– Elm Hollow calves keep growing –
– Our bulls in waiting –
– Magic retires –
Elm Hollow calves keep growing!!
Every year about this time, we see some of the mama cows beginning to push babies away. They know it is almost time for weaning and as those calves reach the ripe old age of six months, we begin separating them from their dams for people training. Of course, they are a bit uneasy and cry for mom and some of the mamas cry for their babies, others let out a sigh of relief. Our policy is to never take a calf away without a companion near its own age even if that means leaving the next nearest on mom an extra few weeks. It’s a bit like children going to kindergarten. They are nervous the first few days, but soon find friends to play with and look forward to school. They especially like snack time.
Bull calves will be weighed and measured to see if they are promising herd sires. Usually only a very few will meet that standard.
The calves that don’t pass the bull test will become steers. Highland steers don’t necessarily become beef. I get many requests for pets. Although Highlands are livestock and not actually pets, the docile temperament of Highlands leads many to consider them pet material. Steers (neutered bulls) are a good choice not only as a companion animal to a heifer or bull calf during the time it takes them to mature, but they make good pasture ornaments (pets) because they have no hormones like bulls and cows. This one, Knockout, passed the test!
Even after the kids have been away at school for several months, when the mamas see their babies and the babies see their mamas, it is a sweet reunion.
I love this photo (below) that I captured when CaitlinRuadh of Legacy saw her daughter, Windkist Acres Lily, for the first time in three months. After a few minutes of softly mooed greetings, they strolled side by side on the fence line grazing together before parting to join back up with their own pasture mates.
This year, our first class of five began May 22nd. During week 1 of class, the calves will be evaluated for conformation and temperament. After 2-3 weeks of socialization, grooming, and learning manners, the class will go on a field trip to our vet where they will get their permanent ID tags and first vaccinations. At this time, the general health of each calf is evaluated as well.
Following are our first students. They should be ready for new homes by June 15th. The following photos are pasture photos, so please forgive the mud and mats. The calves will be groomed when we begin halter training. I’m thinking one (or maybe two) of these heifers might have to stay at Elm Hollow, but that depends on the price of hay this year.
Bulls in Waiting
The Magician of Elm Hollow is growing up fast!
Dam: Windemere Dare AHCA # 55236
Sire: Big Ridge Fergus AHCA # 57487
The Magician of Elm Hollow is our youngest bull in waiting. He’s a “bull in waiting” because he’s waiting to see if he will be a herd sire here. We hang on to the ones we really like to see how they turn out by age two.
He will be joining our other bull in waiting, Elm Hollow’s Levi, who has already had some show experience! The two will share a pasture during the time they are maturing so there won’t be the tension suffered between bulls who don’t know each other when they first happen to meet.
Elm Hollow’s Levi was reserve junior champion at the Southeast Highland show when he was only five months old!!
Retiring a bull is soooo hard! Especially when it is BR Voodoo Magic!
Magic still has what it takes and he let us know in no uncertain terms that he is not yet ready give up the girls, but we just feel we need to add some new blood. Here are some photos of him in his prime, and the genetic make up hasn’t changed.
On the left is Magic at age 10 and on the right when he was 5.
He’ll be 12 years old in November, but his size and strength helped him retain his status as lead bull when he introduced himself to our new bull. Magic has brought such a positive change to Elm Hollow Farm that I guess he’s earned the right to retire here.
Are You Thinking About Buying a Cow or Calf From Us?
When I’m asked about the availability of calves or cows, I respond with dozens of questions because it is important that I know a bit about your farm. Where are you located? If you are nearby, you might want to schedule a farm tour to meet the calves!
- Do you have other cattle so a calf would have an age-appropriate companion? Highlands are herd animals and must have a companion. A steer is the perfect companion for a heifer, bull, or another steer. Without a companion, a calf will be frightened and may not behave the way you expect.
- Do you have a facility where you and your veterinarian can safely work on a coo when that is needed (and it will be needed)? Facilities vary in complexity and price. An effective squeeze need not be extremely expensive.
- Do you have a large-animal vet in your area?
- What is your pasture like? Is shade and fresh water readily available?
- What will be the purpose of Highlands for you? Breeding, beefing, pasture ornament/pet?
I need all this information to be sure that the calf and the buyer are well matched. Although I ask about your experience with cattle, I understand the learning curve. When we bought our first Highland, neither of us had ever owned a cow! We chose Highlands after reading about their hardiness and docile temperament. My thinking was that they are hardy enough to survive our inexperience and docile enough that we will survive if we do something wrong. Highlands are truly a wonderful breed for a beginner in the bovine world.
I’m often asked how much we charge for our Highlands. That is almost like asking a car dealer how much he sells his cars for. It varies greatly with the make, model, and features. Each calf is an individual. The calves are evaluated during halter training and establish a minimum bid price. Cows are evaluated on their conformation to standards, their temperament, genetic background, and calving history. When they are ready, we sell them through an informal, modified auction. You can see the results of all our sales for the past two years by scrolling down through this page: