Category Archives: Farming

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Dodd gets a pedicure

Cattle are designed to walk mainly on the toe and if the hoof is too long, it can throw off their posture and make them walk too much on the heel. Hooves are continuously growing, like fingernails, and they are made from the same thing – keratin. Cattle hooves have two ‘claws’ and are made up of hundreds of tiny tubes. Tubes on the outside grow horizontally and tubes on the inside grow vertically. It's this difference in direction that helps to give strength. They grow about 4mm a month on average, although this growth is sensitive to conditions experienced by the cow. For example, giving birth, a period of stress or poor quality...

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Lambing Infographic 2015

The Countdown to Lambing…

We're all getting very excited about the new season and of course, the start of lambing and kidding, with our first new arrivals due to make their appearance on Saturday 14th. To celebrate, we're starting the new season with a bang with our very first Lambing Week. We're also inviting members to bring a friend with them for free; watching the first tentative steps of a lamb or goat kid is such a memorable experience, it can only be made better by sharing it with loved ones. Check out our lambing infographic (below) for some fun facts and figures from behind the scenes at the farm. We hope to see you soon!   View Full...

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Scanning Screen

A first glimpse of our new lambs

One way of making sure we are doing all the right things is to scan our ewes. This tends to happen around 80 days into their 5 month gestation period (check out our ‘It’s tupping time’ post to see how we know rough due dates). At this stage the lambs are the perfect size to be picked up by the scanning equipment, which works in the same way as the ultrasound scanners used to see unborn human babies. On the day of scanning, all the sheep are moved closer to the handling pens next to the Farm Park. They are walked through the race and are examined in turn, before being released back into the field. The scanner sits in a tent to...

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Bagot Goats - Endangered

Breeders Working Together to Save Endangered Goat

Breeders descended from all over the country to swap notes, discuss ideas and review the current status of the breed, listed as ‘endangered’ on the Rare Breeds Watchlist with only 100 to 200 breeding females left. A primitive breed, which is native to Britain, Bagot goats are small and friendly, often winning the hearts of visitors to Cotswold Farm Park, but as they are not selectively bred, they have very low meat and milk yields. The Cotswold Farm Park herd is one of the oldest in the UK, formed from a group of ‘refugees’ saved from Blithfield Park by Joe Henson in the 1970s, when the park was flooded to form a reservoir...

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The harness with coloured wax block is fitted to the ram

It’s tupping time

Our ewes and rams have had full health checks and have been fed well over the past 12 weeks to ensure peak body condition. They are now ready to meet!   As the days start to shorten, our ewes come into season and they are receptive to the ram for about 30 hours at a time, every 17 days. The ram can detect the hormonal changes in the ewes using receptors under his top lip; this is how he knows when to mate with each ewe, but the ewes will also seek out the ram.   Each ram is fitted with a raddle; a harness with a coloured wax block attached to the chest, which marks each ewe during mating. The wax block is replaced...

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