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REGARDED with respect to its wants, its disposition, and utility, the sheep is, in a peculiar manner, the creature of man. Without his fostering care and protection its race would soon be exterminated; but his kindnesses are repaid by an ample contribution to his necessities and comforts. It is to the sheep thạt we are indebted for a considerable portion of our aliment and for the most essential part of our clothing.

This animal is singularly inoffensive, and discovers less animation and sagacity than many other quad. rupeds ; but the Compte de Buffon has been guilty of injustice in describing it as destitute of the necessary art of self-preservation, without courage, and even deprived of every instinctive faculty. On extensive mountains, where numerous flocks range at liberty, and, generally speaking, independent of the shepherd's aid, they exhibit a very different character, and a ram or wether has been frequently seen to attack a dog, and come off victorious; when the danger is more pressing, they have recourse to the collective strength

of the whole, drawing up into a compact body, and presenting to every quarter an armed front, which cannot be attacked without the most serious danger to tne assailant. It has also been observed, that few quadrupeds evince greater sagacity than the sheep in the selection of its food; and its acuteness of perception in regard to the approach of a storm is no less remarkable.

The varieties of this useful animal are so various, that no two countries produce sheep of the same kind, an obvious difference subsisting in every breed, either in the size, the shape, the fleece, or the horns

No country produces finer sheep than Great Britain. The improved Leicestershire breed is held in the greatest esteem in most parts of the kingdom, and almost all the principal breeders endeavour to introduce some mixture of it into their stock. The Lincolnshire breed' are of a large size, and their fleeces, in point of weight and utility, greatly exceed those of Spain, owing to the rich luxuriant marshes on which they feed; but their flesh is coarse, lean, and not so finely flavoured' as that '

of smaller sheep. The Dorsetshire sheep are, for the most part, white-faced, with long, slender legs, and scanty fleeces; their flesh is sweet and well-flavoured, and some varieties of the breed are diffused through most of the southern countries. The largest breed of English sheep, however, are to be found on the banks of the Icis, which runs through a fertile tract of country, dividing the counties of Durham and Yorkshire. The Shetland sheep are generally destitute of horns, and peculiarly distinguished by the shortness of their tails.

In the mountainous parts of Wales, where the sheep enjoy so great a share of liberty as to render them very wild, they do not always collect into large flocks, but

frequently graze in parties of eight, or ten, or twelve, of which one is stationed at a distance from the rest to give notice of the approach of danger. On observing any one approach, at the distance of two or three hundred yards, the sentinel turns his face to the enemy, keeping a vigilant eye upon his motions, and allowing him to advance as near as eighty or a hundred yards; but if the suspected foe attempts to come nearer, the watchful guard alarms his comrades by a loud hiss or whistle, which is repeated two or three times. Upon this signal the whole party scour away with inconceivable rapidity, and soon gain the most inaccessible parts of the mountains,



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These animals are natives of Iceland, and differ from the English breed in many particulars ; having straight upright ears, a small tail, and sometimes four, five, or even eight horns. Their wool is long, smooth, and

and under the outward coat, which falls off at certain periods, they have another covering resembling a short and soft fur. They are of a dark brown colour, and the quantity of wool produced by each sheep is about four pounds. They acquire considerable fatness by feeding on the scurvy-grass, of which they are extremely fond. In stormy weather they hide themselves in caves from the fury of the elements; but when such retreats are not to be found, they collect together during the heavy falls of snow, and place their heads near each other, with their muzzles inclined towards the ground. This not only prevents their being so easily buried under the snow, but also renders them much easier to be discovered by the owner.

In this situation they sometimes remain so many days that they are compelled by hunger to gnaw each other's wool, which forming into hard balls in their stoniacns, often destroys them.

A good sheep of the Icelandic breed will yield from two to six quarts of milk a day; and of this the inhabitants make butter and cheese. But the most valuable part of these animals is the wool, which, like the argali, is stripped off at once at the end of May. The whole body is by this time covered again with new wool, which is short and extremely fine. It continues to grow during the summer, and becomes towards autumn of a coarser texture, very shaggy and somewhat resembling camel's hair. This covering enables the sheep to support the rigours of winter; but if after losing their fleece the spring prove wet, a piece of coarse cloth is usually sewed round the stomachs of the weakest to defend them from any ill effects.


The great inconvenience which attends sheep, is their being subject to the rot; which it is a hard thing to prevent if the year proves very wet, especially in May and June, except it be salt marshes, or in broomy lands, broom being one of the best preservatives against that distemper of any thing. I have known sheep cured of the rot when they have not been far gone with it only by being put in the broom-lands. Scurvygrass, parsly, mustard, thyme, and all other sorts them;

of pot-herbs, are good for the prevention of it. Some propose to give sheep once a month, or oftener, half a handful of bay salt, which may be some service to

but as the rot, red-water, and most of the distempers that sheep are subject to, proceed from too much moisture of the land they feed on, and the season of the year, so I should think that dry food at such times, and keeping them on dry land in wet seasons, and to give them fine hay, oats, &c. (amongst which some salt might be mixed), might be the best and most proper food for them to prevent these distempers. Sheep are often blind by means of their foulness of blood; to prevent which it is good to cut their tails and so to empty them of their blood.


M. Pictet, a French writer, has given a very detailed account of this disease, as also the memoir of a Piedmontese professional man on the same subject. An English writer says, that this troublesome disease in the feet of sheep, is generally caused by keeping them in the wet marshy ground, or by travelling when the horny part of the hoof has been too much softened by standing in soft ground. It is supposed to be contagious. When a sheep is observed to be lame, and upon examination the foot is found to be affected with this disease, give vent to any matter that may be confined by paring away the horn; or if the horn is found to cover a diseased part, it should be removed with a knife, that the proper remedies may be applied to it. Caustics are found to be the only effectual remedies

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