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Forest. We answer a question to the best of our ability as to the whereabouts of “ the hoak of 'Erne the 'Unter," and then gladly turn aside to the Shawe Farm, so full to our minds of old recollections of Cold Cream, Alix, and the gold medal pigs.
Her Majesty has a private sitting-room adjoining Mr. Tait's (the manager's) house, round which are hung pictures of prize cattle, pigs, and horses, which have nearly all been bred on the Royal Farms. They are by Herr Keyl, a very skilful farm-yard artist; and, in fact, we have rarely seen a prettier composition of the kind than the white Smithfield heifer, with a robin sitting on the wire fence. There are from eighty to a hundred shorthorns in the biggin, and forty to fifty of them are in milk. The dairy produce is all required for the Castle and the farm ; and when the Court is at Balmoral, i20 lbs. of butter are forwarded weekly. A dozen Alderneys are also kept as, cream stainers; and the great object has always been to retain the whole badger colour, as there is a better foreign sale for them. This, however, was found impossible of attainment as long as the Alderneys were tethered head to head with the shorthorns, and kept the roan and flecked colours perpetually in their eye. They are imported at an average of from 20 gs. to 25 gs., and increase considerably in size with the rich grass, besides growing rather lighter in their colour. No forcing can make them more than half fat; when their milking prime is over, and seldom more than 10ls can be got for them at the butcher's.. In the height of the grass one or two of them have yielded sixteen quarts per day.
Cold Cream and Alix, two shorthorn cows of the famous Earl of Dublin milking strain, which were purchased for 100 gs. each at the Fawsley sale, have given as much as from thirty to thirty-five quarts apiece at two milkings. These two cows have made the herd; but, instead of the usual system of " Bates upon Fawsley,” bulls of the Booth blood, and direct from Warlaby, have been used. Prince Alfred, Fitzclarence, Lord Hopewell, British Prince, &c., were here in turn, up to the time of the sale in 1867, and since then England's Glory has been in residence. The cross hit very fairly: Cold Cream had ten calves--three bulls and seven heisers--and they and their produce have already made 16511. 1os., while those left may be very fairly valued at 450l. The old cow never had twins, and the highest price for any of her descendants was Mr. M’Intosh's 150 gs. for Duchess. Alix has survived her, and has just had her sixteenth calf in her sixteenth year. Two sets of twins have been her lot; and she has so far had eight heifers, but they have not sold for the same prices as Cold Cream's, and have only realised 7211., with 600l. still to the
good. Still her granddaughter, Alexandrina, won the first two-yearold heifer prize at the Leicester Royal, though, from lack of a calf, she failed to qualify. She was by Prince of Saxe Coburg, a rough, useful bull of half Booth blood. There is a good foreign demand for the spare shorthorns, about a score of which are annually made steers. Some have gone to Mexico, and ten heifers and two bulls recently departed for Austria. The biggin can accommodate sixty cows standing face to face. Its stalls are 9 ft. by 6 ft., and furnished with iron troughs, divided into three compartments for food and water; and a raised platform, flagged with asphalt, and formed with slabs of Penryn slate, runs down the centre of the building. Old Alix was there, still giving upwards of twenty quarts; but Cold Cream had gone to the butcher. Some purchases have been recently made from Mr. Fowler of the Prebendal Farm, Aylesbury, who has been very successful with the “ Bates upon Fawsley” cross.
