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The Good Girls

Holstein girls are good girls!

Our farm was a classic tie-stall dairy farm when I was growing up. We sold our quota and equipment in the early 2000s for the same reason many farmers get out of dairy. Go big or get out. Being of the dirt-farmer variety, we had to give it up. We didn't have enough hands and we didn't have enough money.

I look back on my childhood with a great fondness. I was blessed to get to grow up in a dairy barn. I ran around chasing kittens, playing in the hayloft, and doing chores in the manger where all the little calves were. I would feed, water, scrape the gutters clean... my older sister did the same, and she had the added esteemed position of bringing the cows to and from the night pasture and bringing them in for their milking.

Holstein cows are the sweetest breed of cows. They are so curious and playful. They have no issues coming up to you and nibbling on your jacket or licking your skin. I remember them always being so good and gentle. We continued to breed them for years after we sold the quota... part of me wonders if it was because my Grandad didn't have the heart to stop working with them.

I should point out, that Holstein BULLS are the exact opposite. They are crazy friggers who will charge you in a second. They snort, they carry on, they are mean sons-a-bees who have tossed my Mum around a time or two and sent me flying over fence lines more than once.

Now I'm obviously a beef farmer, working with beef breeds. I chose to breed Herefords because they are small and quiet with a very chill personality in both Bulls and Cows. They aren't curious or playful, but they are sweet and really calm. Also, they make excellent mothers which is a good quality in a cow-calf farm where you keep them together until they're ready to go off on their own. We breed our Herfies with a number of other breeds; Charolais, Angus, and Limousin. All these breeds for me have been good to work with. Mostly chill. They look intimidating (especially the Charlies) because they can get so big and chunky, but they're usually very mild-mannered.

I've loved working with all breeds of cows, but I'll always miss working with those Holstein girls. Maybe I should consider going back into relief-milking.... haha, nah. I hate mornings.

What is your favourite breed of cattle?

Which do you prefer to work with? Or if you don't work with cattle or farm, did you know there were multiple breeds of cattle with their own personality traits?

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