"Science Project Cows"

Commercial Cow Herd

We have created this page, not so much to sell any of our commercial cattle, but as a to "Show Me" or "prove it" page.  So as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, so we have included a lot of them.  Below are some slide shows of our various cows, calves and replacement heifers. 

Amazing results on Commercial cows

Because of the nature of our country and ranch we are not running a huge number of cows, only about 100 or so mother cows. As mentioned on our Irish Black page, in the spring of '09 we bought 69 bred cows that came entirely from cull cattle. The man we purchased these cattle from, had no idea how old the cows were.  He said all he could tell us was the date he acquired these cows.  He had put this herd together by buying cull cows one or two at a time from the sale barn. Needless to say we had quite a colorful herd.  All of the cows had at least three brands on them, some had five!  The cows were black, red, grey, charlois, hereford colored, roan, brindled, polled, horned, thin built, thick built, fine boned, some had dairy traits and one was a bahama looking cow. We had absolutely no consistency in our experiment herd.

We bought two Irish Black bulls and put them to work on our combined herd of 86 cows.  Our neighbors thought we were crazy - not only because we paid for those cows , but we only turned two bulls out with them. When we preg. checked them in the fall, all of them were bred, except for three really old gummers.

The next spring, all of the cows calved unassisted (even a few first calf heifers that we'd raised). They all had 65-80# calves.  We also had three sets of twins.  All of the calves were the same size and shape.  They were all black or black baldly by the time we branded, with the exception of two grey calves from our of Charlois type cows.

Our calves have topped the marked at every local sale barn, because of the consistency.  Consistency you would never believe if you had seen our "science project" herd of cull cows. At that point we had neighbors asking if we had any Irish Black bulls for sale.  We kept about two thirds of our first crop of half Irish Black heifer calves as replacements. (See the pictures of our year & half old bred heifers)  I wish we'd taken more pictures of the cows, but we were pretty embarrassed by them.

After seeing the "extreme makeover" in one generation in our commercial herd, we purchased a small herd of pure bred Irish Blacks for the purpose of breeding bulls to help improve commercial herds.  

Our boys are showing 1/2 IB steers in 4H market classes.  They always perform very well in the ultra sound contest. The first calf our son showed was 14 months old, weighed 1175#, had a 13 inch ribeye and 3/10" back-fat with a huge amount of marbling.  The ultra sound technician actually called a few people over to see the screen.  

Our "science project" cow herd
The "project" cows with their calves.

Replacement heifers that are 50% Irish Black
Replacement heifers with this years calves

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