Feed on Posts or Comments 24 January 2019

Devon Cattle for Sale saboranch on 22 Jul 2016 12:40 am

Sabo Ranch- Breeding Choices and Parasite Resistance

I recently read an article by Kit Pharo about parasites, specifically horn flies, and cattle’s resistance to them.  I quote Kit, below:

“Horn flies have an anti-coagulate factor in their saliva that prevents blood clotting while some breeds, such as Brahman, are much more resistant to horn flies.   They have three times the number of hairs per unit of surface area than do most British and Continental breeds.”

“Within a breed, some individuals are much more resistant to horn flies than others.”

“Smaller framed animals have significantly fewer flies than larger framed animals within the same breed.   Cattle of the same breed seem to be born with approximately the same numbers of hairs.   When you enlarge the frame size, you have fewer hairs per square inch.   The bigger the animal, the greater the distance between hairs.”

“Every hair follicle has two sebaceous glands that secrete a substance that reflects sunlight (heat) and provides a natural resistance to insects.   The more hairs, the more secretion.   Cattle that have a very slick and shiny summer hair coat seldom have much in the way of fly problems.

they are feeding.   Some beef animals have a higher level of a natural chemical called thrombin that works to counteract the fly’s anti-coagulate.   Simply by selecting for animals that have a higher level of thrombin in their blood, we can effectively select for horn fly resistance.

“Bulls, because of their testosterone, will typically have two to four times more flies than cows.   Flies are attracted to testosterone.”

MONTANA RED DEVONS has always selected for Devon cattle that show the best possible resistance to parasites.  Just as plants send out pheromone messages to plant predators when they are sick and need to be returned to the soil, so do animals.

Have you ever patted a dog that eats what it should be eating, raw meat?  Its fur is shiny, soft, and free of excess oils.  A dog fed conventional grain-based dry food often has a lot of oil and odor- that’s the skin, the animal’s largest organ, trying desperately to rid the dog’s body of the toxins in the conventional dog food.

We never save bulls or cows that have been doctored as young animals into the registered Devon breeding pool.  Only bulls that have been healthy all their lives are selected as herd bulls at Montana Red Devons.

We also carefully watch our Devons for signs of external parasites, warts(viral susceptibility), and poor digestion.  Healthy mother cows bred to healthy bulls give us healthy, long-lived calves without medical troubles.  Simple as that.

Montana Red Devons registered Devon breeding stock is selected only from the healthiest cattle in the herd.  That ability to resist Nature’s continued efforts at “early digestion back to the bacteria of the soil” is a hallmark of Montana Red Devons, and passes along easily to the next generation of calves.

Questions? Jenny Kahrl, Montana Red Devons, Harrison, MT 59735.  406-451-6900.  jmkahrl1@gmail.com

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