Category Archives: 2009-7

Breaking to Tie or Lead

By Judy Splitt

Breaking a calf to lead is money in the bank. Think about it….. when you go look at cattle, are you attracted to the calf that is on a halter so you can look at it and is tame? What do you think of the wild ones that want to climb the fence or have the look of a wild beast in their eyes. I know I will pay more for a calf that is halter broke when I buy it. It is worth more to me not to have a wild one. If it’s a heifer calf, I want to be able to take her in the barn to calve. If she needs help, I can halter her to assist. When we work our cows, it’s much easier to have the calm ones going through the chute. We try to have all our calves on a halter for some time.

This is how we do it. First, dress for the occasion. Long pants, boots, (preferably steel toed) and leather gloves.

We try to mess with the calves and cows so they are used to us being around them. Many of them are old show cows and will let us go up and rub their backs. The younger the better to start putting halters on them. The smaller they are the easier they are to handle. We use rope halters that have a slide on them. The slide will loosen up when they stop pulling on the halter. You can buy them with the slide or you can make your own. The halter goes over the head so the ring is on the left side with the rope pulling under
the chin. Make sure the rope is over both ears. The first few times we stay with them so they don’t hurt themselves or get wrapped up in the rope. They are tied to a solid wall or a pole so they can jump and not get their legs caught. Each time we tie them up we let them stand for longer time periods. After a few times we start feeding them while they are tied up. It doesn’t take long for them figure out that when they get tied they get fed. Next step is to brush them while they are tied up. Then we untie them and take them to water. Keep the rope short and have your hand close to the head (about 12 to 18 inches) so you have control. After a few wild trips it gets easier each time. All of this is done in a small pen or area. Talking to them is good. They get used to your voice and it will be a calming experience for them. Patience is the true key. Small steps are best. You will find the more you do it the easier it is. When you are able to lead them to water, the next step is to get them in a chute and wash them. Or maybe I should say wet them down and blow them out. It is truly amazing after a couple washes how much that helps. If they are kickers, spray water on their feet. They can kick till they figure out that the water and you are not going to hurt them. We have the radio pretty loud in the barn from time to time. This helps them so they aren’t easily spooked by noise.

There are two stages to halterbreaking: broke to lead and broke to show. If you want your animal to be broke to show we’re talking a lot more time… you need to be able to take that calf out in the yard, know how to stop, stand still and not be afraid of anything. It’s a good thing to have them tied and have a stranger come around them. It desensitizes them. When you are in the ring you don’t want your calf wanting to take flight when the judges walks toward you. If you can take them to a neighbor and unload them, it’s better to have them freak out there than at a show. You will find that your 2nd show with a calf they are calm and adjust easy to the commotion. So with that in mind take a trip to the neighbor or to a small local show to get your animals ready for the bigger show. Exposing your cattle to the public is the key to future sales.

Iowa State Fair

Miniature Hereford Show August 19 – 20, 2009

By Bev Strong

This is Region 5 Director, Bev Strong coming to you from the sunny but sometimes soggy state of Iowa. We are gearing up for the Iowa State Fair Miniature Hereford Show. The date of arrival is August 19, 2009 thru August 22. All entries may check in from 7 a.m. thru noon. We will weigh in at 3 p.m. After all cattle are settled in we will have a BBQ on the grounds. We invite all breeders, their families, fitters, and MHBA members to come to a Get To Know Each Other BBQ. Coke will generously provide Coke products for our meal. We have asked all our Celebrity Baby Bull contestants to join us.

The entries are due by July 1; late entries will be acceted until July 8 with a $10 penalty. Iowa State fair allows substitution within breed on any animal you enter rather than by class. Anyone wanting to fly in to see the show, if they call the Quality Inn, they will pick you up and deliver you back at their expense.

Now for the fun part, the MHBA would like to invite all to view the first ever Celebrity Baby Bull Class. It will start our show. We hope to give our ranches some PR and also give our contestants some advertising. Everyone asked why baby bulls. To tell the truth when we got this idea, I looked at my babies and said what do I have the most of to cover this? I was thinking maybe 3 or 4. Then we had a wonderful surprise. Everyone was excited and wanted to show our babies. We now have 12 and expecting 13 as I write this. What we were trying to accomplish is happening. We are getting media coverage. As the list grows you will see we have people from all areas of life and locations:
Gary Van Aernam – President of Iowa State Fair Board
Gary Edwards -Des Moines Convention & Visitors Center
Ronald McDonald –Ronald McDonald House
Frank Brownell -Brownells Inc CEO
Ken Root–WHO Radio Big Show Guys
Erica Reimers –Sullivans Show Supply
Coca Cola-Lynn Clayton
Dr. Schroeder- Mercy Hospital
Tim Gassmann –Millhiser Smith Insurance Agency
Representative- Endreprocessing
Brian Rinehart – Hydro Klean
Representative- Adventureland
We have six classes for our Junior Show. We will have a new class for Junior Heifers shown by any age MHYA Member 3-18. This is a heifer born 1-1-09 and after. Our open Miniature Hereford Show will follow with thirteen classes. We have a new class this year GET OF SIRE. Information for all classes can be viewed at iowastatefair.org
So whether you are showing or sitting in the crowd learning, come enjoy an afternoon with us or stop by Wednesday thru Saturday

