Monday, December 17, 2007

We Found Our Bull!?!

Well, I think it is safe to let the cat out of the bag finally since I have signed a contract and sent out the deposit! After much searching, learning, discussing, and all of that good stuff I think we have settled on a bull for our herd. Finding a Dexter Bull that I was at least partially satisfied with has proven more difficult that I thought it would be. If you remember back in October I wrote THIS POST and THIS POST about selecting a bull. Both of those posts linked to articles and forum posts discussing the qualities and traits you should look for when picking out your bull. Things were more difficult because it just doesn't seem like there are a lot of good Dexter bulls out there ... I have a couple theories on why that is, but I won't get into that now.

So, here are a few requirements that were on my short list ... He had to look like a bull, not an old cow or plain steer ... He needed to be dun or carry dun genes ... He needed a decent background ... He needed to be old enough to work next summer and old enough to get a better idea of his looks ... And, he needed to be horned or dehorned. Well, I think I did pretty goods fulfilling those requirements and I may have even ended up a little better.

With out further ado let me introduce to you, SGF SANT Hershey! Here are the details ... The "SGF" stands for Spruce Grove Farms which is John Potter's farm in Michigan. Mr. Potter is a well respected breeder of Dexters and Dexter bulls and I had a chance to have a great conversation with him as I was learning about bull selection. In fact I would have loved to get a bull directly from him, but at the time I talked with him he didn't have anything that fit my bill. The "SANT" speaks to the year he was born and his sire who is Antares. Antares seems to be a pretty popular bull as evidenced by the 52 Dexters that he has sired! His dam is also out of Spruce Grove Farm's breeding so that is a plus. He is horned as you can see ... he is dun as you can see ... but, one little bonus that you can't see is that he carries a gene for red. So, if we had a cow that carried the red gene we would have the possibility of a red calf!

Hershey is about 20 months old so he will be plenty ready by next summer and we also have a decent idea of how he is going to turn out based on his looks right now. He has a nice set of horns on him so we will have to give him respect, but he also can be gentle and I have pictures of his former owners with their arms around his neck. Gentleness is one of the traits in Dexters that led us to bring them to our farm. All in all we are pretty excited about bringing him home and I'm really looking forward to the 2009 calving season!

He will be coming from Marian and Erik at Five Ponds Farm in Southern Missouri. They have be a joy to work with as we have gone through the whole process and I'm looking forward to meeting them in person when we get a chance to pick Hershey up (not sure when yet). If you are interested in Dexters, Navajo-Churro sheep, Red Wattle hogs, or even daylilies and hostas I encourage you to check out their website. They have a lot of neat things going on at there farm.

Hopefully in the next month or so I will be able to post pictures of Hershey at Stoneyfield!


Steven said...

Congratulations. It sounds like you've been searching wide and far for the perfect bull. I can't wait to see what he looks like when he's all grown up. I just got some pictures of our bull calf yesterday. It's being weaned now. It is Dun, and Polled. I wish that we would have gotten something older, with a breeding record, but I suppose that's why a bull calf is a "good deal" you are taking some what of a gamble. We were able to see both parents though, and are confident that if he has a mixture of his parents qualities, he'll be really great.

Thanks for letting us know about where you got him. That farm is about 3 hours from me and it is nice to know that there's another Dexter breeder down here.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your new bull! I am a big fan of Antares' progeny as I have 2 bulls out of him - Rafferty (red) and RoShamBo (dun). And you found "the bull man" in J Potter for sure. Some even call him the bull "whisperer". Haha! Tell him I said that!

Linda Reeve/Clover Bell Farm/Vanleer, Tennessee

Ethan Book said...

Steven - Tell us a little more about the bull calf you are getting. What is his pedigree like, what is is sire like? Also, I'm glad you got hooked up with the Van Beevers. Like I said they have been great to work with.

Linda - I hope to become a pig fan of Antares' progeny! I was able to e-mail John and he gave me some more details on Hershey's dam and told me a bit more about how much he loves Antares ... the bull whisperer ... I'll have to mention that!

Steven said...

Ethan, you can see him, sort of, on the pdca pedigree website. His name is Braeburn and he is out of "Prairie Dust". His registration must be pending because his name comes up in the search, but you can't click on him. You can however click on both of his parents. He was bred by Dean & Rosemary Fleharty with the PDCA but was born on the farm of Ronda Thiessen,
SANDY CREEK DEXTERS. They just started raising dexters about the same time you did.... this year. But they have a really nice little herd of about 10 or 11 dun dexters. They also have a dun polled bull, but don't have any calves from it yet.
I have some pictures from our trip up there, some newer shots of Braeburn (the calf) and also a picture of his grandsire (Glenn Land Mr. McRed) after winning Grand Champion at the ADCA show in Missouri this year.

Ronda had two bull calves for us to look at, both from the same sire. This one was actually the younger of the two but we ended up picking him based on his mother. Both cows looked nice, but Braeburns mother was a little more "solid and thick" looking, and was deeper in the body. We were looking for short and deep more so than Long.

Steven said...

I'll try that again:

or http://picasaweb.

Ethan Book said...

Steven, Thanks for the links to the pictures. You'll have to keep me updated on how he shapes up over time. Do remind me though, how many Dexters do you have now and are they bred yet?

Steven said...

I'm sad to say that we don't have any Dexters now. We went to see two Dexter herds early in the fall and learn about them and we ended up deciding later that week to commit to that little bull calf. We will be looking for 2 or 3 bred cows in the spring. We have pretty much decided to take things really slow this first year. Then next year we should have some pasture started pretty well and a bull that's ready to breed. If we get some cows and they calf, we'll have to do AI for the next breeding.

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