Thistle Hill Farm – Blog

…doing what comes naturally

Category: Cows

An early morning stroll…

…but with a purpose.  This part of the herd has finished strip grazing the East pasture and is moving to fresh grass in the West pasture. This is not the entire herd…just the mamas with their steer and heifer calves.  At about eight months we move the bull-calf pairs to an auxiliary field. An important […]

The magic of grazing…

This photo by son-in-law Curt Humphreys captures the harmonious relationship among soil, grass, animals and sky that is an on-going process on the pastures of Thistle Hill. There are no losers in this kind of farming…the soil, the grass, the cows and the environment all prosper.  And the farmer does, too. It’s easy to lose […]

It’s official…

…Spring is here! We know because the interior portable electric fencing has gone up and our cows have begun their strip grazing.  From now through the first of the year the main herd will be allocated about an acre of pasture at a time. To tide them over the summer slump when grass nutrition value […]

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 […]

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 […]

November sunrise…

A crisp fall morning on the farm…as Church does the early morning rounds of the pastures.  The Blue Ridge in the background. David

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