Wednesday, December 30, 2009

One Cowboy, A Deaf Dog, & 723 Steers Moved with No Stress...........

Check out this video! The link was included in's newsletter today. Many of the steers in the video look like they are out of a British White bull; a very high number of them are white with black ears.

It was posted by Bob Kinford with the blurb: Taking 723 steers through the second gate of a three mile, six gate move with only one cowboy and a deaf dog with no stress. The Kinford's web site is

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A British White Bull Gets Himself in a bit of a Jam

Original Blog Posted Sunday, October 21, 2007:

This picture was Sunday a week ago today, and it was, as is often the case, a weekend just as busy as a week day. Mazarati, better known by the nickname Mo, had made his way along a puzzling course in the hay barn, until he'd reached a dead end -- much like a maze meant for humans that takes many attempts to find the right course out. Unlike a person, Mo couldn't figure out that if he just took those same steps backwards he would be able to find his way back to the beginning. It could have been a disaster, fortunately, he was not injured.

Amazingly, he was quite calm about the whole ordeal; though his new owner, Carol Diodene, would agree with me that he wasn't exactly happy -- his eyes were quite a bit rolled back as tried to look up at us. The first question a cattle rancher would be sure to be asking themself right now is how did he gain access to the hay barn. Well, that would be my fault; and, yes, I am generally a stickler about those gates always being secured even if you are quite sure you'll go right back through that gate within minutes. But, the day before I obviously failed to do just that.

Another herd bull, King Cole, was headed to his new home in the Canton area on Saturday morning, and I opened the hay barn to get a hefty handful of alfalfa droppings from the floor of the barn to use to coax him on into the pens -- and I didn't go back and close the gate, it was merely pushed together, and thus a perfect trap for an unsuspecting cow or bull with access to the corral that adjoins the hay barn. And of course Mo and the two bred heifers leaving for Ocala, Florida had access.

I can't tell you how happy I was to see Mo stroll out of that hay barn with no obvious injury from his ordeal. Two 12' high stacks of 3x4x8 alfalfa bales had to be removed to give him a way out. With all but the bottom row removed, Gentle Mo didn't lunge at the open space as I feared he might -- I could see how easy it would be for him to now try to climb over that remaining 4 foot high bale, but he didn't. Perhaps it was because Carol and I were patting him on the head and telling him to just wait a bit longer, or perhaps it's because he is a British White and his calm disposition saved his life from serious injury while trapped and during his release. 

Most amazing perhaps is that Mo didn't bolt out into the corral following his release. He merely strolled and inexplicably stopped to munch on one of the alfalfa bales that had been removed to give him passage out. Carol was great through the whole ordeal, and convinced that this was surely a sign that Mo was meant to join her farm in Ocala, and I think he was as well. He arrived safely at his new home the following day, along with a pot load of great females that Carol found at the British White and Lowline auction in Henderson that weekend.

See Carol's Southern Cross Ranch web site at this link, give her a call if you'd like to hear more about Mazarati and his calves.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas - The Original 12 Days


"The Twelve Days of The New England custom during those early years of the present century was to observe Christmas from December 25 to January 5, the twelve days being generally given up to receiving and returning family visits. Contemporary with this custom was the belief inculcated in the minds of the children that if they would visit the cow stables at midnight of Christmas eve, they would see the cattle kneel before the mangers.

". . . On the night or eve of Old Christmas, January 6th, perhaps better known as Twelfth Night, the cattle in the stable kneel down and pray. One informant positively asserted the truth of this belief, because in order to test the matter she had once gone down to the stable on this night, and sure enough she found the cows kneeling on the ground and making just the masterest moanin'."

A poem of the twelve days shows the gift for the first day of Christmas to be a parrot on a juniper tree, instead of a partridge on a pear tree. The verse for the twelfth day which embodied the entire list of days and gifts was as follows. The twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me twelve guns shooting, eleven bears chasing, ten men hunting, nine fiddlers playing, eight ladies dancing, seven swans swimming, six chests of linen, five gold rings, four coffee bowls, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a parrot on a juniper tree." JOHN RODEMEYER JR NYS

Monday, December 21, 2009

Parsnips and Potatoes.......Alternatives to Feeding Grain to your Cattle?

The Journal of agriculture, Volume 2, On the Culture of Parsnips, 1852
(......and comparison to feeding steers POTATOES!)

