I talk to a lot of people. People are intrigued when you tell them that you live on a working farm. I usually get to have this conversation about every other day. It typically goes something like this:
"Oh how cool! What kind of cows do you raise?"
Me: "Randall Cattle" and I pause to wait for their reaction.
Look of utter confusion normally proceeds "Huh? What did you say?"
I go on to tell the person about the Randall Cattle and in return I usually get a pretty standard response:
"Oh. Okay. Why aren't you just raising NORMAL cows? It'd be easier."
Raise normal cows? Why in the world would I want to do that? And what is NORMAL?
This is what has happened to agriculture, mostly due to the thought process of "bigger is better and easier" that has become the normal of our everyday lives. Our livestock was bred to be bigger and have more meat, given hormones to produce more milk, grow faster, and more. That's all fine and dandy until you look at the other end of the spectrum of what this has TRULY done to our livestock (and the thought process of society about livestock).
The conversation continues:
"Do you have baby cows?"
"Yes we do," is my reply.
"I bet that's gross having to pull a baby cow out."
"I don't have to pull my calves out."
"You don't? Why not?!?" This response usually has a look of complete shock from the person.
Really? The general population really thinks it normal that you have to pull the calves out of their moms at birth? Last time I checked, God made us and the animals able to survive on their own. God didn't make babies too big to come out. That's us humans and our thought process that got in the way. Bigger is better. Really? I don't think so. My cows calve on their own. My assistance is not neccesary. Is it available? It sure is. I know when my cows are going to give birth. I watch them from a distance. Check on them to be sure that they are not struggling. Can something go wrong? You bet it can! But it is the EXCEPTION not the NORMAL. If the time comes that they need help, I'll be there to do it.
Heritage breeds were raised to survive with minimal human intervention. One breed could do it all for the farmer, whether he needed meat, milk, or the pulling power of oxen. Heritage breeds are better adapted to withstand diseases, calve easily, and adapt to their environment. Heritage breeds can usually sustain themselves on a completely grassfed diet. They can raise their babies on grass, produce milk on grass, and even have an exceptional meat carcass on nothing but grass.
It's NORMAL for our animals to be on pasture and not confined into buildings where they never get to see the sun, feel the rain or the wind.
We save a lot of money by raising our livestock the way we do. Because we don't vaccinate against diseases (don't need to when they are resistant to them and not exposed to new diseases), we save hundreds of dollars a year. We don't feed grain to our cattle - that's thousands of dollars a year. Since we handle our cows from day one, we can walk up and catch one and put a halter on it if we need to. We don't need expensive corral panels, turnabouts, and headgates in order to touch them. Our cows are hand milked in the open air. Most of the time I don't even have to tie them up. It's their job to produce and they know their job.
Easier. Yes what I do is easier. I'll take it anyday. I'll enjoy my time watching my cows enjoy the grass, the sun, the rain, and the wind and doing what they were designed do.
Rising Phoenix Farm
Rising Phoenix Farm
14093 Madison Pike
Morning View, KY 41063