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THE ANGORA GOAT.

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ANGORA GOATS.


THE

ANGORA GOAT;

WITH AN ACCOUNT OF

ITS INTRODUCTION INTO VICTORIA,

AND A

REPORT ON THE FLOCK

RELONGING TO TIIE ZOOLOGICAL AND ACCLIMATISATION SOCIETY OF VICTORIA, NOW RUNNING AT LONGERENONG,

IN THE WIMMERA DISTRICT.

RY

SAMUEL WILSON,

Vice-President of the Zoological and Acclimatisation Society; President of the National Agricultural Society; and President of the Wimmera District Pastoral and Agricultural Society.

MELBOURNE:

STILLWELL AND KNIGHT, PRINTERS, COLLINS STREET.

M DCCC LXXIII.


THE ANGOEA GOAT;

WITH AN ACCOUNT OF

ITS INTRODUCTION INTO VICTORIA,

AND A REPORT ON THE FLOCK BELONGING TO THE ZOOLOGICAL AND ACCLIMATISATION SOCIETY OF VICTORIA, NOW RUNNING AT LONGERENONG, IN THE WIMMERA DISTRICT.

BY

SAMUEL WILSON,

Vice-President of the Zoological and .Acclimatisation Society; President of the National Agricultural Society; and President of the Wimmera District Pastoral and Agricultural Society.

From a very early period in the world’s history after its occupation by the human race, the goat as well as the sheep has been subjected to domestication. A great part of the wealth of the patriarchs consisted of their flocks of sheep and goats. From the greater docility, intelligence, and courage of the goat as compared with that of the sheep, as well as from its capability of adapting itself to many different climates, it has been a constant attendant on civilized, as well as on many

savage races of man in most parts of the globe. In

B

Switzerland, during the early Stone period, the goat was commoner than the sheep (Rutimeyer).

The species from which the domestic goat is believed by most naturalists to be derived, is the Paseng or iEgagrus, the wild goat of the mountains of Caucasus and of Persia. By some, however, the Ibex is supposed to be the wild prototype of the animal.

The differences between some species of sheep and goats are less than might be supposed, and naturalists find some difficulty in clearly defining these distinctions. To ordinary observers perhaps the most marked characters which distinguish the goat are, the peculiar odour of the male, tl;e beard, and the boldness, caprice, and curiosity of the animal, in complete contrast with the timidity, staidness, and incurious character of the sheep. Their mode of fighting is also cpiite different. The goat raises itself on its hind legs, and lets the weight of its body fall on its adversary, while the sheep runs a tilt, adding the force of its momentum to its weight. On this question Youatt remarks that the differences between them are chiefly these: “Many sheep are without horns. The horns of sheep have a spiral direction, while those of the goat have a direction upwards and backwards. The forehead of the sheep is convex, and that of the goat concave. The sheep has, except in one wild variety, nothing resembling a beard,

but the goat is bearded, while the goat in his highest state of improvement, and when he is made to produce wool of a fineness unequalled by sheep, as in the Cashmere breed, is mainly, and always externally, covered with hair; the hair on the sheep may, by domestication, be reduced to a few kemps (coarse hairs), or got rid of altogether ; and finally, the pelt or skin of the goat has a thickness very far exceeding that of the sheep.”

The goat loves to browse on the sides of rugged hills, and can leap with ease and safety from rock to rock amongst the most dangerous precipices, with a courage which is surprising. In some parts of Russia a few goats are kept with each Hock of sheep, to lead them over dangerous passes, and show the way when any difficulty occurs. In parts of France, goats precede the flocks of sheep as pioneers, and supply the place of well-trained dogs. The sheep learn to follow them, and look to them for guidance.

Pliny relates an instance of the intelligence of the goat:—Two of these animals, coming from opposite directions, met on a very narrow bridge, which would not admit of either of them turning round; and in consequence of its great length they could not safely go backwards, there being no sure footing on account

of its narrowness ; while at the same time an impetu-

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ous torrent was rapidly rushing beneath. Accordingly, one of the animals la); down flat while the other walked over it.

The veneration in which the goat was held in ancient times is shown by the fact of Pan, in the heathen mythology represented as the supreme power over nature, being invested with the likeness of this animal; while the segis, or goat-skin, was the breastplate of J upiter.

The goat is of the genus Capreae, a sub-tribe of the family Bovidm, amongst the ruminant mammalia.

There are many varieties of goats, and they are found in all parts of the world, and bear with little inconvenience all extremes of climate and temperature. They are found as far north as Wardhuys, in Norway, where they feed on moss, bark, and even on logs cut for fuel (Pennant),., and thrive equally well in the tropics. They are not natives of the American Continent, although the Argali or wild sheep wras found there. The goat will live, and do well on pastures where most other animals would starve, and will do admirably on scrubby, wet, or wooded countries unsuitable for sheep. The time of gestation of the goat differs from that of the sheep, by being about two weeks shorter.

The cross between the goat and the Merino sheep has been tried, and the progeny was not unfertile, though it reproduces with difficulty. Professor Cretzschmar, a learned naturalist residing near Frankfort-on-the-Main, experimented upon twelve Merino ewes, and a Cashmere buck, with the hope of establishing a breed of animals intermediate between the two. It was not until the third season that the experiment succeeded, and the progeny so closely resembled the Merino that little difference could be noticed in their external characters. My authority does not fetate the final result of this interesting experiment.

Amongst all the very numerous breeds of goats the variety called the Angora goat (Capra Angorensis) stands pre-eminent. It is so-called from the place where this beautiful breed is found. Angora, the ancient Ancyra, is a town of Natolia, in Asia Minor, and lies about the fortieth parallel of north latitude. It is estimated to have about 40,000 inhabitants. Ancyra was one of the earliest Christian churches, and is noted in Scripture as a place where Paul preached to the Galatians. Early in the fifteenth century, Bajazet was here defeated and taken prisoner by Tamerlane, the famous Tartar conqueror, but afterwards the place fell into the hands of the Turks, who still retain it in their possession.

Angora has Ion" been celebrated for its breed of

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goats, which yields the valuable mohair of commerce, and which exists only in a tract of country extending for about a distance of 30 miles round Angora, The annual export of mohair from the district is estimated at 500,000 okes, equal to 1,254,400 lbs. If we estimate the annual fleece of each animal at Slbs., it would show that there are about 400,000 of this breed of goats in that district. Of these, some flocks are said to excel even those of Angora, Goats with fleeces of the highest lustre are found at Castambul, those of Angora being only second in quality, and those of Beibayer third, the breed being nearly the same in all the three places mentioned.

The climate of this district, which lies nearly 2000 feet above the sea, is peculiarly favourable to the growth of long silky hair, so much so, that greyhounds and even cats found there are said to have remarkably long silky coats.

The colour of the Angora goat is invariably pure white, and its long silky fleece, which hangs in curly locks, grows with wonderful rapidity, it being no uncommon thing in the best specimens for the full fleece to hang so low as to touch the ground. I have before me some specimens of hair of about six months growth, produced in the Wimmera district, and which measure 6£ to 8 inches in length.

The produce of some of the superior flocks was so highly valued at one time, that its exportation was a capital offence, it being preserved for the manufacture of fabrics for the seraglio of the Grand Signor. The common kind is used in the manufacture of camlets in the Levant, and a large quantity is exported in the form of thread, and sent in caravans to Smyrna, to be shipped to Europe. A prohibition formerly existed against the export of the hair in a raw state, probably with a view to afford additional employment to the population of the country, but now a large quantity is sent to England, France, and America. The fleece of the Angora goat is called at Angora ‘tiftik,’ Turkish for goats’ hair.

