Thistle Hill Farm – Blog

…doing what comes naturally

Category: Breeding

The butcher’s breed…

…was the name the English gave to the Devon.  That was because of the quality of Devon meat.  It was about that time that the leading English agriculturalist Robert Bakewell pronounced Devon the perfect cow…in no further need of refinement by crossing with other breeds. At Thistle Hill we have devoted our time and resources […]

Thistle Hill alumni club…

…features our Equinox at home at Spring Pastures farm near Middletown, Maryland. Equinox is packed with our best pure English Devon genetics…Churchill on one side…Buttercup on the other.  It’s the second bull Thistle Hill has supplied to Brooke Henley and Tom Garnett. Brooke is excited by his first calves…eight so far, all vigorous and thick. […]

The family that works cattle together…

…well gets dirty together if nothing else.  Pregnancy checking is a kind of tense moment in the year.  Not only do you hope for a high rate of pregnancy…but for matings you’ve invested in embryo transplants and artificial insemination. This year we’re checking a total of 32 cows…a mix of regular Devon plus our pure […]

Free at last…

…with everyone in the family safely vaccinated, I was finally able to escape my senior residence for the first time in almost exactly a year. Naturally it was this year’s calf crop that interested me most.  They’re five months old now and a rewarding bunch of prospects. Church’s favorite is THF 3…the daughter of TDA […]

A bunch of hams…

…is what we’re raising…not baby beeves! I’d swear whenever Church unlimbers his iPhone our calves “assume the position” and proud mama poses in the background! THF 3 is a young heifer combining four of our pure traditional English Devon bloodlines: Tilbrook Cashtiller, Cutcombe Jaunty, Essington Buttercup and Ashott Barton Falcon. I’ve said before that I […]

Breakfast at Thistle Hill…

…and Churchill qualifies as an “eager eater”! He’s also the senior bull in our herd…still active in his 10th year.  Churchill is descended from the great Tilbrook Cashtiller who along with Cutcombe Jaunty were the first building blocks of our traditional pure English Devon herd. And here’s another good-looking herdmate, Essington, from Brian Drake’s former […]

DNA confirms it…

THF 1 is indeed an off-spring of the great English bull Champson Defender. He’s the second bull in partially obscured by an American herdmate.  Again note the difference in coloring of a pure traditional English animal versus the American variety! This was Church’s first try at artificial insemination and it’s a great success for the […]

Neither rain, nor snow…

…not dark of night…can upset the timetable for embryo transplants once the clock is running. So under miserable cold and wet and muddy conditions, Veterinarian Tom Massey and grandson Church managed to successfully cut out and bring in eight cows that had been prepped.  Eventually embryos went in six by bulls including Lakota’s P60 and […]

The scorecard…

…for artificial insemination this year.  And it’s a year where we seem to be focused on up-grading our regular herd. The first step is to get the cows in of course….and a new unrolled tasty bale of hay is a good appetizer. Over several days Church has ai-ed about 10 cows.  The bulls he used […]

Christmas gift…

A Christmas gift for TDA 35… …his very own set of two-year old heifers! We start breeding our heifers about one month ahead of the main herd.  That, and holding off until they’re 2+, makes it a little easier on young, still growing females.  It also increases the percentage of successful rebreeding. TDA 35 is […]