|| ABOUT LILAC & LACE CATTLE CO. ||
...forewarning… my passion and ongoing battle with animal and farming related chronic overwriting may make the written areas throughout my website seem like a series of novellas, but I hope that what you find here is informative and insightful into how things work here...
The LILAC & LACE CATTLE CO. is a small and hearty heritage homestead farm
which is owned and operated by myself, my son and our Aussies... we are an intricately symbiotic family and so very much of what occurs here all depends on a harmonious and cohesive chain of relationships.
We are proudly located in the heart of the mitten in a little town called Lake, Michigan.
We have a little old farmhouse on stunning, lush land... there are photos at the very bottom of this page that show some our fun "playground".... to us everything here always feels as if it is gloriously life changing through its bounties, enrichments, provisions and constant demand for an honest way of life through hard work. We all wake up excited to tackle the day in such a fantastic environment and I am grateful for every moment.
Between our beloved Australian Shepherds, adored hair sheep, our dairy goats, our chickens, the loads of ducks, the pigs, the cattle and the horse, my human child and I stay extremely busy and very happy.
My truest and deepest passion outside of being a mother to my son and personal Aussie owner keeps me dedicated to relentless, rigid efforts to contribute to the preservation of Australian Shepherds... and I do so by standing firm in my commitment to keep this breed as it was intended. I do this to insure that we do not lose this incredible breed to modifications made over time with breedings geared to suit the latest trend in the show ring, one lifestyle or goal.
Aussies are not meant for one thing only and extremes away from the breed standard should be
avoided if we want to continue to enjoy the beautifully multifaceted Aussie that we know and love.
I am not alone in this passion by any means, there are so very many who have come before me, from the very beginning of the Australian Shepherd to those who began their personal journey 5 decades ago. They have fought, struggled with the politics of it all, remained firm in their dedication through times of triumph and difficulty who have paved the way for those who feel the same... and many generations now continue on in our individual ways to
accomplish the same thing.
I strive to create confident, healthy, biddable, social, versatile, strong working dogs and the very best and most loving family companions all rolled into one with particular foundation bloodlines as close up in their lineage as possible... all in order to keep my Aussies balanced and in the image of the breed standard. Aussies are intended to work stock, to have stamina that is astounding and a high drive that is unique and in my opinion, hard to compare to other herding breeds. However, due to their versatile nature Aussies from here have not only gone on to be successful farm dogs, ranch dogs and competitors, but they have gone on to be service dogs, frisbee lovers, show dogs, marathon training companions, best friends of children and adults and all are phenomenal family companions in city, suburban and rural settings.
Everything that I do here is for the love of my Aussies, to help contribute to their brilliant characteristics, physical attributes, desired temperaments as well as their emotional and physical health.
The Australian Shepherd is an incomparable, independent thinker... a problem solver, loyal enough to have
truly earned the title of "Velcro Dog"... and again is always a wonderful family member. Aussies are not suited for a solitary lifestyle, they need human companionship and are extremely eager to please their person or people. Additionaly to their family devotion, an Aussie should never be a quitter, they should never be aggressive, nor timid…
In my opinion, the versatile nature of this breed is one of the most incredible qualities of the breed.
I take great pride in my dogs when they are working just as I do when they are laying at my feet or are at the rare show that we venture to... An Aussie being multifaceted (yes, you will see that word written here often) is of the utmost importance in my eyes. An Aussie should be gentle enough to play with a child and bold enough to run cattle whether that cattle consists of calf and cow pairs or bulls... all while loving not oly the job at hand, but you as well the whole way through. They should do this all with a keen and unmatched level of intelligence and respect.
Our Australian Shepherds work on a daily basis (please note that expectant or nursing mommies are denied this pleasure, and while it can frustrate them early on in their gestation, it is what is correct in my mind to do and they never mind the extra lap time), whether it is through training on the ducks or working medium or large livestock... they are indeed my co-workers and I am always impressed with them. From retrieving the ducks from ponds that I cannot reach due to the geography or moving the small, medium or large livestock to commence rotational grazing or helping me secure a cow to be bred via AI... they are capable of doing the work of 2-3 people on horseback. So when I say that they are valuable family members as well as being my partners, it is something that I say with a deep and large gratitude and absolute sincerety and love.
Not only do I try to have any and every activity available for our Aussies by owning livestock, but in the summer of 2015 I started homesteading on behalf of my Aussies’ raw diet. While a raw diet is not for everyone... it suits us well and I feel our dogs are better off for it (this is an opinion of course)... Raw diets involve a calculation specific to each dog to know what and how much to feed them and as the food is raw, the source of such food is not only an issue of feeling pleased of how natural a label states that it is, but it is indeed a safety issue... so for my peace of mind I do not use "raw food" companies... As of now we raise and provide their food as often as possible and when we do not have the variety that I feel their bodies need in order to thrive and be at their best, we source the foods from our local farming and agricultural neighbors. I would not feed a raw chicken from the grocery store to my animals. I absolutely must know where such a food is coming from and of course love to know how it was raised. Please note that this is where I am in my comfort level and I am in no way stating that those who feed raw by using a company or the local market is frowned upon by me… it just does not suit my nerves as far as personal nutrition safety goals go. I am not against feeding kibble to dogs either, I currently keep all of our dogs on "Life's Abundance Grain Free, All Life Stages" food until they are one year of age. Pregnant or nursing moms also eat Life's Abundance and that is what I wean our litters onto... but a kibble based diet is just not how we do things here for the mature Aussies on a regular basis.
