Livestock Raised in 1920s Nebraska
Humans have been raising sheep for their wool for thousands of years. Domesticated sheep have been bred for their thick coats of wool. When their wool is long enough it is shorn off, cleaned, and woven into clothing. Some sheep are also raised for their meat, called mutton.
Cattle were raised for either beef or dairy products. Dairy cattle needed to be milked twice a day. The milk produced was run through a separator to get the cream. The cream would be sold to a creamery to be made into butter, ice cream, or cheese.
When beef cattle were fully grown they would be loaded onto a train and taken to the Omaha stockyards. There, the cattle would be sold to meat processing companies. These companies would turn the cattle into steaks, hamburgers and hot dogs to sell to grocery stores and restaurants.
Farmers raised hogs to provide meat to eat and sell. Hogs are butchered to make bacon, ham, pork chops, pork ribs, sausage and other cuts of meat. Some farm families deep fried the pork rinds to make crispy treats called “cracklins.”
On the farm, horses provided manual labor and transportation for the farmer’s family. Since most farmers in the 1920s didn’t have tractors they used horses to pull their plows, planters, wagons, and cultivators. Keeping the horses healthy and rested was critical to farmers. If their horses got sick from poor care, it could cost the farmer dearly.
Farmers would hook up buggiesBuggy (carriage) - A vehicle with four large wheels and pulled by one or more horses. Buggies were used mostly to transport people. Some buggies were open, others were covered or had folding tops to their horses to drive to town. Some farmers kept horses for their children to ride to school. As more farmers bought cars, horses were used for transportation less and less.
Chickens were raised for their eggs and meat. Most male chickens, called roosters, were usually eaten as soon as they were large enough. The female chickens, called pullets, were kept to lay eggs. The eggs they gave were sold in town. By selling eggs, farmers could earn cash while they waited for the crops to be harvested.
Cleaning the chicken coop was dirty, smelly work but the manure they cleaned out was used to fertilize the fields.
Written by Claudia Reinhardt.