Welcome to our very first issue of “Meet the Animals of Topisaw”. After all, what’s a farm without animals? The Topisaw animals are the heart and soul (and sometimes the nuisance but always the personality) of the place!
With so many Topisaw animals on our farm, it was hard to pick which to feature first. After taking a walk around the pasture, though, I decided that we should start with the biggest and badest of our beasts, the aptly named Blue Bull.
Blue Bull is part of our Pineywoods cattle herd, and has been the head honcho, or herd sire if you like, since 2014. Pineywoods aren’t huge as far as cattle go, but Blue Bull has grown rather massive in his 3 years with us. He’s stocky and bowed up and looks like he could knock you down with one good snort. By the way, we do NOT call Blue Bull “BB” for short, and if you stood next to him you’d understand why.
Blue Bull is of the Hickman strain (from the family that traditionally raised them), and his name comes from the fact that his coloring is “blue” and not red or black which are more common Pineywoods colors.
Blue Bull is, perhaps surprisingly, quite docile, as are all of our cattle. It can be unsettling to get up close and personal with such a large personality, but he’s really a sweetheart–unless you’re another bull… The stillness of a country afternoon is often shattered by the bellowing of bulls, competing for prominence with the cow girls. These guys are naturally horned, so their skirmishes leave nasty, though not lethal, gash marks on the lesser bull’s hide.
Our Pineywoods cattle roam a 25 acre pasture with several groups of trees in the middle. I’m glad they can get in the “woods” as it protects them from rain and from sun and lately from snow. The perimeter is fenced with 3 strands of electric wire. We’re crazy about this wire because it looks nice, is easy to install and reconfigure if needed and most importantly because it does its job, i.e. keeping the Topisaw animals from roaming in our yard or crossing the creek (as they did many years ago…another story!) I have to think, though, that Blue Bull and his ladies are just doing us a favor by staying put. Their combined tonnage could easily plow over those wires, and believe it or not, they could also jump right over the fence (ask me how I know…)
We’re often asked, “But what do you DO with your cows. Do you eat them or milk them or what?” And I guess the best answer would be, we enjoy them. I love them because they’re smart and curious, self sufficient and strong.
Pineywoods cattle are a heritage breed, the traditional livestock breeds raised by our ancestors.
Traditional, historic breeds retain essential attributes for survival and self-sufficiency – fertility, foraging ability, longevity, maternal instincts, ability to mate naturally, and resistance to diseases and parasites.
I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting Blue Bull and learning a bit about this heritage breed of cattle. Who will be the next of the Topisaw animals to be featured?