Central Washington State Fair

Miniature Hereford Show Sept. 30 – Oct. 4, 2009

By Arlou Cox

Tough Enough to Wear Pink?

Well are you? The MHBA Miniature Hereford Show at the Central Washington State Fair has designated October 2, 2009 “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” day to raise breast cancer awareness and earn donations for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and Region 8 has a breeder in our region who is battling this disease, so choosing to support the fight against breast cancer at this particular show seemed very appropriate. All donations raised will go the the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

One person can make a difference…..
So are you Tough Enough? I encourage you to take the challenge and support a great cause and wear Pink on show day at the Central Washington State Fair, Miniature Hereford Show. If you would like to make a donation to this worthy cause, please mail check or money order made payable to Susan G. Komen Foundation to address below:
For more information contact:
Arlou Cox
MHBA Region 8 Director
3830 Clerf Road
Ellensburg, WA 98926
509-968-4564
Email: tac12@charter.net

Northern Int’l Livestock Expo

Miniature Hereford Show October 14 – 16, 2009

Wednesday, October 14: Move in
Thursday, October 15: Conformation Clinic @ 9:30 am
– Includes pancake breakfast (We will need several electric griddles. If you can bring one please let Jo know)
Friday, October 16: Show @ 3:00 pm
-Celebrity Baby Bulls
-Youth Show
-MHBA Show
Additional Information:
The registration forms may be found on http://
www.thenile.org .
You can download them and then mail to the
NILE
HOST HOTEL:
Holiday Inn Express. Pool and Full Breakfast
included. Rate is $114.00 plus tax per room
per night. No Pets (sorry). Block of rooms held
until September 21. Make reservation before.
Phone 406-259-8600
If you have any questions please contact Jo
Young at riverslideranch@yahoo.com or
406-777-3138 or Lesta Kugeler at Lkugeler@
aol.com or 970-487-3037
The web site www.thenile.org has additional
information on other attractions. The Rodeo is
a really good one.
For those who can, I recommend a trip to Billings for the Show. Billings, of course is still a
cowboy kind of place in a beautiful setting and
the show provides good competition and a great time to
visit with fellow breeders
and make new friends. A
thumbs up for the show.
Lesta Kugeler
Region 7 Director

NM State Star Greenhand

By Alice Velasquez

Lawrence Velasquez of the ABJ Cattle Company was recently named the State Star Greenhand for the state of NM at their recent State FFA Convention. Lawrence’s supervised Agriculture Experience program is comprised of Miniature Hereford Cattle, which has been the main emphasis of his FFA program. FFA students are required to keep and maintain financial records of their Supervised Agriculture Education program upon entering Agriculture Education their freshman year of high school.

At the end of two years of Agriculture Instruction records are judged and three finalists are selected for an interview go-round at the state FFA convention in Las Cruces, NM.  Projects are judged on size and growth as well as achievement.  Students are expected to know and explain their programs, marketing plans, and goals for the future. The Star awards are very hard to attain in the FFA organization as students have many varieties of projects as well as levels of achievements.  Mr. Velasquez was subject to
intense interviews about his projects, financial records, as well as leadership accomplishments.   His projects include Miniature Hereford cattle, show steers, market lambs, pigs and hay production.  He is also expanding his clipping and fitting business along with his family and will be available for custom fitting services for shows.

Mr. Velasquez’s project is an example of how Miniature cattle can be great projects for our youth that will challenge them and give them a foothold into their future into the agriculture industry.

Lindsay Littles

By Sheila Lindsay

Lindsay Littles began as an idea in the fall of 2006 when a mom suffering from empty nest syndrome decided she needed a new hobby. Jim and I own 35 acres and had been running miniature bucking bulls, teaching youngsters how to bull ride for about 6 years. In May 2006 our youngest graduated from high school and we felt that the bucking bulls needed to go. They were very time consuming as they spent most of their time fighting and tearing out fence and since the bull rider now lived in Wyoming we felt it was time for them to live with a family that could use them. They joined a stock contractor herd in August.

