By Andrew Martin, Head of Outdoor Work
Agnes and Audrey have joined us from Cowdray Farm Estate. Their mothers are Holstein Friesian cattle used for milking, their fathers are used for beef.
Agnes is a Holstein-Friesian cross Aberdeen-Angus. Aberdeen-Angus’s are a native breed, black in colour and known for their hardiness and the quality of their beef. They have a great temperament which we hope proves true as Agnes grows up!
Audrey is a Holstein-Friesian cross Hereford. Hereford cattle are very distinctive, with their white faces and markings, and auburn bodies. Like the Aberdeen-Angus, Herefords fed on grass produce an excellent ‘marbled’ beef that is in great demand due to its distinctive flavour and quality.
Hereford cattle are another native breed famous for their good temperament. This should make Audrey and Agnes absolutely ideal for our school environment.
The calves are three weeks old, and fed on milk, barley straw and cereal. They will have the milk for roughly another six weeks, and then be weaned entirely onto cereals and barley straw for the winter. In the summer months they will only eat grass.
Very soon they will begin their halter training which is vital in order for us to move them around the site to fresh pastures (watch out for the cow pats!) Already we have three Block 4 students claiming the halter training as part of their Outdoor Work BAC project.
Once the cattle reach roughly 20 months they will be ready for either breeding or beef. What we decide to do with them depends on their behaviour, how our fields have coped with big animals and our appetite for either calves or beef!