Looking after our Ladies and every animal on the farm is the reason we do what we do, and we take huge pride in doing the best we can for them. They are our most treasured business partners!
Our ladies live in a small herd of 80 who are moved around the farm between pasture, housing and milkings as one social bunch. Every cow has her own personality, and we milk them, move them, and tend them every day. They know us and we know them very well.
They spend summers grazing organic clover filled pastures on our farm, whilst winters are spent with access to the outdoors as well as barns, back scratchers, adlib food, and interaction with their friends in the herd whilst we wait for summer to come around once more. Preserving the soil and farmland is also at our core, allowing it to flourish and giving the ladies the extra nutrition they require in winter ensures everything stays in balance. Please follow our social media channels for updates throughout the year!
Our Ladies live 3 to 4 times the national average for a dairy cow, and I like to think this is testimony to their lifestyle.
They do not have their first calf until they are fully mature themselves, at just over 3 years old, during which they are growing up on our farm at a leisurely pace. Our ladies are not pushed in their production, leading a forage based organic lifestyle, and an extended lactation is encouraged, with no need for calving annually. They get an annual 2 month holiday or dry period from milking, to recharge their batteries and rest and relax as well!
We think of our ladies more as business partners and pets. With decision-making focusing on animal welfare rather than commercial gain. I have many retired elderly ladies at the farm and we have a very special relationship with them.
Our Calves, both male and female, are all welcomed and all treated entirely equally.
Our nurse cows (who are our ladies who are particularly fond of motherhood!) help us raise our calves under our watchful eye alongside social groups of calves raised on organic milk, with boys and girls all kept together as equals. All animals are treated as individuals and we make decisions on that basis. All our dairy calves are raised alongside one another as brothers and sisters on organic milk until they themselves start to favour the hay and nuts they will always have had available to them. Slowly they start to wean themselves onto a more adult diet at around 3-4 months, as their rumen develops and they mature, avoiding any stress or sudden changes. If they decide they want milk for longer, they have it, with some on milk up to 6 months. All animals here are generally very healthy (again I believe due to the low stress lifestyle!) but if they are ever poorly, they receive exactly the same care and access to any lifesaving treatment or homeopathy should they require it-regardless of cost.
Ladies And Gentlemen, after being raised on organic milk entirely as equals to their sisters, our dairy boys go to live their lives on another local farm, in their social groups, avoiding markets. Their raised for organic or pasture fed beef at around 3 years old. Many of our female Hereford calves will go on to live as long as our own ladies as suckler cows-and I love to follow their lives even after they leave us, and know that they continue the organic milk based diet they are used to when they do.
Our calves welfare is important to us and it is important to know that they will enjoy good lives, avoiding excessive travelling, often going straight to the organic farm where they will live for decades, having started their lives here with us caring for them daily.
We all have a duty. If we want milk, it is our duty to care for each and every calf in the best way possible - that is our unsaid pact with the ladies. For so long as humans eat meat and dairy produce, we have a duty to ensure every day of those animals lives are the best they can possibly be whilst in our care as farmers. Consumers have a responsibility to purchase and source the best they possibly can, to make sure they are making the best informed choices about their food, how it is produced and supporting a food source they believe in with their purchases.