (1000-1700 lbs)

Maol - Ireland.  Extinct? "Hornless"  Medium size?  Work.

   [636kg (1400 lbs)/909 kg (2000 lbs)]

 

Whitefaced redbodied Holland

Black "Celtic" in Britain (from which the Welsh Black, the

         Galloway, the Highland, and the Angus may have derived).

Red-and-white Sweden/Denmark.

Black and white - Jutland.

===================================

MODERN BREEDS that may be unchanged, or resonably similar to their

Middle Ages ancestors (I would like to know whether they are different

in size or not)

 

Alentejana - Portugal. Large.  Work [545.5 kg (1200 lbs)/818.2 kg

   (1800 lbs)]

Brittainy Black Spotted - France.  Small.  Once work, now milk.

   [363.6-409.1 kg (800-900 lbs)/545.5-681.8 (1200-1500 lbs)

Camargue - France (Rhone delta) *Small* Sport and Festival. [295.5

   -341 kg (800-900 lbs)/545.5-681.8 kg (1200-1500 lbs)]

Chianina - Italy (central) Alleged to have existed since Roman

   times *EXCEPTIONALLY LARGE* Work [818.2 kg (1800lbs)/upto

   1818.2 kg (4000 lbs)].

Devon - England.  Red.  May be descended from B. Longifrons. Work.

   [431.8-590.9 kg (950-1,300 lbs)/772.7-1000 kg (1700-2200 lbs)]

Dexter - Ireland (Kerry) *Very Small* May only be 17th Century, or

   may be from the oldest of breeds [91.4 cm-106.7 cm (36"-42");

   341 kg (750 lbs)/96.5 cm-111.76 cm (38"-44"); under 454.5 kg

   (1,000 lbs)].

Flamande - France.  Work/Milk. [590.0-681.8 kg (1300-1500 lbs)/

   upto 1136.4 kg (2500 lbs)]

Fresian - Netherlands - *probably* post-1700, descended from

   Northern Jutland Black-and-White cattle. [636-681.8 kg/1400-

   1500 lbs)/1045.5 kg (2300 lbs)]

Grauvia (Grigia Alpina) - Austria, Italy ("Grey cattle" or "Grey

   Mountain Cattle")  Tyrolian. Some claim to be tracable back to

   the Romans. Medium to Large. Milk. [454.5-545.5 kg (1000-1200

   lbs)/681.8-818.2 kg (1500-1800 lbs)]

Grey Steppe - Romania, Russia?. "Medium Sized" [454.5 kg (1000

   lbs)/636.4-681.8 kg (1400-1500 lbs)]

Hawaiian Wild Cattle - Hawaii - Abandoned by Cook? [318.2 kg

   (700)/545.5 lg (1200 lbs)] Used as an example of a related form

   feral bovine.

Herens (Eringer) - Switzerland.  Work/Sport/Milk. [119 cm (46.9");

   450-500 kg (990-1100 lbs)/122 cm (48"); 600-650 kg (1320-1430

   kgs)]

Highland - Scotland - Medium. May only be 17th Century. [363.6

   -454.5 kg (800-1000 lbs)/454.5-590.9 (1000-1300 lbs)

Iskur - Bulgaria.  "Medium Sized" Bred from Grey Steppe Cattle,

   with some northern breed "in the remote past".  Work (some

   milk). [454.5 kg (1000 lbs)/636.4-681.8 kg (1400-1500 lbs)]

Kerry - Ireland "Medium" size. Milk. (long body/short legs) May

   only be 17th Century [354.5-454.5 kg (780-1000 lbs)]

Longhorned - England (uplands).  Large. [130-140 cm (51"-55");

   500-600 kg (1000-1320 lbs)/150 cm (59"); 1000 kg (2200 lbs)]

Longhorned - Texas.

   [1430- kg (650-750 lbs)/454.5 kg (upto 1000 lbs)] Used as an

   example of a related form of feral bovine.

Marchigiana - Italy (Near Rome) May be related to the Chianina.