The foreign cattle which Her Majesty has received from Eastern kings and rajahs are tied up with the rest. Three zebus stand side by side; the bull, which is grey, being the smallest of the lot. His Platonic consorts are both white, and one of them has its horns erect, and the other lying back, almost flush with the forehead. They do not seem to have a trace of vice about them as they gaze at you with their mild eyes, and stretch out their chocolate noses to be patted. A Bramah bull; from Mysore, stands near them, and seems about the size of a very minute Shetland trick pony. He is most courteous in his solitude; and, at the words, “ Salaam, Joel" down he drops on his knees. His hump is said to be porous, like a tongue. In a time of great drought it will shrivel, and then swell again when the rains descend. We believe it is the same with the zebus. The Alderney bull is in the next box to the Swiss one, which puts the Rans des Vaches and all its associations of happy vales and hills at a discount, with its pot-belly and its head like a bushel. A tawny lion-coloured African, which looked like a fusion of West-Highlander and Alderney, and was sent to Her Majesty, with two cows, by the King of Portugal, has died. The calves have nothing but skim milk after the first two or three days ; and the loveliest little black-and-white nosed Alderney we ever saw had no exception made in its favour. There are no Ayrshires kept upon the farm.
The dairy, which is not a bow-shot from Frogmore, has thus been described :-“It is Italian in style, and built of brick, with an arcade, and window settings in Bath stone, and surmounted by a perforated parapet and cornice. The royal arms are wrought in panels, also of the same stone, on the north front; and the roof is constructed of
blue and red tiles. Its windows are filled with stained glass, set off by a border of May blossoms, primroses and daisies inside, and medallion likenesses of the Prince Consort and the Royal Family above bas-reliefs of the seasons; and milking, poultry feeding, the vintage, and hop-picking line the walls. The cream bowls are placed on white marble tables, with reservoirs of blue encaustic beneath, and two fountains of majolica ware, with designs of a Triton rising out of a shell, which is supported by a heron among some bullrushes, are the other chief features of a building, which may fairly challenge 'the Duchess's Dairy' near Belvoir's sweet vale.”
About two hundred Cheviot draft ewes are purchased direct from the Sutherlandshire hills, which ensures a freedom from foot-rot. Half of them are crossed with Southdown and the rest with Leicester rams, and the lambs are sold from the teat to the Windsor butchers about June.
At one time only Leicester rams were used, but as the taste for “the black foot” crept in among a mutton-eating population, the Southdown was introduced, and, although they gain in quality, there is a reduction of about 4 lbs. in the dead weight of the lambs. The ewes are bought by character at the great Inverness market, and come by sea to London. It is very seldom that more than one crop of lambs is taken from them, and then they come to hand very quickly for the butcher.
The farm has another strong Scottish proclivity, as its cart-horses are all Clydesdales. Briton, bred by Mr. Finlay (the well known “Wainman” of Scotland in the pig way), began them, and was purchased by the Prince Consort for 250 gs., after he had won a first at the Highland Society, which he followed up with a first at the Chelmsford Royal. Six out of the twenty-five Clydesdales on the farm are brood-mares, and the colts are always sold for sires, many of them to New South Wales and the River Plate. The Don, which came as a yearling from the Donside, and won a second prize at the Bury Royal, is the present sire, and may be seen working quite quietly with a mare by his side at the plough. He is big enough for anything, and yet not like those weightier monsters round which the Scots cluster at the Highland and Agricultural Society, whose great straddling hind legs, which they duly transmit to their descendants, are found most inconvenient in ridging up. The Don's days at Windsor are numbered, as he has just been sold for 300 gs. to go abroad.
The pigs are a great point at the Home Farm, and “the Prince's breed” of small whites has made itself a great name with gold medals at the Smithfield Club, and countless prizes at Birmingham and the
Royal. Earl Ducie, Mr. Wiley, and Mr. Brown of Cumberland's sorts, form the ground-work of the breed ; and since then Mr. Tait has resorted for a cross to Lord Radnor's. None of them are sold, be the age however tender, under five guineas. The whites are kept at Frogmore, whose ten-acre meadow has been the fruitful mother of many a litter, and the Berkshires at the Shawe steading. Both are a good source of profit, and in some years as much as 700l. to 800l. have been made by the sale of the whites. The sows stand training best for shows, and now the showing is almost entirely confined to Christmas. Harry Tindall, the late pigman, was a great character, and you generally met him at the portals of his domain, with a scrubbing brush in one hand and a paper of soft soap in the other, with a face -to use a favourite Northern expression—"as grave as a mustardpot." His suckers began with sharps and pollards at five weeks, and from eight weeks to twelve they had barley meal and milk, with a handful of grey peas, “just to pick their teeth with ;" and his favourite time was from six to eight months, as “they can do anything at
As November drew on, his nightly vigil began with the four pigs which were put up for the older class at: Smithfield.