In a paper written by Captain Conolly, read before the Asiatic Society, in January 1840, the country in which the Angora goat reaches perfection is described as “ consisting principally of dry chalky hills, on which there are bushes rather than trees, and these chiefly of the dwarf oak, or else of valleys lying from 1,500 to 2,500 feet above the level of the sea, which are quite bare of trees, and but scantily covered with grass. In this expanse of country there are districts that produce finer fleeces than others, such as Ayash, Bey bazaar, and Yoorrook. These are districts where the goats are mostly kept on hills, and the natives attribute a general superiority to mountain flocks, which live in a rarer atmosphere, have more leaves and a greater choice of herbs, for which nevertheless they are obliged to range widely, and so are kept in health, on which the quality of their coats mainly depends. The finest fleeces are said to come from the Yoorrooks, roving tribes who keep their flocks out day and night throughout the year, except when an unusual quantity of snow falls, so that their fleeces are not soiled. The fleece of the two-year-old she goat is considered the best, that of the males being somewhat inferior. Good common tiftik sells at Angora (18-10), at 8d. per pound, and the finest picked fleece at Is. per pound. Skins well cured, with the curly fleece, sell for rugs and saddle cloths, at about £1 at Angora, and £1 10s. at Constantinople.”

Great care is taken by some flock-masters in combing out all burrs, seeds, or other impurities, and in a careful washing of the fleece. The processes of spinning and weaving, as described by Captain Conolly as usual at Angora, are very primitive. The yarn is said to be much superior in the melon season, from the mucilaginous quality imparted to the saliva by eating that fruit. The spinning of the thread is done by women, but the fabrics made from it are manufactured by men, who stretch their warp in the open air, on a level space by the bank of the river, an'1 prepare it for the loom by a dressing of a glutinous liquor called “ cliirish,” made from a plant of the Asphodel family, which grows plentifully on all the high lands of Armenia. The cliirish liquor is squirted or blown on to the web. It has a sweetish and not disagreeable taste, but is said to destroy the teeth.

Socks and gloves of the finest texture are knitted by the women, from the tiftik yarn. Some of these were so ingeniously wrought as to puzzle the English manufacturers to know where the work had been begun or ended. Permission is now freely given by the Turkish Government to export raw tiftik, and a large quantity is annually sent away to various European and American ports.

A mistaken impression exists in Australia, and also in America, that the Angora and Cashmere goats are identical. The two breeds are as distinct, however, from each other as the Leicester sheep is from the Merino. The Cashmere goat is valued for the production of a very small quantity of extremely fine wool, called “puslcm,” a sort of downy undergrowth, which lies at the roots of the long coarse hair with which the animal is covered, and which hair is of little value. The wool on the contrary is exceeding!}' valuable, and worth from 5s. to 7s. per pound. The wool sheds naturally in the spring of every year, and is then carefully combed out, but is much matted and intermixed with the coarse hair of the outer coat. The hair is afterwards shed. In some breeds the goats yield two fleeces in the year.

This variety of goat is found on the highland slopes of the Himalayas, and in the valleys of Thibet and Cashmere. It is a very handsome animal, and is more prolific than the Angora goat, the female generally producing twins. Its colour is white, with bluish or reddish patches on the neck and shoulders, or sometimes almost pure white, with a rich reddish or golden tinge on the surface of the fleece. The wool is white or a light brown colour.

From the recorded results of experiments in crossing the Angora and Cashmere goats, I at one time intended to try this cross, with a view to increase the yield of shawl wool or under-down, and get rid of the outer hairy coat. That this is no chimerical idea may be inferred from the fact that nearly all the wild breeds of sheep have a double coat of hair and wool. Some breeds of African sheep have skins covered with short hair like that of a horse, with scarcely any wool. The Moufflon of Corsica, and the Argali of the Caucasus, or its near relative the Argali or wild sheep of the Rocky Mountains, have long coarse ham with an undercoat of wool. Some domesti-

CASHMERE AND THIBET GOATS.


cated breeds, such as the Orkney and Shetland sheep, still retain their outer coat of coarse hair, lvempy hairs on some of the best Merinos occasionally appear, and indicate their descent from an ancestor with a double coat of hair and wool. When, by man’s skill in selection, together with other influences to which the sheep has been subjected, the outer hairy coat has altogether disappeared in our best sheep, why may not the Cashmere goat be similarly modified, so as to be more suited to the wants and requirements of man ? From the great value of both pure breeds, I have hitherto refrained from making this most interesting experiment until they should increase to a larger number, when a few could be spared for this object. In the Cashmere goats, I have endeavoured to obtain by selection one uniform colour, by the use of pure white bucks with the golden tinge referred to. I have hitherto kept the breed scrupulously pure.

I have on the Wimmera a small flock of these beautiful animals, descended from an importation of a male and two females, brought from India by the agent for the Peninsular and Oriental Company, at a cost of about £200. I have at various times combed out small quantities of the shawl wool or under down, but, from having only a small number, did not obtain a sufficient quantity to enable me to test its market value.

A number of Cashmere goats were introduced into A ictoria about the year 18C3. The animals were brought by Dr. Chalmers from Chinese Tartary, and travelled a distance of 2,000 miles overland to Calcutta, having been nine months on the road. One-half of the flock was lost through being delayed at Calcutta in waiting for a vessel, the moist heat of the tropics proving fatal to them. Of the other moiety, only 49 were landed in Melbourne, and more than one-lialf of these perished soon after from the effects of the confinement, the long sea voyage, and the hardships to which they had been subjected on shipboard.

The half of the cost of this experiment was borne by Mr. McCullough of Maryborough, to whom the whole of the goats of this breed were afterwards sent. In the Annual Report of the Acclimatisation Society, for the year 1SG6, it was stated that the attempt to acclimatize the Cashmere goat had proved a failure, from which I conclude that this flock had not proved successful at Maryborough.

The exquisitely fine Cashmere shawls imported from India, in which ladies so much delight, are manufactured from the wool of the Cashmere goat. A first-class pair of Cashmere shawls will cost ¿€300 to produce. Baron Hugel gives the items of cost as follows :— “Labour of 24 artisans for 12 months, <£*180 ; materials

and dyeing, £30 ; duty, £70; and charges of the establishment, £20 ; total £300.”

British and French manufacturers are now competing successfully against cheap Asiatic labour, by the extensive use of labour-saving machinery, and shawls little inferior to the real ones from Cashmere are sold at a much less cost. The scarcity of the material is a great difficulty, but much of the finest description of Australian Merino lambs’ wool is believed to be used instead of or mixed with the real Cashmere shawl wool.

An attempt was made by a French gentleman, M. Ternaux, who, assisted by the intrepid traveller Jaubert, selected and purchased a flock of the pure Cashmere goats, and introduced them into France, with the object of doing away with the necessity of importing the raw material. M. Ternaux not being able to give that attention to the flock which they required, and which the importance of the experiment demanded, it was sold and dispersed, and the best specimens were picked up by M. Polonneau, who desired to experiment upon the cross between this breed .and the Angora His object in making the experiment was to produce an animal with the wool or down more abundant than that of the Cashmere breed, and with the hairy coat more silky and finer. The experiment was said to be successful. The wool or down of the first cross had twice

the length of staple of that of the pure Cashmere goat. M. Ternaux was of opinion that the fleece of the cross between the two breeds, in consequence of its special qualities, would have produced fabrics superior to the most beautiful of those hitherto introduced. Unfortunately, the final results of this interesting experiment are not recorded.