   Large. Work. [590.9-691.8 kg (1300-1500 lbs)/909 kg (2000

   lbs)]

Mertolenga - Portugal. Large. Work [545.5 kg (1200 lbs)/818.2 kg

   (1800 lbs)]

Modenese - Italy (Lower Po) Very Large. Work. [659.1-759.5 kg

   (1450-1750 lbs)/1136.4 kg (2500 lbs)]

Modicana - Italy (Sicily) Introduced by Normans after a plague

   wiped out the Sicilian cattle. Medium size. Work/Milk. [409.1-

   590.9 kg (900-1300 lbs)/454.5-727.3 kg (1000-1600 lbs)]

Murciana - Spain. Work. [545.5 kg (1200 lbs)/818 kg (1800 lbs)]

Native Cattle - Greece.  A Grey Steppe derivative. Very small.

   [204.5-272.7 kg (450-600 lbs)/???]

Norsecattle (North Finncattle/Mountain cattle (Fjallko)/Blacksided

   Trondor) - Finland, Sweden, Norway. (Long body/short legs)

   Small. Milk.  Seems to be related (if not ancestral) to a

   number of other cattle types in Europe.

   Norwegeian Blacksided Trondor [318-409 kg (700-900 lbs)/636

         -772.7 kg (1400-1700 lbs).

   Swedish Mountain cattle    [318-409 kg (700-900 lbs)/454.5

         -613.6 kg (1000-1350 lbs)

Piedmontese - Italy. Work/Milk. Medium-Large.

   [636 kg (1400 lbs)/909 kg (2000 lbs)]

Pirenaica - Spain (Pyrennes). Large. Work/Milk. [ ???/upto 909 kg

   (2000 lbs)]

Prete - Italy (Sicily). Small. Some work. [318-364 kg (700-800

   lbs)/ 454.5 kg (1000 lbs)]

Rodopska - Bulgaria. *Small*.  Mountain cattle from the south.

   Look like goats. Work (some milk) [1760 kg (800 lbs)/1980 kg

   (900 lbs)]

Romagnola - Italy (Lower Po) Very Large. Work. [656-795.5 kg (1450

   -1750 lbs)/1156 kg (2500 lbs)]

Polish Red - Poland - Dark Red.  Medium to Large.  Resembles the

   German red. Milk. [400-500 kg (880-1100 lbs)/500-550 kg

   (1100-1250 lbs)]

Shorthorn - England (lowlands)  Bred into other breeds. [590.9-636

   kg (1300-1400 lbs)/909 kg (2000 lbs)]

Tarentaise - France Alpine.  Medium. First work, now milk. [590.9

   kg (1300 lbs)/upto 1090.9 kg (2400 lbs)]

Telemark - Norway - An amaglamation of several old local breeds.

   Small. Milk [400-500 kg (880-1100 lbs)]

Welsh Black - Wales. Now Medium sized.  Historically, the Northern

   black was considerably smaller. May only be as old as the 17th

   Century. [454.5 kg (1000 lbs)/???]

Wisent/Bison - Bulgaria, Romania  [170-180 cm (66.9"-70.9"); 726-

   910 kg (1,600-2,000 lbs)]

 

Sources:

Armitage, Philip.

Crabtree, Pamela. "The archeozoology of the Anglo-Saxon Site at

   West Stow, Suffolk" In Biddick, Kathleen. _Archaeological

   Approaches to Medieval Europe_

Rouse, John E. _World Cattle_ (University of Oklahoma Press, 1970)

Walker, Ernest P. _Mammals of the World_ (Johns Hopkins Press,

   1964)

"Cattle" _World Book Encyclopedia_ (1996 ed.)

==================================================

Marc/Diarmaid O'Duinn

lib_imc at centum.utulsa.edu

 

 

Date: Tue, 12 May 1998 22:23:18 -0500

From: "I. Marc Carlson" <LIB_IMC at centum.utulsa.edu>

Subject: re: Medieval Cattle *LONG* (was Cost of Things)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

 

<jesierac at ouray.cudenver.edu (JULIE ELAINE SIERACKI)>

>I'm curious Marc.  Your statement that cattle were raised primarily

>for their milk seems in stark contrast to the Welsh practice.  All the

>evidence I have seen (in passing, I'm not very knowledgeable about this)

>indicates that the Welsh raised cattle primarily for their beef up until

>the Conquest.  Sheep, on the other hand, were raised with milk production

>in mind because they were already going to be kept around for their wool.

