Last month we welcomed two new Dexter Cows to the farm. Their arrival marked the much anticipated return of cows to Mudchute and we’re delighted to be able to share a little more about Dora and Delilah. Visitors may have been surprised at the size of our petite new cows, which is characteristic of their breed. Dexter Cattle are the smallest British breed of cattle. Dexters trace their origins to the South Western region of Ireland and were first documented in an 1845 report on Irish cattle. The breed have been in England since 1882 and were first shown at the Royal Show at Norwich in 1886.

Dexters are bred for both their meat and milk and are described as a “dual-purpose” breed. They are known for both early maturation and longevity. They produce a rich milk that is relatively high in butterfat (4%), similar to that of a Jersey cow. A Dexter cow can produce 2-2.5 gallons (7.6-9.5 litres) per day.

Farmer Cliff showing Delilah's petite stature.

Farmer Cliff showing Delilah’s petite stature.

Dexters have thick curved horns, but can also be polled (have their horns removed). You will note that one of our cows (Delilah) has horns, while the other (Dora) is polled. Dexters come in three solid colours, black, red and dun, with the most common being black. The breed comes in both a short-legged and non-short variety. Our cows are of the short-legged variety and have notably short stature.

You can find out more about Dexter cattle from the Dexter Cattle Society and find more photos below.

This week we’re shining the spotlight the unmistakable golden chickens of the farm, our Buff Orpingtons. The Buff Orpingtons currently live in the corner chicken pen, next to Clover, the Gloucestershire Old Spots sow and across from our goats. These birds have an impressive size and beautiful golden colour. As their name suggests, the breed originates from Orpington, in the London Borough of Bromley. Find out more about the Orpington breed (and why our hens are wearing jackets) on the next page!
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Today we’re shining the spotlight on our two British Saddleback Pigs! Our two girls currently live near the allotments, alongside our Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs. You may spot them up on their cement gun site, or rooting around around the back of their enclosure. The saddlebacks are a large, mostly black, lop-eared pig with a distinctive white band across the saddle and around the legs and shoulders. Dating back to 1967, the breed is the result of crossing the Essex and Wessex Saddleback. Saddlebacks are known for being docile, fecund and excellent mothering abilities, as well as their hardiness and foraging skills. You can find out more about British Saddleback pigs from the British Saddleback Breeders’ Club and Rare Breed Survival Trust and see a mini-gallery of our saddlebacks on the next page. Continue reading