The leaves are changing colour and beginning to fall across the farm. Autumn has arrived on the farm! Keep an eye out for the changing leaves with bright golden leaves of lime trees and bright reds of our acers and sorbus. Falling leaves are also a seasonal treat for many of our animals who are partial to a crunchy leaf or too. No need for a leaf blower on the cow field! Dora and Delilah headed straight for the trees when let out this morning, quickly hoovering up the leaves that fell overnight.
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.
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.
Last week we welcomed four new arrivals to the farm! The newcomers come to us from Farming World in Faversham, Kent, who unfortunately closed last month. We are thrilled to be able to offer some of these lovely animals a new home and this would not have been possible without a very generous anonymous donation.
Our new animals include a Gloucester Old Spot boar named Bruiser, a Vietnamese Pot-bellied sow named Princess as well as two short-legged Dexter cows named Dora and Delilah. All of our new arrivals seem to be settling in well and we hope they enjoy life in the city. We’ll be looking to update our Farm Animal pages over the next few days and our newcomers will also be looking for their very own sponsors soon!