"Is that your bull?"
Many times people have visited the farm seen this cow and asked this question. And, the answer is “No”. This is actually Sophie one of our cows and not only one of our cows but one of our cornerstone cows. So, why do people ask if she’s our bull? Usually it’s because of her horns.
So here’s a little about horns and cattle. Horns consist of an outer covering of horn, which is keratin and other proteins (like finger nails). And a core of living bone, which has blood vessels hence “living bone”. All cattle, both males (bulls) and females (cows) can have horns. Actually they should have horns.
Now you may ask “Why do some cattle not have horns?” Well one way to have cows do not have horns is to remove the horns. This is usually done at an early age and the horn “root” has to be removed or the horn will grow back. Also, there is trait called “Polled” which means the animal is born and can not grow horns. This trait comes about by selective breeding. Personally I think cows look better with horns. I voiced this opinion to Doc. He said “fine” and that if I wanted to leave horns on the cows then I can deal with those cows. Well I was trying to put an ear tag on a cow with horns, she whipped her head around while my face my next to her horns, and suddenly I changed my mind about horns. It seems that my dad had a very good point about not having cows with horns. In addition when you have some cows with horns and some without the cows with horns will use them on the other cows and this can injure them, which is especially bad when they are pregnant.
Now back to Sophie. We decided to use Sophie as one of our cornerstone herd dams because she has the characteristics that make her a great grass fed cow. She has shorter legs, a full thick square body, and a straight back. In additionally she has great maternal instincts and has produced some outstanding calves. In fact Gearld Fry, a noted cattleman, offered me twice what we paid for her after one look. I declined.
I never took into account the fact that there are some cattle that get their horns removed while they are still young by removing their roots. I guess there are reasons for that which every bull sales owner have, and it might be related to the health of the animal. And I hope that proper processes are done to ensure that the animal will not get hurt as well.
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FARM QUESTIONS BY CLIFTON
Here in Farm Questions I will answer any questions you may have about farming to the best of my abilities. Also, I will post more detailed explanations of things we do on the farm and give advice if I can. Remember: advice is free, but good advice will cost you. Just kidding. (no I’m not). So help me make this an interesting part of our web site and ask any question you want. I promise not to make fun of you.