>Have I hit on one of the exceptions or am I missing something?

 

I have no real idea if it's an exception or not, as I have not studied

the Welsh Cattle industry (although I've got some nice research done

on Welsh Cattle :) ).  I wouldn't be surprised that there might be some

exceptions that raised for beef rather than for milk or work.  I certainly

don't have any indication whether the pre-Conquest Welsh did one thing or

another. What I do know is that milk production is far more efficient in

terms of protein and energy output than meat production.  You might take a

look at Simon Davis', _The Archaeology of Animals_.  Certainly, in some

circumstances, it becomes viable to spread into pure beef production (I

think Duby talks about this in the post-Plague years in _Rural Economy and

Country Life in the Medieval West_, as the arable land in the Alps

began to be depopulated).

 

Marc/Diarmaid O'Duinn

lib_imc at centum.utulsa.edu

 

 

Date: Wed, 13 May 1998 23:23:57 -0500

From: "I. Marc Carlson" <LIB_IMC at centum.utulsa.edu>

Subject: Welsh Cattle (was Medieval Cattle)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

 

<jesierac at ouray.cudenver.edu (JULIE ELAINE SIERACKI)>

>I'm curious Marc.  Your statement that cattle were raised primarily

>for their milk seems in stark contrast to the Welsh practice.  All the

>evidence I have seen (in passing, I'm not very knowledgeable about this)

>indicates that the Welsh raised cattle primarily for their beef up until

>the Conquest.  Sheep, on the other hand, were raised with milk production

>in mind because they were already going to be kept around for their wool.

>Have I hit on one of the exceptions or am I missing something?

 

I took a look through what stuff I have on Cattle in Wales, and while I

haven't found anything that definately disagrees with what you say here,

I can't find much to support what I've said either.  Both interpretations

seem (to me) to be supported.  If anyone has anything else to add, I would

greatly appreciate it.  My notes from just today are:

 

   Cattle were of two breeds: Black (ancestral to the Welsh

Black), and White with red ears (like the Dinefwr and other British

park cattle).

 

The Modern "Welsh Black" is a strong and sturdy animal whose milk

has a high butterfat content milk even on inferior rations, and

they are exceptionally long lived for cattle.  The Northern Welsh

cattle were notably smaller than the Southern herd, and it seems

that the distinction in size was principly due to differences in

feed nutrition.  The breed is very slow in maturing.

 

Oxen were kept for ploughing, and other heavy draft work.  Gerald

of Wales wrote that the Welsh ate more flesh than bread, but also

oats, milk, butter, cheese.

 

Welsh economic history seems to have a lot of cattle being shipped

from Wales to England from the 15th centuries on.

 

At Dinas Powys (Glam):

   Large quantites of whole and fragmentary bones of young

animals, in the following numbers 61% Pig, 20% Cattle, 13% Sheep,

Birds 4%, Deer 1%, Horse less than 1%?   Interpretations of this

are either that they raised a lot of stock, or being 'the court of

an important noble' they took in a lot of cattle in tribute .

 

=================================================================

From Davies:

   "The evidence which we have is inadequate to suggest any

regional chronological variations in the practice of animal

husbandry, but such as there is clearly indicates that cattle were

a more significan source of meat and milk products than sheep at

all periods.  References to cattle were much more common:[note1]

it is the image of the _cow_ in the corn which is so frequently

invoked, not the sheep or the pigs; it is cattle disease which has

serious consequences; it is in terms of cattle that values are

sometimes assessed and payments and/or compensation actually

made;[note2] the Dunsaete Ordinances are concerned, essentially,

with procedures for tracing stolen cattle; it is cattle raiding,

not sheep raiding, which forms the stuff of heroic poetry.  All of

this indicates a standard of reference which underlies the

impression of cattle in the total agrarian economy..."

