HEIDO. Next unto the greater sort of cattell, the cheesest place is to be assigned to Sheepe: yea if you consider the greate commoditie and profite, they are to be preferred before them: for as Oxen serve for the tylling of ground, & necessarie use of men, so is to this poore beast ascribed the safegard of the body, for the Sheepe dooth both with his fleese apparayle us, and with his milke, and holesome flesh, nourish us (as the Poet witnesseth.)
Poore beast that for defence of man, at first created wast,
And in thy swelling udder bearst, the juice of daynty tast:
That with thy fleese kept of the cold, that should out limbs assaile
And rather with thy life, then with thy death, dost us anaile.
Of sheepe there are sundry breedes. The ritch and the champion countrey, bredeth a large, and a greate Sheepe: the barraine and the clyffy, a resonable stature: the wylde and the mountaine grounde, a small and weerishe Sheepe. The olde husbandes, did greatly commend the breede of Milet, Appulia, and Calabria, and most of all the breede of Taranto, nect of Parma, and Modena. At this day for the finenesse of their fleese, are most in price the Sheepe of England, of Germainie about the Rhine, and of France. Varro councelleth all such as would bye Ewes, to have their cheese consideration of their age, that they bee neyther to old nor to young, the one of them not yet come to it, the other already past profite: but better is that age, whereof there is some hope, then where there followeth nothyng but a dead carcasse. Your best is therefore to bye them at two yeetes olde, and not to meddle with such as are past three: their age is to be knowen by their teeth, for the Teeth of the olde ones are worne away: next must your looke, that your Ewe have a large body, deepe wolled, and thicke over all the body, specially about the necke, and the head, and good store uppon the belly: for such as were bare necked and bellied, the older husbandes always refused. The neck must be long, the belly large, the legges short, though the Sheepe of England be long legges, the taile in some countrey short, in others very long: for in Arabia some have tayles a cubite long, but woonderfull broade: other, (as both Herdotus, and AElianus affirme) three cubites long, so that the shepheardes are forced to tye them up, for the beyng hurt with trayling upon the ground. In AEgypt, a Rammes Tayle hath ben found to waye twentie pound, and more. The Ramme must have his horned greate, wyneding inward, and bendyng to the face, though in some place they have no hornes at all, and yet no better Rammes: the hornes must rather crookle inward, then growe straight up. In some countries, that are wette, and stormie, Goates and Rammes are to be chosen, that have the greatest & largest hornes, whereby they may defend their heads from storme and tempest: and therefore in cold and stormy countries, the horned Rammes are best: in milde and gentle climets, the pold. Beside, there is this inconvenience, when he knowes hym selfe to be armed, he will alwayes be fighting, and unruly amog his Ewes: and though he be not able to serve the turne hym self, yet will he suffer no other Ramme in the flocke, till hee be ever cloyed and lamed with lechery. The Pollarde on the other side, finding him self unarmed, is milder and quieter by much: wherefore the shepheards, to restraine the rage of the unruely, do use to hang before his hornes, a little boorde with sharpe prickes upwards, which keepes hym from his madnesse, whyle he perceyueth hym selfe to be hurt with his owne blood: others say, that if you pearce his hornes with a Wymble next to the eares where they winde inward, he will leave his braulyng. In some places also the Ewes are horned: but to the Ramme hus eyes must bee browne, his eares great, his brest, shoulder, and buttocks broad, his stones great, his tayle broade, and long: you must looke beside, that his tong be not black, nor pecled, for somonly such will geat blacke and pied Lambes, as Vigil noteth.
And though the Ramme in sight be white as Snowe,
If black within his lawes his tongue be wrought:
Refuse hym quite, least if he leape thy Yowe.
He doo infect thy folde with colour nought.
