Willow’s Bling

Most cattle farms have a succession plan for their herd, and mine is focused on pure bred red angus cows and charolais mix cows, like my Bella. This spring Bella gave me a beautiful charolais mix heifer, Pearl, who is definitely a keeper. I also keep a few outliers in the main herd even though they aren’t red or white because they are good mamas. There are the black angus mixes Patty and Gilley, Josie our angus/hereford cross and my two angus/braunvieh cross heifers, Hazel and Heidi, that I traded for last spring.

With a fixed number of acres in pasture not every heifer can stay at TurkeyCrest. Every year, hard choices and difficult decisions have to be made but this year is a happier one. Because of the new bull, I can keep a few more of the young girls and grow my herd a bit.

In the Front field, reside the herd of eight young heifers. All are 2018 babies, born between June and September and none are related to Shane, my red angus bull. A number of these heifers are already designated as keepers. The two reds Bonnie and Reba, one black angus Oprah who will be a replacement for her older Mama in a few years, and of course Willow who is here for life. But eight heifers are too many to keep so after a lot of consideration, Edith was chosen to go to auction. Edith is a beautiful black angus heifer, she will make a fine replacement cow at another farm.

Yesterday we decided to work the heifers through the head gate to give them all a booster shot against blackleg, a pour-on de-wormer and to replace old ear tags. The sun was hot and the temperature rising by the time we started the process. These heifers follow a feed bucket anywhere so getting them up to the corral was a snap. I have never had such a calm, relaxed session working cattle as with this group yesterday. Each young cow calmly walked into the crowding box, down the alleyway and into the head gate. I was able to get them one at a time, keeping Edith for last for her ride in the trailer to the auction.

The absolute funniest heifer to work was Willow. She had never been worked through the head gate before and was completely fascinated with the whole process. Instead of guiding her with the cattle stick, I had to stand beside her and pat her butt to keep her moving. She would stop now and then to the taste the grass growing between the panels. Willow is the happiest and most mellow bovine EVER! I decided to give her an ear tag, something I had not been able to do in the past. She didn’t even flinch, and seemed proud to be sporting her first bling. Of course, her number is #1!

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