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A Treatise on Sheep: by Ambrose Blacklock

A TREATISE ON SHEEP:

THE BEST MEANS FOR

THEIR IMPROVEMENT, GENERAL MANAGEMENT, AND THE TREATMENT OF THEIR DISEASES,

WITH

A CHAPTER ON WOOL, AND HISTORY OF THE WOOL TRADE;

AND THE

MANAGEMENT OF SHEEP IN AUSTRALIA.

BY AMBROSE BLACKLOCK.

[Illustration: Sheep have golden feet, and wherever the print of them appears, the soil is turned into gold.--SWEDISH PROVERB.]

Twelfth Edition.

LONDON: GROOMBRIDGE & SONS, 5, PATERNOSTER ROW. 1853.

Printed by C. and J. Adlard, Bartholomew Close

TO SIR C. G. STUART MENTEATH, OF CLOSEBURN, HART., VICE-LIEUTENANT OF DUMFRIES-SHIRE, &c. &c. &c WHOSE INTEGRITY AND URBANITY HAVE ENDEARED HIM TO SOCIETY; AND WHOSE ZEAL FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE SOIL, AND FOR THE PROSPERITY OF THE FARMER, HAVE RAISED HIM, BY COMMON CONSENT, TO THE FIRST RANK AS AN AGRICULTURIST, AND AS A LANDLORD; THIS TREATISE ON SHEEP IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED, BY HIS VERY HUMBLE SERVANT, THE AUTHOR.

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PREFACE.

The truth of the Greek proverb, that "_a great book is a great evil_," is no where more apparent than in the construction of works on agricultural concerns. Those who have attended to the subject well know, that the profitable management of live-stock is by far the most difficult branch of farming, as it is here that improvement is peculiarly tardy; and from this we might infer that authors would endeavour so to arrange and simplify their treatises as to enable every one to obtain the bearings of the study at the smallest possible expense and trouble. Such, however, is not the case. Many would appear to have done their best so to dilute and mystify the little which is known about the matter, that it is nearly impossible for any one, not gifted with more than ordinary power of application, to arrive at any thing like just conclusions. To avoid this error has been my object in the following pages. Such points only as are of real importance have been noticed; every thing having been rejected which could not admit of a practical application. For this reason, also, I have omitted all allusion to foreign _varieties_ of the sheep, an account of which is, in some similar works, made to occupy so large a space. The general laws by which animal bodies are governed, and the changes to which they are rendered liable by their subserviency to man, are here--and for the first time as regards the sheep--gone into at considerable length. Too little value is in general attached to such inquiries; though, when endeavouring to improve a domesticated race, we must be perfectly aware, that without this species of knowledge we are like a ship at sea without the guiding aids of the rudder and the compass, and liable to be carried in the right or in the wrong direction only as chance directs.


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