Bye not your Sheepe but washed and bushorne, that the colour may plainlier appeare, the white colour, as it is the beautifullest so is it the profitablest. In March is your best bying of Sheepe: for the shepheardes like such as have well worne out the Winter. Whosoever will bee a sheepemaister, must regarde the abilitie of his ground: for it is not yenough to have pasture in sommer, but must be provided for in winter : in any wyse, you must have store of pasture, and better it is, and more profitable to the Master, to keep a fewe Sheep well, then a greate number with scarsitie of pasture. Florentinus is of that fancie, that he woulde your number should rather bee odde then even, thinking that number more fortunate, for the healthynesse, and long continuance of the cattell: but these are superstitious toyes, as are a great number of thoers imagined by the faithfulnesse. Be sure every yere once, to make your muster, and supply the places of such as are dead, or sicke, with a newe and sound number, so that the Master, hee not deceived with an olde unprofitable stocke. The hardnesse and crueltie of the colde Winter daoth oftentimes begule the shepheard, and destroyeth many of his flocke: whereof (presumyng of their strength in the ende of the Sommer (he hath made no supply, and therefore Columella is of oppinion, that the age for breede ought not to bee lesse then three yere, nor above eight, both because that neyther of the ages is meete to be kept: and also that whatsoever commeth of an olde stocke, hath lightly a smack of his ould parentes inperfection, and provesth eyther to be barrayne, or weake. The selfe same Columella would have the Ewes to be put to the Ramme, after they had passed two yere olde, and the Ramme to be of five yeere olde, and after seven, to decay. On many places at this day, they suffer both the kindes to breede, from two yeere olde, to niene: but before two yeeres, it is not good to put eyther the Ramme, or the Ewe to breede, although in most places they suffer the Ewes at a year old. The Ramme is put by his purpose, by the Wyckers, or Bulryshes, tyed to the Ewes tayle, but more commodiously, by goyng in severall pastures: howbeit, they are commonly severed, but suffered to goe togeather. The Rammes that you would have to serve your Ewes, must afore the blossomyng, bee kept in good pasture, for two monethes, whereby they may be better be able to doo their buunesse: but in our countrey, we commonly suffer them to feede togeather. To encreasxe their Iust, you geve them in their pasture, the Blades of Onyons, or Knotte grasse: they rather couette the olde Ewes, then the young, because they bee eassyer to bee intreated, and the Rammes them selves in age be the better. By knitting of the right stone, you shall have Ewe Lambes, and of the leaft, Ramme Lambes: also their blossomyng in the Northwind, greateth Ramme Lambes: and in a Southwinde, Ewe Lambes. One Ramme (as Dydimus afirmeth) suffiseth for fiftie Eawes: when they have all conceaved, the Rammes must againe bee banished, for dangering and harming the Ewes. During the tyme of their blossoming, they are to be watered in one place (as both Varro, and Plinie affirme) because the change of water both discoloureth the wool, and dangereth the Lambe. The pollicie of the lacob the Partiarch, in procuring of partie coloured Lambes, is well yenough knowen. The best tyme for blossoming, is from the settyng og the Beareward, to the setting of the Egle: (as Varro and Columella have written) whiche is (as Plinie interprettes it) from the third Ides of May, till the thirteene Kalendes of August, other think it good all the yere long, many prefer the Winter Lambe before those that fall in the spring, as a creature that of all others, best brooketh his Wonter byrth. The thunder, is the Ewes goe alone, makes them cast their Lambes, and therefore it is good to let them goe with company, for avoyding that perrill: they goe with Lambe. I 50 dayes, or five monethes: such as are afterwarde dammed, are feeble and weake, and such were of the olde wrighters called Cordi: for the most part they bring but one Lambe a peece, yet oftentymes two, and if they bee well fedde, sixe at a tyme. It hath been seen in Gelderland, that five Ewes have has in one yeere, five and twentie Lambes: it may seeme paraduenture ta many uncredible, and yet not great marveyle, since they have twice a year most tymes two, and sometime sixe at the time. The shepheard must be as carefull as a midwife in the yeanyng tyme, for this poore creature (though shee bee but a Sheepe) is as much tormented in her delivery, as a [shrewe?], and is oftentymes the more dangerously bered, and payned in her labour, in that she is altogeather without reason: and therefore it behoueth the shepheard to be skillfull in medcenyng of his rattell, and so cumyng and a widwyfe withall, as if neede require, he may helpe his Ewe, what danger soever happen. The Lambe as soon as hee is fallen, must be set on foote, and put to the dammes udder, and oftentimes his mouth held open, the milke must be milked in, that hee may learne to sucke: but before you doo this, you must be sure to milk out the fyrst milke called Colostra, whereof I will speake hereafter: for this, except some quantity be drawen out, doth hurt the Lambe: if the damme dye, if you muste suckle it with a horned: the Lambe will not of hym selfe sucke, he must be put to it, and his Lipped noynted with sweet Butter, and Swynes Grease, and seasoned a little with sweete milke. As soon as they are lambed, they must be shutte up together with thier dammes, wherby both the damme may cheerish them, and they learne to know their dammes. Afterwarde, when they begin to waxe wanton, they must be severed with Hardelles, or (as Varro wryteth) after tenne dayes they must bee tyed to little stakes with some gentle stay, for hurtyng of thier jointes, and waxing leane with to much play. The weaker must be severed from the stronger, for hurtin of them. and in the mornyng betymes, before the flocke goe to pasture, and in the evenying when they be full, the Lambes must be put to their dammes: and when they waxe strong, they must be fedde in the house, with Clover, and sweete grasse, or els with Branne, and Flowre. And when they have gotten greater strength, they must be let out with their dammes about noone, in some sunny and warme Close neare adjoyning, In the meane tyme, you must not deale with milkying of the Ewes, so shall you have them to beare the more wooll, and bryng the more Lambes.
