Thistle Hill Farm – Blog

…doing what comes naturally

Category: Church

The future…

…is in good hands!  Two yearling bulls we have high hopes for. In the background is one of the first calves from our herd bull Essington.  He’s from a premier English herd that was the work for many decades of Brian Drake…a herd that now sadly belongs to history. In the foreground is the first […]

Sad to report…

…the passing of legendary Devon breeder Ken McDowall of New Zealand.  Ken’s Rotokawa bulls were at the center of the great Devon resurgence at the turn of the century.  While there is some dispute over just who “discovered” Ken, there is no doubt it was Gearld Fry and Ridge Shinn who popularized the great Rotokawa […]

Closing the circle…

Bribery is her name and we spotted her grand dam on our first visit to Ashott Barton farm in England 10 years ago.  The breeder, Shiamala Comer, didn’t want to submit her best cow to the rigors of flushing. Fast forward 5 years and on our last trip to England , Wooz and Church convinced […]

Waiting for the jury…

…well actually TDA35 is waiting for his first Thistle Hill calves…due in a few months.  We’ve loaned him out to neighbors in the past who had just a few cows. 35 is the result of a mating between two great traditional Devon herds…Goldings in Cornwall and Ashott Barton in Sometset.  Church was pleased with the […]

It’s been almost a year…

…since the birth of what we hope will be another line of pure, traditional English Devon at Thistle Hill. H364 was sired by Champson Defender via AI ten months ago and is now ready to be weaned.  He was an early success story for Church, who is now waiting for Defender #2 to calve in […]

Just a quick tour…

…this past weekend.  (Warning: no pigs; they’re off at freezer camp) First stop the shipping pen where this four-year old bull is waiting for his ride to a commercial operation in southwest Virginia.  Clark Family farms have been good friends and customers for a number of years. The Clarks also selected one of our young […]

Click bait…

…although we didn’t call it that back in my ink-stained days of newspapering.  Back then editors were always looking for photos that would help sell papers. The formula was simple…pretty girls, babies and animals.  Get a picture with two out of three and you were guaranteed good placement in the paper. Today with the Internet […]

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 […]

A new arrival…

…a young lamb Church came up with in his part time veterinary work. She has a hairline leg fracture but Church is determined to nurse it back to health.  And he seems to have the willing assistance of his dog Nala. A friend who raises sheep thinks this is probably a Suffolk but suspects it’s […]

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 […]