Candon McLean wrote:
>I was actually thinking of the live cow grazing
in the field (whose puprose is to ultimately become steak).
Irish cows were normally bulled at three years of age.
A three year old heifer which did NOT conceive (perhaps because she was
not bulled, perhaps because the bulling was unsuccessful) was called a
samaisc (from sam + sesc = 'summer dry'). A samaisc was worth half an
ounce of silver. (The great "milch cow" of the texts was worth an
ounce.) This value represented the value of her meat plus the latent
potential to produce profit in the form of milk in the future. (As a
carcass she was worth a quarter of an ounce.)
Once she conceived, her value increased immediately by a third (to
two-thirds of an ounce of silver). This increase in value is due to the
imminent expectation of the profit to be derived from the milk.
Once she actually calved, her value went up again, by the same amount
(to five-sixths of an ounce of silver). This was because she now had a
calf and was actually producing milk.
Cows give more milk with successive calvings, till they reach their
prime after the third calf. After her second calf, her value went to
11-12ths of an ounce. After her third calf it hit the maximum value for
a milk-cow: a full ounce of silver.
>when a humans
(women) lactate conception is often (but not always) hindered or
blocked altogether until the nursing of the current child is complete
(and lactation stops). Not so with cows?
Not so far as I know. According to Kelly (Early Irish Farming, p 41),
cows tend to go dry over winter, but would already have been bulled
again by then (in late summer).
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