Thursday, January 5, 2012

future farm critters - part 1: cattle

So, I've been super bogging on posting because I have a crapload of pictures I want to show y'all from our Nov/Dec trip to the holler, but I've also been slacking on processing said images, and it's become a vicious cycle of me hating on myself for not finishing them yet and feeling guilty for not having posted anything since... ahem... December 11th.

So today, I brilliantly remembered (dingdingdingding!) that I could quite possibly talk about some other subject instead of worrying about those damn pictures so much. Until I finish them at least. There's really not that many (a hundo or so), but being the OCD weirdo that I am, I must ensure that they meet my processing standards. Crackheading out over here.

I consulted my trusty "blogging ideas" list on (hello digital post-it hell) and randomly picked today's subject matter:

Animals we'd like to keep.

What an original title.

Browsing through my Pinterest homesteading board (image bookmarking HEAVEN, people), there are a few varieties of heritage livestock breeds that we're particularly interested in. See, we're new to this whole homesteading thing (and only currently in the backyard homesteading stage instead of the full-fledged homesteading we-are-hillbilly-farmers stage), and although I feel mildly successful thus far with our chicken shenanigans (which, by the wayside, has become annoyingly trendy and I feel a bit robbed of my purported weirdness among family, friends, and strangers alike, although they were still shocked and a bit disturbed when I brought a home-grown hen to the Christmas brunch table, freshly butchered, dressed, and cooked that morning, which made me feel better - and yea, every last piece of that thing was scarfed down), I would still like to start out with easy breeds in each type of farm animal. wtf, run-on sentence

Heritage breeds are supposedly better adapted to the homesteading lifestyle: better resistance to parasites/worms/etc, able to mostly fend for themselves, slower growing, friendlier, and all around more independent than breeds cultivated for specific traits. I love caring for and tending to animals, but the more self-sufficient they are, even if that means trade-offs in the form of less end product (meat, milk, whatever), the better in my mind.

So without further ado, here's a few of our faves:

Holy cuteness, Batman, amiright?!
[image courtesy Dreugans Molach Farm]

Now, I realize that baby animals probably aren't the best method with which to decide breeds, but I'm pretty sold on these Scottish Highland cattle. We really kind of want to fulfill that farm ideal of having a cow, but our pasture areas are somewhat limited (more on our usable acreage in a future post, aka, further procrastinating on trip pictures), and these bad boys are A) on the smallish side B) forage well and aren't picky about having picture-perfect fescue (or whatever the hell it is that cattle like to eat), C) give delicious meat and so-so milk (plan to get milk from goats anyway [edit: not anymore!]) and D) are fuzzy and rad looking!

In case you forgot how fucking bad-ass these guys are.
[image courtesy Dreugans Molach Farm]

We would probably start out with just a female because I've heard female stock are generally easier to keep than males (figures) and then get some bull's swimmers put in her (aka, artificial insemination) and see what we end up with for a baby cow. Then figure out if we keep the offspring for meat or further procreation or sell it for a buck or whatever. Lots of logistics involved, but I figure we'll have plenty of time to sort out those details when the time comes. I know that most farm animals prefer to have a buddy, but cows don't necessarily need a partner of the same species, especially if they have other farm buddies like goats and sheep and chickens running around. Getting two sounds a bit daunting until we figure out what the hell we're doing.

Heritage breeds can be a bit more difficult to find than standard stock breeds, but I figure we'll welcome the opportunity to explore and take road trips to find our future farm critters.

And in case you forgot again:

I might have a hard time eating them.
[image courtesy Windy Acres Farm Shop]

Next: piggies!

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