Thursday, 29 November 2012

Some New Smallholding Pals. (Eyes Down For A Full Cow House/Shed.)

"Charley"  A lovely Charolais X heifer.
'Rosie'  A Simmental X Whitehead  heifer.
'Bluey'  The black girl  behind the bullocks.  She's a Aberdeen Angus crossed with a Belgian Blue.  Note the 'home made' steel manger complete with corrugated iron roof.
'Hippo'.  She's peeping her head through the cow shed door.  She 's a Simmental cross.  She was covered in mud when she arrived.  So I christened her 'Hippo'.
We bought 4 more cattle this week to live with the bullocks ('Archie, 'Lightning', 'Bambi' and 'Dal boy').  Sooty and Ruby are still here too.  So we are up to ten now.  If anything cheers me up it's my bovine pals.  They are great characters.  I wish they would keep their bedroom tidy.

See you later.


  1. Handsome beasts.
    They're starting to look really delicious.

  2. Yeah they all end up on the dinner plate Cumbrian. But we try to give them a good life. Lots of straw to lie on and plenty of beef nuts and silage.

    I don't like 'slatted house' where animals have to live and lie on top of concrete over a sewer. That's one really good thing I admire about 'Organic Farming'. It's the animal welfare. Even when the animals get killed. They only travel short distances to local abattoirs. Would love to be organic but it's too much red tape and too expensive at the moment. So we could have a topic:

    "When will we all go Organic?"

    No 'Organic and conventional' farming. Every body would be organic with no man made chemicals being used. Should it be a choice?

    Any thoughts please?

    1. organic is laudable its ugly head and pragmatism has to take over somewhat

  3. I suppose the only difference between Organic and Non-organic is sometimes in the piece of paper from the inspectors and payment of a large fee to obtain this piece of paper.
    To be honest, it's not that many years ago since there was nothing but Organic, but it was accepted as normal.
    Agree about the slatted house method, another step on the road of factory farming.

    And I still contend it's better to slaughter at home, then there's no travelling at all. But I suppose the suits in the corridors of power know better, and I bet a lot of them have seen neither a working farm nor a slaughter house.

  4. Hi John, I believe German farmers are steering the EEC to awarding smallholders (less than 20 acres)and big farmers to more environmental farming practices.

    We don't have a organic butchers in our nearest town, Bantry. The supermarket now sells pre-packed Organic meat but it only tells you the traceability and not the breed of animal.

    I would love to see the day when all farms are organic. But I can't see it happening because everything is based on yield and profit. I do agree with you though organic farming is very laudable. Just wish I could afford to be organic.

    Thank you for your thoughts.

  5. Think we have forgotten what traditional breeds and vegetable varieties taste like Cumbrian. I often say:

    "What breed of cattle is this beef?"

    You're right our ancestors used to be organic farmers before the industrial revolution and the growth of the towns and the big cities. They used farmyard manure and seaweed and Guano and blood fish and bonemeal to make their crops grow.

    There's a great pressure group: Compassion in world farming. It's trying to get rid of factory farming.

    Farming's become an eye opener for me. For example: Cows are forced to have calves, then they are taken away and they are made pregnant again. Lambs are less than 4 months when they go to the butcher.

    Totally agree with you that a licensed slaughter man should travel around farms despatching pigs..., without causing them any stress, travelling miles by articulated lorry.

    I would love to be organic but I can't afford to be certified and only buy organic livestock and organic feeds.


  6. Great names, loved hippos especially

  7. Hi Ronnie,

    Glad you like their names. It always gives great amusement to the vet and veterinary nurse when they read their names on top of their individual cattle identification cards at TB and Brucellosis testing time.


  8. I take my hat off to you for rearing your own animals for the table, and I can see you do it with compassion, which is the most important thing.

    Too many have lost sight of the reality of how meat, and other animal products, end up all nicely packaged on the supermarket shelf, or perhaps they just don’t want to know.

    The least we can do for these animals is treat them well until the inevitable, thank you for doing your bit.

  9. Congrats on the new additions Dave - great names too! I'm sure they'll settle in and enjoy their new lives with the others.

    We're the same here on the smallholding and stick to natural organic methods of growing/rearing animals. I don't think we'll ever be organically certified but will always adopt organic principles.

    When I told my granny I was off to buy some organic food for the chickens she looked horrified and said "but the chickens don't know whether it's organic or not" :) - she must've thought we had the most fussiest chickens in the world :)

  10. Hi Tom, Thanks for your kind words. We try to show compassion to our farm animals. Would love to be truly 'certified' organic but there is just too much red tape and it's too expensive to consider. So we are somewhere in between.

    Think people should try to source a farmer butcher and ask them about what they buy. I went to Kenmare recently and I saw a blackboard menue outside a restaurant saying:

    'Whitehead' Steaks.

    Think this is the way to go. A lot of good small butchers will sell you their own. Yes you will pay for it, but you have too pay for quality.

    We have just had two pigs killed and if you got pencil and paper and worked out how much they cost to buy, feed and despatch. It would not be sensible to keep them. Yet when you taste the meat, you realise you have paid for quality. It's like your allotment Tom. There is nothing like freshly dug vegetables.

    Thanks for your comments.

  11. Thanks Lorraine.

    They seem to be settling in well. 'Bluey' is still bawling though. No doubt she's missing her mum. Her mother will no doubt be busy getting ready to have another calf.

    I think your right about having organic principles. Perhaps there is an organic farmer reading this who will gives us some free advice about organic conversion?

    That's a really funny story about your granny thinking the chickens had 'organic' tastes.

    A lot of people think that organic is trendy, expensive and 'right on'. I think 'natural farming' with organic principles makes it more accessible for us all. Like I have said before. I think organic farming is very commendable, especially in terms of animal welfare.

    Thanks for your thoughts.


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