MM Livestock Co

  (Wildomar, California)
It just makes sense.
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Testing Time

It's that time of year again. The state vet will be out in a few days to Bangs test the herd and Tric thest the bulls that are for sale, all the cattle that are breeders must be bangs tested annually. The testing is to make sure that they are free from brucellosis, tuberculosis, and johnes disease. We also do an Eliza test on the sheep to make sure the flock is free of CL and a variety of other potential problems. It's not a fun day but necessary. We have good handling systems so stress on the animals is minimal. I utilize the time that the animals are in close to check condition and body score, preg check any animals that I'm not sure of. We see our stock every day but don't put "hands" on them unless there is a need. They aren't pets and need to keep their instincts sharp in case of predators. The cows move willingly for horses and stock dogs as do the sheep. The critters at the home place are a little different, they need to be used to human interaction because they serve as a teaching tool. The only way people are truly going to learn about the importance of grass based livestock production is to get "close up" with some of the animals. I don't keep cattle at the home place for 2 reasons. 1 not enough pasture, and 2 they are big enough to REALLY hurt someone if they get spooked. A friend suggested a couple of miniature cows would be nice but I can't justify feeding something that for me, has no function other than being cute. Other people love the small breeds but I just can't see the logic. Our Belties are as small as I want to go. It's a personal preference and there is a niche for the smaller cattle. Banker, Gracie and I had better get busy, we have a long day ahead of us. Meg

Tagging and banding lambs

Today after morning chores were done it was time to tag and band the lambs. They get a Scrapie tag in one ear and a Farm Tag in the other. Our flocks are certified scrapie free so keeping accurate records is important. The scrapie tag has the US I.D # on it as well as the unique number assigned to each animal for traceability. The Farm Tags are pink or blue this year and numbered so we know when each lamb was born and who its mother is. We use Premier mini tags since they seem to work the best for us. Then we band tails. In our area fly strike can be a big problem so the long tailed lambs get banded and their tails fall off in about a week. The sheep with a higher percentage of Dorper. Influence have shorter tails that don't collect debris so we leave their tails alone. All the ram lambs get castrated as well. They just seem to grow better when whethered. We try to do this when the lambs are between 3 and 7 days old. It's less stressful on them to do it now rather than when they are older. They will staying the jugs for another day or two and then go back out with the flock. So far there have been no fatalities and everyone is healthy. Tomorrow I get the pleasure of helping Sammy castrate pigs and remove needle teeth. Not fun but necessary. Breeding season for the horses is just around the corner so Sir gets all his tests taken tomorrow as well. He's a heck of a nice young horse and after he finishes breeding the mares he has booked here he's going to Idaho to stand at stud for a couple of years as well as get some show miles on him. My filly "Pants" is going north with him to get some miles on her as well, she is a half sister to the colt that was murdered. That will just leave 5 head here until fall. Red is going to need some tuning up as it will be just him and Banker to do the cattle work this year. Well its time to feed the dogs and call this day a night. Remember farm pick up for members are Friday and Saturday. Call ahead so we know you're coming. Meg 951-805-7341

What about the pigs?

I've had a lot of questions recently about why we have a sister farm raising our pigs. Well, there are a lot of reasons, the most important one being it is better for them to be raised within a reasonable distance of a USDA slaughter facility. If we raised the hogs here they would have to be in a trailer for over 5 hours just to get to a packer, add lairage time and that's 18 plus hours between the farm and the end. That's WAY too much stress to put on a pig. Phil is only 30 miles from the plant so its 90 minutes from pasture to processing. Another reason is we wanted Berkies. We believe that these Heritage Hogs produce the best pork available. Berkshire is to pork as Wagu is to beef. The Breeder we talked to agreed to raise them for us and his facility is AMAZING! He raises his pigs in family groups on irrigated pastures, They get grains and veggies in addition to being able to root and act like pigs. They never have to walk in feces or drink dirty water. When I told Phil about "The Stein Principle" he laughed and asked me if I wanted a camera in the pastures to watch the pigs grow. I said "Can we Do that? My customers would love it!" So we're looking in to how to make that happen. Cool Stuff! There are other reasons for doing things the way we do them. Pigs with poor genetics, poor quality feed, and that suffer undue stress produce what is called PSE pork. PSE stands for Pale Soft and Exudative. The common term is Soft Pork. The texture of the meat is spongy, and the fat melts at room temperature. Soft pork is also the packers nightmare, it gums up the saws and is a mess. There are also some health concerns with soft pork and you can e-mail me for links to the studies. So bottom line. We want to give our customers the best product we can raise as locally as possible. A 5 hour trip once a month for me to pick up my animals at the locker beats them having to spend 18 hours waiting to become supper hands down. Meg
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