Calving season is well underway with 39 calves safely on the ground. So that is just 45 left to go!!
It is a round the clock operation checking on our lovely ladies in waiting for signs of imminent labour. Shorthorns are naturally easy calving as they produce relatively small calves so don’t often need a helping hand. Although we have had a couple of ‘breach’ births this season which if left unchecked can easily result in the death of the calf as the cows are unable to give birth unaided. Luckily Will spotted these and was able to intervene and both calves are doing well.
Our cows are kept in deep straw sheds which makes calving as comfy as possible and gives them plenty of room to mooch around and find the right spot.
Once the cow and calf have formed a strong bond and we are confident that the calf is feeding well they are turned out into our ‘nursery paddock’. This is a small field which allows the calves to get used to life outside before moving across the road into our large fields where they will graze with their mothers until late autumn.
Each year we keep around 20 pedigree heifers (the name for a female cow who hasn’t had a calf yet) who will join our herd for the future. The rest will all eventually be finished for our beef boxes in two and a half to three years time.
This allows our beef animals to grow slowly to full maturity whilst eating simply good Cornish grass. Grazing fresh grass and herbal leys over the spring, summer and autumn. Then simply our own homegrown grass silage over the winter months.
We believe that great taste takes time and that is why we allow our cattle to finish slowly and naturally. This years crop of calves will be ready for ‘beefing’ in 2025. People often don’t realise that quality grass fed and finished beef takes quite so long to produce!