Mr. Southey, the author of a valuable work on Colonial sheep and wools, is of opinion that the fleece of the cross between the Angora and Cashmere goat would be extremely valuable for various purposes.

The late Prince Albert had a small flock of the pure Cashmere goat at Windsor. With the enlightened foresight for which he was distinguished, he was always in the van when any good work could be done for the-benefit of agriculture or the increase of the prosperity of the people of England. Desiring to have some fabrics manufactured from the fleece of his Cashmere flock, a quantity of the wool and hair as it was shorn from the goats was sent to a large manufacturer. The separation of the wool from the hair being at that time, from the imperfection of the machinery in use, a very difficult operation, a great number of ladies assisted the manufacturer, by taking small portions of the fleece and picking by hand the wool from the hair. Such was the enthusiast caused by the experiment,

that over a thousand persons of all grades and conditions were engaged in the work. Each person so employed received, as remuneration, an elegantly engraved certificate, stating that the holder had assisted in bringing to a successful result the experiment of His Royal Highness in the manufacture of Cashmere goats’ wool. Some brocades and two beautiful shawls were produced by Messrs. Haley, the manufacturers, and the hair was also made into a coarse fabric, which was shown in contrast with the finer textures.

Notwithstanding the success of this experiment, and the high value of the exquisite textures made from Cashmere wool, I am far from thinking the Cashmere goat of equal value, in an economic point of view, to the Angora. The immense amount of labour required to free the Cashmere wool from coarse hairs, and the very small quantity of wool produced by each animal, are difficulties that are not to be surmounted easily.

I do not think it impossible for a skilful breeder to improve the Cashmere goat, so as to clothe it with a fieece all of which should equal the shawl wool “ puslim,” or under down. There is little doubt that, by selection, the wool might be increased by slow degrees, and the kempy hairs lessened, until a woolbearing animal with a fleece finer than the finest Merino wool, and as free from the kempy hairs of

its early progenitors as is the champion Merino at Skipton or Mudgee (where the best specimens of the Merino in the world are to be seen), from the hairy mantle of his ovine ancestor, the Argali of the Caucasus.

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Possibly the result might sooner be reached by a cross of the Angora, producing a variety of intermediate forms and making the breed more plastic, and lessening the force of heredity, giving more scope for selection. Of cross breeding, however, I am not an admirer, and think the desired end is to be attained in a more satisfactory way, by a long course of selection, carried out in an intelligent manner, and with a fixed purpose kept constantly in view. Have we no skilful breeder in Australia who will undertake this task, and bequeath it to his children, if incomplete in his lifetime ? But let us return to our main subject, the Angora goat, many of the good qualities of which have yet to be told. We have it on the authority of M. Polonneau, that the milk of the Angora is superior in quality to that of any other breed of goats, besides being produced in greater quantity. It makes an excellent cheese, and the butter from it is free from the rank flavour of that made from the milk of the common goat.

A comparative analysis made by M. Barruel, principal chemist to the Faculty of Medicine, Paris, of the milk of the half-bred Angora and that of the common

French breed, shows conclusively the ameliorating influence of the cross. This may be partly due to the increased vigour which the first cross usually gives. The butryaceous, caseous, and saccharine properties of the milk from each breed are given below.

Half-Bbed Angora.

Butter - - -

- 7.85

Cheese - - -

- 37.00

Saccharine matter -

- 33.25

Extractive matter

- 8.50

Water - - -

- 913.40

1000.00

The Common Goat of

France.

Butter - - -

- 5.00

Cheese - * -

- 32.50

Saccharine matter -

- 24.25

Extractive matter -

- 7.50

Water - - -

- 930.75

1000.00

Mr. W. E. Riley, who has written a pamphlet on the subject of the introduction of the Angora, says of this animal, “ that it is content with food that the sheep or cow rejects, and is capable of thriving on land and in situations not adapted to other stock. The Angora

may be considered an interesting as well as a valuable

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addition to every farm, and when the common goat can be replaced by a variety possessing not only all its own ordinary qualities in a superior degree, but also producing so desirable a material for manufacture, landed proprietors may be induced to consider the propriety of acquiring the Angora for its own merits, as well as for crossing with the whole of their at present comparatively useless breeds. Hereafter, the wool of the goats of Australia, if their improvement be pursued with any portion of the zeal and perseverance with which the squatters have ameliorated and advanced the worth of their flocks, may become an additional and remunerating export that will annually increase in quantity and value, the benefit of which is open to every agriculturist in Australia,”

Having now given the Angora its due meed of praise, it is only right that something should be said as to any drawbacks there may be connected with it. The chief difficulty in its management consists in the great activity of the animal, rendering its confinement to any field or pasture difficult. I have known a number of Angoras brought into a woolslied to be shorn; they came in quietly enough, but when the shearers commenced to catch them for shearing, they speedily bounded over all the divisions between the pens, and were outside the woolslied, over gates and fences

in a few seconds. I have brought a small flock into a yard or pen, of which a slab hut with bark roof formed one fence : on commencing to earmark the kids, which were two or three months old, one of them made two or three bounds, and in as many seconds was calmly looking down on me from the ridge of the hut. To get on the top of a post and rail fence, and walk along it for a few panels, would be no difficult feat for them.

Their ability to subsist on poor pastures, has been mentioned, but in my experience, no animal that has not sufficient nourishment will produce either a good fleece or much profit to the owner, and it is poor economy to keep any animal on an insufficient supply of food.

In the year 185G, the first importation of Angora goats into Victoria was successfully accomplished. They were seven in number, being the survivors of a larger number shipped. Mr. Sicliel, a merchant of Melbourne, had heard of their successful introduction at the Cape colony, and learning that they had increased and thriven well in that climate, he determined to introduce them into Australia, o.nd after considerable difficulties, a small flock was secured by an agent at Broussa, near Trebizond, which was shipped by way of Constantinople to London, where the goats were transferred to a vessel sailing for Port

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Phillip. Soon after their arrival they were purchased by Baron von Mueller for the Zoological Committee, and afterwards transferred to the care of the Acclimatisation Society. In 1863 this Society, in return for some specimens of the fauna of Australia, including a wombat, was presented by the Imperial Acclimatisation Society of France with 12 pure-bred Angoras of a very high class. These arrived safely, and were added to the little flock at the Society’s grounds at the Royal Park. The flock was too small, however, to be of much practical use to the colony, and soon after the Acclimatisation Society took the matter warmly in hand, and I)r. Black, the President at that time, by his energy and perseverence, succeeded in inducing the Council to vote a sum of ¿f?600 towards the cost and expense of importing a sufficient number to establish the breed in the colony within a reasonable time. Mr. McCullough, of Maryborough, a gentleman who had taken a great interest in the introduction of both the Cashmere and Angora goat, added a like amount of «P600, for the purchase of a number on his own account.

In 1865, a special agent, who was acquainted with the qualifies of the Angora, was sent by Mr. Philpott, who acted as agent in London for the Acclimatisation Society, to Asia Minor, to select and purchase as many pure Angoras as the funds at command would permit.

The goats were obtained in the neighbourhood oi Broussa, and were driven to the port of Smyrna for shipment. Before their embarkation at Smyrna, the cholera unfortunately broke out at that port, and caused great delay, besides adding considerably to the expense of the undertaking. Ultimately, the goats were landed in London, and re-shipped for Melbourne, where they arrived early in the year 18GG, after a tedious voyage of 127 days, with a loss of only two on the voyage. Mr. McCullough sold his moiety of the dock to the Acclimatisation Society, the number landed being 93 in all, costing the Society an average of about £1G per head.

