Winter on the Farm

Winter on the Farm

November saw two new healthy calves being born on the farm, one boy and one girl.  Both cows did very well and gave birth with out any assistant at all . That is why the Dexter breed are my kind of cow, they are not just super hardy they are amazing mothers too. 

The colder wetter weather arrived and it was time for our cows to come inside the sheds and have a check over by the vet.  We vaccinate the young cattle for pneumonia, which can cause nasty chest infections which can spread throughout the herd. Vaccinated our most vulnerable cows will reduce the risk of infection. They have a course of two vaccines 3 weeks apart and this will protect them for up to 6 months and by that time they will be back out at pasture where there is less chance of infections. Our breeding cows also have a pregnancy scan and I am pleased to say that 8 out of the 9 cows scanned are in calf and due at the beginning of March.

Also in November I had the great task of collecting dung samples for worm testing.  Testing for worms before treating allows us to get the correct treatment as there are many worms the cows can carry. Also if they are clear from worms we don't need to give them any chemicals. This also helps with worm resistance.  Worm resistance has come about from chemical wormers being so readily available and easy to administer farmers have been using a broad spectrum wormer for the ease. This is also happening in the equestrian world along with small animal. They are being used so often that the worms are now becoming resistance to the wormers. Worm testing and giving treatment as necessary has to be the way forward.  This is also good news for the meat eater as whatever we introduce into our animals weather it be wormers or antibiotics we are also introducing into ourselves. So less is definitely more! This also applies to the feed we feed them and you will be pleased to know that all of our cattle are grass fed and finished.  Once the poop pots were full I nipped them over to our vet over in Bakewell for them to be tested. After a couple of days I heard back and out of 47 cows NONE needed any treatment at all, which as you know our cattle are out grazing for 6 months of the year and grazing is where they pick up the worms and they were still clear. Over the moon, no chemical wormers needs. The plan now they are in for the winter months is not to test as they are at less risks from wormers, but start to re test when they are back out on the fields. That takes me onto our outdoor reared pigs.

I wanted to touch on the whole cycle of our pigs. Pigs love their food and we have lots to feed them.  October is the month where we start to plant our wheat crop in the fields. This will allow the seed to germinate and a green crop will appear ready for the winter months.  This crop will be ready for combining harvesting come August where everyone gets involved to get the crop in. Come August we are constantly checking the wheat for its ripeness and moisture, the wheat can only be combined and stored if the moisture content is below 16%. If we don't keep an eye on this and cut it at the wrong moisture it will go mouldy and we will be unable to store it for the winter months.

Why I am talking about wheat? Well wheat mixed with beans for protein is the diet we feed our pigs.  So we grow the crop on our fields, cut the crop, store it and then feed it to our pigs.  Our pigs are solely fed on what we grow, no commercial feed given at all. This means the whole cycle of our pigs is kept right here on the farm.  We like to feed them where they grow and mature slowly, lots of commercial feeds will fatten pigs very fast. We believe this has a massive part to play when it comes to the taste of our meat. More succulent and tender.  Seven of our pigs have gone for slaughter for our Christmas pork leaving two gilts (young lady pigs) behind as we are going to start breeding our own little piggies, cant wait!

So lets talk Christmas as I mentioned our Christmas pork is ready for the big day along with our Dexter Beef and Grass Fed Hogget.

All of our 3 amazing meats have been going out to your homes in hampers, ready for the big day.

Limited amounts are still available and can be ordered and delivered all the way up to the 23rd December.

Lets eat local, lets eat sustainably this Christmas!

Thanks for reading

Charlotte x