Of course they had been consistently blind for months, but they grunted their gratitude as he sat up with them, night after night, ever at hand to give them a friendly turn, or prop their noses with a roller as a safeguard against apoplexy. A critic once suggested that his charges had never had eyes, but Harry dropped on his knees instantly, opened the eyelid amid the mass of overhanging adipose matter, and confuted the sceptic for ever. He generally bestowed names upon them ; but once there was one so far ahead of the rest, that he would only do her that honour, and the name selected was “Sophy." In the show-yard he was quite a consulting surgeon as to cases of apoplexy. He was always for instant death, and operated at once with his trusty knife--seemingly rather pleased than otherwise if it was a dangerous pen. In an evil hour he accepted a place elsewhere, and the gentleman gave up his gigantic pig plans the very next year. His successor has done remarkably well; and Harry is back again and working on the farm, and only gazing from afar on the scene of his old triumphs.
Black Norfolk turkeys, grey Dorkings, and Aylesbury ducks are all reared on the farm, and those which are not used at the Castle are sold to poulterers and fancy breeders. The hen-house is constructed on very useful principles. A fountain plays all day to furnish fresh water, and large heaps of sand are put down specially for rolling in.
A ride of about two and a half miles from the Home Farm brings us to the Flemish, the settlement of the Hereford cattle. It is, like the Norfolk, under the charge of Mr. Brebner, who has been for fiveand-twenty years in the Royal service. The homestead was built at an expense of about 5000l., from red brick dug on the spot. It is doubtless one of the most complete steadings of the day, both as regards ventilation and general arrangements, and more especially in its granary arrangements. Up to the end of 1867 the winnings of this farm with Herefords at the Royal, Birmingham, and Smithfield Club Shows, amounted to 400l. for twenty-nine prizes, many of them firsts, exclusive of gold and silver medals. Among the winners was the Birmingham cup ox, which beat all the other bullocks in the yard. Brecon was the first Hereford bull that the Prince Consort ever purchased, and his son Maximus was a Royal winner. The beautiful Adela, bred by Lord Berwick, took a first by the side of Maximus at Battersea, and hence Lord Bridport did not regret when he heard such praises of the yearling heifer, that the rule had been broken through that year of exhibiting no store stock unless homebred.
Prince Leopold is one of the last of these winners, with two Royal seconds; and there he is hard by the barn, low and lengthy, and with what breeders call a "rare pair of breeches," or legs well fleshed up the thigh. He is by Rea's Deception, a great heiser getter, who died well at 22 cwt. dead weight. We meet him again in the covered shed, side by side with three other bulls; and such is the good effect of keeping bulls cheerful, and able to see everything going on, and receiving a friendly scratch on the poll, instead of glaring and lowing in a lonely, half-dark place, aggravated by every sound they hear, that the three can be walked out together by one man. Three bullocks are in their sheds, one of them very promising for Christmas; and a Prince Arthur heifer is also being developed on oilcake. In the stable, thanks to Fowler's steam plough, nine horses had taken the place of fourteen, some by Clydesdales out of Suffolk mares. There were very few pigs about, but in 1867 no less than twenty-two Berkshire sows pigged within eight days of each other, and 165 suckers were running about the stack garth at one time. Between this and the Norfolk Farm they have had as many as 223 Berkshires at one time, most of them with a strain of Joyce's blood. Farmers are only just beginning to breed pigs again, and well they may, as the pork-butchers say that they can hardly get a pig for love or money six miles round Windsor.
The Berkshire pigs are excellent for the consumer, and work well