Being in the pasture with the herd is one of my favorite places. Watching their interactions, how nurturing the mommas are with their calves, how curious and strong willed the calves are, and how gentle the boys are with the calves turns all the hard work into calmness and awe. When a three year old steer walks up to a newborn calf and gives it a gentle lick, it’s hard to keep your heart from melting.
It’s hard to believe in 2013 we started our herd with a cow/calf pair and now we are up to 5 cows, 4 heifers, 5 steer, and of course, our handsome bull, Redd.
In 2016, we were able to buy two cows with steers and one bred cow from where we bought Redd. The owner needed to downsize, and since we had already fell in love with his herd, we knew there was at least one cow we wanted–Queen Anne. Queen was his lead cow and while getting up in age (9), she is an excellent example of the AMD physical qualities and produces excellent calves. As we looked over everyone else, Emma was chosen because she had a steer calf, and Tish was chosen because she was just so beautiful. Tish was bred, so we figured 2 steers to butcher and one on the way would work for us.
After this round of calves, we are doing artificial insemination on our 5 cows to get some new genes in the herd. Our 2 heifers are two years old, and technically ready to breed, but we have decided to wait one more year to let them grow a bit more. Being a slower growing heritage breed, we decided waiting to 3 years to breed will be better for the heifer and calf.
Since our herd has grown, we have noticed they are taking better care of the pastures. With the “competition” for food, they eat the older grass and forbs better and more evenly. AMDs are known for being great at eating scrub and brush and we are definitely seeing that in practice. One of the things that helped us decided on this breed is the fact they will eat poor forage and still produce an excellent quality beef and milk.
We hope you enjoy the photos of the herd and will be adding more once our last two calves are born.