Singing the praises of the Devon ox!

The following is taken from Cattle: Their Breeds, Management, and Diseases, By William Youatt, 1834

There is a peculiarity in driving the ox team, which is very pleasing to the stranger, and the remembrance of which, connected with his early days, the native does not soon lose. A man and a boy attend each team; the boy chants that which can scarcely be regarded as any distinct tune, but which is a very pleasing succession of sounds, resembling the countertenor in the service of the cathedral. He sings away with unwearied lungs, as he trudges along almost from morning to night, while every now and then the ploughman, as he directs the movement of the team, puts in his lower notes, but in perfect concord. When the traveler stops in one of the Devonshire valleys, and hears this simple music from the drivers of the ploughs on the slope of the hill on either side, he experiences a pleasure which this operation of husbandry could scarcely be supposed to be capable of affording. This chanting is said to animate the oxen somewhat in the same way as the musical bells that are so prevalent in the same county. Certainly the oxen move along with an agility that would be scarcely expected from cattle; and the team may be watched a long while without one harsh word being heard, or the goad or the whip applied. The opponents of ox husbandry should visit the valleys of north or south Devon, to see what this animal is capable of performing, and how he performs it.

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2 thoughts on “Singing the praises of the Devon ox!

  1. Awesome – I’d like to see/hear that : )

    It would be interesting to visit Devon sometime to see what remains of the old farmsteads.

    That book sounds like an interesting read too.

  2. I agree but the Devon cattle as we know them are gone. The book has much more information about Devons that I am using for my “Devon” header if I ever get it written!

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