End of an era at Ashott Barton.
I had intended to sell Cowslip when I realised that she was as much Saler as Devon.I kept her because she was wild and crazy.She broke through a glass window when the barns here were still not fit for purpose, she jumped gates. She calmed down after two calves but I don’t sell animals that I think are a problem or a danger. She earned her keep and her calves by Millennium killed out well and she produced enough colostrum for me to set up shop if I wanted to.
Millie ,like Cowslip was easy calving but became dangerous soon as she calved. This got worse each year but I managed her. we all knew that no one should approach her alone when she calved.On the occasions she has needed help one had to be ready to make a hasty exit as soon as the calf popped out. Their calves by Millennium were very eye catching and inherited his calm disposition. Ashott Barton Millie the first is ten and a very steady cow with none of her mother’s aggression. Another went to Mrs Edgar and became a favorite with her.
I called Cowslip coat hanger because of her bony body shape. Millie too was very different in structure to my pure Devon cows from Champson and Woodrow . They lacked depth and bone which was more than made up for by Millennium. They were milky good mothers matching the pure Devon’s in this but they lacked hardiness as young cows and required more cosseting. This passed and I have never had to creep feed their calves.My biggest objection is to do with temperament and lack of bone and depth of body. Mated to a very mellow bull with great depth and bone the progeny could and did pass as pure and I have had to argue with some who would not believe that they were really from very Saler and Polled lines. However I have never kept bulls for breeding.
While I am sad at their going I believe that traditional horned and hardy Devon is superior. I gave Millie and Cowslip a great life and they have served me very well, but I would not set out to buy or add either Saler or Polled lines to the herd.They were bought because the Society and Mr Kerr failed to make the distinction and many new comers at the dispersal sale were caught by this. This has changed. Millie was bought also because I was not aware of the separate herd books, or that there had been a deliberate experimenting in the fifties with introducing polled Red Angus into the breed.Any one interested in this can see it in the herd books where the method and the experiment is described.