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."