in the barn

Yes, we have 4 legged inhabitants here at the farm too!  I’m sure that’s no surprise!  We have a few horses and miniature horses as well as a few Nubian goats and some hair sheep – mostly Katahdin x – but a large portion of our efforts are directed at breeding purebred, registered Tamworth Swine.  Yes, another heritage breed, and one well worth the effort!  We are also raising the fabulous Dexter cow – the perfect bovine breed for small hold farmers!

DSC00094TAMWORTH SWINE: The beautiful red Tamworth pig is known traditionally as a ‘bacon pig’ because it’s meat is less fatty than ‘lard pig’ varieties. They are particularly known for great-tasting, lean meat with good texture.  The breed has a history as a British forest pig that grazes, and this foraging ability gives the fresh Tamworth meat a distinctive flavourful taste.  It may take a bit longer to grow a Tamworth to market weight, but the flavour of the meat alone makes this heritage breed worth the effort. Tamworths are hardy, with good farrowing and mothering capabilities, and they perform very well outdoors, especially when grazing on pasture.

Here at Ravenwood, we currently breed with our lovely registered Tamworth sow (Paddy Green Acres Paprika 3C), and we’ll be adding 2 new gilts this year. We also have a Large Black x Tamworth sow (born of our first Tamworth sow shown above), and a Tamworth x Ossabaw sow.  The latter produce smaller piglets with a slightly higher fat content that is excellent for charcuterie purposes.  All of these lovely ladies are covered by our handsome boar Jack (Thunberg Texas Jack 3C).  We produce Tamworth and Tamworth X weaners available several times per year and we are very excited to be able to provide registered Tamworth seed stock for discerning breeders who wish to aid in keeping this fantastic breed going!  We are currently the only breeder in BC listed in the Canadian Swine Association membership with registered Tamworth stock!

Our farrowing schedule for 2018 should see a purebred Tamworth litter in February, and crossed litters in March and April.  If you are interested in registered stock, please contact us to get on the wait list, especially for a boarlet, as we need to know in advance of castration.

New this year, we will have our rotational grazing set up and we will be offering whole, half, or pork packs this fall.  Watch for news on this on our facebook page.

Our 2 Dexter heifers, Blossom & Brown Betty

2 of our Dexter cows as calves Blossom & Brown Betty

DEXTER CATTLE: Dexter cattle are the smallest of the European cattle breeds, being about half the size of a traditional Hereford and about one third the size of a Friesian (Holstein) milking cow. They were considered a rare breed of cattle, until recently, but are now considered a recovering breed by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. The Dexter breed originated in Ireland.

Dexters are classified as a small, friendly, dual-purpose breed; used for milk and beef.  Beef animals in the US are expected to mature in 18 months and result in small cuts of high quality lean meat, graded US Choice, with little waste. The expectable average dress out is 50 to 70 percent. The beef produced by Dexters is well marbled and tends to be darker. Dexters also produce a rich milk, relatively high in butterfat (4%) and the quality of the milk overall is similar to that of the Jersey.

Dexters have been enjoying a resurgence in many countries, especially with small hold farmers. The popularity of Dexters has been fueled by a desire for organic food, health concerns over factory farming, and soaring food prices. The cows are exceptionally good mothers, known for easy calving. They will produce enough milk to feed 2–3 calves, and we are told they will often willingly nurse calves from other cows.

Our lovely girls, North Star’s Blossom and North Star’s Brown Betty, graced us with 2 beautiful calves in 2016 sired by AI from Mrald Overture. We retained the heifer, Ravenwood Acres Delilah, to add to our herd.  Blossom and Betty graced us with 2 more beautiful and correct calves again in 2017 sired by our bull Tandria Poll and we are expecting 3 calves for the 2018 season.  We have sold 2 incredibly handsome registered bull calves from our herd and are looking forward to seeing their contributions to the breed in the future.

We currently have a registered dun, horned heifer calf available.

For more information on Tamworth or Dexter availability, please email us at ravnwood@telus.net or fill out our contact form here on our website.

Advertisements