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CloversMum Posted - May 27 2014 : 9:53:21 PM
What is your take, MaryJane? I heard someone say that it works okay when you skip a that true?
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CloversMum Posted - Jun 01 2014 : 10:21:54 PM
These cows are so full of personality! I love farm life and all the lovely stories that come forth. I also notice that the best stories come from those times that we've spent "just being" with our animals and letting their personalities come through. I'm glad you told your tale. :-)
maryjane Posted - Jun 01 2014 : 05:26:53 AM
Licking is how a cow shows admiration. It's how they bond. What a compliment to have a cow lick the top of one's head!!!!!

Here's a tale that's sure to get me locked up but yesterday my husband and I spent the morning moving our cattle around to different pastures. It's time for them to start mating so there were plenty of separations, new beginnings, and pairings. One of my youngest bulls (just six months old) has been with two older bulls (12 and 16 months) in our largest pasture for the last two months (plenty of room for everyone) but even so he was getting picked on. Whenever I fed them treats, he just stood in the back not even trying to butt his way in.

My husband takes a moment every day to scratch each one of our bulls and talk to them. But this little guy was getting more and more sullen and he used to be so playful.

So I decided to put him in a shelter of his own but right next to another bull for companionship (separated by a fence). After preparing a good bed of straw for him and feeding him his own "plateful" of alfalfa pellets, he walked over to my husband and stood next to him with his head down. As Nick started scratching his head and back and under his chin, he started licking Nick's legs and his hands. After a long session, he looked up and both eyes were shedding tears. They were running down both sides of his face.

There you have. I think cattle are capable of crying. Last night our little guy was playful again when I went down to pet him.
CloversMum Posted - May 31 2014 : 10:08:22 PM
Thank you for explaining the difference between line breeding and inbreeding.

I guess my Clover is definitely not eating a "high protein/meat" diet...yesterday as my 8 year was kneeling to feed our new pigs through the fence, Clover walked up behind him and licked the back of his head over and over! She was so affectionate and we all were laughing as my son stood up and tried to wipe off Clover's slobber. But Clover just stood very close to him waiting for him to scratch her head.
maryjane Posted - May 28 2014 : 04:52:23 AM
When it works, it's called line breeding. When it doesn't work, it's called inbreeding. Different universities get involved in "line breeding" when selecting for certain traits.

The closest I've come to using it is a cow that I bred with a bull in which they share the same father, but have different mothers. She is due to calve in July, so I'll let you know.

My preference is to mix and match from outside the immediate family gene pool (well beyond one generation) for reasons that are purely gut-based. Also, I'm selecting for certain traits that I'm still bringing into my herd.

On another note, I got a call from someone yesterday whose job requires that he travel to work on different dairies. He said there's one dairy where the cows are so mean they're dangerous. "Even the heifers scare me, so I got to asking questions. As it turns out they're feeding them a 'high -protein' feed that has meat in it. I said I thought that was illegible now because of mad cow disease and the guy said 'as long as you feed them pig or chicken parts and/or their blood, it's not illegal.'"

Now that strikes me as just plain wrong. Cows are not carnivorous. If you buy those high-protein buckets of "whatever" at the feed store or those high-protein salt licks, you better read the label for hidden language about blood-meal or animal parts.

Poor cows. I'd be "mad" too.