Comments on Robert Bakewell's Approach to Cattle Breeding - 1856

We find the following in Rural New Yorker extracted from the London Quarterly Review for April 1856

". . . The cattle of ancient days were chiefly valued for dairy qualities or for draft, and were only fatted when they would milk or draw no longer. The greater number of breeds were large boned and ill shaped, greedy eaters and slow at ripening, while as very little winter food was raised except hay, the meat laid on in summer was lost or barely maintained in winter. Fresh meat for six months of the year was a luxury only enjoyed by the wealthiest.
      First class farmers salted down an old cow in autumn, which with their flitches of bacon, supplied their families with meat until the spring.   Esquire Bedel Gunning, in his Memorials of Cambridge, relates that when Dr Makepeace Thackeray settled in Chester about the beginning of the present century, he presented one of his tenants with a bull calf of a superior breed. On his inquiry after it in the spring,the tenant replied, "Sir, he was a noble animal, we killed him at Christmas and have lived upon him ever since."
      The improvement of the breeds of live stock is one of the events which distinguish the progress of English Agriculture during the last century. Prominent among those who labored to this end was Robert Bakewell of Dishley, the founder of the Leicester sheep. He also had his favorite long horn cattle and black cart horses, and though he failed in establishing these he taught others how to succeed.

     Surrounded by the titled of Europe, he talked upon his favorite subject, breeding, with earnest yet playful enthusiasm, there utterly indifferent to vulgar traditional prejudices, he enumerated those axioms which must be the cardinal rules of the improvers of live stock. He chose the animals of the form and temperament which showed signs of producing the most fat and muscle, declaring that in an ox all was useless that was not beef, that he sought by pairing the best specimens, to make the shoulders comparatively little, the hind quarters large, to produce a body truly circular, with as short legs as possible, upon the plain principle that the value lies in the barrel and not in the legs, and to secure a small head small neck and small bones.
        As few things escaped his acute eye he remarked that quick fattening depended much upon amiability of disposition, and he brought his bulls by gentleness to be as docile as dogs.

. . .  But fine boned animals were not in fashion when Bakewell commenced his career, and to the majority of people it seemed a step backwards to prefer well made dwarfs to uncouth giants.
 . . . In 1798 the Little Smithfield Club was established for exhibiting fat stock at Christmas time in competition for prizes, with a specification of the food on which each animal had been kept. This Society has rendered essential service by making known the best kind of food, and by educating graziers and butchers in a knowledge of the best form of animal.
      In 1806, in defiance of Mr Coke's toast, "Small in size and great in value," a prize was given to the tallest ox.  In 1856 a little ox of the Devon breed of an egg like shape, which is the modern beau ideal, gained the Smithfield gold medal in competition with gigantic Short Horns, and Herefords of Elephantine proportions.   In 1855 a large animal of Sir Harry Verney's was passed over without even the compliment of a commendation -- because he carried on his carcass too much offal and more threepenny than nine penny beef."

Charles Dickens - An Unusual Christmas Essay on the Grandeurs of Roast Beef - 1853

Exceprt: "If we neither ate beef nor drank milk we should have little room for oxen in this country, all the herds that have grazed upon our pastures, oxen and cows that have reposed so tranquilly and looked so much at home upon our fields, all those creatures and the whole sum of happiness they have enjoyed would never have been called into existence. Compare the ox and fox community. Truly it is a good thing for the cattle that man was created with a taste for milk and beef. Nothing can be shallower than the appeal made to humanity by Vegetarians. It is a fine thing for the ox that man is glad to eat him."

Note:  If you have difficulty with the small type, click the image to go to the source document, it's clearer reading.


Mr. Dickens' essay continues on another two pages or so. Click the linked image above and it will take you to the source document on Google Books. It's worth continuing to read, as Mr. Dickens gives us his impression of the various breeds at the cattle show, as well as good commentary on how feeding methods had changed from a hundred years prior, and improvements in the quality of the beef.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Transactions of the Natural History Society of Glasgow - Chillingham Cattle


???Doesn't exactly look like the Chillingham Cattle of today, does it? Perhaps they evolved on their own? Doubtful.......

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The U.S. Beef Breeding Herds Numbers are the Lowest since 1971..........

Dairy, Meat Prices Will Spur Food Inflation, Wells Fargo Says

By Jeff Wilson

Dec. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Rising milk, beef, pork and chicken prices will double the pace of U.S. food inflation next year as livestock supplies shrink and rebounding economies boost demand, said Michael Swanson, a senior economist at Wells Fargo & Co.

Food prices may jump as much as 6 percent in 2010, Swanson said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Nov. 25 forecast 3 percent to 4 percent food inflation next year, up from an estimated 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent in 2009.