By November we were missing them. I got on the internet and found KP Ranch. My grandfather and father had raised Herefords for years in Montana. Because of their color and gentle disposition we decided mini Herefords would be perfect. We bought our first heifer, Cupcake, off the internet from Kenny and Ali and they promised to deliver her in Denver at the NWSS that January. When we arrived in Denver we were so excited that she was everything we hoped for and more!!! We also learned that there was a SALE.

At the sale we were able to purchase two more nice heifers, Roseanne and Zelma. We were planning to use AI on the heifers but when we saw KP Playmate Craig we decided that we should try to take him home too, and we did.

Our little herd settled into their pasture in SD with no problems. They soon were used to our horses and dogs and we haven’t had to rebuild fence since the bucking bulls left. I had shown dairy in 4H when I was a kid in Montana and Jim had never shown. But we decided we could do it. So after some DVDs on clipping and fitting we were headed to our local county fairs open cattle show. Of course the mini Herefords were a big hit, especially the older generation who remembered those shorter cattle of the 50’s and 60’s. We had the three yearling heifers and Craig, who was 2 years old. We spent all morning getting ready for the show and talked a 4H member into showing one heifer as they would all three be in class together and their was only Jim and me to show.

When we came out of the barn and entered the show ring for the yearling heifers class there was a big gasp in the grandstands and a few giggles. The judge was astonished, she said that all day she had been lecturing on moderate frame size and by golly here they were. When the bull classes started she was very pleased and fell in love with Craig. He won the Hereford class easily and went into the championship class. There he and Jim showed against 5 other bulls: Angus, Salers and Gelbvieh, who were giants. You could have heard a pin drop as the judge went over and shook Jim’s hand declaring Craig the Grand Champion bull. Since then we have been to Denver, Billings and other local county shows. We have even collected Craig and have sold semen to 4H members that are trying to improve their club calves.

MHBA ANIMAL HEALTH SERIES: Keeping your cattle healthy

By Peggy Joseph-Potter RN, BSN, MHA

Keeping your cattle healthy is an important method of protecting your investment in Miniature Herefords. Disease prevention and early treatment are a lot less costly than the alternative. Good animal health is a combination of knowledge, skill and a little bit of intuition that comes from knowing what is customary for your herd. The best ways to determine if your animal is displaying signs and symptoms of illness, is to learn what their norm is and then observe them daily for any variation from that expected behavior.

Observation

Observing your cattle’s physical appearance on a regular, preferably daily basis may alert you to the early warning signs of sickness or injury. Changes in behavior, such as in the intake of food or water are usually one of the first indications that something is abnormal in your animal. It may be as simple as a change in feed that is not well tolerated or a reaction to stress, such as after vaccinations, however it could also be the beginning of something more serious. Important questions to ask are: Do they socialize with their pasture mates or do they lie somewhere by themselves? Do they walk with a normal gait or are they limping? Are their eyes open and bright or are they
clouded or sunken? Do they look well-hydrated or are their noses and tongues dry, their bodies flat or skin tenting? Lethargy, weakness, depression, lack of appetite or water consumptions should set off that inner alarm that tells you something is abnormal and that it is time to investigate further.

Important animal characteristics to observe
on a daily basis are:
* Abnormal behavior (social or depressed)
* Stance, movement, back and ear position
* Nasal discharge (color and consistency)
* Rubbing or hair loss
* Fecal consistency (i.e. loose, watery or hard, blood or parasites in stool)
* Body condition
* Hair quality and quantity
* Tail carriage
* Lameness and localized swelling

Vital Signs

The most important vital signs to evaluate cattle well-being include temperature, pulse and respiratory rate. Temperature is the most useful diagnostic test that you can perform. Thermometers are readily available at most feed and vet supply outlets and stethoscopes for listening to the heart, respiratory rate and quality and rumen function
are usually available at drug and medical supply stores or over the internet.

NORMAL VITAL SIGNS IN CATTLE

Temperature
101.5(100.5-102.8)
Temperatures > 102.8 are considered a fever.
Anything below 100.5(subnormal) is also serious.

Pulse rate
Adults-50(40-70)
Calves-100-120
A stethoscope is necessary to listen to the heart
rate. Obviously you must restrain your animal first.

Respirations
20 (10-30)
Observe your cattle at rest. Respirations will be faster on a hot day.

Temperature

The temperature should be taken by inserting a well-lubricated thermometer (to prevent tearing or perforation of the tissues) into the rectum. To avoid placing it in the vulva remember the anus is always above the vulva closest to the tail. A digital thermometer is finished when it beeps, or if using the traditional glass thermometer, then it must be held in position for at least 3 minutes to get an accurate reading. Isopropyl alcohol or veterinary disinfectant should be used before and after each temperature is taken to avoid cross contamination with possible pathogens or parasites from other animals. Remember to always properly restrain your animal before taking their temperature to prevent injury to yourself and your bovine. You may also want to attach a clip or string to the handler’s end of the thermometer so that you will not lose it should the animal decide to move away.