It will thus be seen that the introduction of the Angora goat into Victoria is mainly due to the exertions of the Acclimatisation Society.

The flock originally imported has now increased in numbers very considerably. At various times, sales of pure-bred males and females were made, witli the object of introducing them into different parts of the country, and there are now several small flocks of these valuable animals doing well and giving great promise of success.

In selecting animals for sale the improvement of the original flock has always been kept in view, and the result of careful selection, not only of the best

of the bucks for use in the flock, but of the best of the does as a stud flock, has been to greatly improve the high quality which the flock had already possessed.

In 1870 it became evident that the limited pastures at the Royal Park were insufficient for the rapidly increasing numbers of the flock of Angoras, and it was decided by the Council to send them to the Wimmera. A large number were sold and some were exported to the neighbouring colonies, where several large flocks are now established. The price at which they were disposed of, £o 5s. each, though much less than their actual value, was fixed at that amount with a view to their being distributed over the country, and to place them within the reach of settlers of limited means. The amount realised was also of service in furthering the other important objects of the Society.

It is in my opinion a flatter to be regretted that the Council adopted this course, instead of retaining the whole flock under their own control. From an estimate of the probable increase which may be obtained by careful management, to be found further on in this report, it will be seen that great results might have been attained much sooner had the Council retained the whole of the flock in their own hands. Scattered pairs of Angoras get mixed up with the common breed, and arc practically lost as regards any benefit to be

derived from them, but if kept together in a body in one district, the great value of their fleece will enable them to drive out and supersede the comparatively worthless common goat.

The flock was carefully culled by Mr. Jonathan Shaw, an experienced and skilful classer of Merino Sheep, and all inferior animals were taken out and disposed of. The choice animals, in number about 50, a magnificent flock, were sent off by railway to Ballarat, and were driven by easy stages to Longerenong, in the Wimmera district, where they arrived about the middle of December, 1870. They were in low condition on their arrival, from the effects of a parasite with which they were infested, and I had them twice dipped in a solution used for sheep similarly affected. They rapidly improved in condition, and have since then always been in the most thriving state.

The system adopted by me in the management of the flock, was to number all the bucks and does, each goat having a permanent number to distinguish it from every other. This was effected by a system of marks on the ears of the animals, which system I had already adopted with my pure Merino flocks. It is essential, where great care in breeding is requisite, to be able to distinguish individuals having noteworthy qualities, whether desirable or the reverse. It is not always

possible to distinguish individuals in a flock of sheep or goats after being shorn. The qualities which make them remarkable, lie, as a rule, in their fleeces, and when shorn, a permanent distinguishing mark is of great service. Various systems have been tried to effect this object. With rams, a plate with the number engraved or stamped upon it, is sometimes inserted in a horn of the animal, but this plan is unsuited for ewes or sheep without horns. A small brass plate stamped with the number has also been tried, suspended from an ear-ring, but in practice the ring was found to cut the ear, either from the weight of the plate with the number, or from being torn off by twigs or bushes. A plan adopted by the late Captain Macarthur, of Camden, who was the first in Australia to appreciate the value of the Merino, was to have a leather strap with a metal number attached. This was liable to the objection that the buckle and strap got worn and fell off, and if not, it was somewhat in the way of the growing fleece, and also at shearing time.

I once hit upon an invention which seemed to meet all the difficulties of the case; it consisted of a pair of brass pincers, with numbers and letters which could be inserted, like type in a composing stick, to four figures. The letters or figures were tattoed into the inside skin of the ear. The outline of the letters or figures were made

by needle points, and a tattoo mark was left, by rubbing Indian ink or gunpowder into the punctures. I tattooed my pure Camden flock of sheep in this way, but found that although the numbers were quite distinct on the ears of some of them, the brown freckled skin in the inside of the ears of others prevented the numbers from being legible, and I was obliged to give up the plan.

The system I Anally adopted is the invention of a German breeder of the Merino, named Von Timer, and like many valuable inventions, it is remarkable for its simplicity. By the use of three simple marks made on the sheeps’ ear with a knife, and pincers something like those used by railway guards, and by combinations of these marks, numbers from 1 to 10,000 can be indicated, and the system when properly understood is so simple, that an intelligent shepherd or boundary rider can learn to read the numbers in twenty minutes, and with almost as much ease and certainty as if written in figures. As this statement may seem puzzling to some, I will explain how it is effected.

The three marks consist of: 1st. A notch such as a railway-guard makes in a ticket. 2nd. The tip of the ear cut square off. 3rd. A hole in the ear. To each mark an arbitrary value is given, according to its position on the ears of the sheep, and the sum of such

values represents the distinguishing number of the individual.

The three marks and their values are given below, in a rude drawing of a sheep’s ears.

By varying the position and increasing the number of these marks, different numbers are indicated. I will give below the leading numbers from which all

o    O

the others are made up by addition.

1    3    10

From an inspection of these figures, it will be seen that any number up to 10,000 can be readily indicated. The position of each mark gives its value, that is, whether a notch be on the back, front, or top of the ear, or on the right or left ear. Two back or front notches have double the value of one. Two back notches on the left ear count 6. Two back notches on

right ear, GO, or 30 each. The low numbers begin at the animals left ear, and the high numbers go from left to right, or from right to left looking at the animal’s face. A few examples of ears numbered as in actual practice are given below, and three left without figures attached, that the system may be clearly understood by actual practice.

6.029

A notch on the front of the left ear stands for number one; two front notches on the same ear signifies number two ; a back notch on the left ear is three ; one notcli in the front and one in the back of the left ear signifies four ; the other numbers up to nine are made up by combinations of the front and back notches on the left ear. A front notch on the right ear signifies ten, and a back notch on the same ear thirty. Combinations of these two notches signifying ten and thirty respectively, brings the number up to ninety-nine. A notch on the tip of left ear stands for 100 ; a notch on the tip of right ear 200 ; these two together, 300. The second mark now comes into use, which is, the tip

cut square off the left ear, for 4-00. The tip cut off the right ear is 500 ; this mark, with the notch on the top of the left ear, makes GOO. The tip square off both ears, is 900. The third mark is then required, which is one punch hole in the left ear for 1,000, and a hole in the right ear for 3,000. Combinations of these two, and the other marks, brings the numbers to 10,000 or more if required.

None of these marks interfere with the others, each having its own proper place. If neatly done, witli a suitable pair of pincers, which I have had made to order, there is little noticeable mutilation of the ears. In practice, it would not be found necessary to number more than a few hundreds of the choicest animals, but the system is perfect up to the number mentioned, and for ingenuity, simplicity, and effectiveness, cannot be surpassed. I need not point out to the breeder of high-class stock the benefit to be derived from this system of numbering. It enables him to identify each individual in a flock with certainty, and to select any particular strain of blood in the progeny of any remarkable male or female. Along with the numbering a register must be kept. This should have columns for the number of sire and dam, and for the qualities of each individual, as a guide to selection. The leading qualities may be those for which the breed is valued, as

for instance, density, length of staple, lustre or silkiness, weight of fleece, size, form, kc. kc. The relative proportion of each quality may be expressed by numbers, ranging from one to five, the average or medium proportion of each quality being expressed by three.

The ears of the Angora do not appear as shown in the woodcuts. The animal is lop-eared, this peculiarity being a proof of its long domestication ; the muscles which are called into play in erecting the ear having become comparatively powerless by a lengthened disuse. The ears of the Angora vary very much in size in different individuals, being very small in some, £>s occurs in what are called “ mouse-eared ” sheep, and varying through all the intermediate gradations up to a very large size. There is also a kind of suture, or keel-like seam, which runs up the centre of the ear of many of them. Some breeds of goats have ears ID inches in length and 4f in breadth.