My Aussies' needs have given birth to many goals over time…most recently it involved moving up here from a cattle farm down by Lansing, MI in order to downsize into something that will do exactly what I need it to do and nothing more... this move was a huge step in the right direction. It is about the simplistic nature of being able to provide for my family in every way, from giving the joy of fowl ownership to my son to giving these Aussies more of a variety in their work and exploring their potential in as may ways that I can.
In addition to raising my dogs as naturally and as healthily as possible.... All of my breeding adults are FULLY Health Tested and are absolutely cleared of every genetic mutation possible to currently test for... I do not "carefully" breed carriers or affected dogs to "clear" dogs... If my dogs do not clear all 11 DNA/Genetic Tests plus meet my standards with their OFA exams on their Hips, Elbows and CERF, they do not create litters. They all have OFA Hip/Elbow ratings of Normal or better. Period. Every sire and dam's Health Test Results are available on this website to review and can also be publicly viewed through the OFA's website or the company that I use to complete the genetic testing.
While we have many dogs, I only have limited numbers of litters each year to insure the health and safety of our females and of course, of the puppies produced. Currently we have 2-6 litters per year. At this time, this is what I have time for… so in turn, this is what is appropriate for my current program. On my “Available Litters” page, you will see the details in how a puppy is raised here. It is the responsible decision for this time in my life. I absolutely remain focused on my goals and will never value quantity over quality. I would be wary of anyone who does.
To continue discussing health and litters, all females are seen by not only a veterinarian,
but also by a Reproduction Specialist before even thinking of planning a litter.
I absolutely live for my dogs and I would never want to be in a position of doubt or uncertainty when it comes to their health, emotional welfare or safety. I am not a veterinarian, this is also something that I will say all day long. There are many things that I know how to do and can judge with certainty after raising Aussies for 18 years, but I am not trained to give an ultra sound or give such an extensive exam especially regarding reproductive health. I rely heavily on my support system of medical professionals as well as my experience. From specialists to veterinarians to working with university research departments to yes, relying on my own diligence and my propensity for being autodidactic when a source of knowledge is available to me.
Yes, I can give vaccinations... and I do to many animals here. But not to our dogs or litters. That is a vet's job and it is important for a new puppy to go home with proper and individual documentation from a medical professional in order to correctly start a new owner's records at their vet of choice. New owners will not receive a "vaccination check list/medical history" sheet completed by myself, they will go home with vet records. I do not dock the tails myself, even though I am absolutely capable… to me such a thing is a surgical procedure… and again, I am not a veterinarian. Our puppies are seen by the veterinarian five times while in my care. I have my adult dogs get a Titer test annually after the age of one year to avoid overvaccination. This is very important to me and I am happy to talk about it if you have any questions about Titer Testing.
To touch upon how puppies are raised here before further details on the "Available Litters" page... The puppies are all raised in my home, as are my dogs… I do not own a kennel. "How do you manage it?” is a question I hear quite often… I manage it through diligence and training. Our younger dogs and females in heat are crated when we leave the home (which is very, very, very rare) or when we have company other than family and close friends… Not everyone understands that walking into a home with so many Aussies can be a funny or overwhelming moment… so to avoid stress, they are crated or playing outdoors if someoe is here for a first time. My dogs accompany me throughout my daily work… and any Aussie under the age of 1 year sleeps in their crate at night for their safety and my peace of mind... the rest of the Aussies enjoy rotating between my bedroom and my son's bedroom and laying splayed across the sofa.
A huge part of how I train my dogs and show them respect is that I do not set my dogs up for failure. Aussies live to please. They love to problem solve. I enjoy each moment exploring what they do best. One girl may do best training on ducks… one may do best with goats or an automatic tennis ball thrower before settling down to train on livestock and one may do best with an 11 month old heifer… each has time to learn how to be a spoiled pet of course… but snuggling on the couch with 3 Aussies aged 5 months to 8 months plus adult Aussies usually goes better (again, why set them up for failure?) when they are done working and/or playing and are actually ready to relax.
I have worked very hard to be where I am today in my work with my Australian Shepherds through many things but I feel that bloodlines are the base of your dog… so having exemplary bloodlines helps and I feel that beyond the health of my animals, their foundation is of incredible importance… you can’t build a stable home upon a shaky or poorly made foundation. Please note that while I firmly believe that, I was told by a breeding mentor years and years ago that every good breeder will start with "good stock" and then continue on and make their dogs into the the very dogs that they covet. Put in the work. And I have. It is a point of pride and even though it borders on inflated pride, I am not ashamed to say it.
