Monday, August 27, 2012
Cattle were brought to the Marianas by the Spaniards, probably from Mexico.
In traditional Guam of the 1800s, cattle were often raised with minimal attention. A family might have several heads, with a few families raising decent-sized herds. On Tinian, larger numbers were raisedby 20 or so men from Guam to support the government's hospitals on Guam and for the local market. The men on Tinian would serve a few years and return to their families on Guam, while a new batch of men took their place.
The quality of cattle was lower than in other places of the world because there was no opportunity to cross-breed with better types of cattle. At the same time, there was a lot of in-breeding among the local cattle, resulting in a decrease in their quality.
The stronger cattle were prized as beasts of burden, but in order to make them more docile, they were castrated. That meant that the higher quality bulls could not breed and produce the next generation of stronger cattle.
Chamorros didn't obtain a lot of milk from their cows; usually no more than three quarts a day. Besides being used for transportation and farming, cattle was a source of beef.
The one good thing about cattle in the Marianas is that they were generally free from the diseases found among cattle in other parts of the world.
(1913 Agricultural Report)