When the Lambes are taken from the dammes, good heede must be had, that they pine not away: and therefore they must be well cherished in their weaning tyme with good pasture, and well kept, both from colde, and extreame heate. Now after that they have forgotten the udder, that they care not for their dams, then shall you let them feede with the flocke: howheir in moste places the Lambes are suffered to feede in the flocke togeather with their dammes, & to suck till harcest tyme, til the dammes them selves doo weane them. Varro would have you not to geld your Lambes under five monethes old, and that in a season neyther too hot, not too colde: but experience teacheth us, that the best gelding is under the damme when they be youngest: for iix the elder (as in all beastes) it is dangerous. Chose that you will keep for Rammes, you must take from such Ewes as use to have two at one tyme.
The best pasture for Sheepe, is the grasse that is turned up with the Plowe, and groweth uppon fallowes: the next is that, that groweth in drie Meddowes: the Marchy ground is to be redused, and that whiche groweth neare unto Lakes, and Fennes: the plaine and the champion feeldes and Downes, are beste for the delicatest and dynest wooled sheepe. To be short, the shorter and finer the grasses, the meeter is it for sheepe: and yet is there no pasture so good, or so fine, but with continuall use, your sheepe will be merry of, except the shepheard remedy this fault with giving them Salt, whiche as a sauce to their foode he must set redy in Sommer when they come from Pasture, in little Troughes of Wood, by licking whereof they geat them an appeite both to their Meate, and their drinke. For where as sheepe waxe soonest fatte with watring (as Aristotle affirmeth) you must iu Sommer everie fifth day let them have Salt, a pecke to every hundred: so shall your sheepe be alwaies healthy, ware fatte, and yeelde you plentie of Milke. Moreover, against the Winter rotte, or hunger roote, you must provide to feede them at home in Cratches. They are best fedde in the warmer countreys, with the leaves and brousinges of Elme, and Ashe, and the Haye that is made after Harvest in the ende of Summer, because it is softest, and therefore sweete[s]t then the other. Whith what heede and carefulness this cattell is to be fed, Virgil declares, who wills a regard to be had of the tymes, both of their watring, and feeding.
When Sommer fayre with Westerne windes dooth call,
Tour lusty flockes, to woods and pasture send
Betymes, when day doth spring and over all,
The gladsome grasse the hoarie dew doth bend.
From thence when as the fourth houre of the day,
With lo fry Sunne dooth make them dry to bee,
To welles or waters deepe goe take the way,
And make them drinke in Troughes of Oken tree.
But in the noone tyme, and the heate of the day, you must drive them to the ballyes, and shades (as he sayth) a little after.
Wheresorever of love the ancient Oken tree,
His broade and mightie branches spreades, or where:
In sacred Groves of Holmes the shadowes bee
After when the heate is past, you must drive them agayne to the water, and so bryng them agayne to feelde.
When Sunne is set, and evening Starre appeeres,
That cooles the ayre, and deawy Moone she cheeres.