Producers of cattle, hogs, dairy cows and poultry cut output after a jump in feed costs last year, reducing supplies as demand for meat is rising at home and abroad, Swanson said. Corn, the main source of animal feed, will rally next year because of record demand for grain to make ethanol, he said.

Beef Herd
The U.S. beef-breeding herd on July 1 totaled 32.2 million head, down 1.4 percent from 32.65 million a year earlier, and was the smallest since the government started collecting data in 1971, the USDA said July 24.
“Protein inflation is going to be much higher than people are anticipating,” Swanson said Dec. 9 in an interview from Minneapolis. “Corn is a proxy for feed costs, and right now the value of all meat and dairy output is below the price of feed on a long-term relative basis.”

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in a Dec. 3 report that cattle futures will increase over the next year by the most since 1978, and hogs will gain the most in six years. Cattle futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange will reach $1.10 a pound by December 2010, Goldman said. That would be up 32 percent from 83.275 cents on Dec. 11. Hog futures will reach 80 cents a pound, the bank said, which would mean a 22 percent rally from last week’s close at 65.425 cents.

Sustainable Rally
“As we start a new decade with the global economy emerging from the worst recession of the postwar era, we expect the commodity supply-side constraints of the past decade to once again re-emerge, reinforcing the sustainability of higher long- term commodity prices,” Goldman analysts including Jeffrey Currie wrote in a note to investors. “Economic recovery suggests rising meat demand amid tighter supplies.”

Follow the title link to read the rest of this article.......

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Old Superstitions of the Highlanders of Scotland

Here are a few of these old Scottish Superstitions regarding Cows, the Moon, and be sure and take a head count when you sit down to Christmas dinner, and be sure and serve left to right!

Among the unlucky things it is unfortunate for a stranger to count the number of one's sheep, cattle, or children.

. . .This spirit was an innocent supernatural visitor that frisked and gambled about the cattle pens. Armed with a pliable reed she would switch all who annoyed her by using obscene language or who neglected to leave her a portion of the dairy product.

It is unlucky for an odd number to sit at a table such as 7, 9, 11 and 13, and unless changed one of the party is sure to die within that year.

It is unwise to drink the health of a company or to serve them round a table except from left to right as the sun goes . . .

To catch the first sight of a new moon through a window will bring ill luck.

The turning up of the horn of the new moon indicates dry weather.  (Somebody have a look at the new moon tonight, we could use some dry weather, but not through a window!)

Cattle, sheep and pigs must not be slaughtered in the wane of the moon because the meat would shrink in cooking.

A more common form of the TAGHAIRM was that of selecting some person and wrapping him in the warm side of a newly slain ox or cow and then placing him at full length in the wildest recess of some lovely waterfall. Here he remained for some hours and whatever impression was made upon his mind that was supposed to be the solution of the question asked.

Tonight Gives Us a New Moon - This is an old Poem about the New Moon & and one about a Pretty Cow

Click on the embedded actual page images below to have a longer look at this grand old book of song and story from so long ago. You'll find Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, just lots of fun poems and tales in original form in this 1903 printing.

Excerpt from Intro. Page xii, The First Book of Song and Story,1903,Cynthia Westover Alden

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Head of the Chillingham Wild Bull - Engraving dated 1872

Head of the Chillingham Wild Bull, shot by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales

Genuine original antique engraving, 1872

Well, I find this interesting, where are the colored points of the ears, and the dipped in color nose?  Or the black tips to the horns? He does have a decidely hostile expression in his eyes.  But then that is to be expected!  He was after all chased and killed for sport.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New Reference to Wild White Cattle & Some Cool Old Prints of White Cows................

"Similarly the 'wild white' cattle of the English parks are not true whites, for small portions about the eyes, ears, legs are coloured either black or red.  It is an historical fact that these cattle have occasionally thrown black and red calves, and, within recent years, two which had black "points" and were confined in the London Zoological Gardens, actually threw black calves."   A Manual of Mendelism, 1916, James Wilson, P.53
"Chillingham . . . present park keeper destroyed them since which period there has not been one with black ears.   It is believed that Culley's celebrated Shorthorns at the beginning of this century were bred by a cross secretly obtained with a Chillingham wild bull, and Bewick in his work just mentioned remarks, "Tame cows in season are frequently turned out amongst the wild cattle at Chillingham.""  The Complete Grazier........, 1893, William Youatt, P. 9

