We're getting ready to have beef for sale again. We've been planning on offering it for sale for the 4th of July weekend, so that means Happy and Louie will be leaving us in a matter of days. Although we'll still have Fiannait and Baby Buzz (who's not really a baby anymore except in personality!) it's always sad to see half the herd leave, so we've been looking for new cows. There is always so much going on at the farm that we just weren't able to get them in the spring when there are plenty for sale, but we saw an ad in a local paper offering feeders. We contacted the owner and took a ride after we closed the stand on Saturday to check out the calves- one Angus and one Hereford/Angus. Both are heifers, and black, with the cross also having a white face and small horns. We were able to have them delivered on Sunday, and after being chased by Ponyboy and Louie for a few minutes upon arrival, they seem to have settled in nicely. I'm told they are tame enough that they would come up to be scratched or petted at their previous home, so I'm sure our two new girls will be eating cookies or a stale bagel from my hand in no time.
Speaking of cows, those of you who have been following this blog know we got a Dexter heifer last fall in hopes of having a milk cow. Although the sellers thought she was bred, either she didn't take or something happened, because w didn't get a calf this spring. However, we're still so glad to have Finni, as she's just full of life and personality. You just don't get that with the average Angus or Holstein in our experience. Dan and I had just begun to discuss what to do when I got an unexpected email from the couple we bought her stating that they have a gentle bull for us to use. They had offered to loan us one when we bought her, so I'm anxious to see how this will work out. A bit on the nervous side too.
Breeding animals means being around large, powerful males. Working around boar hogs or bulls is actually considered a hazardous job in PA which means the farm worker must be over 16 to do so. Even male horses (stallions) or sheep (rams) can and have killed people. So it's best to use caution. On the other hand, I truly believe that the way animals are raised and treated makes a huge difference. I like to think that my boys are trained by friendship and respect, not fear. My boar, Wilbur, gladly lets me scratch his head. My ram, Rambo, has charged at me at a full run many times, but always stops. I'm never scared because I can see by the look in his eye that he just wants to beat the ewes to the cookies in my pocket. Of the four horses, Ponyboy is the shyest and least aggressive. (It probably doesn't hurt that he's a mini among big girls.) But these are my animals and I work with them daily. However, when we went to look at Finni and the other cows for sale, we walked among the whole herd, including bulls. All were calm as could be, even in close quarters. It also helps that Dexters are small and even I could see easily over all of their backs. And we're dealing with reputable breeders, so I believe it to be a gentle bull, which should lead to an adorable, gentle baby calf!