Feature Heifers: Then And Now

The feature heifers have grown so much since I first introduced them to you! We moved the AI bunch down closer to the house and this weekend we’ll be busy AIing!

411 was very hungry the day I was out shooting photos. Her mother was not terribly accommodating, however. 

4005 is – you guessed it – still sassy. She’s a pretty cool heifer; I sure like her a lot.

And finally, here are “then and now” collages of the girls.

I hope to have a few spare minutes this weekend to jot down some notes and take some photos for a post about AIing. Come June I will definitely be living up to the “asphalt cowgirl” moniker – stay tuned for updates!

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend, everyone!

Yours in travel,

The Asphalt Cowgirl

“Now our windshield’s a painting that hangs in our room, It changes each mile like the radio tune” —Rodeo Moon, Chris Ledoux

Cow Families

I’ve had some great cows over the years. Actually, my entire cow herd – past and present – comes from a heifer my folks gave me when I was 8 years old. Here’s what I looked like then…

Now, I have a pretty cool 11-year-old cow who is the matriarch of the bunch these days. Her number is 3064.
I’ve kept every heifer she’s ever had for a replacement. I bred her to Red Angus bulls the first few years – this is 742, her 7-year-old daughter.
Then I started breeding her to Hereford bulls, hoping for some heifers just like her! Here’s 0217, her 4-year-old daughter.
And 1031, her 3-year-old daughter.
And 2004, her 2-year-old daughter, who is a full sister (same sire, too) to 1031. 2004 and her dam calved on the same day this year, so 3064 became a mom and a grandma (again) all in the same day!
What do you think? See any family resemblance? I do, but I know them pretty well!

Stay tuned for another post this week updating you on this year’s feature heifers!

Yours in travel,

The Asphalt Cowgirl

“Now our windshield’s a painting that hangs in our room, It changes each mile like the radio tune” —Rodeo Moon, Chris Ledoux

Oh, Farm Fair…

The past three days, I helped with the Gallatin Farm Fair, which is organized by the Gallatin Valley Ag Committee. Over 1,000 fourth graders attended over the three days, rotating between 16 different stations, going on a horse-drawn hay ride, and having a tasty lunch. My job was to present at the beef cattle station. A rancher in the valley brought a cow and calf for me to use.
I promise they aren’t the devil; it was dark in the back of the barn when I was taking photos. Of course I heartily approved that they were red cattle!
The same general script was used for each group. We talked about the cow and the calf and how much baby calves and baby humans weigh when they’re born. Then we talked about what cows eat, and how their digestive system is different than ours. My trusty 4-compartment stomach diagram poster helps me with this part. 

As you can see, it’s traveled quite a few miles with me. No one made any comments about the cow standing on top of the other one this week, though.
One of my favorite parts is to tell the students about how cows chew their cud. There are looks of disgust and wonder in the audience when they learn that cows regurgitate feed they didn’t chew very well the first time and chew it again.
In addition to learning about different cuts of beef, we also talked about the products we get from beef cattle that we don’t eat. The hide is often the first non-edible part that students identify. I use a fun little guessing game about sports equipment made from leather. Did you know 144 baseballs can be made from one cowhide?
We also talk about other byproducts that might not be top-of-mind. I have a handy tote that lives in my office that helps me with this part of the presentation. More looks of disgust and wonder ensue when they learn about gelatin… 

Although the script exists, the questions that the students ask really shapes the discussion. There are always some great questions that send us off on strange tangents. Here are some examples:
  • Is it true that Kobe beef drink root beer and get massages?
  • Which stomach compartment does the baby calf grow in?
    • Two groups of 4thgraders learned the word “uterus” this week.
  • Why does her tail come off of her body there?
    • Um…
  • Shouldn’t there be a buck with that cow?
    • Maybe a bull, but probably never a buck…
  • Are you going to kill a cow?
    • Not today.
  • Why does pineapple juice make tough meat tender?
    • Good one. How the crap does a 4th grader know that?!
  • What is the strongest bone or muscle in a cow’s body?
  • Are all bulls mean like the ones in the rodeo?
  • Bulls are the ones with horns, right?

 And last, but certainly not least, this exchange:
  • What would happen if you left a bull with the cows all the time?
    • You would have calves at all different times during the year.
  • Why?
    • Because the bull would breed the cows at all different times of the year.
  • *dazed and confused*
    • OK. If you had intact male and female dogs who were together all the time, you would have puppies at all different times during the year, right?
  • Yes. But I have four dogs, 2 boys and 2 girls, and they’re fixed.
    • We can do that with cattle, too. When we neuter a bull, then they’re called a steer. We can also spay heifers.
  • Cool.

At every program I do involving small humans, I reaffirm that I made the appropriate career choice by not majoring in elementary education. God bless you, teachers!!!

Yours in travel,
The Asphalt Cowgirl

“Now our windshield’s a painting that hangs in our room, It changes each mile like the radio tune” —Rodeo Moon, Chris Ledoux

Little Widget Update

Little Widget, the Miracle Baby, is looking great after having her first calf.

Her calf’s number is 488. At our place, all calves born to first-calf heifers get a white tag, and this one was the 88th crossbred calf born in 2014 (hence starting with a 4).

Little 488 has grown a bit since she was born.

This week I am presenting about beef cattle at the Gallatin Farm Fair for 3 days. By the end of the 3rd day, I will have given the same (or pretty much the same) talk 48 times to over 1,000 4th graders from around the Gallatin Valley! It’s a great event full of learning about agriculture!!
Yours in travel,

The Asphalt Cowgirl

“Now our windshield’s a painting that hangs in our room, It changes each mile like the radio tune” —Rodeo Moon, Chris Ledoux