Varro affirmeth, that they devided their pasturyng tymes in Puglia, after this maner. First they put them out to pasture betymes in the mornyng, when as the deawy grasse doth farre exceede in pleasantnesse, and sweetenesse: the grasse that beeyng burnt with the heate of the Sunne, is over dry. About the noone againe, till it waxe cooler, they are to be driven under some cold or watry Rockes, and broade shadowed trees, and towarde the evenyng be suffered to feede tyll sunne set, alwayes hauyng regard, that in their drivying, their heada be from the sunne: for no beast is so tender headed. Within a little after the settyng of the sunne, they must be driven to warter, and after suffered to feede agayne, till it bee darke: for then is the pasture sweetest. This order is to be ovserved fro the rising of the seven starres, and the lesser Dogge, till the latter AUqumodtial. The like doth Columella and Plinie teache, that after the fising of the Dogge, the flocke must afore Noone be driven Westwarde, and feede with their face towarde the West, and after Noone they must be brough agayne Eastward. The feeldes whence the corne is newly had of, is good to pasture them for twoo causes, both for that they are well fedde with the leavinges of the sheaves, and that with the trampling of the strawe, and doungyng, they make the ground richer against the next sowing: but our countrey men doo not well like, that Sheepe should feede uppon the eares of Wheate. The padturing of them in the other seasons, as winter, and the spring, differs in this poynt, that they put them not abroade, tyll the sunne have drawen up the deawe, and hurtfull vapours of the ground, and so feed them all the day long, thinking it suddicient to let them drinke at noone: but out husbandes use not to suffer their Sheepe to feede abroade in the Sommer tyme, neyther before the sunne rysyng, not after the settyng, by reason of the deawe beyng more hurtfull in sommer, then in winter. In winter, and the spring tyme, they keep them in the folde, till such tyme as the sunne have drawen up the rymes and hoare frostes from the feeldes: for the frostie Grasse as this tyme of yeere, doo stoppe their heads with Rhume, and fylles their bellyes full of water: and therefore in the4 colde and wette seasons of the yeere, it is yenough to let them drinke once a day.
Moreover the shepheard, as also the keeper of all Cattell, must deale gently, and lovingly with their flocke, and comfortyng, and cheering them with singing, and whystling: for the Arabians (as Alianus writeth) doe finde, that this kind of cattell taketh great delight in musicke, and that it dooeth them as much good as their pasture. Beside, they must be well ware in the driving of them, and rulyng of them, that they guyde them with their voyce, and shakying of their staffe4, not hurtyng, nor hurlyng any thyng at them, nor that they bee any tyme farre of from them, and that they neyther lye, nor fitte: for if they goe not forwarde, they must stande: for it is the Shrpheardes office to stande alwayes as hie as hee can, that hee may plaine and easely descerne, that neyther the flowe, nor the great bellyed in lanyng tyme, nor the quicke, nor the lively, whyle they roame, be severed from their fellowes: and least some theefe, or wyldebeast, beguile the necligent shepheard of his Cattell.
Of theyr pasturyng, I think I have spoken suffieicntly, and therefore I meane nowe to shew you of their houses, or sheepecots, where of there ought to be a speciall regard, that they been conveniently placed, not subject to windes, nor stormes, and that they rather stand toward the East, then toward [the] south, Columella would have them built lowe, and rather long, then brode, that they may be warme in the winter, and that the straightness of the roome hurt not the younf. And beside, hee would habe them stande towarde the Southe: for this beast (though his Garmentes be warme) can not away with cold weather, neyther yet with the greate heate of the sommer. I have seen some sheepe houses so framed, as they have their gates toward the Southe, and toward the East, that they might aunswere to the seasons of the yeere. Columella woulde hatte the house sette towarde the South, and on the Bacside a close Posterue, where they may safely take the ayre. You must looke besides, that where they stande, the grounde bee made fayre and even, some thyng ha?ging, that it may be cleane kept, and that the Urine may bee well boyded away: for the wetnesse herof doth not onely hurt and corrupt their feete, but also spoyleth their Coates, and maketh them rowfe and ilfavored. Let there therefore bee no maysture, but alwayes well strawed with drye Fearne, or strawe, that the Ewes that be with young, may lye the softer, and cleaner. Let their Beddes bee verie cleane, for the cleaner they lye, the better they feede: let them in any wyse bee well fedde: for a small number (as I sayd before) well fed, yeeld more profit to their Maister, then a greate flocke barely kept. Yoy must also have severall partisions to keepe the weaker and the sicke, from the strong and unruely. And thus muche of housed Sheepe, that are every day brought home, but in some places they are kept abroade, farre from either towne, or house. In forestes, and uppon wylde feeldes and Downes, in these places the shepheard carrieth with hym his Hardelles, and his Nettes, and other necessaries to folde his flocke with all. In the desarte feeldes, when as the Winter pastures, and the Soummer pastures, are distant certayne myles of a sunder) as Varro saith) he would have the flockes that wintred in Apulia, to be kept in sommer uppon the Mountains of Krete, and Virgil thus writeth of the shepheardes of Lybia,
What should I here of Lybian shepheardes tell,
Or of their pastures wryt, and dwellinges poore.
That night aay on downes, and desartes dwell, Where wanders still the flocke without the doore.