 

1. V.Kebii, ch.10; 'Ordinance of the Dunsaete', passim; V.Cadoci,

   cc.1, 22,24,52,62,65; Canu Taeliesin, I; V.Iltuti, ch.20;

   Bromwich, TYP, 46; Canu Llywarch Hen. 91,94; V.S. Dauid.

   ch.16; Canu Aneirin, B30, A39; V. Bernacii, ch.10; 'Canu

   Heledd',85, BT987.

2. Davies, Early Welsh Microcosm, 53f; V.Cadoci, ch.22.

 

[Notes:

   Bromwich, R. _Trioedd Ynys Prydein (1961). References are by

         triad numbers.

   BT          = Brut y Tywysogyon, Red Book of Hergest Version.

   Ordinance of the Dunsaete

                = Die Gesetze der Angelsaxhsen, ed. F. Liebermann

          (3 vols, Halle, 1903-16), I 374-9; trans in B. Thorpe.

          _Ancient Laws and Institutes of England_, I (1840),

          353-7.

   V.Bernacii  = Vitae Sanctorum Britannaie, 2-14.

   V.Cadoci    =  "                        , 24-140.

   V.Iltutui   =  "                        , 194-232.

   V.Kebii     =  "                        , 234-50.

   V.S.Dauid   = Rhigyfarch's Life of St. David. ed. J.W.James

         (1967); trans A.W. Wade-Evens, _Y Cymmrodor_, xxiv

         (1913), 1-73.]

 

========================================================

Davies, Wendy.  Wales in the Early Middle Ages. Leicester:

   Leicester University Press, 1982.

The Agrarian History of England and Wales. ed. H.P.R. Finberg.

Jack, R. Ian.  Medieval Wales (The Sources of History: Studies in

   the Uses of Historical Evidence) Ithica, NY: Cornell

   University Press, 1972.

Rouse, John E.  World Cattle. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press,

   1970.

 

Marc/Diarmaid O'Duinn

lib_imc at centum.utulsa.edu

 

 

Date: Thu, 15 Oct 1998 09:51:19 -0500

From: Marc Carlson <marc-carlson at utulsa.edu>

Subject: SC - Medieval Cows

 

I'm sorry for the lateness of this, but I don't normally read this list.

My wife tells me that you've been discussing this topic and suggested that

if it has not yet been done to death by now interested parties may want to

take a look at

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Parthenon/5923/history/cattle.html and see

if there's anything of interest or use there.  If there are any comments or

criticisms, please feel free to let me know by private mail.

 

Diarmaid O'Duinn

 

I. Marc Carlson

McFarlin Library, University of Tulsa -or- Tulsa Community College West

Campus LRC

marc-carlson at utulsa.edu/lib_imc at centum.utulsa.edu/lib_imc at hotmail.com

http:www.geocities.com/athens/parthenon/5923

 

 

Date: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 00:01:46 -0500

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Castrated bulls

 

LrdRas at aol.com wrote:

> troy at asan.com writes:

> <<  I don't

> recall seeing any evidence regarding the production or consumption of

> castrated steers (probably either because cattle were sometimes expected

> to do a little work before slaughter, or else because even immature

> bulls tend to become upset when you slice off delicate portions of their

> anatomy, and express their displeasure in various violent ways). Has

> anyone ever heard of a period example of castrating bulls or pigs to

> produce large, docile meat animals?     >>

> The term used to describe a castrated bull is 'ox'.  Hope this helps.

 

Um, not much, although I'm sure your intentions were good. Knowing the

term "ox" (a term I was aware of, of course, but ignored in favor of

terms that more clearly designate meat animals today) doesn't really

differentiate it from steers, which I gather are normally castrated at a

younger age than the bulls castrated for oxen. Some steers, I gather,

are never castrated at all, but it's my understanding most are.

 

My point was that I wondered how well we can prove, or seem to prove,

all of what you deduce about Platina's use of the word "porcus" when the

word can be translated as pig or hog, while the other standard Latin

word, "sus", designates pig, swine, sow, or hog. What I can deduce from

his choice of word is that he definitely means swine, and means neither

sow nor wild boar (which is another word entirely), and not much else.