I am aware that at least one eminent breeder of stock in this colony is of opinion that selection amongst pure-bred stock is of little or no benefit, but the practical experience of all great breeders, from the days of Jacob down to the present time, testifies strongly in favour of its value. In skilful hands, it is the magician s wand which brings to light new forms of animal and

vegetable life. A Bakewell gives us by its aid a Leicester sheep formed after an ideal pattern, and so well adapted to the wants of the sheep-breeders of the place and time, that one individual of the breed is let for <£>1,000 for one year’s use. A skilful florist, by selection, creates a double geranium unknown before-A rare combination of two superior strains of racehorses produces an ‘ Eclipse.’

A few instances of what has actually been done by selection may here be of service. They are taken from the Gardener's Chronicle, and from the Transactions of the Horticultural Society. The Rev. W. Williamson, after sowing the seed of the Anemone Coronarba for several years, found a plant bearing flowers with one additional petal; by sowing the seed of this and continued selection, he obtained several varieties, with six or seven rows of petals. The single Scotch rose was doubled, and yielded eight good varieties in nine or ten years. The Canterbury bell (Campanula Medium) was doubled in four generations. The beetroot, grown for the production of sugar in France, has yielded since its improvement in cultivation almost exactly double the percentage of sugar. This improvement has been obtained by testing the specific gravity of the roots, and retaining the heaviest for the production of seed.

It is recorded in the Poultry Chronicle, that Mr. Wicking, a pigeon fancier, in thirteen years, put a clean white head on an almond tumbler’s body.

These and many other triumphs of the selector’s art prove the potency of skilful selection in obtaining and perpetuating any desired quality.

The numbering of pure stock and registering of their pedigree has the advantage, from any point of view, that it is a guarantee that care has been exercised in their breeding.

The great fundamental rule in the breeding of stock is, that like produces like or the likeness of some ancestor. It is found that the offspring generally bears a resemblance to the parents, and where these differ materially, the offspring is intermediate between the two, in their specific qualities and in general appearance. It often happens, however, that the progeny resembles neither of the parents, but is like the grand parents or some still more remote ancestor. Instances of this are frequently seen in the black and spotted sheep that occasionally appear in flocks that have not been long subjected to rigorous selection, and which are instances of reversion or tliroiving back as it is called, to some remote progenitor, which existed before the race had been so far improved as to breed true to

one colour. This principle is also called Atavism, from Atavus, an ancestor.

Careful selection and breeding to one type for a long number of generations, will, in each generation, increase the chances or probabilities that no departure from the selected type will take place. It is not to be supposed that, although we look upon the matter as a subject of chance, that it is any such thing in the proper acceptance of the term. All events are ’regulated by natural laws, instituted by the Creator of the Universe. The turn of a die is regulated by the amount of force expended upon it in a particular direction, the friction it is subjected to, and other causes. From want of knowledge of these causes, we are accustomed to call the result chance. It is but rarely that future events can be predicted with certainty, but mathematicians tell us that the chance of an event happening when the operating or controlling circumstances as far as we can knoiv them are given, is always susceptible of an accurate evaluation, and a numerical measure can be determined of the degree of the defect from absolute certainty. This theory is called the Doctrine of Chances or Probabilities. This doctrine has its origin in our want of knowledge of all the causes operating to produce certain effects, and would not exist were these causes fully known to us. Let us

aPply this theory to the question of breeding by selection.

If each ancestor of any pair going back for thirty generations, has been carefully selected to one type, the progeny of this pair must “ throw back ” thirty-one generations, if any variation from that selected type takes place. If we calculate the number of ancestors that an individual can have in thirty generations, which is a problem in geometrical progression, and by the alo-ebraic formula for ascertaining the sum of the series, we find that they reach the enormous number of 2,147 millions, and according to the doctrine of probabilities, the chances are 2,147 millions to one that no departure from the selected type will occur. But the chances are in a still greater proportion in favour of the selected individual remaining true to the desired type, because out of the 2,147 millions of ancestors, some of the same individuals would probably be repeated over and over again in the pedigree, as we see in the pedigrees of pure short-liorn cattle, and thorough-bred horses.

All carefully selected stock are of necessity closely bred, the best individuals being usually selected for continuing the breed. In most cases in-and-in breeding is also more or less practised. The effect of this obviously must be to concentrate the desired quality in

the progeny. Suppose a case of a champion ram of

D

great excellence ; lie is put to a number of the best ewes selected out of the flock, and probably related to him in a more or less remote degree, liis progeny, according to the rule of inherited qualities, are one-lialf at least of his breed. If lie is again put to the ewes of bis progeny, the lambs from these will be three-fourths of his breed. If this be continued to a tim'd generation, the progeny would be seven-eighths of his breed. The chances of obtaining the desired type would in the last instance obviously be greatly increased.

Thorough-bred or pure-bred stock are valued because they have a greater pre-potency or power of marking their likeness or the likeness of the breed upon their offspring, than have the best looking specimens of ordinary stock. Pure-bred animals arc those that have descended from a long line of ancestors, carefully selected to one type, which has, by such continued selection, become the fixed type of the breed.

In regard to the question of the various breeds of domestic animals and their origin, I would desire not to be considered as ignoring the effects of climate, food, and other circumstances, and those principles of natural selection so well illustrated by Darwin in his writings, and which are so potent in changing and modifying the different forms of animal and vegetable life, but these

processes are slow in their effects in comparison with the changes man can and has effected by selection. The careful breeder should, however, study to have the natural agents on his side if possible, otherwise the attempt to improve the breed will be a very tedious and difficult undertaking.

O

The question of in-and-in breeding is one which has caused great discussion amongst breeders of stock. The subject is beyond the scope of this paper, but has been very fully treated in Darwin’s very valuable work, entitled, “ Animals and Plants under Domestication.”

I would not here be understood as endorsing Mr. Darwin’s deductions and conclusions in every instance. He is, however, entitled to the highest honour for the amount of labour he has expended in the collection of facts bearing upon the subject of which he treats. As Professor Tyndall well remarks, in one of his latest lectures, “A very high value should be attached to ideas which spring from the patient and profound thought of superior minds, and not mere guesses without the warrant of careful study or natural capacity.” Darwin’s conclusions on the subject are, “that the consequences of close inter-breeding carried on for too long a time, are, as it is generally believed, loss of size constitutional vigour and fertility, sometimes accompanied by a tendency to malformation.

D 2

It should however be clearly understood, that the

advantage of close interbreeding as far as the retention

of character is concerned, is indisputable, and often

outweighs the evil of a slight loss of constitutional

vigour. Manifest evil does not usually follow fiom ©

pairing the nearest relations for one, two, three, or even four generations. It is a great law that all organic beings profit from an occasional cross with individuals not closely related to them in blood, and that on the other hand, long continued close interbreeding is injurious. The opinion of Mr. Bates, a celebrated breeder of shorthorns, was, that to breed in-and-in from a bad stock is ruin and devastation, yet, that the practice may be safely followed within certain limits, when the parents are descended from first-rate animals.

The great value of the Angora goat consists chiefly in the high quality of the beautiful fleece in which it is clothed. T1 iis sometimes realises as much as 4s. per pound for the choicest portions. Ihe last clip fiom the flock belonging to the Zoological and Acclimatisation Society, now running at Longerenong, sold for 3s. 6d. per pound all round, including pieces and locks. There was also a proportion of inferior quality from breeding does and old crones included in this average. With proper classification, which can be done to better advantage when the flock has increased sufficiently to

give a bale of each sort, a better price would no doubt be obtained, especially for the higher qualities.

