Thistle Hill Farm – Blog

…doing what comes naturally

Category: Cows

End of the trek…

…we take this for granted now but it is quite an advantage to raising Devon…particularly Thistle Hill Devon. Here the herd has moved itself from one of our main pastures to another…perhaps a half mile with lots of tempting grass in-between…but they trust Church and don’t break ranks. (Looks like they’ve survived the winter pretty […]

Happy new year…at last…

…the scene we wait all winter to see! The main Thistle Hill herd moving from the western to eastern pastures to begin strip grazing.  Here temporary fencing already has been put in place.  That will allocate roughly one acre paddocks per day.  The confined space increases the trampling effect….the cows pointed toes grinding in some […]

Chip off the old block…

…D168 is just four…a lovely blend of English and American genetics. Dad is our English Highwayman from the Ashott Barton and Cutcombe lines. Again we’re pleased to see the deep ruby red coloring of the English Devon passed on to the next generation. The female side is thanks to the Lenoir Creek and Lakota herds. […]

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. […]

The bottom of the barrel…

…the stockpile barrel, that is.If there is a key in cattle raising, it is to avoid feeding hay at $100 a ton for as long possible. Here Church opens one of our last stockpiled pastures and the cows don’t need a second invitation. Video by Church Humphreys Native grasses here for the most part but […]

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 […]