Our first calf of 2014 arrived on Sunday evening May 18th. An absolutely adorable, polled, dun, Dexter bull. We have named him Norman. So cute that on his first day out on pasture he is already stopping traffic on the road!
Mom- Merrideth, is a pro at this. She is 10 years old and this was her 8th successful pregnancy and birth. Merrideth is everything a good Dexter should be. She is a great little family cow. She was the cow we chose 5 years ago to start our Dexter herd.
Merrideth had a bit of a rough start to life. She was included in a sale of several other calves & at the tender age of 3 ½ months made a long trip to her new home in Washington state. Her new owners worked very hard to bring her back to good condition. They loved on her and raised her to be a nice young cow. She had 2 heifer calves for them at their farm and then a lease gone wrong had brought her back to their farm where she delivered her 3rd calf several weeks later. They wanted a good home for her, she was special to them as she was there as they were starting their own Dexter breeding program.
In August of 2009 we walked into their pasture to take a look at 3 different prospective cows, all with young calves. This small black cow with a gangly calf instantly caught my eye. There was something about her eyes. They were big, brown and beautiful but I loved how she looked right at us. She stood as we approached, was easily haltered and she spent the next hour, as we humans talked Dexters, not moving, only looking around to keep tabs on her calf & uttering little maternal moo’s. I was smitten. She wasn’t perfect, her udder was wonky, her feet not the best, her conformation OK but not show ring great. We were told “she herself wasn’t of the greatest quality but she had great breeding and she would pass that greatness on to her babies. Chose your bulls well and she will give you really nice calves”. I believed her and took her comment as sincere. That day we purchased our first Dexter.
Merrideth definitely has an opinion and is strong willed. It did take a little while for us to figure each other out and to come to a mutual agreement of how this relationship would work. We soon realized that it was simply her way of asking for respect. When treated with kindness and shown respect she began to thrive. At the age of 10 she is beautiful, healthy, happy and showing no signs of slowing down. She has been a patient teacher to us as we learn about the world bovine. She is a wonderful Mom to her calves. Caring for but not hovering, allowing her kids to experience their world and grow into who they are. Keeping them safe but letting them go. You’ve got to respect that.
Stefani was right, chose good bulls for her and she will give you beautiful calves. Merrideth has done just that. All 5 of her calves born here have been physically better than herself; more correct, nice udders, good feet. She has passed on the good genetics to them but also that something special, that something ‘Merrideth’.