CATTLE, SHEEP, AND HORSES (Historic Information)
Cattle. While the government experimental stations at Sitka, Kenai, Copper Center, Rampart, Tanana, and Fairbanks have been devoted to the study of vegetable life, the station on Kodiak Island turned its attention to the study of farming stock, particularly cattle and sheep, to determine the types best suited to the climatic conditions, as a source of beef as well as dairy products. That stock can be raised from the Yukon Valley southward during the summer is well known to all old Alaskans who have seen herds driven over the trails and roads leading to the interior, living on the native fodder and reaching their destination in good condition. Cows for dairy purposes are kept near all the principal towns and at many of the road houses. The experimental stations are not simply trying to prove this fact—they are looking for stock which will require a minimum of winter feeding, and in this they have succeeded to a marked degree; so that we may look forward to herds ranging over the Alaska Peninsula and its adjacent islands as well as over the plains of Montana. The winter temperatures are infinitely less severe than on the high cattle ranges of the Middle West, native grasses are abundant and nutritious, and there seems no reason why Alaska in a few years 'shall not be able to supply its own fresh meats. This whole region lies practically south of the southern tip of Norway, yet dairying is one of the principal industries of that country. The cattle in Norway, however, are said to be of an inferior breed and the chief object of the experimental stations has been to find better strains, and the adaptability of the native grasses for winter feed, such as hay and ensilage. The latter is an important item in regions where haymaking may be interfered with by rain.
As Alaska grows, more cattle will be kept in the vicinity of the towns, where barley, oats, and timothy will be grown for hay and ensilage, supplemented by root crops, as in other countries.
A large part of the added cost of keep will be returned in the value of the manure and the maintenance of the fertility of the soil. Unquestionably the silo will be an essential feature in the equipment of every farmer in Alaska.
Greek Church at Sitka, Alaska
Sheep. The sheep on Kodiak and Raspberry Islands have also done well, experience showing that the long-haired breeds are best adapted to the moist coast climates, as the fleece sheds the rain more rapidly than the thick, short wool of the others. On Raspberry Island near Kodiak there is a band of 500 or more doing well.
Horses. Horses are in universal use in all parts of the territory, both as draft and pack animals, their more extensive use being limited chiefly by the absence of good roads.
Hyperborean Snowflake, Alaska
Where such exist they are used on the winter stage lines and may be utilized in summer by the farmer when these routes are closed. Abundance of hay and grain may be raised in the interior for winter use. One hundred and seventy-five horses form the equipment of the White Pass Route from Dawson to Whitehorse, and so far as their ability to stand the climate is concerned, the only difference' lies in the greater length of the winter months in the North, involving more winter feeding; this again being offset by the higher prices obtained for their labor.
The small, tough ponies so common in Norway have not yet been introduced, although they fill so useful a place in that country and ought to be easily acclimated.