What’s New?

September 21st, 2015 by Kim
Introducing Thomas (behind) & Patrick (in front).

Introducing Thomas (behind) & Patrick (in front).

It’s the first day of fall & we have our first of three fall calves on the ground already.  So, what else is new around Hope Refuge Farm this fall?  Well, we have some exciting stuff going on!  For the first time in our 8+ years of raising Dexters, our breeding program has produced some bull calves that we feel are high enough quality to be kept & registered as breeding bulls.  Not just one, but two exceptional boys.  That is exciting for us, because we can see our breeding program moving forward & our calves improving in quality.  What’s really neat is that these two boys were born within weeks of their sire, Rousseau, leaving the farm for his new home.  So, we are happy & proud to introduce Patrick & Thomas!

NewHope St Patrick’s Luck

Patrick is such a handsome, solid bull calf.

Patrick is such a handsome, solid bull calf.

We were impressed with Patrick from birth.  He was structurally correct, and a nice stout, solid calf, with the wonderful disposition that Rousseau so faithfully passes on.  He has grown into a handsome looking weanling who is quite the mellow boy.  His dam is a wonderful Legend cow with a good strong udder & a sweet, friendly temperament.

Patrick, square & correct.

Patrick, square & correct.

Patrick seems to be a nice combination of Rousseau & Tama Titanium, his maternal grandsire.  Patrick is homozygous polled also, so all his calves will be polled…no worries about dehorning!  We are pleased to offer Patrick for sale, and you can learn more about him on his page in the Sale Barn.

NewHope Thomas Jefferson

Thomas is really new around here!  He is a product of our breeding program, but he wasn’t born here.  We sold Trixie as a bred cow & kept in touch with her new owners.  Curious to see how our linebreeding experiment worked, we were anxious to see little 3 month old Thomas Jefferson, as they had dubbed him, when we delivered Euchee Creek’s Red Lamont to their farm.  I was immediately fairly certain that Thomas was built even better than Patrick, and that has proven to be true now that we see them side-by-side.  We picked up Thomas last week & brought him home, so the brothers are making friends with each other.

Thomas looks like a smaller version of Rousseau...so stocky!

Thomas looks like a smaller version of Rousseau…so stocky!

We are really impressed with this little man.  Trixie doesn’t seem to have passed any of Ladybell’s faults along, and so Thomas appears to be all Frederick.  He is quite the stocky fellow, with Rousseau’s super sweet, friendly disposition.  It will be very interesting to see how he matures.  I do think Thomas will be here to stay for a while!   A big, huge “thank you!” to Dan & Tara for allowing us to purchase him back.

Thomas has excellent width between the legs.

Thomas has excellent width between the legs.


We have also made some fun changes to the website over the summer, if you haven’t noticed them yet.  Check out the “Sale Barn” page to find animals for sale.  What’s new in the sale barn?  We now have a page dedicated to AI semen sales.  Rousseau is the only bull from which we currently have straws available, but check back for future additions…and that’s all I can say right now!

We’ve also expanded the “Breeding Program” page to include listings of our Foundation Cows & Herdsires Past.  We decided this was a good way to give a place of honor to the animals that have been important influences on our herd.  It will showcase the Dexters that have since moved on, who have made our herd what it is today.  Hope you enjoy!

AGM Success

July 7th, 2015 by Kim

As I mentioned in May, we went to the AGM in Harrisonburg, VA in June.  As always, it was a wonderful time with Dexter friends, renewing previous connections and making new ones too.  Unlike the previous two AGM’s we attended, this time I took some animals to show, so I experienced things from a different angle this year.  There are several success stories from the weekend that I would like to share.

My show string (L to R):  Tundra, Jammy, Porter and Charlie.  All dolled up & ready to go, learning about standing tied in the barn all day.

My show string (L to R): Tundra, Jammy, Porter and Charlie. All dolled up & ready to go, learning about standing tied in the barn all day.

The Show

The show Friday was rather small, with not so many people making the trip across the mountains with animals, so a bit disappointing.  But it was a great first-time-ever showing experience for me.  I had simple goals….to have fun, to see if my training method had worked, and to learn how some of the best animals in my herd compare to others from some of the top breeders in the nation.

The first goal was definitely accomplished!  In spite of being worried & doing a fair bit of fretting the evening & morning before the show, I DID have a lot of fun getting out there in the ring with my animals.

Jammy & I waiting to line up for her class, Jr. Yearling Heifer.

Jammy & I waiting to line up for her class, Jr. Yearling Heifer.

The second goal is a big part of the reason I had fun in the ring.  My training absolutely worked, and if I must say so myself, my animals were the best behaved ones there!  In each class I was in, my animals were surrounded by other animals who were balking, dancing & spinning around and at times bumping into my animal, and some just in general acting like total fools.  I was SO proud that in each case, my animal remained calm, focused on what I was asking them to do and stood quietly to be presented to the judge.  Even though it was their first time ever in a show ring, with scary new objects, voices over the loudspeakers & lots of strange people, they did not freak out or become obstinate.  This is the way it should be!

