Friday, May 14, 2010

Coming next year: calves!

After many months of looking, we finally have a bullfriend for Molly and Bridget the Irish Dexter heifers. As you know, Bridget has been screaming like crazy every 21 days because like most adolescents, she thinks she needs a boyfriend. I've tried to explain to her that she's too young for such things, but you know teenagers. She doesn't listen!

I really did not think my requirements were that tough, but it took months to find a bull that satisfied me. All I wanted was, #1, a bull that was polled, meaning that he was born without the ability to grow horns. Personally, I don't want to have a testosterone-crazed male with two daggers on his head running around my farm. Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. I know my limitations, and if I was an adrenaline junkie, I'd be getting paid as a bull rider in rodeos.

I also wanted a bull that was friendly and had been handled. We'll be sharing him with another farm, so he needs to be halter trained so we can get him on and off a trailer twice a year without feeling like we're in a rodeo.

Finally, I wanted a bull that tested negative for two genetic problems that can be found in Irish dexters -- PHA and chondro. I won't bore you with the details, but they can both result in abortions or dead calves, so why take that risk, right?

I was thrilled to finally find Jaxon. He'll be a year old in July, and he was born on a farm in Iowa where they have ten Irish dexter milk cows. Jaxon was tied up every morning while his mother was being milked for the first four months of his life, so he is well acquainted with how a lead rope works. He is extremely friendly. Today I introduced him to alfalfa cubes, and now he thinks my hands are made of alfalfa, and he sticks out his big, long tongue, and tries to pull my hand into his mouth when he sees me! Okay, we'll have to work on that, but it's not a big problem.

We don't want any February calves, so Jaxon can't stay with the girls just yet. Molly was certainly acting like she was in heat when we brought him home. We thought we'd hide him in the barn, but Molly started mooing, and he mooed back, so it's not much of a secret. The due date for calves would have been February 14, which is still a lot colder than I want for calving, so we're waiting until their next heat cycle to breed them.

And if you are really wondering why we don't want a bull with horns, just look at this picture -- Would you want a bull with horns?

11 comments:

Abiga/Karen said...

We are looking forward to reading about your adventures in Irish Dexter Cows. Blessings.

SkippyMom said...

How sweet - alfalfa hands. heehee and now we get to see cow babies TOO? How cool is THAT?

Ah...livin vicariously through you is so much fun :D Thanks!

Shula said...

LOL I can see why horns would not be desirable. Nice looking guy, is that fully grown? I don't know that much about the breed.

Mr. and Mrs. Hoosier Homesteader said...

After we get more of our pasture fenced, we were wanting to add a milking Dexter. Maybe you can point us in the direction of a good milking herd??? :)

Heidi said...

Oh my he is too cute. I have been thinking we should add cows once we get settled, and considering dexters.

Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

Jaxon will be a year old in July, so he is not full grown yet, but he won't get a lot taller. He'll fill out more, but will probably be around 40 inches tall.

CONEFLOWER said...

Oh, wow! He is a handsome guy for sure!! Have fun..

Tammy said...

I always end up as 'neigbhors' to the Irish Dexter's at the Celtic Festival. For the past three years, "Patrick" has been the star of the show. He is a red color --you can see the link (hopefully) here http://musingsfairlightfarm.blogspot.com/search/label/Celtic%20Festival Anyway, it was alarming to me how tame and friendly he is. Coming from a background where dairy bulls were used, I was skeptical that a bull could be that calm...but so far he has been stellar in manners and attitude. Good luck with your little guy.
Tammy

Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

Thanks for that link, Tammy! That will give people an idea of what Jaxon will look like when he's grown up. Funny that there was a Highland there also. That was the other breed we were considering!

Stephanie said...

He is beautiful! Congrats

Sunflower Hill Farm said...

Congrats! We have found that our friendly, scratch-lovin' steers can move their heads pretty quickly. They wouldn't try to hurt you but could, if they had horns. We are big believers in horn-free, too.

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