All in the Family

For quite a while we’ve been tossing around the idea of registering some of our cows.  Some breeders venture into the world of registered Holsteins by purchasing heifers or cows that are already registered.  We’ve talked about that, but for now, that’s not something we’re too interested in.  Instead, we hope to register some of our best.  We’ve always been a purebred Holstein dairy, and we already use registered bulls for our AI breeding program, so not much will change in our genetics except now there will be an official record.

We haven’t registered anything yet, but we did take the first step in the process by joining the Holstein Association and reserving our prefix.  Registered cattle all have names.  Their names each start with their breeders’ prefix.  We took the obvious route when naming our dairy (Heim Dairy Farm), so our choice of prefix may surprise you.  Each breeder must have a unique prefix, so we were relieved to find that Stellamaris was available – we already had our hearts set on it.

A couple of heifers strolling along the shore of Lake Stellamaris this winter.

Those of you who know us personally likely know that David’s family owns a fishing lake (roughly 60 acres).  The lake was built by his grandpa and great uncle in 1960, and the property borders the farm we live on, which was then owned by his grandparents. The lake is commonly referred to as “Heim Lake”; however, the official name is Lake Stellamaris.  David’s great grandma (the builders’ mother) was named Stella, and we aren’t sure where the “maris” came from, but a quick Google search tells me that “Stella Maris” is an ancient title for the Virgin Mary.  Given the family’s Catholic faith, this is likely related. Regardless, the lake is important to our family and has traditionally been the site of family events (including our second wedding reception because we were married in Illinois). Stellamaris also happens to sound nice at the front of a cow’s name – when considering a prefix, it seemed like an obvious choice.

In the last few weeks we’ve also taken a little bit of time to examine our herd records and identify specific cows we would like to register.  We were looking not only for a great cow, but a great cow with great daughters who could form our first cow family, and hopefully be a great foundation to continue to build our herd upon.  As we looked through our records, that family became clear.  In fact, a few members of this family have already graced this blog.

According to David, one of the best cows we have from the original herd is number 929.  Amazingly, 929 has also had 5 heifer calves, and we still have three of these daughters.  One, number 1108, had her first calf this spring and is one of our favorite 1st lactation cows.  She is a Geneva daughter, and her calf is a heifer by Boliver (number 1205).  You may have seen this pair in this post & video about a calve’s first few hours. We were excited to discover that 1147, who is breeding age now, is also a Geneva x 929, and we now have pretty high hopes for her.  And last fall, 929 had her fifth calf and fifth heifer: number 1194 by Abraham.

Cow number 1108 the morning she freshened, with her heifer calf, number 1205.

We haven’t figured out the exact registration process, but we’ve determined that we’d like this to be our first registered cow family.  As we work through this process, we’ll be sure to keep you updated on our progress and the official names of our animals.

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