Tomcat - old father christmas

During the peak of George Washington’s farming operation, over 300 cattle lived on the Estate. Cattle provided meat, milk and associated products like butter, cream, and cheese. They were also a reliable source of labor on the farm. Washington branded all of his cattle with “GW” for identification purposes. Mount Vernon raises Milking Devon cattle, a breed developed in England and brought to Massachusetts in 1623. The Devons are known for their deep red color and versatility. They are a hardy breed and can thrive in rugged conditions. Mount Vernon’s heritage breed program raises Devons as part of a conservation effort to help preserve the breed. The cattle are listed as “critical” with The Livestock Conservancy, meaning less than 200 animals are registered in the United States annually.

Oxen played a very important role on the farm, performing many jobs such as plowing and hauling carts. They were often referred to as a “poor man’s working team.” We have a working team of oxen, Jed and Jake, who haul compost and straw in a cart. Jed and Jake were born at Mount Vernon and trained by our staff.

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