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History of Animals   


the hoof, but is subject to a painful swelling in the feet. The milk
of the cow is serviceable after parturition, and before parturition
there is no milk at all. The milk that first presents itself becomes
as hard as stone when it clots; this result ensues unless it be
previously diluted with water. Oxen younger than a year old do not
copulate unless under circumstances of an unnatural and portentous
kind: instances have been recorded of copulation in both sexes at
the age of four months. Kine in general begin to submit to the male
about the month of Thargelion or of Scirophorion; some, however, are
capable of conception right on to the autumn. When kine in large
numbers receive the bull and conceive, it is looked upon as prognostic
of rain and stormy weather. Kine herd together like mares, but in
lesser degree.
22

In the case of horses, the stallion and the mare are first
fitted for breeding purposes when two years old. Instances, however,
of such early maturity are rare, and their young are exceptionally
small and weak; the ordinary age for sexual maturity is three years,
and from that age to twenty the two sexes go on improving in the
quality of their offspring. The mare carries her foal for eleven
months, and casts it in the twelfth. It is not a fixed number of
days that the stallion takes to impregnate the mare; it may be one,
two, three, or more. An ass in covering will impregnate more
expeditiously than a stallion. The act of intercourse with horses is
not laborious as it is with oxen. In both sexes the horse is the
most salacious of animals next after the human species. The breeding
faculties of the younger horses may be stimulated beyond their years
if they be supplied with good feeding in abundance. The mare as a rule
bears only one foal; occasionally she has two, but never more. A
mare has been known to cast two mules; but such a circumstance was
regarded as unnatural and portentous.
The horse then is first fitted for breeding purposes at the
age of two and a half years, but achieves full sexual maturity when it
has ceased to shed teeth, except it be naturally infertile; it must be
added, however, that some horses have been known to impregnate the
mare while the teeth were in process of shedding.
The horse has forty teeth. It sheds its first set of four, two
from the upper jaw and two from the lower, when two and a half years
old. After a year's interval, it sheds another set of four in like
manner, and another set of four after yet another year's interval;
after arriving at the age of four years and six months it sheds no
more. An instance has occurred where a horse shed all his teeth at
once, and another instance of a horse shedding all his teeth with
his last set of four; but such instances are very rare. It
consequently happens that a horse when four and a half years old is in
excellent condition for breeding purposes.
The older horses, whether of the male or female, are the more
generatively productive. Horses will cover mares from which they
have been foaled and mares which they have begotten; and, indeed, a
troop of horses is only considered perfect when such promiscuity of
intercourse occurs. Scythians use pregnant mares for riding when the
embryo has turned rather soon in the womb, and they assert that
thereby the mothers have all the easier delivery. Quadrupeds as a rule
lie down for parturition, and in consequence the young of them all
come out of the womb sideways. The mare, however, when the time for
parturition arrives, stands erect and in that posture casts its foal.
The horse in general lives for eighteen or twenty years; some
horses live for twenty-five or even thirty, and if a horse be
treated with extreme care, it may last on to the age of fifty years; a
horse, however, when it reaches thirty years is regarded as
exceptionally old. The mare lives usually for twenty-five years,
though instances have occurred of their attaining the age of forty.
The male is less long-lived than the female by reason of the sexual

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