Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/856

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groups is especially curious in the more populous regions, as the southern part of Rio Grande or Montevideo, where herds may be seen almost in contact without mixing, coming together and making themselves up generally without trouble; and they live thus side by side for years without becoming acquainted with each other. Each herd is so coherent that, when one of its members takes fright and runs away, all will follow it. In consequence of this habit, it is very difficult, when cattle are sold, to separate them from the herds and to get them along for the first few leagues. If they are not watched, they will escape, pass by thousands of other animals without noticing them, and join their companions again. They cease, however, to seek to go back after they have been driven to a considerable distance.

The cattle in these herds also propagate in freedom. Traveling in Parana at a time when the pasturage was excellent and the cattle were in good condition, in January, I saw numerous vigorous bulls living as peacefully as could be with the cows.

The care given by man to the cattle enjoying this freedom of life and procreation, although very restricted, is greater than has been represented. A rodeo, or gathering of the different herds at a single point, is held at determined periods, both in Parana and the Oriental Republic. The assemblage may take place near the buildings in an estancia of moderate size, often in an inclosed space of suitable capacity called the mangueira. In extensive estancias having numerous herds, as it would be almost impossible to collect ten or twenty thousand head at a single point, several rodeos are made in different parts of the campo, always at the same points. In other estancias, notably in Parana, one or two grand rodeos a year are made at the mangueira, and several smaller rodeos at less intervals. The task of driving the cattle up to the rodeo is not a hard one. The beasts stagger along, and go in a mass toward the habitual point of gathering, generally with the bulls at their head The assemblies are kept up for a greater or less length of time, and the peons circulate around the herd, shouting as to accustom the animals to the presence of man, and to the custom of coming up. The rodeo gives an opportunity to judge of the condition of the flocks, when and what proportion of them may be ready for sale; to practice treatment or different operations; to give the stock salt in Parana, and medical attention in other regions; to mark them and castrate them. Each estancia has its particular mark—often several marks; for in many estancias all the children have their share of the cattle, and, as the slaves also are sometimes allowed to own stock, confusion would result if means were not taken to prevent it.

The intervention of man is also illustrated in the efforts at cross-breeding. I was surprised at the manner in which this is attempted in South America. Everybody wants to acclimatize the races of Europe, and to improve the meat and fattening qualities of the stock; and, to this end, thorough-bred bulls (Herefords, and especially Dur-