The finer points of pig vs. hog would seem to be lost to us from

Platina's perspective, and the possibility still exists that Platina

never knew the distinction existed, not being a farmer.

 

Is there any possibility that you're making some assumptions based on

what you know about modern pork farming, and assuming that the methods

employed by your grandparents and their immediate ancestors are the

methods that were widely used in period? I mean, "I don't see why not"

is certainly a good logistical starting point, but not exactly conclusive.

 

Adamantius

Østgardr, East

 

 

Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 12:34:24 EST

From: LrdRas at aol.com

Subject: SC - Ox and Steer definition

 

timdee at sgi.net writes:

<< I don't know if you are aware that a steer is castrated and a bull is not

castrated. Most people are unaware that a steer is not the same as a

bull.>>

 

ox (noun), plural ox*en also ox

 

[Middle English, from Old English oxa; akin to Old High German ohso ox,

Sanskrit uksa bull, and perhaps to Sanskrit uksati he moistens, Greek hygros

wet -- more at HUMOR]

 

First appeared before 12th Century

 

1 : a domestic bovine mammal (Bos taurus); broadly : a bovine mammal

2 : an adult castrated male domestic ox

 

steer [1] (noun)

 

[Middle English, from Old English steor young ox; akin to Old High German

stior young ox]

 

First appeared before 12th Century

 

1 : a male bovine animal castrated before sexual maturity -- compare STAG 3

2 : an ox less than four years old

 

 

Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 12:52:33 -0600

From: Jennifer Carlson <JCarlson at firstchurchtulsa.org>

Subject: SC - Steers vs. -- I do apologize!!

 

What I had MEANT to say was:

On the use of the term "steer" vs. "oxen":

 

Both terms refer to a castrated bull.  Differences in usage seem largely to

derive from the purpose for which the bull was deprived of his birthright,

and the region the deprived bull hails from.

 

Where castrated bulls are used as draft animals, the term generally used is

oxen. In the American West, and other large-ranching regions, where

castrated bulls are meant solely for the cookpot, the term steer is used.

 

And regardless of the purpose to which you put the animal, bulls are

typically castrated while still calves.  It's safer that way.  If you let a

bull get grown before snipping his bits, it will *not* necessarily make him

more docile!  So, if you want a plow ox, you'd best alter him while he's

young.

 

Talana (Who comes from a cattle family, and is fond of grossing out her

brothers with the idea of actually eating what they were cutting off the

little bulls.)

 

 

Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999 08:42:12 -0600

From: "Norman White" <gn-white at tamu.edu>

Subject: SC - Period? cattle breed article in local newpaper

 

Greetings from Jin Liu Ch'ang,

 

I remember, sometime back, on this list their was a discussion on period

breeds of livestock.  With that in mind, I noticed an article in my local

newspaper on Sunday (Bryan-College Station Eagle, Sunday, January 10, 1999)

attributed to the Temple Daily Telegram (TX) named "Big state slow to adopt

small cattle breed - Dexter livestock raised for both meat and milk

production, advocates say".  In this article they describe a breed of cattle

called Dexter cattle which are described as the "world's smallest breed".

These cattle, which stand about 3-3 1/2 feet tall and weigh an average of

750 lbs., are along with another related breed, the Kerry, described as

descended from the predominantly black cattle of the early Celts.  The

breed, first noted in 1776 but are felt to have existed well before that

sighting, are an integral part of Ireland's Kerry cattle breed.

 

I felt that some people on this list might be interested as their hardy,

small size and versatility (use as both a milk and meat) would make them

ideal for people who might be thinking of growing their own for SCA use.

They are described as easy to care for, give birth easy and are long lived.

The article went on to give further information on the breed (milk, etc.).

 

Jin Liu Ch'ang

m.k.a. Norman White

gn-white at tamu.edu

 

 

Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 16:43:27 -0500

From: Carol Thomas <scbooks at neca.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Documentation-on the other hand

 

>Then again, there are those wonderfully short cattle being herded like

>sheep.

