Breeding Cattle: My Family’s Thanksgiving Tradition

While most people’s Thanksgiving break is full of cooking, hunting, shopping, or resting, our family’s always looks a little bit different…we breed cattle! For as long as I can remember, my family’s Thanksgiving break tradition has been to artificially inseminate cattle. Artificial insemination requires a couple of days to prepare the cattle for breeding, and then we usually breed two or three days after Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving break provides a time where none of my family has other obligations, so we designate our days to our cattle.

We run a cow/calf operation where we raise registered Simmental and SimAngus cattle. Although we mostly raise registered cattle, we still sell some of our calves commercially. No matter if we are raising replacements or raising cattle to sell commercially, we want to have cattle that grow and develop with low inputs. Most registered cattle have had lots of work put into developing their genetic background. To continue to improve the quality of our cattle, we want to use sires (fathers) and dams (mothers) that are excelling genetically. Because it is hard to find bulls in our area that will allow us to greatly diversify our genetics, we look through sire directories and pick sires that will best fit our heifers and cows for artificial insemination. Most commercial cow/calf operations just use a bull for natural service, and while we use a bull to breed the cattle that didn’t conceive from AI, we find joy in trying different bulls from across the country on different cows to see how we can improve our calf crop!

A rare sight, Mom and Dad both laughing while working cattle! Most likely because it was the last cow…

Working cattle is always a great “bonding time” for my family. It is the only time we can yell at each other and forget it happened afterward. I truly am thankful for the time I get to spend with my family and our cattle this Thanksgiving break. Since I am attending college, I do not get to come home and help on the farm as much as I would like, but this week I get to do my favorite things…spend time with my family, my dogs, and my cattle!

Abilene was tired after chasing (or more like being chased by) cattle. One of our main accomplishments is teaching our dogs to drink from the water trough!

My family is not the only family that breeds cattle during this time; many farmers do because it allows for early fall calving. Farmers do not get breaks. We all work diligently. If we took breaks, there would be a food shortage. If we took breaks, all the food that is on your plate this Thanksgiving may not be there. As you enjoy this time with your family, please take a moment to be thankful for the farmer who made it possible for you to have that food. While they are exhausted from producing these products, they are happy to be able to provide for you and your family this Thanksgiving!

3 thoughts on “Breeding Cattle: My Family’s Thanksgiving Tradition

  1. Love reading your blogs. Keep up the good work! Plus, you guys need the tee shirts we had made that says: ” sorry for what I said ehile working cows!” 😉


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