My mini herd of cattle roam the pastures
a cows life at achpopuli...
a cow's life at achpopuli...
I have a very small herd of cattle: Patsy (an Aberdeen Angus) and Maya (an Aberdeen Angus X Dexter/Jersey) and their offspring. Patsy was born and grew up here and Maya was born on the Black Isle. Their long tongues and heavy footsteps mean they manage the pasture in a very different way to sheep.
Currently I don't have the shelter or water infrastructure to mob graze them with the sheep (I am working on it...) so they are lightly set stocked in a large field where they can roam between wet heath and fen, dry pasture and rocky mounds, shelter under trees and scratch on fallen branches. Having more experience with sheep, it is interesting and important for me to observe and learn from their behaviours - where they go when it's hot, cold, windy etc helps me understand what they will need when mob grazed.
In winter, they get small hay supplements in the field until their grazing is all gone (or under snow) and they need free access to supplementary forage - then they are brought into the field with shed access where the hay is stored. This is useful in a couple of ways: it collects some of their manure for use on my veg patch and compost making, and as I don't routinely use vehicles around the farm is the easiest way of making sure they have enough to eat!
I am breeding for small, hardy cattle, and experimenting with different crosses. Highlander first, then Shetland and Galloway are on my list to try! They will either be for herd expansion or meat production, but also hoping Maya can provide milk for the house with her Jersey genes!