The annual fleece of the Angora is from 3 lbs. to 9 lbs. of mohair washed snow white. There is very little grease or yolk in it before it is washed, and the discolouration arising from dust adds but little to the weight of the greasy fleece, as compared with the same when spout washed. .

If we compare the Angora and Merino sheep as regards the comparative value of their fleece, it will be seen that the comparison is greatly in favour of the Angora, were both obtainable at the same cost. The average fleece of the Angora, if estimated at 4 lbs. at a price of 3s. Gd. per lb., would make the value of the fleece equal to 14s. per head, while a Merino, which would give a fleece of spout washed wool of say 34 lbs. worth 2s. Gd. per lb, would only yield 8s. 9d. per head, showing 5s. 3d. per head in favour of the Angora. From experiments carefully made to ascertain the quantity of food consumed by each animal, it was found that six Merino sheep eat as much as seven goats.

A large quantity of mohair is imported into France, England, and the United States. One mill alone in New York imported in one year from Constantinople 210,000 lbs., and the supply is quite inadequate to meet the demand. The export of this article might

become of great value to Australia, were the many thousands of almost valueless £oats which are found scattered over the country and at every township, replaced by the Angora. That this change will in time be made there is little doubt, but it would hasten this very desirable object if the managers of town and other commons were to obtain pure bucks of the Angora breed for the use of the goats running on these commons, and allow no other males to mature.

It is found in practice that the progeny of the fourth cross produces a very marketable fleece. In theory, no grade of the cross-bred goats can equal the pure breed. When the tenth cross is reached, however, only about a thousandth (-^) part of the common blood remains, and it would require a very skilful eye to distinguish between this grade and the pure Angora.

A very valuable importation of Angora goats has recently been made into South Australia for Mr. Price Maurice. These are said to include specimens of the most noted breeds. It would, I think, be advantageous to the flock belonging to the Zoological and Acclimatisation Society, if a few specimens of the best of Mr. Maurice’s flock were obtained to renew the breed, provided that on their arrival they should prove superior to those in this colony, and in any case, it would be interesting to compare them with the Society’s

flock. Mr. Maurice could get a similar number in exchange.

The flock of Angora goats now on the Wimmera

o o

is 108 in number, besides a few young kids. From calculations carefully made, and which, as well as other figures in this paper, have been verified by Professor Strong of the Melbourne University, this small flock, if carefully managed, and sufficient pastime allowed to it to graze upon, will, at the ordinary rate of increase, reach in thirty years, the very large number of 442,308. This number should be sufficient to displace most if not all the common goats in the colony. In forty years, at the same rate, the pure flock would increase to over seven millions.

The pure flock should, if possible, be kept in one district and not scattered about. From this point, as a centre, the great profit to be obtained from them should enable them to push their way and drive out the common goat. The above estimate of increase I arrive at by the simple calculation of doubling the number of the flock every two and a-half years. This was found to be about the rate of increase which sheep were observed to make on their first introduction into Australia. I have reason to believe that the Angora will, with care, increase in an equal ratio.

The calculation is as follows, showing the estimated number at each period of two and a half years :—

Present number of flock

108

2

Estimated number

in 2*

years

216

2

99 99

5

99

432

2

99 99

n

{

99

»

864

2

99 99

10

99

1,728

2

99 99

12*

99

3,456

2

» »

15

99

6,912

2

99 99

17*

99

13,824

2

99 99

20

99

27,648

2

99 99

22*

99

55,296

2

25

110,592

Estimated number in 25

years

110,592

2

» „ 27*

55

221,184

2

„ „ 30

55

442,308

2

„ „ 32£

55

884,736

2

»» >» 35

55

1,769,472

2

„ „ m

55

8,538,944

2

» „ 40

55

7,077,888

By calculating tlic rate of increase at eighty per cent, yearly on the number of does of an age to produce kids, and making the proper allowance for deaths from age and other causes, the result would be still greater, and the above calculation would seem moderate in comparison. As a matter of fact, the flock has actually been doubled in number by natural increase in the first two years, and with sufficient pastures and proper care and management, would doubtless reach the large number of 442,308 in the year 1903, and upwards of seven millions in the year 1913, or forty years hence.

The value of the clip at present prices, and estimating each fleece at 4 lbs., would reach the large sum of £309,G57 in 1905, and in 1915, the enormous amount of <£*4,954,521, or nearly five millions sterling. Any great increase in the number of Angoras over the number of goats at present in the colony, would naturally cause a proportionate decrease in some other description of stock. A lessened value of the staple would also no doubt be established by such a great increase in the production of mohair, which would lessen the value of the annual production of the article.

Herewith is given a table showing weights of fleece of each individual in the flock. On account of the shearing having been delayed the second time, through fear of causing injury to the does that were heavy with young, a good deal of hair was lost. This will be seen by the very small yield given by some of them, while some had cast their fleeces and were not shorn at all. When this is taken into account, the average clip will considerably exceed 4 lbs. annually of spout-washed mohair. Care will be taken to prevent loss from the cause mentioned in future, but at this stage of the experiment a slight loss of the fleece is of less consequence than a good increase and the safety of the flock.

STATEMENT SHOWING WEIGHT OF FLEECE OF THE PURE ANGORA GOATS.

Shorn May 11th, and October 28th, 1872, at Longkrenong.

Shorn May 11th, 1S72.

Shorn October 2Sth, 1S72.

No. of Goat.

FEMALES.,

Weight.

No. of Goat.

FEMALES.

Weight.

lbs. ozs.

lbs. ozs.

1

• • •

1 12

1

1 5!

2

2 7|

2

1 0

3

2 13

3

0 8

4

4 0

'4

2 4

5

2 n

5

0 15!

0

2 3|

0

1 5

7

2 8

7

2 11

8

3 1

8

1 8

9

3 5|

9

0 9|

10

2 15

10

1 5

11

1 4i

11

0 5|

12

2 15

12

1 5

13

1 8|

13

0 13

14

1 14f

14

1 1

15

15

0 7

16

2 8

10

i l!

17

2 14

17

2 8

18

3 2

18

2 5

19

2

10

2 2

20

3 5

20

1 0

21

1 4-j

21

0 0

22

2 9

22

1 7|

23

2 3

23

0 14!

24

2 11|

24

i o!

25

3 5

25

1 2

20

15|

20

0 5

27

• • •

2 5

27

0 4|

28

3 2

28

29

1 12

20

*

0 0

30

3 5

30

1 5

31

3 9

31

2 0

32

2 5

32

1 0

33

1 13

33

1 0

34

3 0

34

1 0

35

2 14|

35

1 1

30

'2 5|

30

• • •

1 14!

37

2 11

37

1 H

52

1 8

52

0 7!

53

...

2 G

53

1 13

Shorn May 11th, 1S72.

Shorn October 2Sth

1872.

No. of Goat.

FEMALES.

Weight.

No. of Goat.

FEMALES.

Weight.

54

lbs. ozs.

1 14

54

lbs. ozs.

55

1

2

55

0 8

5G

2

5

5G

2 9*

57

2

4*

57

0 9

58

2

0*

58

0 14

59

2

11

59

GO

1

10

GO

0 151

61

2

3

01

1 12*

62

1

14

G2

i o*

63

2

14

63

1 5

04

2

0*

64

... *

1 8

65

1

8*

G5

66

o

5

GG

2 2

67

í

15

67

2 1*

123

12*

61 13

Shorn May 11th, 1S72.

Shorn October 28th

1872.

No. of Goat.

MALES.

Weight.

