Thistle Hill Farm – Blog

…doing what comes naturally

Category: Breeding

Our Christmas child…

..on the home page is descended from the historic Cutcombe line in England. In fact, his sire was Thistle Hill Cutcombe…an embryo import. Cutcombe genetics bred by Margaret Elliott played a key role developing our pure traditional English Devon line which now numbers 16 females and 7 males. Ten years ago, after being impressed by […]

Parade of (baby) bulls…

…features three of the yearling bulls we’re holding back to see how they develop. The first is the final pairing Wooz selected on her last trip to England. His dam comes from the famous Tulip line. The breeder resisted collecting her and after some to and fro, we bought her outright! Then we had to […]

King David on assignment…

…we’re fortunate to have some cooperative farmers to handle our heifers (and keep them away from the bulls)! But this is NOT that time of year. Here is the King (2nd from right), a half English Devon bull from the old Essington Park herd, and his harem of eight English and American heifers. Between munches […]

Send me in coach…

…our pure traditional English bull Essington is ready for his assignment as this year’s cover bull for the main herd. We’ve AI-ed 26 of 40 cows and it will be up to Essington to cover the rest and any of the AI-s that didn’t take. It’s the first time we’ve tested him. His dam was […]

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 […]