And on the ground doth lye the shepheard heare,
Whyle he removes with him continually:
His house, and all his houshold goods doth beare,
His staffe, his dogge, and all his armory.
The like have I my selve seene in Swytherland, and other places of Germany, where the shephearde, lying styll abrode with his flocke, foldes his Sheepe in the night with the Hardels, tying their dogges about them for watchmen: the shephearde hym selfe in a little house uppon Wheeles, sleepes hard by his charge. The Sheepe of Greese, Asia, and Toranto, and those whiche they call covered Sheepe, are commonly used to bge kept in houses, rather than abroade, for the excellencie and dinenesse of their wooll.
EVPHOR. What tymes doe you appoynt for the shearing of your Sheepe.
HEDIO. The times of shearing, are not in all places one, but varry, according to the disposition of the ayre, the cattell, and the countrey, the best way is to have good regarde to the weather, as the Sheepe bee not hurt by shearyng in the colde, nor harmed by forbearyng in the heate. In some places they have two seasons in the yeere for shearing of their Sheepe: the first season for their shearing, is either with the beginyng of May, or els with the endyng of Aprill: the seconde season of their shearing, is about the beginnyng of september. such as foo use to sheare their Sheepe but once in the yeere doo commonly appoynt for their season, the tenth of the moneth of June, about whiche tyme also such as doo sheare twise a yeere, so sheare their Lambes. Three dayes before you sheare them, you must wash them well, and when they be full dry, you may sheare them: the doo not in all places sheare their Sheepe, but in some places (as Plinie sayth) pull them. The old Husbands did account for the best wooll of Puglie, and that whiche in Italy was called the Greeke fleese: the next in goodness they tooke to bee the Wooll if Italy: in the thirde place they esteemed the Milesian sleese: : the Wooll of Pullie is but short, and meete to bee worned onely in ryding Clokes. The wool about Toranto, and Canas, is thought to be passing good: but the best as this day, is the Wool of Englande. The fyner your pasture is, the fyner (as is thought) you shall have your woll. The wooll of suche Sheepe as are slayne by the Woolde, and the garmentes made therof (as Aristotle saith) is apteff to breede Lyse. If you happen in the shearing to clip the skinne, you must foorthwith annoynt it with Tarre: when you shorne them, some thinke it good you amioynt them with the juice of sodden Lupines, Lees of olde Wyne, and the dragges of Oyle made in an oyntment, and after three dayes to washe them (if it be neare you) in the sea, or in the sea bee farre of with rayne water sodden with Salt. And being thus ordered, you shall not have them to lose their wooll all the yeere, but to be healthy, and to carry a deepe and fine fleese, and therefore Vigil biddes you,
Goe Plonge them oft in healthy streames.
There be some agayne, that would have you annoynt them three dayes in yeere, the sayes beyng soon after you have washed them, with Oyle, and Wine mingled together. Against Serpents, that many tymes lie hid under their Cribbes, you must burn Cedar, Galbanum, or womans heare, or Hartes horne: in the ende of Seommer is your ryme for drawyng and severyng of them (as I told before) when you must sell your Sheepe, that through feebleness, they sayle not in the Winter. Beside, killyng on or twoo of them, you must looke well uppon their Livers, and if the Liver bee not founde (for herby is forseene the daunger) then eyther sell them, or fatte them, and kill them: for very hard is it to save them, their Livers beeyng perished. Infected Sheepe, are more subject to skabbes and mangeinesse, their any other cattell, which commeth (as the Poet witnessed)
When coldest stormes doo wette them neare.
And hoary frostes on ground appeare.
Or if you wash not the sweate of the Sommer with Salt water, or otherwise. If when they be shorne, you suffer them to be hurt with brambles or thornes: or if you put them into houses, where either Horses, Mules, or Asses have stand, but specially lacke of good feedyng, whereof procedeth poorenesse, and of poorenes, Skabbes and manginesse. The sheepe that is infected, is thus knowen: if he either scratche, stampe with his foote, or beate him self with his horne, or rubbe him selfe against a tree: whiche perceiving hym so to doo, you shall take hym, and openyng his wool, yoo shall side[could be "find" with typo] the skinne ruffe, and as it were itchy: divers men have divers remedies for this malady, bnt suche as are not at hand to be had, Virgil thines there is no presenter remedie.
Then at the dirst to clyppe away the sore,
For being hidde, it festereth the more.
(continuation on the section on Sheep containes more illnesses and cures before it moves on to Goats)