My goal at Star Creek Ranch is to raise the “total animal” and I do not let my quest for horns get in the way of that. Horn length is the driving force in the marketplace in the sale of Texas Longhorns and should be front and center of any top program. Unfortunately, I have seen cows with faulty udders, weak backs and vicious dispositions go through sale rings at Texas Longhorn sales and sometimes sell for high dollars just because they have a lot of horn. You won’t find those at Star Creek Ranch.
At Star Creek Ranch, I pay attention to detail in all my brood cows. Disposition is very important to me so while I may excuse a cow for being protective of a newborn calf, she needs to be calm about having her calf worked in the pens. Udder health is very important and highly heritable. So bad traits like dropped udders, large teats, missing teats or uneven quarters are not something you want to pass on to future generations. Those cows are not allowed to remain in the breeding program. I am breeding for the “total animal” so I do not let my quest for big horn get in the way of breeding for other desirable qualities – conformation, disposition, production ability.
The most important job a cow has is raising a calf and to do that she must be healthy, in good body condition and have a healthy reproductive tract and udder. I follow a strict herd health program at Star Creek Ranch with regular vaccinations including Brucellosis in all heifer calves, regular deworming, screening for Johnes disease and BVD and Trichomoniasis in bulls. Record keeping is very important to me – both health records and horn growth records.
Each cow is carefully evaluated each breeding season to match her to a bull that will complement her. Most are bred through natural service although I also introduce outside bloodlines through artificial insemination and the use of embryo transfer with my premier Texas Longhorn brood cows each year. I evaluate characteristics such as horn growth, color, temperament, pedigree, conformation and progeny in making decisions about bulls to use in my breeding program.