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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