Re: Re: Steers

From: donald_at_...
Date: Sat, 29 May 2004 22:01:17 GMT

In message <003501c445a1$c717e660$a66b7640_at_oemcomputer> "Roderick and Ellen Robertson" writes:
>> p.s. I've a feeling we don't use the word steer much in the UK, that
>> we just poleax 'em young and make cat food or human food. keeping
>> them alive is more for extensive farming. Or is it just pig-
>> ignorance on my part? (That last question is not for Chris).
>You use them for heavy hauling. They're called Oxen, then.

I don't think oxen have actually been used in Britain for a long time. When armoured cavelry dropped out of use in the 17th Century the heavy horses became available to farmers to replace oxen. Certainly plough horses were still in use her when I was young but ox ploughs and ox carts were things associated with poor foreigners.

>You might keep a bull, to keep the resource self-replicating. You don't
>actually have to have your own bull; you can pay to have another man's bull
>"cover" your cows. A fine bull is an important commodity! (Cattle-raid of
>Cooley, anyone?)

And valuable, prize bulls sold in the 17th Century for hundreds of pounds which converted to today's money would make the farmer a millionaire. That's why the whole clan would just have one good bull.

>You keep several oxen for plowing and hauling carts. Officially, you need 8
>oxen to qualify for "Full Carl" status.

Eight oxen? That seems an awful large plow team. I'd always worked on the basis that one draught horse could do the job of two oxen and as a plow can be worked with a single horse a yoke (pair) of oxen would be enough for plowing. That same yoke can pull the cart for the rest of the year.

Donald Oddy

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