No. of Goat.

MALES.

Weight.

lbs. ozs.

lbs. ozs.

1

4 12*

' 1

2 9

o

o

4 10

3

3

1 6|

4

3 8

4

2 41

5

1 9*

5

1 11*

G

1 7

G

0 1*

7

1 11

7

2 14

8

2 12

8

2 10

9

2 5*

9

‘I 41

10

2 21

10

1 71

11

2 4

11

1 91

12

2 1

12

1 3

13

13

14

2 5*

14

1 61

15

2 7*

15

2 0

153 0*

88 15

G4 head, averaging 2 lb. 0£ oz. G3 head, averaging 1 lb. 6* oz. General average, 3 lb. 12^ oz. for twelve months’ clip.

I have considered it expedient to shear the flock twice in the year, for the following reasons : The fleece has a tendency with many of the animals to fall off in the Spring and during the month of September. It usually gets somewhat matted also, if left on the animal for the whole year, and is consequently less valuable. By shearing twice in the year, the hair is free from felting and is not so much liable to damage from burrs and seeds, or from dirt, as when hanging to the ground or nearly so. The growth is probably stimulated also, by their being twice shorn, as nature makes an effort to provide for the wants of the animal. The second clip was not so heavy as the first, from having been delayed by the does commencing to lamb, and some hair was lost in consequence. Shearing twice in the year is not therefore a complete preventive of the loss of the fleece. It is better, however, on the whole to do so. The fleece being fully six inches long at six months growth, is long enough in the fibre for any purpose to which it may be applied by the manufacturer.

At Angora, the goats that are carefully tended, are combed occasionally to keep the hair disentangled, and their fleeces washed, to free them from impurities. I found it necessary on the Wimmera, to comb out the burr of the yellow clover

and other seeds, which are very detrimental to the fleece. At the time when the does are having their kids, a good deal of attention is required. The latter are usually hidden by the mothers, and are very liable to be attacked by hawks, crows, or native cats. They are also somewhat delicate when young, and if the weather be wet and cold, they require some attention.

Judging by the prices obtained for the last clip sold, the quality of the fleece does not seem to deteriorate in the climate of the Wimmera. Mohair bears something of the same relation to wool that silk does to cotton, but its growth does not necessarily interfere with the production of wool, as the Angora will replace the worthless goat seen about every gold-field and town in the colony. The Angora will also thrive on barren ranges, scrubs, and heaths, where the sheep could not be depastured with profit. The beautiful fabrics made from its lustrous fleece are far more handsome and durable than those made of common wool. Its freedom from disease, its activity and endurance, and its ability to feed on shrubs, bushes, weeds, and even poisonous plants with impunity, give it a special value as the animal suited to the selector or the small freeholder with limited means.

Besides the fleece obtained annually or semi-annually from the Angora, its flesh, when in good condition, is

not inferior to mutton. I have eaten the flesh of the half-bred, which could not be distinguished from mutton, even in the carcase, and which, on the table, was considered quite a luxury.

With a careful and scientific system of breeding and management, such as has been adopted with some of the best flocks of Merino sheep, a great improvement can no doubt be effected in the quality and weight of the fleece, thereby considerably increasing the profits to be derived from its cultivation. At times when the market for wool may be dull, mohair, from its length of staple, lustre, strength of fibre, and other valuable qualities, would realise considerably more in proportion than wool, and be a more reliable article of export.

Few countries are so favourably situated as Australia for an industry of this kind. The great extent of natural pastures for the feeding of stock, without the need of clearing or other outlay ; the absence of beasts of prey, and the mild climate, rendering housing in winter or artificial feeding unnecessary, make this fair land well-named Australia Felix, the very beau idéal of a pastoral country.

It is stated by Mr. V. A. Niessen, that the hair from the half-bred Angora is worth a shilling per pound, that from the three-quarter bred one shilling and sixpence per pound, that of the third cross or seven-eighths

bred would nearly equal in value that from the pure bred, and the fleece of the fifteen-sixteenths or fourth remove, would be quite equal to that of the sire in purity, lustre, fineness, and length of fleece.

The following letter to the President of the Acclimatisation Society, from the lion. Robert Simson, a large sheepowner and a distinguished breeder of the Merino, will show his estimation of the value of the Angora.

“Leura, Toorak, 18i/i February, 1S73.

“To the President of the Acclimatisation Society, Melbourne.

“ Dear Sir,

“Herewith I enclose for your inspection, four samples of Angora wool, from my flock of Angoras now running at Langikalkal; they were shorn on the loth Sept., 1872, and these samples were taken from the shoulders of four bucks on the 15th inst. No. J. being the ram purchased from the Acclimatisation Society, and 2, 3, and 1, from bis progeny.

“ My flock of Angoras commenced with a few does, said to be three-quarter bred, imported from the Cape of Good Hope_ some years ago, which have been invariably put to one of the Society’s rams ; as a ride I have found the does bad mot hers, as they will leave their kids when newly dropt to follow the flock, but if they are penned up for a few days, as I did with them this year, they are excellent mothers ; and had this practice been adopted from the first, my flock would now have been double its present number.

“ I weighed the fleeces of the three best goats at last shearing, and they gave I71bs. of spout-washed wool as white as snow, and last winter I killed two wethers full mouthed, which each weighed when dressed 80lbs., the flesh of which when put upon

the table was pronounced most delicious, being more rich and juicy than the best Merino mutton.

“ These goats are very hardy and require no looking after, except at lambing time; at all other seasons they take good care of themselves, and if one had a good sized flock of them, I believe they would prove more profitable than sheep.

“Knowing the interest you take in acclimatisation, I have taken the liberty of enclosing you these samples of wool from a private flock, to lay before the Society.

“ I am, my dear Dr. Black, yours very truly,

“Kobeet SnisoN.”

The samples of mohair enclosed with this letter were sent to me by Dr. Black for examination and comparison with that from the pure flock. The specimens were all of excellent quality, and excepting a greater degree of lustre, which those from the pure-bred Angoras exhibited, they appeared so equal in value as scarcely to be distinguishable from each other. On the question of the cross between the Angora and common goat, I am ready to admit that crossing with the Angora, with a view gradually to improve the common goat, may produce valuable results ; I wish it to be clearly understood that such animals or their progeny, even if pure sires be used for a thousand generations, can never become pure bred. The stain can never be washed away. Each cross with the pure blood reduces it by one-half, but as division is infinite, it never

entirely disappears. As the asymptote in its curve

E

approaches nearer and nearer, yet, though produced to infinity never touches, so does the stain of base blood remain to all eternity, diminishing with every cross of the pure breed, yet never wholly extinguished.

Dr. Randall, a distinguished American sheep-breeder, who has written several valuable works on the Merino, says, that “ to suppose the produce of the fourth or of the twentieth cross will equal pure and properly bred Merinos, is what no breeder of ripe experience ever dreamed of. Base blood runs out rapidly by arithmetical calculations ; but practically it stays in, and is ever and anon cropping out by exhibiting the old base characteristics in a way that sets all calculation at defiance.”

