All of our animals are born and bred on our farm. The herd is a family unit. From birth, they spend their lives within the herd. They are free range, able to travel between pastures in the summer, and they have free access to quality hay, comfortable shelters and a cedar bush in the winter. They have clean well water (heated in the winter) and ample salt and mineral licks.
We don’t buy any animals, for breeding or meat, from other producers or auction barns. We know our cattle from the moment they are born. Not allowing outside animals into the herd eliminates the risk of diseases being brought onto the farm.
This is one reason why we use artificial insemination (AI) to breed our cows and heifers. Bulls can travel from farm to farm and can carry diseases with them. Biosecurity is always a consideration since we don’t vaccinate the cattle or use antibiotics. We watch for and follow each cow’s natural heat cycle, which given that they are free range on pastures, is a time intensive endeavor. Using AI, allows us to select purebred Angus bulls that exhibit superior genetic traits in meat quality. Calving ease is another genetic trait we look for in a bull to ensure that our cows have an easy delivery. We would rather have smaller calves at birth that may take longer to grow than big calves that could go to market faster but would put the moms at risk. With AI, we are not just getting a black coloured bull with questionable genetics – we are ensuring the safety of our cows and the quality of the meat.
All of our cows/heifers have names and we know all of them as individuals. We feel for our cattle and all of our animals, the way people feel about their pets. Our “boys” are not given names because it makes sending them off so much more difficult. The only comfort comes from knowing that we brought them into the world and gave them a wonderful life with their family during which they were treated with love and respect.