Thistle Hill Farm – Blog

…doing what comes naturally

Category: McDowall

Our bulls…

…have become an increasingly important part of our operation…not only joining herds from Canada to Louisiana but as leased sires to smaller farms that can’t justify a full-time bull. Right now we have eight bulls at work for Thistle Hill…and a dozen more in the development stage.  Our bull pen is still headed by Highwayman, […]

A winning combination…

…of the outstanding Rotokawa 982 and our awesome X2a! 4 is a healthy 65-pound bull calf…an ai son of 982.  This sire was an unsung member of Ken McDowalls battery of great bulls.  Church came up with some of his hard to find semen not long ago. We chose X2a whose pedigree goes way back […]

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 […]

Ma, our baby boy is all growed up!

His name is Augustine and he’s packed with Rotokawa 667 genetics.  He’s also the son of one of our favorite cows.  With all the attention we’ve been devoting to our English project, we didn’t want to give the impression we’ve been ignoring our breeding of Rotokawa offspring. At Thistle Hill, under the watchful eye of […]

Rotokawa is back….

….we were pleased to learn that our friend Henry Hauptman, is putting some of his two-year old bulls up for sale.  Henry has been quietly re-building the famed New Zealand herd in recent years but is now marketing 20 two-year olds. These are from Ken McDowall’s original herd and Ken took part in the breeding […]

The Rotokawa 243 family….

….is beginning to make an impact on Devon herds in this country.  After a slow start due to the feud inside the Rotokawa partnership, things have settled down and now we expect a whole new shipment of 243 semen will be heading to Henry Hauptmann’s Rotokawa America. Regina and Tom Tesnow are justifiably proud of their […]

243…the formal portrait…

….well, actually we liked the one we ran the other day, 243 fresh from work, splattered with mud and head covered with hay. But Ken McDowell cleaned him up so here’s New Zealand’s finest: Rotokawa 243. Ken’s not saying but that fact that he went to all this trouble and gussied him up and put a […]

Ken’s best….

….a current picture of Rotokawa 243, the bull New Zealand’s Ken McDowell feels is the best he’s ever produced.  This is the one bull that was too young to make the trip when the Rotokawa herd was shipped to the United States. 243 is the sire of our herd bull, “Jackpot“, and we’re very impressed […]

I know one when I see one….

…Devon, that is.  We’ve had several posts in recent weeks about what might be called “the proper Devon”.  Both Devon breed associations spend a lot of time arguing over standards and use all sorts of measurements and “pop science” to prove their case. The gold standard for this kind of thing is the Angus breed, […]