Thistle Hill Farm – Blog

…doing what comes naturally

Category: Cows

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 […]

Post graduate work…

As if grandson Church didn’t have enough to do running the farm and studying for an advance degree in biology…he recently took a week to attend the Frank B. Graham Cattleman’s School in Kansas. The week-long program covered every aspect of herd fertility and calving, including artificial insemination, preg checking and delivering a calf. Church, […]

A lovely young maiden at Cathy Cochran’s Oak Hill Farm.

She’s just two days old but seems older. Her sire is Thistle Hill’s King David. He spent the last breeding season at Oak Hill and contributed new genetics to Cathy’s award winning herd. Meanwhile King David is back home awaiting his next assignment. David

Here they come…

The main Devon herd stretched out across Thistle Hill at sunset. No fuss or bother as they follow grandson Church for close to a half a mile. Do they understand that luscious green grass awaits? They do certainly trust Church’s leadership and sense of purpose. Outriders, sticks and herding dogs not necessary. Once they’ve regrouped […]

Lest we forget…

…another pure English heifer…half sister to the two below…Ashott-Barton Tulip is the mother…and a line that stretches back as far as there have been Devon record books. The origination was in the famed Champson herd. The sire is Cutcombe Jaunty. Our current plan for Tulip is to let her calve at 3 and then decide […]

So Jim Gerrish knows….

…we practice what he preaches. The experts say the cows get about two-thirds of the best hay.  The rest is not wasted but trampled in creating organic matter and feeding the microbes. Add in the fertilizing the cows do as they roam around and our fertilizer bill is precisely “zero”. We do need a minimum […]