Owner-Breeder Pride

Life in the Farm Lane

7/15/2013 10:18 AM

With really no great ideas for a blog this week, I’ve decided to talk about my bred and owned animals.


Basically, a bred and owned cow is one that I currently own, I owned at her birth and I owned her mom at the time of the calf’s conception and birth.


I currently own more than 60 registered Holsteins and Jerseys with only two of them not being bred and owned. To me, that’s a huge success.


Anyone with a little disposable money can purchase a good cow to show. But breeding generations of quality cattle – some that people want to purchase – is a harder task.


When I was 8 years old and entering 4-H, my dad transferred a Holstein calf, Blizzard, born on his farm into my name. We also purchased a Jersey calf, Barbie. The following year, we found two diamonds in the rough at a local sale, purchasing two more Holstein calves, Marty and Abbie.


Unfortunately, descendents of Blizzard weren’t that impressive and didn’t stay in the herd that long.


Barbie, Marty and Abbie were the basis of my slowly growing herd until 2001. At that point, my sister was exiting 4-H and I was adding FFA to my agenda. We transferred all of her animals into my name, including Jerseys Magic and Rena. Magic was the only animal by this point that traced back to my dad’s farm.


Fast-forward to 2009 when my husband and I purchased a Red and White polled calf, Caramel, and a Holstein heifer, Festive.


My herd today consists of descendents of those seven animals and we haven’t purchased any since.


Rena’s family tree has grown exponentially over the last few years, partly thanks to flushing (embryo transfer) her granddaughter, Ruthie, who became my first home-bred excellent cow, essentially meaning I was the owner-breeder when she was scored excellent. I can’t even tell you how many descendents I have from this family right now, so many that I’m running out of names for them.


One of Magic’s two daughters, Mudslide, was also scored excellent and one of the best show cows my family has over owned. At her peak, she won two local shows, was reserve grand champion at the Pa. Junior Dairy Show and stood fourth in the open show at the All-American Dairy Show. I still have seven of her family members today.


Marty was also scored excellent and named the All-PA 5-year-old cow in 2005. The bulk of my Holstein herd is offspring from her three daughters, one of which was also scored excellent – my first home-bred excellent Holstein.


Abbie’s daughters and granddaughters have become some of the best production cows in the herd, having won awards at both the state and national level. Abbie’s great-granddaughter, Ariel, is currently excellent-92-2E, and has a very promising young daughter.


Barbie’s family members aren’t the show type, but are dependable breeders with great production records. Plus, they transmit Jerseys with white spots, something that give a little different look in the barn.


Festive was a spontaneous purchase simply because she’s out of an excellent-94-point cow that’s won a lot of national and international shows. She has two full sisters that are also excellent. Unfortunately, Festive never turned out to be as beautiful as her family, but she spawned three heifers out of three calvings before her death. Those three calves are looking very promising at this point.


Caramel is shaping up to be our best buy yet, now being scored excellent-90 and producing more than 150 pounds of milk a day. Plus, she’s red and polled. She’s blessed us with a black polled daughter and a red polled daughter. The future for all three of them looks bright.

This blog may have been a little long, but I hope those reading it have gotten a little more perspective on owner-breeder animals and that building a herd of excellent, quality animals doesn’t happen overnight. I owe basically all of my success to my dad for his continued support, advice and knowledge in the dairy industry.


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9/21/2014 | Last Updated: 4:01 PM