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History of Animals   


mature when two years old; the issue, however, of parents of this
age is small and poor. As a general rule these animals are sexually
capable when three years old, and they grow better for breeding
purposes until they reach twenty years. The stallion is sexually
capable up to the age of thirty-three years, and the mare up to forty,
so that, in point of fact, the animals are sexually capable all
their lives long; for the stallion, as a rule, lives for about
thirty-five years, and the mare for a little over forty; although,
by the way, a horse has known to live to the age of seventy-five.
The ass and the she-ass are sexually capable when thirty months old;
but, as a rule, they are not generatively mature until they are
three years old, or three years and a half. An instance has been known
of a she-ass bearing and bringing forth a foal when only a year old. A
cow has been known to calve when only a year old, and the calf grew as
big as might be expected, but no more. So much for the dates in time
at which these animals attain to generative capacity.
In the human species, the male is generative, at the longest, up
to seventy years, and the female up to fifty; but such extended
periods are rare. As a rule, the male is generative up to the age of
sixty-five, and to the age of forty-five the female is capable of
conception.
The ewe bears up to eight years, and, if she be carefully
tended, up to eleven years; in fact, the ram and the ewe are
sexually capable pretty well all their lives long. He-goats, if they
be fat, are more or less unserviceable for breeding; and this, by
the way, is the reason why country folk say of a vine when it stops
bearing that it is 'running the goat'. However, if an over-fat he-goat
be thinned down, he becomes sexually capable and generative.
Rams single out the oldest ewes for copulation, and show no
regard for the young ones. And, as has been stated, the issue of the
younger ewes is poorer than that of the older ones.
The boar is good for breeding purposes until he is three years
of age; but after that age his issue deteriorates, for after that
age his vigour is on the decline. The boar is most capable after a
good feed, and with the first sow it mounts; if poorly fed or put to
many females, the copulation is abbreviated, and the litter is
comparatively poor. The first litter of the sow is the fewest in
number; at the second litter she is at her prime. The animal, as it
grows old, continues to breed, but the sexual desire abates. When they
reach fifteen years, they become unproductive, and are getting old. If
a sow be highly fed, it is all the more eager for sexual commerce,
whether old or young; but, if it be over-fattened in pregnancy, it
gives the less milk after parturition. With regard to the age of the
parents, the litter is the best when they are in their prime; but with
regard to the seasons of the year, the litter is the best that comes
at the beginning of winter; and the summer litter the poorest,
consisting as it usually does of animals small and thin and flaccid.
The boar, if it be well fed, is sexually capable at all hours, night
and day; but otherwise is peculiarly salacious early in the morning.
As it grows old the sexual passion dies away, as we have already
remarked. Very often a boar, when more or less impotent from age or
debility, finding itself unable to accomplish the sexual commerce with
due speed, and growing fatigued with the standing posture, will roll
the sow over on the ground, and the pair will conclude the operation
side by side of one another. The sow is sure of conception if it drops
its lugs in rutting time; if the ears do not thus drop, it may have to
rut a second time before impregnation takes place.
Bitches do not submit to the male throughout their lives, but
only until they reach a certain maturity of years. As a general
rule, they are sexually receptive and conceptive until they are twelve
years old; although, by the way, cases have been known where dogs
and bitches have been respectively procreative and conceptive to the
ages of eighteen and even of twenty years. But, as a rule, age
diminishes the capability of generation and of conception with these

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