Those "New Life" Decisions
What's your goal?
Breeding, the making of new life. Decisions that shouldn't be taken lightly. Things like this take some time, research, and the general "knowhow" to be successful. Most Dexter breeders have a goal for their herd. Some are just trying to produce beef for the freezers, new milk cows for a homestead operation, or breeding stock to advance the breed for future generations. That's what we do. We do breeding stock! Anything that doesn't meet our standards becomes beef for our freezers.
Now because our cow herd has been closed for so many years our cow lines are very similar with a few outliers here and there. We have some "old line" cows as well as more of the "modern" lineage as well. So how do we decide who gets bred to whom? It takes some knowing of the pedigrees as well as history of what the cow's calves have looked like in the past. If you are interested in breeding for certain colors, that's a whole new can of worms and not something that we generally try for because you can lose other traits in the mix. Line breeding amplifies traits! It can double up on those things you really like, but it can also bring undesirable traits into the light.
Our two bulls=two different distinct types of Dexters. High Pines Rex is dun, carries red, a non-carrier of Chondrodysplasia, dehorned, and is A1A2 for beta casein.
He throws almost cookie cutter calves. Almost all are shorter in stature little chunky calves that have the depth of body needed for a brood cow or breeding bull. We have had some real beauties out of him over the last couple years.
Now on the complete flip side we have Morning Star Houdini. Houdini is what some call "traditional." He is black but carries dun, dehorned, non-carrier of Chondrodysplasia and PHA, as well A2A2 for beta casein. As you can see his body style is much different from Rex's. To put it lightly, he's a tank. A big teddy bear of bull. His calves are much different in appearance. They are taller and longer bodied calves. Not any better or worse. Just different than Rex's. Houdini also throw small calves even though he is large. Rex's calves tend to be little chunks. We haven't had any calving problems with either but it's just an observation.
So the decision, who goes with who?
That was decided the beginning of July. As you can see our record for it, isn't all that scientific. Changes are made on the fly. The real issue with trying to split our herd is getting those darn calves where they are supposed to be! Always a fight. Someone always ends up where they should be. Words fly. Tensions rise and anger flows. One things to ALWAYS keep in mind: Never ever take anything personally when moving any kind of livestock.
In the end, have a plan, stick to it and then wait impatiently for 9 months until that first calf hits the ground!
Until Next Time...