Thistle Hill Farm – Blog

…doing what comes naturally

Category: Rotokawa

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 […]

Waiting in the bullpen…

…one of our herd bulls, THF Essington. He’s five years old now and has served as our primary sire for the past two years.  Essington’s dam was the daughter Brian Drake’s great English cow, Buttercup.  The sire was our THF Falcon, who traces back to the Ashott Barton herd in Devon. Thanks to the mating […]

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 […]

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 […]

The latest arrival…

…a combination of an English bull with the best of our American herd.  Dam THF U3 and sire from the wonderful old Essington herd in England. Wooz and I were just getting started in Devon and visiting Lakota Ranch when I saw the grandmother of this little guy being born!  I asked for her on […]

The Rotokawa renewal…

…takes a big jump with the purchase of about 100 straws of the top bulls ever produced by Ken McDowall. They’re all here…688, 667, 982 and all the others in a purchase Church just concluded with veteran breeder Don Minto in Rhode Island.  Don was in the group that first imported Rotokawa heifers and his […]

I’m confused…

…and understandably! About four inches of snow sandwiched between 60- and 70-degree days. One of Thistle Hill’s fine young American bulls trying to figure out the recent change-able weather. He’s a combination of excellent bloodlines from Rotokawa and Lakota. And he’s one we not only use ourselves but loan to small farms who can’t manage […]

Hanging out with the guys…

…three of our bulls doing their own version of intensive grazing.  On the left Guardian, a Rotokawa-bred animal, and then two of our English bulls, Essington and Highwayman. The last two are both sired by the great Ashott-Barton bull, Millenium Falcon. My guess is they’re all favoring the grass right there because an underground stream […]