An Introduction to Heritage Breeds

An Introduction to Heritage Breeds

Thinking about starting a farm with heritage breeds? If you are new to this topic, you may enjoy An Introduction to Heritage Breeds: Saving and Raising Rare-Breed Livestock and Poultry by The Livestock Conservancy. This excellent beginner’s resource starts with the basics—defining breeds in general and heritage breeds in particular. It discusses the plight and importance of rare breeds, as well as the necessity to … Continue reading An Introduction to Heritage Breeds

Rottweiler

Rottweiler

As invading Roman armies traveled, they tended to leave a trail of abandoned dogs in their wake, no matter where they went. The dogs were large and mastiff-like, but they were kept to herd sheep and cattle to feed the soldiers. As the livestock was eaten up, surplus dogs were left behind. One area that became the residence of a sizeable population of abandoned Roman … Continue reading Rottweiler

Border Collie

Border Collie

Most of the herding dogs of the British Isles trace back to a common ancestor—the big, black-and-tan mastiffs brought by Julius Caesar around 55 BC to guard and drive livestock to feed the Roman army. Of course, British and Scottish sheepdogs do not look much like mastiffs. This is owing to the influence of small herding spitzes brought by the Vikings after the collapse of … Continue reading Border Collie

Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd

It may surprise you, but the Australian Shepherd is actually an American breed, developed in the West in the 19th century. There is an Australian connection, however. Some of the breed’s most influential ancestors were various Basque herding dogs from both Spain and France, including the Pyrenean Shepherd. Basque dogs were originally brought to America by shepherds, some arriving directly on our shores, others coming … Continue reading Australian Shepherd

Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog

When Australia was first settled, its system of ranching was very small-scale by modern standards. Cattle farms were clustered around present-day Sidney, close to market. Taking a small herd to town was a simple affair, since the animals were quite used to attention from people and their dogs. The traditional dog used in this role was called the Smithfield, believed to be something like an … Continue reading Australian Cattle Dog

Milk Production in Beef Cattle

Milk Production in Beef Cattle

If you have been searching for the right beef cattle breed for your new farm, you undoubtedly have come across plenty of promotional literature published by breed organizations. This material usually includes long lists of the benefits of the breed in question, such as calving ease, rapid weight gain, or meat tenderness. One characteristic commonly touted is a cow’s milk production. This may give you … Continue reading Milk Production in Beef Cattle

Stockdog Savvy

Stockdog Savvy

Many a dog lover has watched a good Border Collie at work and gone home with a passion for herding. But if you haven’t grown up with working stockdogs, training one for the first time can seem daunting. While no book can replace experience as a way to master the nuances of handling livestock, with or without a dog, Stockdog Savvy by husband-and-wife team Jeanne … Continue reading Stockdog Savvy

Ox Yokes and Collars

Ox Yokes and Collars: Withers Yokes and Ox Collars

Withers Yoke The withers yoke is only used with humped zebu-type cattle, such as Brahmans. The yoke is a wooden pole resting on the hump of the animal and is held in place by a rope or leather strap around the neck. Note that the rope does not take any of the weight of the load. Sometimes wooden staves projecting downward from the pole add … Continue reading Ox Yokes and Collars: Withers Yokes and Ox Collars