Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 36 > Page 7 - Travels with Johnny "Butch" MacDonald

Page 7 - Travels with Johnny "Butch" MacDonald

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1984/6/1 (283 reads)

gainst the colour. (He likes black and white.) He should have kept a cow like this, because it would bring up the qual? ity of his milk. One Guernsey cow would bring up the butterfat in his milk, Hol- stein's just a little better than water. (All the milk goes in the same place?) That's right. In the same tank. And even her milk, from one Guernsey cow, would im? prove the whole tankful. (But he didn't like the colour.) He didn't like the col? our, no. And he said she wasn't giving e- nough milk. Well, that could be, too, (But you'll take her to someone else, and it's just possible,,..) That he'll be satisfied with her. I put them on trial. It's just as well to do that. If I sold the cow and the cow was no good, I'd take the cow back anyway, I wouldn't leave anyone stuck with the cow. Understand? (Took a bull calf on the truck. See below.) Oh, this calf in here, that little thing, nobody wants them. No, no, no, no. Take too long to feed them; it's a losing bat? tle. Nobody wants them. But if it was a year old, there'd be people looking for it, A lot of people would take a bull for breeding, you know. I have a lot of bulls out, I just lend them, put them there, let them use them. That brown bull you saw (on a farm we stopped at), that belonged to me. He was looking for a bull, and I dropped that one off there. (You'll let him use it for breeding. Do you charge for that?) No. (Then what's the good to you?) Well, hope? fully, that it will put on 100 pounds while he has it. (And you'll take it back and butcher it,) Not necessarily. If it's a quiet bull, I might give it to somebody else. It may live for a couple of years. Growing all the time. (So you have a lot of breeding bulls out there.) Yes, a lot, kicking around the country everywhere. (So what kind of a hand do you really have in the creation of the herds that we have in Cape Breton?) I don't play too impor? tant a part in that. The bulls I give them, they're not looking for stock. Just to get her milking again. It costs 12 dollars to breed them artificial. So, this way, they'll have a bull of their own. And it's a cow that they're not fussy if they raise a calf off or not, you know. Sometimes, breeding artificial, they don't catch, and they get caught with a bull. There's all these things enter into it, (Today we've made three stops. What would a normal day be for you, years ago?) Oh, to put it like that, I don't know. I'd stay up in the country for 2 or 3 days, go? ing around. Buying, and shipping it down on the boat. And then it would come into Sydney. Then you would have to take it up, and you'd work all night butchering it. Then you're out trying to sell it the next day to these little stores. And the price was low--7 and 8 cents a pound--that was the going price. So you were working very cheap, you were working for very little, but so was everybody else. There was no? body had any money. I can't get over it. I see everybody you look at now has got a (We stopped, and Johnny took a calf from a farm.) That calf in the '30s would be worth 3 dollars, maybe 2 dollars. I'm talking about a long time ago. Today she's worth 40 dollars, something like that. Maybe more. (Now, what do you do with a calf like that?) Well now, I'll tell you. That calf is not good enough to kill. I've got a cow home that's milking. So, I'll put this calf under the cow for a week or so, put on enough pounds, it'll be a good carcass of veal, you know. It's not ready now. But what can you do? You're in the business, you can't tell the man, "No, I can't take it." You take it now. Prob? ably the next time you go there, it'll be some? thing worthwhile. Now that fellow, I dealt with his father. So, his father is retired now. The young fellow is running the farm. So, when he has a calf or something like that to put out, he calls up, and he leaves word, you know. Since I started, in some places, it's the grandchildren I'm dealing with. Most cases, it's the second generation. (7)
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