Dexters join the smallholding

We’ve long debated adding cows to the species list here so we booked a visit to Andrew Tuck’s farm in Tetbury for a discussion about what’s involved. There we met lots of charming cattle – from the gorgeous Brown Swiss to tiger-striped Hereford crosses. However, Dexters seemed like the obvious choice as we only have a small field and they produce great meat.

A week later Andrew arrived with ‘Boris’ – a cute but naughty little steer who can walk under electric fences, and a larger companion. The plan is to eat one in November, replace him with a younger model, and so keep a rolling cycle of steak heading to the barbecue.

That’s ringworm all over their faces – apparently it will clear up in the sunshine…

It felt right to call Boris’ friend Jacob, and we hope this will cheer us up when the time comes to slaughter them. It’s day 2 and they are already demonstrating strong opinions worthy of their political namesakes. Jacob in particular won’t stop bellowing (we think he misses his smart Cotswold friends). Hopefully he’ll settle soon and come to terms with life at the un-royal end of Gloucestershire. Boris is making the most of his size and sheltering from the flies in the old pig house.

Compared with a hen house, Boris is very small

Costs so far: the purchase price of 2 steers came to just over £600 including delivery. We’ve bought a bag of multi-stock nuts to start training them to the bucket. These can be used for the sheep too who have got rather wild recently. Then £25 on some fly treatment, which we’ll apply once they are tame enough to tackle.

Exploring their new home

We’re quarantining the steers in the little field for 4 days while we get electric fencing sorted out in the sheep field to prevent any Houdini action. Some of our fencing is pretty permeable and although the sheep don’t seem too keen to escape we don’t want to annoy the neighbouring cattle farmers once we let the beasts out into the prairie.

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