The farm is a mixed livestock farm in that George rears a fine herd of grass fed beef cattle along with lamb and turkey for the festive season. George is busy all year round and each season brings its own interesting and enjoyable jobs ... except the mucking out!
Cattle housed in the sheds over the winter are put out to pasture to take advantage of the grass growth and better weather. The timing of this depends very much on how wet the season is, in recent years this has been as late as the beginning of May! At this time of year the bulk of the maintenance work is carried out.
Grass is cut to provide silage for winter feed for the beef cattle herd. Contractors are employed to cut the crop and the timing is all important as if it is too wet it loses some of its nutrient goodness and is not as appetising for the animals. The cattle enjoy the mild summer days roaming the fields. In mid-July the day old turkey chicks arrive which is always a nice but very busy time... days olds are demanding! The chicks are housed in a shed converted for the purpose. They spend a few weeks under heat lamps until they get a little older, from the very beginning they have plenty of space to roam around the sheds and eat and drink as they please. George has been rearing turkeys for almost 20 years and their welfare is of paramount importance (they are treated like children!)
As the weather gets colder and wetter the cattle are housed in the farmyard sheds. They are straw bedded and fed on vegetables (even cows get their 5 a-day!), meal and silage which was cut in the summer months. The fields are much too wet at this time of year to allow the cattle to roam as they would churn up the ground and damage the grass needed to feed them in the springtime. It can be safely said that they are much happier in a comfortable shed with heaps of straw. The quality of the final meat product begins with the breed of the animal as well as the way it is reared so the way to ensuring a superior product begins with the farmer, his knowledge and compassion for his animals.
In the winter months lambs graze the fields and every day the perimeter of the fields are walked to check they are all well (they are much lighter than cattle and do not destroy the ground). Manure being produced by the cattle in the sheds is recycled and spread as fertiliser to encourage grass growth...