….and LOTS of it around Red Gate Farm.



Meet Tiffany (the white cow), Holly (the black cow), and their bull calves, Rib Eye and T-Bone.  Holly is a purebred Lowline cow, though on the larger side.  Tiffany is a registered Lowline, but she is part of the breed-up program, so in fact, she is 50% Lowline and 50% Charolais (pronounce “Shar-lay” for you city folk).  That’s where her white coloring comes from.  The brownish calf is hers and the black one is Holly’s.  Both calves were sired by a purebred Lowline bull, and the previous owner kindly banded them for me so we will have steers rather than bulls as they grow.  None of them are friendly, though they tolerate my presence nearby.  I can get within about 3-5 feet before they run, but I have never touched them.  Just when I get the chance, I always suddenly envision a hind leg flying up and knocking me in the thigh, and that is something I can’t afford right now.  I have managed to scratch the cows’ backs with a stick before, but they didn’t seem too thrilled about the idea.  For the most part, we have an agreement.  I simply ensure they always have fresh pasture, and they are happy to let me stand and look at them all day in return.

As if I had time to do that.

Our intent at this point is to have the cows re-bred later this summer, as part of the deal when I bought them.  In the mean time, the cows and calves will be used to graze our pastures and help clear our dense brush in the far paddocks with the pigs.  Next year, about the time the cows are ready to calve again, we will finish the boys off on the spring lush, and then they will become dinner. We are planning one for our family, and are hoping to sell the other one as a custom slaughter to help pay for our little herd and any expenses that might be involved over the next year or so.   Whether we will stick with these larger lowlines long-term is yet to be decided.  They aren’t what I had originally planned–they are quite a bit larger than I wanted, but they were literally the only cow/calf pairs available that I could find.  The herd was also a show herd with a lot of disease and genetic testing, which I liked, and the farm was a natural, grass-fed, no hormone or antibiotic type place, which I liked even more.  So although these were cull-cows, they were fine for a newbie like us just to raise a little beef on.

Thus begins our adventures with cattle.