March 11, 2010

A Good Place to Start

I suppose there's no better way to start a farm blog than to announce the birth of a new heifer calf to Peaches. The photo was taken in very low light since I didn't want to use a flash on those brand new eyes, and so I apologize for the quality. They are Dexter cattle, originally from Ireland, which makes them perfect for the Pacific Northwest.

According to Wikipedia: "The Dexter breed originated in southwestern Ireland from which it was brought to England in 1882. The breed virtually disappeared in Ireland, but was still maintained as a pure breed in a number of small herds in England. The Dexter is a small breed with mature cows weighing between 600-700 pounds and mature bulls weighing about 1000 pounds. Considering their small size, the body is wide and deep with a well-rounded hindquarter. Although usually black, a dark-red or dun Dexter is sometimes found, all animals are always solid, with only very minor white marking on the udder or behind the navel. Horns are rather small and thick and grow outward with a forward curve on the male and upward on the cow. The breed is typically a dual-purpose type, although individual herd owners often concentrated on growing either a beef or a milk animal."

Part of the reason Ryan likes the Dexters is that calving is an easy process (I'm sure he'll have more to say about Dexters in a later post). This little heifer was born around 4 or 5 in the morning (my guess), on the coldest night in a month, but her mother found the warmest, softest spot in the barn, and the little girl was up and exploring within an hour or two. And like all the Dexter cows, Peaches is a very good mother. Unlike the other cows, unfortunately, Peaches can be a little surly at milking time....which is a real shame since she has the nicest udder in the herd (if you milk, you'll understand). Fortunately, as far as the milk is concerned, Blossom has a little steer that is about a month old, and Blossom is a very pleasant cow. Here's a clip of the little guy in action last week.

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