Monday, October 19, 2009

A Cow (Not A Horse) Of A Different Color

If you've been following this blog for a while, you've seen my trip to the Yak farm in Vermont because I thought they'd be the ideal animal for me to raise. And I traveled to Ft. Plain, NY to visit an Irish Dexter cattle farm because they had smaller horns and a more docile nature than the Yaks. Then I visited another Irish Dexter farm in Winthrop, NY and the farmer talked me right out of them, largely because of their horns. So my imagination went to the first cattle breed I'd discovered on the internet but thought I could never have because there are none of them at all in the northeast states. The Red Poll:

These are a very old breed of English cattle with no horns, a docile nature and a medium size (not huge like Holsteins). They are generally raised on grass only, without grain, and give excellent milk and beef:

The photos on the internet confirm what was written about them, that they are people friendly. None of the other breeds I've researched, even the ones which were supposed to be docile, had the type of photos that I found with Red Polls. Here's a typical example:

Most people raise these red beauties for beef, but there are still dairies in England where they are milked. And their milk has small fat globules, much like goats' milk, which is great for cheese and for people otherwise allergic to Holstein and Jersey milk. In the photo below, notice that this guy has his little grandson out petting his BULL. I would not have tried that with the Irish Dexter I recently visited:

They are hardy in both cold and in warm climates, highly fertile and productive. The internet articles I've read mentioned that farmers raising Red Polls become unusually attached to them:

These lovely red bovines were becoming critically endangered what with the factory-farmed Holsteins and feed lot beefers taking over U.S. agriculture. But with a new emphasis on small farms and grass fed beef, they're making a come back:

There's relatively few Red Poll farms in this country, but I've managed to locate a small one in Pennsylvania:

I made an appointment to go visit the Red Polls in Pennsylvania on Thursday, October 29. The dogs and I will climb back into the car and head southwest:

These photos have all been gleaned from the internet as I haven't even seen one yet in person. I thought it'd be interesting to make a blog post about this fascinating breed. Here's a bull:

And a cute little calf:

Red Polls at a livestock exhibition:

Hello ladies. Would you like to send your calves off to live with me up north?:

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