Due to the lack of efficient thermo-regulators, the temperature in cattle may vary depending on the ambient temperature and level of excitement. Therefore these factors should be considered when evaluating for the presence of pathological fever. Excitement can increase the body temperature in cattle; therefore it is important to approach your animals in a calm and non-threatening manner. The treatment of fever is dependent on the cause and that may include viral/bacterial pathogens or even pain. Your veterinarian may recommend the use of Banamine, which is used to treat multiple symptoms and is frequently given for the management of pain or fever; you may want to think of it as “Motrin” for cattle; available by prescription only, this should be another staple for your “Doc Box.”

Pulse or heart rate

The pulse represents the surge of blood as it flows through the heart after contraction of the ventricles. It can best be found by locating it at the angle of the lower jaw bone where it can be felt by pressing the artery against the bone. The heart rate indicates beats per minute; therefore multiply by 2 for a 30 second pulse or by 4 for a 15 second pulse. You may want to practice taking the pulse on healthy animals to gain experience and to get a feeling for the abnormal.

The heart rate may also be determined by listening to the left side of your animal’s chest with a stethoscope after the proper restraint has been applied. If you have a squeeze chute this is the most efficient place to perform your physical exams as it limits their movement and improves your visibility. Normal healthy cattle have a heart rate between 60-80 beats per minute with calves at 100-120 beats per minute.

Respirations

Respirations equal the number of breaths per minute taken by your animal. This can be performed by either watching the flank or the nostril movement or by listening to the chest wall with a stethoscope. Again, this is a function you want to evaluate while your cattle are at rest as stress or excitement can accelerate the respiratory rate. Of the most concern is an increase in respirations in the presence of cough and fever. This is a likely indication of an upper respiratory infection such as pneumonia. If present, this is the time to contact your veterinarian or to follow pre-established veterinary protocols.

Rumen-The 4th Vital Sign

For ruminant animals such as cattle, the evaluation of rumen activity is another important facet of an animal wellness assessment. The rumen can be equated to a large mixing barrel that turns over periodically to blend the contents of any ingested feed. The normal rate for rumen contraction is two to four times per minute. The best method to evaluate this activity is by placing a hand or stethoscope on the left flank of your animal. The slowing or absence of rumen contraction may signal early signs of fever, dehydration or gastric trauma related to the ingestion of metal or other foreign substances. An increase in contractions or activity is usually a sign that the animal has or is about to have diarrhea.

Know what is normal

The key to any animal wellness assessment is to know what is normal for your cattle. By making frequent observations and assessments under stable conditions it becomes less difficult to detect subtle changes that are a common sign of abnormal health.

Abnormal Herd Health Warning Signs

* Abnormal vital signs
* Lethargy, weakness or depression
* Signs of dehydration
* A change in food or water consumption
* Loss of body weight
* A change in stool color, consistency or presence of blood/parasites
* A change in color, frequency or amount of urine; straining to urinate
* Abnormal discharge from nose, eyes, mouth or reproductive tract
* Solitary behavior in a normally social animal
* Skin abnormalities such as wounds, hair loss, or swelling
* Irregular breathing, coughing, gagging or retching
* Swollen joints or lameness

Good animal husbandry practices include knowing your resources and when to contact your veterinarian. Many veterinary practices offer a ranch assessment service that includes instruction on livestock physical assessment, wellness protocols and recommended medication regimens. These initial evaluations may be costly on the front end.
However, their future benefits can reduce the time, expense and stress related to the management of a herd wellness program.

Bibliography
Haynes, N. B. (1978). Keeping Livestock Healthly. North Adams,
MA: Storey Publishing, L.L.C.
Langlois, C. (n.d.). Signs of Sickness. Hobby Farms .
McNeal, D. L. (January/February 2007). Basic Farms Husbandry
Skills. Hobby Farms .
Thomas, H. S. (1998). Storey’s Guide to Raising Beef Cattle. Storey
Publishing, L.L.C.

Biography
Peggy and her husband, B ob Potter, own and operate PJ Ranch
LLC in Winton, California where she serves as the Vice President of
Animal Health. They have been Miniature Hereford owners and
active participants in the MHBA since 2002. She is also employed
as a critical care nurse for a local medical center.