It is evident that if a pure breed has been once obtained, the greatest care should be taken to prevent any deterioration by crossing with an inferior race. Grade flocks may be allowable for a time, till a sufficient number of the pure blood can be obtained to replace them, but the males used to such flocks should always be of pure blood. In a stud flock, absolute purity should be the sine qud non, and any cross with an alien race would be the height of folly, and destruction to the purity of the breed would naturally ensue. I would not here condemn any well considered

and properly conducted experiment made with a fixed and definite object in view, such as that made by Lord Western, a celebrated English breeder, with the view of obtaining a sheep intermediate between the Merino and the large English breeds. His attempt to put a Merino fleece on a Leicester carcase, was not however successful. In making an experiment of this kind, another natural law comes into operation, which is, Diversity begets Variety. The more frequently individuals of various breeds differing from each other are united, the greater diversity of offspring results from these unions. The result of frequent crosses of several breeds is, that the force of heredity is weakened or lost, the breed becomes more plastic, and many intermediate types are produced. From these intermediate forms, by selection, a breed may be built up which, by rigorous selection and in-breeding, may bo made to possess the main characteristic of a distinct variety, which is the uniform production of individuals of one fixed type.

Of the origin of the Leicester breed of sheep little is known; Bakewell, the founder of the flock, with an amount of illiberality unworthy oi so distinguished a breeder, has carried his secret with him to the grave. In whatever way his success was obtained, the great fattening qualities, fineness of bone, and early maturity

of the breed, have caused it to be used more or less

E 2

with most of the best long-woolled English and Scotch breeds, such as the Lincolns, Cotswolds, and Cheviots, to impart these qualities in some degree to the breeds mentioned. In this instance, crossing has been resorted to with a defined object in view, and the breeds being not dissimilar, the cross has resulted successfully, but cross-breeding with no definite plan, and in the vague hope that something good may result from it, is simply imbecility. In all cross-bred animals there is a strong tendency to revert to the original wild type of the breed. It would seem as if the artificial bonds of domestication were removed, and the race reverts to the original wild type of a common ancestor ; as the savage, born beyond the reach of civilization, who has been taken in his youth, and clothed and schooled into conformity with the outward forms of civilised life, at some sudden caprice throws off with his irksome garments all the restraints which the adopted habits had imposed, and returns to his savage state, in like manner, the cross between two dissimilar races, causes a return to the original wild type common to both. For instance, a cross between almost any two of the highly artificial breeds of fancy pigeons, causes an immediate reversion to the blue rock pigeon (Columba Livid), which is believed to be the wild type of all the domesticated varieties. The result of a cross between any two

distinct breeds of the domestic fowl is usually that the progeny shows a likeness to the Gallus Bankiva, which is looked upon as the wild form from which all the domestic varieties are descended. The same thing has been observed to be the result of crossing different breeds of domestic rabbits, the progeny usually reverting to the grey colour of the aboriginal form of the animal. Did space permit, many similar instances of this might be given, but the fact may be accepted without further proof, and it will be seen that very serious divergencies from the intermediate forms between the two breeds may be looked for in crossing dissimilar races.

It will sometimes occur that one race has a much greater pre-potency than another, from having been carefully bred for a long period to one type. In this case, the progeny instead of being intermediate between the two, in their general qualities will show a greater likeness to the purer race. This is seen where the pure Angora is put to common goats. Whether the common goats were black, brown, or spotted, in my experience the progeny to pure Angora bucks have invariably been pure white.

In conclusion, I would desire to acknowledge my indebtedness to the writings of Dr. Randall, Professor Low, Southey, Youatt, Morton, Bischoff, Captain Conolly,

Van Niessen, and various other writers, of whose works I freely availed myself in the foregoing pages. The frontispiece is from a drawing from life of a pure Angora buck, now at the Royal Park. The wood engraving of the Cashmere and Thibet goats is from Professor Low’s Domestic Animals of Great Britain. My inexperience in literary labours may perhaps be pleaded in extenuation of the doubtless many faults and blemishes of the work. I will not offer the poor apology of my time being fully occupied by other affairs as an excuse for any shortcomings in this paper. The negligent performance of a work voluntarily undertaken does not admit of such an excuse. It is my desire less to write well, than to write what may be of some practical value. If this result be attained, my object will have been accomplished and my labours rewarded.

The following statement, which I have just received, showing the weight of fleeces shorn from the Angoras on the 16th May, I think it well to insert here. The Council will thus have three half-year’s returns to judge by. The clip just taken off is the best we have yet had. From the great difference in weight in the individual fleeces, the advantage of selection will bo clearly apparent. I also beg to submit, for the inspec-

tion of the Council, a sample card with twenty specimens of the mohair, and the numbers of the animals, with weight of each fleece. The specimens are from seven to eleven inches in length. .

O

WEIGHT OF FLEECE OF 114 PURE ANGORA GOATS.

Shorn at Longkrenong May 10th, 1873.

Shorn May 16th, 1873.

Shorn May 16th, 1873.

No. of Goat.

MALES.

Weight.

No. of Goat.

MALES.

Weight.

lbs.

ozs.

lbs. ozs.

1

5

23

1 13

2

4

10

24

2 15*

3

6

1

25

3 9

4

3

5

26

2 14

5

3 14*

27

3 0*

6

4

10*

28

2 8

7

4

3*

29

3 8

8

4

8*

30

2 10

9

2

2

31

3 0

10

3

2*

32

2 7*

11

3

7*

33

2 4*

12

3

9*

34

1 7

14

3

13

35

3 11

15

4

13*

30

1 7

10

2

8*

37

2 2*

17

3

13

38

1 15*

18

4

24

39

2 0

19

2

9*

40

2 13

20

2

7

41

1 3

21

3

9*

£2

3

5*

120 7*

Shorn May 16th,

1873.

Shorn May 16th,

1873.

No. of Goat.

FEMALES.

Weight.

No. of Goat.

FEMALES.

Weight.

1

lbs. ozs. 1 11

6

lbs. ozs. 2 2

2

2 12*

7

2 15

3

1 10

8

2 0

4

4 5

9

2 7

Shorn May 16th, 1873.

Shorn May 16th, 1873.

No. of Goat.

FEMALES.

Weight, i

Xo. of Goat.

FEMALES.

Weight.

lbs. ozs.

lbs. ozs.

10

2 2

00

2 5

12

2 12*

01

2 54

13

2 5*

02

2 12

14

1 8*

03

3 114

16

3 2

04

2 84

17

2 14

05

1 7

18

3 2

00

2 15

19

2 8

07

2 144

20

2 144

08

1 34

21

1 0

09

1 24

22

2 12

70

2 0-4

23

3 3|-

71

2 15

24

2 9

72

2 24

25

2 134

73

2 54

20

1 44

74

2 1

27

2 11

75

1 12

28

1 144

70

2 0

29

3 5

77

1 144

30

3 5

78

2 04

31

3 74

79

1 04

32

1 144

80

2 0

33

1 114

81

2 7

34

2 134

82

1 10

35

2 !)

83

2 144

30

2 14

84

1 11

37

2 9

85

1 4

52

1 64

80

1 10

53

2 6

87

1 2

54

2 04

88

0 13

55

1 84

89

2 04

50

1 04

90

2 9

57

58

1 134 1 H

91

2 0

59

2 12

107 4

AVERAGE.

GROSS.

lbs. OZS.

lbs. ozs.

Fleece of 40 Males, weighing

3 24

120 74

„ 74 Females „

2 4.4

107 4

114

293 114

Averaging 2 lbs. 9 ozs. per bead.

The four best bucks’ fleeces give an average money value for the whole year of i?l 5s. 51, d. each; the four best does’, <£1 Os. Ofd. each. The best buck, No. 1, which was used in the flock for stud purposes, yielded a fleece weighing 7 lbs. 141 ozs., worth .£1 7s. 8d. These weights are the growth of one year and five days. Average value of fleeces of six months and eighteen

o    o

days’ growth :

Bucks - lls. Old.    Does - 7?. 8d.

Fleece of best buck    -    18s. 8d.

,,    „    doe    -    15s. Id.

J^brary^

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