Feeding





The clovers furnish a ration more nearly in balance than

almost any other kind of food. If the animals to which they are fed

could consume enough of them to produce the desired end, concentrated

foods would not be wanted. They are so bulky, however, relatively, that

to horses and mules at work, to dairy cows in milk and cattle that are

being fattened, to sheep under similar conditions, and to swine, it is

necessary to add the concentrated grain foods, more or less, according

to the precise object. But for horses, mules, cattle, sheep and goats

that are growing subsequent to the weaning stage, and for mature animals

of these respective classes not producing, that is, not yielding

returns, a good quality of clover hay will suffice for a considerable

time at least without the necessity of adding any other food.



It is considered inferior to timothy as a fodder for horses. This

preference is doubtless owing largely to the fact, first, that clover

breaks up more and loses more leaves when being handled, especially when

being transported; and second, that clover is frequently cured so

imperfectly as to create dust from over-fermentation or through breaking

of the leaves, because of being over-dried, and the dust thus created is

prejudicial to the health of these animals. It tends to produce

heaves. This may in part be obviated by sprinkling the hay before it

is fed. When clover is properly cured, it is a more nutritious hay than

timothy, and is so far preferable for horses, but since timothy

transports in much better form, it is always likely to be more popular

in the general market than clover. The possibility of feeding clover to

horses for successive years without any evils resulting is made very

apparent from feeding alfalfa thus in certain areas of the West.



Clover hay is specially useful as a fodder for milk-producing animals,

owing to the high protein content which it contains. Dairymen prefer it

to nearly all kinds of fodders grown, and the same is true of shepherds.

When very coarse, however, a considerable proportion of the stems is

likely to be left uneaten, especially by sheep. Because of this it

should be the aim to grow it so that this coarseness of stem will not be

present. This is accomplished, first, by growing it thickly, and second,

by growing the clovers in combination with one another and also with

certain of the grasses.



Clovers are especially helpful in balancing the ration where corn is the

principal food crop grown. The protein of the clover crop aids greatly

in balancing the excess of carbo-hydrates in the corn crop, hence much

attention should be given to the production of clovers in such areas.





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