Beginning the Polled Miniatures

By John & Betty Johnson

Our quest for a smaller better beef animal began in mid 1993. When looking for some use for our small acreage, we found an ad for Point of Rocks Ranch in a cattle trade magazine.

Our daughters, Jayme and Jeanna had both shown Polled Herefords in 4-H and we had put together a small registered cow herd in Straitside’s name.

At this time Jayme was finishing her junior college and going off to Rawhide Tech in California for an Agri-Equine Education. Jeanna was soon to be out of the nest and though still showing Herefords, was developing an interest in raising pigs from her own sows. Betty and I began to be concerned with the amount of labor required of us and asked ourselves: What did we want to do with our land and our time, considering my upcoming retirement? We agreed that we’d like a small, agricultural, profitable endeavor which we could mostly handle ourselves.

At one time Betty suggested we look into ostriches! This sent me on an all out search for anything but ostriches! At this time I found Largent’s Ad for Miniature Herefords.
After several conversations with Roy Largent, we agreed on an arrangement that would establish Straitside Ranch as the beginning of development of Polled Miniature Herefords using our Registered Polled Herefords and Largent’s Horned sires. This arrangement was to last some 12 plus years and was always an agreeable/workable situation. We’ve felt much gratitude to the Largents for their integrity throughout those years.

In the fall of 1993 Roy and family brought us Nugget 28, the first of 4 horned sires we used on our polled cattle. Nugget 28 and Semen from Nugget 13 gave us 9 calves
in the spring of 1995. We were in the Miniature Hereford business and the next 15 years of calf crops have been dedicated to removing horns and downsizing. Through selective breeding we’ve built a line of short, stocky, beefy polled miniatures.

Also, we’ve seen and participated in the establishment of local Miniature Hereford shows at our county fair and county fairs in the closest two other counties. We were there at the very first competitive national show at the Cow Palace in San Francisco in 1997; the first State Fair in Oregon in 1999; San Antonio in 2000 and 2001; and Austin in 2005.

In the fall of 1999, we were greatly blessed with the birth of “Tracer.” This bull was the first frame 0, fully polled, bull with abundant thickness throughout . He would prove
to be the foundation for our herd for years. Tracer removed horns and improved conformation to such a degree that he helped us jump ahead 10 years in development.
Tracer’s offspring have taken numerous top spots in major national shows.

Straitside is continuing to improve the Polled Miniature Hereford and 2009’s
calf crop is meeting our expectations.
Recently the establishment of Capeside Farm, Fayetteville, N.C. by our kids Ben and Jayme Williams provides another venue for viewing our bloodlines.

This fall we will have a few select cattle for sale as well as semen. Consider a polled sire to begin removing horns from your herd.

Girls Gone Wild

By Diane Alu

Ok, now that I have your attention, let’s get right down to business. A.I., or artificial insemination, is a wonderful tool for breeders to use to get the quickest genetic results for their herd. By breeding artificially, one can select the best of the breed without the bull, literally, in the backyard.

I recently had the opportunity to attend a 2 day A.I. workshop here in NY sponsored by ABS Global. It was hosted at a large (huge) dairy farm that not only had very nice training facilities, but also some rather unfortunate Holsteins that were to be our guinea-pigs for the hands on part of training. And, standing shoulder to shoulder, arms
buried in you know where, covered with you know what, well, lets just say it was quite the bonding experience, especially for us ladies, of which at least half of the students were.

So we all meet at the farm the first morning, there is fresh coffee and donuts and muffins, we all take seats, some people came as a group, others, like myself, were unsuccessful in finding a girlfriend who thought spending 2 days manipulating a cows reproductive tract was their idea of a good time, sat at a large table with several other ladies.

The workshop was well staffed, with 2 veterinarians, several AI techs, a trainer from ABS and several others who drifted in and out over the 2 days. We went over the slide show (yes, no power point here!) and discussed everything you ever wanted to know about artificial insemination (but were afraid to ask…). Cycling, FSH, luteinizing hormones, how the reproductive tract looked, felt and where we would find everything once we got in there. Semen handling, thawing, straw size, tanks and equipment were just some of the topics as covered for as long as necessary, and questions were encouraged and readily answered. The vets got in on the discussion, and I confess, I was in my glory with a vet there to answer each and any question I could ask! (Question: is there any nutritional benefit to the cow gained by eating the
afterbirth?) Answer: No. Remove if possible,
can be a choking hazard, plus it’s just plain gross.
Next it was off to the office / prep room downstairs, where preserved reproductive tracts were
laid out on a counter top for us to examine and
try to manipulate a breeding gun through, easier
said than done. Friendships begin to form. This
proved harder than it looked! The techs and vets
were there to assist and help us determine if we
were in the correct place with the guns. We messed
around with that until everyone was satisfied they
could maneuver a breeding gun to the correct
location, and / or was completely overcome by
the grossness of handling dead preserved internal
organs from Texas heifers (yes, the reproductive
tracts were imported from Texas, thanks guys!).
Next it was on to a very nice catered lunch
back upstairs for those who still had an appetite.
After lunch we split the group, half going out
to the cow barn, the other half staying inside to
work with a live semen tank, practicing pulling
straws out of the tanks, thawing, cutting and
loading the guns. Different straw sizes and different styles of guns were explained and used, all
the equipment available for complete hands-on
training. Again, every question was discussed,
and we could practice as much as we wanted.
After that, we switched groups, got suited up
and marched out to the barns. These were huge
freestall barns with head gate feed bunks, where
most of the cows roamed freely, eating and relaxing on sand bedded stalls. Our cows were headed
to market for one reason or another, and the
owner agreed to letting us use them for “practice.”
I really felt bad for those cows, being subject
to our inexperienced explorations to their most
private parts, but I suppose there is no better
way to learn but by actually working with live
animals, and we were grateful for the opportunity
to do so. But I still felt bad for the animals, and
did for quite awhile after. That being said, we
sleeved and lubed up, grabbed a gun, dummy
loaded it under a tech’s watchful eye, and proceeded to pick our victim…oh, er, cow. Let me
just say, it was alot harder than any of us thought!
The cows, being Holstein, were huge, (thank
goodness for mini’s!) and many of us had to stand
on tip-toes to reach all that
way in!! The cows were in
headlocks, but no stalls, so
there was a fair amount of
swinging around and tailwhipping going on, not to
mention the fact that all
these cows do is eat and,
you guessed it, poop. Nonstop. It was frustrating, and
when someone somewhere
would finally find the cervix with the breeding gun,
it was as if they had been
crowned homecoming
queen or king, announcing “I got it” with the vet or
tech standing next to them
beaming. Jealous glances
were shot; we all went back
to work with increased vigor,
determined to be the next
one to say “I got it.” Of
course sometimes we “just got a difficult cow”
and would casually wander over to where the
“good” cow was, the ones where the most success was found. Lines formed. We all wanted
that unspoken but highly coveted satisfaction
of saying, non-chalantly, “yes, I got it” when
asked, “how did you do?” from another student.
At the end of the day, we were tired, frustrated, stinky and covered with manure, determined that after a shower, burning our
clothes and a good nights rest, tomorrow would
be a better day, full of promise and success!
We said our goodbyes for the day, all friends
Girls Gone Wild . . .
2 Days at an all-inclusive Artificial Insemination Workshop
By Diane Alunow, and tried to figure out how to get into
our cars and trucks without turning them
into a barnyard on wheels for the ride home.
When my husband inquired that evening how
my day was, what did you do, I simply replied
“you don’t want to know” and left it at that.
N e x t
morning,
fresh and
r e s t e d ,
we all
s h owe d
up at
the farm
a g a i n
(nobody
ditched)
full of
anticipation that
today, we
w o u l d
i n d e e d
become
successful AI
breeders. After exchanging war stories from the
day before over hot coffee and sweets, we went
over any questions and/or concerns, discussed the
reproductive cycle in beef cattle and the various
tools available to synchronize and get the animals
bred in a timely manner. We were given a very
nice workbook the first day of the workshop, and
we went over much of its content in detail. Then
it was time to head back out to the barns. Like
horses at the starting gate, we were all eager to suit
up again and prove to ourselves that yes, we did
have what it took. It was pouring rain. The barns
were not attached. It was a muddy wet walk. We
got to the barn, quickly scoping out the cattle with
the big orange X’s on their hips for the smallest
and possibly easiest one to work with. We loaded
up our guns, sleeved and lubed up, and took our
places. The cows were still really well fed and let
us know in very short order, but determination
and success was the game plan today, and we
heard the “I think I have it” call much more
than the day before. We were allowed as much
time as we wanted to practice, with vets and
techs assisting and encouraging us every step
of the way. They were wonderful, and by lunch
most everyone had reached their goal of not
only finding their way around the reproductive
tract of a live cow, but also being completely
covered in cow s__t for the second day in a row.
After hosing each other off in the milk
house with the pressure washer, we proceeded
to another wonderful catered lunch, everyone
talking with the vets and techs. Each student
was given a full stocked AI toolbox complete
with gun, sleeves, lube, thawing thermos,
straw cutter, etc. to take home with them.
We exchanged e-mail addresses and business cards, promised never to show our
pictures of what we were doing those two
days to anyone, and said our goodbyes.
If you are planning on introducing AI into
your breeding program, I highly recommend
attending one of these fun -filled workshops. It
will be an experience you will not soon forget!
And, don’t get discouraged. Even the best techs
started the same way. The more you do it, the better you will get. At least that’s what they say…..!

Summer Vacation in Texas

By Michael Poe

As the weather heats up and kids get ready to put their books away, families all over Texas gear up for their summer vacation. For many families summer does not mean sitting by the pool sipping Mia-Tia’s or going to their favorite Resort, but it means hooking up the trailer, loading their cattle, and hitting the pavement. Vacation to these people means a lot of sweat, money, determination, and spending time with their family (the whole family.) Showing cattle is one of the things that brings a family together and brings out the competitiveness in everyone involved and in Texas the competition is ferocious.

As a child and as an adult, I can only remember one vacation each summer and it was spent every weekend, exhibiting cattle. Kids from ages 8-18 show their stock and compete for prizes and points in hopes to accumulate enough points to receive the coveted Top Ten Jacket in the TCCA. For many years, families have been loading their older kids up and running across the state chasing points and leaving the younger children behind. Not anymore.

We in Texas are beginning the second year of a truly family oriented association called the TPLA or Texas Pee-Wee Livestock Association. The 2008 founded organization promotes youngsters ages 3-10 years of age in exhibiting miniature cattle. Now children can begin showing with their older siblings earlier and learn valuable fundamentals in exhibiting livestock. The association also introduces the young exhibitors to real life situations and begins that progress in building character. The TPLA consists of sanctioned shows throughout the state and families bring their miniature steers to these shows to compete for points which is kept by association officials. The exhibitors show with assistance by the parents or siblings, and a true progression of their skills are displayed by the end of the year. In conjunction with the cattle show a showmanship class is offered. In this segment of the miniature show it is divided in two parts, Pre-Wee ages 3-6, and Pee-Wee ages 7-10. Making it fair for each skill level, points are also awarded in this competition.

Points from each show are kept and tallied. At the end of the year a banquet is held in honor of the TPLA members and we as families praise the accomplishments of the children. The association gives buckles to the exhibitors who accumulated the most points in a point year, and each exhibitor in the Top Ten receive a jacket. This is done in both Livestock exhibitors class and in Showmanship. As an educator and evaluator of livestock, I can attest that there is no better place to raise your family than in a
show ring. Beginning these kids at an early age only strengthens the future of the cattle industry and promotes dominant leadership in our children. I feel we are definitely promoting the leaders of the future by exposing them to these situations. The children that are involved will create life long friendships that will benefit them more than anything. Think about it 3-18 is an awful long time to show together. We as parents are building memories that will last our kids’ lifetime.

The term “EVERYTHING IS BIGGER IN TEXAS” may be true, but when it comes to the TPLA small great kids and small good cattle equals smiles as big as Texas.

Neighboring

By Diane Alu

Neighboring, visiting, networking, call it whatever you like, one thing is for sure, time spent with other Miniature Hereford breeders is time well spent, and sure to be delightful. Even if you don’t agree on a whole lot of issues regarding breeding, raising, or showing, grass fed or grain, A.I. or keeping a bull, one thing you WILL find
you have in common is the love of the breed.

My youngest daughter and I recently took a day trip to visit one of the few Miniature Hereford breeders here in New York State, Tom Harrison of Little Pond Farm in Eagle Bridge, NY. This was strictly a business trip, as we were considering purchasing one of his young bulls he had for sale. While we have bought cattle from pictures online before, and not had any issues, we thought it may be nice to go meet Tom and see his operation and cattle in person. We had a wonderful visit, with Tom giving us the grand tour of his 5 acre operation, his barns and pastures. We were able to walk right up to his gorgeous little herd of polled mini’s, and my daughter had fun taking photos of a very curious month old heifer calf that followed her everywhere.

From just our couple hour visit, we got to hear all about his bloodlines, his breeding program, where his cattle came from, which ones worked and which ones were sent on their way. We toured his old barn with his new head lock set-up (have to get those!), and his new fabric hay storage barn that was just completed. We checked out his fencing, his pastures, his feeding set-up and his “little pond”. It is amazing what you can learn from a visit to another breeder’s farm or ranch; I am still thinking of ways to incorporate some of the things I saw that worked for Tom into our operation.

If at all possible, in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, try and find some time to take a “mini” vacation; go visit a Miniature Hereford breeder close to you, or, if there are cattle shows where you are, attend, even if you are not showing an animal yourself.. Even for a couple hours, there is so much that can be gleaned from the sharing of ideas and information, not to mention making new friends as well! Although we would have liked to make it a longer trip and taken in some of the local sights, we were just thrilled we’d made the decision to take the day, drive out and say “hi there, neighbor!”

Oh, and by the way, we did buy ourselves a new herd bull. Thanks Tom!

Oregon State Fair: Celebrating a Decade of the best in the west:

By Region 8’s Roving Reporter

Miniature Herefords are certainly not new to the Oregon State Fair (OSF). In 1999, John and Betty Johnson of Straitside Ranch in Sequim, Washington, took a trailer of their Minis to the OSF and showed with the All Other Breeds—against Chi Angus. Thankfully, with a little persistence and diplomacy, they were able to begin a separate Mini
show in 2000. Since then, breeders have loaded up their best stock and traveled to Salem, increasing the number of cattle exhibited with each year. Due to the determination and faithfulness of breeders in Washington, Oregon, and California to diligently promote Miniature Herefords (and only receive ribbons for their efforts), they finally received premiums after six years. This also will mark the second time of MHBA sponsorship.

In order to celebrate their 10-year anniversary, breeders are dubbing this year’s show “The Best in the West” and are planning a barn-full of special events. This year, they will be holding The Second Annual Junior Showmanship competition in which there are four class divisions: Peewee (ages seven and under), Junior (8-10), Intermediate
(11-13), and Senior (14-18). If anyone would like a registration form for the showmanship event, please contact the OSF Mini Hereford Show Organizers, Cynthia DuVal (duvalacj@msn.com, 503-873-5572) and Erin Eldridge (cowqueen1998@yahoo.com, 541-619-7008).

The Oregon State Fair is the only Miniature Hereford show besides the NWSS (Denver) celebrating a decade of excellence. With a milestone such as this, a new tradition has emerged, a Silent Auction and Raffle. The raffle item is said to be something that no mini owner can live without. Organizers hope to have multiple silent auction items, and request that if you would like to donate something for the auction, to send it them.In addition to all the fun things planned for at the fairgrounds, they will also be having a special Dinner and Award Ceremony on Sunday evening to present awards for First in Class and Division winners as well as the Reserve and Grand Champion Bull and Female.

Here is the preliminary schedule for the 2009 Oregon State Fair:
Entry Registration Due: August 1, 2009
In: Friday, September 4, 2009 by 5:00 PM
Weight/Measure: Saturday, September 5
Junior Showmanship: TBA
Show: Sunday, September 6, 2009, 11:00 AM
Dinner & Award Ceremony: Sunday, September 6
Move Out: Monday, September 7, 2009 at
8:00 PM (Distances will have an early release)

An estimated 385,000 people meander through the 185-acre fairgrounds and enjoy over 9000 things to see, eat, and do during the twelve-day event. Since the OSF is a state fair, and is more than just a livestock show, people flood through the barns to view the cattle and the public interest in Mini Herefords over the past few years is
phenomenal. A friendly atmosphere for all ages welcomes hundreds of livestock breeders and prospective Miniature Hereford buyers. Oregon is certainly a wide open door for promotion of the breed and sales! “We were so busy last year talking to people about [Minis] on the morning of show day that we had to rope the aisle off in order to
prepare for show. And the stands were packed with people during the show,” says Silverton FFA member Megan Veach of Scotts Mills, Oregon (a participant in DuVal Farm’s Mini Lease Program).

As we all know, it can take years for people to decide to finally make the big jump and invest in Miniature Herefords. Take for example, DuVal Farms from Silverton, Oregon. “We first saw Minis at the Oregon State Fair in 2003, and again the next year,” said Jerry DuVal, “but we didn’t actually purchase anything until the fall
of 2004.” They raised standard Herefords and Limousine for over 40 years, but began making the switch after buying two bred polled heifers from Straitside Ranch. The FFA and Open Miniature Hereford Show at the 2005 Oregon State Fair was the first time they showed cattle, and since then, their cattle have been to California, Washington, Billings (NILE), Denver, Austin, and Houston. Cynthia DuVal said, “We would never have gotten into this industry if not for the breeders at the Oregon State Fair—
we probably wouldn’t have even known [Minis] existed.” Now, in four short years, they have boosted their Mini herd size up from two to 45.

Since the Miniature Hereford Show first began at the Oregon State Fair, breeders particularly from the Pacific states have exhibited their cattle—but each of them greatly encourages ALL breeders (big and small) to come and try it out. The barn atmosphere is completely laid back and everyone helps each other out. This is not a dogeat-dog competition; instead, it is more like a gigantic family reunion, minus the family drama of course. The OSF is fun for your whole family, especially with the mutton bustin’ and huge food court. Once you show at “The Best in the West,” it’s guaranteed you’ll be coming back for more!

Miniature Hereford News: July, 2009

Includes:

 

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