UK Sabbatical 



Out walking with Mum And Dad



For the last three weeks I have been thoroughly enjoying the company of my family and friends in the UK and James has been back at work in Vietnam. Meanwhile our farm is being looked after by James’ dad and brother. They have been sending updates on the cattle and news on Deva’s daily shenanigans.

She was in the poo last week when I got a very disgruntled email informing me she had pulled a a roast chicken off the bench and broken a plate.. I then received this photo to accompany it!


At least she was cleaning up after herself!


The cattle are fine, although the boys had managed to destroy the ball cock in their trough. John has done some handy work for us and fixed it.
As we are starting from scratch with facilities on the new farm, we are researching what equipment or yard set ups work well with highlands. So whilst over here I thought it would be fun and educational to visit a local highland fold. This was with the hope of meeting an experienced breeder and to pick up some tips and ideas that could be applied to our farm. As much as James and I love books, we believe you can learn so much more from people.
Earlier this week, Mum and I had the pleasure of visiting Hugh, owner and breeder of Oak Fold. He has around 20 highlands tucked away on a beautifully kept farm close to Chester. Hugh was very generous with his time and took us on a tour, showing us his stock and his facilities. It was lovely to walk through his paddocks and small woods hearing about everything from his showing experiences to how he built his shelters and his ideas on allowing natural hedges to grow without the rabbits eating them! We also exchanged information and stories and I was pleased to note he knows all his cattle by name and their personalities much like I do! 


Pretty Cow



Hugh’s Bull





Mum and Calf


Both Mum and I were very impressed with the shelters that Hugh had built – by himself I must add! These were simple constructions that provided shelter from the weather but still allowed good airflow through the building. The main one was used as a maternity shed and had tie up posts and a hay feeder. The idea behind it was that the calves were never too far from their mother when they needed a feed and you won’t have problems like calves getting through fences. More importantly if there are any calving difficulties then the time lost by gathering a labouring cow from the paddock is significantly reduced. Other shelters were constructed for keeping hay dry and for the cattle to have somewhere more sheltered to camp.


The Maternity Suite



Beautifully constructed shelter

I think this is something we could easily incorporate into our new farm and will be an important asset come calving. Having it close to or adjoining the yards would be handy as it could double up as a show preparation shed for grooming.

I am heading back home soon to get stuck back into the farm and preparing it for moving our stock over. James and I are in the process of prioritising what needs doing and a rough idea of when.
– Rachael
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