The third goal was also a success.  I wasn’t really expecting my animals to place in their classes.  My bull calf, Charlie, and my steer calf, Porter, each were in a class consisting of three animals.  They both placed third in their class.  Jammy, my junior yearling heifer, was #8 in a class of nine.  She had a lot of tough competition.  Tundra, my senior yearling heifer, took the third place ribbon in her class of four.  That all may not sound like much of a success, but my goal was not to win.  I accomplished my goal of learning what traits I need to work on in my breeding, by seeing how my animals compared to the others.

This photo of Sara & Tundra won third place in the Cow/Calf category in the photo contest.

This photo of Sara & Tundra won third place in the Cow/Calf category in the photo contest.

I am so glad I decided to do this!  It was an incredibly valuable learning experience, and I would strongly encourage others to take advantage of the showing opportunities you may have.

The Photo Contest

This is perhaps not a huge part of the AGM, but it is such a neat way for anybody to participate, even if you can’t attend.  There were a lot of excellent entries in the photo contest and it was fun to see everybody’s pictures of their animals.  I was pleased to come home with two ribbons from the contest, a third place & a first.  With all the stiff competition, that feels like a success.

The Annual Meeting

This photo of me milking Trixie took the first place ribbon in the Milking & Working Dexters category.

This photo of me milking Trixie took the first place ribbon in the Milking & Working Dexters category.

After the cattle sale Saturday morning, there was a lecture given by Dr. Phillip Sponenberg about breed conservancy & genetics.  It was quite informative, with good questions & discussion from the members in attendance, and he addressed a lot of the genetic “issues” facing Dexter breeders.  Dr. Sponenberg made repeated comments like “you need to agree to disagree”, “treat each other with respect”, “be civil!” and “work together”, indicating that we need to accept all the differences within the breed and that to continue squabbling over things will only hurt the breed.

His lecture was a great lead-in to the Annual Meeting, which happened shortly afterwards, with the vote on the female genotyping proposal on the agenda.  The floor was open for comment & discussion before the vote, and amazingly enough, everybody took Dr. Sponenberg’s urging to heart.  The discussion remained civil & respectful.  THAT was a huge success indeed!  And of course, the biggest success of all, in my opinion, is that the genotyping proposal was approved.  The membership of the ADCA has made their voice heard, with a large majority being in favor of moving our breed forward in this manner.  I definitely feel like celebrating!

Genotyping & Parent Verification

May 15th, 2015 by Kim

I’m sure most ADCA folks are aware that there is a proposal for the Association to begin requiring genotyping for heifers, so that we can move to a fully parent verified registry.  I understand that this is controversial, but I hope that people will see the wisdom of it.  We here at Hope Refuge Farm have been genotyping & parent verifying our entire herd for quite a few years now, because we firmly believe it is “best practice”, and definitely in the best interest of the breed.

Like father, like son.

Like father, like son.

So, you ask, WHY should we have to do this?  I have heard of several situations where somebody tried to PV (parent verify) a cow they bought, and mistakes in the pedigree were discovered.  One or both of the cow’s parents were not who they thought they were, so the person did not have the bloodlines they thought they had bought for their herd.  I, for one, want to know that when I purchase an animal, it is indeed the animal & bloodlines that the breeder has claimed it is, and PV is the only way to be certain of that. Read more »

March Madness….My Way

March 22nd, 2015 by Kim

As if February’s weather didn’t have enough craziness that came along with it, like frozen water lines, no city water, and gas regulator problems, now I’ve had my own version of March Madness going on.

Rousseau did not seem impressed with the foot & a half of snow we got.  I think he'll be happy to be in TX.

Rousseau did not seem impressed with the foot & a half of snow we got. I think he’ll be happy to be in TX.

Rousseau was sold & supposed to be moving to his new Texas home in Feb, but the weather delayed that….multiple times.  So March came & he was still here, so we had testing & paperwork that all needed re-done.  On March 3, BoPeep kicked off the calving season by delivering a petite little heifer for us.  We were thrilled to be back in milk, but that also means milking every morning now.  Four days later, I went out to find Scarlett suddenly bagged up the whole way & her pin ligaments totally mushy.  That afternoon we had another beautiful heifer on the ground.  What a darling this one is! Read more »

A Bull Market

December 28th, 2014 by Kim
Belle Fourche Rousseau

Belle Fourche Rousseau

(*NOTE* 3/15/15 Update:  Rousseau has been sold & has gone to his new home in Texas.  This post remains as an excellent example of how to advertise a mature bull, or what information to look for if you’re buying a bull.)

Yes, it’s front page, headline news.

Rousseau is FOR SALE! 

It has not been an easy decision to come to.  He’s been our main man, our foundation herdsire for nearly 5 years, and it’s been wonderful to have such an awesome bull on the farm.  He has done his job, and we’ve been keeping most of his daughters so far, so I’ve been starting to think that it’s time to keep my eyes open for a replacement for him in the next couple years.  I just didn’t think it would be quite this soon! Read more »