Feeding in the forest: How Scottish settlers learned to raise livestock in the old growth forests of Upper Canada, 1814-1850

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Abstract

In the first half of the nineteenth century, Scots were among the many European immigrants who tried to turn North American forests into productive farms. They knew livestock were integral to this project, providing draft power, meat, leather, wool, tallow, manure and income. However they had no experience with rearing and sustaining pigs, cattle and sheep in the old growth forest of Upper Canada. They brought some skills and knowledge from Scotland, but much was learned from neighbours, books and experimentation. Emigrant guides, agricultural reports and personal letters indicate how exactly settlers utilised woodlands to feed and shelter animals in those first few years. As Scottish immigrants became more settled they transformed much of the forest which had initially sustained them into arable and into high quality pasture and meadow.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-93
Number of pages20
JournalAgricultural History Review
Volume65
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017

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