I have given my life over to these dogs. Given my life over to insuring that I am a breeder that has high morals, a set program, seemingly endless medical professionals as a resource, unlimited access to research and the correct people to discuss my current and future plans with. And again, I am so blessed that at a young age and during my starting point that the above mentioned anonymous breeder with over 45 years experience told me … “yes, start with good bloodlines... and while you will need to add outside bloodlines from time to time to avoid linebreeding and inbreeding when it is uncalled for… but make your animals into what you desire… PUT IN THE WORK… not just the finances”… In turn I have become the type of breeder that I look at and say “wow… they truly care, they do what is needed…. They do it with passion and joy which is immeasurable”… and I smile at my growth, my dogs, my life.
Our Aussies are as follows and more information on each can be found on my Male and Female Pages (please be patient…. I am still revamping the website after my big move and have spent countless hours transforming it from a cattle lover’s paradise into a reflection of our current life)…
Lilac & Lace Cattle Co.’s Button Up That Goose: Black Tri BET ASCA/AKC Australian Shepherd, Retired Male
Fairoak's Buffalo Soldier at Lilac & Lace Cattle Co.: Black Tri ASCA/AKC Australian Shepherd, Juvenile Male
Fairoaks Shinto: Red Bi ASCA/AKC Australian Shepherd, Male
Lilac & Lace Cattle Co.'s California Redwoods: Red Merle ASCA Australian Shepherd, Juvenile Female
Lilac & Lace Cattle Co.’s Bella Arma di Bestiame: Black Tri BET ASCA/AKC Australian Shepherd, Female
Fairoaks Elle Vira Marie: Black Tri ASCA/AKC Australian Shepherd, Juvenile Female
Lilac & Lace Cattle Co.’s Luna’s Saving Grace: Black Tri ASCA/AKC Australian Shepherd, Female
Lilac & Lace Cattle Co.'s 7 Saints of the Shepherd: Black Tri ASCA/AKC Australian Shepherd, Female
Atchley’s Little Oakley Joe: Blue Merle ASCA/AKC Australian Shepherd, Female
Redstar Rosebud: Red Tri ASCA/AKC Australian Shepherd, Retired Female
For Present Litter Information and Photographs, please click the page “Availablet Litters”!!!
Eventually I will get a "Past Litters" page created.
In addition to creating my own litters here, my Black Tri "Lilac & Lace Cattle Co.'s Button Up That Goose" is available for Stud Service to select breeders with Fully Health Tested ASCA or ASCA/AKC Australian Shepherd females. He is available 1-2 times per year. I am meticulous in my choices of whom my dog services. You can find more information on Button and the process of applying for Stud Services on the Aussie Males page. Please contact me for more information and to review my Stud Service Contract.
I try to explain to people, friends, family, strangers… It is not hard physical labor when it is something that you love… it is an honor to be granted the opportunity to care for all of my animals, this is my job... my only job, my calling if you will. They breathe life into me… they provide my joy outside of motherhood and yes, some provide joy and food or joy and dairy… they give me something that I cannot describe and there will never be enough that I can do for them in order to repay them for what they do for my son, my heart, for my home and my life. I spend every moment trying my best to let them know that they are invaluable family members to me and that I would do anything in the world for them. I am grateful every moment of every day.
As far as the other integral aspects of our homestead go, we have Katahdin Hair Sheep for the Aussies to work. The Katahdin sheep are not a food source nor do I breed them... they are joyful pets that are "workable". We now have Oberhasli Dairy Goats in addition to a few Mini-Nubian goats. Our Mini Nubians are our only "non-heritage" breeds of livestock here. Our goats are here for our dairy consumption and to provide a small sized livestock for the Aussies to work... when I say "our dairy consumption" I mean my son, myself, the Aussies and our litters.
As of Summer 2016 we have just under 70 free range Swedish and Cayuga Ducks which do so much here. Our ducks are a food source via offspring and also by providing extremely rich, delicious, protein-packed eggs. They provide fantastic manure management in pastures plus offer bug and insect control.
The ducks are a huge training tool for the Aussies, especially in teaching them how to have a light touch and quiet presence with livestock when needed or asked for.
We also have a handful of Black Australorp and English Orpington Chickens whom provide eggs, three producing Kune Kune Pigs (and a companion Potbelly Pig named Blueberry) whom are scheduled to breed Fall of 2016. The pigs are NOT a food source for the Aussies, not the adults and not the offspring... please don't feed pork to your doggy!. We have a handful of dairy and meat bull calves. I purchase bottle babies for the joy of my son to raise up, for the Aussies to be able to work cattle as they grow and yes, one is destined for the freezer every so often. Occasionally I will raise a ram lamb or two as needed for a food source as well.
All of these animals will have a place here on the website… and it will have to be finished as my life allows… but for now, I am working on building a more in depth website to provide you with not only easy navigation but photo galleries and more information that includes full, clear details on the core of it all, my Austraian Shepherds.... I thank you for your interest and for your patience shown by reading this. Please feel free to contact me below to be added to the email list, waiting list for upcoming litters and to ask any questions or to leave any feedback.
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Lilac & Lace Cattle Co.
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