News from the farm November 2023
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The new arrival surveying his new domain.
Stories from the farm November 2023
It's one of the bonuses of running a farm that every now and then we get to wander around Scotland when we go shopping for a new bull or ram.
We run what are called 'closed' flocks and herds, meaning that we breed all our own new breeding females and so don't bring any animals onto the farm. This allows us to maintain herds with low exposure to transmissible diseases and to selectively breed cattle and sheep well suited to life here. It also permits stability in the herd or flock structures, with multiple generations of related animals connected to each other over many years, giving individuals the 'security' of knowing where they sit in their social relations and for the transfer of cultural knowledge between generations. All good things for the health and wellbeing of our animals and for our ease of managing the farm, especially as we continue to move to a more naturalistic grazing style.
The exception to this is that we do need to bring in new bulls and rams every few years to avoid the risk of inbreeding and loss of genetic fitness. It feels like a flaw in the system in some ways that we cannot be fully self sustaining within our patch. But this is a very small piece of countryside with quite small numbers of animals whose free living ancestors would have ranged over much bigger areas and been open to visitations from males moving between different maternal groups. And so instead we get to do the ranging and wandering and find some new genetics in the shape of a ram or bull to come and visit our female groups. They typically stay for 2-4 years until their own daughters are coming of breeding age and then they (with our assistance) move on to new pastures and we open the gate for the next visiting male.
This years ranging was for a new Hebridean breed tup and we we have just returned from a wander to North Uist to collect one we had looked at earlier in the year, had liked and agreed to purchase. He's a fine looking chap and hopefully will produce many nice lambs next May. After a bit of a revival in recent years there are quite few Hebridean breed sheep to be seen in the Hebrides again and it's always a pleasure to go over there and see them grazing and to catch up with fellow breeders. And for extras we got to enjoy the richness of birds that Uist always offers up when we go; from an abundance of eagles, including one chasing a barnacle goose while we had breakfast, to the proliferation of waders that never cease to inspire me to come home and do more to help them here. Quite a bonus.
UPDATED ORDER FORM AND FESTIVE PRE-ORDERS INFO
The November order form is now updated and online. You can find the link below to the order form with all our different meat cuts available, along with practical info about delivery/collection date in November.
We are now also taking PRE-ORDERS for turkeys and gammons for December.
Our regular customers already know that it's first come, first serve for our delicious meat cuts that are not only full of flavour due to the breeds we use and their grass/herb diets, but also free of nasties such as pesticides and antibiotics. You can find all the info on the order form, including more info about the specials of the month.
Laurel & SaMNovember 2023 Order Form