"In 1876 Lord Tankerville, with the object of testing the theory enunciated by the Rev John Storer, author of The Wild White Cattle of Great Britain that Shorthorns probably had their origin in the wild herds of the country, tried to effect a cross between a wild bull and some well bred Shorthorn cows.  The finest produce of these were some very fine animals exhibited at the Royal Agricultural Society's Show at Kilburn in 1879, but as they did not come up to his Lordship's expectations the plan was abandoned until 1888.   In the latter year Lord Tankerville tried the alternative of a cross between a Shorthorn bull and a wild cow and magnificent specimens of the result may be seen in the paddocks at Chillingham.The Complete Grazier...., 1893, William Youatt, P. 10
"Since the beginning of the 19th century, Shorthorn breeders have disliked white. . . .Thus white has been much less frequently bred from, yet whites have not decidedly decreased, for the reason that they are still thrown when roans are mated with each other.  Reds are thrown from the same matings, but, being not unwelcome, there appearance occasions no remark.  Breeders have been aware that there were whites among the ancestry of their breed, but, by breeding from reds and roans only, have hoped to eliminate the "reversionary white" (quotes are Wilson's) taint and eventually have their roans breeding true.  In this, however, they have never succeeded."  A Manual of Mendelism, 1916, Wilson, P. 64.
Kleberg of the King Ranch, the Rev. Storer, the New York Zoological Society -- all were of the opinion that the ancient Park Cattle were the ancestor of the Shorthorn . . .  As well, check out the Hungarian White Cow, her horns are very reminescent of the English and Texas Longhorn.................

1856, LONDON/SOCIETY: No 1. Mr. Heath’s Hereford ox (Class 5), first prize £25. 2. Mr. Herbert’s Hereford cow (Class 8), first prize £20. 3. Mr. Stratton’s shorthorn cow (Class 12), first prize £20. 4. Mr. Naylor’s Hereford ox (Class 6), first prize £25. 5. Mr. Stratton’s white shorthorn ox (Class 10), first prize £25. 6. Mr. Heath’s Gold Medal Devon (Class 2), First prize £25. 7. Mr. Fouracre’s Devon (Class 1), first prize £25. 8. Duke of Beaufort’s shorthorn ox (Class 9), first prize £25. 9. Mr. Ford’s Devon cow (Class 4), first prize £20.

1856 Illustration, London News: Caption: Hungarian white cow and calf; Kerry cow; Bretonne cow; Ayrshire cow

1890 La Vache Blanche - The White Cow by Constant Troyon

1867  Short Horn Bull, "Monitor 5019" , 5 years old, owned by H G White, South Framingham, Mass.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Snow in Southeast Texas! Second Year in a Row!

This was taken after the snow had been falling for a while and getting thicker.  This group of British White girls had left the hay ring to perhaps find their way to somewhere where this wierd white stuff wasn't falling from the sky!  They continued to move as a group around their pasture as the snow swirled and and the air grew whiter with really fat and pretty flakes. 

This is Diamond C's Porsche, came all the way from drought-stricken Smithville for some Southeast Texas snow, she doesn't look real pleased!  But we are sure pleased with her.  She's a very well made, beautiful American Fullblood heifer.  Her sire is J.West's Mazarati, her grandsire DFTX "Doc'" Watson.  Her dam is J.West's Lucy Girl, sired by King Cole, and her granddam is J.West's Lucy Lelora, sired by Halliburton Colonel.

My heifer herd, and also a couple of cows, at the hay ring when the snow began to fall................

A photo from the week before of the same herd, at the same hay ring.........what a contrast! and I love the Fall color I see every year to the north on this tree line.

Bronx Zoo Art Exhibition- Reference to Park Cattle on January 15, 1942 in the NY Times

New York Times, Published: January 15, 1942, Found at this LINK




The article makes specific mention of drawings of "park cattle" of England.  At this point in time, both the polled and horned varieties of the cattle were, and had been for many years, referenced as Park Cattle and  breed records were maintained by the Park Cattle Society in England.

There are many anecdotal comments to be found in breed histories about a group of Park Cattle being transported to the USA and/or Canada prior to the outbreak of WWII.  This is believed to have been an effort to preserve the genetics of the breed, should acts of war destroy the few existing herds in the United Kingdom.

There are two artists referenced in the article:  Australian born, Miss Mary Cecil Allen (1893-1962) and Miss Rhys Caparn (1909-1997).  Both artists were highly respected and it is certanly possible that the drawings and sculptures shown in this exhibit still exist today.  The drawings, sculpture, and possibly photographs of this exhibit would be invaluable in establishing the breed type of the Park Cattle that were housed by the Bronx Zoo.