Thistle Hill Farm – Blog

…doing what comes naturally

Category: Breeding

Breeding…part three…

…and now it gets really interesting…starting in the pre-dawn darkness… and a pasture alive with blinking red lights. It’s the heat detectors…right on schedule at 48 hours. When a cow goes into heat, another mounts it, crushing the chemical patch on its rump. One of Carolyn’s jobs is thawing the semen straws. That’s what that […]

Breeding step two…

…is very much a family affair. The herd has to be brought in from the pasture and sorted to isolate the target cows. We started in the dark, in a light rain. Grandson Church is really in charge now. He administers a shot of lutalyze which will bring the cow into heat in 48-72 hours. […]

Let the fun begin…

…Church moves the first group of cows into the chute to begin the process of artificial insemination. This will be his first solo effort and he’s set an ambitious schedule…almost 30 heifers and cows to bring into heat. Included in the group is a wonderful English bull whose semen, unfortunately, did not score very high. […]

Parade of bulls…

…TDA Ransom…a Wooz favorite maybe because his mama was Goldings Snowdrop…selected by her when the “wise old men” of the partnership were favoring others. She called him “Handsome Ransom”…and saw something in him even in his awkward teenage years. He’s come into his own now though Wooz is no longer with us to say I […]

Meeting of the braintrust…

Parade of cows…

…time to get back to business with a quick look at our main herd. Leading the way to fresh grass is an English pure traditional Devon, TDA 5. She was originally assigned to our partner John Forelle’s care. The cow right behind is an American Devon whose tag is illegible. But you can appreciate the […]

Parade of bulls…G101…

…is a pure traditional English calf just 10 months old. Again note the deep ruby red coat..a distinguishing feature of a pure Devon. G101 is a grandson of Ashott Barton Millenium Falcon who we spotted in Cornwall and is the bull that got us started in importing English genetics. His dam is TDA 4…a cow […]

Parade of bulls…

…features a relative newcomer who is pure traditional English on both sides. He’s F65; one month past his first birthday. F65’s dam is Essington Buttercup, from one of England’s oldest and finest Devon herds…one that sadly was dispersed a few years ago with the retirement of owner Brian Drake. The sire was our major herd […]

To be honest…

…we weren’t planning on becoming a unique source for pure traditional English genetics.  That came later when we realized pure Devon genetics were becoming a rarity, even in England. Originally, we just wanted to see whether infusing those English bloodlines into our herd of American Devon would be worth the trouble. King David provides the […]

Reddi for action…

Not a misprint; that’s his name! He was Red Lad when he left Thistle Hill several years ago for Spring Pastures Farm near Middleton, Maryland. There, Brooke Henley immediately dubbed him Reddi. He was a well-mannered young man…one of Wooz’ favorites. Now with 19 progeny on the ground and more to come, Brooke and her […]