 

I've read that they did have breeds of tiny cattle, because they were

useful on small holdings and safer to handle.  Cows in heat are dangerous,

even if de-horned.  IIRC the small cattle were seen in Ireland into

relatively modern times.

 

BTW, you can get wooden crooks for herding sheep & cows in the US, from

Lehman Hardware mail-order.  They serve Amish in Ohio.

 

Lady Carllein

 

 

Date: Sat, 20 Feb 1999 17:36:53 -0600

From: "kgarner1" <kgarner1 at ix.netcom.com>

To: <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

Subject: RE: Cows & Chickens -size

 

> For some reason (much theory, no answers),

> cattle in the Middle Ages dipped in size, at least in England, breed

> notwithstanding.

> Interesting I know the size supposedly went up with Anglo Saxon Cattle,

> perhaps shortage of food ? In the open field book it goes one about

> restricted pasture grazing etc. Any other farming books you can

> suggest I'd be interested in thanks.

 

The size of all domestic animals dipped significantly at their initial

domestication. They stayed pretty small throughout the Bronze and Iron Ages

(at least in Europe, although with contact with the Roman, southern animals,

they began to grow (around 2nd century BC on). We get very (relatively) tall

animals in Germany and France around the 1st century and in the UK a little

later. Around the 5th-6th centuries AD, the size in cattle drops off and

some researchers have interpreted this as due to the retraction and fall of

the Roman empire and, thus, the Roman-inported larger stock. The cattle in

these areas were simply reverting back to native type.

 

Julian ferch Rhys

 

 

Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 12:11:09 -0000

From: "Oughton, Karin (GEIS, Tirlan)" <Karin.Oughton at geis.ge.com>

Subject: RE: SC -  "bog butter"

 

> >2) Highland Scottish cattle breeds (such as one would find in the

> >Orkneys) were and are generally rather log-haired.

> Ye olde Aberdeen Angus again - don't know which others.

 

       I'm wondering if folks are confusing Aberdeen Angus with true

highland cattle here? They are distinctly different breeds.

 

       Aberdeen Angus is a 'breed  developed in the 18th Cy approx for meat

production, thought to have been breed from the original poll cattle in the

areas of Aberdeen and Angus. It's generally completely black and is a very

impressive , if small framed animal. The main reason they are so famous

nowadays is that they produce superb quality meat, they have only ever been

grass-fed and therefore are presumably BSE free ( there have been no

recorded BSE cases), and are one of the few breeds that have been kept

totally pure-bred and each individual specimen has been recorded and logged

for a significant period, giving us a true history of the food source - you

know what diseases they have had, what they have been fed etc.

 

       Highland Cattle are the original cattle from the Highlands of

scotland , and they are longhaired, very shaggy and cuddly looking beasties

with big horns. Historical records from the 18th Cy show that it has

remained pure bred from then, so there is a good chance it's close to the

original pre historic breed - I can certainly see how you got hair in the

milk.

 

       Look at http://www.gsnu.ac.kr/~dairy/cow/index.html for some good

basic information and pretty pictures

 

       For those who want to try eating  a piece of Highland  try out

http://www.highlandproducers.co.uk/

 

       Karin

 

 

Date: Sun, 03 Mar 2002 23:35:52 -0500

From: johnna holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

To: "sca-cooks at ansteorra.org" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Re:BEEF was Imaginary list was Re: Irish Stew recipe

 

There are at least two new works coming

out on the subject of beef eating in England,

so all the questions regarding when the English

ate beef and the amounts may be answered by

these. Two works already out are Welsh Cattle-Drovers

which examines the transportation of beef on the

hoof to the markets in England and Cattle: a Social

History by Laurie Winn-Carlson which came out

last fall.

 

Johnna Holloway  Johnnae llyn Lewis

 

 

Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2008 15:50:59 -0500

From: "Saint Phlip" <phlip at 99main.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Basting spit roasted meat

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

On Jan 31, 2008 3:33 PM, Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius

<adamantius1 at verizon.net> wrote:

> Isn't an ox a castrated adult male, a bullock any castrated male

> bovine, and a steer castrated before reaching sexual maturity?

