Livestock

An Introduction to Keeping Cattle

I remember when I was young spending holidays with my auntie and uncle. My uncle was a hill shepherd in the Campsie Fells; it was a hard life and I suspect that the wages were poor, but they had some hens, a large vegetable garden and a house cow and the table always seemed to be groaning with good things to eat.

Funnily enough, I don’t remember ever seeing the cow but I do remember my uncle bringing in the pail of milk and my auntie filtering it, leaving it to settle and skimming off the cream.

After leaving school and before University – a gap year, they call it now – I worked on a dairy farm, with around 120 British Friesian cows; the folk I worked for were just starting to change over to the Holstein. I loved the cows, even though we started milking at 5am.

Both these experiences meant that when we started smallholding, I always had in the back of my mind that I’d like to have a house cow.

Dan and I became cattle keepers for the first time in October 2010. At the time of writing (January 2013), it has been a very rewarding experience.

Rosedean herd of Shetland CattleOur wee herd of Shetland Cattle.

I have to say I love the cattle. They are very people friendly and on a warm, sunny day, I love to go and sit with them as they lie and chew their cud in the field. As usual, we’re happy to share our experiences.

Rosemary Champion

About Rosemary Champion

Rosemary lives on a 12 acre smallholding in Angus, in the east of Scotland, where she keeps Ryeland Sheep, Shetland cattle and assorted poultry. She was destined to be a smallholder from an early age.

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