In the summer, each bull "will lose 250 to 300 pounds, when they begin chasing the cows around. They drop from 2,100 or 2,200 pounds down to 1,800 pounds by August."
After they get pregnant, Texas longhorn cows have a nine-month gestation period before their baby calves are born.
Perry spends a lot of his time driving and walking around his fields and hills, usually accompanied by his three dogs, monitoring the welfare of his cattle.
"Rover, a pure-bred Labrador retriever named after the best dog in the world, thinks he is a cattle dog. The other two -- Ben-Bud and Candy -- are blue heelers," Perry said.
"I also keep a donkey on my farm to keep coyotes away."
Last month, the state the Department of Agriculture released statistics showing commercial red meat production dropped by nine percent in West Virginia between January 2012 and January 2013, while commercial "hog slaughter" dropped by 17 percent.
Meanwhile, total U.S. beef production rose by 7 percent and pork production rose by 4 percent during the same period.
Helmick believes the new "farm-to-table movement" is something that will help West Virginia farmers.
"There is a lot of opportunity in West Virginia, but we have to get some leadership. Our current group of farmers can create and train a new generation."
The number of farms dwindled from 105,000 in 1935 -- the peak year in Mountain State history -- to 22,000 today.
"However, we will have the largest number of family-owned farms in the country. We are a very independent-minded people," Helmick said.
Perry said, "I sell all my bulls to somewhere else. The last bulls I bought to breed my cows came from Ohio and Kentucky.
"I sell females when they get old and buy replacements. I buy about five females a year. I have a guy who gets them for me from Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia or West Virginia."
Perry said it costs between $400 and $600 to buy a replacement female. For a mature female cow, it often costs between $600 and $1,000. Black Texas longhorns typically cost another $100.
"That is generally about two-thirds the price of an Angus. That makes it easier for a young person to get into the business and develop a herd."
The Spanish brought ancestors of today's longhorns into Mexico 500 to 600 years ago, Perry said.
"They crowded through Mexico up through what is now the Western United States. The British began to import them into the Eastern United States in the mid-1800s. But longhorns almost became extinct.
"But the numbers of have built up in the last 10 to 15 years," Perry said. "Some people want their hides and horns for decorations."
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjnyh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.