> Adamantius

 

Actually, more properly, an ox is an educated bovine ;-) Can be male

or female, but a male is usually castrated, since it usually makes him

easier to handle. A bullock can be castrated or not- if not, he's a

young bull, under 4 years. After that, he's a bull. A steer is usually

as you defined, but can also be an ox less than 4 years old.

 

Oxen are simply cattle trained (usually from an early age) as beasts

of burden. If, however, you refer to eating an ox, that would imply at

the end of its working life- thus tougher (and more intensely

flavorful).

--

Saint Phlip

 

 

Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2009 11:46:08 -0500

From: Elaine Koogler <kiridono at gmail.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Cow harness

 

This kind of reminds me of the fellow who, upon seeing my father's cattle in

our front pasture at home, knocked on our door and asked my mother if we had

any "gentleman cows" for sale.

 

I was a little confused by what Bear said as it didn't fit in with my

memories of what castrated cattle were called.  I had always heard them

referred to as steers, but then they typically weren't used as draft

animals. So I looked it up and found that, when they are used as draft

animals, they are frequently referred to as oxen...but mostly in other parts

of the world...which would, I suspect, cover our period in Europe.  But here

in the US, you may also hear the term steer.

 

Kiri

 

On Tue, Nov 10, 2009 at 11:37 PM, Terry Decker <t.d.decker at att.net> wrote:

Judith Epstein wrote:

< I thought cows and their boyfriends (oxen, bulls, same word) were on

yokes, and draft horses were on halters. No? >

 

An ox is generally a castrated male while a bull is an uncastrated male.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2009 11:31:07 -0600

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Cow harness

 

<<< I was a little confused by what Bear said as it didn't fit in with my

memories of what castrated cattle were called.  I had always heard them

referred to as steers, but then they typically weren't used as draft

animals. So I looked it up and found that, when they are used as draft

animals, they are frequently referred to as oxen...but mostly in other parts

of the world...which would, I suspect, cover our period in Europe.  But

here in the US, you may also hear the term steer.

 

Kiri >>>

 

If you will recall "Sweet Betsy From Pike;" "with two yoke of oxen..."  In

the US, draft cattle are oxen, beef cattle are steers.  Since we haven't

really used draft cattle for almost a hundred years (since heavy wagons went

motorized and horses and mules were more often used for farming), the term

usually pops up only in special circumstances.  I also seem to remember

steers are castrated as calves, but oxen are castrated after sexual

maturity, but I am not sure of the accuracy of that statement.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2009 18:51:40 +0000

From: Holly Stockley <hollyvandenberg at hotmail.com>

To: <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Cow harness

 

Actually, historically "ox" as a term is not gender specific.   Bulls, steers, and cows were all known by that term when used as draft animals.  Though most often steers are used, since they are a happy medium between the (relative) docility of cows with the strength of bulls.  One of my technicians has some calves she intends to break to harness and use as oxen - both are cows.

 

Femke

 

 

Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2009 21:48:13 -0600

From: "wyldrose" <wyldrose at tds.net>

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Cow harness

 

Some breeds of cattle are  better suited to be oxen than others.

Temperament and build have a lot to do with it.  In Minnesota there are

still a few farmers that farm with either horses and/or oxen.  Oxen also are

fitted with shoes much like a horses shoes but made for cloven feet by

blacksmiths. Many of the logging camps used oxen and horses to haul

supplies and logs.

                                             Kay

 

<<< If you will recall "Sweet Betsy From Pike;" "with two yoke of oxen..."  In

the US, draft cattle are oxen, beef cattle are steers.  Since we haven't

really used draft cattle for almost a hundred years (since heavy wagons

went motorized and horses and mules were more often used for farming), the

term usually pops up only in special circumstances.  I also seem to

remember steers are castrated as calves, but oxen are castrated after

sexual maturity, but I am not sure of the accuracy of that statement.

 

Bear >>>

 

<the end>



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