When most people picture a herd of cows, they see a group of uniform animals, grazing on a huge pasture.
While we have been in the cattle business my whole life, we haven’t always been in the same part of the cattle business. When Bethany and I were younger, Dad would buy young steers at the sale barn and we would feed them out to about eight hundred pounds to sell them again.
Eventually, Dad decided that wasn’t what we wanted to do anymore, so in our next trip to the sale barn, we bid on cows of every color! Just to clarify, when I refer to cows that means a female that has already had a calf.
I was in junior high and checking the cows was like looking at the rainbow. We had Herefords, Simmental, Angus, and Charolais.
You might wonder why we had such a rainbow herd. To be honest, it was the cheapest way to start a new herd. Cows are expensive and we needed a lot of them. Older cows are easy to calve and are usually good mommas.
Years went by and our herd slowly changed. With a black bull and some great genetics, we slowly started to lose our color, especially red. Most of our first cows have disappeared, some lost to disease and old age. Others sold because they didn’t breed back.
Each spring, Dad, Bethany, and I walk through the lot of weaned heifers picking the ear tag numbers on the ones that look the best. I don’t mean the best hair or the cutest face. We are looking for wide hips, calm eyes and good demeanor. These heifers will be returned to the herd to replace the older cows that died, or were sold.