Hazel, willow, beef and storytelling from Bedfordshire

Last beef day of 2011

Admiral and son (Big Kev)

Admiral and son (Big Kev)

There’s a great deal of cow stuff going on at the moment. We’re moving most of the herd, very slowly around the farm in an anti-clockwise direction so that by tomorrow afternoon they will be in the field with a barn from which we can easily get a steer into a trailer. He’ll go to the abattoir on Monday.

After that, they will be split into two groups; the first will be our bull Admiral together with cows and male calves who will enjoy a few weeks on our last bit of longish grass and some pretty tasty looking clover. The young stock and cows with female calves will be reunited with five yearling heifers for a visit to Meppershall parish (just over the river) for a slightly less yummy grass experience, but more importantly – two fences and a river away from Admiral.

Having a bull on the farm adds a degree of complexity that I don’t think we really thought about in advance. Not only does he need female company on most of our land to comply with rights of way legislation, but he also needs to have access only to those females who are old enough to enjoy his attentions.

No doubt, on Monday morning we will experience the usual stresses involved in moving animals. A great deal of this surrounds the road trip. Although only about twelve miles, there’s plenty that could go wrong; in the loading, driving and unloading. Add in the reality of killing an animal that we’ve known since the day he was born, over two years ago and it can be tense.

The steer’s carcass will be hung for three weeks and returned to us on 6 October for distribution to our customers. If you might be interested in buying some beef, do contact us by 19 September. There’s more information and an order form to be downloaded from our web site

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