Questions and Answers – March 2015 Edition

Let’s go!

Della/Joanne/Peg:  (Concerning my doodle shoes)  Do you use a pen, sharpie, what? Most looks way too fine for a typical sharpie, but maybe a fine point?  How long did it take to complete your doodling?

I used a fine point sharpie on canvas shoes.  I did it over a series of nights in front of the tv, so I’m unsure how long it took.  I resisted making them matching, I thought it would be hard, but it was actually faster on the second shoe since I didn’t have to think up what design I was going to put where… I’d guess 3 or 4 hours???

Susan:  What is the history of the Black Angus breed? Why are some of them bald? (Ok that’s two questions…)

Angus cattle were brought to the U.S. in the 1880’s and slowly became popular.  They came from Aberdeenshire and Angus areas of Scotland.  They are either solid red or solid black, we have blacks.  They are naturally polled, meaning they don’t have horns, which was a benefit.  The lack of white around eyes and udders also cut down on the problem of pinkeye and sunburn.  While the Greets started with Herefords, we switched to Angus bulls in the 1980’s.  When you cross an Angus and Hereford, you get a black hide with white face.  These are called baldies.

Joanne:  What dogs do you currently have working on your ranch.? What are they best at or in training to do?

Altogether we have Sam, Tuff, Gemma, Lucas, Dally, Eden.  They are Border Collie, Australian Shepherd, Boxer(!), and my English Shepherds.  Gemma, the boxer, is more companion, though she does go along on some trail drives.  Sam is a constant worker, quiet, and sneaky.  Tuff is learning his way around corrals and kicking cows off of fencelines.  My dogs are used in trailing and gathering cattle.  Eden is currently working on learning to be sent out away from me and her directions.  Lucas is quiet, best at working with momma cows and babies, Dally can cover more country than Lucas, though Eden is much quicker and lighter footed… Dally won’t be able to keep up!

Joan:  Was that an umbilical hanging underneath? Does it just dry up and fall off? Was this calf younger that the others? Why weren’t they running and bucking, or had they already done that?

Yes, the umbilical hangs under their belly and in a couple of days it dries up and falls off.  The video had calves all born that night.  Sometimes you feel like bucking… sometimes you don’t!

Sherri:  Why doesn’t Eden have a tail? Or does it just look like that?  If it’s docked is that a breed thing that they did in the past or usually?

Eden is a natural bob tail English Shepherd.  It’s genetic.  When I breed her to Lucas, who has a tail, they’ll produce pups with all lengths of tail…

Judy:  I assume these babies are from the first calf heifers. Do you sell the heifers, or keep any as replacements?

Judy, these heifers are first calf heifers and our replacements as well.  We already sold those that we didn’t want to keep.

Marilyn:  how is the new calf warmer working out?

Great!  The guys have used it a fair amount.  Although only a few may have needed it desperately, it’s been nice to have it to use to dry them off for preventative measures!

Kris:  I thought I read a while ago that you were breeding out the baldies in your herd. Is it a dominant trait? Their faces have such personality with those white patches!

We are, although I repeatedly ask for more Hereford back in the bunch, the guys always overrule me.  I love the white faces myself, it makes them more distinctive beside just BLACK.  It isn’t a dominant trait… obviously it can be bred out… but it does hang on with some of our girls, and I love it!

Margaret:  I thought you were raising black Angus only in the photos I have seen. Does this white face suggest some Hereford mixed in?

Yes!  See questions above!

Susan:  my understanding is that lots of heifers don’t survive their first calving, which I guess is why you were checking on them day and night.

I’ll disagree with your statement.  Heifers are like young teenagers experiencing birth.  They are more prone to difficulties, plus they’ve never done it before, so it’s confusing.  Even I remember trying to figure out if what I was feeling was a contraction the first time around!  So “lots of heifers don’t survive” is incorrect.  They do survive.  You must do some things though… like breed to a bull that will have low birthweight calves… obviously if they weigh 65 pounds vs. 95 it’s going to be easier.  Keep a close eye on them in case the calf is backwards or too big or she lays in a wet ditch.  She also needs to get up and take care of it right away.  Cows don’t have the problems because of their mature frame size and experience.  We still keep an eye on them as well, though we don’t watch them through the night.

Thanks, everyone!


Questions and Answers – March 2015 Edition — 6 Comments

    • Peg, you are welcome to come anytime, but it’s better if you wait until the snow has melted… It’s kind of hard to show off when you can’t get anywhere!

  1. Thank you for the opportunity to ask questions each month – it’s always very interesting to read the ?’s and answers! This time I discovered that Gemma